Horse Sluts & Candace Wade

Posted on Updated on

When you see a book titled, “Horse Sluts”, your ears immediately perk up – especially when you’re from the South! Candace Wade is a tenacious writer, an enthusiastic rider, a fun loving and energetic gal that I think you’ll thoroughly enjoy getting to know.

Capture+_2018-07-06-16-54-21-1

 

Tell us what a typical day in your life is like:

My brain jangles with “What shall I write and where can I sell it?” If I have an assignment, it’s “How can I give them what they want and still sound like me?”  I’m a joyous and dedicated recreational rider – in my 60’s – with a high insurance deductable, so exercise is vital.  Riding-targeted exercise helps keep my body “riding ready.” Exercise focuses my brain. My daily trek to the gym is as “no excuses” as brushing my teeth.

 

I start writing by 9:30 a.m. This is my job. Discipline and organization is vital for me – much like the equestrian arts, right?  3:00 is quittin’ time. Brain fried — bum numb — the dog needs to walk, etc., etc., etc.

 

RSCN0806
Ex-Odysseo horse – my lesson horse, Quiebro – Spanish

How did you get started with horses?

The intro to my book Horse Sluts reveals that answer.  Okra is not a fair trade for abandoning orgasmic fresh croissants and authentic Chinese and Mexican food of San Francisco. I felt learning to ride would be a more regionally enriching pastime than swilling sweet tea given the massive life change of moving to Middle Tennessee.

Tell us about your horses and why you chose each of them:

I don’t own – I rent/take lessons.  I help other people pay their feed bills.  I’ll ride any horse that is sane and willing to put up with me. 

 

get that ball
Beginning polo lesson — Franklin Polo Academy

 

What impact have horses made on you as a writer?

Got an hour?  Discipline, health, sanity, of course.  But, the “are you kidding me” saga of learning to ride as an adult led to the book, Horse SlutsHorse Sluts was an entrée to magazine articles and the Equus Film Festival NYC.  A woman at the festival championed me as a candidate to write what turned out to be a series on the rescue and rehab of an ex-big lick Tennessee Walking Horse show horse. Theo, of “Saving Theo,” has been my inspiration, my teacher, my sacred duty, my beautiful boy. His story won me a WINNIE Award for writing at the EFF NYC. And, so it goes.

What made you want to be a writer?

(Shrug.)  Seemed like something I could do. I’m not an, “I always wanted to be a writer” or “It’s my passion.”  I do crave the constant honing of craft, the editing for quality, the limitless education.  To me, quality writing is vital for effective communication.  It is a duty.  Bad writing is an affront.

 

Candace and Theo 2
Candace and Theo — picture courtesy of Ilona Gerou Lovely boy — TWH

 

What would you consider your biggest milestones so far as a rider and as a writer?

I did not give up last year when barn after barn, my riding resources closed down. After a series of sorrowful not-the-right-fit tries, I found riding nirvana. My instructor is taking me past the “adult rider” fears.  I am eager to learn to jump, to canter bare back, whatever she offers to me. I know I have improved and am thrilled to keep going.  As a writer, besides being entrusted with Theo?  Hmmm, I would say being willing to walk away from a $1000 article fee when too many of the “suggested” edits were stripping my voice from the piece – and I knew that the suggestions were pedestrian.  I was satisfied with the compromise in the end – and – cashed my check.

What is your latest writing project and what is the inspiration behind it?

Kudzu, a “fortified” non-fiction account of our new life in TN after 45 years of being forged (like steel) by liberal, diverse, environmentally dedicated, animal rights conscious California.

If you had to give one piece of advice to a beginning rider what would that be?

After finding a trainer who instructs in the way you process information?  Relax. Feel that you are the two extra legs in a six legged animal. Don’t watch cowboy movies – that’s not equitation.

What are some of your goals for the next year?

A story in the New York Times magazine.  A first draft of Kudzu that doesn’t make me cringe and scout for a job at Home Depot.  Jump a two foot oxer. Canter bare back without it being a monumental feat. Help get the PAST Act enacted.

For the writers out there who want to take their writing to the next level, what advice would you give them?

Read quality writing. Write, write, write.  Cut, cut, cut. Walk around inside your story. Get out of the way — too much voice is distracting.  If you have heard a phase used, don’t use it.

Any additional parting words of wisdom?

Rejoice the small successes. Rejoice at the journey.  The destination is just another destination.

Keep up with Candace…

Candace Wade

Los Angeles to San Francisco to Franklin, TN (since 1999)

www.candacewade.com

Horse Sluts – Facebook

Horse Sluts – The Saga of Two Women on the Trail of Their Yeehaw.  Amazon

 

Advertisements

THE GRULLA Film Script…

Posted on Updated on

THE GRULLA film script is an adaptation of my book, Lost Betrayal…..

 img_20180515_1822241735683902.jpg

 

LOGLINE FOR THE GRULLA –

A determined cowgirl enlists the help of a former bull fighter and drug addict in the search for her horse that is still mysteriously missing after a tornado destroys her ranch.

In 2014, my first book Lost Betrayal was released by Solstice Publishing. The tale of the lost horse, Houston was marketed as western romance – there is a good bit of romance between Sage and Garrett throughout the whole story – the truth is that this is a much bigger tale than a traditional romance. Considering the heart wrenching real life inspiration behind the story,that really doesn’t come as a big surprise.

IMG_20180511_125343_049.jpg

I originally got the story idea for Lost Betrayal years ago when I was involved in shipping some vet supplies for large animals that were victims of hurricane Floyd in 1999 on the east coast. There was an aged stallion that had been rescued after a week in flood waters only to become blind from a reaction to a medication. That’s when I found out that large animals are often the last to be rescued, and the last to receive much needed veterinary supplies and food.

For years I worked on the story that at that time had no name. It haunted me and never would leave. Then in the spring of 2013, I was at the Fort Smith Barrel Futurity competing for the week when a large string of tornadoes hit Moore, Oklahoma just a few hours west.

At one point we were under a tornado warning there at the futurity grounds and were ushered into the main conference building while the storm raged just outside where our horses were stalled. Fortunately, we missed the bullet but let me tell you, for an east Tennessee gal that was scary!

We watched the news following the storm and saw the deadly destruction of homes and farms. The tornadoes had hit several large horse farms and there were massive piles of dead horses that had been killed by the storm.

We also heard reports of horses that were severely injured and missing, and horses that still needed rescuing. In fact, there was one horse that was missing that originally came from a family I knew very well in east Tennessee.

For some reason, the devastation felt closer, my heart ached for everyone that was impacted and it gave me the final push I needed to finish the story that had seeped into my bones a decade earlier.

Here’s the film synopsis for THE GRULLA…

 THE GRULLA is the story of Sage Witherspoon who loses her best horse in a devastating tornado and the journeys they both take to eventually bring them back together. In the end Sage finds hope, and true love in the arms of Garrett Wade.

Already a reluctant and bitter widow in her mid- thirties, Sage is just getting her life back together when a tornado touches down destroying everything in its path including her family ranch in northern Georgia and the very horse that the ranch’s future hinges on. Refusing to believe her horse was killed in the storm and refusing to give up on the ranch, Sage begins the journey of rebuilding her life once again and searching for the horse that to her holds the past, and her future.

Houston is an odd name for a horse but he is named after Sage’s father who died not quite two years ago. The grulla colored horse garnered the name as Sage’s father said he’d never amount to anything even though the horse was the culmination of years of what he had tried to achieve in his breeding program. In that sense, the young stallion ironically represents her father’s dreams and one last chance to prove him wrong. With an uncanny athletic ability, the three-year-old stallion also represents Sage’s dreams of finally having a top contender barrel horse to put the ranch on the map.

Garrett Wade is a cowboy in his late thirties trying to forget the sordid past of his younger rodeo days. When he’s asked to help with the tornado rescue efforts, he meets Sage. Unfazed by her constant attempts to convince the world that she can do it all on her own, Garrett sees past all that to the real strength and vulnerability that lies beneath. The next thing he knows, he’s pulled along on a wild horse chase.

Eula Witherspoon, Sage’s mother, came to the ranch when she married Sage’s father and has lived on the Witherspoon Ranch her whole adult life. Although she was raised with horses, Eula wants nothing more than to live a glamorous life in the city. As the years passed, the ranch began to represent everything she couldn’t have in life. When the tornado destroys it all, Eula sees the opportunity to start over but only if she can convince Sage Houston has died and the ranch is done. Eula betrays her very own daughter to finally gain the life she dreams of.

The stage is set when Houston spooks and bolts from Sage into the storm. It’s then that Sage realizes that a tornado is coming their way. Sage runs to the house to warn her mother, and then returns to the barn to release the horses from their stalls before the tornado hits. Sage can’t save the last horse and must take cover in a freezer used for feed as the tornado levels the barn.

The tornado is the largest they have ever seen in that part of the country and the local folks immediately start a search and rescue effort with anyone willing to show up. That’s when Garrett gets a call from his friend, Herman Miller who asks him to come and help as they are overwhelmed the devastation.

The next day as the search efforts continue, Garrett finds Sage who is unconscious among the debris. With a little coaching, he wakes her up only to find his damsel in distress is somewhat rude and can’t remember a thing. It’s only after Sage accidently sees the mangled remains of the last horse she tried to save that she remembers what happened, and that’s when Garrett first sees the softer side of her that draws him in.

In the aftermath, Houston is still missing and injured and has wandered onto the property of a no-good horse trader, Arthur Gilliam. He can’t feed the animals he has and the last thing he needs is another mouth to feed, especially a stallion without papers. Arthur leaves the young horse to die in his pasture. Houston doesn’t die, and Arthur recognizes the brand on the horse’s hip as belonging to the Witherspoon ranch and calls Eula Witherspoon hoping for a reward. Instead she pays him to make the horse disappear.

Sage immediately starts the task of getting her ranch back in order, against her mother’s wishes. Eula tries to convince her daughter to give up, telling her, “You know, all your hopes for this place rested on that young horse and he’s gone now. It might be time to finally think about selling out.” Sage responds by reminding her mother of the last time she sold her out, and telling her she’s not going to sell.

While they’re in this heated discussion at what’s left of the ranch, Garrett shows up to check on Sage and help with clean up. It’s then that they get to know each other a little more, and Garrett offers to help with ongoing fence repairs.

Arthur’s greed gets the best of him as he realizes he can take Eula’s money and sell Houston to farrier and fellow trader, John Cobb. John has two sons, Benn and Jess. John finds out first hand Houston is dangerous. But just like Sage, he sees the young horse’s potential. He warns his two little boys, Ben and Jess, to stay away.

While Houston is getting settled in to his new home, Garrett shows up to work on Sage’s fence. Shortly after he arrives, Sage’s high school boyfriend and insurance agent, Nick stops in to bring bad news. There’s not enough money to completely rebuild, and Nick also attempts to get Sage to sell out but Sage stands her ground. Garrett also poses the question that maybe Nick is interested in more than just Sage’s insurance and wants to rekindle an old flame.

Back in Houston’s world, boys will be boys and they want to impress their father. Jess defies his father’s orders and gets too close to Houston who accidently kicks him in the head and kills him. In his grief, John grabs his gun and lines up Houston in his sights only to be stopped at the last minute by his youngest son Ben.

Garrett and Sage continue making progress on the ranch, and in true cowboy style Garrett surprises Sage with a picnic. It’s then that he asks her out on a date to the nearby horse sale where maybe she can find out if anyone has seen Houston.

Houston’s future drastically changes as John chunks him off at a horse sale and sells him to a pen hooker at the gate which happens to be a rodeo stock contractor, Travis Meyers. Travis wants the big horse for his bucking stock in the bid for the National Finals Rodeo.

Garrett and Sage finally go on their date and kiss for the first time. Both are somewhat taken aback by the fireworks between them, but Sage is over thinking the whole relationship and tells Garrett she wants more than just a fling. Garrett tells her to relax and stop overthinking. He’s not out for a one night stand.

While Garrett is trying to not act like a wayward stud, Travis has his ranch hands Sam and Pete geld Houston. Sam and Pete get Houston caught and hogtied, but in the middle of the removing the horse’s testicles, he kicks almost injuring both men.

Travis’ wife, Pam, also takes a liking to the big gray horse as a barrel prospect and she wants the horse just as bad as Travis. The problem is that Pam’s eyes are bigger than her horsemanship skills. She decides to ride the horse the very next day after gelding so he won’t buck as much but he still launches her into the dirt, head first. It’s then that Travis knows Houston is his ticket to the NFR finals.

Back at the Witherspoon Ranch, the house is almost finished. As Sage is checking out the progress of the house, she thinks she’s alone when suddenly Nick shows up. As he’s attempting to rekindle an old flame with Sage in his arms, Garrett shows up unexpectedly.

Garrett is full of rage and feels like a fool for even thinking he had a chance with Sage. He tries to leave but Sage begs him to stay and tells Nick to leave. The next thing you know, the two are passionately entwined in each other’s arms and almost to the point of no return. Against his nature, Garrett pulls back and tells Sage he doesn’t want to make love to her on a kitchen floor, he wants more than that.

Suddenly Garrett realizes part of the reason that he came to see her in the first place. He’s gotten a lead that Houston has wound up in the hands of Travis. Garrett used to work for Travis years ago. As Sage pushes for information, Garrett must reveal his sordid drug past to her and the fact that he had made a pass at Travis’s wife, which seriously jeopardizes their plans to get Houston back.

Sage and Garrett sneak their way into the rodeo to get a look at the horse they think is Houston. Sure enough, it is Houston but they’re caught by Travis who doesn’t want to give the horse up.

Travis knew someone would be looking for such a nice horse so he did his homework and is a little very happy to share what he’s learned. It’s then that Sage discovers Houston wandered on to Arthur’s property and the reason he was missing for so long was because Arthur had made a deal with her own mother to make him disappear so she’d give up the ranch.

Fortunately, Travis’ wife Pam sees dollar signs and a chance to make a buck. Against Travis’ protests she offers to sell the horse back to Sage for a decent sum of money. Sage doesn’t have the kind of money that Pam is asking but Garrett knows who he was dealing with and has brought the money. He pays the price so Sage can get her horse back.

Once Sage has her horse back home on the ranch, she only has one more hurdle to cross, confront her mother about her betrayal. Sage is too devastated and angry to face her mother and decides to stay with Garrett for a few hours to clear her head and get some rest.

When they arrive at Garrett’s quaint little cabin, the passion heats up and they finally consummate their relationship.

The next day it’s time to face reality again and Sage meets with her mother. When Sage finally confronts Eula, she sees her for who she really is and discovers Eula had arranged to sell to Nick from the very beginning. Sage offers to sell a few acres and release her to live her life.

The story ends with a happy little twist. No one knew that Houston had bred one of the mares that survived the storm. The surprise foal has just as much attitude as his sire.

******

The script is currently being submitted to film managers and agents. Inquiries can be sent to qheventer (at) yahoo.com . Also visit my page on IM Db Pro.

WILD DEADWOOD TALES Anthology

Posted on

Love great western stories and a great cause?

3D cover anthology.jpg

WILD DEADWOOD TALES Anthology

Rodeos and romance, Old West adventure, and even a few ghostly tales. Deadwood’s wild past and exciting present come alive in seventeen original short stories written by USA Today and Amazon bestselling authors to benefit the Western Sports Foundation. Contributing authors: E.E. Elisabeth BurkeZoe BlakePaty Norman JagerTeresa KeeferMegan KellySylvia McDanielAmanda McIntyrePeggy McKenzieAngi MorganNancy NaigleJacqui NelsonTerri OsburnGinger RingMaggie RyanLizbeth SelvigTina Susedik and A.C. Wilson

Proceeds from this limited edition collection go to benefit the Western Sports Foundation, an organization providing critical assistance to athletes competing in Western lifestyle sports. Whether they need help recuperating from an injury or planning for the future, WSF is there for them.

website: http://bit.ly/DeadwoodTales

Here are the links to the book to prerorder at the various retailers. It is available May 1st.

Amazon http://bit.ly/WDTales
universal Link https://www.books2read.com/WDTales

Apple  http://bit.ly/WDTApple

Nook  http://bit.ly/WDTBN

Kobo  http://bit.ly/WDTKobo
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/…/sh…/39739914-wild-deadwood-tales

 

The book will be available in ebook and print May 1st, and you can purchase autographed print copies at the PBR Rodeo in Deadwood, SD on June 8th and 9th.

CASH’S CLAIM

Zoe Blake

She was his…and it was past time he staked his claim.

Jessamine Cooper was determined to stay independent and run her late uncle’s ranch on her own. When she shows up in Deadwood with an ill-advised plan to win the money she needs playing poker, Cash decides it is past time for him to stake his claim.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

UNEXPECTED CALAMITY

E.E. Burke

A friendship that never died.

Calamity Jane is drawn back to Deadwood by a force more powerful than death, and becomes an unexpected savior in the midst of an epidemic.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

SAVING DALLIE

Paty Jager

Everyone deserves a chance.

When a miner tosses his daughter into the pot at a poker game and the winner is a brothel owner, Beau Gentry is determined to keep the young woman out of the man’s hands.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

THE GAMBLER AND THE PREACHER’S DAUGHTER

Teresa Keefer

Can a preacher’s daughter play poker with a gambler and win?

Leticia Chasteen was always getting dragged into situations she didn’t want to be in. Rusty McGraw the gambler was always coming to her rescue. Who will end up with the winning hand?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A RISKY PROPOSAL

Megan Kelly

He loves her. She loves him. A proposal should be good news, right?

Callie Jones never wanted to date a bull rider. Now she’s fallen in love with Rome Anderson, who’s intent on winning the PBR Championship buckle. When he asks her to marry him, she has to decide: Does she break his heart with a no or doom her future with a yes?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

LOVE ACROSS TIME

Sylvia McDaniel

Is it possible to love someone in another time? Are dreams real?

Sadie Mae Miller is hanging up her barrel racing crown and beginning a new life. But when her grandmother asks her to sleep under a new wedding ring quilt with promises of visions of the love of her life, she doesn’t quite believe her. Until she falls asleep. Only problem is, he lived in 1880. Does time separate the lovers?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ONCE UPON A DEADWOOD DREAM

Amanda McIntyre

Sometimes to find your future you must face the past.

Past and present meld together in Deadwood when a woman who discovers true love must fight to escape a deadly twist of fate.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

THE BROTHERHOOD

Peggy McKenzie

Sometimes, love is hiding in the most peculiar places.

Major Lucas Hamilton, widower and father of four boys, insists on the disciplined order of a regimented household. But when a bumbling young woman falls at his feet, will he take a chance on her or send her packing before she burns his house down to the ground.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MAVERICK SEDUCTION

Angi Morgan

Teenage crush or true love. You decide.

Sean Maverick is on a charity auction block until a beautiful woman from his past buys him for the night. Em Stone believed in love at first sight even if she had to lasso and knock Sean off his feet.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

TIMING IS EVERYTHING

Nancy Naigle

Always a bridesmaid, never a bride? Never say never.

Kendra is fine with being a bridesmaid. She hung up her wedding hopes and dreams eight years ago when her cowboy chose the rodeo over her, but when these two cross paths in Deadwood it looks like the timing just might be right for a reconciliation.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

RESCUING RAVEN

Jacqui Nelson

In a gold rush storm, can an unlikely pair rescue each other?

Raven wants to save one person. Charlie wants to save the world. Their warring nations thrust them together but duty pulled them apart—until their paths crossed again in Deadwood for a fight for love.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AFTER THE FALL

Terri Osburn

When it comes to love, sometimes falling is the easy part.

Aspyn Fielding blames Tucker Stargill for not talking her brother, Colt, out of riding bulls. When Colt is gravely injured during a ride, Aspyn is hopeful Tucker will finally see things her way, but Aspyn is the one who has a change of heart.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BEST RESULTS

Ginger Ring

Finding the perfect results from one simple test.

Orphaned at a young age, both Adam and River yearn to find a living relative from either of their families. After finally deciding to put down roots in Deadwood, a simple DNA test brings a result that is more than they ever expected.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A GIFT OF GOLD

Maggie Ryan

There may be gold in the Black Hills, but Bennett had his eyes on a far more valuable prize.

Not one to be deterred by the dictates of society, Lorelai Samuels had a dream to open a restaurant in the bustling new town of Deadwood and no one was going to stand in her way, especially not the infuriatingly handsome and stubborn Bennett Redding.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GOTTA HAVE FAITH

Lizbeth Selvig

Win or lose, she’s about to take on the big boys.

Faith “Rabbit” Redmond forms an extreme plan at the Deadwood rodeo to convince a champion bull rider that women can excel at the dangerous sport. If she wins his respect, she might also win his love. .

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

THE SCHOOL MARM

Tina Susedik

Can a schoolmarm with dreams of a better life, fall for a disreputable man?

Suzanna Lindstrom travels as a schoolmarm in fledgling Deadwood. Having left her parents’ struggling farm, she dreams of a better life in Deadwood with a man who’s struck it rich in the gold fields. Fresh off the stagecoach, she meets Kingston Winson, whom she disregards as disreputable. Is he who she thinks he is? What lesson will she learn?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

TRICKS

A.C. Wilson

Tricks inspire courage and new love while daring others to dream.

Pushed to choose a direction for her life, Tandi discovers that some crossroads are necessary. Surprisingly, each marker leads her to an arena of spectators with her talented horse and a handsome guy who gives her hope to do the impossible.

 

Talking With Connie Johnson Hambley

Posted on Updated on

If you love horses and you love a good suspenseful tale, you need to check out Connie Johnson Hambley. Not only did she grow up with horses and is an equine therapy volunteer, Horse Nation has hailed her as one of the most exciting writers of our time. I think you’ll enjoy getting to know this fascinating horse author.

cropped horse in stall (1)

What was it like growing up on a dairy farm in New York? What were some of the horses you rode and what did you do with them? 

In a word? Idyllic because I had the best of both worlds. My small hometown is located within an easy drive to New York City. My family enjoyed outings to The Big Apple to go to museums and plays, but we all heaved a communal sigh of relief to return home. I confess that I was not chore-bound on the farm, so any story of me waking up at the crack of dawn to milk cows is <ahem> fiction.

But, riding and caring for my horses was a different matter. I don’t recall the first time I was on a horse, but I do remember my first fall off one! I was about four when our Tennessee Walker, a bay mare named Abigail, shied and dumped me, knocking me breathless and scaring the heck out of me! Maybe that’s why the horses I chose as I became a better rider were chestnut geldings. Bojangles, a Quarter Horse with a sadly low IQ, was the sweetest guy ever and the best schooling horse for perfecting my English Hunter Seat equitation. Foxfire, the horse I’m pictured with when I was sixteen, was a 16.2 Anglo-Arab with a mind of his own and wings.

The best part of learning to ride when living on a dairy farm was after the lessons were over. I would gallop across the fields as fast as the horses could carry me and jump over streams, walls, trees – anything where the horse and I could be one for the intoxicating moments when we were suspended in air. Bo and Foxy loved the freedom. The emotions I felt during those rides are something I try to bring to life in my books.

CJTeenHorse3

How do you feel growing up on a farm influenced your writing?

I have vivid memories of how certain days felt. I had all of the other angst kids have growing up – friends, cranky teachers, clueless older brother – but I also had wide-open spaces I could retreat to and figure things out. A hellish day in middle school was made better with a good ride – even in the rain. Any animal owner will tell you that critters don’t know your worries. They just care if you treat them well. Throwing my arms around the neck of my horse, inhaling his sweet scent and letting him soak up my sorrows helped me sort through all of the normal stuff of growing up.

Farm life allowed me the luxury of thinking, and horses were my oasis. I value my memories as I know how unique my experience was. It gave me a strong moral centerpoint where I ground all my characters. My main character, Jessica Wyeth, is a world-class equestrian. Even though the outer world she inhabits is foreign to most of my readers, her inner world is familiar and welcoming. She’s likeable and relatable.

Windrush Volunteering Kathy
Volunteering At Windrush Kathy

You volunteer at an equine therapy facility – tell us about that. What is your favorite thing about volunteering there and why?

Since I’m currently a horse-lover without a horse, I get my equine fix through volunteering. The focus of being a horse handler is on safety. The clients I work with have a variety of physical and/or emotional challenges that may make a quick response to a horse’s sudden movement difficult. I’m there to let the riders expand their skills as much as possible, but I’m watching the horse at all times to protect against the unexpected.

I can’t state enough how transformative working with certain clients has been for me. Relationships develop. I feel like I receive more than I give. One client has written her first short stories ever – and she’s 50 years old! I’ve also worked alongside survivors of human trafficking and have been honored to watch these women regain a sense of personal power and control through their interactions with horses.

The inspiration for my short story, Giving Voice, published in WINDWARD: Best New England Crime Stories, (Level Best Books, 2016) came from working with these remarkable women.

Kathy windrush winner
Kathy windrush winner

How long have you been writing, and how did you first get started writing?

I’ve always gravitated to communicating via writing, but I learned how to write in law school. Crafting a persuasive legal brief requires many of the same skills to write a good thriller. Knowing the structure of your story and knowing who your audience is are essential to delivering a tightly woven story to your readers or a judge!

I used my skills when writing articles for Bloomberg BusinessWeek or other periodicals. Whether writing fiction or non-fiction, the beginning process is very similar. There is inhaling research and processing information to find out exactly what you want to say. The first time I allowed myself to exhale fiction instead of a brief or journalism piece, I became an addict. My life changed.

What is your favorite book that you’ve written? Why is it your favorite?

Not fair! You can’t ask a mom who her favorite child is, can you? Well, you can ask, but the clever (book) mom will answer, “I love each in their own special way.”

Okay, that said, it’s time for a true confession. As I write, I am constantly learning. Sometimes I’m just learning more about my characters or my story, but most times I’m learning something about the craft of writing I feel makes me a better author.

I’ve written each book of The Jessica Trilogy to stand on its own merits without the reader needing to read a prior book to understand the current book. I’ve been known to nudge people to read The Troubles first, especially if they like family sagas with dark secrets, but if your readers want to jump into a book with a strong story about therapeutic horsemanship, then The Wake is the place to start. The Wake is also timely because it takes place during the Olympics! (Well, the summer Olympics, but still!)

The Charity - Cover_new.indd

Where did you get the idea behind the books?

The Charity started as a love story, but the worlds surrounding my characters complicated their relationship . . . and that’s an understatement. I live in Boston, where generations of wealth impact politics and society in seen and unseen ways. Money and power drive good people to do bad things and I wanted to create a story where you questioned what characters are good guys?

I didn’t start out thinking I was going to write a trilogy, but each book had one little fuse that, when lit, exploded into another story. The Jessica Trilogy unfolds the story of a woman who uncovers the money behind a Boston-based cell of the Irish Republican Army. Each book encapsulates one distinct stage of her discovery. The Charity shows what happened, The Troubles explores why it happened, and The Wake answers how the characters move forward in a world turned upside down.

The_Troubles_-high-res.jpg

Why do you feel horse people enjoy your books so much?

In a nutshell, I write smart, gripping thrillers with an equine touch that both mainstream readers and horse lovers enjoy. The “horse book” genre can be a mixed bag of young adult, romance, coming of age, or mystery with predictable story lines and simplistic writing. That’s great for many readers, but leaves readers who want a meaty read empty handed. A reviewer in Horse Nation magazine said my trilogy reawakened her to the joy reading a great novel can evoke. (horsenation.com/2017/11/30/book-review-the-wake-final-book-in-the-jessica-trilogy/) I respect my readers’ intelligence and weave layered stories populated with complex characters that culminate in dizzying climaxes. Think of a wild steeplechase on paper and that’s how I write my books.

THE WAKE - FRONT COVER

What is your current work in progress?

I’m busy writing short stories, some of which appear in Best New England Crime Stories anthologies published by Level Best Books. I’m digging into a novel with a whole new cast of characters. Find Cally is set in the decaying factory towns of New Hampshire. Dak Turner, a hardscrabble dad, searches for his teen daughter in the labyrinth of human trafficking aided by Sienna, a trafficking survivor who uses the knowledge gained through working with rescued girls at her therapeutic riding center to dismantle trafficking networks. You know, a little light reading.

What words of wisdom to you have for the writers out there?

Just sit down and write. Do it. Don’t give up. Finish one paragraph, then add more. Finish the story. Edit. You have a wonderful and unique story in you. You can do it! Also, find your tribe. Get support. Writing can be isolating.

What are your goals for 2018?

Finish Find Cally and continue reaching readers through a combination of social media outreach and speaking engagements. I am the Vice President of the New England chapter of Sisters in Crime, a national organization of mystery and crime writers. SinC provides wonderful support for aspiring and published authors and I’m thrilled to be a part of them. I have opportunities to speak at literary festivals, writers workshops, libraries, book stores and more because of the reach and reputation of SinC.

Hambley w Horse (1)

Any parting words?

I love connecting with readers, so find me and connect! I do video-chat book groups and love to connect with readers! Time zones aren’t a problem.

WAYS TO STAY CONNECTED….

SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE: www.conniejohnsonhambley.com

FACEBOOK: http://bit.ly/facebookcjhambley

BLOG: http://bit.ly/outofthefog

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/ConnieHambley

PINTEREST: https://www.pinterest.com/cjhambley/

LINKEDIN: https://www.linkedin.com/in/conniejhambley/

 

BUY LINKS:

THE CHARITY: http://www.amazon.com/Charity-Connie-Johnson-Hambley-ebook/dp/B009E7TUYM/
THE TROUBLES: http://www.amazon.com/The-Troubles-Jessica-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00VYV8X08/

THE WAKE: https://www.amazon.com/Wake-Jessica-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B073NQ1HK5/

 

Story Projects For 2018….

Posted on Updated on

I finally finished writing the film script for Lost Betrayal

So now begins the process of getting it in the hands of an agent that truly believes in the power of this story as much as I do. With a lost horse, a redeemed cowboy and a horse gal that just won’t give up, this really is a big story needs to be seen on the big screen. So stay tuned! Just like Sage, I’m not giving up on getting it there!

On the book front, my goal for 2018 is to do a good bit of book signings at various businesses and events in east Tennessee. I love connecting with readers and horse folks and I’m hopeful that this coming year will bring more opportunities to do just that.

At the end of December, B&B Auctions in Sweetwater, Tennessee hosted a book signing for my books. B&B Auction, located off of I-75 south at exit 62, holds auctions every Tuesday and Thursday night featuring sellers from all over the southeast. Not only did I get to hang out and see some neat stuff sell at fabulous prices, but talk with some pretty cool folks too!

Earlier this month, the Dinner Bell Restaurant, also located at exit 62 in Sweetwater, hosted a book signing as well. I met one reader in particular who I thoroughly enjoyed talking with that owns an Egyptian Stallion. It’s always fun to chat horses and books!

In addition to the book signings, I have a couple of new projects in the works.

One project is a picture book that Tab and I are working on together – Beauford The Patriotic Donkey. It’s in the very early rough stages of development and we still have to figure out what we’re going to do on the artwork, but suffice it to say Beauford is a very cantankerous donkey!

Roo the rooster sets him straight about the fact that when you live on the farm, everybody has to have a job. In the process, Beauford also learns the farm value of being patriotic and loving your country. I love what this story teaches kids, and I’m looking forward to seeing it develop.

Another project is a story about demonic possession. This is a paranormal story that I started several years ago and it is so compelling, I knew I had to pick it back up! It brings up some unusual faith questions no one ever seems to mention so I knew the story had to be told. It’s about half finished at this time.

Horse N Ranch Magazine recently published a couple of my articles on training tips for when you can’t afford a horse trainer. I’m hoping to write more horse articles this year as well.

Here’s to 2018 being an epic year on the writing front!

Talking With Jenny Sauer

Posted on Updated on

I met Jenny Sauer on Twitter. With her fun personality, and unusual background of farming and acting I knew she was someone I wanted to interview for the blog even though it wasn’t directly horse related. I think with her great rural work ethic, diverse background and sense of adventure you’ll enjoy reading about Jenny….

You’re a jack of all trades – tell us a little bit about your scientific writing, being an actress and model, and a farmer…..

One of the best things I’ve learned, most recently, being a full-time farmer, is that I’ve become a mechanic. I always knew the basics, but now I know what the feederhouse chain looks like and how to change it. I can speak the “tool speak” now, and I’ve found myself, very often actually, walking by a construction site and noticing what tools they have. I was with my mumsie one day, walked by a construction area, and I exclaimed, “Oh wow, Dewalt makes that big of an air compressor?!” Mom laughed at me because I’ve never really spoken that way about tools.

I’ve started my own tool collection for my work truck. I enjoy going to eBolt in Jacksonville, IL now with Dad…and I know the owner’s name. I know a lot of the guys at Arend’s Awe in Riggston, IL (the John Deere implement my great grandfather initially started). We have to go in there fairly often for parts, so Dad sends me in there to pick up stuff.

My wide array of knowledge just continues to expand, which I love. I LOVE being able to figure things out that are practical. If something is wrong with my car/truck, I can now figure it out on my own rather than calling my dad right away, which I still would if I couldn’t figure it out quickly enough. Being able to be mehcanilly inclined is so liberating because I don’t NEED anyone else, especially needing a man.

Now I’m not some raging feminist, but it is nice to be able to do things by myself.

What is a typical day like for you?

Waking up — having my “morning routine” which consists of making an acai bowl, Tazo English breakfast tea, and lemon water (I add my own lemons). Mornings when I have to hurry, I have Marshmallow Fruit Loops in a “Jethro size” bowl. Sugary cereals are not just for kids.

I may or may not have to feed everything at our shop and cattleshed (black Angus cattle and kitties). This depends upon if my dad has errands to run. During harvest, I did the feeding every day so he could hop on the combine and just go. Every couple of days, I fill up an umpteen amount of corn buckets to take corn to two other pastures of cattle. My trapezious muscles are quite impressive at this point.

And then from there, well, whatever needs to be fixed/repaired/moved/cleaned/etc. There isn’t a day where there is “nothing to do;” there is ALWAYS something to do.

What was it like growing up in a farming family?

Super duper. My parents were able to be at every sporting event, practice, school-related activity I had, including my older brother and sister’s events/practices. Farming is stressful, but working for yourself allows for you to allot time for the important things in life. All of those small things, kids remember. I’m so fortunate to be able to look back on my childhood and be able to say with all honesty, that my parents were ALWAYS there, no matter what. I’m also thankful and lucky to have such awesome parents.

One of the other great things was that I started learning how to drive when I was 10. I knew how to drive a car, truck, vehicle with a manual transmission, and a tractor before I was 16. That helped me able to deal with drivers in Chicago and Los Angeles traffic. I also knew how to hook up a hitch and pull a trailer. My first time, I remember, actually driving, was in my dad’s red 1989 red Chevy truck pulling a trailer while the guys bucked square bales onto the trailer. I guess Dad thought, “what could go wrong with a little kid driving 3-5mph, at least she’ll be useful?” We actually still have that truck; modified into a flat bed.

What were some of your chores growing up and why do you think you were given those particular chores?

I don’t believe I had any specific chores, simply what mom and dad wanted to me to do, they just told me to do it.

What type of farming do you do now, and what are some of your goals for your farm?

We farm corn and soybeans. I’d like to expand and try a couple other crops. I’ve always wanted to try growing sunflowers because for one thing, they’re pretty, and for another, they were one of my late grandpa Sauer’s favorite flower.

He farmed up until the day he passed. I loved him like my own father, and it would be kind of in remembrance, reverence, of him. Sunflowers are a happy flower, I’ve never been witness, nor heard about, anyone being junky when receiving sunflowers. I have heard about roses and carnations (obviously because those are filler flowers) not being received well, but not sunflowers.

I’m kind of running off the topic here, but harvesting the seeds is interesting. I’ve looked up how it all works, does it mean I’ll give it a go on a few acres? Maybe, but that is something I’d like to experiment with someday.

I’m a HUGE proponent of change. I think it’s necessary as humans to introduce some sort of change in your life every once in awhile, otherwise, you become too comfortable and never challenge yourself. That could be something so small as to try a new protein powder in your shake, or as large as moving to a different state where you know no one. I did both of those things. I like a morning routine, but that’s about as monotonous as I get.

What are some of the struggles that you experience as a farmer?

The fact that we are competing with other countries for corn and soybeans production and prices are basically like they were in the 80’s. The price of corn and soybeans is kinda sucky right now.

South America, you’re welcome we shipped modern farming equipment and taught modern day farming techniques to you.

People don’t realize that farmers don’t get a raise because they work harder or because they complimented their boss nonstop, it’s based upon the markets and people who have no idea how farming works. Am I being slightly facetious there? Yeah, but I don’t care.

Also, farming is like playing the lottery. You depend on the weather. Sidenote: all my friends always ask me what the weather is going to be like because I always check…that’s what being from a farmer family does to you.

Ok, back on topic…you never know what the weather will do, and meteorologists don’t even know 70% of the time (that is my own percentage I believe it is, that is not scientifically proven). So the fact that you really have no idea what kind of crop you will have that year makes for a little stress in your life. Of course there are things to help alleviate that worry, but it’s always there, no matter what type of “weather dances” you might perform, candles lit in church, or bottles of wine consumed.

You are a published science writer. Tell us about that.

Ever since I was in third grade, I wanted to be a podiatrist. I started playing basketball competitively then, and I also managed to tear my achilles tendon when I was the ripe age of 9. I went to see a podiatrist, and I was hooked.

I thought I always wanted to be a doctor. I had the grades and drive, but my senior year of college, I thought, “Ehhhhhh, I’ll be over 30 years old before I can enjoy my life. Yeaaaaaaaah, no thanks.”

I graduated with honors in biology and decided to go into clinical research. I was hired on at the Jones Eye Institute in Little Rock, AR.

The lab group I worked with consisted of maybe 12-15 people. We had 9 studies going on at the same time, so I dabbled in half of those doing various lab tests for whatever was needed.

I was a glorified lab tech, but helped write, used my ideas/suggestions, etc and BAM, got published. We were finding the correlation between the immune system and the eye. We found complement factor H, I actually, visually, found it due to me running the Western Blot procedure.

We gave lab rats cancer in the eye (uveal melanoma), scratched corneas and used honey on the scratches-yes, it does indeed induce a faster healing time, and all that jazz.

I did some very cool stuff, however, the lab environment I was in just wasn’t cutting it for me. I’m a social person, when I want to be, but the lab people I was around weren’t really all that fun- shocker I know. I met some very awesome other lab people, with whom I am still friends with, however, they were not in my lab.

I was a fitness instructor at the same time, so I did that for awhile (did that in Dallas, Little Rock, Oklahoma City, and Los Angeles). I kinda did what I wanted, BUT not simply on a whim. I’ve always had confidence in my abilities, and if I’m not entirely sure if I’m going to be performing well or slightly unsure if I can hack it, I don’t follow through with that option. I take risks, but calculated ones. I think I’m kind of like most people, I’m not really a huge fan of failing. I know it happens, but if I can avoid it as much as possible, I’d like to do that.

Modeling and acting are opposite ends of the spectrum from farming. How did you get into the entertainment and fashion world?

So my college days, not a whole lot of people know this, but I went to a different college every year for 4.5 years. I took off a semester while I lived in Chicago, so that accounts for the “.5th” year. What can I say? I love change, and I love traveling, so that was my way of “traveling” so-to-speak.

I met new people all the time, immersed myself into the culture of wherever I was, and I loved it. Would I recommend it? Wellll, it’s not for everyone because I had to to a lot of “extra” classes due to not all classes transferring, but I had something over 200 credits.

I took a lot of classes, did well at each school actually, normally always on the Dean’s List, but needed different scenery.

Ok, so back to your question…I got into modeling whenever I was attending the University of Illinois in Chicago. I started out trying some promotional modeling, which was just looking decent and getting paid to talk to people about a product. It was easy money, most of the time, but then it branched out from there.

I was “seen” at some things, then asked to work for them, do a photoshoot here and there, that kind of stuff. I did my research and learned about all this stuff, but then it got to the point where I was becoming kinda junky because I wasn’t eating much and working out a lot to compete.

I’m 5’8″, so in order to be competitive with the Amazons, you have to be thinner. The thinner you are, the taller you look/photograph. Well I’m 75% German, I’m not meant to be skinny, so it was too much work to be “skinny,” it’s WAY easier for me to be muscular. Plus I have a lot more energy and am much more personable when eating and working out on a consistent basis. 😉

So I had the taste of modeling, that helped me to understand the acting world. I NEVER acted in my life, nor thought about it while younger/in school.

I was a stage manager for a play in college because I tried out for the lead role (yeah, that was ambitious with no experience) and of course the theatre instructor chose a girl she has worked with multiple times before. I understand, now, why it worked out that way, however, I was told by quite a few people, who viewed my audition, that I did a very good job.

It was for a role with a southern accent, I nailed that because I’m surrounded by a redneck accent, so it’s not that much of a stretch to do a southern accent. It was a blessing in disguise because I am not a stage actor, I enjoy the feature/tv/commercial arena.

While I was in Oklahoma City, I decided to move to LA. I did my research before, figured out, mostly, how it all worked, and said, “Yep, we’re doing this.”

Like I mentioned before, I wouldn’t have simply done it on a whim if I didn’t believe in my capabilities to figure it out, and I did my research before I moved. I had a backup plan, my bio degree, fitness certifications, and farming. When I moved, I was comfortable because I had something to fall back upon in case I was totally mucked up wrong.

I moved, worked, received my “must-join” SAG notification, so I paid up and joined the union.

By the way, I have mentioned in my book, Snickering Out Loud, that I obtained this by working, not performing sexual favors. With all the news lately, I know that sexual exploitation of girls and dumb actors is rampant out there.

I don’t know if it was luck, but I’m going to say it was from “living” before heading out there that saved me. I also have a little bit going on up in the ol’ noodle, so I was never really asked point blank to be subject to “yucky stuff.” I had a friend tell me it’s because of my “aura” and “vibe,” but I think it’s because I walk and speak with confidence. The predators out in Hollywood prey on the weak unfortunately…I never came across as weak, which I am very proud to say. I won’t say that I wasn’t persued, however, I was being chased after I suppose because of my unique background, not because I seemed “easy.” It’s a tough world out there, I would not recommend it to anyone young.

What are some of your most well known acting and modeling gigs?

I hate to do this, but it’s probably easier to go to my website (www.jennysauer.com) and look on the acting resume.

I think the most well-known, but not actual large roles, were “Hangover 2” (this was the role where I became a “must-join” into the union) where I was a flight attendant and “Water for Elephants” where I was a foxtrot dancer. My cool uncle, Uncle Joe, taught me how to do the fox trot at his wedding, so because of him I landed that role. They were “extra” roles, but I got featured, so that was cool.

I got to talk to some of the biggie actors, that was quite the experience. I got some fun details about the actors because I struck up conversations with the crew and directors. I didn’t care, they are just people, so that’s how I treated them. In which case they opened up quite a bit. For some reason people seem to think I’m easy to talk to, so that’s flattering.

What have been some of favorite jobs as an actress and model, and why?

Any of the union jobs because craft services (the food) was better, we got to eat before the nonunion, pay was better, and had rules to protect us, so we were treated better.

What is like being a farmer in the entertainment industry?

Fun. No one has my story, so I never sounded like all the other actors.

How has being a farmer shaped your career as an actress and model?
It was easier to make friends and alliances. Due to growing up in a town of 7 seven houses, you have to be able to perform “small talk” fairly well, and act like you like the person, so acting came fairly easy to me. I attended school in a town of 1,800, so everyone knows all of your business and your relatives. Being able to deal with everything that goes with a small town, really makes it VERY easy, in my opinion, to handle city issues. What people complain about in a city is small taters compared to what is complained about in a small town. We have to figure out a lot more because we don’t have everything at our disposal, good critical thinking skills. I’m sorry my good city friends.

As a farmer, we have real-life problems, people in the acting world don’t really understand ANY of those, so it helped to not get wrapped up and swallowed in that world.

What are some of your goals as an actress?

My goal, when I moved to LA, was to land a national commercial. I did that, while living in Chicago (I lived in LA, moved to Chicago, then back to LA-all in 5 years) in a Swiffer commercial where it was just me. So I met my goal and am still in the SAG-AFTRA union. I won’t ever get rid of that union payment, that was quite the milestone, and something I’m very proud of obtaining the way I did. It takes some people YEARS to get their card, so the fact that I did the right things and did real work to get it is quite satisfying. Since I reached the goal I set out to do, I’m ok with allowing acting to take a backseat. It’s not gone from my life, I have something up my sleeve coming up which I can’t discuss, but farming is something I’ve always come back to, every single year.

What is something about you that most people don’t know?

My first word was “kitty.” That probably wouldn’t be a surprise to most, but I don’t believe that is something I mention too often.

If you could tell the world one thing what would it be?

Travel, expand your mind, it only makes your life better, not worse. You don’t have to have a lot of money to see some place new. It makes you look at things differently, which is a good thing.

What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into the farming business?

Save A LOT of money…and buy good work gloves. I have very feminine hands, piano hands one might say, and I like to keep them that way. I wear Milwaukee brand gloves, good stuff. They keep me from having “man hands,” which is something I don’t believe is too terribly attractive in a woman.

What advice do you have for someone wanting to make a career out of acting or modeling?

This could make for a very long answer. 😉 Make sure you get your skin nice and thick because you will hear “no” VERY OFTEN. A lot of people become very insecure, well, don’t. I know that’s easier said than done, but once you allow doubt to creep into your mind, it’s hard to get rid of. I know I just ended that sentence with a preposition, I should probably fix it, but that’s how I speak on occasion. It’s really a “mind over matter” sort of concept. You have to think your shite doesn’t stink without being arrogant. I know that might sound like an oxymoron, however, it can be mastered. There is a HUGE difference between being confident and arrogant.

Also, there is always someone younger and prettier than you, this includes men. If you decline a job, they will find someone else, you are dispensable. There are so many people trying to “make it,” so you have to hustle. LA is one of the most transient cities, so you’re nothing overly special, but you have to make yourself seem like you are, and stand out-for the right reasons.

One more thing, you have to be responsible. I lived the “Hollywood life” for awhile…then I got tired. I can see just how easily it would be for someone naive to get swept up into that world. Hell, I almost did. It’s also very expensive to live that lifestyle AND be an actor, pay for classes, headshots, clothing, rent, food, etc. It’s not an easy life, I can tell you that much. So like the advice for starting a farm, save a lot of money before you think about going into acting so you aren’t living in your car-yes, a lot of people do that out there, no joke.

Would I do it all over again? Hell yes. Am I glad I moved home to help Dad on the farm? Hell yes. I made decisions based upon myself, therefore I have made myself happy. I didn’t do anything for anyone else. I still fly back and forth to CA, but farming has been something I’ve ALWAYS had, and ALWAYS loved. You can’t take the country out of the girl.

Talking With Author Carly Kade 

Posted on Updated on


This week I talk with horse writer Carly Kade about her new book coming out, and winning the Best Western Fiction Winnie Award at the EQUUS Film Festival.

Tell us a little bit about what your day to day life is like. 

 

I’m a busy cowgirl, and it can be difficult to fit in time for my creative writing, so I designed a plan for my writing life. I get up every morning at 5:30 am and start my day by writing before I go to my corporate job. At the end of the week, my husband reads back to me the chapters I’ve written. The routine works. I finished two books this way, and I’m already writing the third. Having scheduled time for my creativity really helps move my books forward. I am not a morning person, but the commitment to my morning routine keeps my creativity alive. 

 

Also, I made the rule to “touch” my story every day.  As long as I stay engaged with what I’m writing, the world I’m creating is never far from reach. It’s when I’ve been away from my words for extended periods of time that I find it hardest to get back to writing it so I try not to let that happen.

 

In addition, I have a patient husband, two dogs, and a horse waiting to spend time with me. Being at the barn fuels my creativity and helps me refresh from my life as a corporate cowgirl. I do what it takes to fit in my much needed barn time (although it feels as if it is never for as long as I’d like). Somehow though, I always make everything work and feel so fortunate to be able to have the life that I do. 

 

It isn’t always easy! There’s a lot of heavy lifting involved in getting a dream underway, but I am really proud of the creative life I’m inventing for myself!  

 

Do you have horses? Tell us about them and what you do with them. 

 

When I’m not writing or reading, I’m riding my horse. I am a member of the American Paint Horse Association and love competitively showing my Paint Horse, Sissy. I recently moved to Arizona so I’ve just started to explore all the amazing horse show options that my new home has to offer. I feel fortunate because it seems like there’s a horse event (almost) every weekend here, and I board my horse at a picture perfect ranch nestled between mountain ranges. It’s the kind of place I dreamed about as a girl! 

 

The classes I usually show in are showmanship, Western horsemanship and Western pleasure. Recently, I’ve been back in my English saddle and am thinking about showing in some hunt seat classes again!

 

Just like a make an effort to “touch” my novel every day to keep close to my characters, I make an effort to see my horse every day. Take a tour of my social media channels, carlykadecreative.com or my YouTube channel and you’ll notice my horse, Sissy, is pictured a lot and appears in my promotional videos for In The Reins as the lead horse character, Faith.

 

Here is the book trailer starring Sissy as Faith: https://youtu.be/Glv2Bz-WB-E?list=PLzxx3R-kABSVHJFnmwgn_6vZ3W98S3akk

 

How did get you started writing? 

I’ve always enjoyed creative writing and was recognized as a young author.  My education involved Advanced English and Creative Writing courses, but I didn’t set out to publish a novel until McKennon Kelly, the leading man from In The Reins, came to me like lightning one day in the form of a poem. I vividly remember the day I furiously scrawled him in my journal. That poem ended up being the intro to the book. 

 

From there, I just wrote the novel that I wanted to read. Beverly Cleary once said, “If you don’t see the book you want on the shelves, write it.”  I think I’ve read everything in existence about horses, cowboys and romance.  However, I couldn’t many horse book series written about my particular discipline. 

 

I wanted to read a love story themed around the type of horse shows that I liked to compete in. There are a lot of equestrian novels out there focused on dressage or jumping or rodeo but I hadn’t found many that focused on Western pleasure competitive horse showing at breed shows like Quarter Horse, Paint, Pinto or the Palomino Horse Circuits.

 

When did you get more serious about writing, and what was that process like? 

 

The story seemed to beg me to tell it, but I still pondered whether I should write a book or if I even could. Writing a book is scary! You put your creative self on the line for people to hopefully enjoy, but also to judge.

 

One day, I asked my husband if he would read my manuscript to see if what I had written had any merit. One thing to know about my husband is that the only book series he’s ever read was the Hunger Games on our honeymoon. As he read my story back to me, two things happened. I sat there and thought to myself “who wrote this” and “where was I while I was writing it” because it sounded pretty good, and then I noticed that my husband was laughing, smiling and engaging with my words. He put the manuscript down in his lap and said, “This is really good. You have to keep going.” So, I did.

 

When I started really writing In The Reins, I knew I wanted readers to feel like they were falling for the leading man as they turned the pages of my story. Generating that kind of feeling was my goal – what I wanted to create for readers – so In The Reins naturally became a romance novel. 

 

I’ve always loved reading and have been riding horses since I was seven. I know that I sure wouldn’t be able to resist reading about a handsome cowboy who knows his way around horses so I wrote about what I knew … horses and cowgirl culture.

 

You did very well at the Equus Film Festival. Tell us what the festival is about, and your experience being a part of that. 

 

It was so exciting when In The Reins was named an official EQUUS Film Festival literary selection, and then went on to win the Best Western Fiction Winnie Award.

 

I met so many amazing fellow authors, filmmakers and readers in New York City. The EQUUS Film Festival is an excellent platform for bringing the storytellers of the horse world together through films, documentaries, videos, art, music and literature. 

 

The EQUUS Film Festival expanded its reach into the literary world because of the books that inspired the films screened at the festival over the years.  The decision to add awards for literary works was to introduce new and existing authors to filmmakers looking for their next equestrian story. The festival organizers work to place authors with filmmakers to help develop partnerships through the EQUUS Film Festival.

 

I made a little tribute video to my spur-jingling journey in NYC so my readers could go behind the scenes of the EQUUS Film Festival with me. My cowboy helped me shoot footage as I attended the four-day equestrian extravaganza! We filmed it all – beginning with the VIP Gala & culminating at the equine equivalent of the Oscars called the Winnie Awards.

 

You can watch it here: https://www.carlykadecreative.com/blog/video-go-behind-the-scenes-of-the-equus-film-festival-with-equestrian-author-carly-kade

 

Tell us about your books.

In The Reins is the story of a city-girl-gone-country, a handsome cowboy and a horse that meet by fate on a southern farm. She’s looking for a fresh start and unexpectedly falls for the mysterious cowboy. But the leading lady finds herself wondering if the man with a deeply guarded secret can open himself up to the wannabe cowgirl in the saddle next to him.  

​I like to think that In The Reins captures the struggle between letting life move forward and shying away from taking the reins. Reader reviews suggest that I’ve written a love story sure to touch the inner cowgirl. I hope so!

Cowboy Away, the second book in the In the Reins series, picks up right where we left Devon, McKennon, their horses as well as the Green Briar bunch. It chronicles the history of how things became the way they were in In the Reins. Readers will meet new characters as the book journeys through McKennon’s past. In Cowboy Away, McKennon becomes a cowboy on a quest for revenge and hits the road with nothing but his memories, a pistol and hope to put his demon to rest.

 

Cowboy Away, the sequel to In the Reins, will release in 2017. Early reader, Laurie Berglie, author of Where the Bluegrass Grows says, “Sequels can be difficult to write, but not for Carly Kade. Cowboy Away is fantastic and without a doubt one of the best sequels I have ever read. This follow-up to In The Reins brings McKennon’s and Devon’s story full circle, yet leaves you hungry for more! I very highly recommend this equestrian romance!”

 

The books are available in Paperback and eBook on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo.  Audiobooks are in the works for both books, too!

 

Buy a signed copy from my website: https://www.carlykadecreative.com/buy-the-book.html

Or from one of these fine retailers

Amazon: http://a.co/fvgIrOO

 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/in-the-reins-carly-kade/1123120771?ean=9780996887908

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/in-the-reins

How does your love for horses impact you as a writer? 

I wanted to include a romantic relationship in my story that built on life lessons experienced in the horse world. Horses build character and require dedication. They are a big responsibility and teach us compassion, as we often have to put their needs before our own. I am a better human because I’ve owned horses.

 

I’ve heard that my characters are flawed but likeable. There are a few Bridget Jones style mishaps for my wannabe cowgirl, and she often has to dust off her boots then try again. My heroine heals her broken heart through her love for her horse. Devon invests in her relationship with her horse as much as she does with the humans in her life. I think I built a strong female character willing to face her fears head-on. Devon is committed to becoming a better horsewoman by listening to her heart, her mentors and her brain (most of the time). Her relationship with her horse is a primary part of the story. Perhaps, she is better in her relationship with her horse than with humans.

 

My history with (and rich knowledge of) horses is definitely a reason why I think other horse lovers have been drawn to the book.  I know what it feels like to enter a show pen and be nervous.  I know what it feels like to feel stuck with my horse’s training.  I know what it feels like to swoon over a cute cowboy.  Giggle!

 

I hope that sort of authenticity comes through in my writing. I’m a horse owner. I’ve shown competitively most of my life. I write about my lifestyle, not something I’ve researched, but what I do.

 

Some of the best feedback I’ve gotten though has been that non-horsey readers say that one doesn’t have to love horses or have knowledge about them to enjoy my story or fall in love with the characters. Many readers are actually enjoying the fact that they are learning so much about the human-horse connection because of my book. That makes my spurs jingle!

 

What are your biggest challenges as a horse person and a writer? 

 

The biggest challenge is finding the time. 

 

When it comes to writing, my favorite Stephen King quote is, “The scariest moment is always just before you start.” I always worry I won’t have anything to write, but then I sit and make the time and the story magically starts writing itself through me. That is why the morning routine is so important.  It forces me to make the time to sit and write … no excuses. 

 

What are your goals for the next year?

 

As far as my writing plans, this is just the beginning! McKennon and Devon’s story definitely continues. This is a horse book series of at least four. The sequel to In The Reins will be out this year, and my goal is to have the third installment out in 2018. 

 

The crazy thing is that the fourth book featuring the characters is bucking up a storm in my mind and already taking shape on paper! I am writing the third and fourth book simultaneously. I am super excited about the journey this series is taking me on!

 

A fun fact is that I’m learning that there are a lot of JD McCall fans out there so I’m playing with the concept of a novella that tells the tale of my bull riding heartthrob with swagger!

 

If you had to give a piece of advice to a new horse owner, what would it be? 

Take the time to get to know your horse. 

In In the Reins, my Cowboy McKennon Kelly tells wannabe Cowgirl Devon Brooke this about her horse, Faith:

“Any real, beautiful thing in this world shouldn’t be tamed or claimed or broken. It should be allowed to be, worked with, not against, appreciated.”

That’s how I feel. Take the time to build a relationship with your horse.  When I feel Sissy’s stride beneath me, everything else fades away and I revel in being in the NOW. 

 

When I was younger, I was very competitive and went to a lot of horse shows.  A friend once said something to me that really stuck.  She said, “What about just being a horse owner and enjoying that?” That question really resonated with me. 

 

Now it’s the simple pleasures of horse ownership that I have come to enjoy most … long grooming sessions, the meditative rhythm of barn chores, a lazy Sunday ride. 

 

Take the time to bond with your horse. It is the most rewarding part of horse ownership.

If you had to give a piece of advice to a new writer, what would it be? 

 

My advice to an aspiring author is make the time to write! I recommend setting a goal like writing for 60 minutes uninterrupted or not stopping until you’ve reached a thousand words. Just start … that’s all you have to do. 

I highly recommend reading “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” by Stephen King. I loved the book as a reader and a writer. This is a book for anyone who writes, anyone who aspires to write, anyone interested in knowing a little more about the life of an author, or someone interested in knowing more about Stephen King as he gives a brief history of what led him to where he is now. It’s a fascinating read!

 

Also, I think it is very important to support fellow authors. Recently, I saw a graphic on Twitter that said, “Other authors are not my competition. I stand with them, not against them.” I strongly agree with this statement.

 

It makes my spurs jingle when authors unite. I’ve learned so much from other authors and appreciate how unique each of our writing journeys is. I think it is so important to support each other and share knowledge among us.

 

When dreamers band together and support each other anything is possible. You can’t do it on your own. In order to give back to the community, I host an Equestrian Author Spotlight on my blog where I interview other equine authors. I LOVE horse books!

 

Ways to keep up with Carly Kade –

 

www.carlykadecreative.com

amazon.com/author/carlykade
goodreads.com/carlykadecreative
facebook.com/carlykadecreative
twitter.com/CarlyKadeAuthor
Instagram.com/carlykadecreative
pinterest.com/carlykadeauthor

Watch Carly Kade Creative Videos on YouTube