Tag Archives: deer

Yesterday’s Office.

This is mostly going to be the photos I couldn’t upload yesterday. I’ll throw in a couple more. I intended to post a different update today, but without much of a connection, you kind of get the words yesterday and the pictures today.

We’re home now. I had my usual comedy of errors getting out of there. I couldn’t remove the sewer cap to flush out our holding tank. I left the dump station rather than back up traffic waiting to use the septic system.

I forgot my block for the trailer jack, so we had to loop back through the campground. It was still where we left it. While there, I decided to take a rock to the sewer cap and it worked like a charm. One more lap through the dump station and we got to head home.

This was what I wanted to call my office in the post yesterday.

This is the little doe that hangs around the campground. She browsed about ten feet from Otto this morning while he had his breakfast. Nothing interrupts that boy’s breakfast.

A glimpse at part of last night’s supper.


These boys were hanging around the dump station this morning and posing for photos. These are all mule deer, for those who only have white tails around.

There are three of them, but one of the bigger ones is behind the little guy

I always hate to come home, but it’s good to be back.


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Life goes on

While I was touring my book around, the world didn’t stop spinning around here. I worked, and we had some unusual visitors at the office. This little guy was photographed from my office window.

He didn’t stay long, but it was fun having him stop by. We also had this visitor, and it’s appropriate for the season.

My iPhone makes it tough to photograph something so tiny, but you can make out his little bat ears at the bottom of the image. He’s only about the size of a walnut, but it was cool seeing him.

In other news, I got the sprinkler system blown out. Old What’s Her Face is on her way home, and we have an appointment to get the camper winterized tomorrow. It seems like winter is determined to show up, so we need to get ready.

I finished reading a book and posted a review. I try to review whatever I read. I look at it like a karma kind of thing. Authors need reviews, so I ought to post them, too. I’ll probably start reading another one before my vacation ends.

New fiction is still taking a back seat. I haven’t written a new word in a month. I’m struggling with the production vs the promotion cycle. I love creating new stories, but hate the promotion part. Honestly, I don’t like getting promotion stuff either, so I assume many people are like me. (Maybe you aren’t, but that’s my mindset right now.)

The questions I’m struggling with are:

  • Should I just bury some of the stories I write? Publish the series work, and keep the stand alone things for myself.
  • What about blog only? I know some who’ve done this, but have no idea what kind of reception it gets. Is it appropriate to release a few chapters over a period of months, then publish, thereby, skipping any blog tour and such? Does this piss people off more?
  • Should I publish them with zero promotion? I know how that works out, but workmanlike promo for every other story could still draw attention.
  • I’ve learned how to write an incredible amount of new fiction. Should I go back to my old ways and produce less?
  • Would it be worthwhile to hold stories, then do a multiple book release with mutual promotion?

I’m interested in what you guys think, so speak up. Do you have any experience with these methods?


Filed under Uncategorized, Writing

Ready for the weekend

Today seemed like it took forever. At least I had a visitor for a little while. This little buck stopped just long enough to pose for photos.

I got a ton of things done today at the office, and I’m beat. Tonight, I’ll probably have a beer and watch a baseball game.

The free day for The Hat is going well. With Don Massenzio’s post it seemed like a good time to try it. The highest rank I caught was #32 under the superhero genre. You have until midnight to get it for free.

Okay, it’s a lousy picture, but it’s out of necessity. This data does not display on my phone. The PC doesn’t save images to my private account. Therefore, I used my phone to take a picture of my PC monitor.

It could creep a little higher with a few more downloads. The book is free until midnight. You might want to grab a copy today, and read it later.

Tomorrow I’m going to hoist the colors and get back to my manuscript. There are two interviews I need to schedule, but if I get to them Sunday that’s perfectly okay.

I’m kind of excited to get back to my pirates, monsters, and adventure. Hope all of you have fun plans and a great weekend.


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Out my office window again

Things have been pretty busy at work. I also have company coming this weekend. All of this means my time for writing projects is minimal. I still want to work on the pending interviews, but may not get as much time as I hoped for.

At least I have a cool view at the office. The other day two deer ran through the yard. They were moving too fast for a picture. The interesting thing was only noticed as they moved away. One was a mule deer and one was a whitetail. City deer don’t seem to follow the same rules as country deer.

This little guy has been keeping me company in the pre-dawn minutes this week. Maybe I shouldn’t call him little. Beavers are actually pretty big. Largest rodent in North America. Sorry for the image quality. It’s my iPhone, zoomed, through a window.

Not much more going on in my life right now. There’s work, and plenty of it.


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Cleaved by Sue Coletta

The Mystery Surrounding Antlers

Fans of the TV show Hannibal know the cannibal psychiatrist and gourmet chef—although his ingredients are quite questionable—often uses deer antlers to create macabre crime scenes. Some may think the creators of the show stole the idea from HBO’s True Detective, but that isn’t the case. The original idea stemmed from Stephen King. In his 1979 hit Salem’s Lot, King impaled one of the characters with antlers. They say it takes three repetitions to create a trend, and perhaps there’s some truth to that.

Antlers intrigued me enough to write them into my new novel, CLEAVED.

In preparation, I did extensive research into deer antlers. Specifically, white tail deer, the only breed that live in New Hampshire, where the story takes place. The reason antlers and murder elicit such a strong reaction might be because the deer symbolizes purity, rebirth, and regeneration. By showing the antlers of such a majestic creature next to the darkness of murder it strikes at our fears. Subconsciously we think, if the killer could use an innocent animal in this way, maybe none of us are safe.

It’s precisely this symbolism that sent me down a rabbit hole of research. Or was it a jackrabbit hole? LOL Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Finding a way to incorporate antlers into the MO so it made sense became a much harder task. Deer antlers weren’t enough, though. I needed more. So I included the King of Hearts playing card, women encased in oil drums, birch trees, and nursery rhymes. Sounds crazy, I know, but I promise it all makes sense in the end.

Many mysteries surround antlers.

Why do deer shed their antlers? Why do only males and hermaphrodite deer grow antlers? How do antlers grow faster than any other vertebrae bone on earth?

I share some of the mythology and symbolism in the book, so I won’t share it here. A few interesting facts I didn’t include are…

Hardened antlers (not in velvet) are made up of 45% protein, 22% calcium, 11% phosphorous, and 1% fat. They also contain magnesium, sodium, aluminum, potassium, copper, manganese, and zinc.

The chemical composition varies according to location and is affected by other factors, like soil and the amount of rainfall during the antler growth cycle.

Antlers respond to their environment. Genetics, age, and diet are the three key factors.

Even though only male deer and moose grow antlers, there are exceptions, like caribou, elk, and reindeer. Although, with the exception of reindeer, they’re then called “horns”.

Why do female reindeer grow antlers when their southern cousins do not?

Here’s a tidbit for speculative fans. The now-extinct Irish Elk, known as the Giant Deer Meglasaurus Gigantus, lived until 5,000 B.C. Analysis of its bone and teeth from scientists showed the huge herbivore stood 7’ tall with gigantic antlers that spanned 12’ across and weighed up to 80 lbs. Imagine running into him? Whoa.

No matter the amount of research, no one really knows whyantlers antlers exist.

Scientists have theories, but no concrete proof. Some theories are…

To acquire a mate. The bigger the antlers, the better the quality of male. (I’m not commenting on that, especially while on a man’s site)

They’re used as weapons to fight off other males, even though many times a gorgeous rack is enough to make the lesser male stand down.

Defense against predators.

What blows the first two theories are female reindeer. If antlers exist merely to attract potential mates, then why do any females grow them? Some scientists believe horned (caribou) or antlered (reindeer) females who live out in open use them for protection and so they don’t stand out from the male members of society.They also use them to clear snow.

With regard to moose, they say the antlers are used as large hearing aids. But then, why don’t females grow them? Are female moose deaf? Or do they just not care what male moose have to say?

As I mentioned earlier, environment plays a key role in antler growth. The photo period is the 24 hour period where the deer are exposed to sunlight. In the summer we have longer days. During which bugs produce higher levels of testosterone, which triggers antler growth. Antlers start out as cartilage in velvet,which is fuzzy and rich in blood vessels. If we were to pet thevelvet, the antlers would be hot to the touch.

When the bugs go through a second cycle of testosterone, it triggers mineralization and hardening of the antlers. In the fall when the sunlight diminishes, deer rub their antlers against trees, other plant life, and bugs. This removes the velvet to reveal bony antlers. They carry these hardened antlers through the fall and winter. In the spring, the bugs drop in testosterone level signals another change. Within days of this drop, the antlers release from their pedicles. In other words, the deer sheds its antlers. A scab-like material grows over these pedicles and the cycle repeats, with these new growth cells.

Cool, right?



Author Sage Quintano writes about crime. Her husband Niko investigates it. Together they make an unstoppable team. But no one counted on a twisted serial killer, who stalks their sleepy community, uproots their happy home, and splits the threads that bond their family unit.

Darkness swallows the Quintanos whole–ensnared by a ruthless killer out for blood. Why he focused on Sage remains a mystery, but he won't stop till she dies like the others.

Women impaled by deer antlers, bodies encased in oil drums, nursery rhymes, and the Suicide King. What connects these cryptic clues? For Sage and Niko, the truth may be more terrifying than they ever imagined.

Want to see how I used antlers in CLEAVED? Save $5.00 by pre-ordering now. Only 99c: http://smarturl.it/Cleaved


Member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers, Sue Coletta is a multi-published, award-winning author. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and collections, including a forensic article in InSinC Quarterly. In addition to her popular crime resource blog, Sue co-hosts the radio show “Partners In Crime” on Blog Talk Radio. She’s also the communications manager for the Serial Killer Project and Forensic Science and founder of #ACrimeChat on Twitter, where she helps other crime writers' stories ring true.

She lives with her husband in a quaint country town in rural New Hampshire where she's surrounded by moose, deer, black bears, and the sultry songs of nature. Course, Sue would love to snuggle with the wildlife, but her husband frowns on the idea.

Connect with Sue at the following locations:



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Bulldogs like camping

I've been almost completely out of touch this weekend. I had a two-bar cell signal, and using that for Internet access wasn't worth it.

I took a book with me, but never got a chance to read it. The timber, the smells, time where it's just my wife and I was too precious.

Otto had a great time out camping. We stayed in Ponderosa State Park, and all pets must be on leashes. He's never been on one, and this posed a tiny problem. What kind of leash to you buy for a puppy with no neck?

We opted for a harness and one of those retractable leashes. I expected crying and rolling on the ground, accompanied by chewing on the harness.

Otto likes it. He wore it proudly even when I called it a bra.

The leash is another matter. It falls into the category of something he can get into his mouth. A bit of scolding, and he behaved himself with it too.

This little doe visited camp on Friday night, and Otto didn't even see her.

There were plenty of dogs around, and since they were leashed, the deer never had a problem at all.

Otto was pretty popular. We had people coming to our camp all weekend to see the puppy. It seems like everyone had a bulldog, wants one, or knew someone. He was excited to meet a bunch of new friends.

Our mushrooming trip was a flop. Summer is too far along this year. This is traditionally a great week, but the season is different. Otto enjoyed splashing around in the stream. He'll be getting a bath in a few minutes.

We had a bit of an issue when the leash reached the end. He didn't care about the harness, or the leash, but when the leash limited how far he could go, he pouted.

This is his pout face, and he refuses to look at me.






The deer came back this morning, and this time she came right into our campsite.

Otto saw her this time, but he kind of froze in place. He has no idea whether deer feed on Bulldogs or not.

The gigantic boxer next door had no reservations. He barked at her, so she left. He was nearly as big as she was, and I've never seen one that big. He was a nice, well behaved, dog.










The trip home was pretty boring for Otto. He knew the fun was over, and it was snooze time. I only wish it was for me too.











This was my view for over three hours today. There was a three car pileup, with a fatality. So we sat. I had to idle and keep the air conditioner going the whole time.

Otto can be kind of heat sensitive, but I'd be lying if I said my wife and I enjoyed it too.

I am pretty sure traffic backed up for over thirty miles.

I need to get back to all the stuff I neglected this weekend. I know I've missed some of your posts, and I'll try to catch up.

I've also sworn a vow that I will not attempt any new writing until I finish reading that book.

Age has pulled a cruel trick on me and my concentration. I caught myself reading the same page, even the same paragraph over and over again. It doesn't take much to cause this. The Raven two trees over, the dog in the next camp, a kid petting Otto. My concentration is shot.

I used to read while the television ran. Radio was no problem, and I liked some background music. I could read and carry on a conversation with my wife. Those days are over. If I have to backtrack that much, I need to find a better time to read. I will, but I won't set any other goals until I finish. This I swear.


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Looking out my window

I work in downtown Boise, Idaho. I’m fortunate to have an office alongside a small stream. There is an abundance of wildlife in Boise.

Over the years, we’ve had raccoons, foxes, coyotes, and abundant wildlife. When I can, I try to snap a quick photo, but they are usually too fast for me. (particularly the foxes)

There was a mink playing in the snow outside my window last winter. I was so fascinated I never even reached for my phone. Oops. The beavers and muskrats wind up being a blip in the stream on a photo.

I have a few shots of the wood ducks and geese. The weeds are tall along the stream right now, but that will change after the first big snow. We get many blue herons and kingfishers. I have one photo of a white mallard drake that flew in with a group of the normal version. He even had the curly tail feathers to indicate his being a male.

Yesterday a big mule deer buck walked up and looked in my window at me. I slowly reached for my iPhone but he wasn’t posing. He took off, but wasn’t quite quick enough. While this isn’t the view I had originally, it’s good enough to share. Nice big antlers on him, and he looks very healthy. He cleared a six foot fence like it was nothing just outside this frame.


I’m sure he’s on the search for does this time of year. I see them all the time, but he was a rare treat. I even saw a whitetail doe in the parking lot one day.


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We went for a country drive today. This time we turned the other way at Moran Junction and went over to Dubois. The idea was to get lunch there, but my wife didn't find anyplace that looked clean enough.

We saw buffalo, antelope, and elk in abundance. There were even a few mule deer around. None of them were close enough to photograph, and we didn't take the time for a long stalk. Buffalo can be dangerous too, and an iPhone isn't much protection.

We never saw a moose. They took quite a pounding in the Yellowstone fire from years ago. There have been enough years in between for a reasonable comeback, but something else came back too. I wonder if the wolves impeded the return of the moose.

I've been through Yellowstone many many times. You used to see a moose around every bend in the road. We never got inside Yellowstone, but we saw plenty of decent moose bogs. Not a moose in sight.

My wife is running our stuff through the laundry right now. I'm helping her out by drinking a beer and watching the warmup to the Kentucky Derby.

Tomorrow it's a long drive to get home. It's been a relaxing weekend with no agenda. Most of my trips have scheduled things to do, but not this time. Next week will be crazy at work, but I might be ready for it.


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Random thoughts

I get a whole hour for lunch today. Since I like to post something on Wednesdays, I decided to do it now.

I assume people are getting tired of the ongoing posts about editing. Rather than tell you all about it, I’ll say that I’ve been arguing with Doubt, the raven. He thinks I should delete part of my next book, Arson. I think, since this is a downward spiral with the character arc, it’s important to show the main character, Perry, at the height of his glory. We’re still fighting.

I learned a new trick. It will probably only work while I have old stories to publish. If I edit one chapter, then switch stories for a chapter, I don’t fall into my trap of getting into the story more than the edits.


There were two deer in the parking lot when I got to work this morning. A mule deer doe and buck. He had small velvet antlers that weren’t quite as long as his ears.


Why do I get fairy knots in my beard this time of year? I’ve been cutting two or three out every day. I swear, taking care of this thing is like having another pet some days.

Note to self: Make an effort to placate the fairies.


My Sunday post was titled “Giant Nuclear Lizard and Bed, Bath and Beyond”. It might have been more interesting if I’d written “Giant Nuclear Lizard at Bed, Bath and Beyond.”


My wife gave me a shamrock plant for St. Patrick’s Day. I’m proud to admit it’s still alive and still flowering. I’m afraid I threw several of these away once they died. I learned they’re actually a bulb of some kind and didn’t die. I’m going to try letting it rest when it fades, and seeing if I can keep it.

On a sad note, I think my old pitcher plant finally bit the dust. I’ve overwintered it in the vegetable crisper for five years now, and it always comes back. This year, it sent up two early pitchers, and they turned brown and shriveled. Maybe five years is a good run for a pitcher plant. It was the only carnivorous plant I’ve ever been able to keep alive.

Note to self: We need some carnivorous plants out at the writing cabin. It could give a whole new meaning to plants like deer brush and buffalo grass.


I found a couple victims volunteers for the Writing Process Blog Tour. My turn is this weekend, and then I’ll pass it on to them. I have a couple wonderful people to introduce to you guys.


That’s it. I said it would be a random thoughts, and I think I was true to my genre. All completed within the scope of a lunch hour.


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