Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Beautiful Horseflesh

As a horse lover and former horse owner I’m thrilled to welcome author Karen S. Bennett here today to talk about her fiction debut, Beautiful Horseflesh (Apprentice House Press, June 2, 2021).

This is a story of mystery, intrigue, and coming-of-age among the backdrop of a 1990s Florida horse farm.

When Bumble B—a beautiful, dark-toned Thoroughbred filly—arrives at the Smitt’s family farm, she and her trainer Bud turn the Smitt’s lives upside down. Bud and Bumble B are training for a high-stakes upcoming race in Tampa, and the whole family is relying on the buzz that comes from having such an accomplished horse and trainer at their farm in order to keep it afloat. But teen Luis Smitt stumbles upon a secret that has grave consequences for all involved, and both Patrizia Smitt and her teenage daughter Miranda take interest in the handsome Bud. When it all comes to a head, what will it mean for Bumble B, Bud, and the Smitts and their beloved farm?

With heart-pounding racing scenes, an air of mystery, and descriptions of first loves and terrible mistakes, this novel will appeal to teen and older readers alike, especially those with an affinity for the thrilling and heartfelt world of horses.

Now join me in welcoming Karen to Thoughts in Progress to talk about her new book and her writing. Welcome, Karen. Please tell us how this book came to be.

A few years ago in a writing class, we were assigned to write about a dangerous event in a barn without mentioning the barn. That situation coupled with my piqued interest in that Thoroughbreds rarely survived twin births, and a further interest about deep tub hydrotherapy with a treadmill for horses, created three story threads, that spun together, quickly intertwining to a full rope of a novel. What followed was a trip to racetrack, overnighting at a ranch, and a demonstration of the aqua-therapy for horses. All I needed was a crime, and with my many years of working in jails and prisons, I had the characters: their behaviors, their dodges, their excuses, their slipping between the lines, well documented. And, so was born, “Beautiful Horseflesh.”

Family values are swirled with mandolin and violin, a basset hound and barn cats, in the background to this story of crime. Mrs. Patrizia Smitt fights to keep the waterwalk business in the black while Easter candy is melting, and the side orange orchard provides perfume for the farm. Miranda tests the adult waters, while Luis keeps memories for his father alive with his collection and love of baseball cards. Substantial financial reward awaits with the arrival of Bumble B, the Maryland horse to beat as she arrives at The Smitts Waterwalk Farm in Florida to prepare for The Silver Bridle Stakes Race at Tampa Bay Downs Racetrack in one week.

The elegant horse’s hide shimmered like patent leather in the sunlight, although she was hands off to everyone except for her trainer, Bud, a well cut man, with eyes for Patrizia Smitt, and incidentally for her sixteen-year-old daughter, Miranda.

Luis Smitt is a capable teen, with only five months before he’s off to the University of Miami. His familiar horse-world is tipped when he intuits a problem with the trainer. He receives a full, drunken confession from Bud in a bar scene, but Bud’s inebriated speech is unintelligible to Luis. With the help of a computer savvy, likeable young newspaper man, Luis starts to unravel the mystery surrounding the flighty horse. When the race’s starting bell is only hours away. Bud must flee. Luis and his friend in one car and the newspaper man in another car are in pursuit, dwarfing Bumble B’s race on the track in Tampa Bay. 

Karen, thanks so much for joining us today and sharing this insight into your book. Sounds like all the elements came together at the right time.

Meet the Author: Karen S. Bennett

Karen S. Bennett came to writing after accruing enough life experience, opinion, and attitude after retiring as a certified nurse practitioner who worked largely in correctional settings.

Her literary fiction set in prison won first place in Maryland Writers Association in 2006. Four of her novels have finished in national contests. Short stories have been contest winners and have been e-published and traditionally published.

She learned that harmless lies told as a child were punished, but harmless lies written as fiction were rewarded and indeed welcomed by adults.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Are you a horse lover? What do you think will happen to Bumble B?


  1. Congratulations Karen - and what an intriguing tale of your novel's birth.

  2. I love horses, too, and it sounds as though this is a really good blend of a story about horses and a story about people and a town, too. Thanks for sharing, Mason.

  3. Such a unique title! A story about a barn without using the word? Now that's a challenge.

  4. I don't know much about horses, but they fascinate me. One time I went to a horse race. As we were entering, the horses in the next race paraded in front of us. When the next one came our way, I asked the horse if they were going to win and the horse nodded and neighed. I bet on it. And that horse won. I should have bet more than $2 on such a sure thing!

  5. I love stories about horses. Great post.

  6. I'm sure horse lovers will enjoy reading this novel. Congratulations on the new book!


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.