Afterwards he wasn’t sure whether the seagulls screeching for breakfast or the stiff breeze had brought him to his senses.  Either way, when consciousness prevailed, Gareth found himself in a rather terrifying predicament.  He could not look down because the gag in his mouth was tied to a cold pole behind his head, but he soon became aware that his ankles were secured rather too tightly to what felt like railings behind him, leaving just his hands free.

The early morning mist rolling in was leaving an unusually cold calling card across his lower quarters.  Gareth felt down under his shirt, and found to his horror that the ends of the shirt just about covered his embarrassment.  He swallowed in fright; he still had the bow tie around his neck, but where were his pants and trousers and the rest of the tux that he’d spent an arm and a leg on?

The Esplanade was deserted. Daylight was just breaking, and somewhere in the vicinity a church bell dolefully chimed four o’clock; even the dog walkers were not out yet.  Gareth shivered and reached up into his shirt pocket.   At least he still had his mobile phone.

Debbie would chuck his engagement ring back at him if she ever found out.  His dad was too ill, and no way was his mum seeing him without any pants on.  There was only one thing for it…

His fingers were cold and stiff as he dialled 999.  A female voice answered almost immediately.

“Which service?”

The gag made speech impossible.  Gareth tapped 5 and then another 5.

“Okay, this is re-routing to the police, who hopefully can trace your call.”

He could see the coppers trying not to laugh as the squad car drew alongside.  Gareth closed his eyes to block them out.

“Had a good evening, Sir?” 

At last the gag was loose and he had to look at his rescuer.  If he’d had even one shoe, he’d have tried to crawl into it.  He croaked back an answer.

“No, not really.”

He glanced down as the tie wraps were cut away, and then stepped free of the iron railings.  If he’d had the time of his life at his stag party, the memories were now lost in a haze of alcohol.  His so-called-friends had spiked his beer, he was sure of it. 

He was handed a blanket and sank down gratefully into the squad car. Now all he had to do was to find a pair of trousers and get home before Debbie logged into Facebook. 


An adventure becomes a misadventure

Mike StatonThis post is written by Mike Staton.

Some might call my journey to Ohio the trip from hell.

My windshield wipers went haywire in Arizona and cost me $307 to repair. On Thursday, the car threw a sparkplug and shook like it was in its death throes. It’s Sunday and I’ve been staying in a Comfort Inn in Shawnee, Oklahoma, for the last several days while the 15-year-old car gets repaired. I won’t get the car until Tuesday – and that’s if a simpler repair works. If not, I won’t get the car until this weekend.

2003 saturn ionA trip from hell. Naw. It’s a risk I took driving a car I bought new in 2003. Before I left Henderson, I could have bought a newer car, one only two or so years old. But I liked not being responsible for a monthly car payment. I expect the repair bill will equal about a year’s worth of car payments. Lol.

Since I am chained to my motel room, the lobby with the endless supply of coffee, and a next-door Denny’s restaurant, I’ve been doing quite a bit of Facebook journaling about my trip – and watching baseball and football on the TV.

wind farmI’m moving back East. Initially, I’ll be staying at my sister’s place in Beverly, Ohio, for several months. I haven’t seen her and her husband since 2015. Then, as it begins to warm up, I’ll start apartment hunting in Wilmington, North Carolina. Nothing fancy… a one-bedroom place will do.

I took out Mutual Funds to pay for furniture for the apartment as well as a tooth implant and crown. Unexpectedly, I’ll also be using it for car repairs. Oh well….

texas cattle ranchI haven’t done any sightseeing – except through the windshield. I’ve been impressed with the miles and miles of turbine windmill farms in Texas and Oklahoma. The Comfort Inn’s front-desk person told me that a trip on backroads around Oklahoma City will reveal even more wind farms. I’m left shaking my head when I think of my former home – Nevada. It’s perfect land for wind farms… Mojave Desert terrain complete with lots of winds.

When in Texas, I saw wind farms to the left and a giant cattle farm to my right (the farm smell was noticeable). The steers were grazing in pens. Maybe the next time I eat a steak, I’ll be eating one of those steers.

Get off I-40, and you can sometimes travel portion of what used to be Route 66, especially along stretches connected by towns and small cities. It seems each town as a Route 66 museum complete with a vintage 1950s car on display. Route 66 has become mythic. The highway makes people think back to a more innocent time of cross-country travel with mom-and-pop hotels and restaurants.

rt 66 museumHopefully, when I do my next blog entry in late October, I will be in Ohio, and I can tell you how rest of the trip went.

# # #

I’m an author with four published novels that include a sword-and-sorcery fantasy trilogy – The Emperor’s Mistress, Thief’s Coin and Assassins’ Lair. The fourth novel is a historical romance set during the Civil War. It’s called Blessed Shadows Dark and Deep. I’ve begun writing my second Civil War novel – Deepening Homefront Shadows. All my novels can be purchased on the websites of Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

The Historical Western Romance or Hunks on Horses by Cher’ley

This blog by Cher’ley Grogg

I did not know there were lyrics, but as soon as the song started my four brothers and I ran to our TV sets. 

 I have loved Westerns since I was a young child around 8 or so. My dad loved Westerns and Real Crime books, so these are what was handed down to me. Zane Grey was my hero. Some of the first TV shows  I watched were Bonanza and Gunsmoke. I knew I never wanted to be a love interest for any of the Cartwright boys because these women were always killed off. Then there was Kitty who stood by Matt year after year without ever getting a ring. A couple of years ago I wrote a short story for Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico and discovered I loved writing Historical Western Romance. I loved writing the strong female character. I can’t wait to see what she will do next. And of course, there are Hunks on Horses.


I found this quote on the blog by Lyn Horner:

 Hunks on Horses Quoting Constance Martin from a 1999 piece she wrote for Romantic Times, “Heroes in these novels seek adventure and are forced to conquer the unknown. They are often loners, slightly uncivilized, and ‘earthy.’ Their heroines are often forced to travel to the frontier by events outside their control. These women must learn to survive in a man’s world, and, by the end of the novel, have conquered their fears with love. In many cases the couple must face a level of personal danger, and, upon surmounting their troubles, are able to forge a strong relationship for the future.”

Del, Me Whiskey 20180317_170250

From the same blog group :

Here are a few of my favorite, but there are many more. On this blog they give a list of books that have Western Jargon. I have several of these reference books.  Do you think the Hunks on Horses used this kind of language? I think of the Hero as being a little more refined than most of the cowboys.

  • A hog-killin’ time – a real good time
  • Ace-high – first class, respected
  • An invite to a dance – could mean shooting at a man’s feet to make him dance
  • As different as whiskey and tea
  • Bad plum – bullet
  • Bellerin’ like a . . . – yelling, howling, complain loudly
  • Bellyaching– complaining (still used today)
  • Belly-up – dead, died; also belly up to the bar (stand up at the bar and drink)
  • Get a wiggle on – hurry
  • Go to blazes – go far away
  • Gol-Darn – softer version of obvious blasphemy
  • Goner – lost, dead

And More reference books for Western Writers

I hI had so much fun with my brothers playing Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, great memories. My poor youngest brother had to be Trigger since he was the next in importance to Roy and Dale. I have a book written by Roy Rogers Jr. and we met him in Arizona. 

***What part did Westerns play in your life? What was the first Western you read? What was the first TV Western you saw?

I have published one Western Novel and I’m working on 3 more Four Moons and Fair Maidens by [Grogg, Cher'ley]

Cher’ley’s Books are listed below and on sale at Amazon and local bookstores.


Stamp Out Murder”.
 The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk” This is an especially good book for your Tween Children and Grandchildren
The JourneyBack 3The Journey Back-One Joy at a Time and the B&W Edition of The Journey Back
Boys Will Be Boys   The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys-An Anthology
 Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico 

All About the Girls 5(3)

 Image may contain: 2 peopleAnd please join me on my Facebook Fan page, that’s managed by one of my most faithful fans: Cindy Ferrell
Here’s a link to Cher’ley’s WEBSITE

Rejections are Opportunities

DSCN3932by Neva Bodin

(Published late on the 3rd at my state)

“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” This quote by Richard Bach, who wrote “Jonathon Livingston Seagull” is a hopeful one for writers to remember. That novel had multiple rejections on its way to success.

It is so easy to step off the journey of writing that all-American number one best seller we have in our head, after we get to chapter 23 (or before) and realize we still have a ways to go, and a whole lot of editing to do!

One workshop leader said he edited everything eleven times after writing it. That is work.

And hearing our work needs work is so disheartening. It’s like heading down a merry path full of birdsong, and running smack into an unending 50 feet high concrete wall. It seems too big a hurdle. But one that we can get through, by chiseling out one brick, or word, at a time. Perseverance is an attribute all writers need. I stand by another “p” word: procrastination. Doesn’t get me anything but frustration, but it seems to be hard to shake for me.

We need to treat rejections and critique’s as our opportunity to write better. To be more creative, to break out of our preconceived notions of what we can do, to realize our creator thinks we can do better. However, we may feel wounded instead. That’s okay. Feelings will come without permission. But feelings aren’t always right.

We need to talk to our negative feelings, and talk them into being positive feelings. If our first work needs work, great. Now we have an opportunity to be even better.

Many, many great novels, movies, etc. were rejected multiple times before becoming huge successes. Perhaps, they wouldn’t have been as successful if not for those rejections.

And remember, publishers can be wrong.



One Step at a Time

IMGP6507By S. J. Brown

This Blog began in May with a phone call from my daughter. She was looking to cross something off her bucket list and wanted me to accompany her. By the end of the call we had a plan to hike a section of the Appalachian Trail complete with tents, sleeping bags, food and water. Since my daughter like me is directionally challenged this is quite an undertaking for both of us.

Hiking TrailI originally planned to write a single blog detailing my prep for this trip and the hike itself. However I doubt anyone would sit and read a blog that long. So I am splitting this into 2 blogs. This one will cover my prep for the trip and the beginning of our journey. My next blog will cover the final leg of our trip.

The first thing I needed to do was get in shape. Yes I hike to capture critters on film. But this was a longer distance and I would be carrying everything I needed with me.

Deer I began by walking ½ a mile to the end of our street. I should mention that the hill just up from the house kicked my butt everyday for the first 2 weeks. Once I had concord that hill I began adding distance. Eventually I was up to 5 miles. Those five miles included 4 hills.

The next phase of my self imposed training was to add a backpack. I had never worn one before so I needed to get use to it. I began with my tent and sleeping bag attached. Then I added weight to the backpack each week.

At the suggestion of a friend I searched on line for hikers who had completed our route. Some made me a bit skeptical about attempting this, while others encouraged me and helped with some valuable information.

Meanwhile my daughter was training for a half marathon. I was sure she was much more prepared than me and continued to push myself daily hoping not to slow her down on our hike. By the end of August I was as ready as I was going to be.

I packed my backpack and put it on, and my heart sank. Then I remembered I still had the weights in there from my training. After removing the weights and repacking the backpack I knew this would be a challenge, but I could do this.

On the eve of our excursion my backpack was down to less than 20 pounds. We had a map of our route complete with landmarks and an elevation chart. Thanks to some fellow hikers we knew where we could refill our water bottles and where we were going to camp for the night. We allowed ourselves 3 days to complete our hike.

Hiking Start When our hiking day finally arrived our planned starting point wasn’t accessible so our first challenge was getting onto the trail. However we had my hubby dropping us off and he is really good at this sort of thing. So within minutes we were at the South Mountain Inn parking area. We strapped on our backpacks as a gentle rain fell. Just after 8 am we said our goodbyes and my daughter and I made our way onto the Appalachian Trail.

Guided by a series of white hash marks we wandered into the woods and left civilization behind and began to enjoy the tranquility of the trail. This leg of our journey had the most elevation and would be the most challenging for both of us. As the rain subsided we longed to reach our first peak and the well deserved rest we had promised ourselves. We had heard stories of snakes and bears along the trail but encountered neither. We did get a glimpse of a coyote and maybe a fox.
SJ Brown coyote

The Appalachian Trail is well marked most of the way. At the first road we encountered we experienced a few minutes of concern. We weren’t quite halfway to the shelter where we planned to spend the night; it was much too early in our journey to be lost. Finally we spotted that prized hash mark that told us we were still on the trail.

Hiking 2The next few miles were a mix of elevations speckled with occasional breaks and lighthearted chatter. We arrived at the Crampton Gap shelter at 1 o clock and decided it was way too early to stop for the night.
This seems like a good place to stop, for now. Come back next month and find out how our journey turned out.

Thanks for stopping by and letting me share my thoughts.

Connect with me on Facebook and be one of the first to see what I have been up and view my Sunday Shares.
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/sj.brown.3367

My books, Close Ups and Close Encounters, All the Birds I See, Clancy’s Cat Nap. Bennie the Butterfly and two coloring books based on my images are all available through my website http://www.sjbrown.50megs.com.




Why Blog? Added Squirrels and Alligators by Cher’ley

This blog by Cher’ley Grogg

I’m looking through photos as I’m writing this blog, so I thought the Squirrel and the Alligator photo were interesting. They have nothing to do with the blog writing or do they?




Per Huff Post. 

Blogging enables you to reach the billions of people that use the Internet. Blogging can help you promote yourself or your business. Blogging works as a method for attracting an audience because it provides something of value to them before asking for anything in return.


  1. You’ll become a better writer.
  2. You’ll become a better thinker. 
  3. You’ll live a more intentional life.
  4. You’ll develop an eye for meaningful things.
  5. It’ll lead to healthier life habits.
  6. You’ll meet new people.
  7. You’ll inspire others.
  8. You’ll become more comfortable being known.

And there are a few more reasons on Joshua Becker’s blog.

It is hard to get the first blog out, but over time it gets much easier. My reason for blogging and for creating Writing Wrangler and Warriors was mostly geared toward number 8. We average 18 bloggers, so if each blogger reads, comments and shares each blog just think of the coverage we get.

Where else can we get free advertisement, free branding, free sharing? Where else can we add something of value to other peoples’ lives? Where else can we do numbers 1-8 from above and reach the number of people we reach? 

Stats for WW&W

1,750 Posts

An unknown number of shares and people reached through the shares. Your name is getting out to thousands. And hopefully, if you are reading this, you are a regular reader and sharer.

September 21st had 48 views, that’s just the number of people who took a peek that day. Congratulations to Joshua S. Robinson on such high numbers and on your first blog too. 

Where else can we show interest in other’s lives and writing in just a few minutes?

Learn to use a blog for your benefit, for the benefit of the other bloggers, and for the benefit of the readers.


Make sure you use ph20171130_091828otos that reach out like Squirrels and Alligators and Children. In “It’s All About the Girls” and “Boys will be Boys” there are lots of stories about children and the writers as children, lots of photographs and lots of great writing. Both books have many tips for parents raising children, but there are also many stories that will make you smile and nod your head in memory of your own growing up years. 


Boys Will Be Boys 





It’s All About the Girls 5(3)


***What do you love about the Writing Wranglers and Warriors blog?***

Cher’ley’s Books are listed below and on sale at Amazon and local bookstores.


Stamp Out Murder”.
 The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk” This is an especially good book for your Tween Children and Grandchildren
The JourneyBack 3The Journey Back-One Joy at a Time and the B&W Edition of The Journey Back
Boys Will Be Boys   The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys-An Anthology
 Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico 

All About the Girls 5(3)

 Image may contain: 2 peopleAnd please join me on my Facebook Fan page, that’s managed by one of my most faithful fans: Cindy Ferrell
Here’s a link to Cher’ley’s WEBSITE


Chess, by Stevie Turner

It was my lot in life to raise a hyperactive son.  Luckily my trials and tribulations are all over now as Leon is 36, but when he was a boy I tried to help him focus his mind and concentrate by engaging him in a game that my father had taught me.  This game is excellent for getting small boys to sit still…


From the age of 5 or 6 my dad would instruct me in the rigors of Chess, and I soon learned what each piece was allowed to do.   Dad and I fought battles over the chessboard for many years, but unfortunately I never did beat him.  He died when I was 19, but in all those years he never let me win, no matter how temperamental I became at yet another defeat.   However, I did beat my uncle on a couple of occasions when I was about 12, and the look of pride on my dad’s face at the time is still seared in my memory!

 Anyway, Leon had (and still has) a very quick brain.  He picked up the game within a short space of time, but like me as a child, could be rather ‘vociferous’ when he lost yet another match.  I remembered how Dad would tell Mum that I’d never learn if he let me win, and so I followed suit with Leon.  He couldn’t beat me, no matter how much he tried.

Meanwhile my youngest son Marc was picking up on the game.  Marc could sit still and concentrate for hours, and he loved Chess.  My husband Sam also played Chess, and to while away the evenings the four of us would take it in turns on the chessboard.  I would beat the three of them, and eventually all three refused to play any more matches with me.  The chessboard got put away in the loft, the boys discovered girls, and Stevie went back to work and Chess was forgotten.

Fast forward 25 years or so… the boys have married and left home, but about 3 months’ ago I had a notification on Facebook Messenger that Leon wanted to play Instant Chess with me.  This is an electronic version going around, and Leon sent me the board with his first move done.  I hadn’t played since the boys were about 14, and I had total ‘finger trouble’ moving the tiny pieces around on my phone and made loads of mistakes.  Leon won and told Marc, who also sent me a request to play Instant Chess.  By then I’d got my head around the electronic version.

It’s a good way of keeping in touch with my boys.  I win some games and lose some.  The boys are ecstatic when they beat me, and I imagine them dancing with joy around their living rooms. Sometimes we sit up late into the night playing Chess over the airwaves.  They’ve both improved no end from their teenage attempts, especially Leon.  I think I might have lost my touch a bit as I’ve grown older but still, it’s good that I’ve been able to teach them something. 

Sam still refuses to play any matches with me by the way – but he would probably beat me now, as both boys do quite regularly, but hey, it’s always good when I win too!  Only yesterday to my surprise I received a request from my 13 year old granddaughter to play Instant Chess!  I still have the original chessboard that Dad and I used to play on – it’s very precious to me, and here it is below.


Do you play?

To Writing Wranglers and Warriors, with Love

to Writing Wranglers with Love



Cole Smith Writes | creativity | productivity | writing


Post by Cole Smith




Have you ever asked a question and received an answer that you just didn’t want?


In my mastermind meeting last month, I asked the question of my accountabilibuddy: Where should I focus my efforts when I go back to teaching in the fall? She confirmed what I’ve been suspecting but didn’t want to hear: I need to withdraw from regular posting at Writing Wranglers and Warriors if I’m serious about meeting my goals this year. I know myself—if I allow any little loophole or temptation to procrastinate, I’ll take it. (And I’ll justify a donut for the extra calories I’ll burn coming up with extra content, too. What? Brain power requires fuel … )


If you’re interested, here are the irons I’ve got in the fire this fall:





Exciting things happening over at the Cole Smith Writes blog, where I write about creativity, productivity, and writing. We’re offering more freebies and resources along with the free weekly newsletter. And along with all the new content, I’ll be hosting several in-person workshops and coaching sessions in the coming months. If you’ll be in West Virginia (the best Virginia), I’d love for you to join us so I can see you IRL, as the kids say. (Actually, I don’t think they say that any longer. But I still do.)





I’m part of the writing team at Grace & Such, and am happy to announce we’re publishing two (TWO!!) devotionals this year. One is seasonal, the other is creative nonfiction based on the lives of women in the Bible. I jumped at the opportunity when it was announced earlier this year—there’s one woman, in particular, who has absolutely fascinated me. I’m enjoying writing in between the lines of what we know of her life. Want to know who? Click here to sign up for news of the release. (Not just to tease you, but also since I don’t know if I’m allowed to tell you yet!)





I have a tentative late-October release date for my book, a YA novel called Ursula Spark and the Fourth Frankenstein. I’ve grown quite attached to Ursula, and I think you’ll like her, too. She’s pretty great 🙂


A lot of self-publishing advice is contradicting, here. Some swear you should crank out a series as fast as possible and build a raving fan base. Others, (uhm, none other than Hugh Howey !) say to try out all different genres. Welp, your ol’ buddy Cole Smith is going to test it for you, so stay tuned …




A few nights ago, I was walking my wire fox terrier, Arty (Full name: Slarty Barkfast, for all you Douglas Adams fans). I was thinking of the deadlines looming this month and the next, and fretting a little. Can I meet them? And if so, will I arrive with my sanity intact?


I tilted my head back to look for the familiar constellations in the soft summer sky. Immediately, a shooting star blazed across the blackness. It affirmed that I should set stretch goals. Like a good story structure, it’s only when we leave our comfort zone that we find adventure. (I mean, hopefully that’s what it meant, and not that I was going to suffer epic burnout…)


So it’s with gratitude and fondness that I step away. I’ll still be lurking in the comments section now and then. If you’d like to pop in for a visit, stop by my website. Or better yet, sign up for my weekly newsletter. It’s always short and never spammy.


Thank you WWW Blog! 🙂





Waiting forJacob

Cole Smith is an author, teacher, and mountain biker in West Virginia.

She enjoys good coffee and great stories.

She shares inspiration, encouragement, and tips for creative overwhelm at www.colesmithwrites.com.


Let’s get social! Find me on Facebook and Pinterest



Fleeting Brilliant Ideas

Our pigeon, Pepper, flew up to our front door one day, hungry.  She now lives in our outdoor aviary and loves people. She wants to be petted, and coos whenever she hears our voices. She was young when she came about seven years ago.

by Neva Bodin

Published for 9/24/18

Book ideas can come without notice in the midst of any activity. I am trying to improve on having a notebook in my purse to write random things/thoughts in.

Recently at an open mike musical event, I enjoyed some wonderful performers and voices, who I thought did not present themselves to their best advantage. I wanted to help. I had a ton of ideas for them. It was hard to sit still in my chair and remain in the audience. Hence, someday I will write “The Overeager Angel,” (not that I am an angel, but my character will die haphazardly trying to help someone, and then become an overly helpful angel which will land her in all kinds of trouble). But first, I better finish my other 4 WIP’s!

Does anyone else have a mind that jumps from one story possibility to another? Or to suddenly knowing what should be added to or done with a scene while in the midst of another task or driving the car? It is very frustrating for me, because the brilliant insight/thought is gone by the time I have a notebook and pen.

So record, some say. Well…one dark, cold winter morning in North Dakota, as I drove the 45 country miles to my job as marketing and education director at a hospital, I picked up a Dictaphone to record a brilliant idea. Whoops! Like Dorothy in her tornado that took her to Oz, my car went into a spin, whirling around and around in a cloud of snow that blotted out all images of the real world, like a magical vehicle, then rapidly backed into a ditch and stopped. Right beside a mailbox. No Oz.

Luckily an angel, (not overly eager) in the form of the driver of the country school bus came over a nearby hill less than one minute later. And, since we were living in my old stomping grounds then, I knew him and his family. He took me up a long driveway to his mother’s house (whose mailbox I had landed beside), and I called my hubby, rescuer of damsels in distress (me mainly). I was only six miles from home luckily. So, you can see, I am hesitant to use a recorder, at least while driving.
I do think getting some kind of device like a cell phone that would record as I talk to the air around me, (as I see people doing quite often now) would be a good thing. I’m a psych nurse too, so it’s taken me a few years to quit diagnosing people who do this.

At any rate, I am open to ideas other writers have on how to handle this, or anyone who has brilliant ideas they want preserved for more than a moment! I thank anyone who can help!