Sunday, May 29, 2011

a little good news

The Indie Book Collective blog tour that is giving free books to commenters and troops has pushed claire-obscure, newly available on Smashwords, (which allows you to download the e-format that fits Kindles, Nooks, Kobos, Sony's, etc.) to the #2 spot in literary fiction bestsellers!

UPDATE ON MONDAY - claire-obscure is #1 in literary fiction on Smashwords! 


If you don't have it yet, come get it now and maybe we can push it to #1 - which would really make my weekend!

Remember when you purchase to click the 'like' button and also come back and leave a review.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Craig Schmersal - come on, Craig, SUE ME TOO

UPDATE, 2022:
This post is getting some hits this week, so just in case you’d like to contact or boycott his sponsors, here’s the updated list from his website:

 This is quite possibly one of the most hideous riders I have ever seen in my entire life. Epona TV videotaped this and all I can say is GO EPONA!

Craig, you're an idiot. That's all I have to say. I wish I could be there to video it when karma catches up to you.

Watch the video. Is this someone you'd pay to train your horse? Can you say psychological damage? And although it IS that for the horses he rides, I'm talking about the human. Damaged goods. Ditto for the ring stewards with their heads turned down.

Help spread this across the internet. Let's see if his attorney wants to sue ALL OF US. Wouldn't you just love to show up in court and testify against this creep?

Sorry, folks. I am still mad as hell about the BLM and this came onto my radar a few minutes ago. Not in a very nice mood right now.

Here are his sponsors, from his website. Join me in giving them an earful:

Anderson Bean Boot Company

Bloomer Trailers

Bob's Custom Saddles

Cinch Jeans

Spalding Fly Predators  (sob! I have written them and will wait for a reply - but if they sponsor this man I will have to find a new source for one of my favorite products)

Hyalogic (if you use hylaronic acid - HA - and want an alternative to this company go to Pure Bulk and buy the pure HA powder with instructions to make your own gel - it works - it's pure - and it is way less expensive!)

Kiser Dragmaster

Alltech Horse Feed Supplements

Professional's Choice

Pro Panel Horse Feeders

Purina Mills

Rios of Mercedes Cowboy Boots

Western Hauler Trucks

join the Blog Tour de Troops - it started today!

November Hill Press will be part of tomorrow's tour - for each comment you leave on each stop on the blog tour, you get a free e-book from that author, a troop gets a free e-book and both you AND a troop get entered in a contest for free Kindles!

GO HERE to start the tour - but do come by November Hill tomorrow and say hello to get your copy of claire-obscure.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

wild mustangs, donkeys, and the BLM

 I'm  not sure what we can do to change what happens in this video. Madeleine Pickens is asking Oprah to do a show to raise awareness and force the BLM to stop these practices and to release the horses and donkeys from holding pens back to the range where they were brutally and heartlessly herded by helicopter.

Tonight while reading my Facebook feed I've burst into tears (wailing tears) at a series of photographs of a rescue mare (not a mustang) that is now in safe  hands. Then I came across this video. I watched it once, and I can't watch it again. But every one of us who love horses and donkeys, each of us who know how special these animals are, and how much they matter in our world, need to see this just one time, and get one other person to watch it just one time - so that one by one and two by two, we can create a group of people big enough and intent enough to figure out a way to stop this.

The idea that one cent of the money I pay in taxes is supporting this program makes me ill. If anyone has more information on what we can do to help change this, please post it in the comment section. I am beyond appalled. I've seen some of what they've done in the past, and I've signed petitions and sent emails. There has to be a way to do more.

the senior horse, 4: beating the heat with a bath

This week we're having some very warm days for May - highs in the mid-90s and an intense humidity that makes everything seem sticky and sweaty.

After breakfast this morning I got things set up underneath the big oak tree in the little barnyard and led Salina out for a bath. I had a feeling she might appreciate it more than the usual grooming we do.

For a few seconds she didn't want to go with me. I had put a lead rope over her neck and started to march out of the barn, but she stopped and tried to turn into the stall. I stopped too and realized I'd skipped a step. In my own head I was ready to get going with her bath, but I hadn't taken the time to communicate that to her.

"I thought a bath would feel good," I said to her, and pointed with my left arm out to the oak tree. "Let's go out and cool off, Salina Bean." She immediately walked out with me. I looped the lead rope around the base of her neck and adjusted it so the buckle wasn't hanging in an uncomfortable way. I had everything ready, so I got started quickly, a gentle scrubbing with shampoo diluted with water. Salina doesn't like being bathed with the soapy sponge around her face, so I usually start mid-way her neck and go backward, then around her tail and up the other side.

As I got going with the rubber scrubber and sponge, in my right hand, Salina kept putting her nose on my left hand, very gently as if she was trying to tell me something. I stopped and just stood still with her. She turned and looked me in the eye, rested her nose on my palm, and said very clearly, "thank you." It was as clear as if she had said it in human English. And interesting because Salina is not often affectionate in that particular way, but she very much wanted me to stop and allow her to not only say thank you, but to do it in a special way, with her nose and muzzle.

I also had the sense she wanted me to slow down and just enjoy the time with her, so I notched down several notches, and just stood rinsing, very slowly and deliberately on the "gentle stream" setting, rotating the hose nozzle so she got a little bit of massage action. I went over her body inch by inch, really taking my time and letting the water soothe both of us.

Salina emitted a very long and relaxed sigh of contentment.

The donkeys came out and began to roll in their dust circle, which they often do while Salina gets her water baths. We shifted angles slightly so Salina could watch them roll while we continued rinsing.

After the first round of rinsing, Salina turned to me again and this time nuzzled my arm, again very gently. This time meant something different, and this time I was much more attuned to her, so I knew immediately what it was - even though it's something she rarely wants. She wanted me to stand right in front with the hose and spray her underneath her jaw. Keil Bay loves this, and I do it often for him on hot days, but Salina generally wants no water from the hose aimed anywhere near her face.

But this morning, she wanted exactly that, and she knew how to tell me so. By slowing down and just being with her, I had tuned in enough to listen and understand.

We spent several minutes with the hose under her jaw. I tested several settings - gentle stream, mist, cone - and we ended up back on gentle stream again.

When she was done with the under-the-jaw hosing, she very quietly turned so I could get back to rinsing her body again, and at the exact moment I thought in my head, there, all done, she stepped forward toward the barn.

"Wait," I said, and she stopped and allowed me to take a clean cloth with plain water and wipe her eyes, her face, and all along the poll and upper neck. Then when I removed the lead line, she waited one more second to make sure I was done, and she headed into the barn.

I took the sweat scraper in and did a gentle scraping, and she was back with her donkeys in the cool barn, clean and very happy.

I was thinking as I stood there with her, how different it is to bathe a horse who is tied and unable to communicate by turning and nuzzling and even by walking away if something is truly unpleasant. The communication is so much easier when they can move and let us know what feels good, what doesn't, and what they would like us to do.

All of ours enjoy baths and hosings when it's very hot, but the seniors especially seem to appreciate a long, slow rinse - especially when there's nothing else in the world but us, them, a hose with some good settings, and a little soapy water sliding down and away, watering the big old oak tree that lends its shade.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

2011 EHV-1 situation report at APHA

Someone provided THIS LINK to the APHA site earlier today which seems to have a great deal of very specific information on the recent EHV-1 exposure at a competition held in Ogden, Utah.

Check out the May 19th situation report (it will download as a PDF) and also the various fact sheets.

The situation report offers actual numbers of confirmed cases as well as numbers of horses euthanized and for me helped put this into perspective.

Here's an article about A HOLISTIC APPROACH to this issue.

And ANOTHER. (this one is on Facebook so if you're not signed up or in you may not be able to view it, but's a terrific write-up by a vet)

I've been receiving a number of panic-inducing emails from various horse groups I'm involved in, one of which passed on irrelevant information from 2007 as current data - everyone needs to stop, take a deep breath, and get grounded with reference to this outbreak.

Healthy horses not stressed by poor diets, frequent travel, and over-immunization are at the least risk.

Friday, May 20, 2011

lessons in riding, 6

Tonight's lesson: how much I learn when I ride a different horse! It's been awhile since I rode our 8-year old QH, Cody. He's 15.3, not built like a tank, and in almost every way he's a different ride than Keil.

Cody is infinitely more sensitive to every aid. Keil is not what I would call insensitive, but with Keil there are a few different settings. One is what I call slug setting, where he just plods around and doesn't really do anything special at all. Another is "I know all the right ways to look so here you go" setting - which is actually quite masterful if you think about it. He knows how to torque his body to LOOK like he's doing what he thinks you want him to look like. But he's still stiff and and not straight, and thus things feel a bit clunky and unbalanced. And Keil has a setting which is brilliance in motion. It's not all that difficult to activate this setting - it took me awhile because I simply wasn't ready for it, but once I was, and I asked instead of demanded, he gave it to me. Part of my work with Keil Bay has been me learning that I never need to demand anything from him. And that in fact, doing so gets the slug or the fake-out. He saves his brilliance for when I focus on myself, get into balance, and ask.

With Cody there is mostly one setting. He came to us tense, using tiny strides as he had been taught to do as a very young Western Pleasure horse. He was fully trained under saddle at age TWO. We thought he was almost four when we bought him, and then the papers arrived. TWO YEARS OLD! We backed off rigorous riding and encouraged him to stretch out and really use his body. Now, at age eight, he is still anxious to please, and still defaults to tense, but I think now that is more due to the fact that we believe he has PSSM. With a balanced, low carb diet, regular exercise, and acetyl l-carnitine, he does very well, but we have adjusted our goals for him. He won't be the Pony Club horse for my daughter, as that requires hauling, lots of jumping, and I am not willing to give him a job he might not be able to do well. He cares too much about doing a good job.

Cody is a wonderful tag team teacher for me. Riding Keil Bay is like closing my eyes and just feeling for the magic. With Cody, I need to tune in to every part of my body. I always feel like I have more control of my legs when I ride Cody, which I think allows me more finesse in applying the aids. I suspect most of this is due to the fact that he simply isn't as broad-backed as Keil is - my pelvis doesn't have to open as wide, and it's just easier to use my legs well.

On the other hand, Keil's strides are longer and more fluid, so in that sense he's an easier horse to sit, which in some ways makes it easier to cue things. There's a longer beat in there in which I can ask. Going from Keil Bay to Cody is like inserting a fast forward button - everything goes faster on Cody, almost like I'm in a time lapse and I have to work hard to catch up to myself.

Tonight we rode after dark and instead of Keil Bay's high alert mode, I enjoyed Cody's laid back demeanor about things like dark corners, the short side by the forest, the diving of bats, and the hooting of owls.

I also discovered that Cody knows shoulder-in. I honestly can't remember how much I've worked with him on this exercise - but tonight we did it effortlessly in both directions.

We had an audience. When Keil Bay realized I was in the barn, he came in from the front field. And when he realized I was riding Cody, he met me at the arena gate and stuck his head over, pushing to come in. "You get the night off," I told him, so he went to the barn and stood in one stall, Salina stood in the one next door to him, and the donkey boys stood in the paddock, and watched us ride.

My daughter rode the pony and named all the bird calls. And tonight is the first night I heard the whippoorwill calling.

Just now, typing this, I heard something, a soft, muted sound, outside my window. I opened it up and was answered instantly - the soft, relaxed snorting of a horse. I don't know which one, and it doesn't even matter. Tonight's real lesson is this: even when the rides are wonderful, the real wonder is when they know we know they're there.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

dreams come true and wisdom teeth

Over the weekend we discovered a secret trail system that appears to be like something out of one of my dreams - remember that dream where I cleaned out a storage shed behind our house and found a secret door to an entirely unknown part of our farm? That had another extension to the barn with a huge guest quarters and full kitchen? And a swimming pool?

Well, this is just about that good. We're in the process of exploring and mapping and checking, and it appears that we can ride from many miles right from our back forty.

Right on the tail end of that discovery the for sale sign went up at a neighbor's farm. She has a huge house with gorgeous office (perfect for the work at home person or writer), 7-stall barn, fenced paddocks, and a pond, all on 10 acres. If anyone is looking, or knows anyone who is, let me know. As it turns out, the realtor listing the property is the brother of my first riding teacher. His family shepherded me into the world of horses when I was around 9 years old, and he assured me yesterday he's working hard to bring another set of wonderful neighbors to our lane.

Otherwise, Salina had her massage on Friday right after the neighborhood horse-folk brunch which took place in our barnyard. We had spinach-cheese quiche, blueberry muffins, ham and cheese croissants, cocoa-date energy bars, more cheese for slicing, freshly-brewed coffee, and horsetail tea. And we were supposed to talk about muscles in horses but ended up talking about how horses talk to us if we only know how to listen. We each gave examples of this from our own experiences - it was really wonderful.

Salina was ready and waiting when H. went in to start the massage, and by the end Salina got so relaxed her knees nearly buckled. I was thrilled - she had cantered up the front pasture earlier that day, which was also a good thing - that she is feeling good enough to spontaneously canter - so it was particularly nice to see her so appreciative and so relaxed as she got her body work.

Sometime on Friday one of my wisdom teeth started bothering me a little. It's been slightly loose for about a year now, but has never bothered me in the least until Friday. I keep pondering the metaphor in all this, but can't quite get into thinking about losing any wisdom...!  Yesterday I called the dentist, they worked me in, and I walked out without that wisdom tooth! I had no idea when I went in that it would be coming out yesterday - I thought I was going in to get assessed and put on the oral surgeon's schedule for July.

Instead, my dentist, who knows what a terrible dental patient I am, said, "I can take it out right now if you want me to." I hemmed and hawed and also realized that if I let him take it out the ordeal would be OVER. No stressing for two months, no dealing with it for that long either. Something deep down in my psyche said YES, I can do this.

I reminded him that I don't even get teeth cleanings w/o drugs - and that I have a huge and unwieldy needle phobia. He reminded me that he is very gentle and that if I came in so quickly with this tooth I must be feeling okay about him. (that was a particularly savvy thing for him to have said, and likely what gave me the boost I needed to agree)

Between me saying yes and him coming at me with the needle, the assistant put the TV on the DIY channel (at my direction) and I sat watching men re-doing a back yard complete with hand drills and screws screaming into big hunks of wood. It was not the best choice but on the other hand it sort of made everything in the dentist's office pale by comparison. I ended up taking the straps of my Ariat horsey bag used as purse, holding them like the reins of a double bridle, and riding myself through the needles and the procedure.

I focused on being very careful with the curb rein, and also managed to squeeze the finger and then the wrist of the assistant as my mouth was fully numbed. When he came back to check, I still had a little feeling at the root of the tooth, so he came at me with the needle again. I rode right through it.

And when he came back the next time he stuck something into my mouth and 5 seconds later the tooth was lying on the tray. At that point I was in such shock that it had been so easy I could barely speak.

In 30 minutes I was driving home. Once again horses guided me through something I couldn't have done alone. (we all know who I was riding in that double bridle, don't we? Keil Bay and I were doing upper level dressage! No rollkur, the barest touch on those curb reins, floating movement with balance and harmony!)

I came home and took arnica, rested through the evening, slept like a log, and am now sipping chilled coffee since I can't have hot beverages today.

I feel a little bit like I've lost time this week, but now I can get back to the normal routine around here.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

the senior horse, 3: a complete senior diet and summer kairos

Back in the late fall I decided to transition Salina off her complete senior diet and onto the same diet the geldings are on, the primary reason being that she is eating a lot of hay and I wondered if the unbalanced portion of her diet (the hay and forage) was in effect throwing off her trace mineral ratios.

Over the winter she got the geldings' diet, except she got an extra meal mid-day. She mostly maintained her weight but by the time the grass came out this spring, and a good month into it, she hadn't regained her weight. Not an alarming loss by any means, but enough so that I have decided to put her back onto the complete senior diet (developed by Dr. Eleanor Kellon).

I am in the process of adding the additional ingredients back in, slowly so as to allow her digestive system to adjust. We'll be up to the full amounts in another few weeks' time, and I'll start her back on the customized vit/mineral mix I get from HorseTech that goes with this diet. I'll still add her joint supplements and lysine individually, and her ALCAR.

She's picked up some weight already, and seems to have more energy. The reasoning behind the complete diet is that it alone provides all the vitamins and minerals she needs, balanced to the correct ratios, and served wet so she has the best chance of absorbing the good stuff. The geldings are also on a balanced, wet diet, but their meals are balanced to the hay they eat. With Salina, we have shifted to the assumption that she is no longer able to chew the hay well enough, or digest it well enough, to get all she needs.

After this experiment over the winter, I think I've established it pretty well - she does best on the complete diet.

I keep wondering when I should look at Keil Bay's diet in terms of absorption issues, etc. Although he would dearly love to shift to what Salina is eating, I'm not seeing signs that he needs it yet, and it may well be he doesn't need it for a long time, if at all.

Keil Bay's transition to senior diet might be that he gets a mid-day meal of ODTB cubes, which he will love just as much.

On another note, we've shifted into summer schedule here, which means horses come in around 10 a.m. and get feed tubs, then get groomed and set up for the day hanging out in the barn with their fans. Salina adores being groomed after a night out in the pasture, and she usually positions herself for it and waits. I brush, check for ticks and insects bites, use calendula tincture and water as needed, wash her eyes (the empty socket collects dust and she loves having it gently cleaned), and end with a light spray of the herbal fly mix we use. It's a special and quiet time that all of us enjoy. It's a drowsy time, and often one or more of the equines will lie down as I work.

For Salina, who is retired from riding, this time is even more special. It's very clear she enjoys the attention and the actual grooming, and I go slowly so it lasts about as long as a ride would. With all the horses and her donkeys in the barn, relaxing, it's a time she can let go and relax herself. No need to keep alert to everything going on - we're all right there, and with the fans going, the outside world just disappears.

It's a good time for her and a good time for me - so other-worldly that yesterday when Fed-Ex drove in and honked the horn for five minutes we didn't even hear it! We were in our own time, which is a place I think the senior horses are especially good at taking us.

Monday, May 09, 2011

lessons in riding, 5

Tonight after arriving home from daughter's lesson I marched out to the barn and called in the Big Bay. Husband was weed-eating and the three geldings were "trapped" in the back field. They started running the arena fence line, and then suddenly Cody turned around, picked up speed, and galloped through the gate right past the scary weed-eating monster!

Keil Bay came in when husband turned it off, snorting and blowing and standing up to his "big horse" stature (about 17.3h).

Fortunately I had done a good groom this morning so I didn't have much to do except tack up. By the time I entered the arena it was dusky, he was fully alert, and I figured the ride would definitely be interesting.

The thing about the Big Bay is that it's pretty easy to transform his "upness" into nice dressage work if you aren't nervous yourself. We did some really nice big walking and he wanted contact immediately. It took a couple of circuits to get him to notch down his alertness level a few clicks, but at that point he was nicely forward and I shifted into shoulder-in, some well-timed turns on the forehand, and alternating between big walk and a more collected walk to keep us focused.

We had one small spook at the end of a full circle of turns on the forehand but I used that little bit of impulsion to head down center line.

By the last bit of 20m circle work, we found the magic with very soft contact and a lovely bend.

The interesting thing was that when I dismounted, he was still very "up." That weed-eater really had them going today!

I wondered if he would stand at the tack room door, but guess what? Even the weed-eating demon is not enough to put Keil Bay off his end-of-work treats!

After several handsful of pellets and oats he marched off to the front yard, completely by himself, in the dark, and I cleaned all three of his bridles, his saddle, and am still happily breathing in the scent of Effax oil.

Lesson today: sometimes weed-eating jumps you up a level!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

week's end catch-up

Busy week - with a lot of little dramas here on November Hill. Mid-week Redford started a new conversation with me in the mornings during breakfast tub time. He has learned to open the feed room door while I'm inside, and then waits 'til my back is turned so he can sneak in.

We go back and forth, him sneaking, me saying "you stay there, Redbug," and then he sneaks in another step.

He got a bit too far in at one point and I had my hands full so called out "Redford! No!" He backed out in a hurry and gave me a look, then used his nose to slam the door shut. It was hilarious. Of course he couldn't stand it for very long, and opened it back up again, but now if I ask him to back out, he does, and slams the door for good measure.

On Thursday the Carolina wrens fledged the nest. My daughter went out to feed Salina lunch and I heard high-pitched squeals - I thought something had happened to daughter and went dashing out the back door. She was in the barnyard, trying to keep the baby wrens safe. They were in the barn aisle flying and then out into the barnyard. Dickens managed to grab and eat one nearly whole, but the remaining four or five were safe.

At one point birds were flying, daughter calling, Corgis barking, Salina neighing, donkeys braying, and a hawk was circling overhead. Mama and Papa wren were squawking. It was chaos until the babies got their wings enough to get up in the oak trees.

My daughter says the wrens sometimes have a second brood so we're watching the nest to see if they return.

This weekend is writing group, and tonight I read the first half of the first chapter of the second book in the Magical Pony School series out loud. It's amazing to me that when it's time, the book comes. I've been juggling three very different books in progress, and Fiona's voice is the one who came clear this weekend.

We also went across the lane today and met our newest neighborhood "herd." A Quarter horse named Pablo and his four goat buddies. Turns out Pablo is a Zippo Pine Bar baby just like Cody (although older, at 11) and it's easy to see the resemblance. He's still settling in. It was fun seeing the barn. A few years ago that barn was right by the lane and home to a herd of ATVs. Now it's back behind the house and a lovely space for a horse and four goats. That's the kind of transformation I love seeing!

In other news, we brought home the last round bale of 2010 hay and are keeping our fingers crossed that the rain holds off long enough for the 2011 crop to be cut, dried, and baled. Our hay grower has some square bales he held back that we will use in the interim, and if I have to, I'll locate some timothy to fill the gap. We've had so much rain lately it's been hard to find enough clear days in a row to do the haying process. I've seen a few farmers doing parts of a field at a time trying to work with what they had weather-wise.

And, it being May, I woke up at 3 a.m. and feel like the cicadas are buzzing from inside my head. Spring is always a "loud" season in general and I have found over the years that May is always an intense month for me. Everything seems busy and noisy and I seem to feel it from the inside out. About the time I think I'm going to explode, it all dies down and the long lazy summer kicks in. Here's to middle of the night blog posting, the slow fade of the annual buzz, and maybe, if we're lucky, a mild summer.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

horses, baths, and field maintenance

It seems like every time I go out to ride lately I end up bathing a horse. Or two. That's what happened yesterday when I went out to ride. Salina came and stood by me, I looked her over, she seemed itchy, and since it was a warm day with a warm evening predicted, I shifted gears and bathed her.

She stood and stretched her nose forward, enjoying every moment of her bath. I used a very soft-pronged curry in one hand, soapy sponge in the other, and ended up removing about another half-pound of shedding hair. The bathing part is actually not what takes the time - it's the rinsing. I'm not sure why, but she seems especially hard to rinse - the shampoo seems to really cling to her coat and skin. Fortunately she loves being rinsed, so after a moment's difficulty when Keil Bay sauntered down the grass paddock and she was determined to go with him, I just dragged the hose and finished her rinse under the holly tree.

We got into it together, the sound of the water, the flow of suds off her back and down her legs, the cooling. Even when Keil got bored and led the herd back up to the barn, through the aisle, and across to the big barnyard, Salina and I stood entranced and connected by that stream of cool water.

I was still planning to ride, but when I got to Keil Bay, he too seemed itchy. In his case, he had a few ticks attached in the groin area, and he was fussing (by walking away) each time I tried to get them off. So I got his halter and a lead rope and we went to the bathing area for his first real bath of the year. Keil likes being bathed too but he is very nudgy as he tries to pull my arm with the hose to different parts of his body - do this part, do that part - mostly he just wants me to hose right beneath his jaw, but carefully so he doesn't get sprayed in the face.

Yesterday, though, he stood nicely while I sponged and did tick removal (easier with soapy hands and skin), rinsed him thoroughly, which took about 1/4 the time it takes to rinse Salina. You're done, I told him, but he followed me to the barn where he clearly expected to be treated for his time. You can see with Keil Bay how the expressive horse gets rewarded for being expressive, and thus it blooms into even more expression.

All through his bath he kept presenting his muzzle to me to be kissed, and when he comes along to the feed/tack room and stands patiently, it's absolutely impossible for me to not give him a handful of something. Yesterday he got a handful of alfalfa pellets for my interrupting his grazing to get bathed, and then he got a handful of oats because... well, just because he asked and I love saying yes to the Big Bay.

By this time it was dusk and I still hadn't checked and refilled water troughs.

With springtime and growing season there are many more chores to be done.

The week before last I cleaned and dragged the arena, last week I mowed buttercups, this week it's rotating/dragging fields, and the next big thing to do is weed-eat.

And grooming gets more detailed. Brushing, bathing, checking for ticks, dealing with biting pests, and managing the heat... all this is partly why spring is NOT my favorite season. But right now it's still more my favorite than this long, cold, wet winter we just came through!

On another note, we have a certain kind of cicada emerging right now by the dozens. They are everywhere, and anywhere there isn't a live cicada, there is the shell of one. These are like no cicada I've ever seen - they have golden wings and red eyes, and resemble little insect demons. Is it a coincidence that the leaves, every single leaf, on the squash and cucumber plants are now simply gone? All that remain are stems and blossoms.

May! I can't quite believe it but it's here.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

promoting Signs That Might Be Omens today

Today I'm promoting my adult literary novel, Signs That Might Be Omens. If you've been considering buying it, go ahead and do so today and help push the ranking at Amazon!

If you already bought it, I thank you. If you've read and enjoyed it, I would greatly appreciate your taking the time to write a review on Amazon - the reviews do help with new books. It's also very helpful if you "agree with" the tags that you feel best represent the book. All of this works on Amazon to bring the book onto various lists where other readers can find it.

I also welcome invitations to do blog interviews, talk via Skype with book clubs or groups, and any other word of mouth promotion you might give. 

You can get a free sample of all my books on Amazon, but I've also pulled a Signs excerpt from further in and posted it HERE.

And remember, claire-obscure, hailed by Eight Cuts Gallery as "a delightful, enigmatic masterpiece," is a connected book to Signs. Both are part of the Claire Quartet, and both are available on Amazon. Click the covers to your right to go directly to the sales pages.

Explore November Hill Press to find out more about the press, the books, and the writing life.