Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Time Draws Near....

Tomorrow, I hop in the Prius and take a little drive. No, not a little drive, a long F***ing drive to Pittsburgh. Why? You ask? Well, it's not everyday that one of my books gets chosen for a year end award. Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm ecstatic. I just hate driving. But, hubby has to stay home with the 4 legged menagerie so I can attend the Military Writer's Society of America conference. I've never been, and I hope I learn a lot.  

Truthfully, I'm not exactly sure why my book was picked amongst all the others out there. Yeah, I think it's a good book with a good story, but am I really that good of a writer? Perhaps, perhaps not. I'm pretty confident there are quite a few good authors in the MWSA, and I feel privileged to have been selected. So, I'll see Saturday night what level of award Project: Dragonslayers will win. Even if it is honorable mention, I still feel proud that my very first novel made it that far. It gives me inspiration to keep writing, and to keep improving my stories. And I was pleased to find that the second book in the series: Mind Games, got selected for the summer reading list--another cool kudo. I was even more proud because that was my very first completely Indie produced book. I only had the help of my copy editor, Joyce, and two artists: Becky and Erika who did custom drawings for me, and one big armed guy who helped be my cover model. Other than that, I did it all on my own. With Mind Games, I'm extremely proud and hope that will get an award next year.

I recently joined a new group on Facebook, and after introducing myself politely, and stating that I was new to writing that particular genre, I had someone slam me and call me a hack since I was hoping to publish my first book in that genre in a couple of months. This person thought I had no clue as to what I was doing. I POLITELY explained that I was not a hack, have 3 books published, and take my writing seriously and have no intention of smearing the Indie author name. I am a professional. Yes, my hackles we up and I was in combat mode- how DARE someone call me a hack without even getting to know me first. Well, after a hearty, yet still polite rebuke, this person backed off, stating that perhaps they were a bit rash in their judgement. Thank you. But perhaps it might not be good to shoot first and ask questions later. All that person did was make themselves look stupid to their peers. I don't wish that on anyone, we're all in this business to create stories and get them out to readers- competition or not, we should play nice.

Farm life has been nothing but MUD. The board fenced paddocks for the horses are either totally bare mud, or the new ones we're trying to grow some nice grass for next year. With that, we needed to find a place to stick 3 horses- and they can't go out together. Well, I had this bright idea of stringing temporary hot wire fences. OK, good idea, except the horses quickly figured out the wire wasn't hot. We went into town and all 3 were in there separate paddocks munching happily away on grass. We got home to find the mare loose, running over to her loverboy gelding, springing him out of the wire, and then they ran over the hill and broke the stallion out. Chaos and mayhem!! Oh Crap!! We got the car in the yard and started running after horses. Thank God we had the whole perimeter around the farm house and barn fenced, so they didn't get far. But they all knew they were in trouble and ran around refusing to get caught. A loose stallion is a very bad thing! Not to mention, the mare was coming into season, and we didn't really want to have a pregnancy at this time of year. After 20 minutes of running and frantically trying to get the horses into some of the bare paddocks, we finally managed to get them. Whew! Not fun! The very next day, we went out and bought fence chargers. Oh, that was a treat seeing them test the fence for the first time. Yeah, they pretty much respect Mr. Zappy now! Unfortunately the puppy, Wellie, decided to go under the wire on the stallions fence- which is plugged into 120v outlet. Poor little guy got one heck of a shock and ran off yelping- right through the other side of the fence and into the house where I found him hiding under the dinner table. Lesson learned for him. The other dog got her lesson a day later. Now I just wish the cats would respect my need for sleep. Do they make anti-meow collars for them?

Until next time my creatively obsessed friends,



Saturday, September 10, 2011

ALMOST as good as it gets

Right, once again I have been amiss about blogging. So, smack me! No, now that all the hay crop is in for the year, I had a little time to set back and really enjoy the quiet life of farming. The other night my neighbor across the street (yes, we do have a couple of neighbors in the valley) came over and wanted to go fishing in our pond. So I decided to go. Hubby is in NJ dealing with a break-in to our house which we have STILL yet to sell. Grabbing my things, we headed down the street. This is the same neighbor we had to rush to hospital in my last blog- so you can see, he's doing better.

Getting the tackle and rods out of the barn, I decided to go with a shiny spinner. No sooner had I made a couple of casts, I hooked a 12" big mouth bass. Nice! Got that one off the hook and made a few more casts. Bam! Hooked a 13" big mouth. By now, my neighbor is still fumbling with his worm, and I've caught two very tasty looking fish. He's not amused. I am! After about 2 hours of fishing, I had another large blue gill, and he had nothing. We decided to take what I had in the freezer from a previous outing and fry everything up for dinner that night.

Most of the time, when I catch fish, I kinda leave them out to die without having to "dispatch" them myself. Well, couldn't do that this time, so he gave me a pair of pliers and I had to whack the fish on the noggin. I don't like killing things- honestly. But, I had to remind myself I'm also a farmer, and there WILL be a time in my life I'll have to kill something larger than a mouse. So I dispatched my fish and began the process of learning how to cut filets off it. It wasn't difficult, and after maybe an hour we had enough to feed us all.

In the kitchen, it was washing, dipping in egg, then flour, and frying. When it finally arrived on my plate and I took that first bite, I realized just how nice it was to have my own pond. Fish so fresh it was swimming less than two hours ago- you can't get any better than that- or can you?

Yesterday, after all the barn chores were done, I had a little time to myself. The lawn around the farm house needed mowing, and I really didn't feel like dragging the noisy riding lawn mower inside the gates to mow. So, as I stood looking at my poor stallion, Galveston, who was begging me for some grazing time, I decided to take a chance and let him mow the lawn. I took him out of his rather bare paddock and brought him into the yard. I stayed right with him for a little bit, just to make sure he wouldn't do anything moronic. When satisfied that he was mowing happily away. I went inside, grabbed my laptop and brought it out onto the porch. Plugging in, I went to work, happily watching my 1,400 pound lawn mower chewing his way through the grass. The sounds of birds and crickets, the occasional passing car, and the munch, munch of a horse was all the noise I had.

In the few hours that I let him mow, he did a reasonable job. He's a rather environmentally friendly lawn mower- he fertilizes as he goes. Unfortunately, all the fertilizer ends up in big piles! But that's okay. He was happy, and I was happy to get another chapter done in a book I'm working on.

Sitting there, with my laptop, looking out over my farm, I realized it was almost as good as it gets. I've attained a goal in my life, but there's still so much to do. More farm chores, more books to write, and more marketing to do- blah! But all in all, life isn't too bad being a farmer/writer. I've met some nice, and interesting folks in our new world, folks who if you need help, they are there for you. Such a rarity in society these days. Dinner last night was with a bunch of my new friends as they were getting ready to head out on a trail ride. The chili was great, and so was the fellowship. Country life does indeed take a special breed to survive. I hope I can do it.

Until next time, my creatively obsessed friends.