Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Short Story - 'Impressive Bravado'

I just released a short story - to Amazon. It wouldn't go through Pubit! So I distributed it through Smashwords today. The story has been up as a freebie on Smashwords since May 17, 11.

I did this just to see what would happen. It has blurbs for 'Let's Do Lunch' and 'Swallow the Moon' so it has advertising benefits. The best part is that it was a hit - 200 hits in the first 2 days and 35 copies downloaded. To date there have been 80 copies downloaded.

A side benefit was I sold a copy of 'Let's Do Lunch' on Amazon. The first sale in 2 1/2 months was a surprise. It also proves that it doesn't pay to give up.

'Impressive Bravado' is a light-hearted and satirical look at the horse whisperer phenomena. There is a grain of truth in it - as I encountered a version of Aquitania while out and about. She stuck in my mind - as such a character would. I expect to see more of her and Dr. Katie McCarty DVM as time goes on.

Deputy Sheriff Shallamon calls Katie McCarty DMV for her opinion of horse mutilations. Someone is targeting local stallions for unauthorized neutering. Anyone with the bravado to sneak into a barn and perform these operations has to be crazy. Is it barn rivalry or something even more sinister? (Short Story - 7k words)

I have the story at $.99 to generate a few sales while I'm in the final stages before 'Swallow the Moon' goes to the editor. Real life has interfered with my writing until I feel like I'm starting all over again. This time I'm starting small and working up to the launch. 

 Watch this space for a guest post.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Me and My Nook - Changing the Way I View Books

I was writing a review about 'Water for Elephants' when I realized just how profoundly my attitude towards books has changed.

"Oddly enough - I'm glad that I bought an e-book not a DTB book. I wouldn't want to have the paper book around. I have too many books that I love - it doesn't seem right to have one I merely like. When I think about that statement, I understand just how profound an effect e-books have had on me. Not only am I buying more books - but it's changed the way I look at DTBs."

What a change for a former book hoarder. My attitude towards books had a profound shift - I'm even looking at shelf space differently.

 I'm buying and reading at least 1 or 2 books a month. I used to read more - but was gleaning them from thrift stores and flea markets. I don't do that anymore. As more backlist hits the internet I'll be reading some old favorites.

How can I put this into words?

I am mentally dividing books into categories - snack-like books - read once and not again. Good stuff for entertainment - like 'Water for Elephants' a good read but not a 'keeper.' The higher quality books that I want to have on the shelves. Which right now means non-fiction books on writing, gardening and food economics. There is my collection of Nora Roberts, Elizabeth Peters and Janet Evonovich some in hardback  because I couldn't wait for the next book.

So here I am - does this make me a reformed book hoarder?

No - but my library is now for reference purposes. I can buy non-fiction without feeling guilty about the number of books on my shelf. Anything that lets me buy more books without having to find shelf space for them is a GOOD thing!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Vacation Catch-up Blues

There is only 1 bad thing about going on vacation - catching up when you get back.

I'm sure we've had more than 40 days and 40 nights of rain. Everything is sodden - even the horse stalls. Especially the horse stalls!

The herd of brats has taken to checking their stalls to see the condition before they go inside. They wouldn't even come in the other night during a storm because the stalls were still wet. Their stalls wouldn't be nearly as wet if they didn't pee soon as they walk in.

I've put rubber matting down for the old mare - which she doesn't like. But it is the only way to keep her stall even partially dry.

I have put in an official complaint to Mother Nature about the rain. It is supposed to go to New Mexico - they haven't had any rain in nearly 230 days!

Somehow - I don't think my complaint will help.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hermit Kitty

Yes – it's true! Ms Kitty has gone hermit.

With my only connection to the interwebs a dialup connection (gasp!) I've holed up in the wilderness.

This drastic measure – yes, it's drastic YOU try to survive on a dialup connection – is solely to see if I can get some work done. I've been ADHD for so long that I'd given up hope of ever finishing ANYTHING.

However, I'm relieved to announce progress! I have finished and published "Impressive Bravado" a short mystery/satire about horses and the horse show industry. I did a DWS with it – finished it and threw it at Smashwords as a freebie.

Once I get some feedback on it, I might edit it a bit more. However, I doubt it. If I spend any more time on it, I'm going to have to charge for it.

Why did I do that? Two reasons both equally important at this point.

Advertising my skill as a story-teller. Unless people know that I can write, they will never buy my work. Somewhere along the line I've got to prove myself.

Ego (or self-esteem if you believe in Indigo children and other mythological creatures) as it's been more than 2 months since I've sold a single copy of "Let's Do Lunch" – I'm a hurting kitty.

"Impressive Bravado" is a short story in the Ms Kitty style of humor and satire that takes a poke at horse people in general and best of all – 'Horse Whisperers' in particular. It's already been 'bought' by 30 people since midnight last night.

I suppose the shit will hit the fan as soon as someone who knows horses reads it. I hope so – I need some free publicity.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Immigration Reform

As this country hollows out in the middle - as the boarders are slowly closing to drug traffic - it is time to address the issue of the underground economy.

I am the grandchild of immigrants - Ireland, Scotland, Hungary and Germany. There are several school of thought on this hot-button issue. I'm directly in the middle - where I seem to end up most of the time.

The Reactionary Right screams about 'Anchor Babies' and stolen jobs on one hand - while using immigrant housekeepers, nannies, gardeners, pool boys and caretakers. I've gotten used to this kind of blatant hypocrisy from the so-called 'upper class' even if it still turns my stomach.

I know people from all over the world. They have come because they WANT to be Americans. So did my grandparents - they LOVED this country. I don't see what the big deal is.

The birth rate has slowed down - here and in many countries around the world. People with access to birth control use it - because the middle class wants children but can't afford to raise them. People scream about 'generations' on welfare - yet perpetrate what amounts to a class system.

There is no justice in this - there is only insanity and chaos. Too many of the 'backroom' policies are counterproductive for long term stability - tax cuts for the rich, medicare cuts for the poor. Subsidies for corporations - benefit cuts for the unemployed and impoverished. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer - the middle class vanishes - who is America without a middle class?

I think we will be just another 'Third World' country unless the 'upper class' gets it's collective head out of it's ass and starts thinking LONG term. 

Bringing people stuck in the underground labor pool into the mainstream is a great idea. They will pay their taxes - and support the programs that help the poor become middle class. They bring new blood, new culture, new ideas and eager hands to this country in a time of stagnation.

Face it - we aren't talking about a few hundred thousand South Americans. We are talking about millions of Canadian, Irish, Hindu, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, British, Middle Eastern, European AND Latino immigrants. Doctors, Engineers, Software Developers and other skilled trades would be included with those who have a more limited education.

Put the engineers to work creating new technology to free us from the tyranny of fossil fuels. Fill the hollow middle with small farms and fresh faces. (Or give it back to the Native Americans who it rightfully belongs to...now there's a can of worms!)

This isn't a bi-coastal nation - there is a huge heartland crying for people to come and live. Immigrants have always come to fill the empty places in the economy - and give it a shot in the arm in the process.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Time to Eat My Words - The Lion is King

I have been royally ticked off at the present administration. I felt they had dropped the ball on the Kill Medicare bill. The budget debate, the ridiculous birther issues, the compromising with the Tea Party made me crazy - so I called our leader and chief a cowardly lion.

Then I saw the Correspondent's Dinner - heard the opening and realized that timing is a priceless quality that can't be faked. The opening display of his birth certificate - the humor, the priceless darts at those who had mocked him. His timing and delivery was as good as anything Jon Stewart EVER did.

I take all my barbs about 'cowardly lions' back on the basis of that performance alone. This is before Sunday night - before the President announced the demise of Bin Laden. Which makes all the joking at the Correspondent's Dinner vastly funnier - pointed and priceless, a 'Coup de grĂ¢ce' to all the mockery this administration has endured.

I have to admit I never thought we would get Bin Laden. Now that he is no more - I look at the people who are trying to take credit for Obama's Victory and I get worked up all over again. Until I think about it - most of the people doing all the crowing have one little problem...they can't leave the country. If they do, and I think there are a dozen of them, they may find themselves up on charges for War Crimes.

Yes, the former administration's finest players are working hard to justify what they did in the court of public opinion - because International Law is waiting to pounce on them.

Justice comes in a lot of different forms. Some are more satisfying than others.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Sun Has Returned!

I was starting to think we'd never see the sun again. Everything is soggy as noodles in week old soup. The pasture is more green and lush than ever - so I'm not going to complain too much. All the seed and manure spread over the winter paid off again.

The news from Chicken World is good - I've got eggs in the incubator, a hen on eggs and a duck on eggs. Soon there will be even more baby critters running around.

The first batch of chicks have turned into mini-chickens. I've tagged the ones most likely to be roosters for sale at the farmer's market. They are aggressive little tykes and take a great deal of pleasure beating on the hobbit chickens.

This is where it gets interesting - I have to separate the young roosters before they get on Mickey's nerves. He will kill them while they are small if there are too many running around. Sony would get them into the duck pond and drown them. (Sorry, but nature is not always pretty.)

I should get some picture posted of the flower beds. They are a weedy mess at the moment, but I'm working on them. The chickens are getting the debris, the horses are donating compost and I'm mulching the heck out of it in hope I can keep the weeds down.

The summer season has kicked off with the hanging of the wind-chimes. That sound will get me out of bed and onto the porch in the morning. With the lawn mowed and trimmed and a few flowers blooming - I can drink coffee in utter bliss.