New “Ambition” Review Hones in on Main Character

The main character of Ambition, Jules, is a prickly young woman with a chip on her shoulder. Not the most endearing of characters, right? I was really worried about how Jules would be received by readers.

After all, there were plenty of readers who told me that they wanted Alex, of the Alex and Alexander series, to be tougher. To know all the answers. To never feel weak.

beware horsewoman

Jules in a nutshell.

And while I can understand the appeal of having a heroine who knows all the answers to look up to, that’s not the kind of stories I have been trying to tell.

There are so many of us brought up in the horse business who constantly feel that we are in over our heads, that we are facing insurmountable odds and disadvantages, that we are too tired to go on, but we always go on… that’s reality. The question is, how do we shove through these fears and weaknesses, how do we get the energy to go on, what spurs us to continue the struggle to be the best, whether we are riding, or training, or breeding?

And that’s the story. Not having all the answers, but slowly, slowly, figuring things out. Hopefully, some will be able to draw inspiration from Alex’s struggles, as well as Jules’, and take heart that they can figure it all out, too.

Jane Badger, who runs Jane Badger Books and is the author of Heroines on Horseback: The Pony Book in Children’s Fiction, wrote about Jules and her flaws and promise extensively in a recent review at her blog.

“However brilliant Jules is with horses, she is blindingly hopeless with people. She’s one of those who, because they’ve been hurt so much in the past, bites first and asks questions later. She treads, wilfully, all over anyone who dares to come near her…

“Despite Jules’ desperate, tearing ambition to get somewhere, she seems intent on sabotaging herself. She simply can’t believe that anyone can approach her simply because they like her, and not because they have some sort of ulterior motive. The dreadful irony is that Jules spends her life sorting out problem horses, but she’s the least sorted out person in Florida.

“The brilliance of Natalie Keller Reinert is that she makes you stick with this difficult, prickly, downright unlikeable girl. And if you, like me, do need to find at least something to like in a main character, stick with this book. I promise you you will not regret it….

In Jules Natalie Keller Reinert has created a barbed wire heroine who still, despite her arrogance, and her pathetic inability to see the good in people, still has something about her that catches at your heart.”

Bringing Jules to life was important to me. Sharing her was hard. Reading reviews like this and having conversations with people about why she is real and why she matters — that’s amazing.

Thanks so much to Jane Badger for her assessment of Ambition and Jules, and thanks to all of the readers out there who are making Ambition the top horse book at Amazon. I hope we make a difference to someone who didn’t quite think they could make it.

Read the entire interview and see more about Jane Badger Books here: http://booksandmud.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/review-natalie-keller-reinert-ambition.html

And don’t forget to enter to win a copy through Monday at midnight!
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Exciting Reviews for “Ambition”

Ambition - available May 20, 2014

I’m so excited to share the first reviews for Ambition with you!

When I read a review, I’m really finding out, at last, if I’ve accomplished what I wanted to with my story. Ambition, in particular, is a story that went through many, many incarnations as I tried to take it from a story that resonated with me, to a story that would resonate with many equestrians around the world. And that’s not always an easy thing to judge on your own, or even with the small sample size of a few beta readers.

But so far, it looks as though I may have accomplished my goal.

Here is a clip from Horse Junkies United:

Starting the novel on Thursday evening, I was finished it by Friday at noon- I couldn’t put it down! Her writing style is easy to read, and the pages flow effortlessly. Most of all though, I was thrilled with all of the horsey details that were not only abundant, but accurate! This is were you could tell that the author had experience in the sport that she was portraying, lending this to her storyline and characters, making them come realistically to life.

Read Full Review Here

And here is a clip from a review at Amazon.com:

What makes it a great read is the details riders will relate to. Every page is chock full of the nitty-gritty of horses.

Read Full Review Here

As I wrote Ambition, just as with my other equestrian novels, I wanted to be sure my readers understood I was writing for them. These aren’t books That Also Have Horses in Them. I’m not throwing in a few horses to placate the horsey folks in the crowd.

These are horse-books for horse-people.

Thanks so much for the reviews, and please keep them coming! You can find your own copy of Ambition at:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

iTunes

Paperback at Amazon and Barnes & Noble (Coming Soon)

Ambition is now available!

Today is the day! It’s the release of my new equestrian novel, Ambition.

I’ll update this page as new sites come online. For now, Ambition is available at Amazon in the Kindle store and at Barnes & Noble. You can read the first few chapters and get your copy!

*Update!* First review at Amazon:

This story, of a prickly woman named Jules who needs to make a name for herself in the eventing world, is a fun read for people who know, love, and understand horses and riding. What makes it a great read is the details riders will relate to. Every page is chock full of the nitty-gritty of horses: tacking up, horses with different personalities, mucking out, horses finding ways to hurt themselves, etc. Descriptions like ‘a horse that lifts his knees to high at the trot instead of swinging from his shoulder’, will have equine-minded readers nodding, and for folks that aren’t that ‘horsey’, this is still a tale about striving to succeed no matter what, and they will come away with a sense of what it is like to compete a horse at a high level. I am waiting to savor Ms. Reinert’s next work. I’ve read one novel about racing at Saratoga, and this one of eventing in Florida. I can’t wait to see what the next story is about.

iTunes and Kobo, as well as a paperback edition, are coming soon!

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Click here for Barnes & Noble

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Ambition is Coming

Ambition - available May 20, 2014

Ambition – available May 20, 2014

It’s been more than a year since my last equestrian novel — too long! But I’m happy to announce that on Tuesday, May 20th, I’ll be releasing my newest novel, Ambition, to readers everywhere.

Still set in the rolling hills of Florida’s horse country, Ocala, Ambition leaps over to the sport-horse world and the sport of eventing.

Jules Thornton didn’t come to Ocala to make friends. She came to make a name for herself. Twenty-two and tough as nails, she’s been swapping stable-work for saddle-time since she was a little kid — and it hasn’t always been a fun ride. Forever the struggling rider in a sport for the wealthy, all Jules has on her side is talent and ambition. She’s certain all she needs to succeed are good horses, but will the eventing world agree?

Getting back into the eventing scene was a real pleasure for me as a writer. I spent my teenage years eventing in Florida and Maryland. I haven’t been over a cross-country course in more than ten years, but I still day-dream about it. Someday, someday…

As for the characters: I love Jules, but she’d never believe me if I told her that. Jules isn’t used to having friends. She’s used to being the low man on the totem pole, after what seems like forever as a working student in a show barn full of her own wealthy classmates. It’s just Jules and her horses, against the world — or so she thinks. But there are still some people on Jules’ team.

And since I like to think that the horses and the setting are just as important as the humans, you’ll find that several horses, including Thoroughbreds, and the heart of Florida horse country are well-represented. Just as Other People’s Horses and The Head and Not The Heart explored Ocala, Saratoga, and New York City in depth, I couldn’t help but celebrate Ocala once again, drawing upon years and years of memory and deep, deep affection for that chunk of the state called “North-Central Florida.”

So watch out for Ambition, available in ebook and paperback beginning Tuesday, May 20th. I think you’ll find it to be a very, very interesting ride… and check your stirrup length and girth. There may be a few bucks thrown in when you least expect them

@ Equestrian Ink: It All Comes Down To This

Ambition, coming May 2014

Ambition, coming May 2014

I’ve read my new book about six times in the past two weeks.

It’s not because I’m obsessed with my new book (maybe I am a little bit) but because I’m an obsessive editor, in general. So I’ve been reading and rereading, tweaking and changing and fixing word by word, line by line, trying to get the best possible execution of this story I’m trying to tell. And when I’m done reading it, my husband reads it, and does the same, and then I have to add in all of his changes — which means reading it one more time.

I have to admit, there are times when I am a little tired of my new book.

But reading it can be a fascinating experience for me, as well. Because throughout Ambition, just as throughout Other People’s Horses, The Head and Not The Heart, Claiming Christmas, and Horse-Famous, I’m reading new accounts of old experiences I’ve had.

Click here to read the rest of this post at Equestrian Ink.

Inspiration: Bridleless Riding Video

Watching bridleless riding is always breathtaking to me. The sight of a horse who is working so diligently in tandem with his rider; a horse who is not being manipulated in any way, shape, or form through pain, leverage, or threat (imagined or real) never fails to bring tears to my eyes.

What can I say, horses make me cry.

I stumbled upon this video of David and Karen O’Connor riding bridleless, apparently at a Pat Parelli clinic some years ago, and was instantly moved. And not just because I have a thing for smooth jazz.

(But I totally do!)

I have my own opinions of clinicians who patent gadgetry to sell to the masses, but there is no denying the horsemanship of the O’Connors.

As I wrap a few final edits on my eventing novel, Ambition, I’ll be thinking about the beauty and partnership I see between the O’Connors and their horses.

Enjoy!