Category Archives: Random Thoughts

Hobbies are Fun

IMG_2973I thought I would share one of my hobbies with you guys, since it is related to my writing.

When I was 9 years old I started collecting model horses (specifically, Breyer brand) after a friend of mine showed me her rather large collection. I was instantly hooked and wanted them all.

Over the years my collection grew, at one point totaling just over 200 models. I grew out of playing with them to setting them up in scenes to photograph, among other hobby things that may seem weird to “outsiders” (like making blankets and halters, and going to shows where pieces of my collection were judged on collectibility and how well the model represented the breed I claimed it was – that stuff can get super competitive and I quickly gave it up because I lacked the great models others had).

Through my college years I drifted away from the hobby entirely, selling off almost my entire collection to buy textbooks and put gas in my car.

Lately, though, I feel drawn in again, but this time with an actual theme to what I want. I used to just want every model I could get. Now I’m going out and finding models that are made to look like real life famous horses (called portrait models).

And the even more specific theme? I’m going for models of famous horses related to my writing. All the models in the picture are portraits of famous show jumpers. This is the majority of the portrait jumpers Breyer has made over the years, I just have a few rare ones I’m hoping to grab someday.

So there we have it, my crazy hobby. Anyone want to share theirs?

My Thoughts on Sharing

201I originally started this blog with the plan to make a post every week. That worked well for a while, but then I ran out of ideas. All the advice I hear or read about being on social media as an author is to post often, but not to over share.

How do I, just your average author, share without over sharing? Updates on the books is one topic, but I don’t have news every week and I’m sure you guys, as readers, want more than that.

I’ve encountered the same problem with Facebook. My page is pretty dead because I don’t post enough.

What do I do?

Make a change, of course. There are other things I could talk about that are related to the books. I’m thinking mainly of songs that are part of my writing playlist and videos related to topics in the series. Super cool horse video? Yes! Super sweet video about love? Yes! Real world news that impacts my characters’ futures? Yes!

Setting up posts to automatically publish so I can’t possibly forget? Definite yes!

And of course there are the free reads I plan to share in the coming months.

So, be prepared to see much more from me. You’ll get to know me, my writing process, my plans for coming stories, and the characters themselves. And, if you have any suggestions about what you want to see, feel free to comment!

Ah Yes, Technology

876So I’ve been dealing with the joys of technology lately.

Apparently my laptop likes to randomly shut down while I’m working. Even when it’s plugged in. Ugh.

When it started happening I lost a half an hour of writing. I save every five minutes, but when the thing crashed, OpenOffice somehow reverted to a save from 25 minutes earlier, even after I tried to salvage it. I was not happy.

And my desktop now has a habit of freezing. At least it’s about 6 years old. I got the laptop last summer. Stupid computers.

I’m thinking of saving up for something new. Maybe a Mac. I’ve had better luck with my iPhone than any other smartphone, so maybe the same is true for computers. Unless anyone has any other suggestions?

Until then I’ll have to make it work as best as possible. I must write and blog!

Planning for Disaster

We don’t get a lot of natural disasters in Upstate New York. Well, we get snow storms. All. The. Time. (In winter, obviously. Which is Thanksgiving to Mother’s Day.)

We do get severe thunderstorms and flood warnings in the summer. Sometimes even a tornado that does very isolated damage and doesn’t last long. Mostly they are EF0, but history says we’ve had EF1s before.

One night this week we had a tornado warning. We chose the “better safe than sorry” route and did go to the basement. It was almost 10:00 at night, so we reasoned that we wouldn’t see it coming if we had one. (And it did happen just down the road from us. More or less destroyed a small cemetery and transplanted a couple of barn silos. Uprooted massive trees, threw little trees across the street, and moved headstones. And that’s an EF0, the weakest kind.)

It made me think, as I grabbed my laptop and the notes for my current writing project, that I really should have all my writing stuff in a to-go case of some kind. Even if we don’t have frequent major tornadoes, and the hurricanes we get are mostly burned out into some rain and a bit of wind, there’s still the possibility that we might need to escape to the basement or leave the house completely. The creek behind our house has never overflowed enough to reach us, but it could. A tornado has never hit our neighborhood, but one could, as we just learned. And fire is always a real possibility. We could lose power in a snowstorm and have to journey to a friend’s house.

You just never know when you’ll need to grab the important stuff in a hurry. It would be good not to forget something in the heat of the moment, either. It’s always good to be prepared.

So I’m going to invest in something very soon. Maybe even just a suitcase. Something that will hold all my notes for my various projects, and my laptop. Something I can grab and go.

Today in History

American Pharoah and Victor Espinoza. (photo from Liberty Unyielding via Google images)

I wanted to hold off on making a post until tonight for one reason: my topic was dependent on a horse race.

I like history and I like horses. The Triple Crown is very interesting to me. It’s the biggest test in American horse racing, and very few horses have won it in nearly 100 years. It’s also relevant to my writing because, in my Anderson Stables series, the star equine is an ex-racehorse, and there are several other off-track thoroughbreds throughout the series. That’s why I decided to talk about it a little bit.

I’ve never really followed horse racing exactly. Like many people, I’m sure, I only really tune in for the Triple Crown every year. The first race is the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May. A couple weeks later is the Preakness Stakes, then the Belmont Stakes on the first Saturday in June.

It’s not easy for one horse to win all three races. They are different lengths, the longest being the Belmont at a mile and a half. And they are pretty close together. It’s easy for a horse to win the Derby then lose one – or both – of the next two races. Before today only 11 horses had won it: Sir Barton in 1919 (though it wasn’t really called the Triple Crown until the 30s), Gallant Fox in 1930, Omaha in 1935, War Admiral in 1937, Whirlaway in 1941, Count Fleet in 1943, Assault in 1946, Citation in 1948, Secretariat in 1973, Seattle Slew in 1977, and Affirmed in 1978.

And now, American Pharoah in 2015. (And yes, that is how you spell it.)

It was amazing to see history happen right in front of me. It’s the first Triple Crown win of my lifetime. That’s pretty incredible.

Even if no one else thinks so. I’m excited.

I need to write about it…

And if you want to watch it, the New York Racing Association put the video up on Youtube.

Waiting Game

885I struggled to think of a post to write for this week. I have no news to share and I finished rambling on about my research trip.

So I guess I give a random rambling post. The idea is for you to get to know me, right?

Life is kind of a waiting game in so many ways at the moment.

I submitted the third Anderson Stables book a couple of weeks ago. No guarantees that it’ll be accepted, and it still stresses me out.

I’m on the hunt for a new job and waiting for phone calls is a little depressing.

My pony Alec (pictured) is currently doing a trial with the local equine therapy place. Hopefully they like him and want to lease him for a while.

I’m trying to distract myself from all this by writing a fantasy novel. Hopefully I’ll be able to get it published at some point. Then I’ll have that submission waiting game, too.

Ugh, I’m Sorry!

635I’ve been so busy getting the third book in the series ready for submission (and it’s still not) that I completely forgot to schedule a post for this past Saturday! Count me as a failure already.

(Though I admit it, I was also watching the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event all weekend, too. Lots of super impressive off-track thoroughbreds competed, so it was definitely relevant to my writing.)

I think I’ll start telling you about my research trip as an apology. I can break that into a few posts and cover my butt for this week!

So, in January I went to Wellington, Florida to watch one weekend of the Winter Equestrian Festival. It’s a 12-week-long show that takes place there every year. I went because this is where about 98% of the third book takes place. I wanted a feel for the atmosphere and the layout of the place. It was, by far, one of the best experiences I’ve had.636

Leaving cold New York was wonderful. I was really worried about getting there at first, since it was the end of January and my layover was in Newark, New Jersey. But getting there was good. (Getting home was not, but that’s a story for another post.) I’ve never flown into Newark before, so I was impressed to see New York City and the Statue of Liberty from the air. That was pretty cool.

And when we landed in Miami and I could see palm trees? That was super exciting. Especially when the weather was perfect. This was only the second time I had been to Florida. The first time was when I went to Disney for the first time last year. And it was only my third time flying anywhere, period. Flying by myself this time wasn’t exactly fun, but it wasn’t too bad. I met a friend of mine down there, though, and we had so much fun that we talked about making it an annual thing.

How much fun? Stay tuned for Part Two!