Something Special About Growing up in a Small Town


There’s something special about growing up in a small town, my name for a Main Street town. Like the song says, you know everybody and everybody knows you…and their parents might as well be yours, if you stepped out of line. But they were always there for you, just like your own parents, whenever you needed them.

 

My true home town…plus there are two bars and two churches not shown…used to be a gas station, but that was even before my time. The trailer at the fire station is new, though!

I live half a world away from there now, but if I wandered back tomorrow, they’d still be there for me, as I’d be for them.

 

People are there for each other in a small town. Many I know grew up in cities and never knew their neighbours. Now they’re adults, they still don’t know the people up and down their street. I don’t get it. I couldn’t live with myself—being so close to others and never even knowing them, what’s going on in their lives, if they’re okay. They look at me blankly when I ask.

My adopted High School town–where I nearly stayed. 🙂 xxx

 

What I Learned in a Small Town

I learned gratitude in a small town, and love, respect, and caring. How looking after others was important. Sure, it got me into some binds when I left that small town for the big smoke…but I survived, because I knew there were still many, many people back there in my family, but not of my blood, who loved me. Unconditionally.

 

4-H. Without it, and its caring parent leaders, I’m sure I’d never, ever, have gotten into Veterinary School at UC Davis! I pay it back when I can. Small towns taught me this.

 

I wish more people had the opportunity to grow up in a small town, or in a “small town in a big city”. I’m sure they exist. While people, wherever they live, are getting “closer via the internet”, often it’s merely virtual—further away from real human and animal contact, the thing which makes us “human”. In a small town or rural area, people still get the contact, because their friends and families are still there for them.

 

 

Without this contact, it becomes that much easier for people to hide away and not get the care and love they crave, but fear to request. Some retreat from the world, disappear, but others become increasingly capable of “inhuman” actions.

 

I know, this is more morose than my usual post, but there has to be an answer. We’ve lived in one of the most peaceful times in history, in the States, Canada and New Zealand. I think it blinds us a bit to what much of the rest of the world experiences daily.

 

Can we help create small towns wherever we are?

Can we begin to show those around us, city or town, some interest, care, compassion? Whoever they are? Maybe that neighbour who doesn’t talk with anyone is afraid to try? Maybe they just truly want to be left alone, but what if they didn’t? And you made the difference to their life? Go outside and do some fun things together with others…

 

Starting small, one candle at a time, we can create a small town anywhere…

One candle at a time, we can light up the world.

If we’re willing to take that step outside ourselves.

You never know the difference it might make,

To someone.

I think that’s why I was so pleased to be offered a place with Authors of Main Street. It felt a little like coming home. A group of people who support each other, cheer with each other, and sometimes, cry with each other. Now we’re putting out another “sweet” romance boxed set for Christmas. There’s a lot of care going out in one big package.

 

I hope it gives you some positivity and warm feelings as the weather turns colder for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere.

 

Take the chance to share a little of your light.

Xx

Lizzi

 

 

Seeing as this is my last blog post before the 12 October release of our new Christmas Boxed set, I thought I’d post Chapter Three of Once Upon a Vet School for you. It’s one of the nine complete stories in our set. No teasers in our sets! The previous two chapters are in my last two posts, in case you missed them!

14 OVS 7 Lena EBOOKcoverLG FILE

Once Upon a Vet School #7 is now available for preorder as part of our new boxed set at

004 website

Amazon!

It’ll be delivered to your Kindle on 12 October! Only a few days away!!!

I hope you enjoy reading all the stories. I sure have loved the ones I got to beta!

All your favorite Main Street authors have stories tucked inside. Remember, we are an international group so everyone’s Main Street is a little different. But don’t you think that’s what makes it fun?

These are clean stories you don’t have to hide from the children, and of course the same wonderful quality that you’ve come to expect from us. They’d make a great Christmas gift for just about anyone on your list.

And if you have any horse lovers in the family, expect your Kindle to vanish while they read  my novella!

All though September and October, you’ve been reading snippets of these stories, which are all complete and brand new stories!

So grab your 99c copy today! It will be delivered to your Kindle on October 12, USA time. There’s not a sinker in the bunch, so read them all!

What’s Christmas without a little romance?

 

xx

Lizzi

 

And here’s your excerpt!

 

Once Upon a Vet School  #7   Lena Takes a Foal

CHAPTER  THREE

 

Dr. Rye was our lecturer for Wednesday’s Equine Surgery lecture, so I didn’t have to see Ki—Dr. Allen, and my focus in class was impeccable.

It seems all I had to do was think of Kit for my face to heat up, and it was starting to look like I had it bad. Maybe that’s why I nearly dropped a container of colostrum when his voice came from over my shoulder as I struggled to get into a comfortable position, half-kneeling, halfway underneath a mare in the Large Animal ICU stall.

“What the heck are you doing under there?” he growled.

“What does it look like? Milking a mare,” I said, my voice shaky. It had taken the better part of a half hour to milk this much out of her, never mind having to do it in strange contortions around my non-bending limb.

“Does your supervisor know what your leg looks like?” He frowned.

That got my attention. I whipped my head around to see if my boss had heard him and nearly tipped over, then clambered the rest of the way to my feet.

“Please Ki—Dr. Allen, please don’t say anything to Frank. I need the hours—I can’t feed that horse or me without it.” I was pleading, now.

“You’re a pain in the rear, you know?” Kit shook his head. “But you’re a trier, I’ll give you that. Hasn’t anyone shown you how to milk a mare with a syringe?”

“A syringe? I think she might object.” I had to grin at that. “She’s really been good—hasn’t moved a muscle for me all this time,” I said, wrapping my arms around the mare’s neck and burying my steaming face in her mane. She whuffled softly as she nosed my bottom, then returned to her hay.

He stroked the mare, while he looked over her back at the premature foal sleeping in the straw.

“Is he nursing yet?”

“His suck reflex is improving a little, but we’re still tubing him with colostrum every few hours,” I said.

“Want to learn to milk a mare…a little faster?”

“You bet.” He had my full attention, now.

“Sit down and put that leg up while I do this.”

I sat, thankful to get my weight off it for a moment, while he searched the cabinet drawers for a big syringe and pulled the plunger out.

“You cut off the business end of the clear part, here,” he began sawing at it with a pocket knife, “then turn the plunger around.” When he was finished, he handed the contraption to me.

I stared at it, with no idea how to begin.

“You place the smooth end around the mare’s teat,” he grinned, “and slowly draw down on the plunger.”

“Seriously?” I jumped to my feet with a wince and tried it. With only gentle pressure on the plunger, the golden, syrupy colostrum just flowed into the syringe. I shook my head and swore softly.

“Works, doesn’t it?” He grinned.

“I can’t believe it,” I breathed. “Thank you so much.” If he wasn’t my hero before, he surely was now.

“That should speed it up a little.”

I filled the rest of my container in three minutes flat.

“I’ve spent…you don’t want to know how long…getting that same volume…” My voice dwindled off and I gazed at him. If student ICU techs hugged residents, I would have.

He took one look at me, then backed away, the beginnings of a smile running screaming from his face.

“Good, well—” he muttered, and spun toward the patient bulletin board, his knuckles so white on the pen in his hand, I thought I’d be cleaning up plastic fragments.

I shook my head and filled another container with the precious golden liquid while he stared fixedly at the pink treatment sheets. His fingers had relaxed, and now he merely played with his pager buttons.

“How is that mare, Charlotte, over in C-Barn?” he called across the room.

“I’m on my way over there now, thanks to your milking gadget. Without it, I’d have been ages longer.”

His narrowed brows softened and the corners of his mouth even lifted a little.

“No worries,” he said.

I stifled a chuckle. Sounded like he’s been hanging out with the new Kiwi Equine Repro resident. New Zealand idioms were popping up all over the vet school. I covered the beakers of colostrum, put one into the fridge, and left the other out for the little guy’s next feed.

“So why,” he remarked, under his breath, “the heck are you working? You should have that leg up somewhere, not running around barns making it worse.”

“I already told you why,” I hissed, glancing around. “It’s been up long enough. Time for exercise, Doc. Soon I’ll be a hundred percent again.”

He shook his head.

“You said you were a farrier before you became a vet,” I said, changing the subject.

“Yes, I was. Why?” He looked sideways at me.

“I spend as much time in the farrier shop here as Sean will have me, but they’re all client horses, so I can’t trim them. I’d like to learn.”

He flicked a glance my way.

“Why do you want to trim feet? You’re training to be a vet, not a shoer.”

“Horses depend on their feet for their living. It’s important they’re right.”

“It’s a lot like hard work.” His brow wrinkled, and he looked away for a moment.

“Way I figure it,” I said, “horse vets need to know about feet—and the fastest way to lose an owner’s confidence is to mangle a shoe removal or basic trim. I don’t want to be a farrier, but I’d sure like to be able to pull a shoe and decently trim and balance a hoof.”

His eyes lit up and his lips slowly formed a twisted grin.

I couldn’t help beaming back. Encouraged, I rattled on.

“I’ve spent a lot of time reading about feet, but I haven’t had the opportunity to actually trim them.” I fell silent for a moment, waiting, but Kit didn’t offer.

He turned away and began looking at records.

I took a deep breath and let it out slowly, then turned back toward the fridge and stared at it, unseeing.

“Guess I’ll have to take a farrier course when I’m done with vet school. Doesn’t look like I’ll learn much about trimming here,” I mumbled, half to myself, half to the fridge.

Behind me, Kit sighed.

“I could teach you,” he said.

I spun to stare at him, just as he blinked, as if he didn’t quite believe he’d just said that.

“Would you? Would you really?” I was stunned. After his last words, I truly hadn’t expected him to say that.

He swallowed hard, then nodded.

“Yep,” he said. “There are plenty of horses in the research herds that could use a bit of attention.”

“When can we start?” I was so excited, I nearly forgot to breathe.

His jaw tensed as he held his own breath in silence for long moments.

“I’ll make you a deal,” he finally said.

I narrowed my brows at him. This couldn’t be good.

“You do only what you absolutely must on that leg for two more weeks, and then if it’s significantly better, I’ll take you out and teach you to trim feet. Mind you, they’re pretty unkempt, and they’ll be a bit rough to handle—”

“—oh please?” I interrupted. Oh cripes, I was begging to do feet…but I meant it.

“Yes,” he sighed, “but remember the conditions, eh?”

“Got it loud and clear, Doc,” I said, and hobbled on before him, eager to show him the progress Charlotte had made since he’d changed the heel elevation of the shoe on her injured leg.

***

“Hey, want to go for some pizza?” one of the girls in my class asked the students standing around me.

“Yeah, let’s go. I’ve got room for one more in my car, Miranda,” one of the guys said, and walked past me to steer her in the right direction, without a glance at me.

I took a deep breath and shook my head, riffling through my pack for my schedule to see what else I needed to do before heading home.

Maybe I was just born different.

But horses liked me…and men, until they got to know me—usually too well, too soon. And then they’d disappear. I couldn’t seem to get that one figured out. My female friends usually kicked me from here to Christmas when I did it…again. I only gave the guys what they asked for…and then they despised me for—

—with a shudder, I saw it—in black and white on the page and my heart hits my boots.

Oh hell. My cousin’s wedding is tomorrow.

More people. I closed my eyes and sank down onto the nearest planter box.

“You okay?” Jess walked up and dropped her pack next to me. “How’s the leg?”

I sighed and let my bag slide to the ground, too.

“Okay, but I’ve a wedding tomorrow.”

“Why so glum? I love weddings. I’ll go.”

“Fine, you go in my place,” I said, and gritted my teeth.

“What’s not to like about a wedding?” She scrunched her face up.

“Too many people, all in one place. When your parents and grandparents all have retail stores, it doesn’t matter if you’re an introvert—you still need to serve the customers and act extroverted, regardless.”

“Probably the best thing they ever did for you—probably helped you get into vet school.”

“Yeah, maybe, but it makes my heart hurt.”

“You’re pretty extroverted now,” she said.

“You’d think so, wouldn’t you? I tell myself it doesn’t matter what people think of me…but it’s not true,” I whispered. “Nobody, even you, gets that I’m terrified—of what they might say, what they might do. At least horses and dogs love you when they love you, even if it’s just cupboard love—and they don’t bother to lie or make promises they won’t keep.”

Jess blinked and stared at me.

“The thought of going to a wedding brought out all that?”

“Well, yes. I mean, the ceremonies are all right. I usually even cry. And the dancing’s good, if there’s someone there who can swing dance…but the rest isn’t so hot…drunk people who want to get close,” I shuddered, “and think it’s okay because it’s a wedding.”

“True. You don’t do drunks, period. I’ve seen that.” Jess put an arm over my shoulders and gave me a hug.

“I can usually escape into a kitchen,” I said, with a hint of a grin. “I hate weddings with caterers, though. No escape hatch.”

“Didn’t you used to work for a catering company when you were an undergraduate? How’d you deal with that?”

“They didn’t maul the kitchen minions. Hey,” I grinned, “that’s an idea. I can take along a black skirt and white blouse…and just disappear into the woodwork.”

“So where is it?” Jess said, shaking her head and chuckling.

“At my Aunt’s ranch.”

“What’s wrong with that? She’s the one with all the horses, right? If the kitchen trick doesn’t work, you could always head for the stables.”

“That’s why I love you so much, Jess. You get it.”

“Yep,” she said. “Are you done feeling sorry for yourself? Because I’m hungry.”

“Aren’t you always?”

She beamed back at me. She’s a tall, gorgeous beanpole and eats whatever she wants. I am eternally jealous.

***

“Oh, Lena, how’s Sunshine been?” The new resident, Dr. Masters, nodded at a post-op colic horse standing with one hind leg cocked, his tail lazily twitching at a fly in the ICU stall beside her.

“He’s looking good,” I said, with a smile, and reached for a second fluid bottle. “He grazes well, ate his feed tonight, and started my shift with a full flake of hay. It’s half gone now.”

“Good, so he’s eating again…” Dr. Masters looked down at the horse’s record in her hand and cocked her head, brows coming together a little. “Have you been writing up the records?”

“If I can squeeze in the time, I do.” My face heated, and I bit my lip.

Did she mind?

“As busy as it is today? You don’t have to do that,” she said. “It’s my job to write them from your treatment sheets entries. You have enough to do.”

I blinked.

“Seriously? You residents never even get time to sleep. If you’d rather write them up, that’s fine, but if not, I’m happy to help.”

“Thanks Lena,” she said, with a sigh. “It’s appreciated. Make you a deal. If you think it’ll be good for your training, go ahead and do them if you want. I’ll critique and sign them off.”

“Really?”

“Sure. Happy to.”

“I’m after all the practice I can get,” I said, as Dr. Masters picked up a stack of records and ferried them toward the office. I jumped when I saw Kit already there, head down over his papers, scribbling for all he was worth. I hadn’t seen him come in. Butterflies bashing to escape my stomach walls, I shivered and turned on my bad leg with two, five-liter glass fluid bottles in my arms. I only just managed to keep my feet, and keep the profanity under my breath on my way to the barns. I really must learn to pay attention, even if the illustrious Dr. Allen was present.

Our residents, all of them, made me smile. For people, they’re pretty awesome, especially after my exposure to the wedding crowd last week. I’d survived, but only just. Ended up grooming horses in my silk dress. By the end of it, I could have come out of the pages of a Thelwell book—the sequence of drawings where a tidy rider begins all dressed for a show with the shaggy, muddy beast she’d evidently just pulled from the paddock…and their magical transformation to a gleaming, braided pony beside an exhausted and filthy ragamuffin with a trashed riding habit.

In C-Barn, I pulled the rope to raise the caged fluid bottle high above Cotillion. The palomino swung her head around and whickered at someone’s approach.

Kit. My heart jerked and I swallowed hard.

He reached out to the mare and she lipped at his fingers as our eyes met and held.

“How’s she going?”

“Her IV drip had stopped, but I’ve fixed it,” I said. “She’s looking a lot brighter than yesterday.”

“You know, you don’t have to write up records.” Kit looked at me sideways.

“I don’t have long until I get to be a real vet…and I need all the help I can get.”

“You’re doing pretty damn well already,” Kit said, his brows lowering. “Most third year students haven’t even tried procedures you do every shift as an ICU tech.”

“Yeah, well, that’s why I wanted to work here,” I said. “Even with this hospital’s big equine case load, the time in clinics is too short for me. I seem a bit slow to learn things.”

He rolled his eyes at that.

“You’re doing just what you need to be doing, and makin’ a good job of it.”

“It’d be nice if other people thought so,” I said, biting my lip. The black plastic cap from the new fluid bottle clicked into place as I shoved it onto the empty one.

“Who doesn’t think so?”

“Nobody,” I said, to my feet.

“Who?”

“I’m a pain in the neck, apparently, to my class.”

“I’d bet no resident or prof would say that,” Kit said, but he squirmed a little.

I swallowed hard. Guess he thought so, too. Must be my questions in class. I truly didn’t do it to show off. I just wanted to understand. If I learned it wrong the first time…

“Maybe if you kept your head down a little in cla—” Kit started.

“Seriously, you too?” I shook my head. And I’d thought…but that wasn’t worth thinking about, clearly. “Is there anything else you’d like to know about this horse, Dr. Allen?” In my iciest tone.

“Now don’t go gettin’ all huffy, I’m only trying to help.”

“Thank you for your concern.” I don’t imagine it sounded overly grateful, coming from between gritted teeth.

He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply.

“Okay, if you want to be that way about it,” he said. “Thanks, anyway, for taking such good care of the horses.”

“Any time,” I spat out, tucked my bottles beneath my arms, and bolted for B-Barn, the hemostats and stethoscope clipped to my scrubs swinging with every hop.

***

My alarm shocked me out of whatever pleasant dream had cocooned me. I smacked it on its head, then lay blinking at the sunshine streaming through the jasmine vines that waved in the open window. Their sweet, heady scent heavy in the early morning air. I rolled over, then sat bolt upright.

Today was the day.

My two weeks of penance were up. I had an appointment to make with a certain resident to trim feet. I stilled, though, thinking about our last meeting. I’d certainly have to apologize. I should’ve done it last week, but what can I say? I was gutless. After a deep breath to settle my butterflies into place, I shot out of bed and leapt into my clothes.

“What’s the hurry, girl? It’s early yet,” Tamarah said, dodging the gooey tennis ball the Lab spat at her from two feet away.

“Susie’s aim is improving.” I laughed. “Soon she won’t miss. I’m off.”

“You really are better,” she said, looking down at my leg.

“Amazing what a little water, sitting in the sun massaging, and jumping rope has done.” Most of the odd colors were gone and it was down to nearly normal size.

“So can you ride your bike yet?”

“Did it yesterday,” I nodded, pouring uncooked oats into a bowl. “Felt fine.”

“One lucky girl,” she said, and disappeared into her room, followed by the bouncing dog.

I wolfed my breakfast and shot across town. The only fly in the ointment was my treatment of Kit the other day. I chewed my lip over it while I waited outside K—I shook my head at myself—Dr. Allen’s office door. He arrived after only a few minutes, so I didn’t have long to stew.

“You all right?” He gave me a quizzical look.

“If I were any better, I’d be twins.” Cocky cover-up, with the butterflies bashing away inside me and my face doubtless bright red. “Um…Dr. Allen,” I groped for words, while I fisted the sides of my shirt, “I’m sorry about my attitude last week.” I dropped my eyes to the linoleum. “I had no call to jump down your throat like that—I’m…just a bit sensitive about the topic.”

“It’s okay, I understand.” Kit tried for a smile and shook his head, then he glanced down at my leg, below my running shorts. And froze in his fumbling with his door key. “What have you done with it?”

“Worked on it? It’s much better…” My heart sank. I thought it looked better…but maybe I was getting ahead of myself.

“It’s amazing.” He blinked, and stared again. “I’ve never seen bruises change that fast. How’d you do it?”

“I had motivation,” I said, resuming breathing again, and told him how, then continued. “I…I wanted to see if we could please make a time to go out and do feet.”

“You sure you’re ready for that?” He winced, glancing at the offending leg.

“I can jump rope, I rode my bicycle over here, and I’ve been working.”

“There’s still swelling on the front of the shin.”

“It seems to be a split muscle—it now sits over the top, see?” I propped my foot up on a handy chair and showed him.

“You’re right,” he said, his face coloring. “Well, I guess we’ve got a date.”

I gulped, at the same time he shuddered and stepped backward.

“Ah…” I said, backpaddling.

“Let me check my calendar,” he said in a rush, then tried a few more times to get the key into the lock.

If we weren’t both so uncomfortable, it would have been comic. As for me, tempting as he might be, it was time to take care of myself—and that didn’t include getting my heart burned again.

For quite some time in the foreseeable future.

 

ENJOY!

Again, if you wish to preorder Christmas Babies on Main Street, by Authors of Main Street, click here!  It’s only 99c$  What a deal!

Merry Christmas, early!

xx

Lizzi

Christmas! It’s Available for Pre-Order


Many of you have been asking when my latest novella, Once Upon a Vet School #7, would be out…It’s up for preorder now, as part of the Authors of Main Street’s Christmas Boxed set!
and……
It’s only 99c (USD)
and…..
even better, it’ll be out on 12 October!

Here’s the link:

http://amzn.to/2xQ5Lsj  If that link didn’t work!

So, there you are!
Please feel free to share.

Nine individual stories from the bestselling Authors of Main Street – New for the 2017 Christmas Season!

This year, The Authors of Main Street have combined their talent to bring you stories about love, the holidays, and babies from around the world. From the small hamlet of Eastport in Canada, to the gorgeous landscapes of New Zealand, to Main Street, USA… you’ll find the Christmas spirit and warm love stories on every page. And not all of our babies have pudgy little fingers and adorable toes… one of them has hooves and a mane (Yep, that’d be mine. How’d you guess?)

Inside this year’s box set, you’ll find Christmas novellas from Kristy Tate, Carol DeVaney, Jill James, E. Ayers, Lizzi Tremayne, Jude Knight, Stephanie Queen, Susan R. Hughes, and Leigh Morgan.

Snuggle up with your favorite blanket, grab a cup of hot chocolate, and let the Authors of Main Street help you celebrate the holiday season.

Authors of Main Street

Our 2017 edition of Christmas stories is now on Amazon on preorder,  Christmas Babies on Main Street. Release date Nov 12, 2017. All your favorite Main Street authors have stories tucked inside. Remember, we are an international group so everyone’s Main Street is a little different. But don’t you think that’s what makes it fun?

These are clean stories you don’t have to hide from the children, and of course the same wonderful quality that you’ve come to expect from us.

And if you have a horse lover in the family, expect your Kindle to vanish while she reads the novella from Lizzi Tremayne!

All though Sept. you’ve been reading snippets of these stories. All of our stories are complete, not teasers! And they are all brand new stories!

So grab your 99c copy today! It will be delivered to your Kindle Oct 12. And as one reader commented…

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Once Upon a Vet School: The First of the Series…Volume SEVEN??


Yep, I’m starting the new series with Volume 7…  I’ll be continuing The Long Trails series, but this new one will be coming out in October with the Authors of Main Street in our new Christmas Boxed Set!

 

Ever thought you wanted to be a veterinarian?

I did, when I was seven…and I’ve been on track ever since, with a minor diversion for a year. I’ve been that equine vet since 1988, when I graduated from vet school at UC Davis.

Following an injury (yes, another one), I started writing historical fiction, and wrote the first three books of The Long Trails series, and now, I’ve written my first contemporary, a veterinary tale, which will be included in our Christmas Boxed Set!  It’s to be Volume Seven in the Once Upon a Vet School series, and…I’m starting in the middle of the series, just to confound people. 🙂

Here’s the cover !!!

To read Chapter Two, head on over to Authors of Main Street, here!

You can read Chapter One, too…it was my previous post on the same page!

 

Back to final edit, then you can read it in October!

xx

Lizzi

AoMS Christmas Boxed Set Coming Up Soon! Sneak preview!


Posted on Authors of Main Street blog, and on my own!
Here’s Chapter One of Once Upon a Vet School #7 — Lena Takes a Foal
It’ll be part of the big Christmas Boxed Set that we of #AoMS are putting out soon for Christmas! Watch this space, or better yet, go on over to AoMS and subscribe to the blog to be kept updates!

My first stab (no pun intended, as a vet) at Contemporary Fiction!
Have a read!
Hope you love it!
xx
Lizzi

Source: AoMS Christmas Boxed Set Coming Up Soon! Sneak preview!

Once Upon a Vet School #7…First Chapter Sneak Preview!


  • Hi All!

Sending out my best to all those affected by the Texas hurricane, and other disasters. We’re thinking about you all over the world.

I thought I’d share the first draft of Chapter 1 of the novella I’ll be including in our Christmas anthology, (You’ll have to see the final version in the boxed set, sorry!),

Once Upon a Vet School #7

Lena takes a Foal.  

It’s actually part of a series…and it’s in the middle. The others will be written out from there!

In case you don’t know, I’m an equine vet and have until now written awarded historical fiction and technical veterinary non-fiction. My writing buddies have been after me for ages to write these stories, so thank you to Authors of Main Street for offering me the opportunity to stretch my literary wings!

I hope you enjoy my first dip into contemporary fiction–my stab at becoming the next, albeit female, James Herriot!

Enjoy!

Let me know what you think!  If you want to stay posted on when the Christmas Boxed Set will be available, come on over to  Authors of Main Street, here!!!!

xx

Lizzi

 

1986 Northern California

Mickey’s roan ears, silhouetted against the pale green light filtering into the tiny glade, rose higher and higher before me and my heart froze–he’d never reared this high before. The light disappeared as the horse’s massive body blocked out the sun. A blinding flash of pain, and then only blessed darkness.

*    *    *

 I rocked my head from side to side and stilled at the pain— it was everywhere. I opened my eyes. It made no difference. Full dark already, then.

Something hit my leg and I froze, then a wuffling nose pushed at my face, and I jumped. That hurt too.

Where was I?

It all came flooding back, then, with the throbbing in my leg. Odd…the blasted horse was still here. I lifted a hand to Mickey’s nose and found his rein still in my death-grip.

Thank god for small favors. At least I wouldn’t have to walk home—it was a good 3 miles from this little glade, hidden among the fields in Northern California. I’d learned early on in my life in the Santa Cruz Mountains that one never lets go of the reins when falling off. Riding boots were never designed for hiking.

It was all very well to have a horse to hand, but not much use if I couldn’t get up and mounted. My leg felt like hell, and who knew what other injuries I had? I needed to be on my way before the pain got worse. It was my favorite ride—a little gully filled with tall trees in the middle of nowhere, but that being said, no one would find me here for ages.

I managed to climb up the near foreleg of the now-repentant horse until I could grab a stirrup iron. I couldn’t feel any blood on me, other than from the smarting grazes on my face and arms, so clearly I’d live, but man, did my leg hurt. Puffy swelling already bulged above the top of my tall boot…I’d need to get it off soon, before I couldn’t. Call me vain, but I’d almost rather cut off my leg than the long leather laced field boots I’d waited nearly two decades to own.

Mickey walked like a lamb while I hopped beside him to a fallen log, my right hand twisted in his mane. Swearing, cold sweat pouring from every pore, I managed to clamber up and slid onto his back all anyhow, then we walked on in the pitch blackness, heading for the barn.

Someone was there in the darkness before us. I pulled Mickey to a halt as I took in a strange white double cab pickup truck glowing the light of the dim bulb high above the stable yard. A creak, and the barn door swung open, then closed behind the tall figure of a man, unrecognizable in the distance. My stomach clenched as he spun toward us. There weren’t any men boarding horses here.

“Hello, who’s there?” a male voice rang out.

I sighed with relief. It was Dr. Allen, one of the Equine Surgery residents from the veterinary school.

“It’s me, Lena, from ICU.”

He walked toward me and I squeezed my legs to move my horse forward before I thought and yelped, but bit it off.

“What the heck are you doing out riding at this hour?” he said, His brows narrowed as I rode up to him. “And what have you done to your face?”

“Ahhh…we had a…disagreement about going home.”

“I take it the horse won? When did you leave?” He set down a bucket of bandaging materials and pulled his stethoscope from around his neck and dropped it into the bucket, then took hold of Mickey’s reins.

“Mid-afternoon.” I said, with a wince.

“That’s a long ride.”

“I only went to the glade, a few miles across the fields.”

He frowned as his eyes scanned the perfectly cool horse, then his eyes snapped to mine.

“What happened? Are you OK?”

I bit my lip. I didn’t want anyone to know about it, especially someone from the vet school, but it seems I had little choice. The corral fences at this old barn were too rickety to be climbing around on, and I needed help getting off.

“I’ve hurt my leg.” I tried for nonchalance, but all that came out was a whine. Gritting my teeth, I gripped my breeches above the knee to pull my left leg up and move it back, so my toe could slide out of the stirrup.

“Do you need some help?” The furrows in his brow deepened, and he scowled at the roan. “What have you done with her?” he muttered to the horse, as he moved around his rump to his near side and froze, staring at my knee, then at my eyes, as comprehension dawned. “Is this horse named Mickey? Just what sort of a disagreement was this?”

I took a deep breath.

“Yes, it’s Mickey. He sort of fell on me.”

“Sort of? How’d he fall? It’s flat out there.”

“He fell over backwards…and I was in the way,” I whispered, my heart in my throat.

“That riding school should…” he started, then seemed to reconsider. “Anyway, you’re hurt,” he said, his voice softening. “Can you get down?”

I shook my head.

“Let me help.” He slipped the stirrup from beneath my boot, and held me still while I kicked the other leg over Mickey’s rump, then he lowered me to the ground.

I couldn’t help gasping when the bad leg hit the ground, but at least I could bear weight.

“I’ll put him away and give you a ride home.”

“I can driv—”

“You were knocked out, weren’t you?” He raised a brow at me.

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.

“I don’t know.”

“Right. How about I give you a ride home? That old truck of yours’ll have a heavy clutch, won’t it?”

I nodded.

“You’ll never manage it like this, will you?”

“Thank you,” I murmured.

Truth be told, I wouldn’t have managed. I hadn’t thought past getting back to the barn in one piece.

“His feed’s in his stall, and I take my saddle and bridle home,” I said, hopping to my truck to gather what I’d need tonight from the front seat. Locking it, I made my way to his truck and leaned against it, the metal of the panel cool on the burning patches on the backs of my arms.

“Hop in,” he said, as he led the roan into his stall and slipped the halter from his head. He growled something low at the beast and closed the stall door. With my saddle over his arm, he exited the barn and put my saddle in the back seat of the white university ambulatory service vehicle.

“Can’t you get in?” he said, as he walked up to me.

I shook my head and glanced down.

His eyes followed mine to the swollen leg. He shook his head and then picked me up and placed me gently in the passenger seat.

“We need to get that boot off and get you to the hospital.”

“Home is fine, thanks.”

“Hospital.” He frowned.

“No.”

He gritted his teeth and was silent for a moment.

“How about student health?”

“No, I’ll be fine. It’s just a little swelling. They’ll tell me to elevate it, take anti-inflammatories, and rest.”

“Correct, but we should get it checked out.”

“Can you please just check it?”

He sighed and pulled a penlight from his pocket, then flicked it at my eyes, first one, then the other, then back and forth between them.

“Your light reflexes are normal, but that leg…”

“It’ll be fine. I’m sure. I’ve had worse.”

He shook his head and squeezed his eyes shut.

“Home it is, then, but get it checked out as soon as you can, eh?”

The tiniest bump in the road on the way to my house jarred my leg, but it was interesting, riding beside Dr. Allen. I glanced across at him. For a guy who grew up in the snobbiest town in my home county, I had to give it to him—he was remarkably nice. Pretty drop-dead gorgeous, too, if you happen to like your classical tall, dark and handsome…

I shook my head at myself.

Just remember how tall, dark, and handsome had turned out last time.

“Is there someone at your place that can help you with your boot? Getting it on—off, I mean?” He flushed in the glow from the dashboard lights and clamped his lips together.

I had to clamp my own to keep from grinning at his blush. He wasn’t helping me keep my mind where it belonged, really. Residents were sort of off-limits to the students, but…now I knew he was actually nice, well, that changed things a little. I always thought he’d be stuck up…and I’d kept my distance, despite his appearances in my dreams…for quite some time now.

“My housemates might be home,” I blurted out.

He let out a long breath and seemed to relax.

“You might get that field boot off before some idiot wants to cut it off…one reason not go to the hospital, I guess,” he said, with the hint of a grin.

“My thinking, exactly.” I smiled. I knew a little about him. He’d spent years as a farrier and then as a vet, while showing hunter-jumpers to an exacting level—to the degree of changing shoes between judges to change the horse’s movement.

He’d understand about good boots.

No lights showed as we drove up before my house, and this time he didn’t ask. He came around to my side of the truck, picked me up and carried me to the door as if weighed nothing, which of course, wasn’t true. It was a bit disconcerting having his face that close, so I turned my heated cheeks away and fumbled with the house keys.

With a lot of swearing and more tears than I’d like to have shown him, we got the boot off, intact.

“There’s an ace bandage in the drawer in the bathroom,” I said, staring at my leg, already a faint blue all the way from my toes to most of the way up my thigh.

“Are these yours?” He shot me a look and held up my running shorts. My face burned even hotter now. The shorts had been on the bathroom floor with some lacy panties.

I nodded, and he tossed the shorts to me and disappeared again into the bathroom.

“Put them on, please. I’d like to check that leg.”

I grinned, despite myself. Sounded like I was a horse. I managed to peel the breeches down and off, then tugged the nylon shorts up just as he reentered the room with an elastic compression bandage.

Dr. Allen blinked at the leg, then checked the femur, tibia, and metatarsals for stability. He took the heel in one hand and flexed, extended and rotated the joints in all directions, while I bit my cheek to keep from making more noise than I should.

“No crepitus, and the joints still work. I’ll bandage it up, but you need to get it looked at.”

I said nothing. There were two weeks before the start of term to get better, and thankfully, I didn’t have to work until then. Piece of cake.

*    *    *

For all my bravery, my housemates went to the barn the next day to pick up my car and feed the horse—I wasn’t going anywhere. The next day, either…or the next.

Tamara, my fourth-year vet student housemate, frowned at me over her breakfast.

“I’ve been trying to keep my opinion to myself, but you really should see a doctor,” she said.

“Dr. Allen checked it out.”

She blinked.

“Dr. Allen? Where did you see him?”

“He was at the barn when I rode in on Mickey, re-bandaging a horse.”

“That’s all very well, but he’s a vet. You need to see a doctor.”

“Are you serious?” I stared at her. “I can’t. I’ll miss classes if they put me in the hospital.”

“That’s where you belong,” she grumbled.

“I’ll keep it elevated and massage the heck out of it,” I said.

She shook her head as she walked to the sink to rinse her bowl.

“If you get a blood clot, you’ll be in trouble. Didn’t Dr. Allen take you to the doctor?”

“He tried,” I said, wincing.

“Sometimes you have rocks in your head, girl.” Tamara shook her head as she plunked down a bowl of cereal before me and stalked off to her room.

They all thought I was too stupid to live, but what the hell? I couldn’t miss classes, or I’d never catch up. I had to try twice as hard as most of the other students just to stay with the class. Some people were born brilliant. Somehow I’d ended up with 150-odd of them in my vet school class. The rest of the 164 of us had to work our buns off to keep up with the rest of the group. I’m not bitter, it’s just the way it is.

*    *    *

A week of hobbling, glares from housemates, and hydrotherapy later, things didn’t look better. In fact, they looked worse. The leg was swollen from toes to mid-thigh. Not merely content to stay a nice blue color, it had morphed to an irregular, patchy camouflage pattern of purple, black and yellow. I kept my promise, massaging it four times a day, but all it did was change colors. I understand the details of the color alterations, but it didn’t make the bruises resolve any faster.

“Do you want to go see that rotten horse of yours?” Tamarah said, one fine morning.

“Really, you’ll take me?”

“On one condition.”

“What?” I said, rather ungraciously, under the circumstances, looking at her sideways.

“We go by student health on the way back. I don’t want to come home from walking the dog to find you seizing from a blood clot in your brain.” Tamarah’s golden lab lifted her head at the W-word and jumped to her feet while she spat her tennis ball at me. “My father would shoot me,” she continued smoothly, “if he knew I’d let you stay away from the doctor.”

That got me. Her daddy, a very nice man, was also a venerable vet school professor…at our school. If he heard about this, I might be out. I gulped. Now was not the time to get annoyed with his daughter.

“Thanks,” I managed, “I’d like that…the first part, but okay, I agree to going to the doctor.” I’m sure the comment somehow made it past my gritted teeth.

“See if you can get a shoe on that foot and we’ll leave now,” she said.

I bolted as fast as I could hop, before she changed her mind.

When she’d driven me to the barn, I mooned over the fence at the horrid creature. Mickey at least had the decency to look guilty when I limped toward him with his feed, or so I thought.

“Don’t even think about taking him for a walk, much less riding,” Tamarah said. She glared at the horse as she stood between me and the tack room, with a look that made me cringe.

I squashed down the desire to ask for his halter, kissed his soft and lonely nose, and fifteen minutes later Tamarah delivered me to student health with a triumphant smile.

“I’ll wait in the car,” she said, and opened my door for me.

As expected, the doctor was not impressed.

“You should have come in right away. You could have had a blood clot! How long has it been?” she said, after she picked her jaw up off the floor.

“A week and a half,” I mumbled into my shirt.

“Well, what have you been doing for it?” She scowled and shook her head.

I told her, and her demeanor softened a little.

“Well, I guess you’re out of the danger zone now, anyway. I’d have hospitalized you.”

I nodded.

“So I imagine you start school next week? What are you studying?”

“Veterinary medicine.”

“Vet? You should have known…well, never mind. Small animals, I hope? You can stay off it and sit down while you’re treating the dogs and cats.”

I mumbled something incoherent. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I was Equine Track, and worked as a Large Animal ICU Technician, galloping between three barns running IV fluids to twelve horses at a time, and tubing pre- and post-op colics all night. She’d have vapors.

Oblivious to her new patient’s dastardly plans, she smiled and left me with a packet of anti-inflammatories and admonitions to rest, elevate it and keep up the massage.

I was now able to hold my head up in front of my housemates again, and rather glad school was about to start. I was still hobbling, but I could get around. I’d have to leave early to make it to class on time—I wasn’t travelling at my regular speed.

*    *    *

The night before classes were to start, my friend Jess returned from a trip away with her family.

“Did you see what our first lecture is tomorrow?” Her voice over the phone line jumped with expectancy.

I pulled the schedule from my bag, where it had lain, forgotten, since I’d received it on the last day of school. One glance, and my grin at her excitement vanished. Spots swam before my eyes as I read the title on the first lecture:

Dystocia in the Mare and the Need for Surgical Intervention

I shook my head and nearly dropped the phone.

Not dystocia. Not foaling mares, and certainly not foaling difficulties.

Anything but that.

 

 

I hope you enjoyed reading the rough draft of Chapter One of Once Upon a Vet School, volume 7! To read the final version, and the rest of it, you’ll have to see our Christmas Boxed Set, out SOON!!!!!

Be sure to subscribe to our page to keep posted of when it’ll be available!

I’d love to hear your thoughts!  Hear from you soon!

xx

Lizzi   and Authors of Main Street!

Medicine, Vet Med and Horses…What do They Have in Common???


 

HI Everyone! Happy Monday!

Just back from RWNZ Conference in lovely Rotorua!  Hot pools, writing and meeting some fantastic writers and speakers!

One was Kristen Lamb, from Texas!

I loved this article from her website…it could be of real help to any of you out there writing, especially if you’re including issues about medical care, hospitals, emergency care, etc.

 

This article highlights some of the challenges I have, (but in a human medical sense) when I read novels including horses or veterinary care for horses, written by people who might have a fondness (or not) for horses…but no experience.

Tiggie says not to do silly things with horses… It worries him…………………………

 

 

 

 

 

 

When a horse-savvy or vet-savvy reader reads things that do just not happen, or are pretty stupid, things a horse handler would never do or say, disbelief in the author skyrockets…and I (or your readers) may just lay down your book right then…and never come back.

That’s why it’s so important to get those facts right!  If you don’t have the knowledge, find someone who does, or take classes to learn about it!

Maya Horse wants you to be horse-savvy before you write about his cousins…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now it’s your turn!

Have you ever read a book where a character does something that’s just #TSTL, or Too Stupid To Live, with a horse, or other animal?   Doing something that is bound to get them or their horse/s killed?

Have you ever read about a character who’s a vet...and they do something that just doesn’t make any sense, or is likely to get their patient, the owner, or themselves killed (other than the inherent danger of being an equine or large animal) ?

How would you write it differently?

Tell us about it!  Without mentioning the title or author, please. 🙂 

 

 

One lucky commenter will go into the monthly draw for a book!  This month, it’s a digital version of my latest book, A Sea of Green Unfolding!

Have an awesome day, all!

xx

Lizzi

 

 

 

Let’s Get that Novel DONE!!!


Hi all!

I’ve been flat out, as I imagine you have!

 

I’ve found time to post onto the Authors of Main Street blog here, talking about getting that novel done!

I talk a little about my three novels, just finished, a giveaway for August, and there’s a pic of Elliot, Maya and I with the carriage from several years ago!

Come on by! It’s right here!

Oh yes,

A Sea of Green Unfolding is now available in paperback in New Zealand, from Fishpond (signed, no less, if you wish), and from Createspace and Amazon in the rest of the world!  Have a look here for details!

 

Complete with reviews on the covers!

See you over at Authors of Main Street!

Now back to writing that Christmas Boxed Set Novella:  Once Upon a Vet School !  Out soon!