Saturday, June 15, 2019

In the Story: Meet the Real Noble Guardian 

So I'm often asked as an author, where did the idea for the book come from? For most of my books, I can tell you exactly what set off the creative process that led to a finished novel. Noble Guardian is the exception to that rule. 

I was in a real writer's block. Something I've rarely experienced over the years of writing. But this time I was stuck. Twice a year, I go on a writer's retreat with a group of authors. We like to rent a B&B and have the run of the place for a four day weekend and write and wine it. Well this one was coming up and I honestly had no idea what I was going to work on. I felt void of any creativity. As it neared the date to leave I had a visual flash of Allison and her old ranch. I could see her and see the grounds around her, dry, dusty, and old. I felt her pain and longing and knew a story had arrived. It literally landed on my head and held on as if it had talons. I had no choice but to write this book or have a bad headache forever. 

I wrote Noble Guardian in about thirty days. That's record time for me. Of course did some editing afterwards to shorten it, but it still flowed out of my brain like melted snow bursting through an ice dam.  It was an amazing experience.  

So who is Noble Guardian and how did that tie into my young character, Allison Nethers, life? I knew the story would have a horse in it. It had to because the ranch I was seeing had a lot of similarities to the one where I keep my horses. 

As I wrote the book, the horse I describe is actually Zorro. The coloring and his style. But I had no title for the book, nor did I have a decent name for the horse. I happened to be at the barn chit chatting with other horse owners. Alvaro (Alvero) was standing in the aisle listening as we talked. Alvaro's owner, Jen, said I should call it Noble Guardian because the story I was describing sounded like his life story. 

Alvaro (Noble Guardian) was very interested in what I was saying, he stepped very close to me to listen. We tease him at the barn, he likes to coffee clutch. So that's where the title came from but I will tell you, Alvaro was more than thrilled to hear I was writing this story about him. 

Alvaro turns 18 this year and has a long illustrious career in showing. Jen shows him in Hunter classes. He's a beautiful copper colored Thoroughbred with a heart of gold. He does have his quirks. For example, he's terrified of donkeys. If he hears one hee-haw, he's a goner. 

We were at a horseshow when someone had brought their donkey for a fund raiser. The donkey started making noise. Jen and I turned to see Alvaro's response. He was standing there frozen with white eyes. Jen had to pull him from the show. He told an animal communicator that he had been beaten up by a donkey once and is terrified of them.  Whatever happened, a donkey will stop Noble Guardian dead in his tracks. 

I love this! Jen's truck. She spells his name with an "e" I spell it with an "a." 

At one of the horseshows, Alvaro got a nosebleed. Now a horse has a big nose. Jen described it as looking like a crime scene. Blood everywhere. Others came to help and Jen remembers Alvaro snorted and sent a giant blood clot flying through the air and it landed on someone. Jen didn't know who. I found the story so funny, I wrote that scene in the Kyle's story, the fourth book of the series, Noble Heart

Noble Guardian training

 Walking the course before the competition.

Noble Guardian has quite a history. He was stolen once but with persistent and a little detective work, they were able to find him and bring him home. 

Job well done!

Friday, May 31, 2019

In the story: Riding out of the Ring! 
In the story, Allison and James William take his show horses out of the arena for a trail ride but it doesn't go well for JW. 
I got the idea from my own experience when I took two of my horses, Zorro and Corey, on a field trip where there were no fences, no rings, no indoor. Zorro is in the red and Corey is in the blue, such beautiful animals. Zorro was so excited he became a megalodon horse, if there were such a thing. Usually, when I ride with him, I use leg, a lot of it. When out in this environment, I learned NO LEG! 
Some horses can go from ring to trail without a problem, some horses cannot. Some riders cannot as well. This was a whole new experience for me. Going up hills and down, trotting over an open field, and through the open sand. Once when trying to trot a large circle, Zorro broke into a canter. My trainer was screaming at me to halt him, but I'll tell you, I did it slowly. It was a lovely canter and I was having a blast. I loved it. At no time did I feel frightened. Boy, did I learn NO LEG! So did James William…

In the story: The Cars They Drove in 1960!

Hey, look at these cool cars! I've never been to a car show, but it was fun seeing these cars. In the book, Noble Guardian, placed in 1960, the characters drove cars just like these. Hot shot, rich boyfriend, James William Kingswell, drives this so very cool, red, convertible Thunderbird! Yeah, right out of the movie, American Graffiti. Except this one is red. I don't think it was for sale, but the sign on the window said, "Look, Don't touch!" So, I didn't. But I took pictures seeing handsome JW in that car driving between the pages of my book. 

Allison Nethers, the heroine of Noble Guardian drives a fourteen year old 1948 Thriftmaster truck, similar to these pictures. She's been driving since she was fourteen. She can barely reach the pedals but she's thrilled to have wheels. 

Allison's rebellious brother, Kyle, disappeared for four years, in 1956 on a 1931 Indian 101 Scout, given to him by his grandfather. 

When he returns, he does it in style on a brand new 1960, Harley. 

James William's older brother BJ, Bobby Jay Kingswell, drives a fancy, new, red and black Cadillac convertible. 

 Dr. Stuart Nethers drives a four door 1959 Ford Fairlane Country Squire as a family car. 

 His vet truck was a plain black 1958 Apache Chevrolet Paneled truck.
Since the Nethers are visited by the police, I had to add a picture of the 1960's cop car. "Car 54 where are you?" Opps, dating myself. 

I'm not an expert on automobiles, years, and makes, so did the best I could to find the right pictures. Hope you enjoyed a tour of the old days with me!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

In the Story: 1960's fashions

Oh the clothes they wore. Now, I grew up during this era and have worn most of what my characters wear in the book.  
 It wouldn't be the 60's without Fuzzy Wuzzy! These slippers were warm and comfortable and we wore them all day long when lounging. Allison has her first pair and though hot shot James William, thinks they look like dead animals on her feet, she loves them and wears them with pride.
We had many different style of pajamas with cutesy names like jamorettes and later came the baby dolls. Allison has several pair of jamorettes in the story.  And we all had the infamous "quilted" housecoat. It came in many colors with ribbons around the neck and sometimes the waist. 

 Allison wears several different pair of jeans in the story. Here are some of the styles at the time. I have to admit, I lived in pedal pushers for an entire summer. I think I had a green pair and a orange pair. I became known as the pedal pusher kid in the neighborhood. In today's terms, I'd call them capris.
When Allison starts seeing the rich kid across the street, might as well have been across the tracks, their worlds were so different, she sees him dressed in the latest fashions. In the story, I dress James William in the Blazer sweater shirts several times. He looked so good in them. Lol 

When Allison drove past the country club and noticed how the girls were dressed, she saw a lot of crinolines.  And the boys were all in preppy sweaters. 
When James William convinces Allison to stop training and go swimming, he was dressed in the latest fad for boys, cabana sets. 
So she decided to go to his house to swim but made sure she looked her best. What do you think? As I described her outfit in the book, this picture was my guide. I think you'd agree, she looked terrific! 
In the story, when Allison's father gets married to the very fashionable Rachel, this is the dress she wore. And the dress was awesome on her.
Christmas Eve night, Allison was dressed for church in a very emotional scene with her father. She notes her dress and how she stood in the cold, falling snow, allowing it to get wet. This is what I had envisioned when I dressed her for that night.  The black and white dress below was Rachel's.

For the first day of school, Allison dressed in a corduroy jumper dress (#2) but hers was pink. It was quite popular at the time but also coming into vogue was the Jackie Kennedy look, long, slender, and elegant. She wore the corduroy the first day and regretted her choice, feeling a little young when compared to some of the country club girls.  Especially the girl who liked James William. 
 In the story, Allison gives her brother a transistor radio, which to her chagrin plays country music constantly. She regrets giving him that and wishes she had given him socks. Regardless, these transistor radios were the rage and her describing it as being so small to fit into the palm of her hand is true. I had one. It was blue. 
In the story, Allison talks about putting on her car coat. Car coats were very popular and were the precursor to the pee coat, etc. But they were usually brown and shapeless. Why did we love these? 

All in all the sixties fashions were fun and daring for a new generation of kids that would break the traditions of the past and forge a new path.