Monday, December 26, 2016

An Excerpt from New Blood (Thoroughbred Breeders #1)

by Christine.

Hi everyone!  A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you!  I thought I would provide you with a sneak peak into my latest horse series, Thoroughbred Breeders.  Below is some text from the first chapter of book one, New Blood.  Enjoy!

 

New Blood (Thoroughbred Breeders #1)
by Christine Meunier

1. Tuesdays

Savannah Reynier couldn’t decide if she liked Tuesdays or not.  On the one hand, she was working with horses – like any other day – so how could she not?  On the other, Tuesdays were farrier days.  Each Tuesday on the stud she worked on, the farrier was booked to do whatever horses needed a trim at that time.
Today it was the yearling fillies that needed their feet looked at.  Standing half the day holding horses for the farrier wasn’t high on Savannah’s list of favourite horse chores.  When the class of horses needing a trim was barely handled, this task fell a little lower down the ladder.
She wondered which apprentice would be along with Rick and Jay this time.
Hopefully not Flynn again.
He was a terrible flirt.  Plus, her workmates had so much fun teasing her afterward no matter what she did around him.  She’d tried being polite.  Then she’d tried ignoring him.  Rudeness hadn’t discouraged him either.  She wondered if she could swing things so that her co-worker Kathy ended up holding for him.
If he comes.
It seemed that Rick and Jay had a different apprentice each week.  It made sense she supposed, that they would take on as many as they could.

As the cars pulled to a stop outside the holding yards Savannah made her way into the first yard.  She was able to catch one of the fillies by moving slowly and talking quietly to the dark brown with a star on her head.
“Hey sweetie,” she said, rubbing her gently on the neck, “the quieter you stand for the man, the quicker we get this done.”
“Not to mention that the man would really appreciate it, too,” an accented voice said from not too far behind her.
South African, Savannah decided as she turned to face the latest apprentice that had obviously been dumped on her.  She tried to school her features to an indifferent glance as she felt her stomach do flip-flops.  She nodded politely as she took in the scruffy brown hair, small amount of stubble and curiously green eyes.
Wow.
“These girls have been handled on a regular basis, but they are yearlings…” she found herself offering and then felt her face warm as he grinned at her.
He can probably tell that for himself.
“They do look young, but it’s their feet that really interest me,” he offered, stepping closer to offer his hand to the brown filly.
She sniffed at him before looking toward the other horses, disinterested in the man before her.  The exact opposite of Savannah’s sentiments.  She grinned at the thought before quickly schooling her features again as she realised she had an audience.
He was looking at her with a brow raised in question.  Savannah internally sighed.
Awkward.
“So I’m Craig and you’ll have to put up with my lack of social skills – but not farrier skills – for the next couple of hours, I’m sorry,” he said by way of introduction.
This immediately endeared him to Savannah.
A self deprecating farrier – who would have thought it?  Then again, false humility works well for some…
With a start she realised he was waiting for her to introduce herself.
Now who’s lacking in social skills?
“Everyone calls me Anna,” she responded quietly, thinking if Craig didn’t start trimming, she was in for a ribbing from her workmates for sure.
“Well, almost everyone,” she muttered, more to herself as Craig ran his hand down the filly’s near fore to pick up her hoof.
She couldn’t help but take in his frame as he worked.  He was easily taller than her, but not too much so.  His shoulders were broad and arms strong.  She stared at his back, refusing to continue her perusal.
“So who doesn’t call you Anna?” a voice interrupted her thoughts.
It took a second for the question to register – and then for her to realise that although the comment hadn’t exactly been made for him, Craig expected an answer.
“Aah… my boss.  Nev calls me Savvy.”
She could hear him clipping off excess toe before he picked up his rasp and started around the edge of the hoof.
“Because of your knowledge and ability with horses?” he asked with a grin as he put the filly’s hoof to the ground and assessed how it sat.
Clever with words – check.
“I’m sure Nev would agree with that statement because it makes him look particularly clever when people discover my full name happens to be Savannah.”
Craig’s eyebrow rose again and Savannah questioned what he was thinking.  That she was rude in the way she talked about her boss?  That Savannah wasn’t a common name?
Probably that he still has three feet left to trim.
As if sensing her thoughts, Craig moved around to the other side of the filly, running his hand down her off fore.  Following him, Savannah made sure she was standing on the off-side of the horse before he continued his work.
Why didn’t he do her hind leg?
Of all the farriers that she had seen trim feet, they went in the same order.  Start with the near fore, move onto the near hind.  Following this, complete the off fore and then finally the off hind leg.
Surely he’s not that new to trimming feet that he hasn’t been taught that.
She assumed it was something they got taught anyway, much like people getting taught to mount horses from the left hand side.
Not that the reason why is relevant to recreational riding.
Mustering up some semblance of courage, Savannah decided to ask.
“So I tend to like learning all I can about horses…” she started, unsure how to ask without seeming stupid – or like she was trying to make him look so.
“Mmmhmmm…” came the response from under the horse.
“Is there a reason why you’re doing both forefeet first?” she asked before she lost her nerve.
Craig finished rasping the hoof before letting the filly stand on all fours.  He gave Savannah a grin before checking that the hoof was balanced on the ground.
Dimple – check.
“You think I should have done them in a different order?” he asked her, still smiling.
She frowned, wondering if he was teasing her.  Eventually she shrugged.
“I suppose you can do them in whatever order you see fit.  I’ve just noticed a particular pattern that farriers seem to follow,” she responded as he moved onto the off hind leg.
“When I’m doing most horses for the first time, I do their front feet first.  You never know how well handled they are going to be and I’ve had a couple of incidences where I get one foot done, move to the back and all hell breaks loose.  For whatever reason, it’s impossible to get the back foot done and by this stage the horse is so worked up, they won’t let me touch their other front foot.  At least this way if there are issues with the hind feet, the horse is balanced in front.”
Savannah pondered this as Craig finished the off hind before moving back to the filly’s left side.  He made short work of her near hind before declaring he was finished.
“Thanks for telling me the reason,” she responded lamely before going to get another horse.
Craig had finished before the other two men.  Savannah wouldn’t have been surprised if he paused for a cigarette like the majority of the other apprentices seemed to.  She was pleased to find that instead he stepped up to the group of skittish fillies and kept them from breaking away from the corner while she worked to get a head collar on one of them.
“Thanks,” she breathed as she led the young horse toward the gate out of the yard to where there was more room for him to work.
Craig ducked through the rails and then held the gate open for her.  Savannah decided in her next glance that he was somewhere in his mid twenties.
Old for an apprentice.

Jay and Craig ended up with the last two fillies.  Savannah wasn’t surprised to find Rick observing the apprentice as he worked away.
She knew she would have been intimidated by such a gesture but decided Craig didn’t seem the least perturbed.  Instead he continued working whilst talking with his boss about the filly’s feet.  Savannah listened keenly, eager to pick up any new bits of knowledge.  Plus, she decided, Craig’s voice and accent were extremely pleasant to listen to.
Gorgeous accent – check.
Savannah concluded that once all the trims were complete and the two familiar vehicles made their way back down the drive that Tuesdays had drastically improved.  In fact, she would go so far as to say that she liked Tuesdays.

*this is a shortened version of the first chapter of New Blood.  You can purchase the book at Amazon.  There are currently 2 in the series and the 3rd is on it's way!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Thoroughbred Breeders Series

by Christine.

Hi everyone! I’m super excited to share with you about my new series! I have recently finished writing the sixth book in the Free Rein series, which is to be titled Contagious.

New Blood by Christine Meunier
Whilst working to finish this story, I was toying with the idea of writing a horse series for adults that focused on the thoroughbred breeding industry. After a couple of weeks, an idea for the first story came to me. Around this time I ended up resting in bed with a bout of laryngitis. It provided ample opportunity to think out ideas for stories! And so the first five books were plotted out after the few days of resting in bed.

The first two books were completed shortly after and I tried my hand once again at designing covers. You can now purchase New Blood and No Hoof, No Horse on Amazon for $2.99 USD.

If the idea of a series aimed at adults, focusing on the horse breeding and farrier worlds interests you, why not check out Thoroughbred Breeders? You can add the books to your Goodreads shelves, too!

The books so far have been downloaded in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and Canada! I’d love to see them gain exposure in other countries, too!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Scheduling Writing Time and Embracing Ideas




It is an interesting balance, finding the time and motivation to write horse stories.  The topic of horses is one I am ever passionate about.  Having the motivation to write a particular story however can be difficult at times!

I schedule time each week to work on one novel or other.  Recently I have finished and published B and B  and I still aim to bring out the sixth novel in the Free Rein series before year’s end.  That said, book 6 is being difficult!  I have half of the novel written and am struggling to continue with it.

Do you Schedule Writing Time?
In spite of this, I set myself a goal to write a chapter each week, knowing that sometimes I just need to sit and write.  When I do this, the ideas come and I get caught up in the story once again.  Writing takes real commitment at times.

Alongside working on this story, I started to toss around the idea of a series for young adults.  As I mulled it over for a week or two, I sat down to write one day and found the characters developing before my eyes.  In fact, in a 3 day period, I had written half of the first two novels in the series!

There are times when motivation strikes you and you just need to write.  Take advantage of the times when the words flow quicker than you can write – or type! – them.  Alongside this, be diligent in setting aside time to write each week so that your stories are progressing.  As a writer, it is important that you consistently invest time in your art, even when you don’t find motivation knocking on your door.  Find a balance between making use of ideas when they come to you and writing because you know your story needs to be written.

If you’re a writer, what story have you most struggled to complete?  How did you get around this?

Monday, October 3, 2016

Pay it Forward

by Christine

As an equine author, do you invest time in helping other authors? Or is your sole focus to get the word out about your books so that you can (hopefully) make sales?

I have Loved Reading the Pony Jumpers books by Kate Lattey Recently!
Pay it Forward: I have Loved Reading
the Pony Jumpers books by Kate Lattey Recently!
In whatever industry you’re in, it is beneficial to look out for the success of others. We should each make it a priority to promote others’ work that we have enjoyed or help to spread the word about a new release. It isn’t difficult to do and chances are, these authors will be so appreciative, they’ll return the favour.

Amongst your busy schedule, set aside some time to help promote other authors. Perhaps you can provide them with a review once you’ve finished a book that you really enjoyed. Or maybe you can help share a link of a new release. Or perhaps you can provide them with an encouraging comment on their personal blog.

For those who are so inclined, you could even create a section on your blog to help promote other equine authors. Whether you make up questions for an author interview or you post excerpts from new releases, this can be a great way to generate some extra content for your blog that doesn’t take you a lot of writing time.

It doesn’t take a lot of time to help someone else in their endeavours to be a successful equine author. As you do so, hopefully they’ll be inclined to return the favour. Either way, it is worth setting aside a little time each week or month to encourage others.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

New Release: All Heart

The time has come.

Or, well, actually the release date for my newest novel is tomorrow. That said, I'm excited and want to share it right now!

All Heart is the sequel to my debut novel, Stay the Distance. We get all the original characters back, plus a few more. One of them is definitely a goat named Betty, which I enjoyed writing more than I thought possible. Turns out goats are incredibly fun to write.

Here's the summary:

Summer's Over.

It's been a summer of changes for July Carter, who has left the high stakes racing season at Saratoga with not only a young filly to call her own, but also an unexpected boyfriend. Change, it appears, is good.

But as the Thoroughbreds return to Belmont Park for fall races, July is caught up in all of those summer changes. With Kali struggling at her new barn, college applications to write, and her relationship with Beck frustratingly undefined, July doesn't know what to tackle first. On top of it all, her mother is back in New York to ride Lighter, the barn's most promising--if completely crazy--colt, stirring up trouble in the shedrow, which now sits mostly empty.

When Lighter goes lame during a workout, July simmers over. And when Beck decides that she might be too much for him, July finds herself staring down another change. This time, it's unwelcome. This time, her heart is on the line.

All Heart is available for pre-order right now on Amazon. Print will arrive on release day. If you want to wait and get yourself a signed print copy, I'll be at Equine Affaire in November doing three solid days of book signings. I hope I'll see you there!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Preparations and Changes

Early this morning when I was out feeding the horses, I heard squawking and calling from an unseen flock of birds just over the tree line. It was a familiar sound, but only in autumn. It was a sign that the time was indeed changing no matter how warm the weather felt. The birds knew and were gathering. My area in the Mid-Atlantic seems to be a fly-over state in the migratory path of many birds heading south. I enjoy hearing their passing calls to each other overhead and laugh at my terrier who maintains her air defense perimeter over the farm by running and barking at them. Other signs abound. The tips of some leaves are turning yellow, the corn stalks are dry and golden, the dark falls sooner and much faster, and the horses' coats have lost their sheen and are becoming fuzzy. Time speeds up for me each autumn. As if time is on a bobsled race downhill to December, I'm always a month or so behind.

This year, I'm preparing. I've decided that I will simplify my life as much as humanly possible in this era of plugged in/turned on and instead unplug. I'm avoiding Facebook (the monstrous time vampire that it is) and other social media robbers of time. I've already given up television, but now I'm going to take a hard look at all my activities and ask whether it feeds my spirit or helps others (or is necessary to sustain life...I'm not crazy). If not, it's going.  I need more time for writing and in order to write well, I need more time for reflection. That means feeding creativity with reading good books, trying new things, learning, and all the while maintaining a wonder at the world and our surroundings. Change is hard. It is sometimes exciting, sometimes stressful. I'm taking it slow. I'm slowing that accelerating bullet train that rushes to the end of the year and instead taking a leisurely stroll, hoping to see something new along the way. Care to join me?

In the spirit of change, here's the new cover of False Gods. Hope you like it. I'm working on a sequel, taking up the story from a different character's point of view. Please visit my website at www.lrtrovillion.com   and keep in touch.





Monday, September 5, 2016

B and B, New Release by Christine Meunier

by Christine

Hi everyone! As authors, it is exciting for us when things finally culminate in the release of a new book. The writing, editing, seeking feedback, cover design and other odds and ends have all come together to create a finished product.

And I have been blessed to experience that once again, quite recently. My latest release is a novel for adult readers. It is a horse based, Christian romance. Interested? Here’s the blurb for B and B:

Things are changing…
Ben likes his life at Happy Trails. As a trail guide on a property in Australia he doesn’t have to work hard to make friends. All he needs to do is make sure his clients are safe on their horses and have an enjoyable ride.
Ben can manage that. He loves that he can work with horses all day, every day. The humans are an added annoyance but he only has to deal with them in short bouts.
The new cook hired for the farm looks like she could be a complication. Ben is averse to change and he is certain her arrival means change.

Brooke knows the trial position as cook at Happy Trails is a blessing. She needs a job to support herself and her daughter – the fact that she can cook for an income is an added bonus.
If she can just avoid the interest of trail guide and jokester Jake, she’ll be fine. After all, she isn’t interested in a new male in her life. She just wants to focus on her daughter and make a future for them.

B and B is available for purchase on Kindle at Amazon. You can check it out by clicking the picture in this post. Why not add it to your Goodreads, to be read list?

What equine book release are you eagerly anticipating?