So where's the snow?

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


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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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PUBLISHED TODAY!

I’m so thrilled, a great day when your third baby is born!

 


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Cover reveal!

The third in my series of books about horses, love and faith. I thought the series was finished, but there’s going to be a Christmas story and one set in Austria… Here’s the blurb!

Chris and Mollie thought it was time to move on; change is good, isn’t it?

But in going their separate ways, they just hit more problems and complications.

Chris leaves the farm to meet his mentor Alan. But his dream of a happy time sorting himself out in the community on the Dorset coast is ruined by a terrible accident. Chris must return to work with horses to make amends. Returning home brings more shocking revelations throw new light on his troubled gender identity. More trapped than ever before, can he find a way out?

Mollie starts her dream of boarding girls from her old school but finds herself out of depth and struggling with the teenagers’ demands and moods. It seems the idea is a disaster for all. But maybe, Ann from the stables has a solution.

Galloping through all these misadventures is the equestrian sport of Vaulting and the struggles of Keith, the stallion who has caused the two so many problems. Strange arrivals, a new horse, a Nun and Mollie’s mother all combine to bring even more chaos to the struggling pair. The journey for all ends in a shattering conclusion but will Mollie and Chris finally get their happy ending? Does it need God to step in and change things?

A standalone follow on to Compromise.


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Guest Post; K.J Cartmell

Kevin is probably the best beta reader in the world! He and I agree on a lot of aspects of organised religion, so I gave him a spot!

My stories come to me sometimes as waking dreams. I’m watching it, like a movie, rather than composing or directing the action. This one started with a boy and a girl walking down the street holding hands. The girl had long blond hair, fair skin and blue eyes. They gazed longingly at one another. but when the boy leaned in for a kiss, the girl pulled away and said, “Take me somewhere only God can see us.”

I knew right then that the girl was an Evangelical Christian and the daughter of a church pastor. The boy was someone from outside her circle. He didn’t go to church. That was why she was afraid to be seen kissing him in the middle of the street.

I thought, “Maybe this boy doesn’t believe in God at all. If his name was Thomas, he could be Doubting Thomas and the story could be called, The Gospel of Thomas. Wouldn’t that be a great name for a novel!”

 

Now, I took the reins from my subconscious and started working out the parameters of the story. I quickly settled on the name Adeline for the girl. It seemed both fresh and old fashioned. I drew some obvious contrasts between the pair. Thomas would go to the local public high school, while Adeline would attend a private Christian high school, and adjunct to the large church she attends, and where her father is a pastor. Adeline’s life would be highly scripted, organized around church functions. Meanwhile, Thomas lived with his mother and saw his father only occasionally. He would have a great deal of independence and freedom, yet he would have responsibilities, too, like cooking dinner for his mother each night.

I was drawing from personal experiences. I grew up as an Evangelical Protestant, and much of my family is still attends churches of this type. In high school, I was heavily involved in a big “mega-church” similar to the one that Adeline attends. Likewise, I was born to a single mother. Though my mother remarried when I was still very young, I remember times when it was just the two of us.

Thomas and Adeline are seventeen going on eighteen. This is a time of great discovery, when teens stop accepting what they were told and start figuring out what it is that they believe. I wanted to have some heartfelt, thought-provoking discussions between my two love birds about faith, religion and morality.

In addition to all the talking, I wanted there to be long scenes of physical intimacy between the two. The results have shocked some of my readers, but I was committed to portraying this relationship honestly and with realism. Thomas is the more experienced of the pair. He allows Adeline to set the limits, but then he goes right up to the line she has drawn. Yet, it’s important to understand, Adeline is a willing partner. She is ready and eager for this type of relationship.

Adeline’s family is in the spotlight, held up as models of a perfect family. But, underneath his façade are some dark secrets. Thomas, as he gets to know Adeline better, draws ever closer to these big secrets. I was drawing from personal experience here, too. I knew Good Christian Families that struggled behind closed doors with abuse, adultery and alcoholism. None of this was talked about in the open. It was all glossed over, yet I knew it was there and had seen and experienced its effects. The hypocrisy and false piety of my church grated on me as I grew older, and I eventually pulled away. Looking back, I felt anger and resentment, not at God, but at the church. I didn’t want to be associated with people like that any longer.

If I had written this book in my twenties, it would have been much more angry and bitter. I was in my forties when I started writing The Gospel of Thomas. I portray Adeline, her family and her church community, with harsh realism, but also with compassion and mercy.

The story grew and grew until it was nearly 600 pages long. When I was finished and reading it through, I realized that there was a natural break, a terrifying cliffhanger, right in the middle of the book. I split the story into two volumes, called Revelation and Rapture. I found a partner, GenZ Publishing, to help me publish Revelation. I plan to publish Rapture on my own, sometime next year.


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Compromise

At last in paperback, yippeeeeee!

Sometimes, things just can’t get any worse, but for hardworking Mollie, they do!

Not only does she have to leave her job at the stables, but she also has to find a new home for herself and the dogs. Then a chance encounter with old friend Chris at the Hazeley show brings a solution; Compromise living. Mollie gets a new start on his farm and Chris gets freedom from being harassed by the riding club ladies.

But will this just make things worse? As tangled emotions and hurt begin to surface, Mollie has to make sense of her past and Chris has to come to terms with his deeply buried sexuality.

None of this is helped by the cows and  Keith, a slightly dippy stallion, whose combined antics and dramas cause confusion and heartbreak.


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PUBLISHED TODAY!


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Guest Post, Jan Ruth

I met Jan lately on my new Facebook Group, Horse Books for Grown Ups. If any of you are looking for such a read, or an author of such a book that you would like to promote, please join us!

All about Jan

I live in Snowdonia, a mountainous area of North Wales, UK. I write contemporary fiction about the darker side of the family dynamic, often blending life in rural Wales with a touch of city business. My style is best described as fast-paced and realistic, with a sprinkling of dry humour.

The real story began at school, with prizes for short stories and poetry. I failed all things mathematical and scientific, and to this day I struggle to make sense of anything numerical!

My first novel – written in 1986 – attracted the attention of editor Anne Dewe, Andrew Mann Literary Agency, London. Dewe’s own company, Love Stories Ltd, was a project aiming to champion those books of substance which contained a romantic element but were perhaps directed towards the more mature reader and consistently fell through the net in traditional publishing. Summer in October was contracted immediately but sadly, the project failed to get the right financial backing and the company dissolved.

Many years later my second novel, Wild Water, was taken on by Jane C Judd Literary Agency, London. Despite Judd’s enthusiasm, the book failed to find the right niche with a publisher.

And then Amazon changed the face of the industry with the advent of self-publishing and I went on to successfully publish several works of fiction under my own imprint, Celtic Connections. After a brief partnership with Accent Press in 2015, I chose to return to the freedom of independent publishing.

Wild Water won the Cornerstones competition for the most popular self-published book in 2011, and Midnight Sky won the Romantic Review Magazine Award (2013). Silver Rain (2015) and Wild Water (2016) were both finalists in the Wishing Shelf Awards.

My books are available globally via Amazon as ebooks or paperbacks and locally, you’ll find them in North Wales libraries and Hinton’s bookshop of Conwy.

When I’m not reading or writing – I love to ride and walk the Welsh hills; a constant source of inspiration. I’m also is also an active trustee member for the RDA (Riding for the Disabled) and an Assistant Equine Facilitated Learning Practitioner.

Current Work

I tell myself I’m taking a break from full-length novels but then find myself dabbling! No horses this time. Three sisters, all very different from each other and with a secret in the past which slowly reveals itself through a time-slip structure…

I’m also starting a new series on my blog called The Pony Diaries. I’ve recently completed a series of memoirs spanning 50 years of riding which has been wonderfully cathartic and a great way of collating memories, photographs, and re-discovering parts of my life I thought I’d forgotten. But I realised there was so much more I wanted to say. The Pony Diaries are a continuation of the memoir theme in a way, but where the memoir finished at 2018, the diary entries will be written in a more immediate form.

My most recent novel is Gift Horse.

Imagine living eighteen years of your life around a mistake…
Caroline Walker’s daughter suffers a horrific riding accident. Her distraught parents wonder if she’ll ever walk again, let alone ride. And when Mollie’s blood group is discovered as rare, her husband offers to donate blood. Except Ian is not a match. In fact, it’s unlikely he’s Mollie’s father.

Eighteen years previously, Caroline had a one-night stand with Irish rock star, Rory O’Connor. Caroline fell pregnant. Deeply flawed boyfriend, Ian, was overjoyed. And Caroline’s parents were simply grateful that their daughter was to marry into the rich, influential Walker family.

Caroline turns to Rory’s friend Connor; and although his almost spiritual connection with his horses appears to be the balm she needs, Caroline cannot forget Rory, or her youth – both lost to a man she never loved. Eighteen years on and after surviving cancer Rory lives as a virtual recluse in the Welsh mountains. Through his well-meaning but interfering sister, he is shocked to discover he has a teenage daughter. Or does he?

Someone has made a terrible mistake… someone is going to get hurt…

Where do you get your ideas from?

Even if I tell myself I’m done with writing for a while – and I do, frequently – something will eventually worm its way out of my subconscious. This mutation of daydreaming is often coupled with observations of other people and happenings in their lives, as well as my own, until eventually all of these considerations are pulled together and mulled over, like some sort of fictional tombola. And for me, it’s those personal stories which add an extra layer of reality to a work of fiction. Write what you know is all about understanding your subject thoroughly, and preferably having experienced some of it first-hand.

I’ve been working with disabled people through my local RDA (Riding for the Disabled) for some eighteen months. Then earlier this year I was offered the opportunity to train as an assistant to a therapist working for WITH (Welsh Institute of Therapeutic Horsemanship). This is all about people with mental health problems, and the astonishing success of equine therapy relies purely upon the interactions between people and horses. I hope my modest experience adds a touch of reality and richness to the story of Gift Horse.

How do you work?

I’m an early morning writer. I tend not to plan too much, other than factual things like dates, and timelines. And I don’t have a messy desk with endless notes stuck to my screen or big notebooks overflowing with complicated scribblings. What I do have is a good instinct for the order of things. I think this comes from reading a lot of good fiction and learning why and how something works; what to hold back, when to reveal, how much to tell, what to show, which scene works best as dialogue, or narrative. This balance will be slightly different for every writer, the literary stamp of personal style?

Favourite Book

This is a tough question! I’m going to say The Misremembered Man, by Christina McKenna

Book descriptions/ links/Blog: https://janruth.com/