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Motivation +

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Recently, I’ve had an influx of new or very novice riders wanting lessons and chatting how they might begin to improve their riding skills and more importantly for me, why.

The interesting thing has been their attitude towards their ability to accomplish all the skills required in an impossibly short time to become accomplished enough to eg. win a blue ribbon by: jumping around a 1.20 course, score 70% in an FEI dressage test, compete in a 2* Horse Trails, driving a pair of currently unbroken horses in a show – in six months!  All of which are, in my view, generally unrealistic goals if not impossible, for quadzillion reasons.

I ask myself (and many of my older fellow horsemen!) how did we get to the point where potentially new riders or drivers believe they can accomplish the remarkable in an impossible time frame as if it’s a lock-step skill that can be learned in weeks rather than lifetimes?  One old-timer told me he thinks they see a movie inside their heads, where they are the star and that becomes their goal, so they are working from the end backwards, rather than from the start forwards.  Makes sense…another old timer scorns the instant gratification generation as he calls it, won’t teach them because they don’t listen, or sell horses to them because they treat them like machines, someone else said because there are no more real horsemen around to show them anything different which is true, and another replied very disapprovingly, all the motivation memes out there reinforce this notion of anyone can accomplish anything regardless of natural talent, time commitment, fitness level, prior experience, financial status etc.

For all the new riders out there, I just want to say,  for a horseman, it’s about the journey as the destination, rather than any end-point – and more importantly, the driver of the journey is always the horse.  Once that’s in perspective, the learning can begin!

Elizabeth Alexander is a horse lover, rider, competitor, coach, trainer, professional business teacher, writer, blogger and author of the Young Adult novel Team Up, short crime story The Druidess of Connacht, and the chic/lit comic/crime novel ZIPPED! featuring detective dill extraordinaire Easter Lilley and her mates, in a mad-cap rescue of her racehorse from very unpleasant villains.

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Plan and Intent

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When wanting to get things done, I believe it’s important to have a plan along with intent and this approach works well with most goals in your life, including writing goals and horse riding goals.

I’ve been teaching a marvellous horse and rider combination, recently the rider had a major breakthrough with her amazing horse who has some long-term resistances so to overcome these it’s been necessary for the rider to have a plan.  A good solid plan – if I want to have my horse do XXX then I must do A and then B and if it all goes wrong, then I should try XYZ – that sort of thing. A list of physical things to do.

Plans are great, but they have to be done with serious intent which is the mental aspect of it.  So when the horse didn’t listen to the rider’s aids, she had to go to Plan B which involved some XYZ – a good solid plan.  When she succeeded initially it was only momentary.  Her horse, realising she had no strong intent, would slow his pace and stop.  She was perplexed until we discussed how her horse could feel her lack of intent and would stop – clearly showing her she needed more focus, more drive – horses are always our greatest teachers!  That was her trigger to discover she had a good plan but she had to enact all parts of it with serious intent for it to work.  Off she went again, Plan A, and instantly her horse recognised her determination and he gently offered precisely what she’d been asking for and sustained it, with nothing more than her determined focus – no force, no stronger aids – and all much to her surprise.

It is the same with writing.  Putting pen to paper is part of the plan.  Preparing yourself mentally to do it regularly, uninterrupted and in a congenial setting for writing is part of the intent needed to get the job finished.

Good luck with it!

Elizabeth Alexander is a horse lover, rider, competitor, coach, trainer, professional business teacher, writer, blogger and author of the Young Adult novel Team Up, short crime story The Druidess of Connacht, and the chic/lit comic/crime novel ZIPPED! featuring detective dill extraordinaire Easter Lilley and her mates, in a mad-cap rescue of her racehorse from very unpleasant villains.

 

 

 

On writing and selling and crazy

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…or advice…!

Some years ago, I was told by various well-known publishers that they couldn’t sell my equine novels, not because they weren’t well written, but because the local market wasn’t there.  Despite my frustration at the time, I know they were totally correct!

But as a professional horse rider, trainer and competitor I knew there was a market both locally and internationally, so I self published.  Initially to see if there was any market at all, which there was.  However, my motives have changed now, to see if I can actually sell enough of my books to get a tiny foothold in that market.

Marketing my work has been a big learning curve.  The market dictates what it wants to read.  Writers produce what the market buys.   Writers become known for their most engaging work so sanity says recreate what sells. Who doesn’t love Stephanie Plumb, or Jack Reacher?

The challenge in moving away from your chosen genre or serial characters, is your branding focus changes from the writer of a specific genre or characters into you as the Writer.  There aren’t too many new writers who live in this changing genre space.  Just an extension of the craziness!

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Elizabeth Alexander is a horse lover, rider, competitor, coach, trainer, professional business teacher, writer, blogger and author of the Young Adult novel Team Up, short crime story The Druidess of Connacht, and the chic/lit comic/crime novel ZIPPED! featuring detective dill extraordinaire Easter Lilley and her mates, in a mad-cap rescue of her racehorse from very unpleasant villains.

We, as authors, …….?

This is a fill-in-the-gap type of thing.  What do we actually do when we write books, what do we hope to achieve?

We, as authors, like to ……

We can fill in the rest of the sentence with words like …entertain, invite readers to laugh, invite readers to think, invite readers to be scared, encourage readers to have a better day, a new outlook, insight, gratification …the list goes on and the words you chose are unique to each individual writer and often each individual book.

In Team Up, I wanted to highlight the challenges facing many young adults going into adulthood. In Zipped! I wanted to entertain, to invite readers to laugh out loud.

What’s your take on the question?

Elizabeth Alexander is a horse lover, rider, competitor, coach, trainer, professional business teacher, writer, blogger and author of the Young Adult novel Team Up, short crime story The Druidess of Connacht, and the chic/lit comic/crime novel ZIPPED! featuring detective dill extraordinaire Easter Lilley and her mates, in a mad-cap rescue of her racehorse from very unpleasant villains.

 

 

Horse & Countryside review – TEAM UP

What an amazing review and in such iconic company!  Thank you so much Horse & Countryside!

TEAM UP avail on Amazon Kindle. https://www.amazon.com/Team-Wattle-Hill-Equestiran-Book-ebook/dp/B0749NSPZP

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Elizabeth Alexander is a horse lover, rider, competitor, coach, trainer, professional business teacher, writer, blogger and author of the Young Adult novel Team Up, The Druidess of Connacht, and the chic/lit comic/crime novel ZIPPED! featuring detective dill extraordinaire Easter Lilley and her mates, in a mad-cap rescue of her racehorse from very unpleasant villains.

 

 

Is ZIPPED! for you?

ZIPPED! is for you if you like a fun madcap crime adventure story full of car chases, rodeo clowns and nasty villains intent on harming the best unlikely heroine since Stephanie Plumb, along with her zany employees who help the newbie detective Easter Lilley save the day.

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Elizabeth Alexander is a horse lover, rider, competitor, coach, trainer, professional business teacher, writer, blogger and author of Team Up, The Druidess of Connacht, and the chic/lit comic/crime novel ZIPPED! featuring detective dill extraordinaire Easter Lilley and her mates, in a mad-cap rescue of her racehorse from very unpleasant villains.

 

 

 

 

ZIPPED!

Wow!  At last, the naughty but nice novel ZIPPED! is now available on pre order at Amazon Kindle!  Be warned, it’s an adult novel, there is drinking, swearing and sexual innuendo but it’s also a hilarious romp.

Easter Lilley is a florist without a job; she is also a horse owner, an employer, a detective agency principal and a detective by default, which is not surprising as she inherited all of this from her lying ex husband in the dodgiest divorce settlement in the country if the lawyers bills were any indication. Due to his illegal activities and her own stupidity by inadvertently allowing him to strip her of all her assets, she is forced to keep the detective agency functioning along with her odd-ball employees – including the mysterious Dash with his buffed body and law enforcement connections, the amazingly hot Jenni-Mae whose CV contains only a photo of herself in a stunning electric blue swimsuit with a phone number, and the techno geek Edward Pontifax III, who appears to work for ASIO, although he may not – all the while wondering why she hasn’t torched the joint, collected the insurance and bolted for a tropical island with her dog, the gorgeously scruffy Poppy!

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https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07C6V3HB8/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1523920727&sr=1-1&keywords=Zipped%21

Elizabeth Alexander is a horse lover, rider, competitor, coach, trainer, professional business teacher, writer, blogger and author of Team Up, The Druidess of Connacht, and the chic/lit comic/crime novel ZIPPED! featuring detective dill extraordinaire Easter Lilley and her mates, in a mad-cap rescue of her racehorse from very unpleasant villains.

Tough times

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Today’s lesson.  Life’s tough, even tougher to achieve goals that seem so far away but each step, each day, is another step closer to achieving them.

 

Elizabeth Alexander is a horse lover, rider, competitor, coach, trainer, professional business teacher, writer, blogger and author of Team Up, The Druidess of Connacht, and the chic/lit comic/crime novel ZIPPED! featuring detective dill extraordinaire Easter Lilley and her mates, in a mad-cap rescue of her racehorse from very unpleasant villains.

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Quality writing

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I had a fabulous chat yesterday with a keen young agent who said that there were many quality writers in the self published arena which is correct I think.  However ot hear her say this is a complete turnaround in terms of the reputation of self published writers vs traditional publishers who always insist they only take on the most excellent but now there are many excellent writers who are not published by traditional publishers.

The fact is, writers want to write and publishers want to sell – they have to sell as it’s their business.  For many writers there is a complete disconnect between these two aims, especially in terms of genre writers who are never going to get enough local support for a traditional publisher to take the chance – or so it would seem.  However the self published arena now provides a global outlet for those writers who are good at their craft and are happy to take on the whole process of writing, publishing and selling.  As a result, the rep of self published authors is growing steadily as more take the plunge which is very cool.

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Elizabeth Alexander is a horse lover, rider, competitor, coach, trainer, professional business teacher, writer, blogger and author of Team Up, The Druidess of Connacht, and the chic/lit comic/crime novel ZIPPED! featuring detective dill extraordinaire Easter Lilley and her mates, in a mad-cap rescue of her racehorse from very unpleasant villains.

 

Hatching a plot

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It’s a magical experience when a new story calls you with such power, that you sit down to plot it out and 5 hrs later, it’s totally finished – neat as a pin, clear, concise, flowing like a horse’s tail and ready to write!

For me, it is often like a jigsaw, random chapters appear, usually unlinked and my job in the end is to try to make all the bits fit into a whole. In this particular case, I’d been struggling and felt that I may never find the whole – annoying!  I had the world I wanted to be in. I’d been playing around with a cast of main characters for a couple of months, all highly individualistic with unusual lifestyles and unique backgrounds, as well as a variety of supporting characters who would also play a strong role in the world I had created.  The location was there along with the theme but what was missing was the tone, a good solid protagonist – never that hard to create – and the story line.  I can’t write a story if I can’t find the right tone.  And it seems that I can’t get a story line if I can’t get the tone right!

For some time, I’d experimented writing it with high comedy, farce, satire and more, but none of it felt right for the female lead I had created. Then a couple of days ago, I suddenly realised that I wanted dark, very dark, so dark that it might not fly and wondered if that could work with the people I’d created as it was a complete depart. I sat down to write a few paras to see how it felt.  Before I knew it, I had my first chapter, an inciting incident, and an ending.  But, there were a couple of central pieces of the jigsaw that were missing – the plot line and the protagonist.  I wondered how I’d find them, as if they were both lurking deep in my subconscious and I was just waiting for it to emerge by some random action of unexpected words or thoughts.  Oddly, a day later, while chatting to a friend who asked me an unrelated question, my mind took off on a tangent and I suddenly had a bunch of black-hearted villains appear unannounced who tied the whole thing together and the jigsaw miraculously took shape and I had a story line.   How weird is that?!