First Read: Sneak Peek of Forward – Book 5 of The Eventing Series

The latest installment in the bestselling Eventing Series releases at the end of April — are you ready to find out what happens next with Jules and Pete? When we last saw them, Jules was settling into life as the coach and manager of Alachua Eventing Co-op, and Pete had finally gotten that troublesome gray jumper, Rogue, into his program.

Of course, Jules never planned on being a riding coach — if you’ll recall, she’s always been very adamant about not teaching for a living. This feels like it will be a tough adjustment for her. And where does her new arrangement leave Pete? He’s been having a difficult time adjusting to life outside Briar Hill and the comforts of his own farm. He’s let Jules steer the ship for the past year, and now she seems to have found a safe harbor for them — if he can find his place there.

It’s going to be quite a year at Alachua Eventing Co-op, with the students getting ready for their first events, plus a full slate of competition for Mickey, Dynamo, and the other horses. Jules will need some help from old friends — and maybe some old enemies, too — but she is going to keep moving forward, no matter what. From the pine plantations of north Florida to the skyscraper shadows of the Central Park Horse Show, Forward is all about chasing dreams, wherever they may lead.

Here’s a sneak peek of what’s coming in Forward: Book 5 of The Eventing Series.

Forward: Book 5 of The Eventing Series first read graphic

Read now! Chapter 1 – Part 1 of Forward

The day I fought with Pete, the light streaming through the skyscrapers was a brilliant gold, gilding every leaf and every blade of grass and every stray pebble knocked by careless feet into the pathways of the park. No one turned and looked at us, because we were civilized people and it was too awful, too embarrassing: the young woman with the tear-streaked face and sun-touched hair falling from a once-sleek bun; the young man with the piercing eyes leaning on the well-worn crutches. No one turned and looked at us, but they all heard us, and we didn’t care, we didn’t stop, until we both wanted to and it was too late and we had turned away from each other.

The day I fought with Pete, New York was a film set, the kind of New York everyone sees in the movies and never finds in real life. Just moments before, the day had been gray, rain-spattered, diesel-scented, like a tractor left running in the barn aisle on a soggy December morning. As riders from cleaner climates, we’d looked at each other from our vantage points atop our horses and asked: why would anyone live here?

Then, suddenly, without warning, the clouds parted and the sun sprang up from the rooftops of Manhattan and the people came pouring out of their apartment doors like bees swarming from their hive. And just like bees, they buzzed straight to the park, to bury their noses in the sweet clover of the lawns, and when they saw us already there, in our breeches and our boots, leading our gleaming horses to the arena set up at the Wollman Rink, even the most jaded New Yorkers paused to give us a second glance. We were alien and lovely, and we towered above them even on the ground, even when we were fighting.

The day I fought with Pete, the mayor shook our hands and told us we were favorites of his niece, and did we see her showing at the Winter Equestrian Festival in West Palm back in January? We did not; we were not WEF people and we knew his niece had never heard of either of us, but we smiled back and said we’d look for her this coming winter, and he smiled and said she’d love that—she’d be the girl on the white pony, with pigtails. The governor was there, too but we didn’t meet him; he didn’t like horses and he kept to himself, sitting aloof on the platform where the dignitaries were enthroned, pretending they knew what was going on in the arena before them.

The day I fought with Pete was the best day of my life, for at least ten hours or so.

Want more? Yes, I’m being a tease! There’s more to chapter one — unlock it when you sign up for my author updates. You’ll get an occasional email when I have a new release or an upcoming event… it’s much better than relying on Facebook for updates!

Click here to sign up and I’ll send you the password to access my Email Subscriber-only section of the website!

You can pre-order the ebook of Forward: Book 5 of The Eventing Series at Amazon. For paperback copies, stay tuned!

5 Questions with Equestrian Author L.R. Trovillion

So, here’s the thing. I love social media, because it’s given me a chance to meet wonderful people (like you, probably!) but we have to admit it, there’s a flaw in its design. All of those short sentences and catchy captions don’t give us nearly enough time to really get to know each other!

For that, I think it’s time to get back to blogs. Make a cup of tea, set aside some time to read, and enjoy some stories from people we’d like to get to know better–I think we could all use that once in a while! So without further ado, let’s start with Five Questions for author L.R. Trovillion.

L.R. Trovillion author image

Writer L.R. Trovillion creates compelling Young Adult and Equestrian Fiction

Trovillion is the author of the new Young Adult – Equestrian Fiction novel Horse Godsand previously released False Godsboth set in Maryland’s equestrian community.

Her books get great reviews with readers, who love her fast-paced, tightly-woven plots about teenage girls who find purpose and courage through equestrian life.

If you love coming-of-age stories (and who doesn’t, really) and a well-written story with plenty of horses in it, these books belong on your list.

I asked L.R. Trovillion five questions about her latest novel, her writing life, and her craft. Let’s go!

Hello! Thank you for being my debut subject for Five Questions!

First of all, thank you, Natalie, for giving me this opportunity to speak with you and for hosting me on your blog.

You have a new book! Tell us a little about Horse Gods and your inspiration for this story.

The story grew out of a unique experience. A friend invited me to accompany him and his hawk out hunting. When this bird of prey lifted off his arm to the treetops, I was amazed that it did not just fly away, free. That really got me thinking…

Freya the hawk

Freya, the inspiration for an avian character in Horse Gods

The sequel, Horse Gods, picks up the story of a new main character, Regina Hamilton. Her abusive mother, who we met in the first book, False Gods, is getting out of prison and Regina has only a few months to figure out how she can avoid having to live with her. As a minor, she doesn’t have too many options.

She falls into an opportunity at an elite dressage barn (even though she’s a jumper rider!) to work as a resident working student, if she can prove herself.

But things at this barn are not what they seem, and before long Regina finds herself in a dangerous situation. (No spoilers).

What made you decide to begin writing equestrian fiction?

L.R. Trovillion on horseback

L.R. Trovillion fits in plenty of real-life riding for her inspiration

Horses are the inspiration. I only started riding as an adult when I had a job that would support boarding and lessons, but I never looked back!

To help defray some costs, I worked as a groom for a hunter/jumper rider, which gave me a unique view into the world of big-time horse shows.

Later, my interests gravitated to dressage. I believe there is a certain magic in the horse-human connection and I hope to capture a little bit of it in my stories.

Horse Gods blends a lot of topics – you’ve got hawking, dressage, Irish mythology, and parents in prison, among other things. Was it hard to keep your plot in order and not lose any threads?

Ha, ha! I’ll have to let my readers answer that question, but I certainly hope I didn’t lose any threads! Yes, there’s a lot going on, but the various topics are all held together by one central theme—trust. The hawk, the wild mare, the Irish myths that surround Regina all symbolize various needs for and levels of trust. You see, Regina has no one to lean on, no one to help her (she thinks), and so has always just relied on herself. As she grapples with one problem after another, she slowly discovers how to trust in others as well. But that trust in people is severely tested in the end.

Can you tell us a little about your writing craft – how you schedule your time, how you plan your stories, that sort of thing?

Horse Gods ebook cover

Horse Gods, L.R. Trovillion’s new YA/Equestrian Fiction release

I would like to say that I am very disciplined and sit down to write for a set period of time every day, but that would be a lie! So often I sit down to write and a million other tasks feel suddenly more pressing—‘Oh, maybe I should clean out the closet instead!’

When I do knuckle down to write, at the beginning of a novel, I get a germ of a story idea and start building the characters around it. I like to take a main character, give her a big problem, strip her of all outside support from family or conventional means, and set her loose to make bad decisions and see what happens. Secondary characters sort of turn up on the pages and some of them become quite interesting and get to be the main character in the next book. (Spoiler: Main character in book 3 is Willow).

Sounds quite haphazard, doesn’t it? I do usually have the beginning and the end destination planned, but that whole messy middle part is sometimes surprising even to me.

What’s on your 2019 reading list? Have you read anything amazing this year?

I am fortunate to belong to a book club, which has been together for about 23 years. In that time, I have been introduced to so many amazing books, often ones I would not have picked out for myself.

Recently, one of my favorites was A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. I was a Russian language and literature major in college and this book captured so beautifully the culture, history, and mood of that time in Russia. Plus, I absolutely fell in love with the main character, Count Rostov! As for horse fiction, I’d have to say an all time favorite is Horse Heaven by the master storyteller, Jane Smiley.

I also love to read a lot of Young Adult. I really enjoyed The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon for her brilliant and edgy characters and Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo for amazing world building. On my list: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow. But I’m open to other suggestions!

Really solid choices. I love Amor Towles’ first book Rules of Civility, and A Gentleman in Moscow has been on my list for ages. And of course, Horse Heaven, I’ve been very open about how much I love that one!

***

Thanks to L.R. Trovillion for that excellent look inside her books and writing process. I especially love the idea of taking a character, stripping her of help, and seeing what she’ll do next. My process is generally to take a character, give her an opportunity, then think about all the awful consequences. Either way, you can’t have a story without being well-versed in a certain kind of worst-case scenario thought process!

So, I highly recommend you take a look at L.R. Trovillion’s fantastic equestrian fiction novels. You can find them at Amazon, or visit her website for more information. On Twitter? Follow for updates and new blog posts about equestrian life: @lrtrovillion

Have you read L.R. Trovillion’s work? Do you have a question for her, or a recommendation? Be sure to comment below!

Announcing Forward, Book 5 of The Eventing Series

I have great news to begin April 2019! The newest installment in The Eventing Series, Forward, is publishing on April 30 — and you can pre-order your copy now.

Forward: Book 5 of The Eventing Series

Forward: Book 5 of The Eventing Series

Here’s the story: at the end of Luck, we saw Jules and Pete settling into a new life at Alachua Eventing Co-op, where Jules will be the manager and head riding instructor. It’s not exactly what she expected out of her career, but things are going fine, and it’s better than living in a horse trailer, right?

The cracks begin to show as the eventing season winds up and summer sets in across Florida. Pete’s new horse has an overbearing owner who is pressuring him into pushing the horse too fast. Dynamo suddenly seems to be showing his age on the cross-country course. And how on earth is Jules supposed to manage a barn, a dozen kids, and her own competition schedule?

She’ll need some help from old friends — and maybe some old enemies, too — but Jules is going to keep moving forward, no matter what. From the pine plantations of north Florida to the skyscraper shadows of the Central Park Horse Show, Forward is all about chasing dreams, wherever they may lead.

I am extremely excited about this book, which brings together a cast of characters I had a lot of fun developing, and tells a story I think is a natural next step for Jules and Pete. I really think you’re going to like it.

How to get your copy

Kindle: Forward is available for pre-order for Kindle — order your copy and have it automatically download on April 30, 2019. Click here.

Kindle Unlimited: Read Forward for free with your Kindle Unlimited membership beginning April 30, 2019. Bookmark this page.

Paperback: You’ll be able to order a paperback from Amazon on or about April 30, 2019. Bookmark this page.

Patreon: Subscribe to my Patreon at $5 per month and you’ll receive access to the complete first draft of Forward right now, plus a download of the finished book on April 30, 2019. Subscribe at $15 per month and after the second month you’ll receive a signed paperback from me! Learn more about Patreon’s exclusive benefits here.

Audio: Audio is not yet available. Please stay tuned!

Read my Interview for the FEI

Well, I always knew I’d be featured on the FEI’s website.

I just assumed it would be to celebrate my gold medal in the Olympics. I think “equestrian author” has a nice ring to it, though!

One of the best things that could have possibly happened to me in January, when I’d just found out my job was ending and I was trying to sort out What Happens Next, was receiving an email asking if I could schedule an interview for the FEI website.  Getting a feature story at the governing body of all equestrian sport? I felt much better after that, thanks! Timing can truly be everything.

The interview itself was a really lovely phone chat, in which we discussed everything from my childhood notebooks filled with pony stories to the current state of racing. I’m quite happy with the way it turned out (although I could live without some of those pink-cheeked selfies that were lifted from my Facebook page).

There are some tips for equestrian authors in the piece, but if you’re looking for more meaty stuff, do stick around here as I’m going to be continuing to write about the business of equestrian fiction at nataliekreinert.com!

So take a look at the interview, and please share it on your social media networks to help get the word out to readers who haven’t found out about equestrian fiction yet!

Link – FEI: Reading and Writing

Don’t Hate the Side-Hustle

The side-hustle is getting a lot of grief these days.

Having a side-gig is getting blamed for everything from millennial burn-out to the accusation that we’re turning our hobbies into jobs because of online/offline peer pressure (and thus hating our hobbies for being our jobs).

And while it’s true the entrepreneurial mood right now is focused on eradicating the toxic “always be hustling” culture we were taught to adore in the first fifteen years of this awful new century, the fact is, gigs and hustles and multiple hats are part of our culture and our economy now. Let’s be real: we live in a very disappointing simulation most of the time. Ah, 2019: wage stagnation, financial inequality, and an expectation that if we need anything in an emergency, or even the very basics of healthcare, a for-profit corporation will handle it… providing your job still fits into their latest business plan. We should be so lucky as to have a passion we can monetize, if that’s our society’s status quo.

So don’t hate the gig economy, hate the game — then learn to play it well. Start off by knowing thy enemy: it’s not the work.

Cross-stitch pattern "don't quit your day dream"

Photo: Brianna Santellan/Unsplash

The root cause of both burn-out and of hating your passion-turned-job is a lack of balance, not simply the monetization of hobbies.

Here’s the thing: there is nothing more important than work-life balance. While it’s really common to get burn-out just from working your nine-to-five, it’s also true that side-hustles, even the ones you are passionate about, can easily upend whatever tenuous grasp you might have had on work-life balance–especially when they’re added to a nine-to-five day.

When I was working a full-time job and writing fiction and freelancing and trying to ride just a couple of days per week, my life was a series of precariously balanced appointments, with meticulously monitored commute times to make it all possible.

I had to give up freelancing, but even that wasn’t enough. I barely had the energy to write anything after work, I didn’t have time to work out so I could feel healthy and good about myself, and getting to the barn was an exercise in resilience and not going crazy in traffic jams.

One person calling “Hey Natalie, quick question?” from the office next to mine at 4:03 PM was enough to mean that, fifteen minutes later, I was sadly slogging out to my car to drive home, knowing I wasn’t going to get to ride that night. It was absolutely important that I stick to my timetable, from leaving my apartment at 7:20 AM to beat morning traffic, to getting out at by 4:10 to almost beat evening traffic. A few minutes’ diversion either way meant an extra 20 minutes or more of time stuck in the car, while daylight waned. (Orlando notoriously has some of the worst traffic in the country, so that was part of it.)

I don’t know if keeping to that strict timetable was work-life balance or a slowly soul-numbing descent into hell, but either way, once my full-time job was over, I realized I didn’t have to clock-watch in order to get to the things I loved. So I turned back to my passions and sorted out what parts of them I could monetize (or in some cases, hyper-monetize) and found actual control over my day. It is my day, after all.

It’s all about balance. Photo: Thomas Peham/Unsplash

Of course, there’s work to be done at balancing all of my side-hustles, turning my work day into one big succession of hustles.

At first I asked: can I write for a certain website I enjoy writing for and produce a novel in 90 days and pick up a freelance social media campaign and plan travel and teach riding lessons and have a family life? It turns out that no, I can’t. I’ve been back in the hustle life for less than two months and I’ve already had to make some adjustments to my expectations of myself. I had to do some calculations, figure out the ROI on the work I was doing, and choose to prioritize the work paying the highest ROI and eliminate the work paying the lowest.

As a result, I’ve now completed the first draft of a novel in record time (six weeks, thank you for asking!), booked some very cool vacations for some very cool people, started teaching riding lessons so we can rock a new generation of horsey kids, started working out (I can run three miles now without stopping, thank you for asking!), and spend what is probably too much time with my family, no seriously, I think they are tired of me.

And what I love most? This can change. I can change this up tomorrow. I could add a freelance gig, pick up a part-time job so that I can remember how to interact with other humans, jump on a contract and work in an office for a few months making something cool happen, write another book, write a series of short stories, start a podcast (okay that probably won’t make any money) — but the point is, my life is mix-and-match right now, and I’m running around the candy shop, picking my favorite flavors.

Let your hobby earn you some breathing room. Let your passions run your life. Let your side-hustles give you new meaning.

Just keep it balanced. You can do this.

The Internet gives us the opportunity to market ourselves with almost no effort. Want to sell your dressage-themed cross-stitch pillows, but don’t have time to market them? Start an Instagram and a Facebook, and spend an hour on Saturday evening scheduling posts for the week while you’re ignoring Netflix. (You’re on your phone anyway.) Tag some horsey influencers and ask if you can mail them a couple. There, you did some marketing for the week. No craft shows, no tack shop cold calls, no fuss. Now you can get back to ignoring Netflix in peace.

The gig economy is here and we can let it empower us, or we can let it burn us out. What we can’t do is deny it exists, and that it’s taking over our lives. How are you going to hustle it?

PS: if you’re marketing dressage cross-stitch pillows, I want to see them. And if you’re making something awesome – contact me! I’m going to start a monthly feature on equestrians with side-hustles!

Valentine’s Day Hearts

Happy Valentine’s Day, horsey friends and book friends! You’re my favorite overlap on the Venn Diagram of my obsessions.

I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day with chocolates or flowers, or anything, because I’m a snooty kind of person about holidays in general… I need a better reason to buy things or demand things than “this aisle at Target is even more red than usual,” but there are some traditions no one should turn their nose up at. I am, of course, referring to candy hearts! Which are disgusting in real life! But are fun to turn into memes!

equestrian valentine's day hearts

Happy Valentine’s Day, you crazy horsepeople!

The other tradition is tomorrow’s half-off candy sugarthon. There better be some Reese’s Hearts left over at Walgreens!! (I will make this a healthy tradition this year by riding my bike there. Maybe.)

It’s true a big chunk of my disregard for all commercial holidays comes from my non-holiday-celebrating youth (I belonged to one of those religions at the time), but any chance I had at being a normal American consumer was also stymied by my status as an equestrian. Holidays? What holidays? Every day is the same when you have horses to feed and stalls to muck.

Back when I was riding in the New York City Parks Department, one of my colleagues was upset because my partner and I took the horses out on a short patrol of Central Park on Christmas Day.

“But the horses need to go out and stretch their legs,” I argued. “Why would I skip riding just because it’s a holiday?”

In actuality I should have skipped riding because it was about twenty-two degrees and windy that Christmas Day, but we managed to do a turn around the lower park loop without losing any of our extremities. And the horses seemed to enjoy themselves.

But the food element of any holiday is something all equestrians can get behind, so three cheers for chocolate hearts, and I’ll see you in the check-out line tomorrow, my arms overflowing with sweetness.

Thanks everyone for making 2019 such a special year so far! You all deserve a fantastic Valentine’s Day – and as much chocolate as you can carry tomorrow.

Lots of love,

Natalie

New Equestrian Fiction Coming in 2019

Having closed out 2018 with two new equestrian fiction novels — Horses in Wonderland and Luck, I’m really excited to say there will be plenty of new fiction in 2019! This is going to be a very big year of goals, deadlines, and lots of frantic typing… in other words, it’s a dream year for a writer.

new equestrian fiction in 2019

It’s a big year for new equestrian fiction!

If you’re looking for more of my equestrian fiction coming in 2019, the first place to start will be Patreon. If it goes live on Amazon, it will start its life at Patreon. And this year, Patreon will also be home to exclusive fiction.

Exclusive New Equestrian Fiction at Patreon

I’ve started the year with A Thousand Tiny Bites, a novella featuring split narratives from Jules (The Eventing Series) and Alex (The Alex and Alexander Series). Jules and Alex are together on the horse-shopping trip from hell! Every other week, Patreon supporters who subscribe from $1 per month get a new chapter of this unique novella — one week it’s from Jules’s point of view, and the next week it’s from Alex’s. This novella will remain exclusive to Patreon users after its conclusion, so if you want to read it, Patreon is the only place to find it.

Plus, as a special bonus, when I reach $200 per month in subscriptions, I’ll create a special ebook edition of A Thousand Tiny Bites, just for Patreon supporters!

The new Eventing Series novel is coming to Patreon

new equestrian fiction in 2019 - book 5 of the eventing series

The next update on Mickey and Jules is coming in 2019!

First draft fans who loved reading Horses in Wonderland as I wrote it are in for another insider look as I begin work on the fifth installment in The Eventing Series. Featuring the latest drama/adventures of Jules and Pete, a trainer couple with big dreams and little bank balances, this novel is going to be a wild tale with some new challenges for the team and their beloved horses, including Dynamo, Mickey, Regina and more.

Patreon supporters with a $5 per month subscription will get to read the new Eventing Series novel in its first draft form as I write it, plus receive a download of the finished book upon ebook publication. Plus, the first draft chapters of Horses in Wonderland are still in the archives, and I’m not planning on taking them down–enjoy!

More to come

This is just the start of 2019’s writing agenda, so if you’re looking for new equestrian fiction in 2019, stay tuned! There are a lot of new words and stories coming from this writer.

Be sure to explore the tiers at Patreon — I’ve added a lot of variety so that there is plenty of content and value for everyone. It’s the best way to get first access to my writing, plus help support the creation of new stories. Without my Patreon supporters, I would not have been able to publish Horses in Wonderland last year. It’s just an incredible way to connect and gain the financial support I need to put aside commercial work and focus on fiction.

Visit my Patreon Page for details.