Friday, June 30, 2006

Would I Could Write Like That

I have a book recommendation.

Joshilyn Jackson's 'Between, Georgia'. The best book I have read this year. Seriously.

The characters will get inside your heart and even when you don't like them you will love them. Even when they are stubborn or making matters worse for themselves, you will love them harder.

Seriously. Read it.

Every other page was writing so GOOD that I kept thinking "I wish I'd written that."

Thursday, June 29, 2006

I gots me a new gig!

Jean Llewellyn for

MEDIA CONTACT: Jean Llewellyn of Phelps Media Group, Inc. International at (561) 753-3389 or at

WEB SITE: press releases are available at

PHOTO: Heather Cook. From her personal collection

PHELPSSPORTS.COM is Coming in August!!! Sign Up Now for Special Discounts.

Visit right now and save big money on annual and lifetime memberships! Early sign-ups are underway TODAY!!

Look for the debut of in late August., a new and highly innovative subscription equestrian sports website, will offer equestrians and fans of equestrian sports from around the world a single web address for the latest breaking news of the Hunter, Jumper, Dressage, Eventing and other High Performance disciplines. The website will include up-to-the-minute audio reports, live video interviews and unique features from around the globe, photography, and the creative writing and reporting of some of the finest equestrian journalists in the world.

A Writer from the Day She Could Hold a Pencil, Heather Cook Will Open Up the World Of Reining for PhelpsSports.Com

Wellington, FL - June 29, 2006 – Currently based in cowboy country in Calgary, Alberta, Heather Cook has spent many years writing about the western horse industry. As a young child she was drawn to the sport of reining with its flashy maneuvers and its focus on absolute unity with the horse, and candidly admits that, following high school, she passed her “Just git up ‘n hang on” degree as an assistant trainer for some of Canada’s top reining and working cow horse barns. Heather then spent a year in Austria teaching reining and horsemanship and, in very poor German, tenaciously tried to explain lead changes with just hand signals and body language.

Heather’s relationship with horses backdates to the age of 12, when she begged her cash-strapped single mom for riding lessons. She divulged that “I did everything I could to pay for the lessons myself, and my coach must have taken pity on me because she’d let me pay by washing her truck and trailer, polishing the silver on her bridles and saddles and doing just about any errand possible.” Adding, “I certainly couldn’t afford to buy a good horse, but I ended up with a great one!” Laughing, she continued, “I was given a Standardbred ex-race horse that was blind in one eye. Boy, he was ugly! But that horse let me do anything with him.” Originally Heather was warned that he would never lope, but he did, then she was told that he’d never be useful with his blind eye, “but we’d compete in Open Trail classes just fine.” She remembers fondly, “He really taught me that it’s the size of a horse’s heart that makes him great.”

Heather was 15 when she started reining with her second horse, an unpapered thoroughbred mare who decided her rider was completely insane when she was asked to spin and slide! Heather took up the story; “I’d watch a reining trainer and then try things with this mare when no one was looking. She was my poor square peg and reining was my round hole, but she was a great mare with incredible patience and willingness.” Later, as an assistant trainer, Heather competed in AQHA classes, usually showing the second or third string horses. She said, “I showed the ones that needed some time in the show pen to get over some nerves or other issues. My goal going into competitions was never to win but simply to complete a task with a particular horse.” And confessed, “I’m competitive by nature so it was difficult for me to let go of that dram of winning everything – but in the end I was making better horses.”

As a renowned journalist, Heather currently writes for the Western Horse Review, the Quarter Horse News and the National Reining Horse Association’s official publication – The Reiner. She sits as Communication Committee Chairperson for Reining Canada and spent several years on the board of one of the largest NRHA affiliates. She also runs her own company Clear Blue Media Inc., focusing on writing, editing and photography for the horse industry. Heather has also just signed with a literary agent to market her book Rookie Reiner: Surviving and Thriving in the Show Pen. She said, “Reining is really taking off as an international sport. We are years behind the equestrians in jumping, dressage and eventing, but we have the grit and determination and can’t wait to prove ourselves to be more than just ‘cowboy dressage’!” Executive Editor Jean Llewellyn said, “I became familiar with Heather’s work a few years ago when I was based in Calgary. Her knowledge, expertise and reputation within the reining and western disciplines are second to none.” She continued, “Since reining was included under the FEI umbrella for the first time at the World Equestrian Games in Jerez 2002, it’s really become recognized as a high performance discipline. I’m very excited that Heather has decided to join and look forward to working with her in the future.”

In conclusion, Heather added, “I am ecstatic to be the reining correspondent for This unique initiative is sure to revolutionize the way that horse enthusiasts receive information about their sport around the world.”

PHELPS IMAGES is due to launch in August!!

Phelps Images is a joint venture between Phelps Media Group, Inc., International and HorseSource Ltd. One of the world’s largest stock photo agencies for equestrian images, HorseSource has serviced the industry for some 25 years. A huge resource of over 500,000 images – rapidly growing as more affiliate photographers sign on – includes a historic collecting dating back to the 1880s, and encompasses no fewer than 19 Olympic Games. HorseSource represents the most comprehensive library of equestrian photography worldwide. The formation of Phelps Images represents a major step forward for the equestrian industry, and in particular one-stop shopping for images and media services worldwide.

PHOTO: Heather Cook. From her personal collection.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

What to read... what to read...

I have a backlog of books. However, I cannot possibly start on any new fiction books until Joshilyn Jackson's new book Between, Georgia arrives in the mail. I was notified on Thursday that my book has shipped! Woohoo! This is why I pre-order my books, it's not due to hit bookstores until July I think... and here I am, up in Canada, getting the book early!

So I've begun reading The Butterfly Hunter: Adventures of People Who Have Found Their True Calling Off Way Off The Beaten Path.

However, I have many, many other books waiting in the wings... especially thanks to Natalie R Collins who held an AWESOME contest which I won... and lookie-lookie at all my prizes!!!

You should go visit Natalie's blog... she rocks.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Baby Shower Blues

I don't have a great deal of 'mommy friends' out there. That's a funny statement considering two friends (one I've know for almost 15 years and the other for about 10) are pregnant right along with me. One is a first time mom, one is not.

But we don't always go DO things together. I expect we will once we're on Maternity Leave and I'm very much looking forward to that. We all have our on herd of friends that we hang out with on a regular basis and each friend means something different to us.

Here's the thing that is bothering me just an little eensy weensy bit... they all have friends who are the "let me host your baby shower!" type of friends. I do not.

Let me just say that I'm NOT complaining about my friends, I wouldn't trade them for anything. I have fabulous and inspiring friends that I speak with every single day.

Considering the fact that my mother and I have been slightly 'on the outs' for a while, I think I'm not going to get a baby shower this time around. I'm a little saddened by that... and a bit too proud to ask anyone to hold a shower for me. It would feel wrong.

Shedding some Light on Absolute Write

"Absolute Write's ISP responds to complaints" up on the Writer's Weekly Forum

I blogged about this last week. And it seems that I may have missed the mark a little bit. The ISP's version sheds new light on the whole issue.

It's a good read... and a good lesson to learn.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Writing During the Summer

I've noticed several posts from other writers about the difficulty of writing during the summer. For me, my writing picks up during the summer because the sport that I cover picks up. There are more places to go, more things happening to report on...

But yes, the writing becomes more difficult. My house gets warmer and I feel myself slowing down... Not only does my backyard garden call, but soccer practice, swimming lessons and the local theme park all want a piece of my time.

It becomes a lesson in procrastination.

I use a reward system. If I get one thing done, I reward myself with something. If I accomplish a specific set of goals before the due date, I take the next day 'off' of writing. (I don't think I'm ever truly off, but I do not set a daily goal on that particular day.)