The Red Filly on Channillo

The Red Filly is a novel about a high school aged girl named, Bethany Resmon. She struggles with fitting in socially and makes many mistakes along the way during the story, even to the point of possibly losing her best friend. The main story arc involves her falling in love with a beautiful half-Arabian filly named, Fyrestorm, that she first lays eyes on as she arrives at Orion Racing Stables to take on her new job as an exercise rider of the racehorses that are raised and trained there. Bethany dreams of riding Fyrestorm one day and even becoming her owner, even though she knows her mom can’t afford the flashy filly.

I’ve posted the first three chapters on this site :The Red Filly-A Novel – Dreaming of Arabians, but will post the entire novel on channillo.com chapter by chapter on a monthly basis. There are five chapters available there at this time and here is the link:

Channillo|The Red Filly by Carla Conorino

The cost for a Channillo membership is 4.99/month and the first month is a free trial period, so if you don’t like it you can cancel. With a membership you have full access to the works of hundreds of writers. All proceeds from my series The Red Filly as well as my series, Timmy Tales, will be donated to Becky’s Hope Horse Rescue.

Thanks for stopping by! Happy reading!

The Red Filly-Chapter 3

           

            Bethany stood at the end of the cafeteria line looking for her friend, Octavia. Her only friend.

            “Move!” said the freshman who had finished paying for her lunch just after her.

            Bethany scooted out of the way and continued to look for Octavia. Even though Bethany was a senior, the petite, blonde freshman girl, had no respect for her or the pecking order when it came to Bethany. Bethany was the resident ‘weirdo’, so the normal high school pecking order didn’t apply to her.

            “Bethany, over here,” Octavia called out from a corner table.

Bethany smiled an unseen smile from behind her light blue, cloth mask, when she saw her friend. She walked the short distance and set her tray down across from her friend and removed her mask, so she could eat.

When the pandemic started last spring, school had been shut down almost immediately. They had to finish out the rest of the year using Chromebooks for virtual learning. It had been especially hard on Bethany, because she wouldn’t see Octavia again until summer, when her mother finally stopped freaking out as much about the coronavirus. So, for Bethany, having to wear a mask was not a big deal, as long as she could get out of the house and intermingle with the rest of the humans. But not all the humans were…

“Well, looks who it is, the n— and the retard,” said Chet Dickson as he passed the table where Octavia and Bethany sat. He said it low, so no one else could hear.

“Shut up Chet!” shouted Bethany. “I hate you!”

Every eye in the cafeteria turned toward them as Chet walked on snickering under his breath.

Octavia reached out and touched Bethany’s arm, even though they weren’t allowed to touch at school. “Bethany be quiet. Everyone is staring at us.”

Tears started flowing down Bethany’s face.

Octavia knew that if Bethany lost control, she would have a meltdown right here in the cafeteria. “Bethany, it’s okay. Just calm down, please,” said Octavia, still touching her arm.

“Octavia, how can you be okay with what he called us?” said Bethany between sobs.

“I’m not,” said Octavia between clenched teeth. “Don’t for a second, think that I’m not angry too, but no one else heard what he said. It’s our word against his. And we’re at the bottom of the pecking order at this school and this town, for that matter. He’s a jock and belongs to an important family in this town. Our families are not so important…”

“But your brother Lucas, is a deputy,” Bethany reasoned.

“Yeah, he’s their token black deputy, because ‘Black Lives Matter’ you know,” she answered snidely.

“But Octavia…” Bethany whined.

“Please Bethany, just do what I ask. Now is not the time to take a stand. We have to be smart about this,” said Octavia.

“No touching allowed,” said Mr. Green, the assistant principal as he passed the two girls.

Octavia removed her hand, but continued to plead with Bethany with her eyes.

Bethany still had tears streaming down her face, but she got herself under control and wasn’t sobbing anymore. “Octavia, I hate being different, a weirdo.”

“You’re not a weirdo. And different is not a bad thing. Do most people really achieve anything special? Think about it. It’s the weirdos and people who dare to be different who go on to greatness. They don’t accept the status quo.”

“I guess,” said Bethany through her sniffles.

“I don’t understand why you won’t trust me Bethany. I’m your friend, I wouldn’t lie to you.”

“I know. I just hate being different.”

“And I’m not considered different?” asked Octavia, eyes wide with sarcasm and frustration.

“It’s not the same thing. When you leave this racist little town, it will be okay for you. I’ll be a weirdo no matter where I go,” said Bethany as she started crying again, quietly this time.

“Really?! You think racism is only in Dale City?! Do you even watch the news?!”

“No,” answered Bethany.

Octavia looked at her for a moment, both of them silent and then Octavia laughed, “Oh Bethany, I love you, but you need to open your eyes to the ways of the world. You’re not the only one who is persecuted. And you really need to learn to embrace your differences or you’ll spend your whole life wallowing in self-pity and end up a bitter old lady.”

………….

Bethany stepped off the bus in front of the little peach colored, manufactured home she lived in with her mom. Her little grade horse, Starbuck, trotted up to the fence to the left of the house and nickered, when he saw her. She set her backpack on the porch and then went over to greet him. He nuzzled her with his reddish-brown nose, and she rubbed the big star on this forehead.

Helene pulled up in the driveway and after cutting off the engine to the massive, old, truck, it chugged a couple of times before completely giving up. Helene sighed, buying a new vehicle was simply not in the budget right now, or would it ever be… Before stepping out, she looked over at Bethany who was now inside the fence, hugging Starbuck. Helene could see Bethany’s body shaking with sobs even from the driveway on the other side of the house. Helene sat there a moment watching her daughter, sighed again and then stepped out of the truck. She walked around to the other side, opened the passenger side door, grabbed all the grocery bags and her purse and after hoisting them from the truck, shut the door with her foot and headed toward the house. She called out to Bethany, “Hey baby, I’ve got groceries, could you come help me put them up?”

Bethany didn’t hear her or acted as if she hadn’t. Helene was frustrated. She had been on her feet all day and was exhausted. A van from a retirement community had come in that day to purvey Amir’s shop and they insisted on asking endless questions about every piece in the shop. Amir was happy to oblige. And Helene enjoyed helping the ladies too, but she was on her feet for hours and packing up endless bits of antiquity, so now she just wanted to make an easy dinner and then sit down with her nightly glass of wine or two. She had a fresh box amongst her groceries and was eager to pop it open. But when Bethany came home like this, she knew it would be hours before she could relax.

Helene carried the groceries into the house and after setting them down on the little, round, wooden, kitchen table, she started putting them up. Their grey tabby cat, Trixie, jumped up to help her and was purring as she did so. Helene was agitated and wanted to snap at the cat, but Trixie looked at her with such unconditional love in her eyes, that Helene’s heart melted. She rubbed the aging cat’s head and said, “I love you Trixie, but I have things to do right now.”

Helene started to boil the water for the hot dogs, and opened the can of chili for the chili dogs she was making for dinner. It was one of Bethany’s favorite meals, so hopefully she would cheer up. Helene eyed the big box of wine she had set on the counter. It was only 4:30, but she wanted, no, needed a glass. Besides, like her granny used to say, ‘It’s five o’ clock somewhere.’

She was watching the hot dogs boil, with glass of wine in hand when she heard Bethany come in through the front door and go straight to her room and slam the door and start sobbing as soon as it was closed. Helene sighed for a third time. She loved her daughter with all her heart, but when Bethany was like this, she was unreasonable. Her sobs were so loud, it was obvious that Helene would be dealing with a full-scale meltdown tonight. Meltdowns were exhausting for both of them. Helene downed the rest of the wine in the glass, set it down on the counter, turned off the fire under the hotdogs and headed for Bethany’s room.

Helen knocked on her daughter’s door, “Bethany, what’s wrong? Please let me in.”

“Go away!”

“Bethany please.”

“Go away, Mom!”

“Bethany, please open the door. I love you. I just want to help you. Do you need a hug?”

Silence. Then the door slowly opened. Helene stepped into the room and held her arms open. Bethany sunk into her mother’s body and began sobbing even louder. Helene just held her daughter and didn’t say anything. It had taken Helene awhile to learn to do that, because when she was upset, she wanted to talk everything out. That technique did not work with Bethany. Her daughter had to sob the emotion out first and then they could talk…carefully.

Helene surveyed Bethany’s lair while her daughter sobbed. ‘Filthy,’ she thought to herself. There were books, comic books and clothes piled on top of the dresser; some of which had fallen off and others about to give up their precarious positions as well. Her nightstand was in the same state, bed unmade, empty diet coke bottles littered the floor. A floor which god knows when had last been introduced to a vacuum cleaner. Helene closed her eyes. That battle would have to be fought another day, now was not the time.

Bethany’s sobs were slowing so Helene took a chance and asked, “What happened? Why are you so upset?”

“Chet Dickson…” Bethany began and started sobbing again.

Helene tensed up, she didn’t make it a practice to hate people, but she hated that boy and his crew. She wanted to smash their heads together for hurting her baby. Helene was not a violent person, except when it came to protecting her daughter. But of course, smashing Chet’s head was not an option in civilized society.

“What happened?” Helene prodded.

“He called me retarded and Octavia the n-word,” said Bethany, now just crying lightly.

Helene clenched her fists and then relaxed them. She knew she had to remain calm if she had any hope of calming Bethany. “I’m so sorry Bethany. How is Octavia?”

“Octavia is fine.”

“Are you sure? Dealing with that racist, hateful asshole can’t be any easier for her than it is for you.”

“Well, she didn’t start crying,” answered Bethany.

“That doesn’t prove anything. Some people hold their emotions inside,” said Helene.

“Well, she seemed okay. She said that I needed to calm down because no one would believe us that he said it.”

“She’s probably right about that unfortunately, which convinces me that she’s not okay.”

“Octavia said, I need to embrace my differences and that I’m not the only one that’s persecuted,” said Bethany, no longer crying.

“See, that right there…she’s just as upset as you, but holding it in. And she’s right,” said Helene, shaking with anger over the pain Chet caused the two girls. Helene was especially fond of Octavia, because not only had the girl befriended her friendless daughter, but she had helped Bethany get the job at Orion Racing. Octavia would forever be dear to Helene because of what she had done for Bethany.

“Mom! Why are you taking her side?! You should be on my side!” shouted Bethany.

“I’m not taking Octavia’s side. You girls are on the same side. Just because I agree with something she says, doesn’t mean I’m against you, nor does it mean she’s against you. Why can’t you see that I’m always on your side? And so is Octavia!”

“No! You’re both disagreeing with me! That means you’re against me! Leave me alone!” Bethany shouted while rapidly flapping her hands.

“Bethany, please listen to reason. We love you,” said Helene.

“No, leave me alone!” shouted Bethany as she pushed Helene out of her room and then slammed and locked the door behind her.

Helene stood outside the door. She was shaking with anger. Anger at Chet, anger at Bethany for being completely unreasonable and anger at Bethany’s dad for abandoning them. But most of all, she was angry with herself for being angry and resentful. This routine had happened so many times, but it was exhausting for Helene every time. She knew Bethany would see reason once she calmed down and the meltdown had completely subsided, but these occurrences always sent Helene into a depression, because she worried so much about what would happen to her beloved daughter if she was not there to protect her.

She decided to go have another glass of wine.

Fortitude

Thunderhead, Copyright 1943, Mary O’ Hara

I’m currently reading the 1943 edition of Thunderhead, by Mary O’Hara, which originally belonged to my Granny, Frances Grimes, who passed away in 2014. What’s weird though, is even though she knew how much I love horses, she never mentioned her love for them. She also owned, My Friend Flicka, the first book in this three horse book series. I just finished reading that one and will soon post a review. It had been so long since I had read these books that I forgot the herd stallion, Banner, was half Arabian. And even the wild stallion that they call the Albino is said to have some Arabian blood. It’s amazing to me how Arabians seem to show up everywhere in the horse world, in one way or another!

I titled this entry, Fortitude, because of a passage in this book where, Rob McLaughlin, is talking to his son, Ken, about the boy needing to learn how to handle disappointment in life and he references a quote from a book called, Fortitude: “It’s not life that matters-it’s the courage you bring to it.”.

Even though I’m not a big fan of the character, Rob McLaughlin, because he’s often stubborn and overbearing, I was struck by that passage. It is very difficult to react well when things are going wrong.

I’m currently quarantined because I was in close contact with someone who is now struck down by Covid-19. I’m on the fourth day of said quarantine, and the first three days were not handled well by me at all. The first day was the worst, because I allowed my anxiety to take control of me the whole day, and that night I couldn’t sleep because my heart wouldn’t stop racing. I’ve wasted three days of prime writing time just waiting to get sick. I kind of snapped out of it a little yesterday; did a few household chores and worked out, but no writing…

Well now I’m writing this, so I guess that’s something, even though I’m reaching the end of the fourth day. To quote Scarlett O’Hara, “Tomorrow is another day.”

Tomorrow I’ll be back at work on The Red Filly!

NaNoWriMo and Pops the Rescue Horse

Pops; living the life at Becky’s Hope Horse Rescue (my sponsor horse)

This post is a little late obviously, since we’re well past Thanksgiving here in the U.S. and barreling toward Christmas, whether or not we’re ready for it (I’m not by the way). I was super busy with NaNoWriMo in November working on The Red Filly, so I let everything else slide as one does, when trying to write a novel in one month:

NaNoWriMo=National Novel Writing Month

So you’re supposed to write 50,000 words, but I only got a little past 15,000 because Covid has finally struck my workplace. We have two people out right now with the virus. At least neither of them has had to be hospitalized and the rest of us are well so far, so if it continues on like that I consider myself and my crew blessed. We’re just working ourselves to exhaustion, due to being short handed…but at least we’ve managed to stay healthy so far.

I’m a retail pharmacist, so it’s not unexpected that we would be affected by Covid, but like everyone else, we do our best to avoid it. So when you’re dropping off prescriptions at your local pharmacy, please be understanding if the wait time is longer than usual since a lot of pharmacies are dealing with quarantined staff, whether they have the illness or have been exposed.

But like I said, I feel blessed because I am healthy and I managed to get half of the rough draft done for, The Red Filly, which is the farthest I’ve ever gotten on any of my novels!

Everybody hang in there and stay well! These are tough times, just keep writing, reading and mask up!

The Red Filly on Channillo

I recently added the second chapter of The Red Filly, on Channillo.com. Remember all proceeds from subscriptions to the series benefit Becky’s Hope Horse Rescue.

I’m having a lot of fun writing this story, which is inspired by a favorite book from my childhood, The Black Stallion. Although, my goal is not only to write about a girl and her horse, but address social issues as well. I hope to entertain with my writing as well as have a positive impact on society. I am very open to constructive criticism, as I continue to grow and learn as a writer. Thank you guys!

Here’s the link to the series: The Red Filly

Writing in the Time of Covid

Timmy and Me

A quote from Gina Targoff’s best friend Strider Castillo (He is openly gay while Gina struggles to admit her true sexual orientation because of her overbearing, religious mother.):

“Now you listen Gina. I know you’ve been raised in this holy roller religious bullshit, but this is what I think.  God made me this way, and God doesn’t make mistakes.” This is a quote from “Timmy and the Red Stallion”.

I hope to explore humanity and the pain and suffering people from different walks of life endure and hopefully overcome through my stories. I don’t live in a white, straight, world and my stories reflect that. 

Here’s my Channillo bio:

I am a pharmacist and thus an essential worker during this time of Covid. My staff and I were nervous like everyone else when it all started, but because pharmacies had to stay open, we had no choice but to continue working during lockdown. We’re less anxious now as we work behind sheets of plastic and faceshields and it seems that we’ve even become accustomed to this new way of life. Writing stories has always been a dream of mine.  A dream I first fully realized in seventh grade when my home room teacher asked me what I’d like to be when I grow up. I answered, writer, without hesitation. Even though in my area in north Texas, restaurants and such are open again, I don’t feel comfortable going out yet. At first that led to depression, but then I realized I could use the opportunity to write. 

Timmy Tales is the first of many series I plan for Channillo. I came late to owning horses too. When I was growing up in an apartment in California, with no horses in sight, I read The Black Stallion series and any other horse books I could get my hands on and dreamed of one day living on a farm and owning my own horses.

I now live in north Texas in the suburbs. I didn’t make it to farm life, but I did finally realize my dream of horse ownership.  My horses live 45 minutes away from me on a 200+ acre ranch. I love all animals, so I have many. 

I board 4 horses at the ranch affectionately known as The Franch (Frances’s ranch). Two of them are rescues (one of which is Timmy) and the other two are Arabians. I live in the burbs with my daughter, four cats and 3 dogs, all of which are rescues. Well, except for my daughter. 🙂

I placed my Timmy Tales series on Channillo and plan to add The Red Filly once it’s accepted. All proceeds from both series will benefit Becky’s Hope Horse Rescue. Here’s the link to the series:

https://channillo.com/series/timmy-tales-the-adventures-of-a-rescue-pony/

The Red Filly-Chapter 2

ApolloMarwariPic

“So how was it? Did you have fun?” asked Helene as she pulled their old pickup onto the two-lane country road at the end of the long gravel driveway.

“Yes, I had fun,” answered Bethany.

“How about some details?” Helene again prodded.

“Mom, I had fun. I wish you wouldn’t interrogate me.”

Helene sighed and then said, “My new boss, Mr. Singh, invited us for dinner tonight.”

“Mom, I just want to go home. I don’t want to go anywhere,” Bethany whined.

“Bethany please, this is important to me. I really love my new job. You’ll like him. I promise.”

“Okay. I don’t have a choice, do I?” said Bethany.

Helene laughed, “Not really.”

Bethany didn’t respond and just looked out the window as they drove down the country road into town.  Her view consisted of field after field of mostly cows, occasionally horses and wood frame houses.  Many of the houses needed repairs and a new coat of paint.  There wasn’t a lot of money in Dale City. Most people lived off the land or paycheck to paycheck, except for the lucky ones that worked at James Corp, the best employer in the small town.

As they pulled into town, some of that prosperity could be seen.  There were better houses, even brick, ranch style types, which were popular among the rural, middle class.   Over the years several businesses had cropped up in town, including several chains like McDonalds, Burger King, and such.  Helene slowed the rambling truck to 35 mph as she pulled into the old downtown.  She pulled into one of the angled parking spots in front of a shop which bore the sign, Singh’s Antiques and Curiosities.  At first Helene had been a little worried about coming to work for a “foreigner”, not because she was xenophobic, but because there were rumors of white supremacist groups still operating in the small, Texas town.   Helene was well read and had dreamed of traveling the world, so she welcomed the chance to get to know Amir Singh. But she had been working at the shop for a month now, working on the daily operations and helping with the books and had seen no sign of racism from the townspeople who frequented the shop.  Maybe the fact that James Corp was owned by a black family had had a positive impact on the town.

Amir stepped out onto the walkway in front of his shop to greet them as they exited the truck, the heavy metal doors of the old truck screeching as they slammed them both shut.  Amir Singh was Helene’s age, but unlike her, he was fit. His black hair was cropped short, but was full and a bit wavy, complimenting his olive skin.

“Helene, so happy you and Bethany could make it for dinner,” he greeted them with a smile.

“Hello Amir, this is Bethany,” Helene said as she waived an arm toward her daughter as they both stepped onto the sidewalk.

“You call your boss by his first name?” Bethany blurted out.

“We’re informal around here,” said Amir with a smile as he extended his right hand toward her.

Bethany looked at his hand for a moment, then reached out and took it. She shook it firmly as her Dad had taught her before he left them. It was the only thing she ever learned from him.

Helene sighed as her body relaxed from her tense posture, which did not go unnoticed by Amir. He smiled toward Helene as if to say, “See, I told you everything would be fine.” She smiled back and the three of them headed inside.

They walked through the shop, which was full of the standard antiques found in any small, Texas town. There were old wooden dressers with chips and scratches, ancient looking garden gnomes, decorative plates on little metal stands depicting women with big, old fashioned dresses, and ceramic figurines in the shapes of cats and roosters and the like.

“Everything is so old in here!” said Bethany.

“Bethany!” Helene admonished.

“It’s ok Helene. She’s right, everything is old,” said Amir.

“Well why would people want to buy old things? Asked Bethany.

“That’s an excellent question, Bethany. I think sometimes old things, comfort people. They remind them of a simpler time, I assume,” Amir answered.

“That makes sense,” said Bethany as they reached a door in the back that Amir opened and led them through.

“It smells funny in here,” said Bethany.

“That’s because you’ve never smelled Indian spices before. I’ve made us some butter chicken and some naan,” said Amir.

“Just chicken with butter? And what’s naan?” asked Bethany.

“Come I’ll show you,” said Amir as they followed him to the back of the apartment to the kitchen. On the stove there was a large silver, metal pot that Amir walk toward and then lifted the lid. “Come look,” he invited.

Bethany and Helene obliged, and they could see chicken covered in a brownish sauce inside the pot as they peered into it. “Oh, I like chicken and gravy,” said Bethany.

“And here is the naan,” said Amir as he lifted a thin, white cloth from a plate on the counter.

“Oh, it’s just flatbread. I love bread!” said Bethany.

Amir placed the cloth back over the bread and as he did that, Bethany was distracted by a photograph on the wall just past the stove and near the kitchen table. It was a picture of Amir, although younger, smiling and standing next to a beautiful golden colored horse, with a blaze running down the length of its face. Bethany walked closer to the photo and said, “What’s wrong with that horse’s ears?”

“There’s nothing wrong with Apollo’s ears. He’s a Marwari horse, their ears are supposed to curve inward.”

“Mahr-wahr-ee? How do you spell that?” asked Bethany.

“M-a-r-w-a-r-i,” Amir answered.

“Marwari,” said Bethany softly to herself. “Apollo was beautiful, he was your horse?” asked Bethany.

“It’s a long story. Let’s discuss it while we eat supper,” said Amir as he began to scoop the butter chicken onto three plates. He handed one of the plates to Bethany and he carried the other two to the table. “Helene, could you get the water pitcher from the fridge and fill three glasses for us?”

Helene retrieved the Britta water pitcher from the fridge and poured water into the three glasses that Amir had already placed on the table. Amir placed the plate of naan on the table after having microwaved it for a few seconds to warm it.

The three of them sat down at the table, which had already been set with forks and napkins. Amir reached for the plate of naan and removed one of the flat breads before passing the plate onto Helene. He then ripped off a small piece of naan and used it to pick up some of the chicken and then began eating.

Bethany asked, “You’re not going to use a fork?”

“I’m eating in the traditional Indian way, but sometimes I use a fork too. I set the table with forks because I know that’s what your used to.”

Bethany copied his technique and used a piece of bread to eat the butter chicken. “I like eating this way,” she said.

“Well, I hope you two won’t be offended if I use a fork,” said Helene, smiling.

“Suit yourself, mom,” said Bethany.

Amir smiled at Helene and then turned his attention to Bethany. “Your mother tells me, that you got a job riding horses. I used to work on a horse ranch in India,” said Amir.

“You did? Is that where you met Apollo?” asked Bethany.

“Yes, he was a prized Marwari stallion in those days. I miss him very much.”

“What happened to him?”

“He left this world some time ago. That picture was from another time, many years before you were born. Tell me about your job,” finished Amir.

“Oh, I’m going to exercise racehorses for Orion Racing Stable. But I’m most excited about the beautiful filly, my mom and I saw running in the pasture today! No one has ridden her because they said she can’t race because she’s half Arabian. But Mr. Castillo said if I can win her trust, they’ll let me ride her one day!”

“Why can’t she race because she’s half Arabian?” asked Helene.

“Mr. Castillo says that the Jockey Club won’t allow horses that aren’t full Thoroughbred to race,” Bethany answered.

“That’s too bad because Arabians are excellent racehorses. They possess both speed and stamina. Marwari horses were infused with Arabian blood early in their history. According to legend, an Arabian ship containing seven Arabian stallions wrecked off the coast of India and were taken to the Marwar region to be used as bloodstock for the Marwari breed. The Marwari and Arabian horses are the most ancient breeds in the world, and both carried warriors into battle,” said Amir.

“Warriors! That’s so cool!” said Bethany.

“Very cool, indeed. My ancestors were Rajput warriors, so I believe I was born with a love for the Marwari horse,” said Amir.

“So, what is the filly’s name and why did a Thoroughbred ranch breed a half-Arabian in the first place?” asked Helene.

“Her name is Fyrestorm with a y, and Mr. Castillo said her mom jumped the fence and got bred by the black Arabian stallion next door,” answered Bethany.

“So, it was fate, that she was born and that you came into her life. I believe great things are on the horizon for you and Fyrestorm,” said Amir.

The Red Filly-Chapter 1

Honey2018

Bethany Resmon watched the flashy red filly galloping with tail held high, flipping her head as she floated across the green pasture, and Bethany felt as if her heart would burst from her chest. She thought to herself, this must be what love at first sight feels like.  Bethany memorized every inch of her as her mom drove their 1978 Ford F150 up the long, winding gravel road that led to the house and the main barn.  All the thoroughbreds were beautiful at Orion Racing Stables, but this filly had a smaller head than the rest, with a slightly dished face and delicate, curved ears.

“Mom, stop the truck!” Bethany shouted.

Helene stopped the truck after pulling off into the grass to the side of the gravel driveway because another truck was approaching theirs as it was leaving the ranch.

“Mom!  Look!” Bethany was still shouting.

Helene stuck her hand in Bethany’s face flat and palm side down.  The signal that Bethany was being too loud.  Bethany’s eyebrows scrunched down for a second because she really hated when her mother did that.  But instead of getting in an argument, Bethany placed her left hand on her mother’s chin and turned her head toward the filly.

Helene immediately dropped her hand because she was mesmerized by the beauty of this filly too. Bethany knew that when her mom was young, she had spent time with horses.  Her mom often talked about one she loved with all her heart, a little bay with a star she had named, Starbuck after the character in Battlestar Galactica.

“You see her, Mom?” asked Bethany.

“Yes…she’s beautiful…I’ve never seen anything like her,” Helene’s voice was breaking.

Bethany saw tears in her mother’s eyes.  Her mother never cried.

“Are you okay, Mom?” Bethany asked.

“I’m fine,” Helene laughed. “I didn’t realize how much I’ve missed having horses in my life.”

The other pickup pulled up alongside them.  The young man driving it lowered the passenger side window as his tires grinded to a stop in the gravel and a little dust floated out behind his truck; a sleek, black, Ram, at least a 2019 model.  He had to lower it for them to even see him through the tinted windows.  Their windows were already down because…no A/C and late Spring in Texas.

“Hi!” said the young man.  He looked to be about nineteen years old.  A couple of years older than Bethany, Helene guessed.

“Hi,” responded Bethany and Helene in unison.

“I’m Tyler.  I’m an assistant trainer here. Are you the new exercise rider?” he asked while looking at Bethany.

“Yes,” said Bethany.

“Are you excited?” he asked, smiling through perfect teeth.

“Yes,” Bethany said again.

“She’s just nervous,” said Helene, “I’m Helene and this is my daughter, Bethany.”

“Well, it’s nice to meet you both,” Tyler said looking toward Helene.  But his attention reverted to Bethany, which wasn’t surprising because men often took notice of her curves, and thick, wavy, long copper hair.  Bethany was often oblivious though since she spent most of her time up in her own head.

“I’m looking forward to riding with you Bethany,” Tyler continued, gaze still fixed on Bethany.

Helene poked Bethany and she responded, “Me too.” And smiled.

“It was nice to meet you both,” said Tyler.

“It was nice to meet you too,” Bethany and Helene said in unison again.

Tyler raised the passenger window and pulled away.  Helene pulled their old truck back onto the gravel drive, so the air was full of the sound of the tires from two trucks grinding over gravel as dust misted about them both.

“Mom, you don’t need to make excuses for me. I didn’t say anything wrong,” said Bethany.

“It’s just that you don’t seem friendly when you just give one-word answers,” said Helene.

“Mom, you worry too much about me.  My answers were just fine,”

“But Bethany…”

“Mom, please just drop it. Please.  You always do this.  This is a good day. You just saw a beautiful red filly. Just enjoy it. Please,” said Bethany.

“Okay, you’re right.  I just can’t help but worry.  You’re my only child and I love you,” said Helene.

“Mom, I love you too. Just relax,” Bethany said with a smile.

When they pulled up to the house, a tall, tanned, man about Bethany’s mom’s age was standing in the driveway talking to a young, Hispanic man, but when the older man saw their truck pull up, he turned from the younger one and waved at them.  Bethany waved back.

“Mom, that’s Kirk Robertson! He’s the one who owns this place!” said Bethany.

Helene slowed the truck to a stop and they both got out.  Bethany ran straight to Kirk and gave him a hug.  Helene was startled since Bethany rarely hugged anyone.  Helene was not prepared for how handsome Kirk Robertson was.  He had medium length blonde hair and exuded masculinity with tanned muscles and black eyebrows and sideburns.  Helene had a hard time looking at him and knew it would be even harder for her to talk to him because he reminded her of a childhood crush, Bo Duke from the seventy’s television show, The Dukes of Hazard.

She shook it off and walked toward him, feeling very conspicuous in her baggy, full length skirt and equally baggy top. Her stuck in the seventies look was complete with big gaudy earrings and necklace and un-pedicured toes in sandals.  Helene had never been secure with her looks, or lack thereof, especially since Bethany’s father just up and abandoned them.

“Hello, Bethany’s Mom,” said a cheerful and freakishly handsome, Kirk Robertson.

“Helene, and hello, nice to meet you,” Helene answered, meeting his eyes as she reached out her hand.

“Helene, what a lovely name,” said incredibly handsome man.

Kirk turned toward Bethany and the guy he had been talking to when they pulled up.

“Bethany this is Strider, our ranch manager, Pablo Castillo’s son.  He’ll show you around the place.  He’s about the same age as you, Bethany. He’s taking classes at community college right now,” said Kirk with a smile.  “I’m going to take the lovely, Helene inside to sign some paperwork, Bethany, you two enjoy yourselves.”

The two of them watched as the adults walked toward the house.  Bethany turned toward Strider and said, “Your name is Strider, like in The Lord of the Rings?”

“Yes, my dad loves those books,” said Strider.

“So, he went with Strider instead of Aragorn?”

“He thought Aragorn would be too weird,” said Strider.

Bethany laughed, “Well because Strider is so normal, right?”

“Yeah, he didn’t think it through,” Strider laughed too.

Bethany opened her mouth to respond, but Strider interrupted and said, “Hey, I know you. I thought you looked familiar.  You go to Dale City High School, right?”

“Yes, but I don’t remember you…wait, you’re the gay guy the jocks used to beat up,” said Bethany.

Strider laughed, “ Wow, you really are blunt, aren’t you?”

“What do you mean? It’s true isn’t it.  I haven’t seen you in a while though.”

“That’s because I graduated last year,” Strider laughed again.

“Oh,” said Bethany.

Strider put his arm on Bethany’s shoulder. “Come on, let’s take the truck to the training track.  My dad is working one of Robertson’s colts.  They say he’s a Derby contender.”

“Derby, like Kentucky Derby?!” asked Bethany.  She had been watching the Triple Crown every year as far back as she could remember.  The series of races that the top three-year-old horses in the country started training for at the age of two.  The Kentucky Derby was the first of the three.

“Of course,” said Strider. When they got to the truck, Strider removed his arm from Bethany’s shoulder and beckoned toward the passenger door. “Get in.”

Bethany obeyed and could hardly sit still in the passenger side she was so excited.  Strider didn’t notice that she flapped her hands a couple of times outside the truck before getting in. When Bethany was excited or angry, she flapped her hands to help shake off the extreme emotions.  She managed to force herself to stay calm once in the truck.  She was very aware that most people did not do such things.

Strider backed the truck out of the garage and then turned in the opposite direction from the way Helene and Bethany had driven toward the house.  There was another gravel road heading in the opposite direction from the house and they took that one.  They rode in silence and arrived at the training track in ten minutes, but it had seemed like much longer to Bethany.

Strider pulled up near the track and stopped the truck.  They both stepped out and Bethany was frozen in place watching the magnificent, bay stallion gallop past them on the track.  Strider had moved alongside her and they both watched the colt cross the finish line and then relax into an easy slow gallop with ears pricked as his rider stood up in the stirrups.  It was a small track, only a half mile round. The bay slowed to a canter as the rider brought him back around.  This time as rider and horse neared them, the colt was now just walking.  The exercise rider saw them and waved.  He walked the colt for a bit longer and then headed to where Strider and Bethany were standing.

“Hola hijo mío,” said the rider, “¿Quién es la chica?”

“Dad, English, please. This is Bethany Resmon, the new exercise rider,” said Strider, and then to Bethany, “This is my dad, Pablo Castillo.”

“Hello Mr. Castillo.  I don’t mind if you speak Spanish.  Well as long as you don’t start laughing and pointing at me,” said Bethany.

Mr. Castillo laughed, “Me gusta ella,” he said to Strider.

“Great,” said Strider rolling his eyes.

Bethany was awestruck by the beauty of the colt.  He’s a perfect bay, a blood bay even, Bethany thought to herself.  She was mesmerized by his glistening auburn coat and four perfect black legs which ended in four black hooves. His thick black mane and tail rounded out his perfection.

“He is beautiful, isn’t he?” said Mr. Castillo in a thick accent.

“Yes! Will I get to ride him?” asked Bethany.

Mr. Castillo laughed again, “Maybe one day,” he said. “You want to pet him?”

“Yes!”

Mr. Castillo dismounted in one quick leap and then led the colt over to the rail.  The colt was bright eyed and curious and reached over and nuzzled Bethany.

A small gasp of glee escaped her mouth and she reached up to rub his soft nose.

“His name is Giovanni. His sire is Bernardini, one of the greats,” said Mr. Castillo.

“I remember him! I watched him race on tv when I was little.  I cried when he lost to Invasor in the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Classic,” said Bethany.

“His jockey moved too soon.  The stretch run is longer at Churchill Downs than at other racetracks. But Invasor was a great horse too,” said Mr. Castillo.

“So, if I can’t ride Giovanni, can I ride the red filly out front?” asked Bethany as she continued to pet the colt.

“What filly out front?” asked Strider.

“The one with the beautiful, dished face,” said Bethany.

Giovanni grew impatient and stomped his foot because he knew it was time for his evening feed.  The colt still let Bethany rub his nose though. Animals were always drawn to her.

“Oh, she is talking about Fyrestorm,” said Mr. Castillo laughing.

“Why are you laughing?” asked Bethany.

“Nobody has ridden her yet.  We can’t race her, so we haven’t started training her,” said Strider.

“What do you mean you can’t race her? I saw her running in the front pasture. She barely touches the ground, as if she has wings. Is Firestorm, one word or two?” asked Bethany.

“She’s half Arabian, Bethany. That’s why her head is more distinct than the other horses. The Jockey Club only allows full-blooded Thoroughbreds to race in the U.S. and Fyrestorm is one word and it’s spelled with a y,” said Strider.

“But I thought Orion Racing Stables only bred Thoroughbreds?” asked Bethany as she summoned all her strength to remain calm.  When she had seen that red filly, it had immediately become her dream to ride her. She felt determined to do so.

Mr. Castillo laughed again, “The filly’s momma decided she wanted to jump the fence and make love to the black, Arabian stallion next door,”

“But I’ve studied the history of the Thoroughbred breed and all three foundation stallions were Arabians. The Darley Arabian, The Byerley Turk and the Godolphin Arabian. So, they have Arabian blood…” said Bethany.

“That was a long time ago, Bethany.  Most horse breeds have Arabian blood if you go far enough back because Arabians are considered the oldest breed of horse. They’re in the Bible even,” said Strider.

Bethany dropped her hand from Giovanni’s nose and her eyes filled with tears.  Giovanni snorted and stretched his muzzle out toward the crying girl.  She reached up and petted him again and smiled through her tears.

“Don’t cry chica.  See, Giovanni doesn’t even want you to cry. Maybe we can train the filly to be a stable pony. You will have to gain her trust first though.  She doesn’t come near anyone,” said Mr. Castillo.

“I can do it! I can gain her trust! Thank you, Mr. Castillo!”

Chelsea Resmon-Character Profile #TheRedFilly

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Write Your First Novel, Week 2, Assignment One: Character Profile

Logline: An ostracized teenage girl captures the love and trust of wild red filly who she hungers to ride to victory before the naysayers can vanquish her dreams.

Character Profile:

 

Name: Chelsea Resmon (Protagonist)

Sex/Age: Female/17yo

Description: thick, wavy, copper hair and curvy figure, green eyes

Personal History: Chelsea is being raised by a single mom.  Her dad left when she was a baby, so she doesn’t remember him.  She is very close with her mom.  She has always been drawn to animals, especially horses.

Distinctive Personality Traits: Chelsea is a loner at her high school because the other students consider her “weird” and she knows it. She sometimes has strong emotional outbursts and flaps her hands when excited or angry.  Over the years she has learned to control some of those tendencies with her mother’s help and by mostly avoiding other people.  She lacks confidence and has low self-esteem, except when she’s around horses.

 

The Red Filly-a Novel in the Making

FyrestormRunning

So I started the Coursera course, Write Your First Novel, to hopefully guide me through completing a novel.  Like most writers, I’ve started many and never finished one.  Anyway, since I’m working quite a bit right now (I’m a pharmacist), I’m plugging away at it on my off days.

First assignment was to create the idea for your novel. I already had the idea, but the course helped me write a better synopsis I think:

The first time Chelsea Resmon sees the red filly, Fyrestorm, galloping in the green pastures of Wisdom Ranch and Racing Stables, it’s love at first sight.  But Fyrestorm is an outcast at the ranch because of her bad bloodlines.  Half-Arabians aren’t suitable for horse racing Chelsea is informed.  Chelsea is an outcast at her high school, because she too is different. She can’t help but be drawn to Fyrestorm. Chelsea forms a bond with the filly  and begins to ride the magnificent filly in secret.  For the first time in her life, Chelsea feels empowered and like her life has meaning, but then an accident threatens to separate Chelsea and Fyrestorm forever.

The next assignment was to create a logline, which is only one sentence and has specific elements to it’s structure. I always struggle with these one sentence descriptions, but here goes:

An ostracized teenage girl captures the love and trust of wild red filly who she hungers to ride to victory before the naysayers can vanquish her dreams.

And the last assignment for week 1 was to create a dramatic question. I first came up with this, which is too vague:

Will Chelsea and Fyrestorm achieve victory despite all the obstacles in their way?

So I changed it to this:

Will Chelsea and Fyrestorm achieve victory despite her mom and best friend forbidding Chelsea to ride the filly after a disastrous accident?

The course is 26 weeks long, I hope to have a rough draft of a novel when finished and I’m going to blog about my journey as I go.

For those who want to join the course here’s the link:

Write Your First Novel

For those who want to join my little writing group, here’s the link:

Scribbling Dreamers