This entry appears both on my blog and on goodreads.  I haven't figured out how to add pictures to goodreads, so if you want to see the photographs you need to go to my website,

Rattlesnakes spend the winter in dens above our house and when Spring comes they emerge.  The young ones go first, to feed and find new territories.  The older ones wait a few weeks.  This means we have to be very careful when going outside.  Doors must be closed and screens kept tight because snakes follow a trail with their tongues.  If they detect a tasty mouse they will climb through a window to get it.  One of our friends carelessly left the door of his office open.  He was writing at his desk when he heard a rattlesnake buzzing by his foot.  He stayed perfectly still, hoping it would go away, but it didn't.  Fortunately, he had a cell phone on his desk and called his wife to distract it.  The museum here sells snake catchers.  They look kind of like the tongs used to lift spaghetti and you're supposed to clamp them onto the creature without hurting it.  It's good to have a bucket with a lid and fast reflexes.  And then what?  Where do you take a poisonous reptile?  Is there any neighbor you don't much like?

The other day Harold went out the back door and almost stepped on a five-foot gopher snake (not poisonous) lounging by the car.  A bird called a thrasher was going nuts trying to chase it away.  He must have had a nest nearby.  The bird kept dancing around out of fang reach and darting in to peck.  I watched for a while -- scientists aren't supposed to interfere with Mother Nature -- and finally decided to rescue the thrasher.  I got the hose and blasted that snake.  Guess what?  He hooked himself around a tire and held on like a leech.  When I stopped spraying, I saw that he was drinking happily.  This happened once before when I tried to drive a rattlesnake out of my rosemary bush.  The gopher snake eventually slithered away.

I have been reading Larry McMurtry's books, starting with Lonesome Dove.  I put this off for a long time.  Having grown up in Arizona, I don't like westerns because they're too close to home.  Also, I don't know why gunslingers like Doc Holliday and Billy the Kid have been turned into heroes.  They're psychopaths.  The other reason I didn't read Lonesome Dove was because it's more than 800 pages long.  Finally I got around it it.  The first 200 pages rambled on, but then the story caught fire and I read the whole book non-stop and three others in the series.  The story is unbelievably bloody.  The desert is littered with dead bodies by the time you're finished, but I liked it.

Being a writer, I was interested in technique.  First of all, McMurtry has an insane number of characters, but he gets away with it.  Maybe because he kills so many of them off.  Secondly, he almost manages to do without swear words.  He invents alternate phrases for them.  This is harder to do than you think.  Thirdly, he is never clichéd.  His characters never quite say what you expect.  And fourthly, he isn't afraid to go over the top.  A lot of beginning writers are afraid of sounding melodramatic, but not McMurtry.  In Dead Man's Walk, so many bad things happen you can't imagine how anyone could survive (and a lot of characters don't).  I am in awe of an author who can get away with this.  I do have to warn younger readers that these books aren't for anyone under 21 or even 35.  You won't even like the story until you are older, especially since you have to slog through 200 pages before you get hooked.

5/23/2013 05:26:49 am

Dear Ms. Farmer,

A group of our students and employees read your book, The House of the Scorpion, and would like the opportunity to meet and speak with you about it. This summer our entire School will have the opportunity to read it as our "all School book" and we know there will be many more interested in hearing about your book writing journey.

We would enjoy hosting you at some point during the 2013-2014 school year. Please email me if this is something you would be interested in pursuing.

With thanks,

10/25/2017 05:26:18 am

This sighting makes me feel uneasy. I am not really comfortable seeing snakes all around a certain house because int makes me feel unsafe. I am sure that I cam not the only person who feels that way. Actually, my friends feel the same thing and it ruins my mood all day. I cannot take seeing snakes at all! I just hope that these snakes would go back to their natural habitat. They are also not safe hanging out with a lot of people!

Darylelyse Allen
5/29/2013 03:35:39 am

Just finished Scorpion last night. What an amazing book---and so perfect for the audience I needed it for. I belong to a book club that
goes inside prisons to read and discuss books. It's called JCBC---
juvenile court book club. (san diego area)
Your great book is our choice for next month. These teenage male offenders are going to love it. And if they do---Lord of Opium will go on for next year! Your animal loving blog is beyond fascinating---where in the heck do you live? Probably not public knowledge, but just knowing the area would be great! You are a terrific, imaginative author,
I'll go find all the rest of your books......DLA

5/29/2013 03:39:10 pm

Dear Mrs. Farmer,
I was wondering if you ever planned on writing more on the sea of trolls trilogy. I would understand if you didn't want to and all but the hope that you will shall remain until the day that you yourself say that it isn't going to happen. The way you combined all of the different religions and belief systems into the book was simply marvelous and the books kept me teetering turn for turn as they found out more about the world around them and they themselves. Your characters will always hold a special place in my heart regardless of whether or not you write any more books that go with it.

Thanks for your time,

6/3/2013 03:01:08 pm

I got my hands on an ARC. Amazing so far, oh my goodness I love you Nancy!!!

Angel Garcia
6/4/2013 01:57:42 pm

Have you ever thought of having an entire section of your website dedicated to giving young writers advice? I would love to hear your opinions on story telling.

5/22/2014 05:34:59 pm

I gotta bookmark this website it seems very helpful extremely helpful


Leave a Reply.