Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Getting it Right: Horses and Tack

Greetings folks,
This is the landing page where you can find all the wonderful, handy links from the Indies Unlimited post "Getting it Right, Horses and Tack." I hope you will use them in your writing to help better create a realistic equestrian situation for your characters. If you have any questions, please leave a reply post and I'll endeavor to assist you. I've done my best to ensure these links are live, but once in a while things change and the links may go dead. But don't give up, use my subject heading and Google it, you might even find better stuff than me!

So, without further adieu, here's the links:


General English riding tack: (Hunting/ Jumping/ Equitation)

Horse bits: (in general—and a great site for loads of other goodies!)


Gaited horses:


Mexican Vaquero: (Charro)

Iberian: (Andalusian, bull fighting, baroque style riding)

Medieval tack/info:

Basic training: (starting a horse under saddle)


Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) World-wide governing body for equestrian sport

The US Equestrian Federation (governing body for Olympic level sport)

US Dressage Federation.

3 Day Eventing:



Rodeo: (a “catch all” page)

Endurance Riding:

Basic horse care:

Horse breeds:

General: (a great site for basic breed info!)

Thoroughbreds (racing):


Quarter Horses:

Friesians: (commonly thought of as the “perfect” medieval horse for jousting—although they did little of it)

Pinto horses: (yes, there is a difference between pintos and paints!)

Paint Horses:

American Saddlebred: (the peacock of the show ring)

Sport Equipment:

Stadium Jumping: (use this site to get familiar with types of jumps used in stadium jumping)

Cross country jumping: (use this site to get familiar with cross country—eventing jumps)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Getting to "Noe" you

Today, friends, I have a special treat. As you may know, along with being a farmer, novelist, and blogger, I have aspirations of seeing my work on the silver screen. I mean come on, who wouldn't want to see their characters larger than life, up there for the world to see? So I have begun my journey to find a way into that mystical world called Hollywood. Has it been easy? Heck no! But I have learned a lot from those who have taken the time to mentor me. And below, you’ll meet one such person, Daniel Noe. We connected on Facebook, and besides being friends, he’s been kind enough to help get me on the right path to getting my scripts in front of folks who might be able to make them happen. So sit back, relax, perhaps grab a pen and take some notes, because he’s a really neat person!
Daniel Noe, of Minority Pictures, LLC, has been in the business over 30 years. He’s spent six of that running his own company and another 24 in various “ATL” and “BTL” positions (these are industry terms for budget. “Above The Line” refers to Producers, Director, and Lead talent.  “Below The Line” refers to the various pre-production/production departments and post-production).
I asked him if I could interview him for both my blog and the IU blog, he readily agreed. I typed up 10 questions that I thought would-be screenwriting authors might like to know. Yes, my inquiry mind wanted to know too!

KR: What was the reason you decided to get into film?
DN: It is something I have always wanted to do.  I have not been involved my entire life, but when it is in you, it draws you in eventually.
KR: What is the main function of a producer? 
DN: A broad question. Producers have varying capacities, but at the core, a producer is a person who affects results through action. My take is a producer is a facilitator by function, whether it involves finance, production, post-production, distribution, or in any area related to the project.
KR: What are the basic steps to making a movie? 
DN: Write or buy a script, develop it into a marketable package, prepare for physical production, produce the product, assemble the product in post-production.
KR: Can you explain “packaging” a deal in regards to the writer’s portion? 
DN: The writer’s sole concern is to present a marketable, “calling card” script.  Don’t be concerned with any numbers, with the exception of page counts. A writer can option, outright sell the IP, (Intellectual Property), and even deal memo(an agreement/contract), to do re-writes, if it is offered.  Normally, the writer is paid off, given credit, and then another writing team is deal memo’ed to do the re-writes.
KR: What is your best advice for getting noticed in the industry? 
DN: Be your creative self, practice, practice, practice your discipline, respect the business model, develop lasting relationships (personal/business), and stay patient and passionate.
KR: If someone wants to adapt their novel to a screenplay, what are some resources they can use? 
DN: Plenty of screenplay writing software programs out there, so anyone can cherry pick one to fit their immediate needs. I recommend Final Draft 8, or if one needs to go on the cheap, ask a friend with the program for the margins, headers, tab, and indentation numbers, then create a template with a word writing program that converts to pdf.
KR: If you were to tell an author one good piece of advice about screenwriting, what would it be? 
DN: Get a copy of Lew Hunter’s Screenwriting 434 (ISBN: 0-399-51838-X). Put your best foot forward!

BTW: I’m about half way through the book, and it has some really great, thought-provoking information.

KR: Should a writer get lucky enough to get a screenplay optioned, what can they expect?
DN: Another broad question.  I will answer with a “newbie” hypothesis.  A new writer, if the script is in demand, should broker for the normal option rate and terms, broker a cheaper than WGA page count rate, and not even worry about a re-write contract. The idea is to get and keep the foot in the door.
KR: What are your feelings about SAG (Screen Actors Guild) and WGA (Writers Guild of America)?
DN: Necessary and engage them as a friend!
KR: And your feelings toward independent productions? 
DN: Absolutely love them. Limitation is the enemy of art!

Nowadays there are increasing opportunities for authors to get their books made into movies. The internet, movies on demand, independent production companies, and large production companies are all looking for new ideas. If you are willing to put forth the effort, you can try and write the screenplay yourself. Otherwise, your job is to find a person in the industry that will champion your book and get it in front of producers and directors. It’s not easy getting that champion, but once you do, always remember to be professional and meet any deadlines. Writers are a dime a dozen in Hollywood, your goal is to outshine all of those and make a name for yourself. If you truly dream of seeing your book on the silver screen, it’s time to get cracking and make it happen!

You can check out Daniel’s blog on:
And you can connect with him professionally:

Until next time, my creatively obsessed friends,


Other recommended books:
How not to write a screenplay ISBN: 1-58065-015-5 (have not read this one yet, but it was recommended by my “script Doctor”)
Screenplay ISBN: 978-0-385-33903-2 (the absolute go-to book)
Making a good script great ISBN 978-935247-01-2
How to adapt anything into a screenplay ISBN: 0-471-22545-2
The screenwriter’s bible ISBN: 978-1-935247-02-9 (an AWESOME book!)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What Pigs Can Teach Us

OK, I know the title sounds a bit silly, and this post might seem a bit tongue-in-cheek, but there is some merit to it. So stay with me. I'm going to tell you about my adventure in pig ownership.

Back in October, we were at Flea Land- the local flea market. This place is cool. You can buy just about everything: clothes, cast iron cookware, pictures, car parts, guns, jams and jellies, depression era glass, dogs, cats, and even livestock.

Something possessed me that day. My dear hubby will dispute if I was even in my right mind. But as we were leaving, I saw some kids with piglets. Oh, they were sssssssooooooo cute! (The pigs, not the kids) Did I know a darn thing about pigs? Nope! But I wanted one. Mind you, I'm not an impulse buyer. I tend to research, weigh various products, and then make as sound of a decision as I can based on the facts. Not that day. I saw this cute little piggy and had to have him.

Against much protesting from my hubby, I whipped out $30 and bought my little Vietnamese Potbelly piglet. He was so small I could slide him into the big front pocket of a hoodie. We still had some shopping in town to do, so I had to be creative with the little guy. I hadn't thought of a name for him, and when we went to Tractor Supply, I brought him in. One of the girls there fell in love with him, so I asked her what should I call him? She gave him some cuddles and fussed over him, then pronounced him Sherman. I was cool with that name. So Sherman came home.

The first few weeks, he slept a lot. His home is the guest bathroom. He has a cozy cat bed, litter box, and plenty of space to run around. Life is good for the little porker. I soon realized having a piglet was like having a child. Pigs are very intelligent- far too smart for their less-than-attractive bodies. Sherman soon figured out how to push my buttons. If he wanted something and I could not immediately give it to him, he broke into a raucous outpouring of evil sounds. Hence he was christened the Demon Pig. And if he was bored, he started destroying things. Not cool. My vanity in that bathroom has some serious chew marks.

I bought a pig book off Amazon and read it immediately on arrival. I didn't realize what I'd gotten myself into. Yes, pigs are a lot of work. Sherman has his redeeming qualities- he's got a good sense of humor and a work ethic that would impress most bosses. I had to teach him tricks! I needed to get that 3rd grade mind of his engaged in something to keep him happy. And so far, that has worked, he hasn't destroyed anything lately.

Wellie, my Pitbull mix, was a good playmate. As Sherman has grown up, they aren't such good friends anymore, but in the beginning, they were a great source of amusement. There were times I got very little writing done in favor of watching them play. Now Sherman is over 40 pounds and thinks he's the king of the house. The dogs aren't taking kindly to that. We have occasional scuffles when he pushes his limits with the dogs. And he can be darned pig-headed when he doesn't want to do something.

So what can this pleasantly plump porker teach us? Well, he can teach you about determination. If he wants something, he won't give up until he either has it, or has exhausted himself trying. He uses his brain all the time, and it amazes me how he learns so fast. I can teach him a new trick every 3-4 days, and he remembers every trick I've taught him. Most of us humans don't have memory recall like that! Despite pigs having poor eyesight, this guy won't miss a morsel of dropped food. And just like a human child, he needs love, belly scratches, and playtime. 

There have been a few times I've regretted my impulse buy of a pig, but for the most part, he's brought me joy, and a definite sense of responsibility for an animal so intelligent. I look forward to teaching him more tricks. So far, he knows nearly a dozen individual tricks- more than all our dogs combined. 

Here are some things to consider before bringing home a pig:

1. Potbellies can get from 90-200 pounds. If you don't want the furniture in your house rearranged, don't get a pig.
2. Their little snouts are cold, wet, and extremely tough. They can tear up a lawn in no time. And don't think carpet is immune to their attentions!
3. Pigs are 4-legged porcine poop-producing, methane making machines. If you can't stand poop or farts, don't get a pig.
4. Pigs need outdoor time- make sure they have a safe place to play. Preferably not on the good lawn!
5. Pigs can live up to 18+ years. They are part of the family.
6. Pigs eat a lot! And as they grow, they shed their skin and are constantly itchy. My coffee table in the living room will never be the same.
7. Don't expect them to be perfectly potty trained- they are livestock. Pigs are inherently neat animals, but accidents happen.
8. Pigs crave attention. Make sure you have enough time in your day for them.

Well, that's about all, my creatively obsessed friends. Next blog I hope to have a guest- a really cool one!


P.S.- you can see Sherman's antics on my YouTube channel:

Thursday, January 3, 2013

I'm cheating today

OK, I wrote this for another blog site, but it's good info, so I'm going to post the link. Indies Unlimited is a great place for authors to find information about the writing and publishing world. I feel honored to have been asked to be a contributing member of staff. No, don't get paid, but I do get to hang out with some pretty awesome folks.

So please, without further adieu, here's my post for IU:

Until next time, my creatively obsessed friends,


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Next Big Thing Blog

Holy cow, I almost blew it! Oh, maybe I did. Well, better to be late than never. My good buddy, Blaze McRob talked me into doing this Next Big Thing blog post. It's supposed to be part of a series from various authors in various genres. What the heck, I said, I'll give it a try. You are given a set of 10 questions about a recently released book or a current work in progress. I decided on The Hall, since it was my newest release, and I'm kind of in between things right now.

So, without further adieu, here are the 10 questions and my answers below. 

1) What is the working title of your next book? (or it can be your latest release):
My most recent book release was “The Hall,” about a wealthy Memphis book publisher buys an old castle-like mansion and ends up doing battle with a love-struck ghost he doesn’t believe exists.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
I lived in Memphis for a little while and used to pass Ashlar Hall on the way to work. I always thought it would make a great setting for a horror novel.

3) What genre does your book fall under?
Supernatural thriller/horror

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Oh God, you had to ask that one! I guess for the lead of Marcus Bishop, my heart would lean toward Karl Urban. Despite being a Kiwi, he’s got just the right look and personality for the part. And after seeing him in RED and Star Trek, I know he can lose the accent. Not to mention he looks dashing in a suit!

As for Prince Mongo, he can play himself- no one could do it any better! 

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A man’s home is his castle, or could it be his crypt?

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
100% self-published. I only employed my editor and an artist to do some work for me.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
About 6 months.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I'm not exactly sure. It really is a very different kind of book, and I’m proud of that.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Ashlar Hall which is located at the juncture of Lamar and Central Avenues in Memphis. The old building is built like a castle. It even has gargoyles jutting from the roof.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
It is unique in that there are several threads in the story, and I also have Prince Mongo, who is a very REAL person involved. I asked permission to use him as a character, and he gladly agreed. Each chapter I wrote, I sent to him for approval. He was extremely pleased with the finished product and how his character came across. The Prince is a fantastic person all on his own, and it has been a real pleasure to work with him. 

Right, I've said my peace, and I hoped you enjoyed the glimpse into my contorted little mind.

Until next time, my creatively obsessed friends,


 The North Porch
 Inspiration for Khyripzhus

 Prince Mongo, the one and only!

You can find The Hall at the following links:

(Smashwords supports ALL ereader platforms!)


Sunday, December 9, 2012

How "Breaking Bad" made me a better writer

This post originally appeared on Indies Unlimited website.


As I’ve said before, I live in the middle of nowhere. We don’t even have cable TV. In order to get any TV, you need satellite. Well, our phone company about a year or so ago promised us we would have cable this year (2012). Umm, yeah, didn’t happen. So, since we have lovely DSL internet, we decided to do Netflix.
I normally don’t like shows like Breaking Bad, it’s not my normal viewing fare. My hubby got me into watching it—we watch 1 episode every morning as we eat breakfast. At first I didn’t like it, it was drama, drug-related, and in general, rather crude. But something happened after the first few episodes: I found myself looking forward to the next episode. Why? Suspense.
Each episode starts with a short trailer before the credits. You get a glimpse of things to come. My writer’s mind immediately clicked into this teaser. I wanted to solve the mystery of the trailer. And you know what? Those wonderfully sneaky writers usually threw me for a loop. I became intrigued. I wanted to watch more. Breaking Bad became my writer’s meth. I was addicted. I had to find out what happened to Walt and Jesse.
How did this make me a better writer? I began to understand how they manipulated time and scenes to increase the level of tension. Most episodes ended with a “cliff hanger,” making you tune in to see what happens. There are so many “that was close” moments, and “wow, those guys are idiots, and somehow they lucked out.” You can’t help but get tangled up in the story. Even the little things like Walt being related to a DEA agent (by marriage) adds to the tension of the story. Will Hank catch him? Can Walt pull this off?
My current WIP is a contemporary romance. It centers around a horse racing dynasty in the Lexington, KY area. As I re-read my initial draft, I realized there wasn’t enough drama. Not enough “OMG” situations that readers would get sucked into. There had to be more to the story. Despite it being a romance, there needed to be a serious ramping up of the events in the book. Horse racing is a dangerous business; I needed to make that more of a part of the story. The characters needed to better understand the consequences of their choices.
We’ve just finished season 2 of Breaking Bad, and I finally got to see how the charred pink teddy bear ended up in Walt’s pool. Oh, that was driving me crazy! And how it got there was a total shock—nope, didn’t see that coming. The writers have skillfully woven the characters together and events that change their lives.
I don’t consider myself a TV junkie, but this show has taught me some of the finer points of building tension, creating chaos, and bringing characters to the brink and back all while comfortably seated on my sofa. Now I need to apply what I’ve learned and fix up this romance so it will be like riding a wild race horse down the home stretch in a huge stakes race. I want you to wince, squirm, and cheer for the characters. And of course, I want a happy ending!

Until next time my creatively obsessed friends,