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Sunday, November 16, 2014

I have been slack in writing my blog. So many things going on since retirement, I wonder how I ever had time to work. Days fill in so quickly, I am rethinking what is important and what isn't. This time of year, it is animals.
The sheep love the cold weather, but don't like precipitation  of any kind. The horses love to run in cold weather, it makes them feel frisky. The cows don't seem to notice the weather one way or the other. They want hay in the feeders and water in the tanks We had a new calf this week. They are usually born in the worst weather. The first one born here on the farm was born in a snow storm in a wet weather creek bed. We were sure it wouldn't make it an hour, but its mother had a sense of how to take care of it and moved it to higher ground. When it was three days old she proudly brought it up to the top of the field to show it off.

The outside dogs stay in their houses on gloomy days. They are packed with warm fresh straw and toasty warm. On sunny days they romp and play. The inside dogs are spoiled and don't want to move from in front of the fireplace.

My new book, Diggitty the Dog Saves Christmas came out last week. I'm having fun with it. Diggitty now has a stamp of her paw print and signs all the books. She still doesn't like personal appearances, so I don't bother her with them. To see the new book you can click on this link .

Right now I am working on Finding Lizzy Smith. It is a book about a 30 something woman who was a cop until her husband was shot execution style. She has too much empathy for the victims and their families and quits her job. Now, Kate Nash, is a PI. Her cases are entertaining in the background while she is working on finding her friend Lizzy Smith who misses a meeting. Two more of her friends are killed and all of this is related. Mwaaaaaaaa................ you have to read the book!

As a member of the board of the Friends of the Garst Memorial Library in Marshfield, we are planning a trivia Night for January 24, 2015. It should be fun. We will have pizza, snacks and a real MC. If you live anywhere near Marshfield , Missouri you should consider a table with your friends.

I'm going to take a more active role in Sleuth's Ink Mystery Writers next year. More news on that later. Also, I would like to add more trips to St. Louis to see the Grandkids and those people they live with and more trips to Tulsa to play with Diane.

I have a mental bucket list but now I am writing it down. I am working on visualization and trying to spend more time in meditation, watch less television and read more books. Listening isn't one of my strong points so working on it is another priority.

One of my favorite things is speaking about writing and/or encouraging people to attain their goals. I'm hoping to increase the time I spend doing that.

Happy Thanksgiving all.

Monday, September 22, 2014

One person's endeavors are another person's nightmare!

One person's endeavors are another person's nightmare!!!!

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     My philosophy on life has always been simple. A person is on his/her own path and should enjoy life the way they want. Sometimes my outlooks rise up and bite me in the butt.

There is a gentleman buying up all the land he can. On my road, he owns the farm in across the road and bought the farm down the street. Those two farms total about 1300 acres. As near as I can figure, in the last year he has bought or rented several thousand acres.

He is turning it all into pasture land for cattle. Since they are grazing in open spaces and not penned in small areas, I don't know if it is considered  factory farming.

Word is out that he would like to buy any land a farmer wants to sell.

Like I said, usually I would salute him. This time, his actions are changing my life.

He is clearing all of the land. That's right, there is not a tree, shrub or weed in sight. He puts up beautiful fences and brings in trailer loads of cows.

About now, you are saying to yourself, "There has got to be a point to this. Who cares if he raises cattle?"

Well, all of those woods he bulldozed down contained the homes of several hundred deer, coyotes, owls, mice, raccoons, badgers, opposums, bobcats, a mountain lion and several ferel cats and a million rabbits.

Can you guess where all of those animals are now? Okay, not all of them, I'm sure, but a huge number of them.

I woke up the other morning with three adult coyotes in the orchard. To put this in prospective, the orchard is about 50 feet from my bedroom window. They can't find much prey so they have become vegaterians. More specificly, they are eating every apple and pear they can get their paws on.

The sheep graze in the orchard daily, but now I have to take a shotgun out each morning and shoot it several times to scare off the coyotes so the sheep can come out.  I don't kill them because so far they haven't eaten a lamb or a calf. The one I kill might be replaced by an animal who has a taste for mutton or veal.

The owls are fighting over the mice, ferrel cats and maybe my cats if they happen to be in the wrong place at the worng time.

The ferrel cats are hungry and eating the cat food in the barn as are the raccoons, opposums and groundhogs.  This is not a good situation.

At first I didn't want to sell the farm knowing the first thing the guy is going to do is bulldoze my orchard to the ground. It is not the world's best producing orchard, but we have slaved in it for nine years. When we started the trees looked like sticks in the ground. Now they are big enough to climb.

We are getting ready to build a new green house and it has us thinking. Do we want to live here? We are now the only people on the road for 4 miles. Hum.

There is much to think about. Thought I would share this because someitmes it helps to write it down. Besides, I am a writer more than a farmer.

I was told today that there are people who come out and kill all of the coyotes. Others would come. Maybe not as many, but it only takes one or two to eat my sheep.

Of course, people are selling out here. There are many people who come along and other to buy your farm. Most people don't want all this land and the work that comes with it.

Maybe a moat is the answer. I always wanted a moat around the farm. I  get voted down every time. My first step will be to move the sheep out of the orchard and into the field next to the hoop house. Then am going to horse fence it and move the three big dogs out there and let them run. It will do several things. It will keep all of the wild life at least 7 acres from the house. For those of you who aren't farmers, picutre each acre as about the size of a football field.

It will also protect the sheep in their new space.
Okay. I am finished. Felt good to have my say.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Susan's Musings: Life on The Farm, Part Two

Susan's Musings: Life on The Farm, Part Two:   Our farm is almost 100 acres. To some it is large, to others, small. When I walk around the perimeter, it is large. When someone wants to ...

Life on The Farm, Part Two

  Our farm is almost 100 acres. To some it is large, to others, small. When I walk around the perimeter, it is large. When someone wants to hunt on it,it is too small. We have a road in front, a road on one side with houses and animals in every field.
We have a "do no harm" policy here. There are no sprays or insecticides on the fruit or veggies. The animals eat natural food and we mow and burn rather than spray the weeds.

The down side is it is nearly impossible to keep up with it and still have any kind of life. We had to make our mark in the sand and declare sustainable or pristine. Unless one works 24-7, it will not be weed free and mowed all at the same time.

Our apples and pears are some of the sweetest you have ever tasted. Because we have to fight every bug and bird for two hundred miles, they are small and have blemishes. When I was selling them at the Farmer's Market several years ago I used the slogan "Beauty is only skin deep, healthy goes clear to the core."

It worked. I sold everything worth eating.. We make cider, applesauce, applebutter and dried apples with the rest.

The only sad parts of the farm are the cows and sheep. We don't want to eat meat from the grocery store. I don't want antibiotics, hormones or extra fat in my meat. I am a true believer that you are what you eat eats.

Cows are cute. They are not the smartest creatures on earth but they become like pets. The sad part is we can't keep them all. The boys get sold as either bulls for another farm or they go to market for meat.We sell them off the farm and deliver them to the butcher for our customer also. It is decidedly more humane than a feed lot. Farm fresh meat tastes like nothing you eat in a restaurant.

The sheep are even harder to part with. We lamb in the spring unless a ram gets feisty and goes to visit the girls without permission. It happened last week and we may be having lambs in January. Oh joy. I love lamb and again, I don't eat meat away from the farm. You will never see me order chicken or lamb or a burger out. I have become an expert on Caesar salad. I am going to a dinner Friday night and there are no choices other than meat or seafood. I will choose the shrimp and try not to think about it.

There is not a feeling in the world like walking out on a brisk morning and watching the horses run. They love the cool weather. The sound of horses hooves pounding on the cold hard ground is refreshing.

My second favorite sound is cows and horses chewing hay or grass. Sometimes it is the only sound I hear in the early morning.

I can be in the worst mood ever and turn it around by taking a walk around the farm. I love that the tip of every tree branch reaches to the sky. I love it that the squirrels run and play when I am within three feet of them because they are used to me.
 Every sunset is spectacular and every sunrise promises a fresh start to a new day and infinite possibilities. Do yourself a favor and spend part of each day in nature, if you do nothing more than to sit quietly on your back porch.

I sometimes play a game where I close my eyes and listen. What do I hear close to me? Then I expand my awareness and listen for things far away. Try it. You will be surprised how relaxed you are in only a minute or two.

People ask why I live so far out and make the drive to Springfield when I want to go somewhere like  church or see a movie. It is because there is no substitute for my nature fix every day.

Life is Good and it just keeps getting better.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Joys of Living in the Country, REALLY?

    I find myself getting up two hours early to drive to Springfield for a meeting. The sheep must be let out into the field. Everyone has to have water and all the dogs and cats are sure their throats have been cut. After all, they haven't eaten since last night, a long 9 hours ago. They are being annoying and hovering around because I might forget to feed them. It matters not that none of them have ever missed a meal.

I know what your thinking. You think I am whining. If you don't like living on the farm, move to the city. It is not as simple as it seems.

We have 10 dogs, 6 cats, 24 cows, 12 calves, 19 meat sheep, two mules, five horses and 4 donkeys.
When I think of moving to the city my first dilemma  is who will I get rid of.

No one. They are all near and dear to me. The outside dogs, Bo, Woody and Odi have never been out of the yard. I can leave the gate open but they will not come through it. God have mercy on any turtle , snake, or raccoon who gets off path and goes into their territory. On the other hand, they are only kings of their domain and they don't want to increase it.

Zoi, the basset hound lives in another area because she is so obnoxious, the dogs don't even like her.
Now, who would take these wonderful animals and love them like we do.

Did I mention, Roady, the boxer without a brain? You heard me correctly, this boxer has no brain. She would kill herself to get inside and out of a thunderstorm or away from the sound of gunshots during hunting season.  I had hopes of giving her away once. The advertisement for her would have read as follows:  Free to good home, A boxer.Lovable, doesn't come when she is called. Loves to chase sheep and bite at their legs, eats her way though chain link fence and outside doors to escape loud noises. Once got into the dog food and ate 40 pounds. Pooped for two weeks and drank water continually for 11  days.  Will deliver.

Trust me, no one answeredthe ad.

Now we have Diggitty the Dog, Chi Chi,  and Pinny, along with Gambie and Jack. They would be more than happy to let a thief in, show them where the treasures are hidden and help them carry it to the get-away- car. Are you getting the gist of why I live here?

Let's talk cats! Spooky (got him at Halloween) is almost 15 and lives on the back porch. I don't think he ever leaves the back yard. Greatest cat ever. Jersey Girl, is a hunter. She comes up for dinner about 6 each evening. If she doesn't come I get a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach. Splash and Jesse live in the wood shop and when we came home from vacation last time there was a kitten in there. She had torn the screen and come in to live. See, life is so good here they break in to become a member of the Bowen Creek Farm Family.

This is running a little long so I will stop for today. Look for part two of  Life on the Farm in a few days.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Everyone has a different idea of retirement

What is retirement to you? Have you dreamed about traveling the world by car, boat or train. Perhaps your dream is to sell everything and travel in an RV. Maybe you want to sit in a chair. prop your feet on an ottoman and do nothing hour after hour.

I want to do all of these things depending on the day. I also want to build furniture, paint pictures, write books, garden, ride my bike, visit my kids and grandkids and walk the America's Trail.
Oh, I forgot I love to play with the outside dogs, pet the sheep, watch the calves romp in the pasture and cuddle with the inside dogs.

Once a friend said I wore her out. She said she was glad she didn't have to try to keep up with me.  Opps, sorry. Now I don't boast I am good at any of these things, but I enjoy them. I also love to cook, and am about to launch a series of notecards made from pictures I took.

On the downside, I am not neat. Actually, I resemble Pigpen from Peanuts in the respect that dirt follows me. I am clean, but not neat. Some of my friends complain because I never call. Another flaw I have is when I am done for the day, it would not dawn on me to sit down and call someone just to see what they are doing. Don't get me wrong, I love my friends and I am blessed to have a lot of them. On the other hand, I  my family is so small we could hold an annual reunion in the back of an SUV.

I first realized I was different when I would go shopping with my friends and they would oh and ah over a painting or a picture they couldn't afford to buy. They were saving their allowance for it. I on the other hand looked at the same object deciding how to make it. Different strokes for different folks.

I take some sayings literally. "If not now-when? If not me-who?" When I get up I thank the Universe for letting me partake in the day and the infinite possibilities it brings. I tell myself there will never be another Labor Day 2014 or another Tuesday like the one that comes tomorrow.

Does that mean I am always moving? Oh my goodness NO. Today, I took the day off. I am here by myself. I took a morning nap and an afternoon nap, didn't eat right and watched 'Flea Market flip' way to much.

So, by now you are wondering if there is a point to my rambling. Yes, there is. Be creative. Take a walk. Dust off that bicycle. Take a painting class. Start a meditation group. Read a book. But don't take the route of doing nothing. Life is short and precious. Branch out.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tierney James talks about her career and writing.

Tierney James is a talented author and speaker. I had the opportunity to interview her. If you have not had the chance to read Unlikely Hero, take the time to do so today.

You write some fast moving spy thrillers, what led you in that direction?

I was the kid who liked dinosaur movies, westerns, Tarzan and Mighty Mouse. Maybe my shyness made me want to act brave and fearless, I never talked to a shrink.  Later it was action movies like Indiana Jones, The Wind and the Lion and so on. I liked dangerous and exciting. Then one day I read The Judas Strain by James Rollins. I fell in love with thrillers. He taught me so much about writing and soon I had read all his books. Writing thrillers makes me tingle with excitement. Conspiracy, cliff hangers, mysterious strangers, all get my heart pumping and my adrenaline flowing. Most people when they first meet me think I'm a sweet, tea drinking Baptist with not one spark of courage. When I write-well, watch out!

Is Tessa based on a real person? Of course we don't expect you to reveal secrets but hints are always nice.

Tessa came to be because of some unusual incidents that happened to me when I lived in Northern California. People were always mistaking me for someone named "Melanie". I would be stopped on the street, pulled aside at the DMV for questioning and once someone called me at home. I started to wonder who this Melanie could be; was she in trouble, honest, dangerous, a criminal or someone in the witness protection program. After all the DMV didn't believe I'd just moved there from Missouri. Someone with my information lived in Santa Barbara. My family didn't believe me at first until months later a strange man approached me, whirled me around and started talking. He also called me "Melanie".  Needless to say, I started getting a little more respect after that encounter.  In my first novel, An Unlikely Hero, the house and town where the action takes place is real. I lived there. 

How did you research your novels?

My research, for the most part, takes place on the internet. It is so much easier than going to library these days. I get a story idea from a picture, a song or place I visit then the research starts. A year a I read an article about the Wahkan Valley in Northern Afghanistan. I've been collecting information about the area to weave into my third novel, Rooftop Angels.

Do you have a set writing schedule?
No. I do try and write or edit each day. I do writing things like research, read or study writing books. But I believe you must do this each day. It's like practicing the piano. Skip a couple of days, weeks or months and the music suffers. Write. Write. Write.

How important is social media in your marketing and writing process?

It is becoming more of what I do because it is demanded from publishers. I don't like promoting myself because it isn't something that comes easy for me. I'm learning by compiling a notebook of ideas, formats and websites that give me more confidence in this area. I also have taken a few webinars to educate myself. Social media is a real inspiration killer. It just takes a great deal of time in which I'd rather be writing. I'm trying to discover ways to circumvent that so I can get on with the business of writing. I would much rather be a guest speaker than recruit on social media. But I do it anyway. You just have to jump in and make yourself known.

I have found that most writers are avid readers, who are your favorite authors?

James Rollins, Steve Berry, Brad Thor, David Baldacci, Daniel Silva, Clive Cussler, Nora Roberts, Elizabeth Lowell, Sandra Brown and Terry Brooks.

Take a little time here and tell us about yourself. Getting to know the author is fasinating.

Besides being an educator of World Geography, I've been a Solar System Ambassador for NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, worked and lived on an Indian Reservation and traveled in Africa, Asia and Europe. All these places and activities are fodder for storytelling. My family is the most important thing to me on this earth. Some of the hobbies I enjoy are gardening, writing, traveling, reading and I love music. I'm a life long learner so I'm always on the lookout for new information.

Novels: An Unlikely Hero (#1) Winds of Deception (#2 editing) Rooftop Angels (#3 editing) The Rescued Heart (under     contract with Black Opal Books)  

Children's Books: There's a Superhero in the Library & Zombie Meatloaf.

Thanks for inviting me to your blog. I hope your readers will check out my work. 


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Lisa Medley shares her new book

Today I have asked fellow author Lisa Medley to be a guest on my blog. I think you will be intrigued and entertained by our interview.

You picked an unusual genre, Reapers and Reaper love. What led you in that direction?


Lisa: I’ve been in love with monsters for a long time, since I first started reading Stephen King ages ago. But it was J.R. Ward’s Dark Lover which made me realize monsters in LOVE were even better. That book sent my imagination reeling. I don’t discriminate. I want love for vampires, shifters, witches and of course, reapers.

The dark hero speaks to me, and when I find him in the shadows, it’s my job to bring him into the light, sometimes kicking and screaming. Reading urban fantasy and paranormal romance makes me crave contact with the things that go bump in the night.  I wanted to write about an underserved monster. That’s when I hit upon the idea of reapers. Not the skeletal creatures of ghost stories past, but soldiers in the field, leading souls to the afterlife. Don’t fear the reaper, because reapers need love too.


I love romance and thrillers, is your series something I could read late at night, alone?


Lisa: I think so. I’ve been told it’s suspenseful in places and will keep you turning pages. I don’t think you’ll be too afraid to read it alone in the dark. Unless of course you have a fireplace. You’ll find out why and what steps to take to avoid the problem Ruth encounters.


Where does one learn and research about Reapers?


Lisa: The internet of course! Seriously, I Googled ‘reapers’ and it was all downhill from there. One paragraph, story or drawing led to the next and it wasn’t long before my imagination was going wild asking “What if…?” and “What then…?”  I built my world in the way that seemed most logical to me. For a few hours each night, I was Goddess of the Universe…at least of MY Universe.


Do you have a set writing schedule? I know you also work at another profession. Does finding time to write become a problem for you?


Lisa: You don’t FIND time to write. You have to MAKE time to write. I write late at night after my husband and daughter have both gone to bed. I need quiet and solitude for the words to come. When I’m in the groove, I can write 500-1000 words an hour. On a normal writing night, I might write from 8:30 or 9 p.m. until Midnight. Occasionally I’ll get a free weekend to spend writing. Oh, how glorious that is!


How important is social media in your marketing and writing process?


Lisa: I focus on Facebook, Twitter, and my website. I dabble in Pinterest for inspiration boards for each of my novels and I’ve only recently began interacting on Google+. Ultimately the goal would be to drive everyone to my website because that’s where as an author you have the most control over connecting with your audience. That being said, you have to go to wherever your audience hangs out as well. I think this is especially true as a beginning author. Fans of established authors will seek them out. Newbies have to build a solid platform and home base (website) before fans will come.


I have found that most writers are avid readers, who are your favorite authors?


J.R. Ward and Charlaine Harris are my current favorites. I also enjoy Patricia Briggs, Michele Hauf and Janet Evanovich. Then of course, Stephen King.


Take a little time here and tell us about yourself. Getting to know the author is fascinating.





Lisa Medley writes reapers. The grim kind. Her urban fantasy romance, Reap & Repent is available now in a Harlequin E Box Set with three other Harlequin debut authors. A lover of beasties of all sorts, she has a farm full of them in her SW MO home including:  one child, one husband, two dogs, two cats, a dozen hens, thousands of Italian bees and a guinea pig. Not so in love with the guinea pig. She can do ten pushups IN A ROW and may or may not have a complete zombie apocalypse bug-out bag in her trunk at all times. Just. In. Case.



Reap & Repent Blurb:

Deacon Walker is a burned out loner, whose two hundred years as a reaper have left him empty inside. But when he meets Ruth Scott, a gorgeous shut-in with unusual gifts, he’s forced to set his career complacency aside to train her for a destiny she never knew existed. Soon the two will face the ultimate test: a battle against demons determined to destroy humanity, one soul at a time.


Prologue from Reap & Repent:



What does a guy have to do around here to get some service? Deacon Walker marveled as he glared at the undulating queue of grotesque reapers in front of him. 


For all that’s holy, move the hell along already.


It had been a long week, and it wasn’t over yet. He needed to make at least one more pass through the hospital circuit before he could call it a day. He could already feel the tug of a freshly departed soul. Again. People were dropping like flies lately.


He massaged his brow, trying to soothe his exhausted patience as the line inched forward at a snail’s pace.


He was worn thin. Over the past few weeks, three demon soul poachers had popped up in his fair city of Meridian like poisonous mushrooms after a hard rain. While it wasn’t unheard of for one to slip out from Hell every now and then, three was a nightmare.


When it got topside, a demon’s M.O. was to steal a human body, poach a few souls from the dead and dying, and then make its merry way back to Hell, taking its host’s soul along for the ride. The only way to save the souls a poacher was carrying was to behead the host with a scythe. Not a pretty thing to do, but the poor suckers were too far gone by then to survive anyway. No human could withstand the pressures of being ridden by a demon. And it was worth it to save a handful of souls, not to mention inconveniencing the demon.


Deacon refused to lose any souls from his territory. At all.


So far the score was Deacon, 3. Demons, 0.


As a reaper, carrying souls to Purgatory for judgment was his job and he wasn’t about to cede his territory to poachers who used up their hosts like they were disposable Tupperware. So now, in addition to his normal day job, he also had to keep an eye out for more demon invaders.


While demons burned through most human hosts in a matter of days, some in a matter of hours, they had discovered long ago that under the right circumstances they could ride a reaper. Of course, they couldn’t just worm their way in like they did with humans—they had to be invited. But once a deal was struck? They were in.


And reapers? Yeah, they could hang on for decades inside a reaper. Deacon knew that fact firsthand.


His stomach twisted at the thought, but he shook it off, looking ahead with a heavy sigh.


Seriously, this line? Still. Not. Moving?


God, he needed a freakin’ vacation. Extended. He dragged a hand through his hair in frustration as his mind flipped through postcard-esque locations of reapings past. He snarled at the thought of New Orleans in summer. He would definitely want to go someplace cool—cool as in frigid, not hip. He was sick of the heat, and it was only the beginning of summer in the semitropical Midwest.


Come to think of it, he was sick of a lot of things.


This place was high on the list. It was as hot as…well, Hell actually. Or at least what he imagined Hell to be, although he’d never actually been there. Thank God.


Steam rose from random cracks in the stone floor of the underground station, veiling the place in a humid sulfur stench.


He pushed forward, finally making his way to the front to deposit his cargo of souls. He didn’t bother chatting. In. Out. Move on. It was a motto that served him well.


Mission completed, he hustled through the crowd, forgoing the bar-side frivolity of some of the more socially inclined reapers and their small talk about their glory days in the field or—even better—the missteps of the newest reapers. Newbies often tested their limits to humorous if not disastrous effect at least once in their early careers. That was exactly why new reapers had mentors or at least worked in teams. From all the laughter, he could tell that the stories were good ones. It didn’t tempt him.


He slapped his palm against the black granite monolith and flashed out of Purgatory to what he prayed was his last stop of the day.




BUY LINKS: Reap & Repent is available until June 1, 2014 in a Harlequin E Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance Box Set with the works of three other amazing new Harlequin authors! Reap & Repent will be available for single-title release June 2, 2014.



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