Published in Practical Horseman!

I received my February issue of Practical Horseman in the mail yesterday and flipped directly to the very last page where the My Life column is housed.  And there it was!  My article!  Published in Practical Horseman!  To say I was thrilled would be an understatement.  To be honest, I dont know who was more excited  me or my son, Brian, who was pictured in the photo with me.  The poor kid honestly believes he is going to be famous now.  I didnt have the heart to tell him that no one he knows will likely ever see this magazine article, unless their parents happen to be serious English riders.  My ever-supportive husband promptly ran out and bought a rustic wood frame (reminiscent of a barn door) that fit the page perfectly.  The article now hangs in my home office as a token of one goal accomplished.  Although there are many other goals yet to be fulfilled (as documented in my article), this little piece of success is a solid step in the direction in my writing and publishing journey.  So Im taking a moment today just to be happy.  After all, these moments on the long and lonely road of writing are few and far between.

On the riding front, stay tuned to my blog for news on our big move to the new barn.  Hint:  the new barn is unheated which is not fun during the polar vortex in Michigan!  But lots of changes (hopefully good ones) are happening in the horse arena.

Until then Happy Writing and Happy Riding!

My Goals for 2014 Year of the Horse

Happy New Year!  I know this is going to be a good year because 2014 is the Year of the Horse, after all.  I love the feeling of a fresh start that comes with a new year.  I know a lot of people do not like New Years resolutions, but I am not one of those people!  I love reviewing my goals from the previous year and seeing which ones I accomplished, which ones I still need to achieve, and which ones Ive decided (for one reason or another) are no longer important to me.  Setting goals keeps me focused and provides stepping-stones to fulfilling my dreams.  In the words of Yogi Berra, If you dont know where you are going, youll end up someplace else.  Wise words, indeed.

Ill spare you my personal goals, but Ill share a few of my writing and riding goals from 2013.  Lets see how I fared:

1.  Write 12 fully polished picture book manuscripts

I did this one!  Thanks in large part to my participation in Julie Hedlunds 12 x 12 challenge and with a lot of input from my critique groups.

2.  Get a picture book published

I did this one too!  HORSE FLOWERS was published as an eBook for the MeeGenius App in July 2013.  I also have my picture book, HENRIETTAS HOOF POLISH, under contract with Guardian Angel Publishing.  It should be available in both print and eBook form sometime in 2014.  I cant wait to see what the illustrations will look like!

3.  Find an agent to represent me

I did not achieve this goal in 2013.  I submitted many, many manuscripts to agents who seemed to be good fits for my work.  I must admit, I gave up on this goal a little too easily.  When I did not hear back from anyone (other than form letters) after my first round of submissions, I started focusing more of my energy into writing my YA novel.  Ill continue to pursue this goal in 2014.

4.  Lease a horse

I am so thankful that I was able to achieve this goal in 2013.  I half-leased a beautiful and athletic mare named Edoras for two months in May and June.  After she was sold, I began half-leasing my current buddy, Louie, in October.  Being able to ride three times a week while also being a stay-at-home mom to my two young kids is a juggling act, but a privilege that I dont take for granted.

5.  Compete in at least two horse shows

Well, I achieved half of this one.  I competed in one horse show in 2013 with Edoras and it was such a tremendous learning experience.  We placed in almost all of our classes, so I was very happy about that.

Hey, 3 1/2 out of 5 aint bad!  I also accomplished a few other goals that werent on my list, like getting published in two magazines (PKAs Advocate and Practical Horseman), coming in third place in Susanna Leonard Hills 3rd Annual Holiday Writing Contest, and being selected as an alternate for the United States Equestrian Team. Just kidding on that last one. I wanted to see if anyone was still paying attention. All in all, 2013 was a really good year for me.

Now moving on to my goals for the new year.  When thinking about my goals, I followed another wise piece of advice:  Your goals should be just out of reach, but not out of sight. Denis Waitley.  So with that in mind, here are my writing and riding goals for 2014:

1.  Finish writing and revising my YA novel

2.  Get my YA novel published or represented by an agent

3.  Join a YA critique group

4.  Attend at least two writing workshops and/or seminars

5.  Get another picture book published or represented

6.  Continue to develop my author platform by increasing my blog, twitter, and author Facebook page following

7.  Enter at least one writing contest

8.  Continue half-leasing a horse (preferably Louie!)

9.  Compete in at least two horse shows

10.  Win a blue ribbon

I am purposefully keeping my goals somewhat broad.  Of course, I also have very specific things Id like to work on in both my writing and riding.  For example, Id like to learn how to better write believable characters from different points of view.  In riding, I am working on riding from leg to hand and keeping my shoulders back.  But for me, the purpose of my New Years goals are broader objectives that all of the smaller steps help me to achieve.

What about you?  Did you achieve last years goals?  Did you set any writing or riding goals for the new year?  Id love to hear about them!

Until next time, happy writing and riding in 2014 (The Year of the Horse!)