“Pal, is that…?”

“Yep. Sure is, Kid. Ann Edall-Robson ‘as stopped by the Saddle Up.”

“Woohoo! The Rough Writer who pens the Quiet Spirits column fer Carrot Ranch? I heard she might be too busy fer us, heard she’s got a lot a irons in the fire. Uh, Pal, does that s’pression refer ta when irons fer clothes was heated up on a cook range, or is it referrin’ ta brandin’ irons on the cattle range?”

“Reckon we could ask Ann, she might know.”

“She might er she might not. Heard tell she makes stuff up.”

“Thet’s ‘cause she’s a story teller, Kid. Come on, lit’s go talk with ‘er.”

“Howdy Ann!”

“Hello there Kid. Pal. You caught me wetting my whistle here at the bar. Come sit with me.”

“Thet soun’s good, Ann. Sure liked what ya did couple weeks back in yer Quiet Spirits column. Had folks guessin’ whether yer stories was truth er fiction. How much does thet blurry border matter ta story tellin?”

“Well Pal, it’s hard not to mix the two and at the same time it’s not hard to mix the two. Writing a story specific to a topic needs believable information. It shows readers who are knowledgeable about the subject that my work is credible.”

“Speakin’ a borders, where d’ya hail from, Ann?”

“Home for me is Canada. I grew up in what is called The Cariboo Country of British Columbia. Some forty odd years ago a transfer became available with the company I worked for and I migrated east of the Rockies to Alberta, where I have hung my hat ever since.”

“Are ya all snowed in out there, Ann, er d’ya got stuff goin’ on?”

“Snow and cold aren’t a big deal when you grow up with it. You learn to be prepared for every kind of weather. When it gets real cold, like -40F or colder, it’s nice to know I don’t have to go out. I hunker down and work on one of the dozen or so projects I have on the go. Although, when the weather is that cold, it can make for some pretty amazing photography opportunities. We are also very lucky in this part of the world to experience Chinooks. They are also known as snow eaters and the weather can change from -40 to above zero in a matter of hours.”

“Ain’t that ranchin’ country out there where yer at?”

“Kid, didn’t’cha know? Ann here is a real deal rancher.”

“Truth?”

“Truth, Kid.”  

“Well, not quite, Pal. My dad ranched and rodeoed before enlisting to go overseas in WWII, but that’s a story for another day. I grew up in ranching country. We had family members and friends who were/are ranchers and I spent as much time as I could with my aunt and uncles on their ranch. It’s where I got addicted to horses and doing chores and chasing cows. It’s common for ranchers to help each other to round up cattle in the fall and gather to brand cattle in the spring. Whenever I could, I was immersing myself in this life. Somehow I managed to convince my parents it would be a good thing for me to own my own horse and my aunt and uncle gave me a mare and foal when I was ten or eleven. It didn’t take long for me to start entering local gymkhanas and rodeos.”

“Is that where ya git yer stories from Ann?”

“Maaayyyyybeeee…haha… It’s like this; where I come from guides me to where I need to go. As luck would have it, I am passionate about letting people know about the western and ranch culture that encompasses a way of life that is fast disappearing. I can hopefully educate people by including the knowledge I was lucky enough to experience growing up into the books and such that I write.”

“How an’ when did ya git from them ranches ta Carrot Ranch?”

“I have a collection of my writings going back to my high school days. The man of the house (aka my husband Steve) and I had many discussions about publishing these archaic works, but neither of us had a clue where to start. Steve was an advocate of networking, and started doing research to see if anyone else out there was in the same boat. Through some online searching for like-minded writing people/groups he came across the Carrot Ranch. I remember the day he announced that he had found the place I needed to get involved with to start getting my work seen. In April 2016, I wrote Ivor Oaks, and my first 99-Word story was published here at the Ranch.”

“How would ya d’scribe the kinda writin’ d’ya do?”

“I write in several genres (cozy mysteries – contemporary fiction, cookbooks, children’s books, some poetry, and, non-fiction). They all have one thing in common – western and ranch culture.”

“Which kinda writin’ comes easiest to ya?”

“Anything that gives me the opportunity to share mine and Steve’s heritage and culture. Oh, and stuff that turns a random what if thought into a rambling of words that need to be sorted out somewhere down the line.”

“Which gives ya the most satisfaction?”

“The knee jerk reaction to that question is, “All of them!” What it boils down to is, I love to share what others may never get to experience. You will hear me say that time and time again; but the reality is it’s true, and through all of my writing genres, I am able to do this. Now if you want me to identify my absolute favourite genre, I would have to say the cozy mysteries and the children’s books are neck and neck.”

“Ya done mentioned photo opper-tunities. Thet camera yer totin’ ever git in the way a writin’ er does it git the writin’ goin’?”

“My photographs never get in the way of writing unless you take into consideration the days I think I should be writing and I am out somewhere taking pictures, like today.”

“What do you do with all yer pictures?”

“A lot of my pictures can be found on our DAKATAMA™? Country where people can order products with my pictures on them. I use my photographs for my book covers, and have had other authors use them as well. We are also in the process of adding photo products to our new business website. If you follow my Ann Edall-Robson FB page, we share a picture prompt there every Thursday. And, we have recently added The Photo Challenge to our website for those who are not on FB. 

But, here’s a secret for you about the hundreds of thousands of pictures in my photo library – My 99-Word stories or any other prompt writing I might get involved in all boil down to one thing – have I got a picture to go with it? Very seldom is the answer ‘no’. Not many people know about my photo inspirations in writing my 99-Word stories, that is unless they actually follow the link back to my website.”

“I’d highly recommend they do link back to yer website jist ta see yer amazin’ photos. Seems like some was featured here at the Saloon too, when we ran thet Art Showin’.”

“Yep. Ann, yer a visual artist, well as a literary artist, seems like it goes hand in hand. But what’s been yer greatest challenge as a writer?”

“For me, I would have to say Marketing is a challenge for two reasons. First because I am an Indie Author and my company publishes my own books so it is completely up to us to market our products. Second, and I think this falls in line with the challenges I face in marketing, is my upbringing. I was raised that if you talked about yourself and your accomplishments, you were a braggart or blowhard and most likely both. This was not acceptable. People knew what you were capable of and would spread the word if necessary. It has taken me quite a while to get past the morals of my upbringing to talk publicly about my work and what my passions are. Since I have resigned myself to the fact that these elements are a necessary evil in promoting myself and my work I now consider it part of the job. It doesn’t make it any easier to do, but I know word of mouth isn’t the marketing platform it once was.”

“What’s been yer greatest joy as a writer?”

“Writing! Being able to put all the thoughts spinning on the Bunster Wheel down on paper. Knowing that some will never see the light of day and others will be shared with the world whether they want them or not. Getting the past as I know and remember archived in some way for future generations.

Writing has also given me the opportunity to mentor others in the craft. Not necessarily as writers, but the independent publishing and business side that comes with wanting to become a published writer with aspirations to sell their books.”

“Sure seems like yer like-minded with Carrot Ranch all write. Yer a real asset.”

 “Thank you, Kid, but speaking of assets, I need to step down off this stool and stretch.”

“Pal, look! Ann Edall-Robson’s tall like Shorty!”

“Shush Kid. Ann, we wanna thank ya fer a fine innerview.”

“Yep. We sure ‘preciate ya takin’ time outta yer schedule and findin’ yer way ta the Saddle Up.”

“My pleasure. Thank you Kid and Pal.”

Ann Edall-Robson relies on her heritage to keep her grounded. Reminders of her family’s roots mentor her to where she needs to go. Gifting her with excerpts of a lifestyle she sees slipping away. Snippets shyly materialize in Ann’s writing and photography. She is a lover of life and all things that make us smile. Edall-Robson shares moments others may never get to experience at HorsesWest, DAKATAMA™ Country, and Ann Edall-Robson where you can also contact her. Books written by Ann Edall-Robson are available through her website, at Amazon, and various other online locations.

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 shiftnshake@dslayton.com.


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