More Mistakes!

If you're writing any kind of western or stories about wars or detectives, or anything about police work or .... well - anything in which someone might have a gun, you need to know that The 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About Firearms, by Peter Knight is now available. And you need to click over and download a copy.

This is the second book in the _33 Mistakes_ series hosted by Holly Lisle in her HollyShop and it's of the same high quality as everything Holly carries in her shop.

Peter is highly qualified and well versed in his subject as well as a talented writer. He breaks down the mistakes into pointed and concise bite-sized bits that provide an amazing amount of specific detail in a no-nonsense fashion with the occasional delightful slipping in of subtle dry humor.

He covers a range of topics from historical to modern, gun types and sizes, ammo differences, range and damage, protective vests, accuracy - and lots more in specific and easy to understand terms. I'm a somewhat involved hobbyist shooter and I was surprised to read how much I didn't know I didn't know. Unless you're already working with an expert, if you're writing guns, you need this book.

Home Again, Jiggity-jig... and gone again

After dropping Tamara and Xeresh off at their place, I made it home late Wednesday night - a full 20 hours later than expected. Certainly, we've earned bragging rights for making that kind of trip in such severe weather, but it's not something I'd attempt again.

The new-to-me truck did a great job, it's strong and steady on the road, although it didn't get near the mileage I expected (and had told Tamara to expect) so the trip was more expensive than expected - not to mention that diesel fuel had gone up nearly forty cents a gallon between the time of planning and the time of driving. The only lingering problems are that the skylight cover blew off the top of the vent in the trailer's apartment and the interior door between the apartment and the stalls doesn't want to stay closed now. I'm not sure what that has to do with anything, but I noticed it for the first time on the way home Saturday.

In other news, Saturday was fantastic.

After the intense week, between the travel and lots of overtime at work, I was up early Saturday morning and off to a Brass Tacks Match. Beri did fantastic. It was her second shoot and she's really coming along to be a good little shooting horse. I don't know if she'll ever be as fast as the quarter horses around some of the tight patterns, but once I improve my shooting accuracy enough to push her a little bit, it will be interesting to see how well we can move up the levels over the next few years.

We took another 2nd place, in the Ladies Class 1 division, which I am very pleased with. We were second a couple of weeks ago as well, but this was a bigger class, so I actually feel that we did a little better to hold onto second. I didn't see a photographer, so I don't guess we have any new photos - this is one from the previous match.

I've been trying to think how to apply the shooting events in my writing and the only thing I can think of is that some of those guys are so good - I'll probably never blink at another movie stunt or a hero's improbable' long-shot again. They can holster and draw so fast you don't even see it unless your watching for it and in the few matches I've been too, the shooting speed and accuracy borders on "you have to see to believe".

still on the road....

It seems weird to think 400 miles is "almost home" but we're back on I30 and even if we're not back in Texas yet, it still feels a little familiar and more comfortable.

We drove into a drizzle and ever-increasing rain on Monday just after I posted and drove through that the rest of the day. It got heavier and slowed us down after dark and so we pulled into Fort Wayne about 4am, nearly three hours behind our planned schedule. We tucked in and got a good night's sleep before heading on up to Hamilton on Tuesday morning. It amazed me to see there were still snow banks packed around the corners in the parking lots and in the woods.

- off the interstate, through Hamilton and onto county and than local roads. Dirt roads, I'm used to, we live on a dirt road, but it was a treat for me to see the harnessed draft horses and the real working driving horses of the Amish community there. We found our destination without getting turned around or sliding off into the ditch. We meet Tamara (the seller) and Xershee who is delightful. We spent a little time there, chatting and seeing all the horses. I especially love being able to visit a farm and see generations and families of breeding.

From tank tops and sunshine, using the a/c in the truck, we drove up into to-us frigid cold, heater on and heavy coats. It was *great* to get back to Texas and the summer sun. :)

We loaded up without visiting for too long and hit the road, driving into the rain and storms - it seemed like it went on forever. The weather radar showed that it did indeed stretch from Indiana, through Missouri, Arkansas and far south into Texas. We slowed down and just kept driving and driving and driving as our 15 hour drive stretched on and on. The storms intensified until we had almost no visibility - the rain was sheeting sideways across the road and traffic was slowed down to a crawl.

The last truck stop where we tried to fuel up had lost power and said there had been two tornados in Little Rock (where we had talked about spending the night) so we just stopped at the next Motel 6 for the night. ...a good thing too, we saw several wrecks and turned over semi's on the way out of town the next morning.

Here are the sleepy stuffed dash-ponies headed out of West Memphis not-too-early on Wednesday morning.

Xershee isn't an experienced traveler, but she is a brave little mare and a real trooper and continues to give us a little trust in spite of her worry. She's eating and drinking - not as much as I would like, but ...some. We're not able to unload her as she doesn't load well, but she is comfortable in the trailer and we're giving her as much rest as we can when we stop. She's already learned to look for us to pop into the trailer and check on her when we stop for gas or meals.

*** I meant to post earlier and didn't get chance. We're closer to home now, back in Texas and loving the sunshine. Only thing I'm aggravated about now is my phone won't send me the last couple of photos. grrrr...

Yea! Finally got it~ Here is the pretty lady herself, comfy in the trailer in sunshiney Texas and getting close to her new home.

The Xershee Trip

I love a road trip and picking up a new horse is always the best reason - especially when it's not mine!

Aelfleah Farms contracted to purchase a nice older mare that they hope to get a few more foals from and I couldn't resist the offer to 'go with' to pick up. It's the first long trip with the new-to-me truck I got last fall and I'm loving every minute of it.

Arrangements have been made for some time and everything was ready to go this morning. The truck had oil and filters changed, fluids topped off and a new tire last week. I got a couple of minor repairs on the trailer that's been needing for awhile and cleaned it out!

We pulled out of Cleburne at 5am and picked Tamara up from work in Dallas at 7:30.

We've made good time with no complications, so far, except for a little confusion about wiggly state lines. ..

Out of Texas, through Arkansas, Tennessee, Arkansas and Missouri... Illnoise and we'll to Indiana in another hour.

BTW, Tamara says her name is not Xershee, that she's going to call her Blackie. I think that I should get a vote since it's my truck that's bringing home.

I guess that's what I get for letting her read over my shoulder.

House Update

Most of you probably don't remember that we're building a new house. It's going slowly (here is a post about it from last October) but we're paying as we go and won't be in debt when we move in. That's maybe too personal for a blog, but it is what it is it. I hate being in debt, and while I appreciate being able to make large purchases and pay over time, I doubly hate paying three times the price for something (by the time all the interest is paid).

I know it seems to be The America Way - to live high on the hog and pay by the month, but I'd rather do without.

Here is today's photo of the house-in-progress. The rock is delivered and ready to go up, and the roof is going on. So step by step, it's getting done and I'm getting excited about picking out tile and wall colors and textures for the inside.

Texan by the grace of God

I picked up a new anthology from The Wild Rose Press this week, Love, Texas Style, because I can never resist a cowboy, and was delighted to see all the local Texas authors.

There is a wide range (if you'll pardon the pun) of settings from Big D to a small town that I'm sure must be Crockett, and from a working cattle ranch to the lonely roads in the far parts of the state. There are bull-riders, rich girls, fancy cars and old trucks, and even a giant rotating armadillo. In short, all the flavor and variety that makes this state great, or at least interesting. It's all Texas, oh so familiar, and all wonderfully larger than life with it's glitz and glitter, dusty roads, hot summer sun and those brilliant starry nights.

And the cowboys... it's all about those cowboys. ;)

A horse of a better color...

So Saturday morning, early, my youngest son and I loaded up a couple of the mares and went to a cowboy mounted shooting event in Decatur.

The trip was pleasant enough, not too long (except for the infuriating road construction south of Fort Worth), but we found the arena easily enough - which sometimes is difficult for me. I have an odd propensity to be able to drive 100s of miles without a misstep and then spend hours looking for that last turn. I don't know why that is. Probably because I tend to overthink stuff. Anyway - the sign at the gate said "Lonesome Dove Feed" and we were looking for "Lonesome Dove Arena", but we could see a bunch of trailers and people riding so we pulled in. Thank goodness it was the right place.

The day got off to a good start. We brought BERI and MIREE. BERI to compete on, and MIREE simply for the experience. I used to always haul my babies on 'away missions', but she's managed to turn three without having traveled as much as the others.

Anyway, I've decided that MIREE's going to be my shooting horse because she's a nice western color. And isn't that how you pick out a good horse? by the color?!?!


But apparently - dun or buckskin or whatever color of bay she is - is perfect for a shooting horse. :) because she did wonderful. I saddled her up and rode her around in the arena during the warm-up. She was very attentive and alert, and wanted to run a little, but I didn't let her because we haven't cantered yet. Actually we've only trotted a few times and we did longer stretches of trotting in the arena Saturday than she has done to date. She's just turning a full 36 months this week so she'll stay in very light work for the rest of the year. The guns seems to be a total non-event for her. I've shot several rounds off her at home but I wondered how she would do with all the commotion and rapid fire of the competition... She was unphased. I'm so excited about what I'll be able to do with her over the next few years, I just almost can't stand it. She's one that has such a good mind and such a passionate "want to" attitude that I have to carefully check myself and be sure I don't ride her to often (no more than 2xs month) or too long (she's up to about 30 minutes walk/jog).

BERI, of course, was our star on Saturday. She's always been the one that I didn't get along with as well as I should with one that I raised. We've had a kind of push-push lead marish thing, which is a little odd since she's not the highest ranked in the pasture. I've just always felt that she liked to push my buttons. We knew from the time she was born that we'd be keeping her so while she was handled properly and trained, she didn't get as much as the 'for sale' horses, and she was spoiled a bit more (a bit too much). She was a 'kid horse' from the time she was young and by the time I started trying to ride her, she'd been well taught to ignore all the thumps and wallers from whoever was on her back. *sigh*

And it seems like she's never understood why she doesn't have her own bedroom in the house.

But as she's grown, she's eight this year, she's really turned into a good mare. She's started dressage and jumping but decided she didn't like jumping. And she can be a pig about what she doesn't like doing, so we took her out of training and let her be an endurance horse again, which she loves (see the BeriCam from a few posts back), and she's really good at.

Saturday she proved herself again. She doesn't like the guns, but she tolerated them well and I think is going to come along and be a good 'nuff little horse for us to shoot off of. We're hoping to make quite a few competitions, so it will be interesting to see where we are by the end of the year.

....and we don't have any photos yet... I'm compulsively checking the photographer site and will link to them when they show up.