Tuesday, March 3, 2015

N.R. Hart, World Poetess

World Poetess N.R. Hart grew up in the Washington DC area in an Italian family with a deep Italian heritage that has stayed with her her whole life. She began writing very early; she was 11 years old when she wrote her first poem. N.R. always felt "different" as a child even into adulthood. She was quiet and had close friends, but also enjoyed staying in her room listening to music and writing most of the time and always felt the need to express herself through writing. 

N.R.’s exquisite blog Pearls Slipping off a String reveals her scrumptious and evocative poetry.

Welcome N.R.!

What’s the key to writing great poetry?
The most essential element for writing poetry is "feeling" and "passion"!  The beauty of poetry is the "mystery" of it and the "interpretation" which is very individual and how people can apply it to their personal lives. 

What drives your creativity?
I try to write about every day feelings and emotions, the silent, unspoken feelings people have trouble saying out loud. Poetry is a powerful vehicle to express feelings, otherwise, we are unable to express. I am a true "romantic" and it comes out in my poetry, I love to write about romance, love and passion. 

Where is your favorite place to write?  
I love to write near a window or outside, and often take my notebook to a public place like a coffee shop and sit there people watching and writing ideas down for poems.

Who is your favorite poet/inspiration? 
e.e.cummings!  I love the beautifully aesthetic light-hearted format in which he expressed himself in his poetry. Romantic, whimsical, passionate style he has, that no one has been able to reproduce since.  They say everyone has a “poem that is their soul mate.”  I truly believe this and for me it is "Somewhere I have never travelled, gladly beyond" -e.e.cummings.

What are you currently writing?
I am currently working on a poetry book of my own (I hope to have published this year) and enjoy writing short stories also.

Do you have advice for novice poets/writers?
The best advice I can give a beginner writer/poet - write every day! Good or bad write something. The more you read and write the better you understand yourself-writing is a kind of "self-discovery".

Connect with N.R. Hart

Monday, March 2, 2015

Sylvia Nickels, Author

Georgia native, Sylvia Nickels has lived in Tennessee, USA, for many years. Her award winning short stories have been published online and in print. She published her memoir, Eight Miles of Muddy Road, followed by a volume of short mystery stories, Best Served Cold, Revenge a la Carte. She recently published a volume of her newspaper columns, Life Slices, a Medley of Musings after Three Score and More

Sylvia's most recent novel, Requiem for a Party Girl, has been published by Oconee Spirit Press. Requiem for a Party Girl features female PI Cameron Locke. Locke is a former abused wife who, with encouragement from a co-worker, a long-time friend and a police detective, escaped her tormentor and built a new life. In addition to being an absorbing story, Sylvia hopes the book will encourage other women who find themselves in a similar situation find hope that their lives also can be changed.

Welcome Sylvia!

When did you realize you wanted to become a writer?
I thought about it when I was very young, deep in rural Georgia, but it just didn't seem like a realistic thing to even consider. I loved to read and it seemed almost miraculous that the printed words between the covers of books could transport me to many faraway places. Only after reaching adulthood, marriage, and motherhood did that old dream seem even a little bit possible. I'm very happy I've pursued that dream, even late in life.

What was the first story you penned?
My first published story was inspired by a novel, Robin Cook's Coma. It appeared in a small circulation magazine called Communities. Excerpt attached.

What books have you written?
The first book I published was a memoir, Eight Miles of Muddy Road, a recounting of my early years growing up on back country farms that my Dad sharecropped, with a little help from us older children. I queried several publishers but no one was interested. Then after the Internet exploded and more affordable options for self-publishing became available I was able to publish it myself.

After that I published a small volume of romance stories, Love Comes Home, under a pen name; then a book of short mystery stories, my chosen genre, and a collection of the columns I write for a local newspaper, Life Slices, a Medley of Musings after Three Score and More. Last year I published Disguise for Death, my first full-length mystery novel, which originally started life as a short story. During all this time I was querying traditional publishers and occasionally agents with my work. Finally also last year a small independent publisher did accept my manuscript for Requiem for a Party Girl, which co-incidentally also began as a short story which was published in the online ezine, Blazing Adventures and is still archived on the 'Net. Requiem is being released this month, February, by Oconee Spirit Press.

Does living in Tennessee motivate your creativity?
Possibly. I love East Tennessee and the mountains. They give stability to life, I think. Maybe if I'd stayed and always lived in Georgia I would still have become a writer. I don’t know.

Are your characters based upon your own life experiences?
(smile) Maybe 'impossible dream' experiences! I actually did inquire about becoming an apprentice/volunteer for a private investigator, like Cam in Requiem, but he never answered my letter. I've pursued writing for some years now, so that part of my character, Royce Thorne, is also related.

Who is your favorite character?
I have to go with Cameron Locke, PI. She kind of kept after me until I had to tell her stories. I've written two or three unpublished short stories with another character, a male former cop/private investigator that I like and would like to do more with when I can find the time.

Describe your writing studio...
You don't want to see it. It's piled high on every side with 'stuff' from all my writing activities. Three file cabinets full, four bookcases, more books and some manuscript drafts on the floor. I'm President of the Lost State Writers Guild so I have all kinds of stuff related to that in boxes and totebags. Also I'm Webmaster for Lost State and the Appalachian Authors Guild and have totebags of stuff about that, printer, scanner, computer disks, bulletin board covered with photos, name tags from events and other memorabilia. I like those old-type calendars that roll-up over a wooden dowel and two hang on the wall in front of me as well as an actual current calendar. I could go on but you get the picture!

What are you currently writing?
I keep my weekly column going with the Kingsport Daily News. And I need to get seriously to working on the sequel to Disguise for Death, the 2nd Royce Thorne mystery, tentatively titled Death Stalks the Wohlford. I have the 2nd Cam Locke novel finished. Its title for now, Lilies for a Throwaway Girl. Subject to change.

What are you currently reading?
I always have several books going. Fiction, inspirational, writing help and now marketing. I'm itching to get my hands on Dean Koontz's new Brother Odd book, Saint Odd.

Who is your favorite author?
Several! I anticipate Margaret Maron's and Dean Koontz's new books, as well as Linda Fairstein and Sue Grafton. I'm working my way through Jan Karon's Mitford series. And I'm very happy that Kathryn Wall, another North Carolina writer I like a lot, is back to writing.

Do you have advice for novice writers?
If you really, really want to write for publication, don't give up. Just do it. Persistence is key. Also take classes and attend writers' conferences as you can. There are some free classes on the Internet that you can get a lot out of as well as online critique groups. Many well-known writers and writing teachers freely share much valuable information, such as Randy Ingermanson, Holly Lisle, Lawrence Block. I'm on their mailing lists. Thriller writer Steven James writes great articles that are published in Writers Digest Online.

List 10 things your fans may not know about you...
I'm a great grandmother twice-over and I adore my little munchkins.

I'm kind of disorganized, you might guess from the description of my writing area.

I love country music, especially the oldies.

I like being with a group of writers, bouncing ideas around and getting new ones.

I like having friends over for small get-togethers.

I like learning new things. Once I get into learning something, I don't want to stop.

I like working with graphics/pictures on my computer.

I like surfing the Internet, though I get weary of Facebook.

I sometimes like to cook, but only occasionally.

I'm a night owl.

Connect with Sylvia…

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Colonel Charles Dahnmon Whitt, Author

Colonel Charles Dahnmon Whitt grew up in Tazewell County, Virginia, USA, and like most southwest Virginians has not forgotten his ancestral or geographical heritage. As a young boy, he attended elementary school at Raven and later graduated from Richlands High School. When he graduated from high school, Colonel Whitt joined the navy and left Tazewell County to explore the world. After time served in the navy, he became a sheet metal worker and eventually settled in Flatwoods, Kentucky  where he and his wife, Sharon, still live.

In his younger days Whitt fished, played games with friends, and was a Boy Scout for several years. He was raised in a Christian home and has tried to be the man his dog thinks he is. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1964 to 1968. He learned the craft of Sheet Metal Work and earned a living until December 2003. Dahnmon has always wanted to know his place and where he came from so in 1999 he purchased his first computer. Doing genealogy he made so many discovers including his connections in Kentucky. And back to Ireland, Scotland, and to the American Indians as he is the GGGG Grandson of Chief Cornstalk the Shawnee War Chief.

Even as he worked and lived in other places, the Colonel never forgot the formative years of his life in Raven and Richlands. After retirement, Colonel Whitt developed his long-time interest in genealogy, research and history. This led to the publication of his first book The Patriot which was soon followed by nine other books. All of his books are historic fiction based on actual events that have been well researched. The author, Col Whitt, weaves a story in and around these facts.

His latest book, Recollections of Raven and Richlands, is somewhat different from other books he has written. This book takes the reader on a trip back to a time when life was simple and uncomplicated. The author tells his story about growing up in a small coal mining town in Tazewell County, Virginia. The book offers insight into the Appalachian mountain culture and the importance of family unity centered on a Christian up-bringing. Colonel Whitt shares actual memories and pictures from Raven and Richlands intermingled with stories from his childhood, as he moves toward becoming an adult.

Colonel Whitt is now a well-recognized author, a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, Sons of Confederate Veterans and a Kentucky Colonel. At book signings, he wears the uniform of a Confederate Colonel to honor all the men and women who struggled during the War of Northern Aggression. Colonel Whitt has been recognized by the Kentucky Senate on two occasions for his achievements in historic research and writing ability.

To date, the Colonel has now written 15 books worth checking out; view all of them on his website.

Connect with Colonel Whitt

Friday, February 27, 2015

Amber Moore, Author


Author Amber Moore grew up in Athens County, Ohio, USA, and has lived most of her adult life there. Moore met her husband in high school and they have been together for 14 years. The couple has two beautiful children, ages four and six, both of whom are autistic. Moore has a wide and varied educational background, including animal science, Horsemanship, survival and backpacking, accounting, and business. She has always been fascinated with folklore, legends, and myths. In addition, Moore has found herself drawn to animal behavior, particularly human behavior and psychology. Moore's first novel Bartender Tales was released in 2014.

What is the premise for ‘Bartender Tales’?
My husband, Chad, encouraged me to write Bartender Tales for him.  The book was based originally on a dream and then took on a life of its own. Bartender Tales is a suspense/thriller novel. The main character, Wesley Lake, applies for a bartender position at ‘The Last Stop’. The owner of the bar not only hires him but pretty much gives him the bar itself. Despite the owner's strange behavior, Wesley takes the job. Anything he needs begins to fall effortlessly into his lap. However, soon the mysterious deaths associated with the bar become unavoidable. Wesley soon discovers that for some who enter the bar, it truly is their last stop. His failed attempts to put a stop to the deaths only lead him closer to the inconceivable truth, and the impossible decision that he is forced to make that will impact the rest of his life.

Who is your favorite character? 
That is a very difficult question.  I suppose each character has different personality traits that I admire on some level. If forced to choose I would go with either Bishop or Raven as my favorite. I like Bishop because I value his intelligence, adaptability, and fierce loyalty. I feel the German Shepherd breed itself is a beautiful, courageous breed worthy of admiration. I like Raven, because although she is guarded and secretive, she has survived her brutal past to become strong and observant, with a deep awareness about the world around her. Raven was also part of the original dream that inspired the book.

Is your storyline based upon your own experience?
The storyline for Bartender Tales was based upon a dream.  The rest was furnished by my twisted overactive imagination. However, I suppose it is partly based on my own experience. Anyone who is spent any amount of time at a bar observing people will recognize and relate to each of the characters. Most of the stories and events that occur in ‘The Last Stop’ are similar to what you would expect from a visit to your own local bar.

Who is the beautiful Shepherd on your book cover?
The German Shepherd on the cover of the book is Bishop. Bishop is a stray that comes out of nowhere to protect Wesley from a belligerent drunk. He soon becomes Wesley's best friend, companion, and Guardian.

This was your debut novel.  What about the publication process surprised you the most?
Going into the publication process, I was aware that it is a business like any other. So I was somewhat prepared for that aspect. I believe what surprised me the most was the amount of research and knowledge needed to understand the ins and outs.  Such as the language and terms used in the publication process as well as format requirements, cover photo design, etc.
Describe your writing process… (aesthetics/environment, as well as other aspects).

Typically when I began writing I pretty much have an entire book stuck in my head from beginning to end, and I am eager to unleash it with a pen and paper. Prefer it to be quiet when I write as I’m sure most writers do. I like to be left to my own devices. Unlike most writers, I handwrite in a notebook. I find it easier more portable and convenient for my lifestyle. I typically write when my children are in school. My favorite place to write is in our camper or beneath a tree. Like the main character in the book, I find comfort and inspiration in nature. After I have finished a chapter I then transcribed it onto my computer in a novel format for my editor. I tend to be a pretty logical thinker, so if I don't fully understand the details of something I'm writing I do a lot of research to ensure accuracy. I'm sure from an outside point of view some of the topics that I research would seem quite odd or sadistic, but I like my details to be as factual as possible.

What are you currently writing?   
I recently finished writing Why Monsters are Afraid of Teddy Bears for my children. My son like most children his age is afraid of the dark. The book is based on a bedtime story I tell my son.  The photo illustrations were done by my husband. The book is currently with my editor. I am hoping to know the release date sometime in February or March of this year. I am currently back to work on the sequel to Bartender Tales. I have had so many of my fans request a sequel that I felt obligated to oblige. The book is titled Bartender Tales: The Rise of a Reaper and I'm currently working on chapter 5.

What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading the Harry Potter series with my son. We encourage daily reading with both of our children.  I feel reading regularly is important, especially for those who write.

Who is your favorite author?  
My favorite author is Stephen King. As a child by family had a hard time getting me to read anything. That all changed with the introduction of Stephen King. Although they thought his work was too advanced for me at the time, they were just so happy to see me reading that they let me run with it. I like him because he has an in-depth understanding of human behavior something that fascinates me.  I also find it very frustrating if I am able to figure out a story before the end. Stephen King always has a surprising twist that keeps you guessing, and I find it much more thought-provoking.

Do you have advice for novice writers?                                         
Write for yourself. Write because it is your passion. Write because you have a story to tell. Regardless of what your dreams are in life, there are always those who will say you can't or shouldn't for whatever reasons. Follow your dreams. You always fail if you never try, just as the answer is always 'no' if you never ask.  So there's no downside to trying.

I know you are a horsewoman as well.  Tell me about your horse history…
I am a lover of animals. I enjoy being around anything with four legs, and fur. Horses are no exception. In my youth, I was enrolled in Backcountry Horse at Hocking College, and I loved every minute of it. I also worked for a while at The Last Chance Corral, which was another wonderful experience. Being in the barn among the horses is the only time I've ever been up at five o’clock in the morning and been happy about it.

What was the most important thing that you experienced while enrolled in Hocking College’s Wilderness Horsemanship program?
I learned so much while enrolled under the Horsemanship program. Most importantly I learned to trust my horse and myself. I feel it is very important to be in tune and to be friends with my horse. Your horse may sense danger or know something that you may not be aware of. Being in tune and trusting your horse can keep you safe. At Hocking College, Lady was my best friend. She was a very interesting horse with a lot of depth to her. She didn't care for men and could be quite bullheaded. One day while leading a trail ride Lady suddenly refused to continue down the trail. I didn't force her. I knew that something was wrong. My instructor took the lead and continued down the trail. It turned out there was a snake on the path, it spooked my instructor’s horse, and she was thrown breaking her collarbone in the process. I was grateful to have such a close relationship of Lady, especially that day. I learned to follow my instincts, use common sense, and always keep my wits about me. When I first started at Hocking College, we had the horses hobbled in a grazing field. A crotchety old donkey decided to stir up some trouble and started a stampede. The whole herd was running straight towards another girl and me. I remember the fear upon her face when she looked toward me asking what to do. Out of instinct told her to run for the tree line, and sure enough when the horses reached the trees they slowed and dispersed. I also learned what pride and sense of accomplishment you feel after a hard day’s work in the barn.

Can you share a favorite horse-related anecdote?
Each horse has its own unique personality. I remember being stepped on once by horse named Roadie, and when I yelled I could tell by the look on his face that it hurt him more than it hurt me. With my foot throbbing, I still felt sorry for him.  I suppose my favorite memory will always be of Chief out at The Last Chance Corral. I called him Chief because of the brand on his hindquarters. He had quite the personality, and I loved him dearly. When I would be working in the field, he would sneak behind me quietly.  When I would turn to look at him, he would stop and look away like he wasn't doing anything. Then when my back was turned, he would continue to follow me. We played this game nearly every day. I was pregnant when I worked there and while in the field one day, one of the other horses charged me. Chief came out of nowhere to push the other horse off course and away from me. When I left The Last Chance Corral, I was heartbroken.  I wanted to take Chief home with me so badly, but I didn't have a suitable home to bring him home to. I still miss him and think about him often. I hope that he found a good home and received all the love that he deserved.

What does horsemanship mean to you?
To me, horsemanship means a sense of pride and accomplishment.  It is being among kindred spirits. It is chance to be near the most beautiful gentle and loving creatures you could ever meet. For me, riding a horse is pure freedom and nothing short of complete peace.

Connect with Amber…
Author Website… www.authorambermoore.com

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Darrell Fleming, Author

Author Darrell Fleming grew up in Clintwood, Dickenson County, Virginia, USA. He graduated from Union College, Barbourville, Kentucky with majors in English, History and Political Science; The University of Virginia with a Masters of Education in Secondary School Administration. Fleming served in the US Army, stationed in Germany. After his military service, he was employed by the Fairfax County School District, Virginia, retiring in 1988.

His first book, Family, Friends and War Heroes: Reflections from World War II, was released in 2005. Fleming’s book is based upon his Dad’s diary written aboard a destroyer escort while serving in the Atlantic and Pacific theaters.


Thank you for your military service.
What is the premise for 'Family, Friends and War Heroes..' ?
World War II, 1938-1945, was truly a world at war! Devastation spread from the serene green pastures of England and Ireland, to the industrial cities of Europe, to the majestic mountains of Austria and northern Italy, to the deserts of Africa, to the crowded cities of central and eastern Asia, to the beautiful, peaceful islands of the Pacific including “down under” Australia and New Zealand, to the entire western hemisphere with its vast resources and energy. All countries felt the impact and, if they were spared from the actual war machinery which killed an estimated sixty million people worldwide, they were most definitely affected indirectly through economic and social conditions beyond their control.

It seemed, even to the distant observer, that the world was either under fire, on fire or about to be set afire. Such were the dark, dim and dreary days of late 1943 when the Axis powers had marched, cruised and flown around the entire globe to wreak havoc unmercifully on the innocent as well as their targeted populations when this account begins to tell a story of how the war dramatically impacted our family’s life for at least two generations.

Please share your favorite passage from your Dad's diary...
Tuesday, June 6. We arrived in N. Y. at 11 today. Starboard had liberty.
A special note was inserted in the Diary at this point. It apparently was a note Dad had mailed to Mother and he entered it in the Diary as a reminder of their upcoming anniversary on Jun 23. It reads:

June 7, ‘44
This is to remind you of fourteen years back.
I am leaving tomorrow morning. So make the best out of life you can.
                                                          Loving yours,

What motivates you as a writer?
To preserve history in its truest form and to the best of my ability.

The aesthetics of Virginia certainly inspires your creativity. Describe your daily routine...
When I write, I establish a set schedule usually no more than four hours at a time, i. g., 8:00 am - noon and 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm. When inspired, as ideas are flowing, I continue writing until my inspirations wane. I write on my computer because of spell check, ease of corrections, and inclusion of ideas and deletions. I try to eliminate all distractions, such as not opening emails prior to beginning, no phone calls, no radio, no TV, and no door bells. I must have privacy in my office. My wife knows my schedule, and accepts it, and often quips that she feels like a widow when I’m hard at work finishing an idea, a paragraph, a chapter, or an ending. Therefore, when I take a break I make a real effort to treat her to lunch, dinner, and even a day or two off.

Also, I do not write every day. Sometimes I must get away from writing a day or two and come back refreshed. Then I read what I have written previously and often I have a new idea, word, phrase or even realize it’s too wordy and must be abbreviated to make it more effective.  We have no children at home or pets or they would have to be excluded from my office. I think all genres of writing require focus and consecration and, therefore, distractions must be eliminated as much as possible.

What author/writer has impacted your writing style/genre?
Of course, I’d like to claim David McCullough, Stephen E. Ambrose, or even James Bradley. I cannot. Instead, I believe writing is a very personal art form and people will come to know me by my writing. One of the highest compliments I’ve received from my books and short stories is, “Darrell, as I read your books I can envision you as a person.” This is to say I cannot write like someone else. I must write from my experiences, knowledge base, and my information. That’s what identifies me and my writings. However, I certainly read lots of writers in my genre because it provides me with ideas, styles, and forms to assist me confirming what and how I write.

What are you currently reading?
Carte Blanche 007 by Jeffery Deaver and just finished Killing Patton by Bill O’Reilly.

Do you have advice for novice writers?
As a novice, connect with a local writing group that is presenting “How To” sessions on a regular basis. Seek advice from published authors and network with published authors. Attend writing seminars. Read, read, read in your genre and then start writing and don’t quite. Don’t expect to be perfect as you write and don’t attempt to put your final editing to every word, sentence, paragraph, or chapter as you write. Just get your ideas and thoughts down. Your editing should be limited to obvious misspelled words, word agreement, and sentence structure as you go. This happens as you read and reread your written work. Do your diligence to fact checking, make sure what you said in previous chapters agree with what you are saying in later chapters when referencing same ideas, situations, events, etc.  You should hire a qualified editor to put the final editing touches to your work. Be prepared to market your book. Carefully select an interesting title and present an attractive cover. Know your targeted audience because, in the end, there are only two things that sell your book: THE BOOK, as it catches the interests of readers, and YOU, as the seller/marketer.

Do you have advice for those seeking to enlist in the military?
Be absolutely committed to the enlistment and to the OATH you must take upon entering.

Enlist for the right reasons: loyalty to oath, to love ones at home, to fellow military personnel, and to country. In my opinion, it is the best education one can obtain and I have a post graduate degree from a major American university.

Enjoy the experience, even the “things” that are difficult and in which you might not excel.

Always be proud to serve and to have served your country and fellow citizens.

What are your thoughts on current world events?
I am a Christian and believe in Biblical prophecy. The U. S. is only the second nation in the history of nations to have been dedicated to God as a God fearing nation. The world has depended on U. S. leadership and strength for several decades. The U. S. is now a weakened nation morally, ethically, economically and militarily. There are enemies within and other ideologies and nations are rising in wrongful power. This bodes ill for the future of all peoples and nations.

Connect with Darrell…

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hats off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby

Anna Rose "Rosie" Napravnik is an American Thoroughbred
horse racing jockey and two-time winner of the Kentucky Oaks.
Rosie is wearing 'Williamstown' Chapeau, created by Milliner Sally Faith Steinmann.

  The 2015 Kentucky Derby is Saturday, May 2!

"Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby" is well underway, the annual online Derby hat auction created by MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® to support the retired racehorses of Old Friends. This unique hat auction features a new Derby hat design each month created by Milliner Sally Faith Steinmann to honor one of the Thoroughbreds at Old Friends. All of the proceeds from this running auction benefit Old Friends Equine and you can read all about it at http://www.maggiemae.com/OldFriendsAuction.htm  

The theme continues with "Rosie and Friends" with the fifth hat (see photo) up on the auction block which is the "Williamstown" Chapeau created to honor Kentucky-bred multiple stakes-winning stallion and son of the great Seattle Slew, Williamstown, who ran one of the fastest miles in history in the 1993 Withers Stakes (G2). The hat with full description and photos can be seen at The Williamstown Hat webpage.

Rosie Napravnik with her husband trainer Joe Sharp modeling this handcrafted, one-of-a-kind Derby hat in a special photo shoot at Old Friends. Check out this fabulous behind-the-scenes video by EquiSport Photos of the photo shoot at https://vimeo.com/117009595

The “Williamstown” chapeau sold to the highest bidder for $500 in February! View updates to bid on the next gorgeous hat! -  http://www.ebay.com/itm/281585281272

For the Old Friends Press Release - http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs184/1102520673781/archive/1119970743680.html

To date over $23,000 has been raised by "Hats Off to the Horses" for the retired racehorses of Old Friends. To view some of the hats created in the past five years of this auction series, simply click on the following link -- http://www.maggiemae.com/OldFriendsHatAuctionPortfolio.htm.

Sally Faith Steinmann
Web Address - http://www.maggiemae.com
Derby hats – http://www.maggiemae.com/derby.htm
Email - sally@maggiemae.com
Blog Address - http://hatsandhorses.wordpress.com/
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/maggiemaedesignsmillinery
Facebook for “Hats Off to the Horses” fundraiser - http://www.facebook.com/MaggieMaeDesigns.HatsOfftotheHorses
Twitter - https://twitter.com/MMaeDesigns
Pinterest - http://pinterest.com/sallysteinmann/
Tumblr - http://hatshorsesandmore.tumblr.com/ 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Riding the San Juan Mountains

A Riding Adventure
by Dorothy K. Morris

In the early 1970s my husband and I went to the San Juan Mountains of Colorado for a horseback camping trip for seven days above 10,000 feet. Horses and all camping gear were furnished by the trip leaders and we only had to bring our personal saddles. After a flight from Virginia and a drive in a rented car, we were the first party to arrive at the meeting place at the base of a mountain. We found a tent already set up for our use and a string or horses attended by a couple of young wranglers. They were very friendly and suggested that we choose the horses we would like to ride.

We carried our English Saddles in saddle carriers and when the young men saw the small bags, they began to snicker…obviously. One of them quickly suggested that we saddle up and go for a ride. My husband and I went into our tent, changed from traveling clothes to our English Riding Breeches and boots and came out. The young men were both laughing by now. 

Not knowing how to saddle up with our tack, they allowed us to do it. And then we all mounted our horses and my husband and I followed the wranglers out of the campsite and onto a path that led to very steep and rugged terrain. As soon as we came to the base they turned and galloped up, holding on to their saddle horns as their horses dug into the mountainside, assuming that we would not be able to follow. Finding a place to halt, they stopped and turned. We were right there with them, having galloped up the mountain right behind them…with no saddle horns to hold on to.

The shock on their faces was delightful to see. And so I informed them that we fox hunt in the Blue Ridge Mountains in these saddles. Certainly the Blue Ridge are not as tall and rugged as the San Juans, but a hill is a hill…up and down.

For the remainder of the seven days, riding through some of the most rugged and magnificent country in the US, the wranglers were astounded at how we could ride in those “little postage stamps—up hill and down—cross creeks and trot ahead of them”, without falling off. But we did earn their respect.

On the last day out they had become so friendly with us that they asked if they could try out our saddles. We agreed wholeheartedly. It was sad to see that neither of them could ride in them, losing their balance often and almost slipping off. They concluded that the Easterners were not such tenderfeet after all.

From Arizona, USA, Dorothy K. Morris is an avid equestrian and author. Connect with Dorothy to enjoy more of her intriguing writing and stories. I had the great opportunity to connect with Dorothy and interview her for Riding & Writing.

Connect with Dorothy…