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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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

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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

W. Michael Farmer Blood-Soaked Earth Gale Cengage
Vicky Ramakka The Cactus Plot Artemesia Publishing
P. Grady Cox Hellgate Five Star/Cengage
W. Michael Farmer Blood-Soaked Earth Gale Cengage
W. Michael Farmer The Last Warrior Gale Cengage
Kari Bovée Grace in the Wings Bosque Publishing
Sally Harper Bates It Only Takes One 
W. Michael Farmer Geronimo, Prisoner of Lies Rowman & Littlefird Publishing
Sally Harper Bates Pencil Tracks 
Sally Harper Bates Facing West Vol Two 
W. Michael Farmer Geronimo, Prisoner of Lies TwoDot/Rowman & Littlefield Publishing
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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Memory Road

It’s Women Writing the West (WWW) conference month, and we would like to take a drive down the memory road.  

Have you attended a WWW conference in years gone by? Sharing your memories might be just the thing to open up the memory vault for others.

  • Anecdotes captured in the words you have written on your blog post—send us the link. 
  • Photographs that were taken as a reminder you of your time away from home immersing yourself in a passion with like-minded people. 
  • The accolades, disappointments, and don’t forget the friends you made or re-connected with.  
  • Include the date and location of the conference(s) you are sending us information on.


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Sara Dahmen is Hitting the Trail

In August 2017, Women Writing the West member, award-winning novelist, and coppersmith Sara Dahmen, accepted the invitation to volunteer as the WWW Blog Coordinator. During her tenure, she switched the hosting platform from Blogger to WordPress, which offers more customization features. However, for members who contributed to the Blogger platform, and for anyone who wants to read the posts prior to 2018, Sara retained Blogger access.

Sara received blog posts of various topics, including member published book releases, where she added links to the author’s website and/or direct purchase links.

Published posts were always interesting, and Sara uploaded beautiful photos, many taken by members themselves (all photos require attribution). WWW Member submissions also included historic tours replete with tantalizing mental and visual imagery, and some posts were of events that shaped history, or of WWW conferences and book fairs.

As for Sara, besides hitting the books, as in writing them, and hitting copper—essential for her craft—she has been hitting the trail of her own very successful career. So, Sara has decided to step down from being the blog coordinator. WWW is grateful for her many hours of artfully placing photos and words together into composed and visually attractive blog posts.

At this time, I would like to welcome Ann Edall-Robson as the new WWW Blog Coordinator. Ann has some terrific ideas for generating interest in the blog, which will continue to spotlight members’ accomplishments, events, and more. Her plans for this blog and other social media integration should entice members to hop on the blogging bus and get traction all across the world wide web.

If you are reading this and are not a WWW member, but would like to know more about this organization of writers and other professionals who write and promote writing about the experiences of women and girls in the North American West, please visit Membership is open to all persons, worldwide.

Amy Nowak
WWW 2020 President

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NEW RELEASE: Lillian’s Legacy by WWW Member Carmen Peone

Screen Shot 2020-07-20 at 6.48.13 PMLillian Gardner, a healer in the making using natural medicines, is certain she is the black sheep of the family. In an attempt to prove she is of value, she sets off into the wilds of Eastern Washington and Indian Territory with Doctor Mali Maddox, an elderly Welsh female physician whose husband has recently passed away. She hopes to marry her knowledge of herbal remedies learned from her mother and an Indian healer with new ways of western medicine. Will Lillian discover her true calling? Will she be respected as a female physician in training?

Lillian’s Legacy and the Gardner Siblings include a Literary Guide and is created for homeschool learning / classroom work. To access the workbook:

To purchase the novel:

About Carmen

Screen Shot 2017-10-02 at 11.13.03 AMAward-winning author Carmen Peone lives with her tribal husband, Joe, on the Colville Confederated Indian Reservation in Northeast Washington. She gathered cultural knowledge from family and elders and studied the language and various cultural traditions and legends under the late Marguerite Ensminger. If not writing, she can be found in the woods on one of her horses. Learn more about Carmen:


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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:

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


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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

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
Caption: Photo by Kali Birks Gallup



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