Run Chicken, Run!

I normally condone animal abuse, but I make an exception for chickens.

Roosters, to be more specific.

If that two-foot-tall pile of feathers wants to come at me with its claws of fury then I will kick that little bugger like a football and feel zero remorse because that furious beastie had it coming, mate.

This is actually a stock chicken picture I pulled from Canva the day I created the blog post. Not one of my chickens, lol

In my years of farm life, I have encountered quite a number of spikey, hate-filled roosters. Some were occasionally violent, only pecking when they felt that you were too close to their hens. A few roosters ignored adults but went after small children, dogs, cats, baby goats, and anything else that they felt they could actually best in a wrestling match.

And then there was Jaco.

Jaco was a beautiful speckled sussex rooster, and his favorite hobby was eating people alive. Not only was he close to three feet in height, he had a nasty habit of flying over the pasture fence and prowling the yard, waiting for some unsuspecting person to come into view.

One of the few (or maybe only) times I heard an adult scream in terror was when a friend who was boarding her horses at my house walked her new horse to the horse pasture...and didn't see the incoming chicken bent on protecting his domain from anything that didn't have a beak and feathers.

Jaco somehow survived a hit-and-run with a bike, a shovel-wielding Russian, and numerous "yeet him into the air like a football" kicks. Not once did he ever limp or get injured...or show signs of remorse for his misdeeds.

Worst of all, this rooster had a soft side. If you could push through his beak-and-nail defenses and get him in your arms, he would turn into a nice little pet. Tuck him under your arm and pet his pretty feathers and feed him some grain and he'd sit there all nice and happy and chuckle to himself while pecking the corn ever-so-sweetly from your palm.

Then place him back on the ground and he'd scuttle over to you, hackles raised...

We gave him away to some hunting friends, and said that we didn't want to know what they were planning to do with him.

None of our roosters since have been quite as mean. We did have a Black Australorp rooster named Toothless that turned mean. We penned him up in a small hutch, claiming he was too pretty to sell or eat (or maybe we just felt a little guilty about Jaco's fate?). Eventually the cow broke the hutch and Toothless was inadvertently freed....and he never bothered to attack us again. Perhaps he learned his lesson.

As of right now, we have two roosters - a Rhode Island Red rooster that is the perfect rooster, and a gray rooster that has never actually /attacked/ but does that little beady-eyed-side-shuffle that you chicken owners know all about. He does jump out of the pasture and lead his little band of freedom flighter hens, but is for the most part, quite docile. I still don't trust him, of course.

Never trust a rooster.

And for anyone wanting a picture, I dug through the computer and managed to find this picture of Jaco himself.

Introducing: The Order of the Pen Press, LLC

A long time ago, I had a dream: to be a published author. At the time, I didn't think about /how/ that would happen, just that I wanted to write stories and have them, somehow, end up in printed book format.

In 2014, Sarah Rodecker and I co-founded The Order of the Pen, an email-based writing group where members shared stories and flash fiction and gave each other writing tips and helped edit and beta read WIPs. As the years went by, tOotP sort of disbanded. We'd all become adults, and while a few of us still continued to write, most members were busy with work and college. We still kept in touch, but the group emails and monthly meetings stopped going out.

A snippet from a monthly meeting email.

Fast-forward to May 2020. Sarah and I are preparing to self-publish our co-written book Ships, Secrets, and Survivors. We are finally getting into those lovely, nitty-gritty publishing details and reach an unforeseen problem: taxes. If you are self-publishing by yourself, you can just use your social security number and report the taxes when you do your own yearly W2s. But....two of us wrote the book.

Unsure what to do, we spoke to a local accountant, who advised us that the best option was to start a business and use a business tax identification number. Now I have been doing small business finances for 5 years. Sarah had taken accounting classes. Neither of us are afraid to get down and do things ourselves. And with the knowledge that I already planned to self-publish my other books, and Sarah was considering that route for some of her own WIPs, we decided to take the jump and do it.

But what to call the publishing business? We almost did zero brainstorming whatever. We already /had/ a name. So we checked in with the old OotP members and got their okay. The paperwork was filled out, and we became official.

So, y'all, allow me to introduce...

The Order of the Pen Press!!

For the moment, our little publishing business is "just" for our books. The final Pirate Hunter Chronicles books are coming out in 2021. In 2022, my own series, The Red War Annals, will begin releasing. 2023 will see the release of Fire Horse - a sci-fi duology (also co-written by me and Sarah).

After that, we still have many other WIPs bouncing around in the works. We will always be open to helping the original Pennites get their own works published as well.

All that being said, we are certainly not opposed to, in the future, opening our submissions to writers outside our original Order of the Pen writing group. Helping young writers achieve their goals to become authors has always been a dream of our own. So maybe, someday, submissions will be open!

We look forward to sharing our adventures in the coming years! You may follow us on Instagram HERE and on FaceBook HERE. Our website is HERE.

I'm so glad it's finally time to share this news!!! We've been sitting on this since....May 2020, I think. But guys. I'm just...beyond excited. Pirate Hunters has been such a journey. Starting a publishing business. And in another year, I'll get to share Marywyn's story that has been on my heart since...2015, I think.

Here's to an awesome year!!