By Gayle Carline
Author and Horse Mom
Today is a multi-tasking post because my day to write this falls on a day when I'll be busy talking about writing instead.
So let's talk about the writing first.
This entire weekend (Sept. 20-22) I will be at the Southern California Writer's Conference in Newport Beach, California. This group holds two conferences a year, one over President's Day weekend in San Diego and one at the end of September in the L.A. environs. I'm teaching a couple of workshops, one on how to pace your novel and one on what do you do after you write "The End."
As a writer, I cannot recommend these conferences enough. They are working conferences, where you get to learn new stuff, to meet new people, and to share your work. Most important, in my opinion, is that the directors/organizers of the event, Michael Stephen Gregory and Wes Albers believe that you should get your money's worth. They constantly keep the conference fresh and on or ahead of the curve of that brave new publishing world we're seeing.
If you want more reasons on why you should go to this or any other conference, read Jennifer Silva Redmond's blog. She edited my book From the Horse's Mouth, and she loves horses. I suppose she might own one if she didn't live on a boat. Maybe she can get a seahorse.
Now let's talk about horses.
I'd love to hear from you about when you first realized that horses weren't just something you did in your spare time. When did you figure out they would always be a part of your life?
For me, I knew I wanted to continue being around horses during my first lesson, when I realized how relaxing the prep work was. No checking how much air was in my scuba cylinder while I was 35 feet underwater. No clomping through snow to buy a lift ticket and schlepping skis over my shoulder. Just a curry and a brush and a horse. And me.
When I bought Frostie, my first horse, and suddenly the writing I had wanted to do began to pour from fingertips to page, I recognized her as my muse, even if I didn't understand it. At that point, there was no going back to the horse-free life.
And here's where horse and writer meet.
I began with journalistic articles for Riding Magazine. Then I got bold and queried my local newspaper for a humor column. Then I needed more. I needed to write novels. I've always loved mysteries, so that's where I started. I've now got three full-length mysteries and a short story.
The Peri Minneopa Mysteries feature a 50-year old woman who gave up a successful housecleaning business to become a licensed private investigator. She wants to do background checks and surveillance, but of course she gets dragged into intrigue and danger. I'd describe my mysteries as light romps with a little humor, and nothing explicit.
I've also got two books of my humor columns, and of course, the Snoopy memoir.
I recently completed the rough draft of a mystery set at a horse show (AQHA, naturally), that I've tentatively titled Murder on the Hoof. I can't wait to share it with you all.