Get Free Horse Books from Amazon Prime

If you’re looking for a way to get free horse books (and I know you are, because I see my books turn up in Google searches like “Natalie Keller Reinert Free Download” ALL THE FREAKING TIME) I know a better way for you than going to some questionable site and downloading a PDF that may or may not destroy your computer’s insides.

You can get free horse books directly from Amazon, and you can do it one of two ways:

  1. Amazon Prime, which has lots of other benefits, or
  2. Kindle Unlimited, which is just for free books (I see no downside here)

All of my books are in the Kindle Select program. That means that Amazon Prime and Kindle Unlimited subscribers are eligible to download those books for free.

And unlike when you download them from ScaryFreeBooks.hackmycomputerplease.bz, no one’s computer gets eaten and the author gets paid. That’s right, we get paid. It helps us keep the lights on and make up for the fact that we have no social lives and no hobbies because all we can do is write books as fast as our fingers can type.

So you can see there’s a very nice benefit to this if you enjoy horse books, or any kind of books. The more you read, the more pennies flow into our meager accounts, and thus the more we can write. And you’re just paying a subscription fee for this access.

So not to sound like a shill (although I have an affiliate link because pennies, meager account, keeping lights on, candles are dangerous, etc.) but Amazon Prime and Kindle Unlimited have so far been very helpful to me as an author. The borrows help me afford to spend more time on writing novels and less time on freelancing. In fact, I only freelance for a select few companies now, and I spend most of my writing time on Alex and Alexander and Jules and Pete and all their horses.

Here’s how you can tell a book is a free download for members:

Kindle Unlimited titles are marked above their covers - easy!

Kindle Unlimited titles are marked above their covers – easy!

Very easy: it says right above the title. You can still also preview the first section of the book with the “look inside” feature, so there’s no reason to download a book you’re not already hooked on.

(By the way, maybe if we keep asking nicely, Amazon will give us an Equestrian Fiction category so our books don’t have to be in the Horse Care section. Maybe.)

As you can see, just on this one page there’s more than my books available on Kindle Unlimited, there’s also fellow Horseback Reads author Kim Ablon Whitney, who is getting rave reviews, by the way, for her Show Circuit series.

Kindle Unlimited offers free downloads for $9.99 a month, with the first month free.

Amazon Prime offers one free download per month in addition to things like free two-day shipping, unlimited streaming with Prime Video, unlimited photo storage, ad-free music, etc. You can get a thirty-day free trial of Amazon Prime here.

Oh, and one more thing: if you like having the physical copy of a book as well, there’s a program I’m also enrolled in called Kindle Matchbook. When you purchase one of my paperbacks from Amazon only, you automatically get a free download of the Kindle edition. It’s like when you buy a record and get the MP3 download code included inside. It’s the least I can do for my readers.

Are you using Kindle Unlimited? Is the program working for you? Keep reading!

Early Reviews for New Eventing Novel Pride

Yesterday saw the release of my newest novel, PrideIf you haven’t picked up my Eventing Series yet, this weekend is a perfect opportunity to get in on the action. This follow-up to Ambition doesn’t require you to read the other books, but if you want to meet the characters in their debuts, for a limited time, you can download the Kindle editions of Ambition and Show Barn Blues for $1.99 each.

Pride Promo Banner

 

Meanwhile, the buzz for Pride is growing with great reviews already posted at Amazon.

Here’s what readers are saying:

“One of the reasons people who love, ride, and work with horses are so appreciative of Natalie Keller Reinert’s fiction is the fact that her characters seem so true to life. Pride is no exception… The details about riding are spot on, particularly how to approach (and not approach) a cross-country or a show-jumping course…. Despite her many faults (I would almost consider Jules more of an anti-heroine than a heroine) I still appreciated the fact that Jules was so determined to succeed. I liked the fact that she wanted to be better than her eventing boyfriend Pete, versus wanting to stifle herself to flatter his ego (a common trope in many romance novels). This is a book about strong women with a passion for horses!”

-Mary Pagones, author of The Horse is Never Wrong and Fortune’s Fool

“Although Jules is not the easiest girl to get along with, she is very human in her actions and her failings, and pulls us into the story right alongside the horses! Reinert has quite a talent, bringing us the realities of being in the horse business and making us feel we are there with her!”

-Kathleen Edwards

“You get the best of both worlds with this one – you’ll read about the eventers of Ocala and the fancy show-jumpers of Orlando – and you as the reader have a front row seat as the two worlds collide! This sequel addresses the tough decisions that you sometimes need to make in order to get to the top – and Jules isn’t one to back down from a fight.”

-Laurie B.

“As a horse person I especially loved the description of Jules’ difficulties with mares! As any horseperson knows, you have to “ask a mare” but that’s not always compatible with Jules’ domineering personality.”

-Michelle Harper

I’m also really happy to share that Pride is currently the number one horse book on Kindle and the number three equestrian sports book on Kindle!

Prefer your book in paperback? Good news — I’ll have the paperback edition ready in the next two weeks, and I’ll update you here as well as at my Facebook page.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I have a lot more Rolex to watch — research for the next book? We’ll see…

Visit Amazon here to read a preview of Pride and get your copy.

Pride, the sequel to Ambition, is now available!

Pride (Book 2: The Eventing Series)

Now available on Kindle!

It’s a sequel years in the making: the second book in The Eventing Series, featuring Jules Thornton, a young trainer struggling to make her eventing dreams come true. Readers have been writing to me and asking for the next installment in Jules’ story ever since Ambition was first released. I’m happy to bring you all Pride, and I promise I have even more of this story to tell in the future!

Released this morning to coincide with the opening of Rolex Kentucky Three-Day-Event, Pride already has five-star reviews praising its behind-the-scenes-look at training and riding event horses. Here’s a look at a few of the nice things reviewers have been saying:

This is a book about strong women with a passion for horses!

The details about riding are spot on, particularly how to approach (and not approach) a cross-country or a show-jumping course. I love how Reinert describes riding different horses and the debates within the various disciplines about correct striding, pace, and trusting the horse versus carefully setting him up to succeed before a fence.

This book sucks you in right away and holds your attention all the way to the last page!

In Pride, which begins just weeks after the ending of Ambition, Jules has to come to grips with some of the financial and training headaches of modern eventing, a sport in a state of transition. While the old sport favored the bold, new eventing with its emphasis on trappy, show-jumping style combinations on the cross-country course, and the necessity for a perfect dressage score, has presented challenges to riders who are in the sport for the thrill of galloping and jumping. Jules, like a lot of event riders, sees the dressage as something she just has to get through. But dressage is the key to new eventing.

Her business is in trouble and her dreams haven’t gotten any smaller, so when a sponsor offers her potential financial backing, she can’t really afford to look away, even though their terms are less than thrilling. She can go to dressage boot camp with Orlando-based trainer Grace Carter, or she can keep looking for money to appear out of thin air.

Naturally, Jules would prefer to keep looking for money to appear out of thin air–she’s not exactly good at being told what to do. But something has changed since last year, and that’s Pete. Jules isn’t on her own anymore, but that means she can’t make decisions alone anymore. Her plans affect more than just her future.

If you haven’t read about Grace and her farm in Show Barn Bluesor even AmbitionI want to make it easy for you. Now through May 5th, you can download the Kindle editions of Show Barn Blues and Ambition for the special price of $1.99 each. Add in Pride, and you have three great equestrian novels for under $10.

(It’s not a bad way to deal with Rolex withdrawal next week.)

Show Barn Blues: New Equestrian Fiction

Show Barn Blues

Show Barn Blues

My newest equestrian novel, Show Barn Blues, is now available at Amazon! This ebook edition is part of Kindle Select, which means Amazon Prime members can can borrow it for free.

I’m so excited to bring Grace and her horses to you. Set in central Florida, Show Barn Blues explores barn politics, the business of horses, and what happens when a once-rural community changes around a thriving equestrian center. If you’ve ever spent any time in a boarding stable, you’ll feel right at home in Grace’s beautiful barn.

Show Barn Blues is also connected to the Eventing Series, which continues later this year with book 2, Pride.

Like my other equestrian fiction titles, Show Barn Blues features adult characters, not teenagers — but you’ll find it’s a suitable read for all ages.

From the back cover:

Grace has built her life on show horses. It’s been a good life, too — she mounts her wealthy students on European warmbloods, competes her horses on Florida’s rigorous A-circuit, and runs the nicest barn in the neighborhood. Then, suddenly, it’s the only barn in the neighborhood.

As Grace’s country town becomes a sun-drenched playground of pools and golf courses, she vows that no bulldozer will ever touch her farm. With her neighbors selling their farms and moving to more isolated corners of Florida, she finds herself fighting off land-hungry developers alone — until Kennedy comes along.

Kennedy is everything Grace doesn’t want around her bustling show barn — a pleasure rider who would rather wander in the woods than tackle a show-jumping course. Kennedy might make for an unlikely sidekick, but she’s just the inspiration Grace needs to fight back against the developers who want to bulldoze her corner of Floridian wilderness — and, eventually, against the wilderness itself.

If you’re waiting for the paperback of Show Barn Blues, good news! It should be available in the next two weeks.

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Story Outlines: A Writer’s Training Calendar

This post was originally published at Equestrian Ink.

Setting up a training calendar is easy, right? You pick a horse show date and you move backwards, working out a nice hypothesis of where you’ll be in training each week running up to the show. Nothing to it, because predicting how quickly and how competently your horse will pick up your training (to say nothing of staying sound and keeping on his shoes) is just easy-peasy. Right?

Of course we know that’s nonsense. Horses look at calendars and laugh. They observe our ambitious plans and then they go out and look for a nice, innocent stick that they can use to injure themselves in astonishing and previously unbelievable ways.

Getting to a horse show takes planning. Getting to the end of a book is much the same!  Photo: flickr/dj-dwayne

Getting to a horse show takes planning. Getting to the end of a book is much the same!
Photo: flickr/dj-dwayne

In the game of planning for horse shows, the beginning is easy to see, and the end is fun to predict. It’s the middle part that’s hard.

Writing a book can be an awful lot like setting up that oh-so-charming training calendar. I like to outline, because I know my book’s beginning, and I know my book’s intended ending, but the middle part always bogs me down. You know, all that stuff that makes up the story? Moves the plot along? Gets the horse from green-broke to jumping courses? Yeah. That can be challenging.

Every book I’ve written since Other People’s Horses has had an outline, and every subsequent time I write a story outline, I find myself a little more dependent on it. That’s because my desire to wander from the set course never, ever wanes. Like a horse bound and determined to lose his shoe before the schooling show on Saturday, I am absolutely hell-bent on diverting from my intended story with wandering trail rides, unplanned-for barn drama, and completely unpredictable bucking incidents.

And while this sort of convoluted wandering story process seems to work for some writers (George R.R. Martin of Game of Thrones fame comes to mind), I really don’t want to write 500 page door-stops that are meant to be set during one fateful summer in Saratoga, or wherever. That’s why I have to force myself back to the outline. Because every wandering trail ride has to expose a new question in the plot, every unplanned-for barn drama has to be resolved, and every unpredictable bucking incident has to involve sorting out what set off the horse, and how to fix the horse’s problem.

That’s a lot of extra writing for me, and a lot of meandering “what happened to the plot?” for you, the readers.

So funny story, haha, you guys are going to love this, I wrote a masterful outline for Pride, which is the sequel to Ambition.

Sidebar: Originally Ambition was supposed to be a stand-alone novel, but I’ve gotten so many requests for a series that I had to cave to pressure. Readers have power! When you like something, say something! 

Anyway, I wrote this wonderful outline for a book which can stand up as the second novel in a trilogy about Jules, Pete, Lacey, Becky, and of course Dynamo and Mickey, plus a host of new riders and horses. It was here to make my life easier, this outline. To keep me on track and stop me from taking three years and half-a-dozen drafts to write, the way that Ambition did.

And I got midway through Pride, to about 45,000 words, which when you consider Ambition is about 111,000 words, you can see is that all-troublesome Middle Part that confounds both trainers and writers when we are making our plots and plans… and I started to wander. I quickly realized I was inventing some barn drama which was good, but which would need to be resolved or things were going to get way off track. I decided it was time to consult my written outline, since at this point I’d just been writing off memory of what I’d planned.

This was when I realized that I had lost the outline.

Oh jeez.

Well, I stumbled about for a little bit, figuring I could find my way through without the outline, but the thing just started keeping me awake at night. What if I had lost my way? How was I going to fix this? What was the best use of my time? I’m on a tight deadline to get Pride finished and my work schedule outside of house is about to ramp up considerably. If I let this plot wander too much, I was going to be months behind.

Something had to be done.

I knew the ending still (that horse show date that I had selected months before, right?) and although my middle part had changed a little bit, that’s just what horses do. It was time to be agile. I sat down, opened my writing program, and started creating chapters.

In Scrivener, which is the program I use, each folder becomes a chapter. And there’s a little box where you can type out a synopsis. I’d never used it before, but there’s a first time for everything. I typed a synopsis for each chapter I had yet to write, creating a little guide-map to every single folder, so that no matter when I opened up the manuscript to write, there would be no excuse — the next step in the story was right there, ready to be fleshed out.

I created fourteen chapters in all, assuming that each one would balance out at about 2,000 words, and then on the edit/rewrite I would elaborate on them until they had more substance. Then, I started work on the first one.

That chapter stretched out to 5,000 words.

Outlines. The more detailed they are, it would seem, the easier my job gets.

It reminds me again of that training calendar — on a good day, I can look at the calendar, assess where my horse is vs where I thought my horse could be, and then reassess. Once that’s done, I can see what I want to do for the day, then get out there and make it happen… much more successfully than if I’d just mounted up without a plan, wandered out to the arena, and started trotting around waiting to see what would happen next.

That’s good news for me as a writer. It’s good news for everyone waiting for the sequel to Ambition, too. Hold on kids, Jules and Company are coming back for more!

Great Equestrian Books: Keeping The Peace by Hannah Hooton

Part of my Great Equestrian Books review series, this post was originally published at Retired Racehorse in 2013.

I have a fabulous horse racing romance to share with you this week! It’s one of the most fun, suspenseful, and horsey romances you’ll ever read.

Keeping the Peace by Hannah Hooton

Keeping the Peace by Hannah Hooton

Keeping The Peace is the first of a series built around a National Hunt racing stable. I’m utterly in love with the main character. I’m just going to say it: this book could be called Bridget Jones Goes to the Races and it wouldn’t be far off the mark. Luckily, I love both Bridget Jones and racing, so this was a match made in heaven for me.

Sweet, lovely, and impressively creative with bad language when she’s pissed off, Pippa Taylor is going through the motions. She’s got a job, she’s got a flat, she’s got a sort-of actor boyfriend who is just bound to get discovered one of these days. She has the requisite bad-girl best friend, she has the requisite lost dream of being an artist — she has everything you need to be a another cog in the machine.

But nothing throws a machine out of whack like a horse. They’re pre-Industrial Age, they defy all logic, and we love them without reason. And while Pippa is no horsey girl, when she inherits a pair of Thoroughbreds from her uncle, she’s struck by not just the inherent promise in a horse, but by the dream that her uncle had for one of them.

That’s Peace Offering, and like every horse, he comes with baggage. His racing history is rubbish, for one thing. His trainer is a bad-tempered Horse Racing Ken Doll, for another. Peace Offering immediately starts changing Pippa’s life in all sorts of crazy fashions, as horses do.

Hooton’s evocative imagery and crisp writing sets this story apart from the competition. Here’s Pippa meeting a yard of racehorses for the first time:

She stopped at the first stable and peeked inside. Suddenly, half a ton of horseflesh came hurtling towards the door, teeth bared, ears pinned back. Pippa gave a startled yelp and jumped out of harm’s way. She yelped again as she collided with a neat cutlery set of pitchforks and spades leaning against the wall.

I loved the National Hunt racing setting. Like most Americans, I know about Cheltenham and the Gold Cup and the King George V in a sort of abstract fashion: they’re steeplechases in England. I know that… that… um… well, they happen. I’ve sat up at odd hours watching the jumps racing and I absolutely love it… riding a steeplechasing course is definitely on my bucket list. (Some might say it ought to be the last item on my bucket list.) I know about Kauto Star. If pressed I would say Haydock is a horse and not a place but I’d have to Google it.

Despite holding an exercise riders’ license, when it comes to jumps racing, I’m kind of a Pippa:

“Who’s Virtuoso?”

Jack shook his head helplessly.

“We won the Cheltenham Gold Cup with him earlier this year. Won eight Grade Ones on the bounce. He’s a bit of a celebrity.”

“I know Cheltenham!” Pippa cried, excited that she knew something to do with horseracing.

The new-to-me setting gave this book a particular charm, especially the very thrilling racing scenes. Thrilling, terrifying, you know — just think how stressful you find it watching your favorite horse (to say nothing of your own) running a six furlong race. Now imagine a three mile race. I wonder if Americans as a society would even survive if we were suddenly forced to watch NH instead of flat racing. Our poor over-taxed hearts would just give out after 2 minutes.

Imagine poor Pippa urging on her horse, only to see a horse fall on the other side of the fence, right in their landing path, that Finn, the jockey can’t possibly know about.

Peace Offering stretched higher and wider to clear the yawning ditch and wall of spruce. Pippa could almost see the surprise register in Finn’s body language when he caught sight of the fallen horse on the landing side.

“Please God, help them.”

They touched down a stride away from Corazon. Peace Offering took half a stride and took off again, hurdling the half-risen faller.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” Pippa babbled. She wondered how many other repented sins God would allow her. Another fifteen fences’ worth?

Fifteen fences. At this point I’m sweating and I’m just reading the book.

But that’s one of the many pleasures of Keeping the Peace. With exciting racing scenes, a slow-burning romance, and the delightfully creative swearing (yes, two mentions in one review) that the British have truly mastered, Keeping the Peace is one of my favorite reads this year.

Visit Hannah Hooton Books: http://hannahhootonbooks.blogspot.com/

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Interview: Equestrian Author Mara Dabrishus

I recently had the pleasure of reading a new racing novel by equestrian author Mara Dabrishus’s Stay The Distance. This is the story of July Carter, her racing family, and one tough summer in Saratoga.

Stay The Distance - Mara Dabrishus

Stay The Distance – Mara Dabrishus

It’s a coming of age story, but not the one you’re used to. July is in that pivotal summer between high school and college, and she isn’t sure just what’s next. She’s been riding for her father, a successful trainer on the New York circuit, for so long, it’s become the path of least resistance, even while her best friend is encouraging July to move to into the city, go to college, and live a real life for a little while.

But who can turn down a summer in Saratoga, even for a taste of real life? Or even to get away from a pain-in-the-arse two-year-old and his equally pain-in-the-arse (maturity-wise) young owner?

I wouldn’t be able to say no either, July.

Author Mara Dabrishus was lovely enough to answer a few of my questions about the inspiration and writing behind Stay The Distance, along with her own equestrian background. Here’s my interview with Mara:

Stay The Distance is filled with tension, not just at the races, but inside the main character, July’s head. She isn’t quite sure that she wants to devote her life to horses, but it seems like the decision has been made for her. Did you draw on personal experience to create July and her mental crossroads?

Sometimes I think the only thing July and I have in common is hair color. Her life and her personality are so very different from my own, which I think was why it was so much fun to write about her. That said, I think a lot of people go through that What am I doing?! stage, especially after high school. I experienced that after I graduated college. I really still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and ultimately I chose what I knew – libraries, books, writing. For July, the horses are such a constant part of her life that deciding anything other than horses is so huge it’s paralyzing. As for me, I just went to grad school.

You set this book on the New York racing circuit, and the sections set at Belmont Park are particularly detailed. Tell us about your background in racing – did any of it take place in New York?

My background in racing has always been that of obsessive spectator. Growing up, the closest major track was Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and getting there required nauseatingly twisty driving out of the Ozark Mountains on a road called the Pig Trail. So that happened exactly once in order to see Behrens win the Oaklawn Handicap. (I’m dating myself. I’m dated now.)

Much later, nothing was going to stop me from getting to Belmont Park to see Curlin narrowly lose to Rags to Riches in the Belmont Stakes. For someone who grew up with the Thoroughbred Series, it was like living fiction. What I think struck me so much about Belmont is how awesomely huge it is. It takes up so much space where space is at a premium, and you have to love how grandiose that is.

Then there’s Saratoga. Last year I spent a week leading up to the Travers Stakes sitting in a lawn chair by Saratoga’s saddling paddock and was thoroughly thrilled the entire time. It’s such a gem of a track, and one of those places where you can feel totally comfortable asking Jerry Bailey which of his mounts was his favorite when he randomly shows up next to you. (Cigar, of course, is his favorite.) That’s just the sort of thing that routinely happens there.

It’s refreshing to read a racing story that can easily weave horsemanship and post-race training into the narrative. Do you ride now? What discipline? Any OTTBs in your life?

Stay The Distance - Mara Dabrishus

Mara Dabrishus

I’ve been riding dressage when I get the chance, and have been for about seven years. Currently I primarily ride a little Quarter Horse mare who has this adorable, big personality. Coincidentally, we both started to learn dressage at about the same time, so we’ve improved together. (If my riding instructor is reading this, she is probably snickering herself sick right now.)

When I was just starting dressage, I rode this big, black, permanently fluffy OTTB called Diablo. In his earlier days he lived up to his name, scaring the basics into students. By the time I came along, he was the barn’s grand old man. He was such a character. Unfortunately he passed away a few months ago, but he was well-loved.

Books tend to come in threes nowadays. Will we see more of July and Beck?

Stay the Distance was initially designed and written to stand on its own. That said, bringing July and Beck back for more shenanigans with Lighter and Kali is definitely in the cards. If not for a trilogy, then definitely for a sequel. I don’t think Lighter’s character will allow anything less! 

Author Bio:

Aside from her Texas beginning, Mara Dabrishus spent the first two decades of her life in the Arkansas Ozarks. She pined for a horse and never received one, so she settled on writing about them. The Black Stallion, the Thoroughbred Series, every horse book you can imagine was dutifully consumed. For the past several years she’s ridden dressage, learning how to spiral in, half halt, and perform the perfect figure eight.

Stay the Distance is her first novel. Its prequel short story, Whirlaway, was published by the Thoroughbred Times.

Contact Mara:

Website: www.maradabrishus.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/maradabrishusauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/marawrites

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