Judging a Book by Its Cover

The English idiom “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” has several meanings, one being you can’t make assumptions about the inside of something by only seeing the surface.    It wasn’t until after I saw my book cover that I realized how much this idiom had driven my thoughts on its appearance.  Now I have to give credit where it is due, as my publisher came up with the design while I only contributed some images and ideas.

Originally I wanted a photo of a horse running, thinking back to covers of the great horse novels such as The Black Stallion, Black Beauty, and National Velvet.  My publisher instead suggested a close-up photo of a horse’s face.  Okay…he’s the boss.  Then he wanted to use a photo of a young girl, and on this one I didn’t in give as easily. [Read more…]

Local Politics

I live in Maryland, where the State legislature formed in 1632 – yes, before the United States became a country.  In the early days, many of the statesmen were farmers, and thus it made sense for the legislature to meet during the months least hospitable to working the land, January through early April.  This same schedule exists today, and many Marylanders are not aware that their elected State representatives conduct all their legislative business in a 90-day session, the vast majority of them holding other full-time jobs during the entire year.

On Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010, members of The Maryland Horse Council received a legislative tour of the State Capitol in Annapolis.   State Senator Edward R. Reilly, (R), District 33, Anne Arundel County, introduced himself as “Big Ed,” while shaking each of our hands and asking a little about us.  He brought us into his office, and spent over an hour explaining how a bill becomes a law in “The Free State.”  Using a horse bill passed this year, he stepped us through the process, injecting humor where appropriate, and allowed our youngest visitor, Grace (11), to sit in the Senator’s seat and act as Senator for the exercise.   Senator Reilly spoke about the power of each person’s voice, encouraged all to get to know their elected representatives and communicate with them, and then took us on a one-hour tour of the Capital.  [Read more…]

Character Development

When I complained about challenges in life, my dad used to tell me: “It’s good for you; it builds character.” He would say it as if in jest, but I knew he meant it.

People’s interest in some of the characters in Believing In Horses, has surprised me. Readers have asked:

  • “Who was that supposed to be?”
  • “Are these real people?
  •  “Is your book an autobiography?”
  •  “Is that me?” [Read more…]

Competition

Being new to the ranks of “authors,” I’m learning all the time.  Sometimes this strikes me as funny, since one of the reasons I retired from the military was because I was tired of learning a new job every year or so.   But one of my recent lessons in writing has been the cooperation I’ve witnessed among writers versus the competition so prevalent among competitors in other professions and venues.

Writers truly seem to want to help each other.  My foray into writing came to fruition due to just such encouragement.   A stranger I met in Las Barrilles, Mexico, gave me the advice one of his writing mentors provided him:  “Just write.”  I was fortunate to have come across a website which provided many of the tools, and positive support, to get started – www.write4kids.com.  And I’ve since been lucky enough to join groups of other writers in forums such as www.jacketflap.com and to follow many writing blogs of interest.  Maybe the formula is simple in that writers like to write, so it reasons there would be much out there in the written word…but there’s probably more to it than that. [Read more…]

Kids Are Heroes

It’s Kids Are Heroes Week, and October 23rd is Kids Are Heroes Day.  When I found out about this, it reminded me of one of the reasons I wrote Believing In Horses.  Sometimes it seems people are so focused on the negative, they fail to see the positive.   So many of our youth are actively involved in trying to help today; at Freedom Hills Horse Rescue’s last fundraiser, young girls were selling food rather than riding horses – talk about commitment!  A colleague recently told me about her daughter’s efforts to try and save a local park.  If you take a moment and click on the Kids Are Heroes web site, you’ll be overwhelmed by just a few of the incredible projects kids take on these days — all positive.

A nine-year-old girl started Kids Are Heroes –talk about a hero.  One of the stories on the web site is about another young girl, Maria, who started “Read Indeed,” a literary organization in which Maria wishes to collect and distribute ONE MILLION books to needy kids by the time she is eighteen.  So far she has collected and distributed over 400,000 since early last year!  She’s helped kids locally and as far away as Africa, Costa Rica, and the Phillipines.  You go, Maria!  [Read more…]

Endurance

“Endurance” seems an appropriate topic today, in celebration of the 33 Chilean miners rescued, following their 69 days trapped underground.

In horse parlance, the Endurance discipline tests the stamina of horse and rider as they race to compete a long course; at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) it was a 100 mile course.   When my husband, Jaime, and I volunteered to support the WEG, we were pleased that our second assignment would be supporting the endurance competition.  We both had great interest in the sport and admiration for the athletes, even though we hadn’t participated in endurance riding – yet.   Hey, the senior member of the U.S. team, Jan Worthington, competed in the Games at age 70.  Talk about hope and endurance! [Read more…]