Monday, July 11, 2011

Don’t Practice Milking on a Cow Dog

A question most fiction writers hear is: Where do you come up with your ideas for a plot or a scene?

I imagine each writer has his/her own answer. Me? I draw on real life. Stories I’ve heard from friends or acquaintances or events or situations I’ve experienced myself. Take the time I practiced milking on a cow dog. Not a good idea, by the way.

When I was four my mother was called to her parents ranch in Northern Idaho. My grandfather had a stroke, grandmother was ill and they needed help. Since dad was the bread winner and had a full time job I had to tag along with mom.

I was already a wannabe cowboy and was thrilled that I was going to stay at the ranch. I immediately started following the hired hand, Otto, every place he went. Annoyed the hell out of him I was told later.

A chore he had to repeat twice a day was milking the cow. I got as close as I could, but she was a saucy old gal with a quick left hoof. Otto made me stand back out of range, but I was close enough to see the action from the first tinny splank into the empty bucket to the last sploosh in the full one.

I wanted to do it. I pleaded. I cried. I made promises of future good deeds. I even tried bribing, but a four-year-old doesn’t have a helluva lot to bribe with. Otto stood his ground - or in this case his stool.

So, one day when Otto had escaped me and went to town alone I was messing around the barn. Granddad had an ol’ cow dog that was wary of me when I first arrived but was starting to come around. Cowdog (I’ve forgotten the name) came into the barn to eat. Otto’s little milking stool was sitting there right close which gave me a brilliant idea. If I got good at milking maybe Otto would let me milk the cow. All I needed was practice and Cowdog was handy and just the right height.

I won’t go into details, but Cowdog ended up snarling and I ended up crying with a bandage on my hand. Did I mention Cowdog was a male?

My own misadventures give me fodder for scenes in my stories. You’ll find a version of my adventure with Cowdog in the second book featuring Dr. Gil Tailor currently titled TOO MUCH BULL which will be out next year. In the mean time you can find my current book, NO MORE BULL, in ebook format at

Just type in NO MORE BULL in the search box. I’m offering it at 30% off until the first of August. Just use coupon code PK42P (not case sensitive) when you check out.

Talk with you down the trail.



Ron at CM said...

Ouch! Did the dog ever forgive you? I know mine wouldn't.


John Sharpe said...

Actually he became fond of me. He kept bringing me the stool. :)

Heart of Texas said...

I think I've got the Blog process down. Really enjoyed cowdog story and am eagerly waiting on the Mountain Oyster article to post.

I think you're right on press release first. I'll start on one and you start on one. Next week is OK by my schedule.