Happy December to all of you. It’s that magical time of year when inwardly our hearts turn toward reflection and outwardly we gather with friends and family for holiday celebrations.
We’re busy here in Washington decorating our little Cape Cod for the holidays. The wreath is up, house decorated, and cards (almost!) in the mail. We’re blessed to have friends and family nearby and look forward to spending time with loved ones soon.
The last of the live events is now over for Hardland as I move into a new season: podcasts, book clubs, and awards. And of course, writing! Thank you to everyone who came out to meet me in Arizona, Colorado, and Washington. It’s been great being back “on the circuit” talking characters and books.
Again, BIG THANKS to Peregrine Books in Prescott, AZ; Barnes & Noble in Pueblo, CO; Barnes & Noble in Denver/Lakewood, CO; Barnes & Noble in Grand Junction, CO; Village Books in Bellingham, WA; Seaport Books in La Conner, WA; Third Place Books in Seattle/Lake Forest Park, WA; and Watermark Books in Anacortes, WA for hosting me!
As to my fourth novel, Irish, I’m 20,000 words in (approximately 100 pages) and looking forward to a very productive winter and spring writing. This is the time I go dark and focus on my work-in-progress. My great-grandmother’s story is growing richer by the day . . .
About Those Reviews . . .
What a thrill to get ink in True West Magazine and Cowgirl Magazine, among other magazine, newspaper, and trade reviews for Hardland.
“One of the top standalone Westerns of 2022.” —True West Magazine
“Gritty and fierce . . . Hardland is a powerful tale.” — Cowgirl Magazine
Like I say, it takes guts to write a Western when you grew up in suburban Long Island, New York, have never ridden a horse or been to a rodeo or held a gun (let alone being a vegetarian). But I guess we did it, me and Ruby Fortune. (Painting credit: Allen Polt)
Give and Take
Authors spend time reading colleagues’ novels to offer endorsements, often found on the front and back cover of books. This fall, I’ve been fortunate to read eight novels and offered blurbs:
The Physician’s Daughter, by Martha Conway
Attribution, by Linda Moore
The River Remembers, by Linda Ulleseit
Folly Park, by Heidi Hackford
The Seeing Garden, by Ginny Moyer
Halo Moon, by Jim Jones
Blue Rivers of Heaven, by Mark Jackson
Impervious, by Laurie Buchanan
I’m thankful that several of these authors, along with others, have taken the time to endorse Hardland. That’s the give and take of being an author!
Always a Contest
Congratulations to Ann Dominick of Texas for winning a Starbucks gift card in last month’s contest (chosen by random number generator). Ann’s suggestion of “High Meadows” is in the running for the fictional ranch that my great-grandmother worked at near Colorado Springs in the early 1890s in my work-in-progress. Other suggestions included:
- High Bar Ranch
- Double H Ranch
- Rocking K Ranch
- Triple C Ranch
I’ll let you know what name I pick as the novel progresses.
FOR THIS MONTH’S CONTEST, tell me one of your favorite reads of 2022. I’ll include a long list in next month’s newsletter and pick one lucky winner for a $20 gift certificate at your local book shop. Looking forward to your suggestions! Visit my Contact page to enter.
Recent Reads from the Swan Road Book Club
Thanks to long-time reader friend, Leah Meissner, for inviting me to speak at the Swan Road Book Club in Mt. Vernon, Washington last month. Here are six of their top reads of 2022:
- The Mahoneys of West Seattle, by Stephen Burke
- A Spark of Light, by Jodi Picoult
- The Many Daughters of Afong Moy, by Jamie Ford
- The Children’s Blizzard, by Melanie Benjamin
- American Dirt, by Jeanine Cummins
- The Four Winds, by Kristin Hannah
On New Year’s Eve, I’ll release my top 10 of more than 100 reads of the year. Watch my Instagram and Facebook sites at @ashleysweeneyauthor and follow me there for frequent posts. I’ll also include in my January newsletter.
Building My Email List
Like all authors, building an email list is a great way to connect with readers. If you know of a friend, family member, or neighbor who might enjoy receiving 10 newsletters per year from me (none in July and August), please encourage them to sign up for my newsletter at https://ashleysweeneyauthor.com/contact/
And don’t forget about writing reviews—an author’s lifeline to readers.
However you celebrate the holidays, or with whom, I wish you a lovely December and holiday season filled with love and laughter—and books. See you in January!
Until then, Happy Reading!