In honor of the First Saturday in May and the Run for the Roses, I’m having a sale — on eBooks!
My Heroines on Horseback Historical Romance novels all feature unique characters — both male and female — who draw strength from their horsemanship. I’m immensely fond of these stories.
The historical romance field is very crowded, and they haven’t seen many reviews, but take a look at some of the nice things that have been said about the Heroines on Horseback:
The book was just as well written as one of the leading lights of the Traditional Regency Romance genre.
If you are looking for a regency with a Heroine with some spunk this is the one for you! Probably my favorite of the 200+ I’ve read this year. Funny and lively.
Not too shabby, right?
I have a thing for historical romances — I started reading them when I was in middle school, and for escapism, it doesn’t get much better. Gowns, chivalry, ancestral manor houses and crumbling castles… and of course, there are always horses.
I fell very hard for the Regency period, especially as I grew older and I discovered actual historical writers such as Jane Austen and William Thackeray. I love the rich language and the dry wit of the early nineteenth century, and in the two Regency-era titles, Miss Spencer Rides Astride and The Honorable Nobody, I worked very hard to create dialogue that was true to the period. Add in rich settings from the Irish countryside to the Dakota prairies, some fine horses, and a few complicated relationships, and you have yourself a story!
Miss Spencer Rides Astride, The Genuine Lady, and The Honorable Nobody are all available as eBooks at Barnes & Noble.com and Amazon.com. I do hope you enjoy them!
Watching bridleless riding is always breathtaking to me. The sight of a horse who is working so diligently in tandem with his rider; a horse who is not being manipulated in any way, shape, or form through pain, leverage, or threat (imagined or real) never fails to bring tears to my eyes.
What can I say, horses make me cry.
I stumbled upon this video of David and Karen O’Connor riding bridleless, apparently at a Pat Parelli clinic some years ago, and was instantly moved. And not just because I have a thing for smooth jazz.
(But I totally do!)
I have my own opinions of clinicians who patent gadgetry to sell to the masses, but there is no denying the horsemanship of the O’Connors.
As I wrap a few final edits on my eventing novel, Ambition, I’ll be thinking about the beauty and partnership I see between the O’Connors and their horses.
Spring was a long time coming this year, especially considering the epic snowfall and deep freeze we had to deal with. As a Floridian, naturally, I have not been amused.
It’s still cold somehow — how is it almost May and it’s still cold? — but the trees finally sighed and gave in, making for some beautiful bursts of color in an otherwise concrete-gray world.
Pink, blue, and white: what seems like rare sunlight here.
The grass has barely started to grow back in after its winter under snowpack and ice, and the non-flowering trees, the sycamores and the London Planes and the pin-oaks and the like, are steadfastly refusing to turn green. But the cherry, pear, and another broad-petaled pink flower (apparently it’s a form of magnolia?) are exuberant, toasting this just-above-freezing weather we are expected to call spring.
Ft. Hamilton High School’s majestic lines softened by cherry blossoms.
More typical gray skies, with a pear tree making an attempt at flowering.
The flowers were actually out well before the trees. First, of course, came the crocuses. These little fellows were springing from the tree-pit of a very uninterested linden tree above it. They were followed by the more ostentatious daffodils and tulips and hyacinths. When I was a little girl I loved all three of those flowers. Now I’m not so interested in them. But a snowdrop is always a delight.
The snowdrops were the first to give in to spring.
It can’t help but lift one’s spirits, even while one snuggles deeper into one’s winter coat. I think there is at least a possibility that we will have one or two warm days before September and the whole freezing process starts over again.
A chance, right?
I’ll be under the covers in the meantime. Someone alert The Weather Channel: let me know when it goes above 70 degrees in New York City, okay?
Recently, tragedy struck twice at an event. Two horses died at The Fork, an upper-level event in South Carolina. Conair following an accident on the cross-country course; Powderhound following his show-jumping round.
Immediately after each horses’ death was announced, social media (generally Facebook, although I’m sure Twitter got involved) was abuzz. Mass messages of sympathy were intermingled with questions about how these deaths could have happened. And admittedly, neither was straightforward: Conair reportedly got up and galloped around after his fall; he collapsed and died after a preliminary vet exam. Powderhound collapsed and died after his show-jumping round, narrowly avoiding injuring his rider.
It looked weird. It looked scary. And people had questions.
An urge to twitch back the blinds and make sure their own horses were safe.
As things will do, of course, sympathy and fear divided into factions. Familiar ones, in Eventing: the Long Format vs the Short Format.
Simply put, Short Format Eventing is the current version of the Three Day Event, which does away with the massive endurance requirement once required. It places a greater emphasis on dressage and a more technical cross-country course.
Long Format proponents don’t need much to start talking about Long Format, anyway, so it was only to be expected that this would renew the debate. Questions like: Are the horses still fit enough to compete at high speeds? Are the courses asking the horses questions with solid fences that should only be asked with movable jump poles?
Short Format replies tended to be more succinct: now is not the time to bring this up.
I understand that the Eventing community is close-knit, and that when one horse dies, many horsemen grieve. That’s the way it should be. That’s how communities work.
But here’s what I want to say: it’s okay to ask questions, and it’s going to be done in public, on social media, because that is where people ask questions these days. There isn’t going to be an official period of discreet social media silence. And there shouldn’t be, because in this short-term-memory society, if an incident isn’t discussed within a fairly immediate time period, it won’t be discussed at all. It will be buried by the next story, for better or for worse.
It’s not okay to lay blame, or make assertions without proof, or tout oneself as an expert when one is not, or lay claim to a death as a symbolic martyr of a cause.
But it is okay to ask questions.
Questions, well-worded ones anyway, can lead to conversation amongst people who care about the problem. Conversation amongst people who care about the problem can lead to the answers… sometimes, the answers to questions far removed from the original one.
We should always be asking questions, and exploring the issues that concern us, or hell, scare us. A horse drops dead under a rider — that’s scary. Could it happen to you? Could it happen to me? We need to talk about this. Let’s discuss conditioning techniques. Discuss feeding practices. Share ideas. Share best practices. This, a time of worry and crisis and personal doubt, is when we are most likely to come together and share, instead of hiding away our fears (from shame) and our secrets (with jealousy).
Here’s how I see it: analyzing our own practices is good.
Coming together and sharing ideas is good.
Sometimes it takes a tragic event to start conversations about our own lives.
This argument has absolutely zero to do with making assumptions about the deaths of Conair and Powderhound. It has nothing to do with changing Short Format to Long Format. It’s not a statement about whether the comments section of an article announcing a tragedy is the right place to question the cause. It’s simply about the power crisis holds, that it can inspire us to examine our own practices and to talk more frankly with one another about our thoughts and fears.