Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats.
And maybe a border collie or other critters.
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- Name: Becky Mushko
- Location: Rural Virginia, United States
I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), and several Kindle ebooks.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Monday, April 29, 2013
Friday, April 26, 2013
Actually it's part of the title of a book I recently read: Learning to Play With a Lion's Testicles: Unexpected Gifts from the Animals of Africa, by Melissa Haynes. In Africa, the term "playing with a lion's testicles" means to take foolhardy chances or to do something stupid.
Published in March 2013 by Behler Publications, the book is a first-person account of the author's coming to terms with her mother's death while volunteering on a game preserve in South Africa. Haynes skillfully moves back and forth between events leading to her mother's death and her experiences in Africa. Both were traumatic.
I have limited experience with lions (Lion Country Safari in Florida in 1969), but I share my home with numerous lion-like critters. Some of them were interested in the book.
Melissa, an exhausted executive from the city seeks meaning and purpose from her work, and volunteers for a Big Five conservation project in South Africa. Her boss, an over-zealous ranger, nicknamed the Drill Sergeant, has no patience for city folk, especially if they're women, and tries to send her packing on day one. But Melissa stands her ground with grit and determination, however shaky it may be.
Conflict soon sets the pace with a cast filled with predatory cats, violent elephants, and an on-going battle of wits with the Drill Sergeant. Even Mother Nature pounds the reserve with the worst storm in a century. But the most enduring and profound conflict is the internal battle going on within Melissa, as she tries to come to terms with the guilt surrounding her mother's death. When death grips the game reserve, it is the very animals Melissa has come to save that end up saving her.
For the reader who has ever dreamed of going to Africa or knows the pain of loss and guilt, LEARNING TO PLAY WITH A LION’S TESTICLES will fill your soul.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Spring means that some of us house-cats have to go outside and help with farm chores. I've been checking out the Massey-Ferguson to see if it's field-worthy. That's me on the seat.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
As a member of Lake Writers, I've heard Betsy Ashton read chapters from her manuscript that eventually became the novel, Mad Max: Unintended Consequences. In fact, I was one of the Beta readers a few years ago. In 2009, her manuscript won the Smith Mountain Arts Council Novel Contest.
The main character, called "Mad Max" by her grandchildren Emilie and Alex, enjoys her cushy life in New York. Although she and her daughter Merry are not close, when Merry is badly injured in a car crash, Max returns to Richmond to care for her and the two children. Merry is not the same physically and emotionally after the accident, and her relationship with her family rapidly declines. Max, who never intended to raise children again, now has to. Then things go from bad to worse—there's a murder and some mysteries to be solved. I won't spoil the ending by telling you what happens, but Max and her grandkids make a great team when it comes to sleuthing—and giving a murderer what he deserves.
Mad Max: Unintended Consequences is hard to classify by genre. It's women's fiction as well as mystery—and then there's the murder. And the paranormal aspect. Suffice to say, the book has something to appeal to a variety of readers, and it's a commendable debut novel.
If you live in the area, you can hear Betsy read from Mad Max herself. On Tuesday, April 16, the official book launch will be at the Westlake Library at 6:30 PM. On Tuesday, April 30, she'll read and sign at the Franklin County Library in downtown Rocky Mount.
And she'll have books available, just in case you haven't gotten yours yet.
Friday, April 12, 2013
Snow clung to branches and covered the ground.
. . . or lounged on the greenness of the lawn.