Sunday, October 5, 2014

Shannon McClane, Artist

LORD OF THE RINGS oil on linen 40"x30"
A Marwari horse

© Shannon McClane, Artist

World Artist, Shannon McClane creates stunning equine art, capturing the essence and soul of her subjects. Shannon’s creations are sought after by art collectors around the world. Her reputation for charismatic paintings is well-known throughout the art community.
Residing in Indiana, USA, Shannon has traveled the world to connect with diverse horse breeds as well as different cultures. Her talent shines through in each of her magnificent paintings.
Shannon, it’s a great pleasure to have you as a guest. Thank you for sharing your passions, life, and beautiful works of art…
When was your first encounter with a horse?
I was too young to remember my first encounter with horses because I can't remember a time I wasn't surrounded by them in some form or other. I collected Breyer statues, wrote to every breed association for info and posters. My green Schwinn bicycle had a stall in the garage and her name was Shambala. The picnic table and benches were perpetually on their sides as my friend Michelle and I set them out as our jump course. We cantered around from the waist up rider and waist down horse.

My first physical encounter with a horse was pony rides at the fair. From there it went to trail riding and rentals at the local stable. Then one day my father said he had a surprise for me. The family got in the car to go retrieve my present. My parents handed me a wrapped package that was to go with my surprise. As we approached our destination I got to unwrap it revealing a bag of carrots. We pulled into a farm and there was the most beautiful golden pony with a flaxen mane and tail. His name was Lightning and he promptly kicked me when I first walked up to him. He was a ten month old stud colt. My parents had no idea what they were getting into. We got him gelded and he turned out to be a wonderful pony. 
What is your riding discipline?
My riding discipline is dressage. I also do trick training and liberty work. I am currently training my horse in all of these areas. 
Where do you like to ride?
I like to ride anywhere really. I think it's good to break things up and keep it interesting. I might work in the arena one day and go out in the field or to the round pen the next. Same with the routine I'll ride one day and do liberty training the next. I think the more you do with the horse the more it builds his confidence and trust in you. 
Do you have a favorite horse breed?
I love all the baroque breeds the Friesian, Lipizzaner, Andalusian, Lusitano, and Knapstrupper. That said I have a black Arabian who is amazing. He's very baroque in appearance himself with a big thick upright neck. I call him my little Friesian. He's amazing very smart ~when I teach him a trick he'll come up with one of his own. 

How do horses influence your artwork?
Horses influence my artwork in many ways. I paint what I know and what I love. I have such empathy and I am connected to them. Everything they represent - beauty, power, grace, strength - all are qualities that make a great painting; when I paint one, the fact that I spent the earlier part of the day with one influences me as I remember the flow of the muscles under my grooming brush. That act translates itself into the shapes I create in paint. I use the same motions with both paint brush and grooming brush following the lines on the body of the horse. 

I am enchanted by equestrian theater. Partnerships between human and horse celebrating the relationship with music, beautiful lighting, drama, gorgeous costumes, and breathtaking acts ~ this is a dream of mine and so it takes form on my canvas. The equestrian theater arts greatly influence me as well. The lighting the drama, the horses, the music, everything I love all in one place! It’s phenomenal. My new series portrays the stars of present day equestrian shows and their acts. The portraits will document for history the acts and who was performing them for future generations to see. 

LATCHO DRAM oil on linen 30"x40"
Latcho Dram translates to safe journey

© Shannon McClane, Artist

Describe your studio…
I live in my studio. It's like a big L shaped room. My bedroom is off on one side and my living room is on the other. The studio is in the middle. It's small but cozy. I like living with my work. I see it all the time and so might see things that need to happen while involved in some other activity. I can either attend to it right away or make a note for future reference. My dream studio is to renovate an old barn or build a new one with a living space and art studio upstairs and keep my horses downstairs. I have a special little notebook that I keep drawings of it in as I design it so someday I can present them all to the builder .......I get brochures from all the barn builders and take all the features I like from each to create the fantasy barn! I see it with a very Rhohanish vibe. 

LIBERTAD oil on linen. 40"x 30"
Shannon's horse Hadji
© Shannon McClane, Artist
Do you have an artistic muse?
My biggest artistic muse is my horse. If there was a way to get him into my studio I would! There are however many (maybe too many) paintings of him in the studio. I have lots of objects like carved wooden horses and bulletin boards full of costume ideas, act ideas, photos of things that I am attracted to on them. 

What artistic mediums do you use?
I work mostly in oils, although I do have a few mixed media pieces with photo collages mixed in and painted on. I also like to draw in charcoal or lead pencils. 

How does your Hungarian Gypsy roots entwine with your artwork?
Gypsy influence in my work is seen in the bright bold colors I use. That is why I love to work in oils for they allow you to create rich jewel tones and warm rich colors, also the patterns in the backgrounds. I want my paintings to be rich and dramatic with a lot to take in. I want them to tell a story whether it's a portrait or a theatrical piece. This also is part of gypsy culture. 

 oil on canvas 40"x30"
What are you currently painting?
I currently have a lot of fun stuff going on in my studio. I like to keep lots of pieces going at the same time. For me this keeps things fresh and also if you get stuck on one you can walk away and work on something different. In order to get things finished sometimes though I may have to single out two or three and not allow myself to work on anything else until they are done. Otherwise I'd be drowning in millions of unfinished paintings. It's always so exciting to follow new ideas you have to balance that with discipline to finish them. 

Where are you currently exhibiting?
I am hanging a show at a doctor’s office next week. I've gone a non-traditional route in starting out. Seems like so many of the arts are working in new ways these days. I do lots of shows in restaurants and shops. It's a great way to get your stuff out there and noticed. I've made lots of sales that way. I do believe in galleries as well and there are some things currently in motion there also. 

You are working on a new theatrical act. How exciting! What can we expect?
I hope to do some guest performing starting next spring. I am working on a couple of acts right now with my black Arabian Hadji. Let's just say there could be a little belly dance involved! I'm also considering the idea of a traveling show of the Equestrian Theater painting series........

Connect with Shannon…

 GYPSY oil on linen 30"x40"
© Shannon McClane, Artist

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Paige Clements, Artist

Molly and Paige
Photo by Gray's Photography
From Texas, USA, Paige Clements is a budding artist. Paige is known for her beautiful equine and western art, capturing truth and emotion behind every day scenes.

The daughter of a life-long cowboy and a supportive mother, Paige knows the value of hard work and determination. With her American Quarter Horse, Molly, Paige values creativity and integrity, and knows what it means to love a horse.

Welcome Paige!

When did you realize you wanted to be an artist?
I have always had a creative personality. My whole life I have been decorating, coloring, drawing, and making the most exciting posters in class, but it wasn’t until my Jr. year of high school that I was in a position to learn about classical art. I transferred schools that year and by accident my counselor put me in art class. I was determined to change out at the end of the day, but when I walked into this open, bright, music filled studio and spent the class period getting to know the instructor I was hooked. Over the next two years this teacher changed my life. He taught me so much, and gave me the confidence to pursue my art. However, my ultimate goal in life is to finish vet school, but I will always keep doing my art.

Describe your studio...
My main studio over the last two years has been my high school studio. Now that I am away at college it is a combination of my dorm room, and a quiet study room in my building. I am still trying to work things out and get started on some new works, but no matter where I find the room to set up, as long as I have good lighting and my music, its home to me.

Copyright Paige Clements

What mediums do you use?
My favorite medium to work with is Pastels. However I have found that incorporating a variety into my pieces can really add to the piece in the way of texture and intensity. I have a couple of pieces that are charcoal only, and several pieces that are pastel, spray paint, water color, and color pencil. I have never been into painting mediums, so no matter what I do it is primarily a dry medium.

Do you have a favorite piece of art of your own creation?
I have two. My first one is my “Cowboy’s Last Ride” still life, and there is a story there. When I first started it I designed the entire still life myself. Set up the lighting, placed all of the pieces, and sat down to start. Then I gave up. I was struggling with the complexity of the piece so I gave up and walked away. I finished two more pieces before I went to back to it, reluctantly. My teacher fought me the entire time that I was working on the outline, and thank goodness he didn’t give up on me, because when I finally finished the outline, things where looking up, and as I worked on rendering (shading) the forms, it really began to fall together. Now that it is done, I fall more and more in love with it daily.

'Cowboy's Last Ride'
Copyright Paige Clements

My other favorite is my “A single step” piece. It is the most special to me personally, simply because it features my beloved horse Molly, and tells the story of the journey that she and I have traveled from the day I bought a slightly crazy, completely beautiful, abused 5 year old, to where we are now, as best friends and partners.
'A single step'
Copyright Paige Clements

When was your first encounter with a horse?
When I was a toddler my dad day worked on a ranch in Oklahoma, and I grew up riding horses with him on the ranch. We moved back to the city when I started school, but the love never went away. When I was 9 my parents bought me my first pony, and it has taken off from there.

Molly seems to be the inspiration for most of your artwork. What is her disposition?
Molly is my muse, a registered American Quarter horse, and a very long story. I will try and shorten it a bit here. Seven years ago my brother bought her as a “finished rope horse” and by the end of the 2 hour drive home with her, we knew better. She was a barely green broke ranch horse. He quickly gave up on her and sold her to some friends of ours that I kept my pony with, but I was already in love with her. She was my dream horse. About 6 months, and three failed training attempts later, I convinced her owners to let me try to ride her. I promised to do lots of ground work, get to know her. They agreed thinking that I wouldn’t even be able to catch her, but I’m as stubborn as she is. I rode her that same day, a month later we won our first event together, and seven years, a few flying dismounts, and a lot of ribbons and buckles later, she is my other half.

Molly and Paige
Photo by Gray's Photography
Molly is 11 now and we have shown in everything from Reining, working cow horse, and showmanship, to three day eventing. We even spent a year on the high school rodeo circuit. We get some funny looks when I tell people that she jumps and chases cattle, but that’s ok, that’s why I love her. We have also done tons of trail riding, canyons, ranches, down the highway, you name it; she would walk through fire for me, and I would do the same for her. I think the part about her that inspires me the most is that by being there from the beginning, I have seen her go from being so scared of humans she would charge you in her pen, to I can walk out into the pasture to catch her she trots up to me nickering, just seeing how willing she was to change and trust me completely after everything she has been through, it just shows what a big heart she has, and I want to capture that heart so that even when she is gone, I can see it and remember to try and have that kind of heart myself.

Besides Molly, what else inspires you?
Paige's Art on Exhibition
Beauty. I love beautiful things. It may sound unoriginal, but when you look at something, or someone that is so free it gives you goose bumps, I want to capture that; sudden acts of kindness, old traditions being kept alive, people rising to the occasion after a tragedy, or just a landscape that takes your breath away. I want to save it forever, capture it, give it my own colors and view, I want to show the world the beauty that they are overlooking while rushing around, forgetting to stop and enjoy the world they live in. I try and tell a story with my work, make people stop and take a step back, realize what they are missing in their lives, show them what they are really looking for to be happy. I guess in a way, I am inspired, but inspiring others.

Who is your favorite artist? 
My favorite artist is by far Vincent Van Gogh. I love his piece “Starry Night”, and I have always felt a connection to the emotion that he puts in his art work. Even though there are all landscapes and still-life for the most part, his use of color and light often depicts a view of his personal life at the time. I just really love how such beautiful works came out of such a dark, twisted, scarred life. It really shows that no matter how bad things are in life, you can always give the world something beautiful.

Where do you foresee your creativity taking you in the future?
I have so many plans! Like I said, vet school is my main goal in life. But in many ways my creativity will help me with that. Medical professions might require lots of math and science, but there is also an element of the unknown involved, and the only way to come up with new ideas or cures, is to get creative. So hopefully my creativity will inspire me to invent something new in the Veterinary medicine world, but as far as my art work, I’m not sure really. I’m planning on spending sometime in Europe, and maybe south east Asia. I’d love to be able to sell a few pieces, It would help pay for college, and I’d really just love to be known for my work. Who knows, maybe it will take over and I’ll become a professional artist after all.

Picasso said 'Art is a lie that enables us to see the truth' - what does Picasso's quote mean to you?
I love this quote. It can mean so many things. I think that’s the best part about it. To me, with my art work, what you see is not always the entire story. When you create art, it is up to the artist what they do or don’t show. I can take a picture of a girl holding a rose, and make it show the world whatever I want it to. If I put tears down her face, it’s sad, if I give it a slight yellow glow, it becomes happy. Artists have a unique ability to show or hide whatever they wish in a work of art. You can embellish or remove to prove a point. So while what’s going on in a piece may be slightly exaggerated, or under-stated, the artist choice is done to make people stop and take note, put things in perspective, or make sure that no one can turn a blind eye to the subject anymore. So while the artist might be lying a bit, the effect is that people finally realize the truth about what’s going on personally, or in the world.

Connect with Paige…

Copyright Paige Clements
Copyright Paige Clements

Friday, September 26, 2014

Mandy Hall, Equine Shiatsu Practitioner

Residing in London, UK, Mandy Hall, E.q.S.P DIP, is the proprietor of EquineWellBeing Management – a leader in equine rehabilitation. Mandy is a qualified Equine Shiatsu Practitioner (Japanese physiotherapy) providing and promoting health-care and wellbeing to our beloved horses. As well as treating horses, Mandy uses Seated Shiatsu to help treat riders.
Welcome Mandy !
When was your first encounter with a horse?
I was introduced to the local riding school Winkers Farm when I was about 8 years old by a friend who used to go there at the weekends just to help out by mucking out and getting ponies ready for the lessons. In return she would get a free ride. From one visit and helping my friend out I was hooked.
What is your horse history?
As a child I spent most of my time helping out at the weekends at the local riding schools in return for a free lesson. When I was 13 I got my first pony on loan called Toppo who taught me show jumping and x country this is where my love for competing began. At 16 I finally got my own horse Dee Dee who was an Iron grey mare IDxTB from Ireland. I had her for a couple of years and sadly had to have her PTS as she got hip displacement and there was nothing the vets could do for her. After finishing school I had already decided I wanted to work with horses and was lucky enough to be accepted as a working pupil at Catherston Stud the home of Jennie Lorriston-Clarke MBE who was one of Britain’s leading riders and trainers in dressage. It was at Catherston where not only did I get my passion to compete affiliated, but also where I attained my BHS exams. After my years training at Jennie’s I went onto groom for one of Britain’s event riders at Boekelo 3* event and it was here my passion for eventing began.  At the age of 20 got my first event horse Ranger who was only 3 at the time. He was TB x Hackney and very sharp and it was with him I had some exceptional times eventing. This little guy taught me so much. Sadly I lost him to colic when he was 21 years old.
In 2000 I was unfortunate to succumb to a nasty accident while backing a 17.3hh Percheron horse for a client. From what was just a little anxious buck form her suddenly turned into a launch of all four feet and with the quick sharp whiplash from the movement my Thoracic 9 fractured. I was extremely lucky that the horse did stop enabling me to dismount before collapsing on the floor in total excruciating pain. For me I was in hospital for 2 weeks flat on my back followed by 3 months wearing Neofrakt brace until the fractured healed.
From the accident I ended up leaving working with horses for a few years so as to build up my strength and confidence. In 2005 I came across a course advertised in Horse and Hound Magazine on Equine Shiatsu. Having gone and done the introductory weekend I was hooked and continued with the 3 year course to achieve my qualification and become an Equine Shiatsu Practitioner.
Today I have 2 horses, one broodmare who I had my first foal from in 2013 Quiri a chestnut filly and who I have kept to produce. Connie (AKA) it’s Cointreau the broodmare is a warmblood and has Grade A show jumping bloodlines. Her Sire It’s the Business. Quiri (AKA) Donnerhalls Daiquiri  is an Oldenburg warmblood and her Sire is Grand Prix dressage horse Sir Donnerhall. In 2013 Quiri was awarded the Elite Premium for potential international dressage so I am going to be looking forward to the future to see how she excels!
All my horses live out 24/7 at present as I like my horses to live in as natural environment as possible. Both girls are barefoot and live out with no rugs even during winter. The field they live in has good hedges for wind protection as does the bottom of the hill. The only time this will change will be when Quiri starts her competition career and then it will on be in the winter months that she will stay in, in the evenings.
What is a Shiatsu Practitioner?
Shiatsu is Japanese physiotherapy often referred to as finger pressure “Acupuncture without needles”. It works on 2 levels: Firstly on a physiological level where we see results from the Shiatsu Practitioner using techniques such as; finger, thumb, palm pressure and percussion on the muscles followed by a combination of rotations in the joints and stretching. Secondly it addresses the balance of energy throughout the body in the meridians helping to increase circulation. Shiatsu is a non-invasive treatment and can help most complaints related to the:

Muscular system
Circulatory system
Lymphatic system
Nervous system
How do I know if my horse needs Shiatsu?

Knowing the signs when your horse needs a treatment can come in various forms. It could come from; a behavior change, stress and anxiety, skin conditions, muscular tension, injury and trauma, low immune system, respiratory problems, arthritis & joint problems the list is endless. Shiatsu helps release natural endorphins. These endorphins are neurotransmitters, chemicals that pass along signals system. These endorphins produce an analgesic effect which help with all the above. Techniques used in Shiatsu also help circulation throughout the body. We all know ourselves the effects of bad circulation within our own bodies and our horses are no different!

What other methods do you use?

Good nutrition also plays a very important part in my practice as it helps with maintaining health and wellbeing. Healthy cells are required for; muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones as well as healthy digestive, respiratory and nervous systems. A couple of years ago I was introduced by a vet to a new nutritional supplement call StemEquine. A natural nutrition that stimulates the body to produce and release 25-30% higher levels of stem cells into the blood form the bone marrow naturally and therefore contributing to tissue renewal. The added benefits from this process will help maintain the body and effectively help reduce ageing degeneration. The natural adult stem cells play a key role in the natural renewal process, their primary role is to maintain and repair tissue.  Scientific studies have shown that increasing the number of circulating adult stem cells in the body is an important aspect of maintaining optimal health. The supplement which comes in powder form and is FEI approved is non-invasive compared to the alternative method of producing stem cells by injecting into the bone marrow to remove stem cells to be then re-injected. As well as treating horses with Shiatsu and incorporating a good nutritional diet I also advise clients on ways to improve lifestyle management of their horse(s). This may be only on a minimum level but fast improvements can be achieved.

Do you recommend the energy bands for horses and what are the benefits to my horse?

The nervous system in the horse is a complex system and like people the system can get its signals mixed up and interrupted. The energy band has been designed to help the body when it has compensatory problems. Throughout the correct signals and frequencies to the brain, it can help fine tune the body to work better. It is NOT a medical device that cures disease and injuries but it can help the body function in many levels which may lead to reduced risk of injury and musculoskeletal problems. A product I would recommend to my clients.

In your opinion, as a horse owner, what is the most important factor in keeping my horse in optimum health?

“Prevention is better than cure” and by doing this owners need to understand the important balance factors that affect health.

Diet nutritional / fresh water always available
Dental every 6 months
Worming 4 x a year or worm count
Hoof care regularly trimmed or shod
Saddle checks every 6 months (remember horses change shape winter and summer)
Yearly vaccinations
Suitable environment for the horse to live in

Do you have advice for beginning riders/owners?

Owning and caring for a horse can be a source of great enjoyment but is also a big financial commitment with long-term caring.  Always ask yourself are you in a position to be able to commit to both financial and long term caring before purchasing as horse/pony!

What does horsemanship mean to you?

It means natural horsemanship. Working with the horse with respect and consideration in his physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects without using force.

Biography of Mandy Hall E.q.S.P Dip

Mandy has been working as a qualified EquineShiatsu Practitioner for the past 6 years. Shiatsu is Japanese physiotherapy using acupressure techniques.  She has been involved in the equine industry for over 25 years and achieved various BHS qualification as well as backing and schooling of young competition horse including racehorses, competed herself at British Eventing, coaching riders in different disciplines, plus a qualified human seated Shiatsu therapist which has seen her help riders improve their performance through correcting imbalances through their skeletal.
Her human therapy work has also seen her take over the running and organizing of the healing areas front of house at the UK’s 2 largest rock festivals, Download and Sonisphere whereby she runs a team of 8 therapists in different fields.

Mandy has now also taken over the backstage area at Sonisphere where she treats the artists as they too constantly suffer stress and strains from their high energetic performances.

2013 Mandy bred her first foal from her well bred mare and was extremely pleased to have received the Elite Premium grading at the BEFF (British Equestrian Futurity Federation) Donnerhalls Daiquiri finished 8th in the overall table for International Dressage horse prospect.  EWBM hopes to continue with the breeding and produce international competition horses of the future.
Mandy has a real passion and empathy to equine health and wellbeing and is constantly looking at new technologies and treatments in the continuation of improving health and vitality in both horse and rider.

Mandy quotes: “In today’s society our horses face the same stresses and strains as we do and from our own health warning’s we know the importance in improving our wellbeing to help in the prevention of illness and injury. The same goes without question to our horses which is why it is more important than ever to help our horses maintain health and vitality before damage through injury or illness goes beyond help.”
As well as having worked in the horse industry, Mandy has also  years of experience having worked  in an office environment as an office administrator gaining sound knowledge and experience in the day to day running of a business, a valuable strength to the EWBM project.

Outside of horses Mandy enjoys; Music Festivals, Grand Prix Motor Racing, outdoor activities, theatre, dinning, socializing, and outdoor sports.
Connect with Mandy…

Monday, September 22, 2014

Robin Hutton, Author

Sgt. Reckless: America’s War Horse is the complete biography of an ex-race horse turned American hero. Author Robin Hutton writes the captivating tale of Sgt. Reckless – a Mongolian mare whose courage and determination prevailed during perilous times.  

Through stunning historical photographs and interviews with eye witnesses and former Marines, Author Hutton skillfully tells the legend of an American Hero; how Sgt. Reckless was awarded two Purple Hearts for valor, and much more.  Sgt. Reckless was ‘dauntless, fearless, and exemplar of Semper Fi.’  

A great book for every library! Recommended reading for everyone! Author Hutton has just completed the screenplay and I look forward to seeing more of Sgt. Reckless…

 Welcome Author Hutton!

What was your inspiration for writing about Sgt. Reckless?
When I first discovered her story eight years ago I was stunned that I had never heard about her before, because to me, this is the GREATEST horse story that I had ever read. When I googled her name, only four items came up on the internet - FOUR! I discovered she was iconic in the 1950s and 60s, but disappeared from the pages of history. So, I made it my mission to make sure she is never forgotten again -- and, that her story reaches the iconic stature of Secretariat and Seabiscuit with the masses before I’m done!

So many wonderful, heroic Sgt. Reckless anecdotes from the book! Which one is your favorite?
Oh goodness! So many to choose from! It’s hard to choose! But I think it would have to be where she ate the centers of the cherry pies that Manny, the cook, had put out to cool! Just knowing how much she loved her cherry pie put a smile on my face - and I can just imagine the look on Manny’s face when he discovered them!

Of the seventy-five US Marines you interviewed, which interview stands out?
Actually, there would be two. I would have to say Harold Wadley’s interview was by far the most compelling as he saw her in action during her most heroic battle of Outpost Vegas in March 1953. The way he describes seeing this tired struggling horse in the flare light just sent chills up my spine! And that she survived! As he says, “There must have been an angel riding that mare that day.”

The other one was from George Johannes who was also at Outpost Vegas. He didn’t see Reckless during the battle as he got off the hill just before the battle began. However, he described a scene that I will never forget - when he saw four Marines vaporized in front of him when mortar fire hit their bunker. “Red rain” was what he was covered with. Since I wrote that story in my book, I’ve had several Marines tell me, sadly, that they too had witnessed the very same thing.
What Military Decorations were bestowed on Sgt. Reckless?
Her Military Decorations include two Purple Hearts, Good Conduct Medal, Presidential Unit Citation with star, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, Navy Unit Commendation, and Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, all of which she wore proudly on her red and gold blanket, along with a French Fourragere that the 5th Marines earned in WW1.
Where are Sgt. Reckless' foals/lineage today?
All three of Reckless’s colts were gelded! So sad! She had Fearless (1957), Dauntless (1959) and Chesty (1964). She also had a little filly in 1967 who died after one month. Fearless and Dauntless are buried on the rodeo grounds at Camp Pendleton. Chesty was sold off base, so no record of his burial.
Will we see Sgt. Reckless in movie theaters soon?
If I have anything to do with it, you certainly will! I have finished my screenplay and will start shopping it now that the book is out! It will make you laugh, it will make you cry - it will make you leave the theater feeling ten feet tall!
What is 'Angels Without Wings, Inc.'?
AWW, Inc is my non-profit that I set up to raise the money for the monuments to Sgt Reckless. We placed the first monument last year at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle (Quantico), VA. We are now raising money for the one at Camp Pendleton, where Reckless lived out her days and is buried, and also, hopefully, one will be placed in South Korea as well.
But actually, AWW, Inc. is much more than that. I set it up to raise money and awareness for those “Angels” who walk among us ... those people who give of themselves selflessly, day in and day out, to help those in need, or an animal in need.
These people show us that it only takes one person to make a difference - just a little bit of one’s time, ingenuity and a little bit of effort can make all the difference in the world to those less fortunate. These people show us that ...We all can be Angels - if we try. And every day I try to “Be the change you want to see in the world.” That’s what Angels Without Wings is all about!
Where do you like to write?
I can write anywhere - and it all depends on what I am writing, and the time of year that I’m writing. When I’m at home and the weather is nice, I love to write on my front or back porch, sitting there with my dogs around me, surrounded by my rose garden and watching the hummingbirds. Or in the fall and winter, I really love to put on my sweats and my favorite oversized sweater and sit in front of my fireplace, curled up on my couch, soft music playing - again dogs all around me. They are such a wonderful comfort -- and they inspire me!
How do you maintain thoughts and ideas?
I write a lot of ... wait, what was the question? :)
Hahaha! Okay, I couldn’t pass that one up! I take a lot of notes in spiral notebooks. When I start a project, I get a clean spiral notebook and keep all of my notes and thoughts and ideas and contacts in there. For Reckless I have 3 large notebooks, and now have a fourth one for the marketing of the book. I try and keep as much information in there as I can. Also “To-Do” lists. Sometimes it takes a lot of flipping back and fourth - but I know I can find stuff in there eventually!
When I’m in the car and can’t write, I have a little tape recorder that I will turn on and record things on there, and then type them up so I have them handy.
What are you currently writing?
Having just finished Sgt Reckless, I’m now working on the marketing and promotion of the book, so I’ve not started writing anything new yet. Besides, I’m trying to enjoy having just given birth! hahaha! There is talk of doing a children’s book which I’m very excited about and look forward to diving into! And also, I have to get the monument for Reckless completed first before I start writing on any new project because, as your readers who have done any kind of fundraising know, that is an all-consuming job in itself! And there’s a lot of writing involved in promotional materials, speeches, etc. So that’s really keeping me busy!
What are you currently reading?
I hate to say it, but I haven’t had a chance to read anything lately! It’s been crazy! I really look forward to the day when I can crawl up with a good book and get lost in it! Any recommendations? (BTW, even though I’ve written a novel, I prefer non-fiction books. I figure if I can find any time to read, I want to LEARN something!)
Do you have advice for novice writers?
For starters, write what you are passionate about! That will keep you going when the thoughts dry up - and we all have those days! If you find a topic that stirs your emotions and your passion - run with it!

Secondly, research your topic thoroughly - whether writing a novel or a non-fiction book. You MUST get the research right, because if you don’t, that will cause people not to trust you - and you need their trust so they will go on the journey with you, plus have them want to read other things that you write.

Mark Twain once said, “Write what you know.” I don’t really agree with that. At least for me, I find that if I write what I DON’T know, that’s amazing - because then I, too, LEARN something when I research my topic! And it’s in the learning and growing that keeps me going. It’s exciting! BUT, there’s a catch in that because you have to make sure that you do write what you’ve LEARNED - and you must have the facts right!

For my novel, it’s a ghost story that takes place during the Civil War, the Kennedy assassination, and present day. Man, I got every Civil War book I could get my hands on, and it opened up a whole passion for the Civil War that I never had before. For my book on Reckless, that happened with the Korean War, and connecting with all of the amazing Marines and other people that came in touch with Reckless. I also had to make sure I had all of the horse references correct.

For instance (and please forgive me for being so simplistic here but I’m trying to make a point), there’s no easier way to lose my horse audience than to say something silly like, “Reckless was half stallion.” Well, duh! Horse people would know I didn’t know what I was talking about if I got that simple fact wrong, and so they would dismiss the rest of my research because they couldn’t trust that I had the facts correct on everything else.

Getting the research right is critical. It takes work - that’s the hard work - but it will pay off immensely when the book is out!
What's the secret to writing a great book?
Everything I said above! Plus having a GREAT subject to write about!

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