Today the Dragon Wins

"Today the Dragon Wins" offers information from Fantasy Author and Professional Editor Sandy Lender. You'll also find dragons, wizards, sorcerers, and other fantasy elements necessary for a fabulous story, if you know where to look...

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Location: Misbehaving in Candlelight

Sandy Lender is the editor of an international trade publication and the author of the fantasy novels Choices Meant for Gods and Choices Meant for Kings, available from ArcheBooks Publishing, and the series-supporting chapbook, What Choices We Made.

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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Where is Sandy Lender?
Or…The Dragon lists this month’s online book tour stops

Information about Fantasy Author Sandy Lender and her fantasy novel Choices Meant for Gods immediately follows this list of tour dates. We encourage you to stop by these blogs to visit with Sandy during her tour. If you leave a comment, you will be entered in a contest to win a hardcover, first edition, autographed copy of Choices Meant for Gods (one is being given away per week of the tour). If you can’t wait to see if you win the autographed print version, you can order the eBook at the publisher’s site. You can also check out reviews and pictures at Amazon.
This list will be updated as additional stops are confirmed.
(If you’re looking for regular updates/news about Sandy and what’s going on in the writer’s life this month, check with Nigel’s blog at http://sandylender.blogspot.com/.)

June 1 Travel the Ages
June 2 A.F. Stewart's Blog
June 3 Annekane's Weblog
June 4 The Perils of Pauline
June 4 Long and Short Reviews
June 5 Inspiration Ink
June 5 Jamieson Wolf
June 6 Lily Stone
June 11 Marianne Arkins
June 12 LRP
June 13 LRP
June 14 MLM
June 15 Laurie J. Edwards
June 16 LRP
June 17 Nicole Zoltack
June 18 Cynthia Eden
Participate in the first live online author Tweeterview (view press release here)
June 20 http://twitter.com/sandylender AND http://twitter.com/jamiesonwolf
June 22: Chris Redding
June 23: Christine Clemetson
June 24 Absolute XPress
June 25 Chic Book Chick
June 26 A Book Blogger's Diary
June 27 J.K. Coi
June 28 Deborah's Realm
June 30 Cate Masters
July 1 Alien Places
July 2 Hywela Lynn
July 3 Kathryn Kennedy

See you around the blogosphere!
Oh! And, just for grins, totally check out the turtle graphic at the bottom of my blog, right above my Twitter updates. How cute is that? When you click your mouse inside the graphic, it drops food pellets for the turtles to eat. Fabulous, I say.
“Some days, I just want the dragon to win.”
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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Who is Sandy Lender?
Or…The Dragon welcomes new folks to the insanity of a fantasy author’s blog

From June 1 to July 3 I’m “doing” an online book tour. Regular visitors know I’ve done two of these in the past. Remember that two-month stretch in the summer of 2007? Eegads. When What Choices We Made was released back in November, I did a much more sensible two-week online tour, but spent the second week of the tour in a hospital room that had no Internet access. (To be honest, I was so out of it that my posts would have been pretty pathetic that week anyway.)

This month things are different! I’m totally healthy and champing at the bit to do some extra promotion for Choices Meant for Gods, my fabulous fantasy novel available from ArcheBooks Publishing, at Amazon.com, at Barnes & Noble, or anywhere fine and fabulous fantasy is sold.

Considering I’m promoting the whole month as “Sandy’s guest starring at everyone else’s blogs,” I decided to post my tour stops here at Today the Dragon Wins (above) and leave this blog mostly dormant for the duration. But that leaves visitors a little “wanting,” right? Hence this explanatory post and “unofficial” bio.

I’m Sandy Lender, fantasy author and magazine editor. The magazine editing is the day job that pays the bills. As surprising as this is going to sound, writing isn’t my whole life. I spend Saturday mornings protecting sea turtles. I live in Southwest Florida where I serve in the Turtle Time non-profit group helping track and protect these lovely creatures. Pictures from the section of beach I patrol speckle this blog and Nigel’s.

I’m also obsessed with Duran Duran. You’ll find me at their July 11 show in California with my friends Christine and Jennine. Pictures of me with the hhhhhot John Taylor on different occasions appear on my MySpace page.

Taking care of pets also takes some of my time. I have a beautiful sun conure named Petri (after the baby pterodactyl in The Land Before Time) and a gorgeous new Timneh African Grey named Mouse (because she squeaks). I also have a 21-year-old turtle and a pancake tortoise whose age escapes me right now.

My reading interests include fantasy, of course, but start with Charlotte Bronte. I consider her a genius when it comes to dialogue and suspense. I can’t open one of her books to “check something” without getting pulled in. She captures me because she’s a master of literature. Her sisters are equally talented, but there’s something about Charlotte that appeals to me in a way I can’t explain in a simple “section” of a blog post.

I like to have green plants around me and I’m happiest when I sit among the birds and the plants with some chocolate cookies for me, crackers for the birds, and my laptop for a writing session. Of course, birds like to have attention on themselves, not the laptop…

If you’d like more information about me (although I’m not sure what else is interesting), I’ve got web pages all over the Internet. Brief list below. I encourage you to follow me on Twitter for infrequent but usually insane updates on bizarre stuff that happens to me. All of these links take you away from this page, so you’ll have to hit the “back” button to come back to the list. (Because it’s that fabulous of a list!) Personally, I recommend the Twitter and DragonDiscussions links for joining non-spam stuff. Then, OF COURSE, I recommend the first three links so you can order my books. Bwuahahahahaha.

http://tinyurl.com/CMFGamazon
http://tinyurl.com/WCWMamazon
ArcheBooks Publishing (discount at the publisher’s site)
http://twitter.com/sandylender
FiledBy (where you can see my trailers)
Ning
Dragon Discussions (where you can join the group)
Author Island
Good Reads
Red Room
Shelfari
AuthorsDen
Suspense Magazine
LinkedIn
BookTour
MySpace
http://tinyurl.com/WCWMvideo (please leave a nice comment for the producer!)
http://tinyurl.com/CMFKvideo (please leave a nice comment for the producer!)
http://tinyurl.com/Dragonvideo (please leave a nice comment for the producer!)

I know that’s a lot of crap to fling at you all at once, but, in a nutshell, that’s Fantasy Author Sandy Lender. Thank you for stopping in at Today the Dragon Wins, and thank you for reading all this. There’s more, as you can see by the extensive archive list at left. Enjoy your visit!

“Some days, I just want the dragon to win.”
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Friday, May 29, 2009

Survive Your Amazon Ranking with a Good Review
Or…The Dragon talks about the Amazon marketing blues today

My fantasy novel Choices Meant for Gods had been available at http://tinyurl.com/CMFGamazon for about a day when a friend of mine sent a message through an online group saying something to the effect of OMGlookatyourrankingonamazonlookatitnow. The note may have been in all caps.

I obeyed her to find my ranking at 200,000+. Well, that ain’t half bad for a then-unknown author with only one book out. But I recalled a warning a fellow writer gave at a meeting in the not-so-distant past. He cautioned that your book can perform much better in a day than the numbers/rankings at Amazon reflect. Here’s why:

The great and powerful Oz O’Amazon hides behind his curtain and sorts information every hour. He sends all those computer-language ones and zeroes skittering toward their end equations until, at about some point past the hour, according to the presenter, the rankings at Amazon.com change. This is every hour.

It’s enough to make an author bi-polar. And I don’t think you have to be a fantasy author like me who’s already half way to a state of confusion to develop the condition.

So I looked at my 200,000+ ranking for Choices Meant for Gods when my friend told me to, came back an hour later to a 100,000+ ranking, and visited that night to find a 68,000+ ranking. I was elated. Elated, I tell you! But I have seen numbers all over the board since then. One recent night when I was contemplating the arsenic-laced Kool-aid because my ranking had been down around 1,400,000+, I checked one last time to see what exact figure to include in my suicide note. I found the blasted thing back at 200,000+! How does that happen? (I think that hour’s traffic can be attributed to an Author Island blog post, actually, and I recommend every published author get in touch with DeNita Tuttle for her much-needed support.)

There are other ways authors can manipulate their Amazon ranking. First, I would ask if it’s worth your time and energy. Second, I would caution you against unscrupulous agencies preying upon the insecure or inexperienced in our industry. Beware of PR companies that want to charge a few thousand dollars to get your Amazon ranking up to No. 1. Look closely at what they’re going to do:
* What gimmick or free give-away are they offering when someone buys your book? Maybe you’re cool with a bedroom toy for a free giveaway if you’ve got an erotic romance to promote, but, for the sweet romance couched in my fantasy Choices Meant for Gods, a French tickler would definitely be over the top!
* Who are they going to align you with for promotional purposes? I’ll keep politics out of this blog post, and you probably want to keep political affiliations away from your romance, memoir, sci-fi, or mystery title, too.
* What sort of discount off your book are you going to have to take? If you’re just interested in building audience with a first book or a new genre, maybe giving up a small royalty in your contract is no big deal. For Choices Meant for Gods, I was so pleased to get my foot in the publishing-industry door that I didn’t fear the industry’s warning cry that I’d make no money on the first book. I went in with both eyes open, knowing this is an audience-building venture.
* How much are you going to have to pay? You have to weigh this marketing idea against other promotional and marketing weapons in your arsenal. In this day and age, few publishers hand out copious amounts of cash to authors for promotional efforts. Promoting and marketing your book is your responsibility. Luckily for me, ArcheBooks Publishing has some technologies in place to help its authors and the man in charge is a wiz when it comes to creating banners, flyers, ads for print or web, etc. Also in my favor: ArcheBooks Publishing has a stable of authors who have done this before and they could warn me against the predators who would seek out a fledgling author and scam her with an Amazon-rank-hiking scheme.
* Is your No. 1 ranking guaranteed? Just what will the company you’re paying guarantee to do with your Amazon ranking? Is it guaranteed for an hour? When is that hour—at 2 p.m. on a Saturday or at 3 a.m. on a Wednesday? Or is the No. 1 ranking guaranteed for a day, which I personally define as 24 hours.
These things are often a scam. Let me emphasize that for you. These things are often a scam. Please use your hard-earned money wisely and protect your hard-earned reputation carefully.

Now here’s something you can do to improve not just an arbitrary number, but your sales as well: get some good reviews. Do you know people who have already reviewed books on Amazon.com before? Those are good folks to talk to because they have a track record. Politely request they read and review your exciting new breakthrough work. Now, a person who already has a few reviews under his or her belt will carry more weight than your Aunt Edna who’s never heard of Amazon before, but, hey, if Aunt Edna’s the only person biting right now, she’s better than no review at all! (unless she pans it…)

Beware of site owners who are paying for reviews. Potential buyers will start to pick up on that and get turned off. You’re better off selecting your own reviewers who are doing it because they love stories, love to read, love to offer their opinions and love to get home-baked cookies in the mail. (I’m joking. I’ve never sent cookies to a reviewer…yet.)

And here’s an interesting fact for you. When a five-star review goes up on Amazon, the book’s sales are supposed to increase by 38 percent. That’s nice.

So manipulate the ranking at Amazon.com (or B&N.com) however you wish, but don’t let it rule your life. Seeing it at 200,000+ at 6 p.m. doesn’t reflect the 45 books that sold at 10 a.m., or vice versa. The great and powerful Oz hasn’t perfected a system to make you look good for the whole day with numbers, but you know what? I think you look good because you have a published book! Hooray for you!

And if you’re still working to get your book to that stage, there are tips and tidbits from interviewed authors here at Today the Dragon Wins to help you pursue that goal. We’re all pullin’ for ya.

“Some days, I just want the dragon to win.”
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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ode to Craig Ferguson
Or...The Dragon puts a smile on your face today

I adore Craig Ferguson. I would give blood/plasma/a kidney to be on his show (to promote Choices Meant for Gods, of course!) so I could hear that fabulous accent up close and personal. I'm so sorry that I didn't get my divorce done in time to offer him an easy way to citizenship. Bwuahahahaha. Just kidding. (Or am I?)

To put a smile on everyone's face today, here's a link to a very fun video with Craig Ferguson from the opening of the Late Late Show. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

http://tinyurl.com/IluvuCraig

"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."
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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Passin' a Kidney Stone for Memorial Day
Or...The Dragon is hallucinating what the companion parrots want

For Pete's sake. While on sea turtle patrol for Turtle Time this morning, I started to feel quite uncomfortable. That increased on my return trip home, which takes approximately 30 minutes. My friend Joe had gone with me and watched my spiral into hell with concern, offering more than once over the next couple of hours to take me to the hospital. I vomitted a few times from the pain and, while writhing, moaning and crying (I have no shame) at about 10 a.m., agreed that a trip to the emergency room was in order.

They did a CT scan to find a 3- to 4-mm stone had departed my right kidney to begin its arduous journey "out." Eegads. They gave me precious and lovely Dilaudid, which made me a touch loopy and took the edge off the pain for about 10 to 15 minutes. Next they gave me Toradol, which was fabulous. Before sending me home, they gave me a couple Vicodin and a script for Vicodin to keep me from dying while this baby runs its course.

I'm drinking a lot of water. My companion parrots were extremely concerned when Joe helped their mom limping and sobbing out of the apartment. Now they're keeping an eye on me while I hallucinate people are bringing us Triscuit crackers. Should my medically induced hallucinations be what my sun conure and African grey would want? Am I channeling their thoughts? I'm sure they'd be thrilled to know that I'm putting Triscuits on next week's grocery list, because I'm an eternal optimist and I'm sure I'll survive this thing. ;)

By the way, the African grey still goes unnamed at this time. I'm leaning toward Mouse or Charlotte right now, although Pebbles strikes my fancy, too. I would put together a poll for people to vote, but I have an old template here at Blogger and I'm not sure it supports polling...Maybe I'll figure something out before my online book tour starts June 1. After that, my posting will be minimal, for obvious reasons. I'm touring to do some more promotion for Choices Meant for Gods and, on the side, What Choices We Made. My publisher and I would like to get some more audience built while we watch production hiccups mar any semblance of a release date for Choices Meant for Kings. Never fear, though! The second novel in the Choices trilogy is in "editing" at the publisher, so it may not be much longer before I see galleys. How cool is that?

Keep in touch, everybody. If you want quick-n-fast updates on what's happenin' in Fantasy Author Sandy Lender's whirlwind life, do the whole "follow" thing on Twitter. You can also see my more "professional" goings-on at my LinkedIn page. And now I shall stop the medically-induced rambling at you.

"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."
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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Welcome Someone New to My House
Or...The Dragon needs some name suggestions for a Timneh African Grey

I've been interested in African Grey parrots for quite some time. I've done a bit of research here and there. Then Saturday, after turtle patrol but before my GCWA talk, I met one that stared at me like she knew me. She was sold by the time my talk was over (I called to check). But it got me thinking strongly about finding another who might select me before some nutcase succeeds at passing pet-limiting legislation.

So I talked with a breeder (Margie Adams) over in Pompano, Fla., who had a couple of her babies placed in a pet store over here. Fabulous. Just a 40-minute drive to check them out. One was obviously spastic and not interested in me. The other...

I got her a cage that's 30 by 30 by 33 ( inside height is 33) with a playstand on top. Because I work from home, my companion parrots spend the day with their doors open so they hang inside or out, whichever they prefer. Petri tends to climb all over his cage, looking for treats I've hidden around it before I sit down to work in the morning. This new one will figure out there are hidden treats as well.

But I've got a problem. I keep calling her "Pretty Girl" because I can't think of a good name that fits her. She's a snuggler. And she's still a little shy and quiet (although that may change as she gets used to her new surroundings). She's three months old--hatched at the end of February. She sleeps like a duck with her beak tucked in behind her wing and she makes small, adorable little barking sounds when you prevent her from getting on your shoulder. (I've read that greys shouldn't get above eye level because of the domination thing.)

So help me out here! What's a good name for this little girl?

(Also in this post, the biege cage you see here is Petri's. It's an example for a new friend who's stopping by the blog to check out the cage dimensions. It is 24 wide by 22 deep by 28 high (interior) with four perches. Two perches are natural branches and two are comfy perches of different thicknesses. The bars are 3/4 inch apart, which I've been told is the maximum for a sun's safety. There's a playgym on top with a bar for hanging a toy. All of the toys are metal-free. I've hung them with bird-safe rope. The food and water dishes are stainless steel, guaranteed to be zinc-free. And he's also got a cozy hut that conures LOVE.)

"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

False Crawls, Blog Site Recommendations, Crutches
Or…The Dragon needs to give a quick Saturday update

First of all, let me just state right here and now that walking with crutches is not easy. I’m typing this from a mostly reclined position on the couch with my right foot propped up on a pillow. There’s an ice bag on my ankle and an oxycodone in my system. I’m not entirely sure what I did. I think the twisting of my ankle while on the beach this morning (“grace” is not my middle name) finally caught up to me late this afternoon or something. Sigh. As the day progressed, the pain and ankle swelling increased until I became mostly immobile around 5:30, 6:00 this evening. Rar.

But, hey, I found a sea turtle false crawl on Bonita Beach this morning. Picture posted above. Woo-hoo! While it’s not as great and wonderful as finding a nest, it means that there’s a turtle out there with eggs to deposit. Perhaps tonight…tomorrow night…

After sea turtle patrol, my friend Joe drove me up to the Gulf Coast Writers Association (GCWA) meeting for my talk on platforming and publishing schtuff. Because I’m insane, I gave him an address to put into the GPS that took us to Winkler Avenue instead of Winkler Road. So we were a wee bit late getting to the meeting, but everyone was in a discussion about publishing when I arrived and seemed very pleasant and patient and ready to hear the presentation. It was a great hour! Folks asked excellent questions after the talk. During the talk, I gave a couple of blog addresses that I want to list here for anyone checking in. These are sites I recommend for literary agent query letter advice. Cheryl has alerted us that the original URL I wrote down for the QueryShark blog had extra words in it. Sigh. So the correct one is here now.

http://www.pubrants.blogspot.com/
http://queryshark.blogspot.com/

If anyone has follow-up questions, you’ve got my e-mail address, and feel free to leave a comment here.

Oh, yes, my twitter address is
http://twitter.com/sandylender.
And, hey, if you’re intrigued by my fantasy work, you can check out some information about Choices Meant for Gods at my publisher’s site, where it’s available at a discount, at this link. Thank you to everyone who attended, and thank you to the group who came to lunch afterward. It was a lovely use of a Saturday!

“Some days, I just want the dragon to win.”
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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I BEAT CANCER!
Or...The Dragon's singing We Are the Champions by Queen

It's been going through my head since my doctor appointment this morning. We are the champions, my friend, and we'll keep on fighting 'til the end. We are the champions, we are the champions...

So I went to the radiologist this morning for a followup, and he read the results of my most recent CT and PET scans. Ladies and Gentlemen, I am cured. The tumors are shrunken little husks of what they used to be. There are no new ones. Hodgkins Lymphoma is the cancer that doctors can cure 100% and he says I'm there!

I am so thankful!

And let me tell you something. I had Baptists, Buddhists, Catholics, Jews, Lutherans, Methodists, New Agers, and Presbyterians praying, lighting candles, and offering positive thoughts to the universe for my good health throughout this ordeal. I thank God every day for my healing. He is the Great Physician and I am lucky (considering my insane family tree) that Hodgkins was the disease that fell out on me. And I thank my friends and family who kept me in their thoughts and prayers. God is good and he gave us good doctors down here in sunny Florida.

Now...it's back to writing and promoting and taking on the world for Fantasy Author Sandy Lender!
"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."
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Saturday, May 09, 2009

Top 10 Gifts Dragon Moms Really Appreciate
Or…The Dragon salutes mothers all over the world (even the fantasy worlds)

Yes, it’s a Top 10 List for Mother’s Day, but it’s geared for all you dragon aficionados out there. Here we go. Top 10 things dragon moms really appreciate—a primer for young dragons to say Happy Mother’s Day.

10. Freshly gathered wildflowers to sprinkle around the cave
9. Home-made coupons for cleaning out the cave (including, but not limited to, picking up stray skeletal remains around the treasure mounds)
8. Freshly roasted moose (or mountain lion, goat, sheep, ryfel, etc.)
7. An already-skewered dragon slayer from the nearby village (sans the obnoxious armor that gets stuck in her teeth)
6. Wizard wands, staffs, hats, cloaks, and, if possible, fresh carcasses
5. New riddles and/or poems
4. Large, colorful jewels (with or without the dwarves that mined them)
3. Mounds of freshly polished silver and gold
2. Unplugging the nearby villagers’ dam so the mountain spring flows freely past her cave

And probably the loveliest thing you could get a dragon mom for Mother’s Day…

1. A scenic burning village at sunset with unwary villagers running her way (for that extra touch that shows you care, be sure to have a salt-n-pepper service or maybe a vat of A-1 steak sauce near at hand)

Please join the fun: Add your dragon-mom gift ideas in the comments field.
Fantasy Author Sandy Lender wishes everyone a fabulous Mother’s Day!
“Some days, I just want the dragon to win.”
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Friday, May 08, 2009

Guest Blogging
Or...Catch a guest blog article from Sandy Lender

Just a note to let you know that my fantasy author, Sandy Lender, will be guest blogging at AuthorIslandTikiHut this coming Tuesday, May 12th. The blog host, DeNita Tuttle will provide links to Sandy's recent chapbook release What Choices We Made and will hold a contest. I believe the ladies are hashing out the details on the contest now so check in for that.

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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Writers’ Meeting Announcement
Or…you can hear Sandy Lender speak at the GCWA meeting May 16

If you’d like to hear about platforming, existing audiences, and the business of publishing from a published author’s perspective, join the Gulf Coast Writer’s Association Saturday, May 16, to hear Fantasy Author Sandy Lender present these topics and more. GCWA Programming Chairperson Barie Fez-Barringten initially asked Sandy to tell the story of how she got published, so be prepared for more than the usual entertainment at this presentation. For GCWA members who’ve seen one of Sandy’s workshops or presentations before, you know to bring pen and paper because she’s known for sharing lots of tips and links during her talk and during the Q&A sessions afterward.

The meeting will be held at the Zion Lutheran Church at 7401 Winkler Rd. in Ft. Myers. Cost of admission is $3 for members, $5 for non-members. (First-time visitors are free.) (Image above is of Sandy at the NPC's 7th Annual Writer's Conference back in April when she participated in the panel discussion on long-lived characters in a series. She's posing with her first novel, Choices Meant for Gods, and the supporting chapbook, What Choices We Made.)

“Some days, I just want the dragon to win.”
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Book Trailer for the Upcoming Choices Meant for Kings by Fantasy Author Sandy Lender

The novel's coming soon, but while we wait, check out this lovely trailer from media specialist, novelist, columnist, critic, and colleague, Jamieson Wolf.
Information on the first novel in the series, Choices Meant for Gods, is available at the publisher's site, www.archebooks.com, under the heading of "fantasy".

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

A Memory Challenge for Writers and Readers Today
Or…The Dragon is obsessed with the caterpillars

About a month or so ago, I posted about the plethora of white moths doing their tantric sex marathons around my front door (complete with erotic photos of moth sex—oooooh). Now I notice there are a bunch of fuzzy white caterpillars meandering around the deck. Could they have hatched and grown that quickly? Someone better versed than I in moth-caterpillar biology will have to weigh in on this discussion. My strong suit is the reptiles, you know.

Anyway, the sad sight of a convulsing caterpillar in what I assume was its death throes this morning got me to thinking of a poem I read as a child. I had a big blue hardcover book called 101 Animal Stories, and one of the stories was a poem titled “The Caterpillar’s Song.” I’ve been trying all morning to remember the poem. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

I twist, I turn, I coil and wind
And sometimes find
I’ve tied a knot
Toodle-oo
All day through
…some other stuff here…
A twist over here
A twist over there
…some other stuff here…
Toodle-oo
All day through
That’s what I do

Now, I know I’ve butchered the poem, and I apologize to the author for doing so. Can anyone out there fix it? Does anyone remember the whole thing? I’ve looked it up on Google and Ask.com. I’ve posted the question to a couple of the online groups I belong to, but we’re stymied. So, come on, writers and readers! Help us out, before it drives me the rest of the way out of my mind.

(And, for those of you wondering about the convulsing caterpillar on the deck, I scooped him up after the photo above and put him in one of my plants. He will either snap out of it and start eating or…well…become fuzzy soil. Very sad.)

“Some days, I just want the dragon to win.”
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Saturday, May 02, 2009

I Found the First Sea Turtle Nest of the Season on Bonita Beach
Or...The Dragon feels validated as a human today

A Loggerhead sea turtle made my day. She came up on shore on Bonita Beach, in Zone 11, some time during the night, trudged clear up to the grassy area, made a nest, laid some eggs, covered it with plenty of fluffy sand, and trudged back to the Gulf like a pro. What's totally cool about this is she's the first to do so along Bonita Beach this year and she did it in a zone I patrol on a night I'd find the nest.

Woo-hoo!

Here are pictures to commemorate the coo-el event. The image that looks like a set of tractor trailer marks is the picture of her "crawl." If you're ever walking on the beach and you see a set of these, you know you're witnessing something great. You're seeing evidence that an endangered or threatened species has been at work. If you follow the tracks up the beach, you'll come to an area of greatly disturbed sand. Under all that disturbance are 90 or so tiny little gestating reptile lives. How cool is that?

Other Turtle Time volunteers and I will be keeping an eye on this nest throughout the summer. Within the next 70 days, I'll report on a hatching event for you!

As a side note, a reporter from The News Press called me to ask "How excited were you to find the first nest?" Sigh. I could talk ad nauseum about fibropapilloma tumors killing our turtle population at large and five years of sea turtle patrol and she asks me: "How excited were you to find the first nest?" So I answered her questions very politely. There wasn't really an opportunity to say I include sea turtles in my writing or to tell her that I'm a local author. Bummer. But, you know, today was about promoting sea turtle conservation, not pimping Sandy Lender's writing career. :)

Now I must go because I need to call everyone I know.
"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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