Bad Country: A Novel by CB McKenzie

Bad Country: A NovelBad Country: A Novel by CB McKenzie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Well, it isn't a favorite and it took me some time to get through this short book of twists and turns, and somewhat odd characters for whom I felt no real concern. I guess I expected more from a book recently awarded The Hillerman Prize.

View all my reviews

Happy holidays to all ...

Merry Christmas to all my friends and family, near and far. 

Remember ya' got to believe to receive. 

Have a wonderful day!

Twas the Night Before Christmas - Read by Joe Scully, ProRodeo MC

Merry Christmas Eve!!

Thank you Joe ...

Gracie Video MLM

A beautiful voice, sweetly lyrical .... the message heartfelt and the tears just streamed down my face. 
Well done!

15% off all gift cards from Cowgirl Dirt December 19-20

December 19th-20th

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This review of The Story Is the Thing by Amy Hale Auker

Chances taken, love lost, lessons learned, life moves on. The Story Is the Thing is the third book written by Amy Hale Auker and with each book her writing gets better, her words more lyrical, her story more heart-felt, more poignant. This book is written like a love letter.

It seems I’ve know a man like Uncle Bill before and I’ll bet you did too and that is what is wonderful about this book that we can find people we know in each of the characters. Julia is the spirited outsider trying to find her place and Charlie is the cowboy-girl who lives a life harder than most but only wants simple love like everyone else. Cody Jack is the type we’ve all heard about or known, the type we have no use for in this life. It’s Uncle Bill who weaves the story together for us so we can understand a time and a place and a thing that happened, a thing that changed everything.

… And all around Uncle Bill’s story is the story of a lifestyle, a story of the land, a story of hardships accepted, of joy and of love held and lost.

The author took a chance in the way she set her chapters and allowed her characters to reach out from the page but it was perfectly balanced with a beautifully smooth clarity to the reading.

It’s not hard for me to recommend The Story is the Thing to you. I hope you pick it up and enjoy it as much as I did. Amy is fast becoming one of my favorite independent authors. She recently wrote for this blog about the process around writing and publishing. Here is an excerpt:

This Bonus of a Day by Amy Hale Auker

Today I got a wonderful surprise from my publisher. I can’t tell you what it is, but I can promise you that it truly is something wonderful.
The cold wind is blowing in the Santa Maria Mountains of Arizona. Our fall cow move is almost over. And the publication date of my new book, The Story Is the Thing, is made of jello. We are aiming for December 1, 2014. Writing is one thing. Writing is my first love. Publishing is another. You can read the full article here

The Story Is the Thing is published by Pen-L Publishing and is available now from the publisher and direct from the author’s website.  The fabulous book cover artistry is by Steve Atkinson. Be sure to read about the story behind the cover art in Amy's blog post Collaboration and Celebration

All of Amy's books can be purchased directly from her website where all books are signed by her and at all the usual places including B&N and Amazon but if you choose to purchase at a store, I would suggest you support a local independent bookstore such as Amy's bookstore pick, Peregrine Book Co in Prescott, AZ,  my personal favorite Bookwork’s in Albuquerque  or one in your neighborhood.  

You can also purchase directly from Pen-L Publishing.

Save 25% off website orders at UNM Press books

It's a good time to buy your book presents directly from UNM Press since they are offering 25% off website orders. Fill up those stockings with some favorites like 

A Growing Season by Sue Boggio and Mare Pearl
$18.95 / Online Sale Price $14.21 paperback


Sunlight and Shadow (also) by Sue Boggio and Mare Pearl
$24.95 / Online Sale Price $18.71 paperback

You can read my recent interview with these two authors.

UNM Press is home to many excellent authors. Have a look at their website and enjoy this sweet sale.

"Established in 1929 by the Regents of the University of New Mexico, UNM Press is a well-known and respected publisher in the fields of anthropology, archaeology, indigenous studies, Latin American studies, American studies, Chicana/o studies, art, architecture, and the history, literature, ecology, and cultures of the American West. The Press imprint is overseen by a faculty committee, whose twelve members are appointed by the Faculty Senate to represent a broad spectrum of university departments.
With well over one thousand titles in print, UNM Press also serves as distributor for other local and regional publishers and is an important element in enhancing the scholarly reputation and worldwide visibility of its host university.

University of New Mexico Press participates in the Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Program."
~~From the UNM Press website


photo from
She played alone with the scratchy wool blanket she dragged from the bed and into the sitting room where the sun was shining brightly through the large window making everything in the room shine with just a tinge of gold. She was alone and didn’t have anyone to play with. Her mother rested on the bed in the room down the hall, a victim of depression. There was no thought to what a little girl might be doing awake and alone in an otherwise empty house.
She had her imagination, an imagination beyond her simple years. Invented friends and fanciful thoughts became her reality and ... 

She danced with God, she was sure.    
He looked like all the pictures on the walls in the church her father brought her to every week. He wore a long robe and his feet were bare, his hair was as white as snow. An old man, his smile not unlike her fathers and she brought him to life and they danced. 
He spun her as if she was a ballerina graceful and light; he held her and made her safe, and he let her rest in his arms. She believed she danced with God, could still feel his touch yet even at her tender age she knew not to share this with anyone. This was her delight to keep.
She didn’t want it to end but as a light pain traveled through her head, she felt sleep come. She rested on the blanket watching God as he watched her until her eyes fluttered shut. When she woke, he was gone but the memory stayed and she felt special.
And through the years, she knew he was always there, watching. She could mark the times when she knew he was shining light on her and her vivid memories of that morning stayed strong.

Now an old woman, she relives the dance in the quiet of her mind, alone again. She watches the sun fill the space; she always loved the gracefulness of a sun lit room. There is a tinge of gold and she knows her dance with God was real, she is sure. 

And then they danced.

©Copyright 2014 Whiskey Tales.  All Rights Reserved.

Sue Boggio and Mare Pearl, Award winning authors talk about their work and lifetime collaboration

The fictional village of Esperanza, NM is the setting for two delightful books Sunlight and Shadow and A Growing Season by co-writers Sue Boggio and Mare Pearl. I was intrigued by these two writers who write so well in one voice that I wanted to catch up with them and learn a bit more. In the last week to the delight of both writers and their audience, it has been announced that Sunlight and Shadow was awarded the 2014 Tony Hillerman Award for Best Fiction by the New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards; a nice achievement. Read on to learn more about these two authors and their work.

Your friendship is an intrinsic part of your writing experience. Would either of you have chosen to be an author without the other?

Sue: I've always been a writer, since I could hold a crayon, so I would have continued writing my journals, short stories, and poetry, but would I have become a published author? Or written novels? It's possible, but hard to imagine since our lives and writing have been entwined since we were kids.

Mare: I have so many other creative outlets. I pursued musical theater in New York in my twenties. I've sung in nightclubs and coffee shops. I've dabbled in jewelry making, vintage furniture restoration, wherever my short attention span takes me. I would not have become an author without my partnership with Sue.

I read in your biographies that after Mare moved to New Mexico you wanted to do something together and since writing didn’t require money to start, you decided that would be your course. Was it really that simple?

I think we were being a bit facetious. We used to joke that we chose writing because we could sit around and laugh and eat and drink wine and entertain each other. The truth is, we came to our writing collaboration at age ten when we were creatively inspired by John Lennon and Paul McCartney's collaboration. The idea that two people could come together to co-create something neither could have imagined alone was thrilling. After Mare moved to New Mexico, we made the conscious decision to take our collaboration to the next level, and that involved tons of self-directed education to learn the craft and business of writing.

We joined Southwest Writers Workshop, attended conferences, learned to pitch, learned how the publishing industry operates, read all the writing books and journals, and read authors like Jo-Ann Mapson, Barbara Kingsolver, Alice Hoffman, Anne Tyler, Walley Lamb, Michael Chabon, Sarah Bird, Annie Proulx, and so many more. And of course we wrote and wrote and wrote! (and learned to persevere despite the heartbreak of rejection). It was tons of hard work, all while we were working full time jobs, having marriages and families, and living our lives. Nothing about it was simple! 

I was fascinated by your writing because I felt as if there was only one writer telling the story. I imagine it could be quite difficult to write as a team and keep the same voice and continuity. What is your process writing together?

We meet one afternoon a week. After our extensive pre-writing phase (brainstorming every aspect of our novel: filling notebooks with character building, theme articulation, settings, research, pinning down a myriad of details, asking questions, figuring out major plot points, trying to know as much as we can before we start the actual writing), we choose our point of view characters. We each write at least one POV character, sometimes two or three. Each POV character has his/her individual arc. Their arcs are woven together to create the overall narrative. 

We discuss what scenes each of us will write in the coming week and then we go off to do our homework. We meet back one week later and read aloud to each other, listening intently, giving feedback, asking what works and what doesn't. Then we discuss what the reader needs to know/experience next, what scenes need to follow, assign our homework and repeat this pattern for around nine months until we have a first draft. We do complete read-throughs, make our revision notes and revise our own material. Then I merge Mare's scenes with mine in our decided order, determine the chapter breaks, and then begin editing, which can take another two or three months of intensive work on my part. I constantly consult with Mare over the phone regarding changes, problem solving, etc. When we are convinced it is ready, we give it to our first readers for another round of notes and revisions.

Continuity is a constant concern with two writers and we scrutinize everything every step of the way to try to catch inconsistencies. The amount of prep we do in the pre-writing phase is partly in service to continuity. In a Publisher's Weekly article about fiction duos, our NAL/Penguin editor was quoted as saying when she first received Sunlight and Shadow, she set aside the title page without looking at it. When she finished reading it and knew she wanted to publish it, she retrieved the title page and was shocked there were two writers. It helps that we grew up a block apart, had the same teachers, and have been finishing each other sentences since we were in elementary school. 

Your characters are drawn so well that readers could easily identify someone they know who has similar traits. How did you develop your characters? Are they based on people you’ve encountered?

Thank you! Due to our years of experience working in an inpatient psychiatric center for children and adolescents, we use the concept of psychodynamics as a basis for constructing our POV characters, meaning, the dynamics of their psychological make-up, its origins and how it is expressed. We create characters by beginning with their childhoods, their backstory. We get specific about their parents and grandparents, siblings, how did they treat each other? What were their happiest times, their most painful times, the scars they carry--we write it all down because we both have to know why they are the way they are, because that determines what they want, the needs they are trying to meet, and what they are trying to achieve. Their choices becomes their story line. Character arcs are how they grow/change/heal in response to their situation and the story is the unfolding interplay between the characters and the events which arise from their choices.

Our POV characters are not based on anyone we know, though they probably contain aspects of ourselves. We have had fun with some of our secondary characters, playing homage to some colorful people we have encountered. But we'll never reveal who!

You wrote about water and land issues important to New Mexico in A Growing Season and you captured the characteristics of the people on both sides quite well. Can you tell us about the research you did into those issues?

It was extensive. The worsening drought in New Mexico was all over the newspapers, which was the genesis of that novel, wondering how the severe drought would impact our chile farming family. John Fleck of the Albuquerque Journal wrote a weekly column about water issues, the farmers, the endangered silvery minnow--and still focuses on these vital issues as we speak. The Valencia County News-Bulletin and The Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (The agency that provides irrigation, flood control and responsible water conservation services to irrigators and farmers in the middle agricultural region of the state) were both great resources. Please read the acknowledgements in A Growing Season for a thorough listing of the wide variety of research materials we devoured in our quest to present a fair and accurate representation of these difficult issues, which unfortunately will only become more difficult as time goes on.

Do either of you have any unique methods that inspires your imagination and your writing?

As writing partners, we have a pact that we each are responsible for constantly recharging our individual creative energies, so that we are ready to draw from that source. Mare loves her rural acreage, planting flower and vegetable gardens, and hanging out with her animals (dogs, cats, ducks, turkeys, chickens, peacocks, goats, and a husband!) She also has two gorgeous parcels of land out side of Pagosa Springs--one high in the mountains and one right on the river. I like going to art galleries, restaurants, and movies with my husband, swimming, nature walks, playing with my granddaughter, and reading with two big Maine Coon cats vying for my lap. 

Then it's a matter of getting the butt in the chair and do the writing! I like to write most days. Mare saves it up for binge writing close to her deadline.  

A Growing Season recently won several awards that include 2013 Finalist in the New Mexico Press Women's Zia Award for Fiction, the 2013 Finalist in Women Writing the West's Willa Award for Contemporary Fiction and it was the 2013 winner of the Tony Hillerman Award for Best Fiction - New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards. Also Sunlight and Shadow is now a finalist in the 2014 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. Did you expect such accolades? Can you tell us how that has changed things for you?

Sunlight and Shadow was just awarded the 2014 Tony Hillerman Award for Best Fiction! Since Tony was a friend and early supporter of Sunlight and Shadow, and his daughter Anne Hillerman presented the award, it was beyond special.

We never expected to receive awards. All we've ever wanted is to get our work out there so we could hear back from readers. That's why we enjoy meeting with book clubs so much, hearing readers' reactions and how our work resonated with them completes the creative loop. We learn so much from our readers. If winning awards translates into more readers, then that's the best part of it.

To win for both Sunlight and Shadow and A Growing Season reflects so much on the expertise and dedication of our brilliant publishers, UNM Press. Clark Whitehorn, John Byram, Elise McHugh, Kathryn White, everyone else there who works so hard to produce such amazing and beautiful books. We are so fortunate!

For aspiring and new writers, the publishing process seems to be the most daunting element. Can you tell us a bit about how you published your books and any lessons you may have learned?

We've had some really bad luck (oh the  sob stories we could tell!) and some incredibly great luck. We've had painful failures and lovely successes.

What we have learned in a nutshell: Educate yourself about all aspects of the publishing industry so you know how to function as a professional. Agents and editors are just people with incredibly hard jobs to do, learn how you can make their jobs easier. Educate yourself about your craft, constantly. Read! Never think you are good enough, always strive to become better. Write! The more you write, the more you hone your craft. Eat rejection for breakfast and keep going. Never take no for the ultimate answer.

Do you have any other writing projects in the works?

We have the best agent in the universe submitting our latest completed novel in New York. It's called Hungry Shoes and it is based on our work with adolescents in psychiatric settings. Fingers crossed! It is a project near and dear to our hearts.

We are more than midway through the first draft of our third Esperanza book, Long Night Moon, that we will be submitting to UNM Press by spring.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors you’d like to share?

Aside from the lessons we shared above, the main thing is to love the process, love the journey, find your rewards in the writing itself. Life is to short to only focus on the destination.  Mare and I have found great comfort in the embrace of our fellow writers. Find ways to build a community with other writers through writing organizations, book clubs, critique groups, writing conferences, and social media. We love our sister and brother writers who understand what we go through, and appreciate how hard it can be. We celebrate each other's successes and encourage each other along the way. It's sometimes called networking, but if you do it right, it is so much more than that. It's family.

Thank you Sue and Mare for sharing with us!

Both Sunlight and Shadow and A Growing Season are enchanting New Mexico stories about community, family and the friends that become family. 

You can learn more about Sue and Mare and their work by visiting their website (be sure to see the beautiful video trailer for A Growing Season).. Their books can be purchased at all the usual places including B&N and Amazon but if you are so inclined I would suggest you support a local independent bookstore such as Bookwork’s in Albuquerque, The Collected Works Bookstore in Santa Fe or one in your neighborhood.

Sue Boggio and Mare Pearl

Thankful oUt LoUd

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, a day of celebration, a nice sentiment and I have so many things that I am thankful for; things that I try to be conscious of each day. I love reading “Month of Gratitude” posts on social media each November. I wish they would share every day and not just during November. We all have a deep well in which we can dip to find people,  things and happenings that we are grateful for having in our lives, whether we know it or not.

Whether we know it or not.

Most people don’t even think about the simplest of things they can be grateful for; that they woke and they are alive. It’s easy to take for granted that we are breathing or that we can walk and talk among other physical things we don’t think much about. In this country we don’t often think about the fact that we have clean water, most have enough food and we have freedom to move about, choose our work and home. There are so many things to be thankful for every day, whether we know it or not. Sometimes we can be thankful for pain in our lives, most times in retrospect, simply because pain pushes us forward to make necessary changes for which we will most likely be thankful.

My heart tells me if we each made a conscious effort to remember all that we have, all that has gone before and all that could be, we can build a practice of simple gratitude.

I’m fully convinced that the simple act of being thankful opens the soft spot in our hearts and creates the space we need to harvest goodness for ourselves and for others. Gratitude begets joy!

Michael McGarrity’s Backlands ... a review

“Backlands continues the story of Patrick Kerney; his
ex-wife, Emma; and their young son, Matthew, shortly
after the tragic battlefield death of the eldest son, CJ, at
the end of World War I. Scarred by the loss of an older
brother he idolized, estranged from a father he barely
knows, and deeply troubled by the failing health of a
mother he adores, eight-year-old Matthew is suddenly
and irrevocably forced to set aside his childhood and
take on responsibilities far beyond his years. When the
world spirals into the Great Depression and drought
settles like a plague over the nation, Matthew must
abandon his own dreams to salvage the Kerney ranch.
Plunged into a deep trough of dark family secrets, hidden
crimes, broken promises, and lies, Matthew must
struggle to survive on the unforgiving, sun-blasted
Tularosa Basin.”
                                                ~~ {From the book cover 

Michael McGarrity’s Backlands, the 2nd in a trilogy continues the family saga of the Kerney’s who make their living ranching on the Tularosa in southern New Mexico. McGarrity makes a fine historical writer covering several events including the market crash of ‘29, the depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and WWII and how they affected ranchers during those times.
The use of era appropriate language is fascinating and the prose is smooth and easygoing. Even with 500 or so pages, readers will fly through this well paced story with rapt interest.

WILLA Award Winner Amy Hale Auker on the process ...

I have been waiting on Amy Hale Auker’s new book The Story is the Thing and in a post on Facebook, she mentioned there would be a delay until December 1, a few simple publishing items needed to be taken care of before the book could find its way to the readers. It made me think about the journey Authors travel and the navigation skills needed to sail the publishing seas. I reached out to Amy recently and asked if she would like to write about that very topic. Read what she has to say:

This Bonus of a Day by Amy Hale Auker

Today I got a wonderful surprise from my publisher. I can’t tell you what it is, but I can promise you that it truly is something wonderful.
The cold wind is blowing in the Santa Maria Mountains of Arizona. Our fall cow move is almost over. And the publication date of my new book, The Story Is the Thing, is made of jello. We are aiming for December 1, 2014.

Writing is one thing. Writing is my first love. Publishing is another.

In 2004, I went to a meeting with a man who was to become my best friend, my mentor, and eventually, my non-fiction editor. The meeting was, on the surface, about an entirely different matter, but Andy knew, probably more than I did, that I was a writer. He asked me to send him something I had written that I had never shown anyone else. Because of him, I stopped writing long, creative emails illustrated with photographs and started filling a folder with lyric first-person essays that made me run from my warm home out onto the prairie to escape their scary claws. One morning as I cooked for a crew of fifteen men and poured coffee for the truck drivers whose rigs idled growling beside the loading chute, I went back and forth to my keyboard until I had all of the words on the page for an essay called "Weather Talk." I cut and pasted it into an email addressed to Andy, cleaned the globs of pie crust dough from the keyboard, and went back to stirring the beans. The phone rang 30 minutes later. That is it. That is the voice. Now go write some more of these and we have a book.

The problem was I didn't care about a book. I cared about the soul-slamming feeling of having finally gotten onto the screen the swirl of words in my brain. Gotten them on the screen in a way that the swirl was making sense. 

By 2006, I had enough essays for a book, my marriage was failing, and the first seeds of ambition were throwing off their lifelong seed cotes and pushing up through my creative life. But books don't just happen because we finally wrote enough words.

Andy took Rightful Place to the university press that had hired him to find voices in the rural West that might not otherwise be heard. They balked. Where were my credentials? I had been published; a decade before, in magazines like Western Horseman and American Cowboy, but the university press wasn't impressed. So, the poor little sad collection of essays began the brave march through a peer review process. It took four years. Yes, four. And in that time, I did not rewrite it so much as reread it... over and over and over. Andy took the comments of one peer reviewer and rearranged the essays, splitting one in half, putting half at the beginning of the book and half at the end. Can't have "too much Amy, too soon."

Life goes on even when we are holding our breath.

I got divorced, got homeless, wrote another collection of essays that was cathartic but not necessarily publishable, got healed, was a bad mother, fell in love. I wrote my way through bucketfuls of pain on a little website called Six Sentences. I gained a community of writers. At one point, as I cried actual tears about the publication process, my new love said, Eh. Who needs essays? I read to be entertained. That brought me up short and I began to look around at our newly combined shelves. Novel after novel after novel.  GREAT novels, by really talented writers. Some of them genius.
I stopped rewriting and rereading the two collections of essays. I started showing up at the page every day. I began to write about a girl named Charlie. I gave her a mentor named Bill Morgan. Who would have imagined that Uncle Bill would become more fascinating to me than this young girl trapped in a scary marriage, discovering her sexuality? In fact, Uncle Bill began to tell me his life story and I couldn't write it down fast enough. I filled yellow legal pads with his words. The Story Is the Thing was born.
And it was awful. I put it in a drawer and started writing another novel.
Winter of Beauty was easier to write and much more traditionally structured. I spent hours in a dark hallway with blue tacky clay, making a construction paper outline on the walls. I discovered Rafe and Shiney. I met Jody and an old black cowboy named Delbert Lincoln. I lived on a mountain called The Bride. 
In February 2010, I got the call I had been waiting for. The university press committee had voted to publish Rightful Place and a contract was on its way. I was back to the essays and immersed in a brand new process... the publication process. It was a game of wait-for-years, hold-your-breath-for-months and then "please return this with your notes and corrections within ten days." I filled out endless forms. I got a managing editor, a copy editor, a marketing adviser, and a design team. I dotted all of the “I’s” and crossed all of the “T’s.” I did everything I was told to do including pay my dues to organizations that support writers.
I built a website and a social media presence. 

We received Advance Reader Copies for Rightful Place in January 2011. 
I submitted both novels to the managing editor at the university press only to be told that they didn't have time to read them. Perhaps I could workshop them?
RIGHTFUL PLACE was released April 15, 2011.

I began to shop, not workshop, the novels to agents and independent presses. Rightful Place began to win awards. And still, I edited and immersed myself in the manuscripts. I rewrote The Story is the Thing. I made another pass on Winter of Beauty. I wrote query letters and new essays for magazines. I wrote morning pages. I edited the mss again. 

During this whole time I was also working for a living, learning new ways of being in the world. I was learning that I needed to choose something to earn a paycheck that fed the writing. I am blessed to be a cowboy on a big ranch in the high Sonoron desert. Riding and writing go hand in hand.
My query letters began to pay off. I got an email from a "publisher" who wanted both novels. He sent me a contract and the specifics of how he publishes. I was to put up half the money for publication and the publisher would put up the other half. I asked about cover art and design... he sent me to a website I hated. I asked about copy editing and big picture fiction editing and he basically shrugged and said he was sure he could handle all of that. I took the contract to the man who owns the ranch where I work. He asked one question: What was I going to get for my money? In short, nothing. These scams are everywhere.

In October 2012, I got another bite. An independent press called Pen-L Publishing asked to read both novels. (Have you ever seen a crazy lady do a happy dance?) I think the turn-around time on that email was four minutes.  Pen-L sent me a contract for Winter of Beauty saying that The Story Is the Thing was too experimental, not traditionally structured enough for them to take a chance on it. This time, the contract was legitimate. By the time WINTER OF BEAUTY was released in October 2013, I had probably read it, with a red pen in hand, upwards of 20 times... the whole thing. And we still found typos in that first batch of 100 copies.

In December of last year, I sent Pen-L an email saying that I had rewritten The Story Is the Thing and asking if they were interested in seeing that draft. They replied with a contract. In the negotiations I pointed out that I knew too many great Western artists for any of my books to end up with a stock photo on the cover. They agreed. I asked my friend Steve Atkinson to step in as cover artist and designer. Design matters. 

During this time, since 2008, I have also been writing essays, enough that a new collection now rests on the desk of the managing editor at the university press. So writing continues, even as publication swirls around it. By now you have gotten the idea that I am always writing something new, but also always reading and rereading and editing and polishing something old.

The publication date for The Story Is the Thing was set for Fall 2014.

Delays in the publication of this book have been coming our way, one after another. Whether it is a misplaced draft or an overlooked email or … get this… Did you know that IS needs to be capitalized in the title? So, the cover had to go back to the designer… minor, but time consuming.

I was supposed to move back to cow camp today with pending final page proofs hanging over my head. Instead, my boss (yeah, he’s also my husband) said that the wind was too cold… we’ll go tomorrow. Those cows can wait. One more day. 

This morning my inbox dinged. The file I had been waiting for. I poured more hot water over the tea bag in my cup and curled up beside the most wonderful fire in the world, bolstered by pillows and this bonus of a day. And I began to look over this book, this book that means so much to me and will go out into the world soon.  This unconventionally structured work of fiction…

The surprise took my breath away. It is on page 117. I hope you get to see it ...

Thank you Amy for sharing your experience with us. 

I know I always appreciate knowing the story behind the story and now I’m certainly curious to learn more about the publisher’s page 117 surprise. 

I’m looking forward to reading Amy’s new book. Her writing is beautifully lyrical and her stories are heartfelt. Her body of work is growing and her voice is strong. 

It’s easy to realize Amy is a poet. She has written several poems and has performed at the cowboy poetry gatherings. She will be a featured performer at the Cowboy Christmas, Wickenburg, AZ on December 5-6, 2014 and at the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Alpine, TX on February 27-28, 2015

Amy's books can be purchased directly from her website where all books are signed by her and at all the usual places including B&N and Amazon but if you choose to purchase at a store, I would suggest you support a local independent bookstore such as Amy's bookstore pick, Peregrine Book Co in Prescott, AZ,  my personal favorite Bookwork’s in Albuquerque  or one in your neighborhood.  

You can also purchase directly from Pen-L Publishing.

Pre-order The Story is the Thing at Amy's website.
Author Amy Hale Auker will be was among a panel of authors at the Peregrine Book Company Saturday, Sept. 6, for a discussion on “Women Who Broke the Mold.” (Steve Atkinson/Courtesy photo) {from The Daily Courier}

 Be sure to catch up with a few other posts on Amy’s work by linking to:

Whiskey Tales: [reviewing] Rightful Places by Amy Hale Auker - See more at:

An artist's eye and a poet's pen ... Amy Hale Auker - Beach ... - See more at:

Ranching on the Rocks with Gail Steiger and Amy Hale Auker - See more at:

Whiskey Tales: Winter of Beauty by Amy Hale Auker ... A ... - See more at:

Whiskey Tales: Amy Hale Auker ... a hard working writer - See more at:

Watch for the release of a new book by Amy Hale Auker ... - See more at: