News From the Nest 4/06

   Hooray for Spring!  Hooray for me!  I finally sent RIDE A PAINTED PONY to my editor last week.  Keep reading and you'll see the cover, but first, here's my little montage representing the Big Red Moment (red is good).  The t-shirt--So Happy To Have Written--was a gift from friend and fellow Minnesota writer Leandra Logan (SUGARTOWN, Harlequin American, 3/06).  My granddaughter selected the pink roses when we went to the grocery store to celebrate Nana's release from the house. 

The other stuff--some of the references and particular inspiration that now gets filed away.  The newspaper article from Bismarck Tribune 1991--before we moved to Minnesota--is about a herd of wild horses in the ND Badlands, believed to be descendants of the horses that were confiscated from Sitting Bull when he returned with his people from Canada in the early 1880's.  The Marquis de Mores, a Frenchman who spent a few years trying to establish an ambitious cattle operation in Dakota Territory, bought 250 of the "Sioux mares" from the Army with the idea that he would raise "Indian ponies," which he favored above other breeds.  He only had 60 of the horses left when he sold off his stock two years later.  The rest were stolen or escaped. 

This is just the kind of article I'm likely to keep around for years for inspiration, and it's a bit of history that figures into RIDE A PAINTED PONY.  You'll notice a picture of a Paint stud, a picture of a horserace (Paints) and a book on horseracing (MY RACING HEART, by Nan Mooney).  The highlighted hardcopy is a series of articles I found online at the Indian Country Today website.  This was fascinating stuff about off-track betting and how the National Indian Gaming Commission became involved with a case that had to do with horseracing and organized crime.  

So much work goes into writing a novel.  My stories always start with the characters--in this case Nick Red Shield, a horse breeder, and Lauren "Joey" Davis, a jockey--but during the writing process, their story is likely to take twists and turns that I didn't expect.  I call it the "search for story." 

Directly behind the computer sits my granddaughter and Barbie Doll playmate.  I get a lot of grief about my obsession with dolls, but none of it comes from Piper.  Nana's office is a little girl's dream.  She can go through the Barbie Doll collector's books and tell you exactly which outfits we have and what pieces we're still looking for.  Now that the book is done, we're planning our own wedding show very soon.  We just added some new pictures from the Barbie collection for visitors to share with their little girls. 

So I might be looking a little bug-eyed...  Piper made this portrait of Nana, graciously taking off a few pounds, but otherwise not a bad likeness.  She pointed out that I was looking a little pale and "needed some makeup."

Ta-daa!  RIDE A PAINTED PONY has a face!  I really love this cover.  It's scheduled for release in December as a Mira hardcover.  I hope you'll stop in regularly between now and then.  It's too early for an excerpt, but after the revisions, I promise.  I will keep you updated and try to add lots of news and tidbits to the site.  And I will be visiting the message board more often.  Now that the book is in...oh, what a relief it is...I can play a little before hunkering down with the next one.