Saddle Up Saloon; Howdy, Colleen Chesebro!

Written by D. Avery @shiftnshake

       Read my writing and see my books at

February 8, 2021

“Kid, ya told me ya got Colleen Chesebro comin’ in this week.”

“Yep. Pretty cool, huh?”

“Yeah, but…”

“But what, Pal?”

“Well, I have ta ask, ‘cause we’re fictional characters an’ sometimes we git fictional characters in here at the Saddle Up as guests, so, I jist was wunnerin’… is Colleen fer real?”

“Of course she is, Pal. Jeez, why d’ya have ta ask that?”

“Well, mebbe she’s real, but I jist find her unbelievable.”

“She is fantastic, if that’s what ya mean.”

“Kid, I cain’t figger her out. Colleen Chesebro is a ex-military faerie whisperer? D’ya s’pose she’s got like a split pers’nality or somethin’?”

“Maybe you oughtta split, Pal, ‘cause here she is now. Jist shush an’ be polite fer g’ness sakes. Howdy Colleen! Welcome ta the Saddle Up Saloon.”

“Colleen Chesebro! I kin ask her m’sef.”

“That’s enough ‘bout what she’s done, Pal. Shush now. I wanna know more ‘bout what Colleen’s up ta now.”

“Hello Kid. Hello Pal. Kid, if Pal has questions for me I don’t mind. I certainly don’t want to remain “unbelievable”.  Ask away, Pal. Maybe I can convince you I’m for real.”

“Ha, Kid! Thank you, Colleen. Well, were ya really in the military?”

“Yes, Pal, I served in the Air Force.”

“Thought so. But I tend ta think a ya as a writer an’ a blogger.”

“I’m glad you do, Pal! But it was the Air Force that taught me how to be a multi-tasker. With writing and blogging, you are always doing a few things at one time—writing and sharing to social media, commenting, encouraging others, and sharing your thoughts. I wear many hats in my world. I work hard splitting my time between the things I love, like writing poetry, and the things I don’t love, like cleaning and doing laundry! LOL!”

“Huh. Did ya write when ya was in the Air Force?”

“Yes, I was a Chapel Management Specialist, and an Administrative Specialist— a paper pusher! I also learned bookkeeping and kept the books for the different Chaplain accounts, ordered supplies, and set up the altars for services.”

“Holy— chaps? Or chapel did ya say?”

“Said chapel Pal. At my first base, Moody AFB, GA, I was the Chapel Historian. I updated the official records of happenings for the Chapel each year. I also created the different programs for the many different church services held at the Chapel.”

“Write on!”

“You bet I did, Pal. My next assignment was at Luke AFB, AZ. In 1980, I helped write the first regulation for the USAF women’s dress code during pregnancy. I was enlisted, so an officer’s name signed off on the regulation, but I wrote it. That’s the way it was in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Women were enlisting in the military in droves by then. The men didn’t know what to do with us.”

“Huh. So ya’ve been a writer fer a while, in a way. When ya got outta the Air force did ya write fer a livin’?”

“My subsequent civilian jobs found me working in accounting. Through the years, I was a bookkeeper for a builder in California, an oil company in Montana, a ranch in Montana, a law firm in Montana, a tax and accounting firm in Montana, and I even worked for a bit in the accounting department in a hospital in Montana. Before I retired, I dabbled in selling home and auto insurance. I left when I discovered I was rotten at selling. LOL!”

“Well, thet ‘splains some shift, don’t it Kid? The syll’ble countin’? The ‘finity fer the Ranch?”

“Reckon it does, Pal. Colleen, did ya write much afore joinin’ up with the Air Force?”

“I’ve always dabbled in writing and poetry, KId. It was escapism for me and still is.” 

“Yep, kin relate a might. Colleen, ya been busy in many ways lately. Ya jist traveled from Arizona ta Michigan. Heard tell these are strange times. As ya traveled, what’d ya spy with yer Poet’s eye?”

 “From Arizona, all the way through Illinois, huge swaths of the western and midwestern landscape were dotted with silver wind turbines. I thought about what it would be like to be an alien landing on our planet and seeing these three-armed machines. Like the gods, we’d harnessed the power of the wind to do our bidding. Would they recognize us as magical beings? See where my mind always goes? LOL!”

“Are ya referrin’ ta yer faerie an’ magic innerests?”

 “Yes. I am, Kid. When I started blogging in April of 2014, I didn’t have a clue as to what I wanted to do with my writing.”


“Then, not long after I started blogging, I had an interesting experience. On a warm November morning (we lived in Pensacola, Florida then) I set out on one of my normal morning walks. Near the side of the road, I observed what I perceived to be a bird, flapping around in the bushes. Upon closer observation, I realized it wasn’t a bird at all! I stared into the green eyes of a faery hovering over the swamp. Yup… you heard me right. A faery! At least, that’s how my mind interpreted the event.”

“I read thet in yer book Faeries, Myths & Magic.”

“Yes. It was quite an experience. It gave me pause, but, seriously, looking back now, I know I saw a faery elemental.”

“We believe ya. We got chapfaeries keepin’ an eye on things here at the Saloon.”

“So you know about this. Faery elementals are nature beings based off earth, water, air, or fire. This tiny being was possibly an undine or water elemental. Although, she did fly, so good chance she was a sylph, a being of air.”

“Soun’s like ya done studied up on these things.”

“Yes, I have!”

“Were ya skeered Colleen?”

“No, Kid. I felt no animosity from this experience. Instead, this experience ignited my interest in the fey and all things magical. It literally was an eye-opening, almost spiritual experience. Since then, I’ve connected with another part of me I’d never explored before. I felt like the lotus; my life experiences the petals that opened me to new realities, like faery-craft, and other pagan interests.”

“Cool! I also have an in’rest in pigs an’ sech, Colleen.”

“Pigs and— ? No, Kid, pagan. I’m a pagan and a Buddhist, which led me to my love of syllabic poetry. There is something special about haiku and the other forms that fill a place in my heart. I think it’s the brevity of words, expressed in a few syllables, which holds so much meaning. I find the composition of these poems almost like a puzzle. You must find the right words and syllables to convey the perfect meaning.”

“Yep, yep, we git thet. Not fer nuthin’, Mz. Colleen, but we got a Poet’s Tree out back. An offshoot from the ‘riginal one back et the Ranch.”

“I know. You both write buckaroo-ku. What exactly is that?”

“Um, well, if we were ta look back in the archives, we’d prob’ly find thet it’s not real clear.”

“Yep, Pal’s right. It’s murky-like. I think most times it’s adhere’d ta some syllable count, an’ most times it’s ranch set, but oft times it’s jist whatever falls from the tree.”

“That’s nuts!”

“Yep. It’s what we do. But yer a bit more disciplined ‘bout yer poe’try. A reg’lar Metrist.”

“(Told ya Kid, thet’s thet mil’try backround. Hup, hup!)”

“An’ I told ya ta shush Pal, be polite.”

“Ha! You two! I am a military metrist. And a pagan and a Buddhist.  So sure; meanwhile, back on the blogs… I found a haiku challenge to participate in. When I first started blogging there weren’t any poetry challenges but this one. After that I created Writers Quote Wednesday, where bloggers could choose a quote and write about a theme I’d suggested.”

“Didn’t Marsha Ingrao jist take thet over?” 

“Yes, because I’m so busy! Thank you Marsha!”

“What’s yer mainstay, Colleen?”

“Well, by 2016, I decided to begin my challenge, Tanka Tuesday, and it’s still running strong today! Between my interests in faeries and poetry, well… that’s how I became a “word-witch!”

“So is thet what yer blog’s about now? Word witchin’ with the Tanka Tuesday challenge?”

“Well, there’s that and a whole lot more at Word Craft ~ Prose & Poetry.  Word Craft ~ Prose & Poetry is an uplifting community where poets can learn the basics of writing Japanese and American syllabic poetry by sharing their own poetic inspiration within a weekly poetry challenge called Tanka Tuesday. Participants submit their poetry written in one of the twelve forms: haiku, senryu, haiga, tanka, gogyohka, haibun, tanka prose, renga, cinquain, and its variations, Etheree, nonet, and/or shadorma.”

“Yep, thet’s a pop’lar challenge. An’ a good place fer folks ta learn an’ try new forms. There’s clear d’recshuns an’ links.”

“Exactly. And it’s a community. Poets receive positive feedback from peers who inspire each other to stretch their creativity. Participants and readers return each week to celebrate the weekly poetry stars and to buy books from the Tanka Tuesday Book Store.”

“Soun’s good. Think our writer’s ‘casion’ly showed up there.”

“She has, occasionally. This is an open challenge, and everyone is always welcome to join in.”

“Yer Word Craft ~ Prose & Poetry blog has a lot to it Colleen. Folks should poke aroun’ over there. They might learn somethin’ an’ have some fun.”

“Thank you, Kid. I also have an author blog at where I share my poetry, flash fiction, and more personal writings.”

“Yer blogs must keep ya some busy! What’s been yer proudest moments as a blogger?”

“My proudest moments on my blog are watching the poets in my challenge grow in their poetry writing abilities. I take great pride in hearing that some of them have entered and won contests or been accepted in literary journals, including the fact that many have written their own books of poetry. These challenges give us the writing practice we need to perfect our writing craft. How cool is that?”

“Very cool, Colleen!”

“My dream is to continue offering a quality poetry challenge to everyone, no matter what stage of experience they find themselves in. I also hope to create a yearly poetry contest with prizes. In addition, I would eventually like to create a yearly literary journal or anthology to give poets another opportunity for publication.” 

“She remind ya a someone we know, Pal?”

“Yep. Sure does, Kid. Colleen, ya’ve really grown them blogs a yers since startin’ out. What else ya cultivatin’?”

“I’ve written a book called, Word Craft ~ Prose & Poetry: The Art of Crafting Syllabic Poetry. This is a beginner how-to book on how to write the various forms of Japanese and American syllabic poetry that I feature in my challenges. I’m in the editing stage now. I hope to have this book published by April 2021.”

“Oh, we sure are lookin’ for’ard ta thet, Colleen.”

“They’s more too, Pal!”

“What ya talkin’ ‘bout, Kid?”   

“Big news Pal!”


“Colleeen is gonna have a reg’lar spot at the Saddle Up!”

“No way!”

“Yep. Way.”

“Yahoo! Colleen, whut kin folks ‘spect?”

 “Well, do you remember the Carrot Ranch Rodeo from last October? I created a special syllabic form for the ranch—the Double Ennead, which is a 99-syllable poem.”

“We ‘member. It was kinda a tough challenge.”

“No, Pal, not TUFF; Double Ennead. Syllabic poe’try ranch style.” 

“Yes! The word Ennead means nine, and a double nine is ninety-nine! Carrot Ranch is famous for 99-word flash fiction. Now, the ranch has its own syllabic poetry form written in 99 syllables – the Double Ennead.”

“You’ll love it, Pal. 99’s a palindrome. Git it? Pal-in-drome?”

“Shush up Kid, let ‘er finish.”

“The Double Ennead comprises five lines with a syllable count of 6/5/11/6/5, (33 SYLLABLES per stanza) 3 STANZAS EACH = 99 SYLLABLES, NO MORE, NO LESS!”

“Yep, there she goes, always accountin’. Least now we got the back story ‘bout thet.”

“Now you shush, Pal. So what’s that got ta do with the Saddle Up Saloon Colleen?”

“I’ll be hosting a monthly challenge on Carrot Ranch where poets can experiment with this form in a fun setting at the Saddle-Up Saloon. It should be great fun! I promise, it will not be as demanding as the Rodeo contest.”

“Yeah! How ‘bout next week Colleen? We kin git outta yer way ever third Monday. Let folks have anuther chance ta play an’ practice writin’ craft, 99 words at a time.”

“Yes! I am really looking forward to it.”

“Folks, next week bring yer quills ta the Saloon. Colleen Chesebro will be our recurrin’ Guest Host. She’ll be pervidin’ an extra writin’ prompt challenge, her own Double Ennead form a syllabic poetry.”

Amazon Author Page

If asked, Pal & Kid will deny that they spill from the pen of D. Avery. They claim to be free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch and now serve up something more or less fresh every Monday at the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up to take the stage as a saloon guest, contact them via

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  1. Ritu

    Absolutely lovely to read Colleen, my blog Sis, being interviewed by you both! ????

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Thank ya kin’ly. It was a lot a fun talkin’ with Colleen. (Mebbe we’ll git you up there one day.) Either way, yer in fer a real treat next Monday when Colleen takes over the Saloon as Guest Host fer her Double Ennead poetry prompt.

      • Ritu

        Oooh, that is so exciting, and I’d love to come and have a chat with you one day, too! <3

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Thanks so much, Ritu! It was really fun! You will have a blast being interviewed. Enjoy. <3

      • Ritu

        I look forward to it!!!

  2. Jules

    You can count on Colleen!! 😀

    Glad things are settling down a bit that Colleen is able to help out at Carrot Ranch!

    Thanks Pal and Kid for Hosting another fine creative at the Saddle-Up!

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Awww, Jules. Thanks so much. I don’t know how D. does it, but she had me cracking up. Thanks for having a read. <3

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        (Dang it, Pal, there she goes, gittin’ the credit fer our innerview. Tellin’ ya, our writer ain’t nuthin’ without us.)

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        Pal and Kid, you guys are truly the *stars* <3

  3. -Eugenia

    What a stunning post and I loved learning more about, Colleen! Thanks Pal and Kid for hosting!

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Thanks, Franci. The Saloon is such a creative place. I’m thrilled to be a guest. I hope to see you for the double ennead challenge. <3

  4. Colleen M. Chesebro

    Reblogged this on Word Craft ~ Prose & Poetry and commented:

    I spent some time with Pal and Kid at the Saddle Up Saloon on I hope you’ll stop by and have a read! <3

  5. olganm

    That’s a fun interview! I’ve been following Colleen’s blog for a while and it was to hear more about her background. Take care!

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Aw Olga, you’ve been a great friend and mentor. Thanks for all you do. I’m so glad you stopped by. <3

  6. willowdot21

    I really enjoyed reading this so much! It’s great to meet Pal and Kid! Most of all it was so good to learn so much more about Colleen ????????????????????

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Thanks fer comin’ by. Yep, Colleen’s got lot’s ta say!

      • willowdot21

        Thank you for the hospitality D it was fun ????

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Thanks, Willow. I appreciate you stopping by. All the credit goes to D. (aka Kid & Pal) she makes even boring me sound good. LOL! <3

      • willowdot21

        Lol there is nothing boring about you! Yes D is another huge talent! ????

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        You’re just a sweet-pea, Willow. Thanks for saying that. <3

      • willowdot21

        Lol ????????

  7. Marje @ Kyrosmagica

    Wonderful interview with Colleen, ranch style. She goes from strength to strength. So wonderful to see. And interesting to hear about the double ennead prompt that she’ll be hosting. <3

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Yep, we’re really lookin’ forward ta thet an’ not jist ’cause it gives us a week off. Heck, mebbe we’ll participate.

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Thanks, Marje. I appreciate you! The double ennead is a form you will enjoy creating. In my mind’s eye, I can see you using this form in new ways. <3

  8. RuthScribbles

    Colleen is a great teacher!

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Thanks, Ruth. It’s just pure fun crafting poetry with you all. Thanks so much for your vote of confidence. You’ve made my day. <3

  9. Colleen M. Chesebro

    D. thanks so much for this opportunity. I know you love poetry! I can’t wait to see what you come up with for our challenge. <3

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Thank you Colleen! I know Kid and Pal enjoyed this interview and they are looking forward to having next Monday off (and every third Monday after that)

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        Yay! Sounds like a good plan! ??????

  10. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Reblogged this on ShiftnShake and commented:

    Read all about her! The real Colleen Chesebro interviewed by fictional characters at Carrot Ranch’s own virtual Saloon:

  11. Ann Edall-Robson

    At a recent zoom meeting at a local writing group I belong to, someone asked if anyone knew anything about Tanka writing/poetry. I answered that I didn’t, but I knew who did and handed over the link to Tanka Tuesday telling them that Colleen Chesebro should be their go to person to find out more.

    And now I will be able to share this link with them as well.

    Alway a pleasure to meet and get to know the writers that stop by the Saloon.

    Thanks Pal and Kid for hosting.

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Wow… thanks so much, Ann, for the recommendation. I love Japanese poetry. It’s probably my favorite of all the forms. <3

  12. suespitulnik

    Nice to learn more about you Colleen, especially through conversation with Kid and Pal.
    I was so excited when I completed the rodeo challenge of the double ennead. I’ll look forward to doing another. I will also look forward to your new book so I can have examples to learn from.
    Thank you for your service to our country and for now serving fellow writers.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Thank you Sue. Colleen did great, didn’t she?
      Sharpen yer quill fer next Monday!

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Thanks so much, Sue. Our new challenge will concentrate on the 99 syllable form. Since I created it, we have the opportunity to make it what we want. Some poets like rhyme scheme, others don’t. I left it open so we can have fun and just be creative. I’m excited. <3

  13. dgkaye

    Fabulous interview. I always like learning new nuggets about my pals. Colleen, I cracked up when I pictured you selling insurance. <3

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      I had to take a state board in order to get the license. I passed with 98%, a better score than my boss! I liked the homeowner’s insurance, but the car insurance… OYE! You know me and driving. LOL! In the end, I did all the administrative stuff: answering phones, filing, etc. I was way more comfortable in that capacity. People would call screaming about their bill… I had to talk them down. It was not a good experience.

      • dgkaye

        I can just imagine! And I had to LOL at Oye! Lmao. Hilarious you selling car insurance and you hate driving. LOL woman! <3

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        Right? See how you’ve rubbed off on me? ??????

      • dgkaye

        LOL. Birds of a feather – and Sisters – bound to wear off. <3

  14. Anne Goodwin

    Lovely to learn more about Colleen and to get an insight into their that syllable crunching comes from. I don’t do poetry but I do see the value of rhythm in my writing.

    • Anne Goodwin

      their that? Sorry, I might have meant where. Blame the faeries!

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        LOL, Anne. No worries. Those fairies are always hanging about! I like syllabic poetry that doesn’t rhyme, and the shorter the form, the better. The new 99 syllable form will be fun. It’s a bit longer, so there is more room to get your point across. I hope you’ll try creating a poem at least once. <3

  15. memadtwo

    Fun to learn more about you Colleen. And yes, you have inspired many good poets and poems! (K)

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Thanks, Kerfe. We do have fun writing poetry, don’t we? <3

      • memadtwo

        Yes we do.

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