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

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.)

The Barn Behind “Show Barn Blues”

I was sorting through some photos on my computer (because I have too many, and it’s destroying my processing speed) when I realized I had a full stash of photos from the equestrian center that inspired Show Barn Blues. Since I went to a lot of trouble to describe the barn and grounds, I thought it might be fun to share them here.

These were taken by a gentleman who wanted to practice using his new camera. I’m not sure he had any horse knowledge, but he got some compelling shots nonetheless. One day a few weeks after I gave him permission to wander the grounds taking photos, he dropped off a CD of the photos, and I’ve had them ever since. There aren’t many exterior shots, but I think this gives you an idea of where it all started.

A Thoroughbred gazes down the aisle

The stalls with grills that opened were very desirable. This was one of the few OTTBs at the barn; I loved him. Forgot his name though. His back window would look out on the grass between the barn and the covered arena; not sure why it was closed here.

Looking down the barn aisle.

One of the aisles. Notice there are two aisles back-to-back, with a center aisle cutting the barn in half. If you squint you can see a high-up window above the stalls – that would be the apartments and Grace’s office. At the end of the aisle are the outdoor arenas. If this pair turns to their left, they’ll be heading to the covered arena. If they turned to the right, they’d pass the wash-stalls before entering the other aisle. The dress code was very formal here; instructors wore boots and breeches every day. This particular instructor had a background much like Kennedy’s – she rode in a now-closed dinner show attraction.

Wash-stalls in the center of the barn

The wash-stalls in the center of the barn, where school horses waited their turn. Someone should have knotted up these reins better!

Determined young rider.

A determined young rider who is probably now an adult riding in the dressage arena (the chains must be down for some reason). Behind is the covered arena with the usual weekend crowd of parents watching lessons.

Owner riding.

An owner out in the jumping arena on her horse. Behind her, a section of the barn not included in my books: the tack shop and lounge. In the books, the barn ends before the arenas, and the second-floor deck looks out over them.

The jumping arena

A riding instructor out in the jumping arena. If you rode out there at night, you could watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks just a little ways beyond those pine trees in the distance. That was typically also where the sky grew dark before approaching storms. The county highway is just beyond the fence but blocked by shrubbery. Across the street is, indeed, luxury homes, although at the time it was a watermelon field.

Horse at equestrian center

I think this is Splash. I used his name in Pride, maybe Show Barn Blues as well. He was a popular school horse for advanced riders. In the background, the covered walkway to the covered arena, and he’s standing in the end barn entrance.

With just a few changes, this is the barn in my mind when I work on book set at Seabreeze Equestrian Center. Does it look anything like you imagined?

We’re Getting Closer to Show Barn Blues!

At last, a reason to blog!

It’s been a long, hot summer, readers — or has it? I’ve been working so much this summer, it went flying by like one of those particularly deranged dragonflies that goes right past your nose and scares you to death and you shriek and wave your hands in your face and everyone turns around and stares at you and you say “did you SEE that thing?” but nobody did…

Oh wait, that was me the other night at work.

I’m telling you, that thing was HUGE.

Anyway, it’s been busy. Working at Walt Disney World by day (well, really, by night) and working at my computer by night (usually by day). It’s a wonderful balance, when it works — working at Disney lets me get out from behind a screen and chatter with people from all around the world, and working at my computer lets my voice (and my brain) recover from eight hours of all that chattering.

It’s great, but summertime can be challenging at one of the world’s most popular vacation destinations… long hours, late nights, and a newly rediscovered penchant for sleeping until 11 AM can all take their toll on one’s writing goals.

However, I set myself a goal of finishing Show Barn Blues by the end of August, and I’m happy to announce that I’ve achieved that goal! Fully edited and ready to go, all we need now is the final cover design and internal formatting, and we will have ourselves a new novel!

One of my favorite characters is Ivor, a sassy gray stallion.  Photo: Serge Melki/flickr

One of my favorite characters is Ivor, a sassy gray stallion.
Photo: Serge Melki/flickr

I’m excited to bring you this story, which has some characters and horses I just love, including Grace Carter (her name might be different in previous blog posts, this has been a long process), who is a been-there-done-that barn owner; her sassy gray stallion, Ivor; a former dinner show/hunter princess named Kennedy; and a cast of grooms, working students, and boarders who keep life interesting.

One challenge that I’m having with Show Barn Blues — how to categorize it on Amazon. You might notice that on Amazon, the books in a series will show up on the same page. Look at Turning For Home’s page and you’ll see the other novels in the Alex and Alexander series right on the page, listed numerically. Nice, right?

Well, Show Barn Blues is technically part of the Eventing Series, which begins with Ambition. The Eventing Series was plotted out as a trilogy, and the next novel, Pride, will follow Ambition. So that’s logically Book 2.

However, we’re going to meet the characters from Show Barn Blues in Pride. They’re important to the story. They just don’t fit into the trilogy. They’re like a bonus novel. Does that make Show Barn Blues “a novel of the Eventing Series,” perhaps?

It’s a shame that Amazon doesn’t allow “1.5” as a volume number, because I would just use that — but I’ve already tried that particular scheme before and it doesn’t work.

Other than that conundrum, the writing life is good. I have all the tools I need for my final draft of Pride. Barring work insanity, I should have the next Jules novel to you by the end of the year. I’m rereading Ambition to make sure I have her snotty voice in my head, although Jules is softening… a little. She’s still prickly, but life with Pete is starting to sand down those rough edges… a little. 

Maybe it shouldn’t take me two years to bring out the sequel to a book as popular as Ambition, but it really does take me that long to write a book. I found notes the other day for Turning For Home, and they were dated 2013. I released TFH in 2015, so there you have it — that’s just the way I write!

So get ready for Show Barn Blues. I’ll have it out for you soon!

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!