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Old Hens Know All the Tricks

   

We started our chicken journey with eight chickens in February 2014. The one-day-old chick is a Buff Orpington. This one could be Eva, Joanna, Ruthie, or Leah. The other four chicks were Black Australorps: Lydia, Ninja, Sarah, and Rachel.

Lydia checks the fenceline for grasshoppers. She is the only one of the original eight that we still have, and she is still laying beautiful, light tan eggs with a purple sheen at least every other day. We have forty other chickens. They may be bigger, faster, and more aggressive, but nobody gives Lydia grief. Old hens know all the tricks.

 

Sadie is a German short-haired pointer and was born in December 2005. She was a rescue dog and came our way five years later. Her back legs aren’t as strong as they used to be, and her hearing is almost nonexistent. The aggressive tumor in her right eye was removed last year along with her eye, and her left eye doesn’t see so good. But she’s a happy old girl and still runs the paths and deer trails and keeps track of everyone. She loves the dog door because she can stick out her nose and check the weather and the smells.

Sadie loves camping and being outside, but when it’s hot, she loves being in the air conditioning. Old dogs know all the tricks.

 

Farmer Woman was born way before you all. Her eyesight is lousy, and she can’t see stars at night. She cleans the chicken coop every day and loves to learn new things. She writes novels, established a publishing business, and is a marketer. She drags heavy limbs to the burn pile and is a weather expert.

She loves camping and being outside, but when it’s hot and buggy, she loves being in the air conditioning. Old Farmer Women know all the tricks.

 

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Reader Magnet Short Story, Chapter 1

What Is a Reader Magnet?

A year ago, I had no idea what a reader magnet was. In my literalness, I envisioned a nice refrigerator magnet with a picture of a book and a puppy. And maybe a kitten and a chicken for good measure. I don’t know about anybody else’s readers except mine – but we all like books, puppies, kittens, and chickens.

Then I stumbled across the idea of a “short story” that would give a reader a taste of the author’s brilliant writing. My first thought: That’s dreadful.

The Short Story that Wasn’t a Reader Magnet

Case in point: I wrote a short story called Barter and Bargains three years ago and submitted it to millions of contests. (I typed jillions, but autocorrect frowns on exaggeration.) The maximum word count allowed was 5,000, so I had to trim my 7,500-word story back with a hatchet.

I received two recurring criticisms:

  1. The story was too nice.
  2. The critic/judge wanted to know more about the characters.

I learned four things from the experience:

  1. I write nice characters that people want to know more about.
  2. I am a great storyteller.
  3. My writing craft skills needed work.
  4. I can’t write short.
  5. Wait, make it five: I’m not deflated by criticism.

Continue reading “Reader Magnet Short Story, Chapter 1”

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WARNING Label? Read the Series in Order

Maggie Sloan Mystery Series, Books 1 and 2

I’m struggling with whether I need to add a warning label or spoiler alert to the beginning of RED IS THE NEW GRAY, MAGGIE SLOAN MYSTERY SERIES, BOOK 2.

For anyone who has read  I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A SPY, BOOK 1, you know about Maggie and her men and her heartbreak.

It is possible for a new reader to read RED IS THE NEW GRAY, BOOK 2, without having read BOOK 1 because the men and other characters from BOOK 1 are introduced.

HOWEVER, the dilemma is that BOOK 2 of course also mentions Maggie’s heartbreak from BOOK 1. THAT’S a spoiler! Do I add a warning label to the beginning of BOOK 2?

WARNING: READING BOOK 2 WITHOUT READING BOOK 1 FIRST IS HAZARDOUS TO YOUR READING ENJOYMENT.

or

WARNING: DO NOT PROCEED WITH READING BOOK 2 UNTIL YOU HAVE READ BOOK 1. WE DON’T CARE IF BOOK 2 WAS FREE. GO READ BOOK 1.

or

SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ BOOK 2 UNTIL YOU READ BOOK 1. ANGRY READERS MAKE CRANKY REVIEWERS.

 

LINK TO MAGGIE SLOAN MYSTERY SERIES

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RED IS THE NEW GRAY ~ BOOK 2, MAGGIE SLOAN MYSTERY SERIES

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RED IS THE NEW GRAY

RED IS THE NEW GRAY

MAGGIE SLOAN MYSTERY SERIES, BOOK 2

 

MAGGIE SLOAN – former librarian, self-trained spy, literal, and brilliant – has the skills of a deadly assassin. Our Gray Lady (like the Gray Man who blends in, except shorter) accepts a two-week assignment in Galveston, Texas, to find a missing spy who trusts only her. Larry, her original police officer protector and “cousin” from her hometown, is her backup.

The Gray Lady is rocking her new red boots as the fill-in cook at a diner, but before the end of her first week, she is shot. The attacks escalate and so does Maggie’s determination to solve the crimes. Note to bad guys: Maggie is irritated, and Larry and Maggie’s men are furious.

Maggie and Larry struggle with the disturbing clues that point to the guilt of everyone they meet. How many more people will die before Maggie uncovers the vicious leader who has escaped detection for so long?

RED IS THE NEW GRAY Click/Tap

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Author’s Goal 2019 – Publish Four Books and Earn One Award

My Author’s Goal in 2018 was to publish a book. I published two. Time to up my game in 2019, so I did.

Danger in the Clouds

Published January 2019

Florida Authors and Publishers Association President’s Award

 

I Always Wanted To Be A Spy

Published February 2019

New Apple Literary Award – Excellence in Publishing

Sweet Deal Concealed

Donut Lady Mystery Series Book 2

Published March 2019

Florida Writers Association Award

Sweet Deal Revealed

Donut Lady Mystery Series, Book 3

Published July 2019

In 2019, I published four books and won three awards. Time to up my game.

 

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Bizarre? Just a Little

BizarreBazaarNov2019

As soon as I had my table set up at the Bizarre Bazaar in Bainbridge, GA, my newest friend grabbed her DONUT LADY BOOK 1, Sweet Deal Sealed, before they were all gone. Note that I am a good inch taller than she is. She was at the booth around the corner from me with her amazing, talented husband and his beautiful woodwork. I love the new-to-me local festivals in south Georgia. I meet nice people and sell books.

There were some slightly bizarre happenings. I’m not going to tell you though because they all have a place in one of my books for 2020. I will tell you that I discovered the next murderer for DONUT LADY BOOK 4. One hint: the murderer is not pictured above. Unless she wants to be, then all bets are off.

Interested in knowing more about my current books? Here you go! Judith A. Barrett Author Page

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Spying on Sweet Procrastination

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What do you get when an author who is also a farmer with fifty chickens avoids writing the next chapter of Book One of the SWEET DEAL COZY MYSTERIES because it might be scary?

A sweet chicken procrastinator.

 

girl-spy

What do you get when an author avoids the final editing of the novel, I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A SPY, because editing stinks?

A sweet, stinky, spying chicken procrastinator.

 

writing tools

What do you get when it’s blog day on the schedule and an author avoids writing a blog?

A sweet, stinky, spying chicken procrastinator blog.