Monday, December 5, 2016

Sometimes you need a goat.

Early morning at the Kihali animal orphanage in Africa

A poor, brave little rhino named Zuri (Swahili for “beautiful”) has been rescued from poachers but her recovery is not going well. She is depressed and listless, she has nightmares and lies in her stall crying for her cruelly murdered mother.
None of the medical interventions have helped, and Zuri, who associates humans with the killers who took her mother’s horn, refuses to nurse. Her sad bleating and quivering body are clear signs that she is still in deep mourning.
Why, wonders Renny Kudrow, Director of the Kihali animal orphanage, hasn’t she started to recover? What if she doesn’t get better and they lose her?
He’d be to blame, he thinks. Not the Kenyan rhino experts, tall, skinny Jomo and strong, burly Muthengi. And certainly not the vet. Dr. Starlite Higgins has done everything medically possible.
Feeling guilty and disconsolate, Renny’s thoughts drift to Starlite’s idea. Her impressive work on a DNA database will make Kihali a leader in the conservation of endangered species, but just because her latest idea was unconventional and untested, didn’t mean it wasn’t worth trying, did it?
Renny doesn’t know, but he is in charge, the responsibility is his and he feels its weight. Time is growing short for Zuri, he knows, and he is running out of options. He must make a decision.
Stretching his long legs, Renny gets up, abandons his tea, still hot in its battered tin mug, and leaves the veranda. He jogs across Kihali’s yard as the African sun begins to rise and doesn’t stop until he reaches the laundry line that, suspended between two poles, runs behind the kitchen. There, in her usual spot, tethered by a fraying rope, is Boozie.
The moment she sees him, she does what she always does. She jumps up and greets him the way she greets everyone.
She stands on his toes and kisses him.
***

A Goat Named Boozie

She has a black face, white ears and an inquisitive manner. Like most of her kind, she is intelligent and affectionate but, like most of her kind, she also has a propensity for creating mischief.
She’d earned her name when she’d gotten into the left-over drinks after a cocktail party on the veranda, over-imbibed, and fell off the low porch into the petunia bed where she passed out and slept it off. Since then, adult beverages have been carefully kept away from the adventuresome and irrepressible young goat named Boozie who, following Renny, bounds across the courtyard to Zuri’s stall.
Leading Boozie, he enters the stall wordlessly. Starlite and Muthengi both raise their eyebrows, glance at each other, but say nothing.
As Renny supervises and Starlite and Muthengi watch, Boozie introduces herself to Zuri with a kiss.
Mewling softly under her blanket, poor, depressed Zuri seems not to notice.
Boozie, undaunted by the lack of response, explores Zuri’s head and ears with dainty tastes and gentle nibbles. Then, ever curious, she investigates the short, stubby legs and, from there, moves down to the padded three-toed feet.
“Mouthing and chewing are the ways goats explore the world around them,” mutters Renny in his professorial way, not looking at Starlite even though he is standing next to her.
“You sound like you think I didn’t know,” Starlite replies with a slight edge, looking straight at him as Boozie continues her affectionate explorations. “Wasn’t my suggestion the reason you decided to introduce them?”
Renny isn’t about to give her all the credit. “One of the reasons.”
Starlite isn’t in the mood to back off, either. “So maybe I had a good idea after all.”
“Possibly,” he says and shrugs slightly, keeping his eyes on Zuri and Boozie and assiduously refusing to acknowledge Starlite. “Let’s see what happens.”
Starlite leaves her tart retort unspoken when she notices that Zuri’s quivering has subsided. She turns to Muthengi. “Zuri seems almost relaxed for the first time since coming to Kihali.”
“Rhinos have thick hides but sensitive skin,” Muthengi says. “They love to be touched.”
“And goats love to do the touching,” Starlite adds.
Renny, watching, suppresses a smile and makes no comment as Zuri, turning her head to favor her right eye, looks to see who is paying so much attention to her.
Seeming to conclude that the friendly young goat offers no threat, Zuri takes a deep breath and clumsily struggles to her feet. She is weak from lack of exercise and her short, stubby legs wobble and offer unstable support.
She takes a few hesitant steps, then stumbles and falls. She cries out in distress and remains on the floor of her stall. She seems defeated and ready to give up.
Boozie, undeterred, scampers over and kisses her ear. Zuri turns toward her new friend and, encouraged, she takes a deep breath and rests for a moment; then, gathering her will, she uses her chin to help support herself while she gets up. She teeters for a moment, then finds her balance and arranges her feet squarely on the ground beneath her.
She turns toward Boozie, who urges her on with another enthusiastic kiss. Zuri looks up at her new acquaintance and even seems to smile.
The two quadrupeds stand side by side, one slim and sprightly, the other low-slung and rounded, a mismatched couple if there ever was one. Still, they are at peace, comfortable with each other, comfortable with themselves.
Wordlessly, Renny turns to Starlite and she sees that his eyes are filmed with tears. For so long, she has felt the sting of his disapproval and she, too, is moved. Impulsively, she reaches out and, wordlessly, briefly grazes his hand with hers.
“They’ll do well together,” she says.
“Yes,” he replies, his voice thick. “I do believe they will.”

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Like books by writers like Rona Jaffe, Judith Michael and Barbara Taylor Bradford?


DECADES, Book #1 in the Park Avenue Series was originally published in hard cover by Simon & Schuster. Now FREE at all ebook vendors.


THREE WOMEN. THREE DECADES.

Spanning the years from the optimistic post-War 1940s to the Mad Men 1950s and rebellious Make Love, Not War 1960s, DECADES is about three generations of women who must confront the radical changes and upended expectations presented by the turbulent decades in which they lived.

Evelyn, talented but insecure, faithful to the traditional values she grew up with, is a loyal and loving wife whose marriage means everything to her.
Nick, handsome and ambitious, a chameleon who changes with the changing times, is her successful but restless husband.
Joy, their daughter, coming of age at a time of anger and rebellion, needs them both but is torn between them.
Barbara is the other woman. Younger than Evelyn, accomplished but alone, she wonders if she can have everything--including another woman's husband.

But can she? Is she willing to pay the price? And how will Evelyn handle her rebellious daughter, her straying husband and the threat to her marriage?

DECADES, sweeping in scope yet intimate in detail, is the emotional, compelling story of family and marriage, betrayal and healing.

“A brilliant book. Three generations of women are succinctly capsuled in this novel by a writer who has all the intellect of Mary McCarthy, all the insight of Joan Didion. Rarely have attitudes been so probingly examined—tough, trenchant, chic and ultra-sophisticated, Ms. Harris recreates the decades in which her heroines lived, from zoot suits and Sammy Kaye, through Eisenhower, Elvis and poodle-cut hairdos to moon walks, Mick Jagger and micro-minis. Readers will be entertained and few will be able to forget what Decades has to say about men and women and the games people play.” —Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“Ruth Harris has re-created both the style and substance of three decades of American life—from the bobby socks and innocence of the 1940s, to the crinolines and caution of the 1950s, to the bra-less T-shirts and alienation of the 1960s.” —Book-of-the-Month Club

Powerful. A gripping novel that depicts the lives and loves of three generations of women.” —Women Today Book Club




Sunday, October 16, 2016

A new trilogy. PERIL: THE WIZARD'S JOURNEY


book cover
Kindle
THEY HATED HIM AND TRIED TO KILL HIM.

Justin Rakka knows from an early age that he is different but he doesn’t understand why. An only child and heir to a large fortune, he is shunted aside by his parents and viciously bullied at school. Lonely and misunderstood, he cannot find his place in the world until a distinguished presence from a secret sphere reaches out to him.



Book Cover
Kindle
ACCUSED!

Justin is accused of a vicious crime and the police, convinced of his guilt, hound him without mercy. 



Kindle

LIFE? OR DEATH?

With Juliet’s freedom at stake and Justin’s own life in the balance, can he defeat the vicious demon sworn to steal his powers and destroy them both?

Monday, October 10, 2016

How To Fix The Novel That Fizzled

Janice Hardy tells how to fix the novel that fizzled.


The Wrong Protagonist?

The Wrong Story?

The Wrong Point of View?

What Conflict?

Stakes—What Stakes?

Lack of Credibility?


Janice asks the questions and gives the answers at Anne R. Allen's blog.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Self-sabotage And The Fear Of Success



Midnight In Paris: The Impossible Dream?

Fear of Success vs. Fear of Failure
5 Ways Writers Block Success
The 4 Irrational Fears That Hold Writers Back


Fantasy and reality, illusion and disillusion, and the invisible traps writers set for themselves explained at Anne R. Allen.


Monday, September 26, 2016

First Drafts: Sticking Points And Solutions

First drafts can be like mazes. The way through is never a straight line.


That delightful, delicious, d*mn first draft!

Love it? Leave it? Or is there something in between?
I found out how other writers from David Hewson to Nora Roberts solve the first draft.
Learn what I discovered in my report at Anne R. Allen's blog.
Join the fun! Share your sticking points and solutions in the comments!

Monday, August 29, 2016

How to write compelling characters.

Audrey Hepburn's Little Black Dress

Clothing and appearance, scent and sensibility provide powerful metaphors for a character’s inner life


Joan Crawford’s shoulder pads.

Harry Potter's wand.

James Bond's Beretta.

Mark Zuckerberg's hoodie.

Dragon Lady red lips.

Summer in the city.

A leather-upholstered Rolls-Royce in Hong Kong.

Sexy, man-trap perfume.

Audrey Hepburn's Little Black Dress.


They all have something in common. What is it?
Anne and Ruth know—and they tell. :-)