Mandy Eve-Barnett's Official Blog

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Learn To Take Turns…

January 27, 2014
mandyevebarnett


The title says it all – learn to take turns – this is a barrel racing saying. One of many I learnt while researching  my current WIP, Willow Tree Tears.  It was certainly a journey into a world I had no previous knowledge of. Isn’t that what makes writing fiction all the more exciting?

The barrel racing course itself is a series of sharp turns in a clover-leaf shape, as you can see from the diagram below. A figure-eight pattern was the initial barrel racing circuit but has been replaced by the favored clover-leaf course, which demands a higher skill level. When watching these events I marveled at the synchronicity of horse and rider at speeds that were astonishing. 

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To begin a barrel race, the horse and rider enter the arena at top speed, through the center entrance. An electronic timer beam records the horse and rider as they cross it. This timer runs until the beam is crossed again at the end of the run.

Modern barrel-racing horses need to be fast, strong, agile and intelligent.  To maneuver the course in as little distance as possible requires physical strength and agility from the horse as well as the ability to follow commands from the rider. Horses that can “hug the barrels” and maneuver the course quickly  show up by their consistently low times. The favored breed for barrel racing is the American Quarter horse. The history of the breed began in the 17th century with British thoroughbreds paired with ‘native’ horses, (Chickasaw), which in turn were descended from horses brought over by the Conquistadors. Such as the Iberian, Arabian and Barb and wild horses.

The Girls Rodeo Association, (GRA)  was the first organization specifically developed for women, who wanted to compete in rodeos. It was formed in 1948 by a group of  Texan women consisting of only 74 members and  having a limited 60 approved tour events.  The group officially changed its name to the WPRA (Women’s Professional Rodeo Association) in 1981. 

In 2013 the WPRA celebrated sixty five years of women in rodeo. The WPRA . . . the past, present, and future of women in rodeo! 

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Subsequent to writing my narrative, I found out a new ‘reality’ TV program is on air – Rodeo Girls. However, the authenticity of its portrayal of women in rodeo is open to discussion.

Why does every show have to glamorize and falsify ‘real’ life?

I read many derogatory comments on a forum once the show was aired from barrel racers appalled at the depiction of their profession. I am happy to declare my narrative is true to the real barrel racers and their lifestyle.

Willow Tree Tears is a romance which follows my protagonist, Trinity, a champion barrel racing young woman. Trinity must decide between two men. A man she has known since high school and who lives the ranching and rodeo life and a suave globe trotting Italian. She is determined and focused in her sport and lives on a Quarter horse stud with her father. Can she resist the lure of the unfamiliar? Is marrying her ‘kind’ best for her and her father’s hopes for her future and the ranch?

The launch of Willow Tree Tears is still under negotiation but I will announce it as soon as a date is finalized.

What have you learnt about through novel researching?

A Self Imposed Grueling Schedule…

December 28, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Grueling – definition : strenuous; exhausting; very tiring; arduously severe

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With only three more posts until the end of my year long ‘post a blog a day’, I have mixed feelings. The regime has become second nature, although at times I did struggle. Now I am wondering how to utilize the ‘free’ time not posting every day will give me.

My first task is to decide on the frequency of my posts for 2014 and then what subjects, themes or topics I will cover on those particular days.

Obviously, I have some ideas bouncing around inside my head but still need to finalize them.

If you have enjoyed a particular post or posts, I would welcome your comments and suggestions (within reason – I will not be posting every day in 2014!) What, I hear you cry (or maybe not!) I have several projects, I want to bring to fruition in 2014 and blogging every day would seriously interfere with those plans.

To give you an idea what those projects are:

To publish two novels as e-books that have been languishing in my laptop files. Life in Slake Patch & The Twesome Loop.

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To publish in e-book form and on a print on demand site, my children’s chapter book, Ockleberries to the Rescue.

To edit, revise and refine my NaNoWriMo novel, Willow Tree Tears.

My biggest project is to boost my freelance business – any offers are more than welcome!

These projects are in addition to my role as secretary of the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County and the planning of our annual conference in March. As well as creating a prompt on the website every Saturday and attending sharing meetings, board meetings, workshops and book events. All of this has to be squeezed into the time I am not working the day job.

Please consider attending our conference if you are within driving distance of Sherwood park, Alberta, Canada or fly in and stay at one of the many hotels in the area. We would love to meet you.

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