Thursday, December 29, 2011

So Many Ways to Read

Like many of you this year - I received an eReader for Christmas. I got the Nook Color.

I love it, and although I'm a tad technologically challenged, I am slowly learning all the features and fun things it can do. Plus, since THE GIRL WHO REMEMBERED HORSES was published as an eBook this year, I get to read it (finally) on an actual eReader.

I love the fact that you can get samples of books on the eReader, which allows you to see if you like it and want to read on.

I still love paper books though, and have plenty checked out from my library. Now, though, I can also borrow eBooks from my library, right off my Nook. How cool is that?

I think that eReaders (as popular as they are becoming) will never completely replace paper books, but only augment our reading experience. Not only can I get magazines and newspapers on my Nook, but many short novels and novellas that I might not have had access to otherwise. I love short fiction, and will probably read more of it now. And I can't wait to load my Nook up with several good novels to read for the next time I travel.

As you know, I'm a huge reader. I read a ton of books in 2011.

Well, to be more precise, I've read exactly 127 books this year, according to my Goodreads Challenge, but I still have a couple of days left, so that number may rise.

But as an avid reader I'm excited about all the new ways we can now find great material to read.

And as a writer, I'm plenty excited about all the new ways we now have to reach our readers.

Besides THE GIRL WHO REMEMBERED HORSES, I'll have two more new eBooks coming out next year, both from Musa Publishing. I'll have details about those soon.

But for now, what to read? What to read? Something from the pile of books I got for Christmas? Or from the pile of books I checked out from the library? Or to the great books waiting to be discovered on my Nook? Choices, choices, choices!

Were you one of the many who received an eReader this Christmas?

What kind did you get?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Peace on Earth

Goodwill to all creatures, great and small.

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Last Minute Horse Books

Still looking for a few last minute gifts for a young horse lover on your list? Here are some suggestions:

Take the Reins, Canterwood Crest - Book One - by Jessica Burkhart

This is the first book in the wildly successful Canterwood Crest series by Jessica Burkhart (over half million copies sold.) I wasn’t at all sure what to expect with this novel, because it deals with totally unfamiliar territory for me: a young girl arriving with her horse at a prestigious boarding school, hoping to fit in not only academically and socially, but become part of an elite jumping team. But in the first few pages, our main character Sasha loses control of her horse, Charm, who spooks on the way to his new stable, runs off and causes the fall of another rider, who immediately becomes Sasha’s enemy. What a horrible first day! Can we say high drama in the horse barn? (And trust me, I’ve had the experience of a horse pulling out of my hands and running loose through a group of horses and people. It’s not only dangerous; it’s one of the most embarrassing and scary moments imaginable – all rolled into one.)

Take the Reins is indeed filled with drama, and at times I almost wanted to dub it “mean girls” because I was appalled at the horrible stunts pulled on Sasha by a group of snooty girls, led by arch-enemy Heather, all because Sasha’s abilities as a rider may cost another girl a highly-sought after spot on the advanced show-jumping team. But Sasha is a spunky character who doesn’t whine to either her parents or her coach. She just keeps her head down and deals with her problems by studying and working harder, and she is definitely a character to be admired. These dire social situations, thrown in with a little romance and plenty of horse details obviously appeal to a certain young audience, because there will be a total of 15 Canterwood Crest books published when the last two arrive next year: Initiation and Popular.

Ms. Burkhart’s writing style strikes a chord in young readers, offering just the right mix of horses and social drama, because the books continue to be gobbled up and collected. They are available in both paperback and e-reader editions, and your young horse enthusiast might just love one for a Christmas gift! You can check them out right here.

Risky Chance - Horse Diaries - by Alison Hart
This is #7 in the Horse Diaries series, written for a slightly younger audience, but wonderful all the same for anyone who loves horses. This series is told from the point of view of the horse (a la Black Beauty) and Risky Chance is a young thoroughbred destined for the race track. The book starts, in fact, when he is a very young colt, still with his mother, racing the other colts across the pasture. How he loves to race! The story follows Risky as he is trained for the track and eventually taken to Santa Anita. The time is during the 1930’s, the Great Depression, when another great racehorse came to fame – Seabiscuit. Although Risky Chance loves his job, and loves to run, things don’t go as smoothly in his life as planned, and at one point his fate becomes dire and uncertain. This book has a happy ending, though, and you’ll be glad to gift it to any horse loving youngster this Christmas. I also liked the fact that the author, Alison Hart, author of many books for young readers (including Shadow Horse and Whirlwind) offers factual information at the back of this book explaining more about Thoroughbreds, horse racing, as well as the Great Depression. I highly recommend any of the books in this Horse Diaries series. Here's the link to the page on
Riding Invisible - by Sandra Alonzo
Running away on a horse? How many of us have imagined this when our life became difficult and hard to control? What if you had a mentally unstable brother that threatened to harm both you and your beloved horse? This book is the journal of fifteen-year-old Yancy Aparicio, who runs away into the California desert with just a flashlight, a backpack, a journal, and his horse. When this book came out last year, I was so engrossed in the story that I read it in one sitting. A wonderful read, fast-moving and heart-felt, it's not only an adventure story of a boy and his horse running away from problems, but also a serious story of a family coming to grips with a very difficult situation, and a boy finding his own courage and heart throughout it all. Powerful and gripping, I highly recommend it for both boy and girls who are not only horse lovers, but also lovers of realistic adventure stories.
The best part is that Riding Invisible is available now on Amazon at a reduced price in hardback, and also in paperback and for eReaders. Don’t miss this one!
 The Girl Who Remembered Horses - by Linda Benson
Of course I have to mention this one. It’s my brand new book. It’s available right now as an ebook, and if you’d like to choose it as a gift for someone, you can! On either Amazon or Barnes and Noble, simply click the button in the upper right hand corner of the page where it says “Buy as Gift.” Cool, huh? Here's the link on Amazon.
A great adventure story, The Girl Who Remembered Horses is set in a future world that has forgotten the ancient bond between horses and humans. It has a spunky main character named Sahara who dreams of horses and attempts to tame one, and it’s garnering 5 star reviews from readers. Be sure and check this one out, as well as all of the great books above. I hope you find just the right last minute gift idea for your reader.
Merry Christmas, and Happy Reading, Everyone!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Styling in the Barn

I bought myself an early Christmas present yesterday.

Something I needed badly - and it couldn't wait.

You see, I had holes in my barn boots, which I wear every morning and evening to do chores.

I had already patched them once, with duct tape, and now the other boot was leaking.

So I went into town, fully expecting to buy a new pair of the same old lace-up mud boots that I always wear, but they didn't carry them!

And so, after trying on every pair of galoshes in the supply store, I came home with these:

Stop Laughing!

It's what all the cool Farm Girls are wearing around here! (And I'm sure they'll look fine once I get some mud on them.)

Hey - sometimes you just need a little style in the barnyard! Okay?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Meet SG Rogers

Meet S.G. Rogers, author of fantasy and speculative fiction, who has a brand new novel out from Astraea Press, a new book out from Musa Publishing in April, and a Free Read available Dec 7th, 2011 from Musa Publishing.

  Suzanne, how long have you been writing?

I’ve had a knack for writing my whole life, but it was after the birth of my son when I became serious about pursuing a career as an author. I started out with screenplays, and then branched out into fiction.

Do you write mostly for children and young adults, or have you written for other age groups?

I write what I like to read, so I tend toward writing young adult fantasy. I wouldn’t mind writing more romantic fantasy, which appeals to a broader spectrum of adults.

Is The Last Great Wizard of Yden your first book? And it's out as an e-book with Astraea Press?

 Yden is my first full-length title with a publisher, and it’s in e-book format.  If I can make a market for the Yden series, it will go to print.  Personally, I love e-books.

Tell us briefly about this book. Does it involve time travel?

 When Jon Hansen’s father is kidnapped in a supernatural way, his quest for answers leads him to another dimension—the magical planet known as Yden.

Is fantasy your favorite genre? Why? What kind of books do you like to read? Are they also fantasy?

 The first section in a library or bookstore you’ll find me is the young adult fantasy aisle.  I love diving into other worlds, or exploring what might be hidden here on Earth.  My favorite author is Diana Wynne Jones (The Chrestomanci series), but I really enjoy the Percy Jackson series (Rick Riordan), and the Harry Potter series (J.K. Rowling)…among many others. The creativity I find in fantasy literature just blows me away.

Here's a little about her debut novel, The Last Great Wizard of Yden:

After his father is kidnapped, sixteen-year-old Jon stumbles across a closely guarded family secret--one that will challenge everything he has ever believed about his father and himself. A magical ring his father leaves behind unlocks a portal to another dimension, but in using it, Jon unwittingly unchains the forces of evil. A crisis develops when a malevolent wizard transports to Earth to kidnap Jon’s would-be girlfriend. With the help of some unlikely schoolmates, and a warrior princess from Yden, Jon embarks on a dangerous quest to free his friend and his father from the most vicious wizard the magical world has ever known. In the end, Jon will be forced to fight for his life as he attempts to rescue the last great wizard of Yden.

The Last Great Wizard of Yden is available at Astraea Press, Amazon, and B&N.

Suzanne, do you have any other projects coming up you'd like to tell us about?

My short story, Apocrypha is available Dec. 7th as a free read at Musa Publishing.  (Tagline:  Sometimes, even for a demon, love is in the cards).  Apocrypha will be the foundation for a full-length paranormal adventure/romance coming later in 2012.  In April, Musa will also be releasing the first of my Asgard Adventure series novellas.  In The Druid, an adventuresome woman meets an Immortal hero from the pages of a book—bigger than life and twice as Elvish. It’s a modern take on Nordic mythology, and I’m pretty excited about it!

Awesome, Suzanne. Thanks so much for stopping by the blog and letting us know about your work.

Readers, starting December 7th, jump on over to Musa Publishing (publisher of my newest book THE GIRL WHO REMEMBERED HORSES) and look for Suzanne's (S.G.Rogers) free short story called Apocrypha. And look for the other Free Reads they are offering also, as a way of saying Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!

And to learn more about S.G. Rogers, check out her website:
Thanks again, Suzanne. It's always nice to get to know new authors, and best of luck on your publishing career!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Stories All Around Us

I've been a Bad Blogger. I haven't written a new post in 11 days, oh no! But I've been traveling, visiting, Thanksgivinging (I made that word up) and helping a loved one move. But the entire time I've been working on a new novel by Story Sparking. (I just made that phrase up, too, and writers will know what I mean.)

There are Sparks, or Story Ideas, Everywhere! Here are a few - based on real events - that I've tucked away in my brain for possible future use in a novel (all names and places to be changed to a fictitious version of course.)

  • Driving a rental truck across several states and narrowly avoiding a several car pile-up in the fog. Or having the truck (with all your worldly possessions) break down on a narrow stretch of mountain pass (oh, and let's have a snow storm, shall we?) and waiting for hours until another truck becomes available, only to have to move everything from the old truck to the new one. But then you accidentally drop the cat carrier and the hinge breaks and the door springs open and out flies your cat . . .
  • Arriving in your new location, and the movers you have lined up to help you unload boxes are the shiftiest looking people you have ever seen, and you are alone. Or wait, maybe it's the hunkiest, most handsome guy you've ever seen and he questions you about your life, and you tell him, but finally you are alone in a new apartment in a new town, a new state, with everything that constitutes your entire life stacked in boxes around you and it's just too much, too much - and you begin to sob but you can't find any Kleenex, or toilet paper, and your cat begins to howl because it wants out of the cage which is now wired shut, and the neighbor opens his door to greet you, and . . .
  • Okay, I ran a little long on that last one. How about you are in the airport flying (home after Thanksgiving, moving, starting a new job, whatever) and you meet a young man waiting at the gate with you, for the same flight, and he confides that he's just ridden the bus three days from Alabama, and now he's flying to the Northwest for a job and it's the first time he's ever flown on an airplane, and he's a little nervous. So you comfort him, and ask about his life, and he tells you he's making a new start, a better life for his daughters. How old? you ask. They're six, he relates. Oh, twins? you ask (a natural question.) Nah, he says, flashing white teeth in a huge grin, and you really, really want to ask more, but decide to leave it at that.
See what I mean? Stories all around us.

Now must begin Writing . . .

Saturday, November 19, 2011

First Snow

I decided this morning that I've lived in the north country long enough. Normally I delight in the first snowfall of the year, get out the camera and take pictures of the lovely snow-laden branches and crisp frosty air, crunch through the new-fallen snow in awe of its beauty.

This morning, I woke up and said "oh, it snowed. It's going to be a long winter." Then I laced up my insulated rubber boots, discovered there was a rip in the outer covering which means I need new ones, padded over the cold garage floor to find duct tape, and proceeded to patch them together so my feet wouldn't get wet and frost-bitten. After pulling on several layers of clothes, an orange Carhart fleece cap (it's still hunting season,) scarf and mittens, I trudged out to feed animals and take the dogs for a short romp.

At least Penny, eleven months old, thought the snow was pretty fun. Here she is pointing at mice or some other suspected "prey" in the grass.

For my part, I'm dreaming of warmer climates. But at least winter gives me plenty of time to curl up by the fireplace and read, which is one of my favorite things to do in life. And write.

Just a short reminder that a giveaway of two copies of my brand new ebook, THE GIRL WHO REMEMBERED HORSES, is going on over at Equestrian Ink. Here's the link if you haven't entered: and the contest runs through the end of November, 2011.

Do you like winter?
Or do you groan and whine, like me, and dream of summer?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Book Club News!

Our New Book Club (hmm, we don't have a name yet, maybe we should remedy that) is off the ground and running. We had our third meeting this week with eight members and a lively discussion.

So far we have few rules, and are managing to pick books by consensus. Usually someone has read one and recommends it, but occasionally we pick a new release that no one has read, but we've agreed that they sound awesome. And we're managing a mix of heavy topics interspersed with lighter fare.

Here's what we've picked to read for the next few months:

Sarah's Key, by Tatiana De Rosnay

The Last Time I Was Me, by Cathy Lamb

The Lost Wife, by Alyson Richman

The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern

My Life in France, by Julia Child

Second Glance, by Jodi Picoult

Secret Daughter, by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Are any of these titles on your reading list?

Already read some of them? Let us know what you thought!

Feel free to jump in with a comment!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A New Book - Finally!

Gosh - folks - getting this brand new book out was like birthing a ten pound baby in a short but furious labor. Releasing an ebook is a different critter than releasing a paper book.

Why? Well for one thing, releasing a hardback book often takes up to two years, at which time the UPS man delivers a box of books to your door, which you open lovingly, take one from the top of the stack, inhale the wonderful new book smell and then begin to gingerly turn the pages, all the while thinking "Mine. I WROTE this."

No, publishing an ebook with a brand new publishing house, whose staff is keeping round-the-clock hours, means it's possible to sign a contract just over two months ago, go through two rounds of edits with a head editor, be working on copy edits, acknowledgment pages, and an author bio right up almost until the release date itself, with your stomach in knots hoping everything is finally, actually correct. Then looking at your pages in a PDF document on your computer, formatted in book form, with a beautiful cover with wild horses galloping across it, thinking - Wow, this looks (and reads) pretty darn good!

Then, on Release Day (yesterday) looking on the Musa Publishing/ Euterpe Imprint site and seeing a picture of your book cover and it now says "Featured Book." And then seeing that it's actually up on Amazon, too. (It will be on the Barnes and Noble site soon, also.)

If you want to know the actual length of time it took for THE GIRL WHO REMEMBERED HORSES to go from glimmer in this author's brain cells to published, you can read its journey on fellow Musa author Sharon Ledwith's blog:

If you want to know some of the reasons I'm glad it's coming out as an ebook, read Euterpe's blog post right here:

THE GIRL WHO REMEMBERED HORSES is now available in all electronic formats PDF, ePUB, Mobi, PRC. It's a great book for Horse Lovers of all ages - from 9 to 99. (My 86-year-old mother is reading it in PDF form on a laptop.) So Go! Buy it! (It's only $4.99) And be sure and let me know what you think!

Right now I'm going to go take a well-deserved Nap. Birthing this book was Exhausting!

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Family of Eagles

Returning from a walk yesterday and preparing to do farm chores, I heard an animal sound I didn't recognize, and looked all around for it. It was a chittering, talking sound.

Squirrel? No.

Redtail Hawk? No - they have a distinct Kee-Kee call.

With some hidden instinct, I looked straight above me and soaring high overhead I saw this:

Bald Eagles!

Actually, there were five total - two with the distinct white head and tail, and three smaller ones in a dark color, which I can only assume were juveniles.

Do they have a nest nearby? We live on a long ridge between two branches of a river, and hopefully there are enough fish in the river to support these eagles. I see them occasionally (maybe several times a year) around here, but have never seen what I believe to be a family of eagles in these parts.

It was definitely my thrill for the day.

Have you ever seen a Bald Eagle? Or a family of them?
Are they common where you live?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Girl Who Remembered Horses in less than 2 weeks!

I've been waiting to show you my cover art for THE GIRL WHO REMEMBERED HORSES until the book was actually up on the Musa Publishing website, as part of their YA imprint.

Musa's Euterpe YA imprint just opened, so *ta da - drum roll please* here it is:

In a world that has forgotten the ancient bond between horses and humans, can one girl’s dreams make people remember?

Several generations into the future, Sahara travels with her clan in a barren environment where recyclables are bartered for sustenance, and few remember horses or their connection to humans. But Sahara has recurring visions of riding astride on magnificent animals that run like the wind.

With the help of Evan, a young herder from the Gardener's Camp, Sahara discovers a crumbling book containing pictures of humans riding horses and learns her visions are real. Confronting a group of hunters led by hot-headed Dojo, Sahara rescues a wounded horse, but the animal escapes before it can be tamed.

Sahara is labeled a foolish dreamer and almost gives up her quest. Following horse tracks into a remote ravine, she finds wild dogs attacking a dying mare, and must drive them off in order to save the foal. Now she must attempt to raise the young animal, finally convince her clan of the ancient bond between horses and humans, and learn the secret of her true identity.

THE GIRL WHO REMEMBERED HORSES is available for pre-purchase right now for $4.99, with an actual release date of November 4, 2011. It will be available in all digital formats, including PDF, ePUB, MOBI, PRC, so you can read it on any digital device including your home computer. Here's the link: where you can read an excerpt, and check out the other great offerings from Euterpe and Musa Publishing.

For more, you can:

"Like" THE GIRL WHO REMEMBERED HORSES on its Facebook Page


If you are a blogger/reviewer and you'd like to read and review a copy of THE GIRL WHO REMEMBERED HORSES, please contact me: linda (at)

Can you tell I'm a little excited?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Bambi Effect

We live surrounded by woods, and I always have a hard time when hunting season begins. Yesterday was opening day for rifle season on deer.

Besides the fact that I am afraid to venture far into the woods during this time, even bedecked in orange, I always have the mad urge to race through the forest shouting "Run, Bambi, Run!"

Or, better yet, "Hide, Bambi, Hide."

Did watching the Disney movie at an impressionable age help me develop a soft spot for animals? Do books and movies about kindness make an impression on children?

I like to think so. I can't see a deer in the wild without imagining this:

Does reading a book like Black Beauty help a child understand horses, and life from an animal's point of view?

What do you think?

Can children develop kindness and feelings toward animals through the influence of movies and books?

What book or movie made an impression on you as a child?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Case for the Late Tomato

Last year was the summer of the green tomato, but this year our tomatoes did even worse. After an extremely short warm season, with few days over 80 degrees, fall arrived with a rainy vengeance in the northwest.

Our tomatoes were still mostly green on the vine, and we covered them with a blue tarp for a day during the heaviest rains, so they wouldn't split and mold.

When we uncovered them, we realized that our warm days had passed, and we had no hope of any more red-ripe tomatoes this year.

But wait! My enterprising husband pulled the best ones from the ground, and hung them upside-down in the barn.

Look at those amazing plants trying to ripen their fruit! Anything that shows a little color gets taken into the kitchen to ripen fully, and they taste great!

As the days grow colder and winter looms - I say "Yay for Late Tomatoes!"

Did you get tomatoes from your garden this year?

Ever tried this method to keep your tomatoes going?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Movie Date with My Mom

I finally saw THE HELP last night. It was easily the Best Book I read last year, and now easily the Best Movie I've seen this year.

It was a great movie to see with my mom. Not only had we both read the book (and loved it) but there were two memorable mother/daughter relationships in this movie.

It's a movie for everyone, though, and you will alternately laugh, cry, and cheer. If you don't, well hey, you must not be human.

So if you haven't yet - go Read the Book. See the Movie. Trust me on this one.

Have you seen it yet? What was your impression?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Sometimes beauty is where you find it . . .

Common Tansy on wind-fallen Alder surrounded by Big Leaf Maple.

maybe right outside your back door . . . if you just look.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Happy Launch Day, Musa!

Today I'm helping to celebrate the opening day of a brand new publisher, Musa Publishing.

They will publish my new YA novel, THE GIRL WHO REMEMBERED HORSES on November 4, 2011.

Stop by their site:
or their blog:
where they are giving away prizes all week - Books! Swag!

If you don't see my name or my book on the site, it's because it will be released by their new YA imprint called Euterpe, which will be up and running very soon.

Why did I take a chance with a brand new publisher on a book that's been six years in the making?

Well, that's another blog post and story altogether, but suffice it say that right off the bat I was impressed with this company. It seemed to be run by a handful of smart, savvy publishing women with drive and business acumen. And what author wouldn't be impressed by a company that shares its contract and royalty structure right on their website for anyone to see?

Here's an interview with Editorial Director Celina Summers, which will give you an idea of the direction the company is heading:

As for me, I'm obviously very excited, too. THE GIRL WHO REMEMBERED HORSES will come out first as an e-book (start your Kindles, Nooks, iPads, and various e-readers!) and hopefully soon after in paper. And I can't wait to share this story with you!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Yellow-Jacket Trail

If you've read any of my books, you've soon met an animal, a pet, or a trail through the woods. Maybe that's because it's where I do some of my best thinking, and every trail I've ever followed stays with me.

When I was younger I spent a lot of time in the mountains at my grandparent's cabin. We had a trail on the sidehill behind the house filled with madrone and redwoods. One of these big redwoods, possibly scarred from fire, had a huge opening near the base. A wild cat had given birth there one time, so my brothers and I named the trail "the Kitty Cat Trail." That trail, and the story about that tree, inspired one of the events in my first book FINDING CHANCE.

There are lush woods and fern-filled trails right out our back fence where we live now, too. Here is the end of our "Upper Loop Trail," coming home with the dogs this morning:

And we have a narrow short-cut trail that we often take leading over to our neighbor's logging road. It was a convenient cut-off, until suddenly I was stung on the hand by a yellow-jacket as I went through. Ouch! My hand swelled up, hurt like %$#! for a couple of days and then itched for two weeks!

Sure enough, the nasty pests have a huge hole in the ground right where we walk, and until they go dormant in the winter, I'm not traveling that way anymore.

But of course that led to a name, and so forevermore, this path has now been dubbed "The Yellow-Jacket Trail":

What brings you inspiration in your daily life?

Do you have favorite trails? Do you name them?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Waiting on Cover Art

I'm on total pins and needles waiting to see the cover art for The Girl Who Remembered Horses.

Musa Publishing is a brand new publisher that launches next week, October 1, 2011, and I love that they have asked for suggestions. So because this book is an exciting adventure story about horses, I sent them lots of pictures of wild horses running, like this:

And this:

Of course there might also be a picture of Sahara, the main character in the novel, the girl who dreams of magnificent creatures that run like the wind - at a time in the future when no one remembers horses.

Will Sahara be on the cover? I don't know. I don't know. I can hardly wait to see, and can hardly wait to show you!

Meanwhile, hop on over and check out Musa Publishing. They are accepting submissions, and their Euterpe YA imprint is also looking for middle grade and young adult manuscripts.

The Girl Who Remembered Horses will release on November 11, 2011 and I should see my cover art soon. Don't worry! I'll post it here as soon as I can! *shiverswithanticipation*

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Snowman: The Eighty-Dollar Champion

When I'm not writing books, I'm reading them. And I adore books about horses. Here's one that I just finished. It's currently on the New York Times Best Seller list, and it's fantastic.

I just wrote a review over on Equestrian Ink and you can jump over there and read it, but Snowman is a true story of a horse saved just in the nick of time from slaughter, who went on to become a champion jumper. Unbelievable story and highly recommended!

If you want to see what else I've been reading lately, here's my Goodreads page:

And if you want the latest information on my soon-to-be released book, The Girl Who Remembered Horses, here's the facebook page:

Are you a writer? Or a reader? Both?
What have you been working on or reading lately?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

And Suddenly It's Fall . . .

Summer was brief here in the Pacific Northwest. We had rain and gloom through July, a few nice days in August, then just as the kids went back to school in September, we finally put together a string of lovely warm days in the high 80's.

But now I look outside and realize that Fall has arrived. Days are still pleasant but cloudy, the trees are turning color, and it won't be long before the cold rainy season is upon us.                                                    But somehow I don't mind.

I've got lots of new writing projects in front of me, and I'm eager to dive in.

I'm working on edits for my brand new YA novel  THE GIRL WHO REMEMBERED HORSES coming out in November 2011 (in less than 2 months) from Musa Publishing in their brand new Young Adult imprint called Euterpe. I can hardly wait to see cover art, which I will share with you as soon as I can!

I'm polishing up two more manuscripts and getting them ready for submission.

And in between all this, I'm working on my newest YA novel in verse. And when I say working, I mean I am several thousand words into it, my mind is churning, and my character is frantically telling me her story while I make notes so she doesn't get lost in the shuffle.

So you can see why I'm almost looking forward to the rainy season. Time to stay inside and WRITE!

Which season is your favorite?
Are you sad to see Summer go?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Picking a Book Club Book

Our New Book Club meets tonight for the first time. I'm excited! We've all been asked to bring at least one recommendation for a book to read, and in some fashion we will all decide what to read as a group.

Everyone is all in a tizzy. What to choose? How to pick? What is a "Book Club" book anyway?

Is it one of those you see with the ready-made questions printed in the back?
One that's been on Oprah's list? Or from some other Book Club list, like Goodreads?

For me, I think any book might work, as long as it is well-written and invites discussion afterward. A book that you savor, that you can't stop thinking about - a book that actually makes you think.

I'm still working out what I'm going to suggest. There are two books about animals that I really want to read. They are:

The Eighty-Dollar Champion: Snowman, the Horse That Inspired a Nation

Friday, September 2, 2011

Laptop Desk, the Coolest Thing since Sliced Bread

Okay, writers - and all you other people who spend hours a day working and/or playing on your computer - I know your back hurts! Why? Because you sit in a chair all day. Or if not in a chair, you sit on a couch, or a bed, all hunched over with your computer in your lap.

Go on. Admit it. You know it's true! And your back hurts, right?

I know that mine does. I do stretches and use an ice pack to keep the pain away, but since I spend long hours in front of the computer, the back pain seems like it's always there.

I kept thinking and dreaming and imagining some little desk where I could sit upright, in my comfiest chair, and still work on my lap top. I searched online and found such a thing, but it was a little spendy for my budget. But I kept dreaming - could a person rig up such a device?

Imagine my delight when my husband walked in one day (yes he's a keeper, girls) with this one and promptly put it together for me. He found it at a Fred Meyer store (they have numerous locations in the Northwest) for a measly (sale price) of $29.95. Best Thirty Dollars ever spent.

Now I can move this desk to whatever chair or couch I want (it comes with wheels also,) adjust the height, adjust the pillows behind me and sit upright while still being comfy and in a better position for my back.

Just wanted to share my find.

I hope you can find one like it near you!

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Girl Who Remembered Horses

I am thrilled to announce that my novel THE GIRL WHO REMEMBERED HORSES was just accepted for publication by Musa Publishing for their brand new YA imprint.

Publication date is scheduled for November 11th, 2011 as an e-book, with paper book some time in the future.

Of all the novels I've written, this one is probably dearest to my heart. It was inspired by a college research project on women and their obsession with horses, as well as the changing status of horses today as we become a more urban society.

THE GIRL WHO REMEMBERED HORSES is set in the future, in a time when almost no one remembers horses or their connection to humans. But one girl has recurring dreams of riding astride on magnificent beasts that run like the wind. Labeled a foolish dreamer, can she possibly convince her clan of the ancient bond between horses and humans before the horses are slaughtered for meat?

I'll be working soon on edits, and I'll keep you posted when I get cover art, but I am really excited for all of you to read this book. Hope you love it as much as I do!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Old Dog, New Dog

You may remember earlier this summer we added a new black pup to our collection of animals. Part border collie/australian shepherd/or lab, Penny's heritage is anybody's guess. Her energy level is off-the-charts, and we are still working on a few things in the behavior department, but so far she knows how to sit, stay, come and she is learning heel and down. She is turning into a good dog, a great walking partner, and mostly a good companion for our older dog, Homer, who seemed a little depressed and lonely in his golden years.

But not anymore. Now he has someone to wrestle with -

Tussle with -

play tug-of-war with -

play "my stick, my stick" with -

play tug-of-war even MORE fiercely

And just generally hang out with.

Homer looks happy with his new buddy, don't you think?

Have you successfully added another young (or new) dog to your menagerie?
How has is worked out for you?

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Book Club!

I'm excited. I'm starting a Book Club! I love to read, and I want to meet more people that like to read, so I'm starting an actual physical meet-in-someone's house book club!

We are starting small, with just a few members, and we're going to make up the rules so they fit us. But I have a few questions, and if anyone has been part of a book club, feel free to chime in and help us out!

  • What's the best way to pick books to read and share? Should we pick a book that a member has read and recommended - or choose one that no one has read yet? Should we vote on what we'd like to read, or should everyone get a chance to choose a book? Should we make a list ahead of time, say three-six months in advance, or decide each month what the next book shall be?
  • What is a good number for the group? So far, we are starting with 3-4, but I'm sure that number will grow as people hear about us, and some will drop in and out, show up or not. Should we try for 8, or 10, or 12 people?
  • How should we decide what to talk about? Does everyone bring one question they'd like to discuss? Or should the person who chooses the book develop a list of questions to discuss?
  • Is it important to keep everyone on track, and talking about The Book? Or is veering off into other discussions part of the fun of the group?
I have never been part of a Book Club before, and I don't know how it's going to go, but I can hardly wait!

Have you been part of a Book Club?
If you have any helpful hints or ideas, feel free to share them in the comments.
I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Bucket List

I was walking with my friend a couple days ago, and she asked me "What's on your Bucket List of things to do?

When you are young, the entire world is on your bucket list, because it's all there to be explored, enjoyed and learned about. But as you get older - you start sorting out things in your head that are still actually Do-able.

When I was younger, I always wanted to ride (horseback) the entire Pacific Crest trail from Mexico to Canada. Alas, it didn't happen, and at one point it started sounding like way more than I wanted to tackle, and I fondly crossed it off my list.

But what about now?

Well - off the top of my head, when my friend asked me, here's what I answered:

  • Meet the great race mare Zenyatta in person. Right now, she is carrying her first foal, so I'm sure public access will be limited. But maybe someday when she is older there will be a place where her fans and loving admirers can actually meet her and kiss her sweet nose. I hope I can be one of them.
  • Attend the Kentucky Derby. I always watch this on television, where I get a very good view, and I'm sure it's a logistical and traffic nightmare to actually go in person, but still - just to say I've been there - yeah, I'd like to do that.
  • And after coming home and thinking about this some more, I'd like to make a trip to Ohio someday and visit the grave of my great-great grandfather, who died from wounds suffered at Gettysburg where he fought for the Union. He was a prolific writer (hmm, runs in the genes?) and we have many actual letters describing his experiences.
So that is my Bucket List. What's on yours??

Thursday, August 4, 2011

How Walking in the Woods is like Writing a Manuscript

Sometimes Starting a New Manuscript is like taking a Walk in the Woods. You find a new path that looks interesting, and you boldly begin.

But before too long, you find your self trapped in dense plot problems which you didn't anticipate,

so you take some time and think things over.

After you get a better perspective on your situation, you decide to have a little faith in yourself and just press on through, even if it means going blindly on, trusting the process, and forging your way through the undergrowth.

And when you get to the muddy middle, you wonder if you will ever find your way home, or if you should just give up on the whole idea entirely . . .

But because you have courage, and heart, you keep going that extra mile, even though the way is challenging and finally . . .

with any luck, you spot it. The way out of the forest. The path to the finish. The trail that leads you home.

And at this point you are very proud, because you did not give up, you found your way through the forest of your wildest doubts, the plot tangles in the middle of your manuscript, and you are indeed, Almost Home.

Good luck to all of you starting a new trail, muddling through the middle, or forging your way to the end - with thanks to my models: good dogs and pathfinders Homer and Penny.