Sunday, December 31, 2006

No New Year's Resolutions for This Writer!

I don't make New Year's Resolutions any more. I think they set people up for failure. I used to work with a woman who would make this huge list of resolutions every January, so ambitious that she'd be feeling like a failure on the 15th of the month! Around that time, I decided not to even make resolutions any more. Instead, from Thanksgiving to New Years I try to have a light work load so I can spend time reflecting on the past year and rejuvinating my creativity. I try to have a lot of time to sit around a do nothing but think, so I can discover my focus for the coming year. I usually read a book about creativity or writing during this period, as well. This year I read A Writer's San Francisco, the second book in a series of "guided journeys for the creative soul" by Eric Maisel. Last year I read A Writer's Paris, the first in the series.

Both books are wonderful, inspirational texts that will help any writer find creative energy and meaning through their work. The first book made me want to get out and travel the world, using the opportunity to hone my senses and gather new experiences for my writing. It was wonderful, as far as that goes, but I don't generally have the money to fly off to Paris for a month, or even a week, to feed my creative soul. You can tell Maisel lives in San Francisco, while he himself has been only a tourist in Paris, because the second book brings writing home. It makes you appreciate your own home town, even if it's not as artist-friendly as San Francisco, and it offers an illuminating look inside a successful writer's daily life with out the rules and regulations so often laid out in "a writer's life" type of book. I highly recommend this book for all aspiring, struggling, and successful writers.

So, back to New Year's Resolutions (you thought I forgot, didn't you?). This year I've decided that my focus for 2007 will be to improve my writing. So far, I'm planning to take a couple of workshops throughout the year, work on some exercises in books I bought years ago that I read but never "did", go on a writing retreat in May, and attend the Women Writing the West conference in October.

The point is not to check these specific things off my list, but rather to focus throughout the year on one goal: to improve my writing. This to do list is merely a way to nail down what that means, but there are other ways to improve my writing as well. The most important being to write every day. (Every weekday, anyway.) This year I started going to a cafe every morning for 2 hours to write. It has been an amazing experinece. I didn't keep it up this month because of the holidays and the blizzards, but starting on Tuesday I'll be right back at my regular table with my latte and my notebook or laptop every morning.

Yes, I'd like to lose 20 pounds, join the gym, clean out my closets, make jam, paint my kitchen, learn Lithuanian, eat more veggies, stop eating so much ice cream, sew my own clothes, and more... but who am I kidding if I "resolve" to do all of these things in 2007? No-one but myself, probably. So, along with Curly from City Slickers, I'm going to focus on my ONE THING in 2007: to improve my writing.

Wish me luck!

Donna Druchunas
Women Writing the West website manager

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Happy New Year

Happy New Year wishes to all. In the midwest, we had a "green" Christmas and it should be 40 degrees on New Years Day. It hardly seems like winter. It makes me anxious to dig up dirt and plant flowers. I wish it made me anxious to clean closets and do laundry.

I'm taking a break from my book signing tour. I did eleven book signings between November 7th and Christmas. In January, I'll focus on writing the next book (another time travel romance--this one set in 1877 Kansas). In the February 2007 issue of Romantic Times BOOKreviews, they reviewed my current release, HERE WITH ME and said, "This book makes you remember why you first fell in love with romance. It rates with the very best."

Now, that was a nice way to start out the new year.

Hope 2007 is your best year yet.

Beverly Long

Monday, December 18, 2006

Riehl to Speak on Writers in the Sky Podcast

Thanks to a reader who enjoyed my book, "Sightlines: A Poet's Diary," a down-home family love story beyond death, I learned about Yvonne Perry's Writers in the Sky podcast and was invited to be her guest.

We've taped the interview in two parts and it will appear on January 12th, 2007. Yvonne is a dynamic interviewer. In the first part, we spoke about the inspiration for "Sightlines," the writing process, and I read a poem from each of the five sections of the three people and two places that I love.

In the second part, I spoke frankly about publishing my book through the author-services company, iUniverse, which I consider a hybrid option for getting your work before the public--in-between traditional publishing channels and traditional self-publishing.

To learn how to connect to the Writers in the Sky podcast and hear an audio clip as I talk about my father as an inspiration for my writing and read the poem "Scribbler," dedicated to him, you can go to or my website

Hope your in the room while I'm reading and discussing my poetry of love, loss, and discovery.

Best wishes and greetings from Janet Grace Riehl

Saturday, December 09, 2006

St. Louis Ice Storm Doesn't Stop Signing

Last weekend, I traveled to St. Louis to attend a meeting of Saturday Writers, an active Missouri Writers' Guild chapter. The program had been scheduled for months, but an unexpected and especially virulent ice storm nearly caused me to cancel the trip. The roads were clear, though, by the time Bob and I drove the four hours on Friday. The farther north we traveled from our log home in the Ozarks the more beautiful the forest became. What a winter wonderland! For miles and miles, ice on the trees reflected in the sun like foil. That was the good news.
The bad, of course, was that so much of the area, including the city, was without power and many cars had been abandoned in deep drifts of plowed snow beside the Interstate. But power was on in the St. Peters Community Center on Saturday morning when the winners of the annual Young Writers contest arrived with their teachers, parents, and grandparents to accept their awards.
I made a few remarks to encourage the kids to continue writing, handed out their awards, and showed them some of my own writing, especially HARVEY GIRL. Later, I spoke to the writers group about doing research to write a historical novel. HARVEY GIRL has both Southwest and Missouri connections, partly because St. Louis claims Fred Harvey as a once prominent businessman. Many in the group had eaten at the Station Grille in St. Louis Union Station, which is now a shopping mall. The Station Grille was a busy Harvey House. It's open today and continues to display evidence of its former "Meals by Fred Harvey" history.
I signed copies of HARVEY GIRL before thanking Saturday Writers for hosting the event. After I got home, I found that my sonnet "Jabborwocky II, the Sequel" had taken Second Place in its category in the annual Green River Writers (Kentucky) contest and that two of the Saturday Writers I'd met had placed in the contest with a limerick and humorous fiction. Congrats to Donna Volkenannt and Doyle Suit, one of the judges of the young writers contest. Also, thanks to Margo Dill-Basinki, who organized the program, and to the other Saturday Writers who helped in many ways. By the way, my other sonnet, "A Tale of Two..." took second last year in the same contest. Both will be published in the Missouri Association of Teachers of English (MATE) Literary Magazine in 2007. I guess it's time to write more sonnets.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Mini-book tour for Colorado Less Traveled!

Photographer Jim Steinberg and I are going on the road in December to sign our book Colorado Less Traveled, a finalist for the 2006 Colorado Book Awards and featured in the Mountains and Plains Bookseller's Association's Holiday Gift Guide, at various Barnes & Noble bookstores around the state. Here's our schedule:

Sat., Dec. 9, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.: Grand Junction, Barnes & Noble, on the west side of town. I'm on my own for this one!

Sat., Dec. 16, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.: Both Jim and I will be at the Fort Collins Barnes & Noble bookstore.
5:00 - 7:00 p.m.: Another signing, this time at the Barnes & Noble in Loveland.

Sun., Dec. 17, 12:30 - 2:30 p.m.: Jim and I again at the Barnes & Noble Bookstore in Boulder.
4:00 - 6:00 p.m.: Our final signing of the weekend at Barnes & Noble in Westminster, Colorado. Whew!

Come see us if you're in the area!

Susan J. Tweit

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Conference Tour Photo & Recap

I finally got some photographs from the Women Writing the West conference in Colorado Springs developed. Here's a group of us who took advantage of the pre-conference tour, enjoying the sunshine after a visit to the Pioneer Museum. The museum, housed in the restored 1903 El Paso County Courthouse, is a gem! I particularly enjoyed seeing some of author Helen Hunt Jackson's belongings.

The annual WWW conference usually moves from place to place, which is a benefit of attendance! Many of us come a day early or stay a day late to explore the area. I'm already going back to Colorado Springs in 2007, and I plan to spend more time at the Garden of the Gods.

Kathleen Ernst
WWW President Elect

Monday, November 27, 2006

Back on the blog

Thanks to Donna, I'm back on the blog. I wanted to let you know about a blog interview I did for noveljourney. I think it was posted today. I also heard that Pub Weekly reviewed my novel to be released in April, A Tendering in the Storm. If any one sees it, let me know even if it's a bad review! It was great to see the Historical Novel Society's article. As WWW president, I was interviewed for that and I hope I said good things about our group AND about our passion for stories of the woman's west. Have a great day. Jane K where you can find me and my schedule at

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Historical Novel Society: Definitions of Historical Fiction

Historical Novel Society: Definitions of Historical Fiction

One of our members posted an interesting essay on our listserv, which prompted me to check out the organization using the Blog This! feature. I also learned a bit about historical fiction. :)


Thursday, November 23, 2006

No Rest For Me On The Weekends

This weekend I had book signings in Wheaton, Illinois and West Dundee, Illinois, both suburbs of Chicago. At the Wheaton signing I met an absolutely lovely woman who told me that she’d spent the last twenty five years of her life photographing ghost towns in the Old West. I wish we’d had more time to talk—before she left she did tell me that any writer writing the west would be well served to spend some time in the library at the University of Montana.

And speaking of Montana, at the West Dundee signing, I met a man who was interested in my first book, STAY WITH ME, which is set in 1888 Wyoming Territory. When I told him that I had spent a week at a dude ranch near Sheridan, Wyoming, when I was researching the book, we had a nice discussion about the differences between Wyoming and Montana, where his son currently lives.

The opportunity to meet new people is the very best thing about doing a book signing. I’m gearing up for the day after Thanksgiving when I’ll be signing at the local mall. I suspect I’ll be well versed in giving directions to the nearest gift wrapping station and the restrooms.

Beverly Long

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Sheila Foard's Amazon.Short has a new program called Amazon.Shorts. Any author who has a book for sale on Amazon can submit a Short (2,000 to 10,000 words, previously unpublished). If accepted, the Short can be downloaded from Amazon for six months. Cost: 49 cents.

Shorts allow readers the chance to "try out" an author's writing prior or in addition to purchasing a longer, more expensive work. Shorts allow authors the chance to write up a new "book" idea or a "sidebar" for an exisiting book.

My Short titled "Fred Harvey's Fast Food Empire, Yesterday & Today" is now available for downloading. It's a three-part piece: a bio of Fred Harvey, the Father of Fast Food (an article which placed First in its category in the 2006 SouthWest Writers contest); a review of the classic Judy Garland/Angela Lansbury 1946 musical, The Harvey Girls; and a virtual travelogue of Harvey Houses across the Southwest that are still open to the public.

Sheila Wood Foard
author of HARVEY GIRL

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Five Book Signings in Five Days

My second book, HERE WITH ME, hit the shelves on Tuesday and I hit the roads on Wednesday and didn’t stop until Sunday afternoon. I’m exhausted but I can’t think of a better way to spend time than at a bookstore, meeting readers. Family and friends were there, of course, buying multiple copies. What are you going to do with all those books?

Fans of STAY WITH ME, the first book of the series, who were anxious to read the next story, were actually waiting for me at one store. What fun that was. The bookseller had a rather anxious look on her face when I arrived with just minutes to spare.

New readers, ones who’d heard about the book signing on the local radio or in the local paper were great, too. The most challenging, of course, were the unsuspecting shoppers who just happened to be walking past the bookstore. They had no intention of buying a book and I had no intention of letting them leave until I’d given it my best shot. I lured them in with a bookmark and a free notepad and more times than not, before they got away from my table, they had a book tucked under their arm. I convinced one very nice woman and her husband that they absolutely had to buy my book for her mother for Christmas when I discovered her mother had the same first name as one of my characters.

Really, everyone was great. I’m looking forward to next weekend when I do it all over again. For more information on my book signing schedule, visit and check out the monthly contest, too.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

New book on the shelves

I’ve decided that November is a lovely time for a new book to be released. Readers are huddling inside bookstores, sipping coffee, looking for the perfect gift. My second time-travel romance, titled HERE WITH ME, appeared on bookstore shelves this week. It’s the story of a hero from 1888 Wyoming Territory who has time-traveled to present-day Napa Valley, California. Sheriff George Tyler intends for his stay to be short but that’s before he meets Melody Song. She’s pregnant, unmarried, and in desperate need of a man to pass off as her husband to her dying grandmother. Neither the sheriff nor Melody realize that someone is equally desperate to make sure that Melody and her unborn child do not survive her grandmother.

The first review of HERE WITH ME, posted on said, “Sometimes funny, Sometimes poignant; Always interesting” and gave it their highest rating, five out of five “books”.

For more information on this book, as well as my first book, STAY WITH ME, visit And check out the monthly contest, too.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Book Award and podcast news

Colorado Less Traveled, my latest book and the brainchild of Steamboat Springs photographer Jim Steinberg, won a silver sticker as one of four top finalists for the 2006 Colorado Book Awards in the pictorial category! I was a double winner at the Book Awards gala, since Comeback Wolves, an anthology that includes my essay "Wolf 293" along with essays by 51 other western writers, won a 2006 Colorado Book Award for anthologies. Comeback Wolves includes pieces by several WWW members, including Laurie Wagner Buyer, plus work by Willa Award winner Laura Pritchett, Pam Houston, and others.

When you're surfing the web, please visit my new web site at I've finally joined the 21st century and put my weekly radio commentary, "The Nature of Life," on my site. You can listen online, download an episode to your iPod or other mp3 player, and subscribe to the program on a weekly basis. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

WWW author Sheila Wood Foard invites you to a book signing.

Join Author Sheila Wood Foard and her book, "Harvey Girl" at Cold Stone Creamery on November 11, 2006 from 1-3 PM, for a children's booksigning party.

A-L-L-L-L-L-L-L A-B-O-A-R-D! Ride the Rails in 1919 with Clara Massie, age 14, as she runs away from her Ozark home to become a waitress (a HARVEY GIRL), in New Mexico and at the Grand Canyon. Clara meets movie stars, suffragists, cowboys & Indians, while secrets and lies threaten to send her home.

Who: Sheila Wood Foard's "Harvey Girl" booksigning
When: November 11, 2006; 1:00-3:00 PM
Where: Cold Stone Creamery at The Boulevard - Saint Louis

--Sheila Wood Foard, author/inventor of time machines
Historical books are time machines that whisk kids into the past.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Rosemary Observes

An Open Space of One’s Own

I had a wonderful time at the recent WWW conference in Colorado Springs. Thanks to all of you who participated in the workshop that Donna Druchunas and I presented. Being there, hearing about and seeing your books, made me think long and hard about what it is to “write the West” and what it is to be a Westerner, to be creating in this unique geographical space.

Back when Pluto was a planet and the moon was made of cheese, I had a very early sense of myself as a Westerner. That is, as a person born and made in the American West (see photo). I felt a perfect understanding of what love was all about when I saw Roy Rogers kiss Trigger during a Saturday matinee. I didn’t feel that was weird; I felt a kinship—he was of the West and so was I. And we both loved Trigger with an almost unseemly passion—horses being a defining feature of the legendary old West.

I grew up in a tiny farming community in southern California in the fifties. In our town, the crop was potatoes, and the harvest was owned by two or three major farmers. In the western tradition, they called themselves “ranchers,” although their livestock generally amounted to a dozen yard chickens and a couple of beeves raised for the table. As teens, we had two main choices of places to work: potatoes or food. The best pay was in the spuds—picking, sorting, or cutting all the eyes out of potatoes for the next planting (this was “women’s work”), or, if you were a healthy young man wanting to build muscle over the summer, you filled huge bags as potatoes bounced and rolled off the conveyor belts and hefted them onto trucks. Winters were marked with cold, socked-in foggy mornings and evenings, and summers were hot and dry, no smog in sight, with vast blue skies that seemed to go on forever and the smell of fresh-mown alfalfa on the air. There was plenty of space (no one referred to it redundantly as “open space” yet) where folks could hunt, fish, look for arrowheads, or picnic. Most people were plenty busy making a living and didn’t call walking around on the land “hiking”—you always had a greater purpose. And no one wore special shoes for it, either.

I thought most families were like mine. Fathers worked hard and brought their paychecks home to full time homemakers who baked regularly, sewed clothes, and got their laundry out on the line on Monday mornings before 7 a.m. We ate lunch and dinner, not supper, and everyone drank milk. The idea of cocktails or wine at meals never came up. Friday night was high school football; most Saturdays, kids went to the afternoon matinee, Sundays was church. Without it ever being spoken of, there was a sense of physical attachment to the land. If we thought of Easterners at all, which I’m not sure we did, we envisioned them in big cities, all thought and no go. Now and then my dad would joke that “those folks” didn’t even know where their milk came from.

Later in life, it began to soak in that people who grew up in the “East” often looked at things differently than I did. I began to believe our wide open skies and vast expanses of land, unbroken by living too closely together, had an effect on our ways of thinking. That we might be more open to possibility than those in the East. Since its mythic early settlement days, West has been the direction of opportunity, of change, of adventure. The compass point quivered with anticipation when it pointed toward the Pacific. All things might be possible if you left the conventions of the East, the tightly packed expectations of culture and family behind. You could reinvent yourself, escape the old, familiar frame. You could spread out, loosen your belt, wear white shoes after Labor Day, try out some new ideas, seek your fortune, raise whoopee.

I’m a confirmed Western woman. I’m not at home if the sky isn’t big. I have to live where I define my direction by geographical features to the west—the ocean when I lived in California and the Rockies here in Colorado. I’m headed north if they’re on my left and south if on my right. I know where I am, if not where I’ll end up. I like dramatic landscapes—even if they seem flat and rolling, it’s that they run as far as the eye can see and they’re not all boogered up with concrete and steel high rises. When I’m in the East, I feel smaller, more compressed; there seems less possibility, like someone else has already done everything—named all the destinations, defined all the journeys. The trees grow so close together they become a stockade; they hulk over you in places—suffocating green tunnels that hold you pinned to the road, cutting off your view of the heavens. Every inch of ground holds someone else’s footprint.

In the West, each dusty old road still seems to promise an unexpected bend, a choice not a foregone conclusion. As writers, I think the geography shapes our words. Women and men writing the west seem more optimistic, more able to soar. Our thoughts can ride side saddle, western, or hell-bent bareback across the plains. They don’t perspire, our words sweat. European traditions don’t mean much to us—we mold them to fit our own lives rather than molding ourselves to them.

I wonder if, for each of us, there is a place, or a sense of place, that trumps all others. Virginia Woolf wanted a room of her own. She grew up in tradition-bound England. Me? I need a wide open space of my own.

— Rosemary Carstens

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Conference Bookstore

Now that I've been back at home for a few days and have sorted through life a little, I'm finding time to explore some of the books I purchased and received as gifts from generous WWW writers. (Thank you!) It was also a delight to read the inscriptions from signing authors. I would come back to next year's conference just for the bookstore. I wonder if it could be open to the public for one day. The thought nags me that the Pioneers Museum gift store manager would have loved a visit to look at these titles. Anyway, here's a shot of the loaded tables of tomes that tempted us. I gave in with abandon. ;-Dani

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

More Member Comments about Conference....

Here is some old and new members had to say about the conference:

I trust you all arrived home safely after the weekend in CO Springs. It was a joy to meet everyone and a blessing to take part in the great sessions held. Thank you all for your graciousness -- it was wonderful to be around so many talented, successful writers who share the same passion for the written word. I look forward to the conference next year, here again in CO Springs! May you all have a successful year of writing and publishing 'til then. What a terrific group this is.

Pamela Cosel
WWW Conference Bookstore Liaison - 2006

The conference was wonderful, awesome, inspirational!!! Thanks to all who worked so hard to make it possible. Thanks to the speakers and the panel presenters--great job.

I enjoyed the weekend so much, and the best part really is reconnecting with old friends from past conferences and making new ones. This is such a terrific group--Kudos to you all!!

Heidi Thomas
WWW Catalog Editor

I agree with others who've talked about the great conference in Colorado Springs. It was the most upbeat, positive, rewarding conference I've ever attended. Thanks no doubt to our great leader, Jane K. and her hardworking, wonderfully friendly crew. Thanks a bunch, you guys -- oops gals!

Irene Bennet Brown
WWW Member

Speaking for myself, this was a fantastic conference. They are all wonderful and each have had their spot of glory and special events. Members gathered, hugged, exchanged experiences, news, ideas, even a few shared disappointments, the thought ran through my head as I observed these exchanges: WWW Conferences are like a huge family reunion, without the squabbles. And, to my knowledge, this year brought the largest crowd yet. If that's incorrect please correct me, ok? Hopefully, we'll top that next year!

To all members who couldn't be there for whatever reason you were missed.

See you all next year, same time, same town, same location with a name change .

Priscilla A. Maine
WWW Treasurer

Hi! My name is Gayle Gresham and I am one of the newest members. I discovered Women Writing the West 2 weeks before the conference, and since I live near Colorado Springs, I mailed my registration and joined right away.

It was hard to walk into a conference where I didn't know a soul, but I was enveloped by the sweetest and most welcoming women. I was amazed that every officer (that I know of) of WWW made a point to stop and visit with me when they noticed the green dot on my name tag. Thank you for your sincere and generous spirits.

I know others are anxious for reports, so here is one from a newbie. I arrived Friday afternoon and immediately had 2 editor
appointments. Because of these I missed much of the programing. I did see quite a bit of the dramatic reading of Desert Dwellers Trilogy by Harriet Rochlin. It was very well done.

On Saturday, I attended Cyberspace and You by Donna and Rosemary. So interesting and informative. Even though I'm not a poet, I attended Wordsmiths Ho! by Peggy Godfrey and Jane Morton just because of their great personalities. I knew it would be fun and rich in the value of words. I was amazed by the women in the class who, when given an assignment, were able to write touching, honestly revealing poems in a few minutes time and courageously shared them with the class. Wow... The Memoir/Creative Nonfiction class by Shannon Applegate, Liz Duckworth and Dorothy Solomon was fascinating.

I couldn't return this morning, Sunday, because I had to sing and play guitar with my bluegrass group at church. I'm really sorry I didn't have a chance to tell many of you who I met good-bye. I am thrilled to be a part of this organization. And I'm looking forward to getting to know all of you.

Gayle Gresham
WWW New Member

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Pioneers Museum

Someone mentioned Helen Hunt Jackson's reconstructed house at the Pioneers Museum, one of my favorite exhibits. I happened to get a few pictures of the interior space. It was also interesting for me to see the murals again as I interned for the artist, Eric Bransby when I was in college and modeled for a number of the female characters. We didn't get a chance to visit the archives downstairs, but I can tell you that if you're researching the history of the area, the lower level is like a sanctuary. You'll love the time you spend there.

Raffle Delights

It's true what I just read on the listserv.... the Raffle was a huge success and the prizes seemingly endless and so desirable that I was practically wrestling early travelers for their raffle tickets before they left for the airport. Okay, I'm kidding. But Ann and I probably ended up with 300 raffle tickets by noon on Sunday. Here's a picture of Dear Ralph, who won the editing basket. The Tired Old Ass Herbal Soak in the basket of goodies was probably more to his liking than the Official Editing Hat Complete With Editor Star. Har! Ralph, you're a good sport for modeling this "thang" for us. Next year I'll get a picture of the table of treats... and help wrap up all the goodies everyone brought. Wow, that must have been a job!


It was a GREAT conference!!!

Compliments to all who helped make this year's Women Writing the West Conference so good. We enjoyed a dramatic reading from Harriet Rochlin's Desert Dwellers Trilogy books. It was a selection about pioneer Jews, performed by local actors and directed by a WWW member. It was terrific. Indeed I would love to see more of the same --- more poetry, more drama, more selected readings --- at future conferences.

It had been 30 years since I visited Colorado Springs and wow, has it grown a lot. (The pioneer museum we toured had a great display on Helen Hunt Jackson, the novelist).

BTW, for all who didn't come to the conference this year, think again about coming in 2007. Try to find a way to do so. You'll meet agents & editors as well as other members of WWW, and gain the support, inspiration, and tools you need as a writer of the West. It beats other, non-organizational writers conferences by ten miles. And if you're a WWW member, do think about using the listserve to get a roommate or a ride in order to cut expenses for next year again in Colorado Springs. I shared a ride with someone I hadn't met before, Heidi Thomas, and had a great time getting to know her and her writing (about oldtime rodeo gals who competed equally riding broncs with men, not in sex-segregated contests). Plan to come next year --- attending the conference is a valuable experience as well as an investment in yourself as writer. Ooooh, did I mention nonstop FUN ?

Penny Sidoli
WWW member in Santa Barbara

Monday, October 23, 2006

Such good panels

Women Writing the West

I have to say that the agents and editors panels were a goldmine for this newbie. I had no idea they would be so interesting and so full of really useful information. I can only say that one can read all the publishing how-to books in the world and gather every bit of information and advice available... it doesn't quite replace seeing a face live and hearing a voice in the same room with you. To that I would add that meeting ono-on-one with the editors and agents was a marvelous experience for me. My first-time live across-the-table meeting with Danielle Egan-Miller, who was so gracious and kind, prompted me to jump in with both feet and talk to three more... and I thoroughly enjoyed every single one of those connections. I mean, they were such nice people! Who knew? Why is it that the purple monsters in our closets often turn out to be so cuddly? Agents and editors are great folks, too. :) I know these grand encounters will color all my future connections with anticipation rather than dread.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Women Writing the West

Women Writing the West

Just a few comments tonight to add to Donna's post. Her session with Rosemary was excellent.... just way too short. :) The signings in the wonderful bookstore seemed to be a big success. I snapped up one of the Arctic Lace books even before the signing, which turned out to be a wise move. Need I say that I bought more than one book? More than three? How about six? I have a great photo of Donna talking to Judith Keeling, editor-in-chief of Texas Tech University Press. It's always nice to meet more passionate knitters... even at writing conferences!

Quick Visit to the Women Writing the West Conference

Today I spent four hours driving and six hours at the Women Writing the West Conference in Colorado Springs. It was well worth the drive. Since I joined Women Writing the West 4 or 5 years ago, I've attended the conference every year. But this year October was booked for me, so I decided not to attend. That is, until I was asked to give a presentation on internet marketing for authors. Still swamped, I thought I'd just drive down for the day instead of spending the weekend. It worked out well, but I didn't want to leave this afternoon and now I'm dead tired.

I got up at 5:30 (which is my usual time to get up so no great sacrifice there, except that I usually sleep in until after 6 on Saturdays), picked up my friend Rosemary Carstens, and headed out for Colorado Springs. The weather report was for snow, so I was a little worried about the drive, which goes through an area known for bad roads. But my little Mini Cooper did great and even though the roads looked slick, I didn't feel any slipping or sliding at all.

Rosemary had agreed to come with me to the conference to help me with my presentation about internet marketing. She had self published her book, Dream Rider a few years ago. Her website and marketing were so successful that she sold most of her print run in a short amount of time. Since then, Rosemary has started an email newsletter called Feast, that is about food, books, films, and travel (yes, she ties them all together beautifully), that has over 1,000 subscribers. I wanted Rosemary to talk about both of these projects.

After her part of the presentation, I also talked about my own online marketing for my second book, Arctic Lace that was published on October 1, 2006. I have been talking about the book on the web since April, 2004, when I went to Alaska to kick off my research. Since then, I've kept my website and book info in my email signature, written about the writing and publishing process on my blog, plugged my book whenever I could on listservers and discussion groups, and kept my readers up to date in my own email mailing list. As a result of my online marketing, Arctic Lace is already going into its third printing. I also have a friend who has set up a Knit-a-long blog, because the book includes knitting projects in addition to extensive historical information. Coming up soon, I also have a blog book tour, where Arctic Lace will be featured on 20 blogs in 20 days.

(For those of you who are WWW members, I'll be writing up more detailed information about starting and maintaining a website, setting up a blog, and many other ideas in the upcoming newsletters and adding links and tips to the "members only" area of the website. For those who are not members, you'll have to join to get access to all of this great information!)

Besides giving my own presentation, I also attended two others. The first was a panel of editors talking about the publishers they work for, what kinds of books they publish, and what they want to receive from authors. The second was a panel on writing for film and television.

While I was signing books, one of the editors came up to buy my book. Unfortunately, I'd just signed the last copy for someone else! The editor told me that she'd love to talk to me about future book ideas because her press was very interested in publishing more books about textiles and history. I also to talk to a producer/writer from the second panel I attended, who is interested in talking with me about a possible travel TV show about textiles around the world. Needless to say, it was a very exciting and productive day to me and I am SOSOSOSOOSO glad I decided to drive down for the day!

On top of all of that, I got to catch up with a few great friends and meet several new e-mail friends in person. If you've never gone to a WWW conference before, you really don't know what you are missing. It is the best networking and most inspiring writing conference or workshop I've ever been to. I hope to see you all -- old and new friends -- at next year's conference.

Donna Druchunas
WWW website coordinator

Friday, October 20, 2006

Women Writing the West

Women Writing the West

Women Writing the West

The first day of conference is over and what a day it was.... busy, busy, busy. My pedometer says we walked 4.23 miles and a lot of those steps were at the Pioneers Museum. The exhibits are as wonderful as ever. Ann Parker and I had lunch at La Baguette in Old Colorado City, then back to the hotel for readings and fascinating panels of speakers. Oh, and the bookstore! What a collection. Someone take my charge card! We've been taking pictures and will post some here as soon as we can figure it out, so stay tuned.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Packed and ready to go!

I'm just hoping I can fit that editing basket for the raffle into my little VW Golf! ;D I'm looking forward to meeting everyone and checking out the bookstore. Have packed lots of sweaters as we're due for some chilly weather over the weekend according to the weather report. Rain and snowshowers and highs around 40. But, it's supposed to be sunny and nearly 60 degrees for the excursions to Garden of the Gods, Old Colorado City, and the Pioneers Museum on Friday. Hooray! I just read on the list that the construction has now moved into the hotel lobby! Ann Parker and I will be reporting more as the conference progresses and hopefully we'll figure out how to post some pictures, too! More to come ~ Dani

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

WILLA Celebration at Tattered Cover in Denver

Thursday, October 19, is the big day! Members of WWW will join past and present WILLA Literary Award WINNERS and FINALISTS for a WILLA Reunion and Celebration at the Tattered Cover Bookstore in downtown Denver (LoDo). Conversation, coffee, and book signings begin at 4 p.m.

Two of our WILLA Award winners — Paulette Jiles and Sandra Dallas — will speak on literature, women, and the West. Paulette’s topic is “The Quest Tale Told from a Woman’s Viewpoint.” Sandra’s is writing from “A Sense of Place.” The program begins at 5 p.m.

Mayor John Hickenlooper will join us and welcome WWW and its special guests to Denver.

Celebratory cake will be served, as well as good literature and good conversation. Meet the winners and finalists and talk with them about writing the stories that are an integral part of the women’s West.

No reservation necessary. JUST COME!!!

Sarah Rickman

Monday, October 16, 2006

A Peak Experience--see you in Colorado Springs

The annual Women Writing the West conference is coming up--this weekend. October 20-22 at the Wyndham Hotel in Colorado Springs. If you live in the area, I hope you plan on attending the whole conference.

If you aren't able to attend the conference, there are still a couple of ways you can participate in the fun. On Thursday, October 19 from 4-7, there will be a reception to honor past Willa Award recipients at the LoDo Tattered Cover Bookstore, 1628 16th Street in Denver. To learn more visit the WWW website.

On Saturday, at the Wyndham Hotel in Colordo Springs, this year's Willa Award winner and finalists will be signing their books at the Conference Bookstore. I'll be there signing my two Willa finalists, Loving Mercy and Loving Miranda as well as my new anthology--My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

New Release

Join Ruth Elliott as she steps into retirement, moving past fear and family crises on a journey to build and new future. What Next,Ms Elliott? a new novel by contemporary western writer, Jo-Brew is now available through her web site and from on line book stores.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Spirit of the West: A Festival of Everything Western!

Melanie Chrismer, Doreen Chaky and I have arrived safely home from last weekend's Spirit of the West Festival in Sioux Falls, SD. In spite of Mother Nature unleashing all kinds of rain, wind and tornado touchdowns, we all agreed that the experience harkened back to each of our newspaper reporter days.

While promoting Women Writing the West, Melanie and I were taught to quick draw, and I amazed myself with a time of one second — that is, draw, shoot and hit the target. Melanie's time was lauded at 1.3 seconds. Also learned how to load a Civil War cannon. Did you know you need to do everything from the side of the barrel? And, after the cannon is fired, it’ll jump about 8-12 feet? We were taught the tasks of how to “pick and prime” and “sponge and worm” the cannon, too.

We introduced ourselves to the Festival's Special Guest Cheryl Rogers-Barnett — you know, Roy Rogers’ and Dale Evans' daughter. What a great lady, and her husband Larry let loose some stories of their high-school-sweethearts days while he visited us at our tent. She autographed her book, "Cowboy Princess, Life with my Parents Roy Rogers and Dale Evans," for us and we piqued her interest in WWW.

There were reenactors of all sorts — soiled doves, saloon gals, cowboys, horse thieves, doctors, saddlemakers, you name it, they were there, spread out over 50 acres of a 160-acre hayfield. We befriended ‘Silverado,’ whose specialty is gun spinning, and he could also be seen cracking his whip from time to time. He explained the reason a whip cracks is that the momentum the whip carries — 600 to 900 mph — breaks the sound barrier. Neat, huh? He was a favorite with the kids.

The Hags on Nags, a small group of older women who ride their horses through the state parks in the Tri-State area (South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota), stopped by our tent to learn about our authors. We chatted with cowgirl poets Yvonne Hollenbeck and Diane Tribitt who attended the Festival, and met author/stuntman Bob Petitt. He regaled us with his stunt history, including the times on Magnum, P.I., Lonesome Dove, and doubling for Tommy Lee Jones. He sure looks like him!

We all bought Western scarves and were shown how to tie a special knot in them. I told myself that I didn't want to spoil such a great knot so I planned to slip the tied scarf over my head. But after dinner that night, I discovered I had dripped salad dressing right on the knot! Sheesh! Now I have to go to their website and figure out how to tie my scarf again.

Melanie delighted that all of her Phoebe Clappsaddle children’s books were sold at the Mercantile, and many festival-goers who dropped by the WWW tent were disappointed they couldn't purchase our authors' books that we had displayed. They had to settle for taking home our WWW Catalog of Authors' Books and the Newsletter. Even though the weather hindered us from giving any formal presentations about writing, the three of us were constantly talking about writing and Women Writing the West to whoever came to our tent to check out who we were or to get out of the rain.

All in all, it was a glorious time! We had such fun we're signed up for next year's event on September 14, 15, 16, 2007...

Alice Trego, 2006 WWW Newsletter Editor
Melanie Chrismer, 2006 WWW VP Marketing
Doreen Chaky, long-time WWW Member/Author

Thursday, September 21, 2006

A few changes

My flight changed so much we've changed the date of my signing to October 19, 11:00 to 1:00 at the Briargate Barnes and Noble in Colorado Springs. I'd love to have you join me there where I'll talk about my new book, A Clearing in the Wild and sign books you may have already purchased.

We've also had a few changes for the upcoming conference. One of our agent panelists, Don Pape, is no longer an agent with Alive Communications and we weren't able to replace him. BUT, good news, we do have an addition of an editor, Sue Lutz, President, Dialogue Publishing, a Colorado firm, is joining us. Her bio information should be up on the web shortly.

Over the weekend I taught a workshop called Landscape, Story, Spirituality and Women. I read some new authors (for me) to prepare and highly recommend Molly Wolf's White China, Finding the Divine in the Everyday. She's a Canadian who also has a blog called Sabbathblessings. Just a great book about taking time for ourselves and refueling. I'm hoping our conference will do just that.

New on WWW Website

What's new on the Women Writing the West website? Here are a few items of interest:

The 2007 Catalog of Authors' Books is available for download.

The The 2007 WILLA Literary Award Guidelines and Application are available for download.

We're testing out the software for a brand new online readers' group Check it out if you want to be a charter member. It's open to the public, and anyone interested in reading and talking about women in the west is welcome.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Women Writing the West at Trade Shows

Women Writing the West will be exhibiting at the M&P (Mountains & Plains Bookseller Association) show in Denver, Colorado and the Spirit of the West Festival in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, both on the weekend of Sept. 15-17, 2006.

At both events, we will be displaying members' books and providing catalogs and membership information to booksellers and authors. We always have a good time at these events, so if you'll be attending either one, make sure to stop by our booth for a chat and to take a look at our members' newest books.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Update from Sarah Rickman

I’m off on Sept. 6 for Portland, Oregon, and the 64th WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) reunion. This will be my fifth WASP reunion since I began writing about them back in the 1990s. They are the subject of both of my published books and two more works-in-progress. Not only are these remarkable women – all age 80 and older now – inspiring to be around, I am fortunate enough to be one of the oral historians officially recording their stories. That is what I will be doing between Sept. 6 and 13 – capturing their voices and experiences for posterity under the auspices of the WASP Archives at Texas Woman’s University in Denton.

For those who DON’T know, 1102 women pilots flew for the U.S. Army in World War II - everything from single engine trainers to four engine bombers. In 1944, a select 134 of these women ferried (flew the plane from the factory to the docks for shipment abroad) two-thirds of the pursuit (fighter) airplanes built in the U.S. Good stuff!

A side note: I expect to join our Prez Jane Kirkpatrick and her husband, Jerry, for lunch in The Dalles next Sunday, Sept. 10. They live only 50 miles from there. I am driving to The Dalles from Portland Sunday morning — with my “boss” Dawn Letson, the head of the TWU Woman’s Collection — to conduct an interview with a WASP who lives there. Those who attended last year’s conference may remember that Dawn spoke to us about research and the collection at TWU.

If anyone living in or near Portland is interested in my books, I will be at the Marriott Portland Downtown this Wednesday late afternoon through Saturday night. Come by the WASP Hospitality Room and see me. If I’m not away doing an interview, I will be there selling my books and talking to people.

Sarah Rickman: former WWW president (2005) and current WILLA competition chair.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Great Lakes Trade Show

Hi to my friends in WWW. For the first time, in October, my publisher is sending me to Dearborn, MI to meet with booksellers from the Great Lakes Booksellers Association. While I'll be encouraging them to order in my spring 2007 release, A Tendering in the Storm, (second in a Change and Cherish Historical Series) I hope to have a few minutes to talk about Women Writing the West, too. If you're from that area and have a favorite independent bookseller, let me know so I can say hi to them and show them our catalog.

This is my first blog entry for WWW. I'd be remiss if I also didn't mention our conference coming up in Colorado Springs Oct 20-21 and the WILLA Literary Award Reunion October 19 f rom 4 to 7 at the Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver. The reunion is a free event. Bring your friends. The conference has a cost but if you are interested in writing and empassioned by the west, you'll find a welcome at the Wyndham.

And one last post: I have a book signing at the Briargate Barnes and Noble in Colorado Springs, October 18, 2007 at 8:00 PM. It was scheduled earlier but the flight from Salt Lake kept getting in later so please stay up and come see me! Have a great day. Jane

WWW member Donna Druchunas: Book Tour for Arctic Lace

Hi all,

I just wanted to let you know that my second book, Arctic Lace is finally coming out on October 1st. Thanks to all the WWW members and the group to a whole for helping me make it through the journey of conceptualizing, researching, and writing this book!

Here are a couple of places where you can see Arctic Lace and hear me talk about the process of researching, writing, and designing the knitting projects:

Sept. 10, 2006
Fort Collins, Colorado
Knit Wear
As part of ArtWear Fashion Week 2006, KnitWear will celebrate the world of knitting. We invite you to join us for this Knitting Extravaganza! Pre-publication celebration for Arctic Lace at the Lincoln Center Canyon West Room, 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m

Sept. 29, 30 and Oct.1, 2006
Anchorage, Alaska
Yarn Expo III
Join me along with my publisher Deborah Robson at Yarn Expo III’s Sunday vendor market as we debut Arctic Lace. Oomingmak knitters will also be on hand to autograph the book. I will present a slide show detailing how the book was researched. Deb and I will also be teaching workshops from Arctic Lace, The Knitted Rug, and Knitting in the Old Way.

My full schedule is on my website.

Friday, September 01, 2006

WWW Member Jo-Brew Writes about the women's west

Jo-Brew-A woman writing about women.

Join author Jo-Brew as she explores life through triumphs, tragedies, and plain old existence as it affects the woman of today. Her novels, columns, essays and short stories shed light on the paths of our own lives and of those around us.

Current Works--Preserving Cleo, Cleo's Slow Dance and Finding Clarice. Novels of contemporary life from a woman's view.

Check out her website at to learn more about her books.

New WWW Blog

Hi Everyone, this is our brand-new Women Writing the West blog. Here you will find post from many of our members announcing new books, providing information about their book signings, readings, and other events. This is the place to look for news about members of Women Writing the West.