The Searching Place

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My newest book, The Searching Place will be released with Solstice Publishing spring 2019. The story is a light-hearted small town cowgirl romance set in southeast Tennessee.





Here’s a bit about The Searching Place….





Lily is on the hunt for her muse and redemption.





The once bestselling romance author Lily Perkins is in a bind after her fifth divorce has left her practically penniless and her last book was axed by the publisher. At the urging of her agent and friend, Nate Kinser, Lily moves east to find her muse and write her next best seller.





Carter is a cowboy womanizer that initially sees Lily as the next conquest he can toy with as everybody in a small town knows what a woman with her history is like. When his attempts to get her in bed fail, he realizes she’s not the conquest he thought she was. In the end, they both fall harder than they wanted to but there’s a catch – Lily’s long term agent Nate has suddenly left his wife for her.





When Lily is injured in a barrel race, both men rush to her side to protect the feisty cowgirl writer that has captured their hearts and Lily must choose between them.





Stay up with the latest news on my Facebook page.

Update — NEW COVER!



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Talking With Robert Brady

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This time on Talking In The Barn, I chat with fellow east Tennessee author and horseman, Robert Brady. Robert writes Fantasy books and rescues horses.

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What is a typical day for you like? 
I get up around 7a, feed the horses, the dogs and the cat. Make breakfast, then start programming. I’m a work from home software developer. I’ll go until around 4pm, then take a break for an hour, feed the horses, the dogs and the cat, then write for a few hours.

Do you write full time? 
I don’t write full time, but that’s my goal. Right now, a lot of my creative juices are absorbed by programming. Creating a program is a lot like creating a story.

How did you get involved with horses? 
I was raised around them. When my daughter turned 12, she started noticing boys, so I got her involved in riding, and then boys were on their own for about three more years. She’s a saddle fitter now, and she’s married to a guy who was raised around horses.

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How did you get started as a writer? 
In college, I missed my friends, so I would write stories where I used them as the main characters. Even before that, I used to love to write and won a few awards, including the New England Gold Key.

How do horses impact your writing? 
In The Fovean Chronicles, it’s really the story of a man and his horse, and even when he’s not with his horse, his horse is on his mind. Horses add balance to my life and I tried to put that into my stories as well.

What are your biggest struggles as a writer and as a horse person? Any words of wisdom there? 
Finding time, just like everyone else.
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What one piece of advice that you would give to a new horse person? 
Unless you compete, don’t try to replace a great horse with another of the same breed. You’re setting the new horse up to fail. If you’re lucky enough to have a great horse in your life, when his or her time comes, try something completely different for your next one.

What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring writer? 
Schedule time to write. Put it on your calendar – this day, I will write for 1 hour. Otherwise you’re always going to find something else to do.

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What is one thing that most people don’t know about you? 
I’m actually a really romantic person. Just never found the right person to share it with.

Tell us about the inspiration behind your newest book. 
The Fovean Chronicles is eight books long. It took me more than a decade to get right. My latest book, Semper Indomitus, ends the series. It was time to go on to the next project.

Any parting words to readers out there?
Don’t listen to your teachers when they tell you how to write – most of them have a really hard time getting published. Get into a good group, either locally or online, and then take their criticism constructively. The best advice you’ll ever get will sound mean and horrible at the time. I was told at one point that I was terrible and would never be published. It inspired me to really look at what I was creating and then change it. Also, read, read, read!

You can find Robert on Amazon.

Film Festival Win & New Book Release

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This fall has been busy with another new children’s book and a film festival win….

Beauford The Patriotic Donkey was released in November. Beauford is the brainchild of my other half, retired race trainer and former pro bull rider T. A. Bouk. “Tab” likes to say he waited until he was almost 60 to write his first book! We collaborated on the project along with local artist, Atlantis Corn that graduated from Sweetwater, Tennessee high school this year. A big thanks to art teacher Matthew Mikos for holding the contest among his students for the opportunity to illustrate the book.

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Beauford chases the thickens and thinks he’s too good for goats, but he soon learns everybody has to work together when you live on a farm. The book endears itself to the American Public by teaching the timeless lessons of farm work ethic, the importance of the flag, and honoring military service.

The book quickly climbed to the top, making Amazon Best Seller lists for Children’s New Release Animal, and Farm Life categories, and hit the all time top seller list for Children’s Farm Life books. Beauford The Patriotic Donkey enjoyed a local book tour with book signings at Rural King, Blount County Heritage Museum, Sweetwater Antiques, B&B Wholesale and Auction, and Pallet Jack Snack Shack.

FIRST FILM FESTIVAL WIN….

Earlier this year, I finished the film script for my book Lost Betrayal. Shortly after finishing, I entered the script in the Equus Film Festival

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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.

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The script, since entitled “The Grulla” won the Winnie Award for Best Equine Screenplay for the Equus Film Festival. I would like to extend a hearty “Congratulations” to my fellow Winnie recipients in the other categories. You can see the full list of winners on the American Horse Publications website.

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The script is actively being submitted to agents, managers, producers and directors. You can also check out my profile on IMDb Pro.

READ THE FULL SYNOPSIS –

https://fjthomasblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/15/the-grulla-film-script/

THE GRULLA Film Script…

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

 

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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.

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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

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Love great western stories and a great cause?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. .

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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?

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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

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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.

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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.

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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!)

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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….

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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!