I write romantic suspense and warm, family relationship type novels, often with a touch of humor. Many of my books have featured animals as key players--dogs, cats, llamas, cockatiels, horses...even our son's pet albino corn snake, Sssssid, who appeared in my first Superromance back in 1999.

Animals have been a big part of my life since I was a child. How about you? I hope you'll become a "blog follower" here (see the right-hand column for a place to click) and will come back often. So...let's talk about our pets!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Have you lost a pet?

People without pets have no idea how much these animals become part of our families. Have you ever lost a pet? Have you ever had to put a pet down? How did you handle it?

I still remember the awful day--many years ago-- that we had to put a beautiful AQHA mare down. It was necessary. It was the best thing for her, as she had severe, advancing neurological problems and could do longer stand steady on her feet--she would fall sideways and struggle to get up, and her two month old foal had already been injured by her when she would crash. But still, it was such a hard, hard day.

What do you think of this article? http://www.tri-cityherald.com/lifestyles/desertliving/story/792651.html (this isn't a live link--you'll need to copy/paste into your address bar.)


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Great videos of horses and other animals!

For those of you who enjoy watching cute animal videos, did you know that you can go to You Tube and do a search on just about anything? Horses, dogs, kittens, of course....but I have gotten totally mesmerized by freestyle reining, freestyle dressage, and baby moose. :)

The one of Stacy Westfall is so amazing....it makes me tear up every time. She is shown winning the reining class at the 2006 Quarter Horse Congress, without a bridle or saddle. I can't get hot links up in these posts, but you can copy/paste this address into your web address bar. If the link doesn't work, just do a search of: Stacy Westfall full version:


When I was a kid and riding my horses bareback everywhere, all day long, my friends and I sometime rode with just long leather boot laces that were tied in a slip knot, and the leather looped in our horse's mouths so there was a single rein. How I wish I had horses now that were as dead broke as mine were back then!! But wow--running a reining pattern with no bridle or saddle is just amazing.

Now, there are quite a few You Tube videos of people doing this, but not as great as Stacy (in my opinion, anyway.)

And here is another site by the Purina people, with lots of different pet videos:


I would absolutely love to hear about your favorite videos online!!


Saturday, November 14, 2009


It was such a short time ago that I was posting here about our son's puppy and her fight for life. A wonderful vet and some miracles along the way got her through! The only residual evidence seems to be the interesting white vertical zebra stripe on her left flank, from where she'd been bandaged--which is actually a cool sort of brand, now. Brian could easily identify her if someone took her!

I think she's about ten months old, now, and here you can see her on her first hunting trip in South Dakota. She loved it--and even did her job right!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dogs and Cats....

My friend, Lyn Cote, sent me this link to post on my All Creatures Great and Small blog. Take a look and tell me what you think! Wasn't that thoughtful of her?


How about you--do you have some favorite links? I'd love to see them!


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Parasailing & cutting horses--both such a rush!

Hi everyone!

I need to apologize for not posting consistently lately. I'm going to try to be better, and show up here twice a week from now on! I had some writing deadlines and we've also been traveling a bit--five days up in Minnesota, back home for one day, and then we were off to San Diego, where we planned to head out on a five-day cruise to Ensanada and Cabo San Lucas.

My husband occasionally earns trips through his work as a veterinary sales rep, and it's always fun to have a chance to travel! This trip was uncertain for a while--Hurricane Rick, expected to be the worst hurricane to hit the area in forty years, was scheduled to reach Cabo the same time we were. We weren't sure until the second day whether the ship would have to turn back north and go up the California coastline (unfortunate for the many Californians on the cruise!) or if it would still be able to head south.

Luckily, the weather cleared and we were able to complete the cruise as planned. Which led to some cool memories, because I got to parasail for the first time. I am sooo challenged by heights that I avoid railings overlooking central courts in shopping malls, and hotel rooms higher than twenty floors leave me queasy. So parasailing--oh, my! But my husband had already done it--so how could I back out?!

I'm sooo thankful that I dredged up enough courage, because it was just the most amazing experience, floating so peacefully high, high, high above the Sea of Cortez. I thought it would feel windy and fast, but instead, despite the speedboat bucking through the waves down below, it was like flying--amazing. It was rather like the one time I ever got to ride a cutting horse, and felt like the horse was effortlessly dancing beneath me. That was an amazing rush, too!

Sooo...what are some of your favorite experiences, after facing your own fears and going off on an adventure?

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Have you ever you been on a trail ride and longingly looked at someone else's horse, wishing it was yours?

In the old days, if Verne Upmier wasn't busy driving a team in the fields, he was most likely on horseback--leading trail rides, breaking colts, or re-schooling the horses that were brought to his farm with bad habits.

He once bought a pretty thoroughbred mare, intending to use her for his livery service. He rode her around the barnyard for a while, and she was so well mannered that he decided to take her out on a trail.

"We'd gone a mile or so, then suddenly she took off at a dead run," Verne recalls. "We flew up and down the hills, crossed one gravel road and then another, passed a few farms and sped around a bend before she finally slowed down. I turned her around and headed for home, expecting that she would run away again, but she worked beautifully the rest of the way."

Verne figured that something must have spooked her, since she had been so well-mannered both before and after her headlong flight across the Iowa countryside. The next day, he took her out again, tested her for a while in the barnyard, and found her to be gentle and willing. So, he took her down the trail once again.

Disaster struck.

She ran away again, and went just as far before slowing down. If anything, she even went faster this time.

"It finally dawned on me," Verne says ruefully. "She'd been a racehorse, and she viewed that ride around the barnyard as her warm up. Once she was warmed up, she was set to go, and she was going to run her race no matter what race track she was on! She would always run for about a mile, just as she had during her racing career. And afterward that she would be fine."

Verne tried hemming her in with a group of other horses and riders to teach her to slow down, but he never did trust her to behave well enough to use for his livery.

One night, he was riding her on one of stable's moonlight trailrides, accompanied by a friend who was also an experienced horseman. The friend complained endlessly about how boring it was to be riding a dumb colt on the long trail ride, and asked if he could ride Verne's horse for a while.

Verne refused, saying that the thoroughbred might run off with him, but the friend kept asking until Verne finally agreed.

"We switched, and things went okay for a while," Verne says. "But then we came up to her favorite starting post along the trail. She was off to the races at a dead run and nothing could stop her once she got going.

"It was pretty dark, but we saw that guy's white shirt flash over one hill, and then another, fly around a bend and then disappear over the horizon. I wasn't too worried, though. I knew he was a good enough rider to stay on, and I knew the horse would stop once she had run her mile race." Verne's eyes twinkle as he recalls the chastened rider's return. "Do you still want to ride her?" he asked.

The fellow was only too glad to get off. "She's nice, but I guess I'll take my dumb colt back and be glad about it!"

And he didn't offer another complaint about his colt for the rest of the ride, either.