United We Fall Cover Reveal

 It's a busy week over here at Saver of Memories, and it's not done yet! I'm popping in again to share the new cover for Brooke's second book in the How We Rise Trilogy - the AMAZING BEAUTIFUL COVER for United We Fall!

I recently read How We Rise for the first time, and you can read my review HERE on Goodreads. I really enjoyed Brooke's writing voice, and while it's not a genre I read a lot, I did enjoy the plot. I will defintely be getting this book once it's out (if only to stare at the COVER).

Oh. Right. I should probably share the cover. :)

Here's the blurb:

What is Truth? What Are Lies?

It's been two weeks since Raegan's death. Two weeks since a big blow was dealt to the resistance. Two weeks since Peter lost his best friend and perhaps his soul mate. Now, he's out for revenge on everyone responsible, starting with the biggest coward: Agent Specter.

Peter doesn't care what rules he has to break to bring down those who took away the one he loved the most. When someone he never expected comes forward with information that seems too good to be true, he has to make a decision on what to do before it's too late.

Hmmmm. Sounds exciting!! I except an Inigo Montoya-style showdown once Peter finally faces Agent Specter.

Year of Shadow

 It's been a year. August 5th, 2020....

Wait, let me back up. This really started YEARS ago.

In 2008, after outgrowing the Shetland pony, I got my first horse, a Paso Fino named Cordero. He was cute, well-trained and FULL of energy. Little 12 preteen me was terrified to ride him. 

Who knew that someday I would trust this horse more than any other?

Cord was the best horse. If you wanted to lead little children around, he would walk oh so slowly and carefully. If you wanted to gait along, he could corto with the best. And if you wanted to gallop....oh, he'd be flat out running in a second.

This is a pretty decent snow (for NC). And he still is grumpy about it.

He did it all. Show ring. Barrels. Trails. Pony rides at parties. Bareback trips to the river. Stupid childhood shenigians. And all bareback with just a halter, if you wanted.

Cord passed at age 28, and I miss him every day.

The cutest face! <3

A few years passed. I downsized to just one horse...my Friesian that I've had since he was a 3 year old. "I don't need another horse," I said. "Pepper is perfect. I don't need a second one."

But, deep down inside, I missed having a Paso. I missed having something small and easy to work with (Pepper is amazing, but he's the size of an elephant). I missed that merry little gait.

So, as one does, I occasionally scour the internet for Pasos. And, at the beginning of August 2020, I found this Craigslist ad.

I mean, why not respond to it??

I called and scheduled a date to see him. When I pulled down the driveway, I saw him. He was tied to a branch, already saddled and bridled, sweating up a storm and anxiously jigging in circles around the tree.

This is where that small inner voice would say "I've heard of stories like this, they're trying to hide something, this horse looks batshit crazy, don't get on him."

Unfortunately, I do not have that small inner voice.

So I rode him. He bucked a few times as we cantered up a hill. He pranced around downed branches and over mud puddles. He tossed his head and side stepped and was a little crazy.

And then I got him on the driveway and let him fly. And y'all. I could feel the Paso Fino Smile spreading across my face. I was crying when I got off. It had been years since I'd last ridden a corto.

But I still wasn't sold on the horse. I didn't need a second one. It wasn't an "instant connection that means I have-to-have-him" deal. There was no love at first sight. Yeah, he was cute, but...he was nuts. He couldn't stand still, he wasn't a color I liked, he wasn't...perfect. I would never call myself a horse trainer, which is probably what he needs. I didn't even bring the trailer, so I would have to go home and think about it.

This was our first ride, the test ride...(hey, I did bring my helmet!)

Then I took the saddle off, and saw his ribs sticking out. I fully took in the bony hips the saddle pad had covered. The thin neck and legs weren't just a case of "I've been riding an elephant for the past year, so of course everything will look little." No, this boy was thin.

Crazy or not, I was bringing him home, and the rest could be figured out later. I came back first thing the next morning, where it took me over 30 minutes to coax him into the open stock trailer (that no horse has ever refused to load into before). But we made it home.

Shadow and Pepper meeting each other for the first time (note the poor skinny boy).

I named him Shadow.

I spent the first week feeding Shadow senior feed in the horse trailer (get weight back and fix that fear of the trailer). We started doing little rides with my local trail group, where he learned how to conquer creeks, rivers, and bushwhacking.

Our DNA tests came back, I was able to contact his breeders, learn what history I could from them, and get papers mailed. I reached out to the lady I purchased him from, and got in touch with the owner between the breeders and the seller.

His history is as follows:

-Paso Fino farm was downsizing; they sold a bunch of pregnant mares.

-Owner 1 buys a mare, she has her foal, they are left in a large pasture with minimal contact for a couple years.

-Owner 2 is told by Owner 1 that if they can catch him, they can have him. They manage to catch him, load him, and bring him home.

-Owner 2 gelds him, breaks him to ride and drive, takes him up and down their road.

-Owner 2 is killed in a driving accident.

-Owner 3 lives down the road, and eventually takes on all the animals (horses and dogs) after Owner 2's death.

-Owner 3 isn't familiar with Pasos and lists him on Craigslist.

-Owner 4 comes along. Me. :)

-I turn Shadow into a lovely trail horse and get him registered.

So it's been a year now. August 4th, I rode him. August 5th I went back and brought him home. We have done the Ride and Tie race, and an Intro Endurance race. We've gone horse camping. Ridden out by ourselves. Ridden in huge groups. He's been through tunnels and over bridges. And our latest trick...riding out with just a halter.

Shadow is everything about why I love the Paso Fino breed. They're not for everyone. (When I brought Shadow out for his first coggins, my vet gave me a look. "Now, have you ever had a Paso before," she asked, which only made me laugh.) They're smart, maybe too smart. They have brio, which can make some riders nervous. They're sensitive and gentle and maybe just a tiny bit crazy.

Shadow has that Paso Fino fire. He'll spring into a canter at the drop of the reins, and then drop into a halt with just a quiet word. He's got a fun little gait (worthy of that Paso smile). I wish I could have had him and my old Paso at the same time. No horse will ever compare to Cord, but I think Shadow will eventually be able to give him a good run for his money.

He still hates mud, though.

Shadow's first time encountering a river.

My little sister, who learned to ride on Cord, riding Shadow.

Our first Ride and Tie race.

Switching off during the race.

Group ride photo, taken on our most recent trail ride 7/31/21 (Shadow is the gray horse second to the right, Pepper my Friesian is the black beside him).

Cord, the day he came to the farm in 2008.

Crossing a bridge on the local trail system.

Dad being a cowboy with Cord.

Little me, learning to conquer fear and ride outside of the round pen.

Thanks for reaching the end of the post. Here is my little sister riding Pepper the Friesian. Because Pepper is a sweetheart and deserves some attention after having to suffer through chasing down Pasos all his life.

Realm Makers Recap

 How to put an experience...feelings...memories...into a blog post? Well, I'm going to attempt it. My Realm Makers is made up of little moments, small occurrences, that keep it bright and adored in my memory.


Editing my pitch like crazy Tuesday morning before heading to work and re-printing everything out after finding a SINGLE. TYPO.

Not packing until Tuesday night at 11:30pm, while on an energy drink rush. (In my defense, I was testing out the new green tea energy drinks from work.)

Getting up at 6am Wednesday, throwing everything in the Falcon, and stopping by work to hand out paychecks.

True to her namesake, the Falcon not starting back up when I try to leave work.

Driving straight to Sarah's house because my car might not start up again if I turn it off.

Sarah's dad: *opens my trunk* So, what needs to go into the van?

Me: Um....all of it.

Driving with Sarah, jamming, and chatting about anything and everything.

My gps telling me to turn around in the middle of the highway and go in the opposite direction.

Me: *gestures grandly while telling a story while driving
Sarah: One hand on the wheel, please.
Me: What? I was using my knee!

Trying to find a hotel that isn't already booked up, and calling 3 before finding a place to sleep.

Me: Just pull up google maps on my phone.

Sarah: *opens phone* This is all in Russian.

IHOP delivery not putting avocado on my food (making me crave avocado for basically the rest of the trip).

Watching Road to El Dorado (for the first time ever) and simultaneously rolling on the floor in laughter and also being rather horrified. (Also, Sarah and I do know what our costumes will be next year.)

IS THAT AN ARMADILLO????? - me, while driving

Arriving at the Sheraton in MO and careening into the parking lot blasting He's a Pirate with the windows down and the base turned up.

Setting up our book table and absolutely loving the setup (one of my dad's sailing maps was the perfect finishing touch).

Trying to smuggle swords through the hotel elevator.

Is this even legal??

Getting to listen to 5 minutes of the opening keynote before getting emergency work calls, and spending the next hour and a half making phone calls, trying to figure out what's going on, talking down the employees as they panic, and hoping the gas station won't blow up.

Thinking I don't need to set an alarm Friday morning and basically sleeping through Sarah and Nicole getting up...and then waking up to an empty room about twenty minutes before the morning session started. And I still had to shower.

Feeling absolutely horrible during the first class and thinking "oh, crap, I'm getting sick...I'm gonna be the one who gets covid and gives it to everyone at Realm Makers" and then feeling 100% better after eating lunch (probably was hungry)(because I skipped breakfast)(because I SLEPT IN).

Really enjoying David Farland's classes. <3 SO MUCH material that really encouraged and motivated me.

Getting a "no, we're not interested, but it does sound really cool and unique, so keep at it" in my first pitch.

Selling the pirate books to a random hotel-goer who wandered downstairs.

Dressing up as Hadrian Blackwater from the Riyria Revelations for the awards dinner, and actually having someone recognize me.

Me: *randomly passing by Captain America while in costume*

Captain America: *salutes* Hadrian, SIR!

Did the great Carla Hoch ask to hold my sword? Ummm....yes....(should I have been scared??)

(Apparently) Intimidating a group of soccer boys while in full costume, causing one of them to accidentally walk into the wall.

People asking to hold my swords.

Getting asked like three times if I was the Witcher (maybe I should have strolled around with mandolin while singing "Toss a Coin...").

Fun facts: My large sword is a replica of William Wallace's claymore from the Braveheart movie, my short sword was originally from Medieval Times and used in their theatre fights, and the "regular" sword is a replica of Anduril, Aragorn's sword from LotR - BUT it has the name "Hirenadaye" engraved on it, which is the name of Duren's sword in The Red War Annals.

Person: Is your sword real?

Me: *turns around to display all three* Which one?

Person: :o

Playing In Dreams with some amazing people (also in full costume). THEY WERE THE BEST!!!!! <3

Getting to see all sorts of cool costumes (Shallan!) (HTTYD family!) (Winter Soldier!) (Peggy Carter!) (Men in Black!) (and so much more)!

Getting admittedly bored by the end of the awards...it did kinda go on too long, imo. Reading some excerpts was an amazing idea, but not when there's like, 50 awards to go through...

Stopping by the hotel bar for a drink (while in full costume). Apparently I had no idea that was on my bucket list, but it is, and now I've crossed it off.

The bartender still IDd me.

Deciding that the costume is super cool and comfortable, and wearing it again on Saturday (though I exchanged the 2 swords for a long knife).

Random Kid: Is your sword real?

Me: Yes.

Kid: Can I hold it?

Me: No.

Doing my second pitch (in costume) and getting a request for three chapters!

Discovering that Carla's classes are a meme gold mine.

Random people coming up and asking me to sign their pirate books (can one get tired of that???).

Buying way too many books.

Worshipping with the dear folks at the nearby FCC on Sunday morning.

Chilling with Sarah Sunday night and going for a stroll around the hotel (in full costume).

Driving home in the rain through the misty mountains...while singing along to all the LotR songs. (Such vibes. What mood.)

The Falcon not starting again when I try to leave Sarah's house. Thankfully I have a pair of jumper cables always on hand, and those did the trick this time.

Arriving home to all the family (and animals) really missing me (the dogs didn't eat anything...guess I didn't explain my pattern well enough).

Unpacking and smelling all the new books. Realizing I might need a new bookshelf.

Planning for next year!!

Realizing that I have costume plans for 2022 and 2023. So....yeah.