Heidi M. Thomas, author of Cowgirl Dreams, is galloping over the internet highway on her Blog Book Tour, and today she ties up her dusty virtual horse at the WWW hitchin’ post.
For the past three years, I was the editor of the Women Writing the West catalog of members’ books. I have gotten acquainted with many of our published authors that way, and added to my long list of “To Be Read” books. This year, my book, Cowgirl Dreams, will be in the catalog, along with many well-known western and historical authors, and I feel honored to be among them.
Women Writing the West was birthed in the early 1990s by Jerrie Hurd and Sybil Downing at an organizational meeting of the Women of the West Museum. It has since grown to more than 300 members and conducts a renowned writing contest, the WILLA Literary Awards, named for Willa Cather.
I first became aware of Women Writing the West in the late 1990s when I attended a Pacific Northwest Writers Conference in Seattle. Sybil Downing and Jeri Hurd were there, looking for books about women in the west. I was a volunteer and helped distribute handouts during their presentation. The seed was planted.
After I had written my book, Cowgirl Dreams, (or what was then twice as long and called “Memoirs of a Cowgirl”) I once again became aware of WWW and decided to join and attend a conference in Denver in 2002. I felt that might be the best venue to find an agent or publisher.
Over the years, I have made so many good friends through this group, not to mention meeting agents, editors, and film-makers. And, best of all, I made the connection to my publisher through WWW.
My writing and publishing experience exemplifies the saying “It’s not a destination, but a journey.” Every step of the way has been a learning experience and I look forward to continuing on that learning trip, with my WWW friends cheering, leading, and giving me a hand over the rough spots. That’s what we do in this group.
WWW is one of the most supportive, enthusiastic and caring groups I've been privileged to be a part of.
It is open to women and men writing about the west or in the west, and includes well-known western and historical authors, such as Sandra Dallas, Molly Gloss, Louise Erdrich. and Jane Kirkpatrick.
An excerpt from Cowgirl Dreams. Nettie expects a special birthday present and ends up with one I would have preferred.
The heady roasted aroma of coffee roused Nettie from a drowsy slumber. December 17. Her fifteenth birthday. I wonder what kind of presents I’ll get. The boots? I hope, I hope. She picked up her diary and pen from where they’d dropped on her chest as she’d dozed off earlier and slipped from her warm bed.
Frost etched leafy designs on the window, and she could see her breath. Shivering, she pulled on a heavy wool sweater and a pair of Joe’s hand-me-down wool pants over her long johns. She jammed her already sock-clad feet into boots that were scuffed and wrinkled as an old man’s face, also well broken in by her older brother. It sure would be nice to have some new ones.
She shuffled out of her room, through the living room, and paused at the kitchen door to soak up the warmth that radiated from the snapping fire in the cook stove. Mama dipped pancake batter onto the griddle as fatback popped and sizzled. Nettie gulped in the tantalizing smells. Her younger brothers, Ed and Chuck, were already seated in their places. Esther pounded a spoon on her high chair. In the middle of the table was a frosted cake with fifteen white candles surrounded by several wrapped packages. Hmm, is one of them big enough for boots?
(AUTHOR’S NOTE: Nettie opens several packages before she gets to the last, mysterious one.)
The next small package held a blue satin hair ribbon. “Oh, how pretty.”
“That’s from Esther.”
Nettie blinked. Strange, how this little bit of fabric made her want to tear up. She didn’t usually cotton to frilly things.
“And this one’s from us.” Mama handed Nettie a box.
Nettie held her breath. Was it big enough? It looked a little small. Surely it would be the boots.
She ripped open the paper, ignoring her mother’s frown. Mama liked to save wrapping paper to reuse. That’s okay. This piece has been well-used already. Nettie opened the box and sniffed. It didn’t really smell like leather.
Inside were several paperback western romances. Books. She loved books, but Nettie wanted to cry. No boots. Didn’t they know how much she wanted those shiny black boots with fancy green stitching?
She looked up Mama’s beaming face. Her mother usually looked askance when she caught Nettie poring over the Ranch Romance magazines and dime novels at the Cut Bank Merc. Studying a textbook or reading a cookbook was all right, but usually Mama considered this “paperback trash” a waste of time.
Nettie put on what she hoped was a bright smile. “Thanks, Mama, Papa.” She did love to read. Her mother must be softening a little. “These are great. I can hardly wait to read them.”
She finished her breakfast and tried not to think of boots.
Cowgirl Dreams is available from my website (autographed) http://www.heidimthomas.com or my publisher Treble Heart Books http://www.trebleheartbooks.com/SDHeidiThomas.html
Join me tomorrow at my next blog tour stop at Equestrian Ink http://equestrianink.blogspot.com/ “Women Compete With Men.” For a complete schedule of my tour, go to my blog http://heidiwriter.wordpress.com
Heidi M. Thomas