Saturday, July 23, 2011


Come join me and six additional local authors for a book signing.
Where:  Innisfree Senior Living Community, 24th & Walnut, Rogers, AR
Time:  Saturday, July 30, at 2:00
Authors presenting will be:

Linda Apple
Linda Apple:  Linda is an inspirational writer and speaker and the Chicken Soup of the Soul queen. She has short stories in thirthteen editions and just like the Energizer Bunny, she’s still going.   Linda will be speaking on writing for Chicken Soup plus her book, Inspire. Witty, humorous and always a gracious Southern lady, Linda is a valuable friend and a wonderful author/ speaker.

Velda Brotherton

Velda Brotherton:  Velda can write it all from fiction, non-fiction, newspaper articles to cookbooks. She is bringing four of her books: Arkansas Meals & Memories, Boston Mountains, Lost in the Ozarks, her Willa award winning novel, Fly with the Mourning Dove, and Wandering Through Time. Velda is a perfect example of it’s never too late to learn. She recently branched out into E-books and will be speaking on that adventure as well.

Pam Jones

Pam Jones: Pam, aka Bigfoot Pam, is a new author whose book, Redness Goddess, was released from HighHill Press only this month. Goddess is billed as a “Southern charmer, you just can’t put down.”  She will be reading from her book, and just like the billing, Pam will charm you with her soft, southern voice and wonderful     sense of humor.

Jan Morrill

Jan Morrill:  Jan is my writing buddy who I nick-named Gypsy Jan as she and her husband are always galloping off to visit other counties, and Samurai Jan because of her passion and fierce commitment to excellent writing.  Jan recently signed with an agent/editor and is busy fine-tuning her novel, Broken Dolls. Always elegant and graceful, Jan will be sharing her computer expertise on creating short stores from Smash Words.

Barbara McMinn

Barbara McMinn: Barbara is from Miami, Oklahoma and drives 90 miles every week to our writing/critique group.  Now, that’s commitment! Barb is a mystery/romance author and will be bringing three of her books: The Seduction of Janey, Out of the Darkness, and Forbidden Desire.

Dusty Richards

Dusty Richards: Recently voted the “Greatest Living Western Writer”, and with over 104 published western novels under his belt buckle, Dusty will delight you with his cowboy, good ol’ boy down home humor and stories. His Wrangler Award winning novel, The Sundown Chaser will be available for sale as well as many more of his novels.

Ruth Burkett Weeks

Ruth Burkett Weeks: My novel, Soldiers From the Mist was released in March of this year from HighHill Press out of St Charles, MO.  I will be speaking on the unique way this story came to me by the ghost that haunts my house. I will also be the foreman for this signing and of this wild bunch so anything can and probably will happen!

Innisfree Senior Living Community is a bright and cheery home to over 100 residents who are humorous, charming, and young at heart. Come join us for a fun, entertaining afternoon with fun, entertaining people. 
Sit back, relax in the cool dining room of Innisfree, sip lemonade, eat a cookie and BUY A BOOK!

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Yesterday I stood in the break room at work and watched the space shuttle Atlantis escape Earth’s gravity and soar into the final frontier for the last time. Arms folded over my chest, I secretly crossed my fingers and said a silent prayer: 
Please God, protect them. Give Mission Control the wisdom to abort the flight even if the smallest of details don’t look right. Angels, surround the shuttle and her crew and fly with them to their destination and bring them home safety again.”
Chill bumps popped and tears stung my eyes as I counted down . . . 4-3-2-1 . . . we have ignition, we have lift off.”
When I was a little girl, daddy and I would go outside every night and watch for the satellite “Echo” to cross the skies.  He pointed out the Big Dipper and told me how to find the North Star. We would ponder life on other planets and look at the moon knowing, some day Man would go there.
I was a Girl Scout counselor the summer Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Twenty-five counselors crammed into a tiny staff house and watched the miracle on a 19 inch black and white TV.  Afterwards, I stood outside the cabin and stared at that big yellow orb hanging in the inky sky and willed myself to see the astronauts and their moon rover.
In the 1990’s I lived in Galveston, Texas.  Houston was just a hop, skip, and a jump away and so was NASA.  When Daddy came to visit, NASA was our first destination.  We saw the Mercury space capsule that Allen Shepherd rode in and wondered how a man could fit in that small of space.  Daddy said Shepherd was the first man selected to go into space because he had the least fear.  I don’t know if that is true or not, however, I could well imagine how his heart must have been pounding.
The Gemini capsules were fascinating. Again, we marveled at how small an area two astronauts had worked side by side in.  The moon rover looked silly and out of place in the NASA auditorium, but the little dune buggy had gotten the job done. Daddy and I thought the space shuttle amazing. It took so much power and energy to get that thing launched and yet it was just a simple gilder plane when it came home to land.  

Mother Earth

I remember Apollo 13’s trouble and how the world held its breath waiting and praying for those three men to come back to Earth safe and sound. And they did. Why? Because in that brief moment in time, Mankind banded together and put all their energy and concentration into getting them back.  “Failure is not an option,” the head of Mission Control had said.  
The power of a collective consciousness is astounding.
I feel sad that the shuttle missions are ending however; I know that man will continue to visit the vast black beyond.  Challenger and Atlantis are just stepping stones to bigger and better space crafts.  Worm holes will be found and the speed of light will be conquered by warp drive.  

Kirk & Spock

Personally, I have no desire to travel into space. I don’t have the guts.  Unless, of course, I could be on the Enterprise with Kirk and Spock.
Daddy, on the other hand, would’ve loved to have been a "rocket man."

God bless and Godspeed Atlantis.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Rodeo of the Ozarks--- A million dollar memory

Joe Horse

I think my love affair with horses began when I was in the womb.
While pregnant with my brother and me, Mama rode my oldest brother’s horse, Joe. She wasn’t a big horsewoman or had dreams of being a cowgirl, she just loved Joe.  
Grandma (her mother) was a different story. Grandma loved horses and rode every chance she got.  I remember her telling me that Great Grandma always insisted she be a lady and ride side-saddle. When Grandma rode into town for the mail, she’d ride from home side-saddle but when out of sight of the house, she’d dismount, take the saddle off, hide it in the bushes, then ride bareback into the post office.  Of course she’d saddle up again before reaching home.
My Uncle Jimmy (Daddy’s brother) was a horse trainer. His horse was a huge American Saddle bred named Beauty.
So you see, horses are in my genes.

Uncle Jimmy & Beauty

As a child, I was obsessed with horses. Drove Mama and Daddy crazy. More than once the neighbors would telephone Daddy and laugh.  “Elmer, that daughter of yours is riding my horses again.” The solution to my catching and riding the neighbor’s horses was simple: Let me have one of my own! 
Grandma understood my horse infatuation and made sure I would have the money to buy my magnificent steed one day by bequeathing me two, $100. Savings bonds. 

I was thirteen when Daddy gave in and let me buy a sorrell gelding named King. Daddy called King a million dollar horse because I wouldn’t have taken a million dollars for him.
Of course, I wanted to ride Million Dollar King in the biggest, bestest rodeo parade of all: The Rodeo of the Ozarks.
I remember the summer of 1965 as one of my greatest.  Uncle Jimmy and Uncle Clayton (the other horse trainer in the family) came all the way from Marysville, Kansas to spend Fourth of July with us and see me ride in the parade. 
 We went to the rodeo all four nights.
That year the main attraction was a genuine Indian Princess and her white horse.  The Princess, complete with a huge headdress of feathers, would walk to the far end of the arena. Her wild horse would run from his end to meet her and she’d leap onto his back and ride without using a bridle or a saddle.  The high point of her act was when she jumped her pure-white stallion over a red convertible parked in the middle of the arena. Wow! The sight of his snowy mane and tail flowing in the wind when that horse flew over that car gave me chill bumps. Dreamed about it for months.
The Rodeo of the Ozarks parade started at the rodeo grounds in Springdale and went straight down Emma Street.  I was decked out in my long sleeve Northwest Arkansas Riding Club shirt, jeans, and cowboy hat.  Never mind that is was hot enough to fry eggs on the sidewalk, I was just too cool looking to worry about the heat.
King strutted his best.
Red silky neck arched. Flaxen flowing tail held high.  That million dollar gelding pranced and danced all the way down Emma and would’ve passed everyone and every horse if not for the tight rein I had on him.  
My life long dream was over in an hour.  
Loading King into the trailer, getting him to the rodeo grounds, loading him back, and getting him home took longer. 
Poor Daddy.  He had to do everything but ride the horse for me.
He did so without complaining.  
Because that’s what daddies of cowgirls do.
That night my uncles, my brother and me, Mama and Daddy ate homemade peach ice-cream on the porch. The full moon lit the sky, the stars glowed like diamond points, the whippoorwills called, and the night creatures sang their best medleys.  
It just doesn’t get any better than that.
King got apples and carrots for a midnight snack for being such a champ.
I’ve gone back to the Rodeo since then but it was never the same as that great summer of 1965.
However, no matter the year, you can bet that somewhere in those bleachers, a little girl breaks out into a sweat when the rodeo queen gallops past.
 And dreams of the day when daddy takes his million dollar daughter and her million dollar horse to the rodeo parade.

A young Dixie Dandelion and King