Guest Blogger Shanna Hatfield

This time I'm hosting a wonderful, zany author and fellow Women Writing the West member, Shanna Hatfield. Below is an essay on bravery, the subject of her new novel, an April release of the next book in her historical romance series.   The Bravery of Women I’ve always admired strong, brave women. Trying to image how hard, how challenging, how utterly soul-wrenching life was for some of our pioneer grandmothers, it is almost beyond my ability to fathom. Believe me when I say I would not ...
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Earthquakes, Bandits, & Romance in Old California

Writing is a calling. Even when words dangle just beyond reach like the old phonetic combinations that hung on wires stretched across the front of my first grade classroom, phoenetic th’s, ing’s and ght’s waiting to be mastered. I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember, and a prolific talker before that, as my mother is fond of reminding me. And I've been a listener to old timers' stories. Now it’s time to celebrate. April 1stmarks a monumental event in my life, the day Cholama Moon, ...
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Becoming a Daughter

This is a piece I wrote while I was care-taking my mother-in-law. It's for all care-takers who need to remember to breathe. This isn’t about me. My mother-in-law was always quick to remind me of this in the sharp tone she used to mask her fear that I would pull my support, pack my “overnight” bag and leave her to die alone. She is (name deleted)  the red-haired lady who dressed for the TV camera and took the mayor and his council to task whenever she saw the need. For some, she was the voi...
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John Lennon Had It Right

An unexpected gift of aging—the gift of waiting. Used to be, every thing had a time, and that time was yesterday, immediately or right now. Living in the moment meant exactly what it said. “But, Mom—I need it RIGHT NOW!” Right now is good. In fact, it’s perfect. I find nothing to change or deplore about the present moment. But, surprisingly, “Soon” is good, too. And “Maybe” doesn’t pack the emotional punch it used to. If “Maybe” never happens, well that’s okay, too. I can live with dubious pr...
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The Power of One

For all his teachings, good works and radio shows, Bishop Fulton Sheen is best remembered for one statement: “It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.” The imagery fits my purpose. A life of small steps where every step counts. Let me start from the top. I always carry a copy of my memoir, Ordinary Aphrodite, with me. It’s in my gym bag or in the trunk of my car, a reminder that I need to open the dialogue. And who is it I am supposed to talk to? I’m never sure. All I k...
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Where is Your Spine, America? A Guest Blog by Laura Hollis, Professor at Notre Dame

I am not normally political, but I am a grandmother. I remember watching "Dr. Zhivago" and seeing him at the end of the movie meeting his granddaughter who had been totally assimilated into the Communist mentality, and feeling his sorrow for the world that was lost to her that she would never know.  I feel that we are on the verge of what Dr. Zhivago was watching, and my tears are falling once again. Please read and respond according to your conscience.  Laura Hollis is a professor at the ...
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Don’t Call Me a Woman Driver!

On the road again…How many of us women deserve a set of trucker wings from all the hauling, towing and hair-raising treks we've managed behind the wheel? I earned my license when I was a sophomore.  Since then I’ve driven a moving van down from British Colombia and towed motorcycles on curving mountain roads. My most harrowing (and accidental) venture was driving our diesel pickup up the Road to the Sun Highway in Glacier National Park, Montana. It was early morning with black ice in the shad...
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A Case of Computer Obsession

When does the computer become an obsession and not a career tool? A fair question, and one my husband is asking as I sit in my bathrobe on a Saturday morning, “working.” I’ve paid the bills, checked my emails and linked my latest guest blog to my social media links. http://writersofthewest.blogspot.com/  Time to cut the cord, go outside and LIVE! But after five days of marketing, writing tie-in essays for my forthcoming novel and creating a newsletter, this computer feels more real to me than...
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Looking for Fame in All the Wrong Places

Wow. I’m so happy to be writing this. The event I have been working toward for the past five years is finally happening. I signed a contract with Oak Tree Press for my first historical Western novel. It has a name—Cholama Moon. Lucky me, right? Actually, the trail has been long and convoluted. One, I suspect, not unlike a lot of other writers. Several years ago (too shamed to admit how many,) I started writing short stories and submitting them to magazines, way back before there was much i...
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Love, Hate, & Everything In-Between

Sometimes holiday get togethers can be a bit sticky. Siblings and children arrive from far corners. Logs burn. Alcohol soothes. A lethargic atmosphere loosens the tongue and memories flow. I used to cringe in my corner while I waited to hear what the new batch of memories unearthed. But no more. Because now I’m armed with the wisdom of Hippocrotes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_temperaments . I’ve been re-reading a couple of books that discuss his theory of personality types. One of them,...
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