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Elizabeth Thompson
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Genre(s): Action-Adventure, Chick Lit, Contemporary, Highlander, Historical, Interracial: Afr. Amer., Romance, Scottish, Suspense, Victorian, Western, Young Adult, Sports, Other

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Joined:04-08-2018

Elizabeth Thompson

Female
Waihi Waikato New Zealand


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About me

Lizzi grew up riding wild in the Santa Cruz Mountain redwoods,
became an equine veterinarian at UC Davis School of Veterinary
Medicine and practiced in the Gold and Pony Express Country
of California before emigrating to New Zealand. She is the proud
mother of two boys in that sea of green. When she’s not writing,
she’s swinging a rapier or shooting a bow in medieval garb, riding or driving a carriage, playing in the garden on her hobby farm, singing, cooking, being an equine veterinarian or high
school science teacher. She is multiply published and awarded in special interest magazines and veterinary periodicals.

With her debut novel, A Long Trail Rolling, she was
Finalist 2013 RWNZ Great Beginnings;
Winner 2014 RWNZ Pacific Hearts Award for the unpublished full manuscript;
Winner 2015 RWNZ Koru Award for Best First Novel and
Third Place in 2015 RWNZ Koru Award for Best Long Novel; and
Finalist in the 2015 Best Indie Book Award.

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I love writing history. It gives me a legitimate excuse to do research, and to offer history to those who might never pick up a history book. And now I’m writing contemporary veterinary fiction and nonfiction as well, but back to history!

No, I'm not someone who never leaves the library, although it was my go-to place to hide out from the other kids at school. I have plenty in my life: family, a farm, and equine veterinary practice, part-time high school science teaching, my carriage driving horses, and best of all, my writing.
My writing began in a serious fashion: equine veterinary articles for vet journals and horse magazines. A fairly major injury offered me the opportunity to begin writing fiction.
The historical spine of the first book in my series was the Pony Express, which gave me carte blanche to study up on the Pony Express, Utah and Nevada territory, old California, and Colonial New Zealand.
Did you know, the Pony Express only ran for 18 months? It wasn't even running for a large chunk of that time—all of the Pony stations for a long stretch were burned down, station keepers killed, and the stock run off. It had been an incredibly hard winter for the Indians, and emigrants crossing Utah Territory deserts (including current Nevada) for the previous 20 years had decimated the buffalo they depended upon for their survival, as well as the already-rare trees the Indians needed for food and heating. The Indians had always traded at the trading posts and the stagecoach stops along the way. The sudden influx of new emigrants, and Express station keepers was devastating. Some of the newer station keepers didn't know or trust the local Indians and didn't want to trade with the hungry Indians. Understandably, the Indians were over it, and the results were catastrophic.
The station keepers were sitting ducks in the middle of nowhere. They were the easiest to hit, and they had cattle for milk and beef, many high quality, well-fed horses, plus flour and other food. Some keepers put up more of a fight than others.
The fast-moving Pony riders weren't such easy pickin's. The private owners of the Pony Express had selected 400 of the best and fastest horses, each chosen for the particular area of the route in which they would be utilized. Thoroughbreds were chosen for the eastern, easier portion of the run from St. Joseph, MO. As the trail approached Utah and the Sierras, en route to San Francisco, the terrain changed. It became rocky, tough and dry.
Did I say dry?
Not only were these deserts, they were alkali deserts and salt plains. Think Bonneville Salt Flats. For this part of the Express run, Mustangs, usually fresh off the range, were used. Nothing else would have survived the lack of water and the terrain. It seems some of the station keepers got a big kick out of the half-broke horses. If they weren't able to obtain horses from the local Indians, Mustangs were gathered from the plains, barely broken in, roped and thrown to get shoes on them. The little Pony riders were tossed on them, and they'd let ‘em rip. The horses were soon used to it, if not actually tame. As tough as Mustang feet are, traveling those distances with a rider at speed, through rocks and desert, their feet would have been shredded without shoes. And what an ordeal to shoe them, as you might imagine.
The first riders had runs of 20 miles between relay stations—between a fast trot and gallop. Unsurprisingly, the company soon reduced that distance to approximately 10 miles, depending upon the terrain—and what a terrain.
Water, you say?
They’d have been lucky to find any water along the trail—even at the stations. The company carted water for up to 40 or 50 miles, sometimes none too fresh when it was drawn from the wells, to supply water to those men, horses, and cattle living at stations in Utah territory. Some stations were lucky enough to have a small spring, or a brackish well.
While the horses had runs of about 10 miles, that is, if there was a horse at the next station to replace them, the riders rode seven runs of 10 miles, or 70 miles, for each day that they rode. They rode a saddle, which was, to all intents and purposes, a saddle tree with stirrups. The mochila, or mail carrier, was a flat sheet of leather with padlocked cantinas, or letter boxes, is in each corner. The cantinas had two holes cut in them, one for the saddle horn, and one to slot over the cantle. This was all the padding the riders got. Hell, they weren't sitting down, anyway. When a rider reached a relay station, they'd jump off, remove their mochila from the horse they been riding and toss it to the station keeper, who held their next horse. He'd slip it on to the new horse, the rider would mount up, and they be gone. Some riders got so cocky, they'd pull the mochila out from beneath them while they rode, toss it to the keeper, and be off in seconds.
After their seven rides, the Express riders spent the night at ' home stations', passing their mochila on to the next rider, then ate and slept, then rode again, usually in the reverse direction, when the next mochila came flying in. That is, if there was a rider to replace them. If notm the rider would have to go on until there was a rider to replace them. Yes, it happened. A lot.
The station keepers held the key to one of the cantinas, but the others could only be opened at the stations which were military forts along the way, an important point. Did you know, without the Pony Express carrying the fast mail, across the middle of the country, rather than through the southern route, it was probably the single most important factor of keeping California in the Union at the start of the Civil War? That's spelled out pretty well in book 2, The Hills of Gold Unchanging.
In book 1, A Long Trail Rolling, my heroine, Aleksandra, rode the Pony Express, as a boy. It may seem implausible, but as historians study details of the American Civil War it's come to light that many of the soldiers were actually female, so there is an historical precedent for females in male positions. As for Aleks, with nothing left to lose in her life, she was all too happy to take the company up on their offer: riding, the love of her life, and making $25 a week, when a laborer would make three. She was trying to hide a secret, and what better way to do it in my changing her sex and becoming a different person. And then, there was Xavier, but that's for another post!
Very few riders died. One never showed up, one was found frozen the next spring, but many of them had to outrun Indian arrows. Some got hit. One famous horse called ‘What?’ for the? blaze on his forehead, managed to get his rider into the next station before collapsing, bearing a large handful of arrows. His devoted rider knew the horse had saved his life. He buried that horse, by himself, in that hard rocky ground. He's in the story too.
Actually, there's a lot of history blended into the story...and in the whole series. The series rolls on over the deserts, to old Sacramento at the time of the Great Flood, and on to Xavier's family Rancho de las Pulgas. Oh yes, and to New Zealand—where the Maori land wars have just begun.
Come, take a ride with me!

The Long Trails Series
Tales of factual fiction, adventure stories rich in historical detail, following the escapades of Aleksandra, Xavier, and Tatiana as they travel across continents and seas through the1860’s.

Book One: A Long Trail Rolling
She didn’t expect to become a target…but she is one now. Aleksandra is alone and running to prevent her father’s killer from discovering their family secret. Disguised as a Pony Express rider in 1860’s Utah, Aleksandra winds up in even deeper trouble when she rides full speed into the Paiute Indian War. With Xavier, her Californio boss, can she escape the Indians on the warpath and evade the man who’s already killed her father—and set his sights on her?

Book Two: The Hills of Gold Unchanging
No one will stand in their way—and live.
As the Civil War rages, secessionists menace California. Aleksandra and Xavier are trying to get back home—through the oncoming Civil War, the mining camps of 1860’s Nevada and California, and the Sacramento floods—to Xavier’s Californio Rancho de las Pulgas. Embroiled in the Confederate’s fight to drag the new state from the Union and make it their own, can Aleks and Xavier survive?

Book Three: A Sea of Green Unfolding
Follow the young couple’s journey to adventure in the turbulent wilderness of 1861 New Zealand. Tragedy strikes in Aleksandra and Xavier’s newly found paradise on their California Rancho and Von Tempsky’s invitation draws them to a new life in New Zealand—where the land wars between the European settlers and the local Maori have only just begun.

Book Four: Tatiana
Nothing is certain when the tsar holds the reins—even life itself.
Stableman’s daughter Tatiana rises to glamorous heights by her equestrienne abilities—but the tsar’s glittering attention is not always gold.
She and her husband Vladimir become pawns in the emperor’s pursuit of a coveted secret weapon. While Tatiana and their infant son are placed under house arrest, Vladimir must recover the weapon, or risk losing his wife and young son. With the odds mounting against them, can they find each other again—half a world away? Coming soon!

The Once Upon a Vet School Series
Tales of a girl who dreamed of becoming a vet... her life on the way and beyond.
Did you ever want to be a veterinarian?
Once Upon a Vet School is a new series of contemporary vet fiction. Share Lena’s escapades from the time she decides to become a veterinarian, through her education and practice time in the USA, to her career as a rural equine and sometimes zoo-dentistry veterinarian in New Zealand.
Sign up for Lizzi’s Newsletter list to be the first one to hear when the next one’s out! https://lizzitremayne.com/signup/


With Authors of Main Street
Boxed set of love stories from multiple bestselling authors, for a sweet romantic holiday treat.

Christmas 2017: Christmas Babies on Main Street
Nine new stories from the bestselling Authors of Main Street!
From the small hamlet of Eastport, to the gorgeous landscapes of New Zealand, to Main Street, USA, you'll find the Christmas spirit and warm love stories on every page. Not all of our babies have pudgy little fingers and adorable toes... one of them has hooves and a mane! (guess whose?) Snuggle up with your favorite blanket, grab a cup of hot chocolate, and celebrate the holidays with the Authors of Main Street.

UPCOMING BOOKS:
Book Four of The Long Trails series: Tatiana
Nothing is certain when the tsar holds the reins—even life itself.
Stableman’s daughter Tatiana rises to glamorous heights by her equestrienne abilities—but the tsar’s glittering attention is not always gold.
She and her husband Vladimir become pawns in the emperor’s pursuit of a coveted secret weapon. While Tatiana and their infant son are placed under house arrest, Vladimir must recover the weapon, or risk losing his wife and young son. With the odds mounting against them, can they find each other again—half a world away? Coming soon!

Understanding Modern Vet Med for Owners
The new series of veterinary books for horse owners to let you use what vets know to keep your horses healthier and happier.
First volume due out 2018

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Cover Model Jimmy Thomas

Comments

Elizabeth Thompson
Author

2018-04-08

Thanks for setting up this great page, Jimmy Thomas! :)

Lizzi





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