Stop signThank you for being a loyal follower of Rocking Horse Writing. This blog is no longer active, as I have split Rocking Horse Writing into two separate blogs–one for writing/publishing and one for horses/riding.

To continue following my adventures in writing, reading, and publishing, please follow:

To continue following my equestrian pursuits, mishaps, and blunders, please follow:

I will only occasionally publish the same post on both blogs (e.g. A post about a writing book dealing with horses.)

I hope you will continue to follow one or both of the new blogs. I apologize for any inconvenience!


One Blog becomes Two . . .

It has come to my attention that this blog attempts to cover too many subjects. For that reason, I’ve decided to separate Rocking Horse Writing into two blogs.divided-highway-ahead

If you’d like to join me in my adventures in writing, reading, and publishing, please follow:

If you follow Rocking Horse Writing solely to laugh and cry at my equestrian adventures and mishaps, please follow:

Of course, if you’d still like to follow BOTH of my blogs that would be the best option of all! This will be my last post on Rocking Horse Writing, as my two new blogs will require all my extra time and energy. Thanks for your input, loyalty, and sticking around through the blog changes!

Eleven Ways to Support A Friend’s Book Release

In the week since my YA mystery, Trail of Secrets, was published, I’ve engaged in a whirlwind of tweets, Facebook posts, blog appearances, and in-person visits to bookstores, libraries, tack shops, horse barns, etc. I’m starting to realize I probably should have majored in marketing instead of English! I’ve been overwhelmed with support from many friends, relatives, fellow writers–particularly a few close friends scattered across the country who have been hand-delivering my bookmarks to local riding stables and sharing my Facebook posts with their social networks. I’m so grateful!

Still, people continue to ask me, “What can I do to help?” Well, the obvious answer is “Buy the book!” But going beyond that, I’d like to re-share a portion of a post I read and posted a couple of years ago on by Chuck Sambuchino (editor of Writer’s Digest) on how to support an author’s book release. I’ve been using many of these strategies (especially number 6!) to help support the book releases of my fellow writers. The suggestions are so simple, yet effective, that I must share them. Hopefully, the good karma I’ve been putting out there will come back to visit me in these next days and weeks!

To view the complete post from, click HERE.   I am sharing my favorite portion of his post below:

The bestsellers at London City Airport

“Anyone can support an author’s book release by doing different things to help the book sell and get noticed. So, in no particular order, here are 11 things — some big, some small — that you can do to support a writer friend when their book comes out:

1. Buy their book. An obvious point, sure, but important nonetheless. Naturally, we must buy new copies of books, not used copies, for the sale to “count” and the author to get a royalty. So buy new. Heck, consider pre-ordering the book. Publishers pay attention to pre-orders to help get a sense of what titles are getting buzz and attention. Impressive pre-orders help the author.

2. Buy their book for others as a gift. Think of which friends and relatives would enjoy the book/novel. Buy it for them as either a birthday gift or holiday gift. You get to support your author friend and give cool gifts at the same time! Get copies signed if possible to make gifts special. Even people who don’t read many novels will still take note if a gifted book is personalized and autographed.

3. Face the book out at bookstores. Simply rearrange a bookstore shelf so that your friend’s book faces out to make it much more noticeable. (The theme begins: It’s all about getting noticed.)

4. When you actually read the book, read it where people can see it. Read it in public. Read it on the subway. Read it in the aisle seat of a plane. Read it on the deck of a cruise ship. After all, don’t you find yourself looking at what others are reading when you pass by? I do! And if I see 3 different people in 3 different places reading the same book, will I start to investigate it out of curiosity? Yes. It’s all about building public knowledge of something to the point where people are curious and discuss it.

5. Ask a bookstore employee where the book is located. When entering a bookstore, do not look for the book, even if you know exactly where it is. Go to the bookstore customer service clerk and ask them about the book. They will find it in their system and lead you to the book. My hope is that if several people do this at the same bookstore, then the employee(s) will begin to take notice of the title, wondering what all the buzz is about. If you’re lucky enough that an employee finally picks it up and reads it, then they might put it in the “Employee Picks” section or refer it to people who come in and ask “What’s something good I probably don’t know about?” or “What book makes a good gift?” Let bookstore employees help sell copies!

6. Leave a review on Amazon or or Goodreads or all. Reviews are still very important. Think about it. If you come by a new book and see it has 2.0 stars on Amazon, would you buy it? On some level, that silly rating does affect me and my decision — and my guess is that it affects you, too. So it’s crucial that, when you read a book and enjoy it, you leave a review on Amazon or or Goodreads or all. Those first 10-20 reviews really matter and can set a book on the right path. (Note: You can leave the same review on all sites to save time.)

7. “Like” the book on Amazon, or “Like” the author’s Facebook Fan page, or both. I heard from a literary agent once that the more “Likes” a book had on its Amazon page, the more frequent it turned up in Amazon’s comparable titles elsewhere. Getting your personal friends to “Like” another friend’s page is an easy favor to ask, as it requires no money. (Heck, go do some good right now: Open this separate page and “Like” Brian’s Facebook page if you have a second.)

8. Reserve a copy at the library. An employee here at Writer’s Digest Books once told me that if all copies of a book are reserved from our county library before the title came out, the system has a way of noticing this popularity and marking the book as one for “more orders.” (Also: Use the bookstore method above and ask librarians about the book — simply to draw attention to it and get the title on the mind of staff.)

9. Attend the book release party (if there is one) and bring a warm body or two. This task isn’t so much to help the author as it is to help the author’s self-esteem. It’s lonely to have a book release party or local signing with low attendance. If you already bought a copy, bring that book to be signed.

10. Spread news of the book through your social media channels. When the author mentions it on Facebook, share the news with your social circles and include a small note about what the book is and why they should buy it. In other words, spreading the word by saying “My friend got published!” is nice — but it’s better to say, “This new book by my hilarious friend is a great gift for dads who are raising daughters. Laugh-out-loud-funny stuff for all fathers to enjoy!” See how the second one targets people in a simple-yet-specific way? Do this kind of targeting when you spread the word via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, or blogs.

11. If you have media contacts or know people of influence, arrange a connection. This is one of the best things you can do and probably the biggest way you can truly influence the life of the book and the success of the author. If you’re married to the cousin of a local news personality, it’s exactly that kind of connection that serves as a great introduction between author and TV host. If you know a book reviewer at a newspaper in Boston, say so. If your old college buddy now runs the biggest reading club in all of Central California, try and help your author friend’s book be a future choice in that club. Utilize your network!” – Chuck Sambuchino

So select a few items off this list and help your writer-friends to succeed!  When your book gets published,  you’ll be glad you did.

It’s Release Day for TRAIL OF SECRETS!

It’s Release Day for TRAIL OF SECRETS!

The big day has finally arrived–the publication of my debut YA novel, Trail of Secrets! Do you love horses, or mysteries, or ghost stories, or books about people who view the world in a slightly different way? If you answered yes to any of the above, then I hope you’ll check out my book.

TrailSecrets_FULLThe digital version of Trail of Secrets is available on AMAZON or SMASHWORDS for $4.99. The print version can be purchased on LULU for $11.95.

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for one of three signed copies of Trail of Secrets on GOODREADS! (Giveaway ends September 15, 2015.)

Happy trails to you!



Cover Trail of SecretsThe release date of my YA mystery, Trail of Secrets, is scheduled for August 27, 2015. That’s less than two weeks away! To celebrate, I’m giving away three signed copies of my book on Goodreads.

CLICK HERE to enter!

Do you know anyone who loves horses, or enjoys YA mysteries? Feel free to share the giveaway with this link:

The winner will be announced September 15, 2015. Good luck!

Horsin’ Around Thursdays–Edmund Pickle Chin:  A Donkey Rescue Story

Horsin’ Around Thursdays–Edmund Pickle Chin: A Donkey Rescue Story

Horsin' Around ThursdaysToday I’m taking a break from young adult novels to introduce a very special picture book–Edmund Pickle Chin:  A Donkey Rescue Story, co-authored by Clara Bowman-Jahn and Susan April Elwood. I’m deviating slightly from my Thursday horse theme, too, as this picture book is about a donkey, not a horse. But I’ve never met a horse-lover who doesn’t also love donkeys! Not to mention, I’m a sucker for animal rescue stories. Clara Bowman-Jahn is a talented author and former online critique group member of mine. I’m so happy to help spread the word about her sweet and heartwarming book, which has been tested and approved by my very own children.edmund-cover-600x900-1-200x300

Summary:  Edmund Pickle Chin, A Donkey Rescue Story is based on a true story. Edmund is an abused donkey who is the first of many animals to call Evermay Farm, a small rescue in central Georgia, home. Susan, Edmund’s care giver in the story, not only gives the shy donkey the time and patience he needs but gives him a new name every day of the week. The title takes on one of those nicknames she so lovingly calls him. As Susan starts to take in new critters, Edmund finds himself changing. As his name grows, so does his trust and acceptance. Edmund soon learns that he is not only needed but wanted. This confused, frightened donkey’s life changes as he becomes a hero, a babysitter, and a companion to the other residents at Evermay Farm.

Age Level:  5-12

Publisher:  eTreasures Publishing, LLC (December 12, 2014)

About the Author:  CLARA BOWMAN-JAHN worked as a registered nurse for thirty-two years, finally trading that job for her true love, writing. Clara’s short stories have been published in the anthology of the “Campaigner’s Challenges Book.” When Clara is not writing, she does volunteer work for a local elementary school and her church. She also likes taking long walks with her husband, blogging, and reading books. She is a member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and Round Hill Writer’s Group. She lives in rural Loudoun County, Virginia with her humorous husband, a senior dog and two cats. And she is the proud mother of two wonderful grown sons and one delightful grandson.

Connect with Clara on her Facebook Page:

and her website:

Happy reading!



At last, the cover for Trail of Secrets has arrived! I instantly fell in love with the cover when I first saw it a few weeks ago. I wanted to share it with the world immediately, but I’ve been sworn to secrecy until today. I’m so thankful to Caroline Andrus for designing such a mysterious equestrian-themed cover. It truly captures the essence of my novel. Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think!

Cover Trail of SecretsTrail of Secrets, by Laura Wolfe

Spending three weeks of her summer at the elite Foxwoode Riding Academy in northern Michigan should have been one of the happiest times of sixteen year-old Brynlei’s life. But from the moment Brynlei arrives at Foxwoode, she can’t shake the feeling she’s being watched. Then she hears the story of a girl who vanished on a trail ride four years earlier. While the other girls laugh over the story of the dead girl who haunts Foxwoode, Brynlei senses that the girl—or her ghost—may be lurking in the shadows.

Brynlei’s quest to reveal the truth interferes with her plan to keep her head down and win Foxwoode’s coveted “Top Rider” award. To make things worse, someone discovers Brynlei’s search for answers and will go to any length to stop her. As Brynlei begins to unravel the facts surrounding the missing girl’s disappearance, she is faced with an impossible choice. Will she protect a valuable secret? Or save a life?

Publisher:  Fire and Ice Young Adult Books (coming August/September 2015)
Age level: 13-18

Still not sure if you want to read it? Watch the trailer:

I hope to see you next week, when I’ll recount every detail of my recent visit to the Kentucky Horse Park!

Horsin’ Around Thursdays:  The A Circuit

Horsin’ Around Thursdays: The A Circuit

Horsin' Around ThursdaysWelcome back to Horsin’ Around Thursdays! Before I get to today’s book, I have exciting news related to the upcoming release of my young adult equestrian thriller, Trail of Secrets. I’ve been working my way through the final edits and, a few days ago, I even got a sneak peek at the cover. I absolutely love it! Unfortunately, it may be several more weeks before I can reveal the cover to the outside world. Because patience is not one of my virtues, I’m keeping myself happily entertained by reading other people’s horse-themed books.

This week it’s all about horse showing at the highest level–The A Circuit. In case you’ve never heard of The A Circuit four book Series, co-written by Catherine Hapka and professional equestrian, Georgina Bloomberg, prepare to indulge in a guilty pleasure.

A CircuitSummary (from  The A Circuit is the top of the top when it comes to horse showing. It’s a world with its own rules and super-privileged lifestyles. Teens employ private tutors so they can travel the circuit all year showing horses that cost as much as some people’s homes.Tommi, Kate, and Zara are all elite competitors on the circuit, but they come from totally different backgrounds. Tommi is a billionaire heiress trying to prove she has real talent (not just deep bank accounts). Kate puts the working in working student-every win has been paid for with hours of cleaning stalls. She’s used to the grueling schedule, but Fitz, the barn’s resident hot guy, is about to become a major distraction. And then there’s Zara. She’s the wild child of a famous rock star, but she’s ready to take riding seriously. Can a party girl really change her ways?Readers who enjoy peeking into the elite world of series of Gossip Girl or The A-List will feel right at home in this new series with its friendships, drama, and privilege set against a backdrop of competitive horseback riding.

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (May 24, 2011)

Recommended Reading Age: 12-17

If you crave a book filled with drama, horses, and a glimpse into how the “other half” lives, then pack your beach bag with The A Circuit for a fun, summer read!

My next post will be in two weeks because I’ll be off on a road trip with my family for a while. One of our destinations will be the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. Can’t wait to report back on the experience!

Horsin’ Around Thursdays–No Horse Wanted

Horsin’ Around Thursdays–No Horse Wanted

Horsin' Around ThursdaysI hope everyone had a fun and safe 4th of July holiday! Not only is it Thursday again, but it also happens to be my daughter’s 6th Birthday!! I’m taking a break from balloons, cake, streamers, and presents to let you know about a few great horse-themed books by author Shannon Kennedy, starting with No Horse Wanted (Shamrock Stable Book 1), Fire and Ice Young Adult Books (September 12, 2013).

No Horse WantedNo Horse Wanted won the Must Read YA Romance Award from Sneak Peek, was an Eppie finalist, and was featured in Young Rider Magazine – Book Bag (May/June 2014).

Summary:  The only thing that Robin Gibson wants for her sixteenth birthday is a 1968 Presidential Blue Mustang. Following their family tradition, what her parents promise her is a horse of her own, one with four legs, not four wheels. Mom competes in endurance riding, Dad does calf roping, her older brother games and her older sister loves three-day eventing, but Robin proudly says that she doesn’t do horses. She’ll teach her controlling family a lesson by bringing home the worst horse she can find, a starved, abused two-year-old named Twaziem.

Robin figures she’ll nurse him back to health, sell him, and have the money for her car. Rescuing and rehabilitating the Morab gelding might be a bigger challenge than what she planned. He comes between her and her family. He upsets her friends when she looks after his needs first. Is he just an investment or is he part of her future? And if she lets him into her heart will she win or will she lose?

After you read No Horse Wanted, be sure to check out these other must-read books in the Shamrock Stable series:


See you next week, when we’ll delve into the elite world of showing on the A circuit. Until then, happy reading!

Horsin’ Around Thursday–A Horse Named Viking

Horsin’ Around Thursday–A Horse Named Viking

Horsin' Around ThursdaysWelcome back to Horsin’ Around Thursday, where every week until the release of my YA novel, Trail of Secrets, I feature a spectacular piece of horse-themed fiction. Today, I’m excited to introduce you to author Caroline Akervik and her YA novel, A Horse Named Viking, Fire and Ice (April 29, 2012).

Summary:  A rogue. An outlaw. An unlikely hero. Viking is the sole offspring of a savage and viciousViking mare. The colt is the pride of the stable until his dam kills a groom in her stall. Viking is a painful reminder of the tragedy, and so he is sold off.

The black colt has a coarse face and a mean curl to his nostrils, but he is beautifully proportioned with magnificent gaits. With his teeth and thick weapon of a tail, Viking brutalizes everyone who handles him and humiliates the best trainers in the world until Anne O’Neil from the United States tries him.

The first time she rides him, she declares that she will not buy him if he was the last apple in the barrel. The second time, she rides him with a different philosophy, as if he is as sensitive as one of her Thoroughbreds, and she is amazed by the results. Kindness and sugar turn out to be the keys to Viking’s heart. Viking and Anne become rising stars until a cruel and brutal trainer seeks to crush his spirit.

A Horse Named Viking follows the life journey of an incredible, unforgettable horse.

About the Author:  Caroline Akervik has been an avid reader since the fourth grade when a nun named Sister Dorothy introduced her to the magical world of Narnia. Caroline read anything and everything and was a particular fan of Marguerite Henry’s horse stories and, especially, of King of the Wind.

Most of her early adulthood was spent as a professional horsewoman. She competed through the Grand Prix level of Dressage and worked with and trained many horses. Then, Caroline was blessed with a wonderful husband and three incredible children. Spending time with her own children motivated her to return to school to become a library/media specialist.

Now, Caroline shares her love of story and of the magic and power of words with the children she teaches. In her own work, Caroline seeks to write from the heart and to transport her readers and give wings to their imaginations. Caroline writes for young people, but agrees with C.S. Lewis that “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”

Connect with Caroline on her BLOG and FACEBOOK PAGE!

Enjoy! I’ll see you back here in two weeks, as I’m taking next week off to enjoy the Fourth of July holiday. Happy trails!