We're happy to have Vivian Zabel, author, here to visit with us this week about her books.
Prairie Dog Cowboy
Genre: middle grade/ young adult / historical fiction
Publisher: 4RV Publishing
Time passes so quickly and history is getting rewritten all the time. So much of our heritage is lost with those changes. It is refreshing to see a slice of reality portraying the daily life of 1899 Oklahoma in V. Gilbert Zabel's latest literary work, "Prairie Dog Cowboy".
Buddy Roberts is but a small boy at the start of the story. It isn't clear right away why his mother is set against the child. Although he has an older brother, he's tending to the cattle at the age of five, all alone with only his dog to keep him company. Buddy is a mindful child, doing what needs to be done, even at such a young age, hoping some day to grow up to be a cowboy. Instead of him and Patch doing the work on foot, he dreams of herding cattle on horseback someday.
Neighbor rancher Caleb Hyman is impressed with Buddy. He wonders, too, why the child works hard while his older brother, Jake, is doted on and spoiled. But, Caleb can see the man that Buddy will become, encourages him, and teaches him to rope. Once Buddy can rope a prairie dog, Caleb promises he'll give the boy a job on his ranch. Not an easy thing to do, but Buddy works hard to reach his appointed goal.
Through the years, Buddy becomes a part of Caleb's family, a friend of Caleb's twin sons, and the unknowing object of affection for their younger sister, Katie. Life begins to take a turn for the better as he approaches manhood. An ironic twist at the end brings the cycle of life in full circle.
by Vivian Gilbert Zabel
Publisher: 4RV Publishing LLC
Starting Price: $27.99
2nd place in the OWFI unpublished manuscript competition, May 2008
Martin Rogers, a homicide lieutenant, positions his power chair at the end of the parallel bars in the therapy room. Over the past months, those bars have become an enemy that cannot be conquered, but which creates agony and despair. He glares at his enemy as they silently wait to conquer him again. An orderly in white stands beside the left side of the bars. Martin fights to overcome the damage caused by a bullet in his back.
Midnight always appears around midnight each night. She tantalizes him, giving him little information about herself; although, she finally tells him her name, Norma Fields. After Martin threatens to cut off the months-long cyber relationship, she offers to send him a picture of herself. She sends an email attachment: a picture of a beautiful woman.
Martin's interest changes to one that's professional. An identical copy had been found, folded in the pocket of a paraplegic who had gone over the rail of a hotel room balcony. As soon as he sees the picture, he calls his friends and fellow detectives, Kyle Stone and Frank Thomas.
The three men meet at Martin's for breakfast and discuss the photo. Kyle mentions that the woman looks familiar. The men decide to find what information they can about the case and about Midnight, Norma Fields.
After Kyle and Frank return to Martin's house after their shift, the doorbell rings. Kyle answers the door and invites a young woman to join them. Martin gasps as Midnight walks into the room. Kyle introduces Assistant District Attorney Lisa Harris, telling the others, "I told you the picture reminded me of someone."
Lisa studies the photo and agrees the head and face are hers but not the rest of the body. She joins the investigation.In the days that follow, the "Midnight team" discover that several men with large accidental death insurance policies, all with Norma Fields as the beneficiary, have "accidentally" died. The search for Midnight intensifies.