Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Writer's View: Gary F. Jones


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Gary F. Jones will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The Writer's View


I should tell you right away that my world of dreams is based on my memories of my clients and patients in my veterinary practice and memories of my kids as they grew up. But that wasn’t the question asked.

The interior view of my work space is limited to what is immediately ahead of me: the monitor and the inside of a computer hutch. To say that the hutch is in disarray is a gross understatement. I am not organized at my desk or anywhere else, with the exception of my computer files. My wife Cheryl doubts that I’m organized there, but she’s never used a computer and can’t check up on me.

In the computer hutch, mail and papers lean on edge against the walls of the hutch on both sides of the computer monitor. I don’t know what most of the papers are. They were things that I didn’t want to throw away when they arrived, but I never selected a permanent storage place for them. Dust bunnies congregate behind the monitor. There must be several families of them.

On the first shelf above the computer are small, stacked wooden boxes that Cheryl purchased to help organize things. They are pretty much buried by five years-worth of used check registers. I can’t even remember what I put in the boxes.

The second shelf has cartons and discs for computer programs. Most are out of date and no longer used. The rest of the shelf is cluttered with old check registers. Somewhere under those is the contract with my publisher. At least I hope it’s there. If it isn’t, I’ve either stuffed it somewhere else or Cheryl’s dog chewed it to soggy fragments.

Until 2013 I was frequently in charge of clinical studies in cattle and swine conducted for a large multinational company. Each study was spread across several states and enrolled hundreds, often thousands, of animals. The studies were audited by independent auditors and the government. I had a reputation for 10 and 12 hour days at work and complete and accurate records and reports.

What happened to produce the comfortable mess I work in now?

I retired. The effort and focus required to run those studies was enormous. I won’t put myself under that kind of stress anymore. Writing is my hobby and my pressure valve. Where once I spent days double checking data and tracking down mistakes, I now spend hours thinking of humorous stories, the stupid things I and my kids did when I was in veterinary practice, and the foolish and sometimes bizarre things I ran across in my practice. Cheryl complains that I giggle in my sleep and it wakes her up. My biggest decisions each day are whether to have two or three chocolate chipped cookies after lunch and when to take my nap.

I can see my back yard and the back yards of the neighbors behind me. The view beyond that is blocked by mature maple and oak trees. We have a group of blackberry plants within view, a small garden, and quite a few flowers—I’d call it landscaping, but that’s too grand a term for our yard.
,br> When I’ve remembered to water and fertilize the blackberries we have harvested more than a hundred pints in a summer. Cheryl loses her enthusiasm for them some time after fifty pints. The rest we give to our neighbors. Cheryl asked me this summer if we should put netting out to keep the birds from eating the berries. I told her, “No. There are enough for all.”

When Wisconsin veterinarian Doc dies, his family learns that to inherit his fortune, they must decipher the cryptic codicil he added to his will—“Take Doofus squirrel-fishing”—and they can only do that by talking to Doc’s friends, reading the memoir Doc wrote of a Christmas season decades earlier, searching through Doc’s correspondence, and discovering clues around them. Humor abounds as this mismatched lot tries to find time in their hectic lives to work together to solve the puzzle. In the end, will they realize that fortune comes in many guises?

Doc’s Codicil is a mystery told with gentle humor. It tells the story of a veterinarian who teaches his heirs a lesson from the grave.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

It was late November, and every breath turned to fog, as I waited and watched a five-hundred-pound calf sniffing a trail of cow patties leading from his pen to a narrow chute. The chute, fifty feet long and bordered by steel rails, curved gently to the right and ended in a head gate that would catch and hold the calf. Once we released the calf, another alley would return him to his pen.

We’d been trying to turn a group of calves into the chute, and they’d been deftly avoiding it. I stood quietly, getting cold and hoping “Sniffer” would decide he’d found a trail used by other cattle and follow it. Two other calves watched their companion and lunged to get ahead of him. They weren’t sure about the alley, but they’d be damned if they’d let Sniffer go there, or anywhere else, ahead of them.

Sniffer bolted toward the chute to stay in the lead. Now, we had three calves stuck in an opening two calves wide. All we wanted to do was vaccinate them and send them back to their pen, which should have taken ten seconds per calf, but we’d been working for half an hour and hadn’t vaccinated one. This is why cattlemen learn to weave torrid tapestries of profanity.

A few minutes of prodding and profanity and Sniffer pushed ahead of his mates and raced down the alley, pursued by the others. He’d gone barely five yards before he skidded to a halt and desperately tried to back up . . .

About the Author:
According to Gary Jones, his life has been a testament to questionable decisions and wishful thinking. His wife of forty years, however, says she knows of nothing in the record to justify such unfettered optimism. Jones says the book is a work of fiction; that's his story, and he’s sticking to it. He’s part of the last generation of rural veterinarians who worked with cows that had names and personalities, and with dairymen who worked in the barn with their families. He’s also one of those baby boomers, crusty codgers who are writing their wills and grousing about kids who can be damned condescending at times.

Gary practiced bovine medicine in rural Wisconsin for nineteen years. He then returned to graduate school at the University of Minnesota, earned a PhD in microbiology, and spent the next nineteen years working on the development of bovine and swine vaccines.

Doc's Codicil is the bronze medal winner of Foreward's INDIEFAB Book of The Year awards, humor category.

Website ~ Goodreads


Buy the book at BQB Publishing, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.

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5 comments:

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Gary Jones said...

Thank you for hosting.

I hope your readers enjoy my comments. They should remember that working in clutter as I do requires that they be retired and have a calm and composed wife who has learned not to expect much of them. That requires years of training and counseling.

Lisa Brown said...

congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

Victoria Alexander said...

Thanks for sharing :)

Gary Jones said...

Victoria,
Hope you enjoyed it, and good luck on the raffle