Book Proposal SHLEP: Finding Healing on Horseback in the Lower 48


A Book Proposal




Finding Healing on Horseback in the Lower 48


by Kathy Burns




Proposal table of contents


Summary………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 3

Overview and Chapter Summaries……………………………………………………………………………………… 4

About the author……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 13

Who will buy this book…………………………………………………………………………………………………… 14

Author’s marketing abilities…………………………………………………………………………………………….. 16

Competitive titles……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 18

Sample chapters………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 23-78

(deleted for this blog post, available on request to














When Kathy decides to leave her abusive marriage, she is 59 years old. She’s unprepared to live on a reduced income when her estranged husband hides his assets from the court. She’s shocked by the cost of rentals in Southern California. She didn’t realize how impossible it would be to land a job at her age and after being out of the market for two decades while she raised her kids. She hasn’t anticipated that her nearly grown children would be mad at herfor finally standing up for herself. And she certainly hasn’t expected the way that the prolonged stress of her marriage would fragment her psyche, making her long to not wake up in the morning.

The only time she feels halfway sane is when she is riding her horses and so, with a truck and horse trailer paid for with money borrowed from her Dad, Kathy decides to hit the road, riding in each of the lower 48 states until she finds a new place to call home and finds a calm within herself again. She names the journey SHLEP: Soul-searching, Home seeking, Liberating, Equestrian Party.

On her 13-month adventure, most of it solo, she confronts physical challenges and emotional demons. She deals with the dying of both her parents, re-bonding with her sister, and making peace with her three children. She meets so many women who are in the process of re-making their lives after their plans and dreams were shattered; these women are inspired by Kathy’s journey and in turn, provide her with support and sustenance. Perhaps most importantly, she re-establishes her relationship with God and begins to rely on His grace to sustain her.

In the process, she makes peace with the “mess of her life” and gains a deeper confidence than she has ever known.



Overview and Chapter Summaries

SHLEPis a book about a woman falling apart and putting herself back together again by embarking upon a real-life Hero’s Journey, but she does it the way women do—with fear and doubt and making plenty of mistakes. Her story is an inspiration to any woman whose plans and dreams have not worked out as she’d hoped, and who is forced to do the hard work of remaking her identity and remaking her life.


Chapter 1

When Kathy finally decides to divorce her abusive husband, she doesn’t know what to do with herself. Her husband, Bob, ensures she has no access to their joint assets and, at age 59, this former successful saleswoman can’t find a job. She can no longer afford to live in her affluent neighborhood and must leave her three children with their father, along with her two horses she can’t afford to board. Her emotions are in tumult, her self-esteem is decimated, and she’s having panic attacks; all she wants to do is die or run away.

The only time she feels okay is when she’s riding her horses, and Kathy gets the notion to travel around the country, camping with the horses, riding and painting in each of the lower 48 states. Her dad thinks it’s a good idea; he lends her the money to purchase a truck and a horse trailer with living quarters. A trial run results in a wreck; a friend who was initially going with her pulls out at the last moment, and Kathy’s only option is to do the trip alone, something she deeply fears. She worries she is abandoning her children, but her therapist encourages her to go, to heal so she can really be there for them. Thus, she embarks on SHLEP: the Soul-seeking, Home-searching, Liberating, Equestrian Party.


Chapter 2

Kathy tells herself she is leaving California for good as she embarks with her horses, Dreamy and Wildflower; her dog, Tucker, who has cancer; and her cat, Nalla. On her first overnight in Las Vegas, she congratulates herself for getting on the road.

But the long hours of driving tend to provoke memory, and she is haunted by scenes from her unhappy marriage and the impact such scenes had on her children. She recalls the night when she told her daughter Emily that Bob had been abusive and her daughter called her a liar. By the time she reaches Utah, her first campsite, she is filled with fear and doubt. She texts her Dad, who is undergoing treatment for Stage 4 cancer, and he assures her that he believes in her.

Dreamy gets hurt by Wildflower, who can be a bully; the dynamic between them reminds Kathy of her relationship with Bob.



Chapter 3

Kathy next goes to Idaho, where she stays at the ranch of a friend, Jack. She’s halfway drawn to the idea that Jack might be the next man to take care of her; he advises her, talks to her dad on the phone in a proprietary manner, and insists she purchase a gun. They go to lunch and Jack warns that the town will gossip about them; Kathy wonders if there’s something to gossip about.

But Jack won’t allow her dog Tucker in the house and Kathy sleeps in her trailer instead of under Jack’s roof. She’s just not attracted to Jack and she realizes she’s in no way ready for romantic involvement.  Although he invites her to stay, she makes the decision to continue her trip, changing the planned route to avoid early snow.


Chapter 4

The drive to Colorado again brings back sour memories of Bob. Outside of Boulder, Kathy reconnects with Theresa, who had been a nanny to Kathy’s children when they were young. Although Kathy has been feeling like a failure, Theresa tells her how inspiring and powerful she found Kathy back then. Kathy wishes she could find a way to be her “old self” again. She goes out with Theresa and her boyfriend and has fun for the first time in a long time.

Kathy overnights in Kansas and meets Jane, who has recently survived being widowed, a tornado and the death of her best horse. Jane is on her way to a horse camping trip in Missouri and wants Kathy to join her. Inspired by Jane’s resilience, Kathy agrees. They meet up with two other women and form a convoy to Missouri.

At their campfire, Kathy recalls her mother leaving her to cry in her crib. Kathy has nightmares and gets depressed. The four women in her group pray for her and she is shaken. She remembers when her youngest son Teddy was suicidal and had to be hospitalized, she got mad at God and quit going to church. She begins to re-examine her relationship to her faith.


Chapter 5

In Arkansas, she meets Frankie, a cowboy who rescues her when she gets lost riding, who tells her they have a spiritual connection, and gives her trail and horse advice. She finds him attractive, but isn’t in a place to respond to his signals. While there, her dog Tucker fails and she has to put him down. She grieves and listens to a CD of Christian rock her daughter made her. Inspired by one of the songs, she attempts a thank-you prayer. She changes the P in SHLEP from “Party” to “Praise” as she realizes God has become a more significant part of the journey.

While she’s in Kansas, her oldest son Brad texts her with accusations that Bob has been making against her—she is trying to bankrupt his company and is “gallivanting” around the country while he’s taking care of the kids. In the meantime, Bob has stalled the latest hearing for the divorce.

Her son Teddy announces plans to go to South Carolina soon and she hopes she can meet up with him there. Although she misses all her kids, he’s the one she worries about most.

Camping in North Carolina, she meets a group of women who encourage her to write a book about this journey. Kathy calls her mom to wish her Happy Birthday, but her mother sounds confused. This is worrisome, but Kathy feels she has enough on her plate. She’s grateful her sister Liza lives nearby to their mom.


Chapter 6

When Teddy doesn’t come through on meeting her in South Carolina, even after her dad agreed to pay for his ticket, Kathy becomes convinced her kids must hate her. She decides to change her planned route again and go straight to Florida to see her dad. On her drive through Georgia, she recalls living there as a teenager, and having her first abortion. That’s also when her mother told Kathy she was the result of an unplanned teen pregnancy.

Kathy ends up spending four months in Florida with her Dad as he starts chemotherapy. She distrusts his caregiver, Yvonne, who views Kathy as an intruder. Kathy starts attending a church there, and finds it so much more loving than the church she was raised in. She gets baptized and commits to following Jesus; this helps her to feel forgiven for her abortions and other sins.

In January, Kathy flies to Los Angeles to visit her kids, who want her to come home. She prays about it and decides to quit her journey and look for a job again. She promises her children she’ll come back by April. Back in Florida, she throws her all into a job search but gets no offers; one recruiter all but tells her she’s wasting her time. She doesn’t think she can keep her promise to return to L.A. in April.

Her Dad tells her that she has to be nicer to his caregiver, Yvonne, because he loves her and she has promised to stay with him till the end. Kathy now feels that Dad, her lifelong “hero” is choosing Yvonne over her.

Liza texts Kathy about their mother being “confused.” Kathy tells her she’ll come to New Jersey by June to help. Before leaving Florida, Kathy adopts a new dog, Jessie, from the shelter. Then she resumes SHLEP.


Chapter 7

Her time in Florida has given Kathy renewed reliance on God and this bolsters her as she faces trials both large and small. In Georgia, she meets a child whose mom is a meth addict; in Alabama, her trailer gets stuck after a flood. In Louisiana, she starts a fire in her trailer while cooking. In Texas, another camper tells her about a horrifying horse accident. Her faith becomes her foundation, and she experiences joy on Good Friday.

In Fort Worth, she meets Emily who is attending college there. Emily shows her a self-portrait she’s painted, and Kathy is glad for this connection between them through art. In Oklahoma, she experiences a tornado watch storm. She’s impressed by her calm and attributes it to a stronger faith in God.

While in Kansas she learns that her dad has just had a transfusion and his next surgery has been cancelled; she worries that his doctors are giving up on treatment. Liza calls to say that she wants to put their Mom in assisted living. Emily calls crying to say she is never staying with Bob again and begs her to come home. Kathy prays she can be strong enough to weather all these challenges.


Chapter 8

Kathy celebrates her 60thbirthday in Nebraska. She’s concerned that she doesn’t hear from her mother; her mom has never forgotten her birthday. She meets an old cowboy poet and his wife and is touched by their love for each other.

In Iowa, she gets a disturbing call from her mom, who seems disoriented. Kathy can’t understand why her mother couldn’t love her more. Then she learns from Liza that Mom has broken her hip and is in kidney failure. By the time Kathy reaches Illinois, Liza tells her their mom has been diagnosed with blood cancer. This is more than Kathy can bear. She barely registers her stay in Indiana.

When she gets to Ohio, one of the camp owners loans her a book about why women stay in abusive relationships. Kathy tries to recount the ways Bob made her believe she was crazy.

She moves on to Virginia and West Virginia. She meets her old friend Joanie in Maryland. She wishes again she could reclaim her “old self.” She goes next to Delaware. Liza is increasingly stressed by their mother’s condition and wants Kathy to come help her, so her next stop will be New Jersey.


Chapter 9

Being back in New Jersey brings up both traumatic and positive memories—her second abortion as a teenager, and the beautiful home she owned when she was an adult and single. She tries to emotionally prepare for seeing her sister, and their mother.

When she arrives at the hospital, Kathy finds that her mom is very sick—she’s in kidney failure, has multiple myeloma and dementia. She realizes there will never be an opportunity to talk to her mom about her experiences growing up or to resolve her questions. A doctor recommends they stop treatment, and the sisters must make the difficult decision to do so, aided by Mom’s declaration that she doesn’t want to live in the condition she’s in. She dies in hospice six weeks after Kathy arrives. Teddy and Emily fly in for the memorial service and Kathy is euphoric to be with them, but wonders why she doesn’t seem to be grieving her Mom.


Chapter 10

Although Kathy has lost her mother, she has re-gained a sister. Liza decides to join her on SHLEP for the New England states. It’s a different experience to be with someone; Kathy enjoys the company but finds it taxing to deal with Liza’s needs and lack of experience with horses.

In Rhode Island, Kathy is visited by an old boyfriend who wants to make amends. She realizes she has had a life-long pattern of being mistreated by the men in her life and wonders how that got started.

The two sisters worry about Dad and share a distrust of his caregiver, who insists over the phone that he is “fine.” Liza seems to be spiraling into depression and Kathy feels somehow responsible. This is not what she needs on SHLEP. In Massachusetts, Liza falls off Dreamy while riding and decides to fly home. Kathy feels guilty and relieved.



Chapter 11

Kathy camps in New York and, reflecting on when she used to live there, decides her “old self” was shallow, not someone she wants to be anymore. She finds herself happy to hear that Liza wants to rejoin SHLEP soon. She also learns her Dad now has round-the-clock care.

Kathy makes it a point to travel to Shawano, Wisconsin, where she buries her mom’s ashes. In that process, she is able to put herself in her Mom’s shoes—pregnant at 19 in the 1950s, being forced to get married. This helps Kathy to release her anger and feelings of worthlessness.

In September, she celebrates having been on the road for a year; she understands it is an accomplishment and starts to think about SHLEP as “exposure therapy,” which Teddy had to undergo when he was younger. Liza meets up with her in Minnesota and it’s enjoyable for both of them. As money comes from her mother’s estate, Kathy makes the decision to rent a house in California where she can make a home for her children, at least until all have graduated.


Chapter 12

When they reach Wyoming, both sisters fall in love with the state and make a plan to live there together some day. Then they get a call from Dad; he asks Liza to come to Florida right away. Yvonne, the caretaker, intervenes and tells them he’s fine. They’re not sure what to do—go to Florida immediately or continue SHLEP? They continue on to Montana, state #43.

Upon their departure, Kathy has a collision with a boulder that makes it unsafe to continue with the horse trailer. She decides that SHLEP has already given her everything she wanted from it, and that it’s okay for her to stop now. They haul the horses to board at Jack’s ranch in Idaho and drop the trailer at an RV dealer to be repaired. They will drive the truck toward home, staying in motels; Liza will catch a plane to Florida in Salt Lake City. On her first night without her horses, Kathy cries.


Chapter 13

Kathy moves into the rental house in Pasadena but her children do not join her there immediately and she wonders what she’s come back to. Yvonne manipulates the situation to deprive Dad of hospice care, and ensures that Kathy and Liza will arrive too late to say goodbye and too late to be able to retrieve the cash Dad left for them. Kathy has to make peace with this and her faith helps her to do so.

Emily and Teddy do eventually move back in with Kathy. The divorce will take two more years to resolve and by the time Bob offers a settlement, Kathy accepts it against the advice of her attorney, just to have it settled once and for all.

Kathy moves to Tehachapi, California and retrieves her horses from Idaho. Liza and her new husband are there. She thanks God for blessing her beyond her wildest dreams.



About the Author


Kathy majored in painting at Philadelphia College of Art, now known as University of the Arts, graduating in 1976. She also studied Graphic Arts at Union County Vocational School. She entered the printing industry as a paste-up artist and eventually landed in sales in New York City. She sold for Alden Press which was bought by World Color, who was taken over by Quebecor and was their top sales person, bringing in large-volume accounts such as Victoria’s Secrets Catalogue. She left this career to become a stay-at-home mom.

Kathy is the mother of three children. In 2004, Kathy bought her first horse, Dreamy, and riding quickly became her passion. In 2012, at the age of 59, Kathy filed for divorce and set off on SHLEP, camping and riding in 43 states across the U.S. After her travels, she became a member of the Vineyard Church, which has 300,000 members world-wide. She now lives in Tehachapi, CA with her 4 mares, a dog and a few cats.



Who Will Buy The Book


Primary market

Each year in the United States approximately 876,000 marriages end in divorce, one every 36 seconds. With divorce comes feelings of disappointment, disillusionment and even failure for those involved. A dream of marriage and family has dissolved or exploded, and it’s now up to the former couple to shape new lives for themselves.

For the woman, this recovery is often made harder by a number of factors: disadvantages women experience in the job market, both in getting hired and in salary inequity; the fact that women are most often left with the responsibility for raising children; and the perception that a woman who has already been married once is somehow “damaged goods.” It’s estimated that divorced women experience a 20 decline in their incomes, where divorced men experience a 30% increase. The poverty rate for separated and women divorced women is 27%.

These women often seek out opportunities to improve their situations. They may enroll in community college to upgrade their skills; they may seek therapy to identify what went wrong. They may turn to self-help books or seminars in an effort to help themselves feel better.

These readers will find comfort and empowerment in SHLEP and identify with Kathy’s story of finding previously unknown strength to endure the challenges of her journey across the country and make peace with her life. These women, especially those over 50 who face starting over, whether through divorce or widowhood, are the primary readers of this book.



Secondary markets


Of the 80% of the U.S. population that says they are Christian, 45% of these consider themselves born again; whatever the circumstances of their life previously, these individuals find new meaning in their lives through a commitment to Jesus Christ. In SHLEP, a large part of Kathy’s healing comes about through her re-connection to a faith she had largely abandoned. She is initially prodded by her daughter, who gives her spiritual rock music to listen to on the road; as she travels she meets other women who rely on their faith in God to carry them through storms in their lives. In Florida, she finds a church that believes in a loving and forgiving God, rather than the punishing deity of her youth, and agrees to be baptized. The more deeply she practices her faith, the more things resolve in her life and the stronger she feels. Christian readers will find inspiration and affirmation in Kathy’s story.

A tertiary audience can be found in people who are interested in horses and in horse camping. A national organization, Horse Trails and Camping Across America (HTCAA)boasts 73,000 members. There are television and internet radio shows as well as blogs and websites catering to these individuals, as well as annual gatherings at prominent campsites. These are the readers who will want to know what kind of hay Kathy fed her horses, what kind of bit she used, and what the campground in Delaware is like.

Author’s Marketing Abilities


A successful former print salesperson, Kathy Burns understands the ingredients necessary to speak to a customer’s needs and how to close a sale.



While on SHLEP, she started a blog, posting photos of her camp stops, trail rides and the paintings she made at each stop, as well as written accounts of her camping experience. This blog was geared to people interested in horse camping, and therefore did not include her interior journey. Since its inception, the blog has received 60,000 views by people in ten different countries.

Kathy will continue to use this blog as a marketing tool for SHLEP. She’s now settled in horse country and is raising four horses, including a wild baby; she can continue to post about what she learns from her horses and her new lifestyle.

Kathy Burns accumulated numerous friends who followed her on Facebook during her journey. She is also a member of 30 Facebook group pages, most of which are horse related. One of those groups, HTCAA Horse Trails and Camping Across America, currently has a membership of 73,000 and was supportive of Kathy during SHLEP. Kathy also maintains a business page on FaceBook— Kathy Burns Gallery—which is promoted regularly by FaceBook Ads.


Public Speaking:

Both prior to and following her completion of SHLEP, Kathy has given multi-media presentations to various riding groups in Southern California; attendees have been fascinated by the prospect of a woman undertaking such a journey alone, and eager to learn all the details of horse care and camping. She can certainly do more of this in connection with the promotion of SHLEP. In addition, the camping sites she visited during her journey may be eager to share the news of the book with their own mailing lists and on their websites.

Additionally, the Vineyard Church, of which Kathy is a member, has a worldwide membership of 300,000. The organization and its member churches will also be an important source of readers for SHLEP.


Print and Broadcast Media:

Media that appeals to women—O magazine, Oprah’s Super-Soul Sunday, Ellen, Good Housekeeping, andThe Vieware prominent examples—all reach the readership that SHLEPwill appeal to. Kathy Burns will hire a professional publicist to help her to reach mainstream markets.

Additionally, Christian radio programs will be an important source of reaching readers.



Competitive Title Analysis

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

by Cheryl Strayed

Vintage Books, New York, NY 2013. 336 pages.


#1 New York Times Bestseller

An Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection


In this memoir, Cheryl Strayed loses her mother to cancer and her life spirals into infidelity, addiction and divorce. Not knowing what else to do, she decides to hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. The 2014 film adaptation was nominated for two Academy Awards.

SHLEPand Wild are both about a women’s adventure/healing journey and both deal with self-discovery/examination, confronting challenges for which one has not prepared, parental loss, fear and divorce. Both women find spirituality and peace in the wilderness. Both books appeal to similar readers: women looking for inspiration.

SHLEPmay be of more interest to mature women; Kathy is 59 when she sets off, Cheryl is just 22. Additionally, in SHLEP,Kathy finds healing in Christianity; this aspect of the book will appeal to a Christian readership.



Eat, Pray, Love– One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

by Elizabeth Gilbert

Penguin, New York, NY 2006. 352 pages.


#1 New York Times Bestseller


In this memoir, Elizabeth, in her early 30’s, divorces her husband and has a passionate fling that doesn’t work out. Devastated, she embarks on a 4-month trip abroad to find pleasure, spiritual devotion and a balance between the two. In the end, she finds the love of a wonderful man. The story was adapted as a 2010 motion picture starring Julia Roberts.

While both protagonists are on a journey of spiritual- and self-discovery, their circumstances and goals are different. Elizabeth in Eat, Pray, Love has the financial wherewithal to travel abroad to exotic places. Her spiritual encounter is with Eastern philosophy. Her ultimate outcome is romantic love. It appeals to reader’s desire for fantasy, a charmed life.

SHLEPwill appeal to woman who have experienced more traumatic circumstances—financial hardship or emotional abuse. Kathy’s divorce leaves her, at age 59, without the financial wherewithal to remain in California. Hers is not a journey of tourism, but of rugged camping and riding that challenge her physically as well as emotionally. Her spiritual awakening comes through Christianity, addressing the large market of Christian readers. Her ultimate outcome is not romantic love, but a recommitment to her children. SHLEP is more raw and more real.



Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback

by Robyn Davidson

Vintage Departures/Random House 1981, 1995, 2014. 268 pages.


In this memoir, Robyn, 27, is sparked by a “lunatic idea” to hike with camels and her dog across the Australian Outback desert. She spends two years preparing in Alice Springs, where she trains camels, meets a National Geographic photographer and secures the sponsorship ofNational Geographicto write an article about her upcoming journey. During her trek, she endures danger in the form of excessive heat, venomous snakes, lecherous men and her bull camel’s aggressive temperament. She has casual sexual encounters with her photographer. She reaches her goal and looking back on it says that the trip was “easy.” An independent Australian film company released an adaptation in 2013.

Both Tracksand SHLEPare about a woman’s self-imposed physically challenging journey and both find beauty in the wilderness, but Robyn’s goal appears to be the physical challenge, whereas Kathy’s riding in 48 states is the medium for her true goal of healing her mind. Robyn is able to shoot a wild camel with a rifle, where Kathy finds it difficult to be forceful with her horse and is fearful of carrying a handgun. Robyn has casual sex in Tracksbut Kathy’s PTSD leaves her feeling sexually dead. There is no spiritual component to Tracks,whereas SHLEPis about Kathy’s re-connection to her Christian faith.



Girl in the Woods

by Aspen Matis

William Morrow/HarperCollins, New York, NY 2015. 363 pages.


In this memoir, Debby, 19, grows up lacking confidence in herself. On her second night at college, she is date raped. Her family is unsupportive and the college finds her attacker innocent. Before the school year ends, Debbie drops out and decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada. Along the way, she develops the confidence to master challenges and overcome her fear of men to trust herself enough to fall in love.

Both A Girl in the Woodsand SHLEPdescribe journeys of emotional healing. Both protagonists have issues with controlling mothers, which result in their own poor personal boundaries. They both have suffered trauma, which causes them to fear men and to question their capabilities and attractiveness. Both change their names as a symbol of adopting new identities. However, there is a forty-year difference in the protagonist’s ages, making for very different voices and appealing to different readers. Younger readers will identify with Debby’s obsessing over boys and with Debby’s conclusion of “finding herself” by finding the right man. Mature readers will relate to Kathy’s resolution at age 60, of finding an inner peace through God, reuniting with her children and finalizing her divorce.



Terra Incognita: Travels in Antarctica

by Sara Wheeler

Jonathan Cape/Random House, New York, NY 1996; Random House 1998. 341 pages.


Terra Incognita is a non-fiction account of Sara, who while in her 30s becomes the first woman writer-in-residence at the South Pole and spends seven months with research scientists there. The environment is extreme but she is relatively safe, staying in city-like research stations; she’s moved to different locations by aircraft. She recounts a history of Antarctica and early explorers’ dangerous expeditions there. She interacts with the researchers and describes their projects.


Both books are about travels to a wild place but Sara is traveling to write, inform and entertain the reader. The book is not a memoir and we don’t learn much of the protagonist’s story. Terra Incognita is aimed at readers who want information about a part of the world very few people get to see. SHLEP is a memoir that follow’s Kathy’s introspective journey to find God, hope and healing; it is intended to inspire women readers that they can survive hard times with their sense of selfhood intact.



Wild by Nature– From Siberia to Australia, three years alone in the wilderness on foot

by Sarah Marquis

Editions Michel Lafon (France) & St Martin’s Press (USA), both in 2014. 255 pages.


Featured in the New York Times Magazine.


Sarah, 38, has been an explorer/adventurer for 20 years when she decides to undertake three years of hiking 10,000 miles, from Mongolia to Australia, solo, in an effort to rekindle her dwindling passion for adventure. She is quite capable of taking care of herself on this trek and even hunts her own food. She encounters life-threatening dangers from men, extreme temperatures, disease, a dental infection and wildlife. She overcomes everything and is passionate about exercising her freedom as a woman to be who she is: wild by nature, urging other women to do the same.

Both books are about self-imposed challenging journeys, but Sarah’s is a thousand times more difficult and dangerous than Kathy’s. The protagonist of Wild by Natureis confident of her abilities to survive and her journey is more about adventure and the physical challenge. She is not introspective nor does she give the reader a feel for her emotions or thoughts about what happens in the exotic locations she travels through. The protagonist of SHELP,embarks on her adventure across the United States with little preparation, no experience, and riddled with self-doubt. Her journey is as much interior as exterior, and she gains confidence and calm as she travels. Sarah appears to be Super-Woman, someone to aspire to be, but many more women readers will identify with Kathy’s efforts to crawl back from an emotionally bruising marriage.


Chapter One

Deleted for this blog post and is available upon request to

2 thoughts on “Book Proposal SHLEP: Finding Healing on Horseback in the Lower 48

  1. Kathy, I’ve thought about and prayed for you so much since meeting you in Missouri a few years ago…I was one of the ladies who prayed over you. I want to ask your forgiveness for my bad behavior during that week long ride. I was in a very bad season of my life at that time and I had no room in my heart for another persons’ suffering. Just like you, my Savior Jesus Christ brought me through that season and I praise Him not only for walking every step with me but for actually carrying me through. And, just like you, I have been refined by the powerful Word of God…it was about HIM…not me. I’m so blessed by your journey.


  2. Oh Barb, you already apologized to me years ago! You are forgiven of course! I’m sorry I didn’t see your pain, I was pretty dang blind to anyone else’s suffering then. You may not remember, but you gave me a bible study workbook, it was pretty much way over my head, but I appreciated it anyway! I’d never even heard of bible study groups back then, haha, and was intrigued with the idea so much that I said yes, when I was invited to one by my Kansas camp’s owners. FYI, you struck me as a wholesome strong woman, in sharp contrast to how I viewed myself and something to aspire to. I’m so glad that I met you, that prayer circle was incredible for me, I’ll never forget it. Thank you.


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