Friday, May 25, 2012

Three Members Share CIPA Honors

2012 CIPA Awards

On Thursday evening, May 17, 2012, three members of Women Writing the West from Filter Press recently shared honors at the Colorado Independent Publishers' Association EVVY Awards Banquet in Lonetree, south of Denver, Colorado.
 Nancy Oswald took top honors for her book, Rescue In Poverty Gulch, as did Joyce Lohse, for her book, Baby Doe Tabor: Matchless Silver Queen, which won the EVVY for Best Biography.
This celebration would not have been possible without the TLC administered by another WWW member, Doris Baker of Filter Press, for the publication of these two titles, and for hosting our table at the banquet. I am grateful to the Filter Press folks for their faith in our work and their touches, which make our books special. I am also grateful to CIPA for the boost and vote of confidence from these awards, during a time of transition in the industry. To have our books chosen for top honors from the second largest group of entries ever received by CIPA was an especially sweet honor. I take to heart their advice to use this opportunity wisely, and to move forward with the knowledge that Baby Doe is a special publication.

Joyce B. Lohse

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Creating a Family Farm

Our Willamette Valley is a lush stretch of green running through the northern third of Oregon between the coastal mountains and the Cascades. It is the place my life is centered. From my home on the north outskirts of Eugene, I travel through farm country in any direction but most often toward the north where I have grown children and grandchildren.

It was those trips and watching seasonal changes on the farms as I passed that began to stimulate questions in my head. One particular farmhouse, located some distance back from the road intrigued me. There were no neighbors, just fields with changing crops. I seldom saw anybody, never a woman but the house and small yard looked well maintained.

When I returned from a grandchild's band concert or activity late in the evening, the single light glowing at the end of the isolated driveway was the only visible landmark on the dark road.

It seemed natural that my wondering about life in that house would lead me to create a story. The story of Cleo, a farm wife, became my first novel.

Never having lived on a farm, I began the framework from conversations with two older friends who had been farm wives. Many details of day to day farm life came from these two women but the character of Cleo's mother-in-law grew from my teen years experience picking strawberries at a local field.

As the story grew, so did my need of knowledge. I began reading articles in the Country Life magazine, hung around the women at the Lane and Benton County Fairs, went to some 4 H meetings with my grandchildren, attended events at Grange Halls and made regular trips to the fruit and vegetable stands along the back roads that connect our farm towns. When I needed more, I went to the extension service, talked to our local honey plant, and chatted with any farmers at the farm store who had time to answer questions.

I spent time in each of the nearby farm towns before I decided which sould be the center of life for Cleo and her children. I liked several but Harrisburg, about an hour north of my home, had the community feel I wanted.

As Cleo's story developed and my research went on, a secondary, larger theme overtook the tale. From one woman's struggle to survive in a culture she didn't understand, it needed to be more. I wanted to bring the plight of the family farmer to the attention of different readers. Those women who live and work in the city, buy their processed food at the chain stores and skip attending the farmer's markets and fairs in favor of other entertainments.

I spent time with teachers who work to support their families and the farm they live on, with farmers who work a second job, with farm wives who work in the neighbor's or their own produce stand and women who spend two or three days a week as salespeople at the farmers market in the city.

Even the roadside markets close to me need to have more than what they've grown. One farming family is partially supported by the nursery business the wife started while the men grew the traditional crops. Down the road from that historic farm, another plans special activities to attract more people. Senior retirement centers bring busses so the residents can shop and have lunch from a portable hot dog stand, finishing with ice cream and home made pie. Their season ends with a Halloween corn maze, horse drawn wagons to the pumpkin patch and fresh cider for all the visitors. All summer children can feed the goats, visit the other farm animals and play on playground equipment.

Different farms, different crops all had varying problems but the same dilemma. Growing the produce is no longer enough. To survive the farm family must learn and practice new skills. The business end is as complicated as being a steward of the land.

When my Preserving Cleo and the sequel, Cleo's Slow Dance were both on the market, I felt like I'd told a story of one woman's growth and made a small step toward illustrating a major dilemma in our contemporary life. Were I to write the story again, I'd choose to pass on a stronger message as I see more and more people ready to listen. http://jo-brew.blogspot

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

WWW Colorado Members

WWW Colorado Members:
Community for Learning

To accommodate the numerous schedules the Colorado members met on both March 8 and 11, 2012. The March 8 group met at the Penrose Public Library in Colorado Springs and included a tour of Special Collections. The following comments by members attest to the value of local WWW meetings.

I enjoyed our Colorado WWW gathering in Colorado Springs immensely. It was great to spend time with our pals, as we exuberantly shared updates about our writing paths and projects. The beautiful Penrose Library was a great venue, and we were enchanted by Tim Blevin's tour of the treasures available for research in the archives. It brings forth ideas for so many possibilities, and makes us wonder about others waiting for us to discover. Joyce B. Lohse, WWW Administrator.

In these times of technology, e-books in particular, I felt I was taken back in time in the Carnegie Library to the history of Colorado Springs. The preservation of the building and the contents, books, maps, archives were all brought to life by Tim's outstanding knowledge and commentary. Pulling books, reading excerpts, showing street maps and borders, telling medicine tales, showing food prices, holding ledgers in authentic, original handwriting, he gave me an array of information that I had not known. What was fascinating to me was...being from the East and knowing of those times there from ancestors, education and storytelling...happening at the same time. Oh, the historical parallels I was making! "When Washington Irving was writing Hudson River legends...this was happening where I was now standing. I loved that." No e-readers could give me that experience. Nancy Jurka

It was fun to catch up with women I had not seen in awhile and those I knew only by their posts on the listserve. It is amazing what varied projects we all have underway. Listening to Mara Purl’s experiences gave me new insight into publishing fiction. Tim Blevins tour of the Carnegie Library introduced me to resources I had never considered before, and I have used that library for research many times. I spotted material that may relate to my next biography. And I wanted to sit right down with some of the reference books Tim pulled off the shelf. I could write a year’s worth of blog posts out of one or two books of historic miscellany. Cynthia Becker

On March 11 a group met at the Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau in Colorado Springs with Dianne Hartshorn , of Blanche's Place, speaking on historic clothing. Here are their thoughts:

I joined WWW last year in part to have access to the authors of this group as part of a writing project for school. This spring WWW meeting was my first interaction with the group. They greeted me warmly with a genuine welcoming ambiance and I immediately felt at ease sharing details of my project after listening to their presentations. I found each and every woman in attendance genuinely interested in one another's work and more than happy to share their knowledge and expertise. I look forward to developing relationships with each of the talented authors over the next year. Marissa Redman

I just basked in the joy of being with a wide range of wildly gifted women at our recent get-together on Sunday at the CVB. Here are a few things I jotted down from our conversation, to read or look up on the internet: (I hope that's spelled right.)
Two Sisters by Sandra Dallas
Pieces of Light blog by Susan Tweit
Carol Caverly's books: All the Old Lions and Dead in Hog Heaven
The Smashwords formatting guide
The Steinway Diaries
I got so caught up in the conversation, my notes have little context. And that's why I'm thankful for Google! Liz Duckworth

It's a two-hour drive to Colorado Springs from my neck of the woods, and the route there either goes down a winding mountain canyon or up over the high country of South Park. The morning of the WWW get-together, it was snowing in the high country, so that made the choice easy: down the canyon I went. Once I navigated my way through the "big city" to the visitor's bureau meeting place, I was greeted wonderfully warmly right in the parking lot by Dori and Gayle, and met the rest of the group inside. We talked about our work, heard from Diane Hartshorn about how to research and date historic women's clothing styles (all those sleeve fashions and skirt styles--what fun!), and traded tips on everything from writing and publicizing our work to research and ebooks. That evening, driving back home over the mountains (spring had replaced winter by then), I thought, that's why I belong to Women Writing the West: for the community of writing women and all I learn from every one of you! Susan J Tweit

From left to right in photo #1 Nancy Jurka, Cynthia Becker,Christie Wright, Tim Blevins ( one of the editors of the WILLA finalist 2011 "Extraodarinary Women of the Rocky Mountain West) Joyse Lohse, Celinda Kaelin and kneeling Doris McCraw. Photo taken by Doris Baker.  Missing Mara Purl

From left to right in photo #2 Liz Duckworth,Sherry Johns,Gayle Gresham,Dianne Hartshorn,Carol Caverly. Kneeling Marissa Redmond, Susan Tweit. Photo taken by Doris McCraw

Monday, May 07, 2012

Romancing The West with Jacquie Rogers: Velda Brotherton: Stone Heart's Woman

Romancing The West with Jacquie Rogers: Velda Brotherton: Stone Heart's Woman: Stone Heart's Woman by Velda Brotherton Romancing The West is happy to host multi-published author Velda Brotherton this week!  A peek at forbidden love in the old west. Check out the contest and win some books too.

Friday, May 04, 2012

May New Releases

A Promise Made
By Marianne Mitchell

In the summer of 1884, sixteen-year-old Petra comes home to find her mother dead, perhaps from suicide, perhaps not. A note from her mother urges her to flee the controlling stepfather who has made their lives miserable. With few resources and no skills, Petra’s only choice is to head west to Denver in search of her cousin, Fina. Her quest leads her up Clear Creek to a small mining town at the end of the rail line. Silver Plume is a town on the cusp of change, trying to shed its rough and tumble image to one more centered on business and tourism. It’s a place where Petra can escape the cruel realities of her former life and start over. All this is possible—until someone from her past threatens to shatter her dreams and the town erupts in fire.


Available to purchase in print at:

Available as an e-book at:


Barnes and Noble

You can visit Marianne at:


The Cowboy's Summer Love
By Shanna Hatfield

The Cowboy's Summer Love by Shanna Hatfield - After six years in the service and two tours of duty in Iraq, Travis Thompson eagerly returns home to Grass Valley, ready to resume his life on the Triple T Ranch with his two older brothers. Always the wild-child, Travis doesn’t disappoint as he rolls from one adventure to another in his quest to keep his adrenaline pumping. He needs a release for the tension constantly building inside him, especially after he discovers the girl he’s always loved just moved back home. In love with Travis Thompson since she was old enough to notice boys, Tess Morgan can’t stay away from him no matter how hard she tries. Growing up together, she thinks Travis sees her only as his friend’s sister, not as a woman who could love him deeply and passionately. Will the two of them finally surrender to love? Anything is possible as summer spins its spell at the Triple T!


The Cowboy's Summer Love can be purchased at
Barnes and Noble

You can visit Shanna at:


Spurs, Saddles & Sass
By Velda Brotherton

Short Stories that delve into the lives of characters before they came alive in the books.  A Kindle Release.

Spurs, Saddles & Sass can be purchased at

Angel's Gold 
By Velda Brotherton

It takes an outlaw on the run to free Angeline and show her true love.  A Kindle Release.

Angel's Gold can be purchased at

You can visit Velda at


The Sound of Her Own Voice
By Leslie Nyman

This is the story of a young Jewish woman who travels from New York, across Panama to San Francisco and into the Gold Rush diggings.  She experiences love, loss, adventure and finds her true calling as a singer in the raucous times of the California Gold Rush. 

Published by Outskirts Press

The Sound of Her Own Voice can be purchased at and Barnes and Noble or instant e-Book download.