You know when you have been working on something for a long period of time and then all of a sudden it is done. You finish it. You perfect it forever it seems and it is over. You tell someone, have a drink, make a phone call and celebrate.
I began writing this story in October 2020. I creatively poured out my ideas.on my lap top and finally had to purchase a writing program to make sense of my grammar and flow. I have received some assistance from professional writers but the story and editing and grammar is all mine. I worked with a book coach for 2 months. I learned to write with less filler words and to tell a story by “showing” in words what the character(s) are doing.
I have finished my novel. I have Chapters now and my ending is written. My characters are ‘showing and telling’ in each scene, as per my Book Coach Suzi Vadori.
I am just sharing that I actually did complete my little novel and celebrate here a little bit.
Here is an excerpt from Chapter 1 – The Boundary Ranch
CHAPTER 1 – THE SNAKE INCIDENT
It is a sweaty ride and my boots are covered in a powdery layer of dirt. With dust puffing under the hooves of our horses on the long road back to our ranch I notice the trees along the road are still green but starting to show they could use a drink. I am enjoying the birds calling out to me. Larks it sounds like. It is a relaxing ride with the rocking motion of riding in a saddle on my mare Sookie and the leather reins held between my fingers Things begin to change as my stomach tightens and Sookie is pinning her ears back and moving backwards. She is fighting me to turn around. “Something’s wrong.” I shouted. The horses began whinnying. “I sense danger ahead. Get off your horse Stu”. I commanded Sookie to a stop and swung my foot over the horses back and slid my other boot out of the stirrup as I jumped on the ground with a thump. I search anxiously at what is spooking the horses. Sookie is pawing the ground. Stu’s horse Rafer, a young 4-year-old colt is responding in a different way. Stu is losing control of his colt. He shouts with a “Whoa” and begins dismounting him. Once Stu’s feet hit the ground his colt breaks free and runs away towards the creek on the right. Reins flying and saddle still on his back. I heard a rattle as did Sookie who is a mature horse of 16 years and is unable to stand still and starts to rear up. She comes back down on her feet at my side as a movement sent chills through me. A snake appears in front of my horse’s feet. I scream and become motionless as I see the inevitable happen. I feel something bump me on my right leg. I am uncertain about the snake as I feel no pain but surely my horse and I are in trouble. I was hoping that my horse did not get bit. “Stu, I think I have been snake bit!”
My snake boots are in the house, of course. I did not wear them for this ride. The snake is gone. He had a good bite and took off. Stu lifted me up onto Sookie and knew well enough that one should never try to suck out the venom themselves. All ranchers should have conservation education on rattlesnakes and Stu went for that training the first month we arrived to Southern BC. I had to get to hospital quickly. Stu mumbled to himself trying to stay calm and remember the emergency protocol for snake bite. He quickly unzipped my jeans and pulled off my cowboy boots at the same time he slid my jeans down and had to use a jackknife to rip the one leg where I was bit. It was swelling and stung bad now.
The worst of my prognosis is going through my mind. Stu looks at me “we got to get you back quick I have no cell coverage here to call an ambulance”. He is leading my horse Sookie with me on top of her and my leg is swelling. The sun is setting in the west and a cool breeze kisses my cheek. “We are going to cross the creek. It’s the fastest way home.” We walk along slowly until we see a horse with no rider and wearing a saddle standing close to the creek on our right. Stu slowly guides us towards the lone horse and says to me “Hey look ahead there is Rafer.” I didn’t answer. Rafer was badly caught up in barbed wire. I hold on to Sookie hoping to get to our ranch quickly. Stu must untangle Rafer. How did barb wire get there? Why was it not taken out? I could not get off my horse. I just sat on Sookie and prayed this was not going to take long. Poor Rafer and poor me. Stu is slowly walking around the barbed wire. Rafer is fighting hard with the wire as I phase in and out with uncertain clarity. Must be from my bite. My leg is sure hurting. I hope this snake has not got a serious death venom in him. There are no poisonous snakes in southern BC that we were aware of, but the pressure is on to get to medical care soon. My shirt is sticky on my skin. I see Stu quickly walking over to me and my horse and he pulls out the wire cutters from my saddle bag. My head feels like a balloon. I find myself shaking with fever and my leg is numb I want to move it, but it is stiff. Sookie is a trooper with me on her in this awkward position. My bit leg is resting on her neck and my other leg hangs loosely down along her side by the stirrup. It is uncomfortable as I desperately hang onto the saddle horn for balance.
I hear Stu talking to the colt “Easy boy, easy boy,” he tells the colt what he is doing talking in a calm voice saying, “I am just going to cut this wire. Stay calm. Stay steady. Keep looking at me. Whoa boy” as the horse starts to move again. Stu’s saddle was sliding off a bit on Rafer. Rafer let out a breath. Good sign. Stu shows Rafer the wire cutters as he moves closer to his head. Once Rafer has seen the cutters Stu is back to the hind quarter of his body and gently touches his back again. One, two three snips and Rafer is freed. Stu acts quickly and comes over to Rafer and puts a rope around his neck loosely and starts leading Rafer and takes Sookie’s reins. Stu has hold of my reins and leading us all to our destination. It is obvious Stu’s colt has a hefty limp on his left leg. We have two wounded legs mine and Rafer. Stu found a shortcut route by crossing the creek, but it meant we had to cross water with me on Sookie and Rafer with an injured leg. Trees and brush are hemming a meandering flow of water, there is uneven ground, grassy banks are edging the shallow water. Rafer hesitates at the water. Stu encouraged Sookie to cross the water with me hanging on to the horn. My horse did a small jump over the water and Rafer followed. The small jump Sookie took challenged my balance. I had to quickly readjust my hurt leg resting on her neck. Calm and steady going. We got reorganized and walked on. I can see our barn and round pen down the hill. I sent a prayer upward. The Vet’s number is in my phone, but Stu must have cell coverage and is dialling an ambulance first. I am pleased I take priority over his horse.
Stu comes over and pulls me off my horse carefully and finds a spot against a fence post to put me down by. Resting on the ground is quicker than moving me into the house. I can wait here for the ambulance and Stu wanted to keep an eye on me while he got the horses settled. I am getting a strong burning and stinging sensation from my swelling leg. The swish of Sookies tail gently grazed the edge of my cowboy hat as the mare walked past me and the squeak of the gate and the latch being put in place as Stu entered the corral with the horses. I heard the muffled thump of horse hooves crossing the barn floor as he placed Sookie and Rafer in stalls. “Son of a bitch Stu, my leg is burning up. Stu said, the ambulance will be here in less than 15 minutes”. Hang tight and cowgirl up.” He was busy getting Rafer settled in with a bed of straw and releasing Sookie to the pasture after he checked her for any sign of a snake bite on her legs. The straw bale is broken and spread on the ground for Rafer if he wants to lay down. It would be gentler on his wounds. Stu said the colts breathing seems very fast and his eyes look frightened. How does one calm down a horse after trauma? How much pain does a horse feel? Horses do not show pain like humans it is usually expressed with the eyes. It is a sign of weakness to be lame in the wild. Horses know predators seek weakness or injury. Stu says the injured colt’s eyes show he is scared. How about my eyes Stu they look scared too? My head is touching the fence post and my leg is bare and looking swollen. Stu is close to me as a cool glass of water is held above my mouth. I lick my lips and the water trickles into my mouth. It tastes so darn good. I start to faze in and out until there is the sound of an ambulance. I close my eyes.
My next step in my novel journey is under corporate review (Ha Ha!)