Dragon Peeking Through the Leaves.


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Michael Waters - Autumn Maple Leaf Dragon

Michael Waters – Autumn Maple Leaf Dragon

There is something glorious about autumn in New England. More than January’s drifting snows or the golden heat of high summer, more even than the vibrant blush of new growth in the spring.

The sky sheds its cornflower blue of August for the vibrant sapphire of October. The nights chill, the forests adopt a warmer palette, while winds dance, branch to branch, picking them skeleton clean.Forest-Dragon-dragons-36837042-500-652

Every year buses of tourists stream north in ritual observance of nature’s spectacle. But what few know is that the Dragons of New England are observing their own seasonal rites. This is time when Dragon fancies turn to thoughts of love. Courtship and mating are the order of the day, and for those in the know, it is a magnificent – if potentially dangerous – time to go Dragon watching.

The dull scales of late summer have been refreshed by a much-needed molt. Bright and shiny, amorous sires take to the air, trying to impress potential queens with aerial acrobatics that would make the Air Force Thunderbirds green with envy.* Of course, Dragons are the ultimate professionals at such things; definitely a case of ‘don’t try this at home.’

Gr Mts

This is the best time to catch sight of them, for, once on the ground, they are gone. They vanish into the woods, their scales mottled by the sun, making them invisible to even the most discerning eye. This – and the danger involved with intruding on the privacy of Dragons – accounts for the dearth of first-hand information on draconic mating habits.

So, next time you think about leaf peeking, remember to turn your eyes skyward. You might just be amazed by what you see.

* Note: Contrary to popular myth, Dragons are smart enough not to fight over mates. They know their numbers are too few and their enemies too many as it is. Autumn for Dragons is a time of renewing life, not taking it.





Month of the Dragon – Happy Fifth!


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O for the glories of autumn, the air laden with change and hidden wonders!

coverdkhFive years ago, The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook, was about to be published. Quite an occasion, to be sure, but how to celebrate it?

I sat down with my draconic friends at WAFDE (the World Association for Dragons Everywhere) and here at the Dragon’s Nest. As one can imagine, that many dragons and their people together leads to quite a confabulation.  By day’s end we decided it was the perfect time for Month of the Dragon to go public. “After all,” Boon the great Green pointed out, “there is so much knowledge to share, not to mention fun to be had, it seems very miserly to keep it all to ourselves.”

Dragons are always right about such things.

As I said, that was five years ago. Since then, our WAFDE membership and our MotD festivities have grown beyond my wildest imaginings. While we still post almost everything here at the Dragon’s Nest, as of year 3, we began also using the WAFDE page on Facebook. Now over 500 members strong, we’re able to reach an ever widening circle of dracophiles, not to mention eliciting participation on all fronts.

So where do we go from here? It’s anyone’s guess. The calendar has some fixed celebrations, like Kiss a Dragon Day and Jabberwocky Appreciation Day.MotD 2015 Calendar

And then there are those which are more moveable feasts, not to mention any and all welcome additions from our WAFDE members. In short, anything can and will happen here in the realm of the Dragons.

Amid falling leaves and oranging pumpkins, we welcome the enthusiasm of old members and new. Month of the Dragon promises the sharing of draconic joy, pictures, stories, and wisdom. On Dragon wings, the sky’s the limit.e33210faf3bfce5facbde99e3084ecf6


(Note: While WAFDE on Facebook is MotD central, we also spill over here at the Dragon’s Nest. The blog format allows for more extensive ramblings and photo arrays, so I hope you’ll drop by and check us out, too.)



Month of the Dragon Approaches…


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The air is changing – a bit of a nip, sweet smell of windfalls. October is almost here, and that means we’re gearing up for WAFDE’s Fifth Annual Month of the Dragon!

Our calendar is open and flexible and we welcome participation both here at the Dragon’s Nest and on the WAFDE page on Facebook. The more the merrier. wafde new flag

Hope you will join us for draconic discussions, stories, fun & games, and even the chance at a free signed copy of a dragon book or two….

See you all next week!


Pleasure-Dragons on the Wing…


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The dog days of summer are past, the nights are longer and cooler, and October – Month of the Dragon – is creeping up on us faster than a zaltys in the tall grass.green_leaf_dragon

As a harbinger of draconic fun to come, I am pleased to announce the e-book launch of my short story, Because the Pleasure-Dragon WhistlesPD cover

In a flight of fancy, a young Welsh Dragon befriends a young Welsh poet. This is their story, wistful and funny as only Dragons and Bards can be.

It is available in Kindle and Smashwords editions.


And don’t forget to return in October for a whole month of Dragon Festivities. 





The MilitantNegro SoapBox™: When caucasian Americans Decide To Label ME.


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Originally posted on The Militant Negro™:

Mr MilitantNegro™ Jueseppi B Mr MilitantNegro™
Jueseppi B


I left a comment on a fellow bloggers post today. Thats something I rarely do because my comments are rarely what people call nice or civil. This particular post was telling me how it’s time for the label “African American” to be done away with , because we’re all one people. We’re all the same. How wrong can a person’s thought process be in today’s AmeriKKKlan?

It’s soapbox time.


I have lived in AmeriKKKlan for 55 years and I started out being called colored. Then it was African American. Next came Black. I decided very recently to do the Kunta Kinte thing and renounce being labeled anything but Negro. There are 3 races in this world, all other mixtures of cultures come from these 3 races. Mongoloid, Caucasoid and Negroid are the ONLY races that exist. Now uneducated folks will argue till they…

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A – Z Challenge #6: Aesop had some hidden tales….


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When the Secret Keeper came up with a fable prompt for this week’s A to Z Challenge, I found it near impossible to say no. That said, enjoy.


Æsop had some hidden tales, as rare and long forgotten as a cache of Gnostic scrolls buried beneath a sea of sand. Better to bring them into the air, let them breathe again.

Come close now, and I will tell you the story of The Mouse Who Would Be King.

Down in the meadow, between hedge and stream, lived a thriving community of field mice.dwergmuis

Ears up, tails curled, they were, by and large, a most independent, anarchic lot. Freedom and fun were their watchwords, and kings and queens less needed than grain on a full stomach.happy_mouse_flowers1

Great green gooseberries,” fretted Trefoil Silverpaws, tying his whiskers in a twist. “Humming and jumming is all well and good when the sun shines, but what happens when snows fall, foxes pounce, and we have no one to guide us safely through the lean times? I mean, I love a good game of Capture the Marsh-mallow as much as the next mouse, but I have been looking at the situation, you know, and have legitimate concerns.”

Juniper, his cousin, balanced between two stalks of timothy. Kicking off into a double back-flip, she dropped to the ground in a perfect 3-footed dismount, saying, “You want a King to rule the meadow?”

Like a metalsmith lost in his work, Trefoil nodded absentmindedly as he laced baby’s breath together into a mouse-sized crown. “Maybe a King, maybe a Queen,” he said placing the floral wreath upon his cousin’s head.

No, no, no thanks – Queen is too tough a gig for me, Tre. Out in front of everyone, making speeches, leading flight from fox and stoat. Power’s not something I’m comfortable with; put that crown round your ears instead,” she quipped, vanishing down a paw-worn run without so much as a by-your-leave.

Quail and quake,” he chirrupped flippantly to her retreating tail, “for King Trefoil is not amused!”

Rats to riches, Silverpaws Rex did have a certain potent ring to it, he mused, setting the snowy crown upon his head and hoping Juniper was wrong about royal woes.

Yellow-necked Field Mouse (Apodemus flavicollis) looking over mossy log, Europe

So began the reign of Trefoil the First, King of the Lower Marshlands, Emperor of Lupine and the Tall Grasses.

Taking all things into account – and mice being mice – his summer rule was so uneventful as to be virtually ignored by all save his youngest subjects, eager to play follow the leader. Unfortunately, even the most benevolent, untested monarch has sleepless nights when the seasons change and danger is on the wing.

Villains come in many shapes and sizes, and for the meadow residents, their greatest enemy was the great horned owl who silently picked off mousy morsels night after night.great-horned-owl1

With all eyes turned to their self-appointed ruler, pleading for regal action, the mice cried out in one voice, “You promised to keep us safe, King Trefoil, to face the beasts of beak and claw!”

Xerxes never knew such a burden, the young monarch thought as his crown wilted under the mortal weight of kingship.

Yearning against hope to take back his sovereign bluster, Trefoil Silverpaws locked eyes with Juniper, smiled sadly, then charged into the night to meet their impossible foe.

Zut alors, how he would miss them all.

And the moral of this story is: King is a tough gig, even in a flower crown.

A to Z Writing Challenge #6

Dragon loyalty claimed and freely given….


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A humble thank you to Ben Naga for nominating me for this delightful award. Dragons have my loyalty, always, as they have given it to me in return.

dragon_s-loyalty-awardThe rules are simple:

  1. Post the Dragon Loyalty Award image on your page.
  2. Thank the person who honored you.
  3. Nominate 5-10 bloggers to be reciients of the DLA.
  4. Tell five (5) things about yourself.
  5. Have fun!

One and two: √


Now for the hard part – #4.

  1. I have always believed in Dragons.
  2. Though I hail from the midwest, New England has always felt like home to me.
  3. I will agonize for hours over the perfect preposition or placement of a comma.
  4. I am allergic to pot. (Don’t ask how I discovered that!)
  5. I had a pet raccoon when I was a kid.

Now, #5: I’m off to have fun.

Temeraire novel illustration - sandra.deviantart



A to Z Challenge #3: After the end…


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I preface my offering for this week’s A – Z Challenge by saying that I am a rare and often indifferent poet. Why I thought to try verse is a puzzlement even to myself. Caveats done. No apologies, no excuses. (And no titles.)

Memory opener...

Memory opener…

After the end of sorrow comes remembering
Before the first joy comes forgetting.
Caught between lightning and fireflies
Dancing across the skin
Every moment trembles.

Flashes of sweet damask rose
Greet then abandon like campaign
Handshakes at the country fair,
Insouciant visitors from a past when
Jacks clattered across the floor.
Kaddish sung in childhood games.

Language is lost, then found,
Manifestations of days and
Nights tumbling
One into another.

Pick up a
Quill dripping with Lethe’s ink,
Reclaiming before each papered stroke
Senses: tickled smell and taste,
Touch, sight, and sound;
Ubiquitous memories all, before they
Vanish and the
World is stripped clean to the bone.

Xebecs set their sails across forgotten
Yellow-dusted seas.

Zechariah’s temple does not grow.Lethe

A to Z Challenge #3

In Memoriam: Sanji Gupta – 1999 – 2015


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One late-summer, fin de siècle night, Marge woke me, holding a tiny ball of black fluff in her hands. “Can we keep him?” she asked.

He was dressed in cockleburs and fear and needed to eat for a week without stopping. How could I say no? This was how Sanji came into our lives.Sanji-4

Distracted by tins of flaked tuna and super supper, I set about combing the burrs from his tail, then, when he’d eaten his fill, I tucked him under my covers and held him close until morning. Over the years, that remained his favorite place to sleep, head beside mine on the pillow, curled up like a little teddy bear. He didn’t stay little for long.

He told us his name was Sanji, Sanji Gupta. He was a prince among cats, proud and funny, with a regal air that spoke to an ancient lineage. His paws were immense but always velvet, his silky black fur and plume of tail – never again to run afoul of cockles – made him look like a great bearcat.

Over the years, he became the benevolent leader of the brood, not only accepting of newcomers but taking an active role in their raising. When Gatsby had her kittens Parker, Carter, and Poe, Sanji was the only other cat in the house she’d allow near them. He became their surrogate papa, keeping them safe, teaching them well. 

Sanj & Cart

Sanji and Baby Carter

Thunder was the only thing he was ever afraid of. And ever since the tornado of ’03, he was the best barometer around, scurrying under my bed at the first hint of a thunderstorm, coming out again as soon as it was safe. sanji

So for almost sixteen years he was friend, companion, and inspiration. Then he suddenly got sick, aggressively so. And today I kept my promise to always take care of him, and now Sanji sits at Bast’s right paw.Sanji-3

Now he plays tag with lightning bolts and dreams he is the Panther Maharajah, ruling the forests of Chandrapur. 

Every so often, if we’re lucky. we are blessed by truly exceptional companions. And every so often, with holes in our hearts, we have to let them go. And miss them.


Sanji is missed. Terribly. 

A to Z Writing Challenge #1: A Dark & Stormy Night….


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Here is my rather Gothic take on the A-Z Challenge #1:

A dark and stormy night hung over the moor like an Elsinor arras. Boughs bent near breaking, the trees whipped and dipped in a wind-tossed tarantella. Crazy for man or beast to be out in a night like this!

Driving down a hedge-lined road, ‘crazy’ Zandra searched for refuge from the torrential downpour. Each cottage she passed was locked tight and empty, as if the inhabitants had long since fled to higher ground. Far across a field, lights flickered through unshuttered windows, beckoning.stormy night

“Granville Grange” read the carved plaque to the right of the oaken door. Her hand grasped the massive brass knocker and gave it a solid thunk. Ignoring the rain running under the collar of her jacket, she shifted back and forth, waiting – hoping – for rescue.

Just as she was about to resign herself to weathering the tempest in her car, a pale, wisp of a man opened the door.

“Killer weather we’re having,” he said, ushering her into the front hall. “Leave your coat and shoes and come dry off by the fire.” Madeira and sandwiches were set out in the parlour as if she’d been expected.

“Nights like this have a way of bringing visitors,” her host said cryptically. “Once upon a time the Grange was the only shelter to be found for miles. Pardon my manners: I’m Damien Granville.”

‘Quirky’ did not do the man justice. Rubbing his hands together, he served his guest a glass of wine then, adjusting his waistcoat, struck a Byronic pose by the mantelpiece.

“Sure must get lonely out here,” Zandra remarked, the amber potable muffling her mind like an angora tea cozy.

“Terribly,” Damien replied, “but then the winds always turn. Ubi sunt the days of quiet summer, eh? Voila! Wild and wicked,” he grinned. “Xmas in July.

“You will have this room,” he said, escorting her to a chamber more Wuthering Heights than St. Mary Mead.

Zander crumpled onto the canopied bed, eyes heavy with unbidden sleep, as he closed the door and turned the key.


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