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fall 2002

Howdy Folks

It's ole Jim again. I am typing this one-handed and scratching with the other. You see, last Sunday Shirl and I went to the annual St. Louis Jazz Club picnic. It's usually a pleasant affair. You pack a picnic dinner and then spend the afternoon listening to a number of jazz groups, while you sip beer and eat fried chicken.

Well, this year the Club tried a new venue, some place called Farmer's Grove. About half way through the afternoon, Shirl and I were spending more time scratching than we were applauding--mosquitoes we thought. When we came home that night and took showers, I discovered the horrible truth, not mosquitoes...CHIGGERS! For those of you unfamiliar with this beast consider this comparison: take the itchiest mosquito bite you ever had, square that, then multiple by ten. That's what a chigger bite feels like and they last for days and days. Shirl's rump is covered with them and I have them in...well... a delicate portion of my anatomy. We sit around here clawing at ourselves and it looks like the chimp cage at the zoo.

Earlier this summer, Shirl attended another "zoo" of sorts. She went the Romance Writers of America conference in Denver. I guess maybe a good ten thousand or so people attend that annual conference, and it is virtually impossible to hook up with friends, at least it was this year. The redhead did get to meet with some of her old buddies. Among the ones I remember her mentioning were Virginia Henley, Pat Potter, Christina Skye (who has read some of my work on obscene slang and possesses the intelligence to appreciate it), and Kat and Larry Martin. Shirl said that Larry was looking great. If that's so, then he's fallen off the "wagon" and is drinking embalming fluid again. Larry, stay away from mortuaries!

The RWA general meeting, apparently, was a battle royal that went on for hours. Some of the troops were apparently furious with the way the "generals" were running the army. The currant president of RWA is a man, and he barely escaped castration, according to Shirl. Serves the guy right, I say. Any male that would want to be head of an organization that is composed of aggressive females would have volunteered to ride point guard for Custer. Clean the gene pool!

But Shirl was saved from the unpleasantness, when I flew in and she and I then hooked up with our friends Bob and Pam Voit for a few days of R&R. Some of you may remember that the Voits are the ones with the homicidal horses that keep trying to murder me (the horses, not the Voits...I think). Anyway, Bob got rid of my old friend Albert, "the wonder horse," when he discovered the arms cache hidden in his stall. He got another young horse, a real beauty. Well, thank god, my back went out on me a couple of days before I flew into Denver and my chiropractor gave me a note excusing me from any equestrian duties. I didn't have to go riding up the mountain with Bob and Shirl.

Shirl said the ride was wonderful until they started back. She was on Sancho, the beautiful black guy in the photo. Bob was on the new young horse--for a while. Suddenly, it was show time. She said that new horse, with Bob aboard, gave a great impression of RODEO! That sucker started bucking, twisting, spinning, lunging. She and Sancho just froze. Anyway, Bob had to bail; but fortunately, he landed on some soft soil and pine needles and wasn't hurt too bad. Now, guess which horse I would have been riding had my back not been acting up? Next time I go up there, what do you want to bet that I won't have a note from the allergist attesting to the fact that I suffer from horsetitus, a fatal allergy triggered by coming within 20 feet of a horse. My momma done raised no fools.

Ah yes, Shirl is working on "The American Lords" trilogy for Leisure. The first, The Yankee Earl, has already been written; but exactly when the series will start to come out has not been determined yet. Will keep you posted.

Best,

Jim

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Jim in front of a classroom, teaching during his tenure on our local school board.


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Jim posed for the River Nymph book cover, chose the lady with the cards model and created the basic design from which Kim Killion worked.


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Amazon.com | Barnes & Noble
        iBooks             | Kobo                          

Amazon.com | Barnes & Noble
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