Vacation makes me more ambitious

March, where did you go?

March is usually on my favorite month short-list, because it’s my birthday month, and because the clocks spring forward and we can actually ride again, instead of putting in some sad twenty-minute nonsense before the sun goes down and we have to trudge home with all our goals unmet, just so the sun can come up early. What good does an early sunrise do anybody? (Unless you get up to gallop racehorses at five a.m. Don’t answer that.)

I spent a good half of March away from home. It might be the longest I’ve ever been away, and I was very sorry to leave behind my amazing mattress and pillow with the prospect of many different hotel and Airbnb beds in my future. From London to Manchester to Belfast to all-over-Ireland and back again, it was a combo business/pleasure trip, and you know how hard those are to pack for. I schlepped my favorite black skirt all over hill and dale, and never even wore it.

Sheep and sky near Molls Gap, on the Ring of Kerry.

I saw some incredible places in Ireland (Killarney National Park blew my mind, as did the lonely southern end of the Cliffs of Moher, which we trekked up to via a muddy farm lane, rather than heading for the more well-traveled north end and its visitor’s center). Eventually, I’ll even get my pictures off the camera and then I’ll share some. In the meantime, if you’ve been thinking of going to Ireland… do it.

Jogging with Maggie through Killarney National Park, on our way to Ross Castle.

The great thing about vacation is once I’ve had a few days of no work, I get incredibly pumped up to get back to work and do all the things. Not just work — working out, eating right, getting enough sleep, everything. I’d be sitting in a pub drinking Guinness and eating a pile of local mussels and a loaf of brown bread and thinking, when I get home I’m going to drink less beer, eat less bread, work out, write my novel… basically everything the opposite of a vacation!

Ben showing off his summer coat… he was totally transformed from shaggy pony to sleek small horse while I was away!

So I’ve been back in Florida since Sunday (today’s Friday) and I’ve ridden Ben three times for an hour–very long for us–plus pulled his ridiculously shaggy pony mane, I’ve downloaded a couch-to-5K app and actually gone running, I’ve eaten all kinds of fruits and vegetables (I did have ice cream once this week though), I’ve gotten up early to write before heading off to Office Job, and finally today I prepared Chapters 2 and 3 of Horses in Wonderland for Patreon and uploaded them.

Which, by the way, I really hope you’ll give a read and leave a comment. I’m reading the second half of Pride to see where I actually left Grace, Kennedy and Company. But a lot of you have read Show Barn Blues and Pride far more recently than I have, so if you notice any inconsistencies, or if you know of any plot lines you’d like for me to pick up again, please drop a note in for me. That’s one advantage of uploading first drafts to Patreon rather than writing in my usual cozy vacuum.

The Patreon model is really helpful because basically, Patrons contribute a few bucks to me and it covers the time I would usually spend working on freelance work, allowing me to work on novels instead. In return, I share the first draft as its written and also send Patrons a digital copy (and paperback, depending on the contribution level) of the novel once its complete. I actually gave up my last freelance client so I could concentrate on my novels because the demand from readers is so great, but I do have to make up that income.

Plus, I think it’s an exciting way to share the writing process. And it takes me way out of my comfort zone, sharing and asking for feedback on the first draft. Like guys, I just don’t do that. You have no idea how private I am with my writing.

So anyway, Chapter 1 of Horses in Wonderland, the sequel to Show Barn Blues (and I guess, in a way, to Pride), is free to read, and you can decide from there if you’d like to read more. Click here to give it a look!

Also, my other work in progress, You Must Be This Tall, is on Patreon. This is a novel about the crazy world of theme park fandom, with a collection of brand new characters you’ve never met before… unless you happen to be a theme park fan, and then you’ve definitely met them! Give it a go here.

Before I sign off, I just want to say thank you to the readers who have given Luck 40 great reviews on Amazon. Whether you loved it more than any of the others, or you had some constructive criticism – noted!! – your reviews keep Luck visible, and that’s how it finds new readers. If you haven’t reviewed Luck, it just takes a few moments, so won’t you pop over and say what you think?

Thanks everyone for keeping equestrian fiction going! What’s everyone reading right now? Drop a comment with your recommendations!

OH, one more thing. This song I’m sharing below is getting serious repeat play in my earbuds right now. It’s a very dreamy synthpop ballad, so if you’re not sure if our musical tastes match up, I promise it isn’t going to assault your ears! Look for it on a writing playlist after Horses in Wonderland. I might be writing about another Ocala couple you like next. Plus, if you’re interested in my previous writing playlists, click here for the Spotify playlist I made while writing Courage

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