Joanne Kennedy | Cowboy Fever and Party Fever!
April 20, 2011
Whenever I release a new book, my husband and I throw a launch party here in
Cheyenne. We start out at the local Barnes & Noble, and then move over to a
local watering spot to keep the party going past closing time. It’s a great
chance to get all our friends together—everyone from the checkout clerk at the
grocery store to my husband’s poker buddies.
Everybody loves a party, but like most writers, I’m not terribly comfortable in
the spotlight. As the launch party loomed, I really wanted to make the
festivities something more than myself and my books. And since some of the
scenes in COWBOY FEVER
were inspired by Cheyenne Therapeutic Equestrian Center (CTEC), I thought
throwing a book fair in their honor at our local Barnes & Noble might be a
good way to share the limelight.
My friend Laura introduced me to CTEC a few years ago when she asked me to help
at her daughter Leighann’s riding session. Like Teague, the cowboy in the book,
I went for the horses and stayed for the kids. I was amazed at how much of a
difference the horses made, helping their riders focus and learn. Therapy riding
is more than just physical therapy; it’s a chance for the kids to bond with
animals, and a chance to control something in their lives
No one really knows how it feels to have autism, though people like Temple
Grandin and Donna Williams have broken through the communication barriers and
given us a glimpse into their world. Imagine being barraged all day by sound and
stimulation that is overwhelming to the point of being painful. Imagine that
language and communication are something you have to learn step by step, from
making eye contact to reading facial expressions.
Horses offer a way into this learning process, and riding gives people with
autism a chance to hold the reins and take control. It helps them rise above the
chaos of their world and focus. When you see a child’s face brighten as she
swings into the saddle, or watch a child who rarely expresses affection nuzzle a
horse and whisper in its ear, you know you’re witnessing magic.
The ladies at CTEC know how to make the magic happen—and they also know how to
throw a party! They rolled into the Barnes & Noble parking lot with a
complete petting zoo. Stinky the miniature stallion and his friends Oops the cow
and Georgie the therapy horse spent the day outside the bookstore, charming
customers into lengthening their shopping lists so a portion of their purchase
could go to CTEC.
I’m proud to say that between the book fair and our after-party at a local
watering spot, we raised enough money to provide scholarships for sixteen weeks
of therapy riding for at five children with autism. I loved the way the hero and
heroine in COWBOY FEVER
worked to make a difference in their world, and I’m thrilled that the benefits
have carried over into reality.
I think the best books are about more than the story, and I love it when a
romance opens up a new world as it entertains you. Hopefully COWBOY FEVER will help
people see how therapy riding can change the lives of children—and the lives of
the adults involved, too. Thanks to my friend Laura and CTEC, I feel like I’m
sharing in the process of helping kids with autism find new ways to master their
Facebook Fan page
11 comments posted.
Re: Joanne Kennedy | Cowboy Fever and Party Fever!
I think that it's wonderful when an author can write about a cause, and make it as part of their story line. There are so many wonderful charities out there that people might be familiar with, yet not know the whole story about. Every author deserves a launch party. It's a way to let go of all the tension involved with making sure that the book made the deadline, and was written pretty much the way you wanted it to go. After it's gone to publication, the weight of the world has been lifted from your shoulders, and you've earned some time to celebrate before it's time to hunker down for the next book. Congratulations on your latest star attraction!! You've earned it!!
(Peggy Roberson 9:40am April 20, 2011)
Thanks, Peggy! You're right, the launch party is like a big sigh of relief. And it was great to be able to share the celebration with CTEC. Story always comes first, but being able to include scenes from CTEC meant a lot to me.
(Joanne Kennedy 11:25am April 20, 2011)
Sounds like a fun party! Your book sounds like a great read, I have always owned and loved horses and equine therapy is a wonderful cause.
This book will be a must read for me!
(Jody Hollenbeck 12:01pm April 20, 2011)
Oh, you made me cry! I'm gonna have to pick this book up!
(Kelli Jo Calvert 12:34pm April 20, 2011)
Jody, I think you'll enjoy it if you like horses - there's an elderly horse named Vegas in the book that I just love.
(Joanne Kennedy 1:49pm April 20, 2011)
Kelli, you must be like me - my emotions are pretty close to the surface and I cry even at the previews to sad movies! I warn you, the book might do that a few more times - it has a lot of humor but there are some scenes with the kids that still make ME cry, and I wrote them! I hope you enjoy it through the tears:)
(Joanne Kennedy 1:51pm April 20, 2011)
How wonderful that you were able to raise awareness and raise money for CTEC while celebrating the release and launch party - sounds like a win-win for for everyone involved!! Congratulations!!!
(Karen Cherubino 4:26pm April 20, 2011)
Thanks, Karen. I felt the same way! And the people from the riding program made it so much fun.
(Joanne Kennedy 5:03pm April 20, 2011)
Your book sounds good and I like how you incorporate animals to help give kids with challenging abilities confidence while mastering the art of riding horses.
(Alyson Widen 8:12pm April 20, 2011)
I have a read a few books with horse therapy. VG reading.
(Pat Lieberman 9:19pm April 20, 2011)
My niece goes for horse therapy for the muscles in her legs.
(Brenda Rupp 9:38pm April 20, 2011)
Registered users may leave comments.
Log in or register now!