In book two of my Rock Shop Mystery series, Stone Cold Case, an Abert's squirrel plays a role. I thought the squirrel was a good choice, as they are somewhat elusive. And sure enough, as soon as I made one a character in my novel, I did not see another black squirrel for months.
Until my husband and I visited with friends at their mountain cabin. While not rare or endangered, the black squirrel is a treat to see.
Attempting to snap a photo of the squirrel was an experience similar to that of my protagonist Morgan, when she spots an Abert's squirrel on the trunk of a Ponderosa Pine. I kept trying, and finally got a decent photo.
I hope you enjoy a peek at one of the camera shy citizens of the forest!
Congratulations to the winners of my Goodreads Giveaway! The ARCs of book two in my Rock Shop Mystery series, Stone Cold Case, are in the mail.
I am fortunate to live in a beautiful area. Like many people, I often get caught up in routine, and forget to look at the scenery.
I started riding my bicycle again, after loaning it briefly to my daughter until they could up-size their growing kids' bikes. I realized I own quite a nice bicycle. It was gathering dust in my garage. Now I throw it in the back end of my vehicle, and ride a couple times a week on my lunch break.
The first thing I noticed was that bicycling uses a different set of muscles than walking. The second thing was realizing how hilly the area around my day job is. The third thing was discovering a thirty minute lunch break gave me just enough time to pedal to the edge of the Garden of the Gods and back.
The payoff for me has been a slightly higher level of fitness, and exciting new scenery. Bike riding is a nice break from my usual routine of tromping down the same old walking path. Notice the magpie in the photo below? They populate this area, and provided inspiration for book one of my Rock Shop Mystery series, Stone Cold Dead. A clever bird, the magpie.
This summer, have you taken the time to notice the natural wonders around you? Anything from observing a flower bed in a city park to hiking a rugged mountain range can awaken your awareness of the world around you. Take advantage of what's available.
The Garden of the Gods is a registered National Natural Landmark in Colorado Springs, Colorado. http://www.gardenofgods.com/ Admittance to the park and the nature center is free, and both are wheelchair accessible.
8/11/2015 1 Comment
My Grandson is a Cat
Before I explain how I came to have a cat for a grandson, I need to let you know that time is running out on my Goodreads Giveaway.
The drawing for a free advanced reader copy of Stone Cold Case ends August 16, 2015 at 11:59PM. That is this Sunday.
I love my three granddaughters, but I always imagined I'd have a grandson, too. Maybe that will happen for my stepdaughter. It's not too late. Until then, I have Mr. Cat, my grandson.
I can't complain. My daughter and her husband decided three kids filled their home quite nicely, thank you. Many folks my age are impatiently waiting for their offspring to give them the much coveted grandchild. I've already got those bases covered.
I maintain my perspective concerning my grandson. I mean, I realize he is a cat. But he's a very handsome, clever, and brave cat.
I was recently entrusted with his care while my daughter's family went on vacation. My son-in-law installed a cat door in the garage. Mr. Cat is a ferocious hunter. He loathes being cooped up indoors for lengths of time. I figured he was set. Food and water in the garage, a little swinging door so he could go slaughter songbirds. What more could a manly cat want?
His people. I let three days pass before checking on him. Mr. Cat was frantic. Where were his people? Had I done something with them? Something horrible?
I petted him. He covered my hands, arms, and ankles with love bites that bordered on assault. He had the essentials of life, and freedom to roam. I decided I had better visit him one more time before the kids got home.
Two days later I walked to their house. It was blistering hot. I opened the garage door. No Mr. Cat. No wonder. It was a furnace inside the garage. I called. I waited. I whistled. I waited. I watered flowers. I waited.
With a churning stomach, I returned home. Later that evening, I came back. No Mr. Cat. I suffered an anxious, guilt-ridden and sleepless night imagining my granddaughters' faces when I told them their brother was missing.
The next morning, I drove by. Was it my imagination, or was some food missing from his dishes? Had he returned in the night, or had some other cat eaten his food? I went to work, sick at heart and wondering if the kids would notice if I found a similar cat at the humane shelter to replace Mr. Cat.
No. Mr. Cat is unique. He cannot be replaced.
I was a jittery mess all day, until it was time to leave. I rushed over to their house. With trembling hands, I unlocked the front door. Was that a noise I heard, coming from the garage? I opened the garage door.
Here came Mr. Cat, cool as Steve McQueen. I greeted him. He tried to play aloof, but he quickly encircled my legs, meowing and purring, shuddering with kitty relief that one of his people had come back. He gave me a love bite on my arm that required a paper towel to staunch the bleeding.
I brought his food and water dishes indoors. No more garage, Mr. Cat. I couldn't take the stress. He did not object. Whatever adventure had kept him from home for that agonizing long day and a half must have been a doozy.
I can sleep tonight, knowing that my grandson is safe indoors. What will I tell my daughter when she returns? I'll tell her what all grandparents say after a particularly trying episode of babysitting. Mr. Cat was no problem. No trouble at all.
Post script: I did tell my daughter about Mr. Cat going missing temporarily. Her response? He does that all the time. Next time, I'll still worry. It's my prerogative as a grandmother.
First a quick note that I am participating in a Goodreads Giveaway, where publishers and authors offer drawings for free books. My Giveaway runs through August 16 for book two in my Rock Shop Mystery series, Stone Cold Case.
You may have to be a member of this free reader service to participate. This link should take you to the Giveaway:
I confess I haven't gotten as much writing done this summer as I had intended. The call of the outdoors is too strong. One can only do so much writing on the deck before a garden plot in need of weeding or harvesting lures one away.
We have also been making progress civilizing our mountain property by installing electricity, and soon a well.
We won't do much to change the land. The point of having a place in the mountains is to enjoy the rugged beauty, and the peace of the great open spaces. No plans for a lawn, or leveling the rolling hills. Electricity and a flush toilet are, however, must have items.
We have seen deer many times on our mountain acres. A recent weekend we saw antelope for the first time. Later, we had to wait for a herd of cattle to cross the dirt road.
This has been a rare summer of plentiful rain. The mountains are covered with flowers. Ranchers are cutting hay multiple times from fields unusually lush. Dormant ponds are full and seasonal streams are overflowing.
I want to be careful to tuck these memories away. This is Colorado, after all. We are certain to fall back into a cycle of drought soon enough.
And as a postscript to a previous blog, the professional electrician installed the proper boxes and connections on the pole that almost did in my husband.
8/2/2015 0 Comments
If you are a Goodreads fan, you know about Giveaways. Publishers and authors offer drawings for free books. I have a Goodreads Giveaway going through August 16 for book two in my Rock Shop Mystery series, Stone Cold Case.
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