Never Travel with Alec Ramsey

Recently, in a purely escapist mood, I have re-read all the Black Stallion series by Walter Farley. This also includes the Island Stallion books and the stand-alone The Horse Tamer. I have never read them all in such a compressed timeframe and I realized something rather terrifying: you should never travel with Alec Ramsey.

Alec is the owner of the Black Stallion, and of course they have many adventures together. Unfortunately for anyone traveling with them, many of these adventures include transportation or natural disasters. I’m going to go through them below, so if you don’t want to know, stop here!

***mild spoilers***

I am only doing books that center on Alec, as he is not in all the series books.

Black Stallion

1. The Black Stallion (1941) – shipwreck and months on a deserted island
2. The Black Stallion Returns (1945) – abandoned by his caravan in the middle of the Arabian desert during a sandstorm
3. Son of the Black Stallion (1947) – no transport issues, although he does nearly die
5. The Black Stallion and Satan (1949) – forest fire
8. The Black Stallion’s Filly (1952) – no issues
9. The Black Stallion Revolts (1953) – falls out of an airplane, which subsequently crashes
10. The Black Stallion’s Sulky Colt (1954) – no issues
12. The Black Stallion’s Courage (1956) – no issues
13. The Black Stallion Mystery (1957) – abandoned at night in the Balkan mountains
15. The Black Stallion and Flame (1960) – plane crash into the Caribbean during a hurricane
16. The Black Stallion Challenged (1964) – no issues
17. The Black Stallion’s Ghost (1969) – lost in the Everglades. At night. With a madman.
18. The Black Stallion and the Girl (1971) – no issues
19. The Black Stallion Legend (1983) – meteor strike and cataclysmic earthquakes and eruptions

If you travel with Alec Ramsey, you have a 57% chance of being in a transportation or natural disaster. Those are not good odds!

What fictional character would you NEVER travel with? Alternately, are there any you’d LOVE to travel with?

Stay safe out there.

Practice social distancing.

Wash your hands.

Childhood Book Influences

I read an article this week about what childhood books influenced a writer. So that got me thinking about what books I read as a child and how they influenced me.

I voraciously read animal books, particularly horse books. I owned the entire Black Stallion series and read them over and over. I read almost all the Jim Kjelgaard books, as well as the Marguerite Henry books. A childhood dream came true for me when I lived in Chincoteague for 8 months and not only visited the Misty museum, but saw the famous Pony Swim.

Yet, I do not write animal books. You will see horses appear in most of my books, and the occasional dog, but they are not my focus.

I also read–and reread—The Chronicles of Narnia, which definitely seeded my love of fantasy.  I was fascinated by the idea of magic portals, of the interconnection of everything seen and unseen. Many of my books deal with magic and the ripple effects each of our actions cause.

But perhaps the biggest influence on my writing was Madeleine L’Engle. I read her Time Trilogy until the covers got tattered. Although most people know the first book in the series, A Wrinkle In Time, my favorite was the third, A Swiftly Tilting Planet.

It stars my favorite character, Charles Wallace, who had to find and reverse the one event that would change history to prevent nuclear war, and it has a time-traveling unicorn. How could I not love it?

I see a lot of the themes in L’Engle’s writing coming through in my own. The intersection of magic and mystery with everyday. The connection of everything, everywhere. The understanding that love gives you more strength than hate. That being true to yourself and what you believe in is the most powerful magic of all.

Those are some of the influences on me. Who are some of your childhood favorites that shaped your writing and your worldview?

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