Just In Time for the Kentucky Derby 2014

Churchill DownsAround this time last year I had the pleasure of traveling to Louisville, Kentucky with my husband for a conference. We spent several days doing the “conference thing” but before we left we visited Churchill Downs. It was a cloudy, but warm, Sunday in mid-April and the place was virtually empty. On television during the Derby, Churchill Downs looks just like an any other big-named racetrack. In person, though, it is much, much more. Although there were no horses there at the time due to Derby repairs and preparations, it was still magnificent.

I’ve always been a fan of horses. In fact, my favorite animal is the horse. When I was younger I used to ride horses (or rather, ponies). I rode a particularly spunky pony named Chelsea. She was stubborn and thick-headed. In order to make her move at all I had to carry a riding crop. I didn’t have to use the crop, only show it to her. When she saw that I meant business, she would listen to my commands. Sadly, when I began swimming for my school in the 6th grade, I had to make a choice: swimming or riding. Since my school didn’t have an equestrian program, I chose swimming. I still miss riding, though, and I have never lost my love for all things horses.

As I gazed at the twin spires towering over Churchill Downs that cloudy Sunday, and looked around the empty grounds, I was inspired to write a short story. Upon our return from Louisville, I began to formulate that story in my mind and feverishly type away. I attempted to get the piece completed by the 2013 Kentucky Derby but due to work (yes, I do have a full-time day job) and other distractions, I was unable to accomplish that goal.

Twin Spires

The Twin Spires are a hallmark feature of Churchill Downs. Although it was a cloudy day, I managed to capture a decent photograph of the spires towering above me.

Now, as the 2014 Kentucky Derby fast approaches, I am elated to be able to share The Woman In The Zebra Hat with you. It is absolutely FREE! I’ve included a small blurb about the story along with the FREE download below. If you enjoy the story, feel free to pass it along to others and share a little bit of happy with the world. Read and enjoy!

zebrahatcoverimagesampleSue has always dreamed of being the woman in the zebra hat. From her very first Derby, she fell in love with the sights, sounds, and fashions of women in the grandstand. Year after year, she dreams of her perfect zebra hat, black dress, and lace gloves. Her childhood goal of becoming a racehorse owner comes true when she buys Old Earl, a pace horse with no racing experience. Join Sue and Old Earl as they follow their dreams and find out where they truly belong. The Woman in the Zebra Hat is an inspirational short story about family, dreams, love, and self-discovery. It’s the perfect lunchtime read, short and sweet, and will have you laughing, crying, and feeling uplifted.



The Woman In The Zebra Hat

Portable Document Format


(Click the PDF icon to open/download)




News and Other Nuggets of Knowledge

“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.” ― Kurt Vonnegut

My first short story, The Woman in the Zebra Hat, is now available to download on Smashwords.com. This was my first experience publishing through Smashwords and I have to say that I’m thoroughly satisfied. Their process is quick and easy if you follow their Style Guide. It took the guess work out of the publishing process and I got multiple formats for free. If you would like to check it out, just click on the book cover below to be directed to the Smashwords website. The story is free to download and it includes a preview of The Last Navigator at the end. It’s the perfect lunchtime read!

The Woman in the Zebra Hat: A Short Story

In other news, I’ve submitted the final version of The Last Navigator to Amazon’s CreateSpace for a proof to be printed. The proof has shipped and I’m waiting (im)patiently to get it in the mail. I can’t wait to hold the physical copy of my first book in my hands. What a thrill! Overall, my experience with CreateSpace has been satisfactory. The process is easy and, best of all, it’s free! The only thing you have to pay for is the proof and personal copies.

Sales of The Last Navigator for August have been pretty abysmal. I know that $2.99 is a stretch for someone to pay to get an ebook by an unknown author. In an attempt to make it a bit easier on the wallet, I’ve decreased the price of The Last Navigator to $0.99 in hopes that my sales will increase and more readers can experience a great story. If you want to download The Last Navigator at this discounted price, click HERE.

On Labor Day (September 2, 2013) I will be releasing The Last Navigator on Smashwords in multiple ebook formats. It’s a Labor Day special and you can pre-order your copy today!

Do you prefer to read your ebooks via your iPad or iPhone on the iBooks app? Or would you rather download a PDF version and read it on your computer? Do you have a Sony Reader or a Palm reading device?

The Last Navigator is available for pre-order in the following formats:

  • EPUB (for reading in Apple iPad/iBooks, Nook, Sony Reader, Kobo, and most e-reading apps including Stanza, Aldiko, Adobe Digital Editions, others)
  • Kindle (.MOBI file for Kindle devices and Kindle apps)
  • PDF (for reading on a PC and other e-reading devices or printing)
  • LRF (for older model Sony Readers that don’t support .epub)
  • Palm Doc (PDB) (for Palm reading devices)

Want to pre-order your copy? Click HERE.

One more topic I would like to address is the topic of reviews. I received a great review from Sherrey Meyer (Found Between the Covers) recently but haven’t seen any increase in reviews on Amazon. I hope that those of you who have read The Last Navigator and have liked it will think about writing a review on Amazon. It only takes a couple of seconds to write a quick review and I would truly appreciate it!

I hope to write up a post on my publishing experiences with CreateSpace and Smashwords soon so be on the lookout for that. School is back in full swing and I’m excited about things to come this fall!

Until next time…

J. G. McNease