Monday, December 31, 2012

I got reviewed man. Thanks Jody!

I received a review from an independent book reviewer! Jody's Book Reviews

My Review And Giveaway Of At First Light By Spike Pedersen

From The Back Cover:

Disillusioned with the seedy family business, Jesse Nickols turns in a new direction with an unknown destination. Fate brings Jesse to British Columbia, a region of free spirits and local jealousy. He joins two hang gliders whose only existence is time in the harness and the drive to conquer the mountain. But when a local logger confronts Jesse, there can be but one alpha male. Forced to run, they find adventure in the biggest rainforest on the planet.

At the same time, Piper Brown decides that another tedious trip with her mother to Rodeo Drive just might kill her. She disappears into the million-person city of Manaus, in the middle of the Amazon. While enjoying the privileges of affluence, she finds a child tied to a post with a bloody rope. One thought consumes her: find this child?s home and return her. However, she discovers the child?s jungle home is embroiled in a war of genocide, where things she never dreamed of thrust Piper into action. If anyone is to survive, Piper needs an assassin. Can she ask Jesse to be a killer? Will it stop the revenge killings? Can he survive? There?s just one problem?she?s madly in love with him.

My Take On This Book:

A few different story lines that come together into an action packed adventure that will take you from Madison Wisconsin to British Columbia and into the Amazon. The main character Jesse Nickols quits his
job and comes to join in with a group of hang gliders that are all out to conquer the mountain. They all want to see who can out do the other in the glide of their lives. Forced to go on the run, they find themselves in the biggest rainforest on the planet.

Piper Brown is a socialite who disappears into the city of Manaus rather than goes with her mother on a trip to Rodeo Drive. She comes to find a young girl tied to a post with a bloody rope. Piper sets out to get this young girl back to her family but it does not turn out as easy as it would seem.

This book will make you want to keep reading to see what adventure they will all come upon next, it is full of action, suspense, travel, and romance. You will not want to put it down. The characters will draw you in, they become very real to you. They all have separate lives that all come together. The part I found most intriguing for me was when Jesse and Piper's lives intertwined. I recommend this book to everyone, and I am ready to read the next.

I would like thank Spike Pedersen for giving me the opportunity to read and review his book, I can't wait for Volume II!

About The Author:

Spike Pedersen resides in Madison, Wisconsin. He worked as a columnist with the Green Bay Press-Gazette, writing for the Sunday Home & Garden section. As a professional project manager, he travels across the Midwest, always in search of a story or character.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Russell the runner;
I went to a one-room school for the first three years of my formal education. That is, the part of education where classrooms are involved.

Our teacher, Mrs. Wells, sometimes needed an entire village of kids to raise an education in us. And Russell was why. He was one of the older kids among the 30 or so farm kids from k to 6th grade. Whenever Mrs. Wells yelled at Russell, which was a lot, he argued back.

While Russell was losing this discussion with Mrs. Wells, We would be sitting in our desks, whispering, “run- Russell –run”. And when he broke for freedom, out the door and across the field of oats in the splendid sunshine he would race; which is what we lived for.

 Mrs. Wells would shout, “Go get Him!” and the entire class would roar out of the classroom, four kids trying to fit through the door at the same time. I, being one of the little kids would cannonball into the clog and bust it out. And we would run and run free as wild stallions, flying with the songbirds and we would catch Russell, and grab his arms and his collar and his pockets, all putting a hand on him, and bring him back. And it was Glorious! And ole man Fox, the farmer next to the school, never could get a good crop off that field.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Galloping on the school bus

When I was four I had a hobby horse. And you never saw Spike without seeing a hobby horse being whipped at full gallop complete with horse whinny vocalization. My brother Rick is 13 months older than me which means he was going off to school.
We lived on a gravel road way out in the boonies and on the first day of school, My Mom sent him out the door to wait for the bus. Now my brother said she had to watch from the kitchen window because he was no little kid, and he no longer needed his mother.So on that sunny fall day, I mounted my hobby horse and went outside to gallop back and forth across the lawn to impress the kids on the bus with my riding ability. Up and down the lawn I went. And then the bus roared upon our little utopia and came to a stop.
The dust coated Rick, me and my hobby horse. The door opened. Rick got on and so did me and my hobby horse. I took a seat and Rick looked a little embarrassed. I mean first day of school and your kid brother just got on the bus with a stick horse.
The bus driver closed the door, and the bus lumbered away. That was when Mom got to the road with her apron flying and crying my name. I rode all the way to school. Then I rode my hobby horse down the steps of the bus, and he was trying to get away so I had to pet his mane to calm him down. And right into my mom’s arms where she took me home and fed me pie. There is no love like a mother’s love.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Today, I get to do something new. I am pleased to have an author as a guest on my page of the world. Her journey as an author is very similar to mine and I can feel her desire to create when I read about her. Because we want to know more of what drives author T. K. Harris, we have a chance to listen.

What Inspired Me to Write Phantom Dreams
It started with a dream.  I know clichĂ© right?  But it really did.  I had a dream that I was walking through a large crowd of people, surrounded by white canvas tents.  I am moving quickly but don't know why, when suddenly the crowd parts and there is a man in front of me, carrying a sword and it is aimed right at me.  Then, just as quickly, the woman is no longer me and I am now watching.  I woke up before the sword drove home.  And that's how Phantom Dreams was born.
I wish I could say that I wrote it all down in a flash and everything just worked itself out.  BUT, that didn't happen.  First it percolated in my brain while I went about being a full-time mother while working a 60 hour a week job.  (And that was a short week!).   And then, I began writing down bits and pieces late at night in between trying to write and publish stories.  Only to become more and more frustrated.   First, the stories that I had sold to date were short stories.  In fact, the first publication I had ever been paid for was a 1200 word mystery sold to  But it is a very different skill set to go from short stories to a full-length novel.  I was good at cutting to the chase, getting to the point and well, you know the rest.  So, I floundered. 
For the next few years I put most of my effort into my work, family, multitude of projects (I'm a Gemini and we can't help it), subsequent divorce, the 2008/2009 job fiasco, and the many other awesomely awful and wonderful things that life carelessly threw in my path and laughingly under my feet to see how many times it could make me fall.  (I still have scars!)  And, sometimes I would work on my book.  And then, one day, I got frustrated for a different reason. And, then, I got mad.  And, then, I got focused. I made myself sit down and write a list of what I wanted out of life.  My ideal job.  My ideal partner.  My ideal finances.  My projects.  And I wrote those lists and decided to start focusing.  My first project was paying of debt (still working on that!). The second was finishing the d*m# book!  The right way.  (Or is it the "write" way? – Feel free to groan.)
I put the book out to readers.  Got feedback.  And then began the arduous task of editing, rewriting and editing some more.   And then began putting it out there on Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Kobo, etc.  I got a great review on Kirkus Reviews and started getting great comments.  I have marketed, tweaked it, re-edited it and developed a new book cover since but I still remember my first "real" sell.  Not the books that were bought by friends and family.  No.  It was that one sell when you realized someone you didn't know, bought it.   And now, all I can ask myself is, why didn't I do this sooner?
T. K. Harris

SYNOPSIS for: Phantom Dreams
A scorned serial killer on an old vendetta.
An FBI agent who has been chasing monsters for too long.
A woman whose nightmares start invading her waking life.
FBI Special Agent Jack Matthews finds himself on yet another serial killer case, having barely recovered from the last disastrous hunt. Still stiff from a gun shot wound in his leg, under investigation for a botched job, and having lost his fiancĂ©e when she walked out on him, Jack is beginning to wonder if it isn’t time to move on to something new. But, for Jack, these cases are personal and he can’t say no.
Marketing specialist Kathy Gilliam leads a fairly boring life. If she’s not working or caring for her ailing father, then she is doing whatever it takes to avoid going anywhere near crowds of people. Her few distractions include her friend Margo Longfellow, occasional hiking trips, and her increasingly alarming dreams of women dying.
As her nightmares cause her to begin to doubt her sanity, the media releases news of the “Coast-to-Coast Killer” and Kathy discovers her dreams may be related. In a moment of panic, Kathy does something that places her on the FBI’s “persons of interest” list. Suddenly, her life is set on a collision course with Jack who must decide if Kathy is the killer or destined to become a victim.
T.K. Harris was born in California and lived a gypsy sort of life traveling the world as a military brat. She has been writing since she was a child and as had several short stories published by various magazines, including one in Woman's World. She currently lives and works in Colorado as a Senior Solutions Architect and IT Instructor and has recently had her first novel, Phantom Dreams, published. She is looking forward to her next two books, already outlined and partially written.
You can find out more at:

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween tales!!

The Dragon’s Eye

There once were two brothers whom the county kept a vigilant eye upon, so notorious was their brand of trickery.
One night around a roaring fire, their uncle spilled a tale of dragons. Not just any dragon, but a dragon who burdened the night. She of great green scales, three toes, and wings that smelled of leather and embers. Her tail, long as a ship’s mast, spike-horned and spaded at the end. Her main parts were twice as long as her tail and her lizardly form walks on limbs common to dragons. And as she sways, her scales clink together as a thousand firecrackers.
Many a time a maiden or a man hid behind a stonewall and listened as that sound passed by. Lucky they were, but from then on, they bore the dragon’s scare. If ever they slept, they saw dreams of screams as the flesh boiled from their bones in the dragon’s breath.  Mwa ha, ha, ha, haaaaaa!
Her head bore horns of some jagged bone, long as a man’s arm, many times splattered with the entrails of children two small to escape. And many a boy she impaled as she swung her head about in the dark.
And she stank of burnt hair and old blood sitting in the sun. The consequences of her victim’s demise.
But, this made her comparable to other dragons. What made this dragon extraordinary were her eyes. Alive they are! Look close and you will see the wizard whose dark magic created the beast from fire, fungus, and an ancient spell cast under the stars. A spell lost to the ages. Until he alone solved the riddle of Limerick. The riddle that magically bound the old book of spells.
Powerful as the wizard was, he was similarly arrogant. He believed he controlled the brute, whereas in truth, the ancient magic he brewed was even darker than he knew. You see, the wizard intended his dragon for evil.
In the kingdom where the wizard lived, nothing was more loved than the children who played in the village. Above all else, children were the most precious thing in all the world. The wizard thought he could take that magic that a child possesses, so highly valued, and he could make it into gold.
For this, he would make a dragon to do his dirty work. A monster who ate little children.  
But deep, buried inside that hex, an even more potent spell resided. And it encased the wizard inside the dragon’s eye. Forever bound to the beast, a witness to the horrible fire that is a dragon’s work.
Therefore, since that day a dragon roams the night. Silent until she strikes! So be vigilant, for the only warning you have, are the yellow glow of her eyes. The wizard, aflame and aghast at what he sees. Appearing and disappearing each time, she blinks. Like fireflies, they say. Brilliant against the darkness.
So watch carefully, for if ever you see fireflies, two abreast, run, run for your lives!
Spike Pedersen, Wizard’s apprentice

Monday, October 22, 2012

My book launch adventure occurred yesterday and it went well. Well as in a deep hole. I entertained by nearly forgetting I was to be introduced. I backed away from the podium and stood like a leper while being wonderfully introduced, in flowing, loving, beautiful terms by Nancy.
Then stood in front of the crowd. ( yes a crowd) I said I would read from the book. Only the book was still out in the car. So I left my podium and my audience and dashed to the car, fumbled with the keys, found the book and then dashed back inside minus the picture I had for show and tell. So I had to use the thousand words that the picture was supposed to do. I did this while wheezing from all the dashing.
Being a project manager in possible good standing, I set up my smart phone to accept credit cards with a card swiper and everything weeks before I needed it. And I needed it right now. Only I could not remember where I put it. Therefore, we negotiated using sign language with the crowd and sold some books anyway. Where was this card reader that I bragged about to my audience? I have no idea until I loaded the lectern into the car after the show and remembered I had put it on the lectern where only sane and bright people could never miss it. Writers must not be sane and bright. The crowd did say my show was comedic…
So it was, as my button was pushed and I rise from mere writer to Author. Thanks for coming and supporting me!

Monday, August 27, 2012

My first Novel is published! The e-reader version is on sale at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. Well now that makes me one of the elite club. But I need you to go get it. So do that and thanks. You're gonna love it.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

After that story is written, and your writers group has destroyed your opinion of yourself and talent, right after you got back up and finished your masterpiece, then had an editor put you back to square one and the ice cream is devoured and the edit is done; that is when you went and got a book designer who made you cry the tears of frustration and delight.
But, there is a final step in the path of self-publishing. Formatting. You can do it yourself of course, but the learning curve is steep and full of late night ice cream. Google will help to hire a pro for a hundred and a few bucks. For what you ask? Well when the magic of word processing is hovering over the last period, remember that it won’t work on an e-reader. It has to be converted to a different software. Yeah, that sucks and who thought of that? Never you mind. When the formatting sits before you, you are so close now.
Wait a minute, after formatting you are done! Your beautiful prose is ready to upload to your e-book sellers. Congratulations! You are my hero! A king and queen of the land and riches await you. Gold will rain upon you. Your friends will adore you and whisper your name to their snotty friends. Now Shakespeare, go and find someone to sell it to. The real work begins.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Well, after giving the world advice on how to do a book cover, here is my cover for At First Light, my new novel.
I did send it back and asked for more and I got what I wanted. I think it's fantastic. Damonza did the work and I can't stop gushing about his talent and speed. I started with a different designer who did the concept, but I did not feel great about it. I found Damon who springled it with real vision. Did I say that you need a great book cover designer and his name is Damonza? How about a movie trailer now?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

I’m in the North Woods now

Well, me an’ the boys were doin’ a little up-north walk-about when we decided the air was dry and the whiskey was wet. Therefore, we parked the 4-wheel drive an sauntered into a place with a moose tied outside. He must have been a well trained moose cause he didn’t move an inch when we walked by. He looked kind of concrete if you know what I mean. Inside there were fish and bear and Linda. All of em stuffed. The difference bein’ Linda was stuffed with ‘north of 64 wisdom’.
Linda- “What you doin’ here?”
Us- “Backpacking. There any bears out there?”
“Watch out for the fishers. They’re a cross between a wolverine and a badger. The DNR crossed them by breedin’ them together to control the porcupines. An they only eat the heads! Ain’t that right Norb?” she nodded to the waiter, who was dressed in an Iron Maiden jacket with the elbows worn through and a black cowboy hat with Lucky Stripes in the band. And an apron.
“Is that right?” I said.
“That’s how you tell a fisher did it. An if you see a porky with the head all gnawed off, you run until the woods don’t go any farther.”
“That’s good advice Linda. We’re going to need to trade in this bear spay for some fisher spray.”
“I ain’t got no idea where you get spray that’ll stop a fisher,” she paused, “You boys want to eat? We got the best fish fry and the best ribs in the north woods. We got chewy ribs and fall off the bone ribs, both of then real good. My son loves our ribs. Course now he’s livin’ in Lansing. He’s tryin’ to be a professional golfer, so he’s driving a lawnmower.”
Norm, the waiter said to get the fish.
I said, “Why did we get the fish?” after Linda went in the back with our order.
“If you want the ‘fall off the bone’ style ribs, they send Linda in the back and she chews em first.”
After that we escaped to the woods and got robbed by backpack-hole-chewing chipmunks that the DNR must have bred to starve out city slicker types. An then one night deep in the woods just before dusk we heard a small voice far far away yell, HELP! We sprang into action and we found Jill.
US- “Are you okay?
Jill- “Yes, but I’m lost.”
“That can happen, where’s your camp?”
“I’m staying at the Badger campsite.”
“Isn’t that where the survivalist training camp is?”
“Yeah,” Jill replied. “I went to the bathroom, and then I saw the pretty flowers and then I got lost. That was--- five hours ago.”
We gave her water and took her back to camp, where Ranger Bob must have stood right beside her whenever she peed.
The big woods is still an adventure.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Yesterday, Memorial Day 2012, I discovered what one person can do to honor our freedom and the people who have given it to us.

Larry Eckhardt showed me what the idea of a single person can do to honor others. And he does it again and again. Larry attended a funeral 6 years ago for a fallen soldier and he felt there were not enough flags there.

He now has attended 82 funerals of fallen soldiers, traveling hundreds of miles, and he brings 2,200 flags with him. He and local volunteers plant the flags on steel poles, on both sides of the road for eight miles. Eight miles.  A hero’s procession. And people turn out for a hero’s procession by the hundreds. I salute Larry Eckhardt. 

The link below is a youtube video that CBS Sunday Morning aired this past Sunday.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Your Best Thousand Words

            It’s old and it’s true. Pictures have worth and none more that your book cover. The only chance you have at getting your story noticed is the image on the front. Sure, reviews and recommendations will send your readers looking for your work, but the browsers who are looking for their next book have to be grabbed by the pigtails and dragged in.

Besides good writing, your book cover is where you need to plant your attention. Elements of your story, color, font, layout, and plain old shock value need to be perfect. How do you know when you’ve captured that? Like all high art that answer is subjective. Think about your target audience. What are they looking for? You have a target right?

Think up some ideas. Go and browse that bookstore you waste time in. Walk up and down and see where you stop. Why, what made you stop and zero in on that cover? Sleep on it. Run your ideas past your tea friends.

Then open your wallet and hire a book cover artist. The self-publishing revolution has grown some diamonds. Google will find many businesses that do book covers. And they have a portfolio on their web site to let you sample their work. Look at a lot of them. Enough that your head hurts and then go sleep on it.

Look for originality, a cover that isn’t flat but 3D and pops from the image. And remember your customer will see the book cover in thumbnail size on the bookseller’s website. When you have narrowed your choice of artists to three, email them about details.

Once you have made your choice, tell them your ideas, ask them about their ideas. They will do three samples and send them to you. Ask all your friends and every stranger on the subway which one they would choose. Take that great cover and tweak it, send it back, question everything. Do not stop until the cover says all the thing you want from a lover. And then it’s time for the last step.  Become a perfectionist. Steve Jobs kind of tyrannical overbearing son-of-a-bitch perfectionist. It’s that important.

My research and experience with book covers says $300 to $900 will get a cover and it will take a month or more before they really hate you. But then, you have art and both you and your artist will have a cover worthy of the journey.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Rocket Launcher
I did walk to school uphill both ways because there was a hill between our farm and the one-room one-teacher schoolhouse I attended. But that was nothin’. I wanted to go to school an’ not for the bag lunch or Roseanne or even for the learnin'. It was the Rocket Launcher.
I was one of the little kids, small and light and not bright. Perfect rocket material. The sixth graders, they were the ones, they were the fuel and they were the brains and in our school, the muscle. All morning we boys would sit and stew, fantasying about recess and keeping an eye out for Mrs. Wells in case she asked us to learn something. We wanted to learn about trajectory and pressure upon impact and- “Yes, Mrs. Wells, I will read the next chapter of Dick and Jane rolling down a hill.”
Rabbits! I don’t give a Scooby doobie if Dick and Jane rolled down a hill unless they were within range of The Rocket launcher.
And then each day it would, for the great God of Heaven, it came time to release the suppressed and sprint for the playground! The big kids would remove any girls that might be playing on the Merry-go-Round- Um, I mean the Rocket Launcher. The big kids would sit on the boards with their feet in the center and begin to wind the Rocket Launcher up. Me and the rest of the stunted would crouch on the boards on our feet and hook our arms over the pipes as the turbines wound up and the Rocket Launcher spun.
The big kids began to chant and the world blurred. Forces began to pull on my shoulders and I had to hook my toes to stay on board. The turbines hit top-end pushing with their feet and yelling Army noises. My hair sucked outward and my head began to bend toward the g-force.
I unhooked my arms, and gripped the pipe with both hands and released my toes. Instantly,  I snapped straight out, hanging on with my hands, whipping around and around knowing Mrs. Wells was inside trying to recover from the little rotten minions’ that she herded each day. We were free to launch.
Pretty Patty Dunbar was in range, she, talking with Roseanne, was unaware of her blundered path. I locked on. I went around once, twice. The pull on my eyeballs made the target blurry. I went around again. Stay on target. Patty stopped and turned. Stay on target. My fingers were stretching and my shoes were slipping off my gripping toes. Stay on target.
Once, twice around, I had target lock. Around we came and the world slowed as my brain did the calculation. The turbines on the Rocket launcher screamed “Go for Launch!” I released and screamed at a hundred miles an hour toward the enemy. Spread-eagled and wide-eyed, I pulled the pin on this grenade and readied for impact. I crashed into the ground, dirt flew and grass stains forever penetrated my pants right between Pretty Patty Dunbar and Roseanne.
Rats. Missed. They looked at me with girl disgust. Mrs. Wells stood on the steps ringing the bell in her hand. Double rats. I got up and limped toward the schoolhouse with grass in my hair and ripped sleeves. Climbing the steps, Mrs. Wells asked, “What on earth happened to you?” “Nothin’.”

Friday, May 18, 2012


Finding an editor

Once you go rogue, you lose some of the valuable things that a publisher provides. Self-publishing means you have all the freedom in the world right? You want to sleep today? Good. You want to blow up the neighbors’ cat? Good. You want a great book? Good. Look inside your toolbox, you have a big wrench in there called a checkbook.

That will get you an editor. I know you could send out your book without another set of eyes. Or, have your spouse who knows he has to continue to live with you and is willing to lie for that privilege, edit your book. Your Mother loves you too much. You love your prose more than your children and you won’t cut its legs off. 

Necessity. That itch has the new model of self-publishing filling opportunities like popsicles in July. I found several editors who have also gone rogue and hung a shingle on a WWW. signpost. They offered a free sample edit of the first ten pages of my manuscript along with pricing based on word count.

I emailed off my babies and wished them well in the world knowing they would come back unchanged to daddy. After all, who knew the story better than me? They rolled back in and they were redheaded stepchildren. Some of them were belligerent.

However, they were smarter now. Some were enhanced and clear and bright eyed and happy. This one guy removed the marbles from my mouth and still kept my voice. I hired him and have been thrilled with my new grown up and scrubbed clean child. That editor is John VanZile, of Editing with Fantastic editor.

You have two questions. How much and where do I find this finishing school?

For a 100,000 words; $600 to $3500 depending on the editor and what services you want such as sentence structure, plot and story development, general editing or proofreading etc. I chose to do a general edit and my cost was under Two Thousand.

Where to find them? Google is a wonderful thing. I recommend Editing for In addition, a site that you can query several editors at once is:

And where do you find information on all things writing? Why It’s where all your new friends are talking.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Publishing Business Is Broken.

Well, like 19.6 % of the American population I started writing the great American novel. And like 1% of the overly stubborn population I finished it and asked the publishing business to look at it. I found out the system of publishing is broken.

The publishing business decided to leave the heavy lifting to authors and now only promote persons who already have celebrity status aka cherry picking. Now they are not the first industry who held all the cards and were selfish and shortsighted. The railroad industry a hundred years ago thought they were in the railroad business. But a guy named Ford knew they were actually in the transportation business and took the money right out from under them. Well publishers are really in the information business and a guy out west built a warehouse and is taking the money right out from under them. And big publishing is still building tracks with Snookie books instead of embracing the new frontier and paving roads.

I said the publishing business is broken. I say this through my experience and the experience of many others. Thousands of books are completed and a few actually get examined by the publishers aka the gatekeepers, and even less get offered a chance to sell it to them for around five grand and 17.5% of sales. If the author gives up all ownership and control. Their new friends will massage it and print it and then the author has to go out and promote it on their own dime. Meanwhile the author’s new friends are busy putting a publicity tour together for their best friend Snookie. The new publisher friend will print more if the author can sell it. If you don’t earn back the five grand they gave you, you have to give it back.

I will say it again the publishing business is broken. When the publishing industry mastered total control of content for the information business, they built necessity. A hundred thousand authors were turned away by the gatekeepers and that necessity found a way to be heard. Today you can self-publish a book for zero dollars and put your book in front of millions of readers. Technology exists that allows you to put you book on the web in front of readers and allow them to order one book and then print one book and send it to the reader. But even better than that, that reader can get an electronic version for half the money and the author still makes 50% more money than the publisher would give him.

Book sales are in decline. Electronic eBooks sales are growing like weeds and I am jumping on this truck and following many others by self-publishing my book. My journey begins.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mothers for sainthood 

My Mom was born a southern girl who was wooed by a farmer from the frozen reaches of the Midwest. I never realized her journey was an extraordinary story because she was just my mom. I remember when she would put me and my brother in our bed for a nap, I thought she sat outside the bedroom door and just waited for me to beckon her to my side.

So in the early sixties my Dad stayed to tend the farm and Mom booked a train to Los Angles to visit her parents and she took the two young colts with her. I was four and my brother five. We were 13 months apart and fought for dominance at all angles and opportunities. Especially when out of sight of my domineering father. In order to keep us safe and corralled mom had two harnesses with leashes attached. More than once we found ourselves attached to a clothesline pole so we were still alive when the chores were done.

Walking through the train station full of new experiences and huge looming machines and travelers, we were ready for adventure. My mom, all of 90 lbs. in her heels, dress and fashionable hat was being hauled like a teamster. Every train whistle and every bell set us off pulling like draft horses on our harnesses.

We would whinny and snort and put every ounce to the work. Our handler would yell out, “Rick, Spike, stop it!” We heard, ‘Yaw, get along there, pull you doggies!’ I remember her heels skidding on the concrete. Then we would switch and pull in opposite directions stretching her out like Christ on the cross. I do remember his name being used.

Everyone would complement her on how much spirit we had and what a hand full she had with her wonderful little boys. Once on the train, we threw food at each other over the white linin dining table and tore down the halls whenever we got off the leash. At every stop, Mom would have to recruit some stranger to carry the luggage while we bucked and kicked them in the shins with our hooves.

I don’t remember, but I bet she stayed in bed for two days when she handed us off to my Grandparents who spoiled us rotten. After two weeks of that we got another crack at train robbin’ and ropin’ on the return trip with our new cap guns.

And still she loved us and adored us and didn’t leave us under a bridge with a day’s ration of peanut butter and jelly. She, like all moms, was the best thing in the world.