An Interview with Megan Cyrulewski

Hello Megan,

I am delighted that you’ve opted  to take part in my blog. It is always a bright moment in my day when I can introduce a new author to our readers.

INTERVIEW:

JA: Please tell us a little about yourself and how you became a writer?

M: I have always wanted to write but never thought I would be able to break into this industry. I finally took a chance and submitted my work. After 33 rejection letters, I was offered a contract. My book should release this summer!

JA: Would you share with our followers the inspiration behind your book?

M: About three years ago, I was going through a really crazy period in my life. People told me that I needed to write a book, so I did.

JA: Is this your chosen genre, and are you considering others?

M: Hopefully, this will be the only time I write a memoir! I am actually working on my second book, a legal thriller.

JA: Do you have other published works?

A: I have, but they were legal briefs for the government so I had to sign a confidentiality agreement. (Real exciting stuff, I know.)

JA: It was writing experience at best, too bad we can’t brag about it.

JA: Tell us about your experience with your publisher.

M: Black Opal Books is my publisher. They are located on the west coast. I have had nothing but a positive experience with them. My fellow BOB authors welcomed me with open arms. It’s a really great publishing company and I’m so thankful they took a chance on me. You can find them at http://www.blackopalbooks.com

JA: Illustrations or photos for covers are so important to successful marketing. Do you use an illustrator or photographer for your book(s)? If so do you always use the same one, or do you shop around?

M: I can’t show my book cover yet, but I used an extremely talented photographer to capture the perfect image. Her name is Ksenija Savic and you can find her work at: www.ksenijasavic.com

JA: Megan, are you doing much marketing for your book and for yourself as a brand?

M: You know, someone asked me once why I market myself when I have a publisher. My answer is, why not? My book is being edited right now so why not take advantage of this time and make connections? I’m having a blast meeting new authors, buying new books and interviewing authors for my blog.

JA: Do you spend much time in research, or do you write from experience?

M: A little of both. When I was in law school, I learned that there are exceptions to every rule of law. So for my legal thriller, I’ve used the exceptions as my plot.

JA: What Point of view do you feel most comfortable with, first person or third?

M: Obviously my memoir is the first person, but I feel more comfortable writing in the third person.

JA: How do you feel about all of the share your work offers on the web?

M: I really don’t like sharing my work with anyone except my publishing company. I shared a little bit of my work with a guy I just started dating. He ripped it to shreds. After he crushed my ego, he then told me that he hatedfiction and hated John Grisham. Good thing he told me that after I let him read a snippet of my fiction legal thriller. (Let’s just say there was never a second date.)

JA: He sounds like a real jerk that you are well rid of.

 

JA: Megan please list your links so our readers can find you.

M: I created my own website: www.megancyrulewski.com

Blog: http://www.megancyrulewski.com/blog.html

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorMeganC?ref=hl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MeganCyrulewski

 

JA: What kind of future do you see for writers and struggling authors?

M: I really think self-publishing is on its way up. I’ve met a lot of self-published authors who are happy to market themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I love my publisher but I’m also glad that self-publishing is gaining more acceptance. There is a lot of talent that agents and/or publishing companies reject because I don’t think a simple query letter is a good representation of someone’s work.

100_0024 Author Bio:

Megan Cyrulewski has been writing short stories ever since she was ten-years-old.  After attending Grand Valley State University, Megan eventually settled into a career in the non-profit sector for eight years.  She decided to change careers and went back to school to get her law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School.  While in school, she documented her divorce, child custody battle and postpartum depression struggles in her memoir, Who Am I?, which is slated to be published in 2014 by Black Opal Books.  Megan lives in Michigan with her 3-year-old daughter who loves to dance, run, read, and snuggle time with Mommy.  Megan also enjoys her volunteer work with Troy Youth Assistance, a non-profit that works with youth in Troy, Michigan.

Thank you, Megan, for taking time from your blog and writing to participate in my writing blog.

I wish you all the best with your book and future projects. 

 

An Introduction to Uncharted Storms By Jackie Anton

The birth of Jackie’s first YA book.

         What did you do duringwinter storm Vulcan? I hunkered down to finish the final story of this collection. My editor fast-forwarded the manuscripts of the stories back to me for final revision. Off  it went to the talented lady who does my e-book formatting for me, and it went live on Smashwords and Amazon March 15, 2014.

         I have to thank Judy at Goddess Fish for the cover design, and getting it to me before my self imposed deadline.

         Why the deadline of the Ides of March you may ask. Everything is a matter of timing. Again this year I will be signing books at the Valley Tack Shop’s Annual Midnight Sale on March 21st.  Horsemen from all over Northeastern Ohio flock to this event. The kind folks who own and manage this huge western store were the first to put my Backyard Horse Tales book(s) on their shelves. They have been well received by the equine community, and I wanted to do something special to say thanks to all my supporters.

         Uncharted Storms: Short Stories of Hearts at Risk will be offered to the purchasers of any one of my books as a free download. This offer will be extended to readers who purchase one of my books on the new Author’s Den Signed Book Store. To participate in this onetime offer, which will expire at midnight ET on April 15, 2014.

Blurb:

            Weather is our constant companion, and when it behaves like a benevolent parent we pay little attention to it. Angry or out of control it becomes terrifying and can change the landscape as well as lives. So I asked my characters to take a ride on the wild side ofweather. “Uncharted Storms” takes readers on a journey from a gentle summer rain to raging storms in the cosmos.

 Uncharted Storm FINALIntroduction Page:

            Three young women are catapulted via foul weather, and perhaps fate, into bizarre circumstances.

            Eleven-year-old Erica is sure the world will end in 2012, but it is eleven years later that her world is upended in the science fiction story Terra Beyond 2012.

           At eighteen, Annie is working her way through college. An extended shift at the diner where she works is responsible for her being caught in near blizzard conditions. Annie is hit from behind and sent sprawling into a pile of snow. Her night only gets more terrifying from there. A Tumble in the Snow is based on a larger work, which was my November 2013 National Novel Writing Month entry, and is still in the creative process.

            Chris is taking a break after completing her associate degree to travel the winter horse show circuit. She is on her way home with her best friend when she is injured in a traffic accident. The early spring storm, which is responsible for the devastation, catapults her and her friend on a journey back through time. Follow this pair through the storm and its aftermath in Riding Lightning.

             Rounding out the collection are two slightly modified excerpts from my published works authored as J. M. Anton, which is the pseudonym used for my adult novels.

             Flashflood Texas Style is an excerpt from Fateful Waters. The adult novel “Fateful Waters” was published in 2012.

             Casey’s weather tale involves a late night encounter in a steamy summer rain.      A Rainy Night is an excerpt from the pages of Cassandra: Night Shades.

            To purchase an autographed book follow this link to my Author’s Den www.authorsden.com/jackieanton  click on the book of your choice and follow the link to the Signed Books. All books are discounted at this store to offset shipping. Neither B&N or Amazon can match this, or deliver readers an autographed book.

 Jackie Anton author photoAbout the Author 

            Jackie Anton is an accomplished equestrian, with a life time of experience: as trainer, exhibitor, 4-H and youth club coach, as well as a horse show judge, the author brings many years of experience working with horses and young riders to her award winning Backyard Horse Tales Series:

           Uncharted Storms:  Short stories are aimed at the Young Adult and older reader. Look for more short tales in the future.

          Backyard Horse Tales: Sox 2nd Edition Brings to light the mutual love between a handicapped colt and a lonely child with a learning disability. Find out how this pair team up to triumph over life’s roadblocks, and why their story won the prestigious Mom’s Choice Award of Excellence for Family Friendly Media. (Reading level age 8 thru Adult)

          BYHT 2 “Frosty and the Nightstalker” was one of four finalists in the E-Book Fiction category for the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, then the paperback went on to earn the Mom’s Choice Award for Juvenile Historical Fiction.

            Jackie is hard at work on BYHT 3 Don’t Call Me Love. You can catch a peek at her beautiful cover on the Backyard Horse Tales Face Book Fan Page: : http://www.facebook.com/pages/Backyard-Horse-Tales/190283981002767

 Author Links: Email:  talesbyjackie@gmail.com

Facebook Adult Novel Fan Page:  http://www.facebook.com/authorjmanton?ref=hl

Website: http://talesbyjackie.com/

Smashwords:  http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jackieanton

Amazon:   https://www.amazon.com/author/jackieanton

E-Book Bargains

Only three days left to load up your e-readers!

SW E-pro girlreading

Free & Hugely Discounted Books

Stop by my Smashwords Page before midnight (pacific time) on March 8, to select one of my books. Two are free, and the two newest releases are hugely reduced for Read an E-Book Week. Read excerpts and choose your E-book here:  http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jackieanton

Author’s Note: The Prelude to BYHT3 is a first draft of Love’s tale. This will be your last chance to get the first four chapters free. The prelude will be pulled March 15, 2014 in preparation of the release of the completed tale: “Don’t Call Me Love.” Here is a peek at the cover created by illustrator Sandy Shipley.

Don't Call Me Love new typeface 4

Location of the Smashwords promotional catalog with thousands of free and reduced e-books.  https://www.smashwords.com/books/category/1/newest/1

Where is the Best Place to sell your Book(s)?

Not in a Book Store, according to authors’ coach Judy Cullins.

 IMG_0224Why?

1. If you’re not famous, your traditional publishing support amounts to a possible three-month book tour, billed against your sales.                                                                                                                                                                                                                           And it’s common knowledge that these don’t work well. Your book’s shelf life at Barnes and Noble or other brick and mortar bookstores is about three months too. They often refuse self-published books from Create Space and others like it. And, you the author must promote each book full time to receive less than 50% of the profits.

2. Your audience (who are they?) doesn’t go to a bookstore to find your book. 

They go to browse and aren’t’ sure what they want. If your book ( as an unknown) is next to a popular author, only your book’s spine will show. Potential buyers will pass it by for the well-known name. In our San Diego Barnes and Noble, people bring their Starbucks coffee in to sit and read. If they spill coffee on your book, you will get it as a return, without a sale, and pay the postage.

3. Smart business people and personal growth authors know their audience is online.

They can sell straight from their websites.  And they market online to get their readers to their websites, with article marketing, social media marketing, and with a business blog for the same purpose–at least once each two weeks to stay in touch with their audience. The point of the blog is to build a community around your book. This happens when you capture your visitors’ emails when they sign up for your blog articles. This works for fiction as well as non-fiction.

Your audience wants to know and like you before they buy from you. They will more likely subscribe to your newsletter, your blog, and your free reports rather than get into a car and drive to the “brick and mortar” bookstore. After so many website visits, many will buy your books or use your service.

Want to know more? Read the entire post on Judy’s blog where you will find additional pearls of wisdom, for aspiring authors.

http://bookcoaching.com/wp/the-worst-place-to-sell-books-is-a-book-store/

 March 21st of 2014 marks the forth year I will be signing my books at the Valley Tack Shop’s Annual Midnight Sale. 8pm to midnight. 6780 Center Road, Valley City, Ohio.

Stop by join in the fantastic sales, door prizes, and food. Pick out your look for the show season. More on this event on this blog next Friday!

 

A look at trailering from a horse’s point of view.

The following post is a reprint of an article from The Chronicles of the Horse: http://Chronofhorse.com

Enjoy!

Trailering With Your Human, Part 1

You can give your Human the impression that you’re considering going on the dreaded trailer by sniffing the ramp while keeping your feet firmly planted. Photo by Coree Reuter.

Across the country, horse show season is in full swing, and you know what that means—potentially long rides in hot trailers with inadequate snack options (I asked for alfalfa, not grass hay, stewardess!) next to that one gelding in the barn who spits when he snorts.

A common misconception among horses, I’ve found, is that the most appalling part about climbing into a trailer is its obvious tendency to house Monsters. What’s really terrifying is that the whole process is a subtle power play by your Human, and it’s very dangerous to let him or her think it’s OK to play at being your leader successfully.

Showing Humans can be fun, but often they want to take you to a busy, noisy event long before they are ready for it. Besides, I’m not sure if it’s worth one more bumpy ride that leaves me more wobbly than that one week I convinced my Human to feed me Guinness in my dinner.

Work To Your Strengths

As with any activity, it’s important to consider your individual strengths and weaknesses when choosing a trailer resistance tactic. For those who are inclined toward haute ecole, jumping and rearing on the grass behind the ramp is a fantastic idea—if you exhaust (or terrify) your lazy Human fast enough, she might give up on the idea of trying to show you at all.

Readers with a well-oiled reverse gear should consider that flying backwards off, or away, from the trailer is fantastically effective. Humans can rarely keep up with you, and a good, firm jerk on their limbs is a sure reminder that they are dealing with a much greater force than themselves—a reminder that will no doubt continue to ache well into the rest of the week.

Personally, I like to take advantage of my, ah, ample hindquarters during these silly tiffs. I pick a point on the ground, usually just behind the base of the ramp, and plant my front toes on that point. I learned early on that passive resistance is much easier than any sort of activity. When my Human tries to push or startle me from behind, I stand firm, and when she tries to pull me from the front, I use the neck extension tactics I learned from a donkey in my hometown. This gives her the illusion that I’m considering climbing aboard, and it really relieves some chiropractic stress brought on by her insistent whining. If absolutely necessary, I can lean extremely far forward, rocking onto my tiptoes (to nab a treat) without actually moving my feet.

This tactic works wonders, particularly if you have recently put on a few pounds. I recommend testing it out in your barn’s crossties while your Human is grumphing her way into her tall boots. Use the crossties for balance. Extra points if you break them in the process.

Highlight Your Areas Of Concern

My major issue with the trailer is leadership control, but when I get bored of obsessing about that, I find the lack of amenities on the thing upsetting. My Human used to coax me forward with a particular kind of cookie (No, any Meadow Mint will not do, I need the pink ones), but it quickly occurred to me that there had to be better stuff out there. Now she tries to load me with 14 percent sweet feed. That’s more like it.

If the darkness of the trailer isn’t to your liking, refuse to get on until they open up some windows or, if you stall long enough, are forced to turn on the interior lights after dusk.

If you find yourself getting a bit claustrophobic, begin refusing to load if there is any sort of bar or divider up. If you climb aboard and hear the Human fooling with bolts or chains on the butt bar, back out immediately. Do this repeatedly until she gets the point.

Play To Your Human’s Areas Of Concern

If for some reason you are tricked into putting your front feet into the trailer, always remember that unless your Human is woefully fashion unaware and has bought you one of those head bumper things meant for a human mental patient, you can always threaten concussion. Lean against her tension on your lead when she gets too pushy, and raise your head to just below the ceiling of the trailer. She’ll be forced to release enough slack that you can probably back out. And, if the process gets harrowing enough for her, she may take your head bumper and check herself into the nearest mental health clinic.

If you feel the need to walk a few steps onto the ramp to appease her sobbing and pleading, make sure you are crooked. Bump into dividers and butt bars, or even the side of the trailer if you need to. If she can’t see that you “may have bruised yourself!” in this silly game through her tears of frustration, become very spooky about dividers, walls, doors, windows and basically anything solid.

Keep Your Emotions In Check

As easy as it is to get frustrated with your Human, remember—the average homo sapien IQ is light years behind yours, even with all that extra brain space. It takes them time to process. Getting emotional with them is only going to ruin your pedicure and could prompt them to pull out a longe whip or a broom. As always, remain firm in your convictions to avoid that trailer, and eventually they will start to get the message.

I love answering reader questions, and the barn finally got wi-fi! If you have quandaries about how to manage your human, please email me at JItterbugCOTH@gmail.com, and you may see your question appear in a future column.

 

Jitterbug is a Michigan-bred Professional Draft Cross who skillfully avoided saddles until age 5. Since then, she has been lauded for her talent in successfully managing humans while training herself to one day achieve eventing greatness. Jitter and her human live in central Kentucky. Photo by Dark Horse Photography.

Interview with Catherine Castle author of “The Nun and the Narc.”

Author Pic

JA: Welcome Catherine, please tell us a little about yourself and how you became a writer?
CC:I’ve always considered myself a writer. I wrote poetry and fiction when I was in school. I didn’t start writing for profit until the early 90s when I became a stringer (freelance writer) for our local community newspaper. When the editors made very few changes to my first submitted piece (which I did for free), I decided maybe I could write professionally. I got up the nerve to ask if I could become a stringer and get paid for writing. The answer was yes, and the rest is history. From the newspaper I branched out into writing for children and did a couple of magazine articles too. Seeing my name in the byline was a big boost for meand it was then that I decided I wanted to write fiction on a professional basis, as well.

JA: The writing expertise is evident in your book. Would you share with our followers the inspiration(s) behind your wonderful novel?         CC: The Nun and the Narc was written as a contest entry because I wanted to see if I could write an inspirational romance that was different from many I had read. Originally, the heroine wasn’t a nun, but a missionary. Howeverthe book wasn’t working. One of my critique partners suggested I make her a nun instead. I loved The Sound of Music, A Change of Habit, The Flying Nun TV series, and other stories about nuns, so I changed the heroine from Margaret Mary to Sister Margaret Mary, a novice who was about to take her final vows when she got home. The book took off and practically wrote itself after that change.

JA: Some writers are known for a particular genre. Do you envision one genre for your future works or have you considered other genres?
CC: Romance is the genre I usually write in, but I’m not particular about its subgenres as I like to read, and write, in a variety of genres. Actually, I have considered other genres and have actually written plays and other fiction with my husband. Cozy mystery interests me, too.

JA: Catherine, do you have other published works?
CC:I have over 600 non-fiction articles that cover the gamut from news articles, fashion, advertorials, children’s non-fiction and magazine article published under my real name. The Nun and the Narc is the only fiction work I have published under the name Catherine Castle.
JA: Then, you write under a pen name?
CC: Yes. Catherine Castle is one of my pen names.

JA: Have you won any recognition or awards you would like to share with my followers?
CC: My books have placed in several contests, but the two that are probably the most prestigious are the ACFW Genesis Contest and the EPIC contest. The Nun and theNarc was a finalist in the Genesis and is a finalist in the 2014 EPIC contest in the action/adventure romance category.

JA: Is your book available in print, e-book, or both?                                                                                                                                                                          CC: The Nun and the Narc is available online as an ebook from Amazon and online in print from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
JA: How much of the marketing do you do for your book Carherine, and for yourself as a brand?
CC: Since I don’t have a publicist and my publisher is relatively new, marketing falls on the author for the most part. Marketing has been a huge learning curve for me. Before the book was accepted for publication all I had was a blog that I maintained myself. I still do, in fact. No virtual assistants or anything like that either, although I wish I could afford to hire one. It would make social media sooo much easierand I could spend more time actually writing.

JA: Do you spend a lot of time plotting your stories, or do you just run with it?
CC: I’m a bit of both, depending on what I’m writing. I do like to know where the story is going, the big picture before I sit down to write. I’ve plotted in detail, started out with just an idea, written a whole book out of sequence (which I would never do again), and even dreamt a book. I find some plotting makes the book go faster because I don’t have to sit in front of the screen and think too much. I do leave room to let the characters take the story in new directions. Sometimes they know better than I do what should happen next.

JA: Do you spend much time in research when you are writing?
CC: With The Nun and the Narc I had to do research on Mexico, the drug trade, and nuns. I have also been known to write until I hit a spot that needs research and then I hunt for what I need, or I’ll bookmark a page and say, “Find _______” if I’m writing in the zone and don’t want to stop for research.

JA: What Point of view do you feel most comfortable with Catherine,first person or third? Have you ever tried using the second person in any of your works?
CC: I personally like third person and have never tried writing in first or second. I think first is too limiting and second just too hard to master.

JA Are you on any forums or networking sites? Do you find them helpful? If yes, please list links so readers can find you.
CC Iam a contributing author on Stitches Thru Time at:  http://stitchesthrutime.blogspot.com/

and the Soul Mate Authors blog site at http://smpauthors.wordpress.com/  I think they’ve been very helpful for social networking and I’ve met some lovely authors as a result of being onpart of these sites.

JA: What do you think the future holds for a writer?
CC: More hard work than we ever imagined. Being a writer is a changing landscape now with ebook, self-pubbed books, POD books, free books for downloading, and more authors out there than ever before. Getting noticed and distinguishing yourself from the crowd is hard, and the first impressions that make a prompt a buyer are not always about how good your book is, but how well you manage your social network. Marketing is essential to authors.  At a recent conference I went to one of the speakers said writing is 90 percent marketing and only 10percent writing. If you aren’t well-versed on social media before your first book is out, then you are behind already. The days of holing up in your writer’s cave, writing, and letting someone else market for you are gone for the majority of writers.

 JA: Thank you for visiting with us Catherine, and good luck with your book.

I chose to post this interview with Catherine Castle to give her the added exposure and introduce her to the followers of this blog. Be sure to comment then go to my A to Z Reviews blog to check out Catherine’s book tour. She is drawing for an Amazon gift certificate of $25 at the conclusion of her tour. Stop by there and the rest of the stops to increase your chances to win. Here is a quick link http://bookreviewsbyjackie.com/ Good Luck!

 Cover_TheNunAndTheNarc

Excerpt:

The Nun and the Narc

by

Catherine Castle

“Why don’t you tell me,Miss . . . whoever you are?”

 “Margaret Mary O’Connor. Sis—“ Her introduction changed into a scream. “Look out!”

Jed’s head whipped around just as the car plowed through a market stand of live chickens. Poultry, wooden cages, and feathers scattered over the car. An angry hen dropped through the car’s open sunroof, squawking and flapping in front of Jed, beating his head with its wings.

Margaret reached over, grabbed the bird, and threw it back out the sunroof opening. But it was too late. The car glanced off an adobe wall into a second market stand and careened toward another building. Jed jammed on the brakes. The car spun three hundred and sixty degrees before screeching to a stop.

 The impact threw Margaret sideways against the passenger window. She hit her head on the glass, the blow blinding her for a second. Jed’s body slammed into the steering wheel setting off the horn. The wail echoed in Margaret’s head as she struggled to remain conscious. Warmth trickled down the side of her head. Margaret managed to focus her eyes as the noise stopped. Two Jeds leaned toward her, in slow motion. She blinked to clear her vision.

“You all right?” he asked.

 “I think so.” Something warm and sticky seeped down her face. She reached up and wiped her temple. “I’m bleeding,” she said as she stared at her fingers. The words sounded slurred. At the sight of the blood on her fingers, her stomach rolled.

 

 

 

Hot Cocoa and A Good Book…

 

            What better way to ward of the Artic Chill of the 2014 New Year?

             Today I received the promotional proof of the front and back covers for my soon to be released adult thriller “Wind River Refuge.” The unveiling of the covers for the paperback is at the end of this post.

            The bone chilling winter blast has provided me with an opportunity to catch up and expand my social media efforts. One new expansion is to my Author Den. www.authorsden.com/jackieanton   Visitors and fans can now read short stories and blogs that I post at the site. There is also a new signed copy book store where print editions can be purchased at a discounted price. U.S. residents will have their autographed copy shipped directly to their mailing address.

             Those not U.S. residents, or prefer e-books are able to request a dedicated, autographed cover of the book of their choice from Online Autographs: http://www.authorgraph.com/authors/backyardhorse My family friendly award winning “Backyard Horse Tales” books are at both of the above sites, along with my adult novels.

             I took some time away from writing, editing, and revising a few days ago and completed the author interview on Smashwords. The link to the interview is included in the following list. Take a look while you read the synopsis of Wind River Refuge, or one of my other books. Add any questions you would like answered on my email. I will do my best to answer them in a timely manner.

Connect with Jackie Anton in 2014:

Smashwords Interview: https://www.smashwords.com/interview/jackieanton

Smashwords profile page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jackieanton

Email: talesbyjackie@gmail.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/backyardhorse

BYHT Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Backyard-Horse-Tales/190283981002767

FB adult novel fan page: http://www.facebook.com/authorjmanton?ref=hl

Author Website: http://talesbyjackie.com

            Stay warm my friends enjoy your hot brew of choice and one of my books.

         As promised, the first look at my soon to be released paperback.

Front Cover.4503670Back Cover.4503670

A Doggie’s Christmas Past

Buddy's Christmas Visitor

            JINGLE BELLS, JINGLE BELLS, WOOF, WOOF, WOOF, WOOF …. Is my human mom’s way of singing that Christmas song. The carol doesn’t sound like that on her tapes or on the radio. Mom likes to play Christmas music when she bakes or decorates the tree.

            It was my sixth or seventh year at the farm where I live with my human family. My mom decorates me too! I’m kind of into the holiday routine, and have learned to take the jingle bell that she attaches to my collar in stride. Soon after Thanksgiving I ring like the proverbial belled cat until the New Year. I try to humor Mom by woofing along with her rendition of Jingle Bells. It makes her happy, and I usually get a treat for my participation.

            It began to snow the week before Santa’s expected arrival. The storm was so bad that the horses didn’t go out that day, and the barn cats didn’t budge from their warm spots in the hayloft. I took up my position as official cookie tester. Mom is a great cook, but always managed to break a few cookies, which she gave to me. She would ask me, “What do you think, Bud?” I would bark enthusiastically, and she would give me another taste.

            Dad put on his snowsuit, snagged a handful of cookies and went out to clear the walks and drive. I tagged along. I love the snow. While dad was plowing the drive and a path back to the barn; I rolled in the snow and dove into the drifts. We had finished, and Dad was putting the tractor back in the garage attached to the horse barn when Patty pulled into the drive. We helped her bring in her luggage and gifts. I sniffed each one perhaps one of the wrapped packages was for me.

            Both of my human parents were relieved that their daughter had made it safely; she’d traveled from a place called Virginia. The weather was getting worse. It was snowing harder, and the wind was blowing. The lights flickered a few times, so the lanterns and flashlights were collected. Dad went out to give the horses hay and water. He also went into the shed to check something called a generator. I visited with each of the horses, and then followed him out.

            While he was working in the shed, I heard a strange rumble followed by a huge flash of light. I trotted up to the front of the house to check it out. Dad must have heard it too; he followed me up to the drive. I saw a hole in a tall drift near the road, I was on my way to investigate when a huge truck with flashing lights roared down the street pushing snow to the edge and into the driveways.  Smack, Crack, down went the mailbox and news box. Dad used a few words that will probably move him to Santa’s naughty list. I barked a few nasty words of my own; that contraption nearly buried me!

            While I was telling that snowplow a thing or two, I heard a faint call for help. I began to dig in the drift where the noise was coming from. Dad came over to see what I was doing. He helped me dig. We found a half frozen puppy! He was difficult to locate. The more he wiggled the deeper he went into the pile of snow, and the little guy was white as the snow.

            I thought that I detected a movement, so I plunged my head into the expanded opening. The small snow tunnel began to collapse around my ears, as I desperately grabbed for a squirmy ball of fur. Not very gently, I hauled that pup out of the bank, and fell backward onto the cleared portion of the drive. Dad picked up the shivering refugee and carried him into the house.

            The puppies cry for help brought back a cold winter night from long ago when I and the rest of my litter were tied in a burlap bag and tossed into a dumpster, but that is a tale for another time. Suffice to say that I have abandonment issues, and for years I have enjoyed being the only canine on the farm. I drive off stray dogs and cats that don’t belong here. All in all, I am not a very hospitable fellow. Maybe, it was the Christmas Spirit that made me save that puppy and share my home and family with him.

            The fuss that my family made over little Chris had me rethinking my heroics. Mom and Dad decided that the puppy must belong to a neighbor. Chris was the name on the little gold tag attached to his red collar. He was only about two months of age, and sure did a lot of tail wagging. He also figured out the cookie begging routine in the blink of an eye. He also barked out Jingle Bells in a harmony that I was unable to accomplish. I sure hope that Mom and Dad had some luck locating his owners.

            Day Two of the Chris invasion: Mom brought home some puppy chow and a set of red bowls. Patty got a doggie coat to fit Chris that looked a lot like the suit that Santa wore on many of the cards that Mom hung up every year. They even got him a red and white doggie bed. My eyes were beginning to take on a green cast. You bet, I was a bit envious of all the hoopla over our guest.

            Chris wasn’t in any danger of getting lost in the snow with his bright red coat and silly Santa hat. At least he had the dignity to refuse to wear the little black booties. He shadowed me everywhere; I mean, he was in jeopardy of getting watered when I went out to make yellow spots in the snow. I introduced him to each of my equine charges, and he wasn’t the least intimidated by their size. He licked each muzzle as it bent down to sniff and nuzzle him. The barn cats also treated him like one of them; they purred and rubbed against him. What the heck? This wasn’t normal doggie behavior.

            Not a soul in the surrounding area had lost a Labrador puppy, and it became apparent that Chris would be with us for a while. He didn’t make use of his new bowls, but preferred to mooch from mine. He drug his little bed under the tree. There amid all the wrapped gifts he would take naps. Of course all my humans thought that presented a great photo op. What they didn’t know was that at night he snuggled up to me on the big quilt that Mom had put down for me. I sighed and consoled myself with the thought that Chris would perhaps go back to Virginia with Patty. She sure seemed to like him.

            Day five arrived, and the sun warmed the air. Patty decided to take us on an outing that included a walk in a nearby park. We ended up at the pet store in town where we got our pictures taken with Santa. Chris whispered that the man in the red suit was only a stand in for the real Santa. I was about to ask him how he knew that tidbit when a big drooling dog interrupted.

            “Hey little sissy dog. How do you know he isn’t the real Santa? It’s not like you know the guy.”

            I took in his bowed legs, muscular build, and belligerent attitude, and hoped that Chris would just stay in the seat of the shopping cart where Patty had placed him as we left the Santa photo session. “Yes, Bruiser, I do know Santa.” That did it. The Bulldog got his back up over Chris’ claim.

            “Bull farts! You don’t know Santa, and little liars go on the naughty list.” He sneezed, licked his drooling choppers, and growled at the little Santa clad puppy in the cart. “And how do you know my name?”

            Chris cocked his head. “Would you believe that I am able to read your name tag?”

            “No. I don’t believe you can read. You probably heard my human say my name.”

            Chris wagged his tail and then wished Bruiser a Merry Christmas. I was grateful that it all ended peacefully, and I didn’t have to take on Bruiser to keep Chris from becoming his afternoon snack. I kept my questions to myself until we were safely away from any other eavesdroppers. “Okay, Chris, how did you know Bruiser’s name?”

            “I know every dog’s name. Those who are in shelters, those that live on the streets, those who are abused, and those who are lucky to have good homes with people who love them. You have a lot to be thankful Buddy.”

            “How can a little puppy, like you, know that?”

            “It is my job, but I’m only an apprentice. My dad knows the name of every animal in the world.”

            I got out of the car at home, made yellow puddles, and went to visit with Dad who was working in the barn. I ignored the puppy’s boast, and chalked it up to a youngster’s imagination, but how did he know the other dog’s name? I was there and Bruiser’s human never once spoke his name. I sidled up to Dad for a scratch between my ears and a reassuring pat.

            Our human family had spaghetti and meatballs for dinner that evening. Mom always makes extra meatballs for me, and I was drooling almost as badly as the skeptical bulldog that we’d met that afternoon. Great! In addition to being a bottomless cookie pit, Chris was inhaling my meatballs. “I held on to my temper and only growled a little. Mom to the rescue; she gave me a few more meatballs from her plate. I guess the meatballs didn’t agree with his tummy. Chris started tooting from the back end and leaving a trail of foul smelling air behind him. I was hoping that he got over the results of his gluttony before we bedded down for the night.

            December twenty-fourth started out like most days on the farm. We got up early and Chrisand I played in the new snow that had fallen overnight. The horses went out while Dad cleaned their stalls. I chased and barked at them as they bucked and played in the snow. Chris sat on the drive near the barn and watched me. “Come and play Chris!” I barked.

            “Sorry, Buddy, but I have to keep a watch.”

            I stopped my play, walked over to where he sat, and asked, “What are you watching for?”

            “I’m keeping a lookout for my ride home.” I didn’t know what to say, and I didn’t want to crush his hopes that his previous human would come to claim him.

            Dad was returning to the house, and we tagged along with him. “Hey, Chris, why don’t we go try to talk Mom into giving us a cookie or two?”

            He wagged his tale and his eyes twinkled with anticipation. “Christmas Cookies are my favorite treat in the world!”

            Things began to take on a different spin after lunch. Dad secured the horses in their stalls, and gave them hay. Mom decorated a huge tray of cookies, wrapped them up, and put several containers of food into boxes that were loaded into the car.

            Early that evening, my human family deserted us. Before they departed Mom filled our bowls, and Dad told me to guard the house.

            Chris barked a goodbye, and Patty stopped to pet him. “Now you be a good puppy and listen to Buddy while we are gone.”

            We ate a little out of our bowls—I should say my bowl. Chris still preferred to share my bowl than to eat out of his own.  Next we wandered from room to room patrolling the house. It seemed that my family had left eons ago, and I missed them. I walked over to my quilt on the floor, then looked over my shoulder to the inviting couch. The sofa won out, and I curled up on the soft cushions near the fireplace. I suppose Chris was worried that I was doing something naughty.

            “Buddy, should you be doing that on Christmas Eve? I mean Santa hasn’t arrived, yet. You don’t want to get bumped to the naught list, at the last minute.”

            He sounded distressed. The kid sure took this Santa thing to heart. “It’s okay, Chris, I do this whenever I have to guard the house. I can see all three entries from here.” That little white fib seemed to placate him, and he sat there for hours gazing into the fireplace. He was still sitting there when our family returned.

            Dad went out to give the horses their 10PM feed. We tagged along to decorate the snow. Chris kept stopping to scan the sky, the rooftops, and the drive. “Are you still looking for Santa?” I asked.

            “I thought he would be here by now to take me home.” He sounded so disappointed.

            “Well, perhaps Santa gave you a new home when you arrived here. This is a good place, and you can stay here with us—aah, with me.”

            “Really? You would share your home and family with me? I had heard that you didn’t like interlopers.”

            I was a bit embarrassed to have my scrooge like behavior pointed out to me by this youngster. I yawned closed my eyes and pretended to sleep. Chris was still staring into the fireplace when I dozed off.

            Christmas morning I woke and stretched. That is when I realized that Chris wasn’t sleeping next to me. I checked his doggie bed under the tree. It was gone! I trotted over to my food bowls, and his little red bowls were nowhere to be seen. I ran down the hall checking on the sleeping humans. Everyone was accounted for. Patty was still here, so Chris didn’t go with her.

            Everyone searched for Chris, after I roused the household. “Okay, Chris, quit fooling around and come out here. Hiding on Christmas morning is really naughty.” I barked, scolded, and pleaded with him.

            Gift giving was put off until after chores and breakfast. Patty played Santa and handed out the gifts. Every one of us was worried about Chrisand we were kind of just going through the motions. I usually ripped open my gifts, but I just laid my head on the stack in front of me. Patty found it at the back of the tree-skirt, It was a package wrapped in red with white puppy sized paw prints on the paper. I opened the yummy smelling package. Inside were four gingerbread cookies that were shaped like puppies. There wasn’t a name on the package, but I knew it was for me from Chris. Then Pat found one more package under the tree, and she read the tag. “This last package is for Buddy from Santa Clause.”

            Okay, little Chris believed in Santa, but I knew better. Every year there were always a few packages from Santa or Mrs. Clause, and they always had the sent of my human family on them. Pat handed me the package, it smelled strange, and I refused to open it. Mom took it from me. She opened the package and read the note inside.

            Thank you all for taking care of Chris, and making him part of your family. He is a rambunctious puppy and fell from the sleigh while we were training some new reindeer. Buddy, the shiny new bell is to remind you of Chris and your new Christmas attitude.

SC

            Patty said what we were all thinking. “Wow! The nametag makes sense, at last. It said ‘Chris’ and underneath ‘return to S.C.’ No wonder we couldn’t find his owners; he belonged to Santa.”

            I hope you liked my Christmas story.

            Merry Christmas!

 Buddy

Sox shares a Holiday Tale…

Howdy Everyone,

         I was chosen to share a few of my memorable Christmases with you. My name is Sox, and this is my Holiday Tale.

         Christmas at the boarding stable was different from the same holiday at home. It was my third Christmas there, but Santa still found me every year. He brought me a new winter blanket, and he filled the new fuzzy red stocking that hung on my stall door.

         I was a little worried that he might have put my name on the naughty list, and it would remain empty. Last year one of the stable hands just rolled my door over while he emptied and cleaned my water bucket. In a flash, I used my muzzle to roll open the door and snatch my stocking! It was mostly empty by then, and I pretty much shredded it trying to get at the last of my goodies.

Sox Christmas 2013         My Christmas stocking was always filled with carrots, dried apple slices, and peppermints. My treats lasted for a couple of weeks, only because Katie miserly doled out only one or two per day. Mom was stalled next to me,

         “I noticed that Emma is not as stingy with your ration of treats,” I complained. Don’t you know, Mom caught me tearing up my stocking!

         “Sox! How is Santa going to fill that next year when you trashed it?” I tried to hide the evidence under the bedding in the back of my stall, but Katie found it.

         Great! Then I had to listen to another lecture. You are going to have to be very good the remainder of the year, Sox. It is the only way to get off of the bad boy list so Santa doesn’t pass you by next Christmas.

 

         I guess that I was a good boy the rest of that year. My new fuzzy stocking was larger than the old one, and it was stuffed with more goodies. One other Christmas Season that has etched its self into my mind is the year that we headed south.

         I was prepared to spend another winter at the boarding stable, and it looked like Mack was going to accompany me.

         My first clue that something was different was when I heard Buddy’s excited bark. It was the same sound he made when Katie let him travel to the shows with the rest of us. The second clue came when Slim turned the wrong way out of the drive. Our winter boarding stable was in the other direction.

         “Where do you think we are going, Mack?”

         “I quit worryin’ ‘bout where I was goin’ a long time ago, Sox. Ain’t like we got a choice. F’rinstance, I went to a reinin’ show with some a mah buddies from mah ol’ home, and ended comin’ back here with lil’ Patty,”

         “Don’t you like it here?” I thought maybe he was homesick. I knew I would be.

         “Shucks, the grass is good eatin’, and I do like Patty. But y’all sure have cold weather ‘round here.”

         “Oh, this is just the beginning. It will get way colder and snow a heck of a lot more before winter is over,” I laughed.   Mack didn’t reply. He just groaned, rolled his eyes, and then busied himself with browsing through his hay bag.

         Most of my travels had been confined to Ohio and neighboring states. This time we traveled all the way across the Ohio River, through Kentucky and Tennessee, with their steep roads that wound through mountains. It was such a relief to hit the long flat stretch of road through Georgia and into Florida.

         Our first night on that trek was spent with some horse friends in Tennessee. Our winter blankets were shed the next morning. By the time we stopped for the second night, we were traveling with our windows down. Florida was a strange and different world!

         Heavy snow and ice pellets had made it a slow start from home, and here it felt like summer! How could that be? Cold breezes from the Great Lakes were replaced by soft, warm, winds from the Atlantic Ocean that sometimes lifted our damp manes. From our temporary home we could smell oranges. A local horse, we met, told us that what we smelled was really just the aroma of the orange blossoms. Florida had some strange looking trees that Katie called palms. People there decorated them with Christmas lights, just like our humans did to the pine trees back in Ohio.

         Santa found us in Florida! Imagine that! Our usual stockings with dried apples, carrots, and peppermints were hung on our stall fronts. The Christmas stocking was a huge comfort to me. I was a bit home- sick.

         It surprised me when Mack said, “ Reckon I ain’t never had a Christmas stockin’ before!”

         “Seriously? I always thought all horses got Christmas stockings! Don’t they have Christmas where you came from?”

         “Maybe? But we never got us stockin’s on our stalls.“

         The following year Mack’s ears perked up, and his eyes twinkled at the sight of his Christmas stocking.

 

         I hope you liked my Christmas memories. Parts are excerpts from my book. “Backyard Horse Tales: Sox 2nd Edition.”

Happy Holidays!

From all of us Backyard horses, Sox, Frosty, Love, Doc, Anna, and Bella.

 

Check out last weeks post for e-book savings good until Christmas day.

Stop by next week for a doggie’s story of a strange Christmas visitor. Keep your family close, and don’t forget our animal friends.

Adult Reads 18+ for your gift list…

Thanksgiving Day is nearly a week in the past, and shopping days until Christmas are whizzing by. Pick one of these books in print or as an e-book for the adult readers on your gift list. All are available on Amazon or Smashwords.                                                                                                                                       Memoirs are not one of my usual genre, but I found the account of Micki’s life humorous at times, and laughed out loud. I also had to find a box of tissues to keep at hand.

000_bookcover for email normal (3)It is amazing to read the hope, faith and courage this author maintained through the tragic loss of a child. This is a story that should be required for every driver who has a drink and gets behind the wheel, or those who pilot vehicles of death while texting. There are a multitude of distracted and impaired driver offenses that contribute to the early passing of beautiful young people, like Micki’s fourteen-year-old daughter.

“And the Whippoorwill Sang” is and emotional read with many up and downs, as well as twists and turns that rival a winding mountain road. I found myself getting angry on the author’s behalf, chuckling, or out right laughing at her antics, Lucile Ball could have played Micki.

As a mother, indeed a human being, I felt her heartache and sense of loss.

Not a quick read, but well worth a readers time. I found a lot of formatting issues on the kindle version, but the story is well writtenand I highly recommend it.

Author Contacts:

E-Mail: mallie1025@aol.com

http://mallie1025.blogspot.com/

www.linkedin.com/in/mickipeluso

www.facebook.com/micki.peluso

Altercations by Reynold Bowen

ALTERC~1

Review Excerpt

 by Jackie Anton

Copyright © 2011 Reynold Bowen

Raider Publishing International

ISBN: 978-1-61667-362-8

     Altercations is a science fiction novel that immerses the reader in the corrupt governing body of the Core. The author presents the question “Is the Government worth being saved?”

Mr. Bowen’s descriptions of the inner and outer planets, their environments and inhabitants make it easy to imagine the book’s futuristic setting. He successfully delves into the age-old battle of good versus evil as well as the uncaring attitude of the extremely wealthy to the daily struggle of the working and poor of society.

In the year 2998 the royal DeMarlonia family over sees a large part of the known galaxy. Intrigue abounds. Power hungry politicians have spies everywhere, but so do the revolutionaries. Within the seat of power lurks the Black Widow who is responsible for the death of millions in the Veiled Grottos. Lesser peoples and political opposition alike are consigned to this painful death.

Take a trip with our reluctant hero from the outer planet of Qwiasrio to the seat of power on what was once known as earth. The new space drive developed by Lobby Leader LeGray has shrunk the distance to the outer planets and their sources of wealth.

Altercations is well written, and keeps the pages turning. I enjoyed the rebirth of the ancient craft of photography as an art form. A photographer himself the author shares this form of recording history with his character Ganen. Characters are well developed and believable.

If you like science fiction, you will love this sci-fi mystery novel. Bowen keeps you guessing to the very end. I would describe this book as having an interesting cross of a Stephen King and Star Wars flavor.

BUY LINKS:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Altercations-Reynold-Bowen/dp/1616673621/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1386091883&sr=1-3&keywords=ALTERCATIONS

Barnes &Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/altercations-reynold-bowen/1107864235?ean=9781616673628

To Dance in Liadron

Brigid O’Flynn loves to dance, but her priest frowns upon the practice. Not only does she have to suffer the superstitions of the villagers who think she is cursed by the Faerie Folk, but she struggles to avoid the Lord of the manor each time she works within its walls. To top it all off she is being forced into a marriage that she is not ready accept.

Adrianne has created a wonderful fantasy adventure for young adult and older readers. At seventeen our heroine struggles with the urge to leave her harsh life behind and enter a world of music and dance. This book is also suitable for young adults.

Cover_ToDanceInLiradonBLURB:

Seventeen-year-old Brigid O’Flynn is an outcast. A chance encounter with the Faerie Queen left her tainted in the eyes of the villagers, who blame the Faerie for the village’s missing women and children. Desperate to win the village’s acceptance, Brigid agrees to marry her childhood friend: Serious, hardworking, Connell Mackenna. But when Connell disappears before their wedding, Brigid’s hopes are shattered. Blamed for her fiancé’s death, Brigid fears she will suffer the same fate as the other village outcasts, the mysterious Willow Women. Lured into Faerie by their inhuman lovers, and cast out weak and broken, the Willow Women spend their lives searching for the way back into Faerie. When Connell suddenly reappears, Brigid is overjoyed, but everything is not as it seems. Consumed by his desire for beauty and celebration, Connell abandons his responsibilities, and Brigid soon finds herself drawn into a passionate, dangerous world of two.

When Brigid discovers the truth behind Connell’s transformation she’s forced to choose between two men and two worlds. Brigid’s struggle leads her into glittering, ruthless Faerie, where she must rescue her true love from a terrible sacrifice or lose him forever.

Buy Links:

Amazon: US: http://www.amazon.com/To-Dance-in-Liradon-ebook/dp/B009F94I3W/ref=la_B009HWWMT4_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349915685&sr=1-1

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/To-Dance-in-Liradon-ebook/dp/B009F94I3W/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1349972228&sr=1-1

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/to-dance-in-liradon-adrienne-clarke/1112975145?ean=2940015710045

Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/To-Dance-in-Liradon/book-J5YVsQBAyU26uuplRq4VrQ/page1.html?s=KS-iLsIhp0GoqVUvE-QpvA&r=1″

Fantasy not quite the ticket? Bama Bride was selected for Romance fans:

Cover_BamaBrideBLURB: Neal Sinclair meets David Bankston in a college town bar. He’s tall, dark, and handsome, and wears a Stetson like nobody’s business.

 When they dance, inner passion heats up while inhibitions melt away. Neal quickly discovers David’s not a Southerner at all. He’s a Boston architect, in Tuscaloosa for only one night. The next morning, they struggle to walk away from something that caught them both by surprise

 Time doesn’t diminish the ache they feel in each other’s absence. Unable to stay apart, David arranges to take Neal to watch her beloved Crimson Tide play in a football bowl game. Reunited, they’re determined to make it work. When separated, they perfect the art of open communication. They each know that true love is a long shot.

But distance isn’t the only thing standing in their way. Unbeknownst to her, Neal’s overprotective father is, too. With so much conspiring against them, can a natural disaster turn the odds in their favor?

BUY Links:

AMAZON:   http://www.amazon.com/Bride-BookStrand-Publishing-Romance-ebook/dp/B00CT35YFW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1369583017&sr=8-1&keywords=bama+bride

BOOKSTRAND PUBLISHING:    http://www.bookstrand.com/bama-bride

 

My Contribution this week is multi fold:

A tale of romance, conflict, and a helping of humor in

Fateful Waters

BLURB: Follow Melinda Potter and Alexandra Parker, across the country, as the friends travel from their home on the shores of Lake Erie to the drought-stricken state of Texas. After graduation from The Ohio State University, Melinda has a date with an online Romeo. Lexie, who is supposed exert a moderating influence on her impulsive friend, winds up in a hospital where she wakes to everyone calling her Mrs. Ross.  She doesn’t have a clue how she got there, or who Mr. Ross is.

Fateful Waters 600_819 Final

Be sure to check out the e-book coupons at the end of this post:

 

EXCERPT: The mud-covered woman stared at him as if he was the headless horseman. He had to ask her twice if she needed some help. With Jim’s rope securely around the small critter to keep its head above the mud hole, he plucked the calf’s would-be rescuer out of the deepening mud and set her on her feet by her Cadillac. Then he went back to help Jim haul the newborn out of the mud. Jim took the calf up across his lap and rode a safe distance from the rising water before releasing it. The calf was none the worse for its experience, largely due to the little lady keeping its head elevated. Cutter turned around to check on her, and was amazed to see her sitting in the mud, her back propped against the side of her mud-splattered ride. She continued looking at him like he was the devil incarnate. He approached her slowly. Her up swepthairdo was falling down on one side. Soaking wet and covered with mud, he would be surprised if she weighed a hundred pounds, her soaked once white silk blouse clung to her petite form affording an enticing peek at a lacy bra that hid her pert breasts. Obviously chilled her nipples were puckered and erect. Cutter needed to get a grip, and stop ogling the stranded little woman with the mistrustful blue eyes.

He took precious moments to walk around the vehicle as far as possible, and wiped off the front license plate that declared the Cadillac was from Ohio. Curiosity took hold, “Are you lost?”

“What makes you think I am lost, cowboy?”

Her voice was an octave above a whisper, shaky, and thin, but she definitely had a Yankee accent. He tried again, “My name is Cutter. What’s your name?” She looked at him as if he were speaking a foreign language.

“I lost it.”

“You lost your name?” She wasn’t making any sense.

“Of course not. I lost my shoes, and my phone, not to mention a mangy cow killed my car, but I haven’t lost my name.”

She spoke to him as if he were a little slow on the uptake. Okay, I will give it one more try.

“My name is Alexandra,” she volunteered, before he could ask again. It was obvious she didn’t trust him. It could be she had caught me scrutinizing her physical attributes. Cutter tried to be patient with her, but the nearby stream was quickly becoming a raging torrent, and he couldn’t let her stay where she was.

“Alexandra, we need to move away from here, or we are both going to drown.”

She just shook her head looking at his big black stallion with huge terrified blue eyes when he suggested that she mount his horse to ride out of there with him. He took the decision out of her hands. The rising water was lapping at the right side of the Cadillac, and they were out of time. Cutter plucked her out of the mud one more time and carried her over to deposit her on his saddle. She had the presence of mind to straddle it, and he quickly mounted behind her, spurring Rowdy to higher ground. Her silk blouse clung to her small frame, and she shivered uncontrollably. Opening his duster, he pulled her close to him and closed the front over her. She objected at first, but then relented out of concern for Rowdy when Cutter scolded her, “Quit wiggling. You’re making it harder for my horse to pick his way through this muck.” She settled down immediately. He’d expected her to be cold, when he pulled her against him, and had been concerned about hyperthermia. Of even more concern was the fact that she was burning up and becoming lethargic. It would probably be a good idea to get her to focus by talking to him.

“Alexandra? I’ll bet that they call you Alex.” Her voice was fading and becoming weaker, but she responded.

“Wrong. My friends call me Lexie. However, you can call me Alexandra.”

He suppressed the urge to laugh. He had a hunch that under normal circumstances, she was a handful. “What were you doing out here Alexandra?”

“Playing in the mud with your cows. They were your cows, weren’t they?”

“Yep, they’re mine. You like cows, Alexandra?”

“I like them just fine, served up as a medium rare porterhouse.”

Her response surprised Cutter, given the effort that she had put forth to save the calf, and he told her so. “You must really like steak, to jump in the mud with a potential dinner.”

“Well…it’s just a baby. You really ought to make hamburger out of that cow, once the baby is weaned.”

“You don’t think she would make good steaks?”

“She doesn’t deserve to be steaks. She is a lousy mother, parking her baby in the middle of a road. It is like a human telling their kids to go play in traffic!”

He was not going to laugh at her or set her straight about cattle tonight, but it was a strain to keep the laughter from becoming audible. Thankfully, the house was in sight, and Jim had already alerted Maria, who was ready to take over the care of their unexpected guest. Alexandra was barely lucid, but he knew Maria would be able to handle the situation. He left her in his longtime cook and housekeeper’s care. “Maria, this is Alexandra.” Then he was back out the door to take care of his exhausted horse.

Maria was amazed that the small girl hadn’t slid through Cutter’s hold, like a slippery little fish, as he deposited her in the mudroom off the kitchen. Maria automatically guided her shivering charge to the adjacent room that housed a small tub and shower stall. She didn’t like the way Alexandra looked: she could not seem to communicate, and could barely stand on her own. A shower was out of the question, so Maria opted to use the tub.

Once the mud was washed off in the warm bath, their houseguest stopped shaking like a leaf in an early winter Norther. It was obvious to Maria as she assisted the slightly built blond from the tub that none of her own clothes would work for Alexandra. She estimated they were approximately the same height of five foot and three or four inches, but that was it. Clothes intended for Maria’s ample bosom and rounded physique would wrap around this slim girl twice, or fall off completely. Only her tall wool socks fit, but her charge would most likely expire from shock if she got a glimpse of herself, considering the expensive, fashionable clothes that she had been wearing when she arrived. Maria didn’t think the young woman’s clothing was salvageable. The best she was able to do was fetch one of Cutter’s flannel shirts. At least the blue plaid covered her to her knees, and Maria was able to roll up the long sleeves on the girls limp arms. Alexandra was barely conscious. Maria set the tea to brew, and then was able to coax Cutter’s foundling to accept an oral thermometer. Cutter was always carting home strays or injured animals when they were children, but this was no abandoned puppy. He had really outdone himself this time. Maria retrieved the thermometer as she placed the cup of tea in front of Alexandra, who was slumping in her chair and listing a bit. Maria kept a close eye on the young woman while she read the results. One hundred and four!

While her charge sipped her tea, she punched in the number for Doctor Joe. After summoning the doctor, she contacted her husband Jim. His cell only rang twice.

“I need you, Jim. This girl is really sick. She is running an extremely high temperature. You or Cutter will have to carry her to the other end of the house and put her to bed until doctor Joe gets here.”

Maria had a premonition that this rescue was going to backfire on all of them.

  Smashwords.com coupon code to use at checkout for a 50% discount good until Christmas Day. Code XD77F

 BUY LINKS: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jackieanton

PRINT & E-BOOKS:  Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/jmanton

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fateful-waters-jackie-anton/1110361203?ean=9781457513190

Book trailer: http://youtu.be/H-5D2XAHzL0

You can win a free paperback of Fateful Waters by following the instructions for the Wind River Giveaway. Indicate FW for this book.

Wind River Refuge Cover 4613“Wind River Refuge” is only available as an e-book; the print edition will be available January of 2014: Two free copies will be awarded to randomly drawn reviewers. (US Only) Every review post receives an entry; review on smashwords = 1 entry, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, and LibraryThing earn an extra point= 6 entries for all five review postings.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Early Reviews:

Review by: Joan Adamak on Nov. 23, 2013: on Smashwords.com and Amazon.

WIND RIVER REFUGE
By J.M. Anton

Loaded with action, danger and romance
This novel is a page turner from beginning to end. Jax is the beautiful, petite, fiery foster daughter of Maggie and Dex McBride. Dex’s Cousin, Garrett McBride is to pick Jax up at the Denver airport. Garrett is a large, handsome, strong male, although suffering from PTSD as a Nam Vet. He becomes angry quickly and has little patienceand he meets his counterpart in Jax.

From the very first, there is a continual friction and admiration between these two, but neither wants to admit this weakness. Their on-again, off-again romance heightens the danger for Jax as there is a murderer on the loose, whom no one can identifyand it is only through attempts on Jax’s life that this becomes obvious.
The author does a tremendous task of character building with her several actors in this story so that you feel you know each main character thoroughly, and this plot is different than most plots because of this particular essence of danger always lingering.
I highly enjoyed this story and recommend it. I was given this e-book free for an honest review.

Review by: Reynold Bowen on July 18, 2013 on Smashwords.com & Book Reviews Only Blog.
Review of Wind River Refuge
by J. M. Anton
©2013 J. M. Anton
Smashwords Edition
Cover photo by Kellie
Anton
Graphic design by S. Shipley
Thesis: This book is a story about Jax, a young woman who is about to graduate from a university in North Carolina, but decides to go home to her step parent’s ranch in Wyoming for Christmas break. It takes place in the 1970s when the Vietnam War was the basis of many family hardships.
The Story: The prologue begins the book by telling the short story about Cindy, a high school cheerleader who decided not to take a ride home from her new boyfriend. Her old boy friend’s cousin stepped in and offered her a ride, but as she would not do the things he was expecting her to do, she escaped his clutches, and ran from the car. As she tried to find her coat in the falling snow, she thought of ways that she would make him pay for his ill manners when she saw him again. Unfortunately, she never made it home.
The actual book begins when Jax, the heroine, is on her way home from Raleigh, North Carolina, to the Double D ranch in Wyoming. Dexter’s ill-mannered cousin Garret McBride, now back from Vietnam after being badly wounded, has been sent to Denver to pick her up for the final leg of the journey, and he has been told that there is a very angry step mother with a shotgun waiting for Jax, so she had better arrive in perfect health.
Jax, and Garret start off on the wrong foot, and their non-relationship goes downhill from there. This becomes even more worrying as Jax returns again in the spring after graduating, and someone attempts to murder her.
How Jax finds out who her assailant really is, and how she resolves the problem keeps the reader occupied, and on the edge of his or her seat throughout the story. It is well written, and the realistic characters have the right dialog to keep the story going while the narrative constantly reminds the reader that the author’s heart lives out in the west. The author describes winter, and spring in the Rocky Mountains so well, and with so much enthusiasm, that it is difficult not to want to move there instantly.
J. M. Anton’s last book used Texas as a background, while this book moves a few states north, and makes the reader want to read her next adventure not only to follow the exciting story, but also to see where she will go next. Finally, this adventure takes place towards the end of the Vietnam War, and again lets everyone know just how many problems the soldiers of that era brought back with them.
This book is a good story, with a plot that always keeps the reader on track until the climax. J.M. Anton, please keep this quality of work coming in your future books.
RB

The above reviews were by published authors who received the e-book in exchange for their honest opinions. Joan’s review is particularly satisfying; her first review on “Fateful Waters” helped me revise that book to an award winning status. Your reviews don’t have to be this extensive, a few lines will do. Go to my e-mail talesbyjackie@gmail.com list the spots for your reviews; I will verify the reviews and enter your name accordingly. Winners will be notified on January 30th.

The smashwords.com coupon for 50% off Wind River Refuge is good until Christmas Day. Code ZZ49P

DIRECT LINK: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/328170

 OTHER LINKS: Amazon: Adult Romance http://www.amazon.com/author/jmanton

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Wind-River-Refuge?store=allproducts&keyword=Wind+River+Refuge

Book Teaser: http://youtu.be/ig3jvBzFKsE

E-Mail: talesbyjackie@gmail.com

Author Website: http://talesbyjackie.com

Autograph for on line purchasers: : http://www.authorgraph.com/authors/backyardhorse

Adult Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/authorjmanton?ref=hl

Happy Holidays! Check back in the next two weeks for a few Christmas tales.

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