A Bird in the Hand

Vitality Stories

Running Parakeet A Bird in the Hand

A Bird in the Hand

Maybe you like my storytelling, but my two younger brothers can entertain an entire table of people with their stories. For hours. They have a gift for telling true stories that will make you laugh until you cry. If they team up, you’ll have a hard time catching your breath.

Teri Case with brothers

Left to right: Karsen, Teri, Adam

So while I don’t expect to do it justice, I thought I’d share one of my favorites.

Several years ago, my brother Adam owned a solar tube business in Arizona. It was a crazy hot business. He was either on a rooftop in the scorching sun or crawling through stifling attics.

One day, it was especially hot and Adam was on a client’s roof. Out of nowhere, a parakeet landed on his shoulder. It scared the crap out of him, and he almost fell off the roof. He shooed “the damn bird” away but it kept coming back to his shoulder, like he was a “damn pirate.” After a bit, Adam gave up–he had a job to do after all–and let it sit on his shoulder, positive the bird would eventually get bored and fly away or maybe even die. But the parakeet was still perched on Adam’s shoulder as he climbed down the ladder (at this point, my brother would add sound effects as he pantomimes the descent: do-do-doooo).

The homeowner had never seen the parakeet before. It was time for Adam to work in the attic but the bird was persistent. Resigned and worried about the heat, Adam turned the air conditioning on in his van and the bird flew inside.

As soon as he wrapped up the job, Adam hopped in his van, happily welcomed by his new best friend, and called Animal Control and the SPCA–neither had a solution Adam felt great about. So he tried once more to make the bird fly away. Continue reading

My Mom Said So

Vitality Stories

Jennifer Lawrence Oops

My Mom Said So

My mom read Tiger Drive last week. Now, for those of you who have been following me for a while, you know that my eighty-two year-old mom has had it in her bonnet that Tiger Drive’s a memoir rather than fiction. A lot of the confusion is my fault. After all, I did grow up on Tiger Drive in Carson City, Nevada (the book takes place in Corbett City, Nevada). And my family and novel share archetypal characters:

  • an abusive husband and father
  • an abused wife
  • an addict
  • a drug dealer with ties to a gang

Archetypes behave in anticipated ways. This is why a woman in Kansas who is abused by her husband “totally gets” the emotions and choices of an abused woman in California. An alcoholic in Nevada will understand an alcoholic in Texas. We humans act more alike than not.

My novel was causing enough angst for my mom that I didn’t tell her when Tiger Drive was published and available on the World Wide Web.

But like most moms, she found out anyway.

She called me and said her Amazon orders weren’t shipping, and she couldn’t figure out why (this happens quite often). I’m a bit of a custodian for her accounts, so I logged in to see what was happening, assuming her gift card balance was insufficient. I was right. But when I looked at her pending orders, expecting to see the usual suspects of powder coffee creamer, assorted candy, and potato chips, I knew I was in trouble. The pending order was the hardcover copy of Tiger Drive.

Continue reading

Author Accelerator

Author Accelerator interviews Teri Case

Author Accelerator Teri Case Tiger Drive
Click here to read the interview. I’ve used several of Author Accelerator’s services. Over the past year, several people have asked me how they can start writing or establish a routine. I always tell them about Author Accelerator who has a variety of programs, ranging from ones for the writer who doesn’t even have an idea what to write about to those for writers who have finished a manuscript and need to fix it or have it reviewed. Want to write, check them out. In the meantime, enjoy my interview with them.

A Tiger Drive Thanks

Vitality Stories

Tiger Drive Acknowledgments

A Tiger Drive Thanks

It takes a village to write and publish a book. Here are the people and groups who are recognized in Tiger Drive.



Finishing a book requires soda, licorice, yogurt covered peanuts, magazines, glue-sticks, alligator skin, earplugs, candles, walks, a timer, a door, two saw horses, a fitness ball, The Civil Wars, and olive branches. But mostly, it takes a village of believers, coaches, supporters, and collaborators. Continue reading

Thank You Mr. Tobey


Vitality Stories

Mr. Tobey

Alcoholism A Family Problem by Teri Case Tiger Drive


In Tiger Drive, Carrie is seventeen years old and desperate to go to college but needs financial aid. She turns to her English teacher, Mr. Hill, to proofread her scholarship essay. He is an honest and candid man, and while Carrie doesn’t fully open up to him, she trusts him. Mr. Hill believes in her, and this makes all the difference to Carrie.

In reality, Mr. Hill was inspired by my ninth grade English teacher, Mr. Tobey, at Carson Junior High School. While Carrie’s story is not my story, writing creates an opportunity to recognize people who have made a difference even when writing fiction. Mr. Tobey is one of those people. But in the past thirty-two years, I’ve never reached out to thank him. In a recent exchange with my hometown high school librarian, I said it was because of people like her that there are adults like me. She made a meme of that comment and put it on her computer to remind herself that she makes a difference. She so does. Our exchange inspired me to reach out to Mr. Tobey, finally, to thank him. To tell him how the following three interactions with him have stuck with me always. Continue reading

Granted: My Close Encounter with a Possible Pedophile (Pt. 2)


Vitality Stories

Granted: My Close Encounter with a Possible Pedophile, Part 2

Granted: My Close Encounter with a Possible Pedophile

Click here to read Part One

Part Two

Grant had two passions: photography and astrology. I’d become a willing participant in both.

My older sister always read me our horoscope (we’re both Scorpio), but at eight years old, the promises or warnings meant nothing to me. I wasn’t looking for romance, to change jobs, and I wasn’t worried about my health. They were boring and silly. So when Grant first pulled out all of his books and charts, I was not interested.

But Grant would get so animated while discussing astrology, carefully spreading out his materials like treasures. To my surprise and non-delight, he’d started my astrological chart. He explained how my birthday and time of birth would influence the rest of my life. He went over the various “houses” and how the moon, sun, and other planets could influence said houses. After a few weeks, he finished my chart, and he told me something I have never forgotten.

Grant told me that someday I was going to be a “wealthy and humble woman.” I asked him what he meant. He said, “You’ll live in a mansion, but you won’t be a show-off. You won’t rub your riches in anyone’s face.” I kid you not, right then and there, I pictured my older self standing on the front steps of a mansion, holding wild picked flowers, and wearing worn out overalls (and we all know how I felt about overalls). And I had a beat-up truck in the driveway. It’s highly possible I was influenced by reruns of The Beverly Hillbillies and Green Acres.

Today, people talk about the power of positive thinking, applying The Secret, and more. I always think about Grant and the positive influence his passion for astrology had on the outlook of my life. He gave me hope. Not that I’d have money someday, but that my future would be very different than the way I was being raised.

But in hindsight, he was also moving me away from talking about topics interesting to a little girl to discussing more adult topics. He was changing the playing field.

to be continued

For an update on Mr. Tobey and Tiger Drive, click here.


Granted: My Close Encounter with a Possible Pedophile


Vitality Stories


Granted: My Close Encounter with a Possible Pedophile

Part One

In 1978, my family moved our mobile home from a trailer park on the east side of Carson City to a trailer park on the west side of Carson City. My mom always said, “The west side is the best side.” So we were “moving up.” Plus, we were moving away from the K-Bar, my dad’s favorite bar which had been across the street from our old park. So things were “looking up” too. Continue reading