Friday, September 26, 2014

"SPOTLIGHT" Author Blog Tour for Michelle Abbott



I’m not a poet, although I did use to write poems back when I was a teen. For the last day of my tour, I thought I’d share with you a poem I write for a poetry contest here are RRBC in which we had to write a poem that included the words ‘April Showers’ and ‘Is it April Fools.’ I didn’t win, nor did I expect to, but it was fun to try my hand at poetry again after so many years.


Darkened skies, April showers

 Pattering against my window pane

 Feet sloshing through wet puddles

 Blinking droplets from my eyelashes

 The smell of damp hair

 Plastered to my head

 Forgot my umbrella...again

 They forecast sun, not rain

 Is it April Fools?


Michelle’s Sites:



Author Bio
Michelle Abbott lives in the UK and hates describing herself in 3rd person. She's a self-published author who loves to write new adult romance about heroes who begin as the underdog and are protective of their girl. She's an avid reader of romance, is addicted to coffee and loves wine and chocolate, so yeah, not the most healthy eating and drinking habits :-) She spends way too much time online when she should be writing. She collects teddy bears and occasionally knits a couple of rows on a sweater she started years ago, which she may eventually finish in time to wear for her funeral.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Mary The White Witch Rides A Diatryma

 Mary and Diatrymas
Diatryma - Diatryma gigantia R., ten foot tall, flightless birds, members of the Thunderbird (Adar Taranus) Dynasty which originally escaped extinction by the Mwyaf Fawr Llosg or Greatest Burning, when the rest of the Dynasty was exterminated, only to mysteriously become extinct a few million years later. They were accidentally revived from fine Eocene shales by the wizard Razzorbauch when he penetrated the Earth's crust while forming the magma chamber for the Fudge Volcano. They are omnivorous, opportunistic feeders that are capable of downing and dismembering small ungulates. They are covered with deep iridescent green plumage. Their tail feathers and primary flight feathers have brilliant red and yellow patches on each feather's trailing blade that remain completely hidden unless the bird 
is displaying. Their bony tails are not entirely fused into a pygostyle as in modern birds, but rather consist of a pygostylic terminus at the end of ten un-fused vertebrae, giving the birds a fan of feathers that can be waved about on the end of a flexible tail. There is nearly no sexual dimorphism, though males tend to be a few percent heavier and have deeper voices than the females. They are exceptionally intelligent, having a brain cavity of about 650cc, or roughly half the volume of modern humans. However, being far less fatty than a mammalian brain, this is a very respectable computer. Possibly due to natural selection pressures favoring the keeping track of stashes of food morsels, diatrymas seem to have little or no barrier between the conscious and subconscious minds and have instantaneous recall of all the details that they once observed during any previous experience.
Mary the White Witch's mounts and closest friends are Ceidwad the female diatryma, who is the wife of Lladdwr and the mother of Arwr, their cockerel. Razzmorten describes these three as the most intelligent beings he has ever been in the presence of, and they become key characters in the tale of The Heart of the Staff. Ceidwad and Lladder were brought back to life by accident by the evil Wizard Razzorbauch and were raised by the Fairy sisters in Mount Bed before their association with Mary. Perhaps their most stunning talent is being able to listen to a language for a short while and then suddenly start speaking it fluently.
What sorts of birds tower in your imagination? Do they play a role in your dreams?

Tom Phipps

Monday, September 15, 2014

Forever Four

I woke up four years old on a gorgeous June day alive with bird songs, and hollyhocks brushing the bottom of my window. I scampered out to the end of the sidewalk in the garden to meet Mom and Dad coming up the lane from the milking parlour on one of their Ford Fergusons to fix breakfast. "Good morning four year old!" called Mom from atop a fender. It was a most special day.
As we were eating breakfast, I remember them saying that I'd likely not remember a bit of the day when I got older, in spite of how very important it was to be four years old. What was I to do?
After breakfast I went outside and played amongst the snapdragons for a while. Suddenly I knew. I would perform a ritual that I would remember forever, or at least for as long as I would be able to. I ran to the rusty round bin we used for chicken feed and climbed half way up the ladder which was leaning against it. I paused, listening to the purple martins and the meadowlarks. Then I waved my leg in the air off the side of the ladder four deliberate times, one for each of my years. 
I do remember a much earlier sunny day. Perhaps I was two. I had my black and white teddy bear, wandering amongst honey bees tending the red clover, along the ditch of the South Road, a half mile away from the house.
 Mom heard a loon cry at the pond and thought it was me, so when the old black '40 Ford which pinched the holy shit out of my finger suddenly stopped across the ditch, she boiled out in her apron with a face like a hornet and swept me off my feet with a hug.
So what happened when your memory came alive? Please let us know.
 Tom Phipps

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Zip the Cat

We used to live at the end of a long wooded lane between farms in Western Kentucky. Last fall, I returned home utterly exhausted from a day of teaching to find an unfamiliar cat waiting for me to get out of the car. When I came back out to go for a nice jog down the lane, I was surprised to find the cat trotting dutifully alongside me. "Well now, I've never seen the like," I said to Carol as I peered out the screen door at the cat waiting patiently on the porch.

I grew up with feral cats that showed up endlessly to live between the bales of hay in our barns and to drink the milk strippings which we poured into a pan for them on the milking parlour floor. They cleaned up the milk, kept down the mice and killed an endless succession of meadowlarks, brown thrashers, orchard orioles and cardinals. Nobody ever kept a cat in the house in my neck of the woods.

Carol was keenly interested in this cat on the porch. She had once raised hoity-toity pedigreed cats, Persian show cats actually, which she gave up in order to live with our parrot, our raven and me. She was impressed with the cat's looks: a brindled grey with attractive splashes of white and hints of orange calico fur which was luxuriantly thick and silky, rivaling her best dressed Persians. When we went for our walk, the cat tagged right along. The next time we went to town, we bought a sack of feed. And by then, we were calling her Zip. Soon we determined that she was a Siberian Forest Cat.

Zip was a husky, able cat. She spent a lot of time in the trees 'round about, catching and eating squirrels. She also ate rabbits. And she was always on the roof of the house. I even found myself disappointed on the rare occasions that she was not around for our run. One day, I had to dash out of the kitchen to catch her when she was about to fall out of a rotted hole under the eaves. "Why, she's pregnant," said Carol. We fixed her a box with rags in a room all to herself in the back of the house away from the birds.

This last spring, when I quit teaching for good to join Carol writing full time, we moved back to the family farm in Illinois and brought Zip and her kittens with us. When her kittens were getting big and still pestering her to nurse, she began deliberately losing them when we would go on walks. Shortly thereafter she vanished for good. I'm convinced that nothing got her. We found no carcass. Nor did we find her smashed on the road.

So my question is, did Zip wean her kittens by taking off and having a new litter somewhere else, or did someone who knew the going rate for such animals see her and pick her up? Please let us know what you think.