News From the Nest 9/07
What I did last summer (Part 1)

 

         It's been a busy summer here at the nest.  I finished MYSTIC HORSEMAN in the spring, and I started researching and writing a proposal for another book.  I'm so pleased that RIDE A PAINTED PONY comes out in paperback at the end of this month--a nice prelude to the February release of MYSTIC HORSEMAN in paperback.  A reader who attended a talk I gave last month mentioned that's she's not into horses--afraid of them, in fact--but she likes the role horses often play in my stories.  She's interested in the characters and the love story, and she loves the image of a man on a horse.  Couldn't have said it better myself.  A woman on a horse is a great image, too.

  

Funny story about these two yearlings, photographed in May.  We were having lunch at the casino on Clyde's reservation (featured in both RIDE A PAINTED PONY and MYSTIC HORSEMAN) and the hostess asked Clyde if any of his Paints were Medicine Hats.  He said no, and she proudly said she'd just gotten one.  When we got home, I took a close look at the photos and asked Clyde why our yearlings weren't Medicine Hats.  He said he couldn't explain it; you just know it when you see it. 

I get that answer a lot, so I researched.  It's all about markings.  The Sioux and Cheyenne prized these Paints with dark spots around the ears resembling hats and the "shield" on the chest.  They often have blue eyes.  They're out of Tobiano mares out of an Overo stud (marking patterns) which is another tipoff.  I presented Clyde with testimony from every horse person I asked.  "What's more," said I, "it's up to the Sioux and Cheyenne.  So what to you say?"

We now have two Medicine Hat Paints.

Memorial Day at St Elizabeth's Cemetery in Wakpala SD.  Coming from a military family, I find this incredibly stirring.  My parents are buried at Arlington, where every grave is decorated with an American flag.  In Indian Country, they fly them high.  Lots of soldiers are buried here, including Gall, who was a hero at Little Bighorn.  On the Lakota side, of course.  He later gave his land to the Episcopal Church and asked that they build a school for the children.  This is where I met my husband.  We were married in the old church, barely visible in the picture below.  I'll have more pictures in the next few months.

 

I'll you closer as we get closer to MYSTIC HORSEMAN.  This church was in my mind's eye when I wrote RIDE A PAINTED PONy--the building Dillon bought "for a song" and dragged home to the ranch, much to Nick's dismay.  I decided it needed some fixing up in MYSTIC HORSEMAN.   Dillon's ex-wife completely agreed.

 

Stay tuned for more previews of MYSTIC HORSEMAN.  There's plenty here to tempt you to give RIDE A PAINTED PONY a try when it comes out in paperback on (or about) September 25.  I hope you'll stop in and chat on our blog -- nine of us "riding with the top down" and posting new stuff every day. 

Now I'm off to play dolls with my grandkids!