So where's the snow?

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


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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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Horse Books Galore!

I promised not to do too much on the books, BUT! I am thrilled to be included in this ebook bundle of old and new horsey books. So I’m shamelessly pluggin it here. Available on Amazon!

 


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Happy Easter!

SORRY POST GOT DELAYED!

Celebrating in a different way this strange Easter -well at least we’ve still got chocolate…so I’m sharing my first book, Tom for free. It’s a new edition. The link is below!


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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.