Falen, Semper Fi - going to print!

Set against the backdrop of rural Montana, Falen, Semper Fi is the story of a Marine who's returned home from Iraq with life changing injuries. Although withdrawn and grieving, the unconditional love and companionship of an Australian Shepherd dog rekindles his hope for life.

"Falen: Semper Fi" Cover Art

Tell us what you think of the cover art for the new book in the Bandit Series! 

Here's to the Wounded Warriors

I am extremely proud to announce that thanks to the folks at The Center for the Intrepid assisting our service men and women with loss of limbs, burns and blindness we've secured the cooperation of the famous Brooks Army Hospital in San Antonio. Brooks, as it is referred to is the premier medical facility for veterans and service personal. They along with the men and women of the Center for the Intrepid have read the first several chapters of Falen:Semper Fi and have agreed to help in its production anyway they can. This will enable the Bandit Project to reach out in a very special way to assist in the fund raising that is so desperately needed. I will be calling the Office of the Army tomorrow to establish our contact and perimeters in bring this story of Rick and Falen to life.
        As I said in a previous post Dogs are becoming more and more utilized in the recovery of vets suffering with PTSD and also as service dogs assisting the amputees. Have you seen the Wounded Warriors Soft Ball team. If not, please google it and see for your self how courageous these young people are and how well they adjust to life. They are able to do that because of the herculean efforts of the men and women of the services and the VA hospitals and rehab centers all over the world.
         I had no idea that night several years ago when I first spoke with Judie Manuel about the idea of Down from the Mountain. To Judie I have to say...we've come a long way lady and it couldn't have been done without you and your contacts and friends in the wonderful world of Australian Shepherds. As I used to say in radio, stay tuned, the best is yet to come.

Let's hear it for the Dogs......

I am certainly learning a lot about the relationship between humans and dogs since I've started the research and writing of the new book, " Falen: Semper Fi".
        The cooperation that I've been accorded in research and interest is not only helpful but extremely interesting. Most of you know that one of the characters in the Bandit Project's first novel, "Down from the Mountain" is the little girl Aussie Falen. Just like there was a real Bandit there is a real Falen. Thanks to my dear friend Judie Manuel we have a red headed girl that lives and takes care of the MacKrell family daily. Amsted's Falen, granddaughter to the great Bandit is four years old now and is sitting at her usual place under my desk when I am writing. I pattern the novel character after all of the sweet, devilish, funny and serious behaviors she share's with us daily. We are learning daily to understand her Dog Talk and we are getting better at it day by day.  In both books you will find that the animals have a strong trust and faith in "The Spirit of the Day and Night". I only wish I was as faithful to my faith as they are. Each of the Aussies in the books, depends on the Spirit of the Day and Night each moment in the day awake or asleep. Its through this trust in the creator that I have found the vast amount of cooperation with the human's in their lives for the betterment of both.
       The main character in this new book is Rick Gonzales, a Cpl. in the United States Marine Corp. and a hero to his family and friends in Big Timber Montana. Rick left his right leg in Fallujah Iraq during a routine patrol. He will never be the same. In many ways he will be better thanks to the great advances being made medically and psychologically by the men and women of the Veteran's Administration and great work by groups like " The Center for the Intrepid". I can't tell you how much I've learned and how amazed I am at what is being done for our wounded warriors. All of us at the Bandit Project are thrilled to be able to assist the Center for the Intrepid financially as well as spiritually. Please take the time to look up "The Center for the Intrepid." www.fallenheroesfund.org/About-IFHF/Fund-History/The-Center-for-the-Intrepid.aspx if you can. I have much more to say about this great organization and how they are helping the Rick's in our lives retain and full and useful life.
Now I have to get back to writing. Don't tell anyone but Sergio, Ricks father has equipped the ATV so that Rick and Falen can go along on the cattle drive to summer mountains pastures....see you soon.

Rick gets Falen's help

I am fascinated by how the new novel, "Falen:Semper Fi" is going. To those of you who've read the first three chapters, I can tell you that Susan is borrowing more and more into Rick's life. Falen is keeping up her antics that really help Rick get over his stress caused by his losing his leg in Iraq. For a young viral man in his late 20's this was a devastating war wound and you all can understand how this would effect you if in the case of one bomb at the wrong time and you're life is changed forever. I will be posting some more of the book if you are interested...let me know if you want more chapters.

What a blessing..

It is one thing to be recognized and a totally different satisfaction to be helpful. Today we received both. We've been ask to participate in a extremely worthwhile cause. I am looking forward to continued meetings to make Down From the Mountain a reality in fund raising for the Humane Society. Lets hope this grows and we can be of help to our human friends and pet friends alike.

Remember Rodney King?

Do you remember Rodney King and the drama with the Los Angeles Police department. No one ever showed the entire video of his arrest, just the minutes where he was being subdued by the police, who in their anger crossed the line. I remember his famous quote, "Why can't we all just get along." That saying rings true today more than ever. No matter where you turn, or what subject you approach the division of divergent opinions seems totally out of whack. So many arguments are started because of mis information, bad research or a misguided passion. Don't we all have a tab at the top of our computer pages called google, yahoo or bing? It would be nice to use it before we post or pass along that "juicy" email that may be to other eyes than yours can be hurtful and in many cases just plain not true.
     Another rant from me concerns the folks who take it upon them selves to correct a wrong they know nothing what so ever about. Case in point was the misguided post on "Dog's Life" about the so called greedy and carless people who bred pure bred dogs for profit. I have strong feelings about this. While I have never been a breeder I have benefited by the science of canine improvement to the many dog breeds I've owned over the past 50 years. I have called on my many friends who are professional breeders and handlers, both in the show ring and the many ability trails. Together we hope to present a real life picture of their passion and dedication to the breeds they train, show and breed. I think you will find this interesting. thanks for your support in this blog.

Dis verses Dat

Have you noticed in today's society it always seems that no matter what you're talking about, someone has an opposite opinion. I guess that I fit into that category but in this case I have a very strong opinion about all the derogatory comments about pure bred dogs. I am not going to just 'pop off' but I am going to post on this site and Facebook my personal experience with pure bred's in both the show ring and the performance field. I am researching this because both sides have a valid point. Its just that there are more sides to an issue than usually meets the eye. Until the next post. jm

"Dear Jeanne, what Joy you've brought us all.."

Haven't you heard it said, "This is everything known on the subject and that's that..."
       In the case of Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylors extensive book, "All about Aussies: The Australian Shepherd from A to Z" that statement is really true.
        Written by a lady who literally grew up with the breed and grew up with the foundation of popularity of this great dog and its followers,  Mrs. Hartnagle-Taylor pours not only her knowledge but love into each and every page of this important book. Pictures of the early days with her father and the early pictures of the formation of his dog into one of America's most popular canines to modern times and the growth of the Australian Shepherd.
         The scope of a book that is called " All about Aussies" must be just that, all about Aussies. In this case this beautifully bound book is not only a complete and thorough reference book, but a great keepsake that would look good on any coffee table or bookshelf.
         Cathy, Falen and I got the chance to meet and visit with Jeanne Joy at Terri Carver's ranch in Brenham, Texas. Terri was hosting a seminar for herding dogs that was being put on by Jeanne Joy. I marveled over how kind and patient she was with each handler, and how each and every dog seemed to respond to her direction and touch. They all knew that she knew and each of the shepherd dogs loved her confidence and encouragement. The smiles on the faces of both dogs and handlers abounded that day. That kind of love and understanding is poured into every page of this wonderful book.
     "The information in this book is vital to enjoying life with your Aussie."  Well said by John Everett of La Plata, Maryland. If you visit Amazon to see first hand what I am extolling, you will read other reviews of this book and its usefulness in your love affair with Aussies.
       Everything that my dear friends, Anne Shope, Stephanie Shope McDaniel, Judie Manuel, Barbara Moe and Shelly Hollen-Wood told me about Jeanne Joy was true. And as we like to say in Louisiana, lagniappe.



With a little help from your friends


Many thanks....
I am so indebted to my friends who have assisted me in writing this series of books. Just today I received a email from Barb Moe in
Montana, a dear friend of Judie Manuals and Anne Shopes, who went to length about the questions I had about cattle ranching in Montana and the use of Aussies. Barb was a great help in the writing of Down from the Mountain and here she is again providing all of the technical help I need to make Falen's book as true to life as it can be. Judie, Anne, Stephanie and Shelly all have been such a wonderful help. I have to also mention Karen Fremuth who was so helpful on Bandits first book. Now Sgt. Bobbie Curtis, USMC has provided useful information and expertise in this new book that features a wounded Marine and his love and affection for an Aussie..thank not only to you all but the thousand's of people who have purchased the book. I am forever grateful...