If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

Here are the upcoming WWK interviews for the month of June!

June 6 Maggie Toussaint, Confound It

June 13 Nicole J. Burton, Swimming Up the Sun

June 20 Julie Mulhern, Shadow Dancing

June 27 Abby L. Vandiver, Debut author, Secrets, Lies, & Crawfish Pies

Our June Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 6/2--Joanne Guidoccio, 6/9 Julie Mulhern, 6/16--Margaret S. Hamilton, 6/23--Kait Carson, and 6/30--Edith Maxwell.

Please welcome two new members to WWK--Annette Dashofy, who will blog on alternative Sundays with Jim Jackson, and Nancy Eady, who will blog on every fourth Monday. Thanks for blogging with us Annette and Nancy!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Carla Damron's quirky short story, "Subplot", was published in the Spring edition of The Offbeat Literary Journal. You can find it here: http://offbeat.msu.edu/volume-18-spring-2018/

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), was published on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here. He's working on Seamus McCree #6 (False Bottom)

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in July 31, 2018.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

A Dream Come True

When I was a young girl, I galloped everywhere hitting my thigh to go faster on my imaginary horse. I galloped through fields and woods leaping logs, galloped across the road to my cousin’s house or to my grandparents farm and sometimes further down the road to another cousin’s house. Sometimes I rode Wildfire, and sometimes it was Thunderhead or Flicka or another horse in my stable of horses. I dreamed of someday having a ranch in the west with hundreds of horses.

I think my love of horses came from the story my dad told of a pony he rode one summer in the mining town in Pennsylvania where he grew up. My grandfather was foreman of the mining stable. The superintendent of the mine bought a beautiful black pony for his son, and it was kept in the mining stable. The pony tossed the boy the first time he tried to ride it so the superintendent asked my father, about the same age as his son, to ride and gentle it. All summer my father rode that pony, but the superintendent’s son never got over his fear of it, so the pony was eventually sold.
My daughter Mary on Tequila

During my galloping period, I read every horse book in my small rural library numerous times, and at Christmas I usually got a horse book, too. I read Black Beauty, Thunderhead, My Friend Flicka and White Saddle in addition to many more. I dreamed of horses and drew pictures of horses, but I was thirty-eight years old before I finally got my first horse. My husband heard of a horse for sale and took me to see it. Of course, I fell in love with that strawberry roan paint. I thought he was beautiful. A few days later he was delivered. We had no barn, no saddle or bridle or even a lead rope. We did have a shed, hay, grain and a water bucket.
We put him in the shed and a few days later my husband and young teenage sons started building a barn – a large barn with five stalls. A week after my horse arrived, I now had a saddle and bridle.  I was ready for my first ride on my very own horse. Now, mind you, my riding had been very limited over the years. Mostly it was while we were on vacation and found a riding stable where you paid for an hour’s ride with a group on trails, following a guide. Seldom did we move out of a walk, but maybe we’d trot a little and once in a great while gallop for a few minutes. Neither my husband nor I had ever saddled a horse, but we’d watched while these trail horses were saddled so we knew how to do it. Or so we thought.
My daughter Susan on Nikki. I have no pictures of Rebel.

As soon as the horse was saddled, I mounted and headed down a trail into the woods beside our home. He was a high stepper and both of us were eager to be out and on the trail. I was euphoric. His ears were perked forward interested and curious as we went along. And then I turned him around to head back. Maybe I should have thought twice about buying a horse named Rebel because as soon as we were heading back, he took the bit in his mouth, and I couldn’t slow him down. He was heading home, and just where that home was in his mind, I didn’t know. It was then I felt the saddle slip. I learned from that experience, you always tighten the girth, wait a bit for the horse to relax and then tighten it more. Anyway the saddle slipped and ended up under Rebel. Fortunately, I was able to kick my feet free from the stirrups and landed on the ground still holding onto his reins so he didn’t end up in some other county. He jumped about trying to get rid of that thing, but fortunately, I was able to unbuckle the saddle and not get kicked or stepped on.

My son Joe with Nikki. We shared her.

So at the end of my first ride on my very own horse, I walked home with a saddle on my back now leading a docile horse. It wasn’t exactly the way I had envisioned that first ride. Eventually, Rebel was sold. He was a rebel. Our next two horses were a bay quarter horse named King Honcho, and then a pretty palomino named Nicki. We also bought two ponies for my daughters. When they grew out of the ponies, we bought two horses for them.
Over the years there were other horses. We had one mare bred and she had a colt that eventually I sold when he got to be two years old. Once we had five at one time, one we boarded for a friend. My kids joined 4H, and I became proficient at saddling and caring for horses. I learned to pull a horse trailer to take them to shows and for riding lessons and even took riding lessons, too.

Eventually when I moved, I had to sell my last two horses, Nikki and a sweet mare named
Amy, because I didn’t have the money to put new fencing around the pasture of the small farm I bought. The house needed too many repairs and the barn needed a new roof. But my love of horses has not gone away.

The previous owner who had died two years before had horses and ponies and one palomino named Pal O’ Gold, who I was told that some bit name star offered Chick Needler ten thousand dollars, but Chick had turned him down. A month later the horse died. I’m not sure if the one who tried to buy him was Roy Rogers or Gene Autry or someone else altogether. I’ve heard several different stories on where he was buried. I’d like to think it was Roy Rogers because my cousin Delores and I loved him.

About seven or eight years after I moved into my old farm house and my son had built a house on the land next to me, he bought a pony named Stubby for his daughter and put in a small pasture connected to my barn. He was a sweet little pony, but the first time she rode it on her own it took off running towards the barn and scared her. From then on she liked it and would lead it around, but wouldn’t ride it and eventually lost interest in it so he became mine. Often I let it out of the pasture when I was working out back and he followed me around like a pet dog when he wasn’t grazing. However, when I was away camping with my siblings over the Fourth of July next door they had a picnic and fireworks. Stubby freaked out and raced around the pasture, hit the fence and broke his nose. The vet came out and had him put down. When I came home I saw the back barn door open and a cross on a mound out back for Stubby.

I missed him, but didn’t think of getting another pony. Horses were out because I live on a rather busy road at times and the trails in my woods are narrow ones I’ve made from my walks with numerous logs crossing them. When I was riding regularly I could stay on for smaller jumps, but figured those days were in the past now.

Mama Cieta and Phoebe. My son's home is in the background.

Then eleven or twelve years ago I saw an ad in the newspaper of a seven month filly pony for sale. I couldn’t resist going out to see this adorable little buff-gray pony with white mane and tail and the tiniest little hooves. So I bought her, but before they delivered her, I thought she would be lonely so I bought her mother, Mama Cieta, a bay pony with black mane and tail. I named her daughter Puffy.
So I had two ponies again. At least for a while I did until I went out one morning to do barn chores and saw what I thought for a moment was a goat in Mama Cieta’s stall (I’d already separated the two so Puffy could be weaned and my daughter-in-law had a way of buying critters at the auction and putting them in my barn.) But when I looked closer, I saw it was a tiny, just born, wobbly, baby pony. I ran next door and pounded on my son and daughter-in-law’s door yelling, “I’m a mother!” Of course, they had to come over to see this newborn filly. Because she was born when the phoebe’s return from the south, I named her Phoebe.

My son kept telling me as the little one aged that my pasture was too small for three ponies, and I needed to sell one. After Phoebe was weaned, I sold one. Since Mama Cieta was already broken to ride, I sold her to someone who had room for a pony and wanted one for their child.
Like my dog, they're always begging for a treat.

I’ve down sized the dream I always had. Now I have two totally useless small ponies, sisters, that I rationalize keeping as being compost makers for my gardens. But the truth of the matter is that I’ve never outgrown my love of horses, and ponies are just a smaller version of horse, albeit often more clever and tricky. Mine are sweet and lovable.

I'm holding Puffy here. 
What dream did you have when you were young?


Anonymous said...

I went thru the typical little girl phase where I LOVED horses. Living in the city made owning one impossible. So, I used my artistic skills at school and ALWAYS drew horses. Once, for Halloween I overheard some girls snickering behind my back. They said I was going to draw a horse riding on a broom. My feelings were hurt. But, I always loved horses. I even love house sitting for Gloria and get to feed Phoebe and Puffy. They nicker and call out to me when I am heading to the barn. And if they need put in their stall on a cold or rainy evening, one of them frequently meanders around the barn, knocks things of of shelves and seems to have a good naughty time instead of going to "bed." They are adorable sister ponies.--- Laura

Gloria Alden said...

Laura, I'm so glad to have you as my house sitter because of your love for all of my animals.I drew a lot of horses, too. Horses and collies which I also loved.

Sasscer Hill said...

I shared your dreams!

Warren Bull said...

My wife had a horse as a young girl. The agreement was that she would take care of it. She got to muck out the stall, get up and feed it every day whatever the weather. She learned a lot from the experience.

KM Rockwood said...

What a fun story! I'm glad you finally had a chance to have your horses, and now have the ponies to enjoy!

Gloria Alden said...

Sasscer that must be why I like your books so much.

Warren, that was quite some experience, believe me I know. I didn't do it until I was older,
but it's what I do now. At least in decent weather my ponies spend more time outside.

Thank you, KM. Actually, I had some more experiences, too, but didn't want to lengthen the blog.

Margaret Turkevich said...

Gloria, I love your Maggie stories and now your pony stories.

Gloria Alden said...

Margaret, if I didn't need to keep my blogs reasonably short, I could have told more stories.
I'm glad you enjoyed them. For instance, once my son was at a horse show doing a barrel race
on Nikki, the palomino, when his saddle slipped and he fell under her into very wet mud. I
detached the trailer and left Nikki with others and took him home in the bed of my truck
totally covered with mud to take a shower and get clean clothes before we went back to the
4H horse show.

Shari Randall said...

gloria, I love that you finally got your horses! They are adorable. I was a city girl growing up and didn't even see any horses until I was older - and then I could see why everyone loves them and wants them!

Gloria Alden said...

Shari, I still kind of wish I had horses to ride, but I realize that probably will never happen unless I go on a trail ride at some resort. Still I had my years of enjoying my horses, and my ponies are a good substitute.

Grace Topping said...

Gloria -- If you put all your blogs together, you have the makings of a terrific memoir.

Gloria Alden said...

Thank you, Grace. Actually, I'm slowly working on a book in memory of my oldest son, John,
who died of cancer over 36 years ago. It will be awhile before I can find time to write my own memoir. I have another children's book I'm slowly working on, too, in addition to my Catherine Jewell Mystery Series.