Santa Fe Trail map.

Santa Fe Trail map.
Map of the Santa Fe Trail.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Snow day(s)

So Ok, training has been postponed for a few days! We had some fantastic snow out here at Watrous and it is all about getting feed to the horses at Shadowlands Ranch and at the farm where I am living... without getting the truck stuck in the snow. This is really a wonderful bonus. This time last year it was dry, dry, dry! We will have a mess of mud to deal with but compared to the amount of dust we ate last year... I'll take it! This is a pic of some of the sanctuary mustangs chasing my truck when they saw I had a trailer load of hay! What a spectacular sight. Still snowing as I write this but I think the storm should clear out of here by the end of the weekend. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Hero horse for a hero character!

In my book "Into the Shadowlands" Tate's horse is called Pie. Pie (Piegan) is a mustang Tate rescued from quicksand up in Blackfoot country. This horse is based on one of the Wyoming mustangs we have at the sanctuary and his story, as well as the compadres he was adopted (from the BLM) with, is in my book "Brand Name." Our Pie is a big mustang, most are pony sized. He has very thick legs and solid feet. He is a tank but beautiful and agile with it. When I first saw him I fancied his ancestors were escaped cavalry horses and so that is how he became inspiration for my hero, Tate's, horse. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Musings on horses...

This is quote from my book "Into the Shadowlands." Although this book isn't about horses, due to the fact that most of it is a western, horses do feature in it. The quote above though is from the 'present day character' in the book and so they aren't only an element from the past life. The sequel to this book, "Whispers across the Plane" will have a lot more to do with horses, both in the past and the present day but I won't spoil the plot here. The new book is yet to be written but the whole story is in my head and ready to come to life!

Horses are the theme though in my three non-fiction books, "Sky-Dog!" "Cimarron!" and "Brand Name." The quote above pretty much mirrors my own sentiments and so it was easy to write. The horses in the above photo are my 'riding' horses who I keep at the farm in Cherry Valley, Watrous, NM where I am living. These are the horses I planned to use for my ride down the Santa Fe Trail before it got postponed in 2012. I still want to do that ride and am more determined than ever to do it this year. I have three mustangs that could be candidates and so training must begin!... not least for me! I am so out of riding shape that the prospect of those tortured muscles I know I will have to live with for a while is daunting!

I have always felt that my book "Brand Name," wasn't quite complete. I needed to include a ride down the Santa Fe Trail to round it out perfectly. The good thing about publishing online is that I can easily add that postscript later on but I will postpone publishing the book as a paperback until I can add that final chapter. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Fort Union, New Mexico

On a recent snowy day I drove the eight miles from Watrous to Fort Union to wander the old grounds and see them in the silent snow and solitude. Nobody else was out there on that cold morning and so I had it all to myself. I love that hallowed ground. I always feel moved by those crumbling ruins and know, without a shadow of doubt, I have been there before... when the fort was a bustling place filled with troops and their families. It makes me cry every time and so it was easy for me to write the chapter in "Into the Shadowlands"about Julia/Abby which takes place there.

Some places are a part of your soul and this location definitely has a soul connection to me. I have read quite a few books about it, a few of them first hand accounts. Two of my favorites are Marian Russell's "Land of Enchantment," and the other is "Frontier Cavalry Trooper," the letters of Private Eddie Matthews 1869-1874. Marian met and married her beloved husband at the fort and that story, along with other poignant memories of her adventures traveling the Santa Fe Trail and living in Santa Fe, are lovingly recounted in her book. Even more profound are her accounts of visiting some of those locations (including Fort Union) as an old lady, when they had been abandoned and were reduced to ruins. Her longing and nostalgia on those visits ripped at my heart.

Private Eddie Matthews was posted to Fort Union as a cavalry trooper and his letters home during that time are a fascinating glimpse into fort life in New Mexico. The first hand accounts are my favorite in every way, they give personal voice to people who could easily be reduced to names in a history book. Their words echo real emotions and insights and frustrations and joys, reminding us that they were living, breathing human beings just like us. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

"Into the Shadowlands" book.

February 1st.

Well "Into the Shadowlands" is now available on kindle through Amazon. I hope to get this into paperback at some point but for all those who read online books.... here it is! I have to say that if there is anything I am remembered for, when all is said and done, I hope it will not only be for my wild horses but also the characters in this book. They are a part of me and this story is truly from the heart. That is why I enjoyed writing it... not only that, I enjoyed researching it too! Do what you love, isn't that how the saying goes? Well, this book is me doing what I love! All feedback would be much appreciated. Ratings and reviews on Amazon would also really help to give the book a higher profile. Thanks to all those who read it. Here is the link:

Julia Bloom is a history teacher at Bath University in England but it isn't until she visits her friend Lisa Stanton in Santa Fe, New Mexico that she discovers just how much the past is a part of her. From the moment she sets foot on New Mexico's high desert soil, another life crowds in on her with such urgency that she knows she is running out of time. From her unique vantage point, 130 years in the future, she is able to relive the story of a destitute prostitute named Abby and a jaded ex-cavalry officer named Tate as they journey down the Santa Fe Trail in 1876. Their's is a tale haunted by past brutalities and highlighted with love, adventure and new beginnings. But after an appointment with a hypnotist, Julia discovers that the life she is uncovering is her own. And not only that, it is the only life she has any interest in living. When her regressions reveal a heartbreaking twist of fate, her agony and feelings of helplessness only deepen. What hope is there for her to find happiness in a modern world she feels, and perhaps has always felt, alienated from? But then again this is New Mexico, where magic and miracles are interwoven into its vast landscapes and colorful superstitions. A land where anything can happen and some things are worth the sacrifice.