Final Goodbye

This is going to be a short-and-simple post. It's the end of the year. Everyone is busy.

So today I'm just going to share some WIP playlists. Maybe you'll hear some new tracks that you can enjoy in 2021. Or maybe you can just melt into the music and imagine your in the storyworld.


The Red War Annals: The Golden Bard of Taliyaven

high fantasy // fiddles // war horses // long journeys // travelling through snowy mountains // climbing canyons // slipping through dark streets // gathering with friends to play music together // friendship

The Pirate Hunter Chronicles: Ships, Secrets, and Survivors

pirate fantasy // talking ships // assassins // princesses // sea dragons // ocean magic // stars on the water // siren songs // storms on the horizon // deserted islands // strange countries // different accents // kingdoms


Havendenara: Rauladin

ya fantasy // strangers in the woods // winged beasts // distrust // an ancient legend // old forests // shadowed sunlight between thick branches // murky swamp // warring clans // twisted histories // winged beasts // hatred // blood-debt


Anyways, hope y'all enjoyed that.

2020 has been quite a year, yah? Hard to believe it's about over. I'll be back in January with some wrap-ups and goals and all that rot. So talk to y'all next year!

NaNoWriMo 2020 WIP Excerpts

So Sarah and I wrote the third book in The Pirate Hunter Chronicles for NaNo 2020. We actually only made it a little over halfway through the outline, but hey, it went well otherwise. :)

Today I have a few excerpts. Non-spoilery, of course. But a taste of what is to come...

You're welcome.


A slimy tentacle rose out of the harbor, dripping water onto the deck of the ship. Justin choked on his words and the tea cup fell to the deck and shattered. Shade muttered a few words that Ravin hadn’t heard in a while (and hopefully would never hear again).

Oh, yeah,” the High Dragon’s voice echoed across the harbor. “There’s a kraken.


A pirate rushed towards Ravin, cutlass in hand. Ravin pulled a knife from his pocket, dodged the man’s thrust, and sunk the knife into the back of the man’s hand. The cutlass tumbled to the deck, and Ravin kicked it away.

“Please be careful.” Ravin adjusted his grip on his violin. “I don’t want to drop this.”


“You’re the one that ran,” the assassin said, pointing to the tattoo on Ravin’s bare arm.

“I hope you’ve heard a little more than that,” Ravin set his crossbow down on the ground and drew a knife. “I’ll give you one chance to drop your weapons and surrender right now.” 


“You got more knives?” Adi didn’t look surprised.

“They’re Jaco’s.”


“You doing alright?” Adi put a hand on his shoulder. “From the pirates?”

“Oh, yeah, it’ll take more than that to worry me!”

“Justin, you passed out!”


“Well, the king was busy.”

“Doesn’t excuse his tardiness or negate the fact that we had everything under control.”

“So having the entire port in flames is your definition of ‘under control?’”


Anyways, there you have it. I wanted to share more, but some are spoilery for book three and book two. So oh well.

Good news is, we are still pushing for a publication of Sins, Sons, and Siren Songs in May 2021. Not only will you be able to buy the paperback and get cool swag (music?? another short story?? stickers??), but you'll be treated to the title of book three. :) So stay tuned!

Dreams Take Work

March 2014. I was going to buy my dream horse.

After finally selling Nugget, my horse-with-no-brakes, I went to a huge 3-day auction with my dad. As you can imagine, my head was full of dreams. What kind of horse was I going to come home with? A fun little Paso, just like my sister's horse? Maybe another Haflinger? A beautiful buckskin? Who knows?

I came home with an elegant black Friesian. I remember holding the end of the lead rope and walking him to the trailer, filled with awe that this ginormous beastie was now mine. We drove home, and I imagined what it would be like to gallop bareback across the hay fields...just like Alec and the Black Stallion, only the "I live in the mountains, far away from the beach" version.

Pepper at his fastest speed (a trot) at a Ride and Tie in VA.

But when I got home, my dreams were shattered. Pepper didn't like to ride away from the house alone. He panicked every time he got left behind by the other horses and would bolt to catch up (which, because he walks so slow, was pretty frequent). Loading and unloading him was a pain. He bucked every time he cantered, and sometimes when he was in a trot.

I cried myself to sleep a number of times. This wasn't the dream horse I had thought I'd bought. A few times I even wondered if I should sell him, but despite the rough rides I really loved him.

Pepper and Max getting ready for a ride in the rain.

Years passed, and I kept stubbornly riding Pepper. And then, one day, I realized I was riding my dream horse. I could load him right up in the trailer, go out riding by myself, trot and canter away, and load him right up and go home.

Pepper enjoying a quick cool-off during one of our solo rides.

August 2020. I was going to look at a cheap Craigslist horse.

A long time ago I had told myself, if you go to look at a horse and he's already tacked up when you arrive, the sellers are trying to hide something, so don't buy the horse. Well, this horse was tacked up, tied to a tree, and sweating. To keep the drive from being a total waste, I rode the horse anyway, and while he threw in a buck or two and tossed his head around and was an emotional mess, he wasn't horrible.

Then I took the saddle off and found I could see every rib on the poor thing. I offered the seller $500 less than what she was asking, and she took it and I took the horse. I've made a mistake, I told myself. This horse is crazy. He'll never be like your old Paso. He was trained by a drunk, never been on the trails, and has who knows how many bad habits.

Shadow learning to be a good little Ride and Tie beastie.

But I jumped right into working with him. I practiced loading him. I started on trails. Worked on tons of little quirks.

This November, I took this horse to VA with a friend and we rode over bridges, through tunnels, and even galloped a couple times. This little horse didn't put a hoof wrong the whole time.

Me and Shadow after going through the tunnel.

Perfect horses, dream horses, aren't purchased. They're made.

So pull your boots on, take a deep breath, and get on that horse. He or she may not be your dream horse yet. There may be a few rides between now and that "bareback gallop across the field" that everyone dreams of. But don't give up.

To those who don't have horses, maybe you have some other dream you're chasing and maybe it seems so unattainable. Maybe it'll take some bravery, or maybe some hard work, or maybe lots of time and dedication, or maybe a healthy dose of everything I just mentioned.

Don't give up. Keep pushing forward. Every little bit counts. Every step forward is forward progress. Every ten minutes spent on your project is ten minutes closer to finishing.

Don't give up on your dream. Stun it with your last bullet, and when it tries to get up and run away, grab a hold of the tail and and run after it through the woods and never let go no matter where it drags you (sorry, a hunting story analogy here).

2021 is beginning and we're all setting new goals and trying to get over the shock of 2020. Here is your reminder to keep trucking on. Don't give up. It gets better, I promise. It may get worse for a while, and you'll stress and you'll cry. But when you're done crying, dry those tears, maybe look at a different angle, and try again.

These boys have some blood, sweat, and tears in them, but boy, have they been worth it! <3 Don't give up on your dreams!

Blood of the Seer - Cover Reveal

 Super awesome news on the blog today -- Claire's book Blood of the Seer now has a COVERRRRR and BOY AM I EXCITED!!!! <3

So Claire has been a favorite author of mine ever since I stumbled across her indie book The Rise of Aredor (which I SUPER SUPER SUPER recommend -- think The Horse and His Boy meets G. A. Henty). The sequel to Aredor (The Wildcat of Braeton) was also awesome. And then her first book in the Dragon Keep Chronicles (Oath of the Outcast) was AMAZINGGGG 

and now the second book in the Dragon Keep Chronicles HAS A COVER

and I get to share it with y'all.

(so I have a little sister bellowing away on our bagpipe chanter right now IN THE SAME ROOM as I try to type this up and it's RaThEr DiStRaCtInG....)

Anyway, let me share with you this cover. Because there's a high change y'all scrolled down and didn't even read half of this to begin with, yah?

Isn't it beautiful??? <3 And let me share the blurb, just in case you already don't want to read the book based on the cover alone.

A blood curse.

A shadow world.

An indomitable evil.

A forgotten bond.

Banished for a crime he didn’t commit, Rhys MacDuffy risked his life to rescue the little brother he no longer could claim as his own. Sean, the Seer of Clan MacDuffy, returns from his ordeal to war between the Clans and Lord Adam Barkley. Moreover, the Clan Lords refuse to lift the exile on Rhys. No outcast has ever been forgiven. 

But the druids who held Sean captive have taken the key to controlling his powers—his blood. Rhys determines to keep his brother safe no matter the cost. Heedless of the war, he leads his rowdy band of Mountain Brigands on a hunt to destroy the druids before they destroy Sean with their dark magic.

The druids force Sean into a shadow world full of demons and danger, where their menacing god Deronis can consume him. Yet Rhys is able to follow Sean into the other world. There they discover an older magic that might be the key to stopping the druids.

The bond of brotherhood between Rhys and Sean runs deep. But is it strong enough to stand against the druid’s blood god?

C.M. Banschbach is a native Texan and would make an excellent hobbit if she wasn’t so tall. She’s an overall dork, pizza addict, and fangirl. When not writing fantasy stories packed full of adventure and snark, she works as a pediatric Physical Therapist where she happily embraces the fact that she never actually has to grow up.

She writes clean YA/MG fantasy-adventure as Claire M. Banschbach.

Instagram: @cmbanschbach (

Facebook: @cmbanschbach (


Pinterest: @clairebanschbach (

Email Newsletter Freebie:

Blood of the Seer releases February 9th, 2021 (and I don't think I can wait that loooooooonnnnggg). You CAN (if you're impatient like me)(or if you like preorder swag, also like me) preorder the book HERE (for a signed paperback) or on Amazon HERE

(See y'all tomorrow, for my regularly scheduled post as well...)

Getting Hitched

October 22nd. I drove my Trailblazer into town and picked up a log-splitter-trailer-thingy to get some work done in the new pasture we were clearing. Dropped it off in the pasture and was on the phone with Sarah when I pulled up to the gate. (For quick reference, the gate is on a downhill slope.) I put the car in park, open the gate, and get back in the driver's seat. I shift the car from park to drive and...the car goes backwards, and not just because of the hill. I hit the brakes, glance at the gear shift's stuck in reverse. It never made it to drive. Just went to reverse and stuck. I wiggle it, play with it, and consider my situation.

Seeing how I need to hurry and close the gate before an animal gets out, I coast down the hill, drive the car in reverse around the barn, and back it up the hill and through the gate. Because gravity pulls the car downhill, but the stuck-in-reverse-engine makes the car want to go uphill, the parking brake manages to balance everything out and keep the car from moving so I can jump out and close the gate.

At this point, I tell Sarah that I need to call her back and end my phone call. Then I sit there for another few minutes, trying to figure out how to get my car out of reverse. The gear shift refuses to budge. If I take the parking brake off and step off the brake, the car goes backwards.

So I decide to turn the car off and then on again. That always works, right?

Haha, nope. It turns off, but because the car is in reverse, and I can't get it out of reverse, it won't turn back on.

So I do the phone call of shame and Dad comes, also can't get it to start, and we leave it. The tow truck comes to take it to the repair shop, and I head to work in my mom's car.

(I promise this story is going somewhere....)

The next day, Friday, I get a call from my dad. The conversation basically went like this:

Dad: Hey, I went back to the barn and there are horses on the road.

Me: Are they my horses?Dad: No.Me: What do they look like? Is there a yellow one? *thinks of Richard, the closest neighbor who has a couple horses, two of which are palominos.

Dad: Yes, there's a yellow one and a black and white one.

Me: *panics, because Richard doesn't have any paints* *panics more, because another neighbor, Betsy, is out of town, and has a buckskin and a paint*

Dad: They're running around, I think you need to come home and help us catch them.

So I leave work, drive the 10 minutes home, and see three horses that I've never seen before. By the time I arrive, their owner has come to help catch them. Apparently a tree had fallen on the fence, and they had gotten out and run off.

Dad kindly offered to hitch up the trailer so they could drive the horses back instead of lead them back through the woods. The hitch on the trailer is my fancy $200 Amazon hitch - 

(Quick Interruption to tell the story of the $200 Amazon hitch...when I bought my 2-horse, the only hitch I had with the right size ball made the trailer tilt up at such an angle that the front set of tires were lifted off the ground. My dad said to buy a new hitch that would drop down lower for the trailer, and offered to split the cost with me, since it would go on his truck and he would use it as well. Long story short, he never paid me back, and I keep forgetting to remind him, and at this point, i really don't care. Anyway, I went to Amazon, picked out a heavy duty, fancy hitch and when I went to order, Amazon gave me the whole "try Amazon prime, and we'll ship this 2-day for free!" And I calculated the weight of the box with this heavy hitch, said "okay, then, your funeral" and took the free trial. And then cancelled it shortly after. But I got my hitch in 2 days.)

- and back to the story. So I go to flip the ball size on my hitch, since I need the 2'' ball for the red trailer won't come off. I jiggle it, shake it, pound it on the ground, but nothing happens. My brother finds a hammer and manages to pound it off (and deafen everyone in a 3-mile radius), but now the connector is so damaged that we can't hammer it back in with the 2'' ball on top.

Rather frustrated at how my trusty hitch has suddenly decided not to work now, in the moment of emergency, I rummage around in the garage and grab one of the older hitches. We hitch up the red trailer, load the runaway horses, and get them home. When I mention to my dad that I had troubles with my fancy hitch, he says, "Oh, yeah, I forgot to tell you...I was fixing something at the barn and couldn't find a hammer, so I used your hitch and think I broke it."

The next day, Saturday morning, I get up and begin to prepare for my usual Saturday trail ride. I load everything up in my 2-horse as always, and back the truck up to get hitched. That's when I realize I have the wrong hitch (a 2'' inch ball). And then I remember that Daddy broke my hitch. So I hurriedly pillage the garage until I find my old 2 5/16'' drop-down hitch (it's better than using the 3-ball hitch that makes the tires lift off the ground, but still is a little too high). I hitch up the trailer and go to plug in the lights when...

...the adapter is awol.

Well, not exactly. The adapter is on my Trailblazer, from when I pulled the log splitter. And the Trailblazer is still in the shop (I told you I had a point to that intro). So I pull out one of the new adapters, just to see if it still has the same problem. And it does. Basically, the truck brakes are so crap and the trailer brakes are so /sharp/, that using a brand new adapter makes the trailer brakes lock up. (So I use the old broken adapter, which somehow makes the lights work, but not the brakes.)

By now I'm worried I'll be late to the ride. So I switch hitches and hook up the red stock trailer. Only to find the pigs have chewed the cables so there is no way I'm getting any lights or brakes there, either. Oh, and the tag just expired like, a month ago. But at least this trailer is lighter and I'm just going 20 minutes down the road, and I'm not re-hitching anything.

So I move the tack into the truck, load the horses, and head out. The trail ride went well. I get my car repaired and back from the shop. All is good.

The next weekend, my dad needed the truck to help a friend move, so he took the flatbed. No worries, I said, I'll just pull the stock trailer with the Trailblazer (the 2-horse is too heavy for the Falcon, but she pulls the red one just fine). That's when I remember the lights haven't been fixed. And since my car is a good step down or two from the truck, I decide I'd rather have brakes for this. (Thankfully, my friend is able to pick me up, and we still went on the ride.)

Then the third weekend comes. My family is out of town, and I'm meeting with a friend to go ride in VA. I remember my hitch problems on Friday, and while on lunch break, run to Tractor Supply, examine the row of hitches, and look for a 2 5/16'' drop-down hitch (that's lower than the one I already have). Finding one, I make my purchase and head back to work, feeling, for once, on top of the game.

Saturday morning I go to hitch up and...the hitch will not fit on my truck. The shaft is too big. (Like....why?????) So I go to use my old drop-down hitch and...I can't find it. It's gone. Vanished. Yeeted into the void and blasted into oblivion.

I'm driving to VA. Over the mtns. I need brakes and lights (so I can't take the red one, which still doesn't have hookups...or a current sticker). But I'm not driving up and down the mtns with the first set of tires spinning uselessly in the air. And the closest tractor supply store is 30 minutes away...

After calling my family and friends to complain, I search the truck one more time and manage to find my old drop-down hitch. With that, I am able to successfully hook up safely and use the old adapter to have lights/turn signals. (And we had a very good 18 mile ride in VA, if you're curious.)

Earlier last week, I returned the new hitch to Tractor Supply and found that, for some reason, they don't have any drop-down 2 5/16 hitches with a smaller shaft that would fit my truck (Ford 250).

So yeah. Hope you enjoyed that little taste of my life.

NaNo Wrap-Up(ish)

Well, another NaNoWriMo has come and gone. This year was pretty wild, imo. I had two WIPs that I was working on (which I think is sort of against the rules? but because my "official" WIP was the one I was co-writing with Sarah, I needed something to write while I was waiting for her to finish her chapter, so yeah). And while neither are finished, they have about 25ish added to each, so that's cool.

(I did win, btw. With 50,656 words on Nov. 28th.)

This month, I have a couple fun posts planned, so enjoy the humor. :)

In January, I will be starting a new posting schedule (every other week). This is because I have accepted the position as President at my local trail system. I have been a board member for years, and in November, the election committee approached me about becoming President. Because I have trouble saying no, I said yes.

I really miss having time to read all your blog posts and comment and interact with y'all, so I decided to cut back on posts a bit in order to have more time to read other blogs. (And not to pile more things on my to do list.)

Anyways, here's to a December-that-will-probably-fly-by.