Monday, June 22, 2009

Lassoing Prairie Dogs with Vivian Zabel!!

Author Vivian Zabel visits with us today, so we'll be roping us a few prairie dog varmits!

Thanks, Vivian, and lets begin with a couple questions.

What all do you talk about at Brain Cells & Bubble Wrap? (And I love that blog title!)

Since the title of my blog deals with brain cells (the experiences of life that make us grow, despair, shout with joy, sob in sorrow, celebrate, make us what we are) and bubble wrap (whatever helps us survive by cushioning whatever hurts or by adding softness to our lives), I can write about anything that pops into my head -- almost.

My husband is also an Air Force brat! What are your fondest memories of your traveling youth?

I have always enjoyed visiting new places. I wish I could still travel since I would love to visit Alaska again, France, Australia, and most of the states I've visited before and the ones I haven't.
Living on Guam and in Morocco left memories I'll always treasure. Getting there and back to the states I wish I could forget. I got extremely sea sick going and coming from Guam and going to Morocco. At least we flew back from Africa.

Your books are mystery, YA, western, sports, historical – wow! You cover a lot of genres. How did you become so diversified? Which one is your favorite?

My favorite genre to read is mystery and all sub-genre except horror. That love of mystery tends to creep into most everything I write, too. However, I've lived long enough and had a variety of interests (which increases through following the activities and interests of grandchildren and great-grandchildren) to want to write about a variety of topics and scenarios. I guess living long and trying various things and reading voraciously gave me a wide area of possibilities.

Have you ever lassoed a prairie dog?

Are you kidding? Prairie dogs are quicker than quick. A person would have to want to rope one desperately and practice for years - as Buddy did.

What is next for Vivian?

A sequel to Prairie Dog Cowboy is in the works, Prairie Wind. The book will follow Buddy as he becomes a young man. However, I'm also working on something different: a romantic suspense. Ahh, love and mystery. What a combination.

A little bit about the author behind the books...

Vivian Zabel always has had a vivid imagination and, when a child, used it to tell her siblings and friends stories. As soon as she could write, she began to put those stories on paper. She wrote her first poetry when she was eight, and still writes it. Poetry was and is her therapy. When a “friend” laughed at her announcement that she would write a book someday, Vivian didn’t share her goal any more, but she didn’t stop planning on writing that book.

As she reared her children and was a stay-at-home-mother, with spells of working in the business world, Vivian wrote short stories, poetry, and articles, which were published. Vivian taught English and writing for 27 years and retired in 2001. Every year she taught, she attended writing classes, workshops, and clinics, not only to learn how better to teach her students, but also to hone her own writing skills. Finally in 2001 she was able to write full time and write longer works, after she retired from teaching.

At present, Vivian has six books to her credit, two co-authored. Her latest books are Prairie Dog Cowboy (written under the name V. Gilbert Zabel) and Midnight Hours (written under the name Vivian Gilbert Zabel).

Her interests besides writing include her family (husband, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren), reading, helping other people publish their books (through 4RV Publishing), and traveling.

And a little about Prairie Dog Cowboy:

Buddy wanted to be a Cowboy, one who rode a horse, not herded cows by foot. When the neighboring rancher, Caleb Hyman, told the boy he would be hired once he could lasso prairie dogs, Buddy worked and practiced for years to be able to catch one.

The day he finally roped one of the quick rodents, two of his older brother's friends watched from the road and ridiculed Buddy, calling him a prairie dog cowboy.

Facing the hard life of homesteading in the late 1890s and early 1900s, Buddy didn't have an easy life, made worse by a mother who didn't love him or accept him. However, with the help of the Hymans, he developed into a strong, decent person who struggled to find his place in his world.

True experiences of my husband's life as a farmer, cowboy, and horse breaker appear throughout the story.

Find Vivian and her books here:
Vivian Gilbert Zabel
Brain Cells & Bubble Wrap
4RV Publishing
Prairie Dog Cowboy
Order Prairie Dog Cowboy
Midnight Hours
Order Midnight Hours
or order the books from Amazon.

Thanks again, Vivian and happy trails!!


Helen Ginger said...

Even without reading the book, you can tell by the synopsis that it's a fun book kids can read and learn something while they read. Sounds like it would be a good book for young boys, especially as a counter to TV and graphic cartoons!

Straight From Hel

Bob Sanchez said...

Sounds like a fun book, the kind I would have loved reading as a boy.

By the way, I followed one of the links and got a page with the following message--I thought Vivian should be made aware of it:

Warning: Visiting this site may harm your computer!
The website at contains elements from the site, which appears to host malware – software that can hurt your computer or otherwise operate without your consent. Just visiting a site that contains malware can infect your computer.
For detailed information about the problems with these elements, visit the Google Safe Browsing diagnostic page for

Bob Sanchez

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Thanks for the heads up, Bob - hope Vivian sees that! I did not visit that site, just the Prairie Dog Cowboy site.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Vivian, have you pitched to schools with this book? It seems perfect tool for teachers and tutors? I tutor but is there a national organization for tutors? You may already do it, but you could supply a study guide for tutors to help them teach ethics, history, etc.


Vivian Zabel said...

Sorry I'm so late. This was one of those days. Ish.

I'll check out that message, thanks.

I almost have the study guide ready to go with the novel. As soon as I do, I'll try to get schools interested.

Thanks, everyone, for stopping by.

Vivian Zabel said...

I can't find anything on my blog that has anything to do with that site.