Monday, January 5, 2009

Writer Limbo and Equine Therapy

New Year and back to work. It was a nice break and I must have relaxed too much because now I have this horrible sore throat, cough and cold. Oh well, some Theraflu, hot tea, and lots of vitamins will hopefully kick it out quickly. It sure doesn't make me feel like working though, and I was excited to get back to work.

As a writer I'm in a limbo state, which isn't the most comfortable state to be in. I am in between contracts on the wine mysteries with Berkley not making any commitment right now (never a good sign), and my horse mysteries have been cancelled (apparently horse stories don't sell, which I think is horse pucky), so what is a writer to do? Well write and pray realy hard. On the flip side of the negative stuff is that during this limbo time I wrote a new book (fingers crossed it will sell), and three new proposals, plus I have another book ready to go. So, now is the hurry up and wait game that writers go through. We get the work done, send it to our agents and then we wait, but while we wait we write and thankfully for this group we also ride.

I'm not sure what I would do during stressful times (and being in writer limbo is stressful) without my horses. For me, as the afternoon winds down and I pick up my youngest and we head out to the barn it is like this sense of relief washes over me. I know once I get there that everything else will be turned off for at least a couple of hours. My focus is on my horse Krissy and Kaitlin and her pony Monty.

There is something so soulful and peaceful in being around the animals. Once I'm riding, my focus can't be taken off my mare because she has been known to act just like a mare and do silly things, and for me that's good. My mind isn't filled with dialogue, narative, sometimes clutter. It's filled with heels down, bend to the right or left, pick up the right diagonal (I am diagonally dyslexic), relax my elbows (i have stiff arms), breathe, counting strides and as my trainer always says, "down squeeze," when I'm posting. There is no time to worry about plot points or if I'll ever get a contract again. Once I'm finished riding and Kaitlin is finished, then it's all about feed and supplements and blanketing and hugs and kisses and little peppermint candies or carrots (yes, the horses are a tad spoiled). Boy do I hate to leave the barn. My husband was wrong the other day when he said that I could spend hours there--I could spend my entire day there. But then I wouldn't write, and I know that it's the writing and riding that are my driving passions (other than my family), so contract or not, I will keep on writing. And you know that I will keep on riding.

For those of you who read my previous posts about Krissy's lameness issues, well, here is the update. She is sound after chiropractic, accupuncture, B-12 shots,hock and a left stifle injections, and a slow regimine back. Thing is I will have to follow a strict maintenance protocol to keep her happy and sound. My vet has determined that she likely cracked her pelvis at one time. Hopefully she stays happy and sound. So far so good as lately she's been really fresh, which tells me she feels pretty darn good. That's all I got for now.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season.



Anonymous said...

Michele, I am so happy to hear that Krissy is better. I have known rope horses who have cracked their pelvis and returned to full work, and obviously rope horse is a pretty stressful job description. It sounds like you and your daughter are having great fun--reminds me of me and my son with our two steady trail horses.

I hope you get out of writer's limbo soon. If its any consolation, I know some big names who are in the same place. Times are tough in the publishing business.

mugwump said...

Hi Michelle
So how will this effect your writing? Will you change what you write? Will you write what you want and figure out what niche it fits in?
Will you just take a break and see what happens?
I hope I'm not bugging you, I'm curious, learning and a little nosy, I admit.

Leslie said...

Best wishes on the new book proposals and the new book! Crummy they cancelled the horse mysteries!

Joy said...

Glad to hear about your mare. Injuries are never fun. I understand what you mean about your mind getting quiet. I call all that self talk "mind chatter" and the only time it's completely silent is when I ride. What a relief! Good luck on the writing, I hope this is a hugely successful year for you in spite of all the challenges here at the start!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comments. As far as what I'll write next...well, I won't stop writing I can say that much. What I write next depends on a few factors. The first factor depends on if any of the completed books I have out sell. If so, I will likely do a sequel. If the proposals go then I'll write a new series or two (all depends). If more wine books are asked for and I get what I'd like out of it, then I'll write more of those. The good news is that everything I currently have out on submission I like, so if any of the new work gets picked up I'll be happy. If more wine mysteries are signed, then I'm good there, too, because I love my characters and I know the series realy well at this point. I am bummed that there won't be any more Michaela Bancroft books as she was one of my favorite characters to write. But I never say never. Who knows what the future holds.

If nothing gets picked up that is out currently, then I'll write something new. At this time I have three more ideas I could run with. One is a historical based on a real life event, one is a thriller and the other would be another children's book (with horses).

Right now, I'm focusing on marketing the two books I have coming out next month through as much grass roots efforts as I can. I'm also working with two schools. I teach creative writing programs at a local public school to fifth graders and I also teach a program at a separate school to eigth graders.

I'm not too worried. I know that I'll continue to write no matter what happens, but I also feel sure that I'll have more books hit the shelves in the years to come. The drive to write has been inside of me since I was a kid and I don't ever see giving it up. It took me 12 years to get published, so I've goten used to being patient.

Shanster said...

Yes - horses are like the "calgon take me away" for my brain too. You forget the everyday worries when you are with your horses...

Glad the lameness is gone!

Good luck with submitting! I hear patience is essential - you have a great attitude.

mugwump said...

Thanks Michele, it seems like such a struggle. I think I see one of the connections between writing and horses. Patience

Anonymous said...

Michelle, I'm so sorry that your horse mystery series has been cancelled. What a shame. I bought every one of them and loved them all.

I think one of the problems with equine fiction book sales is distribution. I have a hard time finding books written by yourself, Laura Crum or many of the Equine Ink writers for that matter, in our local bookstores - particularly the large chain or warehouse style stores. There is a local mystery book store where I like to buy my books from and I end up special ordering your books from there. I hope you can find another publisher for your equine series.

Anonymous said...

Michele, I just saw your comment about possibly pursuing a children's book idea that includes horses. I hope that you will not give up the idea of writing adult fiction with a horse theme. Perhaps the recently popular TV shows like Heartland and the brand new Wild Roses series will spark public interest in this area. The actors in the WR series said that they had to learn to ride horses for the TV show. They enjoyed it so much that they miss being around the horses when they are not shooting the show.

It's so nice to be able escape the world for a while by reading a book that was written for adults who love horses. I don't own my own horse and it will be a while before I do. At the moment, my visits to the barn are confined to a weekly riding lesson. Reading horse themed fiction is my way of escaping to the barn and to be around horses.

mugwump said...

Is there a way to make your books available through the blog? An equine bookstore right here?

A.K. Alexander said...

I do have some adult fiction ideas that would revolve around horses, so I won't be giving it up. I agree about distribution. I would love to have a book store up on EqInk. I'm not sure how t set it up though. I think for now, the best way to get the books is via online stores like amazon, or booksense. If you want to buy boks from an indie store, which i always like to support, you can always get books from

Thank You for all of the support. I loved writing the series, so it's been kind of a hard blow to take. I may be able to find abother home for it. We'll see.