Just Say Yes: My Introduction to Taborton Equine Books


I should have been dancing around the carton of books in the center of my living room floor.

I had spent years writing, hiding in the three-horse trailer I drove while my beloved daughter showed her horses. Finally, my dream of writing and horses blended into 300 pages for every equine reader to enjoy in a romantic-suspense novel with my name on the front cover.

However, my debut novel, Spurred to Justice, didn’t seem impressive to me, nor did it provide healing from events that transpired.

In Spring 2018, my first novel was published amid tragedy. Without warning, my mother passed. My parents had been vital in raising my daughter after my husband’s death ten years prior – my parents, and horses.

To elevate the stressful situation, my daughter was days away from leaving for the Army. Although she was to become commander of the cavalry at her military college, positioned on the lead horse, I was suffering with a broken heart. To sear the wound even more, her heart horse and Pistol Pete, the comical pony who both shared our lives, were both off to a new home with a child who needed them more.

To this day, those horses are living like royalty – as they should. The equines were gone, my mother passed, and my daughter fulfilling her dreams. It was just me and a case of Spurred to Justice, alone. Every day was a drudgery as I tried to focus on my father, my business, and distributing my novel.

By a miracle, I was introduced to Jean McWilliams, owner of Taborton Equine Books, in New York. Jean’s bookstore is a presence at many major equine affairs east of the Mississippi. Her reputation among equine readers and authors is stellar.

With trepidation, I reached out when a fellow writer suggested it, and I inquired if she would be interested in handling my suspense novel. Surprisingly, after her review, Jean agreed. I could hardly contain my uplifted spirit at a moment when I needed encouragement.

Jean invited me to meet her at the Horse Expo in Harrisburg, a mega-equine event merely thirty minutes away. She suggested to save on shipping by dropping off a few copies. I agreed and drove up on opening morning of the three-day affair.

My corner of the world at the Harrisburg Horse Expo 2018 with Spurred to Justice six years later at the Equine Affaire in Ohio!

In an out-of-character move, I rearranged appointments to make the journey. I would surely return by lunch. By sheer luck or maybe magic, when I arrived, Jean informed me an author had not shown for a scheduled book signing. She offered me a front row seat for the afternoon and evening to sign and sell my books! This meant canceling the remaining day of scheduled clients, driving back to York, grabbing more copies, returning to Harrisburg, mingling with successful authors (not to mention horses and fellow equine lovers), and introducing my novel to the public.

I shook with fear, wanting to say no. I was not ready to face possible public rejection for my work of heart and soul. Yet, something stirred me to commit.

The case of Spurred to Justice sold out that afternoon. Six years later, that yes has expanded my career horizons. I have completed the Spurred To trilogy, plus Private Mom, The Silver Cowgirls, and a journal. Without Jean, my growth may have been nothing more than a dream. She has helped so many authors climb the mountain.

This year, I attended the Ohio 2024 Equine Affaire. My original foot-square area for one novel increased in size to a six-foot table of five novels consisting of one series and a journal.

By Harrisburg, this fall, I hope to have my second in another series published, The Silver Cowgirls Ride Again! I have met inspiring authors, amazing individuals and endearing readers—not to mention engaging, wonderful animals. I will never be able to thank Jean enough for helping me on a journey to conquer a mountain. I am positive that many equine authors feel the same. The knowledge, guidance, and opportunities Jean McWilliams has bestowed is magical, to say the least.

I never imagined the possibilities when I first said yes. My journey from that moment has been filled with angels like Jean and endless opportunities.

So, the moral of the story is, just say yes and start eventing however your heart desires! I hope someone inspires you to say yes and change your life like Jean has mine.

To learn more about Alicia, visit her website at https://aliciastephensmartin.com/

You can also find a copy of her recent release The Silver Cowgirls, on Amazon today.

Author Bio:

Alicia Stephens Martin had three passions: writing, horses and hair.  She attended Beauty School and mastered the craft as a successful stylist, salon owner and teacher. But her other passions tormented her being. After losing her husband at 48. She returned to college during her career as a Cosmetologist and as a solo mom obtaining a bachelor’s degree in creative writing. Her daughter, during this time, was an avid and champion equestrian while Alicia drove the trailer and wrote. Alicia published an interactive children’s workbook called Let’s Go to the Hairstylist. Her short fiction and non-fiction stories have been published in Salon Ovation Magazine and PBA Progress, and the non-fiction piece, Healing in a Pocket, won the Bob Hoffman writing award. Her articles have also been published in PA Equestrian, East Coast Equestrian, and From Whispers to Roars. Alicia Stephens Martin’s first novel Spurred to Justice was released in 2018 and is presently slated to be highlighted this summer, 2024, in On The Bit Magazine. The novel was followed by the release in 2020 of a rom/com, Private Mom, and in 2022, Spurred to Jump, second in Spurred to series. The release of Spurred to Jealousy, 2023, completed the mystery trilogy. Silver Cowgirls is her latest novel, in the hopes of inspiring others to follow their heart no matter their age or diversity! The novel recently received a five-star review from Feathered Quill. A sequel, The Silver Cowgirls Ride Again, is scheduled for Fall 2024.