Archive | May 2013

Bestiary of Blatherhorn Vale


As I travelled through Blatherhorn Vale via this book of whimsical poems, I could not help but be amazed by the author’s imagination. I wonder how he ever came up with the names and descriptions of such wild and delightful new creatures. I loved the Tree Fox, the Wedge-Billed Wolgat (what girl wouldn’t like a pink and purple bird?), the Nocswine, and the Soft-Bellied Strudge. These poems give the reader stunning visual pictures of the mysterious Blatherhorn Vale. If you like fanciful poems or reading about creatures other than the usual dragons, unicorns, and trolls, you’re going to love this book!

Amazon rank #

Wow! I just checked on, and my book, The Night I Walked off of Boot Hill is now number 176,846 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank! Last week when I checked, it was #399,291! Thank you to everyone who has bought and reviewed my book! You guys are awesome!

When the Boss got “Separated” Part 1

Fence post column for May:

Devil is a rancher. He has upwards of three hundred head of cattle. (I’m sure you remember him and Dare from my last story.) Well, this will be the second full year that he has had his mountain permit. And two hundred pairs of cattle on a permit with several different pastures on Boggy Draw and Pease Point is no small operation. It’s a lot of work. I hadn’t been to the permit until the second time the cows needed to be moved to another pasture. Since I wasn’t in school, Devil invited me to come with him and his employee, Dare, to gather and move the cows. I agreed. Thursday morning, after picking up Dare and the horses, I settled in for the hour-long drive to Boggy Draw.
Not only was this my first time on the permit, it was also my first time on a horse. Sorry, but I grew up using four-wheelers to chase cows. And clearly, both my parents were worried about me. I was given Devil’s GPS to carry and also my can of bear spray. Devil told me several times, “When we get there, make sure you mark the location of the truck and if you get separated from Dare and I, just go straight back and wait for me.” Okay, I could do that. Besides, since I’ve never been here before and don’t have a cellphone (not that a cellphone would get service up here) I would be very happy to go back to the truck if I happened to get lost.
So, into the saddle I went. My horse took off down the trail at a trot, eager to find the cows. Then Devil spotted a lone bull. We drove him through the brush in hopes he’d lead us to some more cows. But all he did was to zigzag through the trees towards a canyon. After referring to his map, Devil decided we needed to push him in the opposite direction. But as luck would have it, the bull had entered a clump of brush that was impenetrable by horse, so Devil dismounted, handed his lead-rope to Dare, and said, “I’ll chase him out. Meet me at the bottom.”
Dare and I headed off, winding our way through the trees until we got to the canyon bottom. But Devil was nowhere in sight. Back and forth we rode across the canyon floor, back and forth again and again. Dare thought we should go back to where we’d last seen him and track him. But soon, we lost his tracks. We questioned ourselves, “He did say to meet him in bottom, right?”
After riding several more passes, Dare decided to go up the opposite rim, where Devil had wanted the bull to go. Once we got to the top, I’d been sure Devil would be there waiting for us. But he wasn’t. After what must’ve been hours, we returned to the canyon bottom, then back to where we’d last seen him. We heard something. I hoped it was Devil. But it turned out to be a bicyclist. And no, he said he hadn’t seen Devil either.
Dare once commented about he’d lost his boss on the first day, but he didn’t even seem worried. Me, on the other hand, was beyond nervous. I knew Devil was wearing his pistol but what if he’d run into a bear or a lion, or if the bull he’d been chasing turned on him?
I started wishing that Devil had been wearing some sort of tracking device so I could locate him on the GPS, or that he’d been carrying a whistle, or maybe even some huge spotlight to shine into the sky like Batman’s beacon.
We headed back to the top and this time followed a trail that led away from the canyon. We found several cows, including a playful calf that followed me for a while, but not our boss.
After several more hours we headed back towards the canyon and that was when we heard the shot.

To be continued*

What was Billy the Kid’s real name?

Last week I asked if you knew what Billy the Kid’s birth name was. You can find that post here:

Billy the Kid’s real name was William McCarty. William Henry McCarty to be exact. McCarty is the maiden name of his Irish mother, as no one knows his father’s true identity.

William H. Bonney was a named used at the height of Billy’s notoriety as an outlaw, and Henry Antrim was another one of Billy’s many aliases.

Author Interview #19

So for my nineteenth interview, I got together with the talented new author, A.J. Burch. I hope you all can take the time to visit her lovely blog and read more of her work! Here she is: please give Ms. Burch a warm round of applause!

Where can we find you? (website, blog, twitter, facebook, etc.)

You can find me at talking about the woes of writerhood, mamahood, full-time-non-writing-jobhood, or a combination of them all. On happy occasion, you may be able to find me at my Google+ under Hanimah Chrub (long story on the name)


What is your author name And is it a pen name?

My author name is A.J. Burch. It’s short for my actual name, but I feel like my readers would appreciate the shortened version which is easier to pronounce.

What is the title of the book you’re currently working on?

Well, technically, I’m working on four simultaneously, but the one that I’m giving most of my attention to is called Concrete Apocalypse. For FYI sake, the others are called Purple Matter, Total Chaos, and Gravity (for now)


What is the genre of your book?

It is dystopian YA (it may later be classified as NA)


3-4 sentence synopsis of your book:

A young woman lives in a country going through civil war. She plans to leave for Canada, but her twin sisters go missing. She goes on a quest to find them and ends up losing herself along the way to a life of crime and drug addiction. Once she finds herself, she continues on the journey to locate her sisters and finds that, not only were the girls abducted by the government, there is dark plot behind it.


What inspires you to write?

The creation of worlds and stories that make me wonder what I would do if I were apart of them. The biggest inspiration, though,  is my son. When I think about giving up and putting down the ‘pen’ all I need to do is see him or think of him and I imagine the bleak future I would create for him if I stop writing.


Self Publish or Traditional? Why?

Traditional first, but only because of the marketing. It seems easier to get the marketing that you need from people who spend everyday marketing. I could barely sell Girl Scout cookies when I was little, so having someone or an entity sell my book for me should hopefully give me the exposure I need to find readers who’ll follow me along to the self-publishing side.


What advice would you give an aspiring author?

Since I’m also an aspiring writer, I can say that never giving up on what you truly want will make you a stronger person. Don’t listen to people who say things to bring you down. If you absolutely have to think about it, also think about the other things they say and you’ll come to realize that all of their words are meant to bring somebody down. Never forget why you write. Once you forget, you stop writing. Oh! And try not to let writer’s block get you down. It’s the biggest loser ever, but even if you have to stop working on your ‘baby’, at least work on something.


Anything else you’d like to say to your audience?

I humbly thank you for taking the time to read my interview. My appreciation is endless. Hopefully, one day I will entertain you with my stories!

WIP update

Charles Yallowitz tagged me in his WIP Progress Update post (

Stop by his site and read about his latest work in progress!


1. What is the name of your current WIP?

The Cowboy Angel

2. Ready to do a cover reveal?

No, I don’t even have an idea for the cover yet.

3. How many words are you into it?


4. Goal word count by the end of the week?

I’m actually just coming back to this book, so I don’t have any goals set for it right now.

5. Goal word count for the entire manuscript?


6. What genre does your work in progress fall within?

YA western romance

7. When would you *like* to publish this project?

I’d love to publish it this winter, but since I don’t even have the first draft done, it probably won’t be for another year or two.  

8. Go to page 5 of your manuscript and pick a sentence at random to share with us!

“Valentina, I’m not what you think I am: I’m not a human anymore.”

9. Will this WIP turn into a series book?


10. What has been the hardest challenge in working on this WIP?

Finding the time to actually string all my ideas together.

11. What has been your favorite part of working on this WIP?

I get to start doing some research again, since I’m adding some history .

12. Any special treat planned for when you finish the final draft of your WIP?

Self-publish it and order a few paperback copies to hand out as gifts. No one other than me gets to read the book before publication.

13. Tag three people to complete this WIP meme!

There are things I don’t want to know about him…

I love history. And there is one subject in particular I love to study: Billy the Kid. I’ve read all books, WebPages, and magazines about him that I can find, and I especially love watching movies about him (Young Guns is my favorite western movie of all time.).

But there are two things I cannot bring myself to do: read the book written by Patrick F. Garrett (it was actually written by his friend, except for the last few chapters) or visit Fort Sumner, the location Billy was supposedly shot and buried.

I’m afraid of what might be lurking under the cover of Garrett’s book. Billy told Garrett stories of himself, and Garrett used those details against him. I don’t want to know what Garrett thought or felt. I don’t know if Garrett’s friend used Billy’s exact words, or if he twisted them to make people hate him (Billy) even more. So the book sits under a layer of dust on my bookshelf. One day I might read it, but then again, I may never have the courage to look at the pages.

And I don’t want to see Billy’s grave. Because in my mind, Billy is still very much alive. (Not physically, of course.) But I’m afraid that if I see his headstone, I will feel like a rock is crushing me. I think I might just feel like I have been lying to myself with the vain hope that Billy lived on after July 14, 1881.

Is this silly? Am I hurting or helping myself for filling in the gaps with bits of fiction from my own imagination? Should I just open that book and see what it says? Should I go to Billy’s supposed place of rest?

With my luck, you know what I’d see there? Billy. His ghost anyway. And then I’d just have to interview him! 😉