Today I’m going to switch my animal loving guests to Mondays, while I’ll continue my posts on Wednesdays.


My first Monday guest is Shannon Kennedy, who also writes as Josie Malone.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs a child, Shannon loved to dream away the days in an old cherry tree on her family’s pony farm. In her imagination, the tree became a beautiful Arabian stallion, a medieval castle and even a pirate ship. She got in trouble for making her bratty little sisters walk the plank, but hey, they never broke any bones. On rainy days, she headed for her fort in the hayloft. While the rain thudded on the cedar shingled roof, she read books, eventually trading Carolyn Keene for Georgette Heyer. Today, she lives on the family ranch in the Cascade foothills. Now, she’s teaching the kids and grandkids of the ones she taught way back when we started. She’s had a lot of adventures over the years and plans to write all about them.  Hope you enjoy reading about them!


Take it away Shannon!


I live on the family farm, a riding stable in the Cascade foothills. I organize most of the riding programs, teach horsemanship around my day-job as a substitute teacher, nurse sick horses, hold for the shoer, train whoever needs it – four-legged and two-legged.  And write mainstream western romances as Josie Malone for SirenBookStrand.  I write young adult realistic fiction under what the kids at the barn call my “real name,” Shannon Kennedy for Black Opal Books and Fire & Ice YA.


Writing what I know means horses show up in most of my books. Because it’s fiction, the horse never dies – unlike real life. My veterinarian, Dr. Tim Cavenaugh of All Creatures Great and Small up in Arlington, Washington says, “We choose to love those who have a shorter life span than we do,” and I’ve lost my share of dearly beloved horses over the past forty years. In March 2011, my equine companion of almost twenty-four years, Lucky Lady died of cancer and I’m still grieving her.


So, what can I tell you about horses? And how do you make them authentic in your books? First, remember that although they’re big, they’re also surprisingly fragile in spite of their size. A horse has one stomach so it is not like a cow, a goat or a deer. The stomach is small, so the horse eats approximately twenty hours a day in the wild and sleeps four hours, usually in naps.


Adult horses still lie down but not for long, about fifteen minutes. Lady used to empty the whole barn when she snored. She would lie down for a half hour and her weight; all eleven-hundred pounds would press on her lungs. She would groan as if she were dying. I’d run down to the barn and get her to roll up on her chest. Then, she would go back to normal breathing. Of course, once I interrupted nap-time, she would stand up and give me the look that meant “Just where are the carrots, Mom?”


I love horses and I was thrilled when I found a publishing house that does too. My latest series from Fire & Ice YA centers around Shamrock Stable, a fictional “down-home” riding stable near Marysville, WA. The first book came out in this summer. No Horse Wanted is the story of Robin Gibson who wants a 1968 Presidential blue Mustang for her birthday. When she gets the opportunity to choose a horse of her own, Robin isn’t happy.


I based the horse she rescues on one that I actually brought to our barn several years ago. Lady made a guest appearance and my wonderful editor allowed me to dedicate this book to the two horses that inspired it. The second book in the series, No Time For Horses will be out in October. Deck The Stalls, a holiday novella comes out in November/December. I hope you enjoy the Shamrock Stable series and the horsy facts that make the stories authentic.


Happy Writing and Riding!


Shamrock Stable, Book 1 – NO HORSE WANTED


No Horse WantedThe only thing that Robin Gibson wants for her sixteenth birthday is a 1968 Presidential Blue Mustang. Following their family tradition, what her parents promise her is a horse of her own, one with four legs, not four wheels. Mom competes in endurance riding, Dad does calf roping, her older brother games and her older sister loves three-day eventing, but Robin proudly says that she doesn’t do horses. She’ll teach her controlling family a lesson by bringing home the worst horse she can find, a starved, abused two-year-old named Twaziem.

Robin figures she’ll nurse him back to health, sell him and have the money for her car. Rescuing and rehabilitating the Morab gelding might be a bigger challenge than what she planned. He comes between her and her family. He upsets her friends when she looks after his needs first. Is he just an investment or is he part of her future? And if she lets him into her heart will she win or will she lose?




You can contact Shannon at:

Categories: Horses, nature, outdoors, riding, training horses, Uncategorized, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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14 thoughts on “THE HORSE NEVER DIES!

  1. marsharwest

    Wow! What a great blurb, Shannon. Sure to grab readers’ attention. While this is a YA, it sounds like it would be enjoyed by adults, too. Thanks for sharing the info on horses. I’m a real city gal and don’t know much at all about them.
    But I can empathize with the pain you’ve suffered at the loss of your beloved horses. Lost two pups we’d had for 15 years just two weeks apart this summer. The hole their passing left is enormous. Way larger than the actual size of these little guys.
    Good luck with your books. I’ll FB and Tweet. 🙂

    • Thanks for stopping by Marsha. Loving animals can be a test, but they sure add to our lives.

    • Yes, I know how it feels when we lose any four-legged critter that we love. I think that’s why my vet shared that with me years ago – simply because it breaks my heart to say goodbye. I just hope to see the ones I love at some point in the future.

  2. Shannon, I love the blurb for your book. I live on a farm, too and having rodeoed for many years, have lost several equine friends.

    • Glad to stopped in and commented. As you well know part of having animals is losing them. We just lost two of our horses. Had to put down my husband’s 29 year old and five weeks later my 30 year old collapsed. We assume she wanted to be with her friend. At least my other older girl is stabled separately, so their deaths don’t seem to have hit her too hard. She did mourn for a few weeks though.

    • I still miss my horsy friends, but was thrilled that my editor let me dedicate No Horse Wanted to the two horses that inspired the story. I actually rescued the one that my character does in the story and my mom rode him for more than 30 years.

  3. What a lovely blog for a Monday morning. I, too, own a horse – a big, black Baroque Friesian – the love of my life. The healing power of the horse is at work every time I ride him and/or see him. I am so happy that his life is longer than my labradors. Animals’ time with us is too short, but it makes them all the more precious. I love holiday books and look forward to reading your horsey Xmas book.
    Thank you for sharing.

    • They do sound like fun stories, don’t they? I’m eager to read the holiday one too.
      I should come up and see your big black boy sometime.

    • Deck the Stalls actually takes place after the first two books – so you may enjoy all three – I hope so! I love my cover – we found a horse in a Christmas wreath. I swear it looks like the big Belgian warmblood in our barn!

  4. I agree with you, Patricia, about the healing power of horses. They are wonderful therapy companions.

    • Great therapy animals and that’s the topic of my next book FOREARMED. (Little BSP there. :-))
      Wouldn’t like a world without them.

  5. Sounds like a great book Shannon, the kind I would have loved finding when I was a kid! … As a lifer in the horse world, I can’t wait to meet you in person at the ECWC book fair so we can swap horse stories.
    🙂 cheers! Kathryn/Katt

  6. Wonderful – I’ll look forward to seeing you both there. It’ll be a blast!

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