It’s going to be a busy summer for WWW members! Hold on to your hats!
Coming up in 2018’s Summer:
June 14 – Randi Samuelson-Brown will be reading from her book The Beaten Territory at the Bud Werner Library in Steamboat Springs at 7:00PM
June 19 – Milana Marsenich will read from her new release The Swan Keeper at Fact and Fiction in Missoula at 7:00PM
June 20th – Anne Schroeder will appear on the Authors of the Pacific Northwest podcast to speak about her new release, Walk of the Promise Road. Listen here: https://vikkijcarter.podbean.com/
June 29 – Milana will hold a book signing of The Swan Keeper at a fundraiser for the Montana Waterfowl Foundation in Polson MT from 5 – 7 PM.
June 30 – Randi Samuelson-Brown will present the lecture “The Women of Hell’s Swift Alley” at the Byers-Evens House for History Colorado at 1:30PM. (Tickets required)
July 7 – Marcia Fine will be giving the lecture “Marketing Research and Fortitude for Authors” at New Life Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque at 11:00AM
July 11 – Milana Marsenich will be reading and signing The Swan Keeper at the Polson MT library at 7:00PM.
July 29 – Marcia Fine will offer the Keynote Speech at the Anusim Conference in El Paso (time TBD).
Congratulations to WWW Members!
Randi Samuelson-Brown’s The Beaten Territory, was a recent finalist for the Colorado Author’s League 2018 genre fiction award.
Mara Purl’s latest novel, When Otters Play just won a Finalist Award at International Book Awards. It was also the winner in Regional Literature of the Los Angeles Book Festival Awards.
Sara Dahmen’s 2018 release, Widow 1881, recently won the Author’s Circle Fiction Book of the Year award.
Marcia Fine’s Hidden Ones: A Veil of Memories has won First Prize from Indie Writers in the Multiculural Category (this is the 7th award for Hidden Ones).
Milana Marsenich’s first novel, Copper Sky (released in 2017), is a 2018 Spur Award finalist for the Historical Novel category.
As writers, when we talk about world building, we often discuss the senses. What are our characters seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and physically feeling? Who are the people who make up the world, and what are their individual agendas and misconceptions of their surroundings? What time, place, landscape, and cultural norms are integrated into the community where our plot pulls the characters?
World building allows the reader to be transported, and exceptional world building creates a cult-like following in the best of cases (think Tolkien and George RR Martin for starters). Readers can be immersed inside the languages, the scents, the clothing, if writers describe them with just the right touch of reality and yet without going into a deep backstory each step of the way. And this is true even if we are world building within the American west, where WWW members set the scene. Whether we are writing about the past, present, or even the future of the West, we still must transport our readers every time. Maybe it’s to a campground or a mine, a prairie or a bustling western city. Maybe you want your reader to really understand the limitations of a corset.
And while we’ve all read other books describing the world of the west, and many of the WWW writers live *in* the west, one of the often underutilized ways to grasp at the proper descriptions, feelings, smells and sights of anything in the Western past is to visit several reenactments, rendezvous, or to physically try it oneself.
When I’m not tied to the computer or acting as the WWW blog coordinator, I am often found at a rendezvous campsite, living like it’s 1830. My family camps completely as if we live in the past, so the smells are ripe, the grass is soft, and the clothing strange. I’m able to properly grasp the difficulty of baking a pie in coals over a fire in the rain, the struggle to keep clean, the pungent, sweet yet smoky cloying of sweat, dirt, and ash on skin. I can realize how a community used to be, how it was possible for the children to run free, wield knives at the young age of five, chop wood at six, and the necessary laissez faire attitude about toddlers wandering. And starting a fire with flint, steel, char-cloth and tow? Really hard. I wouldn’t have guessed what was all possible until I’d lived it! And if I have a question about rope-making, tool forming, cookie baking, or fur trapping . . . well, I wander down the line of tents and chat it up. Four hours later, I’ll have enough first-hand knowledge to pack about six novels, fiction or otherwise.
If you don’t want to struggle through gathering the props and reenact yourself, most camps operate an “adopt a family” attitude, where they will provide you with the clothing and day of hands-on living. Or simply plan to visit several and chat for the entire day. Most people who reenact desperately love to share their knowledge, and it’s surprising how much of the information bleeds into present day. It’s worth your while, gets you out of the writing chair, out into the world . . . and enables you able to build a more vivid world later when you come home.
–Sara Dahmen, WWW Blog Coordinator and Fur Trade Era Coppersmith Re-Enactor. Feel free to email Sara with questions about reenactments of *any* era at firstname.lastname@example.org. Email her with any announcements, topics, news or releases as well at any time!
Photo by Greg Lehman Photography
Whether you write historical westerns or modern, contemporary ones, most of us need to do some sort of research. Whether it’s a certain cell phone app exists or the year a treaty was signed, a writer should always have the facts right.
In today’s internet age, we have answers at our finger tips. We are able to simply Google a question (or, heck, speak it aloud into our phones!) and oodles of responses pop up. By now, many writers are able to spot a fake or unreliable online source, or know to check several others to have corroborating evidence, or even to email the person who keeps the website live to see if they can shed more light on a topic.
But the truth of it is, some of our digging comes from tried and true periodicals, newspapers, and books. (Raise your hand if you remember – or still do – checking out a ton of books on a topic before or during a book writing!) And some of our sources may even be oral.
The question then becomes: do you offer a reference, index, glossary, or bibliography in your book? Do you give sources? Do you tell people where you’ve learned details, and where more can be found? Or do you weave your tale, allowing seamless fiction and fact to flow together? How do non-fiction writers prefer to offer their notes?
There’s no right or wrong answer, but a lively discussion all the same!
— Sara Dahmen, blog coordinator
We all know how wonderful it is, if you’re published, to receive that monthly stipend from all the online retailers, from Amazon to Kobo and beyond. Any money, from $2 to $2000, means someone has bought your book, and that’s a good thing!
Some of our members also do a lot of hand-sales. While it’s time consuming, it’s a great way to build your following, fans, and create rapport with book buyers. Plus, you get to put faces on other authors at the events and see what resonates about your book with buyers. Maybe they just are drawn to the cover. Maybe they like the genre alone and that compels them to purchase your book. Or maybe they just fall a little in love with you, the author, and just *have* to have your novel now that they’ve met you.
WWW member Penny Hamilton sent in a bit of information on her upcoming events and hand-sales opportunities, which are shared below as another example of both how and where you might find a chance to connect with readers:
Author Penny Hamilton will be hosting a book table on Saturday, May 12, from 8-11am at the annual Mountain Parks Electric Co-operative breakfast meeting in Granby, CO. She will also be greeting book buyers at Granby City Market for a Western Kick-Off to Summer event.