Sunday, October 7, 2007

My Friend Bob Tarte

Hi again, folks!

Today I want to tell you about Bob Tarte, who is not a critter, but owns enough of them to qualify as slightly crazy. At last count - not including the sock monkey - Bob and his wife had thirty-nine animals. They've got ducks, geese, and turkeys, cats, rabbits, and indoor birds, and there was even a brief but memorable encounter with a young skunk. On top of that, they also foster wild baby birds, caring for them until they're old enough to fly.

My only criticism of Bob is that while he owns a barn, he has no horses. I think Bob would be great with something equine - a stubborn but lovable donkey like Belle comes to mind - but so far, Bob's sticking to small critters he can pick up with his own two hands.

Bob and I came to be friends through our email correspondence. Bob answers all his email - and in my case, he's probably sorry he did! I had contacted him, asking for advice on my writing, and he was kind enough to help me out. The reason I asked Bob for help in the first place is because he wrote one of my favorite books, Enslaved by Ducks.

When I first saw it at the bookstore, I thought, "Hey! A book about ducks -I like it already!" I bought it, took it home, and devoured it in two days. Happily for me, Bob wrote a follow-up, Fowl Weather, which I also read very quickly.

I wanted to thank Bob for all his help with my writing, so I suggested he come down to Ohio and do a book signing at a local bookstore. When he agreed, I contacted some of the newspapers, telling them what a hoot it would be to do a story about the Famous Duck Guy coming to town to meet the local ducks.

The papers agreed, and we all met out at McKinnon's Pond for a photo shoot. We got our pictures in the papers, and we got some much-needed publicity for the ducks at the pond, too, because you can't get people to care unless they know there's something to care about.

After the booksigning, Bob went home and made a video for his website called "Duck Man vs. the Crazy Critter Lady." You can watch it at In the video, Bob teases me for hogging his spotlight at the photo shoot, but I say, if you allow yourself to get upstaged by a Pekin duck, you should probably work on your stage presence!

Lucky for me, Bob doesn't hold grudges, and he went on to interview me for his segment, "What Were You Thinking?" During the interview, I got to talk about all the abandoned ducks I take care of at the pond. You can see them on the Critter Pics page of my website (

Between his video, and his interview - not to mention all our email exchanges - Bob's done a lot to help me along the writing road, and I'm more grateful than words can say. So I want to take this opportunity to thank Bob for all he's done to further my interests in the publishing world, and I want to ask all you readers to please suppport good writers and good writing by buying great books like Enslaved by Ducks and Fowl Weather, both of which you can purchase at Bob will be glad you did, cause he's got thirty-nine mouths to feed!

Until next time, please be kind to all the critters!

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