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!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Booksiging--Cedar Rapids, Iowa

I rarely do signings, but on Saturday, December 4th, I'll be at the Barnes and Noble in Cedar Rapids from 10:00 -2:00 pm  for a booksigning with other authors, including popular inspirational historical romance author Pamela Nissen, Jo Cebuhar, and Mississippi  travel writer Dean Klinkengberg.  I'd love to see you there.  And, signed copies make great gifts!  :)

The address is:  Northland Square SC, 333 Collins Rd NE Bldg 1, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402, 319-393-4800

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I'm visiting the Seekerville blog today!

Stop in today--or within the next day or two, leave a comment, and have a chance at three drawings for  a free autographed book--of any title in my backlist for which I still have copies!


Friday, November 12, 2010

Suzy Q finds a home

I've been wanting to find a very quiet, sweet horse for years.  No rodeos.  No surprises.  Road safe, trail safe. Small enough to a be a confidence builder for the grandkids when they are old enough to ride off a leadline. Large enough that the adults in the family can ride, too.  We have one old geezer who at thirty-five is too old and arthritic to ride, and a twelve-year-old who is a tad too spunky to trust with just anyone on his back.

I'd sort of given up, after looking for so long....everything was too spunky. Not sound. Too erratic.  Too expensive.  Sold--just yesterday. "Gentle" but with a propensity for crowhopping into a lope.  Nothing worked out.  And this year,  far more important things were going on as my mom grew more ill with each passing month, so I wasn't even thinking about looking.

But then this past week, I came across Suzy by chance.  Small, but not too small.  Sweet. Quiet. Her owner and I went riding for an hour on the streets of a small town, with cars, trucks and school buses going by, dogs barking, flags flapping, people coming up to "pet the horsies."  She was as solid and steady as could be, and fifteen minutes into the ride I was sold....and an hour later, her former owner trailered her to our house.  Better yet, when our vet came the next day, he pronounced her sound.  Now I look forward to Thanksgiving and the arrival of our two young grandkids...and will be hoping for nice weather so they can enjoy her.  Suzy will be a small day brightener for us all, given that this will be our first Thanksgiving without my mom.

Suzy reminds me of the horses I had when I was a child.  Those horses--probably due in part to  me riding daily for hours upon hours, were bombproof.  My friends and I rode everywhere--trails, busy roads, down to "The Corner" near our house where there was a collection of shops, including a bakery, where we would tie our horses outside and go in for M&M cookies, or we'd stop at the Dairy Queen, or the drug store, which had a soda fountain and the best ice cream in the world. One of my horses, Rebel, had a particular fondness for maple nut ice cream, so I always bought him a cone, too.  We rode to the local horse shows back then as well, and even to the county fair, because none of us had trailers yet.

What a childhood that was, being so independent from the age of six, on the back of a gentle old mare! The adventures were endless, the memories are so rich.  These days, the thought of turning children loose like that, unsupervised, is frightening, but it was a different world then...at least, as far as we knew.

What are some of your happiest memories from childhood?

Sunday, November 7, 2010


 I just realized that time is getting away from me, and I should take a moment to let you know about my newest book--WINTER REUNION, which was released the last week  (the first week of November, 2010.)  It's my very first non-suspense, written for the Steeple Hill Love Inspired line.  What an experience it was, writing a book without guns, villains and bodies here and there.  I loved this new challenge!

Here's the back cover blurb: 

Home to heal...and reconcile?

When wounded marine Devlin Sloan comes back to Aspen Creek, he's surprised by his late mother's will.  His new business partner for the next six months will be  Beth Carrigan.  His ex-wife.

This might prove to be Dev's most difficult mission yet.  He never stopped loving the sweet bookstore owner, but his military career broke them apart.  Now, as they work together at helping others get a new start in life, he hopes he can break down the walls between them....and explore the possibilities of renewing the life they had with each other.

It's available at bookstores and places like Walmart, KMart  and Target.  You can also find it at www.christianbook.com
www.steeplehill.com  and

This book is the first in the Aspen Creek Crossroads series, and stands completely alone.  However, there will be other books coming  that are set in the same town, involving other members of  the little book club which meets at Beth's Book Store.  I hope you join me for Sophie and Keeley's stories, too!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

(to those reading this on Facebook, this post has originated at The All Creature Great and Small blog, at http://roxannerustand.blogspot.com )

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Cowboy Story Teller, by author Stephen Bly

 The Cowboy Storyteller/History Thru Western Eyes
By Stephen Bly

For Granddaddy and his cowboy pals, History was real.
    You could see it in their cowboy eyes. You could hear
    it in their stories. You could touch it when you brushed
    against their Colts or Winchesters, chaps or Stetsons. You
    could taste history’s fine dust ever’ time a dirt devil swirled
    off the hills and down Central Avenue. And on that day in
    1954, I could smell history in the 2nd story hallway of the
    Matador Hotel.
        From Cowboy For A Rainy Afternoon

Every cowboy’s a storyteller. It goes with the culture. And cowboys don’t need campfires to tell their tales. A sidekick or a good horse who seems to listen will do. That provided another reason why horses were so important for a cowboy. Years later, autos didn’t quite do it—to draw out a windy tale. Like a good movie or book, an oral story captivates attention and uses up long hours on the trail. 

In Cowboy For A Rainy Afternoon, the permanent residents of the aging Matador hotel in Albuquerque include 5 old cowboys, in their 70s to 90s. Every week these five, plus a 10-year-old’s grandfather, play cribbage in the lobby. But that’s not the real focus. Their chief pleasure centers on talk of their horse riding and cow roping days. Those who paid attention heard their hearts too. And every yarn is. . .almost true.

Mountain man Jim Bridger called his stories ‘stretchers.’ Old guys have a habit of wanting to digress when telling their tales. My challenge as a writer was to be true to their nature and sympathetic to my readers. Spend a morning near the old-timers booth at your own local Pine Tar Café and you’ll know what I mean.

The eldest was born during the Civil War. All of them cowboyed from the late 1880s until the 1940s. They tell first-hand stories of what the West was truly like, from their point of view.

There’s no telling how many times these cowboys told their stories and they don’t tell them the same each time. That’s the beauty of oral history. It’s not a static photo of the past, but a running monologue that’s filtered through the memory and heart of the one who lived it. The story’s alive, so you can experience it for yourself.

All history is filtered through the eyes of the beholder. That’s one of the joys of being a writer. . .filtering through your own world view. Everyone does it. Mine happens to be Christian.

Some say history is distorted in the minds of the teller. The stories are slanted, even fabricated, to portray the West as the author wants it to remembered. The same critique could be used of modern historians. The difference? The old-timers were there. They lived it. The wildest thing most modern historians have done is order a triple-shot for their espressos. Some books written by people who were there: Charlie Siringo and Andy Adams.

For me, history is not the story of grand ideas or broad sweeps describing movements, events or social progress. History is the story of individual people. Not all are famous, but each helps define who we are today. . .and why we think and act the way we do.

The old cowboys at the Matador Hotel in Albuquerque share one layer of New Mexico’s history, a fairly modern era. My favorite New Mexico governor is Lew Wallace, author of the novel Ben-Hur. The story is told that Wallace set out to study the Bible in order to prove it wrong. But in the process, he discovered Jesus to be Lord of his life. The book proved to be a statement of his faith, rather than his atheism. I like the idea that the author of Ben- Hur also sat down and tried to negotiate with Billy the Kid. What interesting, eclectic people tramped out west back in those early days.

Cowboy For A Rainy Afternoon unfolds more than windy stories. Sit in the Matador lobby with Quirt, Bronc, Thad, Shorty, Coosie and Pop and listen to their oral history. Quirky characters packed the Old West and these guys met most of them. They even knew the infamous Stuart Brannon, “the toughest sober man” whom they never saw flinch, even in a fierce gunfight.

On one rainy afternoon, Little Brother sits with the six men, listening to their tales, their romps through past memories. They delight in this captive audience. Their horse riding days long gone, the boy gave them a chance to tell their stories fresh and new. Meanwhile, a drama unfolds, a story brews in the lobby that propels them into one last cowboy stand. After all those stories, Little Brother gets to be part of one himself.

Stephen Bly
Website: http://www.blybooks.com/
Blog: www.BlyBooks.blogspot.com
Cowboy For A Rainy Afternoon can be ordered through www.Amazon.com or www.BlyBooks.com or through your local bookstore (Ingram Distributors) or library.

Those who leave a comment will be eligible for a drawing in which they can win a free copy of this book!

 If you are reading this on Facebook, it has originated from Roxanne Rustand's  "All creatures great and small" blog  at http://roxannerustand.blogspot.com   Come on over and say howdy!

Friday, June 18, 2010


Author Lyn Cote writes wonderful books in all areas of Christian fiction--contemporary, romantic suspense, historical---and I enjoy teach and every one of them.  Her Texas Star of Destiny series has been just excellent--not to be missed! here's the information for you!

Final book in the Texas Star of Destiny series
Her Abundant Joy
Avon Inspire
ISBN # 978-0061373428

Can a beautiful young widow find peace in the arms of a Texas Ranger?

In 1846, young widow Mariel Wolfe survived the grueling voyage from
Germany to start a new life in the "promised" land of Texas. Forced by
circumstances to become a servant, Mariel is now determined to quit a
harsh master. But how can a single woman face the frontier on her own?

 Texas Ranger Carson Quinn is responsible for leading her party of
German immigrants safely through dangerous Comanche-held territory. As
he watches Mariel hold her head high in spite of everything, he will
stop at nothing to protect her.

But war is brewing: Mexico will not accept the U.S. annexation of the
young Texas Republic without a fight. Honor bound to fight for Texas,
Carson's deepest longing is to lay down his rifle. As Mariel and
Carson fall deeply in love, could her painful past or this new war
destroy all their hopes? Will the tide of history sweep them far from
peace, far from a life together?

Lyn Cote
Her Abundant Joy 6-1-10
Every woman has a story! Share yours.

Q & A for Her Abundant Joy by Lyn Cote

1-What caused you to choose early Texas as the setting for your "Texas Star of Destiny" series?
I enjoy writing about locales and periods where several groups come together for a sharp culture clash. Conflict is the essence of a good story and many different people trying to get along or not get along sets up a story rife with natural conflict.
Starting in 1821 Stephen Austin brought in Anglo-Americans to settle Spanish and the Mexican-held Texas.  Eastern Texas became the setting where Native Americans, mainly Comanche, Mexicans, and blacks (slaves and runaways), and Anglos clashed over who would be in control of the land. Part of my brand, "Strong Women Brave Stories" is that I like to write a multicultural cast. In this third and final book in the series, I stir German immigrants into the mix.

2-How do you handle the 19th century political incorrectness?
I resist the pressure to sanitize history. If I portray the 19th century as it really was, it is difficult not to offend the 21st century reader. Yet I still endeavor to portray the low status of women and racial prejudice of the 19th century. I had a reader say in a review that my stories had 21st century values. That's not really correct. My stories have characters who are at odds with their times, another characteristic common to my historicals. My heroines are usually crusaders far ahead of their times who won't cave in to the pressure to conform (another source of conflict). I don't like historical novels that don't even try to show how society was different in the past.

3-What was the most interesting fact you didn't know about Texas BEFORE you started writing this series?
I hadn't realized that over 30,000 Germans immigrated to Texas in the mid-1840's. The area around New Braunfels, Texas, still celebrates this German heritage with some original stone houses, German food and polka bands—really!

4-What do you hope your readers will take away after reading this book and the first two in the series?
Her Abundant Joy features a German widow Mariel Wolffe. She is a heroine who will tug at a reader's heart (I hope!) And her hero, Carson Quinn, the son of the hero and heroine in the first book, is a man that should melt hearts. He's not just a handsome face. He has faced frontier life and learned to survive with honor, no small accomplishment.

They find themselves--just as we do today in the face of terrorism--in the middle of a war. Their personal desires and plans must give way to the winds of war. But God is still there with them. I gave my editor a choice of two titles taken from Psalm 37 (all 3 titles are). She chose Her Abundant Joy. The other was Her Man of Peace. I think that this reflects the theme of the book. Carson longs for peace but is forced into war.

The humble shall inherit the earth; and
shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace....
Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright:
for the end of that man is peace. Psalm 37: 11, 37

Lyn Cote's Bio

When Lyn Cote became a mother, she gave up teaching, and while raising a son and a daughter, she began working on her first novel. Long years of rejection followed. Finally in 1997, Lyn got "the call." Her first book, Never Alone, was chosen by Steeple Hill for the new Love Inspired romance line. Since then, Lyn has had over twenty-five novels published. In 2006 Lyn's book, Chloe, was a finalist for the RITA, one of the highest awards in the romance genre. Lyn’s brand “Strong Women, Brave Stories,” always includes three elements: a strong heroine who is a passionate participant in her times, authentic historical detail and a multicultural cast of characters. Lyn also features stories of strong women both from real life and true to life fiction on her blog http://strongwomenbravestories.blogspot.com Lyn also can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. Drop by and "friend or follow" her. Now living her dream of writing books at her lake cottage in northern Wisconsin, Lyn hopes her books show the power of divine as well as human love.
Her latest release is Her Abundant Joy, the final book in her Texas Star of Destiny series, to purchase drop by her website or blog http://strongwomenbravestories.blogspot.com.

If you are reading this on Facebook, it has come from Roxanne Rustand's  "All creatures great and small blog" at http://roxannerustand.blogspot.com.  Come on over and say howdy!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

This got to be way too much fun...

Have you ever wished you could write a story but didn't have an idea?  Want to spur your creativity by doing something totally off the wall?  Even just for giggles, while you imagine what some of these combinations would be like, take a look at this great tool!


  Have fun!

Roxanne Rustand
 The All Creatures Great and Small Place

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Deadlines, Alaska, and one very messy office....

I need a backhoe!

Today was a catch-up day for me, now that the  manuscript for my April book has been turned in, and the  copy edits on Winter Reunion (November)  are  taken care of.  The next time I see Reunion, it will be out in the stores, and I can't wait.  Doesn't Steeple Hill have gorgeous covers?! Their art department is just amazing, and I wonder what they'll come up with for all of the November books!  I think my June book, End Game, has an intriguing cover, with a spooky road leading off into the mountains.

I am thankful to have those deadlines met..but now,  you should see my office!  :)   Er....maybe not. I worked on it most of the day and haven't made much of a dent in all the papers and books and whatnot that seem to grow exponentially whenever my back is turned. Do you have a "junk drawer" in your desk, or in your kitchen? Multiply that by a hundred, and you'll be able to visualize my office!  It will be such a good feeling  when it's all back in order. How about you...are you totally organized and neat-as-a-pin, or do you ever get just a tad behind like this?! I'm hoping that someone, somewhere, will tell me that I'm not alone! :)

I  had a bit of an excuse this time, though--we were traveling a bit, recently.  My husband has wanted to go to Alaska for years, and started planning this trip way last fall.  I never knew there were so many mountain ranges up there, each more beautiful than the last.  I just had to share a couple photos.  What I wanted most was to photograph moose for this blog, and I only caught a glimpse of one disappearing into the trees!  BUT...we did see lots of whales.  Well....their tails, anyway.  One stayed in position and slapped his upraised flukes against the water 20-25 times.  I wish I'd had a movie camera! The picture below isn't very impressive, but it was a full grown whale.  And, we got to see sea lions and an eagle enjoying a buoy.
What are your favorite destinations?  Where would you like to go next?
Best wishes to you for a wonderful summer!

Roxanne Rustand
http://roxannerustand.blogspot.com  "The all creatures great and small place"
(so if you are reading this on Facebook, come on over and say "Hi!"

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Just call me grace....

Have you ever started out a day and thought that it might've been better to stay in bed?!  Mine went pretty well this morning...up early, rarin' to go at the computer, because I have three chapters due Thursday and I want to make sure they are done in time.  So far, so good....

Except I got a little too involved and lost track of time.  The schedule here is that the dogs spend the night in our downstairs laundry room, because at two years of age Elmo still has a very devil-may-care attitude about house training...and Harold is getting too old to be totally dependable.  They go out  on their cable ties  at 7:00 am...then come back inside for their breakfast and a nice lazy day mostly spent on our deck and indoors.  Always.  While they are doing their morning business, I clomp down to the barn in my barn boots and jammies  (hey, I'm hoping that no one ever sees me--and so far, I think I've been lucky) to feed the horses and the barn cats.  Any later, and the cats all march up to the house, which makes handling the dogs a tad trickier.  And noisier. Bark, bark, bark....

But today I was late, thanks to Chapter Two.  And Harold, who is a good 88 years in people years, apparently couldn't wait.  I skirted the little presents on the floor,  planning on clean-up after the dogs were out of the way.  I snapped on his leash and hurried outside...but I'd missed one of those fragrant gifts, stepped on it, and went sailing out the door onto the concrete patio, arms flailing, and went down like a felled tree.  Do you have any idea how slippery  that stuff can be?! Harold, with the wisdom of many years with an amazingly coordinated owner, bolted to the farthest stretch of his leash in panic.

And now today, I am working at my computer with Bandaids on my knee, foot, hand and elbow....looking very much like a grade schooler who has had a tough day in the playground.  And just the thought of this morning makes me laugh.

I remember attending  my first ever event where there were  Real Live Published Authors.  I was in awe.  Star struck.  Imagined their words flowing effortlessly onto the page when they wrote.  Imagined the  glamorous lives  they all led.   Well, I hope they do....and I really hope my time is coming! 

Now--how about you?  Have you had any memorably awkward  moments, or is it just me?!

Note: If you are reading this on Facebook, it has forwarded from:   The "All Creatures Great and Small blog,"  at http://roxannerustand.blogspot.com.  Come on over and say "hi!"


Friday, June 4, 2010

ACFW vs RWA....which is best for you?

Today, instead of posting  about creatures   I'd like to veer off a bit and tell my writer friends about a wonderful conference opportunity with ACFW!!

I've been a member of Romance Writers of America  (RWA)  for many years.    RWA membership offers opportunities for regional and national conferences, local chapters for networking, learning and support,  dozens of annual chapter-sponsored contests (great for receiving feedback on your work, honing your craft, and getting your work seen by the editors and agents who may be final round judges) and a monthly magazine offering articles on craft and the industry.  This summer, I'll be attending my fourteenth  national conference,  where there will be many dozens of workshops to choose from, opportunities to meet editors and agents, great networking. The benefits of attending far outweigh the cost.

RWA is excellent, and I recommend it highly.  But, if you are wanting to write inspirational fiction, there's an even better  option! 

I  moved into writing inspirational fiction in 2007 and until then had never heard of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW.)  I was positively stunned when I discovered the wealth of information and opportunities available to ACFW members!.  Free online classes every month.  A highly active e-mail loop.  A website with an incredible amount of  information for every level of writer, plus free promotional opportunities for those who are published.  For a very low membership fee, one can tap into a world of support, and information, just like RWA, but geared for the inspirational genre.

But what I'd really like to tell you about today is the annual  ACFW conference, which is coming up September 17-20th in Indianapolis, because registration is opening soon!

How do the ACFW and RWA conferences compare?  Well, as much as I love RWA, I'd have to say this:  if you are an inspirational writer (aspiring or published), could only choose one, and
wanted the most benefit for your money, I'd recommend  ACFW, hands down.

After attending  all of those RWA conferences, I'll admit---I didn't have high expectations when I attended my first ACFW conference.  I figured it would be much smaller and offer  less.  Was I ever in for a surprise!  If not for the ACFW logo, I would not have seen one bit of difference in quality between the two.  And honestly, the ACFW conference offered much more of exactly what I was looking for--a chance to learn, and grow, and network within the Christian writers' community.     I can only imagine the endless hours and hard work that go into putting one of these ACFW conferences on, but the results were seamless and highly professional.  And the opportunities---oh, my!

RWA offers a big line-up of workshops geared to every level of writer.  So does ACFW---a wonderful array of workshops for every level of writer, every aspect of the business.  The added benefit at ACFW is that the workshops are all geared to the inspirational genre--you'll have a chance to listen to editors, agents, and successful authors from every aspect of  the genre.  The workshops are carefully vetted  and extremely well done.  I know about the vetting part first hand.   I've done around eight or nine workshops at the national RWA conferences, but my proposal for ACFW this year didn't make the grade!  The committee is clearly working very hard to give attendees the very best conference opportunity, and they truly succeed.  I cannot wait for September!

What about opportunities to network with editors and agents?  Here, there's a world of difference, and ACFW wins again.  At RWA, you may be able to get an appointment.   Editors and agents have tight schedules.  If not  working through their heavy schedule of appointments or giving a  workshop. they mostly disappear, because they have  hectic schedules for meeting with their authors in groups and individually, taking authors out to luncheons and dinners, and so on.  I cannot image how exhausted they must be on the plane trip home! 

At  ACFW, you have a much better chance of getting the appointments you hope for.  Even better, the editors and agents are highly visible at breakfast, lunch and dinner--sitting at prescribed tables, where conference attendees can join them for a meal.  It's not a place to make a harried pitch.  But, it's a chance to chat, get to know each other, and ask questions.  To me, that alone was worth every penny spent on the conference, hotel and plane tickets!   Not that any one person should dominate an editor/agent's attention in that setting, but by just listening in on the table conversation, you can learn so much about the industry, publishing houses, and even that editor/agent's  "wish list" of what they would like to see.

I love the camaraderie at RWA.  With every year you attend, you know more people, see more old friends, have a more wonderful time.  At ACFW  you'll have that same warm, welcoming experience --but with something extra--an indescribable, uplifting atmosphere of faith and joy and support.  If I could only attend one big  conference this year, it would be ACFW.

Finally, on a practical note, you will see that ACFW costs a little more. However, far more meals are covered--and again, those meals were wonderful networking opportunities.  I hope to see you in Indianapolis this fall!!  Here's a link for it: 

Roxanne Rustand
June 2010:  END GAME,   Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense


(PS:  if you are reading this on Facebook, it has originated at the All Creatures Great and Small Blog, at http://roxannerustand.blogspot.com.  Come on over and say "Hi!"

Thursday, May 20, 2010

This really IS a creature! What is it?!

This blog is about all creatures great and small  (at http://roxannerustand.blogspot.com if you are reading this on Facebook) though that usually means pets, horses, and other familiar animals.  But this is creature I found on the side of our barn.  Looks like it is related to the dragon flies, given its wings, but it was huge and unlike anything I'd ever seen before...a little over 3.5  inches long.  Do you know what it is?!

Monday, May 17, 2010


Rebecca Booth is the winner of  author Delia Latham's drawing.  Rebecca, you can contact her through her website at:  www.delialatham.net to provide your mailing address.


The  "All Creatures Great and Small"  blog

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Deborah Raney...pets galore!! And her latest book-- Almost Forever

by Deborah Raney

Growing up on a farm, I've owned and loved my share of cats. I
married a man who wasn't so crazy about those of the feline
persuasion--that is until I manipulated a birthday gift of a tiny
black kitten from a friend. My new husband couldn't say "no" to
that, could he? Ebony soon won Ken over, and we've loved a string of
housecats through our thirty-some years of marriage since.

But after moving to a house with a fenced-in yard outside the city limits five years ago, we accumulated some cats––eleven to be precise! Our now 16-year-old tomcat, Frosty, made the move with us and happily took up residence in the big doghouse on the back deck.

Then one morning just after we got settled in, a gorgeous calico cat showed up on our front porch. When she was still there a few weeks later, we claimed her and named her Biscuit. But we soon realized Biscuit's roly-poly figure was due to more than the generous portions of cat chow we were serving her.

We moved her to the back porch and hoped Frosty (who was not the kittens' father) would be a gentleman and share his comfy home. Nothing doing. End of discussion. We were disappointed in his manners, but with the arrival of kittens imminent, we fixed a cozy box under the eaves for Biscuit and filled it with warm towels ready to receive kittens.

One morning late that March, I went out to the deck to find the two cats had traded homes! I have no idea how those negotiations went down, but the following morning I found Biscuit, snug in the
doghouse, licking a precious miniature of herself. By noon "Gravy" had two sisters and a brother.

We enjoyed every minute of the ten weeks those kittens lived with us. Frosty was so attentive you'd have thought he'd fathered the kits. It wasn't easy to say goodbye, but we found good homes and got
everyone settled in with their new families. Wouldn't you know it, several days before Biscuit's vet appointment to be "fixed," we
started to suspect she would be blessing us with another bundle of kittens--and soon!

Batch Number Two--five precious little girls--made their entrance into the world two years ago, on July 11. Much to Frosty's dismay, we immediately moved Biscuit and the little ones to the basement where we could make sure this was the last litter. Early that September,Batch Two moved out onto the back deck where they frolicked and scampered and quickly made friends with Frosty. It was a summer full of laughter. A summer to remember forever.

In a perfect world, all nine kitties could have lived all nine lives right here in our backyard. But it's not a perfect world, and far too soon October came, and one by one, the kittens went off to new homes, thanks to my author friend Kim Vogel Sawyer. (Kim calls herself a kitty broker and it's an apt title, since she adopted Maizie, placed Snickers with her parents, and found a home together for two other kittens.)

Every kitten had a home––except a little yellow and white fluffball we called Sundae. Surely we could keep just one? After much begging and pleading (our daughter's) and a few tears (mine), we convinced the master of the house that in spite of lyrics to the contrary, three cats in the yard really does make for a very, very, very fine house.

––Deborah Raney

Almost Forever
by Deborah Raney
A Hanover Falls Novel
from Howard/Simon and Schuster

Unearthing a lost memory may cause her to lose everything she holds dear. but could it also set her free?

Volunteer Bryn Hennesey was there at the Grove Street Homeless Shelter the night five heroic firefighters died at the scene. Among them was her husband, Adam.

Now a terrifying absence of memory has her wondering if she might, in some way, be responsible. Garrett Edmonds' wife, Molly, was the only female firefighter to perish in the blaze. He was supposed to protect the woman he loved.now she's the one who's died a hero. How can he go on in the face of such unbearable loss? And what started the fire that destroyed the dreams and futures of so many? Investigators are stumped. But someone knows the answer...

Deborah Raney books always captivate me! Almost Forever is a beautifully written and enthralling read. It made my heart sing, dance, cry, and turn more than a few flips!
~CindyWoodsmallNew York Times best-selling author

As a fan of the very talented Deborah Raney, I expected a great read and I got it in the richly emotional Almost Forever, a story of faith, forgiveness and redemption.  It began with a gripping scene and proceeded to hold me enthralled to the end.  Don't miss this one!
~Karen Young, author of Missing Max and Blood Bayou

DEBORAH RANEY is at work on her 20th novel. Her books have won the RITA Award, HOLT Medallion, National Readers' Choice Award, Silver Angel, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. Her first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title. Almost Forever, first in her new Hanover Falls Novels series, will release in May from Howard/Simon & Schuster. Deb and her husband, Ken Raney, enjoy small-town life in Kansas. They are new empty nesters with four grown children and two precious grandsons, all of whom live much too far away.

Visit Deb on the web at www.deborahraney.com
Order her books here: http://snipurl.com/raneybooks

Note from Roxanne:  If you are reading this on Facebook, come on over to the All Creatures Great and Small Blog for  lots of great posts and pet stories from your favorite authors!   http://roxannerustand.blogspot.com

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pure Animal Instinct and trust...

by Delia Latham

My husband, Johnny, trudges across the front yard in his overalls and beat-up felt hat. Behind him, tails high in the air, three cats tag along in single file. Watching this little procession through my office window, I can’t help a burst of laughter. Isn’t it puppies who are supposed to “dog” your footsteps like little four-legged shadows? I half expect one of the hoity-toity felines to let loose with a yappy bark at any moment.

Sunny, O’Malley and Bo are their names. They’re ornery creatures, but we get a kick out of watching them. O’Malley, who is at least partially Siamese, loves to torment the birds—cardinals, robins, chickadees, woodpeckers, blue jays, and scissortails—who hang out on our feeders. He never quite catches them, but he seems to get a tremendous amount of pleasure out of scaring all my favorite winged creatures away from the big oak right outside my window. (Most likely, he does it because he knows I get such pleasure out of watching them. I tell you, cats know these things!) Sunny is the lazy one. If Johnny’s not outside for to hang out with, he can usually be found stretched out on the lawn, wherever the widest swath of sunshine appears. Bo does his own thing. We’re not sure where he is when he isn’t at my husband’s heels, but I can guarantee the haughty creature is up to no good!

Gardening is a real challenge. If Bo’s not off doing…whatever it is that Bo does on his forays of independence…he’s pushing himself under our hands, wanting to be petted. It is in our best interest to take time to do that, because if we don’t, he proceeds to attack those same hands—claws completely unsheathed. Apparently he thinks we’re kneeling there in the flowerbed solely for his entertainment. Of course, by the time we convince Bo to find something else to do, Sunny and O’Malley come to help us garden, as well.

I have to be honest, okay? The cats are Johnny’s—if cats can be said to belong to anyone. I’ve never been the animal person in the family. But I’ve learned a lot over the years, just watching him and my four children (yes, they’re all pet lovers, too) with their pets.

What amazes me most is the cats’ total, uncomplicated trust in my husband. He feeds them, sees that they have a place to shelter from the elements, and provides them enough attention and human kindness that they know he cares about them. They don’t necessarily appreciate it when he refuses to let them in the house (most of the time, they pile up together in a furry heap right against our glass storm door, where they can peer inside and make us feel guilty). Still, they accept it. I suppose, since cats are known to have minds of their own, that they might prefer their canned food to be fish flavored rather than chicken or beef on certain days. But they accept what they’re given, apparently trusting that the nice man in the beat-up hat does what’s best for them.

In return, they do a fine job of keeping our three acres mostly free of rodents. What more can we ask?

How is it that we human beings, who purportedly have higher intellects than animals, have yet to learn the art of pure, unadulterated trust in our God? It isn’t exactly rocket science, the knowledge that He loves us more than we could possibly love the pets we adore. He’s never locked us out of His house, and never will. We’re welcome inside, on the furniture, cozied up beside Him. In every aspect of our lives, our Father cares for us.

The heroine in my new release, Yesterday’s Promise, survives excruciating emotional trauma only because of a simple but profound trust in her heavenly Father. She’s human, so yes, there are times when she wonders why. Why didn’t God stop her from marrying a man she’d known too briefly? Why did her bridegroom disappear after their wedding night? Why didn’t God stop him? Why did she have to leave her family and her home and start over in a strange town where she knew no one? Why must her adorable little boy have to grow up without a father?

Ultimately, however, Hannah knows in her heart of hearts that God has a perfect reason for every tiny occurrence in her life. And after she throws her little spiritual tantrums (like we all do) and whines a bit about how hard her life is (don’t we all?), she inevitably concedes that He only wants the best for her.

So she yields herself to His will. She trusts Him. And God comes through. He always does. He always will.

Our role is simply to follow Him (like my husband’s trio of four-legged shadows). We’ll probably get in His way now and then (much like Bo in the flower bed). Most likely we’ll pout at times (like the fur heap outside our storm door). But through it all, it’s important to trust Him, never forgetting that the Savior with the scars in His hands is our God, and He’ll do what’s best for us.

The author is offering a beautiful journal as a prize in a drawing, to be selected from the blog readers who post a comment!  Here it is!  Just remember to stop back on Monday to find out if you won!

About the Author:

DELIA LATHAM is a born-and-bred California gal, recently transplanted to Oklahoma where she lives with her husband Johnny. She’s a Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend—but above all, she treasures her role as child of the King and heir to the throne of God. Delia enjoys big, loud, happy family gatherings and quieter times with just her own four children and grandchildren. She loves to play piano and sing, read, drink in the natural beauty of her surroundings, design marketing products for authors, and write. Delia’s inspirational novel, Goldeneyes, was released in March 2008. Yesterday’s Promise released through White Rose Publishing in March 2010. A children’s book, Adam’s Wings, will be available in December 2010. Find out more about this author and her books at www.delialatham.net.

Newsletter: The Bookshelf
Interviews & Reviews:  My Book Bag
Blog:  The Melody Within

Purchasing Information:
Yesterday’s Promise is available (in e-format only) through Amazon and White Rose Publishing.


Welcome to the "All Creatures Great and Small" blog, if you are reading this on Facebook! 

I'd love to have you stop by--there are lots of blog posts about the furry, finned and feathered friends of authors and readers, as well as a good number of tales from The Old Horse Trader.

The title of the blog was taken from the old hymn, and though it was also used in the James Herriott books and serialized TV show, it sure fits the topics you'll find at this blog!

With best wishes to all,
Roxanne Rustand

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Beauty--In the Eye of the Beholder? Chinese Crested dogs

Beauty: In the Eye of the Beholder?

We've all heard the old saying that "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." So many things in life are subjective. Take for instance my two dogs. The little brown guy is Ponchee (Short for Pong Choolie) and the little black and white gal is Zippy. These two strange little creatures are "hairy hairless" Chinese Cresteds. The Cresteds are an ancient breed of dogs that grow hair only on their head, feet and tail. If only I had a dollar for every time someone thinks they have the mange! To some, my hairless babies are ugly, but to me, they're more precious than gold.

I'm a pet lover from way back and can't write a novel that doesn't include a pet as a minor character in my plot, mostly rescues that wriggle their way into someone's heart. In Queen of Hearts, my April 1 release from Desert Breeze Publishing, my main character, Daphne Dean, who is a newspaper reporter turned spy, finds a stray dog on the street. She rescues the skinny, dingy-haired little guy from a life on the street when he captures her heart.

WIN A FREE T-SHIRT--a gift from this author!!

She will have a drawing from the names of people who leave comments on her post, here....so don't forget to say "Hi" and then stop back to see the name of the winner!!  Good luck!

by K Dawn Byrd
Desert Breeze Publishing
ISBN:  978-1-936000-22-7
Daphne Dean is proud to be serving her country stateside during WWII as a reporter and an Office of Strategic Services operative. When the photograph she takes of the crowd at a murder scene places her on the mob's hit list, she's forced into hiding in a vacant mental asylum in the middle of nowhere with terrifying secrets of its own. 

Daphne believed herself to still be in love with her ex-fiancée, Kenneth, until she spends several days locked away in the asylum with Vito, the mob boss' son. Can she put the terrifying events that occurred there behind her and allow herself to pursue a relationship with Vito? Or, will she return to Kenneth who has turned his back on his country by becoming a draft dodger and a black market racketeer? One thing's for sure, it won't matter if she can't escape the mental institution alive.

Book web address:    www.desertbreezepublishing.com

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Love, Loss and Horses... THE OLD HORSE TRADER'S TALES #10

Lost love may be a poignant, familiar theme in literature and on the silver screen, but horse trader Verne Upmier remembers a couple of livery horses who played out an equine version as touching as any that a writer could devise.

"Daisy was peppy, and needed an experienced rider," he recalls. "While Freckles was slow and quiet. They wanted to be next to each other all the time, so it worked out well to put a beginner on the gelding and a better rider on the mare.  The two horses would go down the trail, as steady as could be, and I always knew they would arrive safely home on schedule."

Alas, the  devoted companionship of the two horses didn't end  happily-ever-after.  A farmer, desperate for a good horse to use for rounding up cattle, stopped by Verne's and insisted on buying Daisy.

Verne tried matching up Freckles with other livery horses, but Freckles knew who he wanted, and no other horse could fit the bill.  The lonely gelding spent all of his time on the trails nickering and looking out over the countryside for his Daisy.  He would repeatedly try to leave the customary route, and was no longer the dependable, gentle mount he'd been before.

"He got to be sneaky," Verne remembers  "He would be standing quietly with all the other horses who were saddled and tied in the barnyard, waiting for riders.  When no one was looking, he'd escape-- leaving a herd is something that horses don't tend to do--and once again he'd be off, looking for Daisy."

One day a man called Verne from a neighboring town.  "About a half hour ago, I saw a gray horse go by with a saddle and bridle on.  Could it be yours?"

A quick check of the barnyard told Verne all he needed to know,  so he quickly drove to town, but Freckles was nowhere to be seen.  Verne drove and drove, crisscrossing the surrounding area in search of hoofprints.  Finally, far from town, he spied a set of tracks going through a roadside gate and out into a hayfield. No other horses were in sight, but there was Freckles, searching the field and whinnying for Daisy.

"It took months for him to quit looking for her," Verne says with a quiet smile.  "And he never again got so attached to another horse.  Daisy was the one who had captured his heart."

***NOTE:  If you are reading this on Facebook, come on over to the All Creatures Great and Small Blog, for more!  You can google "All Creatures Great and Small Roxanne Rustand" or try this link, though sometimes the links I post here don't work.


Happy trails!

Friday, March 5, 2010


Lope on over to my newest blog entry at www.shoutlife.com/roxannerustand, about "ONCE IN A BLUE MOON" by Leanna Ellis!     I have this book--and it is absolutely wonderful! 
It's such a unique story--with fascinating characters who absolutely come alive. It kept me turning the pages all the way through, but then I was sorry to see it end. Don't miss this one! 

Leanna Ellis
ISBN: 978-0-8054-4988- 4
B&H Publishing

Faith is the first step to soaring...

The day Armstrong stepped on the moon has special memories for most Americans, but not for Bryn Seymour. It's the day her mother died. Despite death defying feats, guilt has always pulled Bryn down time and again. But a perfect love shows her taking a leap of faith is the first step to soaring. But it only happens once in a blue moon.

About the author:

'Leanna Ellis takes a back seat to no one,' says Debbie Macomber. But Leanna hopes she allows God in the driver's seat as she taxies her two children to and from all their activities, lets her menagerie of pets in and out in and out ..., figures out what to cook for dinner (or where to order takeout), and at the same time keeps those quirky characters in her head from bothering others. Winner of the National Readers Choice Award, Leanna writes quirky women's fiction with a splash of romance. From a long line of southerners and patriots, she lives with her family in Texas.

Available on Amazon!

Excerpt Link:
http://leannaellis. com/onceinabluem oon.html

Author website and blog:
www.leannaellis. com
www.leannaellis. com/news/

If you are reading this note on Facebook,  hellooooo from the Creatures blog at http://roxannerustand.blogspot.com.  Come on over and say howdy!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Old Horse Trader #9: Rodeo horse, cattle, & rope = trouble

Years ago, a rodeo cowboy from the Midwest had a fine calf ropin' and bulldoggin' horse named Lightning.

The roan gelding's exceptional ability kept him in popular demand on the rodeo circuit, for cowboys were often eager to "rent" a good horse for their runs down the arena. The extra cash helped pay for travel expenses, so his owner was happy to share Lightning's talents.

Lightning, however, took a different view. "For a long time he did awfully well," recalls lifelong horse trader Verne Upmier. "Until he must have decided he'd had enough. During steer wrestling events, he took to kicking at both the steers and the cowboys who bailed off, and that pretty much ended his rodeo career."

Verne, not intending to do any steer wrestling, bought Lightning and found the horse fun to  ride. "He could turn so fast that you had trouble staying on," Verne says.

One day, Verne got a phone call. A man had purchased four wild cattle from a ranch the previous fall, and the cows had almost immediately escaped their pasture. Three had been captured after months of effort, but one still ran wild. Could Verne come and try to catch her? It was an opportunity to use Lightning!

Verne promptly agreed.

"That cow was crafty," he says with a grin, "and she was fast. I tied my rope to the saddle horn and took out after her, but we didn't catch up until we got to the far end of a field."

Vern sent his loop sailing, and it settled over her neck just as she jumped a creek. "Old Lightning slammed on the brakes on one side of the creek, and that cow hit the end of the rope on the opposite bank. Lightning refused to budge, and the cow was just as determined.  The cow's owner thought it was hilarious."

"It took a while, but Lightning and I finally dragged her back through the creek.  I learned a little about roping--and life in general--that day," Vern adds. "It always pays to look ahead. Especially if you're going have something big and stubborn on the end of your rope!"

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Fun, Free Murder Mystery: "Killer Chocolate"

  Free, fun serial murder mystery going on--and today was my chapter! Come read and comment! Go to: http://ladiesofsuspense.blogspot.com

Sunday, February 7, 2010

FATAL BURN: A romantic suspense with vets, vet techs, humane shelters and more...

I've been thrilled to let you know about new releases by other authors, but today, I'm so excited about letting you know about my new book, which is out in the stores right now! The book features a vet tech with a troubled past, who has a chance to start her life over in the Montana Rockies.

Here's the backcover blurb:

Smoke and mirrors...
Someone's after Kris Donaldson, and he doesn't just want her hurt--he wants her ruined.  First, an arsonist destroys her home, and evidence points to Kris as being guilty of insurance fraud. Then a badly injured deputy is found at her place...and ballistics prove that he was shot with her rifle.  Even Trace Randall, the arson investigator who's helped her before, seems to doubt her now.  She has to prove her innocence, but how?

And now, her reputation, her life, and her chance for happiness with Trace are all on the line.

The book is available at places like Barnes and Noble, Walmart, KMart, Target, and many bookstores.  It's also available online at www.christianbook.com,  www.target.com,  www.steeplehill.com and other online sources for books.

I hope you'll enjoy it, and I'd love to hear what you think!


PS: If you are reading this on Facebook, this post is actually coming from my "All Creatures Great and Small" blog, where I love to run stories by readers and other authors,  stories from my own life in the country, and those from The Old Horse Trader.  So come on over!  :)

I hope you'll wander through the many past posts, including those that have been archived!

The address is http://roxannerustand.blogspot.com

Friday, February 5, 2010


A fun, free serial suspense story, Killer Chocolate--A Valentine Mystery  is unfolding at:   http://ladiesofsuspense.blogspot.com/ 

 Come on over! Over a dozen authors are participating--and your comments will help shape what happens next!  It's a fun and crazy ride....none of us know what is going to happen next, but each day, one of the scheduled authors has to write an installment based on what was posted the day before...and has to write it fast.  No time for leisurely editing and contemplation here!  :)

The fourteenth installment will wrap up on Valentine's Day, and each of us is following the feedback comments to help us plan our episodes.  My installment will fall on Wednesday,  Feb 10th, and I hope there will be lots of ideas flowing during the days before.  Help!!  :)

Happy trails!

PS: If you are seeing this note on Facebook,  I hope you will  stop by the source sometime:  "The All Creatures Great and Small Blog"  at http://roxannerustand.blogspot.com

Thursday, February 4, 2010


by guest blogger ROBIN CARROLL

Okay, so my beloved Moodoo (mix of lab and Catahoula) tells me it's time to go outside. (He whines twice, then nudges me. If I don't respond immediately, he puts his paws on my arm and pushes me) Being a devoted dog owner, I slip on my shoes, grab his leash, and we head out the door. Now, he decides he wants to do his business in the woods around the house. Okay, works for me. (He's trained not to go in the "lawn" where hubby would have a fit) So off we go. The squirrels are playing in the trees, so we move slower. I'm looking at a squirrel and BlueJay having it out. Amusing me. (Hey, I'm procrastinating writing, okay? Give me some latitude here) We're strolling along, Moodoo enjoying being outside since it's cooler today than it has been all week. He's sniffing the air, the bushes, the ground, the trees...everything. So after about 30 minutes, we head on back into the house. I brush him right quick before I let him in. (beggars lice is abundant in the woods here in Arkansas) and get the doggie wipe for his paws so he doesn't bring in any dirt, twigs, etc. He's good. Comes in, drinks some water, and plops down for a nap at my feet under my desk. All good, right?


I sit down and check email, Twitter, and Facebook (told you I was procrastinating) and I feel something "crawling" on my arm. Look down and Oh. My. Gosh. It's a tick. Ick. Grab it, kill it, flush it down the toliet. Shake off the ick feeling. Probably brushed against a tree or bush or something. No biggie, right? It's dead and flushed, not to worry anymore, right?


Back to checking email, Twitter, and Facebook (hey, I was away from my desk for a minute or so...might've had something come in. Remember, I'm procrastinating) and I feel something crawling on my leg. More than what I felt on my arm. Push out from under desk and find three ticks crawling on me. Triple ick. Get them off. Kill them. Flush them in toliet. But not taking any chances. Run and draw a hot shower. Take said hot shower. Get new clean clothes and throw others in washing machine and start it. I feel mucho better.

Then it dawns on me--poor Moodoo. What if he's eaten up with ticks?

Sigh. So I call him to me, make him flip over and check his legs, belly, tail, back, head, ears, etc. What did I find? NOT A SINGLE TICK. Nothing.

Why can't they make a K9 Advantage for humans?

AND NOW....here's some information on Robin's newly released book!!


"The kind of novel 'Ripped from the headlines' was meant to describe. Compelling."--James Scott Bell, author of Deceived and Try Fear

A beautiful yet tough woman working in a beautiful yet tough setting, Brannon Callahan is a search and rescue helicopter pilot for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Strong faith and a decorated history of service have kept her one step ahead of on-the-job dangers, but there’s no precedent for what’s about to happen.

After a blizzard takes down a small plane carrying U.S. Marshal Roark Holland (already haunted by a recent tragedy), Brannon must save him in more ways than one and safeguard the donor heart he’s transporting to a government witness on the edge of death. Otherwise the largest child trafficking ring in history—with shocking links from Thailand to Tennessee—will slip further away into darkness along the Appalachian Trail.

Robin Caroll

Deliver Us From Evil (Feb '10, B&H Publishing) 

"The kind of novel 'Ripped from the headlines' was meant to describe. Compelling."--James Scott Bell, author of Deceived and Try Fear

Dead Air (March '10, Steeple Hill Suspense) Fear No Evil (Aug '10, B&H Publishing)

NOTE:  If you are reading this on Facebook, come on over and visit the "All Creatures Great and Small" blog! 

There are dozens of posts by authors talking about their pets,  about my own life in the country, and there's also a  series of short stories about the interesting, often amusing experiences of The Old Horse Trader! 

Monday, February 1, 2010

Dog, Cats, and a Visit with Author Merrillee Whren!





Dogs, Cats, and a Visit with Author Merrillee Whren!

 Throughout my life I have had pets—mostly cats and dogs, but there were some hamsters, turtles, fish and birds thrown in. Today I’d like to share a little about some of those pets. 

Pepper was the dog we had for nearly eighteen years. He was rescued from our local Humane Society, when we lived in Georgia. He was a mix of terrier, dachshund, and poodle, but looked like a terrier. Everyone in our family has at least one Pepper story to tell. My favorite is the time my husband almost hanged the dog. I was in the driveway vacuuming out my car and had Pepper

leashed to the handle of the garage door. My husband came into the garage and punched the button that opened the garage door and proceeded to get into his car. He suddenly saw the dog slowly rising off the ground along with the garage door. He yelled at me, but I couldn’t hear because of the vacuum cleaner. He raced to catch the dog before he choked. There were times when my husband wondered why he saved the dog, especially the evening that he stole my husband’s dinner off the table. We never dreamed that when we plucked that little black dog from the cage at the Humane Society that he would still be with us when our kids were gone from home.

Pepper was the only pet for a while, but he learned to share the house and even a bed with a parade of cats that came and went in our household. First, there was Mittens, who ran away when we moved from Georgia to Massachusetts. Then there was Bubba Joe and Allie who joined us in Massachusetts. The three animals moved with us when we went to Texas and then again when we moved to Illinois. There’s nothing like having two cats and a dog in the car, while driving cross-country. When we lived in Illinois, Bubba Joe succumbed to a weakened heart as a consequence of kidney disease. That left Allie and Pepper, who became the best of buddies.

Allie was lost when Pepper died. About that time our younger daughter moved to Florida to attend college, and I brought Allie to Florida. My daughter decided that Allie was lonely and got a little gray kitten she named Nomar, after Nomar Garciaparra who used to play for the Boston Red Sox, my daughter’s favorite baseball team. The little gray kitten grew into a BIG gray cat. Allie accepted Nomar even when he tried to eat her food. Eventually, our daughter graduated and moved, leaving the cats behind. Allie’s health failed, and she died. That left us with Nomar, who is our last remaining pet. He loves to lie on my desk while I write, as you can see from the photo.

Over the years, our pets have brought us much laughter as well as tears. Do you have a story to share about one of your pets?

Merrillee Whren

 Here's Merrillee's new book release--isn't this a gorgeous cover?!

Hometown Promise, 
Steeple Hill
Feb. 2010, 
For six years Lukas Frye has fought to regain control of his reckless life. He comes to Kellerville, Ohio, hoping to settle down and be the man his ailing grandfather can depend on. Lukas thinks he can put down roots in a place unsullied by his past--until he sees Juliane Keller. Juliane knows the secrets that could ruin his chance of being accepted in the place he wants to call home. But she isn't just a reminder of his past; she's a woman with secrets of her own--and a heart capable of the forgiveness and  love

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Old Horse Trader #8--And A Mustang at Madison Square Garden

In his youth, horse trader Verne Upmier built up a thriving livery business by working hard to please his customers and being particular about the horses he used.

He remembers one week when he bought ten supposedly well-broke horses through three different sales barns, and only two of the animals proved dependable enough for rental.

One of these was a paint mare, who was unusually versatile.  She was gentle enough for children to ride throughout the week, but on Sunday afternoons, Verne would put a flank strap on her so would-be cowboys could learn to ride a bucking horse. She would buck like holy terror with that flank strap, but on Monday mornings, saddled up for livery duties, she would again be quiet enough for the littlest cowpokes.

Not all of Verne's acquisitions were that docile, however.  Back in the 40's, large numbers of untouched mustangs were shipped from the million-acre CBC ranch to be sold in the Midwest.  Most mustangs can become wonderful, gentle riding horses with proper training, but the local horsemen soon learned to interpret the CBC brand as "Cowboy Be Careful!" Some of these horses from that ranch were just plain rank.

One, a big gray, took considerable exception to even the most gentle handling.  "I saddled him and put him in a stall, figuring he needed time to adjust," Verne says. "but when I returned a short time later, he was gone."

The horse must have viewed the stall as his personal Stalag 17, and he was no slouch at escapes.  He jumped his manger, ran down the aisle, jumped into another stall, kicked open a door at the back of that stall, and raced out into the pasture.

Verne eventually caught up with him, but the horse was too wild to catch, so Verne began driving the animal towards home.  The horse, who still had the saddle on him, bucked all the way to the barn.
Selling him as bucking stock was an easy decision after such a display of determination, and that choice proved to be wise.

During the next two years, the horse never failed to unseat his riders before the eight-second buzzer, and he even "performed" in Madison Square Garden!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Frosty horses and snowy barns

Is it just me...or is anyone else gettiing just a little  tired of winter!?  Brrr!  Tonight, with light snow but significant wind, the resulting ground blizzard made the trip home from work sooo much longer.

So how is winter going where you live?!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Paint Horse Congress, a Trailer, & A Trip to Remember!

In the late 1970's, when my husband and I were first married, we bought a good paint mare--producer of three Minnesota state champions, bred her to an AQHA Champion, and confidently expected that this would be the beginning of a nice, profitable side venture out of quarter horses and into a breed with lots of pizazz. Well...

In due time we had a nice, wild colored colt,  did quite well with him at our state futurity, and then consigned him to the Paint Futurity sale down in Wichita, Kansas, with expectations that he would finance the purchase of more good mares.

 The trip to Kansas went smoothly until we were half- way through what must be the most desolate part of that state. As we drove down a long hill, we were startled to see a large, dark shape fly past the truck window and arc gracefully out into space over a deep, brush-filled ravine.

There was little time for reflection over this phenomenon, for in a split second, we felt a tremendous lurch and heard the squeal of rubber on asphalt. We pulled over to the shoulder of the highway with difficulty, and with great trepidation went back to survey the damage.

The trailer wheels had ben greased and repacked just  prior to the trip, but now one was completely gone, and the other one on that side was off its axle and jammed at an angle under the wheel well. The axles both showed considerable damage.

We stood there in shock, for there hadn't been a sizable town behind us in the last hour, there was no traffic to flag down, and the Congress sale was less than 24 hours away. It was hopeless! We stood there, staring at the damage, trying to imagine how this could all be resolved, when over the next horizon our Lone Ranger appeared in the form of Officer Pekin, a highway patrolman.

The three of us warily searched the top of the ravine from the edge of the highway, keeping an eye out for rattlesnakes--very common in the area and especially in rocky, brush filled places like that, but the airborne tire had departed with such velocity that it was nowhere to be found.

Office Pekin, undaunted by our dismal situation, confidently assured us that we would make it to sale on time.  He made a quick call on his car radio  and located a local rancher with the improbable name of "Grasshopper." Well, Grasshopper soon appeared with the stock trailer for our colt and a wrecker was summoned for our trailer.  Grasshopper, a lanky, charming and generous cowboy from the top of his cowboy hat to the tips of his dusty boots, loaned us the trailer for the rest of our trip,  and by late evening we were again on our way.

By now, it was raining heavily and night had fallen. We were inching along in the dark, in the pouring rain on a very narrow highway, praying we wouldn't drive off the road. The rest of the trip seemed to take an eternity, but we finally arrived at the Paint Horse Congress grounds late at night. As we led that colt out of the darkness and into the safe, warm, brightly lit barn at the fairgrounds, the feeling of relief was immeasurable.

Well... we put the colt through the sale, and based on all the people who had stopped by his stall expressing interest, we had visions  of a good price, ala the current AQHA market.  Of course now paints and pintos are a hot commodity, but at least  for that era, we were quite a surprised to find ourselves no-saling  him when the bidding ended at $900 !!   And now, we needed to find a ride back to our home state for the colt...and  also had to return Grasshopper's  trailer.

Luckily, we found somebody with an empty spot in their trailer who was headed the right direction...but then, a few weeks later, we also had to take a second trip to Kansas to pick up our own trailer, which had been repaired sufficiently for travel.  We did receive compensation from the gas station that had been negligent when  working on our trailer in the first place.

Well....we fed that colt for the next year.  I started him under saddle and he was the easiest pleasure horse I ever started,  he was just so talented.  The first time he loped off, he was slow, quiet, with his head down--an absolute dream through his own personality rather than any talent of my own.  And then we again took him to a paint sale, figuring he would easily bring our extra year of expenses and much more.

This time he brought $1,000 ....a grand total of a hundred dollars more...but THIS time, we let him go!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

An interview with Rachel Hauck & Sara Evans!

Pop on over to my blog at www.shoutlife.com/roxannerustand for an interview with Rachel Hauck and Sara Evans.  They have collaborated on a book that is being released this month, and you can check out the information on the book there, too.  Very, very cool!

Multi-platinum recording artist Sara Evans has garnered such honors as ACM's Female Vocalist of the Year, CMA's Video of the Year, named one of People Magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People," and she was the first country star to compete in ABC's Dancing with the Stars.   And of course, Rachel is a multi-published, multi-award winning author!