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:


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:

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:


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:


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.



Fish, Fish, Fish

Or perhaps I should say: trout, trout, trout.

Montauk State Park is all about trout. Hatched, growing, carefree, and hooked.

Fishermen of all sizes have options. Come for the day. Rent a cabin. Rent a motel room. Camp in comfort ranging from tent, to small trailer, to luxury motorhome.

At the park store, you can find last minute supplies and the all-important trout tag. Be sure to pin it to your hat or shirt.

Future fish (trout) dinners grow under the watchful eye of Missouri’s Department of Natural Resources.

A coin and turn of the vending machine knob gives you enough pellets to start a brief feeding frenzy. No hooks allowed in this portion of the park.

Caught your limit for the day? How about a tour of the old gristmill? A hike on a well-marked trail? A little time watching children on the playground? Or a friendly chat, trading fish stories, with you temporary neighbors?

Fictional photographer Serena Carter had an adventure worth recording in “Morning Tryst” in this park.

Check it out with a Kindle pre-order here:

Official release date = June 20


Need a Hug?

Personal contact. Physical contract. Touch. Are you aware it is one of the human needs?

Depending on the people you were raised with, the frequency and closeness of hugs varies. In my family of origin, hugs were brief and reserved for special occasions. However, when certain relatives arrived for a visit — you were HUGGED!

Do you remember any particular person’s hugs? For the warmth? The length? The strength?

Kitty will HUG you — and a few of your friends. She may feel a little stiff and cold (depending on the weather), but she means well and will stay still while you photograph loved ones (human and canine) within her paws.


Don’t forget

When touring the zoo — don’t forget to visit the elephants!

Shall we test my memory? How did the six blind men describe the beast?

Very like a wall–said the man who felt the elephant’s side.

No, like a tree — said the one who wrapped his arms around a leg.

Wrong! Like a rope — the man who grasped the tail insisted.

Not at all, more like a fan — said the man holding an ear.

I don’t believe any of you — the beast is like a snake — said the man touching the trunk.

You’re all wrong. This animal is like a spear — said the man rubbing the tusk.

Are they all wrong? Are they all right? Do you remember the first time you saw an elephant?

In Comfort Zone, during a visit to the St. Louis Zoo, Henry Taylor tells elephant stories. Want to read them?


Easy Travel

In these days of pandemic and restricted movement — either self-imposed or otherwise — a person’s mind (at least mine) wants to travel. Let me out of the house, the state, the country, the century!

One cure: A book. Between the covers of a book, you can stay in one place – hope you are safe and warm – and still experience a different place and time.

Let’s see: where have I traveled so far in 2022. Present day suburban St. Louis; present day French Riviera; present day New Jersey; and London in 1703. No packing, no planes, no credit card charges. Simple as can be.

Where do you want to go? Are you unsure? Perhaps a little timid.

This happy animal suggests you travel to Crystal Springs, WI and get acquainted with some of his distant (very distant) relatives in Seed of Desire.

Link to Kindle edition:

This story, and the other Crystal Springs Romances are available at all major on-line retailers for your e-reader or as a paperback.

Happy reading! I’m off to continue my visit to present day Texas.


Travel to Crystal Springs in your Armchair!

Open a book and feel the magic!

Snowed in? Foggy, gloomy day? Kids home sick and miserable? Treat yourself to a visit to another time and/or place.

You won’t find Crystal Springs, WI on a map. This small town lives between book covers, and in your imagination.

Seed of Desire — is the third in the Crystal Springs romance series. This sweet romance introduces Beth and Jackson. And dogs…plenty of dogs.

This and other titles by Ellen Parker are available at all major on-line retailers.

Here’s a like to a popular one: