Monday, June 29, 2009


Today we'll be going to the pet store to see if the baby rats that are in will be going home with us. My middle daughter is very excited to go and see them. My oldest daughter came home with two a few days ago, and they are so playful and cute, it's hard not to pick them up. I’ve never had male rats, so this will be a new experience for us all. That being said, the other two we’ll be getting will be females.

She fondly named them, Ralphie and Dumbo. Ralphie, after the mouse in the movie my daughter had recently watched, The Mouse and the Motorcycle, and Dumbo, of course after the Disney character. By they way, he does have Dumbo ears! He’s so cute!

Adding the new additions to our family has reminded me of the article I had published several years ago, Star of the Pet Shop. They are truly great pets. If ever you’re looking for a smaller pet, please consider owing a pet rat. Just make sure to get them when their really young, and do some reading up on owning them before making your purchase.

Friday, June 26, 2009


By Kym McNabney (Illinois) - See all my reviews

The Pirate and the Puritan is an amazing story written by an amazing writer. I happened across this book, not being the typical book I would have picked to read, and having never heard of, Mary Clayton. I feel truly blessed to have come across her writing.

The Pirate and the Puritan was written, in my eyes, with no flaws. As an inspiriting writer, I was in awe of Ms. Clayton's writing and story telling. Not only was the story of one to be believed, it also kept me on the edge of my seat, eager to find out what would happen next.

I loved the way she wove in faith and morals in a subtle, yet impacting way. She slipped in virtues and morals, yet as in real life, also ones sins. It was refreshing to be allowed to read a novel that is so true to life in that one can be good, and yet struggle with their sins.

I enjoyed the interaction between Edmund and Mercy. Who could not fall in love with Edmund? He is strong and honorable, took charge, yet was protective when need be, and gentle and caring. And who could not help but admire Mercy, whom is spirited, stubborn and kindhearted. I have no doubt that you will fall in love with the main characters, but it may surprise you when a few others seep into your heart.

I sincerely hope Ms. Clayton intends to continue this story. I would love to become entangled in Richard and Soulange's story, as well as learn of Edmund and Mercy's future together.

There is no doubt in my mind that I will purchase more books by Mary Clayton in the future, for she has won my heart in the world of novel writing.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I could not with good conscious say nothing about Farrah Fawcett’s death. Though she was not someone I followed or even admired, she was a famous figure from my younger years. It is sad how we can so quickly dismiss ones death, and move on to another, especially when the next is seemingly more famous or interesting then the other.

Regardless of what I though of Farrah, I felt a certain sadness of what her life had become as well.

My heart goes out to her loved ones.

God rest her soul.


I am truly saddened by the death of Michael Jackson. I was surprised when a reverend friend of Michael’s spoke on the news, almost the exact words I had just thought. It disturbed me to see all those people crowded around the hospital. I couldn’t help but wonder how many of them were there only so they could say they had been. How many of them truly cared about, Michael? What had they thought several years ago, or said to their friends and family when he was going through rough times?

Were they condemning him?

Were they praying for him?

I have always liked Michael Jackson, thought him to be an incredibly talented man. When controversy rose about his life style and later accusations, I never fully bought into it. I know how cruel and inaccurate the media can be. Instead, I felt sorry for him. In my eyes, he was a man in pain. A man with hurts and losses and disappointments. A man that sinned just like you and I, though because he was “Michael Jackson”, he was “suppose” to be perfect.

How awful it is that we so often treat others so poorly until the day they parish from this earth, then all of a sudden we are sorry their gone. It’s too bad we can’t all be more like Jesus, and love and care for our brother and sister no matter their color, social or economical status, or their sins.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the next time we pick up one of those gossipy magazines at the checkout counter, or read or watch the news, that instead of getting a trill off others hard times, we instead pray from them.

May God be with all of Michael Jackson’s loved ones.

God rest his soul.

Monday, June 22, 2009


It seems as though there are never enough hours in the day. It's hard to believe that at one point in my life, years ago when I was much, and I do mean much younger, that I was actually BORED! If only I had the dreams and direction I have now, back them, I can imagine all I could have accomplished. But what is one to do…it’s all part of the process of life.

For now, I have to find a way to fit in more writing time. I really admire all those that have had several books published.

I find for me this is what gets in the way:

-Stuck in my writing.
-Lack of discipline and carving out the time needed to accomplish what I set out to do.

I’m married to a fireman and with that and kids comes an ever-changing schedule. And this is a huge root to my lack of writing time. I’m such an all or nothing persons, and a routine really is what I thrive on. Everyday for me is so different, yet the same in so many ways.

I have the basics like everyday house chores, reading my devotional, my Bible, exercising, but then everything else is up for grabs. It all depends on the kids mostly, and what they have going on…or not.

But because of my love for putting pen to paper, or in my case, fingers to typewriter, I will continue to learn and grow and perfect my writing. I fear the day I’ll have to meet a deadline. I guess this challenge to write, Hearts Crossing, will be a test of some sort. After all it is due by September 30th, 2009. The requirements is for 20,000-25,000 words so that shouldn’t be so difficult.

Should it?

Well God bless, and happy writing to all you writers out there!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


I still haven't filled in all the blanks for the story, Hearts Crossing. I'll need to do so soon, seeing I only have til September to to write, edit and submit it. I did however work some on my Wyoming story. It's so hard when you have one in the making, to stop and start another. I guess only time will tell where God will take me with all of this.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Thought I'd check out one more shot of my bookshelf to see which looks better.

What do you think?

Twitter and Facebook

Yesterday I made the decision to try out Twitter and Facebook for my writing profile. I'm now on both but still trying to figure out how it all works. I've been trying to change the background on my Twitter to a picture of my bookcase I’d taken but it doesn't seem to want to come up. I'm guessing it's too large of a file, yet that doesn't sit right. I checked out Travis Thrasher's site and he has a background of his own making. For those of you who don't know who Travis is, he's an amazing author. Check out some of his books.

Oh well, maybe I'll give it a rest for now and come back to it later. Sometimes a new day can present itself with a clearer head, and things become clearer. Kind of like writing….write, then let it sit before going back to it for revisions.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Like I needed another story to write. I have two completed, yet one needs a major overhaul. The other I thought was ready to go, but I now feel could use some more work. I have three other stories started. And now, I’ve been given the opportunity for write yet another…what is one to do?????

I was really into my one story, tentatively titles, Forgiveness. Around 10,000 words then became stuck. But before I could move past that, my Wyoming story screamed at me from all directions, and that one is at about 8,000 words. Now I’ve been presented with a unique challenge.

A contest, so to speak. The cover of a book, and a premade synopsis. I just have to fill in the blanks. It’s actually pretty exciting. What makes we want to stop my Wyoming story and attempt this one is that you’re only allowed 20,000 to 25,000 words! That could be whipped up relatively quickly. I know from past experienced that writing a full length novel can take a long time. Writing it, yes…but all the countless hours of editing is really what takes its toll on time.
So, I’ve been putting an outline together for the contest story titled, “Hearts Crossing”. Now I just have a few major components to figure out. If I can do that, then I think I’ll go for it, knowing it could be a “quick” write. What do I have to lose?!??!?!?!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Nearing the last day of my visit to Wyoming, I decided to go into the next town and fill up my gas tank. I stopped at the gas station in Guernsey, filled up then started back to, Hartville. Though, I didn’t make it very far. At the last minute I spotted a sign that pointed in the direction on the Oregon Trail Wagon Ruts. I had heard about them, and was mildly intrigued to go there. Since I had time, and here was the sign pointing the way, I went.

After stopping to see the Wagon Ruts from years ago, I was glad that I’d stopped. I actually stepped down onto the rutted path, having an eerie sensation shoot through me as I thought of the families that had traveled this very path so long ago.

On the way out from the ruts, I encountered another sign. This one pointed to the, Registered Cliff. Not sure what that was all about, I proceeded to follow the signs. I past by an Army training base, which was pretty cool to see so close, having only previously seen one on TV.

When I rounded the road then turned onto a path that lead over a cattle guard, a large stone wall came into sight. Not knowing what I would be encountering, I parked my van and got out. There, along side the massive cliff, carved into its side were names and dates and states. Some new and some dating back as far as the 1800’s. Once again I was quickly swept back in time.

Up above I spotted what appeared to be mud balls with small circular openings. I was bewildered, but not for long. Soon I realized they were homes to the birds swarming overhead.

After my visit to the Wagon Ruts and the Register Cliff, I started back to Hartville, once again. As I passed through the town of Guernsey, I spotted a tiny library. On a whim I pulled around the corner and parked my van. I waited outside with a few others, awaiting the Librarian. It wasn’t long before she scurried towards the library, letting us know she was sorry she was late. Small towns seemed to be that way…laid back, and all.

As I stepped into the tiny library, I asked the Librarian if they had any history on Wyoming. Of course they did, just not material that I could take with me. I headed to the back of the library, searching for books they may have for sale. The Liberian noticed I was searching for something and asked if I needed any help. She directed me to the section of the shelf that held books that were for sale.

The Liberian jotted off to help, but later returned to where I was still scanning the shelf for books. One word led to another and she’d told me they had published author’s right there in, Wyoming. I’d asked her their names, wanting to write them down so I could look them up later. She then excused herself. I figured she was going to jot them down for me.

Several long minutes later the Liberian returned, but not with the scrap paper holding the authors names as I expected…but with one of the authors! So I was introduced to one of Wyoming’s authors, K.B. Ross.

For nearly two hours we talked about writing, her books, her family and Wyoming. I I learned small bits of her journey in writing her books, along with other interesting facts such as how the covers came about. She was kind enough to go home and get a few of the books she had so I could purchase them…complete with autograph, of course. She even sold me one of the libraries copies since I had shown an interest in that particular book and she didn’t have an extra copy.

So all in all, it was another amazing day in Wyoming.

Monday, June 8, 2009


This is what I woke up to the next morning! That's right. As I slowly made my way from the bedroom, four large picture windows stood before me with this to fill them! What a treat after arriving in utter darkness.

Here’s looking down on the ranch from my yurt.

This is inside my yurt. Amazing, huh. Kind of like being in a cabin out in the wilderness. And I had the whole place to myself; compete with a fully functioning kitchen.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


I’m back from Wyoming! I had an amazing time. As soon as I get settled, and back on track, I’ll add some updates to what I did while there. For now, I hope you enjoy a few pictures I took.

This is the sunset, overlooking the yurt, where I stayed on the ranch.

This is looking down on the ranch from my yurt.

Monday, June 1, 2009


Yesterday was an eventful day. It started out by getting up early, walking the dogs, cleaning out the cat boxes then heading off to town for church.

I'd debated the night before if I was going to go. I knew that if I were to go to church, it had to be in, Hartville. I wanted the experience for my book as much as I wanted to see what a small town church was like. Not to mention the fact that I rarely miss a Sunday.

I arrived in the small town, parked my van and assumed the little building on the right was the church I'd go to. The doors were closed and there didn't appear to be any lights on. I glanced to the left and saw the church across the street stood with its doors wide open, as if inviting anyone who cared to enter.

I ascended the few concrete stairs, and stepped into the building. I was momentarily blinded by the dim candled light and the contrast from the sunlight I'd just exited. The room was smaller then I'd imagined with only ten or so pews on either side of the narrow room.

As I slowly made my way to the front, I glanced at the few people occupying the pews. A few on this side, and a few on that side. I quietly took my seat on the left, a few pews from the front. An older coupled sat just in front of me. It didn't take long for a few others to straggle in. A few here, and a few there...and a do mean a few.

A woman entered the building and made her way to a pew across from me. She looked my way and smiled. It wasn't long before she made her way over to introduce herself. She asked where I was from, and one word lead to another, and before I knew it she'd offered to sit along side me to help me thought the service.

As the service started, I quickly realized what a blessing it was to have the woman offer her assistance. We quickly flipped from an old Hymn book, to the handout program I received at the door, to the “Bible” they used for readings.

Later in the service everyone shook hands, offering God's peace to one and all. Not a one of them missed a soul...though there couldn't have been more then ten of us. That's right, ten! And here I come from a church that seats 7,000, in just the main auditorium. Quite a shock, to say the least.

When they took communion, breaking of the bread, I made the decision to participate. It was not done in the fashion I had been accustom to in my home church. As I made my way to the front of the church, I looked to others for what to do. I knelt as they all had, and waited to be handed a piece of the bread. When I noticed they'd all sipped from the same cup, I sucked in my shock and threw all caution to the wind. And that I did.

When I looked into the silver goblet in front of me, I was surprised to see what appeared to be water. I was shocked when I took a sip, and to my utter surprise, found it to be wine!!!!! I hadn't had a sip of alcohol in over ten choice...and it wasn't even noon, yet! You can imagine my shock.

After the service many came up to me to find out who I was and where I came from. How long I'd be there. An incredibly sweet group. I talked to the man who is the “main pastor” (not sure of his title). He explained to me about how many of the neighboring towns can't afford to hire a full time pastor (or bishop, not sure which they are referred as), and so they have a handful of they that travel, helping the other churches out. Inside, he looked to be like anyone else I might have seen around my town. One outside, he wore a black Stetson. I couldn't help myself. I had to look down to see it he was wearing cowboy boots, and sure enough he was.

He told me about the church and a few other things regarding the area. He's lived in the very same house he was born in, and his wife’s father lives next door. A 92 year old man who could tell much of the history of the area, if one was willing to listen.

I headed across the street, a few steps away, to the tiny building I'd originally thought to be the church. Come to find out the church had purchased it for a hall for meetings and gatherings. I spoke to several people, was given information on the history of the church, before sitting down with a woman that was all too eager to fill me in with whatever information she could offer.

I was trilled, and yet sadden, to find they have a Barn Dance, not too far from Hartville. I would be in only a few weeks after I'd be leaving. I was thrilled at the thought that such a thing still just can't know what that did to my entire being. And saddened that I'd missed it. But God always knows what's best, and if I'd gone there, there'd be a good chance I'd never returned to Illinois.

I also learned that on Fathers day, in a town called, Esterbrook, they have what is called, Buckboard Sunday. From what I recall, people come from neighboring towns by foot, horse or buggy. There's a small wooden cabin with no electricity or running water. They worship together, and when they're done, they turn in all the pews to the middle of the room with tables lined in the middle. Everyone offers a dish they brought, and they all sit down to eat.

When their bellies are full, the instruments are brought out. They sing and dance, young and old. I just have to return, purposely planning to be here for both the events.

As if that wasn't enough I headed out to a neighboring town, then turned around and headed in the opposite direction to, Fort Laramie. There I visited a old fort. Now that was packed full of history. Many pictures were taken to capture the way of life from over a hundred years ago.

I then headed back to town, though along the way I'd remembered being told about Hartville's cemetery. I passed it up, for it looked so remote and uninviting. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to, so I turned around and headed back.

I turned onto a narrow dirt road, wondering if I were trespassing. I passed a wooden post sticking up with a black cowboy boot sticking out from either side. A few more feet and I spotted a large wooden boot that read, Boot Hill Cemetery. It was very uninviting, surrounded by rusted bob wire, tall grass and no entrance to be seemed.

I proceed up a little further where an iron arch with the words, Hartville Cemetery, beckoned me in. I slowly proceeded forward along the dirt path glancing to the right, then to the left. There were Grave stones of many different styles, some with artificial flowers, and some without. It was fascinating to see a few here, and a few there, surrounded in antique fencing.

As I got out of my van, camera draped over my shoulder, I proceeded slowly, looking at the dates. There were many dated as far back as the later 1800's, early 1900's. It struck me deep within that some gravestones were modern, ones I'm accustom to seeing with names and dates. But the ones that struck me the most were those that were merely a rock. A rock. A small boulder. That's it. No inscription. It was as if someone picked up a rock from over yonder and placed it there. The only indication that it was a grave site was the plastic flowers someone has carefully stuck in the ground beside it.

As if all this hadn't been enough for one day, as I entered the main street of Hartville, I decided to see if the bar I had gone to on Friday night was opened. I had wanted to go back and get a few pictures, mainly of the brandings on the wall. Until a few days ago, I haven't been in a bar in years, so when I approached and saw the line of Harley's outside, I had to wonder what I was doing.

Once again with camera strapped over my shoulder, getting closer, I noticed the metal sign hanging above. I was wrong in my earlier thinking that it was the oldest bar in Hartville. It's the oldest bar in Wyoming! How cool is that?!?!?.

I turned the brass knob, and entered the building, immediately seeing two of the women who worked their on Friday. I knew I must have looked the part of a tourist with my camera. I didn't want to cause any worry, so I explained what I was doing and why. They were all too happy to allow me to take pictures and fill me in with whatever information they had. I was able to purchase a book about all the ghost towns in Wyoming, including, Hartville.

Now it was after three, and I still hadn't eaten since early that morning. Feeling as though I had my fill for the day, I headed back to the Kindness Ranch, where I knew I'd want to sit at my lap top and capture everything I'd just experienced.