Ride the Range with an Old Cowboy

Louis L'Amour Books stacked by Wordbender Editing

I have a confession.

Please don’t judge.

Well, you can if you want, as long as you promise to laugh and wonder what took me so long and not be horrified.

I’ve been listening to Louis L’Amour books, and I might be really into them.

My dad had told me to pick them up when I was a preteen because I was always running out of books to read and there are so, so many. But when I did, they didn’t really interest me. Even with all the amazing horseflesh appearances in them.

So what changed? I’m not sure, but I think it’s the gravelly cowboy voices used in the audio versions. I mean, they’re pretty compelling. As I listen I envision myself sitting at a campfire with the spring peepers and whippoorwills chiming in to the old cowboy’s tale. Every now and then a wolf will howl and a horse will shift in the background. But all through the cowboy’s story, the ebb and flow of his narrative grips my attention, my hands under my chin, elbows on my knees as I lean forward in anticipation.

I’ve always loved frontier-type stories. I love stories of survival, homesteading, and ranch riding, so why wouldn’t I enjoy these? Those Sackett boys are especially fun to read about, and I’m thinking seriously about naming a horse “Sackett.” It would be a good name for a cow horse.

My favorite story is probably The Sacket Brand. In no book have I ever read the equivalent to the male-emotion expressed in this story. When Tell Sackett’s wife Ange dies, the desperation that follows to find the man responsible, all the way to the gunfight at the end that brings all the Sacketts in the country to his aid, is like none I have ever read.

What I’ve really enjoyed, though, is how well L’Amour writes about horses. One can only write about horses like that if one truly understands the mind of a horse and how to partner with him.

b/w photo of Horse and shadow with rider | Wordbender Editing

But could someone please tell me what his thing is about line-back duns being the best cow horses?

Genre: Western/Historical Adventure, Adult and Young Adult

Missouri Wild Grasses with clouds in background by Wordbender Editing

Next week, I am going to introduce you all to my friend and graphic designer, Hannah Shockley. Hannah and I grew up together, and I have some pretty great content to share. Maybe even a picture or two of us as kids. Make sure you click “Follow” on my blog so you don’t miss it!


Bethany Swoboda is a freelance editor for Wordbender Books. She has always loved reading, reading, reading, and enjoys helping authors polish and develop their manuscripts. Some of her many hobbies are horseback riding, bouldering, helping work her family’s farm, playing piano, crocheting, and volunteering at her church. She has a BA in creative writing and a minor in professional writing from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri.

Another Lame Mid-summer Blog Post (But with great pictures!)

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Can you believe it’s the end of July already? I mean, how does that even happen? It’s the beginning of June, and then wham! it’s the end of July, and all of a sudden we’re looking at fall and the start of the school term. Not that I’m in school. I wish I were. I love school. Someday I’ll go back for my master’s in I don’t know what!

But two of my siblings go back to school. Which is sad. Also, I had a friend here for a week and now she’s gone.

And somehow my summer has slipped almost all the way away without my even entering in one horse show. I’m still not entered in one. But I hope to.

And have I told you how fat my mare is? My farrier asked me if she was 7 months pregnant. Sigh. My summer has been way too busy.

Would you like to know what I’ve been up to? Especially since I’ve only posted lame blogs like book reviews and other people’s blogs lately? My apologies, for this is, indeed, another lame blog.

One of these days I’ll get back to the sequel of “What to Do with your Edited Manuscript.” I know you’re waiting for it. Trust me: I am, too.

Back to my fat mare. This is what happens when you don’t have an arena, and it’s been either 100 degrees Fahrenheit outside or it has just rained two inches. Goodbye June. No riding, no giving riding lessons.

As for July, well, I had the honor of being a camp counselor for Newday Midwest for a week! Except for the most itchy, painful chiggers I have ever had, the week was great! I got to lead a wonderful group of teenage girls and see Jesus impact their hearts.

Also, I’m in love with cypress trees. They were everywhere at camp.

Cypress tree in lake

Cypress trees at the edge of the lake

During my time away as a camp counselor, my Colorado friend A.R. Geiger and the author of The Birdwoman and now her new book Of Mice and Fairies used my room so she could attend Realm Makers here in St. Louis. The following week, when I got back we explored some of Missouri’s Missouri-ness that she wanted to experience. Her top three things she wanted to do were visit the zoo, canoe on a river, and see a cave.

Flamingos in the water at the St. Louis Zoo     Giraffe at the St. Louis Zoo

River with trees hanging over it.
Bourbeuse River, Union, MO.
Lily pad room
Onondaga Cave

We also went to a local spring to see the fairies. They were shy, though.

Spring with greenery beneath water level.

Spring peeking from behind pawpaw tree.

She loved them all.

I think Missouri is such a neat state. I love it here. But I don’t think I won her over for moving here. I tried. But I think she said something about the humidity. I’m not sure. I didn’t really understand.

In my free time, which I haven’t had, I’ve been training myself on Scrivener for a book I’m working on for my wonderful, sweet, fun-loving, Jesus-loving grandmother. I’ll post about the book once it’s complete. I’m really excited about it.

I’ve only ever really used Microsoft Word for word processing, so Scrivener is quite a learning curve. I am appreciating the immense capabilities. It is quite powerful, and I can’t wait to fully understand the software. But for now, I’m learning. Slowly. Very slowly.

Do you use Scrivener? Do you love it? Please give me any advice you have in the comments!

Scrivener icon

My family got a new puppy this summer since our old infamous but wonderful Nicki passed away. Our new puppy’s name is Piper. However, she has already earned two nicknames even though she’s barely 12 weeks old. Do you want to know them?

Tornado Puppy.


Can you imagine why?

She looks cute. I tell myself she will be cute.


Puppy on sleeping bag
This is Piper after I got back from camp. She’s lying on my shirt. I think she missed me.

Currently, I’m getting ready to leave for one of two baby showers for friends this weekend. And I just cleaned my place for a housewarming. No, not my own housewarming. I’m currently living in the upstairs of my sister and brother-in-law’s new place. I moved in about a month ago. And moved twice in the last four months. That’s two times too many!

I am so very grateful for finally having a semi-permanent place to relax, though. It’s been a long time coming. My plants are in place, and more importantly, my books are in place (though many line the floorboards).

Books lining the floor

My plans for the future include getting a female betta and naming her Antigone to accentuate my living space with a live animal. I currently only have my sweet plush Tric and Steggy. They like to cause a moderate amount of trouble, but I think they’ll like Antigone even though she’ll have to keep them in line.

Tric and Steggy

My last betta’s name was Electra and I had her for several years. Naming fish after Greek heroes helps them live longer (it’s true!).

I believe this weekend is the end of summer craziness for me. While it’s been fun, I’m definitely ready to take a break! The weather is supposed to be much nicer from here on out, so hopefully I’ll get to spend some time in my new saddle that I just bought yesterday. It’s an old HR that’s been well-used and well-loved, and I’m thrilled to have it after using a Wintec for the last ten years. I haven’t gotten it all fitted and cleaned up yet, but take a look at that breastcollar I bought to go with it. 12 gauge caps instead of bling!?

HR brand saddle owned by Wordbender Editing

The Wintec finally bit the dust with a broken tree about two months ago, and I’ve been trail riding in my English saddle that barely fits my fat, fat mare right now. She’s so fat that bareback is hardly an option. That Wintec will be officially retired unless it is needed for swimming the horses. Which my mare loves so much that she tried to convince Abby it was a good idea. Abby got a little wetter than she was anticipating, I think.

Woman on horse in lake.

While Abby was here my parents were in Alaska taking a long-deserved cruise. During that time, I made sure to be at the farm to help check on the critters when my siblings weren’t there. On one hand, there’s Tornado Puppy and the desperate need for rain. But on the other hand? Sunsets.

Sunset at the farm

Time at the farm is never time wasted.

How has your summer been?

Creek with birch tree hanging over it and a fallen log over it.


Bethany Swoboda is a freelance editor for Wordbender Books. She has always loved reading, reading, reading, and enjoys helping authors polish and develop their manuscripts. Some of her many hobbies are horseback riding, bouldering, helping work her family’s farm, playing piano, crocheting, and volunteering at her church. She has a BA in creative writing and a minor in professional writing from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri.



Of Mice and Fairies

FREE Kindle versions of two books, right here! A.R. Geiger is one of my friends and the writer of The Birdwoman and now her new short-stories collection Of Mice and Fairies. Of Mice and Fairies is illustrated by her sister and is stunning. These girls are like my sisters, and I had the honor of doing a proof pass on both books. Check them out and enjoy!

Ramblings of an Obsessive Bookworm

Today, my new book, Of Mice and Fairies, is being released to the world.

It’s very exciting.

And intimidating.

But mostly exciting.

My gorgeous, wonderful, talented sister, E. Noel, illustrated Of Mice and Fairies for me. She’s an artist.

Like, a real one.

It’s super cool.

My mom always told us that we should publish a book together. When I was still writing stories in the notes section of my iPod touch and E. Noel was drawing dogs that were basically boxes with ears, my mother was sure that we were destined to work together. Like, we were written in the stars, kind of destined. Somewhere in the midst of my clumsy writing and my sister’s odd drawings, my mother saw greatness. We were going to publish something together, she was sure.

I laughed at her. And told her that it was never going to happen. I didn’t want…

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He Filled a Need and Changed the World | God’s Smuggler Book Review

God's Smuggler Book with tree in background for Wordbender Editing

I’ve always loved adventure stories. Action. Danger. Speed of plot. Yep, I’ll take it! One true-to-life story that I read recently gripped me that way. It’s called God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew.

Growing up in a mission-oriented home, I’ve long since been familiar with Corrie ten Boom’s The Hiding Place and Of Whom the World Was Not Worthy by Marie Chapian and Elisabeth Elliot’s Through Gates of Splendor. These are wonderful books about men and women of the Lord who looked to Him for provision, and He provided. These are the best type of adventure stories, in my opinion, because God loves to work the impossible, and these men and women live in the impossible. Somehow, God’s Smuggler had evaded my knowledge until fairly recently.

As an editor, I like to read many genres because different genres land in my lap. So, when a friend recommended it to me—actually, she was shocked that I hadn’t read it—I picked it up. The Los Angeles Times reviewed it as “more thrilling than a spy story,” and I think they’re right.

God’s Smuggler is about Brother Andrew’s life before and while he was smuggling Bibles beyond the Iron Curtain starting in 1955. In it, Brother Andrew tells stories of guards searching his car which held hundreds of Bibles that, if found, would land him in prison, but the guards never saw one. He tells of the amazing ways God provided for him and his team financially, materially, physically, and spiritually. I highly recommend reading this book. It is powerful, historical, and real.

Brother Andrew’s ministry, which continues today, is now known as Open Doors. Open Doors continues to provide Bibles to countries hostile to Christianity. Brother Andrew has written many other books, including Light Force, which I plan to start reading soon.

Genre: Historical Nonfiction/Autobiography

Are you interested in similar books? Check out Terry Mize’s More than Conquerors. As well as Is that Really You, God? by Loren Cunningham.

Silhouette of Shoes for Wordbender Editing Book Review

Bethany Swoboda is a freelance editor for Wordbender Books. She has always loved reading, reading, reading, and enjoys helping authors polish and develop their manuscripts. Some of her many hobbies are horseback riding, bouldering, helping work her family’s farm, playing piano, crocheting, and volunteering at her church. She has a BA in creative writing and a minor in professional writing from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri.

Ozark Native

I hope you all enjoy this guest blog that I wrote for my friend A.R. Geiger several months ago. This is one of my favorite stories. Pick it up and give it a read!

Ramblings of an Obsessive Bookworm

Ozark Native

“It was one of those perfect Ozark mornings—clean, fresh, and green. I closed my eyes, puffed out my chest, and sucked my lungs full of that fresh-scented air. I could feel the tingling sensations clear down to my toes. It made me feel like I had just been born and had my whole life to live again.”

As a Missouri native, I grew up exploring the Ozark foothills and have always appreciated author Wilson Rawls for his simple, but lovely descriptions through the eyes of young boys as they tromp through forests similar to my own. Rawls’s books Where the Red Fern Grows and Summer of the Monkeys contain such heart and beauty that it’s hard to put them down, no matter the age of the reader.

I’m excited for the opportunity to write a guest blog for A. R. Geiger! I’ve known Abigail for a number of…

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