Monthly Archives: November 2009

Moving Forward on Thanksgiving

If Thanksgiving is upon us, it must be time for CAL – the Colorado Association of Librarians Conference. Every year, publisher Filter Press hosts a booth for this event in Denver, allowing the authors to meet and greet librarians, teachers and readers. It is always illuminating, and a mixed bag of good news and bad news comments. The bad news is predictable … more book buying budget cuts, more social studies programs slashed, more demand for books about speicalized topics way down on the priority scale.

The good news is encouraging and will keep us going. As more people learn about our “Now You Know Bio” series, they find more ways to integrate them into their programs, and more people read them. They recognize the quality of the biographies and the research which has gone into each one. They love the topics we’ve chosen, and enthusiastically look forward to the newest arrivals.

I’m thankful for what we have, and I embrace the challenge of moving forward to produce more pioneer stories which appeal to young readers and history buffs of all ages. I appreciate Filter Press, who believes in my work and publishes it, giving me a voice, and for the encouragement and support of my colleagues there, and in Women Writing the West. I am honored to apply my writing skills to preserve history, and to give a voice to women who were formerly silent and consequently overlooked. Many of their stories have emerged and can now be celebrated, either as individuals or in conjunction with their pioneering partner.

John and Eliza Routt (rhymes with “scout”) provide a great partnership story. My award-winning book, First Governor, First Lady: John and Eliza Routt of Colorado, published by Filter Press, is a duo-biography about the life and work of the Routts as Western pioneers. I was fortunate to revisit their story and share it in an article for the current holiday issue of Steamboat Magazine. To read a condensed version of the article, go to:

Happy Thanksgiving!
Joyce Lohse – 11/23/09
for more information about Now You Know Bios:


Posted by on November 23, 2009 in Western history


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Little Libraries

Elbert Library

Little libraries make the world go round. On the plains southeast of Denver last Saturday, Librarian Gayle Gresham hosted an Author Open House at the Elbert Public Library, which shares space with the Elbert School Library. It is a warm and wonderful place, full of the hustle and bustle of folks looking for a good read, and kids Googling the internet.

Along with Filter Press, I was invited to meet and greet patrons, and display and sign books for sale. With a craft bazaar taking place elsewhere in the building, traffic moved from one venue to the other. It was a fine, fun time, well spent in a welcoming space for authors and readers to mingle and celebrate books.

The Elbert Library is also home of the Women Writing the West Collection. These books receive a second life when they are removed from the WWW trade show exhibits to make room for new titles. They are then processed and placed into circulation in Elbert, where they have become quite popular as locals seek out titles they might have missed, many with Western and historical themes. A new shelf will soon be added to facilitate expansion of the collection.

Joyce Lohse, 11/18/09


Posted by on November 18, 2009 in Western history


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Indian Summer

Aspen Leaves

Transitional shoulder months in Colorado are full of beauty and surprises. One minute, a blizzard sends you scurrying toward the hearth and a pile of quilts, then the sun pops out and lures you outdoors to linger among crunchy leaves and inhale the warm breath of Indian Summer.

As shadows lengthen and the days grow shorter, activities related to collecting, preserving and enjoying pioneer history return indoors. During a recent snowstorm, I set aside research and read a book entitled, Prayers For Sale, by Sandra Dallas. As a longtime fan of  Sandra Dallas, I would be hard pressed to find fault with anything she writes. She is a lovely person, and a terrific role model for a writer on a quest to produce worthy and worthwhile historical books and articles.

Prayers For Sale is enjoyable on many levels. It is appealing to those who savor great historical fiction and to those who simply relish a darn good read. Dallas does her usual outstanding job of characterization while weaving, or rather quilting, an intriguing and well-crafted story thread set in a Colorado mining camp. Themes of pioneer courage, friendship, mentoring, enduring love, and forgiveness enrich the story, provoking thought and delighting historical sensibilities. When I need inspiration, or I wish to be transported to an earlier time and place, Sandra Dallas always delivers. The story motivated me to resume my needlework, always a centering activity.

To learn more about Sandra Dallas, go to:

This coming Saturday, November 14, my writing path leads to the town of Elbert, on the plains southeast of Denver. Librarian Gayle Gresham has invited members of Women Writing the West to meet and greet the public at the Elbert Library Open House. Book displays and authors will be available between 1 and 3 p.m. in the public library, which shares space with the school library, at 24489 Main Street. Come out to Elbert to mingle with the authors and enjoy cider and cookies. Elbert Public Library is home of the Women Writing the West collection, over 100 books donated to their library by the non-profit national writing organization.

Joyce B. Lohse, 11/10/09

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Posted by on November 10, 2009 in Western history


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