Victoria Bylin: My New Neighbors

Vicki Logo“This house backs to a farm for retired thoroughbreds,” said our realtor.

My eyes popped wide. “Really?”

“Absolutely.” beloved-horses

Sure enough, if you walk up the incline and shove through some bushes, you can see horses in the distance.  I don’t want anyone to get confused.  This is a small tract house in a Lexington, Kentucky suburb. Our new yard is big enough for our dog and a barbecue, but it’s not nearly big enough for a horse.

Nonetheless, I can see horses in the distance. I don’t know which part of me was more excited: the little girl who grew up reading all the Black Stallion books by Walter Farley, or the western writer who instantly had visions of putting a horse race in her next book. Then again, it might have been the weary traveler–the woman who just moved her whole house into a Pod–who nearly melted with relief at the thought of having a real roof again.

house-outsideEither way, the writer in me got to thinking about horse races. It doesn’t take much for the set-up.  As long as there have been men and horses, racing has been part of our history. Records show both chariot races and mounted races in the Greek Olympics in 638 BC. Ancient Rome had its share of horseracing as well. The sport as we know it now got a boost in the 12th century when knights returned from the Crusades with Arabian stallions and bred them with English mares. Two-horse races–with bets riding on the winner–no doubt provided chills and thrills. house-with-me

That’s the kind of race I’ll use in that future book. Just two men (or maybe a woman) and two horses pitted against each other, maybe at a county fair or a Fourth of July celebration.

 

Those two-horse races eventually evolved into the “Sport of Kings” and horseracing as we know it today. It came to America with British settlers and first took root on Long Island around 1665. Not until the Civil War, though, did it become an organized sport. With that growth came gambling, and with gambling came a criminal element. 

horses-in-mistThe writer in me is seeing a plot-twist in the making. When I write the book with the horse race, there’s going to be more at stake than just the winner’s purse. Anyone else envisioning Snidley Whiplash in a shadowy corner? When the time comes, I’m going to have fun with this story!            

Victoria Bylin
Victoria Bylin is under contract with Bethany House Publishers for two inspirational contemporary romances.Prior to jumping to the present day, she wrote westerns for Harlequin Historical and Love Inspired Historical. Her books have finaled in the ACFW Carol Awards, the Rita Awards and RT Magazine’s Reviewers’ Choice Awards. She and her husband live in Lexington, Kentucky and have two grown sons. You can learn more about Vicki at www.victoriabylin.com

24 Comments

  1. Vicki, your new house is going to be beaUUUUUUUtiful!

    yee haw! I hope you can manage a view of the horses from your writing area.

  2. I’ve loved Thoroughbreds forever. I hope I get to visit Kentucky one day. I’ll be keeping an eye out for that book!

  3. Vicki, I’m so happy you found a house. And one with a view that’s perfect for a wonderful Western writer like you! Enjoy!

  4. Oh man a dream come true I’m sure. I’m green with envy. Oh I loved my Arabians and yes read The Black Stallion books till the cover fell off and loved them again when I read them to my children. I can’t wait to hear more.

  5. Petticoats and Pistols is BACK! Yay.
    What a huge job moving is.
    Congratulations for surviving it. I’m sure you’re not done yet but the end is in sight.

  6. Hi Cheryl! We’re beyond excited. The townhouse we sold was built in 1972, and it had the original kitchen floor. We’re talking a mustard yellow / Frito orange mosaic that screamed “1970s”! Talk about retro! It was a great place to live, but we’re happy to be moving on.

  7. Yeah Vicki, you made it! You house looks great! Already you’re inspired. I’m looking forward to your race story.

    Thank you Cheryl for the heads up tweet.

  8. Hi Jennie, Lexington is a wonderful town for a horse lover. We’ve got street names like Man O’War and Bold Bidder. There’s a new development called Citation, named after another famous thoroughbred. If you drive a little bit into the country, the horse farms are stunning.

  9. Oops finger trouble on my iPod. Sending fm Pizza Hut as no Internet at home. 🙁

  10. Howdy Sharon! The house is just the right size for us. There’s plenty of room for my husband and me, and we’ve got space for when our oldest son visits with his fiance. Best of all, my dh has a garage! We didn’t have one in the townhouse, which meant he used the kitchen to wash paint brushes, etc.. This is definitely better!

  11. Hi Nancy, I loved the Black Stallion books. I gave my originals to a cousin. She enjoyed them as much as I did, but I kind of wish I had them now. My favorites were “The Black Stallion’s Filly”, the first one of course, “Man O’War,” and “The Black Stallion’s Challenge.” What fun!

  12. Howdy, Mary! I’m glad P&P is back, too! And you’re so right . . . moving is a huge amount of work. We enjoyed the house-hunting, but there were some crazy moments. The right house in the right place at the right price wasn’t easy to find, but we got there!

  13. Hi Anita Mae! I’m online at my inlaws right now, but the internet is twitchy. Yesterday I headed out to Starbuck’s and sat for two hours sipping coffee while I worked. It was easier than worrying about the service dropping every two minutes. I hope you’re enjoying something yummy at Pizza Hut!

  14. I adore horses. I used to ride horses when I was very young.. You house is going to be great place to live and cozy.. I am looking forward to read some of your books I just got few weeks ago

  15. Hi Vicki – glad I could make it into P and P today! Great neighbors you have there! Enjoy your new home and all those wonderful stories you’re going to create!!

  16. Hi Terri! It’s good to see you at Petticoats & Pistols. It’s a great place for anyone who loves westerns. Horses always amaze me. Being around them is definitely a plus for living in Lexington, KY. Take care!

  17. Hi Charlene! The people in Kentucky have got to be among the friendliest in the United States. After 13 years in the Washington DC area, a place not known for its hospitality, I’ve been amazed at the kindness shown to my husband and me. It’s been really nice.

  18. Hi Vicki,

    I love horses and one day I want a ranch and have horses.

    Your view is going to be great

    Great post

    Walk in peace and harmony,

    Melinda

  19. Hi Vicki, sorry I am so late getting here today. This morning WordPress wouldn’t let me. Oh, what beautiful pictures. A brand new house. I can almost smell it!

    And horses. Sigh. I’d love to back up to something cool. Not that I don’t love George, the darling retired gent who lives behind us.

    I know you’ll be getting tons of inspiration in your new home. And we’re going to DC next spring to sightsee…I’ll need some hints and helps from you.

    God bless your new home, my friend! oxoxoxoxxo

  20. Avatar

    Vicki, your house is in a lovely area and I’m sure you will love it. Waiting for everything is the hardest part. Moving in and setting up is such an exciting time. At least you get a chance to walk through the house and decide where things will go before it is time to actually time to move in. Your backyard view is a wonderful bonus.

  21. No horses in my backyard.

    Rabbits…..

  22. Hello Melinda, Thank you for the well wishes. I’m looking forward to getting settled and having a regular writing schedule again. The backyard’s going to be nice!

    Hi Tanya, Definitely touch bases when you head to DC! It’s a wonderful city to visit. My favorite moments were both at the Viet Nam Memorial. We saw it on Memorial Day when it was lined with flags, and again on Father’s Day when it was lined by red and yellow roses left by the sons and daughters of the fallen. And don’t miss the Capitol! It’s awesome.

  23. Hi Patricia! We got to pick the carpet and the counters, which was a lot of fun. I don’t have a good eye for that sort of thing, but my husband does. Together we balance each other out!

    Hi Cheryl, I love rabbits! They’re adorable . . . unless they’re eating your garden!

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