Cowgirl Life Radio Interview

cowgirlliferadiojpgI was privileged to be a guest author on Cowgirl Life talk radio this week. It is hosted by Danielle, the Haute Cowgirl and Kadi or Glam Sahm.

These young women are also launching Cowgirl TV They are passionate about the wholesome western  lifestyle, horses, and fashion. Here’s what they say: “We desire to educate the nation on the life of modern cowgirls and the deep rooted core values that are only found in those involved in western living! We believe that forming a team of diverse cowgirls will provide our audience with a broader spectrum of information and western education.”

I also have an author interview on Geri Ahearn’s blog today. Please stop by and leave a comment.

Published in: on April 30, 2009 at 12:29 am  Leave a Comment  

Author Interview: BUFFALOed

fairlee-winfield1My interview with Fairlee Winfield, author of BUFFALOed, continues today. View a trailer on Fairlee’s blog. The book can be purchased through Amazon.

Is this your first novel?

I wish I could say yes, but I’ll come clean.

Many years ago I wrote a fantastic romance novel set on the Navajo Indian Nation here in Arizona. It was all about the love affair of a liberated woman anthropologist and a handsome Navajo Nation police officer with tawny, taut muscles. You’ve got it. Clichés and shades of Tony Hillerman. Two agents loved it, but fortunately it was never published. I’m not a romance writer.

How long did it take you?

For BUFFALOed . . . It’s hard to set a real time. I had been thinking about the book for years. Off and on I’d write a chapter. I once thought it should be written as a screen play, but until I retired from Northern Arizona University, I only had time to write academic materials that allowed me to become a full professor.

What else have you written?

Lots and lots of academic stuff. Probably over fifty academic journal articles. My two major books are:

Commuter Marriage: Living Together, Apart, Columbia University Press, New York. Trade book with foreign rights sold twice in Japan. Cited as Contemporary Affairs Notable Book of the Year by the Philadelphia Inquirer and nominated for the American Association of Personnel Administrators book award.

The Work and Family Sourcebook, Panel Publishing Inc., New York.

Have you always aspired to be a writer?buffaloed-cover2

I’ve always loved writing. I won a prize in Junior High School for a comic essay. I won a prize from the Embassy of Argentina for an exposition of their epic poem, Martín Fierro, but until recently I’ve done non-fiction.

Which do you like better, writing fiction or non-fiction?

I like both, Heidi. Right now fiction is more fun.

What other authors have influenced you?

Thomas Berger, who I mentioned before. T. Coragessan Boyle, I love the way he brings the colorful, eccentric characters like Kellogg, Kinsey, and Wright to life. Oh, and my favorite, favorite Annie Proulx. There are so many. I like Rudy Wiebe for his Plains Indians things. I love the Norwegians both past and present: Sigrid Undset, Johan Bojer, Ole Rölvaag. Oh, and Wallace Stegner and John Steinbeck. I read constantly.

Are you working on another book?

Two actually. One in well underway: Burma Shave Days and Evangelist Nights. The story of little girl whose family must run from a man with a shotgun during the Great Depression of the 1930’s.

The second is will focus on the story of the Cree Indian, Young Boy. I can’t say more now or I might spoil the BUFFALOed story for readers.

They both sound great! Thank you, Fairlee. It’s always fascinating to learn what makes other writers “tick.”

It was great talking to you Heidi. Your questions have given me several important things to think about. I enjoyed meeting you here in Scottsdale for Festival of the West last month. Have a good tour in Montana and many productive writing days.

Published in: on April 24, 2009 at 12:01 pm  Comments (7)  
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Author Interview: Fairlee Winfield

buffaloed-cover1My guest today is Fairlee Winfield, author of the Arizona Authors Award winning novel, Buffaloed, based on the premise that famous Montana cowboy artist Charlie Russell didn’t actually paint the Lewis and Clark mural permanently displayed in the Montana State House.

This is an intriguing hypothesis, Fairlee. Tell us how you came up with the idea.

I wanted to write a story about my Norwegian grandmother’s immigrant experience. She worked in Charlie Russell’s household. When I visited the Charles M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, Montana, I could see that the house was exactly as my grandmother described it. There was the kitchen and the bath, the parlor and the dining room, and most especially “the shack” where Charlie painted.

I had plenty of personal material to work with, but I needed a situation to put my protagonist in. Surprisingly I found it in a Wall Street Journal article “Lassos and Lawsuits.” A Russell art expert, Ginger Renner, was saying that no other American artist has been faked as often as Charlie Russell. “In three weeks before Christmas, I had seven fakes come through the door,” she said. That set me on the path of the forgery.

Did you know your grandmother and were you able to talk to her about her experience working in the Russell household?

Oh yes, Heidi, I knew my grandmother closely. In fact, I lived with her for a year while I was in high school. She talked frequently about arriving in Great Falls in the early 1900’s and working for the Russells. My grandmother was only in her teens then, and I believe Nancy Russell became a surrogate mother to her.

Your forward is written by William Carl Andersen. How is he related to you?

I have to confess, Heidi, William Carl Anderson doesn’t exist. I needed someone to tell Ovidia’s story. Someone similar to Ralph Fielding Snell in Thomas Berger’s Little Big Man, someone fatuously academic and gullible. Billy is pure fiction.

Interesting concept. You use him as a character in the novel, as the character based on your grandmother relates her story.

Billy is taken in by Ovidia’s story. The reader can identify with Billy, or the reader can suspect the unreliable editorship or the possibly senile narrator.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

The Charlie Russell biographies, of course. Most paint him as a saint, hagiographies really, so they can’t be trusted. Frank Linderman’s recollections were useful. The Russells did use American Indian sign language and that research was interesting. Research on cowboy talk was just up my alley.

How has your background as Professor of Linguistics and Cultural Studies at Northern Arizona University influenced or helped in writing your novel?

Absolutely invaluable. Let’s take the issue of profanity. I’m particularly sensitive to this fairlee-winfieldsince some agents and publishers rejected BUFFALOed because of it. Let’s consider characterization.

Halsey Watson an early Montana newspaper man describing Charlie Russell says, “. . . he rejoiced in the most extensive and foulest vocabulary of any man I have ever known. No exclamation without an oath; no sentence without vulgarity; scarcely an uttered thought without obscenity.”

When both Charlie and Nancy Russell are notorious for their use of obscenities, how can they be authentically portrayed with “oh dear’s,” “goodness me’s, and gosh darn it’s.”

The violation of linguistic taboos carries meaning. Breaking language taboos sets the user apart from the dominant culture and gives the user power. By the early 1900’s the open range of the cowboys no longer existed, but the use of profanity and “cowboy talk” binds them as a group and gives them identity and a more powerful status. These ex-cowboys detest the settlers and the sheepmen (groups that avoid profanity). The ties that bind come from language.

And then, in comes the little immigrant, Ovidia. She learns her English primarily from Nancy and Charlie, but the gotdammits, and sommabitches she uses have absolutely no vulgar meaning for her. She’s not breaking any communal rules. Her only taboos come with Norwegian profanity.

I had a wonderful time thinking and writing about these linguistic issues that are sneakily imbedded in the story.

Have you lived in Montana?

No, Heidi, I’ve never lived in Montana. My mother was born there and I’ve visited. Maybe someday I’ll get to spend more time there.

View a trailer on Fairlee’s blog. The book can be purchased through Amazon.

Join us tomorrow for the “rest of the story” and other works by Fairlee Winfield.

Published in: on April 23, 2009 at 6:53 am  Comments (2)  
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black-bart_Who successfully robbed more Wells Fargo Stages in the West?

Just released: BLACK BART: THE POET BANDIT, ISBN # 0-7414-5138-7, by Northern California authors/historians, Gail L. Jenner and Lou Legerton. The book’s illustrations and cover art were done by Glenn Harrington and the novel features the fifth-known photograph of Charles E. Boles and family, provided by his great-niece and never released before now.The novel is actually the first written about the man who successfully held up 28 of 29 Wells Fargo stages in northern CA and southern OR. It is based on six years of research.

BLACK BART: THE POET BANDIT follows the life of the infamous and enigmatic outlaw and scourge of Wells Fargo. The 55,000+ word novel explores the person behind the flour-sack mask and plugged shotgun, Charles E. Boles, aka BLACK BART. He became famous, of course, for the “verse” he left at the sites of two of his holdups, after which he became as noted for his humor as his rhyme. He was often called the gentleman bandit because he was polite and never held up a passenger, even returning a purse to one young woman who threw it out the window in great fear.

As to Charles¹ earlier life: he tried gold mining, teaching, and farming; he served nobly in the Civil War, where he was wounded twice and served as a quartermaster sergeant. He also abandoned his wife and three daughters. There was a fourth child, a son, who died — although the exact date of the son’s death was never concrete. Some research suggests he died as an infant, some suggest the boy (Arian) was as old as three.

But his family never knew what happened after he left for the “mines of Montana” until his capture in 1883. At that point, he wrote to his family, confessing, “Yes, tis only too true, Œtis me…..” His wife, Mary Elizabeth, wrote him while he was in San Quentin and thought that he might return to her, but he never did. Reportedly he had an affair with a woman (another Mary) and then, after release, they disappeared.

Many believe he traveled to Alaska, perhaps Japan. Others believe he returned to his New York birthplace. Some suspect that Wells Fargo paid him a stipend in order to keep him from robbing any more stages. His end is as mysterious as his motives, but one thing is true: Wells Fargo, to this day, offers a reward for the whereabouts of Black Bart. For more about this book, visit or, or visit booksellers locally!

Published in: on April 22, 2009 at 10:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Never Shake Your Head at an Alpaca

alpacaA cute video about the less-than-polite nature of an alpaca.

Never Shake Your Head at an Alpaca

They’re so cute, but watch out…

Published in: on April 20, 2009 at 3:00 am  Comments (2)  

Would You Eat Horsemeat?

A poll from the Cattlegrower blog:

horseIt has been shown that horsemeat is low in fat,low in cholesterol and high in protein- overall a better quality of meat than beef.

If horse meat were readily available in the U.S., would you be inclined to try it?

Yes, I would 41% (39 votes)

No, I would not. 59% (55 votes)

What do YOU say?

Published in: on April 17, 2009 at 12:08 am  Comments (4)  

Happy Easter!

easterA Happy and Blessed Easter to all my friends and fellow bloggers!

Published in: on April 12, 2009 at 12:03 am  Leave a Comment  

Writing Contests

Here’s a list of writing contests, courtesy of Good luck!

SA Writers College Short Story Competition

Short Fiction (2,000 words, unpublished)
R2000 and online writing course; No Fee

SA Writers College Short Story Competition Guidelines

May 1, 2009

The Bridge Poetry Contest 2009

Poetry (3 poems, max.)
Award: $400; Fee: $20

The Bridge Poetry Contest 2009 Guidelines

The Malahat Review Far Horizons Fiction Contest

Short Fiction (3,500 words, max.; unpublished)
Award: $500 (CAD) & publication; Fee: $25

The Malahat Review Far Horizons Fiction Contest Guidelines

Writer’s Digest International Self-Published Book Awards

MS (self published)
$3,000; Fee: $100

Writer’s Digest International Self-Published Book Awards Guidelines

May 14, 2009

100 Words or Fewer Writing Contest

Short Fiction (100 words, max, unpublished)
Award: $500; Fee: $15

100 Words or Fewer Writing Contest Guidelines

For the Love of Nature

Poetry, Short Fiction, Essay (Nature-themed, unpublished)
Award: $300; Fee: $10

For the Love of Nature Guidelines

May 15, 2009

Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition

Poetry, Fiction, Essay, Scripts
Award: $3,000 & trip to New York; Fee: $15+

Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition Guidelines

May 31, 2009

Rail Awards 2009

Fiction, Playwriting, Poetry
Award: $200; Fee: $10

Rail Awards 2009 Guidelines

June 1, 2009

Fred Bonnie Memorial Award for First Novel

MS Fiction (unpublished)
Award: $1,500 advance; Fee: $40

Fred Bonnie Memorial Award for First Novel Guidelines

Published in: on April 9, 2009 at 1:20 am  Comments (1)  

Tulip Time

tulips-2Skagit County, Washington, is famous for its tulips, and we celebrate during the entire month of April. This year, with unseasonably cold weather, the colorful blooms have not yet burst forth, but the bright sunny daffodils are braving the cool temps.

Events include art shows, bike tours, salmon feeds, wine tastings,  street fairs, and of course walks among the acres of red, pink, yellow and purple tulips.

Skagit tulips originated with Dutch settlers and Mary Brown Stewart began raising bulbs for seed production in 1906. By 1997, 700 acres were used for bulb farming, with a value of $42 million, and were being exported wordl-wide, including back to Holland. The number of acres has decreased to about 300 today.

There is the story of a woman living in Skagit Valley who had placed an order for some special tulip bulbs from Holland. She eagerly awaited the shipment, but the weeks went by and the bulbs did not arrive. She contacted a columnist at a Seattle newspaper who checked out consumer complaints. A couple of days later, he called the woman back to say the Holland bulb company was extremely apologetic about the delay. They were waiting for their shipment of that bulb from Skagit County!


Published in: on April 3, 2009 at 12:12 am  Comments (4)  
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