Thursday, October 25, 2012

Racine Here I Come

I like to blog on Fridays but tomorrow I will be traveling to Racine, Wisconsin. My husband and I sing with a group, "Reflection", and I, minus my wonderful husband, who has a HORRIBLE cold that I shared with him (sorry, hon) will be in a car beginning at 5 a.m. on my way to Racine.

By the looks of all the pictures I've seen, it is a beautiful place located on the shores of Lake Michigan. That alone was enough to get me on board. I will do anything (well, almost anything) to see a new place, even though long car trips are tough on my joints. Living with RA is the pits, but deal with it, right?!?!? And stop your whining....I can hear you through cyberspace telling me to get a grip!!! And I will...and do...everyday.

Hopefully, I will get lots of pictures. One I'm especially interested in is the lighthouse. Can't wait to see it. The picture attached is compliments of google....

Until next time, know that the book is one week away from being in the hands of the publisher. Yippee!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Meet John Archer

Meet John Archer. John, a character in "The Disappearance of Simon Archer", is the 16-year-old son of Simon and Susan Archer.

John is a rancher through and through. Though young, he knows without a doubt his life will be spent on the S&S Ranch tending to cattle, land, and the beautiful palominos his father fell in love with and brought to the ranch.

Simon, in the import and export business, travels several months of the year entrusting the care of his palominos to John and no one but John. He calls them his best girls.

About girls....John is not your typical teen-aged boy. Very recently he began to notice some of the girls in town. Sure, he thought them pretty enough, but they giggled and acted silly when he came around, so he sat down on the steps off the back porch and made a list. A very long list of things he'd not compromise on when it came to the perfect girl for him. When all was said and done, he perused the list one last time and came to one very obvious conclusion: this person wasn't just any girl. It was his mother!

"Aw shucks!" he moaned. One thing he knew for sure: he didn't have an Oedipus complex. He just thought his mom was about the best woman alive.

Too bad dad doesn't realize it,  he thought to himself. He'd watched as his father grew more distant from the family and from Susan. The rumors around town were that he'd taken a mistress. And not just any old mistress...she worked on Second a house of....well, you get the picture.

John was furious and had trouble dealing with his father's indiscretions. Sometimes he just wanted to punch Simon in the nose, but there were two things wrong with that. One, Simon was his dad, and, two, Simon was always gone. Even if he could muster up the nerve, the passion would be gone by the time Simon returned.  He'd just left on a trip that would take at least four months.

So how would John work through his difficulties with his dad? Will he remain angry or choose to forgive?

In a few short weeks, "The Disappearance of Simon Archer" will be released and you'll find out.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Buck Stops Here

Animal Farm: that's the best way I can describe it. A couple of days ago, I was out in the front yard walking around when a couple of deer, a doe we lovingly call Bossy, because it's the best way to describe her, and her son, whose name has been changed from Buddy to Pushy Man.

It was the weirdest thing ever and happened like this: Bossy and "Buddy"  came trotting (yes, trotting, as if they had gone a whole day without seeing me and missed their old pal, Hazel) up the hill when they saw me come outdoors. I petted  Bossy on the head, then "Buddy". Satisfied, Bossy began to graze and I walked away headed to the side of the house to find a tool I needed for some yard work. Buddy followed behind. How sweet! He still liked his human friend. As I walked, he trotted  (they trot a lot) in front of me and stopped dead in his tracks, taking me by surprise.

Now, "Buddy" is a yearling, first RUT season of his short life, and a 2-point buck who is VERY proud of his new horns. 9I'm fairly certain he looks up to his father, Thor, and wants to be just like him when he grows up. Handsome, virile, rugged, a force to be reckoned with and a harem all his own.)  He and his brother, John Jacob Astor, can be seen periodically sparring in the back yard, which, I suppose, is their way of learning how to use those weapons to their advantage. And weapons they are!  But I digress.

So there we were just eyeballing each other, waiting to see who'd make the first move. When he didn't move, I took another step and he stomped at me. Hmmm....what to do...what to do! A dilemma for sure. A buck, with horns, who I've seen practically everyday of his short life, is suddenly being very weird with me.

I said, "What's up, Buddy?" (like he speaks English, you know) and stood there waiting for some sign that he was getting bored with all this. Only he wasn't. I took a deep breath and weighed my options. Here is an animal very familiar to me and I to him, but we've all heard horror stories about people who befriend animals in the wild only to have the animal turn on them. I decided to try once more. I took two steps and he jumped, yes jumped in front of me again, this time moving in even closer. HOLY MOSES! I felt trapped. So I turned slowly and started moving in the opposite direction and crept toward the steps to our front porch. They move quietly, so I wasn't certain if I was alone or had a horned stalker behind me. I stepped onto the brick walk and I heard hooves do the same. Yep...he was my uninvited escort. I turned around and he was about 2 inches from my backside and I put my hand out on his nose and said, "Buddy, that is enough."

I am not kidding when I say he looked like a wounded child. I don't know what he was up to but it could have been a number of things, the most obvious being the aggressive nature of a buck in the RUT season. All that testosterone and the only gals around were cousins, aunts and his mother. How frustrating, huh? Their need for mating outweighs any warm fuzzies they may have felt in the past and they become kind of mean and ugly.

Or it could be that he's been around me so long he now considers me a member of the herd. And sometimes they rough house. Or maybe he hates my cat who slaps him in the nose when he gets too close sometimes. Who knows? The only thing I know is that it was kind of creepy.

A couple of minutes went by and his mom, Bossy, played her mom card. She walked over to him and reared up and smacked him right in the snout with her front hooves and gave him a bloody nose. He tucked his tail between his long, skinny legs and high-tailed it out of here. She watched him go, then walked over to me as I sat on the steps, almost as if she sympathized with me. But more like she had just told her disrespectful son, "What's the matter with you, Buddy? I should knock you into the middle of next week."  So she did. 
Today Bossy came back but Buddy...I mean, PushyMan steered clear of the house on Obsidian Drive.

By the way, the buck in the photo? Pushy Man's dad. No wonder he has a bit of a complex. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Opening Night at the Butte Theater

Being a writer of historical fiction, particularly surrounding the mining towns of Colorado, I take every opportunity to make the short drive to Cripple Creek and check out the latest and greatest melodramas at the Butte Theater.

Tonight was opening night for the fall season with an original melodrama written by Chris Sorenson, a veteran of Cripple Creek theater. The offering this season is called "Haunting at the Old Homestead" followed by a Halloween Olio.

My husband and I love to go to the melodrama whenever we have the opportunity and even though we know the players by face only, they have come to feel like family members who melt our hearts each time they light up the stage.

Without giving away the plot, suffice it to say the melodrama surrounds paranormal activities of the Old Homestead, a true-to-life brothal on Myers Avenue, the Red Light District of 1890s Cripple Creek. The building still stands today as a museum. The house and its notorious madam, Pearl DeVere are the fixtures upon which the story is built. Ghostbusting is the theme of this fun-filled evening at the Butte. Filled with music, chills, thrills, laughter, fun, mystery and surprises, I am happy to report HAUNTING at the OLD HOMESTEAD is the finest piece of work I have seen come out of the Butte Theater since....well, EVER.

The Olio was hysterically funny, so much so that when the three male actors, Mickey Burdick, Rob Scharlow and Chris Joel Onken came out dressed in creepy, monster drag (yes, that means female monster drag) singing their own special versions of a few pop songs about "creepy, evil, seductive women", I laughed till I couldn't catch my breath. Chris Onken was my personal favorite, stepping onto the stage looking like a bizarre, young Stevie Nicks with a twist of gender bender singing Witchy Woman. Honestly, I laughed so hard the tears were rolling down my face along with all my eye makeup, no doubt making me look like a "Witchy Woman" of a different sort. It's safe to say that everyone in the theater was laughing just as hard if not harder than I.  When the troupe sang "Monster Mash" I found myself singing the do-wops (something I did in an Elvis band years ago, but that's a story for another day).

I sum it all up by saying this: if you live in the Pikes Peak Region and haven't been to the Butte Theater you are missing a treat. Especially with this production. BEST EVER! Check out their website for more info at or on Facebook (search "The Butte Theater"). This particular melodrama started today, October 5 and ends November 4.

Seriously, folks, you don't want to miss this one! Where else can you go to the theater, enjoy a snack and a drink (even alcohol), have good fun in a safe environment for less than $17 a person plus the cost of snacks/drinks? Nowhere I know of with live entertainment. You'll leave feeling great, even uplifted.

Way to go, Butte Theater and The Thin Air Theatre Company.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Meet Lydia, the Boisterous Cook of O'Keefe Manor

In The Disappearance of Simon Archer I wanted characters people could identify with. You know...a character or two who remind you of someone you know or perhaps even yourself; however, some needed to be eccentric, a bit off the wall, yet lovable. Enter Lydia, the non-Irish Irish wannabe.

Lydia is the boisterous cook of O'Keefe Manor. Hired by the house manager while Augusta and Reginald were still on their honeymoon trip to San Francisco, Lydia took over the kitchen early on in her employment, intimidating most of the staff so badly they avoided her at all cost. All the other employees did their work and stayed out of her way, knowing better than to do anything that might offend her, basically doing whatever she asked. Is it because she's a supervisor? Nope. How about seniority? No again. All the employees were on equal footing with seniority having been hired around the same time.

The thing she held over everybody's head was quite simple really. If they didn't stay out of her way, they didn't get fed. And from the onset of her employment, the agreement she made with her employers was that she would be the cook not only for the family, but the staff as well.

Lydia loved all things Irish. She fantasized about making a crossing to the Emerald Isle where she would meet the man of her dreams who would inevitably sweep her off her feet, taking her to his castle, complete with his very on loch, mind you, and teaching her the ways of the Irish people. She spoke with a faux Irish brogue, took the time to learn their most common phrasings, spent most of her time off in the local library studying Irish history and culture and would have moved heaven and earth if it meant she could become Irish. 

Augusta was mystified by Lydia, asking her time and time again if she was  certain there was  no Irish lineage. Lydia loved Augusta and there was nothing she wouldn't have done to ensure her happiness or her safety.

As Augusta's marriage suffered because of her husband's "imaginary friend" and incredible mood swings, Lydia was the first to ask if there was any family history of mental illness. Her younger brother grew up with a boy, who in his late teens began to have discussions with a friend named Henry. There was no Henry; there was no imaginary friend. The young man was committed to an asylum, which tore his family unit apart.

Struggling an internal battle over whether or not to tell Augusta the story, she finally decided it was better than allowing Augusta to live in a world of denial where Reginald was concerned. To Lydia's relief, Augusta was receptive to the idea of mental illness, having spent a great deal of private time tossing the idea around in her head and not knowing exactly what to do about her suspicions.

The two women form a bond, Lydia promising to stand by Augusta no matter what despite her conflicted feelings about Reginald. She felt sorry for him, stating he reminded her of a little boy who felt unloved and unwanted, simply acting out inappropriately. The only difference, she stated, was that as a grown man about to become a father, he needed to do everything in his power to assure his family's safety and well-being.

Lydia will be one of your favorite characters in this book, which is nearing publication. I apologize for the delay. It is of my doing. When I broke my foot, I simply didn't feel well enough to complete the rewrites. Without promising anything I cannot deliver, I intend to have the final rewrite to the publisher by the end of October.

I can't wait for you to read all about Lydia and enjoy getting to know her as much as I enjoyed creating her quirky character.

By the way....the photo I added has absolutely nothing to do with the blog for today....but I had to share it! These are two doe sisters who hang out in my front yard, who are grooming one another. Sweet, huh? They are named Molly Brown and Not Molly.

Molly Brown was the first deer I had the pleasure of meeting in my yard. She has a hole in one ear, much like a piercing. Not Molly, her sister, has the biggest head and ears I've ever seen on any deer. They are like friends and visit me almost everyday.