Saturday, December 17, 2011

Laverne and Shirley

Arghhh!  Trying to get Laverne and Shirley to "focus" on food long enough (off-leash) so I can trim their hooves is ... insane.  But that's what I tried to do today because I hate tying them to a post and upsetting them. (Not that they get all that upset tied to a post, but I like to do what I have to do with the least amount of wrestling I can get away with.) I got three hooves on both trimmed; I'll try to get the last two (one each) done tomorrow or sometime later this week.

I cannot believe we are just eight days away from Christmas and fourteen days away from 2012.  I'm not in the Christmas spirit yet; it isn't cold enough or dreary enough outside to warrant this date!  I hope the wee ones' Christmas pageant will kick me into high gear...  I'm also slated to go see OLIVER at the Lakewood Playhouse this week. I'm looking forward to that!  The rest of the family (sis, niece and grandkids) all went to see PETER PAN live last night at the Tacoma Musical Theater.  I declined; two plays in one week won't work for me.  I need my beauty rest... for what it's worth (not a helluva lot, judging by gazing into the mirror!).

I hope you're warm, cozy, ready for Christmas and very, very happy.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


I was 12 or 13 years old the first time it ever occurred to me that my thoughts weren't all-but-broadcast to everyone around me. It was quite the revelation. I've never forgotten what a shock it was.

I remember the occasion very, very well. I was in the old house in Cle Elum (the one that had been a two-story stagecoach stop a hundred years before; alas, it was later torn down), thinking truly noble, wonderful, worthwhile thoughts--which I did quite a lot at that age--when it hit me: "No one can hear what I'm thinking!"

Then I began to consider what my family did hear from me whenever I opened my mouth: mostly reactionary or inane crap... never ever noble, worthy thoughts!

I was horrified. It was no wonder they didn't seem to think I was worth listening to!  MY real life source was all inside my head, or written down on paper in some notebook or journal! It wasn't that I was being secretive; it's just the way I communicated best. It always has been. Why?

My home was a boisterous, shock-and-awe kind of place. Dad was a Tasmanian Devil kind of guy--always whirling, twirling (not literally--emotionally), commanding, demanding... loud, profane, not interested in anyone else's opinion or druthers. He was large and in charge.  No one ever finished  a sentence in our house--someone else "got" what we were saying (or couldn't care less about what we were saying) before we reached the end of our sentences and interrupted with their next thoughts. It was insane!  I likely became a writer early on so I could get  complete thoughts and sentences down without being interrupted or minimized!

What's sad is I'm all too often guilty of the same thing--saying only inane, reactionary things--when I open my mouth these days. I still keep the loftier thoughts locked up. What people hear are momentary reactions, fleeting concerns, reactions to the latest stupidity spouted by politicians. 

Unless I take the initiative to plant myself in a chair and describe what I'm truly feeling and thinking--which takes time and enough "time out" to allow myself to respond (as opposed to simply "reacting")--what comes from me is mostly small talk... small indeed. And I loathe, loathe, loathe small talk.  Always have.  Talking about "nothing much" bores me to tears. Hearing about "nothing much" bores me to tears. All too often, Facebook and Twitter bore me to tears;I'm thinking of signing off from both of them.  I don't enjoy  chit-chat. I care about what matters. But what matters often upsets me because no one is listening to anyone else anymore, especially in the political realm. Mostly what seems to be happening there is mean-spirited vilification. Talking heads are making us all crazy, making us all feel we have something to lose by listening to the other side. It's like we have our own Cold War between the red and blue states; the other side is somehow un-American. What a bunch of malarkey.

From an early age I've always wanted to talk about the stuff that really matters.  My fondest memories are of lying in (or atop) sleeping bags on the front lawn in Cle Elum, looking up at the stars and pondering galaxies, God, alien life forms, and why it all seemed so impossible and yet so probable!  My brain was on fire. Nothing was off the table on those nights--my cousin Tim, or my friends from down the road, would lie awake till 4:30 talking, thinking, pondering...planning. There was nothing we couldn't imagine and nothing we couldn't do. We'd landed on the moon, for gosh sakes!  Nothing seemed impossible anymore.  I was lying in front of a stagecoach stop built in the 19th century looking up at a moon that had been walked on by a human being. It was insane! Insanely wonderful.

These days I wonder what we can do if we'd just stop taking pot shots at each other and start building something together. You know, infrastructure...clean energy factories...vehicles that run on something others than gasoline...families that spend time and other relationships that are win-win for all concerned...

I know it's do-able. We're bright critters. If a golden retriever can rescue a bag of kittens from a highway; if a German shepherd will wet-nurse tiger cubs, if a gorilla in a zoo will care for a child who has fallen into its moat, why on earth can't human beings live up to the fine, upstanding title we've given ourselves as "apex" animals, as image-bearers of God?

I do think it's possible.  I'll never stop believing it's possible.  But like  Mark Twain, I'm beginning to think it's not going to happen in my lifetime--and that upsets me.  Twain wrote, "People call me a pessimist in my old age, but I'm not.  I am an optimist who did not arrive."

I get that.  We can do better. I know a LOT of people who ARE doing better.  It's time to put these people on the air and oust ones who are doing nothing but denigrating and belittling others to make themselves seem more righteous. 

I'm tired of the small mindedness I see scattered across the airwaves. We're better than that. We deserve better. Let's start acting like mature grownups and tackle the issues that trouble us the way we tackled landing a man on the moon--with optimism, mutual assistance and perseverance.  We can solve every problem we have because we've created every problem we have. Nature is for us. God is for us.  We have to be for ourselves as a species and as a chief architect of the future of this beautiful orb.  

Let's stop being so cranky and get cranking on what matters most.

Thursday, November 24, 2011



© 2011 Kristine M. Smith
Intersex is the last “hidden shame.”
It’s time to acknowledge and celebrate what makes us unique.

Since turning 60, with recurrent frequency I’ve been asked, “Have you ever been married?” “Why didn’t you ever marry?” by friends—sometimes even by casual acquaintances who linger long enough to wonder why I never mention a husband or children.

Back in the day, I’d just lie. I’d joke, “Never found anyone I could put up with 24/7/365!” or “Never found anyone who could put up with me!” Or I’d say, more seriously, “I’ve seen too many failed marriages—or even successful ones—that I’d never want to be part of.”

The reason I lied is because I never realized, until just this past year, how many people “like me” there are in the world. As soon as I understood the phenomenon and how frequent it is (it occurs as frequently as natural red hair, which I also have; I seem to have won the Lottery of Oddities!), I thought it ridiculous that society would elect to sweep us under the rug rather than acknowledge that we’re here in number and we’re every bit as viable as the rest of y’all are.

I’m not gay. I don’t think a lot of today’s gays are actually gay. I think a lot of them were “repaired” shortly after birth because frantic parents didn’t know what else to do with an ambiguously-sexed infant and wanted to give it the most normal life possible—and, as the less-than-classy saying goes in surgical wards, “It’s easier to make a hole than to entertain a pole.” (It’s easier to excise external maleness and raise a baby as a girl so “she” never has to suffer the consequences of living with an ever-present “birth defect.”)

I’m Speculating Here

When it comes to my own birth condition, I’m speculating. When I contacted Intersex Allies to find out how to determine whether or not I was an intersex baby, I was told it would cost thousands of dollars in tests, unless I could find my medical records from infancy—but that IF I found my medical records, they wouldn’t necessarily be trustworthy, because many were altered (just as intersex infants were routinely altered until about 20 years ago, when it became apparent that assigning gender doesn’t work mentally and emotionally over the long term for most patients.)

A thoughtful, warm, concerned psychiatrist at Intersex Allies wanted to know how I would feel if I did discover I was altered at birth. I said, “Relieved.” He seemed a bit surprised. He inquired, “Not angry?” I said, “I don’t think so. Maybe a little robbed. But I know that parents want what is best for their children, absolutely. I just don’t think they always know what’s best.”

He asked if I’m depressed or negatively affected in any other way by my gender identity concerns. I said, “No. I guess at times I feel LONELY—like I’m the only one out here who’s like me.” He assured me I’m not: something like one in every 300 babies is born with the condition.

He inquired further: “What would you do about it if you discovered you were altered?” I said, “Nothing. There’s no way I’d put loved ones through the anxiety of having to relate to me in a different way—not at my age. I’ve seen what transgendered people have to put up with; I’ve watched what happened to Chaz Bono and to a friend of mine who simply had to ‘fix’ what they felt was ‘wrong’ about them. The level of hatred (ignorance, really) in this society for people with gender identity issues is intense. I’d never volunteer for that. I’m at peace with who I am, despite the isolation it causes.”

He told me, “Even if you took the tests, they might be inconclusive. So you might end up back at square one. Your internal orientation is your best gauge. If you’ve felt this way your entire life, you’re not wrong. Your experience is your experience. It’s as legitimate as anyone else’s where gender identity is concerned.”

Family Matters

After I had this conversation with the Intersex Allies psychiatrist, I began to revisit my childhood. A lot of dots began to connect. It was a dizzying eye-opener.

The fact is I have never felt female. I was appalled when my chest budded into bumps, then breasts. I was horrified when I got my period. Until these atrocities came along I was completely happy imagining I would grow up to be a cowboy, a bronc buster, a fireman, an actor. My favorite toys were trains and plastic horses. (My plastic horses were always “humping” other plastic horses.)

When my hormones kicked in, my sexual fantasies were male-on-female: I was always the male. When I started (what adults considered) “falling in love” with actors—Roy Rogers, Jack Lord, Robert Preston, Jerry Lewis, and others—my fantasies surrounding them were that I was them, that I was inside their bodies experiencing their lives from their points of view. I never fantasized them as being my lovers.

Other clues

Dad told me that when I was born, “at first we thought you had a birth defect.” When I asked why, he hesitated briefly and then changed the subject: “You weighed just five pounds [I was a full-term baby]; you lost two pounds right away. The doctor said not to name you because you probably wouldn’t live. You fit inside a cigar box. Your butt was the size of the tips of two of my fingers.” What Dad described was “small” and “at risk” but in no way “defective.”

When I was about 22 I did something (I don’t recall what, now) that made Dad enormously proud. He lit up and proclaimed, “That’s my boy!” The moment he said it, he blanched and apologized; he was nearly apoplectic! I told him, “It’s all right, Dad.”

Of course, it wasn’t all right—not then. He and Mom had raised me as a girl. Even so, I felt it was the confirmation I’d been seeking. It just felt right to be called his boy.

Now, a lot of people may say that my gender identity issues are entirely my Dad’s fault, that he must have signaled to me that he wanted a boy. I don’t think that’s it. Mom and Dad had a third child. She was named after Dad (Jack LeRoy/Jackie Lee). If anyone should have felt pressure to “be Dad’s boy,” it would have been Jackie. So as far as I’m concerned, Dad’s off the hook. I am convinced that my gender identity was established inside Mom’s womb by God.

I never asked my parents about this. Sadly, I didn’t know, before they died, how common intersex is, or I might have.

I have told my two sisters about this. One says, “It doesn’t surprise me.” The other totally rejects the notion, saying: “You’re one of the most female women I know. And Dad would never have allowed doctors to alter a son, even if it meant surgery down the road (to remove female parts].”

Really?! 60 years ago? I think Dad would have done what the doctors believed at the time to be in the best interest of his child and all concerned. (Doctors no longer respond this way to intersex births, thank God!)

These days when people ask me why I never married, I ask them if they’re ready to hear the truth or whether they want my standard lie. Most want the truth. So far, every person I’ve told has accepted it; none have ever mentioned knowing anyone else like me. That’s how hidden the condition is. I suspect every adult knows at least one intersex person; they just aren’t aware of it. People all too often assume unmarried people are gay, anti-social or neurotic. What many of us actually are never even occurs to them.

We’re often lonely—on the outside looking in—but we’re loving, funny, and completely, utterly human. Those of us who have accepted our fates are as normal and contributory as you are. Those of us who haven’t are struggling mightily.

Here’s a common quote I embrace: “Find ways to be especially kind to everyone you meet. Everyone is facing some kind of battle.”

My battle (with regard to my gender identity issue) has ended. These days I tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may. And you know what? It feels good to be loved for exactly who I am. Hiding in plain sight sucked.

Kristine M. Smith is the author of six books and a well-regarded freelance copywriter.  She is available for interviews or forums on any subject matter she writes about or has written books about. You can reach her at kristine m smith AT msn DOT com.

Friday, October 14, 2011


All you Kindle lovers, now's your chance to get SERVAL SON for $7.99!  ENJOY!!! The photos are all in color in the Kindle version.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I'm espousing civility and decency but my influence isn't rubbing off on others. That's become readily apparent recently.

Yesterday a remote advocate/supporter of mine (I've never met her, don't know her) tied into a detractor of mine at Amazon with such mean-spirited vitriol that I had to email her and ask her to back off. She ultimately deleted what she wrote, while proclaiming her First Amendment right to say anything she darn well pleased!  

That might work with public figures (who would go broke suing slanderers every time they were misrepresented), but it doesn't with private citizens. She herself could have been sued for the character assassination she was responsible for, so I'm doubly glad she deleted the posts.

Unfortunately that leaves the detractor's response to her verbal diarrhea, so I had to introduce myself into the circus to defend myself, point by point, against the original writer's accusations/ assumptions/misrepresentations. At the end, I also reminded that lady that she was treading on thin ice and in danger of being sued for defamation of character. (I reported her post to Amazon with the hope that they will require her to retract it. They may be equally-responsible for disseminating the recent slander if they don't. I'm looking into that...)

Had my "defender" let this sleeping dog lie (the detractor's low rating of DeForest Kelley: A Harvest of Memories has been there for years  with an occasional diplomatic letter of support for me from others) there would have been no follow-up "defense" of her position... and I would not now be tarred-and-feathered by accusations I feel compelled to counteract point by point.

I'm telling this tawdry story simply to throw a spotlight on the ugly fact that too many people have become absolute monsters to people they don't even know.

They attack others' characters as part of a daily ritual.

The vitriol they contain must make them ill inside physically and mentally.

I just don't understand it. 

Why would a person give away their power like that? Why would they allow another's opinion to rile them to a point where they're willing to come across like ogres themselves simply to make the other person look worse than their own words already confirm?

I think much of the world has gone insane. I know we live in a fallen world but it would seem to me that our charge is to get back up and try again with a more level head and a renewed heart. That doesn't seem to be happening. 

I don't get any joy in castrating or castigating others, even when I disagree with them. I don't understand how anyone would.  Verbal violence is an alien idea to me since I grew up and decided to become an adult.  Causing each other spiritual harm is not in my playbook.

I hope those of you who follow and/or support me will do so in ways that reflect well on yourself, on your God, and on me.  I don't need the support of people who are going to treat others like pond scum. That only exacerbates an already-festering sore.  It heals no one, raises no one, blesses no one.

You reap what you sow.  Remember that and this blog post will have done its job.

If you can't defend me with love and diplomacy, don't defend me at all.  That's all I ask.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Check Out This New Book from a Friend of Mine, Chandel L. White!

Befriend Author Chandel  White on your Facebook page and help him get the word out to your Christian friends.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Brigitte Thompson Publishes My Newest Article on Making a Living as a Virtual Freelance Writer

Thanks, Brigitte, for featuring me in your blog this week!

It's just too bad that the news I have to share is discouraging these days.  Gone are the days when I could encourage people to hang a virtual shingle. It's MUCH harder these days to stay afloat without multiple sources of writing income.

Try a listing at and the free listing at  I'm trying them now. Let me know what you think of them.  So far I haven't had any bites from them yet, but I'm new at both places...

I'm putting an ad on multiple craigslist sites, too. My friends across the country are posting the ad for me and I'm getting some clients that way.  The ad I'm posting closely mirrors the home page of my business website (

The UFO De Saw...

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Hurray!  I just learned yesterday that SERVAL SON will be catalogued in the Public Library System sometime very soon. As soon as it is, all library systems in North America will be able to order it for their various branches. This is HUGE!!!

The cataloguing will be done in Issaquah and copies will be ordered for five of the King County (Washington State) public library branches: Shoreline, Burien, Bellevue, Renton and... Seattle? (I can't remember the fifth branch. Grrr...)

I hope those of you who have read and liked SERVAL SON will call your local public and school libraries and ask them to order the book when it appears in the catalogue. That would be fantastic!  Many hands make light work.

I can't do this alone. It takes a village.


I have more than a handful of regular clients but one of them (a long-time semi-regular) just lost his access to me entirely. He told me to spend ONLY two hours on a brochure and then decided he wouldn't pay for it because he was dissatisfied with the results.

I should have refused the project the moment he directed me to spend just two hours: I wanted to, but I didn't want to disappoint him; he has been a good customer and a fun guy to work with. I knew that rushing an important job like his brochure was stupid: rushing a project doesn't produce excellent results unless the project is a no-brainer (and brochures are BIG brainers)!

I'm actually "madder" at myself than I am at him. I was trying to give the guy a decent product on his budget; almost 3/4 of what I did was great; about 1/4 was not up to par, because I ran out of time.

And I got the shaft for it. I got NOTHING for it. I could redeem it, given another half hour or 45 minutes, but he'll probably do that himself--or have someone else do it--and then get a 100% great brochure that converts like made for NOTHING.

This won't happen again. Not to me. That's for sure. I'm going to get hard-nosed even with regulars and demand the money before I put fingers to keyboard and head to task. That's the way Elance and other freelance websites work. I have to be that way, too, it looks like, for reasons like this. You can't even trust the people you've done business with for a couple of years, it occurs to me now. (Sadly!) (He actually owes ME some services that I haven't redeemed yet.)

I need the money. I spent the time he allotted, not a minute more (after rounding down other projects I'd done for him previously to save him money).

What has just happened is a disgrace--but it's not my disgrace, except that I trusted someone I shouldn't have. THAT won't happen again!

Thursday, September 15, 2011


To my complete surprise, my two grand nieces, 7 year old Jamie and 10 year old Casey, prefer the longer version of our two SERVAL SON YouTube videos.

That surprises me because I was thinking the shorter, "flippier" video would appeal greatly to the younger set.  When I asked them why they preferred the more sedate version, Jamie said, "It touches my heart better."


Now I know why so many advertisers take time to gather and listen to focus groups!  What we think someone will prefer is often based on the broadest of assumptions.

Kids want to feel something, too. It isn't all about razzle dazzle and cutaway shots.

I thought the song BLESS THE BEASTS AND THE CHILDREN would create the emotion. I thought that because Karen Carpenter is singing about beasts and children in the song, kids would prefer it. 

All righty then. I stand corrected.

I really don't know which of the two trailers I like best. Except for Casey and Jamie, no one else has let me know which is their favorite.  I wish y'all WOULD. Then I would know which one to show in public. I have them both on DVD.

Right now I just alternate them every 10-15 minutes or so.

Will you give me your opinion?  Teens and adults are my target audience for the book, so I hesitate to move based on my grand nieces' preferences!  I need some older folks to chime in and let me know your favorite of the two...

Ready, set, go!  I stand by to note your responses.  And if any of you feel you can do a better job, I can give you access to the photos and my One True Media account and you can have at it.  (There's no payment. I want to make that clear!)  That would be cool!!!


"Bless the Beasts and the Children"

"The Way We Were"

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Scroll down in the playlist until you see the SERVAL SON title, then click on it...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

SEPTEMBER 11TH -- NOT a Good Day in History!!!

T'was Sept 11th, 1996 when I had Deaken (the subject of SERVAL SON) euthanized.

T'was Sept. 11th five years later when terrorists scarred America in ways those of us who were alive and old enough to understand will never forget...

Today I stayed busy at church longer than usual talking to people who wanted and needed to talk: kids, adults. It was a poignant morning.

I wish Sept 11th 2001 had brought us together for far longer than it did. Instead, the decade since seems to have pushed us farther apart.  The terrorists are probably happy about that. They like people becoming fearful of "the other"--it serves their cause just fine.

But there should be no "others" in this great land of ours. We should all be deemed worthy of love, listening to, and honoring, even when we disagree with each other.  I don't see that happening... I see a lot of fear out there--not of terrorists, of each other!

It began before 9/11 but 9/11 just showed us we aren't ever united for very long.  We only huddle and cuddle when we're ALL attacked. Otherwise, we seem to like attacking each other.  It keeps life from becoming boring.

It also keeps life from becoming satisfying, relational, and Christ-like.

I will redouble my efforts to disagree agreeably when I do disagree.  I will try not to "react" with equal vitriol to the myopic, vitriolic, unfounded and unfair attacks of others. I will try to "turn the other cheek" as Jesus taught.

That's a fitting tribute to 9/11.

Remember to Tune In Sept 14th to THE AUTHORS SHOW...

My interview with Don McCauley at THE AUTHORS SHOW ( will air ON DEMAND for 24 hours on Wednesday Sept. 14th. Don't forget to tune in and let me know whether you think I should buy a copy to post on my own pages and at Amazon to tout SERVAL SON. Do you think I did a good enough job?

Also please send ME a reminder to listen to it.  I'm more than a little brain dead after this amazing week and fear I may forget to tune in MYSELF!



Friday, September 9, 2011

Remembering 9/11 on the Tenth Anniversary Weekend

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release September 09, 2011

Presidential Proclamation -- National Days of Prayer and Remembrance

Ten years ago, a bright September day was darkened by the worst terrorist attack on America in our Nation's history. On this tenth anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, we lift in prayer and remembrance the men, women, and children who died in New York City, in Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon, and we honor the countless heroes who responded to senseless violence with courage and compassion. We continue to stand with their families and loved ones, while striving to ensure the legacy of those we lost is a safer, stronger, and more resilient Nation.

Since that day, a generation has come of age bearing the burden of war. The 9/11 Generation of service members and their families has stepped up to defend our security at home and abroad. They volunteer, knowing they might be sent into harm's way, and they uphold the virtues of selflessness and sacrifice that have always been at the center of our Nation's strength. We pay humble tribute to all those who serve in our Armed Forces, and to the thousands of brave Americans who have given their last full measure of devotion during this difficult decade of war.

First responders, law enforcement officials, service members, diplomats -- the range of Americans who have dedicated themselves to building a safer world is awe-inspiring. We have put unprecedented pressure on those who attacked us 10 years ago and put al-Qa'ida on the path to defeat. Around the globe, we have joined with allies and partners to support peace, security, prosperity, and universal rights. At home, communities have come together to make us a stronger country, united by our diversity, our character, and our enduring principles.

Today, our Nation still faces great challenges, but this last decade has proven once more that, as a people, we emerge from our trials stronger than before. During these days of prayer and remembrance, a grateful Nation gives thanks to all those who have given of themselves to make us safer. And in memory of the fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, and friends and loved ones taken from us 10 years ago, let us join again in common cause to build a more hopeful world.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Friday, September 9 through Sunday, September 11, 2011, as National Days of Prayer and Remembrance. I ask that the people of the United States honor and remember the victims of September 11, 2001, and their loved ones through prayer, contemplation, memorial services, the visiting of memorials, the ringing of bells, evening candlelight remembrance vigils, and other appropriate ceremonies and activities. I invite people around the world to participate in this commemoration.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this ninth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.


Thursday, September 1, 2011


We have two hours on the west coast to take it to #1!!!  THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL YOU'RE DOING TO MAKE IT HAPPEN!!! YOU'RE MY HEROES AND HEROINES!!!



...and it's still early--there's seven hours to go until midnight!

Have you bought YOUR copy (copies) yet???  DO IT NOW TO HELP PUSH IT UP THE FLAGPOLE AT AMAZON.

#6 in Books > Outdoors & Nature > Ecology > Animal Rights

#26 in Books > Outdoors & Nature > Fauna


Stay tuned. I'll let you know it if happens...

It happened.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011



Because there is so much going on in Cle Elum this week (Miner's Celebration, 125th anniversary of South Cle Elum), the article about SERVAL SON will appear Sept 8th instead of tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Lyn Derrick of the NKCT just emailed to let me know her report on SERVAL SON and me will appear in the Sept 1st edition. How's THAT for PERFECT TIMING!?!

Thanks, Lyn!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Had a Blast!

Yesterday's Cle Elum classmates get-together was a blast from start to finish. There was not a spare moment--a pregnant pause--during the entire event.

Folks started arriving shortly after 2 and the last ones left at almost 8; none left before almost 7. We talked and laughed, reminisced and caught up on each other's lives non-stop. Susan Rossetti Kelleher took photos and promises us copies on our Facebook pages soon.

The attendees:

Valerie Chase Barrett and her three sons from Ballard, ages eight and 12: Lucas, Joe and Jacob, live wires all. (Yes, I'm including Valerie. She hasn't lost an ounce of spark.)

Susan Rossetti from Ellensburg/Seattle

Rita Morris (not sure what her married name is; sorry, I'll find out!) from the Seattle area

Gary and Joanie Mankus from Cle Elum.

Jackie and me. 

We've decided we have to get together more often, it was such a hoot. And an eye opener. And a blessing.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Updates: Writing Clients, SERVAL SON, Radio Interview, etc.

Just in time to help me big time, I am getting clients (old and brand new) asking me to write for them!  Unsolicited!

You'll never convince me Jesus doesn't have my back!  I have completely ceased to fret about provisions--God provides!  It was a hard lesson to learn (guess I'm not very trusting!) but, once learned, it's just the coolest thing on earth and in the Universe to be able to just put one foot in front of the other as a writer and enjoy the results!

I could work seven days a week right now. I'm not going to this weekend, though. This is the weekend Jackie and I throw my Cle Elum classmates potluck bash in our back yard.

I am SO not a hostess. I've never thrown a party in my life--too stressful. (Remember, I'm shy and still not convinced anyone really wants to hang around me much.) So I begged Jackie to stand by me and help me along.  She lives and breathes gatherings. Jackie is a gregarious, dynamic powerhouse in the social realm. She LOVES it!  Wish I did.

Knowing my sister has my back is helping me relax about the gathering. I'm not sure more than about four people are coming, but I haven't seen most of them since high school graduation... and (except for plays) I was pretty mousy then. A wallflower. I isolated myself from all but a very few neighbors. So, this is going to be a whole 'nuther experience. I'm looking forward to it even tho' it unnerves me a little. I'm stepping outside my comfort zone on this one, folks! WAAAYYY outside. (I think I'm more comfortable talking about hundreds of De/Trek fans in an auditorium than I will be talking to people I haven't seen in a very, very long time.)  I'm sure I'll get over it, though. I truly am looking forward to catching up on peoples' lives.

I got a copy of my book today. (My publisher surprised me with a copy.) *sigh*  *sigh*  *sigh* *sigh* *sigh*  What can I say?  It's real. It's solid. I can hold it in my hand.  It's magnificent.  (I'm speaking aesthetically, here, not egotistically.) There are already reviews of it at Amazon. All 5 star reviews, so far. (Long may that continue!)

The interview for THE AUTHORS SHOW this morning went well. Don McCauley says he thinks it will be a hit. It'll be edited down to 15 minutes. I think we chatted for about 20-22 minutes. 

He said my energy level and voice level were great, which is always a concern of his.  If I like the result, I can buy rights to it to use in any way I want for $95.  I may do that and post it here, on my Facebook page, on my business/book website, or on a dedicated SERVAL SON landing page (if I decide to create one). We'll see. Not sure I'm going to like it as well as Don did. (I'm pickier than he probably is when it comes to listening to myself. It has to be really good in order for me to decide to buy it!)

What else? Guess that's about it.  I'm zzzausted. Gonna hit the hay now. 


If you purchased a copy of SERVAL SON before August 18th at MIDNIGHT... let me know...

I have some important information I need to share with you.

The rest of y'all--WAIT TILL SEPT 1st TO PURCHASE THE BOOK! 



Wednesday, August 17, 2011

OMG! When You Google the Title of My Book Tonight...

When you google 'SERVAL SON: SPOTS AND STRIPES FOREVER' tonight you get 278,000 returns!  That PR has done something AMAZING!!!


Big Name Animal Advocates Applaud “Serval Son: Spots & Stripes Forever”

Big Name Animal Advocates Applaud “Serval Son: Spots & Stripes Forever”

Here's the link to the big media release. Please share it with your friends and family--and remember to wait till Sept 1st to buy it... unless you plan to buy more than one copy. By buying it Sept 1st you help send it up the flagpole at Amazon--a very good thing!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Laverne and Shirley--Best Blackberry Bush Eaters on the Planet!!!! Part Two

I just took some photos and video of the goats eating blackberry bushes. As soon as Jackie gets home I'll find out where the USB download cord is for her PC (I'm using her camera because mine won't download anymore) and get them sent over to Facebook and to me so I can post them here.

They are two very happy campers!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Little by Little, the Money I Need is Coming In...

After a dry spell of close to ten days, I'm getting work again at Elance and elsewhere. I'm feeling better about things as a result.

I won't see any royalties on SERVAL SON for at least three months so having to spend serious time on the launch has cut into the time I've been available (and sane) to write for clients. I'm glad that aspect of this launch is over.  I still have to make myself available for interviews as requested, though... and respond to inquiries... and mail books out when I get them...  I'll spend a lot more time promoting the book than I spent writing it--but that's par for the course for any writer who wants to make money. There's a lot to distract interested parties, so staying in their top 10 list of priorities  is a never-ending challenge. By Thanksgiving (or a bit earlier) people will begin thinking about holiday gift-giving, so they'll be more amenable to asking for the book (if they want one) or getting the book if they want to give it as a gift.  That's good.

You may want to visit my SERVAL SON shop at and see if there's anything there you'd like to have (or give as gifts). I added some items today that I think you'll find intriguing...  Hope so, anyway. So far I'm the only person who has bought anything!!!  They came in and I LOVE them.  I got a box of 20 note cards with Deaken (the cover photo minus the title, author and blurb). They are breathtaking.  I also got a t-shirt to wear when I'm out and about to advertise the book and a beach tote to carry copies of the book in when I do a reading or a book signing at a library, bookstore, hotel, convention, or wherever...

Are there any exotic pet or regular pet conventions locally, I wonder? I wonder if local pet stores would carry copies or let me set up a table once in a while.  I'll have to check into that...

I'm tired of thinking about all this. I need a nap. I hope some of you do some of the thinking for me and give me some ideas I haven't already thought of.  That would be terrific!!!

I will ask others writers to help me on launch day. That's a good idea. I saw another writer do that and was impressed by how she handled it.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Laverne and Shirley--Best Blackberry Bush Eaters on the Planet!!!!

Goodness!  I had no idea how efficient two medium-size goats can be when it comes to mowing down blackberry bushes. They've taken care of everything in their new pen--ages ago. Now I have the rear fence open into the neighbors' (plural) blackberry patches next door--which opens out into a huge field of "more of the same"--and they are going through that like Grant took Richmond.  It is truly amazing to behold! They waddle back in at night looking almost as wide as they are long. Overnight they shrink back to pretty much normal-goat size (okay, still a little chunky) but by morning they're standing at the rear fence, ready to go at it again!!!  Before, the blackberry vines encroached on our yard all along two sides (one at least 100 feet across, the other at least 60 feet across); now the blackberry "forests" are at least 20 feet back, and they are totally absent on the 60 foot side.  Sure am glad I didn't get more goats!!!  We may get a pygmy goat or two later, for the wee ones to play with and walk on  leashes, but they won't eat so much that we'll need more pasture, that's for sure!

In a few years, when the blackberry bushes stop growing altogether as a result of the goat's "predations", I will probably rent them out locally at $75/day. I'll have lots of takers!  Most goat rental places charge $300/day for a small herd of goats.  I can't afford to sit with them all day when they're rented out, but we have movable fence panels we can use to cage them in where they're needed. That'll work...

I'll take some more photos of the girls at work soon so you can see what they've done.  I think you'll be amazed.  They're locusts on hoofs!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I Have Some Interviews Lined Up Re Serval Son

The Kittitas County Tribune is planning to run something on SERVAL SON and me soon. The Author Show is, too. So will Roger Noriega (Noreiga Radio on blogtalkradio) at some point.  I don't have the dates yet, or the links, but when I do I'll let you know.

Friday I drive to Seattle to get my curling finger checked out to see what can be done about it. We're hoping NP can be done on it, instead of surgery.  NP stands for Needle something-or-other. There is very little pain involved in the procedure and minimal (if any) down time, which is good because I can't afford any down time.  Keep me in your prayers for a good report on that front.

SERVAL SON may be available at Amazon earlier than Sept 1, but please please please wait until Sept 1 to buy it if it is.  Or else promise me to buy a second copy on Sept 1st.  Sept 1st is the day I want to run sales up the flagpole at Amazon to see if we can get the title to #1 in its category (or at least in the Top Ten).  I need your vote (purchase) on that day especially.  Thanks!

Friday, August 5, 2011

A First Look at the Cover of SERVAL SON

This isn't the final... but it's pretty close. The front cover is locked in; it's the back cover that is still in flux to one degree or another...

Let me know what you think!

(Click on cover to see it larger so you can actually read it)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Check Out the FINISHED, OFFICIAL "SERVAL SON" Trailer Here

Please share the above YouTube link everywhere you can legitimately think of where it will be embraced and not considered spam. I would love to see this go viral before SERVAL SON debuts on Sept 1st at Amazon.

I can't do it alone. I need your help.

Here's a blurb you can post with it:

"A cautionary true story about what it's like to own--and be owned by--a wild animal. Endorsed by several high profile animal advocates. Please consider getting a copy for your home and county library system. GREAT THANKS!"

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Treasure Trove of DeForest Kelley Interviews to Download

Launching a New Book Is Hard Work!

Eegads.  Whenever I'm not writing copy for Elance clients, I'm emailing the SERVAL SON media release (and sometimes accompanying documents) to AZA accredited zoos, ASA accredited sanctuaries, high-profile animal welfare and advocacy groups, exotic animal sellers, pet forums, hometown newspapers (Northern Kittitas County Tribune, Tacoma News Tribune) and local daytime TV talk shows (New Day with Margaret Larson). 

In a word, I'm multi-tasking, typing my fingers to the bone hoping I get the word out to enough places and causing enough stir to raise SERVAL SON well up the flagpole at Amazon on Sept. 1st when it debuts. 

I've never worked so hard preparing the way for a book launch in my life. Sure hope it pays off.  I want to be sure FutureWord Publishing doesn't regret campaigning to get the book. That's my primary concern. 

I'm making money as a copywriter so if SERVAL SON doesn't fly high it won't be any skin off my teeth (how in the world did that idiom originate--"skin off my teeth"-- or am I misquoting an idiom?) but it will be a bummer for FutureWord because they're getting the editing and cover copy done at their expense, and the formatting, and all that; they only get paid back if enough books sell.  I've never had to worry about other people's financial investments in my books before--all the costs have been on me up until this one so I feel a serious compulsion to obsess over it until I'm sure I've done absolutely everything I can to ensure the success of the launch!

I have a very good feeling about this book, of course (thanks to the numerous "guinea pigs" I foisted it off on to proofread and critique it; all thought it was SUPER!!!). And both sides  of the great divide (pro-exotic pet and anti-exotic pet) should recommend it to their readers. But "should" doesn't mean "will". (Democrats and Republicans "should" recognize each other as fellow Americans and patriots, but you see how often that's occurring, don't you?)

The scary fact is that every book launch is a crap shoot unless you're JK Rowling or another great megastar. And my new title is definitely a niche title--I mean, how many people are going to want to find out what it's like to be owned by a wildcat? One in a hundred? A thousand? Ten thousand. No one knows!  I sure don't.  My publisher thinks SHE knows. I pray she's right!!!   

One thing I am sure of, though, it that there are a lot of animal lovers.  I've read dozens of books about different kinds of wild ones and their interactions with the humans who loved and cared for them--owls, raccoons, otters, wolves, tigers, lions, kinkajous, hawks, bears. The animal lovers I know have recommended them to me, and I've devoured each one. This may become a "word of mouth" book in that way.

One thing's for sure: we're going to find out in a little over a month!

NOW WOULD BE A GOOD TIME TO TELL YOUR ANIMAL-LOVING FRIENDS TO MARK THEIR CALENDARS FOR SEPT 1ST AND CONSIDER BUYING 'SERVAL SON' THAT DAY at AMAZON. Forward them the PR and Stephanie Ealy's review (both can be accessed from earlier blogs).  Those ought to do the job without too much of your time and trouble.


Saturday, July 16, 2011


Thank you for putting me in tears, woman!!!!!


I began sending out invitations to zoos, animal parks and wildlife sanctuaries announcing the upcoming release of SERVAL SON to see if they might like to carry it as a cautionary tale against wild animal ownership and, in doing so, I mentioned some of the folks who will be endorsing the book. (Two of the endorsements come from high-profile people who are ardently anti-exotic pet, as I am in most cases.)

It turns out their factions are giving them some flack for endorsing a book that is about a person who owned an exotic cat. Of course, the naysayers haven't read the book yet, or I truly believe they would see the method in my madness.

Their worry is that, even though the book is a cautionary tale, the people who read it may still want a wild cat after reading it. 

My response: I doubt it. Not the way I wrote it. That's why it took me so long to decide to write it in the first place--because I DIDN'T want to encourage anyone to adopt a wild cat. This book soundly discourages it.

Bottom Line: People committed to getting a wild cat will get one, no matter how many books they read about the dangers and costs, including mine. I can't reach them with this book. I can only caution them. No other book out there does that. The rest are rose-colored glasses versions of the ordeal, usually written by pro-exotic pet factions who want to sell more critters.

It's the fence-sitters I'm after, the folks who are hankering for a wild one like there's no tomorrow. The folks who want to do it right if they do it at all.  These folks can still be persuaded not to do it.

That's what my book is all about. 

And for this reason, BOTH sides (those with integrity) should be endorsing the book.  Because if a wild cat breeder can say, "Read SERVAL SON and then get back to me if you still want a wild cat [after you've read the unvarnished truth about taking care of one its entire life]" the book will screen out the impulse buyers, the "I want one and I want one NOW," uninitiated folks who end up relinquishing their charges like clockwork; the ones who burden wildlife sanctuaries with their cast-offs left and right.

But unfortunately, many--if not most--wild cat sellers are gonna HATE this book. They're gonna see that anyone who reads the book will have a whole new perspective on the matter and most (I believe) will decide against getting a wild cat and will instead help support sanctuaries (like Tippi's and others) that take in cast-off pets.  They'll turn their emotions from "must have one" to "must help the poor castoffs who are abandoned through no fault of their own."

A little controversy is good for a book.  I hope the book develops more of it.  I'm ready to take on the issue head on in the way any good animal advocate should.

Let the games begin!

Friday, July 15, 2011

C. Hope Clark Featured An Email I Sent to Her This Week!

Scroll down to the "Success of the Week" Section to see the email! 

More free publicity for SERVAL SON! WOO HOO!

Thanks, Hope!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Take a Look!

I've just added a SEARCH field to my blog. Now you can search for anything you're looking for that you remember reading before and want to re-visit. 

Let me know how you like the new feature!

Recommended searches: Tippi Hedren, Mother's Day, Trekker Treat, Kelley home, Laverne and Shirley (goats), serval, DeForest (De), Carolyn, books, reviews, writing, Writer's Edge, fans, Star Trek, movie, comedy, Elance... you get the idea.



If you plan to buy my book SERVAL SON: Spots & Stripes Forever please mark your calendars to buy it on September 1st at!  

Sept 1st is the day it debuts. If we all buy it on the same day, the number of buyers it gets that day will push it up the flagpole at Amazon so that other folks who have never heard about it will notice it and think, "Hmmmm!  Better check this one out!"

Let me know if you plan to do this.  If you do, you can also go to my Facebook page (Kristine M Smith, Tacoma WA) and befriend me (if we're not Facebook friends already) and then I can invite you officially to join the event on Facebook. 

You don't have to join the event at Facebook, but if you'd like to, I'd love to have you. 

Please tell your animal-loving friends and relatives about the book, too.  Tippi Hedren has written an AMAZING foreword for it and has given me a name so I can submit it to HSUS for possible inclusion on one of their animal advocacy websites. So keep the book in your prayers that it finds favor with those folks!

It's getting awfully exciting...

Catch the wave!

FutureWord Publishing Announces First Nonfiction Title

FutureWord Publishing Announces First Nonfiction Title

Please visit the PR and SHARE IT with every animal lover you know.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011



“SERVAL SON: Spots and Stripes Forever” will debut September 1st

Seattle WA (PRWeb) FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE        Today the President of FutureWord Publishing, Cheryl Haynes, announced the pending September 1st release of “SERVAL SON: Spots and Stripes Forever” a new book by author Kristine M. Smith, a lifelong animal advocate with decades of combined experience as a wildlife rehabilitator, captive wild animal caretaker, veterinary assistant, and humane educator.

Haynes’ announcement reads in part, “As I was looking [the manuscript] over, I thought how much the book is needed in zoos, wildlife parks, school and county libraries. The book is not just educational; it is packed with familiar flashbacks to the emotional attachments we all have with our own pets.”

Author Smith has raised and nurtured nearly every kind of small animal native to the Pacific Northwest and most species of domestic and farm animals. But it was raising Deaken—an African serval cat—from the age of five days old until his death at 17 which she considers the epitome of her animal-enriched life.

Smith says, “I wouldn’t have missed it for the world—and I would never do it again. It was, at once, the most heartwarming and the most traumatic 17 years of my existence. Raising a wild one isn’t an undertaking for half-hearted impulse buyers. Raising a happy, healthy wild animal—keeping it safe from people and people safe from it—requires complete attention, nerves of steel, and an insane amount of good luck. We are responsible for all we tame. Most who attempt fail miserably and end up abandoning the animals they pledged to love and care for. Animal sanctuaries are overburdened with the sad results: abandoned cast-offs, looking for owners they'll never see again.'"

The book—Smith’s sixth to date—does not advocate the keeping of wild pets, especially wild cats, wild dogs and simians. To the contrary, for the many reasons the author explains and has endured, Smith is opposed to wild animal ownership for most people. She forewarns, “The commitment is brutal, the risks enormous, the memories indelible—good and bad."

The book has been endorsed by several high-profile animal advocates and will be available at Amazon and on September 1st. Not long after, it will be available at all other online bookstore websites and on Kindle™. It measures 6 x 9 and will be perfect bound.


Futureword Publishing publishes award-worthy fiction, non-fiction and children’s books. Find out more at or Kristine M Smith is an animal advocate and a Top 10 copywriter at Elance. Reach her at or

DeForest Kelley's Favorite Wild Cat Finally Gets His Own Book!

When De was in the hospital those final few months and I was caring for him, he kept saying I should write a book about Deaken. I kept saying, "Maybe someday."  Then he said I should at least dedicate a book to Deaken--so I did that in the first book I wrote about De. He would have liked that, had he lived to read it...

De's "orders from headquarters" have haunted me all these years. "Yeah," I agreed, "I really should write a book about my 'serval son'...but how do I do that without making every other cat lover on the planet want one of their own?"

It took me more than a decade to figure it out. And the answer was as obvious as the nose on my face: TELL IT ALL!!! 

Not just the good stuff, but ALL of it: the bad, scary, stressful, painful, infuriating, off-putting stuff, too.  It was only in writing a well-rounded book that I could convince myself to write it at all.

There are people selling pet servals and serval cross breeds like the Savannah Cat. I researched some of them while writing this book.  Some are pretty honest when it comes to what it takes to honorably take care of a serval, their environment, and the people in it. 

But none of them (that I could find) stress the down side enough because...after all..they want people to buy their servals!  A serval goes for upwards of $3K and, in this economy, serval and serval hybrid selling may be all these folks have to live on. So they focus heavily on the up side of having a wild cat.  That's business. All businesses do that or very few would make any money.

That's why I wanted to write a precautionary book.  The illegal  wild animal trade  in this country is second only to the drug underworld when it comes to income. I learned this from Tippi Hedren who owns and operates The Shambala Preserve/ROAR Foundation in Acton, California. Add to that the legal trade in exotic cats, and what  you have are a helluva lot of people getting wild cats as pets, status symbols, bragging rights units, and what have you. Are they trained? Do they have a blue clue what they're getting into? Where did they go for their training?

It's not fair to the animal and it's not fair to the neophyte owner whose impulse buy creates havoc in his or her life.  Get an animal legally and pay through the nose for the privilege and responsibility. Get one illegally and pay the same amount while constantly looking over your shoulder to see if anyone has found you out.

I can't even imagine having kept Deaken illegally.  It was stressful enough having him legally! (Wait till you read the chapter 'Condo Floods, Deaken Discovered.' That's as close as I ever cared come to getting caught red-handed with an "illegal"--disallowed--cat! ) If I had to worry every day of his life that he could be confiscated, after losing my heart to him, it would have been an utterly miserable 17 years!

So I hope the book does what it's meant to do. I hope it informs and entertains the reader and that it encourages anyone even thinking about buying a wild pet to think it through thoroughly. Because it will be a life-changer, something akin to as life-changing as deciding to have a baby.  Only this baby never grows up; it just gets bigger, has fangs and claws, and can do a number on anyone or anything that crosses its path, usually for perfectly legitimate reasons to its way of thinking.

Owning a wild animal is not for amateurs or for anyone who wants any kind of a normal life.

Read the book.  You'll laugh, you'll sigh, you'll cry.  And you'll know why it's an important book, too. Nothing like it has been written with such naked honesty before.

It'll open eyes and touch hearts. My prayer is that it will touch the reasoning center of readers' minds as well as it touches the emotional center. If it does, I've done my job and I will be satisfied.

SERVAL SON: Spots & Stripes Forever will be released Sept. 1 by FutureWord Publishers and will be available at all online bookstores and at  Request that your local libraries get copies!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Living Life with "Christmas Tree Brain"--the Saga

Although I have never taken any kind of illegal drugs, I think I'm experiencing the same kind of weird ethereal sensation.

I have been saddled with what I'm calling "Christmas Tree Brain" ever since I got word that a boutique publisher wants to publish my newest manuscript SERVAL SON: Spots & Stripes Forever.

To all intents and purposes, I'm completely sane. I'm doing my copywriting job without a hitch, interacting as though nothing at all unusual is going on in my life. But every time I get a few minutes to myself--or as evening rolls around--I find my brain lit up like a Christmas tree, thinking about September 1st when I will hold my newest book in my hands.

A book I didn't self-publish. 

Hey, the five books I self-published were terrific enough. I loved holding them in my hands. I loved reading the reviews and getting the emails from readers about them. Don't get me wrong.

But they were all MY doing. I mean, no publisher was beating down my door seeking a piece of the action. Their publication was my doing--paid for entirely by me.  They looked good, they felt good. They were good!

This is even better. My brain won't stop lighting up like a blaring slot machine that's flashing some huge monetary number.

And (strangely enough) I'm not even thinking about what the success of this book could mean to my bank balance. That's so far down on the list, it's pathetic. (I really should put more stock in money than I do. But I never have, and I probably never will--which is why I usually have so little of it!) I didn't EXPECT to make much money on this book--I just needed to write it...for Deaken...because De said I should...and because I wanted to warn wild cat lovers about the kind of commitment they'll have to make if they get a wild cat (assuming they want to do it right.)

Try sleeping in a room with a loud, flashing slot machine ("Christmas Tree Brain") lighting up your cranium.  It's next to impossible. It feels so great I can't sleep!

This afternoon I read the manuscript again--for the first time in a month. It's GOOD!  It's FINE!  It's...everything I hoped it would be.

And it was all mine, just like the other ones. I wrote every word. But now someone else has come alongside me and negotiated a piece of the action, dived in to format it, paid for my copyright, and is doing everything else (money-wise) that I thought I'd have to do to bring the book to market. Somebody in the know, with a great sense of business, wants to take a hit monetarily for a chance to win big with my book!

It feels a little miraculous!

It's enough to make me wish I were a gecko so I could hang upside down on the ceiling and do a happy dance without giving myself a serious concussion--or worse!

It just blows me away!

Saturday, June 25, 2011



If you have ever wondered what it would be like to own (and be owned by) a wild animal—especially a wild cat—get ready to experience it in a way you never have before.

The author, Kristine M. Smith, does not advocate the keeping of wild pets, especially wild cats, wild dogs and simians. To the contrary, for the many reasons she explains and has endured, she is opposed to wild animal ownership for most people. The commitment is brutal, the risks enormous, the memories indelible (good and bad).

But there are times when adopting a wild one in need seems uncontrollable, a part of your destiny. If you’ve felt the tug, this book will introduce you to what you’ll be getting into. Look before you leap.

You are responsible for all you tame.

About the Author: Kristine M Smith is an animal behaviorist and advocate with decades of combined experience as a wildlife rehabilitator, captive animal caretaker, and humane educator. She is also a well-regarded copywriter, writing for businesses around the world. Find out more at

Monday, June 20, 2011

Got a Touching Note from a De Kelley Lass in Cork Ireland

Over the weekend I received a lovely email from a lady named Mary Tim (Kelly) Crowley in Cork Ireland about my book, DeFOREST KELLEY: A HARVEST OF MEMORIES.

She writes, "After reading it I feel I have just lived through with you the finish of a beautiful man's life... He was and still is loved... I thank God he had someone [to care for him]. Your book, and Terry Lee Rioux's [From Sawdust to Stardust, the Biography of DeForest Kelley, Star Trek's Dr. McCoy] helped us know him more.  I have sent his Actor's prayer to my nephew [Thomas Kelly] who also wants to be an actor. If he can be a good man like Mr. Kelley then he could be a good actor. It shines through. I was a fan of his since the first STAR TREK days, even skipping everything else on Friday nights. Now after reading his stories I have wept and laughed with you and felt with you. Thank you!"

****awwwww*****  Emails like this just make my day. They are far and few between anymore because the book came out so long ago, and I haven't been publicizing it much.  (You know a copywriter's first obligation is always to her clients. Like a mechanic, my own "vehicles" needs come last!)

This is just a reminder to those of you who have read the book that you may be passing on a blessing by recommending it to someone else who hasn't read it yet.  Just sayin'!  I would surely appreciate the boost whenever you get a chance to do something like this.  And if you haven't already written a review of it at Amazon, that would be another great way to give it a boost.  There are a lot of great reviews there, but I can always use more!



P.S. Hey, if you haven't read it yet and want to, and will commit to writing a review of it and recommending it to (or buying it for) at least two more people (I will want their names if you're recommending it, NOT if you're buying it), I will even send you the e-book version of HARVEST OF MEMORIES to read.

So send me an email to kristine m smith AT msn DOT com (no spaces between words) asking for the book and I'll send it to you free (IF you'll promise to tout it to others in the ways just mentioned).

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I have at least three high-profile animal welfare advocates looking over my manuscript to see if they will either endorse, review or write a blurb for it for the cover, back cover or inside leading pages.  One of them, if he commits, will blow you right out of the water! Keep reading...

I'm getting feedback... no suggestions, yet, for additional information... so it looks like the book is pretty much a done deal. The readers have found upwards of eight corrections--most of them just typos--and most of them were found by all who have read the manuscript.  But Sandy King and David Sol found a few no one else spotted, so they get the Eagle Eye Award for best spotters!

Tippi Hedren (Shambala/The Roar Foundation angel) is reading the book this week. Deaken lived with her for 15 months, so she's intrigued.

Vernon Weir (with the American Sanctuary Association) has it, too, as does Adam Roberts of Born Free USA (formerly the Animal Protection Institute, where I worked from 1981-1985).

David Sol, an animal welfare advocate,wildlife educator, and tiger dad, is reading it. Lion dad Edward E. Smith has read it.

I've just emailed Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (!!!!) to see if he will agree to read and endorse, review or write a blurb for it. He's my "kindred Kennedy" of the bunch (after his dad; I adored him, too)--we've both been "animal crazy" almost since infancy.

RFK Jr. doesn't know me (yet) but I've known about him since his father ran for the Presidency in 1968. Bobby Jr. was traipsing around the Kennedy compound with coati mundis, dogs Brumus and Freckles and, later, as a young man, he became a falconer. If he would run for President, I would support him. He is very passionate about the environment and making the world a safer place for people and animals. Plus he's just plain brilliant. I doubt he'll ever run--it seems the Kennedys are getting out of the political realm altogether--but I would be deleriously happy if he would. (Not a chance, probably.) After Obama's second term ends, we need someone who will return us to some semblance of sanity where the environment and animals are concerned. 

I've just read "DOMINION: The Power of Man, The Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy" by Matthew Scully (former speechwriter to George W Bush, oddly enough, but I totally forgive him that "sin," after reading this amazing book!). DOMINION was recommended to me by David Sol. Scully's book uses a lot of heavy duty, multi-syllabic language (ten dollar words where two dollar words would suffice quite nicely) so it's quite the slog, but worth every step.

Now I'm in the middle of another book David Sol recommended, "The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival," by John Vaillant.  This one is about the Siberian (Amur) tiger in Russia. Vaillant is a true story teller (not an academic like Scully). It's a riveting tale from start to finish.

Both books are well worth your time, if you want to read them. Just be forewarned: you'll want to become a vegetarian after reading Scully's book. We've never, in our history as a species, treated our livestock as badly as we do in this day and age... and it is an absolute horror to read about it... especially if you've ever known a calf, a steer, a pig, or a chicken in real life. I wept.  And I'm equally guilty of being a consumer of their flesh. (Well, never veal calves, and rarely pigs... but eggs and chickens, and cattle, yes.) 

We need to get back to basics and allow the animals we use for food to have lives that include sunshine, exercise and other "creature comforts" before we turn them into whatever we put on our plates. I really need to re-think my diet, too.  If I can't find 100% free range products, I need to say, "No, thank you" altogether...

Ethically, morally, I just can't turn my head and pretend these things aren't happening to sentient fellow creatures who fear, hurt and wish to avoid pain and anxiety as much as I do...all for my plate!  It's just not right.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Great thanks to Sue Morgan for this link. If you want to eat animals that are not factory-farmed, check it out:

Saturday, June 11, 2011

R.I.P. DeForest Kelley

T'was 12 years ago today I held De's hand for the last time. Seems a long time ago to me now... for the first time. It's easier on me this year, THANK GOD!  I also thank God for De's life and his influence on mine.

Amen and amen.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Badass Cowboy DeForest Kelley--Blast from the Past

De as Ike Clanton in a YOU ARE THERE episode

De in Gunsmoke episode

De in Trail of Revenge

De as Dr Belden  in VIRGINIAN "Man of Violence" episode

De in Edward G Robinson Movie as Ed Clary

De in Black Saddle Apache Trail Pt 1

De in Black Saddle Apache Trail Pt 2.

De in Bonanza episode "The Honor of Cochise" Pt 1

De in Bonanza episode "The Honor of Cochise" Pt 2

These two are dubbed in Spanish:

De as Toby Jack Saunders in Apache Uprising, Pt 1

De as Toby Jack Saunders in Apache Uprising, Pt 2

Sunday, May 29, 2011



Spots & Stripes Forever

If you have ever wondered what it would be like to own (and be owned by) a wild animal—especially a wild cat—get ready to experience it in a way you never have before.

The author, Kristine M. Smith, does not advocate the keeping of wild pets, especially wild cats, wild dogs and simians. To the contrary, for the many reasons she explains and has endured, she is opposed to wild animal ownership for most people. The commitment is brutal, the risks enormous, the memories indelible (good and bad).

But there are times when adopting a wild one in need seems uncontrollable, a part of your destiny. If you’ve felt the tug, this book will introduce you to what you’ll be getting into. Look before you leap.

You are responsible for all you tame.

About the Author: Kristine M Smith is an animal behaviorist and advocate with decades of combined experience as a wildlife rehabilitator, captive animal caretaker, and humane educator. She is also a well-regarded copywriter, writing for businesses around the world. Find out more at

Saturday, May 28, 2011

WOO HOO! 21K Words Later, I am 99.9% Finished with the New Manuscript!

Now I need a riveting title. Wanna help?

So far I've come up with



I know there is a better title lurking in the cosmos. Can anyone capture it for me?

Friday, May 27, 2011


 "Serval Son" (working title)
(aka) Spots and Stripes Forever
copyright May 27, 2011

Here's the beginning of my new book.
Let me know how you like it
and whether or not you'll be
eager to buy it when it comes out.

Serval Son/Spots & Stripes Forever


I first learned about serval cats—the “poor man’s cheetah” — during one of my courses at Ralph Helfer’s Wild Animal Affection Training School in Colton CA in 1977-78. I was assigned to train a pygmy goat and to tame an adult serval cat named Sneakers.

Training a goat is child’s play. They teach themselves to walk on 2x4’s while you’re still lifting the boards into place! They’re naturally curious, naturally playful, and naturally “ascendant.” Build it and they will climb!

But…tame a serval cat?! YIKES!!! That was a whole different matter—a greater level of difficulty. Mr. Helfer said I’d pass the course if I could get Sneakers just to sit or lie quietly near me without hissing or slapping. He wasn’t completely sure I could accomplish this feat, so he set the bar low...

Sneakers had apparently been abused (emotionally if not physically) during his time on earth. And servals look pretty ferocious and lethal when they hiss—which they do a lot, sometimes for reasons no one can discern. When they add slapping and backpedaling or crouching and preparing to spring onto your body, they look even scarier. And Sneakers did that… a lot!

Of course, I didn’t know any of this at first; I learned as I went along. All I knew about Sneakers was that he was housed in a wooden barrel inside an enclosure that measured about six or eight feet square. I was supposed to go in there and tame him.

Awrighty, then…

Long story short: Over the course of the next eight weeks persnickety Sneakers segued from being one po’ed putty tat to a purring, head-rubbing critter who fell asleep in my arms as I lay beside him under a tree on test day. Helfer came by, saw the two of us cuddled up like Romeo and Juliet, and smiled, “You pass!”

Was I proud? You bet I was. I woulda burst my buttons had I been wearing any to burst. I had tamed an adult serval cat. I mean, taming an adult feral domestic cat is next to impossible, so this was quite the feat, was it not?

Not so fast. I later learned that servals and cheetahs are the Perry Comos of the cat world: you can tame adults caught right out of the wild. Africans did it for millennia, using them as “coursing hounds” to catch faster prey (dik dik and other larger antelopes), then taking the kill, rewarding the cat with a few mouthfuls, and using the rest for their own purposes.

Probably not even Ralph Helfer knew this. During the course, I also was taught “never ever” to leave a serval cat alone with any other critters, because servals were rated among the “wildest” of wild animals and should never be trusted with other creatures. I obeyed this precept until my own serval, Deaken, taught me how utterly nonsensical a notion it was. I denied him other companionship for more than six years that he should have had...but more about that later.

You can’t believe everything you read in books—except mine. (I’m a straight arrow.)

My 17 years with Deaken were an eye-opener, a heart-warmer, a trauma-inducer and a cherished relationship I expect never to repeat again. And here comes …

The Disclaimer

I don’t believe in exotic or wild animals as pets (especially wild cats, wild dogs and simians) for a lot of reasons. The primary reason is that probably less than one tenth of one percent of the people who get them knows what they’re getting into, so both parties suffer grievously. There is usually a traumatic and premature parting of the ways. As Ralph Helfer told us in class, “You are responsible for all you tame.”

It isn’t like you can change your mind and find your critter a new home and a new life with a reputable, responsible caregiver all that easily. Your charges do bond to you, especially since their first few weeks of life are so vital to establishing a relationship that must last into adulthood; one that is safe, sane and sustainable. And too few people have the proper permits to take over if you falter or fail; those who do are usually filled to the brim with other peoples’ cast-offs as well as their own broods. And who is going to watch over your wild one when you go on vacation, fall ill, or in some other way have to leave them behind for a time for any one of a dozen legitimate reasons?

I knew what I was getting into. I was trained. I read copiously. I had experience. I had the permits. And I’d had at least 20 domestic kitties before. I was—and remained—committed to nurturing Deaken’s life as he grew, and grew, and grew to knee-high and three feet long from tip of nose to tip of tail. How much different could it be to raise Deaken when I had raised so many house cats?

Still, I had no idea. Looking back, it was great discipline. Looking back, it was herculean. Looking back, I smile and feel very blessed, but also extremely lucky that it worked out as well as it did. There were times when it could have gone tragically wrong. I carry the emotional scars of all that. I still have nightmares about trying to move heaven and earth to keep Deaken safe from people and people safe from Deaken. Looking back it is a miracle that more people weren’t hurt… that Deaken himself survived largely unscathed.

So no… I don’t advocate wild animal ownership. Although I expect you to fall madly in love with my serval son as you get to know him better, I want you to pay exquisite attention to what it took to sustain the relationship, what it took to meet requirements, what it took to protect lives and property.

It’s not a game. Pet ownership itself is a tremendous responsibility. Wild animal stewardship is a whole other level. It is not for amateurs. It is not for dreamers. It is not for people who expect to have children or to have them around. It is not for people who want to take vacations.

Wild animal stewardship is only for people who will dedicate themselves entirely to the wellbeing of their wards. It’s a tall order. You’re about to discover how tall.

I hope that in learning about Deaken you’ll also learn about why sharing him vicariously with you concerns me a little. I know you will love him. Please just don’t love him so much that you decide you simply MUST have one of your own. Becoming a wild one’s parent is an overwhelming commitment that no one should take lightly. Not even you.

I know your heart is good and that it’s in the right place. Enjoy the ride but please don’t let this story compel you to take on more than you can commit to wholeheartedly… and legally. If you do it wrong, everyone gets hurt.

Imagine loving like this and losing your pet to the authorities because you weren’t properly licensed or because your furry darling grievously injured someone. It happens all the time. Lawsuits accrue. Next door neighbors panic.

How quickly everything can change from idyllic to catastrophic.

Few stories end up the way Deaken’s and mine did. Remember this as you go along, and I will feel satisfied that you’re receiving the whole story, not just the heart-warming parts.

You are responsible for all you tame. Don’t do it unless you can honor and truly treasure the obligation from Day One to the day your charge crosses Rainbow Bridge.