Middle School and Young Adult Time Travel Treasures…….

This week our Christmas book list is for the more advanced readers. Though the books featured are family friendly for young readers, adults of all ages will also enjoy these engaging stories. Buy links follow each recommendation.

  TheGirlWhoRememberedHorses-Full_300dpi compressed 45.7 KBPut this wonderful futuristic tale on your Christmas shopping list for your favorite Young Adult or Horse Lover’s e-reader. The Girl Who Remembered Horses is reviewed on A to Z Reviews. Click the link on this pages’ side bar. Linda’s e-books can be purchased from Smashwords.com, Amazon, and Barnesandnoble.com.

Check out the November 18th post on this blog for an excerpt.

www.lindabenson.net

http://www.lindabenson.blogspot.com   

www.facebook.com/LindaBensonAuthor

www.facebook.com/Girl.Remembered.Horses.LindaBenson

 Mitzy Tait-Zeller - Rim Fyre Front Cover JPG

Readers can catch my review of “Rim-Fyre and the Stones of Time’’ on A to Z Reviews October 23.  (click on the link on the sidebar of this page.) Check out the Oct 22nd post on this blog for my interview with author Mitzi Tait-Zeller, and an excerpt from this amazing adventure. Horse lovers of all ages  will delight in this novel.

This novel can be purchased on Amazon and Barnesandnoble.com.                                                   Special Christmas buys on the authors website.

 Web Page: http://www.mitzytaitzeller.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MitzysManeTales

 

SwitchingH350This is the third book by Jody Kihara that I have read, and each has proven to be better than her previous work. Switching is, in my opinion, her most complex and intriguing work. This YA scifi thriller is well written in the first person, and will immerse readers in the problems of a lost teen forced to live on the streets and fend for herself..

Switching is a, starkly realistic, contemporary urban fantasy. Terry has no control over when she switches. At any moment, she faces being yanked through time to wake up in another year, which often finds her in a range of inconvenient places: jail cells, other people’s houses, libraries, or on a park bench. Excerpt from A to Z Reviews

Switching e-book: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/230646

Check out Jody’s books at www.jodykihara.com, and read a preview of her latest Young Adult novel, SWITCHING.


My Contribution this week is right on theme.

New Frosty Cover 2Is Frosty a time traveler, or only a colt prone to nightmares? This book is for readers middle school thru adult. Check out the e-book coupon at the end of this post.

EXCERPT:

Hinckley breeding farm 1967

         The first time I’d laid eyes on Marcie I was a yearling. It was about two months after my first birthday that fell on the last day of the month the humans call March. Until that time I was a happy and carefree kid, romping around the farm with the other colts. I had not been upset at weaning time like most of the other foals. My mom, Haysetta, had prepared me for what is usually a traumatic event.

         “I’m going to have another foal next spring, Frosty, and it’s time for you to join the rest of the herd. It is just the way of things, son.” She made weaning sound so natural I didn’t even question her.

         Mom ‘s coat was a bright white with a few tiny spots scattered here and there. I looked like a small dark shadow glued to her side or following behind for the first month of my life. The next five months I grew stronger, running and engaging in mock battles with the other colts. I was eating grass, some hay, and the sweet molasses flavored grain. Mom gradually pushed me away from her delicious milk supply. I nursed less and less. Thanks to Mom’s kind manner, I had zero problems when we were taken away from our mothers. Some of the other colts and fillies were really upset, and so were their mothers. My little sister was born the day before my first birthday. She was real cute, and looked just like a small version of our mother. It was fun to watch her frolic at Mom’s side like I used to.

         A small human, with a long dark brown mane and grass colored eyes, had come to our farm to look at an older horse. She wore a ball cap with a tail of hair sticking out the back opening. It was cool that day, and she wore a puffy red vest. She wasn’t very tall. Her legs only reached halfway down the sides of Lark. All the humans on our farm were tall with white hair, and there was something different about her. She fascinated me, so I stalked them as she rode the Palomino mare around. Lark seemed to like her small rider. She wasn’t tossing her head in the air, like usual, and her ears were perked forward instead of plastered back displaying her nasty temper. Their test ride had taken them around the outside perimeter of the fenced pasture that enclosed me and the rest of the herd. I felt her gaze on me as I tracked them. I whinnied a hello, snorted, and pranced around showing off for her. She laughed at my antics, which encouraged me even more.

         She came back the next day, minus the dark blue chaps that had covered her jeans, she was dressed much the same as when I’d first seen her. She walked me around, brushed me, and checked my feet. I was on my best behavior. Her mom had tried to talk her out of buying me.

         “Marcie, it will be a whole year before you can even start to ride him. You would be better off with the older mare. Young stallions can be a handful even for the most experienced horsemen.”

         “I know, Mom, but there is something special about this colt. He’s very calm, his eyes are so kind, and wise for a yearling. He’s the one I want.”

         She reminded her mom that she was twenty-two now, working, and could afford to keep me for the time I required to mature. It was a huge relief to me that she held her ground; I’d felt this instant connection between us like we were meant to be together. After I overheard their conversation, I knew that she’d felt it too.

 

         My new home, Hi-Lo Farms, was only a short trailer ride from Hinckley, Ohio where I had been born. I would live at Hi-Lo for the next three years. I learned a lot that first year with Marcie. Often her body language made it obvious to me when I’d messed up, or pushed her good nature a little too far.

         Marcie and I went to a few Appaloosa shows. She was proud of me and always praised my performance when I stood up and did all the maneuvers required of me, even when the other stallions in the halter class were acting up. “Good job, Frosty.”

         It wasn’t until, Lorry, one of the snooty high stepping Saddlebred mares, who also had lived at Hi-Lo, inquired about the color of my ribbons that I began to understand their significance.

         Lorry snickered nastily with a superior attitude and looked down her long narrow nose at me. “Well, little bumpkin, word has it that you went to an App-a-loser show. Did you place? If so what color of ribbon did you come home with?”

         “Marcie and I came home with two ribbons,” I boasted.

         She let out a loud whinny and shook her head. “I asked what color they were, you backwoods dunce.”

         It takes a lot to get me riled, but she was pushing my limits. Just what makes her think that she’s smarter than me? I tried to be a gentleman and hold my temper. “The ribbon we got on Saturday was yellow, and Sunday we collected a red ribbon before we headed for home.”

         “Well, you can forget about the yellow one. My human, Thurston, says, ‘Anything that isn’t first or second place—blue or red—is an embarrassment and belongs in the trash’.”

         That did it! I had turned, lifted my tail, and farted right in her stuck- up face.

         Lorry and her equally self-important owner with the funny name moved away a few months later. They went to a fancy, high priced, training facility. I’m not just speaking for myself when I say she wasn’t missed by any of us at Hi-Lo. Yes, she was gone, but her taunts about the color of my ribbons played in my head at the next few shows.

         Up until my two-year-old spring when I became a gelding, I had always been shown in the stallion halter class. I would stand with my legs squared up like Marcieand I had practiced for hours on end. My polished hooves never moved while we waited in the lineup for our turn to walk up to the judge, then I squared up again so that he or she could walk around me checking out my conformation—that is how well they thought I was put together. When the judge was finished checking out my muscular body, I trotted off in a straight line, and showed off my well-formed legs as they tracked straight and true.

         I think it’s fair to say that most judges liked me. At that time, I consistently placed in the top three, and my halter class usually numbered at least twenty horses. Marcie would console me with, “Judges feel obligated to place a loud colored horse first for the yearling stallion class.”

         I believe Marcie was correct about that. Most of the horses who received their ribbons before me had leopard coat patterns; others that placed above me sported huge white blankets loaded with spots. At that time in my life I was a dark chocolate color with black spots under my dark coat and just a little sprinkle of white hairs on my rump that looked a little like sugar or frosting.

Marcie said, “That’s the reason your first owners named you ‘Frosty Britches’.”

         That’s what they called me at the shows when they announced the names of the horses awarded ribbons; my friends simply called me Frosty.          My mother told me when I was little, “son, you are the only dark colored foal ever born to me, and I have foaled more than a dozen before you. The star decorating the middle of your forehead, and the small white sock on your left hind foot contrast beautifully with your dark coat.”

         Like many Appaloosas, I had pink skin with black spots that was really hard to miss. My parti-colored skin contrasted big time with my dark coat too; the colorful skin covered my nose, circled my eyes, and my private parts. White sclera ringed my dark brown eyes, giving me an almost human look, and my hooves were vertically striped; all of these traits are common among what humans call the Appaloosa horse.

         Marcie and I went to a few shows where I showed in the two-year– old gelding class. To my surprise, many of the same horses who had been in the previous years stallion class with me were now in my gelding class too. I was stalled between two of my half brothers at the second show that Marcie took me to as a gelding. I questioned them about their gelding experiences.

         Chel-C proudly informed me, “I didn’t have any trouble when I was gelded and was down only a short time.”

         Sailor though admitted, “Just like you, Frosty, I required a second shot.”

         My interest was piqued. “Were you down a long time, Sailor?”

“I’m not sure, Frosty. My vet and the other humans were worried about me, so I guess that I was down longer than was usual. It took me a good twenty minutes to stand once I woke up. Then, I staggered around for a while before I could walk normally again.”

         I had to ask. “Did you have any strange dreams or visions while you were asleep?”

“Not that I recall. Why did you?”

         I didn’t want to be seen as an oddball. “Uh…no, but I’ve heard from older horses that crazy dreams or strange visions can come from too much tranquilizer.”

         Sailor and Chel-C both looked at me askanceand I knew they could tell I was covering something up. Fortunately, they didn’t call me on it. Thinking back, the whole experience was a vague memory, but just enough remained to make me wonder if someone—anyone else—had gone through anything like that. I only asked a couple of other new geldings, and when none of them had experienced anything remotely similar, I began to worry why it had only happened to me.

An excerpt from chapter 2 is included with the Haunting Halloween Tale post of Oct. 25, 2013 on A to Z Reviews. Click the link the side bar to read more about “Frosty and the Nightstalker.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Here is a 50% coupon FY97K Go to my Smashwords link:

http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jackieanton click on the title, and enter the above code at checkout. Then pick your download. If you don’t have an e-reader choose the PDF version for your computer.

A couple of direct links to purchase the print version.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Backyard-Horse-Tales-Frosty-Nightstalker/dp/1457517515/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1384518342&sr=1-2

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Frosty-and-the-Nightstalkser?keyword=Frosty+and+the+Nightstalkser&store=book

Want an autograph for your online buys? Go to: http://www.authorgraph.com/authors/backyardhorse

Author Links:

Website: http://talesbyjackie.com

Backyard Horse Tales Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Backyard-Horse-Tales/190283981002767

E-mail: talesbyjackie@yahoo.com

December 4th will be adult Wednesday. Books and e-books exclusively for those 18 and over.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Holiday gifts for young and not so young.

Thanksgiving is only a week away! Check this blog every Wednesday thru December 18th for great ideas for your favorite reader. Need a deal on e-books for a Christmas e-reader? Starting Nov. 27th e-books will be offered at least a 50% discount.

Here are some terrific reads for the young folks.

BEAN on the Farm 408x407   David Nicoll’s Series of Bean are great picture books for the youngest readers.

Bean is available in print and as an e-book at Amazon.com. http://www.amazon.com/BEAN-at-FAIR-David-Nicoll-ebook/dp/B00AQFZZAO/ref=sr_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1385005791&sr=1-9&keywords=Bean+at+the+Fair (e-book $3.99)

Contact links for David.

And of course BEANS website – https://beaneverywhere.com/

TreesCover  Rachel and Sammy have a series of books that teach the little ones about the nature around them. Author Jannifer Powelson and the illustrators at Kalpart have put together an unforgettable picture book that belongs in every child’s first library.

Check out Janifer’s new website for a look at other Rachel and Sammy adventures.

http://www.janniferpowelson.com

Real Dogs Don't Whisper Book  “Real Dogs Don’t Whisper” is coauthored by Mr. Magoo

and his owner Kelly Preston. This ones for competent readers who want a fun read.

Kelly and Mr. Magoo are available on Amazon.com and Barnsandnoble.com. Check Kelly’s web page for special offer and excerpts: http://realdogsdontwhisper.com/

 

All of these authors have either been guest bloggers on this page, have been featured, or interviewed. Check out the interviews and blog archives to learn more about each of these talented Authors.  Please comment if you found this post helpful.

 

My contribution to this post is the first Backyard Horse Tale in the series. “Sox 2nd Edition” is the winner of the Mom’s Choice Awards Silver Seal of Excellence. Sox tale is Family Friendly. (Reader ages 8 to 108) Sox cover with seal MCA 1Chapters 1 & 2

1

A New World

It had been a long voyage, eleven months exactly, getting to here from there. My assigned quarters were comfortable, and all my needs had been seen to, but I could not wait to explore the new world. Maybe I had cabin fever, I was becoming very uncomfortable, and my traveling capsule seemed to have shrunk. At the beginning of my voyage there had been plenty of room for me to move around, but now I felt restrained. Close to my final destination, I began to have doubts that I would make a successful landing. My environmental suit had just sprung a huge leak, and it collapsed around me.

I put my foot through the escape hatch, and I encountered icy air. The blast of frigid air changed my mind about putting my footprints on this planet, and I decided to stay inside where I was warm and safe. I tried to pull my foot back in, but an unknown force was pushing on my backside as it guided me toward the escape hatch. Help! My left foot dangled out there, and the pressure from behind was getting stronger, but my right foot was stuck. I struggled to move it in line with my left leg, but it didn’t want to cooperate. FinallyI succeeded in placing my legs in a good position to land. I stretched my neck, put my nose between my front legs, and that was when I tumbled out onto the hard prickly surface of an alien environment. The hard landing did not tear the collapsed suit from my face, and I was too tired to struggle with it.

             It had been hard work getting into this strange new world. Exhaustion had taken the edge off of my long awaited arrival, and breathing in this atmosphere was proving to be impossible. A soft nickering sound from my mother reassured me, but her voice sounded different in this new world. At first I thought I heard other voices nicker a welcome, but their voices too were fading. My head was spinningand I began feeling very weak. Part of my protective suit was now blocking any air supply. The lifeline that had attached me to my mother had broken when I fell to earth. The remains of the umbilical cord that provided nourishment and oxygen during my long journey dangled from my tummy.

An alien sound tickled my ears, a whisper. There is the foal; it is lying against the stall door. Open the door carefully, Bill, and pull the placenta away from the baby’s nostrils, so that it can breathe.

            Strong appendages gently removed the covering from my nose, and I took my first deep breath; relief flooded through me. While I tried to recharge from my near death experience, I heard a grunt; it was my mother. She had been resting in the deep straw too. She was very tired and weak after helping me into this world. Soon she rose to her feet and came close to me. Mom began pushing me to stand up too.                                                                                                                                                                                                         She nuzzled and encouraged me, “Come on, son, on your feet.”                                                                                                                                                                                      Easy for her to say, she was already an old pro at standing, but I was having trouble untangling my long gangly legs. Instinct and constant encouragement from Mom made me try again. I gathered my back legs under me and shoved.

            “OOPS! Not quite so hard, son.” Mother cautioned me, as I tumbled onto my side. “It would probably help, son, to uncross your front legs first. Try again.”  Three tries later, I succeeded. The effort was sure worth it!            Mom guided me back along her large warm body, until I found her fresh sup ply of sweet milk. It warmed my bellyand it made me feel stronger.

            I plopped down for a nap once my tummy was full, and that was when the front wall opened. A chilly gust of cold air ushered strange two-legged creatures into my world. The two of them came in through an opening that had appeared in the wall, as if by magic. I tried to get a good look at them, but everything was fuzzy. The larger of the creatures knelt down beside me, and it started to rub me with a soft cloth. I couldn’t see it, but I recognized its smell. This alien had pulled the covering from my nose, when I first arrived. Some of my fear concerning this invasion was lessening. This creature had helped me, and the vigorous rubbing felt wonderful. The smaller biped was busy drying my mom with a big soft rag, and it was talking to her, nonstop.

            You are such a good mother, Sandy. I heard it say.

            Big news flash, I thought. I might be new colt on the block, but I had already figured that out. I could feel its eyes, like twin laser beams, as it turned to look at me, and I had the feeling it knew what I was thinking. Then the smaller creature moved closer to me, and was staring intently at me. The larger creature stopped rubbing my damp body to question the other alien. What’s wrong, Mom?

            Look, Bill, Sandy’s little bay colt has socks on his hind legs.

           I recognized the sound of its voice, though it was different outside my traveling capsule. Many months I listened to that voice as it talked to my mother. Not that I understood its language, but Mom did. She did a bang up job of translating for me. Horses are born understanding one another; it is part of our survival skills. The alien’s language was more difficult, a lot of it sounded like static. For instance, I was not sure what socks were, and I felt nothing on my back legs except the prickly straw that Mom had explained was our bedding. The smaller alien squatted down next to the larger one that had saved my life. It talked to me in a soft voice that reassured me, and it stroked my neck. I was really getting into all the attention.

            Hey! Something isn’t right! A large cold wet spot on my belly that included the remainder of my broken umbilical cord gave me a chill. Whatever the cold wet stuff was it began to sting me there.

            The two- legged creatures left through the opening in the wall, and my momma came over to nuzzle me.

            “The burning will go away soon, son. It is only medicine,” she assured me.

I wasn’t so sure about that, but it turned out Momma was right.

I was feeling better, when the two aliens returned. I scrambled to my mother’s side. I was not sure if these creatures had caused the pain on my navel, but instinct told me to get up and seek the protection of my mother. I peeked from behind Momma as they picked up the torn remnants of the traveling suit that I had worn, and removed it.

            Momma explained, “Our confined area is called a stall, and the warm glow overhead is a heat lamp, to keep you warm in the cold night air.”

 

            I wondered whatnight was, but I was too tired to try and figure it out, or ask any more questions. I yawned, I stretched my long legs out, and fell asleep next to my mother, under the warm glow.

A loud chorus of whinnies woke me. I blinked my eyes trying to focus on my surroundings. The world seemed brighter than when I had gone to sleep.  Then BANG!   A noise startled me, and I scrambled to my feet. I moved as fast as my long shaky legs could carry me, scampering to my mother’s side.

She told me, “There is nothing to fear, son, it is feeding time, and one of the other horses just got excited and kicked the wall of its stall.” The strange two-leg creatures came back into our stall. They put something called bran mash in Mom’s corner feeder. She seemed very interested in it, but all I wanted was to nurse.

            The alien creature called Bill filled, what mom had told me was a bucket, with water. It also told us that we could go outdoors as soon as the vet checked us.

In between bites of her food Mom attempted to explain what a “vet”, or veterinarian was, and what “outdoors” was. It didn’t mean much to me. I felt frisky and scampered around my mother while she was occupied with the contents in her feeder and browsed through her hay. My legs were working better now, so I tried to dash from one side of our stall to the other.

            They were back! The ones my mother called “humans.” Another human had entered with them, and he was looking my mother over. Aha! I realized this new human was the veterinarian that my mother had told me about. Mom did not mind his inspection of her, and she nickered to me, “Don’t worry, son. Everything is as it should be.” She sounded so confident and calm. I was just beginning to relax when the small alien from last night and the vet turned their attention to me. My attempt to evade them proved futile. I hid behind my mother, but they cornered me.

            The vet looked in my eyes, listened to my heartbeat, and checked some very personal parts of my body. They spent a lot of time discussing my right front leg. The colt has a contracted tendon, was the vet’s diagnosis. Mom paid close attention to their conversation, and when they left our stall she tried to explain it to me. “The vet believes that because you were such a large colt, that your leg position had been cramped as you developed inside me.”

            “Is that why my right leg isn’t straight like the other one, Mom?”                                                                                                                                                                                  “Yes, son. That is the reason that you were having so much trouble untangling your legs last night. It is pretty hard to stand with your right leg crossed over your left. That was probably the way that you compensated for the lack of space toward the end of your journey.”

            “Is this a bad thing, Momma?” “Only time will tell, son.” “Well, I have to tell you that I was happy to see the backside of him!” Mom just laughed at my comment, but I wondered how often he would invade our privacy. I quickly forgot about the vet, and any worry about my leg, when the small human returned, and started taking the other horses out of their stalls. I could sense their excitement, and I could feel the anticipation building within my mother.

Close behind Mom, I stepped from the stall—where I had been born—into the aisle of the barn for the first time, and then out through the big door. I swear, it was like being born again! I looked around at this big bright new world, and filled my lungs with fresh “outdoor” air.

             “This is called the front paddock, son, and it is a safe place. There is nothing here to hurt you,” Mom said. I didn’t answer. I was too busy gawking at everything. The other horses whinnied a greeting, and Mom whinnied back to them, “Good morning, guys! Great day, isn’t it?”

            “Is that the new arrival that woke us in the middle of the night?” one of the other horses asked.

            “Yes. Everyone, this is my new son,” Mom answered proudly. I strained to see in the direction of their voices, and tried to focus my eyes, but they were just blurry shapes to me. Several fences separated us. Momma saw my confusion and explained. “The others are in the back paddock. The work arena takes up that large space separating our paddock from the back one.”

            All of the new sights, sounds, and information were too much for me. I blocked out everything except for my basic needs. I was hungry for some more milk, and soon I was ready for a nap. Most of my first day was spent nursing, exploring my surroundings, trying out my legs, and sleeping in the sunshine.

            The world became clearer to me on the second day, and I was starting to get a handle on my long legs. They weren’t as wobbly, nor did they get tangled as much as they had yesterday. Before bedding down for the night Mom quizzed me.

            “What did you learn today, son?”

            “The variety among the humans surprises me. I was not able to see them very well on the night that I was born, and things were fuzzy yesterday.”

This question and answer session was to become a ritual at the end of each day.    My rescuer was taller than the other being that I encountered on my first night. On the evening of that first quiz I discovered that they were mother and son, just like Mom and me. Bill towered over his mother, Katie. Maybe someday I will be bigger than my momma too.

             My forth day on this new world, I was stretched out taking a snooze in the sunshine. I was minding my own business when I nearly got frightened out of my young life! I had been lulled to sleep by the rhythmic sound of my mom munching grass. At first I thought I was still asleep and having a bad dream as I stared at the strange sight. It just goes to show that you never know what is going to pop up to scare the wits out of you. The few humans that I had met since my first day had been quiet, moved slowly, and they made an effort to reassure me.

            Awake now, I knew this was no dream! I panicked, scrambled up next to my mom, and blinked my eyes. The three-board fence that surrounded our paddock had come to life! Small humans were invading our sanctuary. They stuck out along the front part of the fence line that ran parallel to the road. These scary little creatures continued around the corner and lined up along the side fence that ran next to the drive- way. And they were all pointing at ME!

            A line of pine trees that cast dark shadows and harbored various furry little creatures that scurried about beneath them was the most frightening place in my world, until that moment. Mom told me yesterday, or maybe the day before, that the long eared creatures were rabbitsand they had made a nest under the low hanging branches.

            “But what are the ones with the bushy tails that zip up to the top of the trees and back down, Mom?”

            “The larger bushy tailed animals are squirrels, the smaller ones with the stripe down their backs are chipmunks. They both like to run and play in the trees, son.”

            I still wasn’t sure that I liked the idea of all those strange creatures lurking around, but I made a beeline for those tall pines and their dark scary shadows. It was as far away as I could get from the strange, small humans protruding from two sides of our enclosure. I would have run all the way to the back fence line, but I couldn’t leave Mom to face the threat alone. She was so busy eating grass that she didn’t notice the invasion.

I mustered up all the courage that my four days of life would allow, and charged up to my mother to warn her. I bumped her head and nipped her neck to get her attention, but she wouldn’t budge. So I said, “Run, Momma! We are in danger!”

But she still didn’t stop grazing??? She lifted her head to stare at the scary sight, but she didn’t turn and run???

            Instead, she just nuzzled me. “You are so brave to come warn me, son.” She went on to say, “What you’re worried about isn’t a danger. Those little humans are called ‘children.’ And just like you, they’re small because they are still young.”

            “But what is that scary loud screeching noise they’re making, Mom?”

            Mom giggled at that. “The squealing sound is their way of expressing the joy that they feel at the sight of a new foal … you, honey.”

            Now I was intrigued and feeling a little braver. And I had to admit that being the center of attention appealed to me. I pranced up close to the front fence where the smallest children stood. I tossed my head and arched my neck, and then I snorted at them. They squealed even louder, jumped up and down, and smacked their hands together, over and over, real fast. OK! On second thought, their reaction was a little too scary for me, so I hightailed it back to Mom.

            She laughed and said, “They must really like your performance, to clap and cheer so loudly.”

            It is not that I didn’t believe Mom; I just wanted to test her theory. I approached the children at a slow walk. I got closer to them this time. I snorted and turned quickly in the opposite direction, and took off at a run. The children’s excited cheering and enthusiastic clapping felt encouraging, so I ran a little faster. Yes! It felt good! I let loose a couple of little hops, kicking out my hind legs.

            Mom praised my little maneuvers. “Nice crow hops, Son.” Wow! Mom was suddenly running alongside me.

            “I’ll race you, Mom!” She was amused by my challenge. “You will have to grow a lot more, and get better with your legs before you can race with me.” She laughed, and paced herself along with me for a couple of laps around the paddock.

            That night I dreamt of growing big, and racing my mother across a large field without any fences to stop us.

            I looked forward to learning something new each day. I discovered that I loved to run; I learned to stop smoothly without getting my legs tangled, and to quickly turn around. I perfected my crow hopping style. And believe it or not, I learned how to rear up on my hind legs. That was the most fun of all. I would paw at the air and practice acting fierce, much to the delight of the children in my neighborhood fan club.

            Mom would accompany me to the front fence where she would let the children pet her muzzle or stroke her neck. Not this kid! I wasn’t ready to trust my nose to them, yet.

I found out that I could charm these humans, and it was easy to get my way. Most members of my human family were easy to win over; all I had to do was nicker at them, prick my ears forward, and look cute. The exception was Katie. Cute didn’t impress her, and she was a big pain in the buttocks about good manners.

            Before I continue my tale, let me tell you about my human family. Bill, my young rescuer, was named the same as his father, but Mom calls his dad “Slim.” Father and son look much alike, and both are tall. Now that they have shed their winter head coverings, I can see that they both have dark brown wavy hair. Bill, who Mom says is twenty-six in human years, is heavier than his dad, and his eyes are the same blue-green as Katie’s. Slim has brown eyes, almost as dark as mine. Patty is Bill’s sister, and she is a couple of inches short of her brother and father’s height. Patty is three human years younger than Bill. In addition to her duties as Bill and Patty’s mother, Katie is also the barn boss, and a lot shorter than the rest of the family. She doesn’t tower above me, like some kind of predator. She often squats down to reduce her minimal height when she senses I am distressed, and talks to me in a soothing tone. She is in the habit of scratching my withers, rubbing my back and neck, and talking to me, while my mom is busy eating breakfast. I have to admit I’ve begun to look forward to the back scratching routine; in fact I really enjoy it.

My curious nature got the better of me, and I used my teeth to pull off Katie’s ball cap. She scolded me for that, but before she put it back on, just as I supposed her hair had intriguing curls of light brown. I had observed little wispy curls peeking from beneath the cap for a while now, and I just had to know.

The youngest addition to my human family is Emma. She lives next door with her grandmother; and like me, Emma is small. She is only eleven in human years. Her hair is red gold, almost the color of my mother’s glossy coat. It is usually braided down her back, or tied in a ponytail that is almost as long as my own little tail. When I asked Mom about Emma’s strange little spots, she explained, “Those sprinkles on her nose are called ‘freckles.”

            I really liked my littlest human, and she was always happy to see me. I don’t know why, but I had an odd feeling that there was something special about Emma.

 2

Small Town U.S.A.

            “Don’t complain to your mother, Emma. She should not be worry- ing about us. Keep your e-mail to her happy.” That was the lecture that Grandma gave me along with a birthday card and a pink diary. “Write your thoughts and complaints in your diary. Save them until your mother is safely home.” “If I write down the thoughts in my head, the page will burst into flames!” I didn’t continue to argue, but rolled my eyes and let out an audible sigh.

Life sure changed for me three years ago, when my parents split, and Mom had to work full time. Mom had been unable to get a good paying job that would allow us to remain at home, and so she joined the Army. Mom and I moved close to the base. That was a big change, but at least there were other kids who lived near us, or on the base. My world crashed when she was deployed to Iraq, and I came to live with my grandmother.

            I had been raised in the glow of streetlights, and was used to the color of flashing neon signs. Getting used to this backwoods place is a challenge. My ears are used to the hum of traffic and the voices of other apartment dwellers. It is hard for me to believe that Mom grew up here; it is so nowhere! Grandma’s home is on the outskirts of a small town. It is really different here. There are no sidewalks or streetlights, and at night it is so quiet that you can hear the frogs and crickets. It is really creepy. I am sure that my new diary was just another one of Grandma’s ploys to keep me busy.

             September 20 Dear Diary, School sucks! Grandma makes me dress like a nerd, and the other kids

laugh at me. I just don’t fit in here, and there is not one person to talk to who understands what it is like to have their mom so far away.

E-mail from Mom always makes me feel better, and I know that for now, she is OK.

            October 23 Dear Diary, Today I turned eleven. Mom always told me that the trees turned colorful

in October just to celebrate my birthday. She sent me a gift card this year, and I tried to be positive when I e-mailed to thank her.

I get scared whenever Grandma turns on the evening news, and they show what is going on in Iraq. I always look for Mom, but then I am glad I don’t find her when they show the shooting. I pray every night that she is safe, and that she will be home soon.

            November 30 Dear Diary, Thanksgiving is overand I am back in school. We watched a news program

that showed some of the soldiers being served Thanksgiving dinners. Later, Mom told me that she too had turkey, and even some pumpkin pie. Grandma called my dad a “big turkey.” I guess what upset Grandma was that I have been living with her since August, and this is the first time that he has shown up. He told me that he wanted to make sure I was doing well, but he didn’t talk to me much. He sure ate a lot of turkey and stuffing, so did his new wife and their twins.

I took Grandma’s advice, and did not mention Dad’s surprise visit here when I spoke to Mom. Instead, I told her about my new reading tutor.

            December 29 Dear Diary. I could not stop thanking Mom for my new guitar. I know that I sounded

goofy. I just kept saying, thank you, thank you, thank you, repeating it over and over. I love my new guitar, but I still like to play her old one. Its strap is frayedand it is too big for me, but playing it always makes me feel closer to her. Maybe we can play together when she returns.

            The cookies that Grandma and I made got to Mom, along with the rest of the presents that we sent her. Christmas cookies are a popular treat, and Mom shared hers with the other soldiers.

            I strummed the notes of “Silent Night” for Mom in front of the videocam that Gram got us for Christmas. It has always been her favorite Christmas song, and it was real neat that I didn’t make too many mistakes.

            January 15 Dear Diary, School started again, right after the huge snowstorm that came with the

New Year. I thought that I was doing OK in school, but the guidance counselor doesn’t think so. She says that I have a problem paying attention. I wonder how easy it would be for her to concentrate, if she had a parent in a war zone. The counselor told me that I probably have Attention Deficit Disorder. She wanted to have me tested, until Grandma gave her an earful.

            January 30 Dear Diary, When Grandma got the official notice from school that they wanted me

tested, she marched up there and demanded to meet with the guidance counselor. Grandma informed the counselor that I have a mild case of dyslexia. Thanks to Gram, I now have a math tutor along with my reading tutor! There goes any chance of fitting in with the rest of the kids!

            I guess that it was kind of funny, the way that my grandma went up to the school to confront the guidance counselor.

“I bet that she barked orders there too.” I made that bet while talking to my mother; she laughed, and told me, “Grandma can put most drill sergeants to shame.”

            March 29 Dear Diary, Sorry, that I have not had time to complain to you lately. School and the two

tutors keep me pretty busy. Sometimes it gets hard to squeeze in time to e-mail Mom. It takes me a longtime to organize my thoughts, and then put them in the e-mail. Spell check sure helps a lot!

Guess what? The neighbor’s horse had a baby! It is so cute and so tiny com- pared to the other horses. I told Mom and Grandma that I never thought of horses as babies. I promised to e-mail Mom a photo as soon as I can get a shot. The baby hides behind its mother and peeks out at me. The weather is kind of warm for the end of March, so the baby horse is out every day.

            April 30 Dear Diary, I don’t want Mom to know how scared I am, or how much I worry about

her. She reassured me that she was not near the bombing that was reported on the TV, but I don’t think that she would tell me if she had been. I always tell her that I love her, and I ask her to be careful.

            I am glad that I have some interesting things to tell Mom. I talk about the baby horse, or school, or the mess that I made trying to color Easter eggs. Gram didn’t mind the mess, and though I hate to admit it, the egg coloring was kind of fun.

            I started a scrapbook today with the photo that I sent Mom of the baby horse and his mother. He is not hiding behind her anymore. He races around and snorts at the kids who hang over the fence. His mother is friendly, and she will let me pet her, but the baby keeps out of reach. The little guy sure has a tem per! I hope he makes out better than I do when I let my temper get out of control.

I hope you enjoyed this peek at Sox tale. Here are some links where you can purchase this award winning book:

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/author/jackieanton 

Barns and Noble:

 http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/backyard-horse-tales-sox-jackie-anton/1110946426?ean=9781457509490

Book Website: With shopping cart & 10% discount on pg 2. http://www.backyardhorsetales.com

Author  Website: http://talesbyjackie.com

Sox video book trailer is on the author website or on YouTube:  http://youtu.be/ZDGRfxDzOvs

Want an autograph for your online purchases? Write your dedication in your request: 

 http://www.authorgraph.com/authors/backyardhorse

Next Wednesday we will feature Young Adult, and middle school books.

 

The Girl Who Remembered Horses

Put this wonderful futuristic tale on your Christmas shopping list for your favorite Young Adult or Horse Lover’s e-reader. Linda Benson will interview here after the new year. Don’t miss her intriguing story. Linda will also share some of her other books and short stories with us. For now, enjoy the excerpt. The Girl Who Remembered Horses is reviewed on A to Z Reviews. Click the link on this pages’s side bar. Linda’s e-books can be purchased from Smashwords.com, Amazon, and Barnesandnoble.com.

TheGirlWhoRememberedHorses-Full_300dpi compressed 45.7 KBEXCERPT:

         Sahara held the book cautiously, unsure what to do next. The woman, Evan’s aunt, seemed to sense her discomfort.

          “Go and sit,” she croaked, motioning to the chair. “More comfortable.”

         As if holding valuable treasure, Sahara settled herself in the chair. The book was so old it was falling apart. As she opened the cover, the first page crumpled into a heap of small pieces. She glanced up in horror.

 “Careful,” Evan said.

         Sahara nodded, then willed herself to caution. She turned each page slowly, with great care. Many were filled with words. Sahara glanced at these but kept going. Soon she came to drawings and pictures. She saw a horse standing perfectly still, while a man adjusted equipment on its back. A large leather seat, with a blanket underneath, rested on the horse’s back, held down by straps under the creature’s belly. Several pages later, the pictures showed a man astride a horse, just like in her dreams. The horse and rider were making turns to the left, turns to the right, even backing up.

Could a horse be trained? Was it possible? But they were wild creatures – faster than the fleeing deer, impossible to catch, gone at the first sight of humans. Even in her dreams, they trembled at her touch.

Sahara looked towards the back of the book. A horse again, this time hooked to a large cart with straps and harness, similar to what she used on Banner and Blitz. Could horses be used to pull their recycled goods? Surely they could pull more weight than the dogs. Sahara had a hard time concentrating on just one picture. She wanted to study all of them, understand, learn. Had people from the past, before the Dark Days, before the famine and sickness, actually done these things with horses? Were her dreams real, not something she had invented in her head? Were they memories? And why would these dreams come to her, Sahara, a girl from the Trader’s Clan?

         Sahara was so absorbed in the pictures and images that she scarcely noticed Evan, who had crept closer to look over her shoulder. Now, sensing his presence, she stole a glance backward.

         He looked serious, puzzled. “You have dreamed these things?” he asked, pointing to the pages in the book.

          “No, not exactly. Not how to do these things. I only dreamed of being on a horse’s back. How it felt when it was running.” She closed her eyes, remembering. “The wind in my face, the feeling of floating, going so fast it felt like flying.”

         “Like a memory?”

         “How could it be a memory?” She shook her head in disbelief. “If it’s true that people did ride horses in the past, how could I have these memories?”

         The old woman, Evan’s aunt, had been silent throughout this whole conversation. Now she stood, her fragile body clinging to the warmth of the fire. “Perhaps the memory has been in you always. Perhaps you were born with it. Perhaps it shows up now for a reason.”

          “What reason?”

         Her answer, if any, was lost to the commotion below. Shouts and hurried commands echoed through the night. The sound of dogs pursuing a quarry raised an eerie prickle on the back of Sahara’s neck. Carefully setting the book down, she rushed to the door of the small dwelling, where Evan peered into the darkness.

          “What is it?”

          “It sounds like Dojo, and it looks like a group of hunters.”

         Sahara pushed past him, trying to see. She heard the frantic voices of dogs, and saw torch lights moving quickly down the valley.

          “They have gathered the chase hounds for a hunt,” said Evan. “He has been boasting all over camp about going after the horses.”

          “No!” cried Sahara, her heart racing. “We have to stop them.”

         Evan shook his head. “I tried to tell him . . .”

         But Sahara was not listening. Pictures from the book still swam in her head.

         Now she knew her dreams were not fantasies – things she had imagined. Humans had ridden horses. Humans had trained horses. There was a book to prove it. They must not hunt them. They must not kill them. She had to stop Dojo. Without thinking of a plan, she pried the creaky door all the way open and rushed down the steep hillside into the night.

 

 

 

MY View on Veterans Day 2013

         As a civilian survivor of the dark era of the Vietnam war this Veterans Day has set off reflections from my past. Generations have grown up since the days when we graduated from high school. Most of the blue collar boys that I grew up with went straight into the draft. I gave serious thought to enlisting, but my mom talked me out of it. It was her opinion that I would end up dishonorably discharged, or spend time behind bars. I guess it was a good thing God made me a girl. Mom pointed out my big character flaw. I have a real problem with authority. Issue me an order, and I’m likely to do the direct opposite or sound off in a not so lady like manner.

          The flag draped coffins and lists of MIAs grew like a malignant cancer through our generation. That in and of its self was and is not different from previous wars, or wars fought since.

            My dad fought in the Pacific during WW2, and again in Korea. Like the vets returning to day they were hailed as heroes and were given ticker tape parades. Dad suffered from PTSD, but in those days they called the severe cases battle shock or shell shock, and there was a stigma attached to asking for help. So, many just toughed it out. Another repeating thread throughout the generations of veterans is the lack of medical treatment and benefits promised upon entering the Armed Forces of the United States.

            Many private groups have stepped up to help the returning vets of today where government has failed. Vets today have been redeployed over and over, but when they arrive home it is often to cheers and hugs. Not so the returning Vietnam vets, they were spat on, called baby killers, and worse.

            Now, as the Nam survivors numbers dwindle, there is a push on to add faces to those who’s names are written on the wall. Time to honor the service and sacrifice, tell the stories of those we lost, so they won’t be forgotten. I have to wonder what the vets of my generation think of all this belated hoopla. Is it too little too late?

            On the bright side, you can get a free meal at a number of franchise restaurants today. Of course you have to have a home or access to a TV to know this, and you have to prove that you are, or were a veteran. Participating restaurants are betting that you won’t come alone and will bring your loved ones.

            I’m pleased that soldiers and returning vets are more appreciated than their Nam counterparts. Have a great day all you warriors past and present.

Author Comment:

            PTSD is a game changer; it plagues some people for the rest of their life, and can destroy relationships.

            Learn more about the challenges of a Marine wounded in a helicopter crash in Vietnam when he tries to pick up his home life.

Wind River Refuge Cover 4613Excerpt:

Wind River Refuge by J.M. Anton

             Garrett struggled to gain his feet and get his bearings. His back was on fire from the hot metal that penetrated his flack jacket. He summoned all his strength for one final push to reach the LZ. Dizzy and nauseous, reality faded, and then he heard the sound of chopper blades; they must have made it! The chopper began to pitch like a wild bronc. They’d been hit! He was struggling to land with minimal damage, and then he was rolling end over end off the side of the road near home. His body was being bounced around inside a large road vehicle, along with the body of his copilot; no, the driver of the vehicle. It didn’t make sense. He would try to figure it out later after he rested a bit longer.

           He woke with the disorientation that had been plaguing his subconscious. He recognized the IV tubes, the catheters, and the insistent noise of the machines attached to his body. He closed his eyes and fought the panic closing in on him. Had he been hallucinating or dreaming of being home, of rebuilding the old place that his Grandfather had bequeathed him? Had he projected O’Malley into his home life; and Jax, did he invent her?

             His heart rate escalated, and he was sweating profusely, so the nurse summoned his doctor. Though the nurse could not confirm that Mr. McBride had woken, Dr. Carter was sure he had, but almost had his wrist snapped while using a penlight to check pupil response. One second, the man was almost comatose, and the next, McBride’s right hand was clamped like a vise around his wrist and was exerting increasing pressure. “Drop it, or I’ll break your damn arm!”

Dr. Carter responded to the threat in the hoarse, menacing whisper and dropped the small light. It was obvious that his patient was disoriented and thought that he was a threat. “Mr. McBride, I’m Dr. Carter, and I was just checking your pupils.” He relaxed some of the pressure on the captured wrist. “You’ve been unconscious for several days.”

Reason returned to Garrett. It had only been a doctor with a penlight, not an enemy wielding a knife. Still, he wasn’t sure where he was, and he was not releasing the doctor until he had some questions answered. “Where am I?” It was taxing to talk, and the strength that he was exerting to hold on to the doctor was taking its toll.

“You’re in a hospital, Mr. McBride.” His patient sounded like he growled at him, and then tightened his hold again.

“In the States?”

“OH! Yes, yes we’re in Wyoming. Your family is down in the waiting room.” The grip loosened, but he didn’t let go.

“What’s the date?”

“August fourteenth, nineteen seventy -three.”

Garrett let out an audible sigh of relief, released the captured wrist, and faded from the conscious world. Very cautiously, Dr. Carter checked his pupil reaction again, and then checked the rest of his vital signs.

            “Wind River Refuge” is now with the printer. The paperback is due by the first of 2014. Pick up your free e-book to catch a small glimpse into the lives of two people battling past ghosts and current threats.

            Wind River direct link: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/328170 Follow this link and enter the coupon code DZ93B at checkout then pick your free download.

This is a Veterans Day special offer the coupon expires November 12, 2013. Please take the time to review this when you finish it.

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