This will be my twelfth (published) and slated for release in Spring, 2009. Up to now, I’ve written about longhorn cattle, mustangs, a thoroughbred race horse, Gypsies, mercenaries, a female outlaw, and a nun on the run.
I’ve never written a word about sheep.
That’s what this new story will be about. Sheep. So I had to do some reading on the woollie creatures, and the research has been surprisingly interesting.
For instance, did you know one sheepherder can handle 3,000 sheep all by himself? With the handy assistance of his dog of course. Compare that to 6 or 7 mounted cowboys needed to ramrod a moving herd of 1,000 head of cattle.
Here’s a few examples:
**Sheep feed at odd hours of the night, which forces the herder to round them up again–in the middle of the night.
**Should a stray sheep find itself bogged in mud, he just stands there. Doesn’t make a sound. He waits patiently to be rescued–or to die.
**If a young, frisky sheep rolls playfully in the grass, he can’t get up again. His legs are short and light, and he can’t get the momentum. He’ll need help.
**If a ewe or wether (had to look this one up–it’s a young castrated male) wades into water, and its fleece is long, he becomes too water-logged to climb out. Again, he’ll need help.
**Bleating sheep means life is normal. When sheep are terrified, they make no sound at all.
**Young ewes are often indifferent mothers. If she fails to recognize her newborn, she’ll wander off, clueless that the baby needs milk. Again, the sheep herder must help.
Cattlemen despised flocks of sheep on the range. They believed, at least at first, that the woollie animals had sharp hooves that cut and trampled the grass, and that the cattle refused to graze where sheep had earlier trod because of the smell they left behind. Many a range war was fought because of the cattlemen’s determination to dominate the range and rid themselves of the mutton-punchers.
And so my new story will go–with a hero who is a cattleman and a heroine who tends sheep with her father. Should be a pairing rife with conflict, eh?
(Note: Have you read Linda Broday’s “The Love Letter” in her current anthology release, GIVE ME A TEXAN? Her heroine tends sheep, too! A lovely little story!)
So do tell. Have you ever had a pet who did the darnedest things? Who didn’t have a clue about the most basic things in life? Who was always and forever getting into trouble and needed to be rescued?
We took in a deaf Boxer a few years ago. She was a sweet thing, but ver-ry difficult to train and discipline because she couldn’t hear us well. Which may or may not have anything to do with her compulsion to eat rocks. And then throw them up. At 3:00 in the morning.
Dang, I hated seeing those rocks on my carpet in that pile of vomit–and I have no idea why she ate them in the first place. I never once saw her do it–but she nosed around our landscaping and swallowed them whole, without fail.
That’s my tale–I’d love to hear yours!
Take a minute to tell us, and you’ll be in a drawing for a copy of one of the books in my backlist, your choice: WANTED! or HER LONE PROTECTOR