Category Archives: reading

If I Could Have A Super Power …

If this picture doesn't spread a little happiness, I don't know will ...

I have a friend who likes to ask abstract questions like, “Who would you cast a the characters in the movie version of your books?”or “What super power would you choose?”

I am not good at these questions.

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Posted by on September 14, 2011 in reading, writing


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Long Lining

This spring, I had the opportunity to participate in a clinic with Deb 
Laderoute. Deb is the first woman to drive a four-in-hand for Canada 
at the World Equestrian Games, and her experience and knowledge made 
for a very educational weekend!

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Posted by on September 12, 2011 in horses, reading


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What I Did On My Summer Vacation

I’m stealing this idea from the lovely Valerie Ormond. I thought it was a great idea for getting back in the swing of things!

I went to a lot of horse shows – which is what I usually do in the summer. I’m also far busier at work in the summer time, so perhaps “Summer Vacation” isn’t the most accurate term. Summer is very limited where I live (though we’re currently enjoying a stretch of the hottest temperatures we’ve seen all year —  in September) so we pack a lot into a few short months.

Shortly before my first competition of the year my horse came up lame, which resulted in him taking the summer off to (hopefully – still have my fingers crossed!) heal. Just about the same time, my driving mare, Jamie, who was supposed to be heavy in foal, came into season. No baby this year, but that meant that Miss James was promoted (demoted?) to show horse again. After only a handful of drives we started the show season in June in Vermilion, and despite her disadvantages of lack of fitness and training, not to mention excess tummy, she had a great year. Through the summer she went to eight shows, fairs and driving trials and we both had a lot of fun.

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Posted by on September 9, 2011 in history, horses, reading, writing


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Do you read the end first?

A couple months ago, at my favorite used book store, I bought a copy of WELCOME TO TEMPTATION by Jennifer Crusie for a friend of mine. To my horror, she promptly flipped to the back and read the end first. What with my aversion to non-linear storytelling, reading the end first would never occur to me!

I asked my cousin, who is close to the same age as my main character in NEW WEST to read the manuscript and tell me what she thought. She gave me a great review, which included, “There was a great twist at the end – I read the end first, and I still didn’t see it coming!” Apparently, she always reads the end first.

Just how common are these readers who read the end first? I have only ever read the ending before I’d read all the rest if there were extenuating circumstances … say, if the book was really sad, or scary. I’m a chicken!

So this is my informal poll – do you read the end first?  And if so … why?! 😉

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Posted by on February 28, 2011 in reading


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Friday Five

Five things that have interested or amused me this week:
  1. “I know, I need to stop talking.” This blog has kept me giggling all week – I keep going back to read more.
  2. Horseplay: A Novel, by Judy Reene Singer A actually downloaded Kindle for PC specifically so I could buy this book and read it right away on my netbook. I laughed out loud three times during the funeral scene alone. Definitely worth it!
  3. Great Books For Horse Lovers The blog where I discovered the Horseplay book. I’m a horse lover and a book lover, I’ll be stopping by regularly!
  4. The lovely Emlyn Chand from Novel Publicity did a very comprehensive blog review for me, looking forward to implementing more of her suggestions! If anyone is interested, head over to Novel Publicity and sign up as a blog host.
  5. My favorite song this week: 

What fun things have you discovered this week?

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Posted by on February 25, 2011 in horses, reading, writing


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Book Review: “Mini School – Train Your Mini to Be All He Can Be” by Sabine Ellinger

I first saw Lancelot, a flashy leopard appaloosa miniature horse from Germany, on a video that was posted on the BC Miniature Horse Club website. I was impressed and inspired to see Lancelot performing advanced dressage movements.  In searching, I found more videos and photos of Lancelot, including a video of him doing a “pas-de-deux” (a musical dressage freestyle) with an Olympic dressage horse.

When I heard a few weeks ago that Lancelot’s owner and trainer, Sabine Ellinger, had written a book called “Mini School” I immediately clicked over to Amazon to order it. Most everyone who’s ever talked horses with me knows my aversion to the term “mini” (okay for a car or a skirt, but not for a horse!), but I was certainly willing to overlook the terminology for the person who trained a miniature horse to do a canter pirouette!

“Mini School” is a beautiful book, with lots of photos that help to clarify everything the author addresses. Translated from German, “Mini School” begins with an introduction to the different types of Miniature Horses and Ponies, and gives an interesting perspective on small equines in Europe. There is information on what to look for when choosing a miniature horse (I especially enjoyed the section on evaluating the quality of a horse’s gaits), basic management and care, including concerns specific to miniature horses, ideal for a first time horse owner. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on February 23, 2011 in horses, reading


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Things That Drive Me Crazy

My grandma’s been cleaning out her basement, and she’s got boxes of books to give away. I claimed them to take to my favorite used book store so I’d get the store credit (mwahaha).

Before I took them in, I thought I should read them. Maybe not all of them, there are a lot of books there, but make a stab at them. Reading is a big part of  how writers learn, after all!

I chose the first book based on two criteria. I liked the pretty green dress on the cover and it was near the top of the box. Very technical decision making process.

Three times this week I’ve gone to bed early, intending to get some reading in before I went to sleep. Three times I’ve read just a few pages and put the book down and enjoyed an extra hour of sleep instead.

The problem is that the prologue, which was exciting and action packed, appears to happen several years AFTER the events at the start of chapter one.

Right away, I’m frustrated. I can’t stand non-linear storytelling. I can’t skip scenes when I write either. I want the story to start at the beginning, and go until the end.

Speaking of endings … it had better be satisfying. I was 12 years old when I read Gone With The Wind. I loved it, read every spare moment, I remember reading while walking down the hallway between classes at school. I finished it in just 3 days … and was very upset when the story ended with “I’ll think about it tomorrow.” That is NOT a satisfactory ending! I felt like I’d invested in this story for a thousand pages, only to be told, “You don’t get to know how it ends! Na Na Nana Na!”

The other thing that is a “story-ruiner” for me isn’t probably for most of the world. I can’t stand an inaccurate representation of horses. I mean, there are some things I can overlook (like the horses that whinny constantly on movies), but using incorrect terminology, or describing equine behaviour that would NEVER happen in real life is a surefire way for a book I was enjoying to suddenly become a wallbanger.

Once I was reading a romance novel that described a stallion covering a mare … at least, that’s what the author was going for, though I’m quite sure she’d never actually seen it in real life. On TV a couple months ago there was a drama on that centered around a mystery involving frozen horse semen. They’d obviously done their research, and were going over the top to make sure the technical aspects were described to the audience. A little abruptly, but still explained. I was so impressed. And then …. at the end they found the missing semen in the freezer of a refrigerator (that wouldn’t cut it; semen is stored in liquid nitrogen) and it was in a container used for cooled semen (frozen semen is stored in straws). So close.

I’m going to go back and finish that historical romance this weekend. It could be a great read, out-of-order prologue notwithstanding. Besides, I might learn something. Just like when you go to a clinic with your horse and you don’t like the instructor – learning what NOT to do is important too!

As a reader (or TV/Movie watcher) what drives you crazy?

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Posted by on February 18, 2011 in horses, reading, writing


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