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Terri Farley
Wabi Sabi

Monday, September 26, 2005



Dear Readers,

Many of you have written to ask me why our Senators and Congressmen are spending your parents' tax dollars to capture and kill wild horses. I don't know, but I have another small step you can take to help.

Last week the Senate voted to support the Ensign (R-NV) /Byrd (D-WV) amendment that would end funding for the inspection of horse slaughter plants owned by foreign companies. That's the good news.

Now, the Conference Committee is writing a bill that coordinates the House of Representatives' bill with the Senate bill. Seven members of that committee voted to support horse slaughter and may block this combination bill. I've listed them (with their phone numbers and email addresses) -- including Senator Conrad Burns. He is he Montana senator who slipped in the amendment last year which forced BLM to sell wild horses for slaughter.

I know this is a long fight. And I'm learning a depressing amount about the sneaky ways MY money is used to kill horses. I want it stopped and I know you do, too, but our representatives won't know how to vote unless we tell them and tell them some more and KEEP ON telling them until our throats and fingers are sore!

The Conference Committee is working on the bill this week.
If you want to help, please call or email as soon as possible and :

Ask them to protect horses from slaughter by supporting the Ensign/Byrd amendment in the Senate Agricultural Bill and
Support the Ensign/Landrieu American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act


Senator Christopher Bond (R-MO) 202-224-5721
bond.senate.gov/contact/contactme.cfm
Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) 202-224-6521
(his website says it will take 4 weeks to read your note so call!)
Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT) 202-224-2644
burns.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Home
Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) 202-224-5054
cochran.senate.gov/contact.htm
Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) 202-224-2752
johnson.senate.gov/emailform.cfm
Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) 202-224-2551
senator@dorgan.senate.gov
Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) 202-224-5842
johnson.senate.gov/emailform.cfm

I've tested all the above email addresses by sending notes myself, right now. They work. I will be placing phone calls tomorrow morning.

If nothing else, we will show these senators we know who's responsible for wanting America's horses on foreign dinner tables.
Thanks for taking the time to care.
Terri


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Thursday, September 22, 2005

SHAKESPEARE ROCKS (and he liked horses!)

Dear Readers,

I'm not saying I freaked out, or ran screaming through my house, scaring cats, dogs, tropical fish and wishing I could be back in the classroom with the reader who wrote me saying she hated learning Shakespeare. But, uh, well, I WAS kind of upset.
I love reading, watching and teaching Shakespeare.
"Romeo and Juliet", "Merchant of Venice" and "Othello" tell you everything you need to know about love, intolerance, jealousy and more. "Hamlet", "MacBeth" and "Julius Caesar" are filled with characters so real you know them (some you don't want to, but still). His plays have weird supernatural stuff (telling the future by "reading" an animals intestines?)and are up-to-the-minute on politics. Plus, the man wrote 100's of years ago & still makes people laugh and cry!

And he liked horses. Legend says when he was a teenager, in pre-writer days, he made money by watching rich folks' horses while they were chowing down at the inns. It's been suggested that it was an extortion racket ("Gee, it would really be too bad if your horse got loose -- " wink wink ). I guess that's possible. Young Shakespeare wasn't a guy your parents would have wanted you to hang around with.

Anyhow, I've excerpted this bit from a poem (Don't sweat the language; if you like horses, you'll get it) in which a riding horse (clearly a stallion)is tied up and waiting for his master when he spots a flirty mare in the woods.

"... forth she rushes, snorts and neighs aloud:
The strong-neck'd steed, being tied unto a tree,
Breaketh his rein, and to her straight goes he

...he leaps, he neighs, he bounds,
And now his woven girths he breaks asunder...
The iron bit he crusheth 'tween his teeth,
Controlling what he was controlled with.

His ears up-prick'd; his braided hanging mane
Upon his compass'd crest now stand on end;
His nostrils drink the air, and forth again,
As from a furnace, vapours doth he send:
His eye, which scornfully glisters like fire,
Shows his hot courage and his high desire.

Sometime he trots, as if he told the steps,
With gentle majesty and modest pride;
Anon he rears upright, curvets and leaps...

What cares he now for curb or pricking spur?...
He sees his love, and nothing else he sees,
For nothing else with his proud sight agrees...

Sometime he scuds far off and there he stares;
Anon he starts at stirring of a feather...
Through his mane and tail the high wind sings...

He looks upon his love and neighs unto her;
She answers him as if she knew his mind

...He veils his tail..like a falling plume...
He stamps and bites the poor flies in his fume.
His love, perceiving how he is enraged,
Grew kinder, and his fury was assuaged..."

----
The dot-dot-dots mean I've cut something out. You'll have to read "Venus and Adonis" to see it all!

Best,
Terri


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Sunday, September 18, 2005

Fun & Helpful website!

HI--
I created the WRITERS WORKSHOP page on Phantomstallion.com because at least one-third of the readers I hear from love to write.
Today I was searching out new writing contests to post on that page & stumbled across a website that does such a fantastic job of collecting current information, I'll just pass the web address on to you.
It features contests, scholarships, and grants for poetry, non-fiction, fiction, clever sayings...just about anything you can imagine! Please go explore & have fun!

http://www.fundsforwriters.com/writingkid.htm

Best,
Terri

p.s. Of course keep your eyes open for anything that looks "fishy" and let me know so that I can check it out!!!


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Friday, September 16, 2005

FAQ time again!

Do the PHANTOM books come out later in Australia?


They do for some reason, and though I've asked and ASKED, no one can tell me why HarperCollins in Australia releases my books later than HarperCollins in the U.S. Some readers even buy their books over the Internet to speed up the process. Though they've never mentioned it, I would guess the shipping charges are pretty pricey, so if you decide to do that, you might keep your eyes on cost.

Will we ever see pictures of everyone in Phantom Stallion? The humans, I mean? Because I'm dying to see them!


I'm sorry to keep you in suspense, but your imagination and the word pictures in the books are your best chances to "see" my characters. Along with my publisher, I decided before the first book even came out, that I wanted horse portraits (with good peeks at Nevada in the background) on the covers. And, after so long, I wouldn't want the cover artist to show you characters who looked totally different from what you'd been picturing in your mind. Don't you find that jarring in movies? Oh, but there is something special planned for the cover of the last book! (Oh no...more suspense!)

This isn't really a question, but my idea is to have a Phantom Stallion video game. I know all kids who love horses and video games would love this idea. One idea for the game would be to let the player be Sam and try to find the Stallion. Also you could solve the mystery of stolen mares. Being able to lasso the mares would be cool. Plus I would like to take care of Ace at River Bend Ranch. Are you thinking of doing this?


This is an exciting idea and you can bet I would spend HOURS sitting in front of this game, but this is an area of publishing I know nothing about! I hear from lots of readers who wonder if I have something like this in the works, but I wouldn't know where to start. If you're knowledgeable about the process, feel free to educate me! Until then...just picture me shrugging!

Have a great weekend,
Terri


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Monday, September 12, 2005

The real Calico Mountains

Dear Readers,
The Phantom Stallion and his herd are fictional, but the Calico Mountains of Nevada are totally real. Lots of you have asked what the terrain and the wild horses living there look like & now, there's a website to show you. If you're curious, visit:

http://www.calicomtns.net

Happy Trails,
Terri


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Sunday, September 11, 2005

Squinting through the mist

Dear Readers,
SEVEN TEARS INTO THE SEA has stirred up a ton of questions & that makes sense. After all, I transplanted an ancient Celtic story to today's California coast, then plopped in a handful of teenagers instead of grizzled Irish fishermen or wise women in swirling cloaks (although Gwen's grandmother...never mind).
Before I answer, I have to warn you. SEVEN TEARS is a fantasy -- based on a story which pre-dates Christianity. The Old Ones didn't deal in absolutes. They scorned YES/NO, BLACK/WHITE answers, but you're welcome to peer at my answers through a fog and make out truths for yourself.
The most common question:
"Will there be a sequel?"
I don't think so. Even as I was writing, I'd feel my fingers typing slower and slower and I'd stare out the window and it was as if the power of the old tale was dragging my story back out to sea -- not necessarily where I wanted it to go.
But when I got there, I knew it was right.
I'm not saying it's impossible that I'd write a sequel. For now, though, even if the ending isn't turning-cartwheels-happy, it feels satisfying.

The second most common questions fall into the interpretation category, like:
"What did Gwen's jumping off the cliff signifiy?"
"For my book report, I need to know what is the theme of SEVEN TEARS INTO THE SEA?"
"This book feels like it has symbolism, but I don't like to wory about that stuff, do I have to?"


One of the best teachers I know asked a class -- "If it's important enough to write a whole book, play or poem about, why would an author hide the theme?"
I don't think most authors do. I DO think students and teachers (that would be me for 20 years) crave easy insight into an author's mind, so they decide on a single theme.
Readers see books, etc., through the magnifying glass of their own experiences and feelings.
Reader Eve thinks Gwen jumps off the cliff to show she's independent
Reader Clint says Gwen's trying to merge with Jesse's world
Reader Kate believes Gwen's got nothing left to lose & is asking the sea to decide her fate
Who's right? Can I go off on a teeny tangent and tell you my favorite theme is: There is no safety at the edge of the frontier. That frontier could be falling in love with a shape-shifter or seeking a lost horse, despite the physical danger of storms or rattlesnakes. And that theme doesn't rule out Eve, Clint or Kate's interpretation of my Gwen's act.
Okay, so who's right? Here's the thing -- Maybe all of them, maybe none. Maybe it's not symbolic at all...maybe Gwen's practicing a mega-plunge before getting back on the diving team. You get to decide. That's what makes reading such an adventure!
The third most common question, about the riddle of the sevens, will have to wait for later.
Thanks, though, for asking about SEVEN TEARS INTO THE SEA. I loved writing it.
Have a wonderful week,
Terri


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Thursday, September 08, 2005

Trail Blazer

Dear Readers,
Though my updated NEWS page on PhantomStallion.com has only been up 48 hours, many of you have written to ask about the beautiful running horse shown at the top of the page. I contacted Buena Suerte Ranch and found out -- first, that I'd made a mistake calling him a "she." Trail Blazer is a stallion and father to many colts. Sorry about that TB!
Here's the tough little mustang's story from HIS owner:
"Trail Blazer is quite a remarkable old man. He is going on 25, and lived most of his life on a ranch in Texas. He is one generation removed from his feral family in the Bookcliffs, Utah. These horses were known for their unique coloration as well many of them being gaited. TB is gaited with a smooth, "Paso Fino" four beat lateral trot. When the owners of the ranch bought him and several other "Colonial Spanish Horses" (Barbs), the manager of the range made fun of TB's small size (he is only 13.2).
To prove a point, the owner told the manager that TB would be HIS horse to ride from that point on.
This 6+ tall fellow was determined to show what a waste of time it was to even own these horses, so he tossed his heaviest saddle on TB, and rode him through thick brush, up rocky embankments, down arroyos, chased cows, roped, and pushed this little horse past the point of reasonable work. From sun up to dark, everyday. The other hands would wear out a Quarter horse and need a fresh mount every other day or so, and sometimes everyday. But TB never quit, never came up lame, or seemed to tire. He totally won the ranch manager's heart over. New people on the ranch would make fun of TB--and his tall rider, the manager would smile, knowing that in a matter of days, they would have a much different opinion of the little guy. When the owners passed away several years later, the ranch horses were to be sold in a dispersal sale, and the manager was told that TB, and the other Spanish horses would be kept by the family of the owners. Not to be---TB was sold to the woman we acquired him from, and the rest were sent to a 'regular' auction.
The manager, "Mac" McSwain, and his wife, Diane found out, and using their life savings, they purchased as many of the Spanish horses they could---the rest, of course went to slaughter. When we contacted them to let them know we had TB, I thought Mac was going to cry. He and his wife were so grateful to know that he was alive, well, and a proud poppa of several beautiful foals this year.
This horse is one of the most intelligent animals I have ever been around. He is a "Houdini", and can slip out of any halter. You can tie him to a post, come in the house, and when you walk out, you'll find a halter tied to the post, and the horse is no where to be seen. Unless gates are chained with a snap, he lets himself out of corrals, cruises around, pulls over equipment, drags tarps, poops on the front porch, and then goes back into his corral and waits for breakfast.
He has been given full retirement, no longer ridden, he has been out on pasture with his mares. A photographer friend took some great shots, of him playing with his look-alike son, who we named "Mac"---after the ranch manager. He is a good father, protects his family, babysits for the mares, and is a good example of how horses can form strong and complex bonds within a herd structure. We have not observed this type of behavior in more 'domesticated' horses, and so that is one of the reasons that we have advocated so strongly for protection of our feral, BLM, and other misc. horse populations."

Doesn't TB's story sound like something I could've written for the PHANTOM series? In fact, if you read BLUE WINGS and GYPSY GOLD (neither out til late next year), you'll see I imagined a story line lots like this. These wild horses are special; that's all there is to it.
Best,
Terri


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Monday, September 05, 2005

More Danger for Mustangs

Dear Readers,
My PHANTOM STALLION website has just been updated with descriptions of MOUNTAIN MARE (which just came out) and with potentially bad news about the West's wild horses.
The horsemeat-for-humans factories have won the right to stay open and BLM has been ordered by Congress to sell horses for any purpose, including slaughter.
BLM has also been ordered to round up thousands more horses now, before the snows fall, making helicopter roundups more difficult.
Please go to the NEWS page at PhantomStallion.com to read the information & help.
Best,
Terri


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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Check WHAT out?

Dear Readers,
I hope you're all safe.
I'm doing what I can to donate books to shelters such as the Astrodome in Houston for refugees from the damage triggered by Hurrican Katrina. It's only a tiny thing, but wouldn't it be great if some horse-lovers had a few minutes of escape from the horror all around?
Please look for things you can do to help. Why? Why NOT?
What goes around, comes around. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Kharma. It's no accident that most cultures have sayings about helping others. Think about it.
*****
And, if you want something wild to think (or write!) about, consider this:
In Malmö, Sweden, you can go to the library this weekend and check out a PERSON.
For forty-five minutes, you get to talk about the lives and ideas of: a journalist, a gypsy, a blind man, an animal rights activist, a Muslim, a Dane and others.
I think this is so cool. Most of us see the same people -- many of 'em just like us -- week after month after year. It's hard to appreciate other people's religions, ideas and cultures when we know NOTHING about them.
The project is called Living Library and it has fought prejudice in other countries with great success. I wish it would come to a library near me!
Not only is it free, the Swedish library will give the "living books" and "borrowers" free warm drinks from their cafe!
Love it. Love it. Love it.


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