Thank you, Black Hippie Chick, for hosting me today.
While I’d like to say something pithy and attention grabbing, my thoughts are with my neighbors right now.
Most folks are aware there’s a drought, or at least have noticed their grass has either died or isn’t growing. That lack of grass is what concerns me. You see, I live in the country, surrounded by small farmers (not the ones who spend their winters in Florida) dependent on the land to feed their livestock. While my home may be in NW Illinois, we’re seeing the weeks without rain taking its toll on the fields.
My neighbors should have been able to cut (mow) a second batch of hay, or turned the livestock into a secondary pasture for grazing. But, the grass and alfalfa aren’t there. Instead, the farmers are having to search out hay that’s for sale, and compete against their friends and neighbors to buy that necessary food source for their animals. Dairy cattle are already producing less milk to adjust to the diminished food.
If you know anything about supply and demand, you see where this is going.
Small farmers for the most part have to enter into price established contracts at least a year ahead of the actual product’s production. In other words, my neighbors can’t afford this outlay of money they won’t see any return on. They can’t afford for their livestock to go hungry either. Farmers generally need a minimum of three hay cuttings, usually four if they can manage it. At the moment, they’re looking at two, at the most. More outlay of money, less product to get paid for – a cut in pay without the option of overtime.
Prices at the grocery store will go up as the supply of dairy products diminishes and the consumer demand remains high. For these small farmers though, they aren’t able to provide the quantity their contracted price was based on. They’re in trouble, and the season isn’t even over yet. Not to mention the hay and feed that should be going into storage for this coming winter, but isn’t on the horizon.
My neighbor who depends on his crop of sweet corn has been applying for work as the corn stalks are too spindly to produce the volume he needs to meet his expenses. The field corn stalks are turning brown at the base as the plants can’t absorb the necessary water for seeding (corn). For those not aware, field corn is used in breakfast cereals and corn muffin mix, among hundreds of other commodities.
So, while we grumble about the prices at the grocery store, keep in mind there will be some folks who may well have to sell their family home to the corporations busily devouring the small farms. If you pass a vegetable stand operated by a local farmer, stop and buy something. Please don’t complain to him/her that the corn, beans, tomatoes, whatever, aren’t as large or as sweet and juicy as last year. They already know that, and have the mounting bills to prove it.
The small farmers are trying to put food on their tables by putting food on yours. You want to really help? Tell that farmer selling his goods on a rickety table to keep the change. Believe me, your kindness won’t go unnoticed.
Oh…. If you’re looking for something to read, I hope you’ll give my latest release Kantu’s Heart a look.
Thanks for having me here. I do sincerely appreciate it.
One last thing. Today is July 20th, my mother’s birthday. She passed away two years ago.
Happy birthday, Ma. I miss you.
Title: Kantu’s Heart (DP’s “Western Escape” Series)
Publisher: Decadent Publishing
Length: 159 pages
Main Sub-Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Decadent Publishing | Amazon | BookStrand | ARe
Before the ice age, warrior Kantu lost his tribe, his mate Sanda, and his life to a vicious band of cannibals led by his most powerful enemy. He awakens in a world beyond his comprehension only to find his mate in the arms of her killer. Misery and strength meld into one goal—to win back his heart and kill his enemy.
With a nudge from her gentle guardian, Sandra Harn travels to Freewill, WY, looking for bargains at the annual rummage sale and, hopefully, answers to her mysterious past. Once there, visions of a time before the town existed make her question her sanity. When an exotic stranger with flowing raven hair and a body she can’t resist tries to kill her companion, logic tells her to run, but her heart and body have other ideas.
“Yes,” he whispered.
She stepped onto the bottom rail and laid her arms over the top one.
A man, undoubtedly a member of the Crow, clad in jeans and no shirt had somehow managed to mount the horned mammoth’s back. The man’s long, black, untied hair swung as if wheat in a storm. Young men in breechcloths tried to grab him, but the beast’s bucks and twists forced them to dive out of the way.
The beef on the hoof leapt in the air, wrenching his body, causing his rider to slip off. Gasps of horror tinged with excitement bounced from the crowd. When his feet hit the ground, the man, his hand firmly under the belt encompassing the beast’s belly, sprang again onto the frantic animal’s back. He worked at the fastener until the straps tumbled to the ground. Spinning off his ride, he ran to the far end of the arena where he opened the gate.
Young men jumped and scampered around the raging target, continuing their displays of courage by slapping hands at its snout. The bull pivoted and swung around, its horns glinting in the sun. A young man made contact, and the crowd roared satisfaction.
Out of nowhere the man in jeans was in the air, his hair flowing like a lion’s mane. He landed on the broad shoulders and locked his feet under the animal’s neck. Leaning forward, he cradled his arms under the horns and angled the head toward the open gate. The powerful legs broke into a full gallop. As the bull made its exit, the stranger slipped to the ground and closed the gate.
Enchanted, Sandra could only watch in silent awe.
Paul waved his hat in the air. “Whoo! That’s a hell of a show.”
Angry shouts arose once again. The dozen or more young men in breechcloths huddled, obviously discussing the situation.
Two of the MGR’s cowboys climbed into the ring. The animal’s blue jeaned liberator spun to face them. The cowboys held up their hands and gingerly backed away. A pair of Crow braves rushed him from behind. They grabbed his arms and tried to yank him to the ground, but he lifted his legs and kicked his feet into each of the youth’s knees. As they fell, he somersaulted to his feet and whirled, his icy glare staggering a few of the breechcloth covered men.
A funeral hush brushed over the crowd.
“No,” Sandra muttered. “This isn’t part of the show.”
Tingles sparkled beneath her skin. Heat balled at the base of her skull and plunged straight to her groin. Moisture dampened her panties. Oh, God. Violence turns me on. Dr. Crane, here I come.
The man strode seemingly unconcerned through the remainder of the group to the center of the arena. He pulled his hair back over his shoulders, exposing his round, but sculpted face and high cheekbones. Sandra sucked in a breath. His body was slender and rippled with sinewy muscles accentuated by the deep brown of his skin. Though he could only be five-eight at the most, his mere presence towered above any other man—she bit her tongue—including Paul’s six-plus feet.
Her stomach tightened at the sight of the three scars that traversed his torso from left shoulder to right hip. Holding out his perfectly formed arms, he glared a regal defiance at the crowd. Her heart thundered, breath caught in her throat.
“I am Kantu!” The man bellowed at the people. “A warrior of the three claws. Is this what we have become?” He inched his way in a circle as he spoke.
Sandra drank in every angle of his magnificent body and wrapped the desire coursing through her in the velvet texture of his voice.
“You torture beasts who eat grass, and you call this courage? In you, I see the people I once belonged to. I see men of strength. I see women who care for their warriors’ children, and I see those who have lost the ways and feed from the hands of others. Courage is not slapping a beast in a cage.” He slammed his forearm against his chest.
Kantu turned to the young men in the arena and set his feet shoulder width apart. “Slap my nose. Show your people how brave you are against a warrior not afraid of death.” He lowered his arms to his sides and stood there, a solitary champion prepared to die for his cause—a bull of all things.
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About the Author:
KevaD is David “DA” Kentner, prolific author of romance, suspense, horror, fantasy, and winner of American Mensa, Ltd’s Calliope magazine 18th annual fiction competition. His weekly column “The Readers’ Writers” in which he interviews famous and soon-to-be-famous authors appears in newspapers across the country.
When not writing, shoveling snow, or mowing their 5 acres outside Freeport, IL, he’s trying to explain to his wife the TV has more than SOAP and GAME channels, and pizza really is a necessary and required food group.