New Release ~ Rescuing Samantha by Heidi Thomas

With dreams of raising Thoroughbreds, Samantha Moser leases the Montana ranch that once belonged to her great grandmother, a trail-blazing rodeo cowgirl. After back-breaking work to fix up the abandoned, dilapidated ranch and a disastrous blizzard, her fiancé lacks the courage that runs in Samantha’s blood, and he leaves her.

Struggling with shattered dreams, a proposed takeover of the land for an exotic animal refuge, and financial difficulties, Samantha must take a job on a dude ranch. In the midst of all the uncertainty, she rediscovers the healing power of horses for children and what life’s purpose is for her.

But knowing her purpose might not be enough. Can she help a young girl overcome her insecurities, battle the investment group threatening the land, and trust the man who has a stake in the takeover while he professes his help?

Published by SunCatcher Publications, Rescuing Samantha is a contemporary western woman’s fiction. It is available in paperback and e-book at Amazon.

Heidi M. Thomas grew up on a working ranch in eastern Montana, riding and gathering cattle for branding and shipping. Her parents taught her a love of books, and her grandmother rode bucking stock in rodeos. She followed her dream of writing, with a journalism degree from the University of Montana.

Heidi is the author of the award-winning “Cowgirl Dreams” novel series and Cowgirl Up: A History of Rodeo Women. She’s also written a children’s book, The Secret of the Ice Castle & Other Inspirational Tales. She is the recipient of the WILLA Literary Award for her book Follow the Dream.

Visit Heidi at her website and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Write, Share, Renew

In this month of thankfulness, let us remember the women whose small, quiet contributions have allowed us to walk proudly.

Write their stories. Share your knowledge.

Give Thanks to be in a group which encourages forgotten lives to step into the light.

WWW Membership (Renewal or To Join) now open and waiting to welcome you to a new year.

Barb Froman
WWW President 2020-2021

I’ve never talked about Miss Laura Jean but
I’m thankful for her.
She taught me how to pick cotton without making my fingers bleed.
And how to make noodles if only two handfuls of flour were left in the kitchen.
For birthdays, she gave me money. The dollar bill was always flat and folded in a little square—recently removed from its hiding place in a book.
She once told me she cried each day in the cotton field. Her newborn also cried nearby, from beneath the shade tree. She couldn’t understand why she couldn’t stop crying.
She never saw an ocean. I don’t think she missed it.
She never learned to drive. She missed it.

She saw plenty of dirt. And sun. And wind. And children.
Her example taught all of us how to get by.
She never won an award—but never expected one.
The only plaque that shows her name is in the cemetery.
She’s one of the many women of the West whose story is rolled into the stories of others.

We love, we resist, we persevere and move forward, pushed by her and now-silent women.
I am thankful for Miss Laura Jean.
I am thankful to be in an organization which so lovingly and diligently tells the stories of our mothers
And their mothers
And the women that came before.

Miss Laura Jean would have loved it, here.

B. K. Froman

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Team Winning Writer ~ November Edition

Linda Wommack – “Confidentially Told in Brown’s Park” Wild West Magazine. Wild West History Association Six-shooter Award for Best Article for 2020. 

We are inviting each of our WWW writing family to share awards and placings they have received for individual book titles, articles submitted and published in magazines or other periodicals. The achievements would be other than any recognition received for WWW awards. Refer to the Members Only section under Blog Submissions: Awards and Recognition, to submit your information. 

Submission deadline is the first of each month.

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New Release ~ Falling Forward, a Woman’s Journey West by Pat Jurgens

When her mother dies in childbirth, Louisa at seventeen is thrust into adulthood.  She is suddenly responsible for running the farm household and caring for two younger siblings. Isolated in a late 1890’s Mennonite community with strict religious doctrine and expectations, she yearns to explore the “outside” world. She falls in love and marries Thomas, who is not of the Faith, and is shunned by the entire community. They journey to California to start a new life farming melons, but Thomas dies and the farm fails. 

A widow without means, Louisa is still determined to make a life for herself and her children in the West. Eventually she makes her way to Golden, Colorado, where she opens a bakery and tearoom and learns to survive in a man’s world. She finds women friends, becomes a suffragist, and is confronted with social issues of the time. Rediscovering love with her longtime financier friend, she is poised to accept his marriage proposal when she learns the fate of her mongoloid baby sister. Louisa’s choices set in motion a transformation she never expected. 

Falling Forward, A Woman’s Journey West is available in paperback at Amazon. Watch for the eBook version coming soon.

Pat Jurgens is a writer and retired librarian who has published more than fifty articles in local and regional magazines. She has won awards from the Denver Women’s Press Club, the Poetry Society of Colorado, and the Jefferson County Historical Commission.  She loves living in an old mountain cabin in Evergreen, Colorado, with her husband Carl and rescue dog Zoe. Falling Forward, a Woman’s Journey West is her first novel.  Visit her at: https://patjurgens.com

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New Release ~ Dudes Rush In by Lynn Downey

I’ve been publishing books and articles about the history of the American West for thirty-five years, and have been reading historical fiction and historical mysteries for longer than that. Around my birthday in 2012 I put down the latest Alafair Tucker novel by Donis Casey and said to myself, “I wish I could write a historical mystery.” In the next second, someone turned on a movie projector in my head and the characters and plot of a story started to march across my inner vision.

Over the next few years, while I was still working full-time, I got more flashes of my story, and since I always keep pen and paper handy, I was able to write them down (if I was driving, I left myself voicemails). When I retired and then started my historical consulting business, I sat down to organize my notes and scanty drafts into a coherent whole. It was the hardest work and the most joy I have ever experienced as a writer. I found Annette Chaudet and Pronghorn Press, which released Dudes Rush In in October.

I love the history of Arizona and the world of the dude ranch, and that’s where my main character, Phoebe McFarland, finds herself in 1952. She’s a restless war widow who decides to give up her life in San Francisco to help her late husband’s family run the H Double Bar dude ranch in Tribulation, Arizona. When she finds an old diary hidden in the desk of the guest house where she is staying, she stumbles onto secrets from the town’s past that collide with a shocking revelation from her own. 

Book Two of the H Double Bar dude ranch series is already running through my head. 

Dudes Rush In is available at Bookshop, Amazon, and Lynn Downey’s website.

Lynn Downey is the WILLA award-winning author of Arequipa Sanatorium: Life in California’s Lung Resort for Women. Her work-in-progress is a cultural history of dude ranching, which will be published by the University of Oklahoma Press in 2022. Visit her at www.lynndowney.com, and on Instagram at lynn.downey.historian. 

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It’s Not Too Late!

The time of year has arrived when writers sequester themselves for hours on end in an attempt to meet their NaNoWriMo goals. A.K.A. National Novel Writing Month is the month of the year wordsmiths, at every level around the world, justify the inner burning to write every day.

Strategizing begins long before the November 1 start date. Mapping plans for a designated project is part of that procedure, and the days are marked off while chomping at the bit to get started. November 1 does not come soon enough.

But, what if you are new to the NaNoWriMo tribe? The acronym itself probably scares you beyond any Hallowe’en horror movie. The word ‘novel’ causes tiny droplets of sweat to appear, and to top it off, you have just heard about this writing phenomenon, and it started days ago.

Take heart, NaNoWriMo newbie, this event does not have to be about writing 50,000 words. Daunting as it may sound you are not alone, and it’s not too late to jump on the band wagon to make it happen.

– Start by reading up on the annual event.
– Set small writing goals.
– Have fun with the experience.
– Rejuvenate projects that are collecting dust on the shelf, or start something new.
– Challenge another writer to keep track of the number of words each of you write during November.
– Become accountable. Tell people what you are doing. Post your personal word count goals on social media. Follow up by posting weekly or daily updates.
– Ask the members of a writing group (online or those you meet with locally) to keep track of everything they write during the month. At the end of November, the numbers will surprise you. It is also a way to support anyone in the group that has registered for NaNoWriMo.

If you still need the inspiration to participate in NaNoWriMo, it might be time to introduce yourself to Sybil, Willa, and Laura. These ladies have motivated more than one person over the years to write articles, short stories, and novels.

Share your tips and tricks that help you to write, write, write during November, or anytime?

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Reminder

You can read about October’s Team Winning Writers here.

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New Release ~ Norske Fields by Anne Schroeder

“Write what should not be forgotten.”

—Isabel Allende

Norske Fields 

A Novel Based on Southern California’s Norwegian Colony 

As a young woman I saw a photograph of my grandfather, Oscar Olsen, watching county workers exhume the coffins of his six young sisters and brother from an old family cemetery at the corner of Moorpark and Olsen Roads. Grandpa’s eyes held unfathomable pain of a brother remembering his long-ago childhood. I wanted to know those little girls and boy. I wanted to connect with my heritage.

This story grew from thousands of facts known about the residents of the Norwegian Colony and the land that was later developed as California Lutheran University, in Thousand Oaks, California. The land was originally part of Jose de la Guerra’s Spanish land grant. It held brief interest for oil speculators, lying as an untilled section of property nestled against rolling hills. Then in 1890, Norwegians put a plowshare to the hard-packed clay soil. Their efforts resulted in mutual support and a community of friends as they adapted to dryland farming that was strange and challenging to newcomers. The Norwegians endured tribulation, but their joy and satisfaction with their new homes was well recorded in diaries and letters home. They laughed, sang, played and celebrated life within their little colony. 

I began with a sheet of paper with a thick black border entitled: “Those buried in the Olsen Cemetery and moved to Ivy Lawn Cemetery in 1957.” From this list of names, birthdates, deaths I constructed the struggles of new immigrants in a foreign land. Some of the dialogue came from stories passed down to grandchildren now in their eighties, who recalled attitudes, personalities and actual quotations. For the rest, well, that is for the reader to decide. 

Norske Fields is available at Amazon and B&N in paperback and kindle. 

Anne is a former President of WWW, an award-winning author of memoir and historical fiction and a proud grandmother. As a result of the 2020 WWW Conference, her marketing and website has changed direction. Visit her at anneschroederauthor.com

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Team Winning Writer

It seems like only a breath ago that we were at the 2020 WWW Conference, attending sessions, visiting in chat rooms, and congratulating the finalist and winners of the WILLA Literary Award, the LAURA Short Fiction Award, and DOWNING Journalism Award. 

And now, through the Women Writing the West Blog, we look forward to showcasing accomplishments of our members.

We are inviting each of our WWW writing family to share awards and placings they have received for individual book titles, articles submitted and published in magazines or other periodicals. The achievements would be other than any recognition received for WWW awards. Refer to the Members Only section under Blog Submissions: Awards and Recognition, to submit your information. 

Thank you, Alice Trego for providing us with these results for the first Team Winning Writer shout out.

2020 CIPA EVVY Awards Book Competition 

Biography / Autobiography / Memoir
3rd -Patricia Eagle – “Being Mean—A Memoir of Sexual Abuse and Survival”
Animals / Pets / Nature
2nd -Corinne Joy Brown – “Finding Home”
Mystery / Crime / Detective
2nd -Ann Parker – “Mortal Music”
3rd -Vicky Ramakka – The Cactus Plot: Murder in the High Desert
2020 Winners & Finalists of the New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards

FICTION ADVENTURE/DRAMA 
FINALIST
W. Michael Farmer Blood-Soaked Earth Gale Cengage
FICTION COZY 
WINNER
Vicky Ramakka The Cactus Plot Artemesia Publishing
FICTION HISTORICAL ARIZONA
FINALISTS
P. Grady Cox Hellgate Five Star/Cengage
FICTION HISTORICAL NEW MEXICO 
FINALISTS
W. Michael Farmer Blood-Soaked Earth Gale Cengage
W. Michael Farmer The Last Warrior Gale Cengage
FICTION HISTORICAL OTHER 
WINNER
Kari Bovée Grace in the Wings Bosque Publishing
FICTION OTHER 
FINALISTS
Sally Harper Bates It Only Takes One 
HISTORY OTHER 
FINALISTS
W. Michael Farmer Geronimo, Prisoner of Lies Rowman & Littlefird Publishing
POETRY ARIZONA 
FINALIST
Sally Harper Bates Pencil Tracks 
POETRY ANTHOLOGY 
FINALIST
Sally Harper Bates Facing West Vol Two 
YOUNG ADULT 
FINALIST
W. Michael Farmer Geronimo, Prisoner of Lies TwoDot/Rowman & Littlefield Publishing
COVER DESIGN (6×9) 
FINALISTS
Rhenna St Clair Getting New Mexico Pace Press

The deadline for the November submissions is November 5, 2020. Information for December and subsequent months must be received by the first of the month. Missed deadlines will defer posting to the following month.

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Goodbyes Were Few

Setting Sun by Ann Edall-Robson

When the sun was setting on the 2020 Women Writing the West Conference, the music played, and the accolades for this historic event started to roll in. Goodbyes were few, the memories are many, and “See you next time” reverberated from rooms across the land. 

Whether you are a first-time attendee or a seasoned veteran of WWW conferences, this event is going to stay with us for years to come. 

We invite you to share your thoughts on this inaugural WWW virtual conference. 

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