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Rebecca's Romance

Finnegan's Run, San Fran, Paris and Keeneland...all

by Rebecca Mance on 02/02/17

Cheers to all –

Yikes, I know!  I should have blogged long ago!  Unfortunately, my life took rather complex turns and twists, which is, undoubtedly, the story of my life.  Maybe that is why I write such unique books. 

This blog was supposed to be another interesting past story, however, instead, I do need to give an update on next book…and my move. 

So….I have had emails… “Where is the next book?”  Yes, actually, the book is finished. 

The book just bloomed late last month.  I took a train ride through Napa, then a subsequent drive to stay down in Carmel and suddenly the book just came together.  I am now just really adding the fairy dust. 

One always has doubts mid-way through a book. I thought, so many times (as I was stranded on BART packed in like a sardine with no place to sit down and work…though I have carried my computer diligently) that I was not sure if I would ever finish this book.  If I did finish the book, I just felt it wasn’t what it should be.  It was missing the magic.  Well, I found the magic.  Now, I am in final stages.

Book writing is not an exact science.

However, final stages of book have been and will continue to be delayed by life events.  Blogging, obviously has totally taken a back seat.  My sincere apologies. 

However, truly, the things that happen to me in real life are novels onto themselves.  I will not share, as those are for my memoirs and not for a blog. 

In short, someone like me quickly gets into loads of adventure and sometimes trouble without even trying.  I try, in fact, to avoid the trouble part.  It doesn’t always work to avoid it.  I often think of myself as a tiny frog jumping from lily-pad to lily-pad escaping crocodiles…and sometimes I barely escape and ….sometimes I don’t escape them.  Giggles.

However, I am still alive.  So far. Then there is BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) which is like a jungle filled with various kinds of wild animals…all pushing and shoving for some tiny space to stand in (and it is so expensive).  I wish they had a wine car…but then, you’d never be able to get to it.  Most likely there would be a stampede situation with casualties.  You can’t even get into the car during rush hour to go home even with the daunting prospect of being packed so tight you can’t move…I can’t imagine the mob scene if wine was involved….more giggles.

To sum all of that up...writing was slow because of all of that, working in my day job and jumping from lily pads before being eaten.

However, I am excited to say, and yes have been hinting on Twitter also…I am returning home to Finnegan’s Run, my home. (Paris, KY outside of Lexington). 

Depending on events, February 28 is my absolute last day of commute like a sardine for work. 

But what am I really going to do besides write there?  Well, I have my family (the two Joes).  My plan is to freelance my California paralegal skills and work for attorneys in Cali at a Kentucky rate.  Husband Joe is going to get me satellite internet so I can efile legal documents at flash-speed [Company officially opening at Finnegan's Run on April 17 called EGlobal Legal Support...egloballegalsupport.com.] 

So, I am going to have a global operations center (me) to do contract work for attorneys in Cali who don’t need a full-time, in house office staff person...or need overflow work for a fraction of what I am paid here.  I am a certified California paralegal who will have global operations center in Paris, KY.  Hey, if all goes well, I might hire other Parisians to be my helping staff!

Yes, I am very excited.  The time that I would have spent stuffed on BART like a sardine will be time with my writing of novels, gardens, seeing the lovely fillies, colts and big horses around me….not to mention Ferguson the Fox, the deer, my reforest project, my fruit trees and my lovely neighbors. Plus, there is a rumor that American Pharaoh is stabled somewhere around my farm….so…maybe I will manage to get a pet on the nose of an King.   

Cheers also to California Chrome and I am so excited to learn that he is returning to a farm very close to me called Taylor Made Farm!  How exciting is that?  He is, like me, taking a ride down the country road home...two Californians going to Kentucky. Pretty cool.  So, I will live near another King.  Horse heaven.  Welcome Home Chrome!

When I get home…..

I have tickets to Opening Day at Keeneland, already, with my husband and son (both Army men..Vietnam and Afghanistan…so call before just showing up at Finnegan’s Run). 

Back to Opening Day at Keeneland….Keeneland has dining rooms.  I got the LexKY room for Spring Meet on April 9.  I just can’t decide what dress to wear…or which hat?  We will see….But I am so, so excited.

First line of business when I return is walking my 12 acres with a ball mason jar filled to the brim with Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale with my two puppies, Oliver and Merlin.  I will see how my reforest project is coming along.  I will, at some point see Ferguson the fox, now grown (who used to eat my chickens from time to time, I suspect), the many deer that like my newly filled-in tree lines and reforest project, my fruit trees….and everything else on my land in Paris at Finnegan’s Run.

Finnegan’s Run is very much tied to California,  like I am.  It is as if there is two Rebeccas.  One loves San Francisco, Napa/St.Helena, Carmel….I love the Palace Bar, Big Four, Top of the Mark, Walking Nob Hill, China Town, The Crocker Galleria where I have lunch nearly every day with the lovely dome and flowers, the view of the Bay from the Ferry Building…all of it…all of it.  The America’s Cup was the most amazing sporting event besides the Derby I have ever experienced or would hope to….

I can, when I really try, be sophisticated at a wine party, or at the palace bar…San Francisco and the Bay area is an amazing place to me.  But in the end …I am simple (not as sophisticated as the people around me).  So, the “other Rebecca” is a very simple country girl.  I long for the land and days where I see no people on my 12 acres.  Horses and dogs, undoubtedly, are often better companions than people.   I want my gardens again and to see the fillies and colts kicking their legs on the farms around me. 

Yet I love people and this city of San Francisco…though lately quite hostile to the likes of me…if they knew me truly…but I love this place.  So, I will leave my heart in San Fracisco, Napa/St. Helena and Carmel.  My next book, as is the case with most of my books, largely takes place in SF Bay Area, but it goes exotic.  Those are my only clues to that book.

Without question, the book will get more exotic in its final stages when I walk the land again with Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale in a Ball Mason Jar! Even more giggles.

Anyway, I am not leaving California truly.  I am bringing California with me to Kentucky because when I work for California attorneys remotely…assuming a few of them hire me to be a global operations person….and advance the law in California, practicing my other craft (besides writing) while in Kentucky ….of being the best paralegal (the third Rebecca)…then I have not left California at all.  California gets in your blood and you can never quite leave it behind.  Though I would, most assuredly, like to leave behind the angry and quite out of control, protestors…who don’t seem to have jobs. 

Besides that, when I walk the land in Kentucky I will be thinking of Carmel and Napa/St. Helena and San Francisco.  However, I am so excited to go home to Finnegan’s Run.

Finnegan, himself, was a California collie.  (Namesake of our farm).  My son Joseph drove all the way to Palm Desert to pick him up for me.  Then he rode all the way from California to Kentucky.  He lived only a bit over a year.  But in his last 6 months of life in Kentucky, he learned about snow, about grass (he had grown up in the desert)…and he ran the land with me.  He died in April just after his first birthday.  A California collie who ran the land in Kentucky and he is the namesake of Finnegan’s Run. 

When I hear the mocking birds now in early February in California, they sound just the same as in April in Kentucky.  Come St. Patrick’s day, I’ll be moving.  Don't worry California, I will always return.

Thank you so much to my friends, family and to my fans who keep after me about this next book. I’ll put it out for free the First Saturday in May to celebrate the Kentucky Derby.

Thank you to everyone who purchased my books this year.  Thank you so much.  Iron Horse King has emerged as top hit (the story of how San Francisco was built, in fact the whole country changed…but this is a romantic interpretation), The Letter - second, Chosen One - third….but you have all been so good to me with all my books, Once Upon a Misty Blue Grass Hill is my "girl and horse" story who meets handsome Irishman.  My attempt at light erotica, of course, was my last book The Wine Prince, Vine of Obsession....book after current one in works is going to be a sequel to The Letter but very much related to Wine Prince....

Now, this has gotten long winded...to both all who buy my books in the US and outside in countries all over the world…thank you …thank you to all of you so very much from my very humble heart.  Blessings to all…2017 is going to be a very amazing year.

Meet me in Paris.  Because Paris, after all, “is always a good idea.” 

Goes unedited.

Sincerely,

Rebecca

America in your hand, saving the beer, Final Chapter

by Rebecca Mance on 09/03/16

As promised, I am going to start telling life stories.  I think people who are artists and writers live rich lives because of their deep passion.  In my case, it gets me into lots of trouble at times, but at others I think it brings miracles and amazing things are accomplished. I always say that our hearts, believing so much in something that you throw yourself into it passionately, drives the most amazing things to happen.  I am going to tell this story through a book eventually and it is started, so I hope I am not giving away ideas to other unscrupulous writers. 

However, I decided that this was the time to tell the story because of the event.  Book with details to follow…someday when I have time to write.  Right now I am a pretty good paralegal and our small but mighty firm has won in trial (making my two 24 hour days pay off in my heart) and to continue on this winning streak requires me to focus on work and less on writing.  I am still working on next book but only in pieces and parts.  I will get there.  So the story of saving the beer.

This story starts in the summer of 2008.  I had gone to a West Point football game and Budweiser had sponsored it.  They had brought those magnificent horses there in the most beautiful horse coaches imaginable.  They were huge, like rolling barns only, they were red, white and blue.  Those horses, by the way, are huge and utterly breathtaking.  They actually took them out at the game and just like in commercials, they drove with beer boxes and a spotted dog.  It moved me to tears.  But of course, being there with hundreds of West Point Cadets was pretty amazing too.

(So many of my stories revolve around horses, yet I do not ride.  Anyway…..)

Being the Patriot I am (I am not just a daughter of the American Revolution… meaning not in the club but meaning that my ancestor Thomas Hale, who has a Revolutionary War number, served in the pre-war militia and the Revolutionary War.  Also, my birthday, ironically, December 16 falls on the anniversary date of the Boston Tea Party), I was so moved by their support of the military schools and generally support of soldiers.

I decided to drink Budweiser then and there.

I did drink it, religiously, from that day on.  I often ordered it at upscale bars in San Francisco and drank it right from bottle to be funny and scandalous!  It was fun.  Sometimes I would do this and others would order it too when you just know in sophisticated bars in San Francisco,  no one but no one is ordering a Bud.

Then, one day Budweiser, in what appeared to be a hostile take over, was about to be sold to InBev.  A Brazilian Company.  They make a notable beer called Stella Artois. 

I was very upset.  So, I started my campaign in a fight to save the beer.  I wrote faxes not just to Mr. Brito (the then CEO of InBev, maybe still is, not sure, haven’t checked) and the board of Anheuser and August Busch IV. 

Being gifted in law, I laid out a number of things, mainly dealing with anti-trust issues.  August Busch and the board then did pull up and tried to fight back.

InBev made an offer for more per share and it was a lot more.  That rather sealed the deal as they say.

Still, I continued the fight.  I threatened to write the Justice Department, which I did.  I started researching it and was convinced it was an anti-trust issue. 

I wrote my comprehensive letter to the Justice Department and mailed it on August 27, 2008.  The very next day, as I left for lunch at work, I was hit by a car going 30 miles an hour, bounced off of the hood, cracked the windshield of the car, took out a headlight, dented the hood all before flying what witnesses said was 30 feet to land on the pavement.

Thankfully, I was knocked out immediately and have no recollection of this other than initially realizing I was being hit and knowing I was going to die. 

It all happened, very ironically, under a very large Stella Artois sign.  It really did.  I was saved by a backpack my son had pulled from dumpsters in basic training when he entered the Army.  It had some defect so it could not be used.  It is called a camel back and it has a hard shell.  He thought I would like it and I did.  It saved my life because it blunted the impact of the car and then I landed on it.  I was hurt very badly, but alive and walking because of that backpack.

For reasons, known only to him, Joseph Alioto, an attorney in San Francisco that I have never met, filed a preliminary injunction brief in St. Lewis Court to stop the sale.  I wrote a “friend of the court” brief on my own behalf and others similarly situated.  Many of the things I had raised in the Justice Department letter were in Mr. Alioto’s brief and he had thought of a lot of other neat stuff I had not considered. 

We did win that injunction.  There was, in fact, an injunction and the sale put on hold.  However, there was a major problem in this victory.  To keep the injunction, there had to be a million dollar bond posted.  I certainly didn’t have that kind of money.  Therefore, we could not prevail in the injunction because we could not keep it without the million dollar bond.

The Justice Department did write me back.  They investigated the anti-trust issues and determined that there was one anti-trust issue.  InBev had to sell one brewery somewhere in the northeast.

I was very sad but still determined.  I am such a deeply passionate person and once I believe in something, I never give up.  My last chance to save the beer was at the shareholder meeting.

There I arrived still dragging my leg around from the accident but nevertheless wearing red, white and blue (looking like an airline stewardess).  One person who worked for Anheuser-Busch and who undoubtedly was an insider who sold out on the company, came up to me and said, “You need to let this go.”  Like really?

Well, I had my passionate speech prepared.  I saw August Busch, I could not imagine his heartbreak of losing everything his family had built.  He looked pretty brave for a man in that situation and was almost flamboyant really in some subtle sarcasm.  I gave my impassioned speech and it was very good.  I reminded all about the things the company had done for the country and soldiers.  People clapped. 

But the beer was sold anyway. 

Several shareholders approached me.  They told me my speech was so beautiful and that they were sorry, but it was too much money to pass up.  I thought that they were nice but they cared more about money than America.  I’d not have sold at any price. 

The most beautiful thing that happened was that the employees came to me after the meeting. A group of them attended the meeting.  They came to me post-meeting thanked me, very emotionally, so much for standing up for them.  They were older and figured their days were numbered anyway and they were going to retire in the aftermath. 

However, they presented me with a beautiful coin.  It was a numbered coin dedicated to the troops serving in the middle-east and it had a number and everything.  The company gave them to soldiers.   They gave one to me.  I have it now in a safe deposit box in the Crocker-Wells bank on Montgomery Street in San Francisco.  It sits with medals of my son who served in Afghanistan (yes he is alive and well) and medals of my husband from his service in Vietnam. 

Needless to say, I never drank Budweiser again.  I went to other beers, including my favorite Kentucky Bourbon Barrel which I cannot get in California for some absurd reason.  My husband brings it to me in his suitcase and last trip one was missing.  Pretty funny.

I saw in Walmart once a few months ago that Anheuser-Busch had cases in red, white and blue and it said for every case bought, money was given to the soldiers.  So, I bought one.  I started softening a little on my stance against Mr. Brito and his InBev.

I heard the horses were sold.  I have not investigated.  I hope I am wrong.

However, I was sitting in the Palace Bar in San Francisco this past week, sipping on bubbles and talking to my husband after a very difficult day at work when I saw the commercial about America in Your Hand. 

There is no way I can ever confirm this in any fashion, but I know in my heart that it was inspired by that fight long ago now and an impassioned speech in the final meeting when America’s beer was sold.  The heart of a Patriot, millions of soldiers, a group of employees and a lawyer I have never met, Joseph Alioto, who for reasons of his own helped me, at least for a time, stop the sale of the beer, were all inspirations for this beer name change and commercial....I just know it. 

When I saw the commercial and just knew it was inspired by the passion of me and undoubtedly others, I reflected on many things.  One is, what power one person has if they truly believe in something with passion and act upon it, never giving up.

I also reflected on something else.  I always say that Freedom’s Front Door is for everyone.  In that commercial and in the change of the name, it is obvious that InBev and possibly Mr. Brito and others found Freedom’s Front Door and embrace it AND more importantly, have reminded all of us what America is really about. Now all of us can hold its name, its power, its meaning in our hands and be Patriots.  America, after all, belongs to all of us because it is a beautiful idea where all people live free, with liberty and equalality and are able to chase any dream they wish. 

You can bet, if it is available, the next time I am out and order beer, I will certainly hold America in my hand.  I think a lot of other people will too.  Here is the link to the amazing commercial and the final chapter in the story of saving the beer. 

I did not lose the war after all did I?  Perhaps it shows that in life winning is not always the battle you think you need to win.  Yet, had the war not ensued would you arrive at this?  Undoubtedly not.

I never surrendered, Patriots never do.  We didn’t lose the beer after all either, we just made America bigger. I and others, undoubtedly convinced Mr. Brito and his company to come to our side.  Allies are Americans too. 

Now we can all hold the dream in hour hands, literally by holding its name, and by doing so, advance the dream of America and its ideas.  Cheers Mr. Brito and InBev, you finally won over the last Patriot standing in the room fighting in the final meeting when the beer was sold...happy ending, amazing ending....so cheers again.... this America is for you.....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHLSi594qq8

PS. I wonder if I could talk Pierce Lyons into changing Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale to "Patriot Ale".....hey...anything could happen to a girl who saved the beer.

This went unedited. 

 

Derby 2017...out of gate.

by Rebecca Mance on 07/23/16

I am out of the gate....

Thank you so much all of you for reaching out to me.  I still can’t believe such a stupid girl as me has fans…all over the world.  I have done nothing to deserve it.  God is so good to me.  How to live up to such an honor?  For my book fans, I’ve not worked hard in that venue…so I am very ashamed….yes, I am very sorry.  But, to live up to you short of finishing next book…I’ll try.  I am working on it.

Now, I could talk about Derby Day.  I was at a nice track in California.  I could not get home to Kentucky.  The people who came were in the spirit….they were totally into Derby….so I was with friends…the track was stunning….  They came in big hats even in California at Gold Gate Fields on Derby day.  I was not at Churchill, but I was with others in California that believed in Derby day. 

I wore a Derby Oaks dress.  It rained very hard, which is odd for California but a blessing from God.  I am a girl who dances in the rain…so no problem for me.  Yes, the girls around me were a bit running from the rain….why?  If you are from Kentucky rain is a way of life winter or summer.  Thus, the green grass.  However, thank God for rain….just kick off your shoes and dance!

A very nice bus drove me from BART station to the race track.  I had a lovely couple I met on BART who also rode the bus…they were two men in very beautiful hats who were going to the same destination...they were a couple with dapper hats…one hat was filled with red roses. 

I was trying to help them with bow ties.  I failed.  You would think a Derby fan could tie a bow tie!  We had so much fun talking and getting excited about Derby!  I’d have loved to have enjoyed the day with them…but I had special tickets in a different area of the track…which got me cigars and stuff.  I don’t smoke….but on Derby Day….the smell of cigar smoke would be perfect. 

So I parted ways with my new friends.  I make friends everywhere.  People are so beautiful. 

I didn’t bet.  They only had odd “betting” screens.  Sort of reminded me of Las Vegas.  It is not like Keeneland or Churchill.  I think, if you are to bet on a fine gentleman or on fine fillies….he or she who has given his  or heart and soul to the game…it seems….he or she should have a real live person taking the bet. 

Not to measure out California….for the experience and all that they have to pay for here (can you imagine what it takes to maintain a race track in Cali?)  Also, the general population is not that up with horse racing.  At any rate, Golden Gate is a respectable track. 

I met friends there that ran down to the paddock with me to see the horses, which I loved.  To see them up close is the most fun!  The paddock there is very nice too.  It is covered so that part was interesting.  I love to see them up close before a race. 

As I have said before, the main road that runs through Lexington is called Man O’War.  Man’O was a Kentucky bred horse.  So that road runs you from downtown Lexington to the airport …where you can, in fact, get Pierce Lyons most fabulous beer (at the airport, I mean) Kentucky Bourbon Barrel…just waiting for it to finally get to California. 

Point is….you look at a like Man O’ such a beautiful horse….that is God’s gift to us.  Now Man O’War….he was so big and different.  He was an arrogant lad.  He said….”Nothing can touch me.”  That is what AP  said too.

I don’t  know much about American Pharaoh other than he has Man-o’s spirit and it is rumored he is in or around where my farm is….I think he just thought  “Just get me out of the gate and I will do it.”   There is such beauty in that.  What an honor to have picked him out of a hat.

So, I bet on no horses this year.  The screens and trying to figure that out just didn’t seem that fun and I preferred spending my time watching the races below me and checking out the paddock and horses close up.

Now, there is a reason it is called a Triple Crown.  Because only the very finest can ever carry it off.  Some say to me…other horses come in to the two races after Derby and they are fresh.  “It is not fair”

I say….Triple Crown is for the “Bestist horse I ever saw.” 

What an honor in my lifetime to see a horse just….simply pull away like it was a day at circus..well…if Triple Crown was easy and any horse could win, then we’d have Triple Crown winners always.  How fun would that be?  Despite the odds and running against fresh horses, there is a horse who will do it.  Man O’War, Secretariat, Seattle Slew, and American Pharaoh….also many others.

All of their names are at Churchill Downs.  I have seen them.  Well, I have not seen the Pharaoh’s name.  I am going to do my best to get there on Derby day.  For the man I picked out of a hat, I plan to return to Churchill to see his name under the spires….If God is good to me. 

That is if I get let out of a gate to go home on Derby Day.  2017.

Not only have I not been writing blog…and yes…my blog has been dormant...I have not been working on my latest book like I need to be.  I will make up a little for lost time now.  I will give my heart. 

Let me try by first giving you the gift of the story of Finnegan’s Run.  Finnegan’s Run is my family’s farm in Kentucky.  I might live a life as mild-mannered paralegal in San Francisco….where my heart is too….but I also left my heart also in Paris, Kentucky.

Paris is where I wrote all of my books except the current one.  The Wine Prince was started in Kentucky and completed in California.    

Finnegan’s Run is named after a dog that was a collie dog born in the desert of California.  My son, got him for me just before my family moved to Kentucky.  Finn traveled across the US all the way to a farm in Kentucky.  He was only six months old then.  He had never seen snow or so many acres.  He was barely a year old when he died.  He had a genetic disorder we didn’t know about.  It was epilepsy for dogs.  We didn’t know or a simple monthly pill would have saved him.  We named our farm after him after he died.  His ashes are there and the sign outside our farm has his picture on it along with the name of our farm. 

He had run with me every day down the long quarter acre driveway. (I was working on running with a bad leg...another story...with an amazing happy ending). It was a long way from California, with a lot of space and green grass.  So, that is why my farm is called Finnegan’s Run.  It was about a California Collie who lived his best days there. 

At Finnegan’s Run there is also the “quail story” which I will save because it is a fun story all by itself.  I am the single person who can get into trouble in the middle of nowhere in the country.  So, I will share that story…maybe next week or next month. 

Anyway, while I lived on the farm I let about an acre of land go back to “forest.”  When I was back in the later part of May for personal reasons I observed the forest (Finnegan’s Run Forest) is doing very well.  I also let the tree lines thicken so it was so lovely.  Thick tree lines are a way for farmers to help in conservation of wildlife.  They have signs up in farming areas about “the tree line.”  I think it is a great idea and a lovely compromise.  Wildlife live and travel in the thicker “tree lines.”

I guess I sound like a real “tree-hugger” from California.  I am very much a tree hugger.  Most people in Kentucky are very concerned and love the land.  Californians do not have a monopoly on conservation and taking care of the land.  I am extremely concerned about such things, I am just not rabid with the thought that there is only “one way” to act correctly in this instance…. and without an open mind about it.  Also, I act on it, not talk about it.  (Besides the quail story which will come later) I planted so many trees on my land and took care of them!  My husband and son still take care of them now and even planted many more!

I live my beliefs.  I even have trees growing on my small apartment patio in the bay area.  How many Californians grow oak trees on their patio?  Now, what I am going to do with them when they get a certain size is another matter.  I will address this when they get that big!  Giggles.

Now, for my writing fans….like my editor Liz….Liz just keeps after me about writing, I will talk about why my latest book has gone so slow.  Liz isn’t just an amazing editor, she is such a steadfast friend and believes in my books and writing.  I wonder what I ever did to have such an honor and such friends.  I meet with her and our mutual friend Cindi who tries to look after me in other ways.  I worked with both of them at a lovely firm in the city before I was run over by a car (yes, that is an amazing story and yet another blog topic!)  That will bring me to the topic of when I tried to save the beer.  I get myself into more predicaments than anyone else I know!  Giggles. 

However, life is fun.  I am an author.  How can we (authors) write unless we live interesting lives….I think I write because of my life and how amazing life has been….and every day is a new adventure.  So, why am I not writing?  One excuse….well, at my firm (day job) we went to trial and won.  I worked two 24 hour days…literally.  It sounds daunting, but it was actually very fun.  Well, okay, not at 2:00 a.m. when I was very tired and one of two copy machines went down…yikes and the other one was making terrible lines…the night before trial started.  Double yikes. 

What best-selling author is sitting at a law firm at 2:00 a.m. contemplating taking boxes and boxes of documents to a 24 hour Kinkos?  Well, this author lives that life and….yes, I think that story should make its way to one of my books and likely will!  However, we prevailed.  Winning is everything.  I pour my heart I into everything I do…which is exactly what one would want from a romance and sometimes erotic-romance writer.  It is also why I often find myself in predicaments that are difficult….I don’t believe there is such a thing as being too passionate.  However, that passion does land one in many interesting places and quandaries. 

I take on overwhelming undertakings that others are too afraid to even try.  My Granny used to say, “It is not enough to be pretty and it is not enough to be smart, it is to be tried in the fires of life that gives you character and strength.”

The second reason I am not writing as much as I should is that is BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) has become like a sardine can (more so than ever).  BART is the commuting train I take to and from work.  I have a fantastic little computer with a privacy screen…. but one cannot get a seat no matter what time of day you get on.  Not only that you are packed in like a sardine so by the time you get home the only thing you are running for is a glass of wine and planning the next day.  Being a paralegal is a very stressful job.  Nearly every day you can run into a near disaster.  Digging one’s head into characters is pretty hard after all of that.  (I sound like I need pathetic violins playing right now right?)

I get moments of inspiration on city hikes and we as a firm went on my boss’ sailing yacht which was fun and inspiring.  However, one can unlikely drag out a computer and start working when mingling with co-workers on the sailing yacht. 

Okay, no more excuses.  This latest book is so amazing and fun.  It is just so close to being finished in first draft.  My books have done very well in new platforms and now Iron Horse King has surpassed The Chosen One in IBook sales.  Pretty incredible.  I get a great feeling every time I walk by Crocker Bank in downtown SF (Charles Crocker is the inspiration for Iron Horse King) and I send up thanks when I look inside.  What an amazing story and there really was a man like that! 

It is a very lovely feeling to work all day very hard but know that somewhere, all over the world, someone is buying a book.  That is pretty amazing and stunning.  I am always so humbled. 

So, I owe those of you who, like my editor Liz keep after me.  Thank you.

No, I am not giving up anything on next book.  But it is coming along and I have been working for the last few weeks.  Okay…next blog will be about the Finnegan’s Run Quail and….then Ferguson Fox….perhaps then “saving the beer” story.  In the meantime to all of my fans.....  Remember to live life like an author.  Feel everything, give your heart into everything that matters, don’t be ashamed even when your soul is left to bare because you gave all.  Holding your heart close and staying emotionally safe are just missed opportunities of life to live….truly live and to feel life, even when it hurts.

Sometimes people say to me about horses….what if they hurt themselves?  What if this and that?  What if they don’t want to etc.  What I do know about race horses is that they have spirit and unbelievable hearts.  When they run that race and win or lose.they are truly living….living a dream of a horse.  You see it in their eyes when they run past….they are truly living in those moments…. No horse gets to Churchill except the very finest.  They may not win, but they were in the race. 

We don’t always win every battle in our lives, sometimes we are left out to dry and live with the consequences of our noble hearts, just like them…the race horses.  However, to truly live, you must put yourself out there, you must try.  You have to get into the gate and when the gun fires you have to run with all of your heart….win or lose, you give it your all.  That is what matters.  You must feel the passion, the joy, the heartache, the loss, the laughter of enemies when you fall….but then the triumph on another day.  No matter what happens the next day dawns with another chance to ride the winds of fate....it is another chance to be bold, strong, good, noble, to live with beauty and life....live to fight another day. 

What will fate bring? To see another triple crown winner, to write a best selling novel, to win a case, to help someone who really needs it, to make a forest, to save the beer?  To give $20 you can't afford to an Afghan soldier struggling to get back home who sits with his dog on the corner of Montgomery.  To teach someone something new to help them through life?  To use a gift to help a wizard or minor god? 

Or it is just to feel the weight and glory of what we did and tried to do with all of the good of our hearts?  If we do this, put our passion and love into everything...then who knows where tomorrow takes us if we give our entire hearts?  We don't know what we can do, except to get into that gate and when the gun fires, to run with all the have to that finish line.  Win or lose, it is about the race.  Believe.

 

Derby Oaks

by Rebecca Mance on 05/06/16

Move aside boys...it is all about the girls today at Derby Oaks and fillies' race...supporting breast cancer.  I wish my mother had lived to see a race.  Cheers to you mom and a cure that will come in time for someone's mother, sister, wife....daughter.

I can't be at Oaks, but will be wearing my Derby Oaks dress and hat, (worn there a few years ago to the Oaks races) to Golden Gate Fields in SF for the Derby.  Today, I hope to catch Oaks on t.v. at work....if I am lucky, wine could be involved depending on timing of race. No mint julips to be found.  However, tomorrow on Derby Day, since I couldn't be there again.....I found a spot to celebrate at Gold Gate Fields where Four Roses is sponsoring a big Derby Party.  Mint Julips, undoubtedly, will be involved.  Don't worry, I think 2017 is a great year for me to finally get back to the Derby.  I have been four times, how lucky is that.  Well, shooting for 2017.  Meanwhile, cheers to the girls and tomorrow I will celebrate the Derby in San Francisco....who knew it was possible?

Wearing Derby Oaks shirt today.... to bring a little Kentucky to San Francisco.  Hopefully I won't get mugged on BART.  Giggles.  Here is one for the girls...safe race...lots of fun and cheers to Churchill Downs from San Francisco.  Have a mint julip for me.....

Magic and the Light

by Rebecca Mance on 12/13/15

Thank you again for visiting my blog.  I humbly appreciate it.  I’ve so many followers…and I am often reclusive…and more than a bit eccentric and odd in my own way……so to follow me…..I appreciate it…but why would anyone follow me?  I am sure I am not worthy.  However, thank you so much…thank you with all that I am.  I will try to live up to it.  I guess that is why I only blog when the moment hits me. …So much pressure…I am not glamorous, pretty or even interesting….but I blog when I feel it….when not busy with day job.  When I can put my heart and soul into it.  When I feel it from the inside out.  Because that is what you my fans deserve.  Thank you so much.

Now to get this blog out…finally after two weeks of working on it…you get it unedited….I have a day job that I need to prep for after a weekend in Carmel….for my birthday.  I will end with that experience…if you hang in that long for my long winded blog.

Yes…I was waiting for the right evening to write about Keeneland.  I have thought of it a thousand times in my mind’s eye.  Those who know…KNOW what is Keeneland. 

Nobody in my current world even knows anything about Keeneland.  Even if they are very lovely and wonderful people.  You have to be in Kentucky to know Keeneland.  Of course, in my world most of them will never see the green rolling hills of Kentucky (what a loss) and those green pastures…. Those green rolling lanes that lead to the most amazing things..…blue grass…Kentucky calls me every day like it must call the horses…. Like the Princess of Jordan said…..[Who was, by the way, one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen]  She said,  “When I was growing up and I read stories like Black Beauty I thought, ‘Kentucky must be heaven for horses.’  Then I came here and I am sure…Kentucky is Heaven for horses.”

American Pharaoh has special meaning for me…besides that I picked him out quite by accident…out of a hat….I didn’t know that there were two people at the party in Napa with horses in the race…if you knew you knew me…you’d know just how random it was….how such odd things like that happen to me.

I had to go get out of my purse in the car (Ironically she…my car…from 2002 is named Black Beauty…)…but in Napa, I had a kind friend to take me to a Derby Party…In Napa…she is an amazing friend [as well as a stunning wine maker] and I love her so much….so she took me….they were taking bets….they even had the numbers in jockey hats…I pulled American Pharaoh out of a hat.  With my last cash of ten bucks hoping I didn’t have tolls home…giggles.

In God’s world…which includes all of us….All. God… Jesus and Allah…Buddha..  We just occupy sacred space differently….that is all….None of us are wrong or right…and that comes from a girl who was certain she was going to grow up to be a nun….nuns are so amazing…that was how I was going to occupy Sacred Space…I learned about this from, ironically a Priest at St. Mary’s College in a class. 

Anyway…. when AP won….in Keeneland..….well…even before that, when I held the ticket with his name…and didn’t know him before….I had been away from Kentucky living my legal life here.  I had been to four Kentucky Derbies…I followed the horses closer then.  I had and won big money on “I’ll Have Another…”  ($130 on a $20 bet!).  That is another story….that is the time I obtained Calvin’s autograph. 

I was so excited about his name…American Pharaoh….how amazing was that?  Not just because of my book The Chosen One…or our son’s time in Afghanistan….and the “hour of the lamps” which is a story in Once Upon a Misty Bluegrass Hill…and by the way my son told me the story almost just like that…that was the inspiration for that line in the book.

Freedom’s front door for my brothers and sisters in the middle east who happen to occupy sacred space in a different way...I am thinking….as I held AP’s name in my hand… so appropriate for me because of my book The Chosen One.  I am thinking….”like we could win in the middle east on his name alone.”  The combined name as I sat there looking at the screen and saw him the first time!  I was like…”dang Rebecca…he is a beautiful black too!”  [My favorite color in horses and cars since my 2004 Jag is named Black Beauty].  I am looking at him on the screen and thinking….”I’ve seen those lovelies before….they look beautiful…and he is so beautiful…prancing…Don’t be fooled by a prancing horse Rebecca!  He can’t possibly win….you pulled him out of a hat after all…he is a favorite and you love him already….”  

He was a favorite….I was doomed….Everyone knows the favorite is unlikely to win….But I didn’t care…I loved his name and the looks of him.   Sitting in Napa…to be at a Derby Party?  I was surrounded by beautiful green grape vines so the day was already magic.  They don’t even know….I mean….most people in California have no idea about beautiful horses and racing.  Only, not only did they know….they knew more than me….two of them had horses in the race. 

However, I was lucky to have been invited at all…I have missed going to the Derby….[determined to be there in 2016 if I can manage the ticket and time off]….I got lucky that my friend invited me to a Derby party….but I got to live the moment right then…Old American Pharoah on large screen.   

In all the races I ever saw at Derby or at Keeneland…or even at Del Mar as I saw those races as a very young girl…. I never saw horse pull away like that.  Just sort of pull away at the end…like it was nothing.  It was absolutely stunning.  I was too excited I didn’t know what to do.  By this time I knew others had a horse, literally in the race.  It wasn’t my fault.  I think they all do deserve to win.  When you make it to the Derby….that is everything….that horse is the finest in the world.  So what if he is the sixth finest?  I mean seriously?  It was how he felt that day most times…the horse I mean…

In this case….we all saw a true King.  How could he repeat it?  Three times?  Last race….he just pulled away like it was nothing. 

And…he harkens my most favorite horse of all time….Man-O-War.  Like Man-O-War AP lost only one race in his entire career.  I don’t know the details, but I do know that it was something like Man-O-War…problem at the gate.  Admittedly I didn’t like AP being pushed past the Triple Crown.  I was worried for him after all he had done….But like Man-O-War they knew him.  His owners must have known he had leg left to give and as a King that is what he wanted to do. 

Now I can only hope his races will be towards beautiful fillies on a farm near my farm in Kentucky so I might get the chance to meet such a fine King.  So, what is Keeneland….?  Keeneland is all that is elegant horse racing….

This Pharoah took his last turn on the track at a place close to my heart….Keeneland Track in Lexington, Kentucky…where there is indeed a road named after Man-O-War…it leads you to the airport…and to Keeneland….it is the main road in town.  How amazing is that?  A town with roads named after horses….The Princess of Jordan was right…Kentucky is Heaven for Horses because even the roads are named after them.

Admittedly….as mentioned previously….I have local friends that argue Secretariat was a finer horse than Man-O-War.

We cannot know for certain.  What I do know is this…Man-O-War and Secretariat both inspire me…yet…there is something utterly breathtaking about Man-O-War and the Road that leads to the most elegant race track I know of is called Man-O-War…and he was a Kentucky horse….Secretariat is a side street…but then he was apparently a Virginia horse…who was allegedly stabled also near my home in Kentucky.  Still….I could not do anything but give honor to Secretariat as is his due.  However AP reminds me of Man-O-War….

Now before I write the scene at Keeneland which is American Phaoah’s last ride….

I wish to talk of other things….to set the scene of Keeneland….and how meaningful all that happened is to me.  How I get inspired about things….about being a writer.  I also want to give background on the book that has become my best seller in Ibooks.  Thank you so much for that. 

For the intimate who follow my blog with equal intimacy….I want to give tidbits of the inspiration of that book….because it is pulling ahead…or should I say “steaming ahead?”  Bad joke from a nerd author.

I could tell you how in my book Iron Horse King started as “The Train”….I was stuck in it…I knew the book wasn’t what I wanted…I kept trying to find inspiration….and as I drove past the green rolling hills and picket fences on the main road from Lexington to Paris…that book completely changed.

Prior….I could not get the feeling I wanted with that book…the feeling that I knew was….something I had not touched yet…so I played the edges of the book.

However, as I drove past those green hills I suddenly pictured Charles Crocker walking out in a top hat and tail coats…and climbing up on top of the train as he rode into town...after shifting inside the last rail car….insecure about being a boy who had sold newspapers and had somehow miraculously accomplished one of the most amazing feats in history……confronted with what he had done….he had put on that perfect suit, with the top hat...

But with is flamboyance and bold personality…at the last moment he must have…..he must have been impulsive…so he went out…climbed up that ladder….and pulled off his top hat….I felt it.….I saw it…as I drove past those green rolling hills on that road from Lexington to Paris…

…And I just thought in that instant….“Iron Horse King.”  The book completely changed then. 

But in my book that is Jacob Ramsey.  Iron Horse King is a romantic interpretation of one of the most important moments in American history.

Those that know me well know that I often go to Mountain View Cemetery….my husband takes me….the best view…almost…in SF and of SF to be seen at his gravesite….the real Iron Horse King.  He who built the transcontinental railroad…nearly singularly in my mind. 

I love him because he was so ordinary…and very …much like me....seemingly bafoonish at times to some who could not keep up…but absolutely brilliant.  He was a genius.  I have flashes of smart but never like that.  Born so poor and sold newspapers at 12 years old in the streets of New York…with limited education.  Of course too much schooling and he’d never have even attempted to do what he did.  He was like me…in that way…. That is why I love him so much and wrote that book. 

He said, “I learned as I went.”  Wow.  I’d said that a thousand times as I tackled new things…That was him.  He was me.  Uneducated man, but highly gifted.  Just solved problems on the rail line like they were nearly nothing.  He changed the world.  I met him when I was 24….Read about him then…..I mean. 

From that moment on….I knew then that anything was possible for me….anything.  I was suddenly…like a man who changed not just the United States…but the entire world….because arguably without the transcontinental railroad in the US was not just the end to slavery because of the results….but it changed everything….You see….President Lincoln was a Republican and they fought the Democrats (who were the slave owners…in those days…the Dems were the slave owners).  So…President Lincoln wanted a railroad to transport weapons and men to win the civil war for Freedom…to bring Freedom’s front door to all.

Charles Crocker and his side-kicks….giggles….I giggle because as a writer I know…they were going to hang him to dry if he failed…. They sent old Charlie out….with a very little bit of money.  If he failed…they were going to take his store…blame it all on him etc.  Dumb old Charlie was going to try…and put his heart into it.  But Old Charlie was not so dumb. 

Charlie outsmarted them not once but twice.  The first time…he did the unthinkable task….they [his side kicks] probably were going to probably collect one way or another….but…he knew what he had to do and he used his brilliance and ingenuity to do it.  Absolutely a brilliant man. On levels ordinary people would never understand.  So they sent him out…I am pretty sure they thought he could not do it and had measured out that very specific possibility in their favor… If he failed they could take his money and store and blame him.

In the end….not only did he do it…built the railroad alone….with them holding money….in case he failed….he left later on when it was all done only to save them again financially….He was a stunning man. 

But he sat out there on the rail line….probably not unlike me in many moments…He was probably sitting on the rail line knowing…”Charlie…you have been screwed….but you can see the vision…the light…keep on going.”  That is what it is about…seeing the light in the darkest moments. 

He saw the vision.  He saw the opportunity.  He saw capitalism.  He saw…what was possible.  In the book I read about him, someone asked him how he could have accomplished such a thing and in this book…it was not a flattering book…. He said, “I learned as I went.”  Yes, I have certainly speculated on some of the underlying story about the other three of the Big Four...maybe they were a little more supportive than that...and perhaps I was speculating a little on him getting on top of the train car ... even if I did see it perfectly in my mind's eye... but I am an author and I can't help but have a creative mind.  

I had said "I learned as I went" many times.  A man who died in 1888…inspired a simple and very poor girl.  He was even “more poor” than me at any age….  At 12 he sold newspapers in NY….Which is the opening scene of Iron Horse King….I saw him completely….

As a writer you can see the moment.  For me….Iron Horse King….well….I think it is amazing that a girl can be inspired by a man who died in 1888….  He was just like me.  

Women’s role models don’t need to be skinny models….or women …. militant bra burning women…. with square glasses…teaching us who we are…taught to us in school what it is to be liberated?….we are not permitted admire a man who wore a top hat….and took risks that people said he was crazy for taking…..he was a capitalist and amazing….However, if us girls are to ever get anywhere, we need to see amazing and pattern ourselves in same no matter who he or she is… not just necessarily out of women’s studies programs…but to see the world with possibility and be inspired by anyone and everyone… yes, even men in top hats that died in 1888.  He is the singular inspiration of my life besides my husband and son and other very best friends.  Whenever I get down I think….well…look at what he had to do…he was as poor as you….he had to even come further from behind….

Yes, and I know my book Chosen One has been cut off from many venues sisters.  I have heard from a few of you…the few and bold and brave….  No worries.  We must let things be.  They come in their own time.  Just know we are waiting here...come to the light….to Freedom’s Front Door….but don’t be rash sisters…one must….after all survive to fight another day right?  Right….  Let things come in their time.    

So back to Keeneland….authors see things in their heads.  Tell me a story and I see it.  Perfectly.

That day in Keeneland….which was American Pharaoh’s last ride.   I could not be there….but I imagine it with perfect clarity….

In Kentucky a mist rises in early morning….in fall and spring….

The last time she rode him was that day when she lay in the grass with Patrick and loved him with all her heart. 

Storm was woven into her heart and life carrying both of their bittersweet memories.

He broke through the mist and galloped to the fence tossing his head and neighing in quiet greeting.  She laughed softly and petted his nose.  He snorted his happy low hum.  She giggled and took his head down to hug his big gray nose.  "Oh how I have missed you."

She pulled the apple from her coat pocket and served it up to him.  He gave her another appreciative snort.”

This is from the pre-derby scene:

They were taking a couple of trailers with everything in them, including her Derby uniform.  It was red, gold and white and it bore the coat of arms of the Earl of Meath.  Patrick said the title was created in 1627.   It was embroidered on the back of her jockey shirt.  Patrick had it special made and Jolene was certain she had never worn anything so fine.  The coat of arms was red scrolls with a night's helmet on top and three birds across a flag. 

At the top of the coat of arms it read Vota Vita Mea.  Patrick told her that it meant.

Prayers are my life.

The rain stopped while they were driving but Jolene fretted about Big Storm continuing to prance in his trailer even in the small space he was in.

Jolene had never been so scared in her life.  Her fingers shook when she adjusted the radio and her heart pounded the entire trip. 

Patrick didn't seem much better though he tried to hide his emotions.  He was quiet and serious in a way Jolene had never witnessed.

Bernie and Herbert attempted to lighten things by making jokes in the big Ford SUV.  They even resorted to playing some of Patrick's favorite Irish ballads on cd.

Entering Louisville, even this early in the morning with the sun barely coming up beyond the tall white spires, people were already waiving their signs. 

"Park here for $20." 

Children ran around in their front yards in bare feet excited about Derby day even if they had only ever viewed Churchill Downs from the outside.  Its white towers that could be seen for miles like a double church steeple, shadowed the surrounding neighborhoods.  Churchill Downs was their lifeblood and the Derby brought in the pretty people in suits, dresses and hats parking and walking by.  Those pretty people who came to the Derby were part of another kind of life that was different and spectacular. 

Barbeques were smoking and homemade signs were hung with balloons that read "Stop here for barbeque and beer."

Nearly all of the little wooden houses were decorated for the big day.  Since Churchill Downs sat in the middle of an older city of residential homes, its tenants were an intricate part of the Derby.  Every house had people preparing for the races.   

They were poor houses. 

But not on Derby day.

Everybody put on their best shine and made their money on Derby Day.

Even this early in the morning the women who sat on the porches or manned the barbeques wore tank tops and shorts, the wardrobe staple of the south.  Men wore white tee shirts and jeans sporting their exotic tattoos.  Sometimes their arms and shoulders were completely covered in ink with symbols, signs and pictures intermingled in a complex raw beauty to tell a story that only they completely understood. 

They watched the scenes of the Derby in individual vicarious positions where they could also dance within the moment with those pretty people who parked and walked past them to the front gate, or rode in hired golf carts, waving and friendly when on other days they might be afraid. 

Jolene was always one of them. The one running in bare feet seeing the world vicariously and not truly understanding what it was to live their lives.

Until Patrick.

Until this moment. 

She wasn't just at the Derby.

She was going to be in it.

Riding Big Storm.

Just like her father had dreamed about the day Storm was born. 

Jolene turned her face away from the window shaking her mental voyage.  She would not take any journey right now except the one to the finish line at Churchill Downs.  One thing her father always told her about being a jockey was, "You have to focus and put everything out of your head but the horse.  Feel him.  Know him.  Become him." 

If you are distracted Jolene, he will be distracted too.  Forget the tank tops and the poor children with short fuzzy red hair running with no shoes.  Don't worry about who is going to park on the lawn or whether they will sell barbeque.  God takes care of all things big and small.

They had pinned Jolene's wild hair tightly and her head was already smarting from the countless barrettes and pins Mata had nervously poked all over her scalp.  She came dressed already in her jockey outfit, not wanting a scene with the other jockeys just in case they shared a locker room.

Besides, she didn't want to talk to any of them anyway unless it was necessary.

It was another distraction she didn't need.

They unloaded Big Storm and sent Jolene off with the other jockeys to the waiting room.  In the waiting room no one communicated with her other than eye contact and a nod.  But she couldn't blame them after all.  They all knew each other.  Raced together.  It was a club and she was not one of them.

A few smiled and wished her well. 

She smiled back and returned the kindness.

She soon took to pacing around the room in her little white pants, thankful she was slender and not very tall for a woman because she was certain she was the biggest one in this room.

Good thing Big Storm was big.”

American Pharaoh’s last official race….after which….he gets to…..now…retire…hopefully to a farm near Finnegan’s Run….racing towards fillies…

Finnegan’s Run is my farm.  My family farm….where my perfect son Joseph and my more perfect husband Joe lives….when he is not visiting me or helping with important engineering things in Cincinnati. Very important engineering things.

Someday…. Someday I will make my way back to that country road…..to Finnegan’s Run.  I have work to do yet here in California but when my work here is done….I am going to take a long leisurely ride down a country road…..yes, past the “crack” house which is featured in Once Upon a Misty Blue Grass Hill.  Back to my farm….

To know the story of Finnegan’s Run is to know me and have wine with me at home.  At Finnegan’s run. 

Oh…I get lost in the moment…so back to Keeneland….It is the most elegant horse race track on earth.  Yes, it beats Churchill Downs…in many ways…and Keeneland is where you find all the pre-derby horses…..  Not as noble with the spires…and believe me…I love Churchill Downs…I do….I am hoping and praying that May is going to bring me ten things…that is one of the ten things…..you can only be left to guess the rest of the 9…giggles.

American Pharoah is the stuff of true legends.  To pull away like that.  And he trumped it then in Keeneland…arguably where it starts for race horses in many ways…and well that it should how elegant that track is.

So…here is the scene…I have been there a number of times….never in a moment like that….

But if I wrote the scene….from being there….

You’d arrive on a crisp morning.  The girls from the college would be dressed like pre-derby in hats and dresses…somewhat approaching derby…teetering on their high heels because they didn’t learn to wear them, elegantly….if you are any kind of woman, you can run in heels even when you are old.  Flats are flat and lazy….

County girls can run in heels…and wear boots…with equal beauty.  But in modern days they are learning to wear heels the first time as they go to Keeneland with the dapper young men who do wear something close to a flamboyant…..cotton suit…I would see them in front of me…the amazing thing coming from California…was that young people actually wanted to take time to look beautiful.’

And one should look beautiful…when coming to a horse race…as to see the Monsieur….they have come with all of their elegance and skill…hard work….it only seems natural to dress in honor….I think that is why there is the true tradition of hats at Derby and before Derby at Keeneland…because if ever…if ever you saw any true race horse run by you…A stallion…..which I have……win or lose…they are gifts of God…..their power and majesty just touches you.  It will make you cry and always did make me cry.  They deserved you to dress up in your best Sunday clothing and give them honor.

They did and I could have gotten Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale at the race track….I’d have worn red.  Blood red….or…maybe all blue with red high heels….I’d not be teetering like the young girls…I’d show them how to walk in red high heels…and run if necessary.

There are no mint juleps that I know of sold in Keeneland….though mint julips are amazing at Derby…they are not Keeneland…..Keeneland is different….Keeneland must be like the proverbial smoke filled room only in racetracks…”he did well in Keenelande.” Etc.  Keeneland is utter elegance.

I once saw a horse cut loose and run the course backwards at Keeneland….my Granny saw it too…in her 90s….when we brought her back to find her home in a place called Greenup….which did turn out to be nothing more than one sign and two farm houses….but that was my Granny.  [Her stories are found in Moonshine and Mountains]. 

Anyway….Keeneland serves Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale….and the finest of everything is in Keeneland…..  It is the most elegant race track.  Kentucky hides so many elegant secrets.  I presume to keep out the riff-raff.

It is very inspirational and so touching to me that the Triple Crown Winner ran his last race there at Keeneland….I think there is a back story….

They took him the proverbial last mile to Keeneland…where it all starts….and he just elegantly moved away from the other Kings….. Again. 

I can see it in my writer’s mind’s eye.  My husband said that soldiers followed him from the field in Keeneland….

Arguably the finest horse of all time….because his field was even more difficult than Man’O’War’s….or Secretariat’s….

Apparently…many soldiers followed American Pharaoh from the field…that big beautiful black horse….

I bet American Pharoah was an arrogant man just then, yet humble….as a horse I have heard he was very humble…but on that day he must have tossed his head back...looking at soldiers following him and not quite knowing…but sensing….and saying…well…. “I may be a horse…but….I have the honor of a King.  It must be true because I have all of these human stiffs following me….in fine uniform.” 

Because I am a King. 

He must have tossed his elegant head back and seen them…soldiers following him and all eyes upon  him…and in that moment, he occupied sacred space.  He was a King….and I am very certain…he knew it.

Now…he has a home I have heard…someplace near my farm in Kentucky.  If I am lucky…I might someday meet a King. 

An American Pharaoh.

That final victory concluded Man o'War's race career. He had achieved 20 wins in 21 starts and set a new record of $249,465 in earnings.  His owner Riddle decided to retire him at this young age rather than face the crushing weights the handicappers had promised to impose on the red horse to make it fair for his opposition. Man o'War retired to Hinata Farm, north of Lexington, Kentucky which Riddle leased while shopping for a farm of his own. The horse and his retinue of mares and youngstock was relocated to Faraway Farm a couple of years later where Man o'War remained one of the biggest tourist attractions in the state until his death. 

I have Kings in my own back yard if home in Kentucky.  A farm behind me raises stock from Seattle Slew…

He is a fine man.  Loves horses more than him….So who knows what the next Derby brings?  Something beautiful born in the blue grass of Kentucky.…or more flamboyantly……perhaps…what does Keeneland bring besides Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale on tap….and green rolling hills where horses are Kings?

I lived and will live again among Kings.  Keeneland brought the last elegant ride of a fine King….

If you had been at Keeneland that day…you’d be sitting in history. 

“He was the bestist horse ever I did see.”

Remember to support horse retirement organizations like Old Friends and others because the Kings minor and major deserve our honor … always. 

*****

Now….this is not a perfect blog because I am not going to edit it much if at all…..I am just back from a rainy day in Carmel.  I stayed there this weekend in my most favorite place …. My birthday is this week…so… to celebrate I went to my most favorite place on earth…..

I did some writing….visited art studios for inspiration.  I visited one in particular that you have to go down a winding and beautiful path to get to…under trees and lights….it is amazing….I did it…and it is where I came away with a signature version of the Golden Gate [a signature version of my most favorite painting of all time…besides the renaissance paintings] and a painting of a World War II Veteran coming home called….”Homecoming”….oh and a lovely cottage painting.  It reminded me to always live in the light.  It reminded me of how magic the world is.  It reminded me that we all have a special purpose. 

Yes, yes….I am working on next book.  I am nearly done with first draft…but needs a whole lot of work.  So…. Goal was to finish by Christmas and arguably…I am going to finish the first draft if all goes well….. We will see after that.  I have many missions just now.  Very important missions.  All things come in their time.

In Carmel I saw the most beautiful things.  I met with old friends…and new friends…had at bottle of my most favorite French Champaign and …. Celebrated life. 

I hope all of you are celebrating life and your own sacred space.  That you have connection to something beyond this…and that you will walk toward the light.  Blessings for the season.   

Iron Horse King Ranked 
# 2 in Westerns on August 12!
Just Released!

THE WINE 
PRINCE 
-
VINE OF 
OBSESSION