"Wherever men have lived there is a story to be told." Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, February 28, 2016

New Direction: A Woman’s Role in the American West

I don’t believe I’ve ever written a wimpy western heroine. At least, I’ve certainly tried to make all my female protagonists bold and strong and more than ready to take on all challenges and adversaries. They might face hardships and get knocked down, but they will always find a way to get back up and be victorious.

As I mentioned in my last post, which was also about a very strong woman – my mother – I’m going to be taking a new direction with this blogspot. I will be writing about the woman’s role in the pioneering and settlement of (mainly) the American West. This, folks, can encompass everything from how women ran their own businesses to what type of hat they wore. There will be stories of specific women who made history, but also what women dealt with in their daily lives.

Women took a big role in the making of this great nation, but their accomplishments and their hardships were usually swept under the rug and didn’t get mentioned in the history books. Where there were men, there were usually women, keeping things going in the background, keeping the home fires burning and dealing with a different form of adversity. Women were oftentimes left widowed to face the hardships alone and raise children. But with the opening of the American West came opportunities never before open to the "weaker sex," and many women took advantage of seeking their fortune without the help of a man.

If you're interested in reading posts on this topic, I hope you’ll sign up to receive my blog posts via email (if you haven’t already done so).

Friday, February 19, 2016

Taking the Next Step

My Mom, 1940
It’s been a long time since I posted anything on my blog. As my mother would say, “What will people think?” Well, sometimes I don’t care what people think. Especially when the death of that same dear woman is the reason I’ve been mostly absent from the world of writing for over a year.

Life–and death–sometimes throws us into a tailspin. A year ago my dear mother died at the age of 94 from an inoperable form of cancer. She was strong and determined to the very end, just as she had been her entire life.

When my father died eighteen years ago, also of cancer, I found myself writing The Daughters of Luke McCall to somehow get myself past the grief. The book was intended to be funny and lighthearted–opposite of the pain and sorrow I had experienced from watching him die. I remember laughing through the tears while I wrote that book. It was somehow cathartic.

I couldn’t do the same thing after my mother’s death. Perhaps it was different because when my dad passed, my family and I still had her to hold onto. When any loved one dies, it leaves you with a hole in your heart and in your life that can never be filled. When it's a parent, you are still their child, no matter your age at the time of loss. Sometimes it takes a long time to step back into the world of the living and pick up where you left off.

Last summer, even though I couldn’t get my head around creating anything new, I put one of my older romances out as an ebook. It was something, a baby step. As for writing blog posts, nothing came to mind. And now, just today, I finally finished a book I had started so long ago that it’s embarrassing. (At least it's finished until I decide to revise again!) This one took me in a different direction from my other books. Nothing like stepping out on a limb!

As for posting to this blog–it’s going to take a different direction, too. More on that next time. The important thing to any setback in life is to eventually pull yourself up by the bootstraps and take the next step, leap the next hurdle, and move forward. It's what my mother would do.