A (Not So) Short History of Women Riding Astride

I’m gathering research for my new novel, this is very relevant and awesome-ly written.

Susanna Forrest

IWWH covers I enjoyed talking about the history of sidesaddle on Countryfile – it was my first experience of TV and everyone was incredibly friendly and easygoing. We did a few takes of different parts of the interview and it was hard to know whether to embellish what I’d said each time or to say the same thing again. There’s so much material to use but you only have seconds in which to say it, and the entire segment on sidesaddle was six minutes long. This slot had to include the presenter, Ellie, having a sidesaddle lesson, a display by the Legover Ladies and interviews with saddler Laura Dempsey and Roger Philpot. The result is that you simplify as colourfully as you can and make a mental note to do a blog post which clarifies a thing or two. I haven’t seen the programme yet as I can’t watch it on iPlayer…

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G is for Good

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… or bad.

Yesterday I was lying in bed with my wife (that’s her hands and legs up there by the way). We were tired and silly and just talking and laughing. I can’t remember anymore how we got there but I decided to tell her about the most sensual part of a novel. I like stories that make me bleed. Stories that make me cry and ache. I just like feeling a lot. I like sadness. I don’t like vanilla stories were everything just falls into place.

Whenever I think of aching moments in stories, I often think about Radclyffe’s “Passion’s Bright Fury”. I love this book (And not just because I have a little crush on Saxon Sinclair). There is one specific scene that always destroys me.

This is the excerpt of that part (the scene is that Sax (the doctor) and Jude (the director) are going upstairs to the roof of the hospital before Sax’s shift starts. They talk a bit, make out a bit, and then the following happens) :

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F is for Freedom

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Before I get into this blog post I want to thank Lynn over at Lynn Lawler’s blog who has written a lovely review of Stargazing, my new novel. You can find the review here or here.

Thank you to everyone who has purchased a copy of “State of Emergency”, “Out of Hand” or “Stargazing” – please don’t hesitate to leave reviews on amazon or goodreads if you liked them. Leaving reviews is a simple way to give some love to your favorite author.

When I planned this blog post it was the day before my vacation started. As a teacher I get something of around six and a half weeks every summer. Of course, some days I do work on, planning and looking through new material but otherwise I’m free. I was looking forward to continue learning the piano, finishing ”A tale of Spiders and Canned Soup” (my next novel) without a couple of days. I wanted to go running and swimming etc. Instead I have re-organized at home, donated books and clothes. I have gone back and forth to my wife’s work, helping to prepare for her work trip to South Africa. She’s works in IT and she’s going down there to help with… something. She’s been doing insane hours and haven’t even had a day off during the weekend for a couple of weeks. This morning she left.

I’m such a silly woman. When I said bye to her at the airport, my tears came and I clung to her even if I know we’re going to see each other agian in just half a month. We just need each other so much, it’s a little bit crazy to still be this way after an entire decade.

I’m not into being alone so I’ve gone with my parents to their boat. I figured two weeks of fresh air, sea water, book reading and sun would do me good. I brought more books than clothes, plus my kindle. A book of soduko I want to work on. Also some horse magazines.

When I was a child I loved horses. I took every opportunity to go horseback riding or even just brush one or muck out. I wouldn’t say I’m good AT ALL. I just know basics like brushing, tacking, walking, trotting, cantering… I’ve done a little bit of jumping. That’s it. I realise now that I want to pick it up again. I want to be good. I would be happy if I could just do a bit of show jumping within the next twelve years, you know?

It’s a crazy dream so far. I have as a goal to just go riding at a local stable two times this summer and then wait and see how that felt. We kinda sorta hoping that I’ll get pregnant some time this year too and if that happens I’ll have to put the riding on hold for a couple of years. But I’m in it for the long haul, I don’t mind waiting. I like working towards goals even if it takes me years to meet them.

I still can’t believe I’m a published author, I have two books at home with ”my” name on it. Physical books. That I can touch. I can tell myself to sit down and write a book and it’s something I can do. Surely if I have the discipline to do that, I can learn to be a good rider?

Time to walk the dogs again, then I’m going to drink copious amounts of tea and try to get some writing done.

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Announcement

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Tomorrow on the 22 of June, “Stargazing” comes out. It’s a lesbian romance about Star and Lissa who, even though the like each other, one fundamental difference. Lissa is a work-a-holic virgin and Star is a somewhat laid-back pornactress.

Here is the blurb:

“Lissa stared open-mouthed at the GIF that played over and over on the screen in front of her. Heat flushed to her face, igniting her skin. Her heart started pounding in her chest. Stupid internet, it should really come with a warning label. She swallowed once. Twice. Just scroll past it. Of course she was going to scroll past it. She wasn’t going to sit there and stare at… Star.

Lissa is a twenty-something party-planner. She’s never been interested in relationships or sex and as the years have gone by she has retreated more and more into her work. Everything changes when she meets Star, an porn actress with a heart of gold and a troubled childhood.

They say that opposites attract, but how much of that is true? What chance do they have when one of them is a virgin and the other one star in pornography?”

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E is for Exhausted

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I’m not really exhausted. Honestly. But part of me wants a vacation. I know this from last year – there comes a time in April where my brain stops functioning and I just can’t anymore. Can’t write. Can’t be active on Twitter or Instagram or Facebook (I’m trying honestly). Can’t read books. I guess it’s normal for teachers. Summer is coming, it’s been a long year of texts about body parts, countries and flowers. Lessons about punctuation (ever tried to teach someone where a sentence ends? It’s harder than it looks.) Lessons about 15+15 and 8-3-5, not to mention countless fights, drama among my girls, booboos and actual wounds and that time one my student got a “butterflycomb” (who sends a butterflycomb with their kid to school?) thrown into his eye. Don’t worry, he was fine even though we didn’t think so first. It’s been a year of angry (and not-so-angry) e-mails from parents. Of hugs. And pieces of art from my students that I want to spread all around me. Of meetings. Of tears from me when it’s just too much pressure to do this stupid, wonderful, lovely job.

My brain has shut down a little bit. It’s on hiatus. It’s just trying to survive until June when I finally can breathe again. Be myself again. Be a writer again.

Right now I just want to be alone. Do my job. Work on miniatures that don’t require brain-power the same way (current dollhouse pictured above). Maybe write a short story. Cook. Walk with my dogs. Cuddle with my wife.

That’s all there is left of me.

I’m sorry I can’t do better.

D is for Dragons

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Reaching blindly in front of me, stuck in a cave.

Ferling the shape of a head larger than my body and wings.

Are those fangs? Is that a crooked spine? Have I found a dinosaur?

Not a fossil. A skeleton.

When I reach between your ribs between four inflated lungs and squeeze the soft lump of a heart I found there, you roar.

I have found a sleeping dragon.

Your breath smells like ashes and your newly awake gaze – without coffee – is thunderous orange.

Angry.

Why did I wake you?

I squeak. Like a mouse. I didn’t mean to. I thought I had found a dinosaur. A real one.

You scoff. Shake your head and explain that if dragons are horses, dinos are donkeys and I’m lucky to have found you. One in a million.

My life by a thread I cannot climb, my heart a captive bird, my limbs trembling with fear.

Not brave. Pathetic.

Please don’t eat me! I’m ready to plead and beg. Ready to give the dragon anything. Riches. Beautiful virgin daughters from the village. A Samsung Galaxy S5. Anything.

You shake your head. Your black scales glistening in the dark.

Just leave me alone you imbecile. Worthless maggot. I just want to sleep and forget that the world is no longer mine. 

I bow my head, not daring to say anything else. I close my eyes staying bent forward, hot breath washing over me again and again. They taper off after thirty minutes and I dare to look up again.

You’re not there. Just a pile of bones. No volcano breath. No halloween-colored eyes.

Did I dream it?

My heart beat slows down to normal and I can breathe again. I laugh at myself and my mouth curls into a grin.

I was just spooked. It can’t have been that bad, right?

Let’s see if I can wake her again….


Author note: I just like dragons, okay?

C is for Courage

Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That’s what little girls are made off

– Bethany Hamilton.

I slept in a bit today, prioritised rest over a proper breakfast and so I had to eat my breakfast walking to the bus station. It was a peanutbutter and jam sandwich and as I chewed away I had three thoughts.

1. Raspberry jam isn’t as good as strawberry jam.

2. I’m bad at evenly spreading peanutbutter.

3. Tram and train tunnels really remind me of The Walking Dead.

As I threw away the crust in the trash like a child and could finally stick my cold fingers in gloves, I started thinking about courage and freedom.

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B is for Books

I took an embarrassing amount of time to think of a word for the letter B. I thought of babies, but I don’t have much to say about that right now. I thought of bananas, but even though I don’t eat them I’m not a banana hating extremist and I don’t have much to say about that either. It could be B for blog but I’ve already talked about my lack of blogging enough times. For some reason the word “books” didn’t cross my mind until last week.

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