Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Lots To Be Grateful For...Always


                                               by Laura Crum

            Some tough things have happened lately. Both to me and to others I know. I’m not going to pretend. As my friend Funder put it recently (I’m paraphrasing here—hope that’s OK, Funder), I never wanted to be a “sunshine and roses” blogger. Though I do post quite a few photos of sunshine and roses, actually. But sad things do happen, people do behave unkindly when they could just as easily be kind, people respond to honesty with fear…etc. This is part of life, and I don’t choose to live in denial, either in my own mind or in my writing. I try to be honest. With myself and with others. So this includes writing about the negative stuff here on the blog. And have you ever noticed, those negative or controversial posts draw a LOT more response than my happy posts about all that is good in my life?
            But…the truth is that I spend most of my time contemplating the good things. It’s a considered choice. I do have a really good life—by my own standards, anyway. I drive an old, beat up pickup that most folks would be ashamed of, I live in a 750 sq foot off-the-grid house that doesn’t include a TV or a dishwasher or many other things that people seem to regard as essential, and I have an ancient flip phone that won’t hold a charge that I use only for emergencies. (It doesn’t even text or take photos—imagine that.) I don’t go on elegant vacations to fancy resorts, or out to see famous musicians perform, or wear expensive clothes on trips to the city, or compete on my horses any more. I tend to avoid parties and big social events of any kind, and after years of avoiding such things, I don’t get invited to them much. It’s true that I have had some sad things happen recently and I am still processing them.
It doesn’t sound like a very glamorous life, does it? Certainly no life for an extrovert. But I still wouldn’t swap places with anyone I know.
            Because I have the things I really want, the things I’ve wanted all my life…every single one of them has come true. And this gives me pleasure every day.
            I have a husband and son that I love with my whole heart, and four beloved horses who have carried me for many, many miles that live with me. I have some good friends who have been my friends for years and who are like family to me. I can see no other houses from my front porch (very important to me); I live on a small “mini-ranch” that I designed and built (along with my husband) from the ground up. We own it free and clear. I love my barn and corrals and riding ring, my garden, my home, the little guest house, the wild land that surrounds us…everything about our property delights me.
            I watch the wild animals that wander through every day, I admire the spring daffodils, and in their time, the big rambling roses (that I planted myself twenty years ago), and gaze at the goldfish in the pond. I turn the horses loose to graze and putter around the property, and take great pleasure in the sun glinting on their coats. We eat food that we have raised ourselves-- every single day. Salad from my husband’s little greenhouse, vegetables from the veggie garden, eggs from our chickens, grass-fed beef from our own pasture. All these things are such a gift—and also the result of carefully considered choices.
            Almost every evening I sit on the front porch (or the back porch) with a cocktail in my hand and watch the light die out of the evening sky while my husband plays his wild and wailing highland pipes and the old Scottish music drifts over the ridge. (All you fans of “Outlander,” eat your hearts out—I have the real thing.) Every morning I watch the sun rise, with a cup of hot tea in my hand and a little dog curled up beside me (also two cats and a boy, usually). It’s a good life. And it’s the life I want.
            Yes, I am lucky--though very many people wouldn’t want my life. For those who say that they do, well, other than luck, it’s been about choices. Choosing to buy a piece of raw land and live here in an old travel trailer for seven years…because that was the ONLY way I could afford a horse property in this part of the world, and I knew (all my life) that I wanted a horse property. So while my 30ish friends bought houses, I bought a piece of empty land—and developed it as I could afford it (didn’t have a house for seven years, but had a barn the second year I lived here—priorities, you know).
            It’s still about choices today. I choose to stay home and live my quiet, private life, with time to watch sunsets and sunrises and have dinner every night with my family and such as that. And what this really amounts to is saying no. No to all the “fun” social things and opportunities and distractions that would have me out and about and doing, rather than home looking at the sky and the wild critters and the blooming plum tree. Saying no isn’t fashionable. We are urged to say “yes” to life. But guess what?  It’s saying no that brings time and space to my days. And I am so grateful for that time and space.
            So here are some recent glimpses of my life…perhaps you can see why I am filled with gratitude, even when I am sad.

Our house with plum blossoms.


My husband building a trellis for his greenhouse plants.


First tulips of spring on Valentine’s Day 2014—with Tigger.


A cozy place to nap—Shadow and Star.


Henry is about to knock on the back door.


Daffodils on the back porch.


My boy and his little dog.


Sunrise from my front porch.


Early blossom on Westerland rose…. maybe I am a sunshine and roses blogger.


The view from my little yellow horse.



It’s a good life.

Friday, February 21, 2014

On Writing: Ideas!

I'm actually going to blog about writing for once since I am in the middle of a book proposal.  This will be for the third book in the Dog Chronicle series, which I am writing for Peachtree Publishers. Darling: Mercy Dog of World War 1 was out last fall. I just finished revising Murphy: Gold Rush Dog and am eagerly waiting for art/cover. Now I am working on the next book, tentatively titled Finder: Coal Mine Dog.

When you write any kind of a series (even a limited one such as Dog Chronicles that is one book a year), finding fresh and exciting ideas is super important.  Usually I don't read series books because after the first two or three, the writer gets sloppy or repetitive or stale.  Not always--some authors manage to make their series 'pop' from book A to book Z, and many readers love series because of the character growth and familiarity.

Finding a great idea for these dog books is key for me to stay interested because the process --research, writing, revising, more research--is lengthy. If I get bored with the topic, I know the reader will be bored. I've written over sixty books and I try to make each one the 'best,' so finding the idea that can turn into a page turner is important.

Sometimes a book will trigger an idea, sometimes a photo. Years ago I read about pit ponies that were used in coal mines in England. I also heard Susan Campbell Bartoletti speak and bought her book  Growing up in Coal Country.  I was fascinated by both and thought that one day I would combine the two--kids and ponies working in a coal mine, perhaps in the series I was working on, Horse Diaries.

That never happened because the series ended, but suddenly, the two ideas came together again with Finder.  Research helped me pinpoint a setting (a coal mine disaster in 1909) but here was the problem--there is no mention of dogs working in the mine I have chosen.  There are two notations of dogs working in coal mines in the early 1900s, so I know they were used. And the photo to the right is proof,
but that's pretty much it.  My story will be factual in many ways except that Finder and the job he does in the coal mine will be totally fiction based on my speculation of how they were used.

Only time will tell if this idea--a boy and his dog in a coal mine disaster--will make a great story!

Where do you get your best ideas? And did they always work out?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Never Rains But It Pours


                                    by Laura Crum

            This would be us. After months of no rain and lots of whining about drought, we got five inches in one week. I am not complaining—we needed that rain. Still, it has created a new problem for me. Because the drought was what was allowing my 34 year old horse, Gunner, to make it through the winter.
            The sunny, seventy degree days and the dry ground were stress free for my old horse, who has severely arthritic knees and is pretty shaky and fragile overall. He was eating well, not too lame, seemed quite content. And then the storms blew in.
            Overnight we went from sunny and dusty to our usual winter conditions—cold, wet and muddy. And the obvious solution-- put Gunner in a run with a shed--won’t work.  Gunner’s anxiety and old-horse dementia has gotten more pronounced and he gets very upset if ANYTHING is changed. He is only comfortable if he is in his big, open corral, with Plumber on one side and Henry on the other. If I change anything, Gunner worries. If I catch Plumber to have him trimmed, Gunner begins running around in a panic, afraid that I will remove his friend. It’s becoming very difficult to cope with.
            Because if I let Gunner run around these days, particularly in the mud, he always falls down. And falling down is how he tweaked his already arthritic knee last spring and transformed himself from a sound old horse to a lame old horse. Not a positive change. Ever since then I have had to manage his lameness issues, along with his lessening appetite and his old horse dementia. It’s a challenge.
            I don’t in any way begrudge the time, energy and money that I give to taking care of Gunner—I do stress when I worry that his quality of life just isn’t good enough. If he is too lame, too thin, not happy…well, there comes a time when it is kinder to put him down. I am walking a line here, and I want to try very hard not to err on the side of keeping Gunner alive when his life is no longer any pleasure to him. On the other hand, I don’t want to take his life until he is ready to let go of it. I try to do for him what I would want done for me.
            So I double blanket Gunner and check on him endlessly as the rain pours down—to be sure that he is warm and dry under his blankets and his eye is reasonably bright. I worry that he eats about half of what he was eating before the storms started. I worry that he is miserable and that this is no life for an old horse. But I know from experience that he will be even more unhappy if I put him in my small covered shed where he would be out of the weather. If I change anything it upsets Gunner. I cannot put Plumber in the covered shed because I can’t move him or Gunner freaks out, so I blanketed Plumber, and then Gunner was upset because his buddy looked different with a blanket on. It really is getting very difficult to manage.
            And yet, I just lost my old dog a couple of weeks ago—I don’t want to lose my old horse if I can help it. My son was so sad when Jojo died—she’d been part of his life ever since he was born. The same is true of Gunner. We love him very much. So I persist—doing the best I can to take care of him, and worrying that it’s not enough.
            I know that those of you with older, much-loved horses will understand. This is a hard path to walk. But…and I always remind myself of this…it’s a far better path (in my view) than losing a young horse unexpectedly, or a horse in the prime of life. Gunner has had a very good, long life, even if he dies tomorrow (which I hope he doesn’t). Just like our sweet old dog. And that’s a good thing.

Gunner and Plumber last summer.

            

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Announcing - THE SPRINGTIME CAT

by Linda Benson

No, we are not turning this into a cat blog. (Although all of us have a little Cat Lady hidden inside somewhere, right?) *raises hand*

But my newest piece of short fiction, called THE SPRINGTIME CAT is now available as an eBook on Amazon for $0.99, and I just wanted to share the news!

Eleven-year-old Dee Chase finds an injured tabby cat hiding in a blackberry patch. As the animal regains health and sneaks its way into Dee's heart, it helps Dee handle a rough patch going on with her family. But the cat keeps coming up with surprises, and ultimately will heal Dee's family in unexpected ways.

This short story from Linda Benson, award-winning author of books about the human-animal bond, will surely touch your heart in any season.


I posted recently about how writing short fiction is re-energizing my writing in general, and this story is no exception. It came from the heart, and although only about 40 pages, it has touched some deep feelings in a few readers already. I hope some of you will give it a try. Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/The-Springtime-Cat-Tales-ebook/dp/B00IBOQZU6

And for those of you who have snow, here's wishing you Spring very soon!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Barn Drama


                                                by Laura Crum

            Those of you who read this blog regularly know that I keep my horses at home and am spared any boarding stable drama (thankfully). But I heard this story and for a number of reasons it really spoke to me. So I thought I’d put it out there and get your input.
            I have a friend—I’ll call her Lisa. Lisa’s daughter, Zoe, keeps her horse at a local boarding stable. The horse has been there for four years, during which time Zoe made friends with three other similar aged girls who also kept their horses there, including the barn owner’s daughter. These four girls took a lesson together from the BO once a week and met several other days a week to ride and hang out.
            As these things go, Lisa became friends with the other girls’ moms over the years and had the girls over to her house many times. She held one mom’s hand when they lost their horse to colic, and helped with horse shopping for the replacement. She had the BO’s daughter over to her own house for many days in a row when the BO’s mom was dying of cancer and the BO needed to spend time sans child, hanging out with her dying mom. She let one of the other little girls ride Zoe’s horse for six months while that girl’s horse was healing up from a soft tissue injury. In short, they were all good friends and helped each other out. Or so Lisa thought.
            Lisa noticed this last summer, as the girls were all about to enter junior high, that the other girls were becoming interested in clothes and boys and make-up and hairstyles and what was cool versus what was not cool. Zoe, on the other hand, remained in a more child-like space, even though she was thirteen. She still liked the same things she always had-- horses and books and playing piano and the simple online games she was allowed to play. She hadn’t a clue about “cool.” And Lisa could see that the other girls were starting to avoid Zoe.
            More and more often she would arrive at the barn to pick Zoe up, only to find Zoe off in her horse’s stall and the other girls chatting together by the hitching rail. When Lisa watched the group lesson, Zoe sat by herself on one side of the ring, while the other girls clumped together on their horses, talking and giggling. Zoe had always been closest to the BO’s daughter of all the girls, but now J, the daughter, seemed the most stand-offish of all.
            Zoe seemed sad, but accepting. When Lisa asked her about it, Zoe just said, “I don’t think they want to be my friends any more.” But Zoe still looked forward to going to the barn and the group lesson and was quick to tell Lisa when any small friendly thing happened.
            Still, Lisa worried, especially when she saw that the girls often ignored Zoe when she spoke to them. Lisa didn’t feel comfortable exerting any pressure on the kids, so she emailed the BO, asking if she could encourage the girls to be a little more inclusive of Zoe, at least during the lesson, and mentioning that Zoe felt a bit sad over the way the others were treating her.
            The BO made a non-committal response, and Lisa noticed that the shunning behavior continued, especially when the girls thought no adult was looking. And then Lisa’s mother was stricken with cancer and overnight the stress load on Lisa’s family doubled.
            Once again, Lisa emailed the BO, telling her what was happening, sure that the BO would understand, having been through this ordeal herself, and asking the BO to encourage the girls to be inclusive of Zoe, who really needed the support of her friends. To her absolute amazement, the BO emailed back saying that Zoe didn’t really fit into the group dynamic any more and she thought that maybe it would be better if Zoe didn’t participate in the group lesson.
            Lisa could not believe what she was hearing. Still, in an effort not to burn any bridges, she emailed back, telling the BO that Zoe really valued the group lesson and still considered the other barn girls her friends and that this social outlet was really valuable to her daughter. Once again she asked the BO to please consider encouraging the girls to be inclusive and kind to Zoe at this difficult point in her life—and added that surely the many hours these girls had all spent playing happily together made it appropriate for the other girls to be at least pleasant to Zoe now, even if they didn’t want to be close friends with her any more.
            To Lisa’s absolute amazement, the BO responded by saying that maybe Lisa had better look for a new barn where she might find new friends who would appreciate her daughter, and that she, the BO, could no longer include Zoe in the group lesson, as she was “ruining the group learning dynamic” for the other girls.
            And that was that. Lisa approached the other moms, protesting this treatment by the BO, and one mom (the one whose child had borrowed their horse for six months) said, “It’s not my problem and I don’t want to get involved.” The other mom just said, “It’s her barn—I guess she can do what she wants.” Neither mom seemed to care at all about the pain this shunning was causing both Zoe and Lisa.
            When Lisa told me this story, she made sure to say that she didn’t blame the kids. Junior high kids are an intolerant lot and are prone to acting like this. She understood that Zoe, their former friend, seemed impossibly uncool to them now and they found her embarrassing. But that the parents would throw in with this excluding behavior was mind boggling to Lisa.
            As she put it, “If it were another girl being excluded, I would have told my daughter to straighten up and fly right and be at least reasonably friendly and polite to a girl who had been our friend for years. I never would have tolerated seeing one of the girls excluded like this. I would have spoken up to the BO in no uncertain terms.
            “What gets me,” Lisa went on, “is that these moms are always posting on facebook about compassion and kindness and quoting the Dalai Llama and such, and yet it never seems to have occurred to even one of them that they are being tremendously unkind to a child and a family who were never anything but kind, supportive and hospitable to them. For years. Every single one of these moms has told me at one time or another how much they valued my friendship and support and how much they appreciated Zoe for her sweet, honest nature. And yet they are fine with excluding us in this hurtful way at a time in our lives when we REALLY needed the support of our friends. I truly don’t understand this. How can they post this shit about compassion on facebook? How can they even look at themselves in the mirror? I sure couldn’t if I had behaved the way they’ve behaved.”
            So Lisa is looking for another barn. Zoe is no longer going to the group lesson and avoids the barn, feeling that she isn’t wanted. Both mother and daughter are very sad—after four years of regarding these folks as their good friends, it has all blown up in their faces over some junior high stupidity. And at a time when they are already stressed over Lisa’s mom’s cancer diagnosis.
            When Lisa asks me how they could behave this way toward her and Zoe, I have no answer. I don’t understand how people can behave like this. I don’t get it at all. I would no more turn away from a friend in need of help and give her/him a cold shoulder than I would jump off a cliff and try to fly. So I’m putting the question out to all of you. How can these people look at themselves in the mirror after treating a friend (and a child) this way, let alone trot around acting like they are such “good” people and putting up quotes about kindness and love on facebook? 
            Can anyone explain this shit?
             

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Saying Goodbye


                                                            by Laura Crum

            We said goodbye to our old dog, Jojo last week. I can’t really find words for how sad we all were, but those of you who have lost a loved animal already know without my telling you. I can find some comfort in the fact that Jojo was 16 years old, a good long life for a dog. Jojo’s 16th birthday was Superbowl Sunday. She was born on Superbowl Sunday sixteen years ago—the Broncos were in it that year, too. And this year, on her 16th birthday, Jojo began to fail.
            She had been living with a host of old animal problems—congestive heart failure, kidney issues, vertigo, poor hearing and sight, a mild dementia. But overall, she seemed happy, her appetite was good, she would play a bit with our young dog and hopped on the bed every night to sleep. She did the chores with me and could still go on short beach walks. All this was true right up until a week ago Saturday.
            That night Jojo was very uncomfortable and got us up many times. And on Sunday she would not eat and was clearly very down. We gave it a couple of days, because Jojo had come through several setbacks and been OK a few days later. I did not take her to the vet. I will not ever again put a very old animal through diagnostic work in an attempt to prolong its life. In my experience (and I have gone this route when I was younger), the animal merely goes through some unnecessary grief before it is euthanised. And so we kept Jojo as comfortable as we could and waited to see if she would improve.
            By Tuesday I knew that she was failing. Her eyes and gums had a yellowish cast, which indicates liver failure. She would drink water, she could totter around—barely. She would not eat. She lay on the couch all day and I petted her and told her what a good dog she was. She seemed weak, but peaceful. She took a couple of short strolls and lay in the sun while we did chores. But her breathing was a little labored. I made the appointment for my vet to come out the next day.
            I have to admit, I really hoped that Jojo would pass on her own that night. I have friends whose dogs died quietly in their sleep. I always think this would be such a blessing. But it never happens for me. And so again, I held my loved animal while the vet administered the kill shot.
            Jojo died very peacefully, here at home, on the couch. The vet has known her since she was a puppy. I stroked her and told her I loved her. And her spirit went free.
            I am so sad. But I am also accepting. This is what it is to love an animal. This is life. Jojo was sixteen years old. If I had a wish, when she was a sweet little blue-eyed puppy, it might have been that she would live to be sixteen and have a happy life. That wish has come true.
            Jojo was our dog before we had a child. My little boy has never known one moment of life when she was not his companion. She crossed the country with us on our camper trips to Michigan seven different times. She camped with us in the Sierras and hiked with us through the coastal hills and on the beach so many, many times. She raised our little dog, Star, with good grace, just as she raised my little boy. Jojo has always been a very sweet dog. Those of you who have read my mystery novels will realize that she is the model for “Freckles.”


            We buried Jojo under the apple tree and we cried for her. One more sad thing. But not an entirely sad thing. Jojo, our sweet dog, had a good long life and we loved her and did our best for her right up until the end. She had a peaceful passing after one not-good morning. This is pretty much the best outcome life has to offer.
            Good-bye Jojo. We love you.


            

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Don't ever let them see you sweat

It's all my fault. Last month, I paid off my vet bill. Then, in a stunning act of d'oh, I announced it in front of my horses.

Frostie promptly scraped her cannon bone on her right hind leg. It was a tiny cut, so we just cleaned it.

A week later, the cut was gooey. This time, we disinfected it carefully, sprayed that purple stuff on it and wrapped it.

Two weeks later, the hair around the cut began to crust over and peel off - with the skin. Soon, the quarter-sized injury was growing longer and wider.



I'm sure you can see where this is going.

Day after day, no matter how we cleansed the area, the skin continued to peel away, leaving a gooey surface that crusted over. I did what any responsible horse owner would do.

The good news is, the leg did not seem to cause her any pain.

video


I panicked and called Dr. Brigid (Murphy) to come out and look at it.

She diagnosed it as being either bacterial or fungal, and we hit it with antibiotics and antifungal cream. The area responded almost immediately. For the next ten days, I dutifully schlepped to the ranch to treat her leg, unwrapping it, washing and drying before reapplying the cream and re-wrapping.



I'm happy to report Frostie's leg is looking like normal skin again. The hair is even growing back. But I swear, I'm never going to let the horses know I've paid off the vet.

How about you? Ever have something little blow up into something huge?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Writing Short Fiction

by Linda Benson

Every writer gets stuck in a rut from time to time. You might have writer's block - although most writing advice is to forget that term and just sit down and WRITE - Anything! You might have slow sales, or be tired of the series you are working on, or just plain tired of writing! (It's not the glamorous job many dream of - but darn hard work.) Sometimes you just have so much else going on in your life that you can't actively concentrate on putting a novel together.

In my case, quite a few factors came into play for me, and I wasn't writing for awhile. Taking a mental break, I preferred to call it. Ruminating. Or letting the tea leaves settle.



But suddenly, I got all jazzed up again when I finished a short story about a kitten. (Who woulda thought?) I indie-published this short read, which I called The Winter Kitten, a couple of months before Christmas, and it's doing quite well. Not only here in the United States, but also in the UK, and I've even sold copies in Japan.

The best part of all this is that I discovered I really enjoy writing this length of work. In fact, I have a series planned now, called Cat Tales. The second one, called The Springtime Cat, will be out soon.

So - short fiction. In my case, these stories are about 10,000 -12,000 words long, which loosely translates (with cover, acknowledgements etc.) into about 40 pages, more or less, of reading material. And I'm finding that writing is suddenly fun for me again, because it's a challenge to come up with a complete story line, characters, plot with problems, conclusion, and hopefully pull some emotion from the reader also, in these few short words. Yes, I said that. Fun again!

And I believe there's a market for this kind of fiction also. Remember when magazines used to have short stories in them, and they were often really, really good? Today, with people's attentions distracted in myriad directions (thanks to the good old internet, blogs, our fast-moving society, etc.) I think there is even more of a market for short reads. Yes, I'd like to call them that. Short reads! Sounds a little sexier than short stories, don't you think? They lend themselves perfectly to reading on eReaders of all sorts - on Kindles, tablets, iPads, Phones, and even computers. And this category of short fiction could encompass longer things, like our own Natalie Keller Reinhert's Claiming Christmas, which comes in at about 90 pages (and is quite good, by the way!)

So I just wanted to share my excitement about how this new length of fiction has kick-started my writing career again, as well as my writing ambition. Funny, huh? (And all because of a kitten.)

Yes, I'm thinking of stories involving dogs, donkeys, chickens, ducks and yes, of course, even horses!

What about you? Have you read any short fiction lately? (Or written any?) 

Does it fit your busy lifestyle? Share your thoughts with us!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Expos(ed)

By Gayle Carline
Author and Horse Butler

Last year, when I released Snoopy's memoir, I decided to do a little extra advertising, so I took some ads out in a few horse magazines. This led one magazine editor to put me in touch with a woman in charge of the "Book Corral" at the Western States Horse Expo in Sacramento. They were offering author booths for free - would I like to come up and sell my books?

Geez, all I have to do is get a hotel room, schlep my stuff into the minivan and drive seven hours north. What could be the down side?

Well, there's the weather. Sacramento in June experienced record highs. I mean people fainting, pavement nuking, H-E-A-T.

And there's the fact that our author "booths" were outside. Yes, we were in a shady area, surrounded by ferns. Still, the sun peeked through from time to time, curling book covers, and melting the mascara from my lashes.

Here I am, melting.


The "booths" themselves were tables, covered by plastic tablecloths, which is all I need. I was smart enough to carry my books in a sealed plastic tub. Each night, we packed up and stored everything under the table. Each morning, the sprinklers watered the ferns... and our tables.

I mention this because we all took great pains to cover our stuff, except for one author, who was a psychic. Shouldn't she have known?

My new pal, Kathryn Roberts, found some slammin' boots.


With all that, over the 3-day event, I sold exactly eight books each day. It doesn't sound like a lot, and I certainly didn't cover all my expenses, but I sold more than a lot of the others. Some folks didn't sell any.

When I was approached to be in the Book Corral for the Pomona Horse Expo this weekend (Feb. 7-9), everything about Sacramento should have made me decline. Working from 9-6 in a questionable environment to sell one book an hour does not seem like a good use of my time. Plus, they are no longer offering author tables for free - they're now $75 for the weekend.

Why bother?

BECAUSE IT'S FUN!

Even in the stifling heat, I got to meet people, talk about horses, and autograph books. Okay, 24 of them, but still. It's 24 more people to have Snoopy's story, and when you are an author-publisher, you build your readership brick by brick. I only wish Snoopy could come with me, but there wouldn't be enough room for him at the table. Plus, he'd eat the books and throw the chairs around.

So if you live in the Southern California area and want to spend a weekend immersed in horses, horse breeds, horse training, horse equipment and yes, horse books, come to the Pomona Fairplex. I'll be in Building 6 with other authors - and mini-Snoopy.



I probably won't have mini-Snoopy on display all the time. He's absolutely priceless, having been specially made for me by a young friend of mine. So if you come to Pomona and stop by my table and he's not out, ask me where he is, and I'll give you $2 off a copy of his book.

BTW, I made a book video as special advertising for the event.



Hope to see you in Pomona!