So where's the snow?

Muddling through in Austria; God, life and a small black dog


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Guest Post: Justinn Harrison

I read the first book in the Gallant Hearts Series and was totally bowled over. I’ve never read anything about modern jousting and it was a mind blower. Great read, strong characters, romance and well understood horses.  Possibly my book of the year for 2020!   

Justinn,tell us a little about yourself, where you live, family, career, horses etc.

Hi, my name is Justinn Harrison, though I publish as J.D. Harrison. I love living in Colorado, though I have traveled all over the United States working with horses. I’ve been an upper level eventing groom, riding instructor, squire to full contact jousters, commercial carriage driver and mostly stall mucker, blessed with a huge variety of equine experiences. Currently, I am a part time stallion handler and barn manager, which gives me plenty of freedom to write and enjoy my own horse. My husband deserves an award for encouraging both of my passions, often to his detriment. He shares me with my dog, Cherry, a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, and with my heart horse, Smoke. Smoke is a very rare breed, the Canadian Horse, or Le Cheval Canadien. They are very smart, hardworking, people oriented, courageous and sturdy. To my constant gratitude, they are also long lived. Smoke is 23 this year and while a bit slower some mornings, he is still going strong. We enjoy carriage driving and trail riding mostly, though he is game to try just about anything.

How did you get into writing?

I’ve been writing since I was old enough to put together works on paper, telling stories for myself or writing poems when I needed an emotional outlet. I always took advanced English and creative writing courses with high marks. However, I did not start novel writing until a very serious fight with H1N1 (swine flu) in 2009 shook up my world. When you unexpectedly have to face your own mortality it helps you reevaluate what is truly important to you. The first finished novel came about in 2014, with several more on its heels, but they weren’t quite publication ready. The Gallant Hearts series began in 2016 during National Novel Writing Month, and I’ve been chasing the stories that sprang from that point ever since.

Are you a plot in head first person or does it grow as you write?

I have ideas of where the story is headed, but it’s mostly pointing my characters at that objective and turning them loose. Sometimes I throw situations at them and am just as surprised as the reader at the results. Makes every writing day an adventure.

Plug one of your books!

I’m always going to love book one in the Gallant Hearts series the most. Well Armored Hearts is everything I love all rolled in to one story. A strong heroine, friends who become family, unlooked for romance, renaissance festivals, hard hitting modern day jousting, and more than anything, horses that you fall in love with just as much as the people. It’s a meaty story that reads fast and there’s something relatable for almost everyone.

Coffee or tea? chocolate or crisps? Romance or thriller? Horses or dogs, or both?

ALWAYS tea. Preferably Glenghettie (a Welsh tea) brewed dark with just a lump of sugar and the barest splash of milk.

Oh goodness! If I must pick, then chocolate. Dark mostly. But I do love a salty crunchy snack too. Torture!

Romance. Sometimes romantic thrillers, but honestly, I read to escape and not much beats a believable happily ever after.

And definitely both horses and dogs! The horse often fancies himself a bit dog like, but he’s too big to cuddle with in bed at night. LOL

You can find my work at www.gallanthearts.com, I am on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJDHarrison/

Always happy to chat with other authors, readers and fellow horse lovers.


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Selling the flat

After we had tidied the flat, we took fantastic photos, worked out the running costs, drew a floor plan and so all we needed to do was put it on the market and get the sale pack done. Of course, this wouldn’t be so necessary if we had already sold, which we nearly did.

I really felt it was the answer to prayer when we had a call from Pete, through whom we bought this place. Visit, interested lady, good price. What happened? The local council or Gemeinde.

There is a big issue in Austria with second homes, which we can agree with. It’s one of the reasons we moved here, having lived in the south of England, where villages turn into ghost towns in the weeks as Londoners go back. This leads to closure of everything, even fire brigades. The lady who wanted to buy  would have it as a holiday home and possibly retire here.

But no, council said it must be sold as a main residence. If people lie, there will be a fine. No sale.

What makes me mad is that out of the seven flats in our block, four are second homes, even of by inheritance. Unfair. Lost sale and back to prayer.


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New old blog

I’ve been fighting for ages against mailing lists and suddenly remembered the book blog I started last year. Why not simply get people to sign up to that in return for a free book and other offers? So here’s the link and a preview!

https://wordpress.com/view/booksbyanna619772285.wordpress.com

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Hi Everyone!

This is my new idea to reach you wonderful readers!

For those who follow by email, there will be a free gift of one of my books as I will personally contact you.

Then each month there will be news and special offers with links to other authors who you may like to read too.

Or simply follow the blog with no commitment.

I look forward to meeting you all in comments!

 


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Christmas!

This time of year is the main time for book buying, then afterwards people are using vouchers. So here is a subtle hint from me about my books and then I’ll not bug you again until the new year!

All are available as ebooks and free on Kindle unlimited. Christmas and Collection are not available as paperbacks.


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FREEBIE!

Just for this weekend, 2nd and 3rd November! Do enjoy and I hope you might like to read on into the Horses and Souls Series.


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Swingle is Five!

Can’t believe where the time has gone. She’s such a gentle but NOISY dog! We took the hedge down on our garden and it’s taken her all summer to realise she doesn’t need to bark at everyone.

This years’ disasters have been eating a long-dead, shortly defrosted Wühlmaus (Gopher) in spring which made her incredibly ill and several trips to that nice man with the needles. Eye infection. Another stomach bug from eating fresh slurry!

She sadly lost her bestie, Bella this summer, and her new bestie, Kira is eating for about 10 due in November. Even Dave has vaguely muttered about a second dog, but he won’t put it in writing!

She’s as greedy as ever, and we know definitely her Dad was a labrador. Her only playthings are fluffy cushions, keeps us poor as she’s always breaking the zips and un-stuffing them!


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Cow time!

Another favourite time of year for me. The cows are coming down from the Alms and all around is the tinkling of the bells. Drives Dave nuts, but I love it!   Can you spot the cow that’s been to a party?