Sunday, September 16, 2007

Visit With Marva Dasef

At a local Meet The Author Event last week, I met fellow participant, Marva Dasef and her father. It is her father who becomes the narrator of her book, "Tales of a Texas Boy." The tales are an eleven year old boy's view of life during the depression.
A collection of twenty stories that incorporate the events of family life with an occasional tall tale and provide a slice of history with a few good laughs and a great deal of warmth. See more of my inteview with Marva on my blog at or more about her at P.S. In her interview she adds a special tip about POD publishing. If that's a subject that interest you, check it out on my blog.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

September Reading Group

The book discussion begins on September 15 -

Be sure to join in!!

Our September read features Velda Brotherton's creative non-fiction tome entitled, Fly With the Mourning Dove. You can purchase the book at

You can also read a bit of the book here:


In this, my ninetieth year, I’ve returned once again to the New Mexico ranch I’ll forever call home. To this day, I get a thrill out of topping the hill between the sagebrush flats and the Tusas River valley. In the early light of dawn, the adobe house waits in the shadows far below, and I hurry to reach it, the car’s tires clattering over the wooden bridge that spans the Tusas river. I park, get out and move through the yard. Over the Sangre de Cristos, the sky is splashed with a brilliant glow that spreads crimson over the mountains. In my valley the darkness retreats, stirs a breeze that touches my cheek. If I turn from the rising sun, quickly and without warning, I see those who’ve left me behind—Mom and Pop, my one and only love Calvin and our precious Ann. The shimmering morning light offers them, real and alive, their laughter echoing across the San Juans far to the west. A high desert painting where shades of ochre contrast sharply with dense umbers. The mournful song of the doves and the chatter of swallows swooping in to deposit small dabs of mud beneath the eaves of the stucco house, speak of another time. A time when my world was young and filled with hope. Continue by clicking here.

For more information about Velda and her other books, visit her website and her blog.

Our discussion begins on September 15, so please join us at the Women Writing the West Reading Group. Then click on This Month's Selections.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Conference Count Down is ON!

The 2007 WWW conference — Peak Goals: Pen, Publish, Promote — will be here in a few blinks of the eye. And HAVE WE GOT A SHOW FOR YOU!

Cynthia, Jacque and the rest of the board have put together a rip roarin’ lineup for us. If you’re not comin’, you’re missin’ out big time!

Build better writing skills: plot, characterization, voice. Who among us doesn’t need that?
How to prepare a book proposal, synopsis and submission letter that will get results. Need I say more?
Use the Internet as a promotional tool. Anybody who’s been on the WWW Yahoo Listserv this past year has heard oodles about this, but do you know how to do it? Here’s your chance to find out!

And that’s just for starters.

Colorado Springs has so much to offer. Even if you were there last year, you’ve just scratched the surface. Come glory in Pikes Peak, the Garden of the Gods and the Rampart Range et al.

Best of all, you’ll see all those old friends – the gals you enjoyed at the conference last year – or maybe back in 2004 in Albuquerque. If you’ve never been to a WWW conference, you have NO IDEA what a treat is in store – just meeting the people, let alone what all you learn. Come put faces on those names on your Yahoo posts!

And don’t forget to take part in the Raffle. YOU TOO CAN BE A DONOR and thus help the organization in its most fun fundraiser. We want good stuff, mind you, but that means when YOU hold the winning ticket, what you get is going to be FIRST CLASS.

So throw your best jeans and most comfortable shoes in the suitcase and COME!!! Visit our website to learn more and to register, and contact Cynthia Becker, VP conference, with questions.

Registration deadline is Sept. 21.

See you there!
Posted by Sarah Rickman
President (2005) and WILLA Chair (2006)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Blog Book Tours

Hi All,

Hi All, I'll be doing a blog tour in October, talking about ethnic knitting techniques, showing how to design a sweater from scratch (including yarns, colors, stitches, and sizing), and talking about how to get started in a freelance career as a writer, and how illustrations are created for a book, amongst other things. I will be visiting 21 blogs over a three-week period, so this is a great chance for you to check out a lot of blogs you may not have discovered yet. A list of the blogs I'll be visiting is on my blog.

You'll notice that the Women Writing the West blog is on my tour schedule, as are the blogs of several WWW members.

For full disclosure, the tour is part of a launch of my next book, Ethnic Knitting Discovery, but it's not only for those who might be interested in buying the book. Many of the articles will contain practical information and techniques for knitters and writers. I try to make my blog tours stand alone articles that are full of useful information, instead of just a bunch of book reviews.

I used a blog book tour at the launch of my previous book, Arctic Lace, and it shot up in the rankings at an amazing rate, and the first printing sold out before the official book pubication date. I'll be sharing my experiences in online marketing at the Boulder Writer's Alliance Annual Expo on September 24 in Boulder, Colorado, and will be teaching an in-depth class about blogging and web marketing for writers at the Women Writing the West Conference on October 19-21 in Colorado Springs.

I hope my successes in online marketing inspire you to try out some new techniques to promote your own books.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Pam Munoz Ryan's "Paint the Wind" Fall Tour

Hello, Everyone!

As I put the summer issue of the WWW newsletter together, I was fortunate to communicate with our own Pam Munoz Ryan about her newest release, "Paint the Wind." She told me that she has a fall tour scheduled and she wanted me to share those dates with everyone.

For those in Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, this should be a real treat! I know I've marked my calendar for September 17 and I'm excited about and look forward to a good read!

Alice Trego
2007 WWW Newsletter Editor


Pam's Upcoming "Paint the Wind" Schedule:

Monday, Sept. 17th, 7 p.m.
King's English, Salt Lake City, UT

Tues, Sept. 18th (Call store for details)
Deseret Books, Salt Lake City, UT

Wed. Sept. 19th, 5 p.m.
Gardner's Book Services, Phoenix, AZ

Thursday, Sept. 20 (Call store for details)
Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ

Friday, Sept. 21 (Call store for details)
Phoenix Book Company, Phoenix, AZ

Monday, Sept. 24, 7 p.m.
Bookworks, Alburquerque, NM

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Ready for the Conference?

Don't forget that the Women Writing the West Conference is next month!

I just heard on the news that teenagers are flocking to knitting like crazy, a new "mini trend" that might be something to weave into stories for teens and young adults. Who knew?

Chances are we might know such details and others as we gear up for the conference. I've had the fun of corresponding with winners and finalists and this year we have firmed five of the 7 Winners attending and many of the finalists. New books to pick up; new people to meet. I'm ready. Now if I can just get this manuscript finished before I fly it'll make that time a whole lot more fun.

Last year at the business meeting we asked what it was people wanted so we could be sure to include those things this year and someone said, "why are you worried? We have to come here, it's where many of us get our vitality for writing, where we find other people to support our efforts and get jazzed." I'm hoping to get jazzed again in Colorado Springs. The list of agents and editors should be going up soon but I know for sure that one of those editors was the editor for a WILLA winner. They know what they're looking for and think our members have it! So get your manuscripts ready, too! I hope you are too.

Jane Kirkpatrick

Award-winning author of 13 novels and two non-fiction books. A Tendering in the Storm, Book Two in the Change and Cherish Series (WaterBrook Press/Random House) is available now! Enjoy.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Sherry Monahan on the History Channel

Hello All!

If you want to know all about Deadwood and the way it was before and after the fire, tune in to the History Channel.

On September 19, 2007 at 9:00 p.m. E.T., Lost Worlds is doing a show called, Sin City of the West. I am one of the investigators who goes all over town in search of clues to find the pre-fire town.

It was tons of fun to film and I want to do more!

This is a photo from the shoot. You can read more about the shoot and my crazy life on my own blog too -

I hope you can watch.

Marj Casswell's "A Place to Come Home To" Articulates the High Cost of Settling

Humans, even nomads, are settlers at heart. We want a place to come home to, a hearth to warm our hands around, and other humans to love us. Marj Casswell in "A Place to Come Home To" tells a story of these ordinary yearnings and the high price they exact from us.

In the opening frame of the novel a 40-year-old woman returns to her father's house where in her girlhood their rich Virginia tobacco farmland stretched in every direction. Time and change have intervened. Her mother and the land are gone, but six diaries from the year she was ten call out to her when she revisits her old room. The ending frame ripples through the years between ten and now, interpreting her life through the insights gained in her reflection the diaries have brought.

While the opening and closing frames give us a sense of context and the passage of time, the guts and heart of the book lie in the 38 chapters between these frames, as all revealing photographs do. Each chapter begins with an excerpt from these diaries written in the summer of 1956 when everything changed and the gravel pit came. The diary excerpts serve as epigrammatic themes for what lies ahead in each chapter. I read the book twice, and on the second reading, I began to title the chapters to keep better track of the ebb and flow of the book's action and interludes.
"A Place to Come Home To" is both a coming of age story for 10-year-old Meredith (Merri) Coopersmith and a losing of an age. On an intimate canvas Casswell paints the sweeping story of the loss of the family farms and the end of an era. No more will there be a time when the small family farm is a viable way of life.

Both within the Coopersmith nuclear family and extended family we see how land exerts its pull on some and how the pleasures of the city call others. Yearning, hard work, and even strategy cannot save the farm or even the innocence of the community. The gravel pit opens its gaping yaw and swallows up farm land that later will, in turn, be swallowed up by housing developments.

Casswell shows the turbulence inside normalcy. As the world around her changes, the rules around her change, curtailing her adventures on the farm. But her curiosity cannot be held in check. I feared something terrible would happen to Merri in the gravel pits.
Instead, we're shown in delicate and realistic detail the emotional and spiritual development of a young girl facing family and community conflict and dissolution of life as previously known. We are let inside the interior world of her imaginative daydreams and fantasies. Her parents love her and take good care of her, yet in spite of that, she feels the tension present in their marriage and wants to make it better for them in order to stabilize her world. She carries an adult sense of responsibility that alters her childhood, in spite of her Aunt Elizabeth's efforts to give her a childhood without cares back to her.

A thread of settling runs through the book--both the positive and negative conations. Merri's ancestors come to the land as settlers and set up a lumber mill. But, in a kind of fall from Eden, the first settling occurs: "they had to sell off most of the land with trees...because they needed money to live. That's when they went to growing tobacco. Everybody around here was [growing] it," her Uncle Lowell (who carries the spirit of the land) explains to her.

This selling off the resources of the land for cash becomes a precursor for the gravel pit contract that brings evil things into a young girl's world. Each generation has struggled with how to make a living off the land. Arguments have sprung up in each generation. There are those who want to husband and steward the land and those who are just desperate to make a go of it. As a result there's a slow decline of the land, and a sense of decay and struggle, despite the wish to restore what's been lost and the honoring of hard times to save a legacy.

The tension in the Coopersmith marriage between Ted and Ellie springs from these differences, as husband and wife want different things. Ted, working a job in town so he can stay on the farm, is sober and focused on labor. Ellie, a good mother, but a city girl at heart yearning for music, dancing, flower gardens, and good times. She's a city girl transplanted to the country, and the transplant didn't take. She's lonely. Ellie finds her husband boring, but has settled down into the marriage, if restlessly, and after a costly error. In this case she settles for a lack of vibrancy in relationship in order to avoid divorce and dies six years later. And Ted settles into his workshop, a world where there are things he can fix and do something about.

Casswell writes of subtle shifts through thematic explorations more than a novel driven by action and plot. This is a quiet, thoughtful and reflective story punctuated by lyrical passages of the workings of nature and a child's delight in the freedom of exploring the outdoors.
"A Place to Come Home To" gives us a big story in a small package. Its over-riding theme is that time moves on and we must change with the times.

Visit Janet Grace Riehl's blog "Riehl Life: Village Wisdom for the 21st Century" at for more thoughts and information about making connections through the arts, across cultures, generations, and within the family. You can also read sample poems and other background information from "Sightlines: A Poet's Diary" on Janet's website.