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Happy Mothers Day!!

As a great man once said “I wouldn’t be here today if not for my mother.”

So to all the mothers out there who give their utmost to raise the next generation of engineers,  world-builders, artists, poets, and philosopher kings, I hope you get showered in flowers, chocolate and love.

Happy Mothers Day!!

❤ DragonBeck

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Happy Valentine’s Day 2017

On this Valentine’s Day, I hope anyone who has found their soul mate and is madly in love together has a wonderful day celebrating each other and your mutual good fortune.

I hope those who are in love but are afraid to show it find some courage to do something about it, even if it’s just to send an anonymous card to the person of your dreams. Who knows, some magic just might bloom. Stranger things have happened.

I hope anyone who is single and loving it has a fantastic day pretty much just like any other day of the week or year; live it up and be awesome!

I hope anyone who is single and wishes they weren’t knows it’s alright to buy yourself flowers and chocolate, and treat yourself to another viewing of Pride and Prejudice.

For those who can’t be in love right now because it hurts too much, I can only offer the empathy of one of my favorite quotes from Neil Gaiman: “Have you even been in love? Horrible, isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens your heart and it means someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses. You build up this whole armor, for years, so nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life…You give them a piece of you. They don’t ask for it. They do something dumb one day like kiss you, or smile at you, and then your life isn’t your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so a simple phrase like ‘maybe we should just be friends’ turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It’s a soul-hurt, a body-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love.”

I hope anyone who is in love with love revels in the red heart balloons, and the sappy memes, and all the sweet, gooey glory that is Valentine’s Day.

To those who despise everything about February 14th, whether it’s because you disagree with the corporate commercialization of love and romance, or because you can’t stand all the mushy sentimentality, or any other reason, I don’t know why you’re reading this – go order pizza and binge watch your favorite guilty pleasure TV show, or go rock-climbing, or something.

And finally to anyone who doesn’t like any of the above completely arbitrary and subjective classifications and friendly well-wishes that go with them – Happy Valentine’s Day anyway!

❤ DragonBeck XOXO

Love, Help, Inspire

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Find the people who love you for who you are, who fill your holes and make you whole.

Find the people who help you to better yourself and the world around you.

Find the people who inspire you to greatness.

Find those people, and love them, help them, and inspire them; hold on to them, keep them close, and whatever you do, don’t lose them.

They will keep you happy, strong, and believing in goodness and beauty in this universe, and that’s important.

❤ DragonBeck

Happy Valentine’s Day

I’d like to take a moment to wish everyone Happy Valentines Day!

Whether you consider it an elaborate marketing ploy to make people spend money on expensive presents, candy, and jewelry, or a day to celebrate an undying love or budding romance, or the celebration of St. Valentinus’ efforts to unite couples in love despite persecution by the Romans, or even the modern version of Lupercalia, a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus (the Roman god of agriculture) celebrated at the ides of February – February 15 – with the sacrificing of a goat for fertility and a dog for purity, I hope you have a wonderful day.

I will be contributing to the celebrations in a very literary fashion, with an excerpt from my submission to the upcoming annual Ink Slingers Guild anthology. The story is called “Love Potions Sold Separately”, and I thought it was fitting for this day. Enjoy!

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Maggie Baker dusted the flour from her hands, and pulled the next tray of raspberry filled cupcakes out of the oven. Spooning vanilla glaze over them before they were cool so it would soak into the cupcakes, she smiled at the burly man with the ginger beard waiting patiently for her to finish.

“Sorry, I’ll be right with you, Mr. Miller,” she said.

“Not a problem, Miss Maggie,” the man said. “It’s a week until First Days, and you’re the best baker in a hundred leagues. Everyone’s looking forward to the Festival Feast.”

Maggie laughed, set the cupcakes on the bench, and came over. He had brought a dozen bags of flour. She paid him, and he tipped his hat as he walked out. Mr. Miller passed Old Tom, who came all the way from the city of White Wall to buy her baked goods. More from Droll, Mundy and even as far away as Troppers had been in and out for the past week, and they wouldn’t stop coming until the Festival was over.

The Festival itself culminated in a dance on the first day of spring. The whole town was in a fervor of delight. Maggie would prefer to stay curled up in her favorite comfy chair with a good book, and a hot cup of tea. However, everyone expected cakes, cookies, and sweets for First Days. However, she always saw to her own first, and she grabbed the basket near the door and she hurried down the street.

It was springtime. The weather was fair, the skies blue, the air fresh. The pink and white ribbons tied in the trees danced in a stiff breeze, waving merrily to all who passed. Down the streets, baskets of bright flowers adorned doorways, windows and lampposts. Banners sewn with hearts or couples dancing hung on walls.

It was festive, brimming with positive energy, good hopes and love. Maggie returned people’s cheery greetings with a polite smile and a nod, and breathed a sigh of relief when she let herself into the cool florist’s shop. A bell greeted her.

“Maggie, is that you?” a voice called from somewhere in the green.

“Yes!” she called back as she made her way through the rainbow of daisies, carnations, roses, sunflowers, bluebells, daffodils, petunias and the rare leopard lilies that appeared only for a few brief weeks at the start of spring.

“Oh, I’m so glad you’re here!” William, the florist’s eldest son rounded the corner, bouquets under each arm. “Do you have them?”

“Why else would I be here?” Maggie asked, holding out the basket of vanilla cookies with a painstaking white and pink floral icing tracery around the edges.

“Those are beautiful,” William said, examining one then taking a large bite. “And delicious.”

“Don’t eat them all, or you won’t have any left for your customers,” Maggie scolded.

“Who?” William asked as he took another cookie, eyes wide and innocent.

Maggie rolled her eyes. “Fine, eat them all if you want, but those took me hours last night to make, and I don’t have time to make you more.”

“Right, the Festival Feast,” William said. “Are you going?”

“The whole town is going,” Maggie said noncommittally, caressing the velveteen petals. “Oh, and I need to pick up the bouquet I ordered for the bakery. The First Days Table looks so bare without it.”

“Of course.”

He left and came back a moment later with a bouquet of roses and carnations, layers of purple, white, pink and little yellow chrysanthemums that couldn’t help but cheer someone up.

“It’s lovely,” Maggie said.

“Oh, and I almost forgot. You haven’t gotten a corsage yet,” William said. “I saved one for you.”

He held out a delicate ring of pink and white flowers tied together with silver ribbon. Two tiny silver bells were twined into the intricate bow.

“Thank you Will,” she said, her eyebrows rising in surprise. “That was very thoughtful. How much do I owe you?”

“It’s no bother,” William said with a shrug, and smiled. “Consider it a florist’s dozen.”

Maggie laughed. “Alright.”

“So you’re busy then?” William said, as he took a cookie, wrapped in sheer white paper, and tied it around a huge collection of flowers with red ribbon. “What can we look forward to at the Feast this year?”

“Um, I thought about apple and pear tartlets, chocolate eclairs, cheese and honey bread, strawberry crepes, spice rolls with caramel pecans…” Maggie continued to list the desert menu of the First Days Festival Feast as he continued putting the cookies in the bouquet, ending by arranging the flowers just so, putting an orange monstrosity with black speckles on the outer petals in the middle, and adjusted the ring of tiny white baby’s breath around it.

“That sounds amazing, I’ll save room to try it all. Now, what do you think?” he asked, taking a step back so he was standing next to her to survey his handiwork.

“It’s beautiful,” Maggie lied.

“It’s atrocious,” William said, pulling a face at the overdone arrangement. “But that’s Dame Manning for you. For someone so self-important, her taste leaves a bit to be desired.”

“Oh, that reminds me!” Maggie said, a slight panic as she realized she was cutting it very close. “I’m supposed to bring her a cake for her First Days’ party tomorrow!”

“Okay,” he said. “I…”

“Bye Will!” she called as she ran out of the florist. “I hope she likes the bouquet!”

***

You can look for the whole story in November 2016 in the ISG’s fifth annual anthology (yet to be named).

Until then…

val

❤ ❤ ❤ DragonBeck