Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Snake in the Grass, A short story

Some years ago, I was on my knees pulling weeds from around the Indian hawthorn in our front flowerbed. I heard something rustling in the bushes but thought nothing of it, probably one of those lizards. Tired, sweating, face red as a beet, I needed a break so went inside for a minute.

When I came back out, a snake – a huge one, slid out of the bushes heading across the yard. It was at least a yard long, if not a yard and a half, and fat – as big around as my forearm. I was considerably thinner back then. I didn’t have a clue what kind it was, but with all the children who played in our yard, I had to swallow my cowardly fear and protect the home front.

I went inside and let my six-year-old son look out the window to see the snake with orders to stay inside. In the bedroom, I slipped on my husband’s cowboy boots, they were lovely with my shorts and tee shirt, and headed for the storage building for a hoe. Fully armed, I tromped back through the house heading for the front door.

My son went out to stand on the porch and watch. As I cautiously approached the snake from behind, it raised its head and made a sound similar to a rattlesnake. I didn’t see any rattles on its tail. So I crept up a little closer, and its head rose again. By this time, my son was frantic, tugging on my clothes. “Mama, don’t do that. Come back.”

“I can’t leave it out here where you kids play. It could me poisonous.”

“Go get Mr. Byrd.” This was our neighbor two doors down. On the other side of our house was a street and field.

His advice made sense but the snake could get away before I got back. Taking a deep breath, I charged forward and whacked the snake right behind the head. I jumped back and it hissed some more though its head wasn’t cooperating now. I dashed in for another blow but the creature still didn’t die.

Hoe in hand, my son inside looking through the glass door, I headed down the street for Mr. Byrd. He came back with me and stared disgustedly at the snake before striking the killing blow.
“That’s a bull snake. You don’t kill them, they’re harmless and eat mice.”

“Well, how was I to know? I’m not up on snakes, and I was worried for the kids’ sake.”

But, being a science teacher at the local university, he was. With the hoe, he picked the snake up, carried it across the road, and tossed it in the field.

I thanked him profusely. He handed me the hoe, shook his head, and went home leaving me feeling like an idiot. When my husband got home, I got the same lecture. Go figure. You can’t win sometimes.

Today is the last day to comment for the April drawing, so leave a comment. Do you have a snake story to share?

Happy Reading and thanks for stopping by.

Linda LaRoque ~ Western Romance with a Twist in Time.
Forever Faithful, Investment of the Heart 5-09, When the Ocotillo Bloom, 7-09, Champagne Books; A Law of Her Own, Desires of the Heart, My Heart Will Find Yours 5-09, Flames on the Sky 10-23-09 from TWRP.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Molly is one spoiled dog!

Three years ago I'd have laughed if someone told me I'd be so attached to a dog that I'd let it get on the bed with me. Dog hair on my bed! No way.

Then three years ago in June, while out of town, we stopped at Walmart for a gift. At the exit, cars were lined up with people selling puppies. I'd been wanting a dog for several years, but kept telling myself we didn't need one. One sign said, "Free." On impulse, I said, "Stop, just let me look."

Well, it was the full grown dogs that were free, the puppies were $10.00. They were six weeks old. I held a male. He was a cutie but I swore to never have a male dog again. It just so happened they had a female and the lady was so desperate for a home for them she let me have her free.

On the 100 mile trip home, I couldn't believe what I'd done, but with Molly cuddled up close to me, I knew I'd done the right thing. Of course, the vet bill was high. She had two kinds of worms, needed shots, medicine, and heart worm pills. Then there was the kennel, dog food bowls, toys and the list goes on.

Our son was living with us at the time and he loved to say, "Molly, if Mama hadn't taken you, you'd be decomposing on the side of the road somewhere." I hate to think her situation would have been that bad, but do know she's brought lots of joy to our house. And comfort during some difficult times.

In the picture above, you see her sitting in my husband's lap with what we call her cigar. It's a rawhide chew bone that she carts out with her and then back in again. She hides it in corners in plain site. It's funny but gives her pleasure.

This past fall, somehow she talked me into letting her on the bed. I like to take a nap in the afternoons and would insist she get in her bed. But, that day I couldn't resist those soulful eyes. Now at nap time, she snuggles in beside me and I pull the opposite edge of the comforter over her. Of course, now I have to wash the comforter more often, but she's worth it.

Here she is all tucked in. The flash woke her up. I think I've created a monster. If I can't find her, she's most likely on the bed. Guess I'll have to close the bedroom door.

We're leaving for a trip to West Texas Thursday morning early so she'll be going to the kennel. She knows the people there and has other dogs to play with but I know she'd rather be home.

Yep, Molly is one spoiled dog, but we love her. She gives loads of love in return.

Do you have a pet? Leave a comment and tell us about your animal or animals. Remember, I have a drawing once a month from the comments. The winner will receive their choice of one of my ebooks.

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading!

Linda LaRoque ~ Western Romance with a Twist in Time.
Forever Faithful, Investment of the Heart 5-09, When the Ocotillo Bloom, 7-09, Champagne Books; A Law of Her Own, Desires of the Heart, My Heart Will Find Yours 5-09, Flames on the Sky 10-23-09 from TWRP.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

And The Winner Is!!!

Hywela Lyn is the winner of my daily drawing for the TISKET-A-TASKET Easter contest. Lyn, you have a choice of Forever Faithful, or my short stories Desires of the Heart or A Law of Her Own. If you don't mind waiting until May 1st, you can add My Heart Will Find Yours or Investment of the Heart to the list. Email me at and let me know which one.

MarthaE if you're reading this, please email me at the above address so I can send you Recipe for Romance, Vol. 1 for becoming a follower.

Readers, remember I have a drawing every month for an ebook of your choice so please keep the comments coming. I'll draw on the 1st of every month.

Thanks for reading!
Linda LaRoque ~ Western Romance with a Twist in Time.
Forever Faithful, Investment of the Heart 5-09, When the Ocotillo Bloom, 7-09, Champagne Books; A Law of Her Own, Desires of the Heart, My Heart Will Find Yours 5-09, Flames on the Sky 10-23-09 from TWRP.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A TISKET A TASKET, Put Romance in Your Basket - Contest

SPRING IS IN THE AIR. The weather is warmer, the grass is turning green, and trees are budding. Though in Texas, the smell of cool autumn nights spell high school football, the floral scents of the warming air in spring signifies the wildflowers that line the highways and byways.

Here are a few of my favorites. In March and April, bluebonnets line roads, large and small, including the interstate highways. Nothing is more beautiful than a pasture filled with the blue flowers with a few other species interspersed to add texture and color.

Here are red Indian paintbrush amid a field of bluebonnets and other wildflowers.

To the right, a field of Indian blankets. This reminds me of the pasture next to my grandmother's house on her farm.

Yards are also filling with color. Two of my favorite small shrubs are the Indian Hawthorn and the fragrant red Knock Out Roses shown below.

After nature's beautiful spring display, Easter follows. How appropriate that God decorates earth for the celebration of His Son's resurrection.

Leave a comment and tell me about your favorite spring flowers, tradition, or celebration. I'll choose a winner from among those leaving a note. The winner can chose a pdf copy of any of my current releases.

If you FOLLOW my blog, I'll send you a pdf copy of Recipe for Romance shown in the top left hand corner.


Spring is in the air! Bees are buzzing. Children anxiously await the big morning where they can graze on candy all day. What about mom? We've got a treat for you! Come join a group of romance authors in celebration of spring. Enter to win a prize a day as well as enter to win the grand prize. All you need do is begin at Silver James' blog on April 1st at ___. Silver will host the day's contest and provide the link to the next day's location. Don't forget to enter to win the grand prize! Here's the dirt... A TISKET A TASKET, PUT ROMANCE IN YOUR BASKET Grand Prize:To enter to win prizes from the authors donating treasures to the grand prize (see each day's post for what an author is donating to the grand prize), find the four Easter eggs in the A TISKET A TASKET, PUT ROMANCE IN YOUR BASKET blog event. You will be searching for the above egg. The one posted here does not count. Just visit all of the authors' websites, locate the 4 eggs, make a list of their locations by pasting the urls to the website pages in an e-mail, then send the entry to by midnight CST on May 1st, 2009. The winner will be randomly drawn and announced May 2nd at Tip #1, subscribe to to learn if you're the winner! And don't worry. If you start in on the blog event late, just head back to Silver James' blog on April 1st at to begin your website search for the Easter eggs. Don't miss the fun! See you next to the burgundy tulips. ~Skhye

For the GRAND PRIZE I'll be contributing a vintage rhinestone TEXAS pin and a watermelon rhinestone necklace.

Your next stop on the contest blog trail is Masha Holl's blogspot at

Thanks for stopping by and happy reading!

Linda LaRoque ~Western Romance with a Twist in Time~ A Law of Her Own, Forever Faithful, Desires of the Heart, My Heart Will Find Yours, 5-9, Flames on the Sky10-9, Investment of the Heart 5-9, When the Ocotillo Bloom 7-9.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Colt with Floppy Ears

My father grew up on a farm and on occasion shared his childhood experiences with us. One story we loved was about the colt with floppy ears.

In most cases, an animal will not allow deformed offspring to live. It's natures way of keeping the race strong. Such was the case when this colt was born. The mare wouldn't let the colt nurse. Because its ears wouldn't stand up, she thought it was sick. Floppy ears are such a minor thing in our mind, yet the horse's instincts told her otherwise.

Daddy, along with his brothers and sisters, found a way to help the colt. They took cardboard and stuck it in the colt's ears so they'd stand up. The mare looked her offspring over, and allowed him to nurse. Fascinating, isn't it? In a few days, the colt's ears stood up on their own, which they would have done without the cardboard.

Do you have a favorite animal story? If so, please share it with us.

Linda LaRoque ~ Western Romance with a Twist in Time.
Forever Faithful, Investment of the Heart 5-09, When the Ocotillo Bloom, 7-09, Champagne Books; A Law of Her Own, Desires of the Heart, My Heart Will Find Yours 5-09, Flames on the Sky 10-23-09 from TWRP.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Our Dog Skizzle - a short story.

“Wow! A dog!” I stared open mouthed as Daddy sat the dog on the kitchen floor. He wasn’t a big dog, or a little one, just a perfect in between size.

“His name is Skizzle. Be careful with him until he gets to know you.”

My brother, Jimmy, and I exchanged grins. Was this for real? In my entire 10 years on earth, we’d never had a dog.

Daddy left the room to change out of his uniform. We sat in the floor and let Skizzle sniff our hands, our feet. After checking us out, he toured the house, then settled at Daddy’s feet in the living room.

(This picture is of me and Skizzle in front of our house in Waco.)
Jimmy leaned over and nudged me. “Linda. Ask Daddy if he’s ours.” You know how the youngest is elected to ask and more apt to get their way.

“Daddy. Are we keeping him? Is he our dog?”

“Yes. We’ll keep him. If we can train him.” He explained that fox terriers were feisty dogs and stubborn. Skizzle had been given away because he wouldn’t mind his previous owners and the wife was afraid of him. His fate was Daddy or the pound.

This was hard for us to comprehend. Daddy was a Master Sergeant in the Air Force. He ruled our household though Mama dethroned him on certain issues. When told to do something, we obeyed without questions. We sat up straight at the table and carried our fork to our mouth. No propping your elbow on the table and leaning over your plate to reach your fork. We couldn’t imagine a mere dog not minding Daddy.

That night Mama made a bed for Skizzle in the half bath in Jimmy’s bedroom. Skizzle had to be one special dog to get to stay in the house. Daddy grew up on a farm and believed the place for animals was outside.

It’s important to understand the temperament of the fox terrier breed. They are willful, smart and need firm obedience training. Loaded with energy, they love to play and are loyal and devoted pets. A pure breed fox terrier, Skizzle was all this and more. But, he hadn’t had firm obedience training.

The first week was uneventful. Skizzle got to know us and became comfortable in his new home. Then one-day, in the second week, things changed.

Few homes were air conditioned in the 1950’s. We used water coolers or swamp coolers as they’re known in some areas. Not an efficient way of cooling in humid central Texas but it was all we had. And since the bed was directly in front of the airflow, it was a cool spot. There lay Skizzle—smack dab in the middle of Mama and Daddy’s bed. He was chillin’.

Daddy snapped his fingers. “Get down, Skizzle.”

Skizzle looked up and wagged his tail.

Daddy advanced closer to the bed.


Skizzle bared his teeth and growled. Jimmy and I were horrified. Nobody talked to Daddy that way. Not that he’d harm us but his stern look could turn a pouting face into a smile.

Skizzle became airborne the second he realized he wouldn’t win this fracas, flew through the air, landed on the floor and skittered for cover. Daddy didn’t have to do all of the slinging. After dinner his obedience training began—Skizzle was in boot camp.

If there were dog obedience schools back then, we didn’t know about them. People trained their own pets.

Camp began that evening in the garage. Daddy attached a rope to Skizzle’s collar and stepped six feet away. Jimmy and I sat on the steps and watched.

Daddy sat on his haunches at eye level with Skizzle. He whistled.

“Come, Skizzle. Come here, boy.” He patted his leg and pulled on the rope.

Skizzle sat and dug in his paws.

Daddy called again and tugged. Skizzle resisted.

Daddy tried one more time and when Skizzle didn’t move, Daddy yanked him across the garage to him.

The house echoed with howls and curses of the tug of war between Skizzle and Daddy. I didn’t know who would win. Both were determined. I tried to watch. Five minutes and I ran to my room. I covered my head with my pillow.

It took a week. Skizzle didn’t show any signs of abuse but Daddy sported a bite on his hand. From then on when Daddy said, “sit” Skizzle sat and when he said, “stay” Skizzle didn’t move. Not only did he mind Daddy but Mama and us kids too.

You might think Daddy’s dog training method cruel. At the time, I did. It was tough but he never hurt the dog. Skizzle wasn’t afraid of Daddy or cowed like an abused animal. He was crazy about Daddy. Every morning when Daddy kissed Mama goodbye he’d give her a couple of pats on the shoulder or back. Skizzle thought he was hurting Mama and would grab Daddy’s pant leg and around they’d go. Daddy loved it. And tolerated it because Skizzle was protecting Mama. When Jimmy and I fought, as brother and sister are apt to do, Skizzle didn’t like it. He jumped in the middle. He never grabbed our skin, only our clothes.

He was extremely smart. One spring he was sick—throwing up and feverish. He had the Asiatic flu. They had to sedate and muzzle him to treat him. When Mama brought him home from the Vets, he was drunk from the medicine he’d been given.

Since his bed was in Jimmy’s bathroom, if he threw up, it was easy to clean up. Mama would hold him over the toilet sometimes. When we weren’t home, he tried to throw up in the toilet. Being short, he got it on the seat. We’d always thought him a cut above other dogs. From then on we knew so.

Skizzle was a wonderful friend. He loved to play hide-and-seek and chase. Because of our hard wood floors, he usually skidded past his target but quickly regained purchase and made a grab for your pants leg. He always won at both games.

A constant companion, he went everywhere we went. He’d ride on top of the backrest in daddy’s pickup truck, right behind his head. If we stopped all of a sudden, he fell down daddy’s back. All our friends and family knew Skizzle. The gas station owner loved to aggravate him. Skizzle hated him. He’d bare his teeth and bark and snarl. The man would laugh. I always wondered what would’ve happened if Daddy had let him out of the truck.

One day we came home from school to find Skizzle gone. We searched the entire neighborhood hoping to find him in someone’s house as we had once before. But he was nowhere to be found. Daddy believed someone stole him knowing he was a registered dog. He’d been loaned out several times for breeding purposes.

We were heartbroken. Fortunately we were older, teenagers then with other activities and people in our lives. But we mourned for a long time.

Jimmy and I are both in our sixties now. To this day we cherish fond memories of Skizzle’s love and companionship. He was our friend in happy and sad times, never condemning or scolding. He was some dog.

Yep. Skizzle was some dog.
Do you have a favorite pet story from your childhood. If so, tell us about him/her. If not, just leave a short comment and you'll still be entered into the monthly drawing for an ebook.
Thanks for reading!
Linda LaRoque ~ Western Romance with a Twist in Time.
Forever Faithful, Investment of the Heart 5-09, When the Ocotillo Bloom, 7-09, Champagne Books; A Law of Her Own, Desires of the Heart, My Heart Will Find Yours 5-09, Flames on the Sky 10-23-09 from TWRP.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Monthly Contest - Begins

At the end of each month, I'll draw the name of one lucky winner who has left a comment. They'll win their choice of one of my books in ebook format. So, leave a comment every day if you like. Please add your name to the list of followers so you'll know when I post something new.

Today, tell me what is your favorite genre to read. If Romance, what sub-genre?

Thanks and Happy Reading.

Linda LaRoque ~Western Romance with a Twist in Time~ A Law of Her Own, Forever Faithful, Desires of the Heart, My Heart Will Find Yours, 5-9, Flames on the Sky10-9, Investment of the Heart 5-9, When the Ocotillo Bloom 7-9.