Saddle up and ride along.
I’m always surprised to hear myself say, “I’m an author” because I wrote a book by accident. In fact, if anyone had told me to write a book I would have scoffed at the notion. Now there are three novels in the Dream Horse Adventures Series.
I started writing in a season of grief. Some days I wrote a hundred words and others eight hundred. The pain of my loss lifted and was replaced with sweet joy. I realized I loved writing and I loved the story that seemed to magically flower on the page. It took me only three months to write my first book – Selah’s Sweet Dream. Then it took nearly two years to take it chapter by chapter to a critique group to shape it into an award winning story.
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The first novel was published in December of 2015, and I was sixty-five years old. It is apparently never too late to write that book on your heart.
I write because God has blessed me with gifts and abilities that He expects me to use for His glory. My novels are the result of using my natural aptitude in composition and vocabulary. My struggle comes in the application of punctuation and I’m highly dependent on an exceptional line editor.
My happy place is on the Sam Houston Forest trails in Texas with my Rocky Mountain Horse. To ride, you must stay in the moment and honing that life preserving skill is an asset to a writer. My writing is more immediate and intense if I’m careful not to get distracted with backstory. I love to start a story in the middle of a crisis. Since I loath boring, I put my characters through a lot of trauma and stand back to watch them try to cope as their situation goes from bad to terrible.
At my age, the learning curve to self-publish my novels would have been intimidating if I’d had any concept of what the process would actually require of me. I think horse women are a special breed because the grit I need to ride my horse fearlessly, I also needed to push through the challenges and mysteries of publishing.
The struggles pale in the light of the rewards. When a child comes running to my book table, snatches up a book, and hugs it while she begs her mom to get it… When a young girl reads the book balancing on the back of a grocery cart as her dad shops… When a reader leaves a review on Amazon to tell me how much they loved it… When I watch children’s faces as I read the story and can see that it touches them… Those blessings keep me writing! Next up will be an adventure series for my grandboys. I’m sure it will still have a scene with horses in it. How could it not?
Selah’s Painted Dream
Thirteen-year-old Selah’s life is about as perfect as it gets. She has horsy friends at school, and on weekends, she rides her black mare on Grandpa’s farm. Training the horse to do upper-level liberty work is what makes her heart beat.
But one word can ruin a perfect life—moving.
A move would separate her from her horse, so she plots to get her name on the farm mailbox instead. She’s sure she could persuade Grandpa—except he’s overly distracted by a sheep-loving neighbor.
Determined not to let Grandpa’s new sweetheart take her place in his heart, Selah puts her hope in a painted dream horse from Grandpa’s past. When she snugs up the girth and buckles on her spurs, Selah rides to win.
“Now, into the third book of the Dream Horse Adventure series, author Susan Count does not disappoint. Her realism and heart continue to engage us, and carry us through to the end with full attention. The book breathes with life, whether in the connect with heart and dreams, with past and present, or the confusion that stirs and overflows the pot from time to time. Count captures the struggle of human emergence as gracefully as a butterfly comes to its first flight. Teen transition carries such a force capable to scatter, connect, and realign even stronger. Selah struggles through her transition, and learns the joy and importance of relationships, both human and equine.”
~Darleen Wohlfeil, Story Monsters Ink Magazine
American Horse Publications – FIRST PLACE – Equine Fiction
Feathered Quill – GOLD Award
Readers Favorites – GOLD Award
TxAuthors Best Book Award Winner for 2017 – Juvenile – Coming of Age
Feathered Quill – 2017 GOLD Award – Children’s Fiction – Animals
Purple Dragonfly – 2017 First Place – Disability Awareness
Find Susan Count Online:
Web Site: http://www.susancount.com Receive free short story access when you subscribe to the author’s updates on her web site
A few random SNIPPETS from the book!
~Her eyes swept the room. This place felt more like her room than her room at home did. Even though she could only be there on weekends, it was where her heart’s treasures were stored. Her grandmother’s horse books, which had been left to Selah, and the Breyer horse collection covered every shelf. She was convinced someday they would want to make a model of Sweet Dream. Someday—when they were famous. Selah shut the door gently on her dreams.
~“Move?” Instant panic struck Selah as her world exploded like a crystal horse figurine crashing onto the stable’s rock floor. Pins and needles pierced her skin like the shards from the shattered crystal. Her eyelids fluttered closed and she leaned into the privacy they provided while she fought for air and denied reality.
~Sweet Dream’s head flew up, and she spun sharply. Ears pricked forward, the mare snorted in alarm, shaking Selah in the saddle. Selah gripped both reins and made tight contact with the bit trying to steady the horse. She stared down the service road. It dawned on her something was brushing along the crowns of the trees and coming fast in their direction. A red-and-white plane lurched and wobbled toward them as it snapped the tops off the small pines.
~Grandpa’s truck eased off the highway with Katie’s rickety trailer rattling behind it.
“You can’t be serious, Grandpa? A stinky sheep trailer.”
“Glad you’re all right, Selah.” He opened the squeaky pipe gate to the stock trailer.
“Dream would rather walk home.”
“That would give you plenty of time to think about what’s coming out of your mouth.” He frowned.