Wednesday, September 16, 2015

September Member News

Congratulations to our members with new book releases and awards!

Jan Cleere, Never Don’t Pay Attention: The Life of Rodeo Photographer Louise L. Serpa. Louise Larocque Serpa often said she was born “in the wrong place, to the wrong woman, at the wrong time.” Born in 1925 and growing up in New York society with a mother who was never satisfied with her rather lanky, unpolished daughter, teenager Louise eventually found happiness when she spent a summer on a Wyoming dude ranch scrubbing toilets, waiting tables and wrangling cattle. Later in life, she settled in Tucson, Arizona, where her introduction to photographing rodeos came about after a friend invited her to watch his children participate in a junior rodeo competition.  

Doris McCraw, writing as Angela Raines, “Never Had a Chance” is included in the anthology Cowboy Celebration (Prairie Rose Publications). When the Fourth of July rolls around, it’s time for a good, old-fashioned, rip-roaring Cowboy Celebration! How can a deadly practical joke bring two people from different worlds the love they both didn't know they needed?

Andrea Downing, Loveland is being re-released by Amazon Encore Publishing. When Lady Alexandra Calthorpe returns to the Loveland, Colorado, ranch owned by her father, she faces a future torn between her desire to be independent and her growing love for top hand Jesse Makepeace.  Jesse can’t accept that the child he once knew is now the ravishing yet determined woman before him, one with a career as a promising artist.  The question is, will Loveland live up to its name?

Carolyn Woolston, writing as Lynna Banning, Smoke River Family. When Dr. Zane Dougherty swept pianist Winifred Von Dannen’s sister off to Smoke River, Winifred was resentful.  But now she wants to be part of her late sister’s baby’s life—and that means dealing with an embittered Zane and the demands of her professional career as a concert musician.

Shanna Hatfield, Crumpets and Cowpies won Readers' Favorites 2015 Silver Award for Romance– Christian. Rancher Thane Jordan reluctantly travels to England to settle his brother’s estate only to find he’s inherited much more than he could possibly have imagined. Lady Jemma Bryan has no desire to spend a single minute in Thane Jordan’s intolerable presence much less live under the same roof with the handsome, arrogant American. Forced to choose between poverty or marriage to the man, she travels across an ocean and America to build a future on his ranch in Oregon.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Speakers & Tours to Look Forward to at the Conference

News from Conference co-chair Jane Kirkpatrick

If you haven’t read or heard Becca Lawton, one of our Sunday morning presenters, you are in for a treat! She’s the winner of the 2014 WILLA for her book Junction, Utah  (I’ve read it and it’s great!) and the first winner of the Waterston Desert Literary Prize. Her book Reading Water: Lessons from the River was a finalist for the Foreword Nature Book of the Year Award. 

She’s had three Pushcart Prize nominations and received the Ellen Meloy Award for Desert Writers. She’s also a former river guide including ten seasons on the Grand Canyon. Becca agreed to make her presentation on Sunday for conference attendees not interested in taking the Imperial Stock Ranch tour. 

To help those who are taking the tour still have a taste of Becca’s wisdom, she has also agreed to step in on Saturday to fill a cancellation due to a family need. So on Saturday, Becca will present “Climate, Water and Creative Writing” that will flow into her Sunday presentation but attendance at both is not necessary. Her Sunday presentation is titled “From Raw to Cooked: Climate, Water and Creative Writing in the American West.” What we loved about her proposal was her understanding that words matter, they carry weight, and can inform and move us. Her gifts as both a novelist and non-fiction writer promise great material for all writers. Her classes are Saturday 1:25pm to 2:25pm and Sunday 9:00am-10:30am. 

Past attendees have sometimes lamented that there is so much going on during a conference that there is little time for processing and putting insights, emotions and encouragement into motion for the year ahead. Carolyn Wing Greenlee brings her warmth and wisdom to Sunday morning’s session to help attendees re-focus for re-entry. 

Her Sunday workshop is entitled "Capturing the Conference Experience." Carolyn will be recognized this year not only by her poetry opening Saturday’s session and her workshop on Saturday “Emotional Release of Writer’s Block,” but also by her guide dog, Hedy. 

Carolyn’s contribution to the literary world and the Asian experience has deepened our awareness and understanding of the Chinese American history in the west. From her website: “She’s a Third Generation Chinese American from a California Gold Rush/Railroad family. As an insider in this quiet minority, she has spent the last two decades interviewing six generations of family and friends, publishing them in some of her ten books. A retired teacher and Lake County Poet Laureate, Carolyn has edited more than twenty books, a few of which she illustrated. She was a professional photographer for thirty years. 

As a bonus, Carolyn has also written several books about dogs!  Her experience with Chinese healing and its application to writer’s block is part of her Saturday workshop. In addition, on Sunday, she’ll be providing a framework for attendees to relax, consider the time they’ve just spent in community with writer’s and take away renewed energy for their writing life. Saturday 1:25-2:25pm and Sunday 10:45am- noon.

There are still seats on the tour bus for both tours – Friday morning to the award-winning High Desert Museum in Bend and Atelier 6, an art gallery and print shop. The gallery is hosting an exhibit of Edwin Curtis Photographs! Perfect timing for Women Writing the West. A bit of shopping at the Old Mill District along the Deschutes River and lunch on your own then back in time for the conference opener at 2:30pm. $35 with lunch on your own.

Sunday’s tour to the Imperial Stock Ranch has but three openings left. Join us on this tour to the oldest working sheep and cattle ranch in Oregon. We’ll drive through the high desert in the shadow of the Cascades. The buses leave both Friday morning and Sunday morning at 8:30am sharp so plan to be in the lobby by 8:15am. $61 including a box lunch prepared by the Imperial River Company of Maupin.

And if you’re coming in on Thursday, there are also still openings for the three Pre-conference classes. Please visit the website for more information about these fabulous instructors and their willingness to teach classes at what we call “wow” rates.  And don’t forget about our free “Horses 101” presentation Thursday at 4:30pm for the opportunity to learn about horses from an Eagle Crest wrangler at the horse stables.
Don’t forget - September 8 is the cutoff date for guaranteed room rates, conference refunds or meal changes.

 Register now at

 Also, for those of you interested in donating goods or services to the raffle, please contact Jane Kirkpatrick or Shanna Hatfield. We are accepting donations and grateful for those interested in contributing to the cause! We could also use a few more volunteers. If you are interested in helping at the conference, please let us know.

 If you haven’t yet, like the Women Writing the West 2015 Conference page on Facebook to get the latest conference news. For questions about the conference, contact Jane Kirkpatrick or Shanna Hatfield or visit the website at

See you in October!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

2015 WILLA Literary Award Winners and Finalists

Congratulations to all!

Women Writing the West (WWW) is proud to announce the 2015 WILLA Literary Award competition Winners and Finalists, representing the best of 2014 published literature for women’s or girl’s stories set in the American West. WWW is the underwriter and annual presenter of this nationally recognized award.

Chosen by professional librarians, historians and university affiliated educators, the winning authors and their books will be honored in Redmond, Oregon, October 9-11, 2015, during the 21st Annual Conference.

The 2015 honorees are listed with the designation of Winner and Finalist in each category.


WINNER: Point of Direction by Rachel Weaver (Ig Publishing)

FINALIST: Monday, Monday by Elizabeth Crook (Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

FINALIST: Stars Go Blue by Laura Pritchett (Counterpoint Press)


WINNER: A Quilt For Christmas by Sandra Dallas (St. Martin’s Press)

FINALIST: Agnes Canon’s War by Deborah Lincoln (Blank Slate Press)

FINALIST: Timber Rose by J. L. Oakley


WINNER: A Light in the Wilderness by Jane Kirkpatrick (Revel/Baker)

FINALIST: The Story Is The Thing by Amy Hale Auker (Pen-L Publishing)

FINALIST: Walls for the Wind by Alethea Williams (Whiskey Creek Press/Start Publishing)


WINNER: Diary of A Citizen Scientist by Sharman Apt Russell (Oregon State University Press)

FINALIST: Xylotheque by Yelizaveta P. Renfro (University of New Mexico Press)

FINALIST: Altitude Adjustment by Mary Beth Baptiste (Rowan & Littlefield)


WINNER: Quite Contrary: The Litigious Life of Mary Bennett Love by David J. Langum, Sr. (Texas Tech University Press)

FINALIST: Marymount College of Kansas: A History by Patricia Ackerman (The History Press)


WINNER: The Secret Life of Us Kids by Bonnie B. Maldonado (Far Country Press)

FINALIST: Souvenir by Aimee Suzara (Word Tech Communications)

FINALIST: Red Stain by Liza Porter (Finishing Line Press)


WINNER: Searching for Silver Heels by Jeannie Mobley (Simon & Schuster)

FINALIST: Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky by Sandra Dallas (Sleeping Bear Press)

FINALIST: Oveta Culp Hobby: Colonel, Cabinet Member, Philanthropist by Debra Winegarten (The University of Texas Press)

WWW will be seeking entries for the 2016 WILLA Literary Awards, honoring books published in 2015. The entry period begins December 1, 2015. The deadline for submission is February 1, 2016.

Visit our website at .