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A Tale of Two Turtles

 

While waiting for the bus earlier this summer, I spied a handsome box turtle on the street about a foot from the curb. Since rush hour traffic in the Washington, D.C., area -- even on a relatively quiet residential street -- and turtle speed do not mix, I jumped up, grabbed the turtle and returned it to the grassy field behind the bus stop.

In the way of reptiles everywhere, the turtle didn't appear particularly grateful, but it didn't bite me either.

However, when I settled into my seat on the bus, it occurred to me that maybe the turtle needed to cross the road. It could've been seeking food or water or even a mate. Unfortunately, you can't afford to think of all of the ramifications in a situation like that. You focus on the immediate crisis -- removing a beautiful but stupid creature from the path of disaster (in this case, the driver applying her make-up who careened down the street less than a minute after I scooped the turtle from the asphalt).

You hope you made the right decision, but you won't necessarily know until later. I think I called it right for the turtle. Although I cross that street every day, often more than once, I've yet to see any evidence of an injured or dead turtle. Since the street claims at least one squirrel every six weeks, this constitutes a victory for both the turtle and me.

I find myself thinking a lot about that turtle as I prepare articles for Crescent Blues mid-September update and the September issue of Paper Snarl related to this year's Romance Writers of America (RWA) National Convention. The con billed itself as a celebration of "life, love and the pursuit of a happy ending." The reality was closer to: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." In fact, during the Annual General Meeting that forms the centerpiece of the RWA con, I noticed several women knitting intricate garments of inscrutable shape and pattern. The roster for the event didn't include a Therese Defarge, but she and her colleagues could've been traveling incognito.

Certainly, more than a few writers took a trip on the organizational tumbrel during the Annual General Meeting. It remains to be seen whether future romance authors will view them as revolutionary prophets or mourn the doomed romanticism of these modern day Sydney Cartons.

For my own part, I prefer the kind of happy ending not found at this year's RWA Convention -- a nice, old-fashioned wedding that represents the triumph of love over adversity. Fortunately, the Crescent Blues family and friends will revel in exactly that kind of happy ending next Saturday. After a courtship begun on the Internet and nurtured through three years of infrequent visits and Immigration and Naturalization Service misfires, Crescent Blues Assistant Editor Teri Dohmen and English Correspondent Stephen Smith will exchange their marriage vows September 9.

Crescent Blues exclusive coverage of the ceremony comes at a price, however. Since most members of the editorial staff play major roles in the wedding, we won't be able to post an update that weekend. But by the time we return to our computers the following week, we should know whether Senior Gargoyle Donna Andrews snagged a Macavity Award for Murder With Peacocks at Bouchercon.

The omens look good. After all, Crescent Blues reviewer and interviewer Patricia L. White's The Legend of Lejube Rogue just took home the first annual Eppie Award for Historical Fiction. (The Eppie honors excellence in ebooks of all genres.) Between Donna, Pat and Kim Headlee, I suspect we will soon need a page devoted to our writers' awards -- and I couldn't be happier!

Jean Marie Ward

 

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