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