Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Yet Another Five Minutes You Will Never Get Back~

My friend and former co-worker,  Stacey, who writes the Jumping-Percheron blog, gave me this Liebster award. I'm not very good at these kind of things, getting awards and then the follow through. Mostly it's because I'm lazy. I'm also trying to work four days a week, write two books simultaneously and I get to spend Sundays with my family. Some of the time.

In between the cracks, I visit my Appaloosa, Dreamer, goof off with my friends, do laundry, and waste a considerable amount of daylight looking at pictures of animal babies on that infamous time suck called Facebook. I'm not very domestic, so my house is a shambles, and my yard is a lovely shade of yellow due to neglect. Except for the weeds; I excel at growing weeds. And not the kind you can make money with, unless dandelions suddenly become a priceless commodity. Then, I've hit the mother lode.

So here is my feeble attempt at a Blog Award Follow Through, in which the only requirement that I actually fulfill is answering the eleven questions.

See? I'm even too lazy to right click, save the award icon, and upload it to my blog, which I probably could have done in less time then it's taking me to write this sentence...

1. If you could ride anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Scotland, or Australia. Two countries I would someday like to visit.

2.  Have you ever been out of the country that you live in?
I have been to Jamaica, Providence Island in the Bahamas, Mexico and Canada. I don't like to fly, and they no longer let you get drunk before you get on a plane. This stupid FAA regulation has drastically curtailed my flying.

3.  What's your job, do you like it?
I have two jobs, and I love them both. I am a commercial livery carriage driver in Salt Lake City, and a writer. When I'm not doing one, I'm either thinking about, or doing, the other.

4.  Proudest moment with your horse?
Once I would have said the first show I brought Dreamer to and he won a blue ribbon. But a lot of horses win blue ribbons. Now I would say the day I was visiting him at his new home, Courage Reins, a therapeutic riding center in Highland, Utah. I had him on a lead rope, standing behind MBA's mini-van, dragging tack out of the back, when a stranger walked up and asked me if Dreamer was my horse. She then proceeded to tell me how much she loved him, how great he was in class, and how all the students and volunteers loved ( and fought over who got to) work with him. It was a testament to my horse that even though he had only been there a short time, he had won the hearts of everyone connected with the center.

5.  Any horse tattoos?
I have a Yin-yang horse head on my right shoulder cap. It is the model for the cover of my novel, The Carriage Trade.

6.  Favorite place to haul out to ride?
I sold my trailer and no longer haul Dreamer anywhere. When I had a farm in Missouri we would hack our horses around the 36 acres surrounding our property.

7.  Any other hobbies besides riding?
I ski (badly) and camp. And by "Camp" I mean take our travel trailer somewhere with full hook-ups. Then we go hiking. And by "Hiking" I mean walk around and drink wine. I hike the same way I fish. Because, to me, if it's not sunny and I can't get a tan & drink wine, I'm just sitting in a chair on the shore holding a stick.

8.  Most ridiculous piece of tack you've seen?
One of those Mexican saddles with the horn big enough to play poker on. The best piece of tack was insulated saddle bags that could hold a 4 liter box of wine. Very useful!

9.  Furthest distance you've taken your horse aka road trip, day haul, show, etc...?
In 1995 we moved Dreamer from Northern Illinois to K.C., Missouri. In 2003 we again moved him, from K.C. to Salt Lake City, Utah. When he was moved from K.C. to S.L.C. there was a one night stop in Colorado. The next morning he had to be coerced to get back in the trailer. I do not blame him one bit.

10.  Is this your first blog award?
No, but it means the most because it came from my friend Stacey at Jumping-Percheron.blogspot.com

11.  Do you board or have your horse(s) at home?

My horse currently lives at the above mentioned Courage Reins where he gets love and attention from his extended family every day. It is a fabulous place for him to spend his twilight years. 

Oh, yeah, now my other book, The Re-Education of the One Trick Pony is available in paperback. You can buy it, along with the first one in the series, The Carriage Trade, over on Amazon. So please go and buy it. Then read it. Then leave a review. And tell your friends. Because until I hit it big in the dandelion market, I could use the scheckles...

Monday, June 17, 2013

Another Weekend Behind Us...

Last week was a hectic one for the Slave Driver household. On Thursday we trekked up to Logan, Utah to attend the student orientation for incoming freshmen at Utah State University. Never having attended "real" college ourselves, Mr. Slave Driver and I are excited to be able to wear USU clothing and plaster USU stickers over every available inch of our vehicles, and cheer for USU sports teams. We are honored to be associated, by proxy, with so fine of a university. And, you know, proud of The Kid for going there. 

We spent the night at a hotel in Logan so we wouldn't have to get up at the crack of dawn and make the drive, although we had to get up at the C.o.D. anyway to get The Kid there early enough to take a math test. Now I know for future reference to stay at the University Hotel. It's only steps from the building  where we spent the entire day. We could have shoved The Kid out the door Friday morning and slept in another couple of hours. You know, like typical college students.

Live and learn, I guess.

On Saturday I was involved in a multi-author book signing at a local book store. I was joined by fellow writers Doree DePew, MaryMartinez, Stanalei Fletcher and Anna Sugg. Many friends and family stopped by, including my carriage tribe, because they are loyal like that. I still feel awkward "autographing" a book for someone who will surely see me wandering around the driver's room in my long-johns come December, but they appear to enjoy it, so what can you do, right?

Stanalei, Doree, Anna, Mary, Cindy Dumas (owner of Marissa's Books) and Lisa Deon aka Slave Driver

After the book signing Mr. Slave Driver and I attended a 25th Anniversary for one of his employees. They are Hispanic. I must admit, while I grew up in the Chicago area and have been to many types of celebrations, I have never been to a Hispanic event. The invitation was in Spanish. My mother, who is the most fluent reader/speaker of Spanish in our family, translated the invitation for us. The extent of my Spanish is being able to ask the following:

"Hi, how are you?"
"Much work?"
"Where are the bathrooms of the Devil?"

And, as with many other foreign languages, I can swear at someone or tell them to shut up.
It was fun but we were tired because we're getting old and the only liquor they offered was Budweiser. Mr. Slave Driver was the designated driver, and I don't drink beer of any kind because it's gross. We stayed for a respectable couple of hours then headed home to pass out.

Sunday was Father's Day here in the US. We go to a lot of movies, and this day was no exception. Mr. Slave Driver chose "Another Earth" as our movie of the afternoon. Now, I like Will Smith. I liked him in just about everything, from "Six degrees of Separation" to "Wild, Wild, West". The thing I enjoyed about "Another Earth" was the way they recognize how language evolves. It reminded me a lot of "Firefly". However, watching this film I was left with this burning question:

1000 years in the future they have the technology to evacuate Earth for another planet in the solar system, yet their most advanced weapon is a glorified Ginsu knife? Really?

And what's up with the space ship? I totally understand why it broke up after being hammered by asteroids; it's made of papier-mâché, PVC piping, that orange plastic safety fence (but grey, not orange) car wash brushes, and long, wide rolls of toilet paper. Definitely not space worthy, in my humble opinion. But, then again, I'm not an engineer. And, I don't like to fly.

Anyway, the busy weekend is over, and I'll get back to writing books. And there will be a third Carriage Chronicles. I have to finish "Things to do in Big Rock while you're Dead", first, but here is an excerpt from Chapter One of (apparently I cannot get away from long titles)...

The Accidental Star of the Dog and Pony Show

"See, there's where your logic is flawed. Bill is the kinda guy who will search the ends of the earth for me until he dies, so if you kill me, you have zero chance of being together. He craves closure, and will devote the rest of his days trying to find out where I went and what became of me. And that means he'll have no time for a relationship with you, and you'll end up being ignored. But if you save me—" Carlos splayed her hand across her chest and arranged her face in the most frank and innocent expression she could manage. The kind she used when dealing with the police, and customers she felt were being stupid. "Then you'll be a hero, and Bill loves heroes. Then, his moral code will insure that he will show his gratitude by being with you forever."
Carlos nodded earnestly upon finishing her carefully crafted lie, drops of sweat racing down her face, landing on her already drenched tank top. She made sure to use only Bill's name, and not refer to him as her husband. Calling Bill her husband only enraged the wild-eyed woman she was negotiating with.
The past twenty-four hours had not gone well for Carlin 'Carlos' Farley-Fantazma. Being held captive in what she assumed was an abandoned hay barn had given her ample time to review the events leading up to her current situation. In hindsight she believed that her biggest mistake was not necessarily going with the rabid, crazed fan she was dealing with, but neglecting to inform anyone from her tribe that she was leaving. And as improved as her mental functions were becoming, having brain damage tended to impair her judgment. Which was why she was having a bizarre conversation with a lunatic somewhere in the middle of nowhere.
Carlos had awakened that morning with a blinding headache, face down in moldy smelling hay. For just an instant she thought that she was back living in the apartment above the carriage barn, and had somehow passed out on one of the ton square hay bales stored by where they kept the Vis-a-Vis. She inhaled deeply, not opening her eyes, but started coughing at the pithy odor of poor quality alfalfa mixed with mold and mud. She opened her eyes and pushed her body up, her confusion compounded by the cold realization that besides being in a dark and foreign building, she was also without her prosthetic left foot. And the back of her skull hurt like hell.
"Somebody's in a shit-load of trouble," Carlos muttered out loud. And a short time later she came to the conclusion that the somebody in a shit-load of trouble was her.