Montana Silversmiths

When I started on the final edits, on The Silver Heart manuscript, I sat back and looked at the front cover we were working on.  I was missing the necklace, the very thing the main character had throughout the story.  The silver heart necklace was purchased at a booth, at the Ohio State Fair, by Mike, one of the main characters. What does this necklace look like?  What drew the main character, Sue, to that particular necklace? It came to me I needed a necklace the readers could relate to.  I searched the internet and was not finding anything I wanted. The necklaces just didn’t fit the character and who she was.  Some were too modern, some were heart lockets, they were gold, too ornamental and some were interlocking hearts. After several weeks I put the search on hold. I thought I would never find that “one” necklace for the book.

One day I was pulling out my leather concho belt, to wear with a pair of jeans and boots, and I found my inspiration.  On the brown leather belt was my Montana Silversmith’s silver belt buckle.  On the back of the buckle was “In memory of Larry Monnin”.  I looked up and thanked Larry for his help in finding what I was looking for.  Sitting down at the computer, I Googled Montana Silversmiths’ silver heart necklace.  I went through all the images and found the heart necklace I was looking for.  It was perfect.  The next step was to go to their website and find the necklace on the website, http://www.montanasilversmiths.com/.  LOL much to say I was distracted.  Have you ever been to their website?  There are so many “really” nice things.  I could start a Christmas list with all the things I found on the website that I fell in love with.  Sterling silver bracelets, earrings, necklaces and of course belt buckles…sigh.  Let me start my list of wants, which I could make into a list of needs. lol

After much searching, I emailed the company with a picture of the necklace.  They were so nice to me and asked for a copy of my manuscript so they knew who I was and was the book something they wanted to be part of.  Several days later the email arrived directing me to Melissa, who is wonderful.  We have been talking ever since and laying out plans for the necklace and the book.  The necklace was placed on the front of the book cover and has become one of the important pieces of The Silver Heart story.

I have to mention, I have a necklace from them and the quality is outstanding.  The detail in the necklace is exquisite and the sterling silver metal is the best.  It is on a heavier chain so I don’t have to worry about losing the necklace.  I found several more pieces, which are going to become part of my collection, and you will be seeing me wearing more of the Montana Silversmiths line of jewelry.  My daughter is on the front of the book cover and I think for Christmas she is going to have to have a heart necklace of her own.  She likes the more dainty, smaller, necklaces and the great thing is Montana Silversmiths have various sizes.

Today I am making this my “thank you” Friday blog.  There are so many people involved with The Silver Heart.  When I went on a hunt for that “one piece” to make the book more real to my readers, and to bring them closer to the characters, Montana Silversmiths was there for me.  I can not thank them enough for being part of this book.  Melissa and everyone at Montana Silversmiths are just the greatest to work with.  Thank you for being part of my adventure!

Have a great weekend and pay it forward for someone.  Give one person a smile on what may be just an ordinary day for them.  🙂

Samantha Sheridan

NC3107

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Writing a Ghost Story

I started working for the Wapakoneta Daily News around 1986 and I covered stories ranging from the local council and school board meetings to special edition stories for the newspaper.  There were those stories that took on a life of their own and one, in particular, made it to a nationally published book, Haunted Ohio.

When searching for a new story one day I decided to investigate into the reported hauntings at the apartment building in Fryburg, Ohio.  I had met Major Rich Strong, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, several years before.  He was in charge of the psychic phenomena reports and I called him to talk about the problems in this small Ohio town. He agreed to come up and brought with him Findlay native, Kathy Cook.   Two of the residents of the apartment building agreed to let us into their apartments to see if anything was happening there or just rumors.

To say I was a little apprehensive about walking in and having a medium and psychic investigator stirring up the “natives” would be an understatement.  I had heard the stories of the horse saddle floating off the second story rail to the main floor and the little girl waking up in a wet bed, but she was dry and so was the bed sheets under her.  The little girl also talked of an old man.  The back apartment complained of the cold spot in front of the stove, no matter the time of the year or if the oven was on.  So, this was something they wanted to find out.

When we went in none of the residents were there.  Strong and Cook wanted the apartments to be free of outside influences and wanted to move about freely.  Now in 1987 most people had no problem leaving their doors open for someone to come into their homes, which these days would never happen I am sure.

They visited both apartments and I took notes during the entire process.  An Indian girl was found in the house looking for her baby.  I still smile as I remember a little African American boy dressed in purple pantaloons who had gotten lost on the underground railroad, which ran through Fryburg.   There were stories told which I knew, but neither Strong or Cook had that information.  They gave me the descriptions of each of the people encountered in their visit.

Now many of you may just not believe any of this.  The problem with disbelief is you have your eyes closed to so many possibilities.  In order to corroborate the stories told during the visit, I went to the son of the former owner of the building, when it was a general store and not an apartment building.  I asked him questions about the general store and he gave me the same information uncovered during the visit from the medium and Rich Strong.  He told of the large wooden barrel holding pickles and merchandise being sold in the store, all of which was told to Cook and Strong by the spirits who came forward during the visit.

I turned in my story along with pictures and we ran the article in the Wapakoneta Daily News on August 19, 1987.  Major Strong asked if he could have a copy of the article to submit to people he knew.  Those “people” ended up printing the story in the first Haunted Ohio book, page 13.

Looking back I wish I had kept copies of the newspaper articles I wrote and pictures from the radio stations I worked at.  Last week I did visit the Amazon site and purchased the Haunted Ohio book, so I now have a copy of the book. I contacted the Wapak Daily and they have a copy of the article.  My next project is to get a copy of that story to include with the book.

Everyone has things happen in their lives they remember like it was yesterday and did things they are proud of.  I would love to say I lived a simple farm life in west central Ohio, but when I look back at the experiences I had and things I was able to do, I feel blessed.  Don’t be afraid to take on new experiences and enjoy life.  You only get one shot at this life so make it the best you can.

Have a wonderful week!

Pam Egbert

 

Visit to a Rescue Ranch

This past weekend I went with a friend to the Last Chance Corral Ranch, Athens, Ohio.  We had seen the Facebook page and she has been looking for a new horse for almost a year. We talked about it, making the trip to see the foals and what they are doing.  I will admit I was uneducated on orphan foals, many orphan foals, and how they became an orphan and the manager of the facility was nice enough to tell us the story.

The Thoroughbred horse association is very strict about their lineage and will only allow live cover of the mares.  They do not allow for semen transplant the way other horse breeds, like the Quarter horse, Paint, Appaloosa breeds, allows.  When a Thoroughbred mare has a baby that mare is shipped off to the stud farm right after the foal is born.  The Thoroughbred farms do not allow a foal to be at the mother’s side when she is being bred.  So the owner of the mare as a substitute mother who can provide milk for the new baby.  In order to do that, they breed broodmares to anything they can, sometimes to draft horses, to produce milk for the new thoroughbred foals.  The foals from the broodmare are separated and just thrown in a pen.  Some of them die of malnourishment, lack of milk, and others are saved by places like Last Chance Corral.

Last Chance Corral starts picking up babies in January and normally has them until sometime in June when breeding season stops. When asked how far they go to pick up these babies we were told they go as far as three to four hours away, normally Kentucky, to save as many as they can.  They would like to save more, but they have to give the little ones powdered milk and with the price being $150 a bag they can only save so many.

These babies were so cute.  They are not allowed to be adopted out until they are healthy and can be shipped safely.  Most of them go in pairs because they need the support they have become accustomed to since being abandoned.  They do have foals who are more than a month old and are ready to go out on their own, who will be a great horse for someone.

Horses are no different than a dog or cat.  They need to be rescued as well.  If you are looking for something to have on your farm, are not planning to show it in a sanctioned show and do not need a registered horse, this is a wonderful way to go.  These babies have no bad habits yet.  They can be cultured, raised in your loving home and they can be trained by you.

Most people in the reining community know Stacey Westfall.  She adopted two of the colts from Last Chance Corral and she is writing about it in her blog, http://westfallhorsemanship.com/blog/.  It is a great way to get to know what she is doing and watch these colts grow, as well as see what she is doing with them.  She has shown in the American Quarter Horse shows for many years and decided to adopt, giving two little ones a chance at a great life.

The Last Chance Corral posts pictures of all their available foals and you can fill out an adoption form before you head down to look at the foals.  http://www.lastchancecorral.org/  Maybe you don’t have a place, but you want to help, they take donations as well.  They said to go to their website and more information is available there.

I wish all the babies could be saved, but they can’t.  Organizations like this are sure helping.

Have a great day.  Stop and pay it forward today.

 

Samantha Sheridanfoal rescue

 

Mixing a Little Fiction with Real Characters

When I wrote The Silver Heart I wrote it from my heart and the characters for the book are the names of people I knew.  I used my middle name as the main character because my dad used to call me Susie growing up and it was my nickname from him.  It still gives me a warm feeling when I think of all the things we did together and the time we spent on the farm.  Some of the things in the book are from my past, like sitting under the old Oak tree with our German Shepard watching the water run down the creek or the feeling of going home to the farm for family celebrations.  There are just those books you write that you put your heart into and a piece of yourself.

One of the characters in my book is Pete Oen.  When I wrote the book Pete was 16 or 17 years old and he was training Quarter Horses, in Ohio.  Pete was training a mare we had, Shesa Two Timin Date, for my daughter, Jaime. He lived on a small farm with his mom and dad and two sisters.  Pete and Stacy were the ones who showed horses.  Stacy showed everything from pleasure to contest horses.  Pete has always had contesting in his blood and he has succeeded at it.

When The Silver Heart was in the beginning phases Pete was showing in 4-H with all his friends.  He showed his horses in Showmanship classes and did very well at it.  One of the stories I remember was with 4-H advisor, Larry Monnin.  He was leaning on the fence watching a young Pete Oen show his horse in Showmanship. Pete was probably nine or ten years old at the time.  The judge was done and was tabulating the results for the class.  Mr. Oen had taken his hat off, placed it on his horse’s back and was leaning up against his horse.  All the other 4-H members were still in show stance.  Larry looked at Pete and just laughed about how confident Pete was with his horse and as the years went  a lot of respect developed between Pete and Larry.  Pete later joined the 4-H club Larry Monnin was an advisor for. Unfortunately, we lost Larry in a tragic construction accident.  The accident was so sudden it hit the kids pretty hard.  Larry had a huge personality, helped anyone and the kids loved him.

As I was writing this book I came to the part where I needed a horse trainer.  There was only one horse trainer I could think of who would fit into the book perfectly, Pete Oen.  Little did I know at the time how much Pete would grow in the Quarter Horse business.  He has gone from being a small town trainer to owning a ranch in Oklahoma with some of the best horses in his stable.  He has won awards all over the United States and this month he is on three pages in the Barrel Horse News Magazine.  Rumor is he will be on the front page of the Barrel Horse News with an article about him.

As you put the first word on a page you stop and think about where you want the story to go.  My novel takes all kinds of turns and it has names in it of people that have meant so much to me in my life, those that have left an imprint in me and who I am.

Have a wonderful day!

Samantha Sheridan

Pete Oen palomino pic
Pete Oen, Pete Oen Barrel Horse Ranch, Ardmore, OK

If you want to learn more about Pete Oen check out his website at http://www.peteoen.com or check him out on Facebook.

Stories Written as a Newspaper Editor

When I was going to Wright State University, Lake Campus, with a major in communications, one of my teachers sent me on an internship at a local radio station.  I started out in the newsroom writing news stories, doing news reports on air, covering school board, council and fair board meetings, as well as doing a few remotes at basketball games. It was my start in the media world and writing career. From there I started a job in the big town of Moulton, Ohio.  Moulton had a furniture store, grain elevator, a church and a radio station, very small town.  I worked as the Saturday night on-air personality, Bobbie Michaels, and filled in during the week when needed.  That radio station is where my marketing and promotions started.  I worked with remotes, organized baseball games, and other promotions I could get involved with at the radio station.

The radio station moved to Lima and I decided to change jobs.  I moved to the Wapakoneta Daily News and became a news reporter.  I eventually became an editor and did special articles for the newspaper. I still remember walking down the streets with Paul Fisher hearing all the stories of who lived in the big old houses, the Jewish man who lived in the house that was the home of Long and Folk Funeral home and other historic buildings. Paul told me the stories of the underground railroad going through Wapakoneta and the tunnels that ran under the street from house to house.  He said there were still some open, but the tunnels were not safe to travel through anymore.  Paul Fisher has since passed away, but he made an imprint on my life and gave me insight into some of the history of the homes in Wapakoneta and why they have a historical value to the town.

One of the stories I ran for the newspaper ended up in the Haunted Ohio I book.  I once lived in an older building in Freyburg that had been made into apartments.  There were three apartments in the building.  We had strange things happening in the building and no one could explain it.  I lost $20 I had placed on the TV and it was never found back, I was the only one home.  Kenny and Laura Meyer reported a saddle floating down from the railing on the second floor of their apartment.  Their little girl talked of an old man she saw and she would wake up to her crib wet all around her, she was completely dry.  I contacted Major Rich Strong, from Wright Pat, and he came up with a lady from Findlay, a medium.  We had access to the entire building, everyone left for the day.  The medium picked up an old man who had remained there since the building was a mercantile in the late 1800s. She described the large wooden barrels holding pickles, the canvas bags of flour and sugar, farming tools and other items in the mercantile.  She also talked about an Indian girl the old man had with him.  The merchantile had also been a stopping point for the underground railroad moving north.  The entire story was one you could only sit there and take lots of notes on.  As a medium, she communicated to the spirits it was time to move on and leave the building.  Long story short it was one of the best stories I think I every had a chance to being part of.  I had moved out before doing this story, but the residents reported no more saddles falling from the railing and the little girl no longer talked about the old man.

I loved doing the stories about the man from Wapak who raised the largest tomato, taking pictures of the students with their school programs, musicals, achievements and posting the information in the newspaper.  I think when you look outside the box you see a story in things that may not mean much to some, but the people involved love that you took the time to tell their story.  I have said many times I would love to do the “Who Do You Think You Are” show and travel to where my ancestors walked and find out more about them.  LOL that could be another book.  I do know on my mom’s side, Makley family, was the Dillinger gang and Charles Makley.  He was jailed in our county jail.  My dad’s family is the side I don’t know much about.  I am sure there is a book there somewhere lol.

Last night I ordered my copy of Haunted Ohio I from Amazon to have for my collection.  My kids purchased a copy, but until now for some reason I have not. I changed that last night. There are so many stories I did for the newspaper and things I did for the radio station I wish I had kept now.  It is part of our history, so quickly the years pass and we look back wishing we had kept a scrapbook.  I am changing that with my Galon the Northern Pintail Duck book.  I have a working scrapbook in process. 🙂

I want to wish everyone an awesome weekend.  Pick up a book or magazine for just the pleasure, enjoyment or quality time for yourself.  It is an adventure waiting for you in your own home.

Pam Egbert

Information on Haunted Ohio: http://hauntedohiobooks.com/books/326-haunted-ohio/

 

 

Authors and their Creation

When you walk into the bookstore to purchase a book, pick up the book off the shelf at name brand store or purchase on ebooks have you stopped to think what brought that book into your hands?  How did the author create this story for your enjoyment?

Most people think a great book is something written in a matter of days and printed by a publishing company right after that. That is what the movies show after all. What they don’t know is all the work that goes into that book.  How much work goes into the entire concept of the book and the target audience.

As an author, we think about a direction we want to go when we start the idea of the book. Some authors layout an outline of the book and follow it through to the end. Other authors start with the first word on the page and follow their heart until the last period is posted at the end. That was the way I wrote The Silver Heart.  I started to type and the story just took on a life of its own.  I had no idea when I started the story where it was going to go and how the book would end.  My book begins with the lead character sitting in a restaurant and having a cup of coffee.  The story goes from there.  LOL I don’t want to give away to much of the story. You need to read it when it comes out.

Once the final word was typed I let the book sit for a while and walked away.  I went back a few weeks later to edit.  I wanted to look at the book with a fresh set of eyes and decide if I liked the book.  I cried through a part of it and I knew I didn’t want to change it.  I printed the book and I gave it to a few friends and family to see what they thought of it.  Ages of 14 to 60 either loved the book, cried or hated me for the way I wrote the storyline, As an author I was more than thrilled because a show of emotion meant I had written The Silver Heart with my heart and had the reactions I wanted.

Now the book goes off to the editor and we go through 3 edits, pages and pages of changes. While my editor was working on the edit I took a long shot and called Montana Silversmiths and talked to them about a sterling silver heart necklace to go with the book.  Melissa was wonderful and yes they were willing to work with me to give the readers a real Silver Heart necklace to wear and enjoy.  My next step was getting approval from the American Quarter Horse Association to use their name, events and offices in my book.  After sending the book to their head office I was sent a letter approving using their organization in the book. The last step was to contact a young man who I wrote into my book many years ago, Pete Oen.  He is now one of the top barrel horse trainers in the United States, on the pages of the Barrel Horse News and other magazines for him accomplishments. He agreed to be part of my book and also do any public appearances he could.  Yes, it is a fictional book with maybe a few real life characters added in. lol  So, almost everything was put together for the marketing of my book, with only a few things left to do.

With my background in marketing and public relations, I am not the normal author.  I went in directions most authors do not.  We have a song to go with this book as well and we are working on getting the song produced.  Not sure if that will be accomplished by the time of publishing, but we are sure trying.

The final step is to create a layout of everything going on with the marketing of the book for the publisher.  We have a picture we used for the front of the book, a young lady, her horse and the silver heart.  Today I am putting all of that together for the publisher.  Putting the final stamp on the book and making it the best it can possibly be.

My heart is in this book and everything surrounding it.  I have put my stamp on The Silver Heart so the readers feel the characters and know who they are.  Only the best for my readers.

Find a good book this weekend and travel into another world, relaxing with a great cup of coffee.  Nothing is better than reading a great book.

Have an awesome weekend!!

Samantha Sheridan

For more information on Montana Silversmiths go to http://www.montanasilversmiths.com, American Quarter Horse Association at http://www.aqha.com, Pete Oen at http://www.peteoen.com and Pam Egbert Books at pamegbertbooks.com.

Words take life on a page

Over the past six or eight months my book The Silver Heart has gone through a lot of changes.  My editor, Ann Westlake, asked me where I wanted to go with the book when we started the editing process.  She asked if I wanted it to be a harlequin type of book or was I looking to make it more.  My answer was easy, I want to make it more.  I want to be the best it can be and I want it to mean something.  I put many years into writing the book and now to make the changes to the book it is almost like raising your baby to go out into the world and make a stamp on the world.

Montana Silversmiths emailed me the other day and the original silver heart necklace we picked out is not going to be available in stores who sell Montana Silversmiths jewelry and belt buckles.  So the next step was to decide if I wanted to go with the old necklace or go with the new one coming out in July.  That is an answer I will leave you to find out when the book is released.  🙂

When you take on a project you find the project grows on its own.  It takes on a life of its own and like raising children it becomes it’s own being.  What starts out as words on a page has now become a reality and it is now a story which has meaning, characters your readers fall in love with and a soul to it.  Almost every artist I know puts their entire being into their art; be it a manuscript, an original song or a painting.

So now the adventure begins as we talk to new publishers and new companies about The Silver Heart.   Everyone involved with this book has always felt this book is special.  My previews have come back with they either love the book, cry or hate me for the way I brought the characters through the story.  All of which I am happy about because I too have cried through some parts and felt the love through others.  I wrote the book and it still make me cry.

Have a wonderful day everyone. Take some time to read a book and travel to another place, away from any stress you may have.

 

Samantha Sheridan