Friday, January 25, 2013

"Feature Friday-Healing Through Horses-Judy Schneider"

Howdy Folks,

Healing Through Horses
Healing Through Horses is a sanctuary of learning, growing, healing and loving. Located on a small ranch in Abiquiu New Mexico Judy Schneider LISW, offers programs dedicated to healing the human spirit through horses. Whether it be a family who is distraught due to their immense love and concern they have for their child, an adult who is at a crossroads and seeks a new path so they may live with abundance and integrity, or a teenager who is not sure what the fuss is all about and does not understand how each thought leads to a choice, which leads to the life they will create for themselves, all can find a new way at Healing Through Horses.

Understanding Eyes
Judy's trust in the healing power of the horse was formed at an early age. As a young girl she and a wonderful mare, Go-Go Girl would frolic the hills, fields and meadows together. Go-Go Girl taught Judy much about understanding one's self, communicating and loving life. Judy credit's Go-Go Girl with forging the very foundations of her life's held beliefs that horses can and will heal broken souls.

Founding Healing Through Horses, was a dream of Judy's ever since her days as a graduate student at Boston University studying to become a social worker. As a social worker she spent years counseling abused and neglected children, adoptees and their families, chronically mentally ill adults, poly-substance abusers, combat veterans and military families facing deployment, trauma and suicide. In addition, as a probation and parole officer she has worked with violent and sexual offenders. Today her dream, and Go-Go Girls teachings are a reality, and with the help of the healing spirit of horses, she is able to add a new dimension to healing and counseling.

Judy has developed a variety of programs, all centered around the healing powers of the horse's spirit. Equine Assisted Counseling, empowers children, teens adults, couples and families to overcome barriers to personal growth and development.

Judy & Madonna
Equine Assisted Coaching, strengthens those seeking to create more balance and experience new levels of personal achievement.

 Equine Retreats for Women, Offers women time for themselves to celebrate and rejuvenate their souls, connect with other like minded women and experience how horses can empower them to become the curator of their own life.

Judy also, through a collaborative effort with Horses For Heroes NM Cowboy Up! in Santa Fe, conducts an annual Woman’s Veterans Retreat, when free of charge, women Veterans can come experience the healing love of horses.

 LINKS of Interest.

Thank you Go-Go Girl for introducing Judy to your healing powers. And thank you, Judy for offering that healing to so many.

Gitty Up, 
Dutch Henry

Thursday, January 24, 2013

"What's Next for my next novel - Tom Named By Horse"

Howdy Folks,

Before I wrote "We'll Have The Summer" I wrote an historical fiction trilogy set in Lakota Sioux territory, spanning the years 1850 to 1910. The trilogy follows the lives of Tom Named By Horse, an orphan left for dead on the prairie, and Soft Cloud, a fictitious granddaughter of Red Cloud. The three novels are "Tom Named By Horse," "From The Banks Of Little Bear Creek," and "A Less Violent Trail."
They have been quietly waiting in computer-land to see if ever I would bring them to life.

"Tom Named By Horse" has been calling to me from time to time, and every now and then I visit with those old friends (and foes) and ponder the work it would take to re-write, edit and polish. Usually I just sigh, "Oh gosh this'll take work…"

I've decided to dust off "Tom Named By Horse" and set his and Soft Cloud's story free. I've already started on the re-write, (barely) and yes, my earlier instincts were right on ... Oh gosh this will take work! I wrote the original manuscript in 2006, and how I show a story has changed. And the story I want to tell, while still their story, changed a little in my heart too.

Set in a time more rugged and violent, my original telling of Soft Cloud's and Tom's story had plenty of ruggedness and its ample share of violence. Their story weaves plenty of fiction among the facts of the time, and their paths cross with a few notables. In my re-write I'll be reining in the rough stuff as much as possible and still maintain the flavor of the time.

Wonderful horses, buffalo stampedes, hard fought battles, heroes, broken treaties and shattered hearts are all part of this story.

It’s a story of courage, friendships, and extraordinary challenges. Such as Red Cloud's first request to Tom - hunt down and kill the rouge buffalo hunter who has long been terrorizing Red Cloud's people. Red Cloud allows Tom to choose one brave to accompany him. He chooses Soft Cloud.

Things get even more complicated for Tom when Red Cloud asks him to stop his own son from raiding settlers, as Red Cloud is certain this will only bring more harm to the Lakota people. Red Cloud tries for peace, but his son, Tall Dog, has very different visions. And peace is not among them.

"Tom Named By Horse" is a love story at its core. A story of young man's heart frozen by years of brutal abuse thawed by the tender touch of a young woman's spirit.

I am working now to rewrite and edit and my plan is to have "Tom Named By Horse" available for purchase by summer. I will blog from time to time about the rewrites and edits and post a few excerpts here and there, just for fun. Like this-
 EXERPT— (Page 11)   ***************
Noise from the village woke Tom from a deep sleep. He threw back the blankets and hurried outside where he was greeted by a very different sight than the night before. Everywhere people were busy doing something, building fires, cooking meat, gathering wood. Children ran through the camp yelling, laughing, chasing each other and their dogs. For as far as he could see there were lodges.

Sitting on a log, Tom was enjoying the warmth from a small fire. Then he saw her. “Hello, I am Soft Cloud. My mother told me to look after you. Are you ready for something to eat?”
Tom studied her for a few seconds, “I don’t know.”  He remembered seeing her in the lodge the night before, but in the morning sunlight she was even more beautiful. Her hair long and black, her skin dark. Not as dark as the others, but a lovely light brown color. Her large, friendly eyes a sparkling brown.

“Well I’ll just sit here then, while you get ready.”  Soft Cloud said.
“Why do you talk English?”

“Would you rather I spoke Sioux?”
“No…. no that’s not it.  I mean why would a Sioux woman know English at all ... I mean first your mother, now you. Were they your brothers last night? Do they speak English too?”

Soft Cloud giggled a little. “Yes, but not as well as I.”
Still unsettled Tom went on, “How I mean ... Why. I just can’t figure it.”

“My mother wanted it. I can even read English.”
“You can read?”
“Yes, of course, can’t you?”
Tom dropped his eyes “No, I never got taught. I only ever saw one book.” He looked back at those warm brown eyes, “Why would your mother want you to know English?”
“She understands it is important.  Have you found an appetite yet?”
Already Tom was beginning to feel at ease with Soft Cloud and it helped him to think. The peaceful surroundings of the Sioux village and the gentle company of Soft Cloud were having a strange affect on him. Somehow he felt as if he was growing wiser by the moment, and he seemed to understand things more clearly, in a way he had never experienced before. Never before did he need to organize thoughts, or plan things for a day. While this new clear headedness was frightening, it was also exciting.
Well I hope you're as excited as I am about Tom Named By Horse, and I welcome you aboard the adventure.
Gitty Up,
Dutch Henry

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

"Cold Coffee Clutch"

Howdy Folks,

Kessy's breath streamed upward around her frosted whiskers as she greeted me at the porch. A chicken pecked fruitlessly at a frozen puddle, others strutted about complaining about my slow pace. From its perch on an oak branch watched a chilly Chickadee who looked like nothing more than a gray-black ball of puffed feathers. The past two mornings have been the coldest in two years, according to the news. Of course what's really cold here in central VA is not nearly as cold as other places. Kessy and I understand it's all relative, but here yesterday's 20 was plenty cold. This morning's 12 made that seem warm! I told Kessy a friend in northern PA who told me it was 2 below there yesterday morning. She nodded.

Scattering chicken scratch, checking the heated chicken waterers, and Kessy's too, took longer than Kessy and Saturday liked. Saturday bounced and howled in his silly beagle fashion. It’s a dance he's perfected, sort of, certain those ungraceful moves and notes will get him breakfast quicker. It doesn't. Kessy followed my every step, occasionally offering a stomp of a hoof or a well timed snort. You see I've got a few things to tend to each morning before we pull up the Coffee Clutch chair and crack open the thermos, and though the routine almost never varies, Saturday and Kessy try every day to hurry me.
Finally the chickens were feed and watered, Kessy's hay bag, filled and her bedroom straightened up. Saturday has inhaled his breakfast, and Kessy's had her 4 ounces of grain. Ready for coffee.

This morning I strategically position my chair in the corner, to be behind Kessy and out of the wind which seemed to be building. Should have worn my earmuffs. My gloved hands hurried to open the thermos and pour that all important first cup of black gargle. Steam rose from the thermos like smoke from a fire. Saturday huddled behind me. Where are Tigger and Miss. Kitty you might be wondering?  They both had stopped at the door and never made it outside when the saw the steam raising from Kessy's breath. Kind of fair weather Coffee Clutchers, they are.

Mr. Chickadee, I noticed as I sipped, had been joined by several Doves and a small herd of Juncos, and they had taken possession of the West end of the chicken feeding station. A few squirrels joined them, too. Half the chickens strolled into the barn, a few joined Saturday and me behind Kessy. We were a cozy group. Kessy munched, I sipped, Saturday dug deep in the hay, and the chickens pecked, scratched and clucked all around Kessy's feet. Until Kessy, with her ear pinned head toss, invited them to leave. A Nuthatch called in the woods. A faint train whistle drifted in.

Most of the weekend's snow was already gone. Kessy and I had enjoyed riding in it Saturday and Sunday, but it had been near 50 then. Our forecast calls for a few days of this 20 to 30 degree business so I reckon we'll get used to it. Ah the seasons of Coffee Clutch. Won't be long until we are hanging the hummingbird feeders. And Phoebes start new nests in the barn.

Gitty Up
Dutch Henry

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

"The Story About The Middle of We'll Have The Summer"

Howdy Folks,

Yesterday's post,"Writing with an Outline and other stuff" generated a lot of comments and questions over on Facebook. One in particular, about the "middle" of the story, made me remember a time when my publisher, Camel Press, was editing "We'll Have The Summer" that is equal parts funny, stressful and informative.

Early on in the editing process my agent, Dawn Dowdle, sent an email to the publisher, advising them to pay close attention to the song lyrics when they get to them, she's not sure what to do about them. And she copied me of course. So did the publisher with their response which went something like this, "What song lyrics? There can be no song lyrics in a novel without written approval."
To which I responded, "I checked with an attorney who advised you cannot copyright titles or part lyrics." Publisher responded that they don't believe that's true about song lyrics and wasn't interested in spending the money to prove it to ABBA. Was I?

Now here I must explain my original story had Mary and Comanche performing their musical freestyle to ABBA's "Dancing Queen."  I love ABBA always have and will, Dancing Queen is a great song, and years earlier, my Spotted Saddle Horse, Diablo and I had put together a routine to it. While our efforts never really got there, Diablo and I had enjoyed many happy hours practicing to speakers blaring what may well be ABBA's best song. Comanche being a paint, and that song had both been a hat tip to the finest horse I'd ever known.

So in my attempt to save it I responded, "I thought we were past this anyway when you agreed to publish We'll Have The Summer, I figured you'd read it and since you never mentioned it I assumed we were okay."

Now Camel's response is the purpose of me retelling this little adventure ... About the "middle of the story" question/comment … My editor's response was both a disappointment and a wonderful compliment. She wrote, "I did not need to read your entire manuscript to know I loved, it and wanted to publish it. I only need to read the first quarter to know that the "middle" and end would hold up. Knowing that I'll be reading and editing the entire novel later, I only read entire submissions if I suspect they might not. I know yours will. Now loose those lyrics." The lyrics don't appear until the second half of mt novel so of course she'd not seen them.

Well the compliment had me walking on air, but loosing the lyrics made me very sad. Because taking them out not only meant rewriting, a lot, but, here is something else you can't know without reading this post ... Dancing Queen had been a running thread throughout the novel. We lost a few tender moments when Sam teased Mary about a country gal loving that citified song. "Never will understand it," he would say.

But to my rescue came Mary Ann Kennedy who offered her song, "Born To ride," which suits Mary just perfectly. The lyrics fit Mary almost as if Mary Ann had written her song for Mary and Comanche. I had to tweak some of the choreography, but it actually fits Mary very well. So like they say, things happen for a reason. You can check out all Mary Ann's wonderful music here -

I did keep one reference in though, to Dancing Queen, and the big yellow disco ball in the fireworks. So if you've read We'll Have The Summer and wondered about the fireworks and that one reference, now you know why.

Gitty Up,
Dutch Henry

Monday, January 21, 2013

"Writing with an Outline and other stuff"

Howdy Folks,
I was talking with a friend the other day and she asked me if I used an outline when I wrote a novel. I don't. She wondered how I kept on track. I told her, "I don't know, I just write." Some authors create detailed outlines from start to finish, before they write their opening paragraph. One of my favorite authors, Tony Hillerman said he wrote partial outlines. He'd outline where he wanted the story to go for a few chapters, write those chapters than do another short outline. But he wrote mysteries. I wonder if that makes a difference?

Did you know I'd queried Mr. Hillerman for my first novel, "Tom Named By Horse?" He was not only an author, but a literary agent too. Some agents never respond, others use a form letter rejection, and a few will offer advice. Mr. Hillerman was the latter, and while his advice was brief, it was very helpful and I think changed totally how I write. Sadly he had passed away by the time "We'll Have The Summer" was ready to query. In a small way Anaba in my novel, is a hat tip to Mr. Hillerman. Anaba would have been in the story regardless, but I gave extra care in my writing those scenes, for Mr. Hillerman.

How do I keep track without an outline? Before I write a novel, or a short story, or an article for a magazine I have in mind the theme, the color, the emotions of the story. And the beginning, middle and end. Short stories and articles can be tough to get the flow and cadence just right because they are, well, short. I ponder just what I want to cover, and the pace, then write. I read over what I wrote as I go, and even do a lot of my editing as I write the first draft. Most folks advise against that, but it feels best for me.

For a novel, I do the same thing. I know the feeling of the story. I know the beginning, middle and end. I see the whole story much like you see a movie in your mind after you've watched it. Or a book after you've read it.

I know the main characters at the beginning, others will come along, and I start writing. Some authors make character lists of each character, height, weight, eyes and hair colors. How they speak and entire bios. I've never done that. I'm afraid it will be too technical for me, too structured. But I do see how it could be helpful. So you might want to give it a try.

So I just start writing. Then what? When I'm on a novel in serious mode, I write 1 to 2,000 words a day. I don't write every day. As I said I do a lot of review and thinking as I go. Since I type holding a pencil, one letter at a time, 20 words or less a minute, my mind has plenty of time to review. (You're supposed to chuckle there.) When I start the next day, I read everything I wrote the previous day. It gives me my launch for the day. A little helpful hint, when you read and review, read out loud, as if you're reading to someone. If you stumble over a word or sentence, so will your reader.

Funny thing about me and writing, I can leave a novel lay, pick it up, read the last few pages I've written and be right back in it, on track, on story.

So whatever your fancy, outline or not, character bios or just writing from your heart, it's what works for you that's best.

Gitty Up
Dutch Henry