Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Saga of Rusty the Rooster

So I have five nice hens. Their names are Sally, Elizabeth, Dory, Fluffy, and Henrietta. And they all lay eggs quite nicely (you don't need a rooster for a hen to lay eggs.) But I figured they might need a husband.

And since Elizabeth tends to go broody at the drop of hat, it was the only easy way to get fertilized eggs that she would actually hatch. (Last year she raised two bunches of adopted chicks that I stuck under her, after setting on eggs that would never hatch.)

Young Rusty

Anyway, last summer I bought a young colorful Welsummer rooster, about four months old, for $3.00 There are many roosters one can get for free, but this one was a special breed, which produces hens who lay very dark brown eggs. And they are quite pretty, also. I thought I got a good deal on him, and we named him Rusty.

He was young and shy around my hens at first. But soon he was following them all over the yard, and it wasn't long until he decided he was all grown up. He became their husband and their protector.

Rusty was an excellent mate. He escorted his ladies out of the pen each morning, watched them as they went about scratching, eating, laying eggs, taking dust baths, and then made sure they all got back safely into the hen house each night.

Rusty, all grown up
As he got a little older, he became big and beautiful and more proud of himself. Flying up on fence posts, porch railings and crowing to the world (and all the neighbors) how wonderful he was. And Rusty was the epitome of machismo, also. When Henrietta or Elizabeth would cackle from the hen house, announcing that they'd laid their egg for the day, Rusty would rush across the yard and loudly accompany them back to the rest of the flock. Not to anthropomorphize (okay, of course I'm anthropomorphizing) but you could almost hear him say "Get your butt back over here, woman. Now.")

Still, the hens seemed happy (I guess) and everything was going fine until we went away for a few days. And our housesitter (who is quite animal savvy) called to report that the rooster had attacked her.

"What?" I said. "Rusty is the sweetest rooster. Couldn't be."

But when she called a few days later to report that Rusty had flown over an eight-foot fence, rushing all the way across the property to come after her (by this time she was carrying a rake for protection) I began to take her word for it. Dang rooster, anyway.

So when we got home, everything quieted down for awhile. Rusty was calmer now that we were home. He seemed to know who belonged here and who didn't. Oh, he did attack my pant legs ONE time, but I was so surprised that I instinctively kicked him, and he stopped immediately. Still, I always wondered about him after that.

Fast forward a couple of months later. Rusty decides to attack (in full force, flying furiously at him, over and over) our neighbor, who is a big tall man.

"That's it," I said. "I won't have a mean rooster. Rusty, you are outta here!" And because I'm too soft-hearted to put him in the stew pot, I advertised him, instead. Within three hours, Rusty had a nice new home in the country on many acres, with over twenty new hens to meet and greet. Hopefully that will keep him happy for awhile.

I was pleased. I got rid of our problem, and sold him for $5.00. "I made money on him," I exclaimed to my husband.

He raised his eyebrows. "Hmmpff," he said. "Right."

New Rooster, who needs a name
But of course, then I thought my hens were lonely again. So we found a new rooster. This one is the same color, but he is part Banty and much smaller. And, fingers crossed, sweeter in nature.

And it was an even trade. He was $5.00, also. See what a good chicken farmer I am?

Now, what shall we name this one?? Short stuff? Pee Wee? (Suggestions welcome.)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Just a Note

Just a note to announce that The Girl Who Remembered Horses is now available at B&, iBooks, Kobo, and Scribd.

And on Amazon, both digital and print copies are available, so you can read it either way.

The print copies have the old cover, but it's the same book inside!

Have you read this one yet?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Keeping Pet Records

Recently I took my two bad boys to a shot clinic to get their vaccinations.

My two former shelter kitties, Bugs and Fred
Although I've given lots of shots to animals myself, these two characters are of the scratchy, clawing variety when it comes to holding still for shots. (I mean, most of the time they are very sweet.)

But since they needed rabies this time, I grabbed their records and headed down with them in a large pet carrier.

And the veterinarian remarked not only on how beautiful these cats were (of course he says that to everyone) but what an excellent job I did of keeping records. *grin*

So I thought I'd share my very simple method, which works much better than jotting it on a calendar, daily planner, or a note that is easily lost.

This one was set up for horses.
Simply take an unlined sheet of paper and mark out some columns, like I did in the picture.

At the top, put the animal's name, date of birth (or approximate) and perhaps the date you brought the animal home (from the animal shelter, in my case. )

Then, I mark the columns (for dogs and cats):
Flea Treatments
 but you could put anything you want in those columns.

Keep in a folder marked Pet Records in your file cabinet, or some other safe place, and you'll always have it.

If you are lucky and have your sweet pets for a long time, those columns will fill up over time, with all of the wonderful things you did for your friend and companion.

That's all! Easy Peasy!

So tell me, how do you keep records for your pets or your livestock?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


I'm pleased to announce that my newest in the series Cat Tales was just released, and it's called The Newlywed Cat.

Alison and Matt have been married for only nineteen days and they're already having their first fight. When an awesome grey cat comes into their lives, they both adore it and things go more smoothly. But when money gets tight and things look bleakest, will this free-spirited cat drive a wedge between them?
Priced at just $0.99, I hope you'll like this newest short read. Of course it features a cat, but also some very real human characters with their own share of problems.
Here's the link on Amazon (in the United States) and it's also available on other Amazon sites all over the world.


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

On Finishing the Draft

As we wind down the year 2014, I thought this would be an appropriate topic - finishing.

When I was a fairly new writer, I made a mistake that I see many writers make (and yes, I'm still guilty of it from time to time myself.) And that is editing, again and again, the beginning of a manuscript, until it's almost perfect - but never actually finishing the darn thing!

Especially for those of us with time constraints - jobs, children, animals, housework, yardwork, exercise, or whatever else takes up your time - it's common to set aside a WIP (work-in-progress) for awhile. But here's what often happens when you jump back in to it: you re-read the entire thing from the very beginning, fixing things along the way. Over and over! Yes, edit, edit, edit: it's a writer's job, right?

Wrong. A writer's first job is to finish! And the best way to do this (I've learned over the years) is to not begin from the beginning. Instead, when you open that manuscript to work on it once again, look over the last few paragraphs where you left off. Just enough to give you the feel of where you were, and where you intended to go (if you can remember.)

Just jog your memory and Keep Going! Keep going towards the end. Resist the urge to edit that thing to perfection every time you open it on your computer.

I've known many writer friends over the years who have fantastic, partially finished manuscripts they've been working on forever, but who never, ever, get to the ending. Don't let this be you!

There are no better words that an author likes to write than "The End."

After that, set it aside for a little while, and then (with fresh eyes) you can start your edits, your polishing, your re-working those words to make them sing.

But first and foremost, you have to finish the thing. So resist the urge to correct every mistake. Resist the urge to polish, polish, polish. Just press on, and keep going  until you actually reach The End.

Well, this is the end of 2014. Soon we will say Hello to 2015.

As for me, I am working on a brand new Cat Tale, which will be called The Newlywed Cat.

Watch for it in early 2015. Happy New Year, Everyone!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Kindle Count-Down Special

Just dropping by to announce a sale - but the price is a moving target, so hurry over and check out what it is right now! At the moment (and for the next day and a few hours)
CAT TALES (Books 1-4) is on sale at Amazon, on a Kindle Count Down for only $0.99.

That means you can read all four - The Winter Kitten, The Springtime Cat, The Summer Cat, and The Autumn Kitten - for the price of one.

Then the price goes up a tad, and then back to regular price at midnight, Pacific Time, Dec 7, 2014.

Hope you can take advantage of this great sale, and read the ones you've missed!

Thanks, and Merry Christmas Everyone!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Seed of an Idea

As a writer, I've been asked many times "where did you get the idea for that story?"

I normally come up with some common response, like "oh, it just came to me" or "I just sat down to write and this is what happened."

But while writing The Girl Who Remembered Horses, I was quite conscious of a number of questions during the several years it took me to finish, revise, edit, etc. One was my constant wonder about why some girls (not all) become so passionate about horses. Why do some become "Horse Crazy?" This actually led me to build a college research project around this question.

Are horse crazy girls influenced in early life by cultural factors, or television, books, or movies? Or are they (as many of my research subjects attested to) "born with it." And if certain women and girls are actually "born" with a crazy desire for all things horse-related, did they actually inherit this tendency, or was it perhaps passed down from another relative they had contact with? Which leads us to another question - is there a case to be made for "genetic memory?"

Lots of questions, and as my rational mind sought answers, my creative side was dreaming of a future world where horses had largely been forgotten, as well as books, computers, cell phones, automobiles, electricity, and many other things that we take for granted in today's modern society.

The Girl Who Remembered Horses was just re-released with a gorgeous new cover and a new lower price of only $2.99 for the ebook. And it's available on Amazon.

I hope you'll give it a try, and maybe discover some answers for yourself!

Oh, and do you like the new cover??