Wednesday, September 22, 2010

2010 Maclay Regionals-San Juan Capistrano

Sorry it has taken be so long to blog about Saturday night’s event. Life’s been busy, but at least that keeps me on my toes.

The ASPCA Maclay Regionals were an amazing experience. It is something every horse lover or fan of elite level show jumping should see at least once. As a stepping stone on the way to the Grand Prix and Olympic show jumping events, Big Equitation trains the young riders who could one day be big stars who represent our country internationally.

These Junior riders (18 and under) are incredibly skilled. Riders completed a difficult course set at 3’6” that included bending lines, rollbacks, and natural as well as bright obstacles. Most riders were called back to the flat phase, were they were asked to execute various tasks at all three basic gaits.

The top four were then tested over a shorter course, which they had to memorize based on the verbal instructions given by the judges. The test was a bit more complicated, even though it was executed over the same fences as the first course. Trot fences, sharper rollbacks, and lead changes right in front of the judges table added to the difficulty. While I have heard that the test at the national Final back east is much harder, I do think that these riders will go prepared.

One thing that stuck with me from the evening was seeing what may have been the first victory gallop for some of these riders. May it be the first of many.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Setting the Scene

One of my goals for the nearish future is to go to events that will help me to add more realism to my novels. 

With this in mind, I am planning on attending the ASPCA Regionals (an event featured in my novel HORSING AROUND) this Saturday at the Oaks Blenheim in San Juan Capistrano.  I attended a few years ago, but I want a refresher.  My goal is to take notes about the courses and the tasks asked of the riders, both over fences and on the flat.  When I attended this event in the past, it inspired me to write a novel about equitation, but because I didn’t know that I would be writing HA, I failed to take these notes.  Thankfully, I have another chance.

I am also blessed enough to live an hour away from Culver City, where the Pacific Coast Sectionals will be held for Figure Skating in November.  This year’s Sectionals will play a role in the sequel to ON THIN ICE, so it will be wonderful to have the chance to go and see what they are really like.  I had that experience with the 2009 Worlds in Los Angeles, but it would be nice to see life on the lower end of the qualifying tree.  You know, those competitions that we don’t see on television.  These lower end and less glamorous local, regional, and sectional competitions shape the future of the sport, because the results (at least at Sectionals) decide who goes on to Nationals.  Who knows, maybe I will get to see the next big thing working his/her/their way up the ladder.

Hopefully, going to these events will help me give readers that feeling of “being there” right in the action.  There are so many great YA novels right now where the setting itself almost becomes a character in the novel.  For example, the talented Jessica Verday (THE HOLLOW, THE HAUNTED) makes the town of Sleepy Hollow, Massachusetts come alive for her readers in a magical way.  If you haven’t read these wonderful books, I suggest that you do, especially if you are unsure how to bring a setting into your novel…or if you just want to feel like you are somewhere else for a few hours.

Friday, September 10, 2010


As a novelist on a quest for publication, it seems almost obligatory to have a blog these days.  Everyone wants to know about platform, name recognition, etc.  And I'm willing to do that, so here I am. 

Just kidding.

In fact, if the above were my only reasons for starting this blog, it would quickly fall apart and do nothing to help my career as a writer.  Yes, I would love for this blog to provide me with an online presence and all of that, but at the end of the day, a blog about nothing but editing and seeking an agent would be boring as all get out.

Instead, I hope to share not only my love of writing and the creative process, but also a bit about my other interests.  Thankfully, these things tie together.  I have always been passionate about figure skating and horses, and my current projects reflect this. 

Horsing Around, a novel set in Southern California, is a YA drama centering around several junior riders who are attempting to qualify for the Maclay Medal.  A story of friends, rivals, and romance, it is currently in the final editing stage.  My hope is to begin seeking agents for this title early next year.

On Thin Ice, a New Adult romance, is the story of a figure skater who skates with, and pretends to date, her ex-boyfriend for publicity reasons.  When a handsome Russian skater enters her life, she begins to question what she is sacrificing for the dream of becoming an Olympic Champion.   This novel is still in need of serious editing, especially since I am in the process of converting it from third person to first.

I am also the Municipal Liaison for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in South Orange County, California.  This November, I will be joining thousands of other writers on a thirty day journey to 50,000 words.  Having completed this task three times before (and twice as Municipal Liaison), I plan on using this year's NaNo to write the sequel to On Thin Ice.

Add into that being a newlywed, house hunting, and learning to cook, and I have quite the full plate.  Oh well, hilarity is bound to ensue when I try to keep everything together.  Thank you for being along for the ride.