“If your dream includes just you, it’s too small.” —Ava DuVernay
This quote is especially true these days, in this chaotic world where so many are hurting, so many people and animals struggling to survive. The thing is, if we work together, that struggle for survival can transform into a thriving planet. I don’t just want to publish a book, I want my life and creations to add to this dream of interconnectedness where people choose love, choose kindness, choose peace.
So, I’ve decided to donate a portion of the proceeds from WILD HORSE HEART to programs that rescue and protect wild horses.
Helping animals has always been a priority for me. I’ve adopted many rescue cats and dogs over the years, and am always seeking to support animal welfare with my voice, my prayers, and whatever volunteer time and monetary donations I’m able to give. As I’m building the overarching vision for my debut novel, it’s important to me that it includes a way to give back.
Here’s an excerpt from WILD HORSE HEART: A Down-to-Earth Hollywood Romance, where Ria first meets the mustangs she’ll work with in the film.
As they reached the wood rail fence, Ria’s heart gave a leap. A herd of horses grazed in a pasture that stretched from the forest at the base of a hill on the left to a rock-faced bluff on the right.
There were at least twenty of them, every one so beautiful they stole Ria’s breath. There were browns, reds, and bays, a couple of palominos, two white horses, and one black. But her eyes lingered on the paints, of which she counted seven. Some were black with white, while some had dark brown or coppery red contrasting with white. Some of the horses lifted their heads in interest as they eyed their audience. Ria couldn’t imagine more graceful animals.
“They’re gorgeous, aren’t they?” asked Ben, who’d snuck up on Ria’s right.
She turned her head, showing him the wistful smile already on her face, then looked back at the horses. “They’re amazing. When do I get to meet them?”
Ben gave a small laugh. “Now, if you like. I’ve been in this herd a lot in the last few weeks. They’re horses, so you have to keep your wits about you, but they’re friendly and well trained.”
“Are they all mustangs?” asked Ria, itching to get on the other side of the fence.
Ben nodded. “Every one of them came up from adoptions done by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. There are two more herds on the property, each much bigger than this one.”
“That’s a lot of horses,” Ria said, her mouth open in astonishment.
“It is, but there are countless more waiting for somewhere to go. They get rounded up from ranges in the western United States, usually by helicopter, then put into holding pens waiting for adoption. It’s a huge trauma for the horses to go from freedom and wilderness to being chased by a loud flying machine and locked up in cages. A lot of them don’t end up finding homes.” Ben paused, his lips pursed with sadness. “But they’re amazing animals. Mother Nature being the best breeder, mustangs are sure on their feet, and tend to be extremely loyal. The more time I spend in this herd, the more I get a feel for the horses’ sense of family. Everything starts with establishing trust—you do that, treat them with respect, and they’ll do anything for you.”
Ria leaned on the top rail of the fence and thought about what it would be like to own a mustang, to know she’d saved its life and grow a friendship based on trust. A distant hope sparked in her heart.
I don’t like to dwell on the negative, partially because mommy hormones mean absolutely everything makes me cry, so my book isn’t about the challenges wild horses face but instead illustrates the amazing relationships that can be made between a horse and a human.
In the story, the characters film on a fictional ranch that rescues wild horses. Supporting a real-life mustang sanctuary is a natural choice to include in my vision for this book.
For starters, I’ve chosen Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue in California, a program that saves wild horses from slaughter, helps adoptable horses find homes, and lets many animals live their lives with dignity and freedom. Lifesavers also offers mustang gentling workshops, and an incredible program called Wild Horse Warriors which brings war veterans and others who have experienced trauma into nurturing relationships with horses (they do this free of charge to the participants, so if you’re moved and want to donate, please do!). I hope, over time, to be able to make significant contributions to this organization and others.
Of course, a single book doesn’t bring in a whole lot of profit, and I have to feed my family, so the percentage I’m able to donate will be heavily based on the success of the book. However, this gives me even more motivation to commit to a long-term campaign for WILD HORSE HEART. It also gives you the opportunity for a warm, fuzzy feeling when you write a review and/or share the novel with others who might be interested in the story and the behind-the-scenes cause the book supports.
If you’ve read all the way to the bottom of this blog post, you’re amazing! My guess is you have a soft spot for horses too, so let me take this opportunity to express my gratitude. Thank you for caring. ((( love )))
*Top photo of three horses used with permission – all rights reserved by Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue