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You’ve got my Attention

Hello, Human! What have you got in your hand? A book? Is it good?

I like stories — either about humans or bears. My favorite? Outdoor stories, of course. And I like stories set here– in the city where I can imagine this group of humans goes after a busy day at the zoo.

Let me guess what you do for a living, sir. You have good posture, short hair, wear a light jacket on a sunny day. Certainly you’re not a co-worker of that fellow with the tank top and shorts. No, by the way, you’re old enough to be his father. I’m thinking you prefer using brains instead of brawn. If I guess right — will you introduce me to your lady friend? You’re observant, scan the people around you. Yet, you don’t look afraid – or worried like the teachers herding the field trip groups past my living quarters. Police officer? How did I do?

You did just fine, Mr. Grizzly. My name’s Rich, this is my friend, Janet. Afraid you’ll have to read about us in COMFORT ZONE to get the whole story. On a budget — no problem. Kindle edition currently on sale: https://amzn.to/2ZvL0Av

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A Good Dog

Today’s photo gives a peek into a happy day for an author. The arrival of a new book!

A little bit of magic happens when an author holds a copy of THEIR book in their hands. A sense of accomplishment. A dash of pride. I did it! I beat the odds — yes, the world of self-publishing has increased the number of published authors. However, the number decreases in each step of the process.

A large number of people think about writing a book. A percentage of them start writing a book. Fewer finish the book. A an even smaller number navigate the steps of editing, formatting, and publishing.

So cut your friend, neighbor, or relative a little slack. Let them brag for a little. Congratulate them on the accomplishment.

Does the topic appeal to you? Buy and read a copy. Did you like it? Write and post a review.

The title above – SEED OF DESIRE – is a sweet romance set in the small fictional town of Crystal Springs, WI. Meet Beth and Jackson as they overcome obstacles and receive a little help from canine friends. The book is available at all major on-line book retailers. Here’s the Kindle link: https://amzn.to/2RDFgxH

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Fun in Snow

Puzzle artists pick perfect weather. They celebrate the hours after the storm has passed and the sun offers bright light.

They ignore the tense moments in car or school bus as tires hunt for traction on slick roads. Or shoveling the driveway. Or breaking a path to the barn to care for the animals. Everything takes longer and a different set of questions cross your mind. Are the water pipes frozen? How did the youngest calf fare? How late will the milk truck be running today?

How was your weather these last few days? Did it storm? Liquid or solid from your clouds? Did you go searching for your heavy coat, gloves, and boots? Or did you have a mild, seasonal weekend?

The residents of this fictional village are having winter fun. I think I’d enjoy a snowman building contest. Doubt if I’d win any prizes. The few snow figures in my past have been basic, not artistic. Perhaps you’d prefer to find a hill and go down on a sled or toboggan?

I find some happy memories including snow and winter storms. True — some of them only rated laughter long after the event — but they serve as lovely punctuation marks in the narrative of my life.

STARR TREE FARM, set during a Wisconsin January, includes remarks on the weather. Check it out (with a nice warm beverage at hand) here: https://amzn.to/2zqIQEw

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Mind your Posture

Sit up straight. No slouching.

This advice, mostly given when I was a child, plays in my mind most often when I’m sprawled – or slouched – while watching TV.

Some seats encourage better posture than others. My nice, soft, worn sofa invites me to lean back, prop up my legs, and ignore correct posture. Other chairs in my house entice me to keep my feet on the floor and back upright.

Whether it’s the material or the crisp angles, this bench at the St Louis Zoo brings to mind all those admonitions to sit up straight and mind your manners. Actually, I tested this bench, and it’s really rather comfortable — at least for the first few minutes.

Seating in public spaces is often designed into the building, park, or attraction from the very beginning. A bench like the one above, can serve as a meeting place as well as a resting spot for elderly bodies getting exercise. No worry about tipping this one over. And employees can clean off the spilled ice cream with a hose.

In the sweet romance, COMFORT ZONE, one of the couple’s first “dates” is at the zoo. Do you think they tested this bench?

Kindle: https://amzn.to/2ZvL0Av

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Be Bear Aware

Have you visited the Northwoods? Planning a trip soon? Woodland creatures might consider you a trespasser. However, no problem with most. Smart creatures, they tend to scurry away when they hear, or smell, humans approaching.

However…

Taking the trash to the campground dumpster? May I suggest daylight hours. Some wild creatures tend to view trash cans as midnight convenience stores — where they don’t pay in cash.

Little bandit raccoon ahead of you? Perhaps a slight delay would be wise.

Mice and other critters of that size sniffing out the possibilities? No problem.

Black bear looking for a snack?

I advise a retreat.

Bears are enjoyable to watch at the zoo. Next time you see one — take a close look at the feet — or rather — the claws. I don’t care which brand of garbage bag you use — one swipe and it’s open. Metal can with a lid? Push it over. Dump it out. Snout and paws to push away the tightest cover.

I’ll take my bears behind a fence — thank you!

Portions of the sweet romance Seed of Desire take place in Bear Country. Our heroine, Beth, however, needs to deal with a different sort of predator.

Kindle: https://amzn.to/2RDFgxH

You can tell a lot about a man by how he treats a dog.
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A Girl and her…

My goodness. I can think of at least a dozen ways to end that sentence. Shall we test a few?

Brother? Parents? Dog? Friend? Bicycle? Blanket? Cousins? Classmates? Hamster? Cake? Prom dress? First car?

Sorry — none of the above. Although several would make good photos and I actually have some of them. I was flipping through childhood photos and could not resist placing this one on the scanner.

The name of this college-money-on-the-hoof is Soprano.

A pretty girl, Soprano and I were good friends. I did my best to halter train her (like big sister Silk the year before) and she spent many summer mornings trimming the grass beneath our large elm trees.

Have you sampled any of the Crystal Springs Romances? Sweet, small-town romance with a touch of suspense. An angus steer tries to steal a scene in Starr Tree Farm. Kindle link: https://amzn.to/2zqIQEw

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Imagine the Conversation

What do you think, Charlie?

I don’t know, Betty. The small one is attractive. But they’re all moving.

I was concentrating on the larger one in the floppy hat. Not carrion, but looks promising.

True. When do you suppose the keeper is going to deliver breakfast?

Not soon enough, Charlie. Not soon enough.

Alert. Watchful. Powerful. Scary jaws and teeth. I think I’ll be sure to keep at least one body part moving when enjoying the sight of hyenas at the zoo.

Whether you prefer mammals, reptiles, or birds; you’ll find some examples at any well-tended zoo. Collect your sweetheart, children, and/or parents and enjoy your visit.

Kindle readers: https://amzn.to/2ZvL0Av
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Fish Friday

St. Louis is located in a portion of the country where late winter and early spring brings weekly fish fries. In a slightly different region, a few hundred miles north, the fish fry on Friday night is a year-round tradition.

However, there is always one in every crowd who demands the food each and every day. Each and every meal. Welcomes it as a snack also. Fried? Yuck — I’ll take it straight. Fresh preferred. Frozen accepted.

Another fish, please. Yes, I practiced the trick for the nice people. Now — may I have my fish. No more tricks until I get a reward for the last one. I know you have another in the bucket. Haven’t I got you trained yet?

Always interesting things to see and do at the zoo. Great place to take the family. Or a date. The characters in Comfort Zone visit the fine facility early in their relationship. (PS: They have a great time.)

Kindle readers click here for more information: https://amzn.to/2ZvL0Av

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A Payoff for Patience

Wait. Hold your horses. Sit still.

My parents said these phrases over and over to their youngest child, a girl who wiggled much and didn’t learn patience early.

But there is hope — even for the restless. Perhaps I just needed to experience demonstrations of the reward of this virtue.

In 2019, during a visit to the zoo, I walked into the bird building. (It probably has a more elegant name.) And I encountered this fine fellow – a Bathleur Eagle.

He appears rather interested in the world as he looks over his shoulder at the people. You can almost hear him thinking. “What do they expect? I’d rather be flying free in the sunshine and hunting.”

Fortunately, we lingered at his large cage (the size of some of the rooms in my home).

Here you go, humans! Take this memory with you when you walk away. Bet you don’t look this good from the back.

Patience. Stopping to watch the bird — or sniff the flower — brings a reward.

So slow the pace. Take a second look. Visit that park, or museum, or zoo that’s either nearby or on your bucket list. Impossible to get out of the house? Travel in a book. Comfort Zone, set in present-day St. Louis includes a visit to the world class zoo. Kindle readers click here: https://amzn.to/2ZvL0Av

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August Advice

A little advice is a good thing. When it comes from an expert, it’s even better.

So here are the professor’s tips for staying comfortable on hot, August days.

Seek the shade.

Drink plenty of water.

Eat your fruits and vegetables.

Professor? Well, for the month of August, I decided to explore close to home. Yes, for many people this is prime vacation time. But for a multitude of reasons, some people are unable to travel. So take a look around and see what you can find within a drive of two hours or less.

Professor Chimp dispenses his advice and demonstrate a carefree attitude at the St. Louis Zoo.

Do you live near a zoo? Have you considered a stroll among the animals as a place for a “date”? Light and casual courting in Comfort Zone, a sweet romance, includes a zoo date with emphasis on elephants.

Kindle: https://amzn.to/2ZvL0Av