November 28, 2015

Book Reviews We Love, And Why – A Message to Readers

photo of book covers at libraryby Toni Leland

Reader reviews are the tiny victories for any author. Or not.

Sure, we all love those 4 and 5 star ratings, and we most certainly can learn from the 3's and 2's. Sometimes.

Remembering that a book review is simply someone's opinion or reading preference helps take the sting out of the not-so-great posts. BUT ...

The reviews I love the most are the messages from my readers that tell me why they loved a particular story. They also tell me what I'm doing right, and when I do it wrong. Valuable feedback!

I recently had three such reviews, each of them thoughtful and encouraging.
A reader posted on Amazon about Deadly Heritage, 

a story of family deceit and long lost love. I read this reader's comments over and over, loving that she "got" what I was trying to convey.

"... being from Oklahoma and a huge Quarter Horse owner and fan, I really appreciated the authenticity of both the location and the knowledge of horses. Very realistic and believable."

So I feel connected to this reader through my story. I can picture her reading and nodding, gasping and possibly holding her breath as the plot unfolds.

A recent visitor post on my Facebook Author Page was equally heart-warming:
"We met at Equine Affaire last week and I purchased Gambling with the Enemy, not knowing what would happen in Paris that night. ... When I got home, I began to read the book ... Chills down my spine for a few reasons, mainly 9/11 and my personal connection to WTC. I could not put down your book. ... engaging, intriguing thriller, so believable."

This review was especially good for me because, when she bought the book, I worried that it was not a good choice for her introduction to my work. So much for second-guessing!

Another visitor post on Facebook was from a woman who read Balancing Act. "As a former Chicago carriage driver, and a rider for the Noble Horse Theater, that book was frighteningly accurate. I loved it!"

A perfect example of why I take so long to write a story! Getting it right is more important than "getting it out there."

Regardless of the number of stars, when a reader takes the time to write something – even if it's just "Good book!", they are providing an author with encouragement to continue putting those words into stories, or working to make them better.

September 18, 2015

Horseback Riding in Autumn

A hunter pace rider enjoying herself in Connecticut
A rider enjoying the day.
by Toni Leland

A sharp edge to the air, the soft thump of hooves on pine needles. What could be more invigorating than trotting through the forest or cantering over a rolling countryside in the fall? Organized for exactly that experience, hunter paces and turkey trots are the darlings of avid horse folk everywhere, but especially here in Connecticut...

A pretty chestnut mare looks out of the horse trailer
Pretty chestnut, just waiting...
One of the great things about writing for Connecticut Horse magazine is that I can write about what I love. Horses have been my passion since I was a little girl, and to now be able to share that love with others is amazing.

Enjoy my article about hunter paces and turkey trots, a piece beautifully designed by the magazine for your reading pleasure.