Margaret Fieland: Poetry and Prose

Coming: Interview with author Sharon Poppen

Posted in Uncategorized by Administrator on the December 28th, 2008

Watch for my upcoming interview with author Sharon Poppen, author of After the War, Before the Peace.

Writing Goals for 2009

Posted in Uncategorized by Administrator on the December 26th, 2008

It’s almost New Years, time to consider my writing goals for 2009 {cringe}, something I find myself curiously reluctant to do. Ack! Anyway, here goes:

1: Read at least one poetry book a week.

2. Continue to write and submit –

3. Get “The Ugly Little Boy” professionally edited, revise it, and send it out to publishers. {Ulp}

4. Write more math poems — hopefully enough for a book, though this is going slowly.

5. Start another chapter book.

Um, that’s it so far ..

Reading poetry

Posted in Uncategorized by Administrator on the December 25th, 2008

I just finished reading a volume of Charles Bukowski’s poetry that I purchased a couple of weeks ago on sale at Borders — loved it! Now I’m all hot to go back to the bookstore and see what other gems I can unearth — but tomorrow is Christmas Day (and by the way, Merry Christmas) so it will have to wait. I’m on vacation, and the only other poetry book I brought along was a volume of Elizabeth Bishop, which at the moment I’m not finding nearly as engrossing.  Oh, well — I’ll keep reading and see what strikes my mood …

Math poems

Posted in Uncategorized by Administrator on the December 18th, 2008

Okay, it’s official. I’m going to write a series of math poems. Ack!

It all started with “Round,” which is now up on the Feathertale website: which I sent to

Wah, I big piece of me doesn’t want to take this on. It’s going to be hard work. It’s not that I don’t understand the mathematics — my undergraduate degree is in mathematics and my graduate degree is in computer science — but connecting the math to the real world will take lots of cogitation — and inspiration.

Still, I wrote two yesterday. It’s a start.

More on Vivian Zabel’s “Prairie Dog Cowboy”

Posted in Uncategorized by Administrator on the December 16th, 2008

I went to Amazon to check out “Prairie Dog Cowboy,” and I’m happy to report that the book is in stock and you can still order it to be delivered in time for Christmas. I’m sure we all know a child (or an adult) who would love to get this book.

There are already two customer reviews.

It’s also available at the Barnes and Noble website

I also searched the Virtual Catalog for my local libraries — no dice :-( . Time to stop in and put in a request..
check out this review:

Prairie Dog Cowboy by V. Gilbert Zabel

Time passes so quickly and history is getting rewritten all the time. So much of our heritage is lost with those changes. It is refreshing to see a slice of reality portraying the daily life of 1899 Oklahoma in V. Gilbert Zabel’s latest literary work, “Prairie Dog Cowboy”.

Buddy Roberts is but a small boy at the start of the story. It isn’t clear right away why his mother is set against the child. Although he has an older brother, he’s tending to the cattle at the age of five, all alone with only his dog to keep him company. Buddy is a mindful child, doing what needs to be done, even at such a young age, hoping some day to grow up to be a cowboy. Instead of him and Patch doing the work on foot, he dreams of herding cattle on horseback someday.

Neighbor rancher Caleb Hyman is impressed with Buddy. He wonders, too, why the child works hard while his older brother, Jake, is doted on and spoiled. But, Caleb can see the man that Buddy will become, encourages him, and teaches him to rope. Once Buddy can rope a prairie dog, Caleb promises he’ll give the boy a job on his ranch. Not an easy thing to do, but Buddy works hard to reach his appointed goal.

Through the years, Buddy becomes a part of Caleb’s family, a friend of Caleb’s twin sons, and the unknowing object of affection for their younger sister, Katie. Life begins to take a turn for the better as he approaches manhood.

“Prairie Dog Cowboy” is a testament of a time when life was hard, but people weren’t afraid of hard work. The day-to-day occurrences represented are an accurate telling of the time, history that should not be lost. Teens and young adults can learn much from this story and I, for one, am thankful that Ms. Zabel has documented this slice of American history.

Reviewed by Jena’ Galifany

Author, Editor, Reviewer

Interview with Vivian Zabel

Posted in Uncategorized by Administrator on the December 15th, 2008

Q: You have a new book just out, Prairie Dog Cowboy, set in Oklahoma in the late 1890’s and early 1900’s. Is this your first historical novel?

Yes, Prairie Dog Cowboy is my first “non-modern” book.

Q: How did you become interested in this period?

I’ve always been interested in history, places, and people. I also found the history of the people I knew in the Oklahoma Panhandle, including my husband’s family, worth of study.

The Mayer Ranch, the fiction Hyman Ranch, and the farm where my husband grew up became the main setting for the novel. The “Learn More” section at the back of the book gives the history of the locations.

Q: What inspired you to write this particular story?

For years I’ve wanted to find some way to use the stories my husband told us about his experiences as a cowboy and breaking horses. Last year I heard about the Western Heritage Book Award, and I knew I had my answer as to how to use my husband’s experiences, but set back in history. Buddy (my husband’s nickname) was born. That’s why this book is dedicated to Robert.

Q: How long did it take you to write the book?

Mentally, I had been planning the core of Prairie Dog Cowboy for years; I just hadn’t known it. Once I actually started the writing, the book was written, proofed and edited numerous times, and formatted in about a year.

Q: How did you do your research?

For this book, I had some excellent help, besides my avid reading about the time frame used. Dallas Mayer, who with her husband and son and his wife, own the original Mayer Ranch, sent me her research for the Mayer Ranch to be declared an Oklahoma Centennial Ranch. The Mayer Ranch is the setting I used for the Hyman Ranch in the novel.

The research for homesteading came from searches concerning my husband’s family, and, again, my years of reading and studying history and genealogy searches. JoDean James of Tyrone, Oklahoma also helped me.

Q: What do you hope your young readers will take away from this book?

I hope they develop a need to know more about their own families, and gain an understanding that sometimes what seems most apparent isn’t always the true story. Ridiculing others does hurt; self-absorption is destructive; being the best they can be is the honorable way to live. All that is as important as knowing more about life on the frontier.

Q: Where can readers purchase your book?

Any bookstore can handle the book and, if Prairie Dog Cowboy isn’t in stock, order it. It is available on ( and at

My blogs and web site:

Brain Cells & Bubble Wrap -

Vivian’s Mysteries -

Prairie Dog Cowboy web site –

Vivian Gilbert Zabel’s site –

Margaret Fieland
blog and website:

Where do poems come from?

Posted in Uncategorized by Administrator on the December 11th, 2008

I was waiting for the audiologist last week, had just finished one poem and was looking for inspiration for another, so I picked up one of the blurbs on hearing loss.

Zing! Another poem was sparked by a couple of the phrases in the piece.

Alas, {sigh}, I haven’t been similarly inspired in the last couple of days.

Upcoming Interview and guest Vivian Zabel

Posted in Uncategorized by Administrator on the December 8th, 2008

I’ll be hosting Vivian Zabel. Look for it the week of December 15th.

Progress report

Posted in Uncategorized by Administrator on the December 8th, 2008

I’m working my way through the list I’ve been keeping of submissions I’ve meant to make - my goal is to have the list down to nothing by the end of the year — I want to start the new year fresh. I’m also making progress with “The Ugly Little Boy.” I’ve come to the end — for now — and will be going back over the MS to see where I want to fill in holes. The first three chapters are in pretty good shape, as they’ve been through my critique group. I’ll probably look for someone with whom to exchange the MS in the near future.

Interview with Boyd Hipp

Posted in Uncategorized by Administrator on the December 3rd, 2008
MF: Can you tell us something about your book?
BH: My book, which was originally designed as a personal journal for the benefit of my children, describes my journey from dependency on alcohol to a renewal of not only the body but more importantly of the spirit. I share with the reader not only my range of emotions as I go through the various stages I experienced of my recovery but of the miracles I witnessed during this journey.

MF: I notice that your book, “Glad You Are Here,” started as a journal you wrote for your children. What encouraged you to keep a journal, and what role did the journal play in your recovery?
BH: I initially started a journal with the thought in mind that if I could share this experience to some degree with my children perhaps they would not have to suffer a similar fate later in life as I had. I come from two alcoholic parents thus the gene pool is somewhat stacked against them from that standpoint. Keeping the journal helped me to reflect on the events of each day and to try to put those events into a newfound perspective.

MF: What or who encouraged you to publish your journal?
BH: As you might imagine, the use of computers was forbidden during our stay so I kept my journal in long hand on legal pads. Well the truth be known, I am not the quickest typist so I found someone who would transcribe my hand written entries into a format that would allow me to go run off a few copies for my family. Once she read it she implored me to look into having it published as she believed that others could benefit from reading of my experience. She suggested a publisher and here we are!

MF: How much editing did you do in the process of making your journals into a book?
BH: Very little editing went into the final product. I wanted to keep the original thoughts and feelings close to what I experienced at the time so the only editing was grammatical in nature.

MF: This is your first book. Are you planning to write another?
BH: Tough question. I never thought I would write any book but depending upon the reception of this one I do have a follow on title and concept in mind.

MF: What led to the intervention itself?
BH: I have been in the real estate development business for the past 30 years. As we all know, that industry has been hit hard during this economic upheaval which led me to shutter my company two years ago. The subsequent turn in my financial condition led in part to the demise of my marriage. My sister saw the downward spiral I was in as I began drinking everyday to escape reality. We lost our dad partially due to similar circumstances and she was determined not to witness that again so she orchestrated my intervention along with two cousins.

MF: Did you realize that you were in need of help?
BH: I did not realize I needed help. As I stated earlier, I came from two alcoholic parents so I KNEW what that looked like and I did not fit that mold. I pigeon-holed my drinking to between 5 and 8pm everyday. But I now realize several crucial facts…there is no such thing as a stereotypical alcoholic, one can do alot of drinking in 3 hours, and that I really started to live for 5 pm everyday.

MF: How did you react to the intervention?
BH: My initial reaction to the actual intervention is consistent with my belief that life is an adventure. I thought “well I have never done this before so lets give it a try”. Once I got to the hospital I became angry that I was there. Later on I realized that I was in the right place but that was not an immediate recognition.

MF: How is your recovery going?
BH: Great! I learned at Willingway how to avoid people, places or events that may cause me to relapse. I have surrounded myself with people who want to see me succeed. I am still new in this process but as long as I take it one day at a time I believe I can be successful.

MF: W hat would you like to say to other addicts reading your book?
BH: Every addicts journey is unique to that individual so I am not in a position to dispense advice. Hell, it was my way of thinking that got me here in the first place! But for me, the belief in a Higher Power (and in my case that is God) is crucial to my being successful in recovery. My goal is that upon my death that folks can say that I died sober. That would mean that I had beaten this disease and hopefully set an example for my childr

MF: Do you specifically mention AA in your book, and if so, how do you feel about anonymity thing?
BH: I do refer to AA several times in the book as the title is taken from the greeting given out to newcomers as they visit. Anonymity is important because so many of us pour out our souls as we wrestle with this disease and what is said in those halls needs to stay in those halls in order that the healing process can continue.

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