Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Horse and the Crow: a Miranda and Starlight Story

It's written and coming soon. Proposed publication date is June 1, 2015. That's less than a month away.  In the meantime, if you go to http://janetmuirhead, you will be able to order it now at the pre-publication price, a $2.00 savings.

In other words, Miranda is still alive and well, and still having adventures with her friends, making new ones, and centering her life around her horses. I see a sequel to this 7th Miranda book waiting in the wings of my mind. I already know it is going to be called, "Horses for Sale" even though it is barely started. Join me in my writing adventure by staying tuned.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

It's Percolating, Stand By.

I'm still working on the next book to add to the six volumes of Miranda and Starlight's adventures. Unfortunately work on their story keeps getting interrupted by other demands—and by the need for research that I haven't found time for yet. But, never fear, it is ever percolating in the back of my mind.

When Miranda loses Starlight's daughter, Shooting Star, on the Crow Indian Reservation, will she ever see her again? Are evil forces involved? Or a common thief? Maybe the escapee from a nearby prison?

What's going on with the relationship between Christopher and Miranda? Will they ever be a couple? Will they always be best friends?

What about Laurie? Miranda's brothers and sisters? And all of their horses? What does the future hold for the horse ranch that Miranda calls "Heavenly Acres."

These are questions that are being asked and answered in a book that does not yet have a title. Who knows, maybe the title will come last after these and other "What if?" questions are answered.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Horse and a Crow: A Miranda and Starlight book

A promise we made two years ago—to publish an anthology of Miranda and Starlight books—has not worked out. It turns out that it would require such heavy tome that it was impracticable. But that's okay. The six books of the series can be bought as a set or singly, which is making a lot of new readers happy.

Now we have a promise for the older readers who have been clamoring for more of Miranda's story for years. A seventh book is in the making. With the working title of A Horse and a Crow, author Janet Muirhead Hill is in the process of writing this sequel to Starlight Comes Home, the sixth book of the series. Book seven takes up where book six ended, with Miranda still fourteen years old. Chris, who is a few months older, just turned 15 and attained his license to drive on his birthday.

Miranda, always looking for a chance to show and race her beloved stallion, Starlight, and his daughter, Shooting Star, has talked her parents into letting her go to and compete in the annual Crow Fair, the biggest Native American fair and powwow in the country. From the beginning, mishaps and bad news challenge her plans. As she connives to meet the challenge to go to the fair anyway, a premonition seems to indicate that trouble is brewing.

Stay tuned.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Six books in one, coming soon

What started as a "maybe someday" idea nears completion. The response to the saga of a horse and his girl—the horse being Starlight and the girl, Miranda—surprised me when I began receiving fan letters from girls across the nation. When Miranda and Starlight and the five books that followed received a lot of praise from young readers, I wondered how they'd like to have them all in one volume. I finally decided to try. Condensing to leave out redundancies that were necessary to make each novel stand alone, and tightening the narrative, I'm fitting them all—including illustrations—in one cover.

It's exciting to revisit Miranda's and Starlight's many adventures. My goal is to make the attractive, hard cover book, followed by a paperback, perhaps, available in 2012.

Each book, singly, or all six books packaged in one gift set are available now, of course, in many fine stores and online sites, including Each of the six books is also available for downloads at www. and on Amazon's Kindle.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Answering a fan about Miranda and Starlight

A high-school girl from Ohio e-mailed me to ask questions about her favorite series, The Miranda and Starlight books. Here are my answers:

What a pleasant surprise to get your e-mail. Thank you for thinking of me and for asking such thought provoking questions. I am very glad to know that you liked the Miranda and Starlight series. I think that Starlight Comes Home is my favorite, too. I am currently working on putting all six books, slightly condensed to avoid repetition, in one volume. I'm calling it A Horse and His Girl. I just finished entering and editing the fifth book, and am starting on the sixth. I have also written a few other unrelated novels in the meantime. I've published one, Kyleah's Tree, and have written it's companion novel, Kendall's Storm, but have only published it electronically so far, at a site called All of my books are available there, and all but Kendall's Storm are available at Amazon's Kindle Store. I recently finished a young adult novel about a boy who gets in trouble and has to work in a homeless shelter as punishment. I don't have a title for it yet and don't know when it will be published, but it is one of my favorite books so far.

I hope I can satisfactorily answer all your questions. First, you asked about the inspiration for the series. It was mostly my granddaughter, who was about eight at the time I started writing it. She and her two brothers lived with me and my husband at the time. Jayme was a lot like me in her obsession with horses. When I was little, even though I lived on a ranch and had horses available to ride, I wanted a horse of my own. By the time Jayme came to live with me, I'd sold my horses. She wanted to ride horses every chance she got, but most of all, she wanted a horse of her own. Like Miranda, she believed that living with grandparents instead of her mom, being new and feeling left out in a new school were all problems that wouldn't matter if she only had a horse. My husband and I took Jayme and her brothers skiing almost every weekend. Jayme didn't enjoy it as much as her brothers did. One day on the ski lift, Jayme asked me to tell her a story. I began telling her the story of a girl much like her. She helped me choose the name, Miranda. By the time the day was over, I had told her, chapter by chapter, a whole book. I decided to write it down. Of course, in the process, it came out a little differently from how I told it to her, but that is how Miranda and Starlight came to be. Starlight was fashioned after the horse of my dreams when I was a child. I always wanted a pure black horse, but never owned one. Like any fiction, the author tends to add and adapt some of her own experiences, and there is some of that, but the main inspiration was Jayme, plus a lot of imagination.

Why did I bring Miranda, Chris, and Laurie together? I hadn't really thought about how unusual that seems, given how different they are. You've heard of the saying that opposites attract. They also make a more interesting story. I think the friendship between the three arose naturally from the situations I gave them. There is always a bully, it seems, and often his or her bullying stem from loneliness and wanting to be liked. Chris really liked Miranda, but to get her attention, he tormented her. It was his horse that gained her interest, of course, but once they spent time together, she began to see more to him than his bullying. Laurie? Hmm. I think I got my inspiration for her from my favorite classic novel, Anne of Green Gables. As much as Miranda is like Anne, Laurie is like her best friend, Diana. I love that book, and though I didn't consciously copy it, I do believe that it influenced my creation of a friend for Miranda. The three were thrown together because of being on the outside of the popular cliques in the school.

Why did I decide to have Miranda's Dad come back and stop Adam from marrying Carey? And why did I make Miranda hate Adam so much? Very good questions. The answer lies in the way I write. I develop characters, give them situations, and let them dictate the direction of the story as I do my best to stay true to them. I didn't know in advance that this was how it was going to turn out. Adam was rude to Miranda from the beginning. I wasn't sure why at first. When he told her about her father, it was shown that the way he treated her was just because she reminded him of a friend he'd lost. I could have gone with that, but somehow, Adam kept showing traits that I disliked. He still had not become Miranda's friend. Yet it seemed natural that he would fall for Carey and vice-versa when they met. At that point I could have made Adam a nice guy, but it didn't seem to fit.

In real life, I saw how Jayme resented men who came into her mother's life, as well as into mine, for I was single (divorced) when Jayme first lived with me. Jealousy is natural for a child that age or at least it was for Jayme and thus, Miranda. Perhaps it would have turned out differently if I hadn't introduced Margot, who was inspired by a little girl I met at a book signing. She had an older sister named Miranda and they were both fans of Miranda and Starlight. So I began asking, "what if Miranda had a sister?" With my imagination in overdrive, I decided that she could be Adam's child. The more I developed Adam, the more unlikable he became. He obviously didn't like horses or children the way Miranda did, and that was another reason for her to hate him.

In the beginning of the first book, I introduced Miranda's three wishes—the things most important to her. I wanted to have those wishes come true by the end of the series. I didn't know when I wrote about the news and the letter from Miranda's father at the end of Starlight's Courage, that he would ever be found. I assumed I'd leave him dead, but I didn't close that door. When Adam turned out to be a jerk, I wanted to give Miranda her father back. As I said, I write as characters lead me, not knowing what's going to happen until it does. I write character-driven versus plot driven stories. I've tried outlining, but it doesn't work for me.

As far as advice for you if you want to become a writer—find your own voice and the method of writing that works for you. If writing isn't fun for the writer, it won't be fun for the reader. There are those who write a detailed outline and stick to it throughout their novels and enjoy doing it that way. Many of them are very successful and continue to crank out formula books for the best-seller lists. If that works for you, and you enjoy it, there are classes and information on just how a story should be shaped. There are many other authors—some very successful—who, like me, write as the story unfolds, not knowing where it will lead until it gets there. There are rules we all need to follow to make our stories interesting and marketable. They can be easily learned. I would also advise, that if you are serious at making a living by writing, that you also take classes in business management, for writing is a business to be managed, if it is to succeed.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Read Miranda and Starlight electonically

Getting an e-reader for Christmas? If you do, be sure to download your favorite books. Each of the six Miranda and Starlight books are now available on your Kindle at and on many other e-readers or your computer. If you go to, where thousands of books are available in several formats, you will find the Miranda and Starlight series and other books ready for download.

At a writing workshop, yesterday, we discussed the pros and cons of e-books. A digital book may never have the exact same feel as a bound volume with pages and ink, but what a convenience to carry your library with you in a small, hand-held device for hours spent in travel or waiting rooms. I'll always treasure taking a book to bed with me and turning the pages eagerly as the story unfolds before I go to sleep at night. That doesn't mean I wouldn't enjoy having a Nook, a Kindle or some other reader in my bag as I travel. Yep, I could be happy with both.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Starlight's Shooting Star

Now available as an e-book, this fourth book of the Miranda and Starlight series can be downloaded at

Starlight's Shooting Star begins with Miranda's first day of sixth grade and a new fresh-out-of-college teacher, Miss Hopper. Miranda doesn't like her much when she gives Miranda detention on the second day of school. Miranda hates anything that keeps her from Starlight! As the teacher slowly lose control of her classroom, parents begin to complain. When Miss Hopper takes the kids on a field trip and loses them inside a cave, the school board takes action.

More excitement is in store for the reader when Queen foals prematurely. Doctor Talbot is able to save the tiny filly's life. Chris and Miranda name her Shooting Star. To Miranda it seems that when a really important wish is made on this Shooting Star, it comes true.

Will her wish to make Starlight all her own ever come true? She is afraid it won't if he wins all the races Mr. Taylor has planned for him. The more he wins, the less say Miranda will have in what happens to him, and the less time she will be able to spend with him.

Mr Taylor hires a jockey and orders Miranda to teach him to win Starlight's acceptance and ride him as she does. Up to now, Starlight has refused to run for other jockeys, bucking them off, when they try to control him. Miranda likes being the only one Starlight will give his all to. She would like to have it stay that way, but what can she do?