And they’re off…

Horse racing has been a sport almost as long as humans domesticated the wild Steppe horses. horse-racingCareful breeding of the horse for desired characteristics resulted in different breeds with different skills, body shapes (confirmation) and temperament. The horses in the picture on the left are more than likely Thoroughbred horses that are breed for their speed and their feisty spirit that makes them ideal contenders in the sport of horse racing.

The Standardbred horse has also been bred for speed but their temperament which  is steady and calm, and stamina.  Thus they are ideal for buggy racing as pictured below. buggy-raceThey also have a different gait from the thoroughbred horse one that is steadier giving the racer a higher degree of control.

Any one who has read my blog or followed me on Pintrest knows that I love animals, all animals and especially horses, dogs and cats. I also enjoy horse racing. What I abhor is what happens to the horses after they no longer produce winning runs, i.e. money, for their owners.

It is estimated that nearly 60% of all Thoroughbred and Standardbred horses end up at slaughter houses. This is after they have earned hundreds of thousands of dollars for their owners. They are just put in an overcrowded cattle truck, in freezing temperatures or scalding heat, with no food or water and shipped off to Canada or Mexico since horse slaughter is no longer legal in the United States.


Part of the problem is there will always be a demand for horse meat. Humans have been eating horses for as long as humans have existed. It is considered a delicacy in many countries around the world so the demand for it is a major reason horses are shipped off to slaughter.

The next reason is that owners don’t want to pay for feed and vet care for horses that are no longer profitable. They look at the bottom line, and not the horses heart and ship them off to Mexico or Canada via slaughter house auctions. Some racetracks are making owners sign a sort of promissory note that they will not ship the horse of for slaughter before they can race at their track. It remains to be seen how successful this has been, but at least it is a step in the right direction.

Finally, there is the problem of over breeding.  Racing owners want faster, stronger and more tractable horses. So they breed the winners until they get one they think is what they are looking for. The castoffs can end up on a dinner plate because there are not regulations concerning horse breeding.

As it stands today, there is no viable answer to the problem. Those that have been lucky enough to own a horse know that the horse is so much more than a dinner steak. They are not cattle. They are loyal, loving, kind, gentle creatures who care for their owners as much as the lucky owner cares for them.

I think only public awareness of the heart of a horse and dedication to horse rescue will stop horse slaughter. In the mean time, we work saving one horse at a time until the time comes when it will be outlawed altogether.

If you are interested in helping to stop horse slaughter contact Equine Rescue Network

Pictures courtesy of Pixabay




The Hard Truth About Publishing—What Writers & Readers NEED to Know

The Hard Realities of the Publishing Business

Kristen Lamb's Blog


As we careen toward the New Year, many emerging writers have a goal to finally publish that novel and I hope you do! But the arts are kind of strange. We often get fixated on the creative side, without really understanding the business side of our business.

The publishing world is still in massive upheaval and it is a Digital Wild West. Old rules are falling away and new ones are emerging, but still? Knowledge is power.

In my book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World, I go into a LOT more detail and I highly recommend you get a copy if you don’t have one. I spend the first chapters of the book explaining how the various forms of publishing work so you can make an educated decision as you are building your brand.

All types of publishing have corresponding strengths and weaknesses and this is…

View original post 3,455 more words

BBW – What the Heck?

question-mark-1829459__480That is exactly how I felt when I first saw the acronym BBW. I honestly thought it was something kinky like you would find in Fifty Shades of Grey. I honestly haven’t read the book, but I heard enough chatter about it to know that it dealt with BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Sadism and Masochism. I mean the letters BBW seem to go with BDSM. However, I couldn’t for the life of me figure what it stood for. When I found out it stood for Big, Beautiful, Woman I was not only shocked, but thrilled. It is exciting to discover that  there is a whole movement within the feminine community that is fighting Hollywood about their images of the perfect woman.

For, example in the late sixties there was Twiggy, then came Cindy Crawford, Kate Moss, Heidi Klum, etc. who were and are stick thin. Whatever happened to voluptuous women like Marilyn Monroe and Sophia Loren. skinnyThose women had curves and the public loved them. No skinny smoothies and carrot tops for them. It was pasta and burgers and fries and the whole works, and still people adored them and imitated their images.

marilyn-monroe-402037__480 Let me ask you this. Which looks more enticing Miss Stick Frog or the curves and softness of Marilyn Monroe? For me, Marilyn wins the Miss Good Looking contest over the Twiggy like stick figure. However, the vast majority of American women bought into Hollywood’s new image of thin and thinner.

This has given rise to several eating disorders including bulimia and anorexia. Both of which are based on the need to control their eating so that their body image fits the Hollywood-created female. The invention of the Barbie doll also helped further the body-image crisis that plagues American women. I have to be completely honest and say that it got me too.

fatI suffered from the body image crisis or to put it another way, the lack of acceptance and really self-loathing of my body for almost all of my life which is over half a century of living. In my mind the words fat and ugly were one word. It was not a compound word or a hyphenated word. It was one simple word that totally consumed my identity and the self-image I held. The word was: fatandugly.  That word “fatandugly” dominated my identity and relationship with the world in which I lived.  I lived in the back corners of the room, I hugged the walls, I never walked down the center aisle and I avoided making contact with new people. It was an excruciatingly painful way to live, and all because I bought into Hollywood’s hype about the perfect female body.

large women.pngImagine my surprise when I finally learned it was not only okay to be larger than a twig, but that it was finally acceptable to me and in public as well. I am fully aware that being overly large can cause certain health problems, and I am not promoting that type of weight gain. All I am trying to say is that you can have curves and thighs that are larger than a willow tree and still look feminine, lovely and beautiful . In other words, enjoy being a BBW, I know I am.

After all,as Meghan Trainor says it really is:

All About That Base Continue reading

The Wound—Because Damaged People Make the BEST Stories

Wounded characters make good plots better

Kristen Lamb's Blog


Many emerging writers come to me when they find they are struggling with their WIP. I always begin with the same question, “What is your story about?” Often, I get this response, “Well, my story isn’t plot-driven. It is a character-driven story.”


I have no plot…and please stop asking me because it makes me want to drink heavily.

There really is no such thing as a purely character-driven story. Character and plot are like two keyed cogs. One drives the other. The plot pushes the protagonist to grow and as the character grows, this in turn drives the plot.

For instance, in The Lord of the Rings the plot problem (Toss evil ring in a volcano before power-hungry necromancer takes over Middle Earth) is what forces the Hobbits to leave The Shire. Ah, but once they leave, how they respond to escalating threats determines plot.

For instance, they…

View original post 1,802 more words

A very sad topic…

cementary“I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.”  J.R.R. Tolkien – “Return of the King”


Writing, talking and especially going through a period of grief is a sad topic. People don’t want to experience the pain, they don’t know how to help others who are grieving, and the whole experience makes them uncomfortable.

However, the holidays are especially hard for those who have lost a loved one. It is an in-your-face reminder that they are not there. That you will be trying to celebrate and act normally when all you want to do is hide away in bed with the covers over your face.

This is when your friend or family member needs you most. hiding-in-bedEven if you just sit around in their house it will be comforting to them to know they are not alone in their grief. Others need a hug, a big strong bear hug that they can cling to since  their world has just spun out of control.

Other things you can do is run errands, do their shopping, fix meals, clean house, just the daily things that will help them find their way back to the world they once knew. And when the holidays come be prepared to listen, don’t push. If they don’t want a tree, a party, can’t manage a Christmas party, let them be.  Do NOT force the grieving person to try and celebrate the holidays as it will only serve as a physical reminder of their lost ones.


Other don’ts include: don’t tell them that it is time to get over it. Every person grieves in a different way. Along with that don’t say you know how they feel. Even if you have lost a loved one, your grief process will be different and you cannot know how they feel. If they are still grieving let them grieve in peace. Don’t ask them how they are doing as it is just a reminder that something is wrong. For those of faith do not say God had a reason for this, or s/he is in a better place, or even worse God needed another angel. Other don’ts include you have to be strong for the rest of your family or God never gives us more than we can handle.

The truth is that God didn’t cause the lost of your loved one. Maybe a drunk driver did, maybe the person’s own bad habit’s did, maybe there was no reason for a child to get inoperable brain cancer. But one thing I know is true, God didn’t do it. The Enemy aka Satan, Lucifer, the Devil has temporary charge over  this world and he came “kill, steal and destroy” John 10:10 KJV. He is: “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” 1Peter 5:8b

No matter the cause, no matter the time, the grieving person needs to be allowed to grieve the way that comforts them most. You can help by anticipating what they might need, i.e. groceries, a meal, dishes washed, etc. Educate others about how to help the grieving person, and most of all just be there for them.

hugI know from personal experience that just having someone in the house, even though I laid in bed hiding for three-four weeks was so comforting because I felt so alone when my husband died this past January. This person anticipated what I needed and just did it. They stayed with me night and day and I couldn’t have survived that first month without her.

Sometimes a shoulder to cry on is the best gift you can give to anybody that is hurting.

“Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before–more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.”

Charles Dickens, “Great Expectations”


13 Things Mentally Strong Writers Don’t Do

Excellent advice, not so easy to do sometimes but most good things aren’t

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 6.20.28 AM

As y’all know I do a ton of reading and this includes lots and lots of blogs and articles. Over the holiday I ran across one article that just had me jumping up and down and yelling, “YES! THIS!” The Business Insider article “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do” is based off Amy Morin’s book (which I highly recommend).

It doesn’t matter if we strive to have a healthy marriage, strong kids or a killer career, these tenets cross-apply to all areas of life. Mental toughness is a key component to being successful. Yes, even for writers.

So I figured I would tinker with this and make it more directly apply to writers and what we must do (or not do) if we long to do well in this career. Thus, today we are going to discuss 13 Things Mentally Strong Writers Don’t Do.

#1 They don’t waste time…

View original post 2,503 more words

Is Facebook Dying? What’s Killing It?

What do you think? Is she right or not?

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 8.49.47 AM

I never intentionally set out to be a social media “guru,” though now looking back it seems an inevitable choice. Why? Not only do I love helping people but I also have an insatiable appetite for cracking codes and patterns…then using that information to predict trends.

Seriously. Yes, I am a nerd.

But this skill has come in handy and has allowed me to be at the leading edge of the evolution of the Digital Age. By examining vast amounts of data, I can see patterns emerge almost with a life all their own. The best way to describe it?

Remember those Magic Eye images that were so popular in malls in the 90s? They just looked like a jumble of dots or colors or random images but if viewed in a certain way, made a larger three-dimensional image? Some people could see the image easily and some (like my husband)…

View original post 3,417 more words

The Single Largest Secret to Success

Rid yourself of energy drains

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Steve Snodgrass Image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Steve Snodgrass

All of us start out writing for different reasons. Perhaps we have dreams of seeing New York Times Best Seller or USA Today Best Seller in front of our names. Perhaps we long to be a household name like Stephen King or even a legend like J.K Rowling.

Some of you might want to see Winner of the Pulitzer Prize on the cover of your books or see your books made into television or major motion pictures. Some writers simply want to finish that one novel and publish it so they can say they wrote a novel.

Every dream is equally noble. There are no right or wrong goals only your goals (and goals evolve as we do). Yet, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the level of sacrifice and self-discipline required to Write a Novel in…

View original post 2,417 more words

Happy Thanksgiving, I think…

thanksgiving-1This will be my first Thanksgiving without my father and my husband. My dad died the day after Thanksgiving last year, and my husband died 5 weeks later. So I am struggling in some ways to find an attitude of Thanksgiving. I know I still have a lot to be grateful for. All my children and grandchildren are alive and thriving. My home is comfortable and there is food on the table. Something that is not true for many people around the world. Yet, still I struggle with the hole that they left in my world.

Nighttime is the worst. The poet Edna St. Vincent Millay is quoted as writing, “Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night.” 

I gave up journaling at night because of this.hole I would open my journal and all I could write was, “I miss you. I miss you. How could you leave me like this? And, I would end up sobbing and crying myself to sleep. Even, though I know how beneficial journaling can be, for me it just created more pain. Maybe as time passes I will be able to journal again, but not for now.

It sounds so trite and so trivial to tell a grieving person to be thankful for all they still have. Honestly, it doesn’t work, not at first and it is not helpful. It just makes the grieving person feel guilty for grieving. I can tell you what works: hugs, telling the person stories about their lost ones – stories that they might not know, and just being there for them so they are not alone in their grief. At one point during the first weeks, I could not even tell you what month it was let alone the date or the day of the week. Having someone to handle the details of everyday life is immensely helpful. If that is not possible, then pray because prayer works. Don’t call!


Phone calls are an intrusion into the person’s world of grief. They cannot make banal conversation. Don’t ask them how they are doing, they are suffering and the question makes them face the suffering head on. For months, after the deaths of my dad and my husband I turned off all phones in my house for hours and sometimes days at a time.

girl-getting-dressedInstead, show up with a mop and broom, or a willing pair of hands, or throwing clothes at the grieving person and telling them you are getting them out of the house. I know I lived in my house robe for months except for visits to doctors or when someone “forced” me out of the house. This looks a lot like me when I’d be told we’re going out. However, afterward I would be so grateful because it gave me a break from my grief. The grief would come back, but for an hour or so I didn’t have to deal with it.

So, this Thanksgiving, I am grateful for all my family I have left and for their patient and all-encompassing and unconditional love for me. Without them, I honestly don’t know if I would be here today.

So as you are cooking, eating, drinking and celebrating this Thanksgiving remember to be grateful to your family, and if you are one of the lost or lonely without family go to a church sponsored Thanksgiving meal. They are free and you will be with people who will not judge you or ask questions. They will just love you and feed you and give you support, comfort and a great meal.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone. I hope it is blessed with love.

(Photos courtsey of Pixabay)


Justice, Mercy & Addiction

clipboard01“The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven. (William Shakespeare – The Merchant of Venice)

I read a recent story of a man who had been arrested because he owed about $75,000 in child support. I wondered what good it would do to put him in prison. It reminded me of the medieval debtor’s prison. He will be sentence to 5-10 years where he will get 3 meals a day, a roof over his head and a TV for entertainment. He will never pay back what he owes, and the whole thing is pointless. I then began thinking about all the drug addicts in prison. The USA is one a handful of countries that treat addiction as a crime. Many countries treat it as an illness and work hard to reform addicts into contributing members of our society. Putting an addict in prison just gives them three meals a day, a roof over their heads and they can get all the drugs they want in relative safety.

drunk.jpg If you have ever had a close relative, child, parent, spouse who had an addition problem then you probably realize how difficult it is for them to stop using their drug of choice. Doesn’t it make more sense to try and rehabilitate these people than just send them to jail.

I am aware that those arrested for drunk driving are usually sent to some type of 12 step meeting or other rehabilitation program. The problem is that the addict will not quit using until they are ready. You would think the man in the photo would have reached bottom already, but it is obvious he had not. Why not? No one knows except the individual themselves. Whatever pain, whatever internal demons s/he is trying to cure with the substance of choice it is up to them to figure out that going through the pain is easier than living with the consequences of using. Things like automobile accidents, overdosing, losing their jobs and families are sometimes just not enough. It is, at this point, between God and the addict to find rock bottom and turn to others for help.

Speaking of God, here is another complication. Many people believe that the addict is going straight to Hell for their actions caused by the need for their drugs or alcohol. Robbery, murder, breaking and entering, drunk driving resulting in the death of an innocent person – all of these seem to warrant an eternity in Hell. However, this is where I get mired down in theology and the different aspects of God.

He is depicted as being first Love, then all holy, all merciful, godall just, all knowing, good in all that He does, unchanging, faithful, kind, etc. So, if the addict is sick or simply unable to quit would an all knowing, all just, merciful God commit a sick person to Hell for all eternity?

Personally, I cannot have faith in a loving God that would commit such an egregious act of injustice. For it would be unjust to send a person to Hell for an act of which they have no control. So what is the answer. Does God allow a murderer into Heaven? Does He let a pedophile on the loose with the millions of children in Heaven? Personally, I don’t think so.

In the book, The Shack by William P. Young, he posits that more than anything else God wants a relationship with us, and not just any relationship – a love relationship since God is love first and foremost. Young also tells of an experience in the book were God as the Holy Spirit tells him to put two of his children on one side and two of his children on the other side. Then the Holy Spirit tells him to choose two to go to Heaven and two to go to Hell.

This is an impossible choice for any parent, and God is Abba, Daddy, Father of us all, and do you think He wants to choose which of His devilchildren will live with Him and which will be given to the devil. Personally, I don’t think so. It is not that I don’t believe in Hell or the devil. It’s just that I believe God is bigger, wiser, more loving and more merciful than the box we have put Him in.

Plato tells his students a story about some men who lived all their life in a cave and never saw any light at all. One day the veil on their cave is removed and light comes shining through. Some of the men go towards the light welcoming its warming presences. However, some of the men are afraid of it and move further into the darkness because they cannot imagine what it is or how it could be of benefit to them.

I think this is what happens when we pass on. Jesus meets each of us and he is full of light and love and we are drawn to Him. However, there are souls so dark, so lost, so afraid that they pull away from the light and sink even further into their darkness. God is, and always was, a gentleman. He won’t force himself on anyone. But He gives us a choice, one last chance to ask for His help. We can choose the light or we can continue on into the darkness.

“In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth…” Luke 13:28