New Release: ANSWER CREEK by WWW member Ashley Sweeney

Screen Shot 2020-05-11 at 10.16.43 PMNineteen-year-old Ada Weeks confronts danger and calamity along the hazard-filled journey to California. After a fateful decision that delays the overlanders more than a month, she—along with eighty-one other members of the Donner Party—finds herself stranded at Truckee Lake on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, stuck there for the entirety of a despairing, blizzard-filled winter. Forced to eat shoe leather and blankets to survive, will Ada be able to battle the elements—and her own demons—as she envisions a new life in California? Based on the true story of the ill-fated Donner Party on their 2,200-mile trek on the Oregon–California Trail from 1846 to ’47, author Ashley Sweeney offers a new adventure on one of the most harrowing pioneer stories.

Learn more at: https://www.amazon.com/Answer-Creek-Novel-Ashley-Sweeney-ebook/dp/B07VHZ3ZFM

About Ashley

Screen Shot 2020-05-11 at 10.20.01 PMAshley Sweeney is a seasoned journalist, activist, and teacher. She is the winner of the Nancy Pearl Book Award and the author of novel Eliza Waite. Ashley divides her time between Washington State and Arizona with her husband. Learn more about Ashley at https://ashleysweeneyauthor.com/.

 

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The Spanish Flu : Guest Post by Margaret Hanna

It began as a rumour. People overseas were dying of a new disease. No one gave it much
thought.

It was summer of 1918. Millions of young men had already died in the Great War. The death of a few more from disease seemed of little consequence. It wasn’t.

The Spanish Flu exploded in North America in August and spread swiftly around the globe. About one-third of the world’s population was infected; between 20 and 50 million people died. Without today’s medical technology, the flu spread quickly and killed just as quickly. Approximately 55,000 died in Canada and 675,000 in the USA. Mortality was especially severe among young adults.

The flu arrived in Saskatchewan in early October and hospitals were quickly overwhelmed. In November, 300 people died. Given a population of about 650,000, that amounts to 50 deaths per 100,000 for that month alone. The flu wrecked havoc in small communities such as Meyronne in southwestern Saskatchewan where my grandparents, Abraham and Addie Hanna, lived. Meyronne was slightly more fortunate than many of the surrounding villages — it had a resident doctor and nurse.

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1927 Village and Farm

Abe kept diaries, and the first indication that all was not well was his entry of Sunday, October 27: “Sabbath School and service cancelled on account of influenza.” He was particularly concerned when their two children contracted the flu at the same time as Addie became “indisposed”. He was worried enough about the children to call in Dr. Donnelly; they recovered a few days later. Next, his hired man contracted the flu; he was ill for over a week. Abe seems to have survived it all.

The local paper, Meyronne Independent, chronicled the impact on the village. On November 6, it reported almost everyone in the village of about 250 people was ill. Dr. Donnelly had commandeered the hotel as a temporary hospital; it now housed 20 patients. He ordered the laundry to boil the sheets with bleach, and the cafes to provide meals for the sick. He would settle the bill later. He ordered those still well to bring anyone sick into town to be treated. School, as well as church, was cancelled. Business somehow limped along in spite of most staff being ill. The editor inserted some humour into the otherwise distressing news with the report that “No small number of “safety-firsters” took up their daily allotment of “preventative” when the ban was lifted;” – the provincial government had temporarily lifted the prohibition against selling alcohol.

Life seemed to be back to normal by late November. On December 1, Abe wrote “Attended service in eve.” The December 10 Independent makes no mention of illness. In all, six people died in the Meyronne district.

The flu did not subside in Saskatchewan until late December; a secondary peak in February 1919 claimed 50 more lives. Not until 1920 did the Spanish Flu fade from the face of the earth.

About Margaret

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Margaret grew up on the farm her grandfather homesteaded, just outside the village of Meyronne in southwestern Saskatchewan. After obtaining degrees in archaeology, she was Curator of Aboriginal History at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum for 23 years. She retired in 2007, married and moved to Airdrie AB. Her writes mostly what she calls semi-fictionalized family history but she also dabbles in other genres. More information can be found at www.margaretghanna.wordpress.com
Caption: Photo by Kali Birks Gallup

 

 

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New Release: SLOW ARROW: UNEARTHING THE FRAIL CHILDREN by Kathryn Winograd

Screen Shot 2020-03-18 at 9.51.27 PMIn a new collection of essays titled Slow Arrow: Unearthing the Frail Children, WWW member Kathryn Winograd braids together the pressing environmental issues of today with the sacred and profane intersections of the human and the natural world. She explores in the microcosm of a forty-acre high mountain meadow and its surrounding lands vast worlds of ecological and familial migrations. The announcement by Kathryn’s eighty-five-year-old mother that she would be moving to Colorado to live out her last years sent Kathryn on a journey into what it means to be a steward of land and a steward of a grieving mother.

Expanded gold mines, drought-induced wildfires, sudden aspen decline, solitary hawks and summer-pastured longhorns, coyote and elusive cougar, fairy trumpets: as Kathryn explores the deceptively remote and arid landscape in southwest Colorado at the “back” of Pikes Peak, she begins to discover its metaphorical connections to the emotional family landscape she now lives in.

Slow Arrow is published by Saddle Road Press.

To purchase: https://www.amazon.com/Slow-Arrow-Unearthing-Frail-Children/dp/1732952140

About Kathryn

Screen Shot 2020-03-18 at 9.51.34 PMKathryn Winograd has published six books, including Slow Arrow.  She received her Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Denver, and a M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Iowa. She taught poetry and creative nonfiction for Ashland University for ten years and currently teaches for Regis University’s Mile-High MFA program. When Kathryn isn’t teaching, she spends her time writing at the back of Pike’s Peak in the shadow of Nipple mountain in a little timber frame cabin. To learn more, visit https://kathrynwinograd.com/.

 

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The Peralta Adobe

Guest Blog Post by WWW Member Linda Ulleseit. Learn more about Linda by visiting her author website and pick up one of her books, too!

Screen Shot 2020-02-03 at 5.59.33 PMSan Jose is the oldest city settlement in California. It was founded in 1777 when 66 settlers were sent there from San Francisco by the Juan Bautista de Anza expedition. The Luis Maria Peralta adobe is the oldest building in San Jose. Nestled amongst high rises and trendy marketplaces in repurposed old buildings, the adobe is an honored vestige of San Jose’s earliest days. History San Jose offers weekend tours as well as school field trips during the week.

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The adobe was built by Manuel Gonzalez, an Apache Indian who was a member of the de Anza expedition and original settler of San Jose. It is named, however, for Luis Maria Peralta, its most famous inhabitant, who was the comisionado of San Jose, the highest military and civilian official.

The adobe is two rooms, roughly equal in size made of over 2000 adobe bricks. Outside is the kitchen area, with three different eras of cooking represented. On the far right is the earliest, just a pot on a tripod over an open fire. In the middle is a brick fireplace, and on the left is the more recent oven, or horno.

Inside, the bedroom is decorated to reflect what it probably looked like when the Peraltas first lived there. At that time, the Spanish government forbade trade with any other country besides Spain. The citizens of San Jose had to wait months for someting to come from Spain, or they used the resources at hand. The bed is laced with rawhide straps, and the blankets are bearskin. A cradle full of soft rabbit skins hangs near the bed. The Peraltas had 17 children, but only 9 survived to adulthood. Even so, that’s a lot of people for one bedroom! The four boys probably slept outside all summer, at least.

The other room is the living space. It shows how the family would have lived thirty years later, once California was under Mexican rule. Clearly, the family was more well off. The floor is wood instead of dirt, and a variety of decorative and entertainment items grace the shelves. Mexico allowed its citizens to trade whereever they wanted, so this room shows pottery and glassware, as well as manufactured goods, from other countries. Californios, or Mexican citizens living in California, traded candles made from cattle tallow and items made from leather for things they couldn’t make or grow.

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Also in that front room is the writing desk, which speaks to me personally. I love the rustic (to me) table by the window, the candles and the quill ready to write. The bottle of liquor is, of course, a necessity to modern writers as well when the frustration of a blank page arises, or when friends come over to celebrate a new book release! Finally, think about the mothers and grandmothers who must have sat on the porch in that rocker covered with fur and watched generations of young people develop what is now the 10th largest city in the United States.

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NEW RELEASE: Mortal Music by WWW Member Ann Parker

Screen Shot 2020-01-25 at 2.14.40 PMSan Francisco music-store owner Inez Stannert has a past that doesn’t bear close inspection, including running a saloon in the wide-open silver boomtown of Leadville, Colorado. But those times are gone, it’s now winter 1881, and her music store is struggling. Inez also lacks capital for her other enterprise: staking the business efforts of local women entrepreneurs. So when “The Golden Songbird,” prima donna Theia Carrington Drake, hears Inez play and demands she replace her accompanist, Inez is tempted, but hesitates. The holiday concert series would be a golden opportunity to focus polite society on her store and replenish her bank accounts, if she is willing to step out from the shadows. Theia’s husband/manager Graham Drake offers to sweeten the pot, so Inez accepts—and trouble begins.

MORTAL MUSIC is published by Poisoned Pen Press, an imprint of Sourcebooks. Click here to purchase!

About Ann

Screen Shot 2020-01-25 at 2.18.51 PMAnn Parker lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she is a science writer by day and historical fiction writer at night. Ann is the author of the award-winning Silver Rush historical mystery series, set primarily in the 1880s silver boomtown Leadville, Colorado, and, more recently, in the “Paris of the West,” San Francisco, California. Learn more about Ann and her series at annparker.net

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What Happened at the FALLCON Trade Show & Conference?

By WWW Member Doris Baker

Thanks to all WWW members who participated in the Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association trade show in October.

As you’ll recall, all WWWers were given the opportunity to have their books displayed at the conference of booksellers from throughout the West. Our table displayed 36 books and attracted lots of attention. Attendees stopped to examine the books and ask about Women Writing the West. They were impressed with the books and the new 2019 catalogs and WILLA postcards. All books were displayed face out with sell sheets or bookmarks close by for the taking. Many books were handled and examined, and if a bookseller requested a sample copy of any book on display, he or she was given a copy and a sell sheet. Volunteers at the table kept a list of who received sample books and authors were notified by email that a store was interested. Four hundred plus attended the conference. Approximately half of the attendees were associated with a retail bookstore. Definitely our crowd!

If you participated this year, I hope something good came from the exposure. If not, keep in mind that WWW will likely be back in Denver for FallCon 2020.

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San Antonio’s Briscoe Western Art Museum: As Reported by WWW Member Mary Trimble

While in San Antonio, Texas to attend the 2019 Women Writing the West conference, we toured the amazing Briscoe Western Art Museum. It was a tour to remember.

Screen Shot 2019-10-28 at 4.10.06 PMThe museum is housed in a renovated historical building, a 1930s structure that once served as the city’s library. The Briscoe, located downtown San Antonio on the River Walk, opened in 2013. The museum, the city’s first dedicated Western art museum, features hundreds of western objects, including a full-size reproduction of a Wells Fargo stagecoach, and an actual chuck wagon used on cattle trail drives. Walls and display cases of saddles and spurs fire the imagination and bring the old West to life. In addition to cowboy culture, the museum also explores American Indian, Spanish and Mexican contributions to the area.

The museum’s three levels feature the story of the West through paintings and sculptures, from ancient concepts to the place we know today. Each floor has a theme showing the diversity of cultures, ideas and commerce.

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In addition to the permanent displays, the museum also has a rotating display of the newest acquisitions. When we visited, the Briscoe featured a very large exhibit, the Art and the Animal, the flagship exhibition of The Society of Animal Artists.

Outside, the McNutt Sculpture Garden provides visitors a leisurely courtyard stroll among bronze sculptures depicting figures of the American West.Screen Shot 2019-10-28 at 4.10.25 PM

The Briscoe Western Art Museum Store has an impressive selection of merchandise including books, jewelry, arts and crafts, all relating to the Museum’s collection.

If you’re in San Antonio, be sure to visit the Briscoe Western Art Museum. It offers a memorable tour of yesterday and today’s  American West.

Photos by April Brauneis

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