Order Your Limited-Edition, Personalized Courage Box

UPDATE: The COURAGE box is sold out! Thank you so much for your interest. For autographed copies, please send me an email at natalie at nataliekreinert.com.

Excited for the release of my newest novel, Courage? The latest addition to my bestselling Eventing Series has already hit number one on the Amazon equestrian bestseller list, and it’s still only in pre-orders! I can’t wait to share this new story of Jules, Pete, and the eventing life with you.

Get your paperback edition of COURAGE with handwritten notes and special equestrian extras!

Get your paperback edition of COURAGE with handwritten notes and special equestrian extras!

Because I wanted to add a little something extra for fans, for Courage I’m creating an exclusive, limited-edition box which you can only order from me directly.  If you’re interested in the creation of The Eventing Series, this box contains a few items which will give you some insight into my writing process. There will be hand-written notes for Courage, plus one of the novels I read during the writing process which in turn helped inspire and shape the story.

In these limited-edition boxes you’ll receive:

-A signed paperback edition of Courage with hand-written notes from me about the story’s development and writing.

-A paperback copy of an equestrian-themed novel I found inspiring in the writing of Courage, which I’d love to share with you.

-An equestrian gift to make your reading time a little more special.

It’s not always easy to connect with readers on a personal level and I hope with these boxes I’m able to share with you some of the inspiration and background on this story’s creation. Courage was an intensely emotional experience for me to write and edit, and I want to share some of those emotions with you, the readers who have made all these books possible.

Each box is $40 and includes shipping in the continental United States. (International orders are not available at this time). I’m only creating a handful of these boxes and personalizing each annotation of Courage, so please email me right away to reserve yours!

To order, please email me at natalie@nataliekreinert.com

Cost: $40, payable through PayPal

Shipping Date: March 1st, 2017

Cover Reveal: Courage, Book 3 of The Eventing Series

Are you ready for the latest update on Jules, Pete, and the horses of Briar Hill Farm? Good news – Courage is coming! I have details for you on the story-line, release date, when you can pre-order your Kindle edition, and, of course, the gorgeous cover!

Cover Reveal for Courage: Book 3 of The Eventing Series

We last saw Jules and Pete at the end of a long hard summer of apprenticeships. Pete spent the summer in England; Jules at a show barn outside of Orlando. Neither of them came back exactly the same as when they’d left, and now, they’re not sure where they stand with one another.

There’s also the looming question of who owns Briar Hill Farm, the sprawling eventing wonderland where they’ve been training under the not-so-gracious permission of Pete’s grandmother. With her sudden passing, there are legal questions about how binding her arrangement with her grandson was, leaving Pete and Jules wondering if they and their horses are on the edge of eviction. At the same time, they’re on the hook for the enormous upkeep bill of the property for the first time.

Still, there are always horses to ride, always events on the horizon. In Ocala, there’s one surefire way to make money when you’re facing insurmountable bills: racehorses. One thing though… training racehorses is not like training ex-racehorses.  And Jules isn’t so sure this galloping lark is going to work out–until she meets Alex.

From the back cover of Courage: 
For three-day event rider Jules Thornton, courage means riding her horses forward through the most daunting cross-country courses in the sport. She’s already proven she’s willing to whatever it takes to make her name as an eventer, even spending the summer in an intense dressage program.

Now she’s back in Ocala and ready to tackle the winter eventing with her usual bravado, but neither she nor her partner, Pete are ready for the next struggle the eventing gods have cooked up. Their farm is locked in a legal battle, their income depends on galloping racehorses, and Amanda the Hunter Princess is way too friendly with Pete for Jules’ tastes.

This fall, Jules has to learn courage goes deeper than kicking on through sticky situations. Courage means hanging on for dear life, and knowing when to let go.

You can add Courage to your GoodReads to-read list by clicking here.

Courage will be released on February 21st. You can preorder the Kindle edition here. A paperback will also be available. Paperbacks purchased through Amazon will include a free download of the Kindle edition. 

Watch here for an exciting new way to experience my books,  or make things easy and subscribe to my mailing list for details in your in-box.

Oh… and here’s the cover. What do you think?

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34043647-courage

Last chance to benefit retired racehorses with Deck the Stalls

If you haven’t yet downloaded your copy of Deck the Stalls: Horse Stories for the Holidays, I have two compelling reasons why you should do it today… It goes off sale in two weeks!

Deck the Stalls: Horse Stories for the Holidays

Deck the Stalls: Horse Stories for the Holidays

Together with Jessica Burkhart, author of the best-selling Canterwood Crest series, we gathered together some of the hottest names in equestrian fiction to share holiday stories set in the stable, perfect for all ages. All proceeds from this collection are going to Old Friends, the retirement farm where some of horse racing’s heroes go to live out their days in peace and green grass.

In addition to an exclusive Canterwood Crest story from Jessica and an exclusive Eventing Series story from me, you can also find stories from:

-Mary Pagones – with an exclusive Fortune’s Fool story

Mara Dabrishus – with an exclusive Stay the Distance story

Kate Lattey – with an evocative New Zealand setting

Maggie Dana – with an all-new story from the author of Timber Ridge Riders

Brittney Joy – with an all-new story from the author Red Rocks Ranch

Kim Ablon Whitney – with an all-new story from the author of The Circuit

Reviews:

“As a horse lover I devour any horse related stories. These short stories really put you in the horsey holiday mood. This book was highly enjoyable. I think I found some new authors to look up as well.”

“Very enjoyable stories about young women striving to be great equestrians. It’s a nice holiday read and easy to put down and pick up.”

The ebook is available through January 31st from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, and other retailers. (You can use the universal ebook link for all sites except Amazon by clicking here.)

Watch out for a new edition of horse stories for the holidays, plus a paperback version, for Holiday 2017!

Thanks for supporting retired racehorses and equestrian fiction!

Getting Feedback: So You Want to Write a Horse Book, Part 5

I was going to title this installment, “Feedback Sucks.” I mean, I want to be honest with you, and, for at least the first few books, feedback really, really sucks.

But it’s also kind of awesome (once you get used to it) and it’s completely indispensable, so it’s time to talk about feedback: soliciting it, accepting it, and putting it to work.

The fact is, we all have a massive blind spot when it comes to our writing. It’s ours, and because it’s ours, we love some parts beyond all sense, and we hate other parts with a blinding passion, but can’t quite figure out how to do without them. This is probably true of most things we have immense emotional attachment to.

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The best turn-out in the world can always be a little better. Feedback: it sucks, but it’s so necessary.

Like: you love your horse to bits, and your horse has the best gaits you’ve ever ridden, but you could really do without the cribbing thing. If your horse were a book, you’d lend him out to five other riders. Some of them would come back to let you know you’re right about his trot, you’re dead wrong about his canter but here’s how to fix it, and oh by the way–the cribbing isn’t so bad, just put a collar on him and forget about it. Plus, bonus, you really need to teach him to ground-tie, even though you ride dressage and that’s literally never come up before… for you. 

That’s what feedback on your book is like. Some things you thought were perfect aren’t, some things you thought were awful are just fine, some things are lovely, and some things you never even considered.

Who should you ask for feedback? 

This is different for everyone. You might find it easier to ask people you’ve never met IRL, like an online writer’s group. That way, you don’t have to cringe while they’re in the other room reading it. Or you might give it to your best friend, and just deal with the cringing.

No matter who you choose, I think it’s best if that person shares some of your sensibilities about reading and writing. If you’ve written a torrid romance, don’t hand it off to a friend who rereads The Saddle Club over and over. If you’ve written a contemporary fiction, your friend with the vampire obsession might find your prose lacks teeth. (HAH DID YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE– you saw, I’ll stop.)

I say this because I’ve made the mistake of giving a manuscript to someone who had completely different sensibilities than me. This person gave me back thorough and well-meaning feedback which simply tore my novel to shreds. I didn’t agree with any of it. And there were pages of recommendations. I was beside myself, because they didn’t make any sense to me, but I respected the reader and wanted to take their advice.

Ultimately, I realized I couldn’t work with their suggestions and released the novel anyway, only taking two or three of the suggestions. As it turns out, the book was incredibly well-received by my readers. The disconnect had been between myself and the beta-reader, who didn’t typically read my style of writing. The feedback, generously given, worked for their genre, but not for mine.

My beta-reading group includes authors who write similarly to me, readers of my previous books, and my husband. Now, a lot of people will say that loved ones make for bad editors, but my husband and I share both a similar taste in books and viciously judgmental attitudes. It makes for a good team. He removes some of my favorite sentences and tells me to fill plot holes, and I scowl at him for weeks. It’s how our marriage works. Your results may vary.

Once you’ve asked, be two things. Be patient, and be grateful. It’s not easy to read critically, especially if you’re not a professional, especially if you’re someone’s friend. And chances are decent that at some point you’ll be asking a friend. It can take some time, and it can make people nervous to decide what to point out. Let them know how much you appreciate their time and their feedback.

What should you do with feedback?

When you get back the email that says, “I really liked it, but I think…” you should pause, pour yourself something soothing, and make sure you have time to read carefully and think about what’s being said. Remember that this is not an attack on your writing–unless you chose a beta-reader who is secretly your nemesis–but an honest assessment of how your writing works for someone else.

Nothing works for everybody. There are books out there you despise that other people adore. That the majority of people adore. They re-read them over and over, rather than read other books. And you can’t get through two pages. Reading fiction is never objective.

But if you want your novel to work for more than just you, beta reader feedback can be a clue as to how the wider world will receive your novel. Does the storyline work? Do your readers care about your characters? Do you close up your plot neatly by the end? Are there confusing sentences? Contradictions?

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This might be an excellent time to chat over a cup of coffee. Or, you know, something a little stronger.

Chances are, you’ll hit the scoreboard on each of those questions. No book is ready for publication as soon as you’ve finished writing it–I don’t care if you’re on your third draft. You’re too close to it. You need someone removed. You need fresh eyes. Ever work in retail? Ever count a register three or four times and it just won’t come out even, so you ask a coworker to count it, and they have no problems? It’s the same thing. Whatever mistake you were making, you were destined to just keep making it until someone else stepped in and took a look.

It’s okay to set your book aside for a while after you’ve received feedback. You might not want to look at any of it for a little bit. That’s okay. Get removed from it. Start to miss your characters a little bit. Get yourself revved up again to power through the next round of edits. Then read the feedback and decide your next course of action. Are you going to make changes? Go for it. Do you need clarification? Email or set up a meeting to discuss the feedback in more depth.

Once you’ve put your book out there for feedback, take heart. Someone else has read it. Things are getting very real! You’re getting closer to a finished novel. And thanks to your beta readers’ feedback, it’s going to be even better than you thought.

 

 

New Horse Stories for the Holidays!

It’s time for some holiday spirit!

I’m excited to announce that Deck the Stalls, a holiday anthology written especially for horse lovers, is now available for pre-order on Amazon! And not just because it includes an all-new story about Jules of The Eventing Series fame, but for all the other writers as well.

Deck the Stalls: Horse Stories for the Holidays

Deck the Stalls: Horse Stories for the Holidays

Plus, it’s for a great cause: all proceeds go to benefit Old Friends, the retirement organization for racehorses, where you can meet heroes of the turf like Silver Charm, and more than one hundred fifty other horses, including the largest population of stakes winners in the Bluegrass. We’re so thrilled to be able to help this wonderful cause.

Here’s more about the book!

From the cover:

Deck the Stalls

Get in the holiday spirit with this Christmas-themed set of short stories from some of your favorite equestrian writers!

Some of the top authors in the genre have banded together to share Christmas stories from the heart. Look for best-selling authors Maggie Dana, Mary Pagones, Mara Dabrishus, Brittney Joy, Kim Ablon Whitney, Kate Lattey, and Natalie Keller Reinert — plus an all-new Canterwood Crest holiday short story from Jessica Burkhart! And in the true spirit of the holidays, all proceeds will go to benefit Old Friends, a Thoroughbred retirement home providing life-long homes for former racehorses.

Inside, you’ll find stories from some favorite characters and new ones:

– Jessica Burkhart returns to Canterwood Crest with an all-new holiday story.
– Mara Dabrishus takes us back to Saratoga with July from “Stay the Distance.”
– Natalie Keller Reinert visits her best-selling Eventing Series with a peek into Jules’ early days as a working student.
– Brittney Joy offers a warm-hearted holiday tale with characters from her Red Rock Ranch series.
– Mary Pagones contributes the prequel to “The Horse is Never Wrong” and “Fortune’s Fool.”
– Kate Lattey revisits Pip from “Flying Changes,” along with a new friend.
– Maggie Dana, author of Timber Ridge Riders, writes an all-new holiday story, “The Ticket.”
– Kim Ablon Whitney, author of hunter/jumper series The Circuit, shares a Christmas story in “The Barn Party.”

With prequels, new stories of old friends, and brand new characters to fall in love with, “Deck the Stalls” is a Christmas gift from your favorite authors that you’ll want to read again and again.

Not reading on Kindle? Look for an edition to be released for iTunes and Kobo soon. Looking for a paperback? Due to time constraints, we don’t expect to release a paperback before Christmas 2016. We are looking at our options for Christmas 2017, however.

Join Me at Equine Affaire 2016

I can’t believe Equine Affaire is only a couple of weeks away! Mid-November still sounds like months in the future, maybe because we’ve only just had our first cool spell here in central Florida – it’s about sixty degrees this morning, guys! But it’s true: Equine Affaire’s Massachusetts expo, November 10th through 13th 2016, is in less than three weeks.

(And I only own sleeveless dresses, so please pray to the weather gods it’s unseasonably warm. Last time I went to Equine Affaire, it SNOWED.)

Join me at Equine Affaire 2016 - presentations, book-signings, or just a good chat about horses and books!

Join me at Equine Affaire 2016 – presentations, book-signings, or just a good chat about horses and books! Friday, Nov. 11 at 10 AM.

This year I’ll be on an author panel discussion about the importance of horses in fiction. If you’re here reading this, you know that horse books are the best books! What makes it that way, though? Is it just a mirror to the lives we love? Or is there something about horses that just makes any book better?

I’ll be in conversation with authors Laura Moore (who has a beautiful romance, Remember Me, set on a Thoroughbred farm in Virginia) and Holly Robinson (whose new novel, Folly Cove, features horses in a coastal northeastern town. Maybe she has some winter clothing advice for me). Our moderator is the talented Connie Johnson Hambley, whose novelsThe Troubles and The Charity are set in the horse world. It’s going to be a (slightly nerdy) amazing time.

Add our panel to your schedule: “Capturing the Essence of Horse in Fiction: How authors use horses to tell you a better story” on Friday, November 11th at 10:00 AM

And Hambley will be presenting with some of my favorite writers in another panel, as well! Mara Dabrishus, author of the remarkable and amazing (can you tell I love them) horse racing novels Staying the Distance and All Heart (among others) will be alongside also remarkable and amazing Maggie Dana, author of Timber Ridge Riders, and (also remarkable and talented) equestrian thriller writer, Patti Brooks.

Add their panel to your schedule: “Favorite Fictional Horses: From the Black Stallion to My Little Pony – What our favorites say about us” on Thursday, November 10th at 11:00 AM. 

Natalie Keller Reinert at Tampa Bay Downs.

Here’s a helpful photo of me looking intense and writerly so that I’m easy for you to spot and avoid – I mean spot and chat with – at Equine Affaire

Along with these panels, there will be plenty of chat-time at the best booth in all of Equine Affaire, Taborton Equine BooksI’ll be at the book-signing table, daring you to come talk to me, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

There will be paperbacks of my novels for sale, or bring your own!

If you’re on the fence about attending Equine Affaire, go visit the website and see all the other incredible presentations available. Then come see me. Because I can’t wait to meet you!

 

 

 

Join Natalie Keller Reinert at Equine Affaire 2016:

At the Seminar Stage

Friday, November 11, 2016: 10 AM

At Taborton Equine Books

Thursday, November 10, 2016: 3 PM – 5 PM

Friday, Nov. 11: 1 PM – 4 PM

Saturday, Nov. 12: 10 AM – 12 PM

Making Writing a Habit: So You Want to Write a Horse Book, Part 4

So now you’re blogging, right? You’ve read the first three parts of my series, and you’re following all of my advice, not in a crazy follow-the-guru kind of way, but in a she’s-been-down-this-road kind of way. You’re thinking about the way you want to write, if you’re going to write as true-to-life as you can, or if you’re going to create a new universe for your characters to inhabit. You’re ready to start making this thing happen.

(This is the 4th in my series on writing your horse book. Click for the first, second, and third in the series.)

Whether or not you plot your book is another blog post. For now, I want to talk about writing habits.

Horses like routines. It turns out, horse books do too.

Horses like routines. It turns out, horse books do too.

There are always people to tell you that award-winning best-selling author Junie Efficiency Jones gets up every morning at 5:30 AM to write a chapter before she goes off to feed her heirloom chickens and then heads to her Fortune 500 executive position. That’s great for her and I’m excited for her productivity level. But I’ve always fought against those arguing that habit is the only way to write a book.

For one thing, I would argue, my schedule is too up-and-down to have a daily time set aside. I might have to work at 8 AM one day and 2:30 PM the next day — was I really supposed to write at 6 AM regardless? Not possible. Since a lot of writers are supporting themselves in the service industry, this is a common problem.

By the same token, if you’re in the horse business, you might have an early show one day, a farrier appointment that takes three hours longer than you expected and pushes dinner back to nine o’clock the next night, and quite frankly not have the energy to even look at your computer on the third day.

So no problem, I’ve always said. Write when you can. Carve out time. Write when you feel creative.

This method works, and it’s the kindest on your body, for sure. But I want you all to stop and consider for a moment how long it takes me to write a book. (Those of you who read my books are nodding slowly.) And how long I have to fend off requests for sequels. (Those of you who asked for a sequel to Ambition for two years are nodding emphatically.)

Now I’m going to tell you that I’m finally a convert to the writing routine.

My last (fairly) routine job was with the NYC Dept. of Parks and Recreation. Here I am on Monte in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. (My son came to visit.)

My last (fairly) routine job was with the NYC Dept. of Parks and Recreation. Here I am on Monte in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. (My son came to visit.)

In mid-June I started working a Monday-Friday, 8:30-5:30 kind of job. It’s the first time I’ve had a job like this in several years (the last time was when I taking care of horses and riding with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, during which period I wrote Other People’s Horses and Ambition), and I was faced with the very real possibility that I was not going to come home from work and feel like staring at yet another computer for an hour in the evening.

(I also wanted to work out. Call me crazy, but when you take a lifetime of riding and caring for horses professionally and cram it into an office chair, bad things happen. The work-out was pretty imperative to my well-being.)

I decided to write a thousand words every morning, before work. The only thing I was really giving up was my morning Twitter time. And since I work in social media, I was already spending plenty of time on Twitter. I really didn’t need the extra.

It was a struggle at first, I admit. But I stuck with it because it was the only time I was going to write. There was no way I was going to get home from work at six o’clock, work out for half an hour, take a shower, and still find the time (and energy) to work.

Here’s the thing: after a couple of weeks, writing that thousand words became hard-wired into my brain. I woke up thinking about my story. I started writing fifteen hundred words. I started writing two thousand words. Useful, good words — not filler. In fact, I was moving so fast on the plot, I realized I’d have to add in atmosphere and environments in the editing phase — the opposite of my usual writing style.

In short, I’d never written so much, so quickly, wish such ease.

It’s so frustrating!

I held off on the “get up in the morning and write” doctrine for so long, convinced it wasn’t for me, and all this time, I could have been pouring on the creativity.

An added boost: stopping to go to work no matter where I am in my thoughts. Have you ever heard of closing your story mid-sentence, to boost your creativity when you return to the document? It’s the same thing. It works. There’s less wandering around, and more action.

I’m also more aware of where I am in the story, which leads to fewer loose threads to tie up in edits. If you’ve ever read through a draft only to discover you introduced a plot point in chapter three but completely forgot about it by chapter six, you know what I’m talking about. It’s a problem. 

By the time I finished the first draft of Courage last month, I was writing two thousand words in about forty-five minutes each morning. Standing at my kitchen counter, drinking my coffee, I’d written a novel at least twice as fast as I’d ever written anything of comparable length… 85,000 words, with plenty of room to grow in edits.

Now I’m editing in small bites each morning (still standing at my kitchen counter–it turns out that I think much better on my feet than in a chair, which should come as no surprise to any horseman) and I’m about halfway through. The book is growing in beautiful ways. I still wake up and open my laptop without even thinking about it… writing as soon as I get up is completely habit now.

So this is it… possibly my number one piece of advice to you. Get a habit. Force yourself into the habit. And the habit will reward you richly.

Just for giggles, I looked up “famous writer’s habits.” This was the first hit: The Daily Routines of 12 Famous Writers. Here are a few quotes:

E.B. White: A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.

Haruki Marakami: The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind.

Barbara Kingsolver: My morning begins with trying not to get up before the sun rises. But when I do, it’s because my head is too full of words, and I just need to get to my desk and start dumping them into a file.

I really love that last one, because this is the state you can work yourself into through a habit of morning writing! This is the place I’m at when I’m writing a draft now, and it’s just so delightful.

Even with the lack of sleep.

What’s your writing routine? Have you tried and failed one, or do you have a routine that’s working for you? If not, what’s getting in your way? Maybe we can find a solution together.