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Find out what I've been up to this summer


The long summer holiday is drawing to a close here in the UK and already there's the faintest whiff of autumn in the air.

My summer has been full of the three Rs - Riding, Running and (w)Riting.

[Sorry, I couldn't resist!]

Riding has been really fun. As well as my weekly hacks and schooling sessions on Dobbie, the beautiful 15.1hh dark bay Connemara I am lucky enough to ride every Friday, we competed in our second ever show together!

We entered two classes - the novice open and the novice horse - and although I was nervous I managed to keep the nerves in check.

Dobbie was brilliant, going clear in the first class and having just the last fence down in the second.

Finding out we'd notched up two rosettes - a second and a fourth - was the icing on the cake!

I love this action shot of us, and then of course there were lots of cuddles afterwards for being such a superstar!

June 24th was a momentous day - I started writing the ninth Riverdale book! It's going well so far and I'm already a quarter of the way through the first draft.

The book is set at Christmas so it was a bit weird picturing Dartmoor on snowy mornings while we were in the middle of a mini heatwave here in Kent.

I have to close my eyes and let my imagination run riot so I can transport myself to the cold, frosty moor.

It's either that or go and stand in front of the open fridge, anyway!

I'm really enjoying writing the latest chapter in the lives of Poppy, Cloud, Scarlett and Red. Lots of memorable characters are back in the new book, including Instagram star Gaz Winters and the owner of Nethercote Horse Rescue, Jodie Moore, but there are some new characters to get to know, too.

With a bit of luck and a fair wind behind me, the book, which has the imaginative working title of 'Book Nine', will be out at the beginning of November.

I'll keep you posted!

August 12th was another special date in my diary - it was my fiftieth birthday!

My husband Adrian surprised me with a night away in historic Amberley Castle in West Sussex. It was nice to swap the jods for my glad rags for the evening!

My goal was to be fit and fifty, so in January I started running, using the fantastic Couch to 5K running app to inspire me to get off the sofa and start pounding the streets.

My aim was to take part in the Whitstable parkrun before my birthday.

After a slow start, hampered by a couple of injuries, I made it with just over a week to spare, running the 5K parkrun in 32:32 minutes, which was quicker than my target and not too shabby for an old bird!

I don't think I'll be running a marathon anytime soon, but I plan to continue running three times a week to stay fit.

Here I am, on an endorphin high, after crossing the finish line!

I also enjoyed a day at Wimbledown watching the tennis, and a day with my friend and fellow pony book author Katharina Marcus and her daughter Franka watching some spectacular showjumping at Hickstead.

Kat is the author of both the fab Hawthorne Horses series and the brilliant free novella Boys Don't Ride, which I absolutely loved. If you haven't read it already, why not check it out?

Talking about free novellas, don't forget that Saving Grace, the standalone Riverdale novella, is still available to download and read - and it's COMPLETELY FREE!!

No catches, I promise!

It's both a thank you to you guys for sticking around and an introduction to Poppy, Cloud and the rest of the gang for anyone who hasn't yet discovered the Riverdale Pony Stories.

If you enjoy it, please tell your friends!

That's all from me for now. I will write soon to let you know how the new book is going. In the meantime, I hope you're having a wonderful summer and...

Happy reading!

Amanda x

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