Today we’re celebrating the release of Jackie Gamber’s book Reclamation, the third in her Leeland Dragons series!
I have a special guest post from Jackie today, but first let’s take a look at this new book!
The exciting conclusion of the Leland Dragon Series!
Leland Province remains in danger. The sinister Fordon Blackclaw has returned from the shadows to strike at the heart of neighboring Esra, killing its Venur and making clear his intentions to retake what was once his: Mount Gore, seat of the Leland Dragon Council.
All around, the land grows weaker and weaker. Leland, once thought saved by Kallon Redheart, is without purpose, and within its borders, Murk Forest, a place of mystery and danger, has driven its inhabitants to seek aid. Esra is in flames, and the Rage Desert grows. Dragon and human alike struggle to find their way, and the wizard Orman can sense that there may be more at stake than the affairs of dragons.
Hope remains, yet it is not without obstacles. In Esra, Sela, the daughter of Kallon and Riza, found the well, a source of life, and made herself whole again. But her homecoming is not what she had imagined.
Old wounds buried deep must reopen if life is to continue. Dragons, humans, wizards, and shape shifters are all at risk as the peace between dragon and human has finally been broken.
War is here.
Perhaps the whole world.
Of Squirrels and Fears – by Jackie Gamber
One of my favorite things to do is watch birds; the closer the better. So I take the most logical step in order to bring them closer. I feed them.
Which brings other creatures from the trees in my backyard closer, too. Squirrels.
Sure, squirrels could be considered cute in their own way. I don’t mind rodents, in general, and have had guinea pigs as pets which I’ve adored. But squirrels, to me, are a nuisance.
It’s never just one, or two. Word gets around that there’s seed to be had, and they come in gangs. They bully away the birds I’m trying to see. They squabble among themselves. They stubbornly chew and chew and chew through any barrier to get to what they want.
And when they get to it, they are insatiable. I watch them run their mouths along the porch railing, vacuuming up mouthfuls of seed like a Hoover. When they’ve cleaned up spills and scatter, they turn their attention to the feeder.
See, I’ve spent countless hours trying to outsmart the little beasts. To distract them with their own special feeding spots, or special foods. Eat this, not that. Eat here, not there. One of my best efforts has been a new-fangled window feeder held by sturdy suction cups to the sliding glass door. It’s a seed-filled birdie oasis against a slippery surface no Olympic gymnast could find a hand-hold on, let alone a squirrel.
But do you know what? My glass is covered with paw prints, anyway. Squirrels haven’t managed to actually get to the seeds, yet, but that hasn’t stopped them from launching invasions; up the framework on one side, or along the metal between the door panels. They scrabble with a ferocity I might otherwise find admirable, if I didn’t feel so utterly helpless to keep them back.
Sometimes, I have caved under the agitation, and just stopped bothering to put out bird food at all.
And then I’m really defeated. Robbed of one simple thing that brings me joy.
Squirrels are lot like fears. Try to step out into life, scatter seeds of great things, or simple, joyful things, and here they come, in little furry gangs. Fears chew right through our weak spots, and then gobble up the fuel we need for strength.
And they are insatiable.
In Ralph Keyes’s book, The Courage to Write, he says, “We can’t eradicate our writing fears. Nor would we want to. They’re what make writing so challenging and satisfying.” He suggests we should not only write in the face of fear, but we can enlist fear’s energy to actually help us write better.
We all have dreams and goals that, in the pursuit of them, bring on anxiety. Some of us have more than others. Some of us have particularly tenacious and aggressive fears. (I am listening to the scritchy-scratch of rodent claws against my patio door as I write this line).
I’m no expert on mastering fears and anxieties, believe me. But I have noticed a little something about squirrels. Sometimes they sleep. Now and again, great flocks of Gray-eyed Juncos mingle with Carolina Wrens and Chickadees on my back porch. I have watched long, luxurious hours of Red-Bellied and Hairy Woodpeckers, and Tufted Tit-Mice and Nuthatches spend all day back and forth from my feeder to the trees. Much viewing time has been spent blissfully squirrel-free.
I’ve also noticed something else. When I stop working so hard to ignore, distract, or outsmart the squirrels; when I accept them as a natural part of the whole; when I stop burning energy on making them go away, I reach a sort of happy place, despite them. I can see the rodents, and watch the birds.
I can feel the fear, and watch myself take that step toward my dream.
Because the joy of birdsong is worth the mess.
Jackie Gamber is the award-winning author of many short stories, screenplays, and novels, including “Redheart”, “Sela”, and “Reclamation”, Books one through three of the Leland Dragon Series. For more information about Jackie and her mosaic mind, visit http://www.jackiegamber.com
And meet Jackie elsewhere on the world wide web at: