It's spring, horse friends keep posting their pictures of newborn foals, and I have a case of broodmare fever. I have two beautiful mares in my pasture, whinnying to me in varying degrees of intensity every time I open the back door of the house.
I'm blaming the broodmare fever on my own up-and-coming book, Blazes & Brimstone. It's a story (200-page children’s novel) where kids rescue horses from a livery stable back in 1871, in Holland, Michigan, the night the city burned down. The kids also save their own broodmare, Scarlet. I've been editing (that's the fun part, like polishing an already smooth chess piece in your hands), and I added a few new paragraphs a month or so ago. I know exactly which paragraph and probably which sentence gave me that broodmare fever.
I wanted to show earlier in the book why my main character, 10-year-old Lyle, loved horses enough to risk his life to save them. The family's mare and her filly were already in place in the story. It occurred to me that all I had to do was explain Lyle being there at the birth, and poof, the horses would be family. Here comes the paragraph:
Lyle had watched Scarlett give birth, and been the one to clear the slippery birth sack from Cookie’s nostrils. When Scarlet licked her foal, her tongue also found Lyle and slicked his hair up. Lyle had helped steady Cookie’s first steps and direct her muzzle to Scarlet’s udder. It made Scarlet almost his own mother, and Cookie, his own baby.
That was it, exactly what I needed. Suddenly the horses are such deep family, anybody would rescue them. And about a month later, I find myself browsing through the catalog of North Swedish Workhorse stallions, each one more perfect than the next to be the father of next year's babies--if only I had less common sense, more stall space, and more loose change.