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Sunday, January 6, 2013

The one-legged turkey

     Our bird feeder, just 25 ft. from our kitchen bay window, has become a feeding station for squirrels, rabbits, stray cats and deer, besides the regular crew of cardinals, bluebirds, crows, and  less colorful songbirds. Though I've never seen one at the feeders, I know our acreage plays host to a visiting fox, night owls and maybe even a coyote, judging by the night sounds. To keep the deer from munching on the evergreens, we sometimes scatter a bale of horse hay in the glade. 
     Today we saw a huge (50 lb.?) turkey hopping around the base of the feeder, pecking at the seed that had fallen. It wasn't our first turkey, but most of them come in groups. This big guy was alone.  His right leg was tucked up, tapping the ground gingerly only when he needed balance. We could tell it must have been painful.
     On some snarky level, I identified with the poor guy--not because I have an injured leg, but because I knew his need to survive was greater than any discomfort he must feel.  He wasn't starving, that was certain. Turkeys DO fly, but with his size, getting airborne was probably impossible. It was hard to watch, until hubby joked we could take him to a vet and get him fixed for probably $800!
     The process of editing a huge novel is equally painful. Killing scenes that elucidate history, worse yet, eliminating characters makes me feel like a hit man, er...woman, painful to the appendage that hits the delete key. I don't need a vet, just a compassionate publisher who gobbles up long historicals!  Any turkey lovers out there?

Thursday, January 3, 2013


           Copyright free from 
 The Spirit of Manifest Destiny at a glance!! 

John Gast painted this picture in 1872 for a series of western travel guides.  The scope and detail suggest it may be a large painting, but the original -now in the Library of Congress- is actually less than 13 x 17 inches.
     I fell in LOVE with this painting, a visual encyclopedia of historical transportation technologies surging west during the 19th century. (Note the simple Indian travois and buffalo being shuffled ahead of the covered wagon, pony express, stagecoach and trains!) The beautiful woman in the diaphanous gown represents the "Star of the Empire," carrying a book to signify national enlightenment, while her other hand stretches telegraph wires. The spirit of manifest destiny- with all its bittersweet side-effects- pervades some of the time period in my historical romance waiting to be discovered--THE CALLING STONE.  For excerpts, go to