Sunday, June 16, 2019

Sitting Bull #4 Volleyball in Boots

Just a super quick note in honor of Father's Day because I need to get in there and start the Chocolate Sheet Cake. It's not going to bake itself!

Father's Day and burgers. We always did something to honor it. When we lived in Lamesa, we had a cool brick house on the corner of N. 6th Street. It had three quirky bedrooms, a den that could also double as a bedroom, a screened in porch with a brick barbecue pit built right in, and an awesome little garage apartment where Uncle Kent stayed when he came back from Vietnam.

In addition to the two car garage, there was a large shop (that's where the apartment was actually located). And in between the garage and the shop was a beautiful, unbroken square of smooth concrete just perfect for games. We put up a volleyball net (which we also used for badminton from time to time just for grins) and called it good.

I wish I had a picture of one of our family v-ball games. There would be me, the shortest one of all; Mom, almost as short as me: Jay, slightly taller: Jabo, pretty tall; and Bull, the boss and somehow the best spiker, even in his cowboy boots. Of course Snakeman, the dog, a/k/a Simon, was always underfoot. He loved to grab the ball at every opportunity, and yes, he popped more than one. We often literally fell over him as we struggled to beat him to it.

We didn't keep score, who could? The winners were the ones who were still standing--unbloodied--when one side gave up or the ball got popped. I've never laughed so hard in my life. That was the whole point of the game.

Afterthought: Cher sang, "If I could turn back time . . . " If that was truly possible, this is where I'd go . . . right back to one of those crazy-stupid Father's Day volleyball games complete with cookout.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Reckless No More (aka The Dog from Hell)

Update on Reckless aka “My Dog From Hell” 3/08/2019
by Linda Wells

to read the original post click here


Reck is about 9 years old now, my house dog for 8, come April.

The change in him is amazing. He has changed from a fearful pup into a confident dog. He still has flash backs from time to time and the fear comes back.

Because of his problems I never tried to teach him anything. I was going to be happy if he didn't wreck the house. How he learned to sit and lie down on command is beyond me. It seems like he tries to know what I want and he does it. He can be doing something and I can shake my head, “no” and say, “no, boy” softly and he will stop what he is doing and come to me wanting me to hold his head in my hands and love his ears.

For many years I wanted a German Shepherd, when I first got Reck, I saw one online. The dog was looking right into the camera and I felt her calling to me. I really wanted that dog. I would go back and forth about getting her. In the end, I did what I thought was best for Reck. I didn't think he could accept another dog. His needs came before my “wants.”

Three years ago on Mother's Day, someone dumped two old Australian Shepherds out by the house. They jumped into the back of my pickup and stayed until I call them out. They were such good dogs, no bad habits. I picked them apart trying to find something wrong with them, but their manners were perfect.

Now to get them integrated with Blanco and Reckless. I knew there would not be a problem with Blanco. He is so laid back and both Aussies were female. I was surprised, Reck also excepted them with no problem. Things were great until the Aussies felt at home. Then the red one, Hard Times, began wanting to take over Reck's top dog status.

Reck always laid by my side when I was on the computer or watching TV, but when he would to get a drink, Hard Times would move into his spot. When Reck would come back, Hard Times would growl at him and not move. I would tell him to go to the other side and rub his chest and until he laid down.

Meanwhile, a couple of starved pups, lab x boxer mix, was found by Laura on the way from Dallas to see Dale and Charlotte. I kept them also. It took Reck a little longer to except the lab. 

Oxy, the lab, would be in his face wanting to play all the time. I felt sorry for Oxy. He would want to play with Blanco and Blanco would growl, warning him to back off, the same with both Aussies. Reck would try the growl, but to no avail, Oxy would keeping bugging him. I worried that Reck would get mad and hurt him, but he never even snapped at him. But by the sounds of his growls you would think he was killing the pup. Reck just didn't know how to play. I noticed he was trying. 

The first time they were playing, in about fifteen minutes, I could hear Reck's teeth snapping together (he never opened his mouth), I thought he was getting too excited. I called him and gave him a time out in the bedroom. In about five minutes I let him out. He came out of the bedroom with a tennis ball in his mouth. Him and Oxy played until they got tired. All the time they were playing Reck had that tennis ball in his mouth, just chopping on it. It was white with his slobber. They play better and better now. Oxy stills bugs him, but he seems not to mind it as much as he did at first.

Now back to the Aussies. Hard Times got to where she was growling at the pups, Blanco, and Reckless every time they met in the house. Six big dogs, all growling, but never a fight. It was nerve wrecking to say the least.

I believe Hard Times began to think Reck was afraid of her. She got bolder and bolder. One day I was patting Reck on his chest while playing on the PC. She was laying about 10 feet in front of him. Suddenly she was in his face snapping. Reck came to Alert, and I softy told him....she is just being dumb. Don't show her who is boss. In a bit he settled back down and I put her outside.

Now Reck loved to slowly roll a tennis ball under my desk and then get it back out. To do this he would lay on his side and get as far under the desk as he could. This would take several minutes for him to get it back. As soon as he got it out, he would roll it back under, until he got tired of this game. If the ball was in the corner, he couldn't get it out so he would come get me to get it out for him. Well, this time he had gotten as far under the desk as he could and suddenly, Hard Times attacked his hind quarters. She got in a couple of good bites before he came out from under the desk. I swear he was three inches taller, walking on his toes and slobber flying from his mouth. That scared Hard Times and me. She ran backwards, but he was on her in two bounds and had her by the throat. I knew he was going to hurt her bad or worse. 

I called to him, and I couldn't believe he turned and came to me to love him. It took awhile to get him settled down and I put him in the bed room. I checked out Hard Times and he hadn't brought blood. But he had put the fear into her, no more growling, no more trying to take his spot. They got along great after he showed her he was the top dog.

I'm so proud of Reck. He has done every think I have asked of him. He is now what I call a good dog. Never thought it would happen. No, he isn't perfect, but I can live with him. Lol. Of course no matter how he turned out, I would live with him. I don't give up on them, ever.

I think the turning point in Reck's behavior came the day that he barked in the house. He didn't bark much in the yard, but never in the house. In time he would puff his lips and huff at me wanting me to get a tennis ball out from under the bed. I checked puffing his lips and read it was a sign of aggression. I didn't think it was with him, though. He just wanted his ball from under the bed. One day he had been trying to get his ball and he barked. It scared him to death. I felt sorry for him. But when he found his voice he began to use it. When he found he wasn't punished for barking, his whole attitude changed for the better. 

In time I got him not to bark inside the house, for the most part. But it was good when he learned that he could, because like I said, it was a turning point. After he barked, his hair no longer stood on end, he no longer showed the whites of his eyes, and there was no more sneaking around with his tail tucked. His eyes became soft and gentle, and I think that's when I knew that Reck had truly become "a good dog."

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Stevie-girl and the Phantom of Forever - On sale March 4th

It's here! Stevie-girl and the Phantom of Forever (an epistolary novel) Book 4 in the Phantoms Series.

5 Prince Books:


             In Book 4 Stevie once again encounters a phantom in need of assistance. This time it happened in a prison graveyard in Amarillo, Texas. That’s also where she found her dad, Big Steve, but it didn’t end there. This phantom not only coaxed Stevie and Jase across state lines, she coaxed them across all kinds of other boundaries, too. 
            Of course she did, after all, this one was the Phantom of Forever.

            Intro to Stevie-girl and the Phantom of Forever

            Over the years I’ve discovered it’s easy to lose touch with people—even those you love—because day-to-day life has a way of forcing us to move forward and keep going whether we’re ready or not. Before you know it, years have crept by. It happens over and over again, even after we’re gone. Yes, you read that right. I said even after we’re gone. You don’t believe me? Just read these letters. They’re my proof. You see, Jase and I have this thing, this magnetism—that’s the only way I know how to describe it—that causes us to attract spirits. We seem to attract them wherever we go. 
            It started when a small plane crashed in Jase’s back pasture a couple of years ago and it hasn’t ended yet. We help them, the spirits. Help them solve whatever problem is keeping them tethered to this realm. It isn’t something we seek to do; it’s something we have to do.
            When I travelled to the prison to meet my father, it happened again. Only this time, I was 

alone. I didn’t have Jase there to help me. All I had were these letters we wrote back and forth. 

Letters that kept me tethered to the world of my little family the same way the spirits are sometimes 

kept tethered to the world they once inhabited.

Author bio:

A former emergency services dispatcher, rock-n-roll radio station secretary, hospital information operator, and grade school teacher, Ann Swann has been many things. Through it all were the words. She's been a writer since her teenage years and began winning fiction awards in college. As a child she grew up much like Stevie-girl in small town Texas. One difference? Ann never got up the nerve to enter the haunted house alone - she waited until she married her husband, Dude, then they went in together. Ann would love to hear your thoughts on her stories. Feel free to message her at any of the following social media sites:

Other Books by Ann Swann

2011 Stevie-girl and The Phantom Pilot– 5 Prince Publishing (2018)

2012 Stevie-girl and The Phantom Student– Cool Well Press (Now with 5 Prince)

2013 Stevie-girl and the Phantom of Crybaby Bridge– (5 Prince)

2012 All For Love– 5 Prince Publishing

2013 Stutter Creek(Book One) – 5 Prince Publishing

2015 Lilac Lane(Book Two) – 5 Prince Publishing

2016 Copper Lake(Book Three) – 5 Prince Publishing

2016 Takers: Apocalypse in Eden– Createspace 

2017 The Remains in the Pond- 5 Prince Publishing

Coming March 4th, Book 4 in the Phantoms series: Stevie-girl and the Phantom of Forever

Short Fiction

“Bamboozled” Alfred Hitchcock Magazine

“Aftermath”Binnacle Magazine

“The Gap” and“In Search of Water”The Rusty Nail (previously published inThe Sandstorm

“Soul Gardener” Timeless: Cool Well Press, Anthology

“The Fee” A World of Terror:Grey Mouse Publishing, (formerly titled The Warning)

“SleepAway Pounds”Seasonal, Sweet, and Suspenseful, Anthology


“Chems” Createspace

“Where It Will Land”– EasyStreetMagazine (2017)

“Baby Doll Rig”West Texas Lore & Legends, Anthology (2017)

“The Sweet Scent of Home” Cool Weather, Warm Hearts, Anthology (2018)

Book Links and Public Contact Information:

Barnes & Noble:

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Sitting Bull #3

Sitting Bull #3 

A new year. Not much has changed.

He misses working. It’s so heartbreaking. The electric pole at his rural home developed a terrible lean and had to be replaced at the end of summer. The electric company turned off the juice at 10:45 a.m. because the company that was hired to set the new pole was scheduled to arrive at 11:00.

When two hours went by and they still hadn’t arrived, I asked Bull if he wanted to go to my house and watch our big screen TV. He’d been sitting in his recliner—doing absolutely nothing—since breakfast.

“C’mon,” I said. “There’s no telling how long this will take. We could be without electricity all day.”

“No,” he replied. And that was that.

Thankfully it was a cool, cloudy day. The house was pleasant even without air-conditioning, which was slightly amazing for West Texas. Bull read the paper and took a little nap and sat and watched out the front window.

The electrician finally arrived about 1:15.

When Bull saw the truck coming down the drive with the new pole, he immediately began pushing the button to raise his electric lift chair to get up and get back into his wheel chair. Ooops. No electricity. Thank goodness Dude was there to help.

Now Bull is sitting on the back porch with his snuff and his jacket (which I had to force him to let me drape around his shoulders), watching the two electricians set the new metal pole. This is the first time in weeks he has wanted to go outside.

He misses working.

Afterthought: Comments Welcome 
(link at end of post)

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Christmas Time Again

It's Christmas time again. I've decided I'm going to repost this little piece every year in honor of those I've lost. So here it is again, in honor of Mom and my sister, Jay. I love you and miss you, forever.

Wish we still had stores with storefronts like this. I loved Christmas shopping around the square in my hometown. Didn't look just like this, but the feeling was the same. 

One Christmas Eve when I was around eight years old, my stepdad, Bull, got a wild hair and drove my sister and me to the square to shop. 

"Silver Bells" emanated from outdoor speakers, shiny tinsel was strung across the street, and an evergreen wreath decorated each and every lamp post. All these years later, I can't remember for certain, but if it wasn't snowing, it should have been. 

We'd made it halfway around the square, stopping to admire the flocked window decor in The Model Shop, and a chugging choo choo train in the variety store, when Bull ran into a couple of his old buddies and stopped to swap some lies.

After a few moments and a couple of sips from a silver flask, he seemed to remember we were there. Without missing a beat, he pulled out his wallet and gave the two of us a hundred dollar bill (or maybe it was a twenty and it only seemed like a hundred at the time) and instructed us to go into the nearest business to find a gift for Mom. 

The funny thing was, the nearest store just happened to be a furniture showroom, the only one on the square. But that didn't deter us in the least. After scouring the entire establishment, we happened upon the perfect gift, a three-foot tall, mustard-colored vase decorated with a fierce-looking red and green Chinese dragon. We thought it the most beautiful thing we'd ever seen -- so exotic

When the clerk trundled it to the sidewalk for us, Bull just grinned and went back for the car. Together the three of us wrestled it into the trunk so we could surprise Mom on Christmas morning. 

And surprise her we did. Her grin was almost as wide as Bull's had been. She hugged us and caressed the dragon and swore it was the best gift she'd ever received. Then she displayed it proudly in the darkest corner of the living room for many years to come. 

Friday, December 7, 2018

Shopping for Christmas? Check out Ann Swann Books

Just a bold self-promo in case you are shopping for Christmas (or any other reason).
The STUTTER CREEK series is suspense mixed with a little romance.
THE REMAINS IN THE POND is a stand alone suspense.
ALL FOR LOVE is a family drama a/k/a a tear-jerker.
TAKERS is a coming-of-age horror novel. 
THE PHANTOM TRILOGY is a series of ghost story mysteries. They are also on Audible as are almost all of my books! 

SEASONAL, SWEET, AND SUSPENSEFUL is a multi-author anthology 
COOL WEATHER, WARM HEARTS is a clean romance multi-author anthology

ALL FOR LOVE is on sale for 99¢ (digital)
TAKERS is also on sale for 99¢ (digital)

Buy links: 


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Romance Reviews Year End Splash Party in November!

Sitting Bull #2

Blog post #2 about Sitting with Bull a/k/a Helping a Parent No Longer Able to Care for Himself or in my case, a step-parent, no difference to me, just wanted you to know why I call him Bull, or Pop. I never called him Dad. Just didn't seem the thing to do.

Anyhow . . . getting him out of bed today, I almost hurt myself laughing. As I was tugging his non-slip socks on over his poor ate-up-with-fungus toes (yeah, we're working on treatments) he made a sound I'd never heard before. I would've sworn Chewbacca was in that bed. It was a perfect Wookie exclamation. Of course the joke was only mine because Pop wouldn't know a Wookie from a hole in the ground.

It's late this morning. He wanted to finish watching Two Mules for Sister Sarah again. Again. Every week that thing comes on. Sometimes even more than once a day. I can't figure out the attraction on this one. Rooster Cogburn, yes. I can watch Rooster over and over again. Sister Sarah, not so much. Oh, well. Gave me a couple hours writing time this morning since he was up so late last night. Silver lining. Thanks, Clint Eastwood. Thanks, Shirley McClain. Seriously, at this point, I'm not sure which one he likes the best.

Follow up to last blog ...

The new electric wheelchair. He likes it! We went all the way down the long driveway to the gate. I took the trash bag to the dumpster and he drove all the way out in the street and made a U turn to go back. I'm encouraged. When we get the longer ramp for inside the house, I think he might be able to drive himself from room to room.

I think.

I hope.

Rats! When we came back in the house after our trip to the dumpster, he drove right in, crashed into the couch, shoved it a few inches, kept going, ran over his walker, tangled it in the wheels of his new chair, and wound up with the whole shebang smashed up against the physical therapy bike pedal that lives in the corner.

I laughed so hard I could hardly untangle the paraphernalia. Once I did, he put it in reverse and headed for the big screen TV. I lunged toward him and pressed my finger on the stop button. He insisted he could park it beside the desk in the opposite corner, but I was laughing too hard to discuss the matter.

I wound up backing the chair up manually (risking a butt-chewing in the process). Ahhh, the fun never ends at Casa Bull.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

FREE this Weekend Only - Multi-Author Romance Anthology

FREE this weekend only! Short and sweet romantic fiction by a variety of authors both near and far . . .  my story is THE SWEET SCENT OF HOME. Try this anthology. Your new favorite author may be within these pages. (psst . . . if you like ghosts, read my story) 

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Kicker - The Forgotten Front

The Forgotten Front 

Free - along with two other books about war

World War II is raging. A young father must choose between his family and duty to his country- a decision that could cost him everything.
Based on actual experiences of United States veterans and official military aviation history records from World War II, this is the thrilling story of a family’s journey into war. While his loved ones struggle with shortages and rationing at home, Sam endures relentless Japanese attacks against his unarmed aircraft over the treacherous mountains and torrid jungles of Asia. His job is to drop supplies to Merrill’s Marauders and over 750,000 allied soldiers fighting in the perilous jungles of Burma. If the enemy is not stopped, the American way of life will end.
If you like non-stop action with a touch of humor and romance and the chance to learn about the “forgotten front” of WWII, then this is the book for you.


April 4, 1944 - Dinjan Airbase, India

       Sam and Bobby Joe were totally exhausted when they crawled into their charpoys. The harrowing events of the day had taken its toll on them physically and mentally. In spite of the heat and noise of the jungle, Sam felt the blessed relief of sleep approaching soon after his head hit the pillow. However, as he drifted off, a feeling of unease came over him. It was a feeling that something was wrong, not here in India, but at home. He didn’t know if he felt uneasy because he still hadn’t received mail from home or because of some unknown reason, but the feeling stayed with him until he finally succumbed to his exhaustion and slipped into a deep sleep.

Thankfully, his slumber was not disturbed by his recurring nightmare, and he slept soundly until the wee hours of the morning when he suddenly awoke not knowing what had disturbed him. A light rain was falling outside, and except for an occasional flash of distant lightning, the basha was in total darkness. He lay very still, listening to the sounds around him. He strained his hearing, but no sound came except for the steady breathing of the sleeping men around him. After several minutes, he relaxed, thinking his imagination was playing tricks on him. He was almost asleep again when he thought he detected a faint unfamiliar sound coming from somewhere in the basha. Once again, he listened intently, not sure he had heard anything; but then he heard the sound again—only this time it seemed closer, and he was sure it came from within the basha. He couldn’t quite place the sound, but it seemed like something soft brushing against an object. He listened closely, but all was silent. None of the other men in the basha stirred, and after an extended period of silence, he relaxed once again in anticipation of sleep.

       He was in that dreamy state just before slumber when he felt the presence of something or someone nearby. Once again, his senses came to full alert, and he made a conscious effort not to move. He listened carefully, bringing all his senses to bear. He could see or hear nothing, and yet he was sure something was there. He was startled when someone at the other end of the room moved, but then all was silent once again. He was lying on his back, so he slowly moved his head to the right and scanned the darkness.

       At first he saw nothing, but then attention was drawn to a slight movement at the foot of his bed. He couldn’t make out what it was. It appeared to be an undistinguishable shadow against the darker background of the room. As he watched, the shadow moved, and he held his breath as it silently glided along the side of his bed. There was no sound as it moved, and it slowly drew nearer and stopped near the head of his bed. He could tell that it was something large, but due to the extreme darkness, he was unable to see what it was. His instincts told him this was something dangerous and evil, and the hairs on the nape of his neck stood erect. At that moment, a distant flash of lightning faintly illuminated the scene, and in that instant of light, Sam could see the large form of a tiger standing beside him.

The animal’s head was enormous. Its eyes, momentarily reflecting light from the faraway lightning, gave the beast an evil, devil-like appearance. This was death incarnate staring directly at him.

       Sam was frozen with fear, and his heart seemed to stop. His .45-caliber pistol hung on the wall not three feet away, and he cursed himself for not keeping it inside the mosquito netting with him. He knew the tiger could see that he was awake, and he feared any movement would cause it to attack. The animal stepped closer, and Sam could see its dim outline and smell its damp fur and the fetid odor of its breath. The tiger appeared to know its victim was helpless. The great beast took its time as it sniffed the mosquito netting as if testing its strength. Slowly it raised a huge paw and placed it against the puny impediment. The tiger’s claws caught in the netting, and with a mighty swipe, it ripped the flimsy material away from the bed.

R Grey Hoover is an Air Force veteran with a family tradition of military service that dates back to the American revolution. He wrote his book “Kicker the forgotten front” to honor his father and the other veterans of World War II who fought in the China-Burma-India (CBI) theatre.  During the war, the European and Pacific theatres got most of the supplies and media attention leaving the CBI theatre with the leftovers. Even in today’s media coverage of World War II the CBI theatre is never mentioned. The author’s book is an attempt to correct this gross oversight.

R Grey Hoover’s social media links: