First things first: today a new contest begins, right here on the blog. 2 winners will be chosen at random, from those who post a comment. Each will receive an autographed copy of ONCE A RANCHER, after being notified by Super Jen. Winners will be announced one week from today–watch this space!
Books, books, books! I’ve been writing them, reading them, listening to them. I can’t seem to get enough words–in fact, I’m surprised I don’t eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. That would surely help me in my ongoing Weight Watchers adventure.
What I’ve been writing: my long dreamed of Civil War novel, NORTH OF EDEN and the initial proposal for a new series, which I call The Painted Canyon trilogy, set outside (and sometimes in) the fictional town of Painted Canyon, Montana. The title, which could change, is THE WAGER, and the story centers around Cord Hollister, a talented horse trainer, and the student he didn’t really want to teach, Shallie Fletcher. I adore both these characters; I’ve loved spending time in their hearts and brains, in their story world. Even though I have not begun to write their story, and won’t until the first draft of NORTH OF EDEN is finished, they are so real to me that I wouldn’t be surprised to meet them in the supermarket or at the post office. That is the magic of writing, as well as reading; one gets to live a different life–travel sandy deserts with Lawrence of Arabia, move from one Little House to another with Laura Ingalls Wilder, pass between the standing stones with Claire, and wind up in another period of history, solve mysteries with Hercule Poirot or Kinsey Millhone or Alex Cross–well, you get the idea. Reading and writing are two sides of the same coin, really–both are grand adventures.
What I’m reading AND listening to, alternating by chapters: THE VIEW FROM THE CHEAP SEATS, by Neil Gaimon. I confess, I loved THE GRAVEYARD BOOK. This, my friend, is an imaginative writer, and I do love a good ghost story. CHEAP SEATS is a compilation of speeches and articles, and a very valuable peek into the mind of a truly original and ground-breaking author. I’ve been a writer for a long, long time, and a reader even longer, and I never, ever read a book, good, bad or indifferent, without learning something.
Recent listens: TEARS TO TRIUMPH, by Marianne Williamson. This wise woman never disappoints me, and the prayers she composes are SO beautiful that I copy them into journals or onto index cards (I go through a LOT of index cards) and find great inspiration in them. LAST CHANCE MUSTANG, by Mitchell Bornstein. I love horses, and this book only made me love them more; what magnificent creatures they are! In this nonfiction offering, Bernstein writes about his experiences training a mustang stallion called Sampson, an intelligent and terribly abused creature who’d survived (barely) the varieties of the Bureau of Land Management’s wild horse program. Believe me, folks, the BLM’s approach needs a great deal of improvement. Animal lovers everywhere need to know what happens to so many of these wild, once-free, flesh-and-blood icons of the American west, and, more importantly, to speak up. ME BEFORE YOU, by Jojo Moyes. This is a moving and fascinating story, even though I often wanted to take the heroine by the shoulders and shake some sense into her. Finally, I’ll mention BLACK RABBIT HALL, by Eve Chase, an English author, like Moyes. This is a classic gothic–I used to read tons of those, back in the 70s, when they were in their heyday–and although parts of it are disturbing, I simply had to know what happened next, and next, and next….
So, there you have it. My reading/writing schedule, which has kept me darned busy for the last little while.
What are you reading?