Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Story Behind the Story: Quest of the Hart by Mary Waibel

Wishing you a happy and safe Halloween!

Hello and welcome! Step back to the time of dragons, knights in shining armor, and princesses with Mary Waibel's post today. Don't worry, I have knights surrounding the room with swords drawn to protect us from any intruding fire-breathing dragons. (Truly, dragons in my area are more like lovable pets, so don't be scared.)

Are you familiar with the fairytale, Sleeping Beauty? Author Mary Waibel decided to mix it up a bit in her novel, Quest of the Hart. Find out what inspired her to write this version of the age-old tale.

Mary and I are exchanging blog posts, so while she's here, I'm at her blog. Come on over and visit me at Mary Waibel's World 

Welcome, Mary, to the Girls Succeed Blog! 

Thanks so much for hosting me today, JQ, and letting me talk about two of my favorite things: strong characters and fairy tales.

When I started writing the Princess of Valendria series, I never really gave a thought to the fact I was writing stories with role reversals, where a strong woman rescues the man. It sort of happened by accident, or as the story unfolded, so to speak.

Quest of the Hart came from a suggestion by a friend to write a story about the girlie-girl saving the prince. Instantly my mind went to work thinking of ways to take a squeamish girlie-girl and make her a strong, I-can-fight-for-myself-and-all-I-love woman. In fact, I knew the perfect fairy tale to twist to make it work: Sleeping Beauty. So I wrote and edited, and edited some more, and finally I have my girlie-girl who needed to save her prince.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love strong, manly men. My shelves are lined with books where the guy goes out and shows his love for a woman by rescuing her. But switching up the roles can be fun too. Besides, behind every strong man is a strong woman. There has to be, or the relationship wouldn’t work very well; it would be out of balance, and relationships are ALL about balance. (Think about Aurora, Belle, and Cinderella–they weren’t just meek, mild, girls. They had opinions and shared them with the men in their lives.) So, seeing I like strong men, I need strong woman characters.

With Prince Devlin under a sleep spell for most of Quest of the Hart, you don’t get much chance to see how strong he is (something he complains to me about every now and again in hopes of another story), but I hope you do see the strength and character growth Princess Kalyee undergoes as she searches for a way to cure Devlin of the spell he is under.

About the Book:

YA fantasy, romance
Princess Kaylee has never had to fight for anything. Her entire life has been arranged, even her marriage. But when Prince Devlin falls under an enchantment, she finds she is willing to do anything to save him, even if it means fighting a dragon.

Devlin's own sister, Princess Arabella, is behind the deadly plot. She wants the throne and will use any means necessary. Her perfect plan unravels, leaving Devlin caught in a magical sleep that is slowly spreading through the kingdom of Breniera. All Arabella needs to finish her spell and claim the crown is a drop of Kaylee's blood, but obtaining the single drop is proving more difficult than expected.

To save her betrothed, Kaylee embarks on a quest to find an ancient sword and gather a drop of dragon's blood, while trying to stay out of Arabella's traps. But Arabella's traps aren't the only danger. Time is everything. For once the last inhabitant of the kingdom falls asleep, the spell will be sealed, and not even true love's kiss will break it.

About the Author:
Author Mary Waibel
YA Author Mary Waibel is a romantic at heart. Her love of fairy tales, fantasy, and happy-ever-after fill the pages of her stories. When not twisting her own tales, she can be found with her nose buried in any book she can get her hands on.

Mary lives in upstate New York with her wonderful husband, hockey player son, and two cats. Many a Friday or Saturday night, she spends hours gaming with family and friends. In the fall and winter she can be found at the ice rink, cheering on her son and his team, and in the summer, she enjoys escaping with her family on camping trips all over the states.

Interacting with her readers is one of Mary's favorite parts of being an author. You can find her at these sites:


Do you have a favorite fairytale?  What is it? Tell us in a comment below. We love to hear from readers.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Firsts, Dressage Competition

Image courtesy of Julie McKevitt

Firsts by J.Q. Rose

Thank you for joining me today. Have you ever tried to do something new? Do you remember the first time you tried to dive from a diving board? Ran your first race? Made your first breakfast for your mom on Mother's Day? Rode your bike without training wheels? Read your first book chapter book? 

In Girls Succeed! Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women, there are ladies in the book who have accomplished firsts in their careers.

Olympics gold medalist Angela Ruggiero is the first female to play in a professional men’s ice hockey game and through the years she and her Team USA won first places in national, international cup, and Olympics games.

Horse woman Pati Pierucci received first place in dressage competitions at the Gran Prix level, the elite level of competition.

Cycle racer Mackenzie Woodring won first place in road racing competitions. In 2012 she garnered a gold medal for the 2012 Women’s Pro State Champion at USA Cycling’s Road Race in Michigan. She also won gold medals as the pilot for her blind partner, Karissa Whitsell, in the 2008 Paralympics games in Beijing, China, riding a high tech bicycle for two. They are currently the world record holders for the Paralympics three kilometer pursuit race. And in 2012 she was the Women’s Team USA Paralympics Gold Medal Winner with partner Kara Vatthauer.

Professional clown Brenda Marshall’s career includes firsts. She was the first woman president of the Clowns of America International and the leader of the first People to People International Clown Delegation to China.

Educator Barbara “Chili” Chiles was the first Athletic Director for both boys and girls in Illinois.

I could go on and on with all the things each woman has accomplished in her career, but I believe the path they took to finding success is the most compelling reading. 

I have included an excerpt from (where else?) the first chapter about Pati Pierucci, horse trainer, teacher, and dressage competitor.  It’s also a wink and a nod to the first novel I wrote in seventh grade about a horse. My grandmother took all those hand-written pages and typed them up for me. When I saw the manuscript in that form, I knew I wanted to be a writer.  Well, it’s taken a few years, but I’m living my dream now.


“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.
Live the life you have imagined.”
--Henry David Thoreau


True Love
For Pati Pierucci, it’s all about the horses.  She says, “They make me smile inside and out.  I love spending time alone with them.”
Pati loves the horses today just as deeply as she did at seven years old.  They are not just a job. They are her pets and friends.  They are her passion.
When the big pearl white stallion, Idilio, gently neighs when Pati walks by his stall, she drops everything to spend time with him.  Idilio is a powerful Pure Spanish Horse. In Spanish the breed is called Pure Raza Espanol or PRE. Pati and Idilio have introduced this breed successfully into competition in the United States.
Growing up on horse farms in Kentucky and New Jersey, Pati was around horses all the time.  At the age of fifteen Pati was caring for and feeding other people’s horses. Later, at Barclay Farms in New Jersey, Pati galloped their race horses every morning.  As head instructor, she gave riding lessons at the farm. Her interest in horses and farm operations led her to major in Equine Studies in Overall Farm Administration and Breeding at Harcum Junior College in New Jersey.  Pati successfully worked at farms in New Jersey and in Virginia. 
She became serious about “dressage” when she rode and trained her mother-in-law’s quarter horse, Sage’s Spy Song. Dressage is a French word that means training.  The rider guides the horse through a series of intricate moves by using the rider's hands, legs, and weight. The horse and rider seem to become one moving from one task to another flawlessly.  There is beauty and grace in the dressage movements performed by the horse and rider.  Many people compare the competition to watching figure skating, ballet, or gymnastics.  Teaching Sage the movements was a challenge because the horse had one leg shorter than the other!
 Pati learned the levels of movement in dressage from talented teachers. She practiced and worked hard to advance her skills for competitions.
She remembers her first performance at the Gran Prix level, one of the highest levels of competition.  She was excited and nervous about the first presentation with her horse.  They would be performing under the lights in front of a crowd of 17,000 people.  She wanted to be sure to warm up just enough so that Idilio would be ready, but not tired.  However, there was a delay.  She tried to stay calm. She didn’t want to get too anxious because her horse would pick up on her nervousness and make the stallion uneasy.  Finally after a twenty minute delay, the pair began the dance. 
Pati concentrated on the dressage movements allowing Idilio to perform flawlessly.  A few minutes into the presentation, she realized she was so nervous that she couldn’t swallow.  Saliva kept building up in her mouth, but she could not swallow!  Pati rode her horse through all of the paces, yet she could not swallow.  She began to think that at the end of the performance she would be drooling.   
After performing for six minutes, she heard the crowd start clapping. The performance was over. Finally she could swallow. Happily her nerves did not upset Idilio. He performed so well they made it to the next round.  She never forgot that bit of panic at her first Gran Prix event.  Now she experiences nerves before a routine, but she calls them good nerves because they keep her sharp and ready to perform.
Pati and her husband, Peter, work together in their own business, Pierucci Dressage, located on a farm in Virginia. Pati focuses on teaching lessons in dressage, coaching and training horses. She is enjoying enormous success showing for client horses as well as with students in dressage competition. She supervises a staff of highly qualified people who help care for the horses.
Pati’s occupation allows her to spend her days with her beloved horses and to have family with her even at work. She can be with their children, Phoebe, Hannah, and Ramey at the farm and include their four dogs and pet mouse, Georgina, in all the activities. 
The day begins early on the farm to turn the horses out of the barn and prepare stalls.  Pati spends the entire morning riding each horse for forty-five minutes teaching the horses the movements required to perform in a dressage competition. 
 As the horse masters each movement Pati teaches another maneuver which becomes more complex than the one before. The rider and horse spend years working together in order to place well in the competitions. Pati and Idilio performed at The Gran Prix and International Levels where only the top horses and riders appear.
The afternoon on the farm is spent on grooming, treatments, and teaching until the horses are fed and tucked back into their stalls at 9:00 pm.  This routine is practiced six days a week by this dedicated horse woman and her staff.
Because Pati worked hard and took on increasing responsibilities for the horses, she is respected within the horse trainers and performance circles. She embraced her passion for the handsome animals and allowed it to take her to new heights in her business. The life long fascination with horses continues for Pati as she develops her business and looks forward to even more fun and enjoyment with the horses.

Attended Harcum Junior College, New Jersey, degree in Farm Administration and Breeding
Head instructor, Barclay Farms, New Jersey
Competed in Dressage Competition at Gran Prix Level for over fifteen years
Head trainer and instructor at Hampton Greens Farm, Michigan and Florida

Young Rider Website
The Foundation for the Pure Spanish Horse for books on horses
Dressage terms and information
 Mary King- Imperial Cavalier – Dressage competition London 2012 Olympics

More about Dressage

The three basic gaits are walk, trot, and canter.
Lateral means to move sideways.
Halfpass is a dressage movement that is a highly trained lateral (meaning going sideways) movement.
Tempi Changes is when the horse is cantering and changes his lead leg.

What firsts have you experienced. Leave a message below. I'd love to hear from you. Thank you!

Girls Succeed! is available at Amazon and all major online booksellers.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Save 50% on Girls Succeed through Oct. 22

Girls Succeed!on sale now
Take advantage of this fall sale on the inspiring e-book for girls. Girls Succeed! is an interactive e-book filled with dreams and passion to inspire, entertain, and empower girls. Fifteen remarkable career women in a variety of occupations share their stories about their work and the path they took to become successful in their dream careers. These diverse careers encompass women in the arts, business, science, medicine, ministry, entertainment, and sports. Learn about contemporary women who have discovered cures to stamp out disease, made people laugh, earned Olympic and Paralympic gold medals, and crossed the country in the cab of an eighteen wheeler.
# # # #

The inspiring women featured in the Girls Succeed book

Girls Succeed Video

Click on the links below to download a sample or to purchase for $1.99 
The Study Guide for Girls Succeed! is also available at these booksellers for $.99.

Friday, October 10, 2014

International Day of the Girl Child October 11

Click to watch the

The International Day of the Girl Child promotes girls’ rights and highlights gender inequalities that remain between girls and boys.  Established by the United Nations, the observance is held every year on October 11. This special day raises public awareness of the different types of discrimination and abuse that many girls around the world suffer. For more information, click on the International Day of the Girl site.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Career: Angela Ruggiero, Olympics Gold Medalist in Women's Ice Hockey, Listen to an excerpt

hockey girls

Ice hockey season is here. Do you have hockey fever? Do you play ice hockey? Ice hockey is an exciting sport to watch AND to play. Today I am sharing an excerpt about a girl who dreamed of playing ice hockey as a Team USA member in the Olympics. Angela Ruggiero loved the ice from the time she was seven years old. She accomplished her dream of representing the USA four times at the Olympics winning gold, silver, and bronze medals. I hope you enjoy listening to an excerpt from the chapter about Angela in Girls Succeed! 

Girls Succeed! Save 50% now through October 20
Click on the white arrow below to listen 
to the recording about Angela Ruggiero.