Monday, August 03, 2015

Summer Reruns: A Farmer's Daughter Becomes a Warrior Princess

Today, I’m interviewing Faizah, the star of the novel, to find out a little more about her life and times.

(Marva) Keef haalak, Faizah?

(Faizah) Kowayyesah, Marva.

(Marva) Laww Smahti? Actually, Faizah, I don’t speak Arabic, so if you could indulge me by using English, I’d appreciate it.

(Faizah giggles) Min fadlik. No problem.

(Marva) You attend a small school run by Master Wafai. How did you start school when you’re from a poor family of low status?

(Faizah) Luck, I guess. When I was only five, my mother was giving birth. The delivery was difficult, and my mother was in great pain. My father sent my brother, Ali, to Master Wafai. He came, of course, and helped ease my mother’s birth pangs. Without him, she might have died. Unfortunately, my sister did not survive.

(Marva) I’m sorry to hear that. But you credit Master Wafai for saving your mother’s life. Is that what got you interested in the medicine he practices?

(Faizah) Indeed. I watched closely as he blended the pain killing mixture. Beid el djinn is the root of the mandrake plant. It stifles pain and helps a person to sleep. Too much, however, would kill. It’s the knowledge of which plants to use and how much I wanted to learn. Master Wafai watched me watching him. He asked my father’s permission for me to attend school to learn the healing arts. My father saw the wisdom of his daughter having this knowledge.

Laughs Of course, he doesn’t know that Master Wafai also taught me to read and write, mathematics, and some simple spells. Master Wafai says that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, which is why one pursues as much knowledge as possible. It leaves off being dangerous and, instead, becomes useful.

(Marva) Master Wafai is wise. How about Bahaar and Harib, your friends? How did they happen to go to Master Wafai’s school?

(Faizah) Bahaar was sent by his brother, Sayid. Since they have no parents, Sayid must leave the village for days at a time as he works for the caravan drivers. Being a good brother, he sought to keep his hot-headed little brother out of trouble by making him go to school. Harib’s father is wealthy, but he comes to school mostly because Bahaar and I are his friends.

(Marva) Was there a turning point in your search for Wafai?

(Faizah) Absolutely. Anahita, the goddess of wisdom, appeared to me and told me I had to lead the boys against an evil enemy.

(Marva) Wow. How does a farmer's daughter turn into a warrior leader?

(Faizah) I'm certain Anahita gave me strength and courage, but I was also prepared by my life. As a farmer's daughter, I was no stranger to hard work in the fields and at home. As a student of Wafai, I learned about the world beyond my own village. So, strength from work and wisdom from learning were already with me. Anahita gave me the confidence.

(Marva) Now that the adventures recounted in your book are through, what do you plan to do with yourself?

(Faizah) Master Wafai is staying with the Simurghs for awhile, so he encouraged me to continue my studies of the healing arts at the Temple of Anahita in Gamaal. After that, who knows?

(Marva) I wish you the best. Finally, can you tell us about the day Master Wafai went missing.

(Faizah) Perhaps reading about it in the words you have put down in the book with my name upon the cover is the best way to do that.

(Marva) Absolutely. Thanks for talking to me today.

Excerpt:

One by one, they stepped through the archway into the courtyard. The air hung heavy with the heat, and only the hum of insects broke the silence. The door into Wafai’s house hung open.

Faizah thought this strange. “He’d not leave the door open. It lets in the heat.”

Bahaar glanced around the courtyard. “You wait here. I’ll look.” He entered the house while the other three gathered under the palm tree for whatever relief its shade could provide. Faizah soon grew impatient; Bahaar was taking a long time inside. She was just about to go in after him when he appeared in the doorway.

“He’s not here, and everything’s a mess!”

“Should we wait outside for him?” Parvaiz asked. “What is the proper thing to do?”

“No, we can wait inside. He should be back soon,” Faizah replied. Bahaar stepped aside as she walked through the open door. Harib and Parvaiz followed close behind her.

“Goodness. It’s hotter in here than outside,” Faizah said, fanning her face. “Close the door, Harib. Maybe it will cool off some.”

Harib reached for the door string and gave it a tug. The top hinge broke free, and the door slumped across the opening.

Startled, Harib gasped, “Uh oh, I didn’t mean to break it!”

Parvaiz examined the hinges. “You didn’t. Someone already pulled the hinge right out of the wall.”

“Something’s definitely wrong here,” Harib voiced what they were all thinking. Master Wafai usually kept his home neat as a pin, but not today. Besides the broken door, someone had scattered Wafai’s possessions on the floor. The chair was askew from the table and the curtain partially pulled back from the alcove where he had his bed.

Harib continued, “Maybe he had to leave in a hurry. Maybe somebody got hurt or something.”

Faizah considered this and then answered slowly, “Maybe.” She pointed toward the shelf. “But he didn’t take his medicine bag. Let’s check with the neighbors. It’s possible someone saw him leave.”

They filed out through the courtyard and turned left into the lane. The inn three doors down showed the only signs of activity, so they headed there. The public room was dark and cool after the stifling heat outside. The four friends clustered just inside the door while their eyes adjusted to the dim light. Bahaar carefully latched the door behind them to keep out the heat.

“What do you kids want?” Faluj, the innkeeper asked when they entered.

Harib stepped forward to do the talking. His father’s status in the village guaranteed Faluj would pay more attention to him than any of the others.

After salaaming to show his respect, Harib told the innkeeper, “We’re looking for Master Wafai. We were supposed to have lessons from him this afternoon, but he’s not at home, and his door is broken. We’re worried. Do you know anything?” he asked.

Faluj rubbed his stubbled chin for a moment in thought. “There may be no connection, but some mountain nomads came in here last night. I overheard one of them say their chieftain’s son was sick.” He shrugged, “Maybe they wanted Wafai to treat him.”

“Possibly,” Bahaar agreed, “but it doesn’t look like he left voluntarily.”

“That’s right.” Faizah didn’t try to hide the concern in her voice. “His medicine bag was still on the shelf. He wouldn’t go to treat someone without his potions.”

The four exchanged worried glances. There might be some innocent explanation for all of this, but it didn’t look good. What could have happened to their teacher?

* * *

FAIZAH'S DESTINY
The gods are at war and only a farmer’s daughter can save the world from Armageddon.

Blurb:

The village magician has gone missing. His four pupils think he has left a clue to his whereabouts in the Magicalis Bestialis--the book of magical creatures. They must seek the help of the elusive Simurgh, the mythical birds who know all the secrets of the universe.

However, this is not an easy camping trip into the mountains. Spirits, gods, and demons confront the four friends, who are not aware they’re being set up by otherworldly forces for a much larger task.

A farmer’s daughter, Faizah is chosen to lead the humans in the battle. She must persuade a slave, an orphan, and a rich merchant’s son to join in the battle on the side of good. Although divided by Dev, the evil god of war, the teens must band together to find the Simurgh, rescue their teacher, and stave off Armageddon.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Bucking the System

I repriced my ebooks on Amazon from $1.00 to $3.00. The concept of the x.99 pricing was to subliminally suggest the item was cheaper by a buck when it was only cheaper by a penny. I decided to "buck" the system. I'll work on the print books next.


Witches of Galdorheim Series (3-Volume Book)

   Bad Spelling

   Midnight Oil

   Scotch Broom

   Spellslinger

Faizah's Destiny

Setara's Genie

Missing, Assumed Dead

Eagle Quest

First Duty

Ultimate Duty

Tales of a Texas Boy

Mixed Bag Short Story Collection

Mixed Bag II: Supersized












  Lemons and Other Kid Tales
(Now Free on Smashwords)

  Fish Story: A Three Story Sampler
(Free on KindleUnlimited)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Oh, Right! About Those Audio Books

Time to mention the audio books again. Write a comment and get a free one of your choice. You already missed your chance to get them for $1.99 each. You snooze, you lose. But don't snooze now. Here's your chance to get a freebie.




Spellslinger on audio - Listen on SoundCloud Free!

Bad Spelling - Book 1 of Witches of Galdorheim

Midnight Oil - Book 2 of Witches of Galdorheim
Audible  

Scotch Broom - Book 3 of Witches of Galdorheim.
Tales of a Texas Boy
Amazon
Audible 


Missing, Assumed Dead

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Review of The Desperate Case of the Diamond Chip

The Desperate Case of the Diamond ChipThe Desperate Case of the Diamond Chip by Pendred Noyce
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

See that cell phone sitting next to you like a 24-hour a day nanny? Your iPad, computer, laptop, even your flat screen TV?

None of those things were around in 1967 when the computer chip (integrated circuit) was created by Robert Noyce (and some other guys). But it didn't just appear out of thin air.

This is where "The Desperate Case of the Diamond Chip" fills in the history of the invention ranging all the way back to Mendeleev's creation of the first Periodic Table in the 19th Century. Discovery built upon discovery in a lightning fast journey from "what's an atom?" through to your multiple electronic devices.

I mention Robert Noyce particularly because he was the father of author, Pendred Noyce. It must make her proud her father was in the thick of discovery, working at the top electronics companies in Silicon Valley.

Anyway, that's not about the book, which is about the journey explored by Mae and Clinton, two school kids looking for a science project. They had a little help from a future organization named G.A.S.--Galactic Academy of Science--which provide them with a time machine allowing them to go into the past to talk to famous people for brief periods.

Beginning with Doctor Mendeleev (remember the Periodic Table?), Nils Bohr who refined the elements table and figured out the makeup of atoms, and the brilliant scientists, John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, Robert Shockley (a major jerk, but no dummy), and Robert Noyce who joined with others to build Intel, the largest chip manufacturer in the world. I'll bet your computer has an Intel Inside sticker on it.

Since my own computer background began shortly after the beginning of Intel, I was delighted that I was "there" when it all happened. Like many others, we just couldn't conceive how far the technology would go. But what we were doing would have been impossible without those who came before. Well, we know how far in 2015, but what's ahead of us in 2050, 2100, and onward? I wish I could be a member of G.A.S. so I could find out.

The G.A.S. series are always a delight to read. Meant for kids, the books will aid parents to keep up with their children as the new discoveries occur. And you can learn all about zombies (in another of the G.A.S. series).

I look forward to reading the entire series. Even us old folks can learn a thing or two. Put on your thinking cap and dive in.

View all my reviews

Monday, July 20, 2015

Tales of a Texas Boy Excerpt #15

TALES OF A TEXAS BOY

Frank Norfleet - Detective

Oil became big business in Texas. Confidence men came with the wildcatters and sometimes regular folk fell for some scheme or other. When it happened, it was nice to have a real detective as a friend.

Mr. Norfleet was an important man in many ways; he was the first foreman of the Spade Ranch, started up his own ranch, raised racehorses, and was a darn good detective. The FBI even gave him a special award for bringin’ in all sorts of lawbreakers. His specialty was confidence men, because that’s what got him started as a detective.


In 1919, Mr. Norfleet was back east and got taken in by a gang claiming to be mule brokers. He was told he could make good money in the cotton business, but he had to put up a lot of money, near forty-five thousand dollars. Well, he was a successful rancher, so he had that kind of money to invest. The con man and his partners ran off with the money and left Mr. Norfleet high and dry.

He did not take well to bein’ gypped, so he went after the men. He followed them all over the country, even into Canada and Mexico. He wore disguises to help him meet up with other bad men to get information. Eventually, he found all of the men; three in California, one in Salt Lake City, and the last two in Georgia. Catchin’ those crooks made him famous and a lot of folks started comin’ to him for help. He had a reputation of always gettin’ his man, just like the Texas Rangers. He even wrote a book about it, Pa said. Pa tol’ me the story, but he says never to bring it up to Mr. Norfleet, as it was a raw spot for him.

Pa knew him because Pa was a good horse doctor. He’d gone down to the Norfleet Ranch and helped out when a sickness was takin’ the horses. Pa managed to save a few of Mr. Norfleet’s racehorses and that not only made Pa some money, but also made the two of them good friends.

Now, Pa needed a favor back. He’d wrote a letter to Mr. Norfleet and was invited to come down to the ranch to lay out the whole story. So, that’s how come we were driving over a hundred miles: to get help from one of the best detectives at findin’ grifters, swindlers, and all-round no-goods.

* * *

Read the rest of the story and more in Tales of a Texas Boy.
Tales of a Texas Boy is available in Large Print on Amazon. It's also in ebook format on AmazonBarnes and Noble, and Smashwords. And if your father has vision issues beyond the help of large print (as my father did), the audio book is available at audible.com.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Tales of a Texas Boy Excerpt #14

TALES OF A TEXAS BOY
One Fine Dog

It was about a quarter mile across the pasture, so we’d have to walk on over to get them movin’. Pete, Mr. Braddock’s dog, would do most of the work, but even a real good sheepdog couldn’t move the whole flock all by hisself. And, we’d need to cut our own outta the flock.


First, we’d have to figure out which were our ewes. We’d docked their ears with our mark, but you had to get close enough to read it. Since the ewes were skittish right after lambing, jest like moms everywhere, they worried about their young’uns. We were countin’ on motherly love to help us match the lambs belonging to our ewes.

Finally, Pa and Mr. Braddock were done talkin’, so we commenced to walk across the pasture. Pete knew what was up so he took off runnin’ toward the flock. The ground was still spongy with the spring rains, so it was hard goin’ for us. We squished along as best we could. I began to get the idea this wasn’t goin’ to be so easy after all.

Pete was near the flock by now and he started barkin’ up a storm.

“What’s got into him? He knows better’n that,” Mr. Braddock said with a puzzled look.

Then I saw what was gettin’ Pete so riled up. I pointed up and Pa’s and Mr. Braddock’s eyes followed where I was pointin’. A big golden eagle was soarin’ above the herd. He was circling round so it was clear he was lookin’ to take a lamb. The sheep got wind of him and started to get excited.

A flock of sheep on the move is like a school of fish. The front ewe turns one way and the whole bunch of them turn with her just like they were readin’ her mind. It’s quite a sight to behold. First they swarmed one way, then Pete came up to the flank and turned them the other. They were weavin’ back and forth across the field with Pete doin’ his durndest to head them toward the pens. We were helpin’ as much as we could with our boots stuck in the mud as they were.

Suddenly, the eagle nosed down and dove right for the sheep. He disappeared in the middle of ‘em, but you could see where he’d gone ‘cause the sheep at that spot were not only runnin’, but now they started jumpin’. So, if you can picture this, there’s this big wave of wooly sheep zigzaggin’ across the field with the middle of the flock eruptin’ like a wooly geyser. I didn’t know they could jump that high. I started to runnin’ for the flock to see if’n I could chase off the eagle, but the durned muddy ground tripped me up. I felt flat on my face after only a couple of steps. All I could do is watch.

The eagle took off again and he held a lamb in his claws. This near gave Pete a fit. After all, this was his bunch of sheep and no eagle was goin’ to take even one! Pete leaped up on the backs of the flock and jumped from sheep to sheep to get to the middle. The eagle was strugglin’ to hold on to the lamb, but hadn’t got much altitude; it was more than he could carry off easy. When Pete reached the middle of the sheep geyser, he jumped up himself and grabbed the lamb’s leg. Well, that was just too much for the eagle, so he let go of the lamb and took off.

Pete and the lamb came down and disappeared in the sheep wave. We just watched as there wasn’t a thing we could do.

The sheep started to slow down since the eagle was gone and pretty soon, Pete popped up in the middle of the flock and jumped out just like he’d jumped in.


“I ain’t never seen anything like that before,” Pa said, shakin’ his head.

* * *
Read the rest of the story and more in Tales of a Texas Boy.
Tales of a Texas Boy is available in Large Print on Amazon. It's also in ebook format on AmazonBarnes and Noble, and Smashwords. And if your father has vision issues beyond the help of large print (as my father did), the audio book is available at audible.com.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Time for Another Excerpt. Here's #13

Excerpt from Tales of a Texas Boy

THE LUCK BROTHERS

Fred and Frank Luck were identical twin brothers. They co-owned the farm inherited when their Pa died. Trouble was, those two hated each other somethin' fierce.

Pa turned to me and says, “Wanna go for a drive, Eddie?”

“Sure, Pa.” It was fine with me as I’d been cleanin’ out the chicken yard and anything’d be better than that chore.

Pa and I pushed the Model A out of the barn and cranked her up. We jumped in and proceeded up the road to the Luck’s farm.

It didn’t take but a half hour to drive the six miles. When we were gettin’ close, we heard the sound of a shotgun firin’ off. As we pulled off onto the road leadin’ up to the Luck’s house, we heard shoutin’ as well.

Pa looked at me and says, “Be sure to watch close and be ready to duck down behind the truck.”
It made me a little nervous. It was well known Fred and Frank would go at each other just about anyplace they happened to be. Once, they both spent a night in jail when they got into a fist fight at the General Store. The Sheriff didn’t much care which one started it, so he just let them both spend the night in the pokey. He let ‘em out early enough to go take care of the livestock and didn’t do anything else.

Now, they pretty much kept their fightin’ at home. Most often they’d just flail at each other for awhile and then one or t’other would go off in a huff. Hearin’ gunfire made me think the feud was only gettin’ worse.

When we get up to the farmyard, we saw Frank, or maybe it was Fred, standin’ by the corral kind of hid behind a post and he was firin’ off shotgun blasts toward the granary. We could see the wood splinter as he fired. I glimpsed the other one, most likely Fred, around the side of the building.

“Frank, you cut that out!” Pa shouted.

“I ain’t Frank, Mr. Perkins,” the shotgun holder answered back.

“Well, then, Fred, you cut that out.”

“But, Mr. Perkins, that no-good brother o’ mine called me a dirty lowdown skunk. I can’t rightly take it without answerin’!”

Pa motioned to me to stand behind the truck bed and I went round as quick as I could. Pa started walkin’ slow toward Fred movin’ his hands in a placatin’ way.

“Well, I’m sure you two can work it out if’n you’ll just put the gun away, Fred.”

Then, Pa calls out louder. “Frank, come on out.”

“No sirree! I ain’t crazy, Mr. Perkins. That idiot will just shoot me if’n I come out,” Frank yelled, peekin’ round the corner of the granary.

While the talkin’ was goin’ on, Pa kept gettin’ closer to Fred until he was an arm’s reach away. He grabbed the double barrel of the shotgun and snatched it away and tossed the gun behind him about ten feet.

“All right, Frank, you can come out now. Fred doesn’t have the shotgun anymore.”

Frank come out slow from behind the buildin’ lookin’ hard to make sure what Pa said was the truth. When he seen Fred didn’t have the gun, he walked on over. He gets up a couple of feet away and he lunged out at Fred and grabbed him round the neck.

The brothers fell down on the ground and started wrestlin’ and screamin’ some pretty bad words.

“You low-down weasel!” Bam! Frank smacked Fred right in the eye.

“You yellow-bellied hornswoggler!” Whap! Fred hit him right back.

Pa stood there a bit with his hands on his hips. He looked to be ponderin’ whether or not to separate them. Finally, he bent down and grabbed both the Lucks by their collars and hauled them right up on their feet. My jaw dropped as I didn’t think Pa had it in him. He held ‘em both at arms length until they quit strugglin’, then he let them go.

* * *
Read the rest of the story and more in Tales of a Texas Boy.
Tales of a Texas Boy is available in Large Print on Amazon. It's also in ebook format on AmazonBarnes and Noble, and Smashwords. And if your father has vision issues beyond the help of large print (as my father did), the audio book is available at audible.com.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Prices Reduced for Most Books

Ebooks from #free to $2.99 (most are .99 and $1.99) at Amazon and Smashwords. Note that the Smashwords price also applies at all Smashwords distributors such as Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iTunes, Scribd, etc. Coupons available for half price on several books. See the page Ebooks with Coupon Discounts.

Witches of Galdorheim Series $1.99 each (boxed set $2.99)
Smashwords             Amazon
   Bad Spelling           Bad Spelling
   Midnight Oil            Midnight Oil
   Scotch Broom         Scotch Broom
   Spellslinger             Spellslinger  $0.99

The Tales of Abu Nuwas Series $1.99 each
Smashwords             Amazon
  Faizah's Destiny      Faizah's Destiny
  Setara's Genie          Setara's Genie

Mystery/Adventure $0.99 each
Smashwords                       Amazon
  Missing, Assumed Dead    Missing, Assumed Dead (Adult)
  Eagle Quest                        Eagle Quest (Teen Adventure)

Science Fiction
Smashwords                       Amazon
  First Duty                          First Duty $0.99
  Ultimate Duty                   Ultimate Duty $1.99

Miscellaneous
Smashwords                       Amazon
  Tales of a Texas Boy         Tales of a Texas Boy $1.99
  Mixed Bag Collection        Mixed Bag Collection $0.99
  Mixed Bag II: Supersized  Mixed Bag II: Supersized $1.99








On Kindle for $0.99 and free in the Kindle Unlimited Program for now:

  Lemons and Other Kid Tales $0.99
  Lemons and Other Kid Tales Free at Smashwords


Fish Story: A Three Story Sampler $0.99 on Amazon only.

Friday, July 03, 2015

I Put the #Free in Freedom

For the 4th of July, I've freed some books from those nasty old prices. Here's what's #free from July 3rd through July 5th.

On Amazon:
Fish Story: A Three Story Sampler
Three short stories from the collection, "Mixed Bag II: Supersized." 
Fish Story - Colonists to a distant planet find salvation in a fish. 
The Vision - Charlie can't get terrifying images out of his head, but why? 
Chilpequin 22 Miles - The bartender is big and hairy. Could it be? Nah, it couldn't. Could it?






On Smashwords:
Lemons and Other Kids Tales (always free)
Three stories for kids of all ages.
LEMONS: Karen is horse crazy. One day, it seems like everything is going wrong. She's determined to make lemonade out of the lemons.
ONE FINE DOG: Pete, the sheep dog, knows his business is to protect his flock. He'll do anything to make sure the sheep are safe. 
A PRACTICAL CAT: Boots is living the good life, but the Bigs won't let her out!


Eagle Quest
Fiona, Hap, Billy, and Mitch make an odd set of friends, as different from the usual junior high school crowd as they are from each other. When Mitch, a half-breed Indian, decides to check out Bear Valley as a site for his Vision Quest, the other three accompany him. It turns out to be more than an overnight camping trip as the friends encounter a bear, an old man, and poachers.





First Duty
Nyra Hutchings, a young woman born into a life of servitude on a repressive factory planet, is desperate for a different life. When she's accepted into the Space Service, run by the organization that enslaves her planet, she discovers the truth behind generations of rebellion. Now, she must decide what to believe, where her first duty lies, and fight for more than her life against impossible odds.


Missing, Assumed Dead
When Kameron McBride receives notice she’s the last living relative of a missing man she’s never even heard of, the last thing she wants to do is head to some half-baked Oregon town to settle his affairs. 

En route, she runs afoul of a couple of hillbillies in an accident that doesn’t seem . . . accidental. Kam has to reveal the town's secrets before she ends up missing, assumed dead herself.



Mixed Bag
A little science fiction, a bit of fantasy, plenty of humor, and some really shocking horror. These are tales to suit any mood. All stories in this book were previously published in on-line or print publications. 





Spellslinger (Book 0 of The Witches of Galdorheim)
What does a teenage half-warlock, half-vampire do to have fun? Why build an old west town on a glacier in the Arctic. There he can play at being the good guy sheriff up against mean old Black Bart.

That things will go horribly wrong is a given. But how does Rune get into and out of the predicament?







Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Fathers Day from Tales of a Texas Boy

I hope you've enjoyed the excerpts from Tales of a Texas Boy. There are more stories in the book you might also like to read (along with the rest of the excerpted stories). Find them all on this blog over the last couple of weeks.

So, this is Fathers Day and the last day of the free ebook copy of Texas Boy. If you haven't got your copy yet, hustle on over to Smashwords and use coupon code HL34RL for your free ebook.

It's still not too late to buy the Large Print paperback at Amazon. So you're a couple of days late with the Father's Day gift. No problem. Your dad will probably be surprised you remembered him at all. Poor dads. They always get edged out after Mother's Day.

So, here are the links for  Tales of a Texas Boy.

**** EBOOK IS FREE AT SMASHWORDS WITH COUPON HL34R 
UNTIL JUNE 21st!****

Tales of a Texas Boy is available in Large Print on Amazon. It's also in ebook format on AmazonBarnes and Noble, and Smashwords. And if your father has vision issues beyond the help of large print (as my father did), the audio book is available at audible.com.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Excerpt #12 - Tales of a Texas Boy

Excerpt from Tales of a Texas Boy

The Cattle Drive


I seen the dust cloud down the road, so naturally I jumped up to the top rail of the fence to get a better look. It took about ten minutes before I could make out a couple of drovers was pushin’ a small herd up the road. By then, Pa come over to find out why I wasn’t doin’ my chores. The two of us were standin’ on the fence rail, peerin’ down the road. Ma came out of the house, but she stayed up on the porch with her hand shadin’ her eyes.

When we saw it was a herd, Pa shook his head and grinned.

“I ain’t seen that for some years,” he said.

Well, what could we do but wait for the drovers to come on up to the gate? After all, we was the only place close by and knew these fellas would need some water, at the least, and maybe a meal to go with it.

Ma went back in the house and when I saw the little puff of smoke from the chimney, I knew she was already firin’ up the stove. The angle of the sun over the barn told me it was ‘bout four. It was close enough to suppertime I hoped the herd would have to stop for the night.

With us bein’ fifteen miles from town and six miles by road to the nearest neighbor, I’d be pretty excited we were gettin’ any kind of visitors, but a cattle herd, that was almost too much to ask for.
I jumped off the fence like a lightnin’ bolt and headed for the corral. Old Sam was closest so I grabbed a rope and threw it round his neck for reins. Sam’s really easy, so I didn’t bother with a bridle and ridin’ bareback is second nature to me. It took a little shufflin’ to convince Sam to sidle over by the fence so I could get on. After all, he’s near sixteen hands and I’m not very tall. Pa saw what I was doin’ and nodded to me. I was gonna ask before I lit out, but he beat me to it.

Sam and me trotted down the road. I was bouncin’ and grinnin’ so hard my teeth kept clackin’ together. We met the front of the herd a quarter mile later and my jaw just near dropped off my face. I couldn’t believe what I was seein’ so I shut my mouth again and looked really hard.

Yep, I’m here to tell ya and ya know I don’t lie. Every last animal in the herd was a bull. This puzzled me no end, as much as it puzzles you to hear it. Course, the herd was no more ‘n twenty Hereford bulls, but . . .well, I can’t think of what that would be. Mostly herds are made up of steers and cows. Bulls ain’t usually included as they cause troubles wantin’ at the cows and all.

Read the rest of the story and more in Tales of a Texas Boy.

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UNTIL JUNE 21st!****

Tales of a Texas Boy is available in Large Print on Amazon. It's also in ebook format on AmazonBarnes and Noble, and Smashwords. And if your father has vision issues beyond the help of large print (as my father did), the audio book is available at audible.com.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Excerpt #11 - Tales of a Texas Boy

Excerpt from Tales of a Texas Boy

Crossin’ the Creek


On Monday, we put on our rain slickers and ran to the barn quick as we could to saddle the horses. Pa cut out oiled canvas to cover the saddles and most of the horse as well. 

Brownie and Peaches saw us comin’ and they crowded back in the barn behind the cows tryin’ to pretend they wasn’t there. We dragged ‘em out by the halter since they were none too fond of goin’ out in the rain. Couldn’t say I blamed ‘em, as I wasn’t too fond of it myself.

Our school was more’n six miles away, so we got an early start every mornin’, along about five, so we could get there by seven. Usually, Sister and me would just let loose on the reins and let the horses go at their own pace. Brownie and Peaches knew the way, as they went to school just as often as we did. But, on days with the rain sheetin’ down, none of us was in a hurry to leave the barn. It took some effort, particularly with Peaches as she tended to hate gettin’ wet more than Brownie.

Off we went and the road, usually dusty, was now fetlock deep in mud. We’d have to go slow or the horses would slipslide off the road and into the ditch. 

We had to cross a creek along the way. This creek was only a few inches deep most of the time and only five feet across, but after this rain, the water reached near to Peaches’ belly. She was one unhappy pony, I can tell you that.

We got to the creek and saw the brown water rushin’ along. It was up on the banks and a good fifteen feet across. I’d never seen it this high and I was gettin’ worried some. 

We was already soakin’ wet, but it didn’t matter to Peaches. She took one look and you could almost hear her say, “I’m not goin’ across that!” She set her feet and didn’t take another step. 

The plan was to tie a rope onto her bridle with the other end round my saddlehorn, so I could lead her across. But, she was havin’ none of it. She set back on her haunches just like a dog sittin’ down. It was actually pretty funny-lookin’, but I didn’t say so as Sister was gettin’ a mite agitated.

“We can just leave Peaches over at the Tate’s and we can double up on Brownie,” I suggested.

“No, I want her to do what she’s supposed to do,” Sister grumbled. Even with her squeaky little girl’s voice, she made it clear she wouldn’t brook no nonsense from Peaches.

“It’s up to you, Sister. I’ll pull her ahead, but you gotta show her who’s boss.”


Read the rest of the story and more in Tales of a Texas Boy.

**** EBOOK IS FREE AT SMASHWORDS WITH COUPON HL34R 
UNTIL JUNE 21st!****

Tales of a Texas Boy is available in Large Print on Amazon. It's also in ebook format on AmazonBarnes and Noble, and Smashwords. And if your father has vision issues beyond the help of large print (as my father did), the audio book is available at audible.com.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Excerpt #10 - Tales of a Texas Boy

Excerpt from Tales of a Texas Boy

Cage McNatt’s Prize Sow


Pa let me camp with Dad Boles for a day or two as it was fifteen miles from our farm to Hereford and I liked to go to the fair on more than one day. Dad Boles didn’t seem to mind my company. He told me a few stories about his trapping business and about his time in France with Pa during the World War.

Each evening, when the fair was over, Dad would untie Sophie from her post and let her sit closer to the fire. One night, after things calmed down, Dad Boles and I were sittin’ by the fire with Sophie right next to us. Dad Boles was in the middle of a story about trappin’ when we heard something crashin’ around inside the fairgrounds. Dad decided to go check what was goin’ on, and I followed along since he didn’t say to stay put. We went into the fairgrounds to see what was up. The moon was full so we could see well enough. 

A man was goin’ toward the fairgrounds’ front gate and it looked like he was pullin’ a big dog along behind him. When I heard the squeal, though, I realized it wasn’t a dog, but a pig. I could also see the pig was white, so I knew right off it was the Luck’s sow. The trouble was that the man was Cage McNatt and not one of the Luck brothers.

Well, you might already have guessed what was goin’ on. Cage McNatt was stealin’ Whitey, or at least he was tryin’ to. The problem was Whitey was bigger than Mr. McNatt and she wasn’t of a mind to go along quiet. She was doin’ her best to pull away from the rope. She was shakin’ her head back and forth and kept up squealin’ the whole time. That was about the unhappiest pig I ever saw.

Then, she spotted the open gate. She quit squealin’, snorted a couple of times, and all of a sudden she was doin’ the pullin’ and Cage McNatt was runnin’ behind her tryin’ to keep up. She was makin’ a beeline for the gate where we just happened to be standin’. I figured we’d better just step out of the way. Bein’ run down by three hundred fifty pounds of hog flesh was not an idea I cottoned to.

What I didn’t realize, and Whitey didn’t either, was Sophie followed us through the gate. She, meanin’ Whitey, got about twenty feet from us when she looked up and saw a bear standin’ in the way of her freedom. She stopped short and Cage McNatt ran right by her as he had such a head of steam goin’. When he reached the end of the rope, it came right out of his hand. I could see her sittin’ down on her haunches and starin’ at Sophie like she was wonderin’ exactly what it was she was seein’. All she knew is it was a big, hairy critter and probably smelled pretty bad, too.


Read the rest of the story and more in Tales of a Texas Boy.

**** EBOOK IS FREE AT SMASHWORDS WITH COUPON HL34R 
UNTIL JUNE 21st!****

Tales of a Texas Boy is available in Large Print on Amazon. It's also in ebook format on AmazonBarnes and Noble, and Smashwords. And if your father has vision issues beyond the help of large print (as my father did), the audio book is available at audible.com.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Excerpt #8 - Tales of a Texas Boy

Excerpt from Tales of a Texas Boy

Ma Yote and Her Cubs


Bein’s it was a fine day, I took a walk to the sandstone canyon that runs near our farm. In the summer, it gave up a good stock of lizards and horny toads. I always hoped to find a horny toad, but there be plenty of other interestin’ lizards, too. The schoolhouse has a big book of critters by some scientist. I’ll admit that the man knew his stuff, even if he lived back east. I’d look up what I found in his book so I’d know next time if I spotted the same kind again.

Anyways, the canyon starts out on one end real shallow and gets deeper as it runs west. It ends up runnin’ into a bluff that turns it into a box canyon. Through spring, it had water in the deep end, but by high summer it was all dried out. I’d walk down it from the shallow end, keepin’ my eyes peeled on the walls where the critters lived. This particular day was frustratin’ ‘cause I didn’t see a single thing until I got near the end. 

I stopped dead in my tracks. Three of the cutest little coyote cubs you’d hope to meet were rompin’ around near the end of the canyon. I looked every which way for their mama, but didn’t see her. I suspected she might be out lookin’ for dinner.

The cubs looked my way, but didn’t spook. They just looked interested for a bit, then they went back to bitin’ each other’s tails. I had to grin at the squeaky lil’ growls they let out as they played at huntin’.

I sat down partly hid by a big boulder no more’n twenty feet from ‘em just to watch. I commenced to thinkin’ that I might catch one of the cubs and raise him up like a dog. Coyotes looked like dogs, but I’d never heard of anyone who brought one home. I decided I’d try to tame one of the cubs, but I’d wait until their ma weaned them. They’d still be small enough for me to wrangle, but not so big as to be dangerous.

Somethin’ moved atop the canyon wall and caught my eye. Mama Coyote hung her head over the edge and bared her teeth. Even from twenty feet up I could hear the growling. I stood up slow and commenced to backin’ away. She jumped down and I nearly fell on my backside. I don’t know to this day how she done it, but that coyote found footholds to scramble down that rock wall what looked like a lizard might not get a grip.

She hit the bottom lickety-split, so I backed up a mite faster. Not too fast, or I knew she’d come after me. Lucky for me, she weren’t inclined to do that, so I turned around and took off. I kept alookin’ over my shoulder, but she stayed with her cubs, sniffin’ them to make sure they were alright. In that way, she reminded me of my own ma. She can sound mean enough to shake you right outta yer boots, but I know it’s generally for my own good.

Read the rest of the story and more in Tales of a Texas Boy.

**** EBOOK IS FREE AT SMASHWORDS WITH COUPON HL34R 
UNTIL JUNE 21st!****

Tales of a Texas Boy is available in Large Print on Amazon. It's also in ebook format on AmazonBarnes and Noble, and Smashwords. And if your father has vision issues beyond the help of large print (as my father did), the audio book is available at audible.com.

Excerpt #9 - Tales of a Texas Boy

Excerpt from Tales of a Texas Boy

No Angel


I noticed a flock of blackbirds lit on Ma’s clothesline, so I went in and got the shotgun. I loaded it with smallshot and snuck around the side of the house so’s not to scare the birds. I figured I could get the whole flock of birds if I shot straight down the clothesline from one end to the other. 

I had to be real quiet, so’s I thought I’d sneak up on ‘em like I was a Comanche. I got down on my belly and rested the shotgun across my arms. The grass was high enough so I’d not be seen. I dug in my elbows and pulled myself real slow around the corner of the house. When I got to the lilac bush, I got up behind it and checked if the birds had a notion I was there. They just sat on the line and didn’t even look my way, so I hunched over and ran lickety-split to the oak tree. From there, I was right at the end of the line and no more’n ten feet away. 

I leaned around the tree trunk and eyed the line. Yep, I could see right down it. My hands aren’t big enough to span both triggers, so I have to pull them one at a time. I figured I’d shoot the first barrel and then real quick-like, fire off the second. That way, I’d get to hit the flock twice. 

I eased the shotgun up to my shoulder and pulled back slow on the left-hand trigger. The first shot blasted off and knocked me back a few feet where I landed on my rear-end real hard. I still held the shotgun in my hands, but I wasn’t in any position to fire off the second barrel. When I sat up and looked to see how many birds I got, I was in for a shock. All that noise and not one feather to show for it. But Ma’s clothesline . . . now that’s a different story. The durn thing looked like a dead snake layin’ there.

I knew right away Ma would not be pleased with this.

Read the rest of the story and more in Tales of a Texas Boy.

**** EBOOK IS FREE AT SMASHWORDS WITH COUPON HL34R 
UNTIL JUNE 21st!****

Tales of a Texas Boy is available in Large Print on Amazon. It's also in ebook format on AmazonBarnes and Noble, and Smashwords. And if your father has vision issues beyond the help of large print (as my father did), the audio book is available at audible.com.