Friday, December 12, 2008

Cowgirl Dreams
By Heidi M. Thomas

Defying family and social pressure, Nettie Brady bucks 1920s convention with her dream of becoming a rodeo star. That means competing with men, and cowgirls who ride the rodeo circuit are considered “loose women.” Addicted to the thrill of pitting her strength and wits against a half-ton steer in a rodeo, Nettie exchanges skirts for pants, rides with her brothers on their Montana ranch, and competes in neighborhood rodeos.

Broken bones, killer influenza, flash floods, and family hardship team up to keep Nettie from her dreams. Then she meets a young neighbor cowboy who rides broncs and raises rodeo stock. Will this be Nettie’s ticket to freedom and happiness? Will her rodeo dreams come true?

Based on the life of the author’s grandmother, a real Montana cowgirl.

Published by Treble Heart Books

Order from Treble Heart Books Here

Order from Heidi's Website Here


Desert Cut: A Lena Jones Mystery
By Betty Webb

While scouting locations for a film documentary on Arizona’s Apache Wars, private investigator Lena Jones and Oscar-winning director Warren Quinn discover the mutilated body of a young girl.
The gruesome manner of the child’s death evokes memories of Lena’s own rough childhood. Despite clashing with the local law, Lena investigate’s the child’s death and discovers a small town with a big secret.
Los Perdidos is not the Eden it first appears. Founded by the descendants of pioneers who fought Geronimo, it now holds a significant population of documented and undocumented foreign-born residents who live and work at the local chemical plant. Lena senses a sinister force at work in the town -- but where?
The still vivid memory of Geronimo’s war mixes with the modern immigration war, and the hard life on the Arizona/Mexico border contrasts with Hollywood’s slick production meetings, and the cruelty of an ancient practice is tempered by a growing underground railroad fighting to save its young victims.

Published by Poisoned Pen Press

Purchase from Amazon Here

Also available at stores everywhere


The Anteater of Death
By Betty Webb

In The Anteater of Death, an innocent anteater gets framed for murder.

But if Lucy, the pregnant giant anteater from Belize didn't kill the man found dead in her enclosure, who did? California zookeeper Teddy Bentley must find the real murderer before her furry friend is shipped off in disgrace to another zoo.

Then another human bites the dust, the monkeys riot, and the Mexican gray wolves go nuts. Things get even worse when the snooty folks at Gunn Landing Harbor attempt to evict Teddy from the Merilee, her beloved houseboat. And that's just the beginning of Teddy's woes. Her father, on the lam for embezzling millions, gets targeted by a local gangster; Caro, Teddy's socialite mother, a former beauty queen who loathes Teddy's dangerous job, starts introducing her to "eligible bachelors." But Teddy has already given her heart to Sheriff Joe Rejas, a migrant worker's son. Caro is not pleased.

Behind-the-scenes zoo life, animal lore, and the leaky ups and downs of Central Coast California houseboat living create a thrilling backdrop for murder -- and yes, a little romance.

Published by Poisoned Pen Press

Purchase from Amazon Here

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Harvest of Books in Palmer Lake

Recently in Palmer Lake they had the Harvest of Books and a number of WWW members were there. I attended with my trusty little camera and took some pictures. The event showcased authors whose books are published by Filter Press. Although I was unable to stay for the full event, I had the wonderful experience of connecting with members I knew and those I had only corresponded with on the web. Not only were the authors were able to talk about their books they also gave presentations from the stage.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New Children's Book by WWW Member Pat Gott

Horse Tails by Shasta is my new children's horse book "hot off
the press". I'm excited as it's the first of a series of five
children's horse stories I'm going to write, with Deborah DeShon

A horse named Shasta tells the story of his life in this fun, informative children's book. Every page is colorfully illustrated. Shasta's adventures include trying to befriend a porcupine, snowman, kid goat, neighborhood ponies and dogs. By the time other horses finally join him in his pasture, his antics of getting loose and wandering his neighborhood free have become a habit. Shasta lived to be 30 years old.

The story is true.

by Pat Gott

Friday, November 14, 2008

Linda Sandifer Contest Reminder

I want to remind everyone that the contest/giveaway I'm conducting for those who have read my recent novel, The Last Rodeo, will close on December 1st and the drawing will take place December 2nd. For details about the contest--and to see the gorgeous prize--go to the September 18th post on my blog:

Friday, November 07, 2008

Thank You to WWW

Quite some time ago, one member supplied us with an e mail reference to the Internet Address of The American Life Histories, Manuscripts from the Federal Writers Project, 1936-1940. They have been incredibly interesting reading for me and are now being used in some unique ways to celebrate Oregon's 150th birthday. A big thank you to to the woman who supplied the connection. If you're interested in reading more about what we're doing, check out my blog site

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

October and The Conference

What an amazing month October has been. Looking at the new releases from our members and having met so many others at the conference in San Antonio, I am still in awe of all we are accomplishing. If we only get ten people to rethink the west and our part in its beginings and its continued growth we are making progress. When I say ten, I mean ten per person. There is so much we have and continue to provide to this place we call the west.

As I made the drive from Colorado to San Antonio and back I had many hours to let my mind take it's journey into what it means to be a writer and perfomance artist. I can only say that the people I have met and continue to meet grow me into an even greater creative person. Whether I ever have a novel published or an album released I know that I will always be welcomed. Even as I take the time to write this bit, I am in the throes of the 'nanowrimo' commitment, due to my connections with this orginization.

I am also looking forward to taking over the newsletter, learning how that works and sharing what all of you have to offer over time.

Thank you to everyone. It has been and continues to be a pleasure.

Friday, October 31, 2008

November New Releases

Cause and Conscience
By Mara Purl

Like a magnet, the unfinished Clarke mansion overlooking the Cove draws Deputy Delmar Johnson, battered wife Stacey Chernak, rebellious environmentalist Susan Winslow and missing reporter Chris Christian--- whose diary comes to light. And while wildlife painter Miranda Jones escapes to an entirely new adventure in Alaska, Zack Calvin tries to recover from his brush with death and sinks deeper into a tangled romance with Cynthia Radcliffe. Sally O'Mally's conscience tells her to confess an ancient sin to her old love, disabled veteran Tony Fiorentino; Zelda McIntyre proves she has no conscience at all, and the deep issues of higher purpose are tackled in the private journal of Samantha Hugo....

Published by Haven Books

Order from Haven Books Here


Hard Face Moon

By Nancy Oswald

Hides Inside is thirteen winters—old enough to yearn to be a warrior. His brother, Standing Tall, has given him the first lesson, “A Cheyenne does not fight his own people.” Not even when other boys taunt him because he cannot speak.

On a dim night during the season of the hard face moon, Hides Inside witnesses the unprovoked attack on the Cheyenne that came to be known as the Sand Creek Massacre. His determination to join a warrior society is hardened, but will he follow Standing Tall in the ways of peace?

In her second work of historical fiction, Nancy Oswald again turns to the clash of cultures that was an inevitable part of the settling of the American frontier. Her previous novel, Nothing Here But Stones, received a WILLA Award in 2005.

"Hard Face Moon is a heartrending story of broken promises, close to the earth and sky and to the heart of the Cheyenne people. It is an important look at one of the most shameful events in the history of the American West."
– Mary Peace Finley
Author of the Santa Fe Trail Trilogy
Soaring Eagle, White Grizzly, and Meadow Lark

Published by Filter Press

Order from Filter Press Here


The White Gates

By Bonnie Ramthun

When his mother becomes the doctor in Snow Park, Colorado, twelve-year-old Torin Sinclair learns of a curse placed on the town’s doctors many years before by an eccentric Ute woman, but suspects that a modern-day villain is hiding behind the curse.

Kirkus reviews says: “Ramthun delivers fast-paced, solid entertainment that is accessible and fun and laced with plenty of facts about snowboarding on the side. A rollicking downhill read.”

The White Gates is honored as a Junior Library Guild premiere selection for 2008.

Published by Random House Children's Books

Order From Amazon Here


Days of Eternity

By Louise Lenahan Wallace

Zane and Larissa Edwards, rearing their children Mac and Rose on the family farm, foresee the future spinning out as contentedly as their past. But then, Civil War erupts, shattering their lives and dreams. Zane joins the Sixth Ohio Volunteer Cavalry and is sent to Fort Laramie in Nebraska Territory.

His friend Ethan Michaels, a widower with a young daughter, Charity, having promised Zane he will help Larissa with the work, moves to the farm as a hired hand. Ten-year-old Mac begins studying medicine under the town’s crusty doctor. But the war clutches each one in its merciless fist.

… Waiting at home, Larissa must endure the day-by-day agony of not knowing whether Zane will survive the fighting and return to her.

… Ethan struggles to reconcile his growing love for Larissa, the wife of his best friend, with the trust Zane has put in him to watch over his family until he returns from war.

…With the war threatening to destroy all Mac holds dear, even his dreams of becoming a doctor are caught in its unrelenting grip.

Published by Lee Emory, Treble Heart Books

Order from Treble Heart Books Here

Chipeta: Ute Peacemaker

By Cynthia S. Becker

Chipeta: Ute Peacemaker is the eleventh in the Now You Know Bio series from Filter Press. Chipeta was a member of the Tabeguache band of Utes and wife of Chief Ouray. She was partner to her husband during a time of expansion by white settlers into tribal homelands and transition from nomadic lifestyle to settlement on reservation lands. After Ouray's death, Chipeta continued as a leader of her people and a force for conciliation and peaceful resolution of conflicts.

Author Cynthia S. Becker collaborated with P. David Smith on an earlier biography, Chipeta: Queen of the Utes, published by Western Reflections in 2003.

Published by Filter Press Books

Order From Filter Press Books Here

Order From Amazon Here


Hearts On The Wind

By Leslee Breene

In 1876, Minnesota farm girl Ingrid Johansson meets St. Paul railroad heir Andreas Eriksen.

Unwittingly they become embroiled in a triangle of passion, deception, and revenge when their love pits them against Andreas’ stepsister and the turmoil of the Great Chicago Rail Strike.

"For a peek into the early years of the railroad industry and a heartwarming story of love and the struggle to maintain it, don't miss HEARTS ON THE WIND."
~ Romance Reviews Today

“A well-researched novel about the early days of the

Great Northern Railroad. Fascinating plot twists and a poignant romance make this a splendid read.”

~Jane Candia Coleman

Silver Spur Award

Published by Five Star Expressions

Order From Amazon Here

Order From Five Star Expressions Here


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

New Release by Jo-Brew

"Anne Marie's New Melody," my latest novel has been released. It is the last in the series of three northwest women and the retirement choices they make. It is now available through some independent book stores and through as well as other on line sources.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

October New Release

The Search for Justice
By Judy and Ronald Culp

Tilman Wagner is back, this time with his new wife Catherine and her son. In response to a telegraphed plea for help from Catherine’s sister-in-law, Esperanza, the new family is on their way to the New Mexico Territory to help Catherine’s brother try to save his land and his family from greedy cattle rustlers and no-account lowlifes.

They get more than they bargained for in the form of a wayward son’s rage against his father, a stolen herd of cattle, and some unsavory citizens of the Texas cattle town of Tascosa. The roots of greed extend to Santa Fe where dishonest men are hard at work to skin the family out of its land.

Along the way, Tilman calls in a favor from cattleman John Chisum at the Bosque Redondo. Once again, Butter Pegram is on hand to help Tilman in his attempts to aid a frontier family struggling with their search for justice.

This is the third book in the Telegraph Series and is due for release on October 21, 2008.

Published by Avalon Books

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Oral Stories

I had the wonderful experience of listening to an oral story from our visitors over the summer. It is amazing how many people want to tell you their stories. Although I enjoy working in the 'historic' period, I also treasure the stories I hear from those who are living now.

One of the stories was from a lady in Arizona who had been to the Pikes Peak region as a child. She went on to tell me the memories she had of her uncles and grandfather who had performed Native American dances at Seven Falls and The Manitou Cliff dwellings. She was here now to show her own grandchildren what she remembered. The one thing she would not do was drive to the top of Pikes Peak. She said as a child she was afraid, not of falling off the side, but of getting to the top and falling over onto the other side. As she told the story you could see her eyes light up as she remembered that innocent time. She wanted her grandchildren to have those same experiences to pass on to their children and grandchildren.

I will be talking more about oral stories on my website and blog. I think that sometimes we are so busy with our own lives we forget the wonderful gifts we receive when we take the time to listen to other peoples stories. Everyone has one or more to tell. As writers it is our gift to take those stories and make them accessible to the rest of the world.

Doris McCraw

Monday, September 22, 2008

Jane Kirkpatrick at Wisconsin's Quilt Expo

Last week I had the pleasure of seeing former WWW President Jane Kirkpatrick's presentation about her soon-to-be-released book AURORA: AN AMERICAN EXPERIENCE IN QUILT, COMMUNITY AND CRAFT, at the Quilt Expo in Madison, Wisconsin.

What a treat! Jane was, as always, a superb speaker. And the stories and gorgeous illustrations she shared make me eager to read the book. Her Change and Cherish seris of historical novels were inspired by her research about the community of Aurora.

Kathleen Ernst,
WWW President

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Excerpt from The Last Rodeo

I've posted an excerpt from Chapter One of my new book, The Last Rodeo, on my blog. If you'd like to read it, you can go to .

Sunday, September 07, 2008

No Rainbows by Jo-Brew

Trying a new approach to keep my second blog current, I've begun posting a continued short story. I hope some of you will take a look. Jo-

Friday, September 05, 2008

September New Releases

Colorado Scenic Byways
Taking the Other Road
Text By Susan J. Tweit
Photographs By Jim. Steinberg

Colorado's Governor Ritter has chosen Colorado Scenic Byways: Taking the Other Road, Susan J. Tweit's latest collaboration with photographer Jim Steinberg, as his "personal gift" for the 30 Democratic governors attending the Democratic National Convention in Denver. The two-volume set of books details the sights and stories of Colorado's twenty-five byway routes, from the ruler-straight roads crossing the expansive plains to the oft-overlooked foothills, and from the Jeep trails ascending to nosebleed heights in the high peaks to the vivid canyon country of western Colorado. Colorado Scenic Byways is due to be released in September, when Tweit and Steinberg will criss-cross the state doing book-signings. (Check for a signing near you.) Tweit says the duo is "thrilled" by the Governor's choice.

Published by Portfolio Publications


By Irene Bennett Brown

Laila Mitchell has little money, her medical knowledge, a medicine kit, and the clothes on her back when she sets out to search for her last living relatives in 1890's Oregon.

Stranded in the Snake River Canyon, she settles into a small mining community named Venture and from there she serves as practical nurse to scattered miners and settlers. Laila is soon entangled in the hardships of frontier life, guardianship of a "wild child" and reluctant attraction to peach rancher and hotel owner, Ash Corbett. As she faces problems with courage and verve, a magical, never-dreamed-of future opens. Which can be hers, if only she can let go of her heart-breaking past.


Click to Order Haven from Barnes and Noble

Click to order Haven from

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Susan Tweit's New Release Chosen as a Gift for Diplomats at the Democratic National Convention

Colorado's Governor Ritter has chosen Colorado Scenic Byways: Taking the Other Road, Susan J. Tweit's latest collaboration with photographer Jim Steinberg, as his "personal gift" for the 30 Democratic governors attending the Democratic National Convention in Denver, as well as Senators Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and their families.

The two-volume set of books details the sights and stories of Colorado's twenty-five byway routes, from the ruler-straight roads crossing the expansive plains to the oft-overlooked foothills, and from the Jeep trails ascending to nosebleed heights in the high peaks to the vivid canyon country of western Colorado. Colorado Scenic Byways is due to be released in September, when Tweit and Steinberg will criss-cross the state doing book-signings. (Check for a signing near you.) Tweit says the duo is "thrilled" by the Governor's choice.

Be sure to check the following link for Susan's appearances in the month of September.

Susan, a member of Women Writing the West, is the author of a range of books on wildlife and landscapes, among many other subjects. Her work has appeared in a variety of magazines including, Audubon Magazine, Popular Mechanics, and the Los Angeles Times.

Susan has received a host of awards including the USDA Award of Merit, the Best Trade Book (Pieces of Light) from the Rocky Mountain Book Publishers Association, and the Outstanding Science Trade Book for Children (City Foxes), among many others.

Susan's host of anthologies, feature articles, essays and books can be found in libraries, bookstores and newspapers. While you're out and about, you might just spot her giving talks and readings at the Denver Botanical Gardens, museums, and universities throughout Colorado and many other states.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

July and August New Releases

Night Freeze

By Lee Emory
A thriller, edge-of-your-seat tour of a doctor and her family marked for death, a task force cop who tries to make sense of multiple gruesome killings. There are tragedies in life which permanently sculpt how people spend the rest of their lives, but can they stay sane?

ISBN: 978-1-932695-76-2
WhoooDoo Mysteries, a Division of Treble Heart Books

Order from Treble Heart Books Here


Charley's Choice: The Life and Times of Charley Parkhurst
By Fern J. Hill

Charley Parkhurst ran away from an orphanage, worked hard learning horse craft, and, over the ensuing years, earned a hallmark reputation driving a six-up in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Georgia, and California during the gold rush era. When death overtook Charley, many long-time friends and acquaintances were astounded to learn the tough old stage-driver was a well-endowed woman who had given birth at some point in her life. A member of the all male Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Charley was the only woman known to have voted in California during the 1868 federal election, fifty-two years before women won the right to vote.

ISBN 0-7414-4643-X
Infinity Publishing

Order from Buy Books on the Web Here
Order from Here

The Last Rodeo
By Linda Sandifer
A professional bull rider's decision to retire from rodeo thrusts him into conflict with his freewheeling dad and brother, and into the arms of a woman he dare not love. A story of love, regret, conviction, and the journey of a family in transition.

ISBN-10: 098163320x Order from Here
ISBN-13: 978-0-9816332-0-6 Order from Barnes & Noble Here
Strathaven Books


Journey to Tracer's Point

By Gwyn Ramsey
Lured into a get-rich scheme in 1849, Caroline Anderson is abandoned along the Oregon Trail and is forced to make a life threatening decision. Determined to survive, she pushes forward to find her brother-in-law and obtain her husband’s share of the claim.

ISBN: 978-1-932695-74-8
Treble Heart Books

Order from Treble Heart Books Here

Along the Grapvine Trail
By Starley Talbott

South Dakota, Wyoming, and Nebraska may not spring to mind when people think of wine, but all three states have thriving grape growing and wine-making businesses and a burgeoning reputation among wine connoisseurs. Author, Starley Talbott, introduces readers to many vineyards and wineries, from award-winning, large-scale vintners to family-oriented growers. Information about growing techniques, harvesting, crushing, fermenting, and bottling fill the pages and provide an excellent resource for visitors. Follow the suggested route and visit one or all. Enthusiastic growers and wonderful wines await you at each stop. The book also provides an arm chair journey for those who can't visit in person. It tells the fascinating stories of these modern-day pioneers who have ventured into a new agricultural and tourism enterprise.

ISBN: 978-0-9777955-7-4

South Dakota State Historical Society Press

Order from Here

Order from at Here
This book can also be ordered from Target

A...My Name's Amelia
(Large Print Edition Release)
By Joanne Sundell

Amelia Anne Polley, deafened at a young age, must again learn to communicate. Forced to grow up on the frontier at the Colorado Institute for the Education of Mutes, Amelia is determined to live life the way she dreamed. Her dream did not include becoming a mail-order bride to rancher Aaron Zachary. Can Amelia and Aaron find love through a different language - the language of love?

ISBN 10: 1597227900
ISBN 13: 978 159722902
Wheeler Publishing/Gale Cengage

Order from all online bookstores including

Gems of Yesterday: The poetry and Philosophy of Bee Lewis

By Bee Lewis (Author), Erwin A. Thompson (Editor)

Gems of Yesterday: The poetry and Philosophy of Bee Lewis has been a labor of love for editor and long-time friend, Erwin A. Thompson. Each of the 274 poems in this book was carefully selected and typed by Mr. Thompson as a tribute to a man he thought of as a kindred spirit and mentor. The poems span a period of close to four decades and cover a rare glimpse of a bygone era. The subject matter ranges from the personal to the philosophical, from dialect to description.


iUniverse, Inc.

Order from Here


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Linda Sandifer to be Featured in IDAHO Magazine

I wanted to share the news that IDAHO Magazine will be running a feature article on me in their September issue. The article is written by fellow Idaho author Bill Corbett (Buddy, His Trials and Treasures--wa/Will Edwinson). The article will focus on how my ranching background has influenced my writing. If anyone is interested in reading the article, you can purchase a copy from the magazine's website ( The September issue will be released at the end of August. What an honor to be featured in this wonderful magazine!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Coming Soon...

New Releases

We will be posting the new releases each month, so check back often!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Joy of Research

As the summer months roll away I think of the time spent in libraries, museums and my own archives. Summer is typically a 'slower' time when the heat of the day causes us to take time off from our frantic activities. Usually as I sit with a glass of tea or water I think of what my next project will be, or if currently working on one what my next step will be. As I think through the possibilities I get excited again for what I do.

For me those times when I can put the diary or book from long ago in my hands I feel as if I am returning to that time. For my research into the history of an area or for my characters I portray that going back in time is essential. Whenever I get the chance to actually feel the old newspapers I get such a rush of joyful feeling. I am holding a piece of history that someone from that time also had in their hands. For me that is a great gift.

In this day of computers and online information I find sometimes I just want to go back and get the 'feel' of what may have happened in the earlier time. For those of us who recreate that past it is the gift we are giving to our readers or those of us who perform, our audience.

May this summer be a time of re-creating for all of you and have fun with those books, diaries and memories.

Doris McCraw

Monday, June 30, 2008

Loving the West

Doris is right. Writing does feel good. It's something that you have to do. You can't put it aside, or it looms over you. It's a constant learning process - one I know will never end. I think that's what makes it so exciting.

I've been planning out my WIP not only on the computer, but driving down the road, talking with my husband, or walking through the grocery isle. Ideas just pop up at the oddest times. I love to sit at the computer and immerse myself in the West, or crack open the myriad of books on the many subjects of the 19th century (my favorite time period). Characters, places, and events are constantly appearing up on new websites. I just can't get enough!

Thursday, June 26, 2008


As I write this I keep thinking of the song Summertime from Porgy and Bess. That piece, along with the whole opera, was ahead of its' time in many ways. As writers I wonder how many times we are willing to be ahead of our time or do we stay with the tried and true?

There is something comforting about what we know and knowing we usually do it well. Still for me there is that small voice that says 'go ahead give it a try'. In many ways that voice has allowed me to do many things I may never have thought of. I wrote my first murder mystery play because someone said can you do it and I said yes. The same went for the one woman show I wrote and performed over ten years ago.

Now I am returning to my writing roots. It feels good, but am I ready to write what I feel I need to say or will I go with what is popular? As I plant the seeds of my future garden in this summer heat, I do hope they will grow to be useful. If not, at least I had fun tending the garden.

Doris McCraw

Monday, June 09, 2008

Linda Sandifer - New Book Now Available

My new book, The Last Rodeo, is now available. You can order it from your favorite bookstore or through Barnes and Noble online, as well as Amazon. If you'd like an autographed copy, contact me personally at . Here's the cover and back cover blurb:

The long road home --

Dev Summers wants nothing more than to quit the grind of the rodeo and return to his grandfather's Nevada ranch. At thirty-five, and battling serious injuries, his decision to retire from professional bull riding thrusts him into conflict with his freewheeling dad and brother. . .and into the arms of July Jones, a woman he dare not love.

Running from a failed marriage and an empty life, July is searching for meaning to her existence. She seeks sanctuary at the ranch with Dev, her long-time friend and confidante. As she struggles with her own inner conflict and her growing desire to be more than Dev's friend, she becomes the catalyst that sets his family on a course they did not seek, nor could have foreseen. But before their broken lives can mend, tragedy and a murderous plot will force them to face what they have become.

Filled with heartbreak, passion, and hope, The Last Rodeo, is an enthralling story of love, regret, conviction, and the unforgettable journey of a family in transition.

"Great story-telling, a stunning sense of place. . .one of the finest and most authentic western novels to come along in ages." Irene Bennett Brown, author of The Bargain

"The Last Rodeo brings the world of professional bull riders into sharp focus--the swagger, the glory, the danger, the pain--along with the pride and heartache of the women who love them." Dee Marvine, author of The Lady Rode Bucking Horses

Strathaven Books
ISBN 978-0-9816332-0-6
U.S. $16.95

Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Newest Newsletter Hits Cyberspace

Have you had a chance to read through the Spring 2008 Women Writing the West Newsletter? It's all there in living color, with a stockpile of articles from Jane Kirkpatrick, Kathleen Ernst, Susan J. Tweit, and many other WWW members.

Sherry Monahan touches on the Ten Tips for Successful Marketing, which covers a range of ideas to get your book out there to the readers. Surprising to most new writers, marketing your own book is a large part of the publication process. Monahan gives ideas on how to get the reader interested, reading and sharing with others.

Anne Schroeder goes on to give us an experienced account of her marketing tactics. From booking radio shows to book signings - which have led to other writing and teaching opportunities - to emailing press kits to various places. This very interesting article is worth reading for both new and experienced writers.

Follow Cynthia Leal Massey as she digs for information about a somewhat hidden cemetery in Helotes, Texas alongside an unusual residence covered with gargoyles and chimney pots. But wait, is it a cemetery? There are headstones, some engraved names...but are there bodies? Are they really there? Massey searches through records, talks to locals and finally gets to the bottom of the mystery. Scroll down through the newsletter and read all about her adventures.

For members, there are several pages of information on getting your books advertised in the 2009 Women Writing the West Catalog, along with information on the upcoming October Women Writing the West Conference.

Be sure to thank Alice Trego, Mary Trimble and Jenny Hancey for a beautiful job of planning, designing and editing the newsletter.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Does the Earth Need Us?

That's the question I'll be exploring in two talks on two successive nights, June 5 & 6th, for the prestigious Collegiate Peaks Forum Series here in Salida, Colorado. I'm honored and a bit intimidated to be the first-ever local to be asked to speak in a series that has included Nobel laureates and the like.

Here's the teaser:

Does the Earth Need People?
June 5: No—unless. . . .
Unless we learn to live more generously. Looking at Earth as a natural system, no species is indispensable, even humans. (Turns out it isn't all about us!) If we aren't essential to life on this unique blue planet—the only home we've ever known, who is? And where do we fit? The pluses and minuses of Homo sapiens as members of this complex global system.

June 6: . . .Getting to Yes
What do we do that no other species does? How can our lives contribute to life on Earth so that we belong in what Aldo Leopold called the "community of the land"? A personal look at an "accidental" land restoration project and what it teaches about staying connected and having a positive impact on the planet we share.

If you're in south-central Colorado June 5 & 6, come to the historic Salida SteamPlant Event Center on the banks of the Arkansas River in downtown Salida at seven each evening. The Series is free, thanks to the foundation that sponsors the talks every summer.

Susan Tweit

Sunday, May 25, 2008

They Came to Kansas

My father, Erwin A. Thompson, became enthralled with a recent discussion on the Women Writing the West listserve concerning the mid-day meal. He discovered and transcribed this story written by Audery Blackburn Johnston,the wife of my great-uncle (on my mother's side), Floren Johnston. A. Schooley,one of the travelers in this story, was Audery Johnston's great grandfather.
Notice that in this account of their journey, they say "nooned" for the noon stop. My father says, "The heritage told of in this story is mine only by marriage, but these were a great, rugged people. Refined, perhaps by the years of so-called progress, but the strain is still alive." Here, then, "They Came to Kansas." --Janet Grace Riehl

by Audery Blackburn Johnston

"June 15, 1865, R. Schooley, Vincent Scott, and James Esters left home in Cumberland County, Illinois, for Kansas, tavelled 17 miles, and camped for the night on the edge of the prairie. Rested good."

Thus begins the saga of over a century ago.
Mr. Schooley begins his account with the actual start of the journey, saying nothing of the work and planning needed for such a trip. Louisa Harmon, future daughter in law of R. Schooley, who came to Kansas three years later, gave a detailed account of the preparation.
"Father made his (wagon) to suit the occasion. He first made the front and back wheels quite a distance apart for a wagon. Then he put a bed on. Besides his own family, Father brought a niece and nephew to Kansas. Altogether, 13 slept in the wagon, and three men slept on the ground.
Of the farewell to his friends and neighbors she says: "Well do I remember the morning that we left. We all met at the corner, and what a crowd there was to tell us goodbye. When we said goodbye then it was almost for good."
One the second day the Schooleys and their friends made better time. "Broke camp at ten o'clock, nooned at Shelbyville, travelled 26 miles, and rested good."
For several days the journey continued uneventfully. Only 15 miles were travelled on Sunday, then: "Camp was made on the south bank of the Sangomon, and we laid over until Monday morning. The country around Springfield is described as rolling, and in some places quite hilly, but fine farming country and in a fine state of cultivation."
Why the route the caravan followed bore so far to the north is unexplained. Possibly it was because of the difficulty of crossing rivers. On the 22nd of June the group reached the Mississippi which they crossed on a ferry at 4 o'clock. They then traveled north up the river bottom which was very level and rich, with corn growing about waist high.
(** Editor's note: This was late June. The old farmer's almanac stated that corn needed to be "knee high by the fourth of July.")
The train travelled southward, through a country "very broken and hilly," but the travellers made steady progress across Missouri through Macon City, Chilacothe, and Saint Joe. By the eighth of July, they reached Kansas after crossing the river at Saint Joe. They "travelled down the west bottom to Atchison where they turned off to Topeka where they crossed the stranger, nooned on a fine prairie, and camped for the night at Grasshopper Falls."
On the ninth of July, R. Schooley wrote: "We crossed the crick on a fine bridge and from there to Topeka on the Kansas River. Topeka stands on a high elevation, and many buildings were of stone. The State House is of rock and is a fine house. Travelled thirty miles today."
On the next day misfortune overtook the travellers: "We camped about two miles south of Topeka, and there came a heavy rain, and we got a fine drenching. Next morning, Monday, the tenth, we started without our breakfast, and travelled 12 miles to Mrs. West's, where we had breakfast about eleven o'clock. On the way we crossed six mile crick and the Waskarusa River. Stopped at Mrs. West's one-and half-days."
After passing through Empora and Burlington and crossing the Weshon, Cottonwood and other rivers and "Cricks", the group finally found what they found what they were seeking: Free Land! In Neosho and Allen Counties they took claims. They had been on the road nearly six weeks.
Food for the journey must have been carried with the travellers, they bought very little on the way. According to Reuben Schooley's account he spent only $4.45 for food. Most of it was for crackers and bread. The only exception being "five cents for onions." "Furridge" across the Mississippi River was $4.70. Hay and corn for the horses was $9..20.
Today, R. Schooley lies just inside the gate of the Seanasa Cemetery in Neosho County. His was the first grave in the plot that he and his friends selected as a suitable burying ground.
Rest in peace, The Pioneers. Our heritage.