Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Frédérique Lavergne, Artist

From Paris, France, Frédérique is a world renowned artist.  
Now living in Bayonne, France, she is in the process of painting Fauji, Marwari Stallion of India….here are a few of her beautiful paintings...

When did you begin painting?

My mother was designer and I saw her drawing all my childhood. When we went to visit their horses at the stable in Rambouillet forest close to Paris, we stayed there for the week end, they used to go for a long ride in the forest, and I stayed at stable with the horses... I begun drawing horses there, I was four or five. I started to ride at the same time, even if I was on a horse yet when my mother was pregnant.

Why do you like to paint horses?

I paint horses first because I feel a strong link with them. I don't talk a lot, and I realized very young that horses talk with their soul. I find them beautiful of course, but I am fascinated by their powerful soul, by their generosity to humans... They have a symbolic force, and from my convictions, they are able to go from a world to another, from our human world to the one of invisible... that's why they help us to know who we are.

What medium do you use for your work?

I use oil, acrylic, ink, black stone... But mostly oil on canvas.

Where is your favorite place to paint?

I can paint everywhere. When I paint, I am absent to this world, I just search to make this connection alive.

Where in the world are your paintings?

I have canvases in USA, Chislhom Gallery Pine Plains, NYin Greenlane, Ireland, In Marceau Gallery, Nantes, France, Entre sable et bruyère Gallery, France..

You capture the soul of the horse in your artwork. Do you only paint those horses that you feel 'connected to'?

I can paint all horses, because I feel connected to all of them. DO they have a common soul? There are some horses who don't open the door easily, and sometimes it takes more time for me to get in the work, but, finally, I have never given up with any of them. This must seem silly, but often I feel to be more a horse than a human...

Do you have a favorite horse breed to paint? 

I have no favorite breed to paint. I love to paint expressive horses... so of course, I love to paint Andalusians. They are the horses I mostly paint. But I have recently discovered Marwaris, Kathiawaris and really felt in love with them... I hope to go to India very soon to meet them in real. They look so magical...I am really impressed by the way they carry their head.

How many different breeds have you painted?

I have painted many breeds... Mangalargas Marchadores, Paso finos, criollos, Spanish, Lusitanos, Akhal tekes, Arabians, Marwaris, Kathiawaris, Desi horses of Pakistan, Holsteiners, draft, Friesians, barb... but for the next edition of my exhibition "horses of the world and equine cultures", I have many others breeds to paint.

Who is your favorite artist?

My favorite living artists are Susan Leyland, Viviane Duccini, Hrovje Dumancic, Heather Jansch, four equine sculptor; Jeanne St Cheron, equine painter.  Pierre Soulages.  Passed away artists, Géricault, Klimt, Stubs, Delacroix, Degas, Escher.....there are so many I love..

Do you have suggestions for new equine artists?

Suggestion for new equine artists...spend more time you can with horses, just trying to be WITH them, feel them, meet them, then draw a lot, and be ready to pay the tribute with your life ... I paint each day without any stop since more than ten years, when I don't paint, I am with horses, I watch horses photos, video, read horses book, talk with horse men, learn on equine culture, dream horses....

What are you currently painting?

Currently, I am painting FAUJI, a Marwari Stallion.

See more gorgeous artwork…

Monday, December 26, 2011


Lace wraps
the sulking
heart, it 
weaves a
pink dress,
to define
and impart,
to feel 
and to
touch the
threads intricate
design; to
your thoughts,
your soul,
your mind,
and leads
you to

© Gina McKnight 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cowgirl Boots

Heal my
wounds, find
my way,
kiss my
lips, caress
my hair,
see me
through, protect
my heart,
keep me
in your
present state,
just let
me wear
my cowgirl

© Gina McKnight 2011

Brandon Webb

Welcome Brandon!

From Blackpool in the Northwest of England, Brandon is a musician, writer, poet, lyricist, etc., etc...With a new album debuting soon...

You are a famous musician. Do you write your own lyrics? 

Yes, of course! I am constantly writing lyrics. Its rare that I'm not putting pen to paper, fingers to keyboard or thumbs to iPhone! 

What is your inspiration? 

My past experience lately. A lot of stories from my youth have come to the fore. Most of my songs are amalgamations of memories and fictional representational characters. I don't believe in just making something up, forcing it. I open the door and the music just floats on through, I'm lucky that what happens is coincidentally true. I don't really think about doing it, I just do it. Kind of streams of consciousness if you like. I've read a lot of Jung and am very spiritual. I believe the energy needs to flow through your art unhindered by the ego. It sounds pretentious and daft to some but it's the truth for me, it's not let me down yet. As Van Morrison said "...let go into the mystery". I do often write about individual liberty too though, I mean the states impact on civil liberty and the mainstream media's impact on the general public's ability to believe or to dream. I feel that people today have been robbed of faith in many ways and have been sold a worthless dream of materialistic riches. Nature is richer than we'll ever be. 

You play guitar and what else? 
My first instrument is, and always has been my voice, guitar second. I also play piano, bass guitar, drums, mandolin, ukulele, Greek bazouki, harmonica etc the list goes on. I like anything that allows me to embellish my music. I'm playing with the idea of buying a flute at the minute. 

You have just finished recording a new release. Is this your first? 

No, I've had three previous releases although two have been with a band and one solo self release. You could say this is my first official solo record, definitely my first in the states though. I went over to Richmond, Virginia and recorded with some great musicians in an old converted theater. Was a beautiful experience. Some beautiful people and my lord is Virginia magnificent! I truly fell in love with that place. I'm also working on a soundtrack to an English film too. It's called "Better to burn" and is still in production.  

What is it like in the recording studio? 
Well, it depends on how you are recording it. Recording with a band, as part of a group is probably the most difficult thing for me. I am used to writing for bands, for myself and solo and just being able to let it flow (as explained earlier) but usually, egos appear in the studio and it tends to blur the flow. I have to be honest and say the studio with a band is probably the worst thing I do with my music. Solo however, that's different. Its more a battle with myself. Still not a nice thing. Everything goes to slow for me. I struggle to articulate the flow, or rather translate it to the producer/engineer as quickly as I feel it. It's easier when I home record. I do have one producer I work with in England who knows me well and tends to get me although my experience in Virginia was phenomenal, I self-produced a lot of it and engineered some of it along with a great engineer called Rob Astleford. The producer, Evan Batemen really helped us get the show rolling and turned it into a real album which any great producer does but he only joined the session half way through. He made it get finished though. The studio owner Arron Reinhardt was also unbelievably cool with studio time and production. It's such a hard process recording. Virginia was definitely the best experience ever. The magic flowed in all the right places but I still had moments where I was pulling my hair out. Live, playing live for an audience is where it's at for me. That's the real edge, the best time. That and right, slap-bang in the middle of a song I'm writing. Live and writing. Much better times. 

Who is your favorite musician(s)? 
I would have to say John Martyn, Van Morrison, Jeff Buckley and The Doors. If I was pushed. I do love lots of others though too. A Virginian named Paul Curreri and also Kelly Joe Phelps a few others, John Prine, Townes Van Zandt, Jackson C Frank. Plenty!

Did you grow up in a musical family? 

Erm, well my father left when I was five and my mother spent a lot of time in hospital as a child so I spent a bit of time in care and in foster homes so I never connected musically much at home although my mum has an amazing voice but suffers terribly from stage fright. My father played tenor and alto sax, my auntie was a professional singer out in Australia where she emigrated and toured the north west. My grandfather on my mothers side Harold, was a club singer and multi-instrumentalist in the north of England, my grandmother on my fathers side was also a club singer. I have a tape of her singing, it's one of my most cherished things, I never met her. It's in my blood. I am the first to record music though, record my own music that is. 

Where can we buy your music?
Right now, nowhere. The old stuff I've done is no longer in print. I am working on this new album, adding English musicians to it. It should be out in the new year in Virginia and online via iTunes. If people want to get my music, they can buy it through me at my email until I've sorted my record deal. Rodgerdadodger@hotmail.com.

What are your future goals as a musician? 
I am heading up to Scotland in February, Ireland in March/April and then back out to the States in June hopefully. Long term, I hope my album is heard by people and that they get me and feel what I'm trying to do.

What did you have for lunch? 
Lunch was good old English chips and sausage (that's fat French fries and English sausage to you lot!)

Ask yourself a question... 
Erm, favourite drink? Amstel lager or Faustino I Rioja or of course a nice cup of Yorkshire tea with milk and one sugar thanks. . 
View a couple of Brandon's lyric via my website http://www.gmcknight.com/blog.html

Follow Brandon ....

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Mukkove Johnson, Author

 An interview with author Mukkove Johnson, international children's literature.

Welcome Mukkove!

Where are you from?
My family and I live in the beautiful Matanuska Valley in Alaska. We are surrounded by amazing mountains.

Brrr...What is it like living in Alaska? Do you have trouble with polar bears?
No trouble with polar bears, though you may be surprised how easily people can be convinced they have to be run off the airstrip before we can fly! We enjoy the general ignorance of Alaska. We enjoy the long days of summer and the beauty of the winter landscape. It is an absolutely amazing place to live. A great part of winter is that I can sleep in and still watch the sunrise.

When did you realize you wanted to be an author?
I don’t know that I ever wanted to be an author. I just like to write! I think I first realized I liked to write in sixth grade. We were required to write in a journal every morning. I wrote for the class paper, school paper and yearbooks. I enjoy writing to process my thoughts, record memories and share lessons I’ve learned.

What is your inspiration for writing?
My inspiration is meeting a need. I want to write books I need. If it’s a book I need I hope other parents will find it helpful in raising their children. I want my writing to make an eternal impact. Influencing what my children believe, helping other families.

Why write about Christmas?
I wrote Christmas is About Jesus to create a meaningful, Christ centered Christmas tradition for my children. It seems much of what is surrounding Christmas in our culture is pointing anywhere but Jesus. I knew I could not keep them from seeing all the things the culture displays, so I chose to give them something different to think about. I chose 24 things commonly seen around Christmas and came up with a way each could remind us of Jesus. Each day starts with a verse relating to how the symbol reminds us of Jesus. 

Where is your favorite place to write?
My absolute favorite place to write is in my yard in the sunshine. That only works sometimes. When the weather doesn’t cooperate I like to write on the couch. I guess I like comfort. Depending on what I’m writing I need quiet.

How do you store thoughts and ideas for manuscripts?
I am still looking for the “ideal” way to store my ideas. Right now I have files on the computer, ideas in a notebook, and have even tried an online organizing site. I find I have many more ideas than I have time to write. The ones that get worked on are usually the things God keeps on my heart.

Will there be a sequel to your book or are you working on something new?
I have been working on Easter is About Jesus. It will be released in 2012. The format will be similar to Christmas is About JesusEaster is About Jesus includes activity ideas for the children to participate beyond listening and discussing. I have ideas for other devotions and stories. Right now I’m not sure which project I will pursue next.

Do you have a favorite author? 
I don’t really have a favorite author. I like any story I can read again and again. My favorite reads have truths of God’s Kingdom, plain or hidden. Most recently I really enjoyed C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia and look forward to reading them again.

Do you have suggestions for novice writers?
Hmm. Advice… Decide what your purpose for writing is. Know why you write, if you are seeking publishing, this will help tremendously when sales don’t go as expected. Research what it will take to reach your target audience. Read your writing out loud, to yourself or someone in your target audience. That really helps me with editing and making sure I communicated what I intended.

Mukkove’s Links: 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Eternal Marinade

It ignites my mind as 
I feel the fire in sheets of reason,
promises of flame fueled by unknowns;
there it goes again,
the eternal marinade

It tarries my life as
I feel the torrent in winds of grace,
tears of yearning placid in place;
catching me in mid-air,
the eternal display

It reveals my soul as
I feel the terra in epiphanies of forever;
arms of invincibility...



In the far corridor
there is a congenial
thought that coincides
with the conventional
ways of most creatures
who roam the cosmos,

Emitting the charisma
of past civilizations

Who ignored the caveat
of the universe

and remain

© Gina McKnight 2011

Doreen Austen Haggard, Equine Author

Welcome Doreen!

From Spain, Doreen is an equestrian an author! 
Her new book release, The Arabian Horse, is in bookstores now!

When did you fall in love with horses
I was about five years old when I first fell in love with horses, I can remember like it was yesterday when my parents booked my first riding lesson after that day I couldn't get enough.

Do you have a favorite breed of horse?
I would say I have spent a lot of time with the Andalusian so this would have to be my favorite then the Arabian would be my second choice.

Do you currently have horses? 
I currently don’t own any horses anymore, I ride for clients now.

When did you begin writing?
My first book was about birds The Bourke Parakeet in 1997 published by TFH, due to my love of birds as well as horses. The idea of this book started when I purchased this bird and couldn't find any books on them, so I studied them and thought it was about time there was a book available to the world. I think it [writing] is in my blood, as my grandfather William Albert Austen is a descendant of Jane Austen.

Friday, December 9, 2011


Riding to 
orion to 
see the 
cherubs there, 
to find 
if they 
are really  
real and 
if they 
climb amongst 
the stars 
where giants 
tread and 
angels march, 
and if 
they truly 
play with 
mortal hearts

© Gina McKnight 2011

Jonathan Hopkins, Author

Jonathan Hopkins is an accomplished historical author, and his novel, "The Walls of Jericho" is fabulous! Recommended reading! Jonathan's characters jump off the page! I felt every horse stride and galloped with every character. 

What was your inspiration for writing this wonderful historical novel?

Gina, you're very kind, but I don't consider myself accomplished after one novel - maybe after four or five!   I never intended to write a book, and how it came about is a long story which shows how dangerous a thing 'inspiration' can be.   A few years ago, my wife got the grumbles. I'm sure most long-married men have heard the same complaints - about not being romantic anymore, never buying flowers etc etc. And...they were probably warranted. So I had a brainwave. For our wedding anniversary, which was five months hence, I'd deliver her flowers on horseback...as a 19th century hussar! What could be more romantic than that, thought I?   Unfortunately, I'd reckoned without the difficulty of getting hold of kit. You can't just pop into your local gents outfitters and buy a Napoleonic cavalry uniform and saddlery. As it turned out I found a re-enactment uniform on eBay, but I had to make the saddlery myself and there are no patterns available. It meant I was forced into searching high and low for descriptions and pictures. I hunted through non-fiction books about British cavalry of that time - lots of them. And what struck me most was the amount of criticism leveled at those men from just about every historian and his dog. They couldn't possibly have been that bad, could they? The more campaign histories and diaries I read, the more frustrated I got at what I believed were unfair interpretations of many of the cavalry actions. Someone needed to speak up for the British horsemen who fought Napoleon in Spain and Portugal. But I'm no historian so, for my sins, I wrote a novel. To tell the story of what their lives were really like.   And the wedding anniversary? That went fine, thank you. Especially since I'd also organized a carriage ride to lunch.   

What was your inspiration for character development?    

Georgian society was highly polarized. The industrial revolution, which grew the middle classes, was in its infancy. But the wars against Napoleon threw the very rich and grindingly poor together in a way most had never experienced before, forcing them, in many instances, to endure danger and privation on an equal footing. I was interested in exploring how such relationships worked in real life, and whether it ultimately affected the way men dealt with their social opposites on a day-to-day basis. So my two main characters are a prince and a pauper, so to speak. And to make life even more difficult for them, they are childhood friends, brought together by a shared love of horses.

You are working on a sequel to your novel. When will it be released?

Ah - an awkward question!  Well, the draft is almost finished but I'm one of those people who is never satisfied and will edit and edit and edit. My main problem is the new story has to be better than the first. I'm hopeful it'll be ready in the Spring.

Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers who would like to write historical fiction?    

Don't be put off by those who tell you crime fiction, sci-fi and horror are the only genres that sell. A good historical novel will always find readers, and the market is growing. Try to find a period that interests you and a niche within that period which no-one else has covered. Read as much as you can, both fiction, so you can see what's popular in style and content, and books by 'proper' historians. I buy non-fiction secondhand and on eBay because textbooks are so expensive and specialist works hard to find at the local library.   But most importantly, write about your characters: what they see and hear, how they feel, how they live. The historical backdrop to their lives is important but that's all it is - a backdrop. Readers buy books to find out what happens to the people in them. And if they fall in love with your characters they'll want to read more and more about them.

Do you write everyday?   

No - I should, but I don't. I'll find some reason not to unless I force myself. I've tried sitting in front of the screen and just typing any old rubbish, but I just can't do it. So I don't write for a couple of days and then type madly for the next few.   One thing I make sure of is to do something writing-related every day without fail. Just making a simple note is enough - anything to drive the writing forward. That might be an idea for a new story, a new fact to include, a change or addition to an existing outline; even a line of dialogue for a character. 

How do you keep and maintain ideas and thoughts for manuscripts

I use a really simple system. I just have a file on the laptop with ideas and outlines that I add to or change every day. It gets backed up with the rest of the system so I don't lose it, as I once did with three chapters of Walls of Jericho thanks to a hard-drive problem. You all back your files up, don't you?   But I also keep a voice recorder in the car - just in case I get caught short when I'm out and about!

What is it like to live in South Wales?    

I love this area. We live in the Vale of Glamorgan which is greener and more agricultural than the once-industrialized valleys further north. It's right on the coast so we have countryside and sea in close proximity, but with capital city Cardiff just a few miles to the east we're not too far away from the bright lights either. 

You are an equestrian as well as a writer. Your equestrian abilities certainly shine through in your writing. What is your favorite personal horse story?    

There are loads! The best one's on my blog but it's very long winded, so as a shorter anecdote...I was in a showjumping class and my old horse was having an off-day. He ran out at one fence and when re-presented did exactly the same thing. Both times I came off over his right shoulder but luckily landed on my feet. The commentator announced, "I'm afraid that's elimination for, er...let's be kind and say 'two dismounts'".

Do you currently own a horse? Where do you like to ride?   

I inherited a cast-off from my daughter - he's a nice old stick but she found him a bit sharp for her. Unfortunately, it wasn't until I started riding him we discovered he doesn't like men! One problem with the area we live is the lack of off-road riding. There are a few forestry tracks, and permit-only riding on a sand-dune system to the west of us, but you have to box the horses to get there. Most of the ancient cart tracks were metalled as roads, before the railways arrived, so there are few bridlepaths...hey - maybe there's a novel in that somewhere.

Who are your favorite authors?   

Bernard Cornwell, Clive Cussler (but growing out of love with him), Wilbur Smith, CC Humphreys, the late Dick Francis, MM Bennetts.

What is your favorite equestrian quote?   

"A horse is uncomfortable in the middle and dangerous at both ends." - Ian Fleming

What are your future goals as a writer and a rider? 

As a writer - I want to carry on as long as possible. I have outlines and ideas for a possible fourteen cavalry stories, so increasing my output might be a good idea!   As a rider - I want to carry on as long as possible. No - seriously, it would be nice to get back to competing before my joints and ligaments start protesting too much. I once had ambitions to wear a tailcoat at dressage - that'd be Medium level and above in the UK - but I think it's probably beyond me now. So a few Riding Club One-Day-Events and some showjumping will suit me fine.

Follow Jonathan:

Monday, December 5, 2011


Zodiac dust
settles requiting
in heart's court,
where summer loiters
and intents portal

From pools of words
transporting wishes,
from sultry innuendos
to ecliptic longitudes,
from planetary fragrance
resounding sands of whispers

Along Orion's path
through luminous stars
to you

© Gina McKnight 2011

Sunday, December 4, 2011


weave azure auras,
assemble still winds,
send me endeavors,
engaging my name

ensembles of whispers
and veils of cool warmth,
seizing your breath,
stealth and composed

for roses,
eulogy for time,
reluctant and slipping,
chilled and sublime;

Heartbeats are graced
with ribbon tied bows,
waiting and wishing,
     carry me home...

© Gina2011

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Landing like bullets 
on my hat, keeping me from floating;
seeps into my inner self,
seeing but not believing

It finds a spot on my skin
and moistens inner layers,
it chills my thoughts,
soaks my stanzas

I like the rain,
it makes me feel washed and anew,
refreshing and depleting,
the rain cleanses my soul

© Gina McKnight 2011

Julie Bridge, Equestrian

Julie Bridge is from California, USA.  She lives in the San Francisco Bay area and is founder of The Brego Foundation, an organization devoted to rescuing and rehabilitating off the track thoroughbreds.

 Welcome Julie!

You are an advocate for the protection of America's horses.  As founder of the Brego Foundation, what is your role?  

Yes, I advocate for horses. Once upon a time horses saved my life by keeping me connected to something larger and greater than myself. I have been on and around horses since I was two years old - ironically - my first ride took place on the back of a thoroughbred mare, the very breed that my organization rescues from the horrific fate of slaughter. In 2007 I read an ad for a 17-hand off the track thoroughbred located in a Washington feedlot. I looked at the photos and his eye spoke to me. Underneath the sadness and depression I saw the faintest glimmer of his enormous heart. I was compelled to do something, compelled to take action. I rescued this horse, named Espresso at the feedlot. I sent $750 to bail this horse sight unseen. Neither of us knew that on that day a long held vision would move that much closer to manifestation, the founding of the Brego Foundation to rescue and rehabilitate off the track thoroughbreds. Brego is the name sake of this organization. I am the founder of this organization The Brego Foundation's core mission is to provide former race horses a second chance and a second career. We do this through networking with other rescues, education and providing funds and resources for horses that are rescued. At this time we have limited space for any rescued horses to be housed in our care. We have some horses housed with Southern California Thoroughbred Rescue who we consider our sister organization in Southern California. We have been diligently looking for property for over two years so that we can actively take in horses that we rescue.

The Brego Foundation will evaluate each horse for suitability as an Equine Teacher and Guide. Our experience with Brego has shown that thoroughbreds in particular are amazingly adept at being teachers, healers and guides. I believe this is due to the enormous heart of the thoroughbred and a desire to have a job that matters. If the horses we rescue are suitable for work with people in a teaching context, they will be transitioned into that roll under Mearas Leadership and Coaching. Brego was one such horse, who was evaluated and then carefully introduced into the teaching work. He took on his role as teacher last August during a Women's Workshop offered by Mearas. Brego demonstrated his gift, as each horse has their own teaching gift, of forgiveness and living in the true present. He has proven to be an incredible teacher and brings himself generously to his work.

Follow Julie via these links! 

Stuff & Nonsense: Introducing Celeste Parsons, Ohio Writer

Greetings from southeastern Ohio! My name is Celeste Parsons, and I live here on a 48-acre former dairy farm with my husband Jim, our Westie...