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Sunday, March 21, 2021

Spring's siren call

 cj Sez: Of the Earth’s four seasons, spring and autumn are my favorites, so I’m celebrating this year’s Vernal Equinox with a nature lesson from photographer Jeff D. Johnston. 

Male Yellow Warbler - Ottawa County, Ohio. 
D500/200-500mm ISO 1600 1/640 @ f/6.3

JDJ:  “The next time you hold two quarters in your hand, you'll be holding about the same weight (or more) as this and most other warblers. The Yellow Warbler is only about 5 inches long.

   Think about how small that is. Then think about what they go through every year as they move back and forth across the Western Hemisphere.

   This bird is known to winter as far south as South America and nest as far north as Canada. If you look at the attached map, you'll see that the minimum distance any bird migrating from South America to northern Ohio (where I photographed them) would have traveled is over 2000 miles. They make this trip twice each year, relying on the sun, stars and the earth's magnetic field to help them navigate the way.

    They are genuinely amazing little creatures.”
cj Sez: I think a character in one of my stories will have to make mention of the awesome variety of birds that stop to rest on Dauphin Island, Alabama, during each year’s migration when they answer spring's siren call. (To keep things honest: photographer Jeff D. Johnston is my son.)

  Spring and autumn are my favorite seasons because of the color they bring into the world. There are the neon lime/yellows of new growth in the spring, and the glorious, final burst of kaleidoscope color in the fall.

   A fellow writer was grieving and questioning what to do about a one-star review on Amazon that complained about something that wasn’t even in the novel. Obviously, the reviewer hadn’t read the book.

   One- and two-star reviews can be devastating, both for future sales and on the author's psyche. Wherever there’s an opportunity to post a review, there will be trolls waiting with itchy fingers to type in low ratings—whether warranted or not. I’ve seen reviews by people who purchased a product on Amazon then gave it a one-star rating because they thought delivery took too long. Had nothing to do with the quality of the product.

   So where am I going with all this? It’s to reinforce why comments and reviews need to be put in perspective. Hiding within the electronic wafers of the Internet are nameless, faceless, and wretched on-line trolls. (Whew! I feel better now.)

   We can’t realistically expect all reviews to be five-stars (okay, we do, anyway). I admit to having desperate pangs when someone dings one of my stories. Yes, it skews the “average,” but then I re-read the good reviews that I do have (some posted, some not) and calm down a bit. I remind myself that I cannot please every reader out there.

   If you receive a poor review from an on-line troll, I suggest you consider the source, and please do not respond to the reviewer. That might dig a deeper, darker hole than you want to dive into.

   For a review like that mentioned in my first paragraph, perhaps a conversation with Amazon (if that’s where it was made) might get the unfair/unjustified review removed. Might.

   In the meantime, if you’re like me, you might console yourself with a treat.


Personal observation truism: People watching is next to Godliness and cleanliness for writers. It's the reason I can't go to a library or a park or a coffee shop to write. All I do is people watch


   That’s it for today’s post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.


P.S.  Signed copies of my stand-alone novels (suspense with a touch of romance) are available at The Haunted Bookshop. TO ORDER my autographed books or any book of your choice on-line from an indie bookstore, contact The Haunted Bookshop here:

 The store has re-opened to limited hours, so if you’re in the Mobile area, you can stop and shop, too.

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