I know it’s a little late, but I hope you’ve had a wonderful welcome to 2023 🙂
Our festive season was so lovely – although, I’m not sure all of our furry babies were too impressed with their outfits… Haha!
Although I’m just getting over a horrible bought of the flu, which doesn’t help matters, I reckon January felt approximately 476 days long! While I haven’t had much opportunity to enjoy riding the horses, and Cai’s walks have mostly been on the pavements instead of fields as it’s so muddy, I’m looking forward to lots of adventures – with both the horses and Cai – as soon as the weather has improved and nights are lighter 🙂
In the interest of transparency, I feel it’s important to shine a light on darkness as well as the brighter times. I’ve been struggling with high levels of anxiety for a few months – which has made the winter weather seem all the darker, at times.
I’m beyond grateful for my fabulous family and friends (including my gorgeous animal family!), because they support me through everything; and I take at least a moment to be thankful for all the beauty I’m fortunate to have in my life, every day. However, sometimes, getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of life can become overwhelming – especially when emetophobia is involved.
Having been held hostage by emetophobia, and its associated anxieties, for over quarter of a century, I felt enough was enough and finally dusted off ‘The Thrive Programme’ textbook I’ve had in the bookcase for eighteen months and made a start on the course. So far it’s been slow progress, but that’s because I haven’t dedicated as much time to it as I should be – though after having a setback while I had the flu, during which I had a terrible panic attack, I’m determined to push through and get on with the course.
Mental health should definitely be as highly regarded as physical health, and I’m done putting myself last all the time. I’ve had it pointed out to me by loved ones that I need to start considering myself and taking care of myself first – so, I am more determined than ever to get ‘The Thrive Programme’ done and dusted; it’s about time I took away the control emetophobia has over my quality of life 🙂
I watched the impressive buzzard in the below photograph effortlessly lift themselves up and out of the fog encompassing them… Nature is on our side, if we take the time to learn how to harness our own power through being calm. Which is why, alongside vanquishing my demons, I’m going to do more of what I love (e.g. spend more time with my husband/family/friends, take Cai on more adventures, ride my horses more often, revel in my own literary creations, read more fantastic books, take up photography again, etc.) – since that’s the reason I work so damn hard constantly. So, please take this as your sign to do the same – life is too short not to relish the wonderfulness in your life; striving to reach a goal isn’t worthwhile if it costs you your health.
And, on an even more positive note, I finally have a plan for my own writing. This year, I’m focused on moving forwards with my literary endeavours; most namely, completing my YA series and its accompanying dyslexia-friendly versions. I also have sooo many other story ideas and endless scribbled notes that could prove to be the kindling that sparks my next novel or series of short stories. So, please ‘watch this space’!
In the meantime, I’ve edited typos in “Larry” and “Animals’ Guide to the Human Race” for the final time (I mean it! Haha) and they’re available in eBook format, as well as paperback and hardcover 🙂
When I get the opportunity, I’m also hoping to update The Emet. Review website and Instagram page – I’ve just been a little too busy to do so for a while, for which I apologise! Though in case you’d like to pay The Emet. Review a visit, here’s the website address: https://emetreview.wordpress.com/
Anyways, I’m going to stop typing now and spend some quality time with Gareth and Cai 🙂
It has been exceedingly busy here at ‘D.E. Kendall HQ’ over the last few months!
However, this post isn’t about a general update (hoping to write an update sometime in the next month), it is to celebrate the (FINAL) new editions of Larry and Animals’ Guide to the Human Race being republished 🙂
The road to this point has been exceedingly long and winding, so it’s an enormous relief that two of my original books are finally finished…
So, I started writing Larry when I was 15 years old, and it has seen several versions in various states of quality/readability to reach its current edition – and I am delighted to have completed the journey, at long last! While I realise my perfectionism may not ever allow me to feel 100% proud of my work, because – as with every aspect of my life – I always perceive facets of myself through a highly critical lens (though I wish I didn’t!), I hope I have done the adaptation of Larry’s story justice.
After a close call with a vanity publisher in 2014-2015, Larry has been self-published, traditionally published, and has now been self-published once again for the final time. I’m tempted to craft a more in-depth blog post in future, to write about each phase Larry has endured to get here – please let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in reading 🙂
For now, if Larry can inspire even one person to treat animals with more kindness and compassion, 15 years of hard work will have been worthwhile. There has been a considerable amount of research and editorial work poured into Larry, and I hope you’ll gain something positive from reading it…
Larry: A Rescue Pony’s Story
by D.E. Kendall
This third edition of Animals’ Guide to the Human Race has been completely transformed from its previous editions, thanks to my improved writing and editorial skills owing to four years of a creative writing degree and over two years of ghostwriting experience. Therefore, I hope Animals’ Guide will provide readers with some much-needed positivity, in a world obsessed with everything that’s wrong instead of celebrating the little joys in life. For those of you who are familiar with Animals’ Guide, please rest assured that this version is almost unrecognisable from previous editions; it’s actually readable now (I hope)!
The purpose for Animals’ Guide is to be read in small snippets as opposed to being read cover to cover as a novel. Therefore, Animals’ Guide has been designed to inspire positivity and laughter, no-matter where you are or whatever’s happening in your life – I hope Animals’ Guide becomes a form of comfort to readers, somewhere nice to turn when life gets overwhelming. Also, previous editions of Animals’ Guide have proven especially popular for those who don’t have the time to dedicate to reading, so it would be amazing if it appeals to an even wider audience moving forwards 🙂
Please let me know what you think of Animals’ Guide to the Human Race – I’d love to know that it has made you laugh and/or brightened your day by even a teeny tiny amount…
Hellooo! Welcome to the second post in the ‘Eira Diaries’ series 🙂
So, it has been waaayyy over a month since I last wrote about the adventures of my beautiful pony, and the reason for that is our distinct lack of adventure over the last few weeks. But I’ll get to that in a minute…
At long last, I discovered a gorgeous saddle that fits Eira perfectly. She’s so comfortable in the saddle, that we were actually able to enjoy hacking without napping! And we managed to go for a ride out with Kara for the first time ever, which reminded me why I work so hard and go without a heck of a lot to pay for Eira’s lavish lifestyle; I realised how much I’ve missed being in the saddle, and Eira was delighted to be getting out and about again 🙂
Our schooling sessions were going superbly as well, and Eira finally seemed to feel comfortable as she worked in a lovely outline, showing off her floaty paces and seamless upward transitions.
Then, the weather couldn’t decide what it wanted to do, and switched from sunshine to rain and back again several times a day for a couple of weeks.
One especially sunny morning, I brought Eira in from the field and noticed that she was slightly uncomfortable on her right foreleg. I checked for a digital pulse (a tell-tale signal of laminitis), but couldn’t find one – and Eira was still able to put weight on her sore hoof without rocking back onto her heels, so I assumed it was an abscess.
Since Eira didn’t seem too uncomfortable at that point, I allowed her a couple of hours’ turnout the day after I noticed her minor discomfort – she seemed to improve slightly as I was leading her in. However, the following day, something definitely wasn’t right and both her hooves seemed uncomfortable. So, even though she was still putting weight on her hooves and there was no sign of a digital pulse in any of her legs, I created poultices and wrapped Eira’s hooves in vet wrap. We gave her a thick, fluffy, shavings bed while awaiting the farrier’s response to my attempts to contact him over the weekend.
By Monday, Eira hadn’t improved. The farrier visited and removed Eira’s shoes, which instantly caused her to portray ‘that’ stance. There was no denying that Eira had laminitis – a word dreaded by horse owners the world over. Despite our best efforts to avoid it, and the seeming lack of grass in her field, laminitis reared its ugly head for the second time in Eira’s life 🙁
Eira was stuck in on complete box rest, until the farrier gave his permission for Eira to be walked in hand for a few minutes a day in her hoof boots (which protect the sensitive soles of her hooves from stony grounden route to the soft, spongy arena). Poor Eira hasn’t been able to enjoy much of the glorious sunshine we’ve been having, and hates that she’s now on a severely restricted diet of soaked hay. We’ve tried to brighten up her box rest experience by providing mini haynets dotted around the stable (which also prevents her from standing in one place all day) though she can’t enjoy her usual boredom-breaking toys, such as her Bizzy Bites toy, Likit, and Decahedron treat balls – and the poor girl can’t even enjoy apples and carrots in her haynet anymore. Eira is getting plenty of cuddles and lots of attention from everyone, however. And she’s enjoyed time out of her stable, being brushed and pampered on the rubber matting of the wash bay next to her barn. Though she’s not so keen on having a bath, it is the longest I’ve ever managed to keep her tied up!
We hope to update the Eira Diaries with exciting adventures in the very near future…
Though until Eira has recovered, we won’t be getting up to much unfortunately. I do, however, hope to write some product reviews at some point, so please check back soon 🙂
Why the ‘Eira Diaries’? Not only does the title sound poetic, but both words contain ‘Eira’ – which, I think, earns extra ‘writer points’ 😉
This series of blog posts will feature not only my beautiful pony, Eira, but also our family’s handsome horse, Tân, and, from time to time, my sister’s gorgeous horse, Kara.
The reason I’ve decided to create a blog post series is to document the journey Eira and I are taking to get fitter and healthier, after many years of struggling to get moving with our adventures.
Throughout this series, I hope to include stories of both mine and Eira’s past experiences, alongside the tales of our – inevitably winding – road to fitness. I also hope to include some useful product reviews 🙂
So, this first post of the series will focus on the beautiful pony herself…
I rescued Eira when she was 11 months old, in the summer of 2013. Destined for the meat market, Eira was bought at auction by landowners who were inexperienced in caring for horses, but longed to save horses from slaughter. Eira was turned out in a huge field with countless other horses who had been rescued from various auctions. The people who’d bought Eira thought it was a great idea to leave the mismatch herd of horses and ponies (from huge cobs to teeny tiny miniature Shetlands) fight over crates of bananas left in their field!
Perhaps naively, I purchased Eira without being able to get anywhere near her. There were several horses and ponies available to choose from, though even from a distance, I fell in love with Eira’s scruffy chestnut foal coat and near-white flaxen mane. The next day, it took us hours to get her into a trailer. When we arrived at her new, temporary home, she was so terrified of us that she hid in the corner and trembled whenever we tried to approach her.
It only took a couple of days for Eira to realise that we weren’t going to hurt her, and, once she’d learned how to eat from a bucket, she decided she was happy to let us near – after all, someone who feeds you three times a day can’t be that bad, right?
By the end of her first week with me, I’d managed to remove the scraggly foal coat still clinging on since winter (it was June), and I couldn’t believe how beautiful my new pony was underneath all that grime and dust!
I chose the name ‘Eirawen’ for her because it means ‘snow white’ in Welsh, and at the time her mane and tail were so bright they looked almost white. Plus, it was clear from the get-go that Eirawen believed she was a princess, so the name suited her. It didn’t take long for her name to be shortened to ‘Eira’ – the name ‘Eirawen’ only resurfaces when she’s acting like a diva, or decides to stand on my foot.
Prior to Eira’s first vet visit, it was obvious she had conformational issues. As the years have passed, she’s developed a plethora of health problems that have meant her insurance costs are ridiculously expensive (#cry). Aside from having wonky legs that require specialist front shoes, Eira has very sensitive skin that turns into sweet itch over the summer, she had laminitis around 4 years ago so is now prone to that, she has cysts on her ovaries, a few small sarcoids, dodgy teeth that require 6-monthly check-ups, a flat back that makes it really challenging to find saddles to fit her, and she can’t seem to keep more than half of her mane at any given time. (Oh, and she likes to sit down in the field, like a dog!) So, all things considered, she looks pretty darn good for a pony with all those issues, if I do say so myself 🙂
Eira has a naughty streak and can be stubborn when she wants to be – she also loves a buck when asked to canter, whether under saddle or on the lunge, which I’ve learned has nothing to do with discomfort or imbalance and everything to do with overexcitement. For all her cheekiness, Eira is the most gentle pony – no more so than when she’s with my niece, whom Eira adores. Of our family’s horses, Eira is the one we introduce visitors to, because she’s the only one who can be trusted not to accidentally headbutt, nip, or squish them! We may not be flying around show-jumping courses or dazzling in the dressage arena, though I am incredibly proud to have produced such a kind, willing – if a little stubborn at times – pony whose fate could’ve been totally different if I hadn’t taken that leap of faith 9 years ago…
Due to a hand injury 7 years ago (that still isn’t better 3 surgeries later) and having such a hectic life since Eira was old enough to ride, my poor girl is still extremely green under saddle – through no fault of her own. My parents and sister help take care of Eira when I’m unable to due to my ridiculously long work hours and when my hand is too painful to move, for which I am eternally grateful.
I wish I could wave a magic wand to fix her health issues, fix my hand, and add a few extra hours into every day, but for now, we’ll just have to settle for trying our best under our given circumstances.
I’ve ordered a saddle for Eira that should be arriving tomorrow, so *fingers crossed* it fits because it’d be fab to finally return to ridden work after a month-and-a-half of lunging!
Anyways, I hope you’ll look forward to the next instalment of the Eira Diaries 🙂
Welcome to my ‘Dannika Writes… A Book Review‘ series! 🙂
As a writer, I have a natural affinity with words. So, it makes sense that I enjoy reading the literary creations of others, too. I began writing book reviews many moons ago; I was in a book club and it was suggested to me by a kind person there that I share my reviews online, as they believed others would appreciate my honest approach to reviewing reads both great and not-so-great.
Being a published author myself, I also realise how awesome it is knowing someone has taken the time to appreciate your efforts to entertain and/or enlighten them, then gone above and beyond to tell others about it as well. Reviews are vital to the success of every book in every genre; and that isn’t necessarily tied to positive reviews and recommendations. From an author’s perspective, constructive criticism plays an essential role in the development of one’s writing, and ultimately, it becomes something every writer appreciates (even if they don’t realise it at the time!).
I only read paperbacks, by the way – which is the reason I include links to the paperback copies of books I’ve reviewed. While I know eBooks are amazing – and that maybe, one day, I’ll get into reading them too – I’m afraid that, for me, nothing beats the delectable scent of a fresh, new paperback or that sensation of being able to actually hold a literary masterpiece #literarynerd (I advise against falling asleep whilst reading though; being thumped on the head by a book is not so fun…). However, should you feel that fellow readers would appreciate a link to the eBook version of a book, please include it in the comments below.
Before you delve into this blog post, I believe it’s worth mentioning that I do not apply ratings to my reviews. In my opinion, every writer is an individual and, to be honest, I don’t believe it’s fair to compare their works – how would one even rate the work of mystery writer in comparison to a romance novelist, or a sci-fi aficionado in comparison to a non-fiction biographer? If you’re happy to place a rating value on a particular book, however, please feel free to include that in the comment section of this blog post 🙂
“The 2009 novel The Horse Dancer by Jojo Moyes, the bestselling author of Me Before You and two-time winner of the RNA Novel of the Year award.
In a hidden corner of London, Henri Lachapelle is teaching his granddaughter and her horse to defy gravity, just as he had done in France, fifty years previously. But when disaster strikes, fourteen-year-old Sarah is left to fend for herself.
Forced to share a house with her charismatic ex-husband, her professional judgement called into question, lawyer Natasha Macauley’s life seems to have gone awry. When her path crosses that of Sarah, she sees a chance to put things right.
But she doesn’t know that Sarah is keeping a secret, one that will change all their lives forever . . .”
The Horse Dancer weaves stories of every character together through a tapestry of events. Moyes’ writing is saturated with such brilliant descriptive detail that it’s easy to become immersed in the story and empathise with the characters. I’m an equestrian enthusiast and horse owner, so I found the level of detail Moyes dedicated to her horse-related scenes absolutely wonderful! Although it’s worth mentioning that you don’t have to know anything about horses to enjoy the equestrian aspects of this story.
All the main characters were adequately ‘fleshed-out’, though my favourite character has to be Boo, the horse – whose bravery was the most believable of all. I think it’s worth mentioning that there were a few plot ‘twists’ that I anticipated, and there were minor aspects of the story that were improbable – for instance, it is highly unlikely that a couple in the middle of a divorce could plausibly live together, and a young girl being invited into the home of complete strangers was difficult to comprehend. However, for any tiny details of the story that were improbable, there were exciting scenes and emotive storylines that made The Horse Dancer so readable it was difficult to put down at times!
The beginning of the book introduces two seemingly separate storylines as it develops the individual backstory of each protagonist – if you dislike stories that are set out this way, it might take you a little longer to get into the story itself; but I assure you it’s worthwhile. There are many well-written chapters in the middle of the story that are compelling – they offer suspense, emotion, and action-packed excitement. As for the ending, I felt it provided a satisfying conclusion and wrapped up the story nicely.
I’d definitely recommend this book if you’re looking for an indulgent read to enjoy of a chilly winter’s evening, cwtched up in a blanket as rain patters against the nearest curtained window.
I’m always apologising for being busy, though this time, I’m not going to. Instead, I’m going to include a brief (well, brief in terms of my writing) update along with my hope that all is going wonderfully well in your life – if it isn’t, please know you are not alone 🙂
So, I finally completed my Stage 2 modules as I study for BA(Hons) English Literature & Creative Writing with the Open University. Due to my ridiculously heavy workload, I initially intended to complete one module at a time for the final Stage 3 section of my degree, though I’ve given deep thought into what I’d like to achieve, and have had endless discussions with my loved ones about my terrible attempts to forge a work-life balance – I’ve come to the conclusion that if I am to relieve pressure long term, I’m going to follow their advice and study full time from Sept/Oct this year, so I’ll have less pressure on my time as of June/July 2022. That means I’m going to take a small step back from taking on new ghostwriting clients with lengthy projects – if you’re a prospective client with a lengthy project, I apologise! But I have to focus on improving the quality of my assignment scores, since I achieved 80%-95% for Stage 1 modules (though I did complete them part time, around part time employment) and only 65%-75% for Stage 2 modules (completed around self-employment; the hours for which I spend working I dread to count!). I am still accepting smaller projects, such as blog posts, website content, articles, and short stories 🙂
I am not at liberty to discuss any aspect of ghostwriting projects – as I sign confidentiality agreements for every project – though I can let you know that business has been incredibly busy, for which I am exceedingly thankful! Unfortunately, I did experience my first (and hopefully last) setback in my ghostwriting endeavours, when a client failed to pay the final fee for their project; they disappeared the day after I sent them the final document. I admit that my trust in the basic, moral goodness of human nature was tested, and though I have chalked it up to being a valuable lesson learned, it was also the catalyst for my decision to pursue the completion of my degree full time as I reassessed what I’d like to achieve through ghostwriting. It saddens me that despite my best efforts to help people and make a difference for the better, someone could be so thoughtless as to waste my valuable time and effort – especially since I’d turned down other projects to help the client, as there was a tight deadline and I was told the project meant a lot to them. So, I have decided to focus on completing my degree, and whilst I will continue ghostwriting and proofreading, I am only going to take on projects I know I’ll enjoy, as I am going to spend more time on my own writing whilst I pursue a primary school teaching career (unless, in the meantime, I manage to emulate a fraction of J.K. Rowling’s success with my own novels, enabling me to write for myself full time; which is highly unlikely!).
I have always been driven to make a difference for the better, something I have strived to do through ghostwriting and proofreading – for instance, I’ve taken on many projects free of charge for charitable organisations, alongside my busy work schedule – though have found that my love of writing has been tested on occasion when I’ve had to work 14-hour days while struggling to juggle everything going on in my hectic schedule. Enduring a miscarriage – as well as suffering with my mental health as a result of the constant stress caused by the struggle against the rising pressure of everything – has taught me that life is too short not to do what I love for a living. Whilst I love writing – and have earned more money through ghostwriting than any other job I’ve ever had – I cannot sustain the level of work I have been. I’m not making as much of a difference for the better as I intended through the type of ghostwriting work I do. Although I am going to continue working for several of my fantastic clients, for whom I provide ghostwriting projects regularly, I will be dedicating more of my time to achieving success with my own writing (since I’m able to do so for my clients, I may as well try writing bestselling pieces formyself too!), and I am going to work towards becoming a primary school teacher; following in the footsteps of many amazing female relatives before me, primary school teaching is a career I expect to be as challenging as it is creative, but will allow me steady, structured working hours and the ability to work as part of a team and ‘switch off’ at the end of the day (instead of being immersed in my solitary work 24/7) – enabling me to make the most of my life, whilst still making a positive difference to many young people’s lives 🙂
Moving on from my career aspirations, I created a special book for my niece (whom I hadn’t seen for a year due to pandemic lockdown restrictions) for her 5th birthday. She’s going through a tough time with her health, so I felt it would cheer her up to have a book created specially for her 🙂 Whilst I still have a lot to learn in terms of illustration and typesetting a fully-illustrated document, I thoroughly enjoyed working on Evelyn-Rose’s book around my crazy work/uni/life schedule; it helped me channel stressful energy into something positive. In case you’d like to view it for yourself, the link to the listing for “Evelyn-Rose’s Magical Adventure” is here.
Something I’d been debating for many years was getting a second tattoo. My first experience was traumatic, to say the least, so I’ve spent years researching and pondering whether the benefits outweigh the risks. Though I am pleased to say that I did go ahead with getting a tattoo, inspired by a photograph I’d taken on the last family holiday we went on with my wonderful grandparents – something my late Nan and I talked about for a while was my getting a peacock butterfly tattoo, so I hope she’d have appreciated my decision to finally go ahead with getting it done 🙂 As it happens, butterflies are also representative of the beauty of change, of hope, and of triumph through adversity – a fitting testament to my life experiences.
I have been revelling in the beautiful weather lately, taking every opportunity I can to get Cai walked and ride/spend time with my horses, as well as to delve back in to another of my hobbies – photography 🙂 I’ve not been feeling quite myself, so I’m currently working hard to exercise more and eat healthier, in hope of losing weight, improving my strength, and toning up; I’m pleased to report that it’s only been a couple of weeks since I finished my final end-of-module uni assignments, though I feel better already for spending more time out and about. You can follow some of Cai’s adventures on his Instagram page.
However, as often seems to be the case, my injuries have made being more active far from straightforward. Not only has my hand been more painful lately (due to increased exercise through following YouTube HIIT/Pilates videos, horse riding, Cai pulling on his lead, etc.), but I have discovered that my jaw is dislocated and has been causing me major issues in the form of pain, swelling, and headaches – I had mistaken the issue as being an impacted wisdom tooth for a long time; it was the thought of having another tooth removed that put me off making an appointment with the dentist, but if non-invasive treatments don’t work, I might have to go through some pretty unpleasant surgery on my jaw o.O
My boyfriend, Gareth, and I have a few events to attend this year, as well as a few days away in Edinburgh to look forward to this summer – and I’m working hard on improving my self-confidence – so, I’ve spent a little time practising using make-up. My skin has been terrible lately – which I imagine is largely stress-based – and that hasn’t helped me feel better about myself. Whilst I’m nowhere near as great at using make-up as I’d like to be, I’m hopeful my face painting/sculpting skills will continue to improve…
I’ve been working hard to improve my confidence whilst driving, and am pleased to be making progress 🙂 I even went to the cinema a couple of days ago, for the first time in around 18 months!
Annndd I’ve decided to dedicate as much time as I can to my own writing by taking it more seriously – as such, I’ve signed up for Mslexia and WritersHQ, which will help me gain confidence by interacting more frequently with fellow writers. I’ll be making more time to read books from fantastically inspirational authors too, to improve my writing as much as possible and ‘switch off’ – just received a mega Waterstones order; anyone else love that ‘new book’ scent? 😉
I hope to be more active in terms of content creation for my blog from now on, so you can expect more interesting posts than this – such as a short story series, book reviews, and a variety of posts about all things literary, equestrian, and mental health 🙂
Anyways, I hope all is well with you; I look forward to reading messages about all the exciting things happening in your lives too!
Stay awesome <3
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