Where’d that oddball phrase come from—at sixes and sevens? Whatsit supposed to mean anyhoo?
After months of rehabbing Firstborn from that equine crash ‘n burn, then the surgery that knocked her for a loop, we’re both finally getting back to normal: she heads off for the cubicle farm while I monitor critters, run errands and otherwise do mom-stuff.
I put writing on hold because, well… when you’re behind the wheel of a car every day doing a 100+ mile round trip, or tending to a recovering patient, the words don’t flow easily and even if they did I wasn’t in position to record them. Not even with a voice recorder because that white-knuckle driving required 110% concentration to avoid being pancaked by a big rig on the turnpike-under-construction with cattle chutes and drivers who think 65 is a suggested speed limit, not a hard target.
When you’re a mother you fuss and hover, it’s what you do, and I’m proud to say I held up my end of the bargain to the best of my ability. But now it’s time to let go. And yeah, it’s with a sigh of relief juxtaposed with a wee hint of she doesn’t need me anymore, I’m useless, useless I tell ya!
And then, on Sunday morning, after an unexpected deluge of biblical proportions (including a drop in temperature), I headed down to the barn to feed the boys and was gobsmacked with Mr Bob in the beginning stages of a colic episode. That’s not good. In fact, it can and often is life-threatening.
Since it’s not my first rodeo I knew what to do: strip the stall of all hay and grain, grab the stethoscope and check his heart rate (elevated, thready), check for gut sounds in all quadrants (upper/lower, not good enough, not by a long shot), check gums (pink but on the dry side), and then assess his overall body carriage (he looked bloated, his neck was stretched out and down, mouth open, tongue distended, occasional swats at his side). Yup, colic.
I raced to the house to roust Firstborn out of bed because it sometimes takes two of us to deal with an emergency, especially if Bob goes down and starts thrashing. Firstborn took Bob’s temperature—slightly elevated at 101 deg. We called the vet and then monitored the situation until she arrived. Apparently, with the crap weather, the clinic’s been deluged with colic cases. Dr. Susie gave Bob a shot of Banamine (pain killer), tubed him and flushed his stomach with water and we watched the backwash to check consistency and odor. So far so good. A gallon of mineral oil followed and we were instructed to keep him in the stall until evening with just water available.
After monitoring him throughout the day, we were rewarded with a pile of manure (hooray for poop! a singular bellwether of your best friend’s wellbeing). He and young master Czar were turned out on grass and by morning he was back to his usual pesky self.
Yesterday passed with me running errands and catching up on chores. But today… today I planned to dive back into Coy’s final installment of the Ranch to Market Chronicles, 17+K into the tale and poised on the cusp on some high action and dire circumstances, and all I can do is wring my hands and wonder if it’s even worth the time and effort to finish this story.
I get pirated, a lot. The Amazon returns are soul-sucking. The lack of reviews means I lose in the discoverability game. The expense to produce a professional quality book is steep when editing, formatting, and book cover design costs are your sole responsibility—and I don’t skimp because I believe enough in my work to put my best foot forward—not so easy on a fixed income. The demand that books be steeply discounted, or even FREE!, is a constant reminder of how little our time, our skill, our attention to craft matters when books become nothing more than commodities.
So I ask myself… why bother? Why not just be satisfied reviewing, because (heaven knows) I get waaaay more feedback on my reviews than I do on my own books. And I’m effing good at reviewing, pulling no punches, and core drilling to the meat of a narrative without treading into book report waters.
Just think… No trolls. No nastiness. No gifs to mock and demean me as a person (you really haven’t lived until the Goodreads Mean Girls take exception to your narrative style, or you didn’t write the book they wanted you to write—that’s a total ouchie, lemme tell ya).
There’s a certain appeal to setting all that aside, say fuck it and go strip stalls or plant something. Or read what others write.
Except… a reader bought the first in the Crow Creek series, then within a couple days bought the rest of the set. A few days later, that angel took a chance on one of the transgressive eroticas. Trust me, when sales are as slow as they’ve been lately, you know when you’ve acquired a new fan. And I’m forever grateful (while greedily hoping for a review, it is what it is).
So, here I am, holding onto a saddle that’s not getting any lighter, wondering if it’s worth setting the dang thing on the horse’s back, girthing it up, then stepping onto the mounting block and riding off into the drizzly mist.
Yeah, yeah… the damn thing’s not gonna write itself. And while I’ve been sorely tempted to go off in a completely new direction, genre-wise, in order to recapture my mojo, I won’t do that with the final book in the series just hanging by a thread. That’s not fair to the readers who’ve purchased the first two. I owe it to them to at least bring this story to its conclusion.
Of course right.
So, here I sit, waiting for inspiration. Almost there…