Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

To One And All

Saturday, December 27, 2014

S-h-h-h, Don't Say It Too Loudly

I'm Holding My Breath

Nearly two months ago, my vet was out for fall shots. As you may recall, he gave Chance in injection of Osphos, a new drug just released in the US for treating navicular disease. I has be used under the name of Tildrin in Europe for some time with good results.

Today, since the weather was beautiful, my cold was feeling better, and the footing the the arena was quite good, I decided to lunge Chance just a little to see how he looked. He was lame when Dr. Klayman was here.

Well, of course, Chance had lost a shoe. Darn. These are orthopedic shoes, egg bar with wedge pads. So losing one is certainly going to mess up his gait.

But wait! The ground was soft, so I decided to try a couple lunging circles anyhow.

On the left. Sound.

On the right, Sound.

There was no sign of a limp at all and no unevenness in his gait due to the lost shoe.

I quit, set him free with a happy sigh and haltered Tucker for a little bit of work.

Well, two sound horses in one day has been pretty rare lately, so seeing him move happily off with two shoes still on made my smile even bigger. I took off his sheet and gave him about a ten minute work leaving his sheet off at the end since it was so warm.

I took off Chance's sheet too, and headed for Toby who promptly trotted off--also beautifully sound--to escape me until he realized all I intended was to undress him for the rest of the sunny afternoon.

I'm not going to brag about the Osphos. Not yet. One never knows.

We'll get that shoe back on and see how things go. I know Dr. Klayman wants to see Chance soon. Here's hoping shoes and soundness will be intact when he comes.

If so, then we can both give the drug a potential thumbs up.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Happiest of Holidays

Feeling Poorly

I have been a little sick the last few days so I haven't blogged or done too much else.

So, now is the time to wish you all the best of Season's Greetings. May your heart and homes be filled with love, laughter, and joy.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

And Just How Did You Get Undressed?

And Where Did You Leave Your Clothes?

The Land of Lost Socks has nothing compared to the Land of Lost Horsewear.

Now, mind you, the Horsewear Black Hole includes more than just socks. Actually socks usually stay on the horse despite his efforts to go naked from the pastern down.  It does include: horseshoes, bell boots, halters, flymasks, and blankets of all sorts.

I do often find the lost items months later when I am dragging the fields or the arena, or simply out hiking across the pasture to bring one of the Boys in for a ride. Last month, on "lead the colicky horse around the pasture" mission, I spied a flysheet buried in a weedy section of the field.  I didn't retreive at then, and with the rain and other " not get home until dark" days, I haven't pulled it out of its hiding place yet. Frankly, I forgot.

Today reminded me. When I went out to feed the Boys dinner, I found Tucker naked. Where was his Rambo sheet? OK, I'll admit one the belly straps needed some TLC, but still, it had stayed on for well over two weeks after the strap malfunction. What happened today?

As it was nearly dark, I did not go on a search mission. It was getting chilly and I need to brush off the mud off his coat and get Tuck dressed again for the night. I had to rummage through a pile of "needing some repair" sheets and blankets to find one to dress him in.  Mission accomplished, the sun set behind us and I decided tomorrow was another day. (Scarlett was right.)

I suspect finding the Rambo will be easier than the last lost bell boot or Chance's special orthopedic shoe and pad, but I am just wondering what condition it will be in.

I once owned two Rambo lightweight sheets. Rambo claims indestructibility...well almost. These sheets have been around for a good number of years, so the claim must have some merit. Yet anyone who knows horses, nothing is indestructible in the face of a determined horse. The "other" Rambo is lying on the tack trunk in a rather tattered state. I have a bad habit of just piling up the torn outfits to wait for the day when I either decide they are too far gone to save, or I go to it repairing them.

Since Rambo #2 was only suffering from a broken surcingle, it may yet have another life. On the other hand, if it looks anything like Rambo #1, the cause may be lost.

The dawn--well perhaps 8:30 AM will bring the answer. After I feed, I will go on the great sheet hunt.

Oh, yes, maybe I'll pull that flysheet out of its gravesite too. It deserves a proper burial.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Change Rein

OK, The Dressage People Understand the Joke

For the rest of you, we did a little modification of the book cover.

Herewith, the newer version:

Reins shortened, ears up more, Whim's eyes more open.

If you can do a close up look at the other Jamus in the waterfall, you can see he has a nasty look on his face.

See anything missing?

Into detail?

Here is the final version of the picture without the text. See if you can spot the difference. (Aside from the missing text.)

Sunday, December 07, 2014

New Book Cover

Silvrin Shards Cover

Some of you may remember the title to my fourth book was going to be Cave of Shadows.  If you don't remember, that's just fine. Since then the stories to be included have evolved in a slightly different direction.

As a result, since they all will be involved with twisted reflections from the Way of Mirrors--you do need to read the book to fully understand--I've changed the title.

Silvrin Shards now works better. "Silvrin" is the stuff mirrors are made of in Magiskeep. "Shards" are, of course, broken bits of mirrors. They will reflect only parts of the world, offering a distorted view of reality. Strange things happen in a world where reflections and reality touch and it's hard to tell where one begins and the other ends.

So, taking a scene from one of the stories, Dave Melanson has designed a new cover for me. Since it features Whim so brilliantly, I thought you all might like to see it.

I love it!

And, ah, yes, perceptive viewers. That is Jamus' and Whim's reflection emerging from the waterfall. One has to wonder what will happen next.

Look for Silvren Shards in early February, 2015.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Off Topic, Fallen Heroes

Not Horses This Time

I am sorry to hear the accusations against Bill Cosby.  I am not one of those people who puts all kinds of celebrities on my list of most admired people. I am not a big fan of any rock stars, or actors, or politicians, in general.

My list of public people I really respect is very short.  But, of late, I have been repeatedly disappointed by the few people I have admired more than most.

First, there was Tiger Woods. What disappointed me the most about him was that he put on the facade of morality as a role model for sportsmen and young golfers.  Behind the scenes, he was another kind of person. Fortunately, I still respect his superior skills as a golfer and can admire all the hard work he's putting into reestablishing his career after all the scandals.

Then, along came Lance Armstrong. I was in awe of his cycling skills, his personal battle to overcome cancer and his efforts to better people's lives through the Livestrong Foundation. He fell from grace once he admitted to using performance enhancing drugs over the years in order to win. Apparently, he too is trying to remold his life and his image, but all those victories in one of the most grueling races in the world have been wiped out by his cheating.

Now, Bill Cosby seems to be falling from grace as well. Again, he was a man I admired. First, he is a stellar comedian with a unique perspective on human beings. I can still well remember two of his comedy routines I adored--one about a visit to the dentist office and another about a balky Volkswagen. Yet, now it appears this talented spokesman for education, proper behavior, and humor in our lives has lived a horribly immoral life and may well be guilty of some serious sex crimes.

I do not choose idols easily. Nor do I worship them as some fans might. Yet when one falls off the pedestal so dramatically, I still feel let down.

These men, of course, are not the only famous people who have lost their good reputations. One after another, celebrities seem to find it hard to be "good people" in the face of fame and fortune. Most of the time, they don't matter much to me. These three men did.

Lesson learned?  I doubt that I will look for true heroes much anymore.

Maybe it's another perk of my writing fantasy. I can create my own heroes and keep them from falling with just a flourish of the pen.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Little Bit of Colic

Despite My Better Efforts

As I mentioned in the last post, I have been wetting the Boys' feed with hot water every day.

I do not give bran mashes since bran actually causes digestive problems and that's why horses often have loose manure after eating it. So it's off the list of feeds. Instead, I just water down the pelleted feed to make a hot mash. Might add a few carrots now and then just for fun.

I've been doing that for days.

Today it was warm jacket weather for me. The Boys were naked. But there was another weather front on the way with some rain coming and cooler temperatures.

I stuck to the wet feed schedule.

When I came back from the feed store with a load of grain, Toby was lying down in the riding arena. He was also looking at his belly now and then.

I watched him for a bit to assure myself he wasn't going to roll and unloaded the feed. In the meantime, he got up and followed the other Boys to the barn. Then he promptly lay down again under the run in shed.

Since I'd seen him pawing when he was up, I was pretty sure he was having a colic episode.

I considered calling my vet but then decided to walk him a little first to see if it made any difference. I got him to his feet and led him around the riding arena a few times. Then, thinking that hills can actually help, we went out into the pasture and walked around it twice, up and down the fairly steep hill. As we moved along, Toby perked up and seemed to be acting much happier.

I fed everyone then, giving Toby a lighter ration than usual. He ate happily.

I just went out a while ago to check on him and put the rainsheets back on my little herd. The temperature must have dropped ten degrees and the rain was cold. I gave each Boy another flake of hay and will go out for late night snacks around midnight.

So far, so good. I'm hoping the colic is over. I know the changes in the weather certainly aren't.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Weather This or Whether That

Will It Ever Make Up Its Mind?

The Boys are naked again. The temperature was up into the 50'sF today and will be again tomorrow. Some time early this morning, another weather front came through to chase out the frigid Arctic air to replace it with warmer breezes.

Times like this, it's good the Boys are in the back yard. I can go out and change their outfits almost at will.

If you are like many of the horsemen I know, you too keep a sharp eye on the weather forecasts. I have to admit, during the past ten years or less, they have been better and better at making accurate predictions.

Gone are the days of the TV weatherman with his little barometer and flow chart guessing what the next day would bring. Now he's backed up by hundreds of sophisticated instruments, satellites, and computer models all destined to predict exactly what the next day's temperatures will be within one degree.

Well, sort of.

Mother Nature has a way of fooling even the wisest computer, it seems. A storm was coming up along the East Coast, ready to knock out Thanksgiving travel all along the NY metropolitan area. We were all braced and ready, our eyes riveted to one weather map after another.

The dire predictions for my area never came true. By the day of "The Storm" we had fizzled down to a wet, soggy dusting of snow determined to make mud of every square inch of bare ground.  As glad as I was of missing "the Big One,"  the sopping ground and muddy pits certainly made another kind of mess of things.

I am putting ex fence rails out for wheelbarrow ramps so I can wheel the stall cleanings out to the manure pile without getting stuck. It's great fun trying to keep the wheel on an eight inch wide ramp while slipping and sliding off it myself.

But the guardian of the weather did not leave us there. Oh, no. Thanksgiving night, she dropped the temperatures well below freezing just for the fun of it. I had to give my new car's defroster a thorough workout just to clear enough frost/ice off my windshield so I could drive the hours home from my friend's wonderful Thanksgiving Dinner party.

Bitter chill wind and cold air tormented me for the next two days until today...when the new pattern arrived.

I am giving the Boys hot mash feed every night. Just adding hot water to their pelleted feed. Toby, in particular seems to really enjoy it. At least it gets a little extra water into them and makes me feel as if I've warmed them up a bit.

Meantime, I just keep an eye on the weather, wondering what tomorrow will bring.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Boys on the Loose

Whither Doth Thou Wander?

I went out to feed the Boys this morning and....there were no Boys to feed.

I soon found a section of the back fence rails knocked down with tell tale hoof print next to it.  The only good thing was that this section opened into the woods, and it would be tricky for the Boys to get out to the road from there. The bad thing is that it is deer hunting season.

I hiked out to the woods at once. A hunter up in a tree blind called down to me to tell me the Boys had been by about a half hour before. He'd called to them, they'd stopped and then taken off to the west.

Darn. It would have been better if they'd headed the other way out to the fields instead of the deeper woods.

My grain bucket, lead ropes and halter hiked around out there for over an hour, looking for them. I called, rattled the bucket, and searched to no avail.

At that point I figured I might as well circle the 100+ acre cornfield, so I came back home to get the truck.  I propped open the back gate to the paddocks just in case the wayfarers decided to come home and drove off.

At the tree farm up the road, I met the caretaker working on pruning the Christmas trees. I told him of my mission, left my cell phone number and was on my way in four wheel drive around the field.

I was nearly back to the part of the trail that headed home when out of the woods Toby appeared. Chance was apparently in the lead and already seemed headed home. Tucker was still lurking in the trees. As soon as they saw me they stopped and, ever the suckers for a bucket of feed swarmed over to me. I decided to put the halter and lead on Tucker. I told Chance to go home and, good boy that he is, he took the lead. I followed leading Tucker, and Toby, the herd boss who never wants to be alone followed along behind.

Once I got them all settled and latched in their stalls with breakfast, hay, and water I hiked back out to get the truck.  Fortunately, it wasn't too far a walk. I drove back to the tree farm to tell Fred I'd found the Boys, called the farmer to let him know too, and came back home to fix the fence.

It wasn't the easiest job. There's a bit of a curve in the fencing at that spot and trying to get the slip rails back in place required more hands than I had. But I finally used some baling twine--akin to WD40 and duct tape a a life necessity--to hold the end of the rail up while I pounded the other end to get it set back in place. Two slightly easier rails later, the escape route was closed.

I left the baling twine on the rails to help keep them secured.

So, no need to trail ride today. The Boys already had their outings and I had plenty of exercise myself.  (Still not quite ready to ride anyhow....)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Not the Best News I've Ever Had

The blood work on Toby and Chance came back today.

Toby's Cushings numbers are up. He's running around  ATCH 132 where normal is somewhere around 30.  I am not 100% sure had had his meds the morning the blood was taken, but even so, it would not make that much of a difference within an hour. Besides, he'd had it every other day prior to that, and 132 is pretty elevated.

I will be upping his dose of Pergolide from 1/2 tab a day to a full tablet.

Chance's bloodwork for Lyme disease returned a chronic infection count at 3350. Considering that prior to treatment with antibiotics his count was at 7301, the 50% drop is considered a success. Dr. Klayman said there was no need for further treatment and that the count was likely never going to be too much lower.

My research so far agrees.

With the cold weather the ground has frozen so I can't evaluate Chance's gait. He was having a little trouble in some areas of the paddock, but the ground was really lumpy.

This weather stinks. It is far too early to be this cold. My water hose is frozen and I need to get a new heater for the barn water trough. Of course, I will go buy one tomorrow, a then on Sunday it's going to be back up around 50F.

But we are blessed here. I guess most of you saw the pictures of the snow around Buffalo, New York.  Several hours from here, thank goodness.  My heart goes out to all the people drying to deal with it. Talk about overkill.

My acupuncturist used to live in Toronto, Canada and kind of shrugged. "We used to just dig a tunnel out of the house and go to school."  Oh, my. Even I have trouble imagining that.

Guess we must never underestimate the weather.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Temperature Drops

Arctic Air

It surely started to feel like winter yesterday as colder temperatures came in, pushed down from the North by that massive storm in the Pacific.

Last night, is also started to look like winter as the rain changed to snow in the early evening. I had choir rehearsal and afterwards, we went out for a bite to eat. My car windows were snowed over when we started to leave the restaurant.

I had neglected to put a snow scraper/brush in my new car, but my heroic choir buddies were better prepared and cleaned my windows for me. Sweet guys. I now have to remember to properly pack the car for the winter. I need gloves, the scraper brush, some waterproof boots, and a hat. I already have an extra coat just in case. A blanket is not a bad idea either. I should have done it today, but I got sidetracked working on one of the books.

I am trying to train myself to realize that when I sit for hours here at the computer working on the novel series that I am actually not wasting time. I am working.  The trouble is, there are also more active jobs I could or should be doing around the house and barn.

Taking care of the Boys is a no-brainer, no matter what else I might be doing. I feed my horses three times a day with both hay and grain. Yesterday, I stocked up on both, so I had some good exercise outdoors unloading. Today, since I was sunny--cold and sunny--I put the hay outside in piles. That keeps the interior of the barn cleaner.

Yet, the barn does need a good interior "purge."  I have a big pile of blankets and sheets on storage chests at one end of the aisle. Some of them need repair, some need cleaning, and some are lost causes. I need to sort out the lost causes and fix up the ones worth keeping. Well, I'll get around to it, sooner or later.

The Boys all had sheets on when it started to snow, so they were pretty dry. However, they were also standing outside instead of under any of the shed roofs.  I always have to remind myself that horses are not bothered by the weather as much as I am.

I did put their hay in the barn and I soaked their feed with hot water. That usually makes me feel better. An added benefit if the soaked feed is that Toby usually ended up eating it all up without cribbing in between bites when his feed is soaked.

When Dr. Klayman was here the other day to give fall shots, he said all the Boys were in good flesh for the winter. I, on the other hand, would like to see more weight on Toby. He has Cushings and it's hard to keep extra pounds on him. I'll start adding some oil to his meals to see if that helps.

Chance was decidedly lame when we lunged him. Dr. Klayman suggested putting him on Prevacox, but then had a second idea. Dechra Pharmaceuticals had given him a trial dose of Osphos, a new to the US drug used to treat navicular disease.  It's essentially, the same as the drug Tildren which has been used in Europe for some time.  Whether or not is works is hotly debated and you can find arguments on both sides all over the Internet.

Well, Chance is my vet's experimental horse. Apparently, it can take up to two months for there to be any obvious results.

We can wait. In the meantime, I am still on "stretch" program for myself and if I do get comfortable enough, I can still take Chance out on the trail for walks.

Once again, although I say it often, "Time will tell."

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Slow Ride on a Fine Horse

Stretching Helps

It was a gorgeous day today so I spent some time outside.

My first order of business was to take a walk in the woods with my pruning saw. A tree branch had fallen across a critical part of the main trail and I intended to cut it out. Bless someone else because when I got there, the branch had been cleared. That meant the trail was open again for riding.

I walked the rest of the trail clearing as many other branches out of the way...mostly chunks of branches, and affirmed that the entire trail was rideable.

All I needed was to be able to ride.

When I got back home, I sat on my barrel and stretched my hip and thigh muscles. Then I decided it was worth it to see if I could sit on Chance.

The dear boy was right by the barn and quite pleased for me to take him inside for some special attention. The other two critters were in the front paddock area munching on some hay. I gave them each a small scoop of alfalfa cubes to keep them busy and saddled Chance up.

Well, mounting was no problem and when I eased myself into the saddle, I had some pain--mostly in my right hip...the one I did not break...and my left knee where the residual pain from the broken hip side seems to settle. Blessings be, I was able to sit and even use my legs to nudge Chance away from the gate to the woods trail--a location he was drawn to like super glue.

We took several short circuits around the arena at a walk. It was SOOOO much better than the last time I tried to ride.

I am encouraged at last. It's obvious I still need to do some more stretching and suppling but the progress I've made so far without a lot of serious, dedicated effort is heartening. That means if I just step it up a little and persist, all will be well.

Maybe by this time next week, I will be able to take the my fine boy Chance on a trail ride.

It's a goal, that's for sure.

Winter is A-Comin' In

Ahd Chance and Tucker are Frisky

At last Chance was frolicking. 

I know in the realm of horse worlds, this should not be a huge deal, but it's the first time I have actually seen Chance romping about since all his physical ailments. 

The Lyme disease slowed him down to a walk. Then, whatever foot soreness was plaguing him, gave him a limp. 

We put on bar shoes with wedge pads, and that helped. Then he lost a shoe and got sore. 

Since then, Scott reshod him and he still had  bit of a limp, although he was certainly cheerier. 

Yesterday, he and Tucker decided galloping about was fun and the two of them were ripping around the paddocks. Chance was decidedly taking the lead on the bucking, frolicking, kicking up his heels game, that's for sure. It was hard to tell how sound he was since he hardly ever trotted. But instead he was running full out and didn't stop when Tucker saw me coming out to the barn for dinner time. 

Now, mind you, Tuck is one of those horses I call a "stomach" horse, meaning he is highly motivated by food. Chance is not. While he likes his treats, he can be a bit slow about coming in for meals if he has something better to do. 

Apparently, cavorting was something better to do. 

Frankly, I was delighted. I haven't actually seen him having such an energetic good time in a long while. I'm sure it's not his first romp, but it's the first one I saw. 

It made me smile. 

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Starting a New Blog

Lucked out. The blog name was available, so I decided to start an exclusive blog for my novel series.  "The Saga of Magiskeep" now has a Blogger home. I already have a Facebook page and a Wix website set up, so this is the next thing I could think of.

I will still keep things posted here for those of you who read the horse stuff. I do hope to do some more over at the new blog. Nothing serious posted yet, but I will start putting up interesting tidbits and perhaps a some bits and pieces from the future novels.

I am also thinking I may write and exclusive story for readers there, but I haven't quite decided on that yet.

For now, it's a site to learn about my books and how I came to write them.

On the horsey front, Chance was pretty lame after walking around without one shoe for those three or so days before Scott came by to shoe him. He's looking better now, but I still haven't tried to either lunge or ride him.

After he was shod we had two really chilly and windy days. Then, yesterday was really nice and I just didn't do anything about it except sit on my barrel to stretch my muscles. Today it was cold and rainy. Yuck.

I always forget how much I hate the cold miserable weather of winter until it arrives again. I am clearly a summer person. And this summer was exceptional. Hot enough, often enough to swim, but not really that terrible heat and humidity New Jersey is famous for.

Now, it's gone. When it's cool and dry, it's really lovely, but the mud doesn't dry up very quickly. My arena is fine and I would suspect the trails will be too, but until I get my muscles stretched so my hips and thighs don't hurt, there is no way I can ride.

I'm thinking was I need to do is stretch first before I get on. If it clears up and the winds ease, I may try getting on Chance this week. Even if he has a limp, I can at least walk him a little in the arena.

This is truly strange for me. I've never had such a problem to deal with after a long layoff. This darn broken hip was far more serious than I expected. I think even when I get the muscles stretched I will still have some pain when I ride. Not sure at the moment that it will ever really go away.

But time will tell.  It's all an ongoing adventure.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Honor's Way Published to Amazon

Kindle and Paperback

Honor's Way, the second book in The Saga of Magiskeep is now officially published.

Kindle Version


Monday, October 27, 2014

Still Working on Stretching

Chance is Back in His Shoes

Scott, my farrier said Chance was pretty sore on his bare foot. I'm not too surprised. After all, he was walking around on one high heel and one flat foot for several days. But he is shod again, so I could ride if I COULD ride. I am still working on stretching my muscles so I can ride. Darn if the thigh muscle on my left leg--where I broke my hip--keeps spasming.

Now, mind you, I am not a wimp. Years of bad knees and pain have plagued me. This really hurts when it knots up. I am suspicious my body does not like the metal implants holding me together. If that so, it means this is something I am just going to have to cope with. Right now, as I sit here "computing" the muscle cramps and then....ouch!  Still, it could be related to the stretching I'm doing.

I am riding a barrel in the back yard near the paddock. I haven't put the saddle on it yet, but is certainly does stretch me around much like Chance would. I am also doing stretching exercises my chiropractor suggested. I did swim several times last week and stretched in the pool which was great. I need to get back over there for more water exercises. Wish it weren't 15 miles away.

On the book front. I have just published Honor's Way up to Kindle. The paperback will be ready in a day. I'm just having a little trouble getting the cover the way I want it. Amazon Publishing is great. They get back to me within a day each time I make a change . Once I'm satisfied, the book goes up for sale in a day or so.

Kingdom Beyond the Rim's sales have slowed. So the timing for the next book is just right.

If you are looking for a new read, it'll be on Amazon sooner than later.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Look for Nook

Now We Are Published

I got tired of waiting for Lulu to get my book out to Nook, so I published it myself.

It is now available for NOOK readers at Barnes and Noble.
Kingdom Beyond the Rim for NOOK

Meantime, I am still waiting for iBook and Kobo sites. Looks like iBook is a bit more difficult to do on my own, so I may just wait for lulu.

I am both pleased and a bit surprised that the Kindle version is still selling. Again, not thousands, but averaging 20 a day. Not bad at all for a first book.

The second book, Honor's Way is  available for eReader at  It will be available through Amazon Kindle and paperback in another week.  I will be very interested to see how it does.

On the horsey front, I am working on stretching my muscles so I can ride. Meantime, Chance has now lost one of his bar shoes with the pads. I did a search for it yesterday, but I have been teaching since last week, so my time and energy were a bit limited. I hope to have some more daylight time today to so a more thorough search of the pasture and paddocks for it.

The poor kid is walking around in one high heel and one flat foot. I'm sure it must feel strange to him.

I thought I might try another ride this week, but until that shoe is back on, it doesn't look promising. Guess I will just put the saddle on my barrel and stretch instead. At least it's not likely to run away with me. *G*

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

EBook Taking Its Time

Available and 'Not'

Kingdom Beyond the Rim is available for eReaders at, but it still is not in wider distribution.

There is some kind of convoluted review process it is going through at the moment. According to the site where I published, it may take 2-4 weeks to show up for Nook, iReader, and other book formats.

As a result, I have already started the ePub publishing of Honor's Way, the second book in The Saga of Magiskeep.  

By the time I publish it for Kindle and paperback, it may be ready to come out for eReaders as well. Timing is all here.

The learning curve for self-publishing is proving very interesting, that's for sure.

In the meantime, to my surprise, Kingdom for Kindle, is still selling. I've run out of friends to buy it, so I guess it's people I don't know at this point. Certainly not NY Times bestseller, but not bad, not bad.

Not bad at all.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Moral Dilemma

What to Do? 

There is now a roadside memorial where the young woman was killed. If you look at the top right of the picture, you can just see my house. In the background, behind the leaves and brush, is the fencing for my front paddock. You can see the burn marks on the tree and surrounding ground. 

There is a floral cross, bouquets, little electric candles and purple ribbon with balloons on the burned tree. 

Eventually, I would like to have the remains of the tree removed. My propery line is perhaps another fifty feet to the left. The tree is at least five feet off the road. Have to wonder had it not been there to stop the car where it would have landed. Likely on my lawn or even through my fence. The ground slopes down from the road bed. 

The blind hill on the road is further up to the left. There is tree on the other side of the road with purple ribbon on it. It's the first tree she hit.

While I understand and respect the family's and friends's needs to mark this spot, how long? And, will it start to attract people here? I've already consulted with the police about the danger. Anyone standing alongside the road in that spot is in danger, and cars parked along the road there are also at risk. The road has no shoulder and there is no place to park nearby--except my driveway.

So far, in the rain today, I have not seen any activity. There may never be any more than perhaps a few close friends. However, Ms. Pappas was a very popular school teacher in North Brunswick. I've since found out she taught sixth grade. I am still a little worried that school children and young teens might start to show up.

If no one does come, all well and good.

But then the rest of the dilemma. How long should the memorial stay there? The balloons and ribbon are pretty ostentatious. The flowers are going to dry up and just kind of lie there. The cross? Who knows?

There is a controversy all over the country about these memorials, and now I find myself in the midst of it. I would just as soon take down the tree and clean up the burned debris so the grass will grow.

As Sandburg would say,
"Shovel them under and let me work—
                                          I am the grass; I cover all."

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Terrible News

Tragic Accident Near My House

Before you panic, my horses and I are fine. We were not involved, although my horses may well have seen everything. The accident happened about 25 feet from the fence of their front paddock.

A car struck a tree on the other side of the road, spun around into one of my trees and then caught fire.  I, thankfully, was at school teaching at the time and not home. Otherwise, I am sure I would have been right there trying desperately to help.

My neighbor heard a huge bang and ran out. When he saw the flames, he got a small fire extinguisher and tried to put the fire out. Then he saw, enveloped in the airbags, the young woman driver. He tried to smash the car window with his fist as the flames started up again.

Meanwhile, my cousins and their contractor who were at my Aunt's house next door ran out. Everyone was frantically dialing 911 for police and fire. Their contractor grabbed the only thing left in the house--the house is for sale-- a bigger fire extinguisher and ran down the road to help.

Again, they could not put out the fire, but they used the extinguisher to smash the car side window. They could not get the door open because the car's battery, along with all kind of engine parts was somewhere strewn on the road. We're not sure what exactly happened, but the woman, who had regained consciousness and was begging for help, died soon after. Then the car was engulfed in flames along with my tree and potentially all the forested area beyond--which would have included my barn.

The fire department arrived too late to save the driver, but did hose down the car and the surrounding trees averting an even worse disaster--if things could be worse.

The woman's husband arrived at some point, speeding down the road. He was a police officer from the next Township over, and she was an elementary school teacher from the same Township.  I think my cousin overheard that he had been talking to her on the cell phone at the time of the crash and heard her screams. He knew she was somewhere on my road and had raced over--again, too late.

Even if someone had gotten the car door open, it would not have mattered since she was horribly pinned in the car. The police told my neighbor there was absolutely nothing he could have done.

My road was closed for at least three hours. Normally, I would have come home during that time, but I had a chiropractor appointment that kept me away until everything was cleared up. I saw the darkened pavement and the damaged tree but thought that perhaps the road department had been by to clear out the drain in that area. It was only when my neighbor rang the doorbell that I found out what had happened.

He didn't know my cousins were at the other house, but they had called me trying to get in touch. They figured I wasn't home, because the didn't see my car. But I guess they left messages on my cell phone--which I didn't have with me at the chiropractor.

Just as well. I don't think I wanted to see any of it, or know about it then. It was bad enough hearing the story afterward.

I slept very badly last night as a consequence and am still upset today. The woman was only 35, with a young son at home and a baby on the way.

The tree where she died is only about 200 feet from my bedroom window. All night, I keep feeling her still there.

I prayed for her and her family and will continue to do so.

There is nothing else to do.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Confessions of a Sore Rider

So, I Sat in the Saddle

It was a beautiful day.

I'd lunged Chance a day or so ago, and he was quiet, well behaved and more sound than he'd been in a long time.

Today, I took the saddle out and decided I mount up for about five minutes.

I did not have anyone here to help, so my plans were minimal. Chance has never done a thing wrong under saddle, so I wasn't worried about him. His only vice is wanting to go out on the trail, so that when we ride near the gate out to the woods, he tends to stop and try to head for it.

No biggie.

Assuming his rider can use her legs to push him on. Also assuming his rider is not in pain in her thigh muscles and both hips. Also assuming that her knees don't hurt.

Assume all you will. None of the above were true. It hurt. My muscles just did not want to work once I was in riding position.

Most curious, as in all the years I have had moderately long layoffs, this has never happened before. My body, after over 50 years of riding knew what it was supposed to do, it simply couldn't do it.

So Chance meandered towards the gate and kind of stood there, waiting for me to tell him what to do. He was a perfect gentleman. I finally managed to wiggle a leg and the bit enough to get him to keep on walking.
Some of my muscle pain/tightness eased up a little, but never enough for me to truly ride. I had Chance trot about ten steps which actually felt better to me as it let my legs stretch a little. But there was no way I could do much more.

Clearly, I am going to have to do some stretching exercises for my thighs and hips before I can ride for more than a few minutes. I have an IGallop machine here and I've put one of my old saddles on it. I can work on myself using that.

Bit of a surprise, as I said. Then again, none of the exercises I did in rehab focused on stretching my legs around a horse. I guess that's all up to me.

It will be interesting.

Just overcame a computer crash of sorts. Suddenly, my keyboard just stopped working. I have no idea why and was in a bit of a panic. Then, I remembered someone's recent post on Facebook about what they did when one of their devices stopped working. System Restore! Fortunately, I was able to access it without my keyboard as my mouse was still working. Set my computer back in time to October 3, and here I am.


Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Paperback Published!

Kingdom Beyond the Rim on Amazon

Well, in a few days. I published last night and was messaged that it takes 3-5 business days to show up for sale.

I had to price the book at $19.95 to cover the costs of printing and distribution. I might have gotten it lower if I had decided to just make it available through Amazon, but I chose to let other distributors and bookstores sell it, and that raises the cost. Still, most books in that format with that many pages cost about that much, so it's actually within the market range.

I am considering buying some copies at my author's price, though. I could still sell them myself and make a bit of profit. Especially if they are autographed.

Yeah, that's if anyone wants an autographed copy.

Kindle sales have been pretty good so far. I suspect once everyone who  knows me buys a copy that will stop. I'd like to think word of mouth might spread that it's really a good book, but time will tell.

Meantime, I am waiting for the proof copy of Honor's Way, the second book, and have just set up The Wall Between  to be published as well.

It's actually getting to be quite a fun project now that I have finally figured out how to format the books in Word--I solved my problems--and how to design the covers in Pulblisher. CreateSpace, the Amazon related website I use is fabulous. You get fast feedback on submissions. If you didn't want a proof print copy to look at, you could get a book published in just a bit over 24 hours. Their response time is great. And, they do make adjustments to the book cover if it's needed.

Again, on the horsey front, I lunged Chance for a few minutes today and he looked sound! Not sure if its the bar shoes and wedge pads, but I'm pretty sure I can ride him.

Perhaps the nice weather will drag me away from my computer and out on the trails soon.

Now, should I have someone here when I saddle up for the first time in months?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Word Woes

Microsoft Word Had a Mind of Its Own

OK, so I think I have finally formatted Kingdom Beyond the Rim the way I want it.

It has only taken me hours and hours of battle with MS Word 2007 to get it right. Even when I go into outline view I can't figure out what the program is doing to my files.

Try to force pages numbers and it won't cooperate. Try to set the margins with the proper "gutter" for a book...that means the inside margins near where the book is bound...and strange things happen. I must have revised the margins 20 or 30 times before I got them right.

Ah, well, all is a learning curve. Once I master all the techniques things should go more smoothly for future volumes.

I have ordered a proof copy of Honor's Way, the second book and already know I have to make some changes.

And I am currently proofreading The Wall Between so I can format that. I decided to fix everything first and then book format it afterwards.

Meanwhile, the Boys are just kind of standing around outside. It's gotten warm again and I put the fans back on, so they are tending to stay in their stalls. I get totally immersed in my publishing venture and just haven't tried to do much with Chance.

Then, I have an extended substitute teaching stint coming up soon and I need to create some lesson plans. It's an English class, so I am just fine with that. I've been in touch with the teacher and she is OK with my ideas. Should be fun. All I need to know for sure is how many days I will be in. That's a little up in the air right now. Either way, it's fine. I have plenty of ideas to keep the students engaged.

Meantime, it's back to proofreading.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Proof Copy is Here!


My proof copy of Kingdom Beyond the Rim arrived today. Days earlier than I expected.

There are some text spacing issues I need to fix, but otherwise the book is magnificent!

The cover looks great and simply seeing my writing in a real book is quite an amazing experience.

I have since published the second book, Honor's Way, as well to the print version and ordered a proof copy of it too.

The good thing about that is that I now have all kinds of experience getting the text set just right for publication and will be able to submit a revised interior of the first book using all my new expertise.

Formatting for publication is not as easy as it might seem at first blush. And MS Word has its own way of doing things which is not always the easiest if you don't know all the tricks of the trade. I am learning, little by little and hope to get the manuscript of the first book set just right for the final copy. Getting the margins set just right has been a chore.

Anyhow, at this rate, I will be a master of the techniques.

Regardless of the few formatting issues in my proof copy, it really is a good looking book. The cover art is terrific and I am a happy camper.

Now, my only puzzle is: Who do I know in India? It looks as if I sold several copies of the Kindle book in India.

I know about people in the UK, the US, and I think, Denmark. But India?

Ah well, at least someone wants to read it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Book Update

Print Edition

I have ordered a print copy of my novel. This is for me to proofread again.

It should be here by the beginning of October.

I will keep you all posted.

On the horsey front, I lunged Chance for a few minutes today and he looked really good. I opened up the end of his confinement pen under the run in shed and let him out. I'll see how he looks in the morning.

If all is well, I should be in the saddle by the weekend. I only say that because there is a pretty big rainstorm on the way for the rest of the week. I'll need to take the rest of the corral panels off the shed if that happens. The Boys like to hang out on that side of the barn when it rains.

What I don't know is whether Chance is sounder because of his new shoes, or because of treating that lesion on his coronary band. Time will tell.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Book Published Up On Kindle

Available in a Day, They Say

If all is well, Kingdom Beyond the Rim will be available on Kindle at Amazon sometime tomorrow.

Selling price is $2.99USD.  I expect future books will go for a bit more but we shall see. It should be available worldwide.

I am having a few issues with the cover for the print edition of the novel. Once I work that out, it will be available for about $16.00.  That is the lowest price I could set considering the book is over 600 pages long in the format I had to set.

It has been read by several people and I've gotten really good feedback, so I'm hopeful you will all enjoy it. It is the first in a series of four novels, with some shorter stories/novelettes in between. All of them are written and just awaiting another proofread.

I started writing Kingdom back in 1984 and somehow just kept on writing. I sent it to some publishers along the way, but it was almost impossible back then to get a book published without a literary agent. And agents did not want to take on authors who had not been published. Caught in the vicious circle, I wrote on anyhow, determined to finish the entire set of books.

Now with electronic publishing and self-publishing, it's no longer a problem. The only problem is getting people to read what you've published.

Here's the blurb on Kingdom.

Bred by Magic, born by Magic, blessed by Magic, and cursed by Magic, Jamus seeks his destiny in the enchanted realm of Magiskeep. There, in a world reflecting our own  where the sun rises in the west, the young Magician must face a tormenting nightmare and the dangerous ambition of Sagari, the powerful Master of Magiskeep.

On his journey of self-discovery, Jamus travels from the Way of Mirrors, to the illusion-filled mountains of the Rim and into the mortal lands of Turan’s Provinces. Along the way, he encounters lords and commoners, Sorcerers and Seers. The world opens before him in the inescapable prophecies of Turan’s Way as the turbulent waters of Magic’s River sweep him along on an epic adventure. 

There are horses aplenty and some are very significant in the story's development. 

If you like fantasy, I think you will enjoy my novel. I'd love to have you read it. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Almost There

With the Book, At Least.

I have the book uploaded to Amazon for the print version, but I still have to figure out how to format the cover. I have some more computery friends looking at the template I downloaded to see what I need to do. I have a feeling I don't at the moment have the software I need to format it.

Took me all day to get the text formatted to fit the page sizes and all that stuff. One version of the book had 780 pages and Amazon only accepts 760 as a max. I tried to edit things out, but everything I take out impacts something significant that happens in the plot. It makes it hard to delete things. Anyhow, by going to a smaller font size, I managed to end up with 634 pages. It worked.

So, I am every closer to publication. Tonight, if I can stay awake long enough, I hope to see what I need to do to download the Kindle version. I will keep you all posted.

On the horse front, Chance is now sporting a pair of very elevated wedge pads under some bar shoes. Scott, my farrier, found a lesion above Chance's coronary band which we thought might be making him lame. But when my vet came out, he didn't think it was a problem. Still, I am medicating it and wrapping it. Chance is currently penned up in his stall and the run in shed roof on the west side of the barn.

He's a good boy about it, and it's keeping the bandage on pretty well. The current plan is to keep him confined until the injury heals. The next step is to put him on a daily dose of Previcox and start some light riding.

Guess it's another case of wait and see. I haven't lunged him with the new shoes yet. With such a radical change, I'd much rather let him get used to them first and the confined area lets him to do that gradually.

Meanwhile, I had new roofing put on the garage to satisfy my new homeowner's insurance company. My neighbor and I spent the week before clearing bushes and tree branches away from the house and garage. I also did a lot of painting to satisfy the underwriters. I hope they like the roof.

On another front, I had an allergy blood panel done for food allergies and I am at least slightly allergic to nearly everything I like to eat. The saddest thing on the list is tomatoes. Jersey tomatoes are wonderful this year and I can't eat them. Can't eat lettuce, celery, mushrooms, green beans, milk, wheat, ....the list goes on. Trying to find what I can eat is an adventure.

I only show a slight allergy to many of the foods, but I decided to try to stay off everything to see of it makes any difference in either my joint pains or my sinus allergies. So far, no difference.

Another case of wait and see.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Jury Duty

There Must Be A Better Way

I was called to serve jury duty day, or one trial.  I was an interesting and tedious experience.

I arrived about 15 minutes early at the courthouse, to wait in line for my notice/number to be processed. Then we all--close to 300 jurors--herded into a big assembly room for orientation. There was a bit of speechmaking, a video explaining how juries worked, and then a judge came in to swear us all in.

After that, we sat and waited for our names and numbers to be called as part of a jury panel to go before a specific judge for selection.

I was called in the second group. I was actually quite pleased as I figured that would be a most interesting experience in the courtroom. Ushered in, we found about six jurors already seated in the jurors's box. I think they had been selected last week. That left our "pool" of perhaps forty more people who could be selected.

The judge explained the basics of the case. It was a medical malpractice suit which would be very interesting, but the catch was that the trial was going to be long--nearly a month, with an ending date of October 3 or so. That was a worry. I have a doctor's appointment to get some surgery on my eyelid on later in September and I'd already waited for a month to get that scheduled. When I tried to change it earlier, there was nothing available until well into October. Until then, I can't wear my contact lenses and it's driving me a bit batty already. OK, so that was a problem.

Then as well all sat in complete silence, the judge began to call up potential jurors. He and the two lawyers went to the side of the courtroom with each juror, turned off the microphones and began talking. Sometimes this when on for ten minutes. Then the juror was either dismissed or sent to sit in the jurors box.  After about two more jurors were seated up front, the judge started asking questions aloud for all of us to hear, quizzing each of the seated jurors about: employment, family, what TV shows they watched, where they got their news, what bumper stickers they had on their cars, and what they did in their spare time. All this, apparently gives the lawyers for each side a chance to decide if the juror will be fair to his side of the case. Every now and then, the judge would ask one of the lawyers if he objected to one of the jurors and over and over, jurors were dismissed and a new name and number was called up for the private quiz.

Again, at some random point, the judge had each lawyer introduce himself, his clients and other members of the firm there. Then the judge gave a brief overall explanation that the trial was about a patient suing a doctor over some kind of treatment for a bad back where the client was claiming the doctor had been negligent and the doctor claimed it was the patient's fault for not following instructions or something like that.

After a few more jurors were called up for the "white noise " sidebar conferences. (They turned the mike off and replaced it with the sound of static.)  The judge then asked one of the paneled members a series of questions designed to test their impartiality.  "Have you ever had reason to sue a doctor? Have you ever had steriod injections?" Now my ears pricked up again. Not only am I under a chiropractor's care, but I have had numerous steroid injections in my knees. Then he asked if the juror's decision might be influenced by having sympathy for another's pain. my hip muscle cramped up just about a minute later, I knew I'd fall short on that question too.

This all went we sat in complete silence...until about 1:45 when the judge gave us a one hour lunch break.  I went out with a fellow juror--a young nursing student who was starting her first brand new job next week. We had a nice time at a neat little pub having hamburgers and then headed back for....

More of the same. My young friend was called up just a bit before I was, and she must have explained about her new job, because the judge dismissed her soon after.  At about 3:15, my name and number were called.
When I got up there the judge--a youngish guy with a really nice, friendly and open personality, by the way--asked if I had any problem with the duration of the trial. I explained about my scheduled eye surgery. He laughed and said, "Wouldn't you rather be here than having surgery? You'd learn a lot." While I agreed with that, I also told him I really did want the surgery and had already been waiting too long for it. He grinned, as did the two lawyers and I was excused.

Off I went, back downstairs to the nearly empty assembly room. There they took my juror's badge and told me I was free to go home. I didn't need a letter of proof of service, to I headed all the way down a few blocks to the parking garage, put my validated parking ticket in the machine only to be told I owed $19 for parking. Something was wrong since jurors were not supposed to have to pay.

I hiked back to the courthouse to find out that the machines at that garage had been acting up all day. They gave me a letter and told me to buzz the attendant on the way out of the garage and he'd let me out.

I hiked back to the garage--well at least I got my workout in--finally found my car--just a little tricky as I don't quite recognize my new car easily yet, hopped in an began driving the maze to the out gate. There the attendant didn't even bother looking at my letter. He too knew the machines had been acting up and trusted me.

Off I went out into the streets of New Brunswick trying to remember how to navigate my way to some street I knew....used to go to college there. Vague memory and my GPS got me back out onto the highway home only to find traffic backed up for miles. They have been doing construction on one stretch there for well over a year and it's a real mess. Not sure why as there is no construction going on at the moment, but the lanes are all fouled up and it is just a mess. Fortunately, there is a side road I could get off onto without too much trouble, so I did and wound my way back home through country roads. It's slower driving, but not at all congested.

Now, all that questioning in the courtroom and the long sidebars, while 40 people sit in silence with nothing to do? The questions are posted on the judiciary website. Might there be a way to get jurors to answer them ahead of time? In this age of computers, I would think answers could be scanned and sorted somehow, allowing judge and lawyers to eliminate people who do not meet their standards and whittle the pool down to those who really would make good jurors.

It would have been interesting to see if the lawyers or judge would have accepted me as a juror. I watch and listen to liberal news stations, watch lots of crime/detective shows on TV, and I have a fairly substantial understanding of many medical procedures/medications, etc. I also have back issues of my own, so I know how painful that can be and how debilitating. I am honestly not sure I would have been a good member of that jury as I might have been too informed about the issues.

All I do know is that I came home totally exhausted from doing almost nothing all day except sit silently in a chair for nearly 6 hours,

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

New Wheels

Sprung for a New Car

Hope I sell a few copies of my books...I just bought a new car. It's a Chevrolet Sonic. I wanted a little economy car in a hatchback. There were some pretty good Labor Day deals going on, so I went for it.

My Toyota Matrix was 11 years old and starting to develop some issues that would cost some good money down the road. My only regret is that I just spent too much money trying to fix it. Then, decided to look at new cars. Should have done it the other way around and not bothered to do the repair and learn. It would have given me more money for the down payment. Ah, well.....

Anyhow, some pics of the new wheels:

On the other side is my truck, the Dodge Durango I use to pull my trailer and get horse supplies. It is a 2003 with only about 8000 original miles on it. So I can keep that for a long while yet.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Chance Report and another Cover

Still Sore in His Heels

My vet was out yesterday to look at Chance. On the plus side, Chance was perfectly willing to trot on the lunge which was a big improvement. On the down side, he still is sore in the front. This time it was the right front.

My vet did a heel nerve block and he went sound on that foot. But he was still landing toe first on the left front. Theory is that he is protecting his heels.

We can't yet do a new Lyme titer as we have to wait for about 2 months. In the meantime, we are going to try either bar shoes or natural balance wedge shoes to see how that works. Hate the idea, but if it makes my boy feel better, that's good.

Did I tell you I had a Lyme test and it was negative? Now I am waiting to see how my allergy tests came out.

Meantime, the next novel cover.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Chance News And....

The Fourth Cover

My vet is coming today--Friday--to look at Chance. 48 days of antibiotics and to be honest, my boy does not look sound yet. He is short strided and I think I saw a bit of a limp. Not sure what the next step is at this point. IV antibiotics are generally listed for acute cases, but we shall see. I'm not sure how to handle all that.

I will post later with results.

On to the books. I have titled the last book you saw as "Honor's Way."  Up for grabs now is the third long novel. So I am posting both covers for your perusal.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Another Cover

But What's the Title?

OK, as I said, I actually have about seven completed novels or novelettes to publish. Remember, I started writing back in 1984, so this is not all that impressive.

Anyhow. Two stories/novelettes that bridge the story between the first two main novels are called: "Vows" and "Everafter."  They chronicle the rather complex adventures where my hero, Jamus, and his love, Salene, try to get married and have a honeymoon. Needless to say, there are forces in the world that do not believe in allowing them to have an easy time of it. (How could a fantasy novel go any other way?)

Anyhow, my amazing friend Dave has created the cover for the combined stories.  I could simply call it "Vows" or something else....short. We don't want to ruin the cover art with a long title. So, any suggestions appreciated.

Here is the cover. Dave still wants to tweak a few things, but I love it.....
Kind of sums it all up....

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Planning Ahead and Chance Looks Good

So Far.....

So good. I lunged Chance for about five minutes this morning. There may have been a little "hitch" in his right hind when he started but it seemed to work out. The biggest problem was the flies. Deer flies from the woods kept attacking him, so he was fussy and unsteady that way. Did not really see any lameness.

I need to take him out after dark when it cools and humid today already by 9AM.  That way I can evaluated him better without his fly sheet on. Last time I tried to lunge him without the sheet, he got attacked by the B52 bomber fly and was completely frantic.

We have had quite a bit of rain this summer, making it super good breeding conditions for all kinds of bitey flies. They are most happy to gnaw on the horses and me whenever they get the chance.

I also have a fence repair to do. The well pit in the front paddock was fenced in...until sometime last night. Somebody not only broke on of the fence posts but he also dragged three loose fence rails about 15 feet away under the apple tree and the post itself along with another attached rail to the same spot.  This took a bit of effort and smacks of Chancework. I'd like to think he's the culprit, mostly becuase it would mean he's feeling better. Then again, could be all three conspired.  Who knows?

Ah well, work ahead. Don't have an extra post on hand, I don't think. Have to figure something out. In the meantime, I've managed a temporary fix with baling twine kind of holding things together. What would a farm be without baling twine? *G*

Planning ahead. we are working on the cover for the second novel. Here is a version. Comments?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Not Much New

All's Well At Follywoods

Still treating Chance with the antibiotics--a week to go. Last time I lunged him, he looked pretty good. I am hoping all will be well.

On my front, my doctor at the chiro office talked me out of the Lyme test, but my regular chiropractor talked me back into it, so I am going to my primary care doctor to see if she will order one. In the meantime, I am going back to the chiro doctor--he is a regular physician--to have him order allergy tests which can be done there by another doctor specialist. My chiropractor said sometimes knee/joint replacements trigger allergies in people that can have all kinds of impacts.

Current thinking is that some of the issues with my knees, my hip, and other joint aches might be allergy related if not Lyme. I am certainly pretty darn functional, so it's not that I can't do things, but joints do get sore and my knees actually get some swelling. Could well just be due to old injuries to the ligaments that remain, but I would like to eliminate causes I might be able fix a little better.

Neural therapy and prolotherapy worked for a while, and more prolo might be a good option to tighten the ligaments, but I am already paying off a pretty hefty medical bill there--insurance won't pay for "experimental treatments"--and would rather not run it up any higher. So, it's a wait and see.

I finally took a short walk in the field roads yesterday, first one since the hip. Felt pretty good for about 20 minutes of hiking. If I can keep it up along with the swimming which is fine, I think I can trim myself down a bit more. Gained a few pounds after the hip thing. Not a lot, but annoying after having lost so much.

Still have not ridden. I'm waiting for Chance. Then I will see how it feels. Might still be uncomfortable with the hip. I'm amazed at how long it's taking for the muscle to quite complaining, but from everything I've read it's quite normal. Yuck.

The final book in my fantasy series is nearly done. As soon as I finish, I will be going back to Book #1...the one with the cover I posted...and get it into final format for Amazon. So, I'm still on schedule to get it into publication before October. Should be fun.

After it's published, the next one is a collection of novelettes that bridge the story between novels 1 & 2. Then, novel 2 itself,  another novelette and then the final two main novels. The third book will probably be done in two volumes as it's really long.

I am determined to get them all done and published. They've been sitting far too long.

And I've been sitting far too long. Exercise program is on the least for now.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

One More Time

Hate to Be Boring But:

One more cover option. I think this is the one:
Just need to center my name a bit better.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Latest Version of Cover

How Do You Like This?

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Of Horses And Novels

What Do You Think?

First on the horse front. Chance's improvement is spotty. The other day, I lunged him and he looked really good. Then, a few days later, when I went out for late night feed, he was lying down napping under the apple tree. I had to go out to invite him in for feed. When he got up he was really stiff. I have not lunged him since but he's been looking better again.

My little research with Lyme says that sometimes horses have a toxic reaction to the dead spirochete. This may be what's happening.

I also found some information that people with Lyme are being treated with invermectin, the worming medication. When I called my vet to be sure it was OK to give Chance his required worming while on the was....I asked him if he'd heard of this. He promised to look into it for me. He had already planned on calling me next week to check on Chance's progress, so perhaps he'll know something then. Gotta love my vet. He really does care about his clients.

On to the book front, literally. I have written a series of fantasy novels. I will be self-publishing them through Amazon. I did send the first book out to publishers several years ago, with no luck. I had an editor/agent who started to read it as a favor but she did not have the time to devote to it. Since then the fantasy market has collapsed and risen again. I finally decided that self-publishing was the better option especially since Amazon offers it for no cost.

The book will be offered in Kindle as well as on demand published softcover. I still need to do one more formatting and proof reading before I publish. My friend has some digital software create a cover. So far this is the design. I am putting up two versions. The first without the title, the second with. Now, on the second, my friend decided to feature my name as is done with many famous authors. I think the book's title should be at the top, with my name at the bottom. Hopefully, he will make up a cover that way. But, in the meantime, I would like your opinions. I have also suggested a slightly simpler font if we can find a free one to use.

Do you think this cover will invite people to buy my book??

Looks kinda cool to me, but we've been working on it for a week or so and both I and my friend are a bit prejudiced at this time.

The hero is Jamus, a magician and his horse, Whim, is a silver stallion he created out of the wind and mist. Horses play a significant role in the story but it really is much more about people and the magic itself.

This is book #1 of a four novel series. There will be four books altogether. There is also a collection of 4 more shorter novelettes that serve as bridges between the main least between books 1 & 2.

Thanks in advance for any and all opinions.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Day 12 on Medication

So Far, So Good

Chance is still eating up his antibiotics. I chop up some little pieces of carrot and feed them with the pills in his sweet feed. He is a nice, neat eater and has been cleaning up every bit of the food and meds.

Today, the Boys were out in the pasture when I went out to give them their dinner. Tucker and Toby saw me before I called and came trotting in. Chance was still grazing, so I called him. At first, he just started walking, then, he thought better of it, hurried into a trot and then a canter. It's the first time I've seen him moving out on his own in a while.

He didn't trot for too long, but when he did I did not see any signs of a limp. The canter looked to be his usual relaxed rolling gait. Both the fact that he looked pretty sound and that he decided to take up the gaits in the first place was a pretty good sign that he may be feeling better. I recall when I had Lyme, the antibiotic made me feel better in short order, so hopefully that's what's going on with Chance.

Speaking of me, my doctor did not feel it was worth it for me to get tested. Since I have been treated for Lyme twice--once with symptoms and once with a bull's eye rash--the current tests would not prove anything one way or another. The Western blot test and the ELISA test basically check for antibodies and anyone who's been exposed to Lyme would have positive results. Without a baseline number, it's impossible to know what numbers a positive test would be for someone like me. There are at least two non-FDA approved tests available for a pretty high price--the lowest was $600--but there is no way to be sure the results would be valid. For that kind of money, it's not worth taking a chance.

So, I'll just go along hoping I'm OK. Apparently, there's no really reliable way to know for sure.

I've been swimming nearly every day, trying to get myself back in shape. My hip still gets sore, as do my knees, but I can cope and the swimming feels great. There is a free water aerobics class at the pool for members I want to take. I missed the first session and last Monday's class was canceled due to bad weather. I  think I'm looking forward to it. I already do water exercises, but I would like to learn more. It might even be fun.

Needless to say, I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Day One on Medication

Thanks to All

By the by, may I start out by thanking you all for your perceptive comments.

I know Kate has a ton of expertise on Lyme, and she is 100% correct about the new tests available. The titers test for: :# 1. a horse that has been vaccinated, #2. a horse with an active "new" infection, and #3. a horse with a chronic infection. Chance was normal for #1 & #2 and nearly 7 times normal for #3.

Bless his little cotton socks, as some of my British blogging pals might say, but I tried Kate's suggestion of simply putting the pills in his feed and feeding him on a clean, flat floor--I have rubber mats in the aisle. I added some cut up carrots just to distract his taste buds, and to my delight, Chance ate up every bit of his dinner including all 22 capsules of minocycline. The pills are gel capsules, not tablets so I was a bit concerned, but so far, so good. I don't know how long he will keep eating them, but I will try every day.

I have a dose syringe just in case and a small stock of applesauce easily refilled if we need it. I do like the idea of his eating the pills directly, though. Thanks for the good advice so that I tried.

In the meantime, I decided to talk to my own human doctor about getting myself tested again. I have been treated twice for Lyme disease and tested a third time just on general principles. What I hope is, but I can't seem to find confirmation on the Internet, is that there are new tests for humans as well. The last time I was tested the results were negative.

First, since Chance has Lyme, I can be relatively certain ticks in my area are infected, and I've had plenty of ticks on me. I've had no rashes that I've noticed, but the frist time I had Lyme, I had no rash, so that means nothing.

Second, I have had chronic issues with my knees, even after the replacements. It's worth checking to see if those issues might be cause by something like Lyme.

Third, considering that I live in New Jersey which is a hotbed of the disease and I spent a lot of time in the woods and fields, it's not a bad  idea to check anyhow.

I don't know how the doctor I'll be seeing will take all this, but he's generally been pretty reasonable about such things. He's the physician at my chiropractic center--Alternative Integrated Medical Services--where they do all kinds of therapies. It's a fabulous place--did my physical therapy there, get chiropractic, acupuncture, nutritional counseling, massage therapy, chelation therapy, xrays, blood tests, and basic medical services there, all in one practice.

Anyhow, that's the plan.

I think it's a good idea.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

The Verdict is In

Chance Has Chronic Lyme Disease

Not much more to say for now as the titles tell it all. Chance had a count of 7,350 on the chronic portion of his Lyme test. He was negative for and active infection.

At last the mystery of his lameness has been solved. I only wish we had run the test sooner, but when I first mentioned it, my vet dismissed the idea.

Live and learn. I just feel bad that Chance has had the extra month or more of feeling miserable because we didn't test him sooner. But, as is typical with the disease, we treated and examined him for other causes of is lameness first.

The current antibiotic my vet is recommending is minocycline. Due to new drug manufacturing and pricing issues, it is a good choice. Doxycycline is the more usual option, but it can cause digestive issues, especially diarrhea. Apparently the minocycline does not have the same complications.  He will have a course of the antibiotics twice a day for 48 days.

I'll probably be dosing him with the syringe unless I can be sure he will eat the medication on his own--not too hopeful about that. I can dissolve the capsules in water and then add some applesauce to make it tastier for him. It's my usual method for giving oral medications, so I'm pretty experienced at it. All I need is a co-operative patient.  Hard to say how long I'll have one of the stuff tastes bad.

It's another one of those good/bad situations. The good is that we finally know what's wrong, the bad is that Lyme is not necessarily cured easily--at least not permanently. It can rear its ugly head at any time even after it's been treated and seems to have gone its merry way.

"Chronic" means Chance has had Lyme for a while. How long is hard to say. I have to wonder now about that hind leg issue of his and whether it may have been from an old infection he got even before I adopted him. Or, if it is just another red herring along the way, coincidental with his more recent soreness up front--or in the other hind leg.

Suffice it to say, I am hopeful we are now on course to make him feel better at last. He's a really nice horse who deserves everything I can do to get him healthy and happy again.

I'll keep you all posted on how things are going. Medication starts Sunday night so I can do an uninterrupted course of treatments since my vet has to order more pills that he currently has on hand.

The month of July is going to be very interesting here at Follywoods.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Not Quite Yet

My Vet Sees Chance

Dr. Klayman came today to see Chance after his shoeing.

Good news, bad news, again.

The good news is that the shoes definitely helped. Chance was not limping during lunging. But the bad news is that he also is not striding out as he should. As he worked a bit, he did get better, but just is a bit on the "short" side with his gait.

So we are not yet 100% happy.

We did draw blood for a Lymes test, and the results could be back by the end of the week.  Meantime, things are on hold.

If the test comes back positive, of course, then we will treat him for that. If not, I will try a course of bute and some work. The idea is to get his muscles working properly again.

This does make some sense to me now, especially after my own layup for my broken hip bone.  Muscles in my body that have not worked properly for just a couple months need to be reconditioned to work at full capacity.

Chance has been off and on lame since late fall. As I noted, all winter, due to the frozen ground and miserable snow and ice, he really hasn't used his body properly for quite a while. Then, once the ground improved he developed the more obvious lameness issues we've been dealing with.

Like me, I would suspect he really does need a course of physical therapy to regain his former "way of going."  I guess as a plan of action it's about as good as any at this point.

Once again, it's a waiting game.

I'm pretty sure I am just about ready to ride again anyhow. Over the last few days the bulk of the pain is going from my hip. I'm not sure why, although I have been doing some serious barn work over the last couple days. I finally cleaned out the run in shed on Chance's side of the barn. All the manure had stacked up in there over the winter months and frozen solid. When it thawed, it was laid up with my hip, so it was neglected. Sunday and Monday, the weather was gorgeous here so I started cleaning. Eventually, I used the tractor to make shorter work of the job, but it still required a lot of hand forking to get the nooks and crannies clean.

At this rate, I'll be fit all over.  Who needs physical therapy when you have a barn and horses?

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Waiting Game Continues

On the Chance Front This Time

Scott came out to shoe on Saturday.  He had consulted with Dr. Klayman on Chance's lameness and was well prepared for the shoeing job.

This was Chance's first shoeing with me....not sure if he was ever shod before. Scott does hot shoeing, so that can be a bit scary, but after an initial flinch, Chance was fine.

Not quite so for the nailing. He was clearly uncomfortable as the hammer rapped on his feet. At one point, I thought he was going to go down.  He was only being shod in the front, but he dropped down on his hind end. It was really a disturbing reaction.

But he tried hard to be a good boy. The most upsetting moment was when Scott tried to rasp his right hind foot. He finally had to give up because Chance simply could not stand comfortably long enough for him to do it.

Now why?

The change in his front feet with the shoeing and pads was quite a bit. The left hind leg is the one that's had the chronic off and on lameness. Could be.

Or is it something else?

Scott mentioned Lymes disease and I had wondered about that before. As I recall, Dr. Klayman did not think it was likely, but at this point, I think it's worth having a blood test done.

I lunged him for about a minute today and he really didn't even want to trot. But when he did he was pretty short strided. Again, there is a substantial change in both his angle and the fact that he has shoes on, so it could take a while for things to settle down. At the moment I am still worried, but again, I have to be patient.

At least on these hotter days, the Boys don't seem to want to run around too much. Just hanging out in the stalls with the fans seems to suit.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Still Waiting

On Several Fronts

My vet called yesterday to tell me he had not heard from my farrier regarding Chance. I called my farrier who said he hadn't received any calls or emails from my vet.

Something is strange here. So last night, I sent an email to my vet, farrier, and me with all the phone numbers and email addresses so there should be no more confusion.

No rush on my account as, despite the fact that the doctor cleared me for riding, I can't quite figure out how to do it, so if Chance is still not sound, it's OK for now.

Except that he is uncomfortable. He does seem pretty happy and I did see him frolicking about out there a few times, so he can't be too miserable. But any limp is a limp and I don't want to work an unsound horse unless I'm sure it's not aggravating something.

Speaking of lame, that's me. And working while I'm lame is actually an important part of my recovery. According to my doctor, and much of what I've read about this particular bone break--hip neck fracture--can take months, not just weeks. From what I've read on some of the forums out there, many people with a similar injury are not as far along in getting better as I am.

So that's the good news. The bad news is that while I am certain I could ride if I wanted to, what I can't quite master is how to get on and off the horse. Once again, no matter which side I mount from, there will be extra strain and demands on my left leg. Either I have to stand on it and turn with my weight on it, or I have to swing it over the horse if I get on from the off side.

Until I am more limber, stronger in that muscle, and pretty pain free, riding will have to wait.

But I can swim.  And if the temperatures finally decide to settle into the warmer levels, I'll be doing a lot of that. As noted, I've been in the indoor pool a few times when I've substituted at the Academy, and so far twice in the very cool--make that cold--outdoor pool on the weekends.

Still, the day after the swim, I am a bit more sore than usual. I'm hoping it's a positive reaction to exercise with my muscles breaking down a bit with the exercise only to build up stronger.

Meantime, on the horse front and the "body front," it's a waiting game.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

With Friends Like This

What Else Do I Need?

The past two days have been busy. All of which leads to the latest episode in my continuing adventure of life.

I was out to a political meeting on Tuesday and did not get home until late. There was a phone message from a friend but it was too late to call her back. The next morning, I got a call at 6:30 AM to substitute teach, so I could not call her then. After school I had a chiropractor's appointment with physical therapy, so I rushed home from school, fed the Boys and drove back to the doctor. Immediately after, I had my friend drive me over to the school where I used to teach to pick up my truck--it was being serviced in the school's auto shop. As payment for carting me around, I took my friend out to dinner.

I got back home around 9 PM or so.

There was at least one police car in my driveway. I thought perhaps the patrol had pulled over a speeder and they'd pulled in to give him a ticket. But as I got out of the truck, a police officer approached me, shined a flashlight in my face and asked my name, and how old I was.

When I told him, he said, "We've been looking for you."


He said something about horses...a fall from one, or something, I'm not sure as not of it made too much sense. Then he said someone had called the police looking for me and they'd come over to my house to see if I was OK.

The story weaved and bobbed in my head. Who?  Turns out the friend I had not called back had tried to call me again last night and when she could not get in touch with me, her vivid imagination took hold. She was convinced I was lying dead or injured somewhere.

After calling a couple of my friends to see if they had heard from me--well, she got in touch with Stacie but not Don--she found out I had been alive and kicking on Saturday, but Stacie had not heard from me since. (Now, mind you, Stacie was not worried at all.)

At this point, things escalated. My worried friend, Celia, called the police to see if there was a power outage in my area so that my phone might not be working. I'm not sure what else she said except that she was trying to contact me and had not been able to. (She'd told Stacie I "never went anywhere," so why wasn't I home to return her call)

The upshot was that the police cruised on over to my house to check things out. They searched the barn, then decided to search the house. I'd left a window in the front open a crack, so one officer cut the screen, pulled it off, climbed in through the window and "searched the premises."

I'd gotten a package of horse supplements several days ago that I'd left on the front porch since it was too heavy to carry in. I'd planned on opening it and dishing out some of the stuff to lighten the load, but hadn't yet moved it. So when the police saw the package, they figured I really hadn't been home. Once inside, they found another package I had taken in and were preparing to trace it to see when it had been delivered. Then they found my roladex with all my phone numbers and started calling people listed there. Heaven knows how many people they called.

The one officer also noted that they knew I had two vehicles and did see that one of them was missing. What other information had they used to check up on me??  Heaven only knows.

The Sergeant had one of the officers carry the heavy package into the house for me. The officer copied down information about my identity, and eventually, they left. What I had thought was one police car and a speeder was actually three patrol cars in my driveway.

The phone rang. It was my friend, Richard who'd driven me to pick up my truck. He'd seen the police when he passed my house. Then my cousin called from South Jersey--another friend had called them after he'd been called by the police. I had to call another friend who'd been contacted. I called Stacie who had apparently been grilled by the police in a phone call--she lives nearly an hour away. And, of course, I called Celia, the instigator of the whole affair.

The only good thing was that I'd left that window open. The Sergeant told me if the window hadn't been open they would have broken down a door to get in.

Now I have a dilemma. I do not, at the moment have any immediate neighbors. (Long story there....) I guess I need to get someone else to know where the key to my house is hidden should something actually happen to me. Obviously, I can't call someone every time I leave the house. Celia has sworn she will never do something like this again, so that's good, but it does raise the issue of what might have been if something had gone wrong.

I mean, it's nice to have friends who care, but this was over the top.

And now I have to patch the hole in a perfectly good window screen.