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Copyright 2017, Andie Andrews
Published by Flying Chestnut Press
Ephemeral is “one part romance novel, one part literary fiction, one part love-affair-with-horses,” told from the viewpoint of a former rodeo horse.
Set in New Jersey’s toney horse country, the novel revolves around 40-something Clarissa Stamos, a romance writer in a stale marriage. Inspired by her daughter’s career as a country singer, Clarissa envisions a “country-western” romance for her latest project. As part of her writer’s research, she enrolls in riding lessons and eventually and impulsively purchases Sonny, a chestnut Appendix quarter horse of uncommon insight and patience, who immediately bonds with her and joins as the novel’s narrator. Clarissa wraps her life around learning the finer points of horsemanship, providing a respite from troubling memories and finding space for new adventures. Her journey becomes muddled when she meets an attractive dressage trainer with a tragic past.
Andrews has created believable, compelling backstories that contribute to a story of compassion and connectedness between humans and horses. The compelling storyline will keep readers engaged from the beginning to the unexpected finish.
“Ephemeral is a masterpiece of love for women who love horses.”
Ephemeral is a beautiful book that explores the relationships and connections of people, their horses and so much more. I definitely recommend it!
Enjoy These Excerpts
I can tell by the look on Clarissa’s face and in the mirror of her mind what she thinks. I am magnificent. I am the wild mustang on the grassy plains of old. I am the noble warhorse of a thousand generations. I am the industrious plow horse and the elegant carriage horse whose hooves over cobblestone make way for pageantry and kings. I am the pack horse, the racehorse, the show horse and the dream horse of young girls in every place and time. I am the trail horse, the therapy horse, the abandoned horse, the rescued horse—and the slaughtered horse. I am earth horse and spirit horse, untamed and uncontainable. I am the Alpha horse. I am the Omega horse, that last one who will ever live. She knows, and I know, I am every horse. I am gleaming copper and dewy-eyed with liquid hope and promises and she sees it, she knows it.
I am Clarissa’s horse.
“He cleans up real nice,” is all Clarissa says. Seriously, Clarissa? You can run but you can’t hide, I want to tell her. I merely snort my displeasure.
Puffy clouds hang in the sky, a few with gray undertones that threaten a stray shower. They creep overhead, fanned by a breeze just strong enough to keep the greenheads at bay. The gravel crunches loudly under our feet. As we reach the end of the footpath and the barrier of the hedgerow, we emerge at the threshold of a fragrant, freshly mowed field where Sebastian hears us coming and greets us with a smile.
He leans casually against a fence post, his long, lanky body accentuated by a light blue tee shirt over faded jeans and topped by a black cowboy hat that shields his eyes from the late afternoon sun. Clarissa’s nervous energy travels down the lead rope and zaps me in the chin. She had expected to see Sebastian in tidy, tan breeches and a navy polo shirt, his standard uniform for teaching the show girls and their horses how to half-pass and pirouette. She flinches at the sight of him and holds her breath. I exhale for both of us, a loud, nostril-flapping blowout that makes Sebastian laugh. I look at him with a big, round eye. Clarissa is spooky around him and I don’t know why. Maybe I should be spooky too. I prick my ears and stiffen my neck.
“Maybe it’s the hat,” Sebastian says, and lifts it off his head to reveal waves of dark brown hair that tousle in the breeze.
I blow out again.
“Or maybe not. Are you nervous?”
Clarissa can’t deny the flutter in her chest.
“How did you know?”
He points to me and grins. “Meet your mirror. It helps if you breathe.”
About the Author
Author, Andie Andrews and Hook
Andie Andrews is a passionate equestrian, certified equine massage therapist, screenwriter, cowgirl poet and novelist. She is the author of an award-winning historical romance, The Legacy of Ruby Sanchez, which was a FaithWords finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Genesis contest. She has also published work in the American Kennel Club’s AKC Gazette, and blogs about her life with horses as a midlife rider at Christiancowgirlpoetry.com.
Andie and husband, Ed, live on a small farm in New Jersey with their beloved horse and muse for this project, Hook.
Ephemeral is available on Amazon.com in paperback or Kindle.
I’m so happy we’re officially in Soup Season. Don’t you love soup? And its heartier bro, stew?
I got this recipe a few months ago from a friend. Then I promptly lost the little post-it note I wrote it down on, but that’s OK because it’s so simple to make and with just four ingredients really hard to mess up.
But here’s the thing: it has NO BUSINESS tasting as good as it does. I mean, it’s delicious. The “silk” in the name is not a mistake or false advertising. It’s just one of those combos that’s greater than the sum of its ingredients. I’ve been making it at least twice a week and there are never any leftovers. It’s lovely to drink out of a mug to chase the chill away while also getting a ton of nutrients.
I’m a big fan of butter and don’t think fat is bad for you. It helps you absorb vitamins from the broccoli, so it’s our friend. I haven’t tried this with vegan butter, but I’ll bet it’s still tasty as could be. The photo doesn’t look appealing, but in person broccoli silk is a smooth, appetizing green nectar.
Broccoli Silk Soup
INGREDIENTS1 large bunch broccoli 1 tea salt 2 to 3 TBS butter Tobasco sauce
Bring 3 cups of water and the salt to a boil. Cut the broccoli into florets and cook for 7-8 minutes in the boiling water with the lid mostly on (but let steam escape). Put the butter and a few dashes of Tobasco into a blender. When the broccoli is tender, pour off the cooking liquid into a bowl. Put the broccoli into the blender, and then add 2 cups of the cooking liquid. Blend on high for a minute or so until smooth. Done!
Loraine Fick is a writer and low-carb food experimenter with a love for animals and cake. Her greatest challenge is a short attention span, and her greatest strength, at least foodwise, is a desire to share recipes that are good and good for you. Follow Loraine’s blog at Spoonfully – Adventures in Low-Carb Cooking & Baking.
A bit of context first. The “Horse Show” refers to the National Horse Show founded in 1883 by a group of wealthy, influential sportsmen. The reporter, Cholly Knickerbocker, is a pseudonym used by a series of society columnists writing for the New York American and New York Journal. The writer penning as Cholly is actually John W. Keller.
Cholly Knickerbocker and the “400”
New York City, 1896. For the first time in the history of the Horse Show a question has arisen as to the possibility of its decline as a social function. Heretofore the horse has been a mere excuse for social display. New York has literally turned its back on the equine exhibit in order to study the human exhibit. When the arena boxes were filled the centre of the amphithetre had no interest for the spectator.
The Horse Show, Maidson Square Garden, late 1890’s.
But this year there has come an ominous change. In the first place, the auction sale of the boxes showed a decided failing off from the sales of former years. Horse Show directors found excuse for this in the hard times, the election excitement and half a dozen other things that shot far of the truth. In the second place, and here we encounter a stubborn fact that may well alarm the owners of the Horse Show gold mine, an analysis of the box holders discloses the unpleasant fact that the crème de la crème of New York society is but slightly represented. If the heaviest of our heavy swells are going to the Horse Show this year they are keeping it to themselves; something that they never did before.
One looks through the list in vain for the Vanderbilts, the Sloanes, the Twomblys, the Shepards; for Seward Webb, August Belmont, Perry Belmont, James L. Kernochan, John Jacob Astor, James J. Van Alen, the Lorillards, the Potters and all that contingent from Westchester and Hempstead that was never known for its modesty. Surely all of these people are not so poverty-stricken that they couldn’t go if they wished to.
There is no doubt at all that many of the names on the list of boxholders are mere dummies, but I doubt seriously that these stand for the Vanderbilt set. There is something more in all this than a sudden and inexplicable modesty. The contention is made that the whole Vanderbilt contingent and Perry and August Belmont have decided to taboo the Horse Show because Mr. and Mrs. Oliver H.P. Belmont are to be conspicuous there. I can not believe, however, that family resentment can be carried that far. Surely it is not an unpardonable offence for Oliver Belmont and Willie K. Vanderbilt’s divorced wife to marry each other, and if it were, Madison Square Garden ought to be large enough to hold the people who like it and the people who don’t.
Of the people who will have boxes at the Horse Show this year the most interesting will be Mr. William C. Whitney and his bride and the Oliver Belmonts. Society is on the qui vive with regard to the Whitneys because it is generally accepted that the ex-Secretary of the Navy is going in for a social career of unusual brilliancy. These are the people who are advertised to occupy the conspicuous boxes, and I have no doubt that they will make an excellent showing. If some of them are a trifle new, it will not matter, so long as they serve the purpose. In an exhibition where new clothes count for so much too emphatic objection should not be made to new people. The average spectator can’t tell the real heavy swell from the imitation, anyway. The only difficult is that if the realy heavy swell stays away from the Horse Show the imitation won’t come to it, and that is what troubles the directors. Meantime we are all guesting as to what will be the exact outcome of the so-called Vanderbilt defection. Cholly Knickerbocker.
Originally published by The New York Journal, November 8, 1896
Often riders rely on physical/core strength to ride. Yet, is more muscle really what is needed to ride effortlessly? Or rather, is it the coordination of the right amount of muscle that brings fluid, effective riding?
Muscle memory is a commonly used term, but an odd term because muscles have no memory – they just do what they are told to do. So who’s the boss of the muscles? Your brain.
Your brain and only your brain coordinates your movement. So what is available to a rider to boost the brain/body connection so that refined, effective aids can be given instead of forceful, awkward ones?
The answer is your awareness, paying attention to how you move. It is this awareness that develops the brain/body connection. In turn, it is this improved body awareness that allows a rider to give aids effectively and confidently by using just the right amount of well-timed, coordinated movement. The result is your horse can give you what you are asking because your aids are clear and fluid.
Heather teaches women riders to create ease and flow in their bodies and riding. Trained as a Feldenkrais® movement teacher, her online classes have guided hundreds of riders around the world to become quiet, calm, effective riders so they can enjoy each and every ride. Heather’s mission is to help you create the life you want with your horse…a life that you deserve. www.ridingforwomen.com
In 1949, Walt Disney Productions released “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, an animated adaptation of the 1820 story by Washington Irving. The film was Disney’s 11th animated feature. Disney’s entire staff of core animators, known as “the 9 old men” worked on the film. The music was composed by Oliver Wallace who recorded himself whistling as Ichabod. This was the only collaboration between Disney and Bing Crosby who voiced both Ichabod and his antagonist, Brom Bones. Crosby sang several songs for the film including “Headless Horseman”. Back up vocals by Jud Conlon’s Rythmaires.
The Headless Horseman by Bing Crosby (1949) – Vintage Halloween - YouTube
What are your thoughts on blanketing horses during cold weather? Does my horse need it?
Signed, Don’t Know What To Do
Dear Don’t Know What To Do, Aaand, that’s how we know winter is coming. Humans have this ritual where they face off in teams to debate blankets vs no blankets. Let me tell you a story. Appy knew a Thoroughbred mare who had a condo at this fancy barn. The owner of said barn had her heart in the right place but when it got cold (according to human scale) she shut all the windows and doors and every horse wore a blanket. When the mare’s owner arrived the following morning all the windows in the barn were covered in condensation and the mare was sweating. I mean, common sense would tell you that there’s a lot of heat being generated there, right? So it comes down to this: define cold. If the human is cold, that’s the human’s problem and the human should wear a coat. That doesn’t mean the horse is cold. It just doesn’t. Now, if the horse is thin, or old, or sick, or its coat is clipped, or it stays outside when it’s really wet and cold and doesn’t have shelter, or it’s shivering, then it might want a little protection. Or not. If you come out one morning and your horse is wearing his blanket around his neck like a scarf, or you’ve found his buddy has tried to help by ripping the thing to shreds, he might be trying to tell you something and is cursing the fact he doesn’t have opposable thumbs to get the darn thing off himself. So, just use common sense. Stay cool, Appy