Spring 2018 Update

It’s been many seasons since posting. Not so long by some measures, but in social media terms it has been ages. Sometimes you need to resource your motivation and find the right stability for achieving goals. Regeneration is a hopeful project.

I came to see horses differently after doing research for the books. There is so much evidence that humans benefit from experience with horses, even if we don’t know this anymore. You can see the belief in our history: the art, the literature, the language and myths and political forms all recognize and respect equestrian influence. But not anymore. It seems a huge change to ignore.

Most have lost the horse connection–rip! it’s gone–and the ramifications are unknown. Another era is upon us. Horses are mute actors, large canaries in the coal mines of human coalescence. This seems true in all times and places. Horsemanship reflects consequence of action; our troubles are theirs.

I have even come to believe horses are important for our future. We seem to need the remembrance they represent, to feel the history that still lives with them. Horsemanship was a herald of human civilization. Both dawned together, and maybe that matters. I now think it might.

People may actually need the connection to nature that horses provide. In one sense the horse never left the prairie, we just built around them; horses are still wild inside, still afraid of lions.

It would be funny if it turned out that human primates need the horse’s original ancient lessons of strategic leadership and internal control in order to sustain society.

Maybe the flaw of machines is you don’t need to care. Maybe we need to care.

The brutality of the corporate vision offers vital despair as it approaches the horizon, but there are other paths. Paths once hallowed. We may have dismounted in haste, but the horse is still with us. Not in the guise of the betrayed plow horses or those we bred for carriages or drays, but within the intimate bonds of equestrian sport, recreational riding and therapy. The deepest partnership we have with animals has continued to advance and unfold. That itself seems a guide.

The exciting–thrilling–spark of our new day is something that wasn’t knowable before, and people may not think of even now. The love of horses is still alive. Horses are proving to be a curious antidote to the commercial world and will surely become more valuable over time, not less. Many still feel the ancient bond, proving love is indeed as perennial as the grass.

EQUUS Film Festival

EQUUS Film Festival I spoke on a panel last month at the EQUUS Film Festival in NYC, with a welcoming group of dedicated and talented horse people. I wish to thank organizer, Lisa Diersen, and the positive and engaged folks putting on and attending the event. The EQUUS Film Festival is a new showcase for artists, and the event continues to grow and find ever greater success.

I wanted to talk about the historical connection we have in honoring positive awareness of horses and the creative energy they represent … but my talk didn’t fit. I’d rather not dwell on it. My fellow panel-presenters were lively and topical, and I’m glad to have met them and heard about their work.

The books ran the field, from nonfiction to fiction, self-help to thrillers to biography to romance–a very interesting mix. I’ll share their work for others to check out…

I sat beside Cate Folsom, whose book Smoke the Donkey told of a Marine mascot who won the hearts of his troop and the public. The second, underlying story of the presentation was how Smoke won the author’s heart too, and gave her new appreciation for our equine partners.

Susan Cain, EdD, LCSW presented her book, Horse Sense for Leaders: Building Trust-Based Relationships. Horsemanship is a time-proven training ground for leadership … it is valuable to have a scientifically endorsed assessment. Excellent ideas to look into.

Connie Johnson Hambley presented her latest book, The Troubles a work of suspense based on her own childhood experience. The book is the second in a trilogy that began with “The Charity.” The author blends the book’s mystery and intrigue into a background of steeplechase action.

Robin Hutton spoke about her book that tells of a historical horse war-hero, Sgt. Reckless: America’s War Horse. The dedicated service of our 4-legged force members is honored in this true-life story of a faithful little horse who kept up duties under fire. The book itself does a valuable service in rescuing Sgt. Reckless from forgotten memory.

Carly Kade gave a personable introduction to her fiction book In the Reins, the winning title for Best Western Fiction. Jeremy Enlow presented his pictorial work of living history, “Cowboys of the Waggoner Ranch” … this photograph-filled book was especially interesting as it details one of the ‘big spreads’ I grew up hearing about in Texas.

We had one missing panelist, Artemis Greenleaf, author of (Team Smash: Five Amazing Girls, One Amazing Horse) The book is about the life and love of a ‘special needs’ police horse. The eclectic author has written on a variety of subjects, with interesting and unique themes in her work.

Thanks to my fellow panel speakers, organizer Lisa Diersen and co-host Diana DeRosa … and of course to the inspiration of our mutual equine friends.

INTO THE DARK wins best Classic in 2016 Reader Views Awards

INTO THE DARK (Book 3 of The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy) has won the 2016 Reader Views Literary Award, for best Classic title!

Into the Dark (Book 3) book cover

Into the Dark by John Royce has won the adult Classic category of the 2016 Reader Views Literary Awards!

The awards are hosted annually by the review site, Reader Views, to acknowledge the best of independently-published American work.

» Reader View Literary Award Winners (2015/2016)

Into the Dark
Book III: The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy

Into the Dark is the third and final book of The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy … the historical adventure speeds into modern times.

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“A wonderful story for families to share”

“Into the Dark” allowed me to jump right into the third book of an incredible trilogy. Having grown up with an affinity towards horses, I found myself relating to the main character; I also gained a greater appreciation for these incredible animals, and the roles that they have played in helping mankind evolve. Paige Lovitt for Reader Views

» See the entire Review

gend of the Great Horse trilogy books (2015)Special thanks to Reader Views

The presence of Reader Views as an independent book resource has been especially important for the The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy.

For the first book, Eclipsed by Shadow, almost a hundred pre-publication review requests were sent out–but only TWO came through: a highly-respected industry recommendation from venerable Library Journal … and one from the independent reviewers at Reader Views! Wendy Cleveland of Reader Views gave the first review of Eclipsed by Shadow, Book I of the trilogy.

In 2009 Eclipsed by Shadow placed second in the Reader Views Awards for Young Adult Fantasy. Eclipsed by Shadow won other national awards including the Eric Hoffer Award for best Young Adult Fiction, and the 2010 Mom’s Choice Award for best family-friendly Young Adult Fantasy … yet the first was through Reader Views!

INTO THE DARK featured in Midwest Book Reviews Bookwatch

I’m catching up with the final two books and looking for new reviews to help guide readers … here is an older review.

Into the Dark was featured in the venerable Midwest Book Reviews in the June 2013 “Children’s Bookwatch”. It is a wonderful honor!

Unfortunately horse-themed literature is all labeled juvenile by the consolidated corporate publishing industry … also unfortunately, independent publishing is still basically an echo and not its own sound.

Cover of INTO THE DARK: The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy (Book 3)

MBR Children’s Bookwatch, The Fiction Shelf:

INTO THE DARK

The third and final novel of the award-winning Great Horse trilogy, Into the Dark is the culmination of a teenager’s mysterious voyage through time and history, in which she witnesses firsthand how horses have been a “silent partner” in human civilization.

Earlier books [ed: this one!] explored the horse’s critical role in the American West; “Into the Dark” continues the human-equine journey to the 20th century and beyond. Horse lovers of all ages will enjoy this thoughtful, character-driven adventure!

Also highly recommended are the previous novels in the series, “Book I: Eclipsed by Shadow” and “Book II: The Golden Spark”.

» See featured review

» See original Bookwatch review

Legend of the Great Horse trilogy books (2015)

The Legend of the Great Horse books: Canada

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If you are one of the wonderful Canadian readers of The Legend of the Great Horse, please consider leaving a short comment or review on Amazon.ca or another domestic bookseller.

Click the book images to visit each page … THANK YOU!

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The only way to share independent books is through readers!

By the way…

The books of The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy are available throughout Canada … if you see the books listed as “Temporarily Out of Stock” on Amazon’s Canadian outlet, understand this is only because fraudulence is so casual in the publishing industry its effects are considered earned revenue.

The Golden Spark : review by Don Sloan

The following review of The Golden Spark was given by reviewer Don Sloan, a retired journalist turned full-time Indie book reviewer who posted on the site justfreeandbargainbooks. (not a paid review!)

The review is written in narrative “genre-based” format, which offers a unique summary of the story while engaging the reader. Book review space has been lost from most newspapers, but promising new work by reviewers are a part of independent publishing’s innovation in how readers can find their best books:

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quotation markI won’t spoil the ending by revealing whether or not Meagan gets any closer to her true home in the present day, but suffice to say, there’s still plenty of adventure for her before the end of The Golden Spark.

These stories are so well-written, and expertly edited, they are a pleasure to read. Obviously, the author is himself an experienced horseman, and that intricate knowledge of horses, their habits, and the great love he has for them shines through on every page.

Five stars for The Golden Spark, and eager anticipation for the third book in the Great Horse Trilogy.— Don Sloan, justfreeandbargainbooks

Mom’s Choice Awards: The Great Horse wins Gold

The opening book of The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy, Eclipsed by Shadow, won Gold in the 2010 Mom’s Choice Awards for best family-friendly Young Adult Fiction.

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The Mom’s Choice Awards® evaluates products and services created for children, families and educators. The program is globally recognized for establishing the benchmark of excellence in family-friendly media, products and services.

The Legend of the Great Horse tells a story of real history without romanticizing violence, and it is a special honor for the title to be chosen and included with other titles meeting the Mom’s Choice criteria … “to help families grow emotionally, physically and spiritually…”

The explosion of self-published books has made curation increasingly important. The Mom’s Choice Awards are an example of new formulations in publishing, and a way for readers, parents and educators to find good books!

Upcoming Book Giveaways …

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The Legend of the Great Horse will be hosting weekly giveaways through November 2015!

Here is the planned schedule …

Book I: ECLIPSED BY SHADOW
Orig Paperbacks @ LibraryThing   10/25/2015 – 11/01/2015 (Live)
Ebooks @ LibraryThing   11/01/15 – 11/07/15
Orig Paperbacks @ Goodreads   11/02/2015 – 11/13/2015

Book II: THE GOLDEN SPARK
Ebooks @ LibraryThing     11/02/2015 – 11/08/2015
Orig Paperbacks @ Goodreads   11/07/2015 – 11/15/2015
Ebooks @ LibraryThing     11/15/2015 – 11/22/2015

Book III: INTO THE DARK
Ebooks (PDF) @ LibraryThing   11/03/2015 – 11/09/2015
Orig Paperbacks @ Goodreads   11/07/2015 – 11/15/2015
Ebooks (PDF) @ LibraryThing   11/09/2015 – 11/15/2015
Ebooks (PDF) @ LibraryThing   11/15/2015 – 11/21/2015