Ranch life in the Big Sky state through the eyes of one who has lived through it...so far.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Long Ride Home


Those of you who've followed along on this blog for a while know I write books, and I've been trying to sell those books for...well, let's not go into details. Suffice to say, it's been a long ride, mostly uphill and against the wind. So it's fitting that the book I finally sold ended up with the title The Long Ride Home. And wouldn't you know, it's the first I've written that's set here on my home turf, the Blackfeet Reservation.

Ladies and Gentlemen....swooshes back the curtain...meet my debut novel!

The Long Ride Home

David Parsons is on the verge of making his pro rodeo dreams come true when his one-in-a-million rope horse, Muddy, goes missing. In the aftermath, David loses everything. His career, his fiancĂ©e´, his pride.

Four years later, David is clawing his way out of the ruins and back up the rankings when he gets the miracle he’s prayed for. Muddy has been found on Montana’s Blackfeet Indian Reservation.

But repossessing Muddy is unexpectedly complicated. Kylan, the teenager on Muddy’s back, has had a lifetime of hard knocks. His custodial aunt, Mary Steele, will fight like a mama bear to make sure losing this horse isn’t the blow that levels the boy. Even if it’s at David’s expense.

David is faced with a soul-wrenching dilemma. Taking back his own future could destroy Kylan’s. And ruin any chance he might have with the fierce, fascinating Mary.

It’s a long, hard ride to the top of the rodeo world. And for David, an even longer ride home. Unless he can find a trail that leads to both.


The book will be available for pre-order on January 4th at all your usual e-book outlets and released for your reading pleasure on February 3rd. Between now and then I shall be pimping it regularly, which will include prizes and bonus stories and excerpts. If you're a fan of the photos on this blog, you'll definitely want to play along, as I'll be giving away some wall art versions of my favorites. All of that can land in your inbox if you sign up for my newsletter at Tales from the Frozen North

You can also follow along with what's new on my Facebook author page at Kari Lynn Dell. If you do pop by there, please take a second to click the Like button. The more people like me, the more likely Facebook will actually let my posts be seen, and the more likely I'll sell some copies of this book, which in turn makes it more likely they'll let me publish another one. 

Why yes, marketing IS every author's favorite part of the game. Could you tell by this face I'm making? But as long as I have to do it, you might as well benefit. Sign up, sign in, we'll see you down the road. 


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Little Icing on Top


We've had two days of miserable, foggy weather with a cold south wind. But this morning the sun came out and we got our reward. My trees are all decorated for the holidays, I can just kick back with a hot chocolate and enjoy the view. Until it warms up and the wind blows all that ice down like buckets of marbles on the metal roof of my bedroom, usually at around 3 a.m.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Snow Job


It is one of those lovely little ironies of life that when it's too wet or too snowy to rope outdoors, we move inside. And then it's too dusty so we have to dump water on the arena we're using because it's raining or snowing outside. Nothing like dragging hoses through the mud to make you question your intelligence. Winter makes the process more complicated because hoses and water trucks freeze up and are generally a pain in the patoot.If only there were a way to open up the roof and let just enough moisture fall inside.

Occasionally Mother Nature cooperates and dumps a foot of fluffy snow at an opportune moment, which was this Saturday except for the part where we drove through drifts and a near white-out to go to a Christmas concert. But Sunday, with the help of a tractor with a loader, Greg hauled in enough of the white stuff to do the trick. After another good drag with the arena tractor, it'll be just right.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Ranch Math


Story problem:

You have two pastures with good shelter and water that doesn't freeze in the winter.

You have six horses. Two mares--Myla, who is approximately a hundred in horse years but can still kick an upstart gelding away from the hay pile, and Target, the fat Paint pony, who gets along with everything. Four geldings: Hollywood, Nico and Bailey, all of whom think they're studs and should be top dog in the herd, and Vegas, who is a total weenie and gets pushed around by the fat Paint pony.

Hollywood can't be turned in with the mares or he goes completely brain dead.

Bailey and Hollywood can be together, but only as long as there are no other horses in the pasture.

If Nico and Vegas are in the same pasture, Nico will run Vegas through the fence just for the fun of it.

Nico and Hollywood are sworn enemies.

Bailey, Vegas or Nico can be turned in with the mares, but no two at the same time.

Hollywood has to be in the pasture attached to the barn because you can't get a halter on him unless you lure him into a stall with a bucket of grain.

Divide the above horses into the two pastures. Please show your work.


WARNING: Any person who suggests the mares are the problem gets a two week time-out to consider the error of their ways. My mares don't take no crap,

UPDATE: So I did the horse shuffle, splitting up Hollywood and Bailey so they didn't gang up on anyone. Nico, Hollywood and Vegas went in one pasture, figuring there was enough space that Hollywood and Nico won't kill each other and they'll be too busy fighting to pick on Vegas. Bailey was more than happy to go out with the mares. Everybody appeared to be safe, if not thrilled with the new arrangement. Until this morning, when we were doing chores and Bailey tried to come in the barn while we were bagging calf feed, and Max the Cowdog bit him on the nose and drew blood. 

*sigh* Horses and dogs. It's always something.  

Enjoy this story? Want more? Sign up for my newsletter and get a story in your inbox a couple times a month. Plus prizes and stuff if show even a vague interest in my upcoming book, The Long Ride Home, due out from Samhain Publishing on Feb 3, 2015. http://montanaforreal.blogspot.com/p/sign-up-for-tales-from-frozen-north.html

Friday, November 28, 2014

Scary Good Fun


Today I saw something on Facebook that could possibly give me nightmares. No, not the abused puppy pictures. (Damn, why do people post those things without warning?) Anyway, what I saw was this (sorry, it wouldn't embed,you'll have to pop over to their page to watch it): 


I have no idea what this event is even called, other than insane. In other words, it looks like a total blast, but only if they'd let me ride a real saddle. The scary part is while I watched this, I tried to picture myself doing it on the only trained jumping horse we've ever owned. And that, folks, was terrifying.

Her name was Betsy. She was a Roan Hancock mare, only fourteen hands tall (that's small, for you non-horse people) and had an attitude the size of King Kong. Some people we knew in southern Alberta had bought and trained her as a jumping horse for a junior competitor. She could clear five feet, but was too much for a kid to handle.

The one thing you could say about Betsy...she never bucked. She didn't need to. She could inflict all the damage she wanted before you ever got off the ground. You couldn't catch her, and if you tried to corner her she'd run you down. Once you did get a halter on her, she'd either drag you, step on you, or knock you cross-eyed with the side of her head. And to top it all off, she had a mouth like a rock, and wasn't above grabbing the bit between her teeth and taking off with or without you.

She was also, pound for pound, the best rope horse we've ever owned. She could fly and she had a killer stop. All you had to do was nod your head and rope. Betsy took care of the rest.

And because she was so athletic, we couldn't resist training her to run barrels.

May I say, I've done things that were more frightening than the time I ran Betsy in the big Choteau arena, but I'll have to think for a bit to remember any of them. Her finest moment, though, happened at a jackpot up in Alberta, with my sister Lola aboard.

The fence around the arena was woven wire topped by a wooden rail. I have no recollection what kind of run they made. They flew home from the third barrel and Lola pulled up at the scoreline. Instead of slowing and circling, Betsy ran straight up to the fence, planted and launched.

She would've cleared it, too, if she hadn't clipped that one hind leg on the top pole.

I can totally see Betsy in the competition in the video I posted. She would have either blown all their doors off, or it would have been a complete runaway with four or five laps at full speed around the arena and then she would've lawn-darted me into the water hazard. Either way, those people in the crowd would have remembered her.

I guarantee, none of the people who knew her will ever forget.


Enjoy this story? Want more? Sign up for my newsletter and get a story in your inbox a couple times a month. Plus prizes and stuff if show even a vague interest in my upcoming book, The Long Ride Home, due out from Samhain Publishing on Feb 3, 2015. http://montanaforreal.blogspot.com/p/sign-up-for-tales-from-frozen-north.html


Monday, November 24, 2014

Shifty Business


I confess, I occasionally have a hard time finding reverse on our stick shifts, but in my defense:

Our Dodge Ram Pickup

The Chevy chore pickup

My parents' Dodge Ram pickup (shown in actual position)

The International grain truck

Seriously. Can't we all just come to some kind of agreement?


Monday, November 03, 2014

Ranch Wife Workout #73


"Take this hammer and bucket of staples and walk the fence down to the end to see where the wires are down."

Yes, this picture was taken today. And sadly, no, it's really not that unusual to have this much snow here in November. Or October. Or September.