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Piecework  Newsletter

 

Read the newsletters from Sandra Dallas for news about upcoming books, stories, Sandra's Picks and reviews:

The Spoilt Quilt and Other Stories

Volume XVII, Issue Four | December 2019

Someplace to Call Home by Sandra Dallas

The Spoilt Quilt and Other Stories

If the male settlers of the western frontier found life demanding, desolate, and deadly, The Spoilt Quilt makes a convincing case that it was even worse for women. Each piece in this 16-story, female-focused anthology packs a punch. The heroines confront death, disease, rape, domestic violence, and poverty, all while living in an era that denies them equal legal status. But that is not to say the main characters lack agency; each woman fights back to the best of her ability regardless of the unfortunate scenario plotted out for her. Some use misdirection (“The Spoilt Quilt”), some use trained skills (“The Well-Witcher’s Daughter,” “Berserker on the Prairie”), some use cunning (“The Hope Chest”), some use pure, unbridled rage (“The Devil’s Rope,” “Abandoned Places”). This collection isn’t necessarily about winners and losers—if it were, many of these women would be failures, and the stories too grim to read. Rather, it’s about personal strength in a time and place when that was often the only resource an individual had in excess. To that end, The Spoilt Quilt provides brief glimpses of optimism in an otherwise overcast world.

 

Westering Women comes out in January

I am so excited about Westering Women, which I wrote about in the last issue of Piecework, and think it is one of my best books. Of course, who am I to judge? I love the characters and the western setting. I hope readers will love it, too. Publication date is January. I have a number of signings lined up: UPCOMING APPEARANCES:

DENVER, CO

Tues., Jan. 7 at 7:00 pm

TATTERED COVER – COLFAX AVE

2526 E. Colfax Ave.

LONE TREE, CO

Wed., Jan. 8 at 7:00 pm

BARNES & NOBLE – LONE TREE

8374 S. Willow St.

FORT COLLINS, CO

Thurs., Jan. 9 at 6:00 pm

OLD FIREHOUSE BOOKS

Old Town Library201 Peterson St.

HIGHLANDS RANCH, CO

Sat., Jan. 11 at 6:30 pm

DOUGLAS COUNTY LIBRARY

James H. LaRue Branch

9292 Ridgeline Blvd.

EVERGREEN, CO

Tues., Jan. 14 at 6:30pm

HEARTHFIRE BOOKS

1254 Bergen Pkwy # D122 ​

MONUMENT, CO

Sat., Jan. 18 at 11:00 am

COVERED TREASURES BOOKSTORE 105 2nd St. NIWOT, CO

Fri., Jan. 24 at 7:00 pm

INKBERRY BOOKS

7960 Niwot Rd.

BOULDER, CO

Wed., Jan. 29 at 7:30 pm

BOULDER BOOK STORE

1107 Pearl St.​

GOLDEN, CO

Sun., Feb. 16 from 1-3 pm

ROCKY MOUNTAIN QUILT MUSEUM

200 Violet St. #140

 

Willa Winners

Someplace to Call Home

In October, Dana and I flew to San Antonio for Women Writing the West’s annual conference, which brings together women from all over the country who write about the West. The weather was cold, but not the women. Indeed, one of the benefits of the conference is the friendships that form there. The highlights for me, of course, were the Willa Literary Award finalist luncheon and the awards dinner. The Patchwork Bride was a finalist in the Historical Fiction category, and Hardscrabble won for Children’s Fiction and Nonfiction. Years ago, when I was starting out, I wrote a novel that I called a women’s western. I was told there was no such thing. Today we have an entire organization devoted to women’s West.

 

My Favorite Books

Instead of running reviews of newly published books, I want to recommend a few of the authors I’ve loved over the years. My all-time favorite is Truman Capote. I’d reread any of his fiction. Ditto with Anne Lamott’s nonfiction. All her books on faith are wonderful, but my favorite is the first one, Traveling Mercies. I’m a big mystery fan and especially like Michael Connolly and Greg Isles. Two books that I wish I’d written are Shane and Lilies of the Field. Every time I reread them, I’m reminded how simple and focused they are, each with a strong message. Of course I love reading books by my writer friends, including Diane Mott Davidson, Margaret Coel, Francine Matthews, and Jane Kirkpatrick. I’m not much on poetry, but the book I’ve had on my shelf the longest is 101 Famous Poems. It came out in 1928 and belonged to my father. When I inherited it, the anthology was falling apart, so I had it rebound. I started memorizing the poems in it as soon as I learned to read. I also treasure Thomas Hornsby Ferril’s Westering, with poems that are so evocative of Colorado. Novelist Helen Rich’s books and Belle Turnbull’s poems—I knew both writers in Breckenridge years ago—describe Summit County in the first half of the 20th century. These books, several of them no longer in print, are the ones I cherish and reread. I hope you have your own list.

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