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Fiona Pinch Hits 1

Hey, all. Kari Lynn Dell here. Well, actually not here. I’m off at the Roundup all week. And for once, the kind that doesn’t leave me stinking like cow something. My buddy Fiona Lowe offered to step in and pinch hit for me, so I’m handing over the reins.

Thanks so much for having me, Kari! Everyone, I met Kari on Twitter and she’s the best! Generous and funny, she’s a huge source of information for me while I’m writing my Montana series of books. We have conversations that go a bit like this…

“Kari, Please help. I need the name of any wildflower that’s flowering in May that my cowboy can pick a bunch of. ” (Fiona sits back thinking Kari will pluck a flower off the top of her head)

“Fiona, ….. and she sends me three pages of botanical information with links to flowers!!

Fiona slumps under a great deal of guilt for the time sink. Like I said, she’s generous!

So, Fiona, where are you from?

A lot of places! I was born in a country town in Australia, although my mother crossed state lines to have me so I’m the only family member born out of state. I started school in Papua New Guinea, lived in Canada for a year at seventeen, moved to the big smoke of Melbourne, Australia as a young adult to study, lived a few years in the mid-west of the USA and now I’m back in Australia. The cupboards in the house are filling up so it must be time to move again!

Why small towns?

The bulk of my twenty-five novels have all been set in small towns with big hearts because I have lived in small towns and I have traveled extensively. There’s a spirit to country people; the love of the land, the sense of community that is borne out of isolation. That’s not to say that you don’t get a sense of community in a city; you can and many people do at a grass-roots local level in their suburb. But it’s a bit different from an entire town or district coming together. It’s also a lot harder to hide in a small town and that has its advantages and disadvantages.

I love nature — mountains, ocean, desert…they all have their own appeal and I love being outdoors although I don’t love the bugs and flies quite so much. The isolation of far-flung country also opens up lots of good scenarios for an author.

FionaLowesWeddings

I’m really excited that Harlequin has bundled up three of my favorite Outback stories in the anthology, Fiona Lowe’s Weddings. They’ve also thrown in a fourth book, one I set in Vietnam…a different kind of far-flung isolation but a story of coming home. This is the first time these books have been available in the USA for my American readers. WOOT!

The two Warragurra books are set in the outback think red dirt and rocks, landing… a bit like New Mexico! Add in a small town called Warragurra, which can be both caring and critical, a Flying Doctor’s base, a sheep & cattle station and you have all the ingredients to create wonderful and intoxicating stories. In Wedding in Warragurra, Kate Lawson has come back to town and no one is happy to see her. They blame her for the death of her husband, the town’s sporting hero, and clearing her name will only blacken his memory. Sometimes, small towns have to bleed before they can heal.

The second Warragurra book is a bit lighter and centers on Emily. Born and raised on a cattle station, she’s the only daughter with four brothers. She can shoot pool, hot wire a car and fix a pump, but she’s seriously out of her depth when it comes to being anything other than friends with a bloke. Of course, to make matters worse, I threw her up against Linton (literally) who has been flirting since the cradle. He thinks he knows everything there is to know about women until he meets Emily. I had so much fun writing this book and even pitied poor Linton when he had to deal with Emily’s four brothers and a father. I’m surprised he didn’t run straight back to Sydney.

The Surgeon’s Chosen Wife, is set in glorious tropical Queensland. Oh, how I adore the old Queenlander houses so I put one in this book and it became its own character and an integral part of the book as Ryan slowly rebuilds his life after being hit by a car. The idea for this book came from a real life event; a surgeon at the top of his field who almost died after bouncing off the bonnet of a car.

viet3A Woman To Belong To, pays homage to Vietnam, a country I love. Australia has a strong connection to this beautiful country and Eurasian, Tom, raised in Australia after the Vietnam war, is working as a doctor in Hanoi and trying to find his birth mother.

I hope you enjoy these four stories, which I promise will take you on an emotional ride but no matter how dark it gets, I always guarantee you a happy ending. Next January, I’ll be bringing the same community spirit to small town Montana, which shares a lot of the same heart as Outback Australia! For now though, all I can say is that my editor at Berkley “loves” the story and we’re playing with covers and titles which is lots of fun.

Fiona Lowe’s Weddings is available from Amazon, iBooks, Nook, Kobo, and where all eBooks are sold!FionaLowesWeddings_flat

For all the information on Fiona’s other 24 novels, including her Carina Press, Wedding Fever trilogy set in rural Wisconsin, head to her website.

Fiona Lowe is a RITA® and R*by award-winning multi-published author with Harlequin,  Carina Press and in 2015, Berkley USA.

Whether her books are set in outback Australia or in the mid-west and west of the USA, they feature small towns with big hearts, and warm, likeable characters that make you fall in love. When she’s not writing stories, she’s a weekend wife, mother of two ’ginger’ teenage boys, guardian of 80 rose bushes and often found collapsed on the couch with wine. You can find her at her website, facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

 

1 COMMENT | Categories,Guest Blogger, Kari Lynn Dell | Tags

Hi. You’ve reached Keri Ford. 13

I’m not home right now, but leave me a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. 

Who here still has an answering machine?

*raises hand*

Truth be told, I still have a land line. hazard of living in the sticks. The cell service is horrible so land lines are a must. And the last phone I bought, an answering machine came on it. So–that’s why we have one of those. It is a digital thing, so I don’t have to rewind a tape or flip it over.

And yes, I am old enough to remember flipping the tape in an answering machine.

This topic came to me because I really am not here today. I’ll be out of town all day. If I can access on my phone, I’ll give that whirl, but I’ll be traveling some roads with some sketchy cell service there too.

So leave me a message and I’ll get back to you! Do you have an answering machine or have you transferred over to that newfangled voicemail thingy?

13 COMMENTS | Categories,Keri Ford | Tags, , , ,

Covers, covers, covers…what works? 15

I’ve been thinking a lot about book covers this past week for two reasons: 1) I have a new Harlequin Romantic Suspense cover to reveal (See below!) 2) I’ve been working on a cover redesign of one of my favorite older titles (Details on that coming soon!)
All this attention to covers has me thinking, what elements of a cover make you pick up a book or click through a link to learn more about a title? Do eye catching colors make a difference? A trend in romantic suspense was for the covers to all be dark with murky images. I hated this as I felt it made it too easy for the reader’s

eye to pass over it on a shelf full of brighter images. I mean really…which book would you pick up based on the color alone?

TDD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What about a handsome man? I think marketing departments are counting on women who read romance to be drawn to a hot guy— especially if there is only a hero, making it easier for the reader to put themselves in the role of the heroine. Is that true for you? Which of these grabs you and make you want to grab the book? (And the hero?!)

9780373277872front

9780373278169

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do babies on romance covers attract your attention? Babies are a perennial hook in category romance, even though most tired new parents will tell you a small baby (late night feedings, dirty diapers and colic anyone?) has a way of killing a romantic mood. I guess art directors are hoping a sweet baby will appeal to the maternal pull in romance readers. I mean how can you resist this?

IPCcover

What do icon photos do for you? A homey setting? A chilling image for suspense?

I’ve been trying to find the right balance of eye-catching, tone appropriate and relevant to my plot to create a cover that will sell, sell, sell. My romantic suspense deserves a gripping cover. It is one of my best books (IMHO) and has been wearing this cover for five years.

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Bright color but nothing else to really draw the reader.  So now it is your turn. Leave a comment and tell me what YOU find attractive, eye-catching and pick-up worthy in a romance/romantic suspense cover!

And now, without further ado…here’s my June HRS cover with TWO hooky elements. A hot guy and a baby! Whoo hoo!

Protect Her Royal Baby

15 COMMENTS | Categories,Beth Cornelison, Uncategorized | Tags, , ,

Rodeo Days 3

Sierra rodeo 2014 me and Wild Times JOrdan and Em 2014 Jordan and me 2014Rodeo here in my town is over and done with for another year and a week later I am still recovering! Both the girls and I managed to make it through pretty much unscathed so that is always a good thing. I didn’t have to strip the over 200 steers that came through my chutes over the weekend so all in all I was a pretty happy girl.

I took off work Wednesday and Thursday as well as Friday because I began to stress over all the stuff I still needed to do to get ready for the weekend. The girls and I pretty much move lock, stock, and barrel out to the ranch for those three days and I didn’t have anything packed, washed, or cleaned. Plus the horses had to be moved to the rodeo grounds so they needed to be brought up and brushed and bathed. I was a little crazy!

Of course nothing worked out like it was supposed to. The cowboy came early, the horses didn’t get bathed, and we went shopping for our groceries on Thursday instead of Wednesday. We did get the tack cleaned and by the time my other daughter showed up at the ranch Thursday evening  we were pretty well set up.

The weather was perfect. Breezy and sunny, we couldn’t have asked for better weather. Slack started late on Friday–they were having problems with the chute gates on the other end of the arena. We had a couple of steers break horns but other than that there were no injuries to any of the stock or cowboys who participated in the rodeo.

This year we had a large Palomino stud in the catch pen next to our chutes. He was enormous! Rodeo contractors have begun breeding Draft horses to smaller horses to get bigger, tougher stock. They need to have good heavy leg bones to withstand the pounding they take while bucking. This boy, Wild Times, was a good 16 or 17 hands tall, and very impressive. We were a little apprehensive about having a stud for a neighbor but it turned out our fears were unnecessary.

One of the misconceptions about rodeo stock, especially the horses, is that these animals are wild, vicious creatures that cannot be handled and hate human beings. Some of the horses are not friendly, granted, but you have to realize that they can’t be wild since the cowboys who care for them have to be able to handle them to get their feet done by the farriers and for any vet care they may need. All of the things you have to do with a horse requires the horse to be tied up with a halter and lead rope or at least tolerate human touch. Again, not all rodeo stock can be handled easily but then again there are horses that are out in stables right now that will kick when you try to do their feet or rear when they have to get a shot or be wormed. Its more the horse and how its been handled from the time it was young  than anything to do with personality or what the horse is used for. But I digress.

We weren’t really sure why Wild Times was at the rodeo. I have always assumed that the horses that buck are either mares or geldings, but apparently they also buck stallions. Who knew?! They took Wild Times out Sunday and we figured he was gone for the rest of the rodeo, but about an hour later he was back, just a little more sweaty than when he had left before.  I looked at my program and realized he was on the list of saddle broncs!

Again, here is a misconception. Bronc and bull riders wear spurs. It is required equipment and when a cowboy comes out of the chute on a bronc he is required to have his heels up high on the horse’s shoulders as they come out to begin bucking. A good rider gets the rhythm of the bronc and spurs from shoulder to flanks in time with the horse’s bucks. But the spurs aren’t sharp. People think the horses come back bloodied and welted up, but after examining Wild Times I couldn’t see a mark on him. He went and did his job and was in a much better mood when he returned! Obviously he enjoys his work and was a happy boy!

Wild Times had very gentle eyes, and to tell you the truth I was pretty much in love with him. By the time Sunday rolled around I was kissing him on the lips and all of us were  petting him and loving on him. (My daughter even gave him some of our Gatorade! Well, he helped himself to her bottle that she was holding…) He put his head over the fence and closed his eyes and just ate up all the attention. I was tempted to tell Cotton Rosser, the stock contractor that owned him, that if they ever decided to geld the horse I would love to have him! Not sure how I could afford another horse so it was probably good that I didn’t see Cotton any more that day!

Grand Entry is the only thing that Sierra and I participate in with our horses, and this year was not a good one. Sierra’s mare Canyon decided that she did NOT want to go into the arena on Saturday and began to act up once we hit the back turn . By the time we got around to the bucking chutes at the rear of the arena and had to line up Canyon was dancing away from me and my horse and just being stupid. I couldn’t help her because I was holding a flag so Sierra had to take her out. She was so embarrassed!

On Sunday I had Sierra ride on the other side of me, figuring I could herd her to where she needed to be, but that didn’t work either and she had to leave the arena before we even lined up. Then my horse, Tahoe, realized she was standing out there by herself without any horse near her that she knew and it was MY turn for a rodeo! She began nickering and spinning, looking for Canyon. I made her line back up and she would stand for a few seconds then begin shaking her head again and spinning and lifting. Since I was carrying the Coors flag I only had one hand to control her with and my legs, and she just kept rearing and spinning despite my best efforts to get her to calm down. I decided that I was going to either land on my butt in the arena dirt if I kept holding the flag or I was going to have to dump the flag and get her under control. I chose to leave the arena instead and trotted out with dignity still carrying my flag!

So how many of you follow rodeo? Or maybe you have never been to one. If there is a rodeo near you I highly recommend checking it out. Rodeo is one American’s oldest sports, having come out of the Old West when the cowboys from the different cattle ranches would get together and compete against each other for bragging rights as to who could break the wildest broncs or rope a calf fastest. There are many different events in rodeo. My favorites have always been bull riding and barrel racing. (My friend, Ted Nuce, was the World Champion Bull Rider at the NFR back in 1985. I have been hooked ever since!) Whatever event you prefer, I can guarantee you a great afternoon of non-stop entertainment and excitement!

Rodeo. Where real cowboys and cowgirls have dirt on their boots and the buckles are earned and not bought. It’s more than a sport, it’s a way of life. I’m grateful that I get to participate every year. I don’t do as much as the ones who ride, but what I do is important and I wouldn’t trade my weekend with the rodeo for anything in the world! I’m already looking forward to next year. Now if I can just get our mares to be a little more excited to be in Grand Entry…

 

 

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Not (Always) the Mother My Mother Raised Me To Be 10

My mother and I have what I’m given to believe an unusually good, easy relationship. I accepted a few years ago that in her eyes I will always be about 17, and decided I rather like that: When I’m staring in the mirror at my crows feet, she still sees me as young.

As a mother, I generally make the same parenting choices my momma did. We have similar house rules, and most of my scripts are hers…verbatim:

“Shut the screen door. You’re letting in flies.”
“One cuts and the other chooses.”
“Life isn’t fair.”

But I have a whole host of rules and guidelines my mother never addressed.

I, for example, get to explain to my teen sons that “sexting” with girls can lead to jail time. My mother never mentioned sexting to us.

Unlike my mother, I intentionally teach my kids to lie. If someone online starts asking personal questions, they’re to say that they’re 45-year-old cops who live in Texas with a posse of constipated Rangers. My mother didn’t know what “online” meant when I was coming up.

My kids know they can’t pierce or tattoo until they’re of legal age. In my childhood home and community, only ex-military and ex-cons had ink. And the only body part with added holes was the ear (although some of us had two, or even three earrings in one ear!)

I had nine planets in my solar system. My mother’s grandsons have had one of their planets wrenched from their precious little hands.

What about you? What do you do differently from them what raised you up?

10 COMMENTS | Categories,Uncategorized | Tags

Oh, The Research! 5

By Laura Drake

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You know, it’s not easy being an author. Before you even begin writing, there’s the research. Sitting in dusty libraries for days at a time, staring out the window at the sunshine and wishing you were there, speaking in a permanent whisper. . .

so NOT!

Being a researching author nowadays, ROCKS!

medium_11586721266I’m writing my next Widow’s Grove novel, tentatively titled, Indigo’s Blues. A woman inherits a small boutique winery outside of Widow’s Grove. and she knows nothing from grapes. Funny, neither do I!  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been known to consume the ultimate product now and again, but growing grapes and producing wine? I’ve got nothing.

So the first place I head, of course, is the internet. I downloaded The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting and Running a Winery. It helped, but it was kind of like doing brain surgery from a manual. Then I tapped my peeps on Twitter, Facebook, etc. I’ve gotten some great feedback and fascinating info.

But writing this fish out water story convincingly is going to take more than that.

                 Can you say FIELD TRIP?!

IMG_0272Before I left California, I reached out to some  small wineries in the Central California grape growing region. Jeff Weins, of Wiens Family Cellars helped me out, answering about a zillion newbie questions, and he even consulted on a plot twist!  Don’t you love how virtual strangers will help an author?

The hardest part was saving the tasting for last. I didn’t want to get home and not be able to make sense of my notes!

Wouldn't you like to be sipping wine HERE?!

Wouldn’t you like to be sipping wine HERE?!

Boy, I’m loving this book already  . . .

Cover SweetonYou SMALL The last book in Laura’s  Sweet on a Cowboy series, Sweet On You, releases in August, and is available for preorder HERE.

Ex-army medic Katya Smith has always healed other people’s pain. Now she has to deal with her own. Taking a job as an athletic trainer on the Pro Bull Riding circuit seems like the perfect escape from her grief-except Katya doesn’t know anything about bulls, and even less about the tough men who ride them. She doesn’t expect to fall for the sport, or for one tantalizing cowboy who tumbles her defenses.

For rodeo champion Cam Cahill, fifteen years of bucking bulls have taken their toll on his body. Before he retires, he wants a final chance at the world title-and he doesn’t need some New Age gypsy telling him how to do his job. But when the stunning trainer with the magical hands repairs more than his worn muscles, everything changes. Soon Cam finds himself trying to persuade Katya to forgive her past so she can build a future . . . with him.

 

 

 

 

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/austinevan/1225274637/”>austinevan</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>

Photo credit: <ahref=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevecorey/11586721266/”>Steve Corey</a> via <ahref=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <ahref=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>

5 COMMENTS | Categories,ENLR Blogger, Laura Drake | Tags, , , , , ,

Birthday Fun! 28

Well, it’s the tenth anniversary of my 26th birthday. LOL

It’s my birthday today and I thought, heck why not have a giveaway. I have some extra paperbacks kicking around. So one lucky commentator will get a copy of Melting the Ice Queen’s Heart AND Safe in His Hands, my two Harlequin Medicals.

MeltingGood 18843

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m ALSO celebrating the fact that I made my deadline yesterday about 4 a.m. WOOT!

I put in a lot of writing this past year. Five category length books in just over a year. That’s a lot for me. I used to just write novellas and maybe the odd full length.

Hey, but I’m not complaining. I love my job!

As for my birthday, well I’m just hoping for an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen. I’m hoping the freaking snow will melt. First time in the history of my birthdays that there’s been snow. Not impressed.

I bought myself this dress when a store sent me a 50% off birthday coupon and I plan to wear it RT.

Dress

Today I’m going to finish building a large guinea pig cage. My kids are getting their first pet and since we don’t have the time to spend with a dog, we rescued a guinea pig. She comes on Thursday. If we had of had time for a dog I would’ve got one from ARF or the Human Society. I’m all about rescues.

Looking back on my *cough* 36 years *cough* I’m pretty blessed. I have great kids, a wonderful and supportive husband and a job I love.

I’m pretty content, unless I don’t get my DQ Ice Cream Cake.

Seriously, I need that cake! ;)

 

 

 

 

28 COMMENTS | Categories,Amy Ruttan | Tags, , , ,

The Search for The Perfect Cup of Coffee 14

My love affair with coffee goes WAAAYY back to my childhood. My maternal grandparents had a 20 acre farm. Grandpa would get up early (seemed like the middle of the night but was probably about 5:30 or 6:00.) Grandma would cook breakfast for him and send him out to work. Staying with my grandparents was one of the highlights of my youth. My sister and I would beg to spend the night with them on Saturday nights. (That had the added benefit of skipping church on Sunday morning!)

When I would stay over, I would get up for breakfast. (Of course I went back to bed when Grandpa when out to work in the gardens!) Grandma always had coffee, and not that sissy drip stuff we drink today. No sir. It was boiled on the stove with an old fashion percolator. For you youngsters, it looked something like this…

And let me assure you, coffee like this grows some serious hair on your chest! (Figure of speech.. Not literal hair!) I had my coffee with lots of sugar and milk. Yummy. And very very hot. Grandpa was always in a hurry to get to work and didn’t want to wait for the coffee to cool. So he would pour small amounts into his saucer and sip from there (as it would cool much faster.) Needless to say, that’s how I drank it too. I had no idea that EVERYBODY didn’t do it the same way!

Fast forward to now…Hubby and I are still coffee drinkers. I’ve tried lots of different store brands. I’ve had special coffee shipped direct from the plantation in Costia Rica (Cafe Britt). I’ve order special restaruant brand coffee directly from the manufacturer. I’ve actually bought $60/pound coffee beans and ground them myself. Boutique coffees. Yep, tried those. Starbucks. Seattle’s Best. Maxwell House. We recently had some friends bring us back Kona coffee from Hawaii. We’re tried lots of brands, different countries of origin, strengths, etc. I can tell you I don’t like chickory coffee.

Now, guess what brand we just love..the one we can’t find another to replace it…. Ready?

So are you a coffee aficionado? Or will just any brand do?

14 COMMENTS | Categories,Cynthia D'Alba | Tags, , ,

Adventures in Gardenland 12

If you’ve read very many of my previous posts, you’ve probably figured out by now that I have a few things in my life I’m passionate about.  My family, of course—which goes without saying—and my writing.  But if you look closely, you’ll see that time and time again my blog has something to do with gardening, and I’m baffled as to  where this love comes from.

No flowers grew in our yard.  My mother planted creeping flocks beside the sidewalk several times, but my dad continuously mowed them down until tiny surrender flags of white clover sprouted in their place.  And I never remember my grandmother growing anything—not even much grass in her yard with the giant maple trees that kept the sunlight blocked.  I did have a great-grandmother who grew and canned almost everything she ate.  Grandma’s tall “mater” cages and pole beans, filled with spider webs and all sorts of creepy crawling and flying insects, lined the  path to her outhouse—making both the journey and the destination terrifying for a little girl who badly needed to go potty while visiting.

But, when a garden started calling to me, I wasn’t sure where to start.  I had some railroad ties, so I formed them into a square, a modest plot of manageable size that I envisioned bursting with blooms of  color that could be picked and arranged into bouquets that would last throughout the summer.   I knew nothing about flowers either, so the sack of bulbs that promised the pretty blooms on the front seemed innocent enough.  Dinner Plate Dahlias  they were called.  Easy to grow.

I worked into my soil all the necessary ingredients suggested for the biggest, boldest display.  I planted my bulbs and watered … and waited.  Soon, sprouts started popping through the soil and then they started thickening into stems.  I weeded, not wanting even a tiny morsel of the plant food to be wasted on anything except my beautiful dahlias.

The middle of summer came, and it was time for our two-week vacation to Florida.  I checked the weather.  Even though it was July, rain was in the forecast so I knew my flowers would be fine.  They would even be blooming by the time I got home.  I bid them farewell with a kiss and promised to be back before they knew it.

Now, I can’t really say what happened while we were gone.  But I suspect that some maniacal force stole into my garden during my absence.

My garden is on the down slope of a hill, and it can’t be seen from the street in front of the house—only from the back of the driveway.  We returned from vacation, and I sat up expectantly as we turned in the drive, waiting for that first breath-taking glimpse of my dahlias, full grown.

The glimpse was indeed breath-taking.  In fact, it ripped the air right out of my lungs.

“What the hell?” my husband whispered.

Stalks had appeared where once were stems—giant stalks reminiscent of Grandma Hearon’s “maters” or something out of Alice’s wonderland (which, incidentally always terrified me as a child, also).  These stalks were twisted into a hideous mass, and atop the twisted mass were gigantic flower heads, horrifically huge—over a foot across—with petals that resembled layer upon layer of fangs.

“Stop!” I screamed as the kids piled out of the car, unaware of the danger.  Now I understood the name.  Dinner Plate Dahlias, indeed—large enough to serve up a child or a small adult—for the monster who lived in the outhouse … or on the banks of the creek as is the case with our house that has convenient indoor plumbing.

I shooed the family inside and, armed with my hedge clippers, I faced the beast alone, cutting and chopping until I was sweaty and covered with colored fangs.  Oh, those flower heads bobbed and swiped at me, trying to get a piece, but on I fought—valiantly.

My children would never have to face the terrifying plant life that shadowed my dreams.

Yes, I prevailed.

And now I always check the possible height of anything I plant in my garden, where I’m the queen.

Nothing grows taller than me or it’s “Off with their heads!”

 

How about you?  have you ever grown anything that turned out to be not what you expected?

 

12 COMMENTS | Categories,Uncategorized | Tags

Rodeo Week 4

I am writing this on Wednesday, to be sure it posts on Saturday, because come Saturday I will be up to my boot-tops in cow manure, dust, and sweat and yes, I will be loving it!

Yes, that’s right, it’s Rodeo Week once again and I am busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest trying to get myself and the rest of my crew ready for this weekend. I took the rest of the week off because I realized, after looking in my tack room and realizing that my daughter left the saddles uncovered and they, and the bridles hanging on them, now have a nice layer of bird doo-doo all over them. Which of course needs to be cleaned off. And the mares, who are both paints, both need baths. And I have to finish shopping for food for the weekend, because while my girlfriend enjoys the company she doesn’t enjoy the mess and the fuss that bringing myself, two grown daughters, and at least one more dog brings into her house! So I am planning meals for Thursday-Sunday nights that I can pretty much set up in the slow cooker in the morning before heading out to the rodeo grounds. That way when we get back we can hop into the shower and have a hat meal waiting for us with minimal work on anyone’s part, especially my friend.

Of course, I had this all planned and timed and now a monkey-wrench has been thrown into the mix. The cowboy who hauls my horses to and from the rodeo just called me and said he wants to move them first thing in the morning. At 8 AM to be exact. So everything I planned on doing in the morning tomorrow, when I thought he was going to move the horses at around 4 PM, has now been pushed up to this evening and then shuffled around into later in the day tomorrow. Sierra got all her stuff packed quick-like and I threw another load in the wash. Now we are scarfing down dinner and I am scrambling to get the food together I have already purchased and packed into the truck. Dog and dog food, dog kennel, phone chargers, snacks, jackets–argh!!  I think the list is growing instead of shrinking with everything I check off!

Ok–I have to go. I will tell you how it all went next weekend. I am hoping the contractor WON’T want the steers stripped again this year and I can have another easy year of just taking off ropes and sending them on through to the catch pens, but I’m pretty sure I won’t be that lucky!

So what do you do when you have made plans and something happens to knock them all out-of-whack? Do you roll with it? Stress over it? Say “hell no!” and make them do it the way YOU planned it in the first place? Let me know!

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