Introducing A New Book for Horse Lovers
A Novel Based on a True Story, by Eileen Watkins
Two years ago, Anna Loehmeyer’s marriage, job and life fell apart when her husband was arrested for fraud. The experience devastated her, but Anna found a new purpose when she rescued a mare bound for slaughter. After acquiring two more hard-luck equines and a small farm in western New Jersey, Anna decides to take the plunge into her own horse-rescue operation.
The only person eager to help is her teenaged niece MJ, who is recovering from her own heartbreak—the untimely death of her beloved father. Formerly a good student, MJ has become depressed and rebellious, even jeopardizing her chances to get into college. She persuades her mother to let her spend the summer living and working at the rescue farm, because in her Aunt Anna she sees “the only adult who’s doing anything meaningful.”
Soon the two women recognize a bond that goes beyond family ties—their mutual love of horses and a desire to save them from abusive situations. Less experienced than Anna, MJ learns on the job, and her mistakes awaken Anna’s motherly instincts and amuse Walt, a young man from a neighboring farm who helps out when needed.
Signs that an intruder has been lurking around her property give Anna even more to worry about. Her greatest challenge, though, could also be her best hope for an adoption success story—the farm’s newest resident, an ex-racehorse named Murphy. Almost put down for seriously injuring a jockey, the big gray loves to jump, even without a rider.
But is he too dangerous for Anna and MJ to handle, much less to retrain? Can they afford the natural horsemanship expert the vet recommended? For the sake of their horses, both Anna and MJ may just have to learn when and how to ask for help…
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About the Author, and “The Story Behind the Story”
Eileen F. Watkins has taken riding lessons on and off for most of her life. She owned only one horse, briefly—a chestnut Thoroughbred named Brenda, who inspired the equine character of “Valentine” in this book. Eileen initially shared Brenda with her trainer, and showed her in dressage. As Brenda’s health worsened, though, Eileen made the difficult decision around 2001 to surrender her to a rescue farm. At that time, Bright Futures Farm in western Pennsylvania was still young, and owner Beverlee Dee operated it mainly by herself. Under her excellent care, Brenda lived almost two more years before passing away from natural causes.
Meanwhile, Beverlee shared with Eileen written anecdotes about her experiences starting the farm, and some of her more dramatic rescues. At first they considered publishing these as a non-fiction book, but ultimately Eileen felt they would work better—with some reshuffling of events, and totally fictional human characters—as this novel. Bright Futures has grown over the decades into larger, fully accredited and highly respected Thoroughbred rescue farm.
In 2003, Eileen began publishing mystery and suspense fiction with Amber Quill Press. She eventually put out eight novels through that publisher, mostly paranormal suspense written as “E. F. Watkins.” The one exception was her 2004 romantic mystery, Ride a Dancing Horse, set on an Andalusian horse farm. Eileen also paid tribute to Brenda in her essay “Class and Courage,” which appeared in the 2006 anthology Chicken Soup for the Horse Lover’s Soul II.
After Amber Quill closed its doors in 2015, Eileen began writing the Cat Groomer Mysteries for Kensington Publishing. The series started in 2017 with The Persian Always Meows Twice; The Bengal Identity came out in spring of 2018, and Feral Attraction in the fall of that year. Newest, as of 2019, is Gone, Kitty, Gone. The Persian Always Meows Twice won the David G. Sasher Award for Best Mystery of 2017 at the Deadly Ink Mystery Conference, and the first three books all have won Certificates of Excellence from the Cat Writers’ Association, Inc.
Eileen is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Cat Writers Association. She serves as publicist for Sisters in Crime Central Jersey and for the annual Deadly Ink Mystery Conference. Learn more at her website, www.efwatkins.com.
In Other Book News from WCY
Fiona Finds Love has received a certificate of excellence in the Cat Writers’ Association Communications Contest for 2019! The book is now a finalist for the coveted Muse Medallion, awarded to the best entry in the category—in this case children’s picture books. Get your copy of this winner today! https://www.amazon.com/dp/1946044482
We’re please to announce that three of our books will be used in Lollypop Farm’s Humane Education Summer Camps at Home Program: Oliver’s Big Problem, Tiffany Rolls On, and Rescue Smiles are part of their summer fun curriculum. (See below for books links.) Check out their page for more info and find out how you can sign up today!