Thursday, May 23, 2013

Women and their Geldings...

My horse, Dreamer, and I have been together since August of 1992. In that time we have moved twice. In 1995 we moved from Illinois to Missouri, and in 2003 we moved from Missouri to Utah. Since he came into my life I've also had a child, changed jobs five times, and began a career as a writer. Through it all, Dreamer has always been a member of our family. Even when we left our farm in Missouri, and had to liquidate our livestock which included three other horses, Dreamer has still been along for the ride. Up until a month ago, he lived a lazy life in South Jordan. Once in awhile we would ride him, but really the only thing about the facility we liked was it's proximity to our house. It was close. But the times I had available to visit him, since I work nights, are days. And most days no one was there. I have a thing about riding with no one around. In Missouri, Dreamer kicked me in the chin when I was alone, with the exception of my 18 month old toddler, on the farm. One frantic land-line (no cell) phone call to Mr. Slave Driver, an emergency room visit, and 11 stitches later, I decided that working with 1000 pound animals while alone was a bad combination.

That was my decision. Your mileage may vary.

 Dreamer as a zebra and Slave Driver as Jane. Mr. Slave Driver was Tarzan. Dreamer's costume was made from funky old zebra striped waterbed sheets. Recycle, that's my motto.

Last month, Dreamer was sent south, to a  hippotherapy facility called Courage Reins, for an interview.  And when I say 'interview' what I mean is a tryout. An audition. The facility serves individuals with mental or physical issues and making sure a horse has the correct temperament is essential for their program. I wasn't worried. We decided long ago to bombproof our horse because we had a child. So Dreamer had to put up with all kinds of nonsense and shenanigans. Like this:

This is The Kid and Dreamer at a horse show in Missouri. He's a ballerina. I can't remember exactly what the hell The Kid is supposed to be. (Yes, I'm a pathetic mom.) I put the costume on him (by the way, it takes about four yards of netting to make a tutu for a horse...) and he looked, sniffed and ho-hummed the outfit. That, however, was NOT the reaction from the horses we passed while walking to the arena. By their violent and crazed reactions, you would have thought he was being ridden by Godzilla. 

But he was a show horse from the time he was foaled, so having weird stuff put on his body was nothing new.

After moving to Utah, I again dressed him up for a Halloween party at his barn. This time he went as a Unipegaloosa. That's a combination Unicorn-Pegasus-Appaloosa. He's wearing a horn, but it's kind of hard to tell with the angle of the photo. 

Once again, I have no idea what kind of costume The Kid is wearing. Some kind of Arabian dancing girl with a pink tutu headpiece. Yes, that is the kind of mom I am. I can tell you exactly what my horse is dressed as. My kid, no so much.

The white wings are sewn onto a bareback pad. He turned and looked at them when I tacked him up, rolled his eyes, and plodded along beside me with nary a sigh. Dreamer is the Honey-Badger of horses: He doesn't give a shit.

What all this is leading up to is this: He passed his 30 day trial with flying colors. So now, at the age of 24, Dreamer begins his new career as a hippotherapy horse. The facility is very nice, and everyone that finds out I'm his owner feels compelled to tell me how much they love my horse. What a good boy he is. How wonderful it is to have him in class, and how well behaved he is with the children.

And really to me it's not a surprise. It was on his back that The Kid learned to ride. (Yes, I know this picture looks cheesy... back in the stone age we didn't have Photoshop so we had to make up weird photos the old fashioned way, with scissors and glue sticks.) And he was schooled early on that it was in his own best interest not to screw around. So much so that now, when he feels you become unbalanced, he stops. dead. in. his. tracks.

So now he has a new home, a new job, and hundreds of people to pet him and love him up.

And, The Kid is still riding him.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Whew! That Was A Wild Ride...

The contest and free eBook downloads for The Carriage Trade and Splitting the Difference are now over. Thank you so very much to everyone who participated. Worldwide, over 7200 copies of The Carriage Trade and 425 copies of Splitting the Difference were picked up by unsuspecting victims  readers with questionable excellent taste in literature. A good time was had by all.

 Now I can stop hyperventilating. 

Congratulations to the winners of the coffee mugs: The Carriage Trade mug goes to Mary Beth, and the One Trick Pony mug, April. To everyone else who entered, if you are interested in another chance to win and you live in Salt Lake City, I will be holding a raffle for four more mugs, plus two other surprise items at the debut book signing for the paperback edition of The Re-Education of the One Trick Pony. 

On June 15, 2013 from 2-5 pm visit me at Marissa's Books & Gifts, 5664 South, 900 West in Murray Utah. More information will be available to closer to the date.

Thanks again, everyone. Happy reading!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Unintended Consequences

I wrote a little book a while ago. Okay, it's not little. It's honkin' huge; over 90,000 words. It took me less than a year to write it, and four more to re-write, cut, edit, re-re-write, search for an agent, be told that a heroine with disabilities is a "hard sell" so no thank you and finally decide, "Screw it, I have KDP and Createspace. If I break even, I'll be happy."

Last year I published The Carriage Trade. Sales were okay, nothing spectacular. But the reviews I got (and no, not all of them were from my friends. Some were from people I know from the internet who have no vested interest in writing a good review for me) were good.

I finally finished the follow up to The Carriage Trade: It's called The Re-Education of the One Trick Pony. I published that on May 1, and to help publicize it, I decided to give away downloads of The Carriage Trade and my short story, Splitting the Difference.

When I left for work on Thursday, my numbers were respectable. At 1:00pm over 850 copies of TheCarriage Trade and 140 copies of Splitting the Difference had been downloaded.  I was satisfied with those numbers. The last time I gave away Splitting the Difference, a rough total of 850 were snagged.

I got to work, chatted with barn manager Kar for a while, then opened the browser on my phone to take a peek. I just about passed out.

In less than an hour, I went from 850 to 1250 in downloads. And the numbers shot up from there. With the amount of downloads per minute, I prognosticated that I'd reach 4000 by the time I left work for home, about 11:30pm.

I reached 4000 at 9:18pm.

As of this writing, 11:30 am on Friday May 3, I've surpassed the 5200 mark.

Needless to say I've been in a constant state of humble shock since yesterday afternoon. All I can figure out is one of the free eBook sites must have picked up on my offer and promoted it. Whoever you are, thank you so much! And if you arrived here because you muddled your way through the internet maze and found my blog after downloading a copy of The Carriage Trade, thank you, also.

And if you haven't, go get one now. The offer ends at 11:59 on Sunday, May 5, 2013.

If you enjoy The Carriage Trade, and want to read more about the exploits of the carriage tribe, pick up a copy of The Re-Education of the One Trick Pony. 

*If you purchase a copy of The Re-Education of the One Trick Pony, make sure to enter the contest for the coffee mugs. The details are available here.