My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Tuesday, May 28

Life in the Arbor

I’ve written (fairly often) about the arbor vitae trees that guard our back property line. For those unacquainted with arbor vitae, they’re an evergreen from the cypress family, soft, not prickly leaves or needles, shaped like hands, with blue berries that appear once or twice a year as invitation to birds. Some are tall and skinny (pyramidalis), some are low and squat like fat munchkins (globe). And some, like ours, are tall and stately and rounded like Christmas trees. Most people here in the Valley of the Sun keep them pruned down to five or six feet, but we’ve let our go as high as they want. And apparently they’ve wanted to touch the clouds. When I came to Arizona in 1994 to buy a house in Sun City West, one of the things that most attracted me to the one we bought was that wonderful privacy hedge of nine arbor vitaes. Not that I don’t love my neighbors. Good fences really do make good neighbors, as Frost told me years ago. I just don’t want to have to see my neighbors or exchange neighborly hellos from one back yard to the other. The trees were about fifteen feet all when we moved in. They’re now up to thirty feet. One on the left side gave up the ghost about ten years ago, becoming a ghastly brown skeleton of its former green glory, and we had it taken down. But the hole was filled in nicely by an oleander bush. They first hung lower branches to the ground like hoop skirts, providing shelter for the many birds and beasts that lived with us—rabbits, lizards, quail and doves, even a family of javalinas that grew fond of the quail block we’d put out for the birds. We have since had them trimmed up about four feet, and, sadly, depriving most of the backyard beasties of a home. The javalina mom or dad, around midnight, would drag the block into the sheltering arbor vitae and chomp down as much as they could break off the block. Their little pink son, as far as I know, didn’t get any. After retrieving the remains of the quail block two or three times, we finally gave in the pigs and let them have it. But we bought no more quail blocks, and the javalina family moved on to more generous pastures. The trees and their inhabitants became the focus of my children’s novel, Life in the Arbor—Rollie Rabbit, Fred Lizard, Mollie Monarch, and Buzz Hummingbird. I love that book and wish that every third or fourth grader in Arizona could read it. But that’s not in my publishing cards. They’ll just never know what they’re missing. Sounds too much like sour grapes on my part. If there’s anyone who might read this and are interested in my Life in the Arbor, it’s available at in hard or soft cover, or at as an e-book. I’d hope you’d be as enchanted as I am. But then, a writer shouldn’t be enchanted by his own work. However, I am.
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