The Story Behind the Music

Thanking the band

Valerie and Gaelic Storm’s Jessi Burns

I mentioned in my last blog that there was a story behind the music in the Believing In Horses book trailer, and here it is.

I LOVE Gaelic Storm’s music.  If you’ve seen the book trailer, you’ve heard their music.  If you haven’t seen/heard the trailer, click here, and you’re in for a musical treat.  Gaelic Storm is perhaps most famous for being the “band” in steerage in the movie Titanic.  Their use of traditional Irish instruments including bagpipes, fiddle, and Irish drums combined with an upbeat rock flavor and lots of spirit make for a foot-stomping, heart-pounding sound like no other.  When thinking about music to accompany my book trailer, the choice was easy:  it HAD to be Gaelic Storm. [Read more…]

The Art of Photography

Lucky Southern Maryland Horse Association Show 2010

I appreciate the art of photography, which is one of the reasons I chose this form of “illustration” for  my novel, Believing In Horses.  Besides the fact that the story is modern and photographic images are intertwined in the plot, I truly value what it takes to capture a good photograph.  I studied photography in high school, college, and at the Defense Information School and understand the supposed qualities of good pictures.  I also know that I can’t take a good picture to save my life, which may help explain why I appreciate the art form so much.I love the picture here, whether it follows all the conventions of the “rule of thirds,” contrast, or not.  This picture, to me, tells a story.  The position of the horse’s head, the slightly tattered barn door, the garment bag peeking out from behind the last ribbons — they all tell us something about that exact moment in time.  I happen to know the story, which makes it easier, but I would hope that even the casual observer could view this photo and feel like it meant something. [Read more…]

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…]