Thursday, July 27, 2017

Anthology Collaboration - Introduction

The email asked if I was interested in collaborating with four other authors on an anthology of short stories. I recognized the sender as an editor/publisher of an e-zine that had supported my work in the past. I assumed she threw my name into the mix. But I could be wrong.

Intrigued, I agreed to the reasonable monetary investment and I was in. I didn’t know the other authors but there were no formal – or informal – introductions. Like me, the others probably Googled their counterparts. Three of us are from Ontario Canada. Two reside in Wisconsin. Advantageous that our book will be actively promoted on both sides of the border. Was that the idea from the beginning? When I find out, I’ll let you know.

Without much preamble, the process began – send short stories in a variety of genres and we’ll choose from those. I wondered if they were looking for a theme in our offerings. I’m still not sure. Out of the seven stories I submitted, four were chosen for the anthology. They rejected two award-winning stories that I thought would be shoe-ins and chose three stories that had never been published. That pleased me. I’m not sure why.

When I read the other submissions, I was puzzled. With the possible exception of one author, I couldn’t find the common thread. Not for the first time, I wondered how we five were brought together. Our voices, styles, and stories are vastly different. This was becoming a very curious project. Extraordinary, but curious.

An eclectic mix of authors and stories. For me, the appeal is building. So is the excitement.
I’ll keep you posted.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

People Watching…er, Dog Watching at the Beach

I was sitting in the shade pondering and philosophizing when a golden retriever bounded onto the beach. He stopped and checked from left to right, then examined a piece of driftwood before he headed for the water. There he sat, water about shoulder high, his eyes fixed on the long stairway that led down to the shore.
Their voices carried. Soon a small family settled onto the sand and called out a greeting to their dog, Jack. He raced out of the water. Friendly and kind. I could see it in his body language. In the love shown by his family.
He padded back to the water and woofed. Patiently he waited. Then another woof. He was rewarded when a rock sailed through the air. Jack dove into the water and paddled. He swam directly to the spot where the rock sank. Then he turned and swam back. He swished his water-soaked tail and interrupted the conversation on the beach with another soft bark. Then another. A member of the family reached for a large smooth rock and tossed it overhand into the crystal water. Jack leaped and swam out. Barely a ripple could be seen when he got to the spot where the rock disappeared but he knew exactly when to stop and swim back to the shore. 
A most interesting game of (non)fetch. At one point, he picked up a large rock and deposited it next to their blanket. As if to remind them of the game, or perhaps he thought their supply of rocks had dwindled. After a time, he stopped woofing and they stopped throwing. 
He sat in the water. People watching, I suppose. He looked in my direction. I smiled. The same as I would smile at an adorable child. I have a soft spot for dogs and small kids. They melt my heart. 
He left the water and joined his family. They knew what was coming and braced themselves. “No, Jack. No one likes that.” He gave a little shake sending droplets of water over the group sitting on the sand. But I could tell he was holding back. Out of consideration or not wanting another scolding, I can’t be sure.
As they left the beach, Jack let them move on ahead. He sniffed the driftwood the same as he had when he arrived, looked back at the water, and then gave a mighty shake before trotting after them.
I’ve always loved people watching and now it seems dog watching is just as entertaining.