Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Book Two The Rocket Series
From Rocket with Love
Release Date July 29, 2017
Currently living in the UK, author Chris Dyer is in the midst of writing poetry, prose, non-fiction, horse remedies, and much more! A chance to meet up with Chris to talk about his writing, his love for horses, and things in-between.
GM: When did you realize you wanted to become a writer?
CD: I have always written even as a child, not consciously I don’t think it was just something I did and enjoyed. I remember we had a very strict, rather large French mistress at school and I had been working on an uncle’s farm over the school holidays and had become fascinated with the rearing of pigs… and decided that writing a book on pig rearing (I was young and it never came to fruition) was far more interesting and constrictive than learning French and so instead of following the lesson was engrossed in writing a passage on the reproductive cycle of a pig. Unfortunately, I had not realised she had been standing behind me asking me something like how to say open the door in French (which was probably a phrase I would never use anyway) but I was so in my own world I didn’t even notice. I received two strokes of the cane for not paying attention (our school was a great school in truth but did believe in discipline) and my embryonic career as a writer binned. It didn’t stop me though and I used to write loads of short stories and then when we were given English homework would use them if we had to write an essay. So pretty well always. It wasn’t though until recently that I started to get serious. I think the problem is it is such a difficult industry. It is easy to write but difficult to get someone to read it… especially if they have to pay for it. You normally get the response of… ohh you wrote a book… do you have a copy you can let me have I would like to read that… which is a bit self-defeating as you are going to work and then paying someone to do so!
GM: Describe your writing regime; do you have a muse or other inspiration that drives your creativity?
CD: In honesty, I think everything that surrounds one gives inspiration. Music, people, animals, life that all give you something if you just take the trouble to look. I don’t think there is really one thing that creates for me. I see a couple hand in hand and it gives me an idea, I see an animal looking lovingly at someone. I tend to be quite observant and study my surroundings a lot. But then I also go into a sort of trance like state where I drift off into my own world where I completely blank, I think if I didn’t the down side of life would be too much to bear. So, in short everywhere and everything inspires me.
GM: Your first volume in The Rocket Series is Sting in the Tail released earlier this year. How much of your own life with horses is weaved into the script?
CD: This is a difficult one. I have always denied this but I think you do put a little of yourself in your characters. Most of my friends say it is me but I think that is an exaggeration. As I say you are bound to put a little of yourself in the characters but I tend to “pinch” bits from other characters that I know or meet and blend them altogether. Having spent a great deal of my time around horsey it was quite easy to take bits from others to make the person I wanted on the pages. Some of the stuff in the book is bound to be about you as a person and one’s own experiences but it has to be remembered that it is still a fiction so just a little of me maybe.
GM: What future books are coming in the The Rocket Series?
CD: From Rocket with Love is soon to be released and then Storm Brewing, I also have an idea to follow that with Both Barrels, that though will I think be the last in the series. I am quite pleased with From Rocket with Love as it really is very different and I think a little surprising. It’s like everything I suppose JK Rowling wouldn’t have written the follow ups to Harry Potter if there was no demand… so if people buy the book… well maybe it will inspire me to do more… I have a couple of ideas so we shall see.
GM: Do you plan to write a book about your other horsemanship adventures?
CD: I was thinking of trying to compile a book of bedtime stories for children and a know Your Pony book that I am writing with someone else, I think it will be good when it is finished… well I hope so!
GM: I know you have written several prolific poetry and prose books this year. Amazing reads with great reviews. What other books have you written?
CD: I have several other books in the Something series to come as I enjoy doing them, it is great to be able to put all one’s emotions and opinions down, you can say whatever you want in whatever form. I have also written a book called Plant Potions and Oils for Horses a subject that is dear to my heart. I have always believed that we do not use the resources that are under our noses and in fact I consult for a fantastic company called Cavalor based in Belgium that have a really open mind and I formulate remedies based on natural resources. They are extremely demanding in their testing of products, which I like, but also they are prepared to invest in researching the formulations I produce for them. They have several products coming out this year that will have been formulated by me and I am quite proud of that fact.
GM: What are you currently writing?
CD: I am finishing off Storm Brewing, have started working on the follow up to the (working title Both Barrels). I have another that is in the pipeline called Fired Up, again working title that is based on a small farmer come horseman that becomes involved in the underworld through chance. I think it will be okay and make quite an exciting read. I have another called The Hit which I am not sure will ever see the light of day in truth. it is very dark and it is graphic and deals with the darkest side of the underworld. It is quite shocking in places which I wanted it to be as I would like the reader to realise there are a lot of things we close our eyes and ignore because it is so far out of our comfort zones but as I say I am not sure it will ever go to print. Apart from that I have a couple of fantasy novels I am working on that again may one day see the light of day. I am also thinking of doing another book on natural remedies for horses but that is sort of just an idea I have penciled on a scrap of paper at the moment.
I have a couple more poetry books I am working on and have a few ideas. I tend to have a lot of work “started” and then will select which I like the most and concentrate on that. I am not a consistent person if I am honest and tend to be a bit unpredictable, half the time I don’t know what I will be doing or working on from one second to the next! As my publisher knows well and probably means she needs to restock on Valium to cope with me!
GM: Congratulations on all of your award-winning new books! I’m positive your publisher does not take Valium (lol). Do you have advice for novice writers?
CD: I’m not sure that anyone would want to take advice from me! Actually, my advice to others is normally pretty sound, it is me that I have problems with, I seem to have a distinct lack of any sense when it comes to trying to advise myself! I don’t think there is any secret formula that you can use, you just have to go with the flow, write what you think and don’t be restricted by convention. Allow your imagination full rein. Don’t allow rejection to stop you, keep trying, accept criticism with grace and if it is constructive act on it. We all hate to have our work criticised but without it will never improve and always remember that some will like what you do but it will not suit everyone, otherwise we would all write the same and that would be extremely boring.
GM: Back to horses. Tell us about your favorite horse and why they were your favorite...
CD: It would be a stallion I owned, an Anglo Arab. He was the kindest horse I ever knew and would always give his all for you. he would follow me around the yard even past a mare without breaking stride, no head collar, he was incredibly intelligent and we just had a special relationship, we were the best of friends. To show how good he was he was being skipped out one morning and we had some friends visiting and their daughter who was about two had sneaked into his stable without being noticed. She waddled up to him wrapped her arms around his back leg and was hugging the life out of him and he never as much as twitched. Just looked at her looked at me as much to say please get her off my leg. He was the best.
GM: As a former horse trainer, what is key to creating a winning horse, and a horse that will be a well-loved companion?
CD: Learning to relate to your horse and having patience. I trained Arabians and pre-trained Thoroughbreds. I have to tell you Arabians are harder to train as they think a lot more than a Thoroughbred. You really do have to gain their trust. Sadly for me the bureaucracy spoils the job, the small man has no chance against the big owners that have huge resources to back them, though I have to say I did manage to give them a run for their money! It is also about understanding that it should not be a numbers game but about the individual horse. We shut them in a box for 23 hours a day to train them for a few minutes and think that is good enough… I did things a little differently than that. if you told a human athlete he would only have to do a few minutes a day and he would be 100% fir in six or twelve weeks he would laugh at you. For me personally, and it is only my personal view as there are some amazing trainers out there at the moment, horse need a stronger regime to become ultimately fit shall we say, they need patience and the opportunity to enjoy their work not be expected to be at their peak when they are given say a five-furlong workout then expected to run over say two miles. But then we all have different methods mine just worked really well for me.
GM: What does horsemanship mean to you?
CD: Not doing the wrong thing, which we have all done! If you are in a bad mood don’t go working your horse, you will not do the job properly, your horse will sense it and you will end up giving yourself three times more than you need to and making a mess of it. Come back after an hour when you are feeling less agitated. Once you have started something though you cannot walk away keep going to the end and have patience. Take the time to get to know your horse, watch him or her, learn and that means from the horse or from someone who gives you sound advice. The thing about horses is friendship and trust but also being the boss, quite a hard combination to find a happy medium. Be kind but firm, have understanding and discipline and always remember your horse can teach you as much if not more than you can teach them.
Connect with Chris…
See all of Chris' books here...
Monday, July 17, 2017
with Anna Twinney
Saturday, July 8, 2017
Barney The Lopsided Mule
by Liz Hughey & Son
Barney stars as the lead character in Liz's first children's book. Illustrated by Bonnie Shields, 'The Mule Artist', Barney the Lopsided Mule will make children and parent's grin and laugh with his tall, wide ears, and lopsided saddle. Children will learn about mules and the wonderful world of outfitting along with the benefits of eating a healthy, balanced diet. Barney the Lopsided Mule is a great introduction to our nation's National Forests, the backcountry, and the animals that can take you there.
Liz Hughey is a mud puddle loving mom from Brookville, Indiana. She has a degree in Geography from Indiana University and spent the better part of her twenties working as a horse guide and mule packer in the National Forests and Wilderness Areas of Northwest Colorado. She now resides in Southeastern Indiana on her family's Red Angus beef ranch with her son and their rather large brood of pets. She and her son are the grazing managers to the ranch's grass-fed beef operation and spend most summer days with the herd. Liz has a passion for educating children in mules and horses, animal husbandry, environmental stewardship, healthy eating habits, and an organic, simple lifestyle.
Connect with Liz…
Purchase signed copies: http://thecowgirlpoet.com/shop.html
Available on amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Barney-Lopsided-Mule
Cosmic Cowgirl Remorse
By Liz Hughey
As I sit here on this front porch step
I feel so far removed.
From the mountains, from the prairies,
from the cowgirl groove.
Much further than a phone call,
Or an airplane ride.
A feeling that’s been felt before,
often taken in stride.
Most times, when I feel this way,
I go catch up my horse.
But it’s too late for that.
Time for cosmic, cowgirl remorse.
“Go West my friend!
It’s the land of opportunity!”
Of dreams and National Forests,
the cowboy community.
But go too far, and you’ll land
in the exact same place.
The true life for this packing gal’s
Is a rural, mountainous space.
East of the “Mighty Miss”
and West of the Sierra’s
Cowboy hats are worn for fun,
as costumes and tiaras.
There, a hat and boots,
Is a rustic, fashion statement.
Not useful, honest tools to help
with weather and displacement.
“Chinks” and “chaps” are slurs,
not rightful leg protection.
The only way to buck this feeling’s,
traveling the right direction.
To where one sees, a pack boot
and knows a person’s trade.
Where they call a “mule” a “mule”
and a “spade” a “spade”
The place where one can ride for days,
not ever crossing fence.
And diamonds are a hitch thrown
with a lash and packing sense.
Right now I have the North Star,
to take me to Lost Park.
Just wish this cowgirl’s day dreams
didn’t happen after dark.
Friday, July 7, 2017
Available at Amazon.com
Clinch River Justice
by Alfred Patrick
In Clinch River Justice, a boy matures into manhood, falls in love, and begins to find his way in life. As an inexperienced but idealistic deputy sheriff, this young man, Charley Scott, faces a rash of deaths in a normally idyllic, peaceful Appalachian community in the early 1940s. These deaths of neighbors and a beloved family member result when greed, passion, jealousy, hopelessness, or utter disdain for the life or welfare of another human overcomes some residents’ sense of fidelity and of right and wrong. In the young deputy’s endeavors to apprehend killers and in his quest for justice, he learns how difficult that simple concept is to achieve.
Alfred Patrick grew up in the Appalachian Mountains of Southwest Virginia, the setting for Clinch River Justice. He earned degrees at Bluefi eld College, Virginia Tech, and the University of Tennessee. After teaching at high school and collegiate levels in Virginia and Louisiana, he served as professor, department chair, and dean in the College of Business at Eastern Kentucky University, where he retired. He enjoys reading, traveling, gardening, and backpacking and has completed the Appalachian and John Muir Trails and others. He and his wife, Peggy, live in Richmond, Kentucky; they have a daughter, a grandson, and five granddaughters.
Read my interview with Alfred Patrick here!