PictureTrail ride at Caesar Ford Park, Sunday, October 20, 2019.

If the past several years are indicative, the last quarter of the year can be characterized by a slowdown in freelance business. This year appears no different. Theoretically, that ought to leave me more time for personal projects. That, of course, means I have less to complain about, which leaves me at a loss for blog topics. Therefore, you’ll get more of a mishmash than focused articles posted every week. Lucky you.

Work in progress: I am committed to finishing a fifth book this year, tentatively titled Hogtied. It brings together a big, badass retired Marine who’s living the biker life and a new college graduate who’s lived all her life on the farm: cowgirl meets biker. Look for that to come out either the last week of December or the first week of January. It’s not even close to being finished, so I need to get my rear end in gear.

Speaking of works in progress, Diva is making visible progress. Visiting with her and her trainer, Maine Fout, Diva is now longing (not “lunging,” that’s different) in both directions at all three gaits and without fuss. Hurrah! Going clockwise produces more anxiety than counter-clockwise, but the progress makes me confident that I’ll have a good trail horse to ride next spring.

If you’re looking for a trainer for a young horse or a mature, “problem” horse, look up Maine Fout in Defiance, Ohio. She’s no-nonsense and insightful: an excellent trainer if you want a good “using” horse. The fiery chestnut in her Facebook cover photo is Diva. And if you’re looking for a been there-done that, all-purpose horse, the 18-year old, registered, black Quarter Horse mare she’s selling is a great buy at $1200, even with the calcified knee.

Time away from the computer: My good friend Cindra keeps two horses, so she can invite a friend to ride with her, even if that friend doesn’t have a horse. I have two horses, neither of which is suitable: the lovely Lady Anastasia who, at 34 years old, is retired and Diva, aka “the monster,” who lives 100 miles away with a trainer. Most weekends this summer, I have ridden Cindra’s steady, practically bombproof gelding Henry (see photo).

I’ve developed a habit of shutting down the computer on Friday and not turning it back on until Monday morning. Despite knowing that business opportunities are posted over the weekend, this break from being constantly connected lets my brain relax.

Update on the latest release: Since its release on October 1, Satin Boots has acquired three reader reviews. I’m impressed, even if you’re not. The first review came from my mother, who left a 5-star review without comment on Goodreads. Since Mom generally doesn’t like the stories I write, this warmed the cockles of my cold, hard heart. (Fantasy and paranormal romances just aren’t to her taste.) My editor, Cindy Draughon, also posted a review on Amazon. No, I didn’t request that she do so, so her initiative in leaving another 5-star review blew me away. Warm fuzzies all around, folks. Next, erotic romance author Dee S. Knight posted another 5-star review. Wow! To get such a glowing review from a fellow author just makes my heart go pitter-patter. Her review also shows that even writers of explicit content don’t always wallow in explicit content: they take breaks and read other stuff, too.

I’ve written at length about the value of critical–even negative–reviews. They point out deficiencies that help one improve one’s writing. However, positive reviews such as those received thus far for Satin Boots provide the validation and encouragement authors need to keep writing.

Of course, thanks go to Russ Towne, for nudging me to write in the western genre. I think I may have found a new niche in which to dabble.