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“Bran thought about it. ‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’
‘That is the only time a man can be brave,’ his father told him.”
– George R. R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

Still reading the Game of Thrones books and hoping to see a new book published in the not too distant future. George Martin is a wonderful stroyteller, whether you choose to delve into his world or not. Yes, there’s violence, language, and sex, but his world building is to be admired.

I like this quote, not just because it shows a wonderful relationship between parent and child, but because of its great truth. To pick up a snake when you’re not afraid of snakes is no act of bravery. To kill a copperhead threatening your children when you’re terrified of snakes, is being brave.

For me, it is a fearful thing to put my stories and artwork out in the public eye. I suppose it’s because I fear my work isn’t good enough. I’ve never been part of “the in group,” so I think I’m pretty sure my creative work—and by extension, myself—will be rejected or thought less than acceptable. Whether in science-fiction and fantasy fandom at cons, at writers’ conventions, bookstore signing, or at an art exhibit—I’m always one step away from running out the door. (Though I’ve been told I hide it well!)

So when you see me at public venues, know I face a fear by being there. I’m not sure if I’m brave, but I do know my heart is racing and my hands are shaking—just a bit—as I pry myself from in front of the computer or drawing board and mingle with readers, writers, and fans.

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 Today, I saw Issue #20 of Faerie Magazine on the magazine rack of my local bookstore. The cover promised work from Neil Gaiman, Charles Vess, and Myles Pinkney inside, and I knew Brian Froud would have his usual “World of Froud” essay and illustration included. But would my article share the space with the work of such talented writers and artists?

With shaking hands I opened to Contributors — and there I was, the fourth writer down. Then, I turned the page and checked Contents. Sure enough, Tussie Mussies, my article on “Talking Victorian Bouquets” was listed as being on page 51.

Faerie Magazine’s beautifully illustrated pages seemed stuck together as I leafed through the publication. I sat down on a nearby bench and held back tears. The same joy I felt years ago when my first poem was printed in a local newsletter washed over me as I saw my article and byline on page 51.

This publication credit merits a phone call to my mom and sisters. “Go to a bookstore,” I’ll say. “Ask for Faerie Magazine and read my article on the language of flowers.”  Fans of gardening, all things British, and magazines that are easily acquired at bookstores — they’ll be excited for me. My only regret? My dad died before I was able to push his wheelchair into a Barnes & Noble and pluck a magazine with one of my articles or stories in it from the shelf.

Not especially in to faeries and flowers, my dad would have been even more thrilled over today’s other news: my poem about a Celtic warrior, Before the Battle, will be appearing on July 1 in Heroic Fantasy Quarterly. Dad was proud of his Scottish, Irish, Welsh, and English ancestors and served in the US Army in World War II. He was a Celtic warrior, the recipient of a Bronze Star, and he would have been 84 this month.

So thank you Editor Kim for including me in Faerie Magazine Issue 20. Thank you Editor Dave for the Heroic Fantasy Quarterly acceptance. And thank you, Dad, for being my hero.

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