Escape, A Wyoming Historical Novel

jeanhenrymeadphotoMy guest today is the author of three novels, including Escape, A Wyoming Historical. She’s also the author of seven nonfiction books and numerous award-winning magazine articles.

Escape is the story of a young girl, masquerading as a boy, kidnapped by the Hole-in-the-Wall gang (or Wild Bunch), which includes Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Where did you come up with the idea for this book?

I began with the Four-State Governor’s Pact to eliminate outlaws during the mid to late 1890s. With that premise in mind, I decided that some of the outlaws would stop at an outlying sheep ranch in the middle of a ground blizzard, with a posse in pursuit. I then came up with a feisty little southern woman and her orphaned granddaughter who are awaiting the return of the woman’s husband. I’m a seat of the pants novelist who doesn’t outline, so I just give my characters free rein. I had previously researched a centennial history of central Wyoming, so I was well acquainted with the history of the area and the people involved. And the novel is based on actual historical events and people, primarily Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch.

Is there any basis in the gang’s history for this premise?

Yes, they eventually fled the country because war had been waged on all outlaws, and they did rob the Belle Fourche bank in South Dakota, which is the central theme of my book. The young, kidnapped girl listens to the gang plan the robbery and it was actually bungled by alcoholic horsethief, Tom “Peep” O’Day. Following the robbery the girl and the youngest outlaw take horses to Spearfish, South Dakota, in preparation for the gang’s escape from jail. Also, I include a lot information about Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid and Harve Logan, the main members of the Wild Bunch as well as a ten-page epilogue which details the outlaw’s actual fates.

You’ve done a good job of developing the characters and dispelling the myth that the Sundance Kid was a fun-loving, benign Robert Redford-type. I imagine you did a lot of research about this infamous gang.

Thank you, Heidi. I did a lot of research and make a couple of trips to the old outlaw hideout, The escapefcaltHole in the Wall, in central Wyoming’s Big Horn Mountains. There I talked to an old outlaw who had known some of the gang members. He had also talked to Robert Redford back in the 1970s while Redford was researching his book, The Outlaw Trail. I researched in other ways and learned that Harry Longabaugh, the Sundance Kid, was from Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, and a member of the literary society there before he traveled west to Wyoming. He was a surly character, not the happy-go-lucky- guy portrayed in the film, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”

I enjoyed the character Tom Peep O’Day, a bumbling drunkard outlaw, who provides humor in the midst of serious danger. Was he a real person?

Yes, he was, and my favorite character to write about. He was lovable in a pathetic sort of way and he nearly stole the book from the other characters.

I was thinking Billy might have been based on Billy the Kid. Is there any basis for my idea?

Billy Blackburn is a fictional character and named for my son, Billy. And Jettie Wilson, the grandmother, was patterned after my own maternal grandmother.

Do you have a long-time interest in writing about history?

I became interested in Wyoming history after moving from southern California to Wyoming during the 1970s. There is such rich history in Wyoming, with the Oregon, California and Mormon trails, the Indian hunting grounds and battles with soldiers, the Pony Express and intercontinental telegraph lines. I wrote a number of books about the area.

Has your background in newspaper and magazine writing helped in researching and writing your books?

Absolutely. I researched my centennial history by reading 97-years worth of microfilmed newspapers for Casper Country: Wyoming’s Heartland, and had so many research notes left over that I used them to write Escape, a Wyoming Historical Novel.

Have you always aspired to be a writer?

I wrote my first novel in fourth grade with pencil on construction paper and took a chapter a day to school to read to my friends. Fortunately, it was never published. I worked as a reporter for my high school newspaper and served as editor in chief of my college paper while a cub reporter for the local daily newspaper. I was a 28-year-old divorced mother of four daughters at that time and often took my youngest to class with me when I didn’t have a babysitter.

Are your non-fiction books mostly on Western history?

Three of my nonfiction books are interviews, the rest are historical. My first book was a collection of interviews with well-known Wyoming residents, including Dick Cheney, attorney Gerry Spence, Governor Ed Herchler, U.S. Senators Simpson and Wallop, Buffalo Bill’s grandson, sportscaster Kurt Gowdy and a number of others.

I understand you have a new novel coming out soon. What are your other novels about?

A Village Shattered, my senior sleuth novel, is the first of my Logan & Cafferty series, which features two 60-year-old widows living in a California retirement village. Dana Logan is a mystery novel buff and her friend, Sarah Cafferty is a private investigator’s widow. When they discover their club members are being murdered alphabetically and the inexperienced sheriff is botching the investigation, they decide to put their crime solving experience to work, but not before Dana’s beautiful daughter is nearly killed in the process. The second novel in the series, Diary of Murder, will be released next spring. I’m also working on a historical novel about the hanging of Cattle Kate as well as a children’s book, The Mystery of Spider Mountain.

Which do you like writing the most-fiction or non-fiction?

I enjoy both but prefer fiction because it’s so liberating and I don’t have to stick to the facts. I have a vivid imagination that conjures up all kinds of problems for my characters. And that’s what novel writing is all about: problem solving.

What is the most important marketing tool you’ve employed?

The internet. You can reach readers all over the world by promoting your work in your pajamas, if you want. There are many author-reader sites online where you connect with people who like to read, such as Goodreads, MySpace, Facebook and Twitter.  Twitter is my favorite place to promote books and my blog sites. Blog touring, or virtual book tours, have also become a great way to promote your work. I’m having my own virtual tour from December 1-15 and have set up a special blog site to advertise the schedule. It’s located at: http://myblogtour.blogspot.com/.  Everyone’s invited to stop by and sign my virtual guestbook at the bottom of the page. Those who leave a comment are eligible to win one of three of my signed copies of A Village Shattered, or if they prefer, my western historical novel, Escape.

I also have a blog titled, “A Western Historical Happening,” at http://awhh.blogspot.com/    My web page is at www.JeanHenryMead.com

WILLA Winner: Tendering in the Storm

A Tendering in the Storm, the second in the “Change and Cherish” series has just been named a WILLA Award winner. This series is based on a true story of Emma Giesy, a strong-willed German-American who settled in Washington territory and later in Oregon.

You’ve been involved with Women Writing the West for 12 years and Chaired the 2007 WILLA contest as past president. Last year, A Clearing in the Wild was a finalist. How does this feel, receiving this award after looking in from the sidelines for so long? It’s a delight!  I’ve been fortunate in having a book to submit every year since the WILLA Literary Awards began. Last year, chairing the competition, I made sure the previous chair handled that category.  Not that I thought I’d win but I wanted to have the competition be unrelated to my role as chair.  I was stunned, truly, after all those years, to be a finalist.  This year, to be a winner, still has my jaw-dropped!

How did you come across Emma’s story, which you began in A Clearing in the Wild? Two different quilter groups have quilted their versions of two of my novel series.  I was deeply moved by their inventiveness and creativity and how stories come in all shapes and sizes.  Several joined me at a signing for the books and they “told their story.”  Later I was asked to tell stories to a quilter’s retreat offered by author and quilter Mary ByWater Cross.  I laughed because I’m not a quilter (though those quilters attending that retreat sat up with me until 2:00 AM to help me make a nine-patch that is now a pillow on my couch!)  Anyway, while there I read one of Mary’s books, Quilts of the Oregon Trail that included a picture of Emma’s quilt and the sentence that she was the only woman who with nine male scouts was sent west from their Bethel, Missouri religious community to find a new site in the Northwest.  Here was an artifact with the woman’s name still attached to it, lovingly cared for.  And the story of the only woman just intrigued me along with what was the religious community?  Why did they come west?  Did this woman want to come?  Was she sent? As I researched a bit I discovered when her first son was born and it meant she was pregnant when she began the journey.  What was that like?  What was the desire of this woman?  All kinds of unanswered questions.  The story took off from there.

Did you have letters or journals that gave you the gist of her journey? Census records gave me information about her husband, father, brother and sons which is often the case in researching historical women.  Virginia Woolf once wrote that women’s history
must be “invented, both uncovered and made up” because so much of their record is simply a reflection of the men they were connected to.  The Pacific County Historical Museum and The Aurora Colony Historical Museum had some documents, letters that the leader wrote back to Bethel after they joined the scouts some 18 months later, but I knew, for example, that she had four children, two girls and two boys, but the genealogy the museum had didn’t include the girls!  I included the girls in the first book and at a signing a woman introduced herself as a great-granddaughter of Emma.  She said she loved the book, but “you made up the part about Emma having girls, right?”  When I told her no, gave her their names, who they married etc., she was astonished and said she had only ever been told about the boys.   In the Aurora newsletter early on, they printed a picture of me researching there and I was contacted by a descendant who did have family letters.  Only one came from Emma but it was enough to give me solid information about who she was…along with the family stories and other historical records we uncovered in obscure places like divorce filings thirty years after she’d come to the region.

She is part of a utopian religious community that moved from Bethel, MO in the 1856 to the Washington Territory initially. Some of her troubles come from resisting the patriarchal leadership of the colony. Is her strength and independence something that drew you to her story? Yes, though when I began research I didn’t know if she was a resister or someone who went comfortably along with the communal ways.  I only knew that her name was remembered, an artifact had been preserved that belonged to her and eventually also learned that a house built for her still stood as well.  So she had to have been someone of distinction if not influence.  And yet, it was a German-American society. Being of German descent myself I’m familiar with strong-willed women (sometimes called pushy or stubborn) who I like to describe as persevering.  As I learned of some of the trials Emma and her husband faced with the landscape and with the leader, I became more and more convinced of her fortitude and her wish to do what most 20th century women wish for:  to do the best we can for our families without losing ourselves in the process.  Her struggles represented contemporary issues of many faith communities wishing to sustain their own practices while still being relevant in the larger world.  Incidentally, the colony was communal in economics and property only, not in marital relationships.

You write about the German term Sehnsucht. Can you elaborate on that theme in Tendering? It’s a word that means a deep longing for something, almost like an addiction.  Perhaps it’s what the German poet Rilke refers to when he says that God is “the great homesickness we can never shake off.”  It is a deep passion to find meaning and to be spiritually engaged.  Emma had a great tragedy strike her and she witnessed this tragedy and after speaking with other of her descendants, that event really defined much of her life after that.  I came to believe that grief has many siblings – anger, disappointment, rejection of support, impulsive decision-making, guilt, etc.  I think what brought her through was her longing to make sense of that tragedy and find a way to move forward, living with uncertainty in life and a constant renewing of her faith.   This book is also told in part through the eyes of Louisa Keil, the wife of the religious leader and I hoped to show her struggle as well even though she never doubted or challenged her husband but still had a longing to be known for who she was.

Do you speak German or did you have to learn some of the words you used in the book?  I know a couple of little children’s poems that my father taught me and I can say potato in German!  Once years ago I visited a German lady who had three big German shepherd dogs staked along the walk way.  They pulled and barked at me and they only understood German!  I kept saying Kartofle to them because it was all I knew!  I had a wonderful German friend, Erhard Gross, who helped me immensely with all three books.  So much of German word choice is dependent on context so he would read the manuscript and make corrections.  Nouns are always capitalized too.  My computer often didn’t like that.  I did learn a few words but when I was in Germany earlier this year going through customs and the custom agent barked at me because I forgot to get my passport back from him, he scared away even my danke – that’s “thanks!”

In writing series, do you get so attached to your characters that you want to be “with them” awhile longer? I think that’s why I’m doing this quilt and craft book (Aurora…), so I can hang out with Emma and Matilda and Louisa and Aurora and others longer…they were real people and they became more real to me as I’ve spent the last three years with them.  It’s been a delight to be at the museum south of Portland when others who’ve read the books come to visit.  Last week four people from Ohio took a train to visit the Aurora Colony Museum, to see where Emma first came to the west (in Washington) and then to Aurora where Emma ended up.  I happened to be there and got to meet them.  Two couples.  I told the husbands that they were good men to come across the country just to walk where Emma walked.  But then that’s one of the purposes of fiction, right? to “move” people… in this instance, from Ohio to the Northwest for a week!

Tell us more about the quilt Emma’s descendents have donated to the Oregon Historical Society and the replica that is being made for the drawing. The Aurora Colony has about 80 original quilts, two of Emma’s. This wool quilt is called Running Squares on Point.  You can see a picture of it on my blog  www.janekirkpatrick.blogspot.com It’s done in a plaid of teal and red that was likely manufactured by the colonists either in Aurora or Bethel.  The setting (solid color) blocks are red and she’s hand-stitched and hand-quilted it using a wreath pattern that was common to many Aurora quilters.  She’s quilted using 10 stitches to the inch!  Imagine that!  One of the premier quilters stitched 15 inches to the inch.  I can’t even get one stitch to the inch.  Interestingly, Emma placed the initials CG in one corner.  Some thought it might be a laundry mark as they often washed communally but there are only four textiles in all the collection of the museum including quilts and hand-tailored shirts and dresses that bear any kind of initial.  And besides, it’s such a distinctive quilt I doubt anyone could miss that it was Emma’s.  The initials to me represent either her husband Christian, or her son of the same name.  Perhaps it was another small way of having her voice preserved inside a male-dominated community.  Pendleton Woolen Mills, one of the last surviving family owned textile mills in the country has donated the wool for a replica quilt that my publisher is having made by quilters in Aurora.  We’ll have a drawing for it sometime in the spring and it’s to commemorate the book Aurora:  An American Experience in Quilt, Community and Craft coming out in December.  A close-up of Emma’s quilt is on the cover.  Nothing to buy…just enter at www.waterbrookpress.com and click on “contests.”

Thank you, Jane, for an entertaining and insightful interview. We’ll catch up with you again and talk about your next book.

Published in: on September 8, 2008 at 2:16 am  Comments (4)  
Tags: , , , , ,

A ‘Real’ Amercian Cowgirl–Gail Jenner

Gail and Sandy, one of her 40 horses

Yesterday, we learned about the fascinating “State of Jefferson” and Gail Jenner’s books about that subject. Gail and her family have a working ranch in the California Siskiyous and portray the work ethic and love of land that many of us remember from our ranching/farming ancestors. Today, we talk about her life as a “real” cowhand and ranch wife.

You’re married to a fourth-generation cattle rancher. Were you raised on a ranch?

No, I wasn’t. I was raised as a suburban kid in the San Francisco Bay Area, the daughter of a second-generation Italian-American (from New Jersey) who met and married a CA girl, often called “the American girl” by my Italian-American relatives back East. We have a host of relatives still in Italy and we remain fairly close.

How did you adjust?

Actually, I look back and realize that events seemed to propel me in this direction! Growing up, we knew a couple of families that had rural “roots” or small acreage with horses, etc., and I found myself slipping over there to groom horses/ride horses.. I even  learned to can applesauce and fruit when I was about 10 or 11. I loved it. Then, when I was 13, my dad took us (my twin sister and I) to Montana on a 2-week business trip and one day, as we made our way through a herd of cows being driven down the highway, I announced, “I’m going to marry a rancher.” I also attended a smaller, more rural college where there were lots of agricultural students (that’s where I met my cowboy/farmer husband).

But, no, I never felt I even had to “adjust” to ranching or country life – although that is not typical. A lot of my girlfriends who also married farmers struggled the first couple years, esp. with small town living and the remoteness and isolation that often comes with it. Ranching can be pretty intense with very little time off and very little money available for extras (hence, most farm wives work outside the home). Even taking time for “IMPORTANT” events sometimes doesn’t happen….and that is hard. Not to say we haven’t had issues! My husband is a recovered alcoholic, so we had our “years in hell” (as we fondly call them <G>), but the tension was about the drinking, not the lifestyle. What WAS difficult was adjusting to a FAMILY business. We are part of a small dynasty and my father-in-law is not an easy man – although a fascinating and wonderful man when he wants to be! There was not a lot of autonomy or independence, esp. in our early years of marriage, and because my soft-spoken, gentle husband could not speak up easily, he often found his release through drinking. But we survived that, by the grace of God, and I can say the last 20 years (we’ve been married 37+ years) have been truly wonderful.

Do you ride and help with cattle roundup, branding, etc.?

Absolutely. I love working cows and it’s something we all do, even the little ones. We have a pretty large herd of cows and it takes us about 10 days or more to “get through” all the cows, calves, etc.

Describe a typical day on your ranch.

Depends on the season! In summer, we get up fairly early. My husband irrigates early, then either cuts hay, bales hay, harvests, or mechanics, while the “boys” (including the women/wives) haul hay. We put up “one ton” bales now so it’s all done mechanically, and we “girls” drive the trucks (large flatbed trucks or even a semi-truck flatbed) in and out of the fields, to the barns. If I’m not helping with that, I’m usually gardening and preparing food for whoever is coming in at lunch. After lunch, or before, I try to squeeze in some writing or research. I also watch our 3-year old grandson on one or two days or afternoons. When I shop, sometimes I have to go “over the hill” to Yreka (our “big” town, pop. about 7,500). I’m always doing laundry and cleaning, esp. since our house (an old ranch house) gets pretty dusty. My husband ends the day with more irrigating and that can take an hour or more. We usually eat dinner around 8:00 or later, if necessary.

In winter, because it gets very cold here (and snows – we are at almost 3,000 feet and surrounded by the Marble Mountains, Salmon-Trinity Alps, and Klamath National Forest), we “feed cows” at least 6-7 months of the year. That can take a couple hours or longer, depending on conditions. We “calve” in the fall, so wintertime we have cows and calves, steers and heifers, plus bulls to feed. BTW, we, like most ranchers around the nation, keep cattle in pastures and fields. This notion of “factory cattle” or feedlot cattle is quite erroneous. Anyway, when cows are calving, we have to check them morning and evening, and sometimes late at night. My husband often has to “pull calves” if the cow is in trouble. Like babies, that can mean anytime day or night – and we’ve missed all kinds of events over the years when this happens! My husband does a lot of mechanicing in the winter months, trying to catch up on projects or bringing machinery up to date. We don’t buy new equipment, for the most part – way too expensive. But my husband is an engineer and can design or re-build most anything (including tractors, D-8s, scrapers, backhoes, feed trucks, wagons, whatever). He is actually a genius and is often sought for his advice on any mechanical problem.

In spring and fall, there is also more work with cows and planting/sowing/plowing projects. Farming is often squeezed in between everything else, so again, it can mean 12-13 hour days. At least now we have enclosed cabs and tractors (when we were first married they farmed in open cabs – VERY cold!!).

Gail's husband and brother-in-law preparing peppered hams

Gail’s husband and brother-in-law processing hams

You’ve talked about butchering and making your own sausage, the old-fashioned way. Do you raise most of your own food?

In the summer, our table almost always features all/most of our own food! I do can and dry a lot of food, although not as much as I used to, especially since the kids are out of the house and I DO want to WRITE! But we raise natural beef and we raise our own hogs. We also have some fruit trees and MILES of blackberries that I love to take advantage of in the late summer. We used to cure our own lard and make our own apple cider, but it’s been a few years since we’ve done that (haven’t had any “good” apple years for awhile). We do butcher all our own meat and we make our own hams, bacon, sausage, etc., even with the same tools that the family used 120 years ago. It’s incredible and absolutely fantastic. We used to raise chickens and turkeys, too, and we had a milk cow for years – but not now. It is WORK and when the wives also work outside the home, plus with kids busy with activities, it’s a huge responsibility.

Farm women who do all the traditional stuff are not women who work outside the home, unless they have a lot of help from someone. In our operation, the men do little if any of the “house/yard/kid” stuff – except occasionally. The last vacation my husband has even taken (aside from 24-hour trips to our daughter’s or my sister’s for Christmas or holidays) was YEARS ago. I can’t even tell you when my husband took me out to a show or to a “nice” dinner or evening. Women who expect their husbands to participate in more than that will never make it as a farm wife!

What do you like best about the ranching life?

Although ranching/farming is a lot of work, the tradeoffs have been more than worth it! First of all, we live in a kind of Shangri La (that’s what my mom always called our valley — green and quaint and beautiful). Only three stop lights (over the hill, in Yreka), but none here. Only Dotty’s for hamburgers and ice cream.

Littlest Wranglers. Grandson and great nephews

Littlest Wranglers. Grandson and great nephews

The kids can “go with Dad to work” much of the time, and they learn early what it means to work together as a family; they learn the meaning of hard work, too, which does pay off when they’re older and get jobs. In summer, we often stop at the slough and throw a hook and line in. We might catch a bass or two for dinner! We ride together when we’re working cows or are in the mountains, and it makes for a close family circle.

Of course, the kids complain later on (especially in their teens) that they don’t get to do what their friends do, but the flip side of that is that their friends WANT to come out onto the ranch and do what THEY do!?I mean, who doesn’t want to ride horses or fish in the ponds/slough?

We eat family meals together and we have the extended family over a lot during the year (the kids and now the grandkids are all pretty much the same ages). There is never NOT enough food <G> and it’s natural and healthy and good. We don’t seem to have a problem with child obesity in this family <G> and time in front of the TV or with video games is pretty minimal; winter time sees more of that and certainly in the evenings after everyone has showered and eaten, but it’s a pleasant kind of activity.

We do take a few Sundays off (not enough, though) and take rides or visit friends, etc., and the kids did all the regular things growing up — lots of sports, 4-H and FFA and clubs, skiing and dating, etc., but they did more, too: rodeo, camping/fishing & hunting in the mountains — and being in small schools, they had close friends who have remained close through the years.

I think it truly is a great place for families and raising kids. It’s sad that more and more farm kids cannot return home because it’s hard to make a decent living in farming/ranching unless you have the opportunity to join in on a family enterprise (we are lucky in that regard!), but the blessings and fun that we do have is great. I can’t imagine living or doing anything else!

You’ve written three historical novels, two non-fiction books and numerous articles, plus raised three children. What accomplishment are you the proudest of?

I’ve written three novels, only one is officially published (ACROSS THE SWEET GRASS HILLS, which won a 2002 WILLA Award), and three non-fiction books with Arcadia Publishing (which I connected with via Women Writing the West authors!). I co-authored a teacher’s curriculum guidebook with Simon & Schuster and have contributed to seven anthologies  (historical/textbook/ and Christian). I’ve sold several “women’s stories” and children’s stories, articles, columns, some poetry and some recipes, and have written two scripts.

Yes, we have 3 children and now we have 5 grandchildren. Our daughter is a CPA and married to a contractor, and they have 3 children; our eldest son graduated from college, then came home to ranch with us; he’s married and his wife is a teacher, and they have 2 little boys. Our 3rd child is in his 3rd year in college.

Without a doubt, my kids (and now grandkids) are my greatest joy. I love being a mom and a “nonna.” I love giving to my family and friends and community. I love being a part of something, like this ranch, or family or community, where what I do “makes a difference.” I look at writing that way, too; I want it to “make a difference” or at least, enlighten others, if nothing else. And I don’t want us to lose that connection to our roots/our history/our past.

What would you do, if you were not where you are today?

I don’t know. Hard question. Probably I would still be writing (I’ve been writing since I was  9 years old), but perhaps I’d have done more traveling and I’d have pursued my art or music (both have been sacrificed or set aside over the years!). I have always said I’d like to be a museum curator or librarian.

Published in: on August 28, 2008 at 1:47 am  Comments (4)  
Tags: , , , , ,

American Cowgirls

A petite young woman mounts a 750-pound steer, and hangs on to nothing but a rope tight-wrapped around one hand. That she stays on this bucking, twisting, snorting beast for ten seconds, eight seconds or even two seconds, seems a miracle.

This is the intriguing picture of my grandmother I have carried in the back of my mind since I was a little girl. Ever since I began to explore fiction writing as opposed to journalism, this idea has been nagging at me, telling me I needed to write about her.

And so, in 1999, I began a novel, with the working title Cowgirl Dreams, hopefully to be published in 2009–ten years after I started writing it.

My grandmother, Olive May “Tootsie” Bailey, grew up the daughter of homesteaders during the early 1900s in the Sunburst-Cut Bank area of Montana, near the Canadian border and east of the Rocky Mountains.

Although she no longer rode in rodeos when I came along, “Gramma” was an avid horsewoman and ranch wife, equally at-home on the back of a horse as she was in a dress and heels. She and my grandfather, Otto Gasser, were equal partners in rural Montana ranching.

She died when I was only twelve, so I never got to talk to her about life as a rodeo cowgirl. But she had taken many pictures, created photo albums, scrapbooks and journals, from which a story emerged. My dad also told me stories about his growing up in the 1920s and ’30s. The spark grew to a flame, and I was hooked.

The 1920s were the heyday of rodeo, where the cowgirl was as much a part of the festivities as the cowboy. This decade is where I chose to start my story. While my grandmother apparently rode only in small town and neighborhood rodeos, she was friends with, and competed against fellow Montanans, Alice and Margie Greenough, Fannie Sperry Steele, and Marie Gibson. Trixie McCormick was another Montana trick rider who performed during the 1940s.

Fame and fortune was as much of a dream then as now, and those dreams became the backdrop for Nettie’s story in Cowgirl Dreams.

I recently ran across a wonderful link to a video entitled American Cowgirl http://www.americancowgirl.com/film.htm Check it out. It tells the story.

Published in: on August 11, 2008 at 12:52 am  Comments (5)  
Tags: , , , ,

Writing Connections

I love learning new things. Setting up and creating this blog has been fun and certainly a learning experience. I can see, as with everything else, this lesson will be an on-going journey. That’s what is so great about writing–we as authors are always learning. That’s what keeps us young, I’m sure.

One of the best parts of this new endeavor has been the connections and re-connections with others. Writing can be a solitary endeavor, but with this medium, we can reach people wherever they are with their computers. I’ve received e-mails and phone calls from relatives and friends I haven’t heard from in a long time. One cousin was so excited to hear that my book, Cowgirl Dreams, based on my grandmother, might be published in the near future. He’s been asking me for the past 10 years when that book was coming out. So, Don, thanks for keeping after me!

Connecting with others is a basic human need, and writing is one way we have to accomplish that. If just a short sentence can lift your heart and make your day sing, then the journey is worthwhile.

Published in: on July 28, 2008 at 11:46 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags:
%d bloggers like this: