Ask a Cowboy

Dear Cowboy, How do you get a cowboy to like you?

Signed, lonely and looking

Dear LAL,

The laws of attraction are mysterious and poorly understood. I’m pretty sure even scientists don’t know how magnets work – or maybe they do, I missed a lot of classes in high school – but I do know that when it comes to affairs of the heart, things get more complicated even than magnets. Despite my less than stellar academic career, I’ve got a little amateur biologist in me. For pretty much every species in the natural world, it’s mostly up to the males to do all the courtship shenanigans to attract the attention of females. From the elaborate dances and gaudy plumage of sage grouse to the ungainly horns and physical contests of big horn sheep, the guys spend the time and energy proving they are worth the time and energy of the ladies. Humans, on the other hand, with our big old brains and our predilection to make everything harder than it needs to be… Read more of the Cowboy’s answer>>

Feel good in their skin: A 22nd century human rights movement?

Miss-USA-antifur-72I attended a TED Talk recently. Yes, I know, this simple fact may surprise you but my kind like a bit of intellectual stimulation now and again too. I’m kidding; of course, I just occasionally enjoy dining on the intellectually eager.

A room full of humans trying to better themselves has all the appeal of a yoga conference for chickens.

But truth be told, I find the style of TED Talks limiting, mostly boring,  the ultimate benefits short-lived. My own hypothesis is that this in-vogue, quick-hit theatrical approach to the transmission of knowledge can be traced back to Sesame Street’s imprinting on the developing neurons of this now balding boob-drooping boomer generation. Read more from the Undead Bloggess>>

Only because you asked: Tips and tricks from the trenches

bloodytypewriterWe were recently asked to write about writing. Usually, this topic is hopelessly boring. But we did our best, because we were very nicely asked and let our collective ego answer instead of our brains…this post originally appeared on Rebecca’s Writing Service blog.  

Writing is the worst thing you can do in the world. For starters, it’s thankless. And chances are you’ll never make any money at it. Plus you’ll be relentlessly critiqued and judged by countless people, some (many?) of whom feel obliged to assassinate your character in the process. And forget about having a social life, or any kind of life, really. You have to spend all of your time writing and all of your spare time marketing your writing and all your spare, spare time reading better writers than yourself. (Note: there’s no such thing as spare, spare, spare time — that’s just called “sleep,” and it’s in short supply).

If you’re still reading this, it’s too late for you — you’re afflicted. There’s no hope. But we do have a few tips and tricks to help you manage the unfortunate condition that will shape the rest of your life.  Read the rest of this entry »

Climbing Goat Mountain: When art imitates life

Goat Mountain by David Vann is a dark, brutal, crackling story about a boy, his father (and his friend) and his grandfather who go deer hunting ingoat mountain the mountains of California in the late 70s. Kathleen read it, liked it, and then recommended I give it a try because she thought I would appreciate the similarities with my own childhood. As I’ve described to her, probably to the point of mind-numbing boredom, I grew up on a ranch in Montana in the late 70s.

I read it in one sitting on a flight to DC (the very best circumstances to have a great book in your hands) and, more than finding a few similarities, the story at times felt like a cut and paste of my life. The set up is that the boy, excited to make his first kill, is given the opportunity to look at a poacher through the scope of his fathers’ hunting rifle. Bad things happen and it all quickly spirals out of control into madness and violence.

Here’s the crazy part: I have a vivid memory of deer hunting as a boy on some private property up in the mountains – this was probably in Junior High — when I saw a friend across the canyon confront a poacher who wasn’t supposed to be there. Read the rest of Clark’s soapbox post>>

Cowboys, vampires and creamed enchiladas

Our favorite Alaskan deity – Kriss – recently posted a recipe and a review both related to The Cowboy and the Vampire. Wow! That’s all we can say….here’s a little excerpt from the review, but check out the full post at the Cabin Goddess website. It’s a great site. Yum. Creamed enchiladas and massive creativity.

“The balance of funny from Elita, the serious brooding character of Tucker and the metaphysical aspect of … well the Meta (must read it, it is where they go between morning and night when they “die” each day), the horror of what happens to Lizzie after the disaster of her wedding day is boiling away on high and causing the necessity to read till you are done. The darkest of the bunch and the best written so far I am just delighted. They are each finding their voices which peek through with a few of the different characters. I am absolutely thrilled to have grabbed this!”