Leroy Watches Jr. Is Free Sunday 10/19/2014! Today!
Leroy Watches Jr. is a very good man.He’s an upcoming shaman whose grandpa is Grandfather, the famous Native American shaman ofMogollon: A Tale of Mysticism & Mayhem. Leroy has the Power in his blood. He’s been healing people and animals since he was four. He should be able to change the world, except for one thing––that Coyote. The Trickster, the Native American spiritual entity that pops little jokes all the time, LOVES Leroy. Everything the poor man tries messes up. He’s seen by his people as a joke, not a hero.
This happens in spades in Leroy Watches Jr. & the Badass Bull.Leroy’s dad is a famous rodeo bullfighter––they used to call them “bull clowns”. He protects cowboys bucked off by the terribly dangerous bucking bulls. He needs Leroy’s help; it’s his last rodeo. They’re giving him a big party at the rodeo and his arthritis is crippling him. Would Leroy go with him and heal him, just for that one rodeo? (Leroy’s not a big rodeo fan.)
What can a son do? Leroy goes to the rodeo and helps his dad. Days later, he’s the FBI’s Most Wanted Fugitive.
One Amazon reviewer said: “5 Stars! Absurd, hilarious, Western good time! One part cowboy narrative, one part shaman’s journey, and two parts hilarious. If you are a fan of Western, Native American shamanic culture, or even just the absurd, I am certain you will love this book. It’s a fairly quick read, perfect for that hot summer afternoon, and Nathan’s ability to write outstanding, believable dialogue really brings the characters to life. As you read “Leroy,” you’ll be transported to the American southwest. You’ll find yourself elbow-deep in the story of Leroy and his family. This absurd and bizarre farce will have you laughing out loud. ”
There’s more for you here: I’ve got a FREE EBOOK SHORT for you, never before seen. About a witch. More than a witch: Vanessa Schierman has PhD in Theoretical Physics and did initial work on Berkeley’s Cyclotron. Forget brooms and pointed hats. Download it through my website:
Vanessa Schierman PhD, Witch
WHO IS VANESSA SCHIERMAN PhD, WITCH? She’s a witch, first off, and a character that runs throughout my upcoming novels, starting with her own short story (which is pretty honkin’ long, really) presented below. She’s all over In Love by Christmas, my Christmas book which is coming out in days. Vanessa Schierman PhD, Witch will be a book of short stories about Vanessa and her eccentric and increasingly dangerous-to-others life. The first story is “The Richest Person in the World.” That’s Vanessa. But she’s always had such good taste and modesty that she didn’t brag about it or reveal the extent of her assets. Something happens that peeves her––so she tells all to NET WORTH Magazine. The rest … you’ll have read the story. Which you can very easily.
To download Vanessa, go to my website, SandyNathan.com, and hit the button at the top of the first page. That will take you to a page from which you can download a copy of your choice––mobi, epub, or pdf. I’d love it if you signed up for my mailing list, too. The signup box is right there … Vanessa’s short story is a gift, I’m not going to coerce you into “you gotta sign up to get the book,” but good manners are good manners. Vanessa emphasizes this again and again. Of course, she is a witch.
RedRoom, the site for readers and authors, had a contest this week. We were to blog about our favorite illustrated book. My choice is a highly personal one. Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could is a book I wrote about a remarkable horse. Tecolote was born prematurely on a freezing night. There was no reason for him to survive–but he did. The book tells and shows what happened as Teco (as we called him) grew into a strong, mature horse.
Tecolote and his Mother, Rosie–
This was taken when he got on his feet.
Although the book is illustrated with photographs that show Teco from his birth all the way to an adult riding horse, the story focuses on his tricky first year. We didn’t know if he would live five days. People from our neighborhood gathered outside the corral where he and his mother lived, praying for him and crying. He looked beyond terrible. Even so, he brought people together from the very start.
Later, when Teco was out of the woods, his mother died. She was an older mare with health problems. Teco faced life as a preemie, then a young horse without a mother. The book centers around how we as his caretakers used the other horses of the ranch and its facilities to give the youngster a secure and normal start. It’s about how he found his place in the herd and made dear friends in the horse and human worlds.
Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could is a beautiful tale for children, especially those with disabilities or facing loss. Teco’s story shows people––kids and adults–that those with problems can make it and have good lives. It’s is a kids’ book, 44 pages long.
Why did I stop writing at the end of Teco’s first year? We ran out of photos. Once Teco got his feet under him, he took off. The rest of his life was so normal that there wasn’t anything to photograph. He went under saddle so easily it was laughable, and then just headed down the road.
I cover Teco’s early days in the book, but I’ve never written about what follows here, the final part of Teco’s life.
Sandy & Tecolote–My author picture shows
just my face and a bit of Teco’s cheek.
This is the REAL photo. Teco’s giving me a hug.
Tecolote ended up being my horse. I’m an older rider with so many things wrong with me that I don’t know if I should be riding. Actually, I didn’t ride for several years. Due to an improperly set broken leg from a skiing accident, I developed severe arthritis in my knee and ankle. I had to have my knee replaced and my ankle fused. I also have a bad back. Plus I’m a cancer survivor and pretty chopped up because of that. After all that pain and surgery, I lost my nerve. After a lifetime with horses, I became afraid to ride even the calmest horse.
But my husband wanted me to ride with him again. He cajoled me into trying Teco, who had turned out to be the mellowest horse in the world. My husband’s coaxing worked.
Teco took care of me. I needed a special horse like him––gentle and kind and unspookable––to keep me safe. We became a pair as he took me on many safe, smooth rides up the trail.
One of the things that people who don’t ride don’t know about is the bond between horse and rider. Teco and I became as bonded as an equine/human pair can be.
I loved him. And he loved me back. He did a special thing that no other horse has done with me. I’d approach him, scratching his shoulder and neck the way another horse would if grooming him. He’d wrap his head and neck around me, encircling my body. It was the only way a horse could give a hug. (They don’t have arms, afterall.) He gave me a hug every time I approached him.
The book Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could came out and I entered it in a few contests. Life went on. When my grand kids came to visit, Teco amazed me. He’d never seen kids before, yet he packed them around like a trooper. They fell in love.
Sandy & Tecolote –– He’s my boy,
the horse that got me back into riding
After the kids went home, I got back to writing. I was working on manuscripts for two books. I didn’t go down to the barn for about a week. Finally my husband called and said, “I’ve got Teco saddled. Come and ride.”
I was high as a kite, euphoric. The book contests I’d entered were announcing their winners. I’d found out the night before that Teco’s book had won 2011 Silver Nautilus Award for Children’s Nonfiction (Gr. 1-6). The Nautilus Award recognizes books that promote spiritual growth, conscious living and positive social change. Previous winners include Thich Nhat Hanh and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I was overjoyed–Teco’s book belonged in that company.
Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could
Won the Silver Nautilus Award
My joy lasted less than 24 hours. I went down to the barn. My husband had Teco saddled and ready. There he was, resplendent in his golden coat with its black trim. I found it impossible to look at Teco without feeling happy. He was a buckskin; his body was golden palomino color. His mane, tail, and legs were black. I could run my eyes over him and appreciate his straight legs and how his shoulder angled back the way that a gaited horse’s should. He had a short back and long hip, an adorable face. All of Tecolote was beautiful.
But not that day. He stood in the barn, head down, mucous pouring from his nostrils. He coughed. I didn’t like the look of him at all.
On the other hand, he was saddled. Show me a horse person who can resist getting on a saddled horse and I’ll show you someone who isn’t really a horse person.
I decided to ride him to the arena and see how he did. He walked slowly, head almost touching the ground. He coughed and had no energy. In fact, he acted as though he might fall down.
“This horse is sick,” I said to myself, heading slowly back to the barn. When I got off of Teco, he lowered his head. Liquid poured from his nostrils, splattering on the barn floor.
He had pneumonia. It didn’t respond to the massive doses of antibiotics the vet gave him. I was mystified; I’ve had horses for 55 years and have never seen one with pneumonia. Our part of California is too mild.
Teco kept getting sicker. We took him to the hospital. We have one of the best equine hospitals in the country in our valley. Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Center is a wonderful resource. They’ve saved the lives of many of our horses.
They’d save Tecolote, too. When he unloaded the horse from our trailer, my husband said a half dozen bright young vets swarmed around him.
“They climbed all over him for hours, discussing what might be wrong and doing tests,” my husband told me. They’d fix our horse.
Tecolote: Always Elegant
A day later, we went in for a conference. The vet who was coordinating Teco’s case said, “If we can stabilize him well enough to go home, he can hang out in pasture with his buddies the rest of his life. But you can never ride him again.”
We sat there, stunned. “What do you mean?”
“He’s too dangerous to ride,” the vet explained.
“What’s wrong with him?”
“He’s in heart failure.” He drew a diagram of Teco’s heart, showing how part was greatly enlarged. Their ultrasounds had given them a clear picture.
“But how did this happen?” I couldn’t believe it. “Is it because he was premature?”
“It has nothing to do with his prematurity. It’s been happening over the last two or three years.”
In shock, I realized that no one had ridden him during those years. My husband likes rip-roaring horses with tons of spirit. I wasn’t riding, being too traumatized by all my surgery. Teco stood in pasture, apparently fine, enjoying life with his friends.
And dying. We brought him home and gave him all the zillions of meds the clinic prescribed. Twice a day, my husband ground maybe thirty human pills with a mortar and pestle. He mixed their dust with molasses and water, and loaded the mess into a syringe with the end cut off, which allowed him to squirt the meds into Teco’s mouth. The horse raised his head as high as he could; he did not make it easy.
When the heart begins to fail, it enlarges, trying to make up for it’s decreased strength. It can’t pump enough blood to the animal’s body, and it can’t recirculate fluids. They begin to build up. On a horse, fluids collect along the animal’s belly––the lowest point on his body. Fluid gathers between his front and back legs as well. Teco looked he had a blanket of gigantic kitchen sponges stuffed under his skin from his the front of his chest through his hind legs. The meds did nothing.
Teco’s book kept winning awards. Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could was a finalist in two categories of the 2011 National Indie Excellence Contest: Animals/Pets General and Juvenile Non-fiction.
I was in this crazy world where the awards kept coming in and Teco got worse. I’d go down to see him in his pasture. He’d be standing there, head down, in a corner by himself. He was leaving this world. He was leaving me.
Tecolote–– Making a Full Circle
The vet said he had only a day or two to live when we put him down. If we hadn’t, the end would have been horrible. Just before I left the field so the vet could do his job, I scratched Teco’s neck the way I always did. Sick as he was, he turned his head and neck around and embraced me. A final hug, and he was gone.
I ended up in the hospital in the midst of all this. I started getting chest pains as Teco deteriorated. If you call up your doctor––and my internist was pretty far away––and say, “I’m having chest pains,” that doctor will say, “Go to the Emergency Room right away.”
If you walk into an Emergency Room, a haggard-looking lady in your mid-sixties, those medicos will JUMP. They did every test you can imagine. I was scared stiff, not knowing what was happening with my body.
It boiled down to: My heart was breaking. Tecolote was being ripped from my soul.
* * * * *
Tecolote died May 1, 2011, four days before his tenth birthday. He was a miracle when he was born and a joy all his life. He brought horses and riding back when I thought that part of my life was over. I loved him for the obstacles he overcame in his life, and what he helped me overcome.
Here’sTecolote: The Little Horse That Could’s Amazon page. You can loook inside the book and see Teco. I put up some photos of him and our other horses on the page, too. At the end of 2011, the book garnered two more prizes. It was a winner in Children’s Nonfiction and a finalist in Children’s Picture Book Softcover Non-fiction of the USA BOOK NEWS “USA BEST BOOKS OF 2011” AWARD.
* * * * *
That’s why Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could is my favorite illustrated book. It’s all I’ve got left of him. I’m glad I’ve got the awards and the book.
The Tales from Earth’s End Series introduces characters pushed to their greatest extremity––to the end of the planet and their own lives. The people of Earth’s End must cope with nuclear holocaust, survive on a planet reduced to prehistoric standards, and adjust to life in an underground tomb––the bomb shelter on the Piermont estate. And you were thinking life is rough!
The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy shows a group of people attempting to escape a nuclear holocaust in a ruined future world. It’s part teen romance and part coming of age story, with overtones of 1984. It’s won two national awards in visionary fiction, another in new age fiction & still another in fantasy/sci-fi.
The Angel‘s first sequel, Lady Grace, brings some of The Angel‘s characters back together and puts them in another struggle for existence. This time, they’re fighting against the elements and a degenerate society which the nuclear war has spawned.
The second sequel, Sam & Emily, is a love story involving two characters from The Angel. It’s an epic romance that takes place in the Piermont Estate’s underground bomb shelter after the nuclear bombs have gone off. Sam & Emily can’t escape a passion that lasts a lifetime. This book sizzles.
All three books have a transcendent, looking-for-a-better-world quality. The protagonists are pitted against horrific difficulties. They’re thrillers and well as visionary fiction.
Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could, the story of a premature baby horse born on a freezing night, is heartwarming and delightful. The book continues to charm readers. More than that: Tecolote has now won three national awards.
Winner: 2011 Silver Nautilus Award for Children’s Nonfiction (Gr. 1-6) The Nautilus Award recognizes books, audio books, and e-books that promote spiritual growth, conscious living and positive social change. The Nautilus Award recognizes distinguished contributions in adult, young adult, teen, and children’s literature. Previous winners include Thich Nhat Hanh, Eckhart Tolle, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Finalist: 2011 National Indie Excellence Contest: Tecolote is a Finalist in:
“I was there the night that Tecolote was born, standing in the field while his mother terroized my husband, daughter and I. His almost tragic premature birth was the stuff of legends. When he grew up to be such a great horse, I knew I’d have to write a book about him. I did––doing little more than writing down what happened. The book has touched everyone who has read it. I give the credit to Tecolote.”
“Sandy Nathan is a born storyteller. The rhythm of her language leads adults and children into a loving but realistic world where horses’ travails provide life lessons for all. I found the parallel horse and human experiences of fear masquerading as anger especially powerful. The beautifully illustrated book contains other reminders of how we should conduct ourselves. Good manners and patient learning smooth the way for all. Sandy’s skilled handling of the death of Tecolote’s mother allows a child to visit this concept without undue trauma. Additionally, Tecolote provides valuable insights into the burdens and joys of owning horses. Any would-be horse owner would do well to read it. Highly recommended!”
Kathleen McGuinness JD
Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could is available at:
Amazon Paperback: 8″ X 10″ color photo illustrations throughout. (Note from Sandy Nathan: I prefer this format. The interior is really lovely, with a band of sky and clouds across each page and a band of grass across the bottom. The color illustrations are beautiful. They are photos of Tecolote and his friends while the action was happening.)
One of the really great things about being on a spiritual path is that you get to eat crow really often. A few days ago, I wrote and published a scathing article talking about monster houses and other things, my dad, Andy Oddstad among them. (My dad built houses, but not monster houses.)
How scathing? I spoke of the “McMansions littering our hillsides” and hoped that the home in which I grew up “doesn’t get transformed into an ostentatious edifice fit for pseudo-royalty.” I closed with an indictment of modern capitalism: “Today, companies are about marketing position and branding, about the “USPs”–unique selling propositions––magic words to charm the consumer into buying an illusion that she can’t afford and doesn’t need.”
Those words scathe effectively.
A TRUE MONSTER HOUSE: The Palace of Versailles was home to Actual Royalty. I’m illustrating this post with photos the prototypical Monster House, elegant in every way, full of pretension––I mean, if you think you’re God, you could live in this house with a straight face––and the best of everything. It differs from modern monster houses in that its real, way upscale, and conforms to the principles of design, listed down below.
Only a few hours after posting my position statement on large houses and the contemporary practice of flashing every dime you’ve got, I went to a social function at a home that can be described as plu-perfect, and huge. A monster house, by size, anyways. Oops.
I wandered around the edifice, marveling at the workmanship, the 3 ” thick marble counters, wood floors, plaster finishes, gorgeous fenestration (windows), views of the Pacific Ocean from every window. Sweeping panoramas of the City of Santa Barbara, offshore islands, gardens. Everything.
This was the most beautiful home I’d ever seen, and a monster house. I’d never want to own it: I couldn’t afford the gardener, much less the utility bills. But, wow. And what a spiritual feeling about the place.
Plus the owners were really nice, humble, kind people.
Never underestimate the value of nice landscaping in increasing property values. Look what it did for Versailles!
My cheeks burned and I felt that inevitable, “I blew it,” walking around that beautiful place. So what’s wrong with this picture? First off, my original mind set was that big equals evil. Big is just big. And wealth is OK. Better than OK. Where’s the wisdom in this experience?
I immediately thought of the four goals of life. You know them:
These are straight from the Guru Gita, an ancient Vedic text. Other philosophic systems will have different goals, but I like the simplicity of the four above.
Dharma refers to living a spotless life by whatever moral system you espouse.
Artha––well, we all know what wealth means. Pile it on. My mom had a great poster in her house: A southern mansion with the line, “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor. Rich is better.” That’s easy.
Kama––kama as in kama sutra. Pleasure. Better far better life goal than pain. Pain comes on its own.
And Moksha––liberation. Means liberation from the wheel of life, attainable by union with God.
The King’s Bedroom at Versailles: With the right karma, you could sleep here. Of course, it didn’t do much for Louis XVI.
The magnificent edifice I wandered into after my rant about monster houses was the fruit of a life well lived. The individuals owning the house had all four goals, in spades. The wealth one, artha, very obviously. And humility.
Versailles, Beautiful, Ornate, Over the Top. Sparked a revolution.
The difference between a monster house and a very large and beautiful house rests in the five principles of design:
And one other, which I forget. Let’s call it taste, or beauty.
Sandy Nathan is the winner of seventeen national awards, in categories from memoir, to visionary fiction, to children’s nonfiction. And more.
Her books are: (Click link for more information) The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money
Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could
Stepping Off the Edge: Learning & Living Spiritual Practice
Two sequels to The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy are in production with a late (very late) 2011 publication date, or early 2012. If you liked The Angel you’ll love Lady Grace and Sam & Emily.
I originally posted this blog in March 2009. It’s got a funny poem at the end I’d like to share.SN
Last Tuesday, I visited Dr. Rick Ferkel, the surgeon who fused my arthritic ankle last September. He pronounced me healed. Yep, my ankle is officially better. I am cleared to walk, swim––and ride my horse! Which I did, minutes ago.
Here’s pictorial evidence. Any problems? Not while I was riding. I’m sore all over now, and I expect my mare is as well. Horses are just like people; they get flabby and out of shape. I suspect that Shakti and I both need an exercise class.
In honor of the historic and successful healing of my ankle, I’m sharing a REALLY BAD POEM that I wrote in 1995, when I was much younger, but had not been rebuilt. That is, my knee had not been replaced nor my ankle fused. This little ditty is also an ode to the Peruvian Paso Horse, the smoothest riding horse in the world. Our Peruvians have kept me in the saddle for many years.
AN OLD LADY ON HORSEBACK
Sandy Nathan 6/95
Got bad hips, shoulders, knees, and more.
A back that’s degenerated, herniated
The –itis family––
arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis––
has moved in on me.
I’m an old lady on horseback!
When I was young, I rode ’em all:
Quarter horses, Arabs, Appies and Paints.
Loped with a drill team and through many a show.
I trained and rode with the best,
Competed hard and won my share.
I had a glorious time–
Until the –itis got me.
I’m an old lady on horseback!
Now, I get on a horse that trots,
My back talks back and I see spots.
I saw the light and changed my tune,
Traded my Quarter Horse
For a sports model, made in Peru.
You may laugh when you see him move,
Sliding along in a four beat groove.
But his funny-looking paddle
Keeps me in the saddle.
When we cruise by, don’t you cry.
I’m having the time of my life.
My little fellow is smooth as Jell-O,
And my –itis likes him, too!
Though I might have to ride in spurts,
When I do, nothing hurts!
And while I can’t always show him,
At least I get to know him.
I’m grateful to my little gaited horse.
‘Cuz of his easy going ways, I get to stay–
An old lady on horseback!
And that’s what’s important, in my book.
For as long as I can ride,
I know I’m alive!
(And I’ve gotten to like that Peruvian look.)