Peg’s Story

My life over the past years has been all about turning negatives into positives and chasing after two lifelong dreams. An incredible sequence of events led to the achievement of both.

I started riding horses at the age of six in the state of Texas where I grew up. That involvement with Peg and Lonesomehorses continued through the years and remains a big part of my life.

In 2001, I purchased a beautiful piece of raw Rocky Mountain land and spent that summer going to the "ranch".  I camped in my horse trailer with my dogs and built my own fences.  Eventually a horse barn was constructed, with big stalls for the horses and a small room in which I could live. I basically lived the life of a pioneer for about 8 months, learning new ways to accomplish things without the luxuries of power and plumbing. In November, the temperatures plummeted below zero 5 nights in a row. I was wrapped in sleeping bags and awoke to ice on the inside walls. But I survived, and now have a new appreciation for the hardships endured daily by pioneers.

Once my ranch was complete, including a house, my first goal was to begin horse rescue operations, especially for older horses. I immediately adopted 4 "geriatric" horses, bringing my growing horse herd to a total of nine. Little did I know that my rescue work would open the door and lead into the achievement of my second lifelong dream of writing a children's book. I love to write, had won several literary awards when in high school. Writing a children's book had long been a goal, but I was still in search of the right message for the story.

Lonesome CoverOne night in 2002, the county sheriff called, telling me they found a little lost, ill horse and asked if I would look at him which I did.  They delivered him to my ranch the next morning. Two weeks later we found his owner. When she shared the story of this little horse, I instantly realized that the perfect subject for the book I had always wanted to write was standing outside, eating hay in my corral. The problems he had encountered in his life provided great lessons about friendship and bullying along with a drug awareness message.

I proceeded to write his story, which was quite easy since it is based on actual events. After receiving approval from several teachers, I pursued the publishing process fully aware that first-time authors rarely find a publisher. I investigated the possibility of independently publishing the book and chose that option.

The first objective was finding an illustrator. Pat Wiles, the owner of a neighboring ranch, just happened to be a nationally known watercolor artist who specializes in painting horses. After reading my story, she agreed to do the illustrations. Her work perfectly tells the story in paintings; she did a beautiful job.

Lonesome’s book became a reality in August, 2002, when 3000 copies were delivered to me. My dream had come true at last.

While the book was being printed, I spent many hours developing a marketing plan, knowing that Cover Collageschools would be my biggest market due to the messages it contained. I began contacting every educator I knew, requesting an opportunity to visit their school with my new book. Several agreed.

Schools from around the country are now calling me, requesting copies of the books and reserving an author visit. Children figured out I was “Cowgirl Peg” in the first book and began sending letters and emails to me. Once I realized that the “Cowgirl Peg” image was becoming popular, I decided to create a book series for young readers under that name.

As of 2017, a total of 7 books comprise the “Cowgirl Peg Book Series”. Each book uses real animals, mainly my horses plus one famous dog, as the characters in the stories which always contain positive character-building messages.

I now visit schools nationally, sharing the messages in the books, especially focusing on friendship vs bullying; making smart choices; kindness and respect; dealing with peer pressure, etc. My school presentation includes an interactive discussion of the messages included in the stories, along with the writing and publishing process for elementary students. Many school counselors are now using the books in character education programs. The Director of Parenting for the State of Texas Association of School Boards reviewed the first book (Lonesome the Little Horse) in a statewide newsletter, recommending it for parenting and family education.

Although the books are now sold in retail markets nationally by several distributors, my favorite venue is the school program. I absolutely love meeting and visiting with students and staff around the country. The feedback from schools has been 100% positive, a fact of which I am quite proud. I talk with kids from my heart, not from a prepared speech. I excite them about writing and reading, plus leave them thinking about positive character traits. I now travel approximately 30,000 miles per school year, sharing my books across the country. Each title has sold out multiple times and the popularity continues to grow nationally and internationally.

I often donate visits to inner city schools because those students need to hear the messages. In addition to discussing the character traits, I include the story of my dreams, telling the students to have goals and never give up no matter how long it takes to achieve them. 

"Amazing" is the only word that can describe the sequence of events that led to the achievement of my becoming a children's author. Every time one door closed, another one opened. At first the books and the school programs were an expensive hobby, but they grew into a business that is my pride and joy.

Please visit my “Author Credentials” page for more details!

Cowgirl Peg's school wardrobe is proudly donated by Wrangler.