Wednesday, June 22, 2016

June 2016 Member News PART 2

Because your blog editor is an "absent-minded professor" we bring you the second installment of June releases and Awards!

Jan MacKell Collins, Lost Ghost Towns of Teller County. Throughout Teller County, history lovers can find abandoned towns and forgotten main streets that once bustled with life and commerce. Even before Teller was carved from surrounding counties, the scenic mountains and lucrative mines of the gold rush era brought thousands of settlers and attracted resort owners and tycoons eager to exploit the rich setting. Seemingly overnight, towns in the Cripple Creek District and other places popped up, flush with gold and people looking for opportunity. 

Alison L. McLennan, Ophelia's War: The SecretStory of a Mormon Turned Madam (Five Star/ Frontier Fiction) The priceless ruby necklace secretly given to fifteen-year-old Ophelia Oatman by her dying mother isn't easily given away-nor is her virginity. But Ophelia must choose between them.


Kayann Short’s article, “Food for Bears” appears in the latest edition of the environmental-literary magazine, The Hopper. “Food for Bears” examines the impact of climate crisis on the food system for bears and humans along Colorado’s Front Range. This edition is available on Amazon or through Indiebound.


Heidi M Thomas, Dareto Dream, was named a finalist in the International Book Awards in the Fiction: Young Adult category. In the spring of 1941, Nettie Moser, now 36, has grieved the loss of a cowgirl friend in a freak rodeo accident. To regain her heart and spirit, Nettie is determined to ride again at a Cheyenne, Wyoming. To her dismay, the male-dominated Rodeo Association of America (RAA) enforces its rule barring women from riding rough stock and denies her the chance to ride. Her fury at the discrimination can’t change things for women—yet.  
Linda Shuler, Hidden Shadows, has been honored with an Honorable Mention, General Fiction, Eric Hoffer Award. The novel has also won Pinnacle Book of Achievement Award NABE; Finalist, da Vinci Eye Eric Hoffer Award; Finalist, Debut category: WFWA (Women’s Fiction Writers Association); Star Award Contest; Finalist, Literary Fiction, NIEA (National Indie Excellence Awards), and Top Ten finisher, Best Other Novel, Predators & Editors Readers’ Poll 2015. Cassie Brighton, devastated by the death of her husband, flees to a remote homestead in the rugged Texas Hill Country. Alone in a ramshackle farmhouse steeped in family secrets, Cassie wages a battle of mind and heart as she struggles to overcome the sorrows of her past, begin anew, and confront the possibility of finding love again. 

Lesley Poling-Kempes, Ladies of the Canyons, won the Reading The West book award for nonfiction from the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association. This is the true story of remarkable women who left the security and comforts of genteel Victorian society and journeyed to the American Southwest in search of a wider view of themselves and their world. These ladies imagined and created a new home territory, a new society, and a new identity for themselves and for the women who would follow them.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

June Member News

More tantalizing releases and awards from our talented membership!

Shirley Kennedy, WagonTrain Sisters (Kensington Lyrical Press) In the middle of the wilderness, disaster strikes when widow Sarah Gregg’s younger sister, Florrie, disappears from their wagon train without a trace. Sarah’s attempt to find her not only leads to a shocking discovery, she meets drifter and one-time gambler, Jack McCoy, and her life is never the same. 

Marsha Ward, Blood at Haught Springs (first of a new series, Men of Haught Springs). Wes Haught wants his brother to grow up and tend to his share of the chores at the family's general store. Lonnie Haught dreams of being a gunfighter. Lies unravel and lives hang in the balance as brother fights against brother. Fiery emotions and vengeful acts erupt in a smoldering new Western adventure novella from Marsha Ward. 

Shanna Hatfield, Millie (Pendleton Petticoats, Book 7) Desperate to keep the WCTU from closing his saloon and the others in town, Gideon McBride agrees to a crazy plan hatched by the saloon owners. His objective is to woo the leader of the local temperance union, keeping her so distracted the committee disbands. However, he didn’t count on the beautiful, effervescent Millie working her way into his cynical heart.

Paty Jager, Double Duplicity: A Shandra Higheagle Mystery is a finalist in the RONE award in the mystery category. On the eve of the biggest art event at Huckleberry Mountain Resort, potter Shandra Higheagle finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation. She’s ruled out as a suspect, but now it’s up to her to prove the friend she witnessed fleeing the scene was just as innocent. With help from her recently deceased Nez Perce grandmother, Shandra becomes more confused than ever but just as determined to discover the truth. 
Nancy Bo Flood, Soldier Sister, Fly Home received a starred review in Publisher's Weekly. The book is a celebration of life and family, of riding horses pell-mell, and sharing secrets with a sister who is about to be deployed.  This story speaks of the beauty of the desert, the remote canyons of Navajo Country, a land of shifting sands and spirits, where dreams and reality can become one. Soldier Sister tells of the courage needed to tame a temperamental horse or to search for one's cultural identity.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

How I Got My Agent

NOTE: This post is a condensed version of a post originally published as a guest column on Chuck Sambuchino’s Writer’s Digest blog March 4, 2016.

By Janet Fisher

When I packed my bags and drove to the 2012 Pacific Northwest Writers Association Conference in Seattle to find an agent, I had been trying to get published for 33 years. During that time I wrote 19 books. Over the first half of that period, four agents represented me without success. For the second half I wandered in a wilderness of rejections and bursts of hope. I kept writing books, honing my skills, trying to find another agent.

My 18th book was a PNWA literary contest finalist in 2004, my second contest finalist in two consecutive years. I received lots of rave rejects but still no agent. My optimism took a blow.

In 2006 my dad died, and I chose to keep the family farm. Caught up in the turmoil of losing my father and taking on his farm, I began to think I could quietly let the writing go. I wouldn’t admit I was quitting. But who would even notice?

Then I became intrigued with the fact that my great-great-grandmother came west over the Oregon Trail and purchased this farm after her husband died. I decided to try one more book and write her story.

I arrived at that 2012 PNWA conference ready to pitch that book, but dreaded stepping into the crowded room where authors would line up for their pitches. Agents and editors sat behind a long table, each with a chair opposite for the person pitching. We had three minutes—one minute to pitch, two minutes for conversation.
My book was nonfiction, but most of my still-viable work was historical fiction. So I selected agents and editors who accepted both.

It all went so efficiently I pitched everyone on my list and still had time. As I pondered what to do next, I saw New York agent Rita Rosenkranz at the long table. I had seen her at PNWA conferences before and liked her, but she only accepted nonfiction.

It occurred to me that what I had this day was nonfiction. I whispered to myself, “I need something—now. I can deal with the fiction later.” I walked over to Rita’s line. After I gave my pitch, she asked me to send her a proposal and three sample chapters.

I got seven requests for material that day, but as the responses trickled in, only one came back with an offer of representation. Rita Rosenkranz. In less than a year she cut a deal for my book with Globe Pequot Press/TwoDot imprint. A Place of Her Own was released in 2014.

But what about the fiction? Would Rita send me back out to the wilderness again? She not only accepted the fiction, she was delighted to represent it.

So now my historical novel, The Shifting Winds, is out. Same editor. Same house. Same pioneer era as the first. Although the main characters are fictional, a lot of real history wraps around their story.

My own story doesn’t end there. Rita is shopping more books for me. More historical novels. All this, because I didn’t give up, because I dared to walk into that dreaded pitching session—and because of a moment’s decision in a crowded room.

 Janet Fisher’s love of history and storytelling developed early when she heard
tales of her pioneer ancestors who traveled west over the Oregon Trail. Her first book, A Place of Her Own, tells of her great-great-grandmother who followed that trail and dared purchase a farm in the Oregon wilderness in 1868 after her husband died. Janet grew up on this farm, which she now owns and operates. After earning a master’s in journalism with honors from the University of Oregon, Janet taught college writing and wrote freelance for newspapers. Her new novel, The Shifting Winds, focuses on the same frontier period in American history.