The Souls of Dogs

Travis 1995-2007

Travis 1995-2007

There’s a good short piece in the Seattle Times about the ethical/emotional lives of dogs. It’s not going to provide any groundbreaking insight to anyone who has ever lived with a dog, but it’s a nice break from the usual Cartesian philosophy that animals are guided entirely by instinct and have no emotions.

One thing I was very interested to find out:

“Dogs apparently laugh,” Page said. The same brain structures show the same activity in laughing humans and in dogs that are enjoying themselves. A dog’s laugh is a rhythmic pant.

I know that pant. You naturally know it means happy, but I had no idea it’s actual laughter, physiologically speaking.

Go here to read.

Still Another Doc Wilde Review

The latest review of Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom is up at Reading Junky’s Reading Roost. It’s kinda spoilery, so I’ll just quote the important part:

DOC WILDE AND THE FROGS OF DOOM offers non-stop excitement, terrific special effects, and tons of science/geek information.

The Debut of DOC WILDE AND THE FROGS OF DOOM

The past few days have been good.
Order Now!

Order Now!

Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom came out last Thursday (May 14th).

Reviews continue to be AWESOME.

Friday evening, I did a reading at Glennwood Academy, the local 4th/5th grade school. I used to do a bit of acting, and in my twenties was a semi-pro storyteller for a couple of years, but this was my first public speaking event in years. I was anxious about it. I fumbled a bit. The kids didn’t mind; they were a mass of bubbling enthusiasm. And they loved the book.

Also, a good friend sent a gift with her daughter, who’s a Glennwood student: a package of quite tasty cookies shaped like frogs.

Tim @ Glennwood, 5/15/09

Saturday evening, we had the debut event at Little Shop of Stories, here in Decatur, GA.

At first it seemed the turnout might be small. Heck, at first it seemed there’d be no turnout. The weather was wettish, a good number of the local 4th and 5th graders had already seen me at Glennwood, and as anyone looking at the storefront would know, Rick Riordan (a kids’ book superstar) was gonna be here Monday. If folks were gonna turn out for me and my little first book or him this week, it wasn’t gonna be me. (And, indeed, apparently there were hundreds of people at his signing).

Then people started arriving. And then, we had a fairly good crowd. It was mostly adults, probably an unusual bunch for this store, and they were mostly people who knew about the signing from Facebook or my blog. Many were buying extra copies for kids in their lives, though.

Among the kids was a delightful girl named Emily, who was was there with her parents; she’d won an ARC (advance reading copy) of the book somewhere, and had fallen in love with it. She said she’d have read it in a single sitting except bedtime got in the way (I of course said she should’ve gotten out the flashlight). I’ve now heard from several girls who read and loved the book, which is heartening, because a lot of folks peg it as a boy’s book, but I think it’s great for both.

Emily and her parents

Emily and her parents

We had one tiny beautiful baby with huge cornflower blue eyes, carried by a couple of old friends. The marvelous writer/artist Elizabeth O. Dulemba was there with her husband. I saw old friends (some I hadn’t seen in years), made several new ones.

The Wilde Bunche

The Wilde Bunche

Because I’d been sort of nervous and fumbly at Glennwood, I’d been even more anxious about this event. But this time, once I was introduced and started talking, the stage fright vanished and I was as comfortable as I used to be back in my storytelling days.

"Grab your backpacks," Doc Wilde commanded...

"Grab your backpacks," Doc Wilde commanded...

I read the first five chapters and everyone was responsive and enthusiastic. Then I took questions, which took a lot longer than I’d expected because there were a lot of them. It all felt good. Really good.

"I have absolutely no idea where I get my ideas..."

"I have absolutely no idea where I get my ideas..."

Then we moved to the other end of the room and I signed everyone’s books.

Go Wilde!

Go Wilde!

A bowl of green gummi frogs was on the table. I’d gotten a rubber-stamp of a wicked looking frog and I stamped its sneaky smirk into each book.

Frog of Doom

Good times.

A Father Dreams…

I’ve been suffering insomnia for a while now, waking up anytime between 2:30 and 5:30 (with the target being rising at 6:00) and not being able to fall back to sleep. I’m beginning to think I may as well start planning to actually make use of the time, since I’m up anyway, rather than just puttering about and waiting for the son rise (when he gets up to get ready for school).

Last night, woke up at 2:30. I had maybe three and a half hours sleep.

This morning, gravity dragged at me like I was on Jupiter. My son, Nathaniel, and I always read for an hour in the morning, and I could barely keep my eyes open. This is all made even more ironic by the fact that the main book I’m reading at the moment is Insomnia by Stephen King. (And no, the problem didn’t start when I started the book).

Once Nathaniel headed to school, I flopped onto the couch and fell asleep. And I dreamed…

…I can’t recall much about the situation…various people I know were at a school or a mall or, I don’t know, some sort of underground base…

I do remember that I was trying to meet folks who could review or otherwise help promote my book (huh, wonder where that came from)…

There was also some sort of lurking threat, like something buried or trapped underground. I think maybe it was down a passage we planned to take, and there was an argument in the group (me, my son, and I don’t recall who else) that it was too dangerous. So we opted to go the longer way around, aboveground.

Up top, we made our way across a landscape full of debris. Construction of some kind was going on. And there was a huge chasm off to the right, three or four hundred feet deep.

We walked close to the edge, peering in. And Nathaniel squatted near the brink, on some cardboard that was part of the general clutter of the world around us.

And I noticed his feet were on a part of the cardboard that actually hung slightly over the edge. And the board started to slip in the loose dirt.

I cried out for him to get back, but it happened too fast. His feet slipped with the cardboard, and he fell.

I landed on my belly at chasm’s edge, grabbing for him.

And I caught the collar of his shirt.

I hauled him back up, over the edge, onto solid ground. And I just lost it, overcome from the surge of terror and the sweet release of joy that I’d saved him, wrapping him in my arms, rolling back and forth, kissing the top of his head and crying harder than I’ve ever cried in my life…

The emotion was so strong, it woke me. I could feel adrenaline buzzing in my veins, but the happiness that I’d saved my son in the dream lingered.

Happiness that he’s alive.

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