Tags: birding, Birds, Books, dogs, family, Florida, herons, Humor, life, manatees, nature, publishing, Reading, wildlife, Writing
Love is in the air!
Each spring our back yard becomes a nursery/rookery for the manatees and night herons.
Here are a few pics of the returning wildlife. We’re up to eight night heron nests and two extended families of manatees. (Seven in one “herd” and five in the other.) When all twelve are cavorting around our narrow canal we need to install a traffic light. Some weigh well over 500 pounds. In addition two green heron nests are sandwiched in between the night herons.
Here’s a brief film clip of manatees being manatees.
The night herons normally do a good job of hiding their nests so it takes some real concentration to find them camouflaged in the mangroves. We have an exception this year. The pair are real exhibitionists. The Geezer calls them Madonna and Justin. Here are some pics.
Ain’t love grand?
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Tags: Book Events, Books, editors, fiction, Florida, Humor, life, Port Charlotte, publishing, Punta Gorda, Reading, Writing
I enjoy going to book festivals, art and author events, and speaking appearances that the Geezer attends. It’s fun to meet the readers (and get petted by most of them) and watch the flood of people that pass by. This event, the Port Charlotte Family Book Fair, is one that is new, but will certainly will grow in the future. It has a beautiful setting in Bayshore Park located on Charlotte Harbor and most importantly it has great folks organizing and promoting it. In the picture above is the “father” of this event, James Abraham. May every community be fortunate to be blessed to have a man like James working to improve it. James has “invented” literary events before like the Dearborn Street Book Fair in Englewood, FL. He is a high character individual that wants to help the folks in his community. Nancy Staub handled the History Day program for Florida Gulf Coast University and did an outstanding job of administering the presentations. She had three excellent authors (obviously- The Geezer aka DL Havlin was there.), a fine facility, and a large attendance. Kudos to Nancy! I’m running behind with my blog posts and so is the Geezer. He’s been at the keyboard non-stop recently. He has three books in process, has entered two contests, is taking a class, and is preparing for teaching three. I have to fight to get my paws on the board. Until I can get back on the computer……………
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Tags: Books, bourbon, dogs, family, fiction, Humor, life, publishing, Reading, Writing
A couple weeks ago Kate Colby’s (she’s a wonderful author) feline friend, Thomas and I exchanged posts. (I Recommend a visit to her webpage – katecolby.com ) It was in regard to wine and book selection post from her site. You’ve read Thomas guest post here regarding what it’s like to be an author’s kitty. I asked the Geezer, to do the post for me for his wine selections, he said, “Sandy, I’m not a wine connoisseur. I’m more just a sewer. I’ll give connecting bourbon to books a try. I know more about them.” Here’s his list (and post) giving the book, author, booze, and bottler. Yep, they’re all real. Fact is, I’ve … Hic … tried … Hic, Hic … a few.Battle Cry – Leon Uris Semper Fi Corn Whiskey – Ascendant Spirits
How could you not select this bourbon to sip while reading this tale about Marines in WWII. Hell, I can see High-Pockets holding an aluminum cupful in a fox hole.
Deliverance – James Dickey Midnight Moon Moonshine – Piedmont Distillers
Crank up Earl Scruggs’ recording of “Dueling Banjos,” pour the booze from the bottle into a clay jug, tip it up, and turn the pages of a book that ended more than one person’s desire to canoe and camp in the mountains.
The Help – Kathyrn Strockett Jack Daniels – Jack Daniel’s Distillery
Quality bourbon for a quality book. Besides, this is the brand bourbon I can see Skeeter drinking, sitting in a New York City apartment, wishing she was back in Mississippi.
The Girl in the Train – Paula Hawkins Mattingly & Moore – Heaven Hill Distillery
Mattingly and Moore sounds like a London accounting house where this psychological thriller is set. With all the twists, turns, complications, and betrayals a few doubles will keep you relaxed.
City of Thieves – Daniel Benioff Old Grand-Dad – Jim Beam Distillery
This bourbon has been around a long time just like the protagonist chronicled in this tale of the misery that was the siege of Leningrad. It’s the fictionalized story of the author’s knife-fighting grand-dad. Three shots recommended, it has some tough emotional reading in it.
To Kill A Mocking Bird – Harper Lee Rebel Yell – Heaven Hill Distillery
One of my favorite books and bourbons. How more appropriate than drinking a glass of Rebel Yell when listening for the fading echo of a sound that provided the framework for this great novel’s time and place.
A River Runs Through It – Norman Maclean Wild Turkey – Wild Turkey Distillery
Smooth to the point of perfection. The book or the bourbon? Both! If you’ve not read Norman Maclean’s writing, do it. He defines the art!
Gone With The Wind – Margret Mitchell Southern Comfort – Southern Comfort Company
Well shut my mouth and call me Rhett. Visualize Scarlet sitting on Tara’s front porch pourin’ and a pourin’ and a pourin’ till, well, this smooth tastin’ bourbon is a good medicine for a guilty conscience and a sleeping pill.
Tom Sawyer – Mark Twain Old Rip Van Winkle – Buffalo Trace Distillery
Like Twain’s prose this whiskey flows smoothly but has a kick you can’t ignore. Besides, I love the brand Name … it sounds so literary.
Scandalous Behavior – Stuart Woods Fighting Cock – Heaven Hill Distillery
Ahhhhhh … the hero wants a peaceful rest in the English hinter lands. However, relations with the neighbors create a situation closer to converting him into this bourbon’s brand name. With neighbors like he has, a pint of the product in the morning and evening is recommended
Message in a Bottle, The Choice, etc. – Nicholas Sparks Four Roses – Four Roses Distillery
Nickolas Sparks! You read his books and they all have two things in common. Their similarities produce déjà vu. And you fall in love with each one of them. Drinking Four Roses is the same, you never quite get enough.
The Mermaids Chair – Sue Monk Kidd Cougar – MGP Indiana /or/ Firefly Moonshine – Firefly Distillery
This family tale wound around a woman’s mid-life crisis and fling takes place on the Carolinas coast. That’s where Firefly Moonshine is made and I couldn’t resist mentioning Cougar Bourbon even though it’s only sold in Australia and New Zealand. Cougar is so appropriate to describe the books heroine.
Happy elbow bending or paw tipping. Or …Hic … Whatever … Hic … Hic
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Tags: animal tales, Books, Cats, dogs, editors, family, Humor, life, publishing, Reading, Writing
Read Thomas’ description of life as a lady author’s cat.
The Five Best Things about Being the Cat of an Author
Hello, everyone! My name is Thomas, and my human, Kate, is an author. I’m sure Sandy has shared lots of stories about what it’s like to be the canine companion of one of these odd humans. However, I thought you all might like to know a bit more about the feline side. So, without any ado (I’ve got to catch my afternoon cat nap!), here are my favorite things about having an author for my human:
- I get to help!
Sometimes, Kate sits down with her laptop to write and the words get stuck in her brain. Just when she thinks about giving up for the night, it’s Tommy to the rescue! I’m the perfect size to crawl up in her lap and lay on top of her arms. With me being so sweet (and pinning her hands to the keyboard), she can’t help but keep working.
- Procrastination = Tommy Time
Whenever Kate is trying to avoid working on her author business, I reap the benefits. She’ll bustle around the apartment, cleaning my litterbox, gathering my misplaced toys, and giving me fresh food and water. It’s like having my own personal maid. Now I’ve just got to train her to sprinkle a few kitty treats on top of the regular food …
- She’s easy to cuddle.
Much of Kate’s author “research” involves reading other books (especially those in her genres – science fiction and fantasy). Most of the time, she reads in the bed (that is, in my bed), propped up against the pillows. While she takes up more room than I’d like, it’s the perfect time to get my cuddle fix and a few good ear scratchings.
- It’s all about me.
Kate says that her career goal is to be a full-time author, so that she can stay home with me all day long. If that isn’t devotion from a human, I don’t know what is! I know she’ll get there and that’s not just my feline loyalty talking. She is really good – all you have to do is read some of her work.
- I’m on the fast track to fame!
Part of Kate’s author work includes social media and sending an email newsletter. Often, she likes to take pictures of me to share with her growing readership. (Probably because I’m way more photogenic than she is … and who doesn’t love cats?!) I’m a frequent star on her Instagram, Facebook, and I even get to make a few appearances on the blog. Give it a couple years, and I’ll have my own YouTube series. Just you wait!
If you’d like to learn more about Kate (and me!), you can visit her author website at www.KateMColby.com. And don’t forget to follow her on social media to see all my adorable photos!
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Tags: Books, dogs, editors, family, Humor, life, Media, publishing, Reading, Writing
MY FIRST GUEST POST. Thomas, my feline friend, invited me to post on Poet and Novelist Kate Colby’s blog page. Thomas will be posting on my blog this Saturday! I’m excited.
I researched the post by questioning my human, the Geezer, and having him select the proper bourbon to drink while reading some of his favorite books. Bourbon and Books can be read by visiting Kate’s site. www.katecolby.com . After you get that far, click the “Boxthorn Press” block and it will get you there.
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Tags: Books, Cruising, dogs, editors, family, fiction, Humor, life, publishing, Reading, Writing
He’s back home after his cruise. That’s the Geezer. He must of had a very good time; the smile he’s wearing is extraordinarily wide. (His mouth corners contact his earlobes.) I’ve seen that once before … when he happened upon a famous female movie star skinny dipping on an isolated beach. That took two weeks to disappear. It means three things happened on the trip. First, he enjoyed the food. Second, Mrs. G had a good time (He doesn’t if she doesn’t). Third, his seminar must have been a smashing success!
I’ve had a lot of interest in what Mrs. G looks like. Why, I’ve been asked, is there never any pictures of her. Simple … she’s normally the one taking them. But, at last, I have a picture of her taken on the Enchantment of the Seas.
I’m speaking to him again. He’s doing the appropriate amount of groveling, and I intend to keep under my paw as long as possible. I doubt he’ll leave me behind on one of his fun trips any time soon.
He’s getting ready for a busy February and March – he has speaking and book signings fifteen different places. It includes libraries and a university appearance. The old boy prepares hard for these. I’m sure he’ll grease up the gears grinding in that old mind of his. Check his calendar of events on his webpage at http://www.dlhavlin.com if you want to hear him, see him or throw things at him.
Oh yes, I’m enjoying my sirloin and I have two more weeks to go!
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Tags: Agents, Books, cruises, dogs, editors, family, Humor, life, publishing, Reading, traveling, Writing
Just when believe you can trust a person’s word you get crushed! I had finally decided my HUMAN is a magnanimous king. I’ll need to reconsider, the Geezer is only a court jester.
He promised he’d take me with him on his speaking trips when he traveled. He speaks with forked tongue. He’s full of it. Hot air. Bull shit. He’s the cat that ate the canary. He’s … He’s … He’s … I was going to say he’s as bad as a politician, but nobody’s that low except for one of those professional liars.
The Geezer had told me, “Sandy, this year I’m going to take you with me when I go on book signing trips and personal appearances every time I’ll be gone for a few days. You love riding in the car. You do fine in the hotels and I can find places that don’t discriminate against canines. You’re on the travel team!”
“Woofee!!!” I said.
Guess what? The first trip of the year and I’m going to be left with the dog sitter. Isn’t that a pile human manure? The conversation went like this:
“Sandy, may I talk to you?” He had that I’m about to steal your favorite toy look plaster all over his ancient wrinkled gnarly face.
I said, “No, I don’t want to buy the Brooklyn Bridge. I don’t care how much of a discount you’re giving me.”
He looked at the floor like (to quote an old southern slang saying), an egg suckin’ dog. “I … well … Mrs. G and I … a … well … and … you know I’m speaking this weekend.” He stammered and turned pink. “I’m going to have to leave you home.”
“What! What!” I ran to the bedroom to try to get under the bed. I hadn’t done that since I was a pup. It didn’t work. There’s a big difference getting a twelve pound puppy body under that frame than my current eighty-five pound carcass. “How could you?” I said as he followed me.
“I didn’t have a choice … I forgot that the first over-nighter is a cruise.” A cruise? A cruise! He saw my now really disappointed expression. “Sandy, they won’t let me take you. It’s rules you know.”
“That’s no excuse, you could sneak me aboard in a suitcase. I won’t let out a whimper.”
The Geezer looked guilty of dog-slaughter. “I don’t have a big enough suitcase.”
I said, “Buy a bigger one.”
“I don’t know where to find one.” His face changed to 2nd degree dogacide. “Besides … think about it. There’s no grass.”
“I can back up to the railing. I’ll just feed the fishes.”
Now his sad schmuck face was guilty in the first degree. “Think of getting seasick. It would be terrible.”
I pouted a few seconds then exclaimed, “Chihuahua SHIT!”
He looked so bad; it was time. I waited for what I knew would come. “I feel so bad Sandy. What can I do to make it up to you?”
I answered, “Shall we say sirloin for two weeks?”
Note: the Geezer is off for a sail and will teach a seminar. Visit his web site, http://www.dlhavlin.com for details.
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Tags: Birds, Books, dogs, Florida, Humor, life, nature, New Years, publishing, Reading, wildlife, Writing
Happy New Year! 2016 is here, lets hope it is better than 2015. On to more happy things. I’m looking forward to changes for the better.
One of the things I enjoy most about blogging and reading blogs are all the trips I can make around the world without ever leaving my keyboard. The pictures that accompany the posts are wonderful bits of shared … vision … knowledge … and in cases, emotion. I’ve enjoyed Holland, Australia, Germany, Sweden, Singapore, Italy, England and many more destinations. That doesn’t include all the fascinating places that I’ve been transported to in the States. Yosemite. Zion National Park. New York City. San Francisco. The Grand Tetons. Seattle. Kansas City. The North Carolina Mountains. And, hundreds more!
Since I’ve enjoyed so many of these mini-journeys, I’ve decided to show you what my area is all about in pictures. Here’s a sampling of what I see and do with the Geezer and Mrs. G in our area.
Above are some of my bird buddies. Below are some critters we share space with.
The Geezer, Mrs. G, and I like to:
When we do those things here’s what we see.
If you’d like to visit with the Geezer and me, go to his blog at http://www.dlhavlin.wordpress.com for his schedule. I’ll be accompanying him on outdoor events!
Don’t know about you, but … I’m tired of the negativity, the group think, the political correctness, and the division of everything into two opposing forces. Let’s hope a huge broom sweeps away a lot of our problems AND the people causing them this year.
Again HAPPY NEW YEAR!
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Tags: Agents, Books, Christmas, dogs, editors, family, fiction, funny stories, holidays, Humor, life, publishers, publishing, Reading, Reviews, Writing
Well, the Geezer has done it again. He’s posted his laughter inducing classic, “Claus and the Consultant.” This thoroughly enjoyable read is posted on (linked for your convenience) www.dlhavlin.wordpress.com If the season is getting hectic, and you need to renew your positive attitude with some humor, DON’T MISS READING IT! And, PLEASE, share it with your friends. Everyone can use an attitude adjustment at the end of this year.
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Tags: Books, Christmas, dogs, family, holidays, Humor, life, publishing, Reading, Writing
Woof! Woof! Each year I like to tell a Christmas Story. This year it has a message … a positive one! Please share with your pups, family and friends.
A Christmas Story in the park.
Hi. I’m Sandy the Golden Retriever. I want to tell you a story.
Each day my human takes me to the park. We meet some interesting people there … and we get to watch what they do. That’s how we got to know Sam, and the Wilson kids.
Sam is an old fellow who spends most every afternoon sitting in the park. He comes there to feed the birds. The old man doesn’t seem to have anything else to do. Sam is short, plump, and bald. I like to think his hair slipped ten inches because he has a long white beard and a mustache. He always has a big bag or two with him. The bags are loaded with goodies for his bird friends. All the birds in the park and the surrounding neighborhood know Sam and flock to him when they see him walking toward his favorite long bench. It is right across Main Street from Miller’s Department Store.
The Wilson kids like to hang around the same area. Billy is five. He loves to play “fetch” with me and his sister, who is a very wise ten, is one of the greatest dog petting people in the world. Trina knows just how to scratch behind my ears. Both the Wilsons love to feed the birds. I don’t chase the pigeons, starlings, and sparrows because Sam, the Wilson children, my human and me are all friends. We spend a lot of time sitting together and talking.
It gets cold where we live … very cold in December. The Wilsons don’t seem to mind the cold. They don’t wear heavy coats like most folks. Both Sam and my human have suggested they should dress warmer, but Trina and Billy never want to talk about it.
The leaves had all fallen, some patches of snow were scattered on the ground, and Christmas decorations filled Miller’s Department store. It was the day before Christmas. We were all seated on the bench feeding the birds from Sam’s huge bag of day-old bread. Little patches of white fog marked each breathe we took. The birds ate so much they could hardly fly. Sam said, “I think we need to stop feeding our buddies. I’m afraid some of them might pop.”
“Do we have to?” Billy was disappointed. I think he’d like to see a bird pop.
“Billy, Sam is right. Besides we can go look at what’s in Miller’s windows before they take everything out after Christmas.” Trina grabbed her brother’s hand and tried to pull him from the bench.
Billy resisted. “Awwww, I don’t want to. It makes me sad.”
My human asked, “Sad? Why does it make you sad?”
Trina answered, “Because he knows we’ll never get those things. Mama can’t afford it.”
“What does he want?” Sam asked.
“The train set with the yellow engine.” Trina tugged on Billy’s hand, half pulling him off the bench.
“You seem anxious to go look. What do you want from the window?” Sam smiled. “It must be important.”
“A cell phone. I don’t care which one. I want to call my friends and have them call me. I get left—” Trina didn’t finish her sentence.
Sam rubbed his beard for a few seconds. “Have you tried to ask Santa?”
“I would, but Mama doesn’t have time to take us. She’s too busy working this time of year.” Billy looked enthusiastic. Trina just smirked.
“You don’t have to see him in person. Just ask, he’ll hear,” Sam said.
“I don’t think so,” Billy said, “I’ve tried that before and it doesn’t work.”
“Will you walk me across the street?” Trina asked her brother.
Billy snorted, shrugged, and got off the bench. He walked to the street. Trina started to walk with him, but ran back for a second and whispered, “Don’t get his hopes up. He’ll never get it.” She raced back to catch Billy before he crossed the street.
My human shook his head. “What size coats do you think they wear, Sam?”
“The boy wears a size 4 the girl a 9. I’d buy them a size or two larger.”
My human nodded. “I hope they get something for Christmas that they want.”
Sam remained silent for several seconds before saying, “I want them to get something more important than a train set or a cell phone.”
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Christmas afternoon my human and I were walking in the park when Billy and Trina ran up to us. Both wore new coats that were a little large. Their smiles were wide, but not as wide as the one on my human’s face. I figured out what the two of us had left outside the Wilson’s door. I barked to let them know, but my human just said, “Shsssh.”
We walked to the bench and our Friend Sam was already there. He looked tired, but happy. Two huge bags rested at his feet. “Merry Christmas,” he said as we approached. We answered, “Merry Christmas.”
“The bakery had an extra-large supply of bread to throw away and I intend to see the birds have a great Christmas, too.” Sam patted one of the bags.
Billy plopped down on the bench next to Sam and yelled, “Hooray.” My human and Trina sat on Sam’s other side.
Sam said, “Those are big Christmas smiles.”
“Yep, look at our coats,” Billy said.
“They’re so nice and warm,” Trina added.
“Well that’s good,” Sam got a serious look on his face. “I thought you’d be disappointed.”
“Why?” Trina asked.
Because Santa made a mistake and delivered some of your presents to my house.” Sam opened the second bag lying at his feet. He handed a large gaily wrapped package to Billy and small one to Trina. The wrapping paper tore easily and soon Billy was admiring his new train set … with a yellow engine. Trina held her I-phone in her hand with a grip so tight her fingers turned white. Tears entered her eyes and my humans. And, I admit, mine. Trina looked at Sam and said, “Thank you.”
“Oh, don’t thank me. These really came from Santa. Look,” Sam slid his fingers over the cell and a message appeared. He handed the phone to Trina and she read the e-mail.
“From: S. Claus … To: Billy and Trina Wilson …
I hope you enjoy the wrapped presents. I have two more gifts for you that are far more important. One is hope. The other is belief. As long as you keep these two things in your hearts and minds, anything is possible in your lives.”