‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving…. and Lizzi was on a Plane!

Hello all,

Hope you’re slowly easing back into the work week this week and not forgetting too soon to take some time to relax and remember that life is short… Enjoy it!

I’ve truly enjoyed my time off this year after a frenetic Oct-Dec with two trips to the USA, trade shows, visiting far flung family and unofficial family!

A giggle for you!

Here’s a little snippet of one of the mere trips over.

 

Wow. If that wasn’t a marathon (If peaceful) trip, I don’t know what is. 
Left Auckland, NZ at about 0100 yesterday. Three (late) Hawaiian air flights (pleasant flights, nice neighbours, and more sleep than I’ve had in the past few months… enforced relaxation) then discovered (as Hawaiian Air flight 1 was late, didn’t have time to get SIM card at Honolulu, decided to pick one up At airport on Maui. LOL. Only to be told in three shops there that they’re only avail at Honolulu airport. Lol. So, maybe at SFO? But no And when we all finally found where Hawaiian air baggage claim was (no small feat), I hear my name being called. Lol. Thinking “Oh good! My two oversized bags are ready!” 

Well, no.

One of the monster 70 lb bags… with everything but the Equi-Still Stocks Mini-Bar and the books I carried from NZ.

 

mini bar

(Don’t ask….Amazon’s been having changes and the books wouldn’t be in CA before the book signing at Chapman’s Bookery & More in Ferndale on Saturday…

travelDamn, books weigh a lot) is still on Maui. Hawaii. TSA was inspecting it and it missed its flight. The nice lady at the Hawaiian Air desk never batted an eye when I told her the delivery address was in EUREKA, CA. And yes, she knew where it was. Good thing I’d had a lot of sleep. Still smiling. Lol. Then the nice Bruno from Turo seemed to have double booked his Prius… but hadn’t let me know. By now, it’s nearly midnight in the USA ( about 9 or 10 pm NZ time), so all good. By the time we’d argued with the rental car desk and been charged twice, the first time wrongly, and documented all the dings and scratches in my shiny new vehicle, I drove out of SFO at 0145. Nice car. Toyota Corolla.

Image result for toyota corolla redStill no SIM card but luckily had downloaded maps. LOL. 
Good thing I could find Eureka. Lovely drive, albeit a bit wet, but California needs it. I even got to walk, well, skate, on water once, but thankfully there was no one about on the road. I wouldn’t have been the first to go for a hydroplane, by the shrapnel and bits of car on the centre divider near it. Bummer about the fool who didn’t look before trying to change lanes into me. Helped me discover the brakes and horn work well!

All in all, a very empty road for about five hours. Only achievable on the night before Thanksgiving in the wee and not so wee hours. Finding Mum’s house without a map wasn’t ideal. Lovely people at an early-open petrol station made it easy. After they got to work, that is, LOL.

 
I was then completely wired from my 0300 a.m. coffee, (and this from someone who doesn’t DRINK coffee unless absolutely necessary, and then only in a standard hot chocolate) but having a chuckle, anyway. It’s probably time for some sleep. As soon as the coffee decided to wear off. 
Thought this might make you laugh, too. 

It was all worth it, though. I got to spend Thanksgiving with my mum and my brother for the first time in probably thirty years.

Home Sweet Home!

Here in mums lovely little peaceful home. .

Just released for the holidays:

(and it’s FREE on KDP Select!)

Once Upon a Vet School #10: Greener Pastures Calling

Travel Greener Pastures

A new country, a great job, and a “good Kiwi bloke”.
Life couldn’t be better.
Until it gets worse. 

Newly emigrated to New Zealand, equine veterinarian Lena wants a “good Kiwi bloke”, but they’re elusive as their nocturnal namesake. Her history with men is not, shall we say, salubrious.

Nigel’s avoiding females, unless they’re cows, horses, or his mother. After his first marriage, he won’t be responsible for anyone else’s life ever again.

Sparks fly when they meet, but not that first time, over the dirty instruments in a filthy cowshed. They’re made for each other… until Nigel remembers where he first saw her. And then the questions start.

The Series

This is Book Ten in the ONCE UPON A VET SCHOOL series.

Did you ever want to be a veterinarian?

These contemporary veterinary fictions can easily be read as standalones, but they are part of a series. Share Lena’s escapades as she follows her dream of becoming an equine veterinarian from the Santa Cruz Mountains of her childhood through the jungles of university to equine practice in the Sierra Nevada foothills, and finally onto her career as a rural equine and sometimes zoo-dentistry vet in New Zealand. This is Book Ten in the series, which is being written from the middle out—if George Lucas can do it, why not?

Stories for anyone who’s ever dreamed of becoming a veterinarian or loves horses—stories of veterinary school life and the horses that fill Lena’s dreams and her daytimes, too. They feature a capable heroine, modern veterinary treatments, plenty of laughs, some tears, and a lot of growing up. They’re clean and wholesome, so everyone can read them!

What did you do for the holidays that meant the most?

Let me know!

There’s a digital copy of A Long Trail Rolling going out to a lucky commenter (by random draw!) in the next three days! Get writing!

I hope you all drive safely this holiday season and spend good time with those you love.
Goodnight!

Xx

Lizzi Tremayne

Interview

 

Once Upon a Vet School… This Time in New Zealand!

Hi all!

Can’t wait for the release of our 2018 Christmas Boxed Set! I think you’ll love it!

And I think you’ll like my contribution. It’s set in New Zealand. Yep, same heroine, different country. 🙂

Oh, and quite a few people have asked me, of this SEMI-autobiographical series, which parts are real and which are made-up?

As I tell them, sorry, that’s going to remain my secret. 🙂

We’re having a little jump, like from # to #10.  Trust me, it’ll be better this way. 🙂  Though each story is designed to be read independently, it’ll be fun when it’s a complete series.

The plan is to make the series applicable to readers of the heroine’s age. That means, as horse crazy Lena first hears she needs good grades to get into veterinary school as a seven-year-old, Book One will be written for readers of that age group, ie: young readers. And so on. 🙂

So young, and ever-older  readers can relate to the stories as Lena grows with them.

So it’s your turn, readers:  what do you think of the idea of having reader-age-linked stories in the same series?

My story for the upcoming  boxed set: 

Lena loves her new adopted country of New Zealand, its horses and dairy stock, her veterinary workmates and her boss… but her luck with men is, shall we say, not ideal. She’d love a ‘good Kiwi bloke’, but they’re proving as elusive as their nocturnal namesake.

Nigel’s staying away from females, unless they’re cows, horses, or his mother. After his first marriage went off the rails, or the road, anyway, he just plain won’t be responsible for anyone else’s life… but Lena’s a bit of a different kettle of fish… or is she?

Sparks fly when they meet for the first time—the first official time, anyway. Not the time they conversed over the dirty instruments after she’d just survived an afternoon of malodorous veterinary treatments. They seem to be made for each other… but then Nigel remembers when they first met. And the questions start. Can they get past their past to see to the future they both want so badly?

And there’s more!

Jude Knighton, one of our authors, mentioned the Bluestocking Belles’ box set a few weeks ago, and I talked about it but couldn’t talk about it because we hadn’t had our cover reveal party yet!

SO HERE IT IS!  Follow Your Star Home.

Somewhere Like Home:

From the Highlands to Waterloo—can love prevail over fate?

1813, Scottish Highlands

When Robert refuses to become clan tacksman after his father, he is disowned and off down the road to build a life for himself and his beloved Sofia.

Sofia’s waiting turns to despair when her mother buys safety during the clearance of their village at Sofia’s expense, leaving her to the lusts of the laird’s son.

Rob emerges from the hell of Waterloo wanting only to see Sofia again…and his father.

Meet my hero and heroine!

 

Follow Your Star Home is available for preorder now right here!

 

And once again, I ask:  what do you think of the idea of having reader-age-linked stories in the same series?

Looking forward to seeing you soon!

Take good care, and happy reading!

xx

Lizzi Tremayne

 

Interview with Lizzi and Aleksandra!

Hello All! How about an interview with Authors of Main Street author Lizzi Tremayne, and an interview with Aleksandra Lekarski, heroine of The Long Trails series!

First, an interview with Aleksandra!

Where are you from?

I was born in Vienna, but my family ran to the United States when I was just an infant. We ended up trapping in the wilderness of Utah Territory, where I live now.

Tell us a bit about A Long Trail Rolling.

It’s the story where I meet the love of my life, nearly lose my life, and get to do something no girl has ever done before, ride the Pony Express!

What did you think the first time you saw Xavier?

Wow…chocolate brown eyes, deeply tanned Latino visage, gorgeous smile, and what a hunk.

 

What was your second thought?

Well…(looking down at my shuffling feet)…I…sort of…drew my shashka* and held it to his throat?

interview

Did you feel it was love at first sight?

I think it was, but then my training to protect my family’s secret kicked in. I’m a bit slow on the uptake sometimes, and it took some time for me to realize he was really the man of my dreams.

 

What do you like most about him?

Hmmm…that’s a hard one. It would have to be the way he holds me when I think the world’s going to end, and murmurs love words in Spanish…he’s incredibly sexy. Did you know, ‘te quiero’, in Español, means both ‘I love you’, and ‘I want you’?  That’s how close they’re linked to a Latino. J

 

How would you describe him?

Well, my sexy Latino lover is strong, sensitive, and loves me to bits (despite my stroppy temper and reluctance to let anyone else have any say). You should hear how he talks to frightened horses, and rides.  Mmmmmmmm…  He does have a few issues with trust…well, a lot of them…and a history of abuse from his stepfather, who he thought was his father until just recently.

 

How would he describe you?

Do I really have to answer that? (Big sigh.) He’d say (I’ve heard him say, anyway) I’m lovely (he can’t get enough of my golden curls that reach past my derrière), an unparalleled rider (I was trained by my father in dzhigitovka, Cossack defense riding, now similar to trick riding, smart (I speak five languages and do math in my head), sensitive, generous to a fault, and a lot of fun. But…he’d also say I’m opinionated, bossy, inclined to always want to do things my own way, and difficult to get to know. J But he loves me anyway.

What made you choose teaching as a career?

Well, when the Pony Express shut down because the Pah-Ute Indians burned down most of the stations for over a hundred miles (not that I blamed them) and I could no longer ride for them, masquerading as a boy, Xavier and I went to Virginia City and got married. Since the Pony wasn’t running, my choices were to teach, work in a livery stable (which didn’t impress Xavier) or clean house.  Guess what won?

 

What is your biggest fear?

That someone will discover our family’s secret and give it to the tsar of Russia, and he will use it to run over all of Europe, and then Papa’s death was for naught.

 

How do you relax?

What’s a relax? Oh, like when I’m injured so much I can’t keep going? I like to lay back in Xavier’s arms and be cuddled and kissed…and other things, but this is a clean blog. J

 

Who is your favorite fictional character and why?

Wow, that’s a hard one. We didn’t have many books, out there in Utah Territory…let’s see…that would have to be Vanessa March, in Airs Above the Ground, by Mary Stewart. The book wasn’t written when I was alive, but a little time travel let me read it. Vanessa’s a classy, feisty veterinarian with real heart. She’s great under pressure and I adore her.

interview

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

Papa told me again and again to never get excited in a fight. If I kept breathing, my brain would keep me alive. It’s worked, so far. Thanks, Papa!

 

*shashka: Cossack short, hiltless sword

 

And now, here’s an interview with author of The Long Trails and Once Upon a Vet School series’, Lizzi Tremayne!

Interview

 

What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer and why?

That would have to be Airs Above the Ground, combining a great heroine (I like the same things about her that Aleksandra does), veterinary medicine (my dream from seven years old) and the Lipizzaner horses, (also my dream from even earlier). This was the first Historical Romantic Suspense I ever read, and at a young age. I seem to see her in most of my heroines! I’ve been hooked on Historical Romantic Suspense ever since. Phillipa Gregory’s books have taught me a lot of history and I love her way with words and her ability to make the history live. Diana Gabaldon combines many genres in her work. I love her books and she’s shown me I can write the books in my heart that cross genres and get away with it!

Interview

What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel?

Possibly this wasn’t an actual single event, but it was a relationship. A man I adored had ‘attachment issues’ from abuse in his young life. As much as I wanted to try to ‘fix’ him, I learned it was something I couldn’t do. He had to want it enough to make the changes that could have let him be happier in his life.  Xavier, however, had no such choice. J As my character, I could encourage him to look at his issues for what they were. I could use my bit of control freak on this poor fictional character to make him fix himself. He’ll still have trouble with it through this book, and in other books in the series, but he’s genuinely trying to get better and face his fears.  He’s winning. J It was Xavier’s major issue in the story, so it impacted it by becoming his Achilles heel.

interview

 

Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them?

Well, I’m my own publisher. It’s called Blue Mist Publishing. I’ve pitched to several publishers and agents. Most have requested, but in reviewing my submissions, decided they didn’t know where to place the story, as it crossed genres. As a publisher might have encouraged, I’ve entered plenty of contests. I have won some, placed in others, and put the ribbons on my cover. In the course of all this, my writing’s improved, and I will continue to work on my craft till my dying day!

 

 

A Long Trail Rolling

interview

She didn’t expect to become a target…but she is one now.

 

Aleksandra is alone and running to prevent her father’s killer from discovering their family secret. Disguised as a Pony Express rider in 1860’s Utah, Aleksandra winds up in even deeper trouble when she rides full speed into the Paiute Indian War. With Xavier, her compelling Californio boss, can she escape the Indians on the warpath and evade the man who’s already killed her father—and set his sights on her?

.

Free on Kindle Unlimited or buy here: https://lizzitremayne.com/LongTrailRoll

 

marketing

Get a free copy of Lizzi Tremayne’s Sampler here when you sign up for her newsletter! Be the first to know about new releases, special offers, and news!    https://lizzitremayne.com/signupsampler/

Find Lizzi Here!

Lizzi’s Website :   http://www.lizzitremayne.com/lizzi-tremayne-author

Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/profile/lizzi-tremayne

Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/lizzitremayneauthor

Amazon:   http://www.amzn.to/16VVn1w

Goodreads:   http://www.goodreads.com/LizziTremayne

Instagram:   http://www.instagram.com/lizzitremayne/

Pinterest:   https://nz.pinterest.com/lizzitremayne/

Twitter:   http://www.twitter.com/LizziTremayne/

YouTube:   www.youtube.com/user/lizzikiwi

Newsletter signup: https://lizzitremayne.com/signupsampler/

 

#horses #AmerInd #sword #awarded #OldWest #PonyExpress #historicalfiction #Adult #YA #recipes #history #historical #historicalromance #historicalromanticsuspense

OAVS #6: Fifty Miles at a Breath Coming Soon!

Hi all! We can’t wait for our Summertime Boxed set to be released this month, including seven great new novellas by Authors of Main Street authors! It’ll feature my Once Upon a Vet School #6: Fifth Miles at a Breath!  (Yes, you noticed… I’m going backwards… LOL)

Well… mine’s sort of a novella… I seem to have this little problem with “writing short“.  It’s come out at 59K… when it was meant to be… much less. :/  I hope you enjoy it!

Like horses? Things veterinary? You’ll love Fifty Miles at a Breath!

Fifty Miles at a breath

Here’s the first chapter from Fifty Miles at a Breath:

Fifty miles at a breath break

Southern California, 1986

“You’ll regret you refused me,” Gareth Barnett-Payne menaced, reaching for me, but I spun and ran until my legs—

“Lena… Lena” Raywyn, the head veterinary technician, waved her hand before my eyes.

I blinked, shaking my head and willing my heart to stop pounding in my chest.

“Are you okay?” Her brows knitted together.

I gripped the edge of the desk before me. “Yes, fine,” I mumbled, wondering how anyone could be so vicious. “So,” I swallowed hard and dragged myself back to today, “what’s the surgery schedule for tomorrow, Ray?”

She looked at me sideways, then turned to the schedule before her.

I took a deep breath and let it out slowly, trying to release the tension stacked up from three weeks of flea allergy dermatitis, hotspots, anal glands and catfight abscesses. Through those stinking hot Santa Barbara summer days, I yearned for the touch of a velvet nose, the solid muscle and bone, and the scent of a horse. Any horse. It wouldn’t be much longer before I could go home to my own roan. I bit my lip and scanned the small animal clinic, my eyes and nose running as freely as they’d been since the moment I first walked in through the practice doorway. Cat allergy in a vet—great. Thank god I was going to be an equine vet.

“Let’s see,” Ray’s finger ran down the page, “two dogs spays, a cruciate surgery, four cat neuters, and… hmmm… I can’t read it. I’ll need to ask Dr. Franco.” She flashed a grin at me. “With your handwriting, you should make a fantastic veterinarian, too. I can’t read a thing you write.”

“I really do try,” I said, with a rueful grin.

“Could have fooled me.”

“Not too many cats for tomorrow, then,” I sighed, “that’s a good thing.”

“We don’t have many appointments, so Dr. Franco will be free to supervise and you should be able to do most of the surgeries.”

“I’m pretty lucky,” I nodded, “I get to do so much surgery here. I’ve been speaking with some of my classmates. They just don’t get the opportunities I’ve been handed. I’ll be forever grateful to you and Dr. Franco for that. I’m going to be a horse vet, but I’m sure there’ll still be other animals in my life.”

Ray looked at me, brows narrowed, until I began to squirm, with an overwhelming urge to cover myself. “What?”

“It’s a man, isn’t it?”

I gritted my teeth and held my breath. “Maybe.”

“No maybe about it. Who is he?”

“Some creep with a control fetish.”

Ray blinked and shook her head. “Tell me he isn’t your problem anymore.”

“He’s not my problem anymore.”

“Truth?”

I nodded. “Never was, much, though he encouraged the idea… rather forcefully.”

“You need to come out with us to a few clubs tomorrow night. Just the girls.”

“I’d rather stay away from men, but thanks all the same.”

Ray’s smile faded. “It’ll be fun, Lena. It’s a group of women. We’ll dance, have a blast, and go home. Alone. Can you think about it?” Her smile was hopeful.

“I’ll think about it,” I said, biting my lip. “Can I tell you tomorrow?”

“Sure, but we’d love to have you along.”

“I don’t know… I’m truly over men,” I swallowed hard. “They’re just not worth the angst.”

“All you have to do is come out with us. You don’t even need to dance with them. You can dance with the rest of the girls.”

I was far from certain, but I had no other plans for my hot Friday night. “Okay,” I finally said.

Fifty miles at a breath scene break

The electronic music throbbing across the dance floor jangled in my head. It was so loud, my heart thumped in shock along with the beat. With a deep breath, I forced my butt to stay on the barstool. And tried to smile. And look pleasant. Hard when everything about the place made me want to run screaming out the door. The men either plastic and young in their shiny, synthetic shi—

“Aren’t you glad you came with us, now?” Ray’s voice cut into my thoughts during a momentary lull in the noise,

I bit my cheek and nodded. No use wrecking her night, too. There certainly wasn’t anyone here with whom I’d want to wake up, much less spend the rest of my life. Maybe I was just too serious.

“That guy,” Ray nodded her chin, “the one who looks like he never leaves the beach, has been eyeing you up for the past half hour. Why don’t you go put him out of his misery?”

I rolled my eyes as the music started pounding again. “Come on, Ray, you know I can’t shoot guys in here,” I shouted over the music and smirked. “Someone might object.”

Ray closed her eyes and shook her head. “You really are a tough case, aren’t you?” she yelled back.

“Okay, I’ll go. I don’t imagine he knows how to dance Western Swing,” I said into her ear as I hopped from my perch.

“You go girl!” Ray barked, her eyes twinkling.

Mr. Lifeguard may have been eyeing me up, but he looked ready to bolt at my approach.

“Hi, my friend thought I should come ask you to dance.”

“Hello,” he said, with a heavy accent and I blinked.

“A Danish hello?” A smile cracked my visage.

This could be interesting.

His rabbit-in-the-headlights look dissolved and he laughed.

Hvordan har du de?” he said, in my mother’s native language.

Fint tak,” I replied. That made me smile. My mother would be pleased,

He started off on a stream of rapid-fire dansk, and with a laugh, I put a hand on his arm to stop him.

“Whoa there. You’ve already heard most of my Danish. From my mom, I learned hello, thank you, you’re welcome, and stand up. Baby words.”

His smile melted, and he bit his lip.

“It’s okay,” I smiled. “Want to dance?”

Tak, thank you. That, I would love,” he said, as he put a hand on the small of my back and guided me to the crowded dance floor.

“You wouldn’t know how to dance properly, would you?”

With a smile that lit the whole room, he took my hand and whirled me around the floor. The man could dance—and I was thankful once again for my many years of Latin and ballroom lessons. I never knew when they’d come in handy, like now.

“What are you doing so far from home?” I asked, after we’d been dancing for what seemed like hours.

“I’ve been at University here, studying marine biology.”

“Really?” So, the lifeguard guess was close. “I almost did that. I love to dive—I started when I was an undergraduate here,” I shouted, “but I’m in veterinary school up north now. Maybe we could go for a dive before I have to go home.”

“I would love to,” he bit his lip, his brow furrowed, “but I fly back to Danmark tomorrow morning. I wish we’d met sooner.” He genuinely looked wistful and my heart twinged at the thought of the friendship we might have had.

“Believe me when I say I’m gutted to hear you’re leaving.” That’d be right. I finally meet someone with the same interests… and he’s heading halfway around the world the next day.

“Gutted?”

“Sorry, very sorry.” My mouth twisted.

“Me too,” said the Viking. He took my hand and made a little bow over it, then he kissed it. I had to take a deep breath and lock my knees to keep from melting. I love Europeans.

“It seems your friends are ready to leave.” He nodded at Ray’s table full of women. They looked at us over their empty glasses, purses slung over their shoulders. “Mange tusind tak, and goodbye for now,” he said, as he turned away toward his own friends.

Many thousand thanks…

My heart sinking, I rejoined Ray and her friends as they walked out the door.

Outside on the street, Ray and I split from her friends and turned toward our apartment over the clinic. Ray stared at the retreating back of the blonde Viking as he and his friends headed away from us and tripped over a crack in the pavement. She recovered and turned back to me. Her mouth twitched in the light of the streetlamp. “Well, you’ve certainly found yourself a live one,” she said, with a wink. “When will you see him again?”

I snorted. “Probably never. He flies home to Denmark tomorrow.”

Ray’s face fell. “You can’t be serious.”

“Story of my life.” I nodded. “Told you it’s not worth it,” I couldn’t repress a smile, “but the dancing was spectacular.”

“You two were awesome out there.”

“It was all him. I just followed.”

“Could have fooled me,” Ray muttered.

“Truth be told, it’s easier, or safer, anyway, than dancing Western Swing, where the only rules are to try to stay on your feet while they fling you around. It’s fun, but Jesper’s dancing was… so much more subtle. It was easy, like… like… dancing.” I beamed at my friend. “Thank you for dragging me along. I really enjoyed myself.”

“You at least have each other’s contacts, right?”

My mouth dropped open and nothing came out.

“I can see,” Ray sighed, “I’ll need to take you under my wing. You clearly lack training.”

We both laughed, but mine was a bit self-conscious.

“I’ll be okay.” I gave her a half smile. “My focus needs to be veterinary school now. I really don’t have the time or the energy for anything other than that. The next two years are going to be hard enough just taking care of me and my animals, without worrying about the ups and downs of a relationship.”

“I see,” Ray said, though she looked like she did no such thing.

“It’s really true,” I said firmly, wrapped an arm around Ray’s shoulders, and gave her a squeeze. “I have friends like you. What more could a vet student want?”

“I guess you’re right, and you have your precious horse waiting for you back at home.” Ray stopped dead and stared at me. “Oh my god, horse.…” she slapped her palm to her forehead and jerked her head toward me. “How could I forget about you?”

“Pardon?”

“A vet tech friend of mine asked me last week if I knew anyone who could help at an endurance ride next weekend.”

“Like a horse endurance ride?” I goggled at her.

“No, you goof, they’re racing penguins. Of course, it’s a horse endurance ride.” Ray’s eyes sparkled. She’d grown up with horses, but with her head tech position at the clinic, she didn’t have time for them now.

“Where do I sign?”

“Have you ever helped at an endurance ride?”

fifty miles at a breath

“I’ve been on the ‘P & R Team’ at the vet school and my family’s done endurance since before I was born—I’ve been on my family’s Tevis Cup crew since before I could walk.”

“Boy, am I glad to hear that.” Ray let out a breath and shook her head. “Sarah’s desperate for some helpers.” She turned to me, brow furrowed. “What’s a P & R team?”

“P for pulse, R for respiration. It’s a team of vet students that helps at local endurance rides by taking heart rates and respiratory rates on the horses before they go on to the vets at the control checks. It frees the vets up to focus on lameness and metabolic problems.”

“Oh, of course.”

“Where is it?” A tingle of excitement ran up my back.

“It’s at Los Lomitos, about an hour and a half from here. I’ll make you a deal: if you go help Sarah, you can leave on Friday at noon and needn’t be back at work until Tuesday morning—you can take some time for yourself up there.”

The weight, the tension sliding from my shoulders made me want to dance the rest of the way home. I was grateful for the opportunity offered by this summer preceptorship, but I wasn’t sure if I’d survive a whole two months down here, away from home and my animals, with only patient dogs and cats for company. Ray was offering me not only respite, but horses, too.

“Sweeten the deal,” Ray said, at my continued silence, “I’ll send you with my tent, sleeping bag and everything you’ll need to camp in luxury. Including poison oak medication.”

I laughed, afraid my cheeks might split from smiling so widely. “I’m in. You had me at hello.”

Fifty miles at a breath scene break

It was still early afternoon on Friday when I arrived at the endurance race campground and found Ray’s friend Sarah, the ride manager.

I’d beamed at myself in the rearview mirror for most of the drive. Four days of horses, camping, and outdoor life after the desert of life in a city. I’d owe Ray forever.

The somewhat frazzled Sarah managed a welcoming smile for me. “There’s nothing you need to do until later, Lena,” she said, handing me a lanyard and passes. “Ray told me your history, and I can’t say how glad I am to have a volunteer of your experience and training.”

“Happy to help,” I said. “I just want to touch some horses.”

“Plenty of opportunity for that.” Sarah’s eyes twinkled. “The P & R team briefing starts at 7 p.m. and there’s another session afterward to practice taking pulse and respiratory rates. You wouldn’t want to help with that, would you?”

“Of course,” I said. “I’m at your disposal.”

“I’d hoped you’d say that. Most of the team are experienced horse people, but only a few have taken vitals before.”

“I’d be happy to help them.” I smiled.

“Thanks so much.” Sarah’s eyes glinted. “Go ahead and set up your camp. There’s a nice swimming hole in the creek, just down there,” she pointed, “if you feel so inclined. I need to run,” she said, as a man wearing an OFFICIAL badge touched her on the shoulder, an expectant look on his face. “I’ll see you at dinner.” Sarah and the man headed off at a trot.

As my meals were supplied by the ride management, setting up camp took only minutes and I was soon free to enjoy my afternoon.

A luxury I haven’t had in long months,

Inside Ray’s tent, I dropped my jeans and slipped into my shorts and bikini top, grabbed a towel, and headed for the proffered swimming hole. I hadn’t gotten far when the throaty rumble of an Arabian caught my attention. He stared at me intently from his wooden tie stall and I approached him, looking around for someone connected to this magnificent creature, but no one was near. His blood bay coat gleamed over a faultlessly muscled body. He whickered again as I neared him. With his body carriage, he had to be a stallion, so I peeked under his belly. Yep, a stallion.

I reached out a hand to him and he lipped gently at my palm.

“Ooh, aren’t you the most handsome man?” I murmured.

I jumped when he answered.

“Why, thank you,” came a deep voice, tinged with humor.

I chuckled into the laughing gaze of the man who raised himself from the ground behind the short wall at the stallion’s feet. “I thought he answered me, for a moment.”

The man’s face creased into deep laugh lines around his gorgeous blue eyes. He was as handsome as the horse, to be sure.

“He talks, this boy,” he said, as he slid one arm over the bay’s back and gave him a scratch on his withers, then stuck out his other hand. “Blake, Blake Sagan. Pleased to meet you.”

I smiled and introduced myself. “Just admiring your stallion. He’s a beaut.”

“Thanks. He’s pretty special. His name’s Prince. Prince Witeż, after his grandfather. My pride and joy. Are you racing tomorrow?”

“Not this time. I’m here to help, P & R team.”

“Ever been to an endurance ride before?” He looked sideways at me while he waited for my answer.

“Oh, a few. My grandfather’s done the Tevis Cup numerous times, my mom and stepdad a few more, and I’ve done some shorter rides plus ride & ties. I usually get to crew, though.”

“Ah,” his eyes glinted, “you must be the vet student from Santa Barbara.”.

I blinked. News traveled fast.

“I knew Sarah was looking for helpers.” He smiled. “Thanks for coming along.”

“Glad to help. I was in serious need of a horse fix. I’ve been working in a small animal clinic this summer.”

“Not keen on the smallies?”

“I love them, but my heart’s with the horses.”

“You off for a swim?” He nodded at my towel.

“Sure am. Sarah told me to go down by the bridge.”

“It’s a nice spot, but there’s an even better one a little way upstream. I’m taking Prince down there for a swim shortly.”

“I’ll see you down there, then.”

“Be there soon,” he said, and waved at me as I walked away.

Blake’s gaze—there was more light in that man’s sparkling eyes then I’d seen in ages. I wondered what he did besides ride horses—with that quick, intelligent spark, it must be something special.

What can I be thinking?

The next two years are not about more devastating relationships. It’s time to finish my doctorate and establish my career.

I cannot go there.

I simply cannot.

 

 

Fifty miles at a breath break

Want to read more? Keep an eye out for Fifty Miles at a Breath in Summertime Romance on Main Street!

Coming in June 2018!

Fifty Miles at a Breath

Summer Romance: OAVS 8: Fifty Miles at a Breath

 

Hi all!

I’m flat out… well, past flat out, to finish your next story and another one shortly thereafter. One thing about being a self-pubbed author in two boxed-set groups…. there are deadlines to keep me honest!

Summer Romance on Main Street

Your new stories will be out very soon! As you’ve probably heard, we’re not only doing a Christmas boxed set this year, but also a Summertime one! Summer Romance on Main Street will be out this month!  Keep checking back here to hear when it’s out!

In case you’re wondering, yes, I have changed the cover image for Once Upon a Vet School #7: Lena Takes a Foal.

Here it is!  (and yes, that’s me, my horse Maya, and my youngest son…)1 1 OAVS 7 New EBOOK cover kb 500 2017 05 01

Join us for another story in Lena’s series of Once Upon a Vet School!

And you will too, when you read Once Upon a Vet School #6: Fifty Miles at a Breath (Page coming soon!) in our upcoming boxed set, Summer Romance on Main Street!

I’ve done endurance riding and ride-and-ties myself, plus crewed and vetted for many more.  I thought it might be nice to give people a little glimpse into that world.

So here’s a little excerpt from OAVS #6: Fifty Miles at a Breath: 

 


From Once Upon a Vet School #6: Fifty Miles at a Breath

Prince was back in the corral attached to his trailer when I arrived at Blake’s camper. The stallion whuffled softly to me and lipped at the grass I’d found for him. I may be a disaster with men, but I know how to make horses love me.

“He’ll leave me for you, if you keep that up.” Blake’s eyes glowed down at me from the open door of his camper.

I grinned.

“Come on in and have a drink with me, but leave Prince out there. He’d wreck the camper, so he has to stay outside, but you look like you have better manners.” He waved me in. “Beer? Juice? Whiskey?”

I thought the juice might be safest, in my present state of mind.

The comfortable cab-over camper looked well used, but well cared for. Blake caught me looking it over.

“It’s not fancy, but it’s gone a lot of miles. We take it camping in the high Sierra and to a lot of endurance rides.”

We?

I gulped. Getting ahead of myself again.  Of course, a man so vivacious and fun would have a wife. I swallowed the bitter disappointment and accepted the juice with thanks. “High Sierra?”

“Yes, we take the horses and camp up high, near the tree line, and take day rides out from the camper.”

I grinned at him beneath my brows. “That’s not real camping, in a camper.”

He snorted. “Have you ever done it?”

“I’ve camped for years.”

 He lifted one brow. “In the High Sierra?”

“Well, no.”

“Wait until you try it. You won’t think I’m such a tenderfoot, then.”

That got me. I had no idea what he meant. And I probably wasn’t going to find out. Surely he was married. Probably to one of those money- grubbers he’d mentioned last time we spoke.

“So, you’ve finished your meeting?”

“Sure have. I know where I need to be, and when. Stethoscope  in hand and secretary assigned. One Janelle Knight.”

“Nice girl, Janelle. Known her  parents for years. She wants to be a vet.”

I shuddered, then grinned. “I’ll try not to put her off vet school.”

“That tough?”

“Let’s just say the course is designed to be passed, but it’s tough. Their selection process is pretty strong. So far, we’ve not lost any of our classmates through the first three years of the program, and gained one from the previous class who had a little trouble adjusting back to school life after  he retired from a navy career.” I smiled. “His life dream was to be a vet. Fortunately or unfortunately, he grew up in  a navy family, so into the navy he went.”

“Wow, what dedication.”

“Yep. He adds so much to our class.”

“Let’s go, or will miss dinner.” Blake held the door for me as I climbed down the steps.

Gentlemanly.

I didn’t see much of that these days. I grinned over my shoulder as I thanked him, then promptly tripped over the trailer brake.

Pull it together. A guy’s nice to you and you melt.

 I managed to hit the ground with my feet, rather than my head, and stood waiting beside Prince while Blake climbed down—carefully, I noticed.

We headed in the general direction of the cookhouse. Blake stopped at this trailer and that to introduce me to his friends.

The on-duty ambulance rolled slowly to a halt near us, the driver looking around and talking on his radio.

“What’s up?” Blake asked someone.

“Faye Waters took her horse out for a ride and her horse came back alone. Not sure what happened, but they found her on the ground, her head against a rock. She had her helmet on, but she was unconscious.” He nodded his head at the ambulance. “They’ve radioed for a chopper and it’s on its way. They’re finalizing a landing spot now.”

The other ambulance attendant  hopped out. “Can you all please clear the area? The chopper is on its way,” he called out, in a loud voice.

 We moved to the edge of the clearing and searched the sky for a helicopter.  Blake saw it before I could even hear it.

“He’s going a pretty good clip.” Blake raised an eyebrow at the chopper, racing toward us.  Suddenly, it was right  above us, coming faster than I could have imagined, dropping like a stone into the clearing before us. It was only twenty feet above the ground, too close for comfort. A graying man walked past them, struggling to lead a gray Arabian as it danced sideways, snorting and tugging at its lead. The man glanced around, and then up to see what was frightening his charge.  Suddenly, his horse galloped past me, so close I felt the wind from its passing. I turned back to see if the man was okay, but he’d vanished.

Blake dashed off to catch the horse and I ran over to where the man had been. Where had he gone? I peered over the riverbank near where I’d last seen him. There he was. Ten feet down, hunched into a ball on the rocky riverbed, hands and arms cradling his head. His whole body shook.

“Are you all right?” I called out, but he didn’t respond. I scrambled down beside him and reached a hand out toward his shoulder.

“No!” Blake’s voice rang out from high above me.

I froze, but not before I’d touched the hot skin of the man’s shoulder and my world went ballistic. I tried to scream past the fingers digging into my face and covering my mouth, and then a band of flesh-covered steel clamped tight across my throat.


 

I’ve always adored Lena, and Blake’s pretty cool, too. Hope you love Lena and Blake’s story, coming SOON!

xx

Lizzi Tremayne

 

A First Kiss… and it’s not from the Hero!

Hello! Thanks for coming by today for Aleksandra’s first kiss!

My heroine, Aleksandra, had already met the hero of the story, but… they weren’t exactly friends yet. SO this is actually Aleksandra’s first kiss, though it’s not with the hero! If you want to read about Aleksandra and Xavier’s first kiss, you’ll have to read A Long Trail Rolling, Book One of The Long Trails series.

Today I’m giving away an ebook copy of A Long Trail Rolling to one lucky commenter. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

In our excerpt, life had turned upside down for Aleksandra. She’d just found her pa dead of a sword wound, she was alone, and the tribe of Shoshone she’d grown up alongside wouldn’t take her in—for her own safety.

We pick up our story as Aleksandra is riding toward her lonely cabin from the Indian village…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hope was far from Aleksandra’s reach, her heart in tatters somewhere lining the bottom of her empty chest, as she and Dzień wandered down the mountain toward their cabin.

How could I have missed it?

She understood how the deepening rift between the settlers and the indigenous people wouldn’t let her safely live in their midst, but what of Dancing Wolf? How did she miss his deepening feelings for her, when they were close as brother and sister? Aleksandra was attracted to him, but accustomed only to the overt displays of affection in her family, his increasing reservation toward her as they matured had blinded her to what might have been. She shook her head to clear it and smiled as she thought of their leave-taking.

Dancing Wolf had accompanied her from the village and stopped at their old halfway meeting point. The tall young man dismounted from his pinto Mustang and for only the second time since they were children, wrapped his arms around her and held her close as she sat her pony, silent, for long minutes.

Kwahaten, you have been the most special part of my life and a large piece of my heart leaves with you. For your safety, I cannot have what my heart desires most, you by my fireside, beneath my furs,’ he stopped, flushed, and then cleared his throat, ‘riding by my side, forever. You need to go to your own people,’ he finally managed. ‘I will be watching for you. If you are ever in need, you know how to find me.’

Aleksandra nodded. ‘I understand, though I feel the rest of my family has truly died now. With you, I also leave much of my heart. May we meet again soon, my special one.’ She kissed the top of his head, bowed against her breast. He lifted his face to hers, his eyes deep pools of darkness, searching into her soul. Their lips met in their first kiss, the intensity of his touch shocking Aleksandra, and she drew back for a moment. His lips continued warm and insistent against hers as he wrapped his arms around her. She sighed and melted into him, her arms moving about his neck of their own volition as she breathed in his musky scent. She felt a gripping tension deep in her belly as he deepened the kiss, and inhaled sharply. He pulled back slowly, his eyes darkened to black, then smiled at her, while he shook his head slowly and let his breath out. Brushing the stray strands of hair from her face and taking her hands, he kissed her softly on the lips once again.

He looked down at her hands between his.

‘What we might have had—’ he started, then paused.

‘—cannot be, my special one,’ she said into the silence, ‘but I will always remember.’ She tried for a smile, looking at him through bleary eyes. Her hands still shook, but at least her heart felt like someone had kindled a small fire inside, and it was warm.

‘Go now, dear one of my heart, my Kwahaten. You cannot be mine, but I will always be here for you.’ Smiling at her, he swung onto his pony as Aleksandra turned her own Mustang and rode back down the mountain.

horsehead glyph

So, not the first kiss with the hero, but Aleksandra’s first kiss… 🙂 I’m giving away a digital copy of A Long Trail Rolling, Book One of The Long Trails series to a random commenter. Just leave your comments below and good luck!

 Buy Link:

https://lizzitremayne.com/LongTrailRoll

About the story:

 She didn’t expect to become a target…but she is one now.

Aleksandra is alone and running to prevent her father’s killer from discovering their family secret. Disguised as a Pony Express rider in 1860’s Utah, Aleksandra winds up in even deeper trouble when she rides full speed into the Paiute Indian War. With Xavier, her compelling Californio boss, can she escape the Indians on the warpath and evade the man who’s already killed her father—and set his sights on her?

Author Bio:

Lizzi writes about the Old West, Russia, and Colonial New Zealand, as well as veterinary fiction and non-fiction—all with a horsey flair. She’s also one of the newest members of the Bluestocking Belles!

She grew up riding wild in the Santa Cruz Mountain redwoods, became an equine veterinarian at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, and practiced in the California Pony Express and Gold Country before emigrating to New Zealand.

Lizzi has two wonderful, grown-up boys and an awesome partner in this sea of green. When she’s not writing, she’s swinging a rapier or shooting a bow in medieval garb, riding, driving a carriage or playing on her hobby farm, singing, or working as an equine veterinarian or science teacher. She’s multiply published and awarded in fiction, special interest magazines and veterinary periodicals.

Sign up for Lizzi Tremayne’s Newsletter and get one of Lizzi’s short stories for free at: https://lizzitremayne.com/signup/

Connect with Lizzi:

Lizzi’s Website :   www.lizzitremayne.com/lizzi-tremayne-author

Facebook:   www.facebook.com/lizzitremayneauthor

Amazon:   www.amzn.to/16VVn1w

Goodreads:   www.goodreads.com/LizziTremayne

Instagram:   www.instagram.com/lizzitremayne/

Pinterest:   https://nz.pinterest.com/lizzitremayne/

Twitter:   www.twitter.com/LizziTremayne/

YouTube:   www.youtube.com/user/lizzikiwi

Newsletter signup:   https://lizzitremayne.com/signup/

Remember to comment to go into the draw for a copy of A Long Trail Rolling!

Thanks for coming by!

Lizzi

AoMS Christmas Boxed Set Coming Up Soon! Sneak preview!

  1. Hi All!

Sending out my best to all those affected by the Texas hurricane, and other disasters. We’re thinking about you all over the world.

I thought I’d share the first draft of Chaper 1 of the novella I’ll be including in our Christmas anthology, (You’ll have to read the boxed set for the final version, all 12 stories will only be 99c on Amazon!)

Once Upon a Vet School #7

Lena takes a Foal.  

It’s actually part of a series…and it’s in the middle. The others will be written out from there!

In case you don’t know, I’m an equine vet and have until now written awarded historical fiction and technical veterinary non-fiction. My writing buddies have been after me for ages to write these stories, so thank you to Authors of Main Street for offering me the opportunity to stretch my literary wings!

I hope you enjoy my first dip into contemporary fiction–my stab at becoming the next, albeit female, James Herriot!

Enjoy!

Let me know what you think!

xx

Lizzi

CHAPTER ONE

1986 Northern California

Mickey’s roan ears, silhouetted against the pale green light filtering into the tiny glade, rose higher and higher before me and my heart froze—he’d never reared this high before. The light disappeared as the horse’s massive body blocked out the sun. A blinding flash of pain, and then only blessed darkness.

***

Someone was there in the darkness before us. Biting my lip, I reined Mickey to a halt at the sight of a strange white pickup glowing in the light of the dim bulb above the stable yard. The barn door creaked as it swung open, then closed behind the tall figure of a man in the distance. No men boarded horses here.

Who was it?

I swallowed hard, glancing from side to side to see if anyone else was around, my fingers tightening on the reins. Mickey backed up a step, his bit clanking as he threw his head, and the figure turned to face us.

“Hello, who’s there?” he called out.

Kit Allen, a resident from the veterinary school. I let out my breath and shivered as the butterflies dancing in my stomach overtook even the throbbing in my leg.

“It’s me, Lena Scott,” I said.

He walked toward me and I squeezed my legs to move my horse forward before I thought. I yelped, but bit it off.

“What the heck are you doing out riding at this hour?” His brows narrowed as I rode up to him. “And what have you done to your face?”

“Ahhh…we had a…disagreement about going home.”

“Looks like the roan won. Bit late for a ride, isn’t it?” He set down a bucket of bandaging materials and held one of Mickey’s reins.

“I left mid-afternoon.” I said, wincing. “I only got as far as the glade, a few miles across the fields.”

“Are you OK?” He frowned as his eyes scanned the perfectly cool horse, then his gaze snapped to mine.

“I’ve hurt my leg.” My attempt at nonchalance came out as a whine. My left foot hung free of the stirrup—the leg hurt too much to do anything else.

“What have you done with Lena?” Kit muttered to the horse, as he moved to his near side and froze. He stared at the swelling bulging above the top of my boot, all the way to mid-thigh, then at my eyes, as comprehension dawned. “Is this horse called Mickey? What happened?”

I took a deep breath. I didn’t want anyone to know, especially someone from the vet school.

“Yes, it’s Mickey. He fell on me.”

“He fell? It’s flat out there.” His voice was terse and the furrows on his brow deepened further.

“He went over backwards,” I whispered, my heart in my throat.

“That riding school he came from should—” He stopped and gritted his teeth. “Anyway, you’re hurt.” His voice softened. “Can you get down?”

I shook my head.

“I was wondering how I’d get off,” I said, surveying the rickety old corral fences.

“Let me help.” He was tall enough to hold me around the waist and pull me carefully from the saddle. I whimpered at the pain when I bumped the leg and clamped my jaws together, then told the butterflies to go to play somewhere else while he lowered me to the ground.

I gasped when my bad limb hit the dirt.

“I’ll put him away and give you a ride.” Kit released me as soon as I was bearing weight on it.

“I can drive mys—”

“—good thing you were wearing that thing. There’s a great dent in it.” He raised a brow at me, eyeing the back of my helmet. “You were knocked out, weren’t you?”

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.

“I don’t know.”

“Right. I don’t know what you’d planned, but you won’t manage the heavy clutch in your old truck with that leg, will you? I’ll take you to the hospital.”

“I hadn’t actually thought past getting back to the barn in one piece,” I mumbled, mostly to myself, as he led the horse away. I wrung my hands. “His feed’s made up,” I called after him.

“I’ll find it.” Kit slipped the girth as he walked and pulled the saddle off.

I limped to get my backpack, then closed my eyes, wishing my hot cheeks would cool down as I leaned against Kit’s truck—I recognized it now, it was a vet school ambulatory vehicle. Its metal panel cooled the burning abrasions on the backs of my arms. Maybe I should press my face against it, and the rest of my aching body.

I started when Kit spoke.

“Hop in,” he said, and led the roan into his stall. He growled something low at the horse, then exited the barn with my saddle over his arm.

“Can’t you get in?” he said, as he walked up.

I shook my head and glanced down at my swollen leg.

His eyes following mine, he grimaced, then picked me up with care and set me on the passenger seat.

“We need to get that boot off and get you to the hospital.”

“I’ll be fine at home, thanks.”

“You need the hospital.” His brows narrowed until they nearly touched.

“No. Thank you.”

He gritted his teeth in silence for a moment.

“How about student health?”

“I’ll be fine. They’ll tell me to elevate it, take anti-inflammatories, and rest.”

“Correct, but you should get checked out.”

“Can you please just check me?”

He sighed and pulled a penlight from his pocket, flicked it at my eyes, first one, then the other, then back and forth between them.

“Your light reflexes are normal, but that leg…”

“It’ll be fine. I’ve had worse.”

He squeezed his eyes shut for a moment.

“Home it is, then, but get it checked out as soon as possible, OK?”

Every tiny bump in the road on the way home jarred my leg. By the time we got near home, I was nearly vomiting from the pain, but riding beside Dr. Kit Allen made up for a lot. For the past few years, he’d had my utter admiration—bordering on hero worship, though he didn’t know me from a bar of soap. Dr. Allen was a magician with horses. He really seemed to care about them—not just their diagnosis and treatment—but them. I glanced across the cab to his profile outlined by a streetlamp. Pretty drop-dead gorgeous, too, if you happen to like your classical tall, dark and handsome. And his way with horses—that really got to me.

I shook my head.

Just remember how tall, dark, and handsome turned out last time.

“Is there someone at your place that can help you with your boot? Getting it on—off, I mean?” He flushed in the glow from the dashboard lights and clamped his lips together.

I clamped my own to keep from grinning at his blush. Made me feel better about mine, but it wasn’t helping me keep my mind where it belonged, really. Residents weren’t meant to consort with students. I’d never spent time with him, other than reporting on his cases in ICU, and perving when he wasn’t looking. Though he had a sharp wit, he didn’t say much. He’d seemed stuck up and hailed from the snobbiest horsey town in our home county, so I’d kept my distance, despite his regular appearances in my dreams for the past several months. He’d been pretty nice tonight—maybe he was just shy. The butterflies started kicking again, and I told them to quit.

“My housemate Tamarah might be home.”

He let out a long breath and a hint of a smile touched his lips.

“You might get that field boot off before some idiot wants to cut it off…the only reason not go to the hospital, I guess,” he said, with the hint of a grin.

“Call me vain, but I’d almost rather cut off my leg than this Dehner boot—I’ve waited two decades to own a pair,” I said, and reached down to loosen its lace. “You’d understand about good boots.”

“How’s that?”

“Some comment I overheard in ICU, sorry,” my cheeks heated further, “about you showing hunter-jumpers—to the degree of resetting shoes between judges to change your horses’ movement.”

“We were kinda serious.” He grinned. “Good thing I worked my way through college as a farrier. Kept the bills down.”

No lights showed as we stopped before my house. This time he didn’t even ask if I could manage. He came around to my side, picked me up and carried me to the door as if weighed nothing. Desired or not, his face that up-close and personal was disconcerting, so I turned my heated cheeks away and fumbled with the house keys as we stood exposed in the light of the bare porch bulb.

Ten minutes later, after displaying more swearing and tears than I’d have preferred, we got the boot off, intact.

“There’s a bandage in the bathroom, top drawer, and naproxen in the cabinet,” I said, surveying the leg, already blue from my toes to the top of my thigh. The pain was pretty unbearable by now.

“Are these yours?” He shot me a look and held up my running shorts. My face smoked now. They’d been on the bathroom floor beneath some lacy panties.

I nodded, and he tossed the shorts to me and disappeared.

“Put them on, please,” he called from the bathroom. “I’d like to check that leg.”

Sounded like he was talking about a horse. I grinned, despite myself, and managed to peel my breeches down and off, then tugged the nylon shorts up as he returned with a compression bandage, pills and a glass of water.

Dr. Allen blinked at the leg, then checked the femur, tibia and fibula for stability. Taking the heel in one hand, he flexed, extended, and rotated the joints in all directions, but nothing crunched, while I bit my cheek. It’d be the hospital for sure, if I let myself scream.

“No crepitus, and the joints work fine. I’ll bandage it up, but you must get it looked at.”

I compressed my lips together. I had two weeks to recover before school and work started again.

Piece of cake.

***

For all my bravado, Tamarah, my fourth-year vet student housemate, still had to go with a friend to the barn the next day to pick up my truck and feed the horse—I wasn’t going anywhere.

“How did you get back?” Tamarah said, after she returned. “It’s a long way to the barn from where he dumped you.”

“Rode back,” I mumbled through a full mouth.

“Didn’t Mickey leave?”

“I had his reins in a death-grip when I woke up in the dark,” I said. “I learned young to keep hold of my reins when I fell off—riding boots aren’t exactly made for hiking home in the Santa Cruz Mountains.”

“How’d you get back on him? That’s your mounting leg.” She frowned at my swollen appendage.

“Hopped to a fallen log, clinging to his mane, then clambered onto his back all anyhow, swearing and sweating like a demented thing. I still ache all over.”

“And you haven’t seen a doctor?” Tamarah said, glancing up from her granola.

“It’s OK, Dr. Allen checked it out.”

She blinked.

“Dr. Allen? The resident? Where did you see him?”

“He was at the barn when I rode in on Mickey.”

“That’s all very well,” she set down her spoon down carefully, “but he’s a vet. You need a human doctor.”

“Are you serious, Tam?” I stared at her. “They’ll put me in the hospital.”

“Where you belong,” she stated flatly.

“I can’t make my rent if I don’t finish typing Sarah’s doctoral dissertation before school starts again.”

“You can do that in hospital.”

“Yeah, I can’t even lift the electric typewriter, I’m sure that’s going to work. No, I’ll just have to take care of it at home. I can keep it elevated and massage the heck out of it.”

She shook her head as she rinsed her bowl in the sink.

“Besides, if I’m in hospital and miss classes, I’ll never catch up.”

“Of course you will.” Her brows narrowed at me. “Why didn’t Dr. Allen take you to the hospital?”

“He tried,” I said, wincing.

“Sometimes you have rocks in your head, girl.” Tamarah shook her head as she slapped my bowl down on the counter and stalked off.

Some people just seem to be born brilliant. Like Tamarah. Somehow I’d ended up with 150 of them in my vet school class. The rest of us work our buns off just to survive.

I’m not bitter, it’s just the way it is.

***

The jingle of the ice cream truck pulled me out of whatever internal medicine doctorate-dissertation trance I was in, typing myself stupid. I’d been stuck in bed with Sarah’s Previously Unknown E. coli in a Dog for nearly a week and I had a desperate urge to catch that truck—and snag me a chocolate gelato.

Never mind I could barely make it to the toilet.

With a frown at Tamarah’s makeshift desk sitting over my lap, topped by 35 pounds of IBM Selectric correcting electric typewriter, I bit my lip, held my breath and heaved. The typewriter budged…but not enough. I tried again and managed to get it off my legs, then I swung my legs over and dived for the door…but my leg was trapped in the sheet, wasn’t it?

I hit the floor with a grunt and a scream, then dragged myself to the doorframe and climbed up its slippery surface.

That ice cream had better be good.

I staggered down the hallway, leaning against the wall as I went. If I’d gone to the doctor, I’d no doubt have a crutch, but I had to decline, didn’t I? I nearly fell over Tamarah’s golden Labrador, who ran up to me with her leash in her mouth and a hopeful look in her big brown eyes.

“Watch out, Susie, not now,” I mumbled, then stumbled down the porch steps. I was limping across the lawn at a great rate of knots, when the brightly painted van, playing its merry tune, drove away in a cloud of diesel smoke.

I growled beneath my breath at the universe for denying me the chance to add inches to my waistline, then took a deep breath and looked up to see the mailbox. I might as well check it, now I was out here.

“Susie, what have you got?” I called out to the dog, as I reached into the mailbox. She looked at me, all big, innocent Labrador eyes, with a half-grown bunny draped through her mouth.

“Gently, gently,” I whispered, as I followed her into the bushes, dragging my screaming leg and picked up the leash she’d dropped. Any domestic type rabbit, like this Belgian Lop, running around in the middle of town must be someone’s pet. It was currently still alive, hyperventilating, its little chest heaving in triple time, but that could change in a heartbeat.

“Come on, Susie, give it here,” I cajoled, and waved her leash at her.

With a joyous look, she spat the rabbit at me and lunged for the leash. I dove for the bunny like a wide receiver making the final play in the end zone, quite forgetting for one brief moment that I only had one functional leg.

This time, I’m sure the whole neighborhood heard me swear.

I figured it must be time to exercise my leg, so Susie got her walk, after all. We returned to the house and I put the bunny in a box with some water and lettuce to calm down while I fashioned a rough—operative word, rough—crutch.  After loading the bunny into a backpack, while trying to prevent Labrador from helping, it snuggled down quiet, then we set off to tour the neighborhood. Susie’s enthusiasm helped me—I think—to hobble from house to house, while muttering imprecations under my breath, for the next hour until we found the little old lady whose granddaughter had brought it over to show it off last week—and forgot about it while it was grazing on granny’s back lawn.

They’d thought they’d never see it again.

Made my day.

***

A few days later, despite the hydrotherapy, massage, and loving care by Tamarah, the leg actually looked worse. Not content to stay a nice blue color, it had morphed to a camouflage pattern of purple, black and yellow. Understanding the medical significance of the color changes was all very nice, but it didn’t make the bruises resolve any faster.

“Do you want to see that blasted horse of yours?” Tamarah said,

“Really, you’ll take me?”

She scowled at my enthusiasm.

“I go there every day to take care of him, anyway,” she grumbled. “You might as well come along…on one condition.”

“What is it?” I was rather ungracious, under the circumstances. She’d been caring for Mickey and me since my fall. I peered sideways at her.

“We go by student health on the way back. I don’t want to come home from walking the dog to find you seizuring from a blood clot in your brain.”

Susie jumped to her feet at the W-word and spat her slimy tennis ball at me. I sidestepped and gave her a twisted grin, thankful, after the bunny incident, that the dog was good at hurling things with her mouth.

“My father would shoot me,” Tamarah continued smoothly, “if he knew I’d let you stay away from the doctor.”

That got me.

Tamarah’s daddy, a lovely man, was also a professor…at our veterinary school. I bit my cheek. He wouldn’t be impressed by my irresponsible behavior. Now was not the time to annoy his daughter. It’d also occurred to me that a more comfortable crutch could be useful when school started—in too few days.

“Thanks,” I managed, past gritted teeth. “I’d like that…the first part, but…I’ll go to the doctor.”

“Get a sock on that foot and we’ll go,” she said.

I hopped away as fast as I could, before she changed her mind.

While Tamarah cleaned his stall, I mooned over the fence at Mickey. The creature at least had the decency to look guilty when I limped toward him with his feed.

“Don’t even think about taking him for a walk, much less riding.” Tamarah stood between me and the tack room, with a look on her face that made me cringe.

I quashed the desire to ask for his halter and kissed his soft nose, instead.

***

“I’ll wait out here,” Tamarah said fifteen minutes later, with a triumphant smile, as she opened the car door for me outside student health.

“You should have come in right away,” the doctor said, with a frown. “You could have had a blood clot! How long has it been?”

“A week and a half,” I mumbled into my shirt.

“I see you rushed right in.” She scowled and shook her head. “What have you been doing for it?”

Her demeanor softened a little when I told her.

“I guess you’re out of the danger zone, anyway. I’d have hospitalized you.”

I nodded.

“So you start school next week? What are you studying?”

“Vet med.”

“Vet?” She blinked. “You should know bett—oh well,” she sighed, and scribbled in her notes. “Never mind. Small animals, I hope? Try to stay off it. Sit down while you’re treating your patients.”

I mumbled something incoherent, lacking have the heart to tell her I was Equine Track and worked as a Large Animal ICU Technician—galloping on foot between three barns, running IV fluids to twelve horses at a time, and tubing colicky horses all night. She’d have the vapors.

Oblivious to her patient’s dastardly plans, the doctor smiled and left me with a packet of anti-inflammatories and admonitions to rest, elevate it, and keep up the massage.

At least I could hold my head up in front of Tamarah again, but I was still rather glad school was about to start. While I appreciated her loving, if tight-lipped, care, I really didn’t need the pillow under my leg fluffed every fifteen minutes and if I kept drinking so many hot chocolates, I’d never fit my jeans again when the swelling in my leg eventually went down. I still hopped, but getting to class on time could be tricky—not travelling at my regular speed.

***

My friend Jess returned from a trip away with her family the night before classes were to resume.

“Did you see what our first lecture is tomorrow?” Her voice over the phone line leapt with expectancy.

I pulled the schedule from my bag, where it had lain, forgotten, since the final day of last quarter. One glance, and my grin at her excitement vanished. Spots swam before my eyes as I read the title on the first lecture:

Dystocia: Difficult Birth in the Mare and Determining the Need for Surgical Intervention

I nearly dropped the phone.

Not dystocia. Not foaling difficulties.

Anything but that.


 

I hope you enjoyed reading Chapter One of Once Upon a Vet School, volume 7! To read the final version and the rest of my story, and eleven more, you’ll have to see our Christmas Boxed Set, out SOON!!!!!

Be sure to subscribe to our page to keep posted of when it’ll be available!

I’d love to hear your thoughts!  Hear from you soon!

xx

Lizzi

HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT YOU MIGHT LIKE TO LIVE IN ANOTHER TIME?

I did, for years and years…and then I discovered SCA, the Society for Creative Anachronism, where others who sometime wish they lived in other times and I get together to play, learn and teach others the skills you’ve learned! I didn’t think you blog readers would be interested until someone out there told me they’d love to see a post about it, so here goes!

 

I grew up in the California redwoods, helping around our little lifestyle block, riding my horse,         and pony broncs!  with my best friend Leslie and my sister    

 

 

 

 

 

 

cooking, working with leather,

doing 4-H in a major way,

cheerleading, and generally having a pretty wonderful time.

 

 

One of my favorite pastimes, when I had the chance, was hiding in the tall field of wild oats at a neighbor’s place with my pony’s lead in one hand and a book in the other, reading about other faraway places and times past…especially Dark Ages British Isles in general and Arthurian legends, in Mary Stewart’s Crystal Cave, in particular. J

 

Then I went off to university and studied my little brains out until I graduated from veterinary school at UC Davis in the Equine Track. It was a long ride, but it was worth it.  Life stayed busy for many years. I moved to New Zealand, raised a family, farmed and I rode and drove riding and carriage horses.  But always, in the back of my mind, was that little idea that I was born in the wrong time.

  

Driving Blue Mist Shemaya with youngest son Elliot grooming, and with Jason, my navigator for the roads and tracks portion…Elliot was too little, he wasn’t allowed.

 

I’d always liked archery, since I’d been little, and when the opportunity to shoot returned to my life, I grabbed it. I attended an archery event in New Zealand:  

and shortly

 

afterward, I found out about a medieval re-enactment event called Abbey Medieval Festival, in Australia. Well, it seems I was heading over there anyway, to speak at a veterinary dental conference, and the dates coincided nicely! I sorted out all sorts of things, like authentic costume, etc. for my son and I, and we went. It was fantastic, all I could have ever dreamed.

 

 

While we were there, I looked up a Kiwi whose name I’d been given at that original archery event, found him, and he told me about SCA…in New Zealand!

SO what’s SCA? It’s a worldwide organisation that re-enacts the middle ages… ‘as is should have been’, says my partner…ie: without getting killed when you fight with swords, without the plague, and with indoor plumbing and cooking with gas. In short, all the best parts, pageantry and fun without the serious danger. Cheating a bit (well, a lot?), but it’s awfully fun. “Scadians”, or those who participate in SCA, aim for varying degrees of authenticity in their clothing, weaponry, food, crafts, in the creation of their SCA persona, but all with an overlying concept of chivalry and courtesy. In New Zealand, we seem to go for a higher level of authenticity than some other parts of the organisation. This past year, I was recognised by the Crown with an Award of Arms. That meant I could create a device (coat of arms) for myself and call myself a Lady, even if no one else does.  LOL

The name I’ve applied for is: Lisebet Skinkel van Egeskow.

 

Here’s a bit about the Skinkels and Egeskow (Egeskov currently, though was spelled Egeskow historically). My mother is Danish, so it fits.

http://www.egeskov.dk/en/history

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeppe_p%C3%A5_bjerget

 

Equestrian  skill at arms:   My first try on a lovely, borrowed horse in Australia. 🙂

 

Martial Arts  archery,

fencing, heavy fighting, (not steel in SCA)

Sewing: making our own clothing, using lovely, natural fibres: linen, wool, fur and silk, primarily…learning and teaching others…

             

 

authentic, natural fabrics, dyeing, spinning, weaving, nalbinding, lucet braiding,

 

Cooking:  here’s me doing Medieval Masterchef, or at least the food I cooked. It’s being judged.

Playing Medieval Music and Dancing:

Royalty!

EATING…

  

 

 

SO

If you’ve ever wanted to live in another time, go out and find your local SCA group, they’re all over the world now, and…get this…The group was formed less than half an hour from where I grew up…I went away to university and missed it…how’s that for timing?

I had to go halfway around the world to find it.

Hope you don’t have to.

Come on out and play!

Xx

Lizzi

Casket or Coffin? The rivulets down which writers may find themselves…and does it really matter?

Not to be getting morbid on you this early in the piece, but really, it’s important. Getting the detail right makes a difference to the discerning reader. Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, a writer may have to leave the main stream and travel down smaller and smaller rivulets until the detail becomes clear—and correct, to the best of their understanding.

I’ve known this for quite some time, but was reminded the other day, when writing a scene for one of my 1863 historical fictions. In the interest of avoiding word repetition—by using varied words to say the same thing, I used the word coffin in one line, and casket in the next…and then, as I often do, began to wonder whether substituting one for the other was appropriate…for now, and as well as 1863. As my best friend, a techie, tells me whenever I ask him a question, “Google is your friend.”

So I went online…once again.

As any writer of historical works will tell you, do your research before you begin. I do, I do…but ‘when in the course of human events, it become necessary’ to figure out the plausibility of, for example, substituting ‘casket’ for ‘coffin’, one must hit the proverbial books again.

In this case, it turned out that mere word substitution was definitely not OK.

The name selected for the burial container of your historical heroine’s uncle implies vastly different things, with respect to the period in which he lived, his cultural affiliations, and his social status as well. The number of sides? Coffins have six or eight, while caskets, in North America, at least, have four, and are designed to look like a bed—apparently, to ease the mourning process—sheltering those left behind by making the deceased seem less dead than they are. (Really? No amount of makeup could have made my grandfather look alive, to my eight-year-old eyes.) Are they shaped like the deceased, as in the anthropoid shape of a coffin, wide at the shoulders and narrow toward the feet, or rectangular like a casket? How many layers?  And the composition of those layers? While common in England a few centuries ago, a tri-layered coffin, with the middle one of lead, would have been difficult to manufacture for burial of one’s loved husband while crossing the Sierras in a covered wagon. There certainly wasn’t the space to carry a spare.

So you see why it takes a writer so long to finish even a simple paragraph?

Likewise, some readers are pretty particular about their hobby. Take, for instance, horsey people. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been riding since I was seven, and luckily, made a career out of my love for horses. I’m not a snob in general, but when I pick up a book that has a horse in it, and its characters do something a horse person would consider just plain stupid, I tend to drop the book. Say, if a character does something like whip their reins around a hitching rail (your horse will rip their mouth to shreds if they panic and pull back), wrap the reins or lead rope around their hand (good way to lose fingers), or drive a pair or team from the wrong side of a carriage (the reins are buckled together at different lengths, specifically for the side on which the driver traditionally sits). I don’t want to read any more.

Some may call it snobbery, but it’s really more that the author has just lost credibility in the reader’s eyes. If they couldn’t bother to research enough to get that simple detail right, what else could be a lie in the story?  Research, research, research, and then run it by a person in that hobby. An author won’t always get it right, but they earn points with me for doing their best.

Detail, detail, and more detail.

During The Great Flood of Sacramento, having your fictional steamboat pilot tying his boat up to the dock would have local history buffs jumping up and down in hysterics, because the pier was beneath three stories of water.

The piles for said docks were just not that long. There was an awful lot of water filling up Sacramento, not to mention the whole Central Valley of California.

In fact, there was so much water that Leland Stanford had to go to his inauguration in downtown Sacramento in a rowboat. I can suppose his wife would not have been amused. Imagine the difficulty that would have posed for management of her crinoline, and keeping her ankles covered.

HOWEVER, and this is a big one…one can research and research…and then put it all into the story.

No, you say? Whatever can you mean? I’ve discovered all this information, and I want to tell the world, now that I’m an ‘expert’ on the topic!

It won’t fly. It just won’t.

If a reader wanted a history book, they would seek out a history book.

If one is writing historical fiction, the historical detail must be used with delicacy. Subtlety. It is far too easy to launch into historical exposition, and bury the story in pet research.

I know. I did it. And I must constantly prevent myself from doing it again.

Other authors ask why I released a 3rd edition of A Long Trail Rolling.

“Move forward,” they said. “It’s your first novel, get on with the next book!”.

I couldn’t.

This may have been my first book, but it was also the launching pad for my first series. The suboptimal reviews I’ve received (from the first edition) have complained of historical exposition, or history book-type rants about what I loved from my research. As Stephen King says, “Kill your darlings”. To those of you who offered these comments, thank you—it’s helped my writing evolve.

Writing historicals can be an exercise in trying to get out of the research and into putting words down on the page—for me, anyway—but maybe I’m just easily distracted. It’s also my excuse to keep delving deeper into the period in which I’m engaged. I love it, but it’s a bit of an addiction, this research. I can’t seem to get enough, and it will probably remain a compulsion, best kept under control.

Maybe we can start a new club. RA—Researchers Anonymous.

Maybe I’ll write a contemporary. A short one. I might finish it a lot faster…

Oh yeah, I’m doing that…soon…for Authors of Main Street’s next Christmas Boxed Set!

Here’s a teaser for that story…horsey girl in veterinary school…what she gets up to—and beyond.

 

   

I’m getting set to release Book Three in The Long Trails series of historical romantic thrillers, called A Sea of Green Unfolding, in digital and paperback.

During the run-up to release day, I’ll be offering digital copies of Book One of the series, A Long Trail Rolling, for only 99c, and preorders for A Sea of Green Unfolding at a discounted rate until release day!  Come on by my author site to sign up for my newsletter to stay informed!

Thanks so much for reading, I’ll see you again soon!

xx

Lizzi

Lizzi Tremayne