Romantic suspense

The Art of Breathing for Two

Imported Photos 00004 Joining us today is Susan Schreyer, the author of the just released Shooting To Kill, the fifth book in the Thea Campbell mystery series. Set in the real-life town of Snohomish, Washington, her books feature amateur dressage rider and solver-of-crimes, Thea Campbell.

For those of you not familiar with dressage, it is a type of very precise, formal riding that you see in the Olympics and in the Disney movie The Miracle of the White Stallions.

When not working diligently on her next book, Susan trains horses in the art of dressage and teaches people how to ride them. Today she talks about one of the exultant moments every rider hopes to have. Take it away Susan!

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I was watching a video the other day—Edward Gal and Totilas (European and World Champions, with the highest scores ever achieved) in a freestyle ride that earned the pair a score in excess of 90%—and was struck by something rather profound which, of course, like any truth is not new, but re-experienced.

That truth is: good riding, really good riding, transcends the correct application of the aids and the ability to perform the various movements.

Think about that for a moment.

Do you agree? I’ll bet you do.

Now, tell me this: what is the defining moment—the transcendent point in time where technically proficient grows a soul and becomes art? How do you recognize it when you see it, feel it?

I believe it is that moment when you cease to be the controller of the other creature, and become one—a symbiotic relationship, if you will. You can see it in the relaxation, the fluidity of both parties. There exists a grace that, when I see it (even on video), can reduce me (and likely a couple other of you) to tears. It’s that powerful. You cannot mistake it, you cannot pretend it isn’t there. When witnessed, it hits you in the heart.

When you experience that moment it is like nothing else, no matter how technically wonderful, that has come before. It is an ease that lies at the level of breathing, an effortless balance that requires only intention to shift direction or gait, an open door that allows access to levels of power at once heady and frightening when first encountered.

It’s the Buzz Lightyear moment: to infinity and beyond.

The Holy Grail of dressage.

If you’ve been riding for a while, and trying to improve, there is a good chance you’ve experienced this—even if for a brief moment six months ago. Quite a number of riders are familiar with that transcendent point. Perhaps it was fleeting, something that happened by “mistake.” Or, if you’re very lucky (not to mention diligent) it was something you achieved and can return to at will. Nevertheless, it is that joining of our souls to that of our four-legged companions that keeps us going, keeps us striving, keeps us getting our butts out to the barn when we’d rather be curled up with a glass of wine and a good book.

This possibility to become one, to join with our noble friend, gets us into the saddle when our bones are too old and our bodies hurt. We smile when we remember the times we touched the dream, and we willingly try again for just one more taste.

Happy riding, people.

If you’d like to see the video Susan is talking about:
http://www.horseandcountry.tv/episode/edward-gal-moorlands-totilas-record-breaking-wdm-kur

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300x480 72dpi shooting to killWhen Thea Campbell’s veterinarian collapses after accidentally injecting himself with a horse vaccine, Thea rushes to his aid. Despite her best efforts, the much-loved vet dies. In the wake of this tragic fluke, Thea reconsiders her own cautious approach to relationships.

Life, Thea decides, might be shorter than you expect, and procrastination a death-bed regret.

She immediately accepts her best friend’s last-minute wedding invitation and embraces the planning of her own marriage to fiancé Paul Hudson.

However, on return from her friend’s wedding, Thea has little opportunity to pursue her new philosophy. Her veterinarian’s death has been ruled a murder, his young assistant arrested and accused of deliberately substituting euthanasia solution for the West Nile vaccine.

The only person to believe in the assistant’s innocence is Thea’s sister Juliet. She intends to investigate and begs Thea for help. But Thea believes the case is closed and the police have arrest the right person. Besides, she intends to concentrate on planning her wedding.

…However, the chilling fact is Thea was right about life being shorter than expected. Procrastination is not on the killer’s agenda.

http://tinyurl.com/qauup5a

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Susan can be run to earth at most bookstores and ebook retailers, as well as the following locations;

Susan Schreyer Mysteries website: http://www.susanschreyer.com

Things I Learned From My Horse blog: http://thingsilearnedfrommyhorse.blogspot.com

Writing Horses blog: http://writinghorses.blogspot.com

Twitter @susanschreyer

FaceBook: Susan Schreyer Mysteries

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Susan-Schreyer-Mysteries/161359303906634

Categories: Books, dressage, Horses, Mystery, riding, Romantic suspense, suspense, training horses, Uncategorized, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Cues from Mother Nature

Glory #2

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Last evening as I was grooming my horse Glory, I was shocked to see she had already started growing a winter coat. It’s the middle of August, was 102 degrees the day before, and her coat is thickening? My immediate thought was “we’re going to have a cold winter.”

Then I mused about how someone living in 2013, just outside a major city, still looked to the old farmer’s indicators for clues to the weather. Almost everyone else I know listens to or reads the weather reports. With satellite photos, graphs and charts, the meteorologists predict our climate—with about fifty percent accuracy. Those of who deal with animals probably have a slightly better record.

Early this summer the people at the barn where I board Glory were all commenting on how their horses weren’t losing their winter coats. Normally by June, they are sleek and shining, with all the long hair gone. This year they took much longer to shed and some of the older horses never did sleek out.

Turns out the horses knew something even the meteorologists didn’t. It was going to be a cool summer. In fact, in spite of a few high temps, this has been one of the coolest on record for our area. Since thirty degree drops in temperature overnight are common here, those older horses that had lost their muscle and bulk really did need the extra warmth their shaggy coats72 dpi - Lightning storm provided.

Now it appears they are preparing for a early, cold winter. Shorter days, with less light, provide a physiological signal for animals to shed their short summer hair and replace it with a longer, denser coat. Because of this many show barns leave their lights on at night in an attempt to keep their horses sleek. (The lights also affect the reproductive cycle, but that’s a topic for another time.) The rest of us just live with the heavy coats, and maybe use blankets to try to keep them from getting too dense.

But what causes animals to grow heavy coats one year and much lighter ones the next? How did they know to hang onto their extra hair this summer? How does Nature know what the climate will be? I’d really love to know the answer to those questions.

Until then, I’ll continue to monitor my animals and prepare for a cold winter this year. I’ll be curious, come Spring, as to how accurate their predictions are.

How about you? Are there any unusual happenings that you pay attention to? Any cues from Mother Nature?

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Weather plays an important part in my novel Forewarning. Take a look at an excerpt to see how.

http://www.amazon.com/Forewarning-Horses-Healing-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00DP5VOHK/

Categories: Horses, Mother Nature, Romantic suspense, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Weekend Snippets #12

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It’s Weekend Snippets time again and I’m  continuing with a bit from  FOREWARNING, the first book of my Horses and Healing Mysteries series.

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I’m also giving a larger excerpt on the Virtual EBook Fair Event on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/events/202609846566492/  Come take a look at all the great books being featured.

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Kasey Martin, an energetic healer who has renounced her skills, awakens in the middle of a storm. When a sudden wave of pain hits her, she realizes that someone–a man–is injured and she goes to investigate.
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The three-sided shed gave partial protection from the storm, but the rain had turned the saturated ground to muck. The man rolled toward her with a groan. Definitely a stranger—in his thirties, with dark hair and a muscular build. He was soaked to the skin, clad in a light jacket and slacks that provided no protection from the downpour. Blood from a head wound covered his face. He looked much too pale and his dark eyes were glazing. The beginnings of shock.
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Forewarning Cover
Grieving and guilt-stricken after her husband’s suicide, Kasey Martin has closed her energetic healing practice and retreated to her Oregon horse ranch. One night, she rescues a badly injured man, and against her better judgment, uses her neglected skills to save his life. This starts her on an unexpected journey of healing and danger.  Complicating her life is Jim Bradley, an old friend who has long been in love with her and wants her to return to her work. When criminals looking for her patient invade the serenity of her world, she must use her skills to save all three of their lives.

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Be sure to check out more fabulous snippets Snippet Sunday, on Facebook
and also. on the Weekend Writing Warriors website
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Happy reading!
Categories: alternative medicine, energetic healing, healing, horse personalities, Horses, Mystery, romance, Romantic suspense, suspense, Uncategorized | 16 Comments

Welcome Marsha West

I’d like to welcome Marsha West, author of the newly released VERMONT ESCAPE.  (Yes, I know, a very similar title to my Wyoming Escape. We met online long after both novels had been titled.) Vermont Escape is the story of Jill Barlow, a widow  whose father is murdered two years after her husband was killed. She decides to leave her home and moves to a lovely Vermont town to start a new life. But her worst fears are proven true when the killers pursue her, convinced she has evidence that could destroy their game.

Before revealing an excerpt from her exciting novel, Marsha has agreed to answer my sometimes pertinent and oft times impertinent questions about life, writing and nonsense. Thanks so much for visiting Marsha!

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Marsha West.

Who are the important people in your life? Have they influenced your writing?

The first people who come to mind are my mother and father. Both of them wrote. My father not as much as my mother, but one of his stories was printed in an Air Force magazine. He was always inventing things. Nothing ever got patented, but the device he created to open canned cream was great. Mom had stories printed in her Women’s Club writing group’s annual booklet. She also self-published a public speaking booklet and two devotional books:  Prayers and Inspirations for Parents of Teenagers and Prayers and Inspirations for Senior Citizens.

Of course, none of this writing business would have been possible without the support of my dear husband, affectionately referred to as DH.

 What’s your favorite dessert?

I have a good friend who makes a dynamite chocolate sheet cake with pecans on top that is truly to die for. It’s just the best. Now, I also like apple pie, but eons ago, I had a friend who made it from scratch. Perfect seasoning, flaky crust, just amazing. But if it doesn’t taste like that, I don’t want it. Since I can’t be sure, I seldom order it. A little weird? Yeah, probably. So now, I’m happy to stick with Julie’s chocolate cake. J

What prompted you to write Vermont Escape? Did you want to say something specific?

The idea is based on a time in my life when the kids were in elementary  and middle school. The whole family had gone on a lovely vacation to Red River, New Mexico. Up in the mountains. Gorgeous views. Moderate temperatures. Great shopping. Fishing for my husband. Can you say paradise? I’m from Texas where in August it can easily be 109 cooling only to the 80s or 90 at night. Stressful stuff awaited us back home, and I didn’t want to leave the lovely mountain top retreat. We half-joked that we could buy one of the little stores for sale, and my husband could practice law. We’d just not return.

Well, only in fiction, do you really get to escape, and we returned to Texas. Ultimately, life settled back into that level of stress we can all manage to handle. But that feeling of really wanting to leave everything (not my family) behind stuck with me and was the basis for VERMONT ESCAPE. When I first started writing the book, it began with Jill Barlow leaving her home in Fort Worth after a bunch of bad stuff happened. Various re-writes cut those scenes from the book, but the feeling of escape still drives her. Pretty much, I’m always trying to show that second chances are possible. It doesn’t matter how old you are, love is out there to be found. That more important than anything is family. All of my books have a generational aspect.

What is your writing process? How do you develop your stories?

I’m a plotter, so before I try to write the story, there are a number of things I have to have in place first.

1)      I need a location. I know most people start with the characters, but I start with the location. Where do the people live and work?

2)      Then I ask myself who lives in that house? Why are they there? What do they do in town? At that point I drag out all my charts and start developing the characters. Not just what they look like, though I’ve frequently got pictures of people who represent the characters as I see them in my mind. What were their growing up years like? Who are their friends, mentors, supporters? I do charts for all but the very smallest of roles.

3)      Then I ask what do they want and why can’t they have it? That leads right into the Goal, Motivation, and Conflict chart. (Judges of the first book I entered in contests, said I should really study GMC. LOL I didn’t know what they were talking about. That book remains under my bed serving as a holder for dust bunnies. LOL)

4)      Next chart is one for internal and external conflict and it’s from this that the action pieces happen.

5)      Then I put together a tag line and a short paragraph about what’s going to happen.

6)      Then it’s time to write. I let myself write some of the backstory. I know it will go away and only pieces of it will get layered into the story, but I have to write 2-3 chapters of this. It’s kind of how I get into my characters’ minds.

7)      Then I write full speed. Every morning, I read over the last chapter or last pages I wrote to get back into the groove. I’ll edit as I go—typos, grammar stuff that jumps out. Then I write as long as I can without editing. I keep a small stuffed puppy (Scruffy) on my computer to remind me to let the creative juices flow. My internal editor can be a real pill to deal with. Scruffy helps me keep up and creative.  I move the puppy, re-read, edit a bit. Then Scruffy comes back out and away we go. (If I’m editing another manuscript while I’m also creating, I’ll take a day and edit with the pup gone. Then stop and with the pup in place, write for a few days.

8)      If I get stumped, I reference my charts to see who are these people, what is it they want, what’s keeping them from getting it? What’s on the action chart? What’s next? Sometimes you just have to let the fingers go and see what comes up. If it’s on the paper, you can fix it.

9)      When I finish, I put the manuscript away, focus on another project. I usually don’t look at the finished book for 4-6 weeks. Then pull it back out and start major rewrites and edits. Those can take up to 3 months.

10)   This is what I’ve done in the past. It will be interesting to see if this is the same pattern now that I have a published book. There are many things that tug on an author after they’ve got one book published. We’ll have to see.

If you were a color (red, blue, green, etc.), what would you be?

No question, I’d be blue-green, otherwise known as turquoise, aqua, aquamarine, teal. I’ve always loved that color, even when I was a kid. Back in the day, I had my colors “done.” Turns out my eyes are a shade of aqua, and I always feel good when I wear the color.

What writers or books have influenced you?

When I first started reading romance again after a twenty-year hiatus, I picked up Linda Howard and Elizabeth Lowell. Loved the combination of mystery and romance. Boy was I surprised by how much the romance had changed. The door was no longer closed! I also read Carla Neggars. I loved her descriptions of New England. She writes romantic suspense about a couple of families and all their friends. The intertwining is amazing. Don’t know how she keeps up.  I also really love Kay Hooper’s books. She’s a bit more into the paranormal suspense area with less romance, but the romance is still there. If I were going to branch out from what I write that’s probably the direction I’d go. Oh, not with shape-shifters, but more involving the mind or spirits.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a few people I’ve taken classes from who influenced my writing: Shannon Donnally, Lori Wilde, Linda Styles, and B. A Binns. The person who made the biggest impact and I believe led to me being published is Margie Lawson.

Coffee or tea?  Beer or wine? Sweet or tart? 

Hot coffee (or iced in the summer) first thing in the morning, but the rest of the day it’s iced tea. I get a loose tea from an Antique Mall tea room. I follow the directions exactly and enjoy the best apricot/mango tea right in my home. Wine for sure. I love the taste of beer (drink it poured over a glass of ice—I know kind of odd, but it’s the way I like it.) But wine is semi healthy for you, and I love the glasses. J Sweet wins hands down up against tart.

If your book is made into a TV movie, who do you want to play the hero?

John Corbet?? Maybe, but he needs a beard and longer hair. I’m so bad at this. Should’ve skipped. LOL

What’s your next project?

Just sent off book 5 to MuseItUp with fingers crossed they’ll want to publish it, too. So now I’m splitting my time between edits/rewrites of the 6th book. In Second Chances (the hero is a supporting character in VERMONT ESCAPE and demanded to be the hero. I had to speak firmly to him that he was not the hero of that book, and if he’d back off a bit, I’d give him his own book. That’s what Second Chances is.

But I’m very excited to have started looking at the 7th one. When I initially sat down to write # 6 (It went by the number for a year and a half! I’m dreadful with titles.), the plan was for it to be the first of four books. Four women who met as kids at summer camp and now are dealing with a multitude of issues in their own lives. They get together a couple of times a year. Two live in Fort Worth. One in Dallas and one in Wichita Falls. Not a series where you have all of the same people, and the end doesn’t come at the end. But it will be a series with several characters who overlap and show up in each of the books and each book is complete in itself.

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Vermont Escape 200x300

Two years after the murder of her husband, someone guns down Jill Barlow’s father, a Texas State Representative. The authorities suspect a connection between the murders, but can’t find proof. Jill longs for the peace she found when she visited Vermont after her husband’s death. With the perpetrators still at large, she flees to the small town of Woodstock.

The gambling syndicate, believing she has damning evidence against them, pursues her, shattering her dreams of peace. In an effort to protect her grown children, she doesn’t tell them violence continues to stalk the family.

Despite having lost so much already, with the lives of her family and friends at stake, will Jill be required to make more sacrifices, even the hope of a second chance at love?

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EXCERPT :

Jill Barlow reached for her make-up kit and brushed against the one thing she’d been doing her damnedest to avoid. Her heart rate tripped into overtime.

The package she received days after her dad was murdered. One month ago, but she couldn’t face opening a reminder of the nightmare.

Pictures of her vigorous father mixed with recent images of his closed casket. Nausea hit. Again. Damn. Why would someone blow off her father’s head? She didn’t stay to find out. She ran.

She’d pushed herself on a four-day trip from Texas to Vermont. Emotionally and physically exhausted, all she wanted to do was unpack her pajamas and climb into bed. Habit required she clean and moisturize her face. Habit provided comfort when life was chaotic. Habit could get her through the worst. Or not.

In the Woodstock Inn suite, her hand trembled when she removed the package and dropped it onto the bed where it lay on the white coverlet like a scorpion.

Hands propped on her knees, she leaned over, drew in needed oxygen. A minute passed, and then she straightened.

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VERMONT ESCAPE is available at:

MuseItUp  http://goo.gl/nJtaa                 B & N http://goo.gl/1lR6D                      Amazon http://goo.gl/qhzBm

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You can contact Marsha West at:

http://www.marsharwest.com/category/blog for Thoughts on Thursday and Tuesday Author Chats

https://www.facebook.com/#!/marsha.r.west  @marsha.r.west

http://www.twitter.com/Marsharwest  @Marsharwest

Categories: fear, Mystery, romance, Romantic suspense, suspense, Uncategorized, writing | 19 Comments

Weekend Snippets #11

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I’m back and continuing with a snippet from  FOREWARNING, the first book of my Horses and Healing Mysteries series.

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Kasey Martin, an energetic healer who has renounced her skills, awakens in the middle of a storm. When a sudden wave of pain hits her, she realizes that someone–a man–is injured and she goes to investigate. She finds the man lying under a horse shelter, but his pain and her fear make her hesitate and decide to go for help.

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The pickup surged backward then jerked to a stop. Kasey dropped her forehead to the steering wheel. He can’t wait for anyone else. She lifted her head and took a deep shuddering breath. Then she visualized a golden ball of energy surrounding her, creating a protective barrier against the stranger’s agony, while a shaft of white light filled her with calm and strength.

Shaken and unsure, she grabbed the first aid kit and a waterproof horse blanket from the backseat. The ground sucked at her boots as she hurried to the injured man, knelt and spread the blanket over him.

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Forewarning Cover
 Grieving and guilt-stricken after her husband’s suicide, Kasey Martin has closed her energetic healing practice and retreated to her Oregon horse ranch. One night, she rescues a badly injured man, and against her better judgment, uses her neglected skills to save his life. This starts her on an unexpected journey of healing and danger.  Complicating her life is Jim Bradley, an old friend who has long been in love with her and wants her to return to her work. When criminals looking for her patient invade the serenity of her world, she must use her skills to save all three of their lives.

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Be sure to check out more fabulous snippets on the  Weekend Writing Warriors website
and also Snippet Sunday, on Facebook.
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Happy reading!
Categories: alternative medicine, energetic healing, healing, horse personalities, Horses, Mystery, romance, Romantic suspense, suspense, Uncategorized | 28 Comments

Animals as Characters

Like most writers when working on a novel, I usually create detailed character sketches of the main actors in my stories. These will feature physical descriptions, often including pictures of people who look like the image in my mind. I also create family background, education, likes, dislikes, traumas, good times, and lots more. While most of this information never appears on the page, it is vital to envisioning a fully-fleshed character.

Since animalIMAG0335s often play parts in my stories, I also create histories for them, but most often I simply think of ones I have known. This is particularly true in my novel FOREWARNING. I modeled several of the animal characters on my own. In fact, in my first drafts I used their real names to keep their pictures in mind while I wrote. Only later did I change the names to protect the guilty. J

Even though the first horse we meet in Forewarning is named after my childhood buddy Star, she’s actually modeled after my husband’s horse. Like Koko, Star is a sweet, laid-back, bay Quarter Horse, who anyone can ride. Kasey uses her as an all-purpose horse, available to students and friends. In contrast, Paris, the escape artist, is a smart, high strung, energetic character, similar to my Portia. Her antics reflect how I would expect Portia to behave in a similar situation.

Goliath, Kasey’s faithful friend, is very similar to a dog we used to have. Tippy was a Border Collie cross and one of the smartest dogs I’ve ever encountered. Not very big, she nevertheless had the protective instincts (and bark) of a much larger dog. One time she even took on a Great Dane, who had to be three times her size, because she thought he was threatening one of the kids. We suspect her desire to protect may have caused her death. We came home one day to find the gate open and her gone. Later we discovered she had been hit by a car. Perhaps chasing an intruder?large__8489462528

The last animal directly modeled on one of ours is the cat Tiny. He’s a reflection of BK (barn kitty) who we acquired as a five week old bit of fluff. Like Kasey, I had been injured (by a friend’s horse kicking at mine and getting me instead) and was spending two weeks in a recliner with my leg elevated. My daughter brought home this tiny, scrawny kitten and he spent the first few weeks nestled against my neck. To our amazement, he grew into a monster of a cat with absolutely no fear of anything. Among other things, he loved to wrestle and play with our Siberian, Oreo. When BK was a kitten, the dog would let him crawl all over him, attack his tail, and even gnaw on a leg. As the cat got older and bigger, Oreo began to retaliate and the fun would begin. They really enjoyed playing with each other, although sometimes they got a little too rough for the house and I would have to kick them out.

If you were writing a story, do you have any animals that you’d include? Have any made a big impact on your life?

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Cat photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/vivalivadia/8489462528/”>N’Grid</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Categories: Books, Dogs and cats, horse personalities, Horses, Romantic suspense, Uncategorized, writing characters | Tags: , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Horses, Alternative Medicine and My New Book

Portia at 29

Portia at 29

When I got my mare Portia over twenty years ago, alternative care for animals was in its infancy and generally frowned on by traditional veterinarians. While I had tried acupuncture for a chronic bursitis, I wasn’t really that open to alternative techniques. But trying to help my sweet mare cured me of that attitude and introduced me to a new way of looking at life. And inspired the heroine of my newest novel Forewarning.

Portia was a beautiful, grey Anglo-Arab with wonderful gaits, a very willing attitude and a delightful joy in life. While she could be silly, mostly she was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, after I’d had her for about six months, she developed unusual problems that the vets couldn’t figure out. First, she started having trouble going down hills. Then she began tripping over things if we rode at dusk. Finally she came up with a really dramatic symptom. She would stumble and fall to the ground. Now lots of horses stumble, but rarely do they go down. This was weird as well as dangerous. And I had the bruises to prove it.

We went through a variety of diagnoses. Navicular disease—but the x-rays and the lack of response to shoeing changes and medicines seemed to rule that out. Weak stifles—but injections and keeping her on hill didn’t change anything.

This went on for about a year and a half and I was ready to give up on her when a friend suggested trying chiropractic. I hadn’t heard of equine chiro before and resisted the idea for quite a while. Then I heard about a vet who did acupuncture and worked with a chiropractor, and I decided to give it a try. If a vet was supervising, maybe there was some worth to it.

The acupuncture to relax the muscles, followed by chiropractic treatment to correct the misalignments in Portia’s spine and sacrum, produced an amazing and immediate improvement. I was ecstatic! I would have my talented, fun horse back again.

The jubilation only lasted a couple of weeks, then Portia started having problems again. It turned out that the chiro put things right for a while, but didn’t correct whatever was causing her back to go out in the first place. While I continued to use chiropractic on all my horses, I now began a journey through just about every alternative modality that existed, in an effort to find a solution to Portia’s trouble.

Finally, I encountered a woman who was learning a new-to-the-USA technique called Manual Therapy. For the first time we got improvements that lasted. She was actually able get to the cause of some of Portia’s problems and many times fix them.

Jacquie’s main work is with people and she only occasionally works on horses. Both my husband and I have gone to her and benefitted greatly from her work. Through her I’ve met several other manual therapists, most of whom also work both with humans and animals. When I began writing fiction seriously a few years ago, I thought it would be interesting to have a protagonist who was a Manual Therapist. The story possibilities were many, and I might also introduce some readers to alternative techniques.

If you read Forewarning, I’d love to hear your reaction to the heroine, Kasey Martin, and the work she does.

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Here’s a small excerpt from when she is working on a horse.

Then she put both hands on the horse and just stood there. After a minute she shifted position and again stood without moving.

“What is she doing?” TJ asked Billy, who had come into the barn too.

Billy glanced at Kasey and gave a shrug. “She’s listening,” he replied.

“What do you mean, listening?” TJ turned to the younger man with a disbelieving frown.

“That’s what she calls it—listening to the body, to figure out what needs to be done. I’m no expert. I just know she does some pretty amazing things. Watch.”

So TJ did watch while Kasey finished her initial assessment and stepped back to make notes on her chart. Then with a determined expression, she placed one hand on the mare’s spine and another low on her left hip. She kept them there for almost ten minutes while talking softly to the horse and Ben. As far as TJ could see, she was doing nothing more than lightly touching the horse.

All of a sudden, Doll let out a big sigh and visibly relaxed, dropping her head low and almost closing her eyes. Kasey stepped away, and tension seemed to flow out of her as well. A few moments later, with a much calmer expression, she moved back to the horse. She continued to hold her hands in different spots for varying amounts of time, changing their position after Doll sighed or yawned. Obviously, something was happening, but TJ had no idea what.

At one point Doll swung her head around and touched her ribs, just behind her front legs. Kasey nodded. “I know,” she said, and kept on with what she was doing. A few minutes later Doll twisted around again and touched her side a couple more times. Kasey smiled and responded. “I’ll get to it. I know it hurts. I need to take care of this first.”

TJ widened his eyes in disbelief. The horse is telling her where it hurts? At that point, he almost left in disgust to go back to the house, but hesitated when he saw how seriously Ben and Billy were watching. Pushing down his skepticism, he decided to wait and see how her treatment played out.

A while later Kasey finally switched her attention to the area Doll had touched. The mare bobbed her head up and down a couple of times, then let it hang in total relaxation. After spending a good ten minutes working on the area, Kasey stepped back.

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Forewarning CoverYou can buy FOREWARNING on Amazon http://amazon.com/ dp/B00DP5VOHK/

Categories: alternative medicine, Books, dressage, energetic healing, healing, horse personalities, Horses, Romantic suspense, Trail riding, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Interviewing Myself

Forewarning CoverWelcome back.

Today I’m taking part in an Author round-robin blog, where I talk about various aspects of my writing process and my new book coming out next week. I was invited to the party by Marsha West, author of the soon-to-be-published VERMONT ESCAPE. You can visit her and learn about her fabulous new book at: http://www.marsharwest.com/vermont-escape/

Here goes:

What are you working on right now?

I’m getting ready to publish my next book, FOREWARNING. I have my cover, it’s been edited and gone through beta readers, and now I’m in the process of formatting it for the Kindle. I plan on releasing it July 1.

How does it differ from other works in its genre?

It’s a cross-genre romantic suspense about an energetic healer who lives on a horse ranch. FOREWARNING is the first book of my Horses and Healing series. It tells the story of Kasey Edwards, an alternative healer, who rescues an injured man and gets drawn into an unexpected web of danger.

What experiences have influenced you?

I’ve had horses most of my life—started riding when I was three. Caring for, raising and training them has molded my approach to life. Animals ground you in a way that’s often lost in city living. They also led me into alternative approaches to medical care. When traditional veterinary methods couldn’t help one of my horses, complementary techniques did. So I’m a firm believer in both.

Why do you write what you do?

I like happy endings and I like mysteries that engage my mind, so romantic suspense is the perfect blend. My books tend more to suspense with romantic elements than traditional romance. In my Horses and Healing mysteries, of which FOREWARNING is the first, I also get to talk about complementary therapies.

How does your writing process work?

I’m a “puzzler.” I can’t just sit down and write, like a pantser, nor can I write to an outline, like a plotter. Usually, I come up with an initial idea, figure out where I’d like to story to go—the ending—then start fleshing out the characters, using character sheets and personality profiles. My characters may change while I’m writing, but I do need to know who they are to make them real. I’m always surprised and delighted by the serendipitous things that pop out as I go along. Maybe a comment by a character ends up setting up a later scene. Or I encounter someone or something that inspires an idea for my story.

What is the hardest part about writing?

Two things: turning off my internal editor and figuring out the turning points in the story. After I know my characters, I then have to figure out how to get them from point A to point B. By determining three or four turning points, I have an idea of where to go. But getting those points can really be a bear.

What would you like to try as a writer that you haven’t yet?

Historical fiction—suspense, of course. There already are several excellent writers, such as Suzanne Adair, doing early American mysteries, but I’d still like to try my hand at it.

Who are the authors you most admire?

There are so many, it’s hard to single them out. Some who come to mind are Jayne Ann Krentz, Nora Roberts, Kay Hooper, Elizabeth Lowell, Cait London, Robin Carr, Suzanne Brockman, Linda Lael Miller and Allison Brennan.

Who are new authors to watch out for?

Marsha West—can’t wait for her VERMONT ESCAPE. Susan Schreyer, Polly Iyer, Jerrie Alexander, Donnell Bell, and Susan Boyer to name just a few. All romantic suspense writers.

What scares you?

What if no one likes my book? Not what if it doesn’t sell, but what if they don’t like it? I want it to be a success, of course. (And make lots of money. J) Even more important, I want readers to enjoy my stories and to come back for more.

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And now I’m going to introduce you to the next link in this Author’s Chain—Susan Scheyer, author of the Thea Campbell Mystery series. Her next book, SHOOTING TO KILL, is due out soon. If you like humorous mysteries featuring horses, be sure to visit her blog “Writing Horses” http://writinghorses.blogspot.com.

Categories: blog hops, Books, dressage, healing, Horses, Mystery, romance, Romantic suspense, suspense, Trail riding, Uncategorized, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Weekend Snippets

Welcome back to Weekend Snippets.
I’m continuing with the next 8 sentences from my soon to-be-released book, FOREWARNING.

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Forewarning CoverGrieving and guilt-stricken after her husband’s suicide, Kasey Martin has closed her energetic healing practice and retreated to her Oregon horse ranch. One night, she rescues a badly injured man, and against her better judgment, uses her neglected skills to save his life. This starts her on an unexpected journey of healing and danger.  Complicating her life is Jim Bradley, an old friend who has long been in love with her and wants her to return to her work. When criminals looking for her patient invade the serenity of her world, she must use her skills to save all three of their lives.

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Here’s a short bit from the beginning.

Kasey frowned and tilted her head. What the heck had startled her awake and sent her pulse racing? She focused her thoughts and reached out with her mind, briefly touching the energy fields of the animals in her care. The horses in both pastures were dozing in their lean-tos, ignoring the storm. In the barn, her stallion Sundancer was awake but unconcerned. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. She lay back, pulled the quilt up around her shoulders, and willed herself to relax. At least tonight it hadn’t been the nightmare about Brian that disturbed her sleep.

FOREWARNING will be released on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and Smashwords in mid-June.  Please check back for the exact date.
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Be sure to check out more fabulous snippets on the  Weekend Writing Warriors website and also Snippet Sunday, on Facebook.
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Happy reading!

 

Categories: Books, Cowboys, Dogs and cats, Horses, Mystery, Romantic suspense, suspense, Trail riding, Uncategorized, Western romance | 38 Comments

Weekend Snippets #6

Happy Memorial Day. And thank you to all the men and women who have served our country.

Welcome back to Weekend Snippets.

Here’s the last snippet from the first scene of WYOMING ESCAPE. Mikela Richards is running in a woodsy park when she hears gunfire, sees a man with a gun, finds a dead body and runs away when someone comes out of the woods. She gets back to her car and roars out of the parking lot. This last bit is more than eight sentences, but necessary.

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 Wyoming Cover - 4x6 - #2A few blocks away, Mikela pulled up in front of a gas station with a public pay phone. She stared at it for a long minute. Did she dare take the chance? She could ignore the gun shots, but a dead man was different. She’d have to trust the cops couldn’t trace the call to her.  Talking fast and loudly, she reported the murder and the man with the gun. When the operator asked for her name, she hung up. She knew what could happen after you found a body. She knew the police were not her friends.

She knew that a determined cop could make her life hell.

 

You can find Wyoming Escape on most e-reader sites: Kindle, Nook, Apple, Kobo and Smashwords

Be sure to check out more fabulous snippets on the  Weekend Writing Warriors website and also Snippet Sunday, on Facebook.

Happy reading!

Categories: Books, Cowboys, Dude ranches, fear, Mystery, Romantic suspense, suspense, Uncategorized, Western romance, Wyoming | Tags: | 26 Comments

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