Horse Country by Christine Meunier

Horse Country by Christine Meunier

My debut release Horse Country – A World of Horses was a standalone novel. I put a lot of effort into promoting it around the time of its release and in the months that followed. It sold well locally and online, but not as well as I thought that much effort would result in.

In time I toyed with the idea of creating and writing a series. I love to write. But I was also working on the logic that a series over time builds a following. I shouldn’t have to work as hard to sell the third book as I did the first two.

Since my first novel’s release in 2014, I have now written and published eleven horse related novels and two non-fiction horse books. Two of my fiction books have been standalone novels, whilst the rest are split over two different series – one for children and one for adults.

When I first released my children’s books, the Free Rein series, the first two books were made available at the same time. I wanted people to be able to get a feel for the series, rather than read only the first book and then have a long wait before another was available. I believe this paid off – people tended to buy both books in the series.

From here, the other books have sold and when I made A Dollar Goes a Long Way available for pre-order, there were a few bites. I didn’t do this with the latest release, Contagious however and am still unsure whether it is better to make it possible for people to order copies before the book is released, or just release it as soon as it is able to be published.

The Thoroughbred Breeders series for adults is very new with the first books released in late 2016 and the third in January 2017. So at this stage, I believe it will be a little while before I can see if my series theory is true. However, the third book received sales before I worked to actively promote it outside of my networks.

For those who love to write about horses, it seems to me that building a following of readers with series rather than standalone novels is the better way to go. This of course doesn’t stop you from having more than one series on the go as I discovered with NZ Pony Author, Kate Lattey!

Recessive, an Excerpt by Christine Meunier

Recessive, an Excerpt by Christine Meunier

Here’s an excerpt from the third book in the Thoroughbred Breeders series by Christine Meunier.

Savannah had completely forgotten that Rick and Jay would be coming out on Thursday to do some trims. Because Nev had wanted a light day on Cup Day, he’d asked the men in advance if they could do the Thursday instead.
So it was with surprise and eagerness that she worked with Kathy to bring in a group of horses for trimming. The horses were mainly made up of dry mares that were housed in the nearby vetting paddocks.
Savannah felt the all too familiar butterflies in her stomach as a well-known broad frame stepped out of Rick’s beaten up Ute and made his way over to the yard of horses to trim. He gave Savannah a smile and slipped between the rails, heading straight for the horse she was holding.
She stood quietly until the other two men were preoccupied with the horses they were trimming. Kathy and Jack were holding for them. Savannah was relieved to find that Flynn wasn’t with the men.
Unable to help herself, Savannah blurted out what had been on her mind for the past couple of days.
“So you all made it safely home then,” she said, realising after she’d spoken that Craig had a right to not understand what she was talking about.
He glanced back at her as he continued working on the mare’s hoof.
“I told you I would drive,” he said with a smile, “There’s no way I would have let any of those three behind a wheel after the amount of alcohol I saw them consume.”
Savannah breathed out a sigh of relief, causing Craig to chuckle.
“Were you concerned, Savvy?” he asked softly, causing her face to grow warm.
“A little…” she admitted, “and I had no way of knowing that you had gotten home safely.”
She cleared her throat and amended her statement.
“That all of you had gotten home safely.”
Craig glanced back at her and gave her a wink, a small grin teasing his lips. Internally Savannah sighed.
Don’t think I can take that statement back!
Craig continued to work diligently, his movements efficient. Before too long he had finished the mare’s four feet and was glancing at the group of horses that were left. Savannah released her mare and caught another. As she walked back to Craig she saw him scribbling on a small piece of card.
What is he doing?
She took the card offered to her when she led the mare back to Craig. Savannah realised the numbers written on it were a mobile number. She looked up at him in question as she stopped the mare before him.
“Next time if you’re concerned, you can text me,” Craig explained, “I’ll reply as soon as I can.”
He got to work on the next mare’s feet, not waiting for a response from Savannah. The card felt warm in her hand and she placed it in her pocket, smiling at his thoughtfulness.

Like what you’ve read? You can purchase Recessive at Amazon.

Equine Authors United – have you check out Deanie Humphrys-Dunne’s Books? She writes uplifting horse stories for children.

Whatever your profession or goals in life, it is important to make note of your successes. I don’t believe we should rest on one success for the rest of ours lives. I do believe however, that it’s important to make a note of successes so that you can review these over time. They can be a great encourager!

Blurb of New Blood (Thoroughbred Breeders #1) by Christine Meunier

Blurb of New Blood (Thoroughbred Breeders #1) by Christine Meunier

Recently New Blood, book #1 in the Thoroughbred Breeders series received a delightful review over at the Equestrian from Crete. Reviews whether full of praise, constructive criticism or even negative comments can help an author to see how their works have been received – and where improvements can be made. But let’s face it, nice reviews are just that – nice!

Quoting from Christina’s review:

“With precise descriptions, clear language and an engaging story, Meunier has once more proven that she has exceptional creative writing skills. I truly felt that I was at a large stud in Victoria, Australia, watching a young lady take care of horses and gossip with her friends about a handsome young farrier. Meunier’s deep knowledge in equestrian is clearly demonstrated here, as she provides a plethora of details of the equine breeding practices. The reader can literally feel that they are witnessing an equine birth.”

Wow!  This was such a lovely review to read.  If you take the time to make a note of your successes, this can help you in many ways.

  1. You can put together quotes to show potential clients (in my case, readers) what others think of your product.
  2. Or you can use these notes to help yourself bounce back from a negative occurrence. It’s important to always keep pushing forward – to create more and try again. Documenting successes can help to motivate you to achieve more. They are a good thing!

What success have you documented and why?

A writing update – Thoroughbred Breeders #4 is nearly finished! I hope to complete it in March and have it edited shortly after.  If you want to be one of the first to know about it’s release, be sure to sign up to my author updates.

Equine Authors United – have you check out Kate Lattey’s books? She writes some great descriptive novels about the show jumping world in the eyes of four teenage girls in New Zealand.

It’s an interesting thing to read reviews and find out what your readers ‘see’ when they take in your words. I recently received my first review for New Blood, book 1 in the Thoroughbred Breeders series. This was by a fellow equine author, Ann Hunter. Ann also writes a series that focuses on the thoroughbred breed – North Oak.

Ann’s review on Amazon made reference to the male lead – Craig Pieters. She stated:

“…fetch the horses and bring them to hottie farrier Craig (who I picture looking like Curtis Stone 😀 )”.

Now I have to plead ignorance in this area – the name meant nothing to me!  It wasn’t until I saw his image that I thought he’s familiar. It’s amusing to me that he is a fellow Australian. Especially when I consider that Craig’s character is South African. However, when you consider the description of Craig’s character from Savannah’s point of view:

“She nodded politely as she took in the scruffy brown hair, small amount of stubble and curiously green eyes.”

Curtis Stone - who do you Picture Craig Pieters to Look Like?

Curtis Stone – who do you Picture Craig Pieters to Look Like?

I love with stories how it’s possible to picture characters how you would see them. Often as we read, we’re given descriptions of build, height, hair colour, eye colour, etc. But these are general and we can conjure an image that is quite different to the next person who reads the same story. And so it is interesting for me to see Craig and how he looks to Ann.

Curtis Stone

Curtis Stone

And I’m further curious. Have you read Horse Country? How do you picture the Irish male lead, Declan?  Or Lise? What about the red headed twins who make up Melanie and Madeline?

If you’ve recently delved into the Thoroughbred Breeders series, how do you picture Craig and Savannah? If you’ve read beyond the first book, has your image of Savannah changed?

Equine Authors United – Are you familiar with fellow equine author Ann Hunter? You may like to check out her series North Oak.

Recently I received a new review for B and B. I have been investing my energies in writing more of the Thoroughbred Breeders series and promoting Contagious (Free Rein series) and Recessive (Thoroughbred Breeders).

B and B by Christine Meunier

B and B by Christine Meunier

B and B hasn’t received any promotion since it’s release in August 2016. At that stage I was able to line up many forms of promotion online. Recently I had a late reply from someone who received a review request from me. She said the blurb of the story intrigued her and she’d be interested to read and review this Christian fiction.

The recent review has left a lot of room for thought. There is plenty of constructive criticism to go alongside the 3/5 star review.

As an author, it can be disappointing to find that there are aspects of your story that just don’t work for other people. What is unique about this review is the closing statement:

“a solid story that is gentle, and clean, and definitely appeals to Christian audiences. It has a sense of warmth and is a kind piece, especially being a horse fiction. I believe Meunier is a writer who will prosper in Christian fiction and I am very happy to have read her work.”

Yay! This last line is a positive one to end the review on. It took me a little while to focus on this.

I believe it’s important to consider all of a review. There may be aspects you can use to improve further writings. Or perhaps it just clears up for you as an author, what you want to get across in your novels. I do know that I am happy to be determined by this reader as one who will make it in the world of Christian fiction – this is one of my aims!

Always look for the positive, but use the constructive to improve your writing, too.

Hi everyone! I have recently been made aware of a list on Goodreads. It is titled the Most Anticipated Christian Fiction of 2017. When I write my horse books, I want them to be both entertaining and educational.

Recessive (Thoroughbred Breeders 3) - Horse Christian Fiction by Christine Meunier

Recessive (Thoroughbred Breeders 3) – Horse Christian Fiction by Christine Meunier

I also want to include a faith element, so that the Christian faith can be explored throughout the books. I believe my name to perhaps at this stage to be more synonymous with horse books, but I’d love for it to be known for Christian fiction, too!

With that in mind, I’m putting it out there that you might like to add my latest release, Recessive (Thoroughbred Breeders 3), released in January 2017 to this list on Goodreads! I believe this can really help to raise my profile as a Christian author of horse books. If you’d be willing to vote for Recessive in this list, I’d truly appreciate it!

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/100384.Most_Anticipated_Christian_Fiction_2017

Follow this link and click on the tab add books to this list to do a search for Recessive and to add it! If you’re a fan of Christian fiction, perhaps you’ll find some new novels to add to your to be read list. I know I have!

New Blood by Christine Meunier

New Blood by Christine Meunier

Following on with one excerpt a month, today we’re looking at an excerpt from the first book in the Thoroughbred Breeders series, New Blood. Enjoy!

If you’re interested in reading excerpts from my children’s series, then head on over to http://www.freereinseries.com/ ?

1. Tuesdays
Savannah Reynier couldn’t decide if she liked Tuesdays or not. On the one hand, she was working with horses – like any other day – so how could she not? On the other, Tuesdays were farrier days. Each Tuesday on the stud she worked on, the farrier was booked to do whatever horses needed a trim at that time.
Today it was the yearling fillies that needed their feet looked at. Standing half the day holding horses for the farrier wasn’t high on Savannah’s list of favourite horse chores. When the class of horses needing a trim was barely handled, this task fell a little lower down the ladder.
She wondered which apprentice would be along with Rick and Jay this time.
Hopefully not Flynn again.
He was a terrible flirt. Plus, her workmates had so much fun teasing her afterward no matter what she did around him. She’d tried being polite. Then she’d tried ignoring him. Rudeness hadn’t discouraged him either. She wondered if she could swing things so that her co-worker Kathy ended up holding for him.
If he comes.
It seemed that Rick and Jay had a different apprentice each week. It made sense she supposed, that they would take on as many as they could.

As the cars pulled to a stop outside the holding yards Savannah made her way into the first yard. She was able to catch one of the fillies by moving slowly and talking quietly to the dark brown with a star on her head.
“Hey sweetie,” she said, rubbing her gently on the neck, “the quieter you stand for the man, the quicker we get this done.”
“Not to mention that the man would really appreciate it, too,” an accented voice said from not too far behind her.
South African, Savannah decided as she turned to face the latest apprentice that had obviously been dumped on her. She tried to school her features to an indifferent glance as she felt her stomach do flip-flops. She nodded politely as she took in the scruffy brown hair, small amount of stubble and curiously green eyes.
Wow.
“These girls have been handled on a regular basis, but they are yearlings…” she found herself offering and then felt her face warm as he grinned at her.
He can probably tell that for himself.
“They do look young, but it’s their feet that really interest me,” he offered, stepping closer to offer his hand to the brown filly.
She sniffed at him before looking toward the other horses, disinterested in the man before her. The exact opposite of Savannah’s sentiments. She grinned at the thought before quickly schooling her features again as she realised she had an audience.
He was looking at her with a brow raised in question. Savannah internally sighed.
Awkward.
“So I’m Craig and you’ll have to put up with my lack of social skills – but not farrier skills – for the next couple of hours, I’m sorry,” he said by way of introduction.
This immediately endeared him to Savannah.
A self deprecating farrier – who would have thought it? Then again, false humility works well for some…
With a start she realised he was waiting for her to introduce herself.
Now who’s lacking in social skills?
“Everyone calls me Anna,” she responded quietly, thinking if Craig didn’t start trimming, she was in for a ribbing from her workmates for sure.
“Well, almost everyone,” she muttered, more to herself as Craig ran his hand down the filly’s near fore to pick up her hoof.
She couldn’t help but take in his frame as he worked. He was easily taller than her, but not too much so. His shoulders were broad and arms strong. She stared at his back, refusing to continue her perusal.
“So who doesn’t call you Anna?” a voice interrupted her thoughts.
It took a second for the question to register – and then for her to realise that although the comment hadn’t exactly been made for him, Craig expected an answer.
“Aah… my boss. Nev calls me Savvy.”
She could hear him clipping off excess toe before he picked up his rasp and started around the edge of the hoof.
“Because of your knowledge and ability with horses?” he asked with a grin as he put the filly’s hoof to the ground and assessed how it sat.
Clever with words – check.
“I’m sure Nev would agree with that statement because it makes him look particularly clever when people discover my full name happens to be Savannah.”
Craig’s eyebrow rose again and Savannah questioned what he was thinking. That she was rude in the way she talked about her boss? That Savannah wasn’t a common name?
Probably that he still has three feet left to trim.
As if sensing her thoughts, Craig moved around to the other side of the filly, running his hand down her off fore. Following him, Savannah made sure she was standing on the off-side of the horse before he continued his work.
Why didn’t he do her hind leg?
Of all the farriers that she had seen trim feet, they went in the same order. Start with the near fore, move onto the near hind. Following this, complete the off fore and then finally the off hind leg.
Surely he’s not that new to trimming feet that he hasn’t been taught that.
She assumed it was something they got taught anyway, much like people getting taught to mount horses from the left hand side.
Not that the reason why is relevant to recreational riding.
Mustering up some semblance of courage, Savannah decided to ask.
“So I tend to like learning all I can about horses…” she started, unsure how to ask without seeming stupid – or like she was trying to make him look so.
“Mmmhmmm…” came the response from under the horse.
“Is there a reason why you’re doing both forefeet first?” she asked before she lost her nerve.
Craig finished rasping the hoof before letting the filly stand on all fours. He gave Savannah a grin before checking that the hoof was balanced on the ground.
Dimple – check.
“You think I should have done them in a different order?” he asked her, still smiling.
She frowned, wondering if he was teasing her. Eventually she shrugged.
“I suppose you can do them in whatever order you see fit. I’ve just noticed a particular pattern that farriers seem to follow,” she responded as he moved onto the off hind leg.
“When I’m doing most horses for the first time, I do their front feet first. You never know how well handled they are going to be and I’ve had a couple of incidences where I get one foot done, move to the back and all hell breaks loose. For whatever reason, it’s impossible to get the back foot done and by this stage the horse is so worked up, they won’t let me touch their other front foot. At least this way if there are issues with the hind feet, the horse is balanced in front.”
Savannah pondered this as Craig finished the off hind before moving back to the filly’s left side. He made short work of her near hind before declaring he was finished.
“Thanks for telling me the reason,” she responded lamely before going to get another horse.
Craig had finished before the other two men. Savannah wouldn’t have been surprised if he paused for a cigarette like the majority of the other apprentices seemed to. She was pleased to find that instead he stepped up to the group of skittish fillies and kept them from breaking away from the corner while she worked to get a head collar on one of them.
“Thanks,” she breathed as she led the young horse toward the gate out of the yard to where there was more room for him to work.
Craig ducked through the rails and then held the gate open for her. Savannah decided in her next glance that he was somewhere in his mid twenties.
Old for an apprentice.

Jay and Craig ended up with the last two fillies. Savannah wasn’t surprised to find Rick observing the apprentice as he worked away.
She knew she would have been intimidated by such a gesture but decided Craig didn’t seem the least perturbed. Instead he continued working whilst talking with his boss about the filly’s feet. Savannah listened keenly, eager to pick up any new bits of knowledge. Plus, she decided, Craig’s voice and accent were extremely pleasant to listen to.
Gorgeous accent – check.
Savannah concluded that once all the trims were complete and the two familiar vehicles made their way back down the drive that Tuesdays had drastically improved. In fact, she would go so far as to say that she liked Tuesdays.

Like what you’ve read? You can purchase New Blood at Amazon.

Recessive, Thoroughbred Breeders 3 by Christine Meunier

Recessive, Thoroughbred Breeders 3 by Christine Meunier

Hi everyone!

I am so excited to be starting 2017 with a new release!  Recessive, book 3 in the Thoroughbred Breeders series is now live on Amazon.  You can purchase it via this link!

Whilst you’re at it, why not add it to your Goodreads list?

Have you signed up for my author updates mailing list?  If you do, then you’ll be the first to know about new releases and any freebies I might have on offer!

Christine

Hi everyone!

After a rush of inspiration, I have recently finished the third book in the Thoroughbred Breeders series! This is to be titled Recessive. It needs to be edited and the cover has just been designed, so stay tuned!

While you’re here, why not check out the blurb?

Recessive, Thoroughbred Breeders #3

Recessive, Thoroughbred Breeders #3

Hi everyone!  Happy New Year!

Once a month this year, I have decided to provide an excerpt from one of my horse novels aimed at mature readers, or one of my non fiction horse books. If you’re interested in reading excerpts from my children’s series, then head on over to http://www.freereinseries.com/ 🙂

Below is an excerpt from my most recent release, No Hoof, No Horse, book 2 in the Thoroughbred Breeders series.

No Hoof, No Horse (Thoroughbred Breeders #2) by Christine Meunier

No Hoof, No Horse (Thoroughbred Breeders #2) by Christine Meunier

Alone
It was on the third thoroughbred property that Craig had been to on his second Tuesday of trimming with Rick and Jay that he decided he liked the area. This property was small for a thoroughbred stud – 200 acres in size and nearly as many horses – and it appealed to him just fine. The owner/manager Nev was laid back and seemed to have a good sense of humour, at least judging by the way he interacted with Rick and Jay when they arrived.
There were three other staff members – two females and one male. It was the youngest female staff member who caught his attention.
Savannah had taken him completely by surprise. At first it was her looks – he’d never met a dark skinned person with blue eyes before. Thinking back over his years in South Africa, he couldn’t recall any time when he’d seen a black person with blue eyes. Not that she was black, more like a chocolate brown.
He also liked that her questions focused on the horses rather than him. It was refreshing. He was used to female attention but not like what he was getting in this small town made up of horse properties. It was a little embarrassing and Rick and Jay had already had a hell of a time teasing him.
He’d since then decided that he would introduce himself as someone who lacked social skills. This was in the hope that it would discourage talking and he could just focus on the horses. It seemed funny to him that it hadn’t worked with other females who held horses for him. And when it had worked with Savannah, he’d not wanted it to.
He noted that she handled the horses well and was entirely focused on them when she needed to be. She was also polite, but not overly chatty. He didn’t know if this was because he was new to her, because of the way he’d introduced himself or if it was just her.
Either way, he felt that he could have a real conversation with her, not one based on a female trying to get his attention or something else superficial. Pity he wouldn’t see her that often. Either way, by the time he’d finished trimming on the property, he had decided he would do his best to get to know Savannah… Anna… Savvy, whenever the opportunity arose.
After the first visit to this farm, Craig was thankful to find out that they visited the property every Tuesday for trims. Sometimes it was a morning visit, other times after lunch but Nev had booked the men in for every Tuesday during the season and at other times if an emergency arose – like one of the stallions throwing a shoe.
The following week when they were heading down the road to the farm, Craig had eagerly anticipated having Savannah hold for him again. He’d considered things he might say to draw her into conversation and had eventually concluded that rather than rehearse lines, he should just see how things played out.
After all, she was the one female who had held horses for him who hadn’t shown any interest in him. Although that made her more appealing than it should, he knew that he should entertain the idea that she wasn’t the remotest bit interested in him.
As they’d driven past the main gate to the farm Craig had frowned in surprise. When he looked over at Rick, his boss had a knowing smirk on his face. At least, it seemed that way. Craig chose to keep silent.
“There’s another farm up the road that has a few spellers that need a trim. I thought we’d get them out of the way first.”
And then we’ll go back to Nev’s place?
Craig didn’t voice his question. He nodded instead. In the side mirror he noted that Jay’s car turned into Nev’s place.
I guess we are going there, then.
Rick and Craig continued up the road, hung a left and pulled into another driveway. Off to the right in a yard, stood half a dozen fillies. Three-year-olds, Craig guessed. He looked at their feet as they stepped out of the car.
Simple trims.
Apparently Rick thought so, too. He introduced Craig to the man waiting to hold horses for them.
One man?
Craig was surprised when Rick indicated that Craig could do the six fillies. Jay and Rick would do the horses at Nev’s, then come pick Craig up and continue onto another farm half an hour down the road.
Craig nodded his acquiescence, and got started. After he’d done half of one filly’s feet, Rick said farewell to the men and headed back in his car and down the road. Craig realised he wouldn’t get to see Savannah that day after all.
“Gotta say, kid, he must like the way you trim,” Rob, a 60-something gentleman commented as Rick’s car disappeared from view.
Craig finished rasping one hoof, let it drop to the ground and assessed it before looking up at Rob with a smile.
“It does appear that way, doesn’t it?” he questioned, thinking of the last time someone had called him kid.
“Take it as a compliment. I don’t know of many apprentices that Rick will leave to their own devices while he’s elsewhere.”
The two men chattered easily as Craig worked. Craig was able to find out a little more about the men he worked for as well as local properties. Every now and again his mind slipped back to what he felt he was missing whilst not trimming at Nev’s.
He was able to find out a bit about the farm down the road and its casual owner/manager, but Savannah didn’t make it into the conversation. Craig hoped that the day’s events were a one-off and he’d get to help trim at Nev’s place the following week.

Like what you’ve read? You can purchase No Hoof, No Horse at Amazon.