New Release: GRACIE JANE by Janet Squires

Screen Shot 2019-02-04 at 2.42.20 PMWWW Member Janet Squires has recently released her latest children’s illustrated book with her publisher, Mindstir Media. Check it out!

Gracie Jane has a heart as big as the Western sky, and she’s always ready to lend a helping hand. So, she doesn’t think twice about rescuing Fifi La Rue and taking the lost pup home. After all, how much trouble could one little dog be on a great big ranch? 

It’s nonstop fun and excitement when one good deed goes hilariously wrong!



About Janet

Screen Shot 2019-02-04 at 3.57.12 PMJanet Squires writes for both children and adults. Her first picture book, THE GINGERBREAD COWBOY, was the Arizona Governor’s 2007 First Grade Book and a special edition was printed and distributed to every first-grade student in the state. To learn more, visit:

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New Release: OUR BULL’S LOOSE IN TOWN! by WWW member Margaret G Hanna

screen shot 2019-01-21 at 10.53.40 pmLittle did Addie Wright realize what she would face when she came west from Ontario in 1910 to marry her fiancé, Abraham Hanna.

Based on entries in Abraham’s diaries, Our Bull’s Loose In Town! tells the story of the author’s grandparents as they built their farm and raised a family in the Meyronne district of southwestern Saskatchewan. Through trials and triumphs, sorrows and successes, the horrors of the Great War, the prosperity of the Roaring Twenties and the dark years of the Dirty Thirties, they found strength and courage in their faith, in their indomitable humor, and in their family and neighbors.

This is also the story of the rise and decline of a prairie village, and of the political and social turmoil of a province and country in the first half of the twentieth century, all as Addie lived it.


About Margaret

screen shot 2019-01-21 at 10.53.52 pmMargaret G. Hanna grew up outside the village of Meyronne, SK, on the farm that her paternal grandfather homesteaded in 1910. She was a professional archaeologist and curator of Aboriginal History at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, Regina, where her work with the aboriginal community was vast and involved with many tribal elders. She now resides in Airdrie, Alberta. For more, visit


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New Release: GIRLS FROM CENTRO by Juni Fisher

screen shot 2019-01-16 at 5.34.49 pmWWW member Juni Fisher released her debut novel, Girls from Centro, on November 12, 2018, a coming-of-age, contemporary tale with a strong Hispanic backbone that tackles the question of immigration, poverty, family, and sacrifice.

Teresa sells souveniers to tourists and feeds her father’s fighting roosters. Ana, a young single mother, cooks at a convent and orphanage. Both young women are offered the chance at ta better life in the United States, and both decide to walk away from their existence to fight for a new one. For Teresa and Ana, the dangers and the uncertainties are worth paying a price. But will the challenges along the way be worth it to reach the dream of life beyond the border?


About Juni

screen shot 2019-01-16 at 5.53.29 pmJuni Fisher was raised in the San Joaquin Valley on a California farm. Riding horses, playing her guitar and singing have all been central to Juni’s life from little onward. Her first country music song was released in 1999 and with the accolades received, Juni made music her full-time gig, though her first novel adds ‘author’ to her list of achievements. For more, visit: 

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WWW Member Kayann Short’s Essays Reflect Nature

screen shot 2019-01-07 at 4.16.49 pmKayann Short’s latest essay, “Bones Beneath Bark: The Ecological Kinship of Trees and Humans,” has appeared in Hawk & Handsaw: The Journal of Creative Sustainability. Paired with Joyce Tennyson’s luminous photography of trees and nature, the essay considers how trees benefit human health and the reciprocity required for both species’ survival. To read the essay, visit:
Taking a jump from a essay focused on nature, Kayann also provides prompts for writing ecology-based memoirs, or including natural surroundings when writing memoir. These prompts are available via Kaynn’s blog at: or you can read them here:
Writing Exploration: As you move throughout your day and night, notice the navigational systems you use to get where you want to go. Do you use street signs? GPS? Maps? Note which are human-made, like street signs, GPS, and maps, and which derive from nature, like the sun, stars, and the behaviors of creatures and natural phenomenon. Or write about a journey in which you navigate by natural landmarks, symbols, and methods different from those used in your daily life.  How do different methods of navigation determine or alter your story? (prompts property of Kayann Short)
Also, Kayann’s essay “Food for Bears” has been release and published in The Hopper magazine. You can read this nature-focused essay at
About Kayann

screen shot 2019-01-07 at 4.10.49 pmKayann Short, Ph.D., is a writer, farmer, teacher, and activist at Stonebridge Farm, located in the Rocky Mountain foothills. Kayann’s wide and extensive accolades include establishing a feminist press library archive at Colorado State University, and she has a passion for organic food production. When not writing or teaching, Kayann knits, cooks, plays mandolin and gardens with her partner, John. For more, visit

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Celebrating 2018

WWW is filled with writers of all walks, writing all genres, but with two things in common: we are women, and we write the west.

In 2018, many of us have won awards, sat on finalist lists, released and re-released books, promoted and marketed. We have networked and worked hard. We’ve supported one another and we reach for the stars, trying to leave our mark on the world and to leave it a bit better as we go along.

2018 has been a marvelously fun year as the WWW blog coordinator. I’ve been able to “meet” many of you through this channel, and look forward to meeting many more of you in person at the 2019 conference.

As we look back at what we’ve done in 2018, it’s exciting and inspiring to also look forward to 2019. What will each of us do with our lives and, more specifically, our writing, our words, and our western leanings. How will we share our passion? What are our goals? And whatever they are, no matter how big or small, know that you have the companionship, support, and passion of all the rest of the WWW community.

I look forward to 2019 and hope many more of you use and continue to use this forum as a place to share your news, releases, and experiences.

In joy and holiday spirit,

Sara Dahmen

Blog Coordinator

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Field Trip: Chief Plenty Coups State Park

This week’s blog is courtesy of WWW member Natalie Bright, who shares with us her experience at Chief Plenty Coups State Park, a field trip taken by the WWA organization. Natalie’s insights are a great read for anyone who has an interest in history and the west, and she generously shares these photographs and moments with her WWW network as well. Enjoy!

“Thank you for coming to Crow country. The land you are standing on is mixed with Crow blood.” ALDEN BIG MAN JR.

Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 3.39.26 PMThe Western Writers of America conference held in Billings offered several field trip opportunities. I hopped on a bus and enjoyed a sack lunch while we journeyed to the Crow Nation to learn about Chief Plenty Coups.

Chief Plenty Coups State Park is located on land still occupied by the Crow Nation south of Billings, Montana, a tribe once occupying the Yellowstone river valley from Wyoming, Montana and into North Dakota before being pushed west by the Cheyenne and Sioux. We walked the land and toured the home of one of the great Chiefs, best known for protecting the original homeland of his people and guiding by example for five decades. The land is everything, and all exist together as an inseparable whole.

Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 3.39.35 PMThe State Park is peaceful and beautifully kept. There is a calming spirituality about the grounds, especially around the sacred spring, and I couldn’t help but think about the previous generations that might have walked the same pathways. There is an unmistakable positive energy and perfect place for reflection.

Becoming chief at age 29 in 1876, Plenty Coups was known to be fearless and cunning, as well as a wise and eloquent speaker.Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 3.39.42 PM

Our tour started at the visitor’s center where we were allowed into the basement vault. In Native American tradition and reverence, sweet grass was burning to cleanse the air and our presence was announced before entering.  Upon his death in 1932 his home and everything in it was preserved. We viewed several significant items from the collection. Pictures were allowed but are prohibited from being posted on social media.

The home we toured is the only preserved home of an Indian leader. The original portion was constructed in 1886, built near his sacred spring to fulfill a vision he had as a young boy.  Impressed with a tour of the stately Mount Vernon on his first visit in 1880, Chief Plenty Coups planted cottonwood trees, gardens, and orchards, and introduced farming and ranching upon his return. He even opened a store to sell fruit from his orchard. Because of a vision, Chief Plenty Coups believed that he would die inside that house, so he lived most of his life in a tipi located nearby. A second story, wood floors and window were added in 1890.

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The most interesting room was a second-floor chamber where he kept his medicine bundles and personal ceremonial items. The walls and ceiling were papered in large floral-patterned cloth, and the room was furnished with an iron bed, personal photos, and keepsakes. The door was kept locked during the time that Chief Plenty Coups was alive. Visitors recall hearing movement at night believed to be from the sacred medicine bundles and guardian spirits. The ceremonial bundles signify a spiritual path for either individual or for the well-being of the tribe as a whole.

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In 1909 a spacious front room and additional second floor rooms were added, making it the only two-story house in the country. The large, open fireplace was fashioned after the one at Mount Vernon. A wide porch stretched across the entire front with views of a meadow and the Pryor Creek valley. The front room reserved for visitors was kept bare, with no furniture, rugs or pictures. Euro-American visitors entered by the front porch and were usually not invited into other parts of the house, unless they were considered to be close friends.

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Crow people entered through the door of the original house, leading them into the kitchen as trusted friends and family. They were also allowed to visit the tipi. Both tribal and personal business was conducted in this way.

The Chief was so impressed with Mount Vernon and inspired by the fact that people could visit the home of a great white chief, he left his home to the State of Montana, preserving his legacy for others to learn about and know.


“For though he was a man of his people and of the world, he was even more so a man of the spirit. Not one ordained of the cloth, he sought insight and guidance from his incredibly intense personal spirituality, from deep and powerful currents within himself and his strong connection to the natural world.” RICH PITTSLEY, 2001

Photos by N. Bright. Chief Plenty Coups State Park, Montana.

Natalie Bright is an author, blogger and speaker.

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2018 Conference Experience — Fort Walla Walla Museum: A Journey into the Past

by WWW member Mary Trimble

Part of the Women Writing the West conference in Walla Walla, Washington, was a tour of the 17-acre Fort Walla Walla Museum, an impressive collection of fascinating relics of the area’s history.

Beginning our tour in the main building, the Entrance Hall, bronzes by Walla Walla native, David Manual are on prominent display. Then, an actual stagecoach stirs the imagination as we compare the difference with today’s cushy transportation. The Entrance Hall features rotating exhibits including fur trade and gold rush artifacts. I especially enjoyed an exhibit of antique toys. Also featured in the Entrance Hall were scheduled enactments of local historical people. The Museum Store features books on regional history and culture, beautiful arts and crafts, and an assortment of locally produced gourmet foods.

We continued our tour to explore four more exhibits. Exhibit Hall 2 houses one of the nation’s largest collections of horse-era agricultural equipment, including pre-combine stationary threshing equipment used in the early 1900s. This hall also features a cook-house where cooks prepared 5,000- to 6,000-calorie meals per day for the hardworking farmhands.

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Photo: Mule team harvesting wheat on the Francis Stubblefield ranch, c. 1914. Photo of display by Roni McFadden

Exhibit Hall 3 displays the combine, the next technological development in horse-era agriculture. I was amazed at the 1920s life-size 33-mule team model hitched to a wooden combine. It’s hard to imagine getting 33 mules all pointed in the right direction, harnessed and hitched, and then driven by just one man.

Exhibit Hall 4 features wagons and other vehicles used in the early 1900s, including a doctor’s buggy, and even a “sports” buggy. This hall contains a branding iron collection, including many of the oldest cattle brands in Washington.

Exhibit Hall 5’s entrance doors were once a part of the 1908 Walla Walla fire station. Among other displays is a horse-drawn steam pumper, used until the Walla Walla fire station acquired its motorized fire engines.

We walked down a path surrounded by grassy hills to the Pioneer Village with 17 more buildings to explore. We wandered from the blockhouse to tiny cabins that sometimes housed families with many as 10 children, to school rooms, to various shops vital to the needs of a pioneer settlement.

Fort Walla Walla Museum brings history to life. It’s one of the most complete museums I have ever seen. It occupies part of the 640-acre military reservation that traces its origins to an early pioneer society that formed in 1886. If you’re in the Walla Walla area, I highly recommend visiting this museum.


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