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Nov 24, 2009
Do you want to stop all conversation going on around you? Do you want all eyes in the room focused on you? Do you want people to take a step back and give you some space? This is easily accomplished by uttering a simple little sentence, "I need to get home and cut up a deer."

Our son brought home a nice sized spike buck last Tuesday. Being the thoughtful young man that he is, he hung it up in the garage before beating a hasty retreat back to college. The usual collection of friends and neighbors stopped by that first night to "ooh" and "aah" over this particular example of nature's bounty. The next night, however, there was nobody in sight. It was time to start cutting and wrapping.

Perhaps people are too squeamish these days to lend a hand cutting up a carcass. Or perhaps they are leery of a wild-haired, empty nesting, menopausal woman wielding a large knife. It's hard to say.
Nov 15, 2009

In the murky, purple-gray before dawn, he felt his way into the thicket. Every move was precise, every step calculated to make as little noise as possible. Wispy fog draped the brush that grew thick along the swamp's edge to his right. Ahead loomed the dark ridge where a tangled nest of brush and branches awaited him. He climbed to that higher ground and reached his deer blind.

Turning to the east, he saw the first streaks of angry orange moving up the horizon over the lake. He filled his lungs with the damp, chilled air. His hand ran along the length of his rifle, absently noting the safety was on. He lowered himself to the rickety, wooden chair he hoped would last another season and blew out a soft breath when it didn't creak beneath his weight. Flipping the covers off his scope, he drew the rifle up and squeezed one eye closed as he looked out over the swamp. It was too dark yet.

A light breeze toying with dried cattails murmured in the background. He waited. Angry orange gave way to pinkish light that danced off the dissipating fog. Behind him a bird called out its first greeting of the day. In front and to his left a small, black squirrel poked its head out from around a young, leafless oak tree. The day came to life around him. Sitting still, rifle relaxed but ready in his hands, his eyes roved the landscape. He watched and waited.

He heard a noise off to his right, just a rustle in the dry leaves that carpeted the ridge. The muscles along his back tightened. He breathed shallowly, ears straining to catch another sound. There was movement. His eyes could make out a vague shape through the thick forest brush, but nothing more. He waited. He listened. He hoped.

Nov 10, 2009
This is something of a hot topic among writers now. Changes in the industry combined with our sagging economy have caused traditional publishing houses to cut back on the number of books they publish per year. Naturally, that mean fewer writers are getting their books accepted for publication.

Many are opting to self publish. This means that they take complete control of their book. They write, edit, design and print, owning the entire process themselves. It's an intriguing notion for several reasons.
1. You don't have to make changes to please an editor.
2. You have full control of the final product.
3. You make more money on each book sold.
4. You decide how many copies to print and when.

The down side of self publishing is what is keeping me from jumping on this band wagon. In short, you're on your own. In some respects that sounds good, but on the other hand...
1. You have no editor to review and help polish your manuscript.
2. You have no publishing house to help with distribution.
3. You have no marketing department to help with promotion.
4. You have no "name brand" to add credibility to your book.
5. You pay all the costs, everything, with no money coming 'up front' to help.

I can see self publishing working in some genres better than others and I can see it working for people who don't have a "day job" or two. But I don't see it working for me, not at this time, not as it is happening now. It will be interesting to see what changes are coming down the pike with e-books and such. For now... I just need to write!
Nov 4, 2009

Mingle picked up her hooves in a delicate, mincing step over the crispy, frosted grass. "I'm cold and my breakfast is too."

"It's going to get a lot colder soon." Holly shook her head, her white ears tinged a pale blue from the cold.


Mingle shivered. "Why did the shepherd take our wool away if it's going to get colder?" Her short, black fleece shone in the weak, early morning light.


Holly closed her eyes half way and looked across to the barn. "It's like this every fall. My momma told me it's because the shepherd needs our wool more than we do in the winter months."


"Why does she need it?"


"She grows no wool of her own. She needs ours to keep her warm in the winter."


Mingle looked towards the farm house and thought about that for a moment. She pictured the shepherd covered with long, curly black fleece. "She'll look funny in my wool."


Holly snorted and gave a sheepy grin to the younger ewe. "She doesn't cover herself with wool, exactly. She does something to it to make it into those things she pulls over her body. The bulky things that cover her arms too."


Mingle stamped a foot on the frosty ground and stalked back towards the barn. "I wish she would have left my wool alone!"


"Don't be silly." Holly said, following her young friend. "You wouldn't enjoy all that heavy fleece coming lambing time."


"Lambing time?" Mingle stopped short and Holly almost walked into the back of her. "What's lambing time?"


Holly shook her head. "You'll find out."