Equestrian

Horse Sluts & Candace Wade

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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.

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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.

 

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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. 

 

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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.

 

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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

 

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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.

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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.

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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/

 

Life & The New Author…

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In a couple of weeks we’ll be chatting with Pendleton Petticoats series Shanna Hatfield. From Nov. 7-Dec. 24, she’ll be donating 10% of the net proceeds from all my book sales to the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund which is a fund to help injured cowboys. It’s a great cause and you’ll definitely enjoy learning about Shanna.

In the meantime, I thought I would update what’s been going on in my life as a horse show judge, competitor, and writer after the 40 hour work week in the office. As always, there never seems to be enough hours in the day and always a horse I want to ride or a story I want to write. I have to say though, my first year as a published author has been fun and a terrific learning experience for what works, what doesn’t and a lesson on how to fit it all in. Let’s just say most mornings I’m up at 3am, 4am if I’m sleeping late!

One new update that is really cool is that Everybody Needs A Little Romance invited me to be part of their blog. If you love romance, you really need to check it out because the site has several terrific romance writers that post blogs and write book reviews. It’s a mecca for anything romance!

Valley Farmers Co-op has been very gracious in inviting me to do a book signing at their stores in east Tennessee at Athens and Harriman. This year I attended three of their events and had a blast! Not only did I get to see old horse friends, I also got to chat with fans and meet new readers as well. One thing for sure, I’m more at home at a feed store than I am anywhere else besides the barn or the arena!

Book signing at Valley Farmers Co-op in Athens

ATHENS BOOK SIGNING

Book signing at the Valley Farmers Co-op in Harriman

HARRIMAN BOOK SIGNING

Pam Brown also invited me out this summer to sign books at the NBHA Tennessee State finals in Harriman, Tennessee. Fireman has had feet issues this year and I haven’t gotten to run a set of cans since the spring but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to go to a barrel race! So I got the best of both worlds and got to sign books, see the barrel race and get some time in talking about horses. Needless to say, I was a little tired at the end of the day!

NBHA BOOK SIGNING

My next book signing event is at Foxleaf Bookstore in Cookeville, Tennessee on Halloween night! If you’re down that way, stop by because we’ll have plenty of hot cider and candy!

I’m also an OHSA Carded horse show judge and have the wonderful opportunity to judge some of the shows in the region. Smoky Mountain Horse Show Series is one my favorite places to show and to judge. Last weekend they held their first show series at Tri-State in Cleveland, Tennessee. I managed to capture a quick shot of their beautiful jump course before we got started.

SHOW RING

I love to do everything from show hunter to run barrels and sort cows on a horse. I think different disciplines have a lot to offer and just make for a well-rounded horse. Read my horse blog, Musings From The Leadrope, and you’ll pick up on that pretty quick! A couple of weeks ago I managed to get one of our green horses out to her first show at the Smoky Mountain Horse Show. She went in the In Hand Trail Class and the walk/jog classes as well as a walk/jog Horsemanship class. Granted she wasn’t as finished as the others, but she did a fabulous job and I couldn’t be prouder.

Keith Mooney managed to get several shots of us at the show. Here’s the link to our Horsemanship class  – http://www.keithmooneyphoto.com/HorseShows/SMHSS-October-5-2014/68-W-J-Horsemanship/i-tRn8smF

Then here’s a pic of her In Hand Trail Class.

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So what’s new for the rest of the year? With winter coming, I’ll have a little more down time and I’m hoping to get back to work on The Searching Place, an untitled horse focused paranormal, and a thriller short story. My goal is to have a new book out after the first of the year. Sometimes life gets in the way so we’ll see but that’s the plan at the moment for this new author!  Oh yeah, one more thing…

Lucky kitty sez don’t forget to buy a copy of Lost Betrayal!   #catspeddlebooks

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