So where's the snow?

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


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Guest Post; Cathy Walker

Cathy helped me out with the cover of my new book, what a star! I TOTALLY RECOMMEND her to anyone looking for a cover designer. Details below!

Tell us a little about yourself, where you live, family, career, pets etc

Oh, gosh, where to begin? I live in Ontario, Canada on a 50 acre hobby farm with my husband and many animals, mainly rescues. Currently, I have 3 goats, a Welsh pony, mini horse, 4 cats, 3 dogs, various toads who I think come for the free swimming in the bowl I keep out front for them, and various stray cats who come and go. Each animal has a story and reason for being here, but that’s a long story in and of itself.

My husband, Fred, and I owned a martial arts Dojo for 30 years, but recently sold the property and he retired… kind of. He runs an archery range and store from our farm. I was working part time to help feed the multitudes of animals I have, but with the pandemic, my job became obsolete, so I turned to my writing and book cover design to try and build these businesses to a viable income. So far, I’m doing better than I thought I would, though, as much as I enjoy cover design, I would honestly love to focus only on my writing. We’ll see what the future holds.

My life long dream was to have my own horse, live on a farm, and be a semi-reclusive writer. It seems as if I’ve achieved my dream. I thank the Fates each day for the life that I live.

How did you get into both cover design and writing?

I’ve read so many books over the years, starting as far back as I can remember. I’ve always loved reading, but never thought about being a writer. That urge hit me in my early 40’s, yes, a bit of a late bloomer. I just sat down and started writing. LOL. My 1st manuscript has never seen the light of day, though it’s a great story that I’d love to tell, so I may revisit the manuscript and do some major editing one day. I currently have 5 published novels and am working on the 3rd in a series I have about the Salem witches.

Book cover design came out of desperation. We had a few tough years financially for various reasons, mainly my husband ended up having 2 heart surgeries and a tumor removed from his brain. So, life was interesting. Anyway, I needed money and was at the point of selling of household items to put food on the table and hay in the barn. A friend ended up showing me the basics of Photoshop and cover design and I just went from there. I have done covers for clients all over the world (you’ve got to love the internet), and my skills have improved enough that I have many return clients who are happy with their covers and the customer service I provide.

Tell us something about the pitfalls and joys of making a book cover.

Honestly, and I say this with much respect and care for all my clients…the worst part is dealing with the client. LOL.I have worked with amazing people and I have even developed a bit of (online) friendship with some of them. To me, it’s always more than ‘just business’. I truly care that they are happy with their finished cover and will do whatever I can to make that happen. BUT, there have been a few clients who have driven me crazy for a few different reasons. If I could sell premades only and work on my writing, that would be perfect.

Shamelessly plug books and website!

All of my books and short stories can be found on my Author page:

https://www.amazon.com/author/cathywalker

Book Covers can be found here:

www.cathyscovers.wix.com/books

Author Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/cathywalker.author/

Book Cover Facebook Group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/cathyscovers

Coffee or tea?

Neither, most of the time. I do enjoy an occasional caramel machiotto, or a latte or cappucino.

Chocolate or crisps?

LOL. I had to look crisps up. I thought I knew what they are but needed to make sure because we call them chips in Canada. But, this is a tough one. If I had to choose, I would choose crisps.

Horses, dogs or both?

There is no way to make this choice. ALL animals. Every single one of them is wonderful and deserves a heck of a lot better than the treatment they get from humans.


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FREE THIS WEEKEND!

 

Tom is free this weekend! eBook and paperback. On all Amazon sites.


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At last, Books For Horse Lovers!

Here’s all about Heather’s great new website; https://www.booksforhorselovers.com

How did you get the idea for the website?

I have been lucky to have found an equestrian author community that believes in supporting each other. At a recent event a few of us discussed how we could work together to benefit all of us, potentially a pop-up author event at Equine Affaire or Equitana. But this involved a lot of coordination, work, and of course Covid-19 hit. While putting together ideas for a webinar on 8 Virtual Book Marketing Ideas for Authors (https://youtu.be/YNDsT5NouDM) I came up with a virtual way to unite authors in one place. We are a small community and it is so easy to get lost in the depths of search engines and big sites like Amazon.

In our “new normal” so many things are becoming virtual so I thought, why not a virtual bookstore?

My goal is to promote authors of horse books whether traditionally or independently-published, attract new readers, and have promotions and giveaways. One day I’d love to have a pop-up event or even a book contest!

Are you an expert, did you create it yourself or use a service?

I’ve built a number of websites over the years and have a background as a Managing Editor in a traditional publishing house. I created it myself and wanted it to be as clear and concise as possible so it would be easy to focus on the authors.

Tell us a little about the process of creating it and now running it.

I created a beta version which launched in time for the webinar I mentioned above. As such, I invited many author friends to contribute. Word spread like wildfire! I had no idea there would be so much interest and I’m so happy to be filling a need.

Right now, I am managing the site on my own so tried to make the submission process as streamlined as possible with the submission form for authors. The number of readers subscribing to the site is growing every day. Each author that contributes is asked to promote it as well so we can reach as many people as possible.

I didn’t realize just how popular it would be and many authors have already seen an increase in website hits and sales from it, so I couldn’t be happier. This has only been live a few weeks! I can’t wait to see how it grows and we progress. Soon, I have no doubt I will need to have someone assist me in the day-to-day management.

What are your long term goals?

Ultimately I would love this site to be THE place to find horse books and promote two things I care deeply about- horses and books. I’d like to further dive down into genre types, announce book launches, provide promotions and giveaways, have a book contest, and create a physical pop-up event. The possibilities are endless but I know I won’t be able to do it on my own!

What ways are you going to build your market?

I’ve worked hard in the last several years to network and make connections through my blog. I’ve written for a number of publications like Horse Illustrated, Chrome Magazine, Sidelines Magazine and more. Already, the bookstore has received a lot of interest from the media. In addition, I will be interviewing some authors on the podcast I cohost with fellow bloggers, called Equestrian Pulse, on topics that may benefit other bloggers and equestrians globally. And of course, there is that every important social media and word of mouth. The more buzz we create for the website the more our authors benefit!

A lot of talk is that the future is in audio books, do you agree?

Ah, audiobooks. I confess I don’t listen to them myself but I just completed both my books, Confessions of a Timid Rider and Girl Forward in audiobook format, which are awaiting release. The nice thing about the Bookstore for Horse Lovers is we feature the author and link to their purchase sites. So as they release audiobooks and multiple formats on their end our site is automatically updated as well.

We live such busy lives and most people don’t have the time to sit and read anymore. Sad but true. As the world evolves, so will technology and I love that the written word can be accessible in many different ways. I just hope print doesn’t die out completely.


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Guest Post; Janet Wolanin Alexander

I met Janet on my horse book group, and read her book; At home on a horse in the woods.  Loved every page of it, as she goes through her life long passion for horses and how she finally fulfilled it. What blessed me most was her descriptions of riding in the woods. Her details and poetry had her feeling the spiritual dimension she found there, I find this myself, but more these days out with the dog!  The souls of her horses and the lessons from God that came through them, had me envy her this connection with God. Lovely read.  Now over to Janet.

Tell us a little about yourself—where you live, family, pets, and horses.

I am an American who lives with my husband, two stray dogs, and four stray cats in a small city in Indiana across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky, that is considered within the Greater Louisville area. My horse is stabled next to hilly, forested state property with over 80 miles of horse trails. (I don’t have a truck or trailer.)

I am a retired science teacher and nature lover who was born horse crazy but made my way late to horses. Besides writing true horse tales, I also braid horse tail jewelry.

How did you start writing? Are you a book/article in the head person or do they write themselves?

I have been mysteriously called throughout my life to write up certain horse experiences. I saved them all, and, after retiring from teaching, joined a writing group and wrote more. Eventually, in 2017, my pile was high enough to compile into a book which was published by two writers in my group with a small publishing company. I didn’t pay them any money upfront (they made a percentage of their book sales) but they focused upon selling locally. In 2019, I came across the larger company started by a publisher, who, after self-publishing and traditionally publishing, developed an on-line course including coaching which takes a client from writing a book and publishing it in different formats to promoting and selling it. His company’s reach is worldwide and requires an upfront investment but his authors own their books. As I wanted to learn all the steps involved, I enrolled. In 2019 my slightly revised book was republished with a different subtitle. The publisher is a former church minister whose ministry is now helping people to write, publish, and sell their stories to help uplift the world.

Tell us about your book

At Home on a Horse in the Woods: A Journey into Living Your Ultimate Dream is a memoir, the story of my long and circuitous journey to horses which turned out, unbeknownst to me for a very long time, to also be a spiritual quest. When I was in my mid-40s and so frustrated that I was about to give up my horse dream forever, I was challenged to accept my dream as a divine calling. Blown away, I did and horses began coming into my life in ways I had never imagined. They still are and I am now 68.

In my book you will meet my three horse loves: Geronimo, an Appaloosa and former track pacer who liked to run trail riders into trees;

Dancer, a purebred Arab endurance champion I exercised during his retirement;

and  my half-Arab/half Tennessee Walker, Highlander, an accident-of-birth who has turned out to be the perfect trail horse for me. I have ridden him for over 20 years now; he is 26.

Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1640857850
▪book trailer: https://youtu.be/3sGdDqmJFqM
▪website: https://swishtails.com/
▪author central page: https://www.amazon.com/Janet-Wolanin-Alexander/e/B07SMMWP53?ref_=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000

Coffee or tea?

Definitely tea. It smells and tastes so much better than coffee and there are so many varieties.

Where would you like to visit but haven’t yet?

I’d like to visit the states in the American West where the cowboy series I watched on TV as a kid during the 1960s were filmed. Plus, I’d like to visit the American desert and Pacific Northwest. And more of Canada.

Janet Wolanin Alexander, Iwritehorsetales@aol.com


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Challenger wins a prize!

I was totally bowled over not only to be in the voting, but to be in the top 10 and win the category for the Connections eMagazine Readers Choice Award!

Thanks to everyone who voted!


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PUBLISHED TODAY!

At last, Castles in the Air is out as EBook, Paperback with a video of the places featured on You Tube! Links below

A year working with horses in Austria. Dream or nightmare?

Needing to put her past behind her, Ann travels to Austria hoping this time away will bring healing and build new dreams. She throws herself into her job and is quickly immersed in the new experiences and culture. The Icelandic horses are, as ever great soul mates, but the people complicated.

Falling in love again was never in her plan. Has she made another wrong choice?

Follow Ann as she explores the deeply traditional culture which is tied into the seasons of the Lungau in Salzburgerland. This vibrant tale of love and life is a must not only for horse lovers but also for all who love travelling.

Much of the story is based on the real experiences of the author.

A spinnoff from the Horse and Souls series. A video of the horses, countryside, and events is available on Youtube;  https://youtu.be/ecTp_2ZRPGM