Mar 292014

Doranna & DuncanThis is Doranna Durgin’s WordPlay Blog. I’m glad you’re here–whether it’s to learn more about my books, or chat about dogs, horses, and reading.

On Fridays, The Write Horse usually stops by for life with horse training, written by Patty Wilber.

If you’d like to reach my Webstead, you can clicky on that link you just passed. Right there. Behind you! The one that said Webstead.

PS although I use a plug-in that allows commenters to sign in, it’s easy to post as a guest and guest commenters are welcome!

Mar 292014

It’s the monthly giveaway!  And this time there are two of us giving away goodies!  The winner will receive hardcopy and electronic versions of both Nose for Trouble (by me) and A Fatal Twist of Lemon by Patrice Greenwood.  Much coolness.

There lots of options for entering. It starts at the end of the month, ends a month later…and the mystery theme is to celebrate that the second title in my Dale Kinsall & Sully Beagle series, Scent of Danger, is on the shelves again!  And Patrice is celebrating the upcoming release of the third Wisteria Tearoom mystery, An Aria of Omens (so will I, once it gets here!). Enter lots, happily go on your way, and it’ll be a nice surprise at the end of the month if you win!

(This “sticky” post will remain at the top of the blog. The entry form is behind the cut…just click on the Continue Reading link.) Continue reading »

Apr 222014

by Doranna

Connery is a breedist Beagle. 

cb.MACH.bawhBEWARE!” he bays, if a problem breed comes into his orbit.  “DO NOT WANT!”

If he spots such an individual while we’re running an agility course, I can be pretty sure he’s going to bring down a bar or pop a weave, because he just can’t think beyond the worrisome presence of that dog.  He tries so hard that it’s palpable but he just.  Can.  Not.

To be fair to Connery, he has reasons.  Good ones.  Like his objection to Boxers?  The first dog who attacked him was a Mastiff—a huge creature with a head the size of Connery’s whole body.  A big fawn dog with black points and a big squoosh face: close enough to a Boxer, if you’re Connery.

Obviously, if that Mastiff had closed his jaws around Connery, it would have killed him.  But I screamed, and Connery screamed, and he fled a desperate circle at the end of his leash.  Will I ever forget the sight of those massive jaws snapping closed against his tucked butt?

No.  No, I will not.

mastiff.noNor will I forget snatching up him, holding his still-screaming self up snugly against my chest, and turning my back on the Mastiff to brace for impact.  And that’s when the handler caught up to his dog, grabbed him by the collar and hustled him away.  Without a word.

(I sleuthed out who he was and reported him to the show committee, but that’s another adventure.)

Could be that Connery and I are both a little breedist on that account.

But at least we know it.  And we know why.  But even if I’m wary, I don’t trash talk the breed.  I don’t begrudge anyone the desire to own one.  So to the people who spew knee-jerk nastiness about any given breed just because it’s easy?

Stop it. 

Just.  Stop.

Oh, I get it.  It’s a rewarding thing to do.  Chances are, those within earshot will join in the trash-talk, providing that little rush of power.  Of being right.  Because Everyone Knows…

Even if they don’t.


That first NADAC agility trial!

As I waited my turn at Connery’s first NADAC trial, a woman standing behind me said clearly, “Oh look.  A Beagle.  And it’s intact.  This should be fun.”

Well, guess what.  It was.

At least, it was fun for us. But it was far from the last time I heard sneers directed our way when people didn’t know (or didn’t care) that they were standing right behind me.  Or, say…right beside the person who happened to be recording our run.

So here’s the thing:  Until someone embraces a particular breed, they don’t know crap about it.

That doesn’t mean owning the breed, but it does mean learning about it with an open mind.  Watching it in action.  Watching it in training.  Seeing the good and seeing the challenging.  It means accepting that different from what you prefer doesn’t mean inferior to what you prefer.

You know, I see this all the time in the genre writing world, too. We in this genre sneer at them in that genre.  We have Stars on Thars and they don’t!  Ultimately it’s a flawed attempt to justify the value of this genre, but…you know…it’s crap behavior.  So we should stop it.  All of us.

As it happens, I’ve written in SF/F, romance, mystery, and wow—tie-in writing.  So when a colleague in one genre gleefully sneers some oft-repeated dismissive nastiness about another genre, they’re usually talking about me.  To me.

They just don’t know it.  They just feel free to sling ugliness with impunity, because Everyone knows.

But Everyone usually gets it wrong.  Because just like the person who thinks Beagles are stupid because they’ve never actually paid any attention, the Everyones don’t read the genre at which they sneer, or they read one book that didn’t resonate with them or was of unfortunate quality, or they can’t seem to accept that just because Romance serves different reading needs than Science Fiction (or vice versa), each genre is an equally valid endeavor and pastime.

It’s okay for you to like what you like, and me to like what I like.

Really.  It is.

Look!  I cleverly used the cover of one of my own books in this spot!

Look! I cleverly used the cover of one of my own books in this spot!

And it’s okay to spurn the Everyones and their thoughtless ugliness and talk about our dogs, and our books, in terms of what we like about them–and not in terms that tear down what someone else likes.  Even if it takes a little courage to simply say, “I like this!” on its own terms.

Our choices are, as it happens, valid all on their own.

Me?  If it’s well written, I’ll read it.  Period.  And although I love hounds, I also love to watch the big leggy bird dogs, the feisty scamper of a Border Terrier, the fierce intensity of a Border Collie…the silly vocalizations of a personable Pug.


Apr 182014

By Patty Wilber

The first point show of the 2014 season for the New Mexico Buckskin Association was this weekend!

It is almost like we have two separate shows–except LT got to show in both halves.  She was not thrilled about that! More on that later.

Saturday, we had ranch horse pleasure and trail, cow stuff (boxing, cow horse) and reining.  This year (2014), we have $1000 for a year-end All Breed Ranch Versatility Award for the top three finishers! Here are our sponsors!


Diana DeBlanc, Performance Equine Vet Services

J.R. Lovato, Domingo Farms, Southern Colorado Hay Products

Troy Rogers, 4R Performance Livestock

Patty Wilber, Risotada Training

  Continue reading »

Apr 142014

by Doranna

Doranna & DuncanEvery once in a while I do guest and/or interview blogs elsewhere.  On the theory that not everyone here is there (and the other way around), I tend to post such things at Wordplay, too.  Hope it gives you grins!

(This particular interview first posted at Writers & Other Animals.)

Tell us a little about your background…

Oh, it’s complicated.  Start with one animal lover, determined to become a vet.  Life happens.  End up in Environmental Education, and then in a stunningly remote area of the Appalachian mountains.  Hand-built log cabin, a hundred acres…dogs, wood stove, and endless tromps in the woods together.  Enough people to generate lost and dumped dogs, not enough to have a shelter, so UPS would drop dogs off at our place for rescue.  And with the vet hours away, I found myself dealing with mange, broken bones, snakebite, varmint damage…even gunshot. Continue reading »

Apr 112014

By Patty Wilber

The last weekend in March, LT packed tools for the Back Country Horsemen.

 The first weekend in April, she went to Lubbock, TX to compete in her (and also my) first ever National Reined Cow Horse event put on by the Panhandle Reined Cow Horse Association.

I have been wanting to compete in reined cow horse for a while, but have been waiting for my girls to get to a point where I felt we could get around a pattern and work a cow.

I  was not quite sure we were up for the challenge yet this year, but at some point, well, Just Do It.

Anytime I compete, I really want to win there is a chance to win learn, so I did my best to focus on winning the “educational opportunity”.  (That change in focus actually did take off a lot of the pressure!)

Continue reading »

Apr 072014

by Doranna


Agility milestones for Connery Beagle!  Now that he’s earned a MACH3, Connery is running in Preferred classes (that is, jumping four inches lower).  He was always the shortest and heaviest dog in his jump height…Beagles are meant to be sturdy little things.  And he likes it Very Much!

He’s qualified in eleven of his twelve runs since then, and taken first place each time.  At ten years old there’s no telling how long he’ll have this much joy in running, but right now we’re having a blast with it!

connery_DSC6958-(ZF-1106-69731-1-002).SM Continue reading »

Apr 042014

By Patty Wilber

Most horseback riders wear something a top their cranium when a top their equine.

For many, that is a helmet. Besides the whole save your brain feature, the thing I really appreciate about helmets is that they strap on and do not fall off.  I was just debating (with myself) whether I would attempt a cowboy hat or go with my helmet at the reined cow horse show this weekend in Lubbock.  My cowboy hat usually flies off (hair pins and hairspray not withstanding) and if it does stay on, I get a headache…waaa.  My helmet WILL remain a top my brain.  But who in the world wears helmets at events like that? The cowboy hat is SO much cooler!

Here is a helmet sample from our back Country Horseman Project on March 30. Continue reading »

Apr 012014
Mindy Klasky

Guest Post by Mindy Klasky

Thanks, Doranna, for letting me hang out here today and for allowing me to share some of the background of my Diamond Brides Series, including Perfect Pitch, which is in stores now.

Once upon a time, I wrote my first novel. The Thirteenth Teaching was an epic fantasy, a quest novel that involved the collection of twelve artifacts, each pointing toward the reincarnation of a vengeful goddess. Clocking in at 175,000 words, Teaching was rejected by every major publisher in New York. Continue reading »