Tag Archives: Women Writing the West

2014 Women Writing the West Conference

WWW ConferenceMid-October marked the culmination of a year and a half of planning for Women Writing the West’s 20th Anniversary Annual Conference in Golden, Colorado. The result of work by Colorado’s WWW Conference Planning Committee to plan the event spread among several venues was a huge success. The City of Golden was a perfect fit for our group. A synopsis of highlights will give those with a passion for the craft of writing an idea of the content of a really good writers’ conference, and the priceless value of this particular sold-out conference of 150 attendees.

Thursday, October 16 – provided a bonus day of activities at the Table Mountain Inn, full of panels, critique sessions, an annual board of directors meeting, and networking. In the evening, a reception at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum took place for readings by WILLA literary award winners and LAURA short story winners. A special quilt featuring squares hand-stitched by WWW members was introduced for the conference raffle, which benefits the WILLA Literary Fund.

WWW Raffle Quilt

Friday, October 17 – featured a full schedule at the Golden Hotel of panels and presentation about the business of writing, marketing, and trends in e-publishing. Private appointments with editors, agents and publishers were available. Author Margaret Coel captivated us with her stories about writing 20+ mysteries set on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. LAURA short story awards were presented at the lunch banquet. In the evening, a feature film, The Cherokee Word for Water, was presented at the American Mountaineering Center. The film, about the life of first female Cherokee tribal leader, Wilma Mankiller, was followed by a Q&A session with members of the film production and Mankiller’s husband, Charlie Soap, and from the local Cherokee Circle.

Saturday, October 18 – Following the annual WWW business meeting in the morning, participants enjoyed another full day of panels and presentations. A Luncheon honored WWW Founders and spotlighted WILLA Finalists. Later in the afternoon, Joyce Meskis enchanted us with stories from her many years as owner of the famous Tattered Cover bookstores in Denver. A booksigning session hosted by Who Else! Bookstore with networking capped off the afternoon. Evening brought the annual WILLA Awards banquet. Author and founding member Sandra Dallas presented an inspiring keynote speech. When the winner was drawn for the WILLA Fund Raffle, we were happily surprised when she insisted that the quilt stay with WWW.

WWW Conference Booksigning
Sunday, October 19 – Many conference attendees stayed for a Sunday morning gathering at the Briarwood Inn. Some wore historic costumes to the delicious high tea brunch. We were entertained by WWW founding member Corinne Brown, who portrayed five famous women from Colorado’s history. She did amazing costume changes when switching characters. It was a fantastic finale to a successful and memorable 20th Anniversary celebration and conference for attendees and members of Women Writing the West.

Joyce at Golden HotelJoyce B. Lohse


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A West by Northwest Conference

Fish Market

Fresh Fish at Pike Market in Seattle

Once, again, the annual Women Writing the West Conference has come and gone. This year, the conference entitled “West by Northwest” took us to the Seattle area, one of my favorite parts of the country. We spent our first day seeing the local sites, such as the fabulous flying fish at Pike Public Market, and eating a memorable bowl of clam chowder for lunch at Lowell’s, while we watched the ships and ferries in Puget Sound. It was a great way to relax before beginning the conference, which was a lot of work, but also a great networking and learning experience with many talented writer friends in WWW. This conference is always top notch, and a splendid western adventure to boot.

Seattle Ferry

Ferries -- a common sight in Puget Sound

I often receive questions that remind me that writing conferences take a certain amount of preparation. Some participants do not know what to expect and benefit from a little direction. As manager of personal appointments with agents and editors for registrants, I was asked by two people on the same day about how they should prepare for their appointments, and for networking in general at a writer’s conference. In case others have pondered the same question, here is my response:

“There is no standard for this. A professional writer has their thoughts in order. Introduce yourself and show any books or publications indicative of your talent and background. Then, present a strong case for the project you have in mind, including a succinct description of it along with marketing platform. Mention how this fits into the publisher/agent’s library of works and customers. Ask appropriate questions. Be friendly and business-like. My experience has been that they don’t like to take proposals and papers with them. Instead, they might ask you to send something specific to them. Do it promptly.

“Would it be a good idea to send a thank you note once you return home? I think so. ALSO, bring plenty of business cards or bookmarks, whatever you have with contact information. (I just printed up 100 bookmarks on my inkjet printer). Hand one to your appointment person as you introduce yourself. Also, if you don’t have books, bring cover art, or a special photo or image as a ‘visual aid’, to focus attention on your work and your project. Relax, and have fun.”


I hope this helps — Joyce Lohse


Posted by on October 25, 2011 in Western Travel, Writing Life


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Deck the Club Halls

As a self-employed freelance writer, my prospects for a holiday office party are fairly bleak. Writing by nature is a solitary undertaking. For that reason, writers often join associations and organizations in order to pool resources, exchange ideas,  and yes, party, with associates.


Denver Woman's Press Club

Recently, I attended a holiday gathering at the Denver Woman’s Press Club. Coincidentally, it is the 100th anniversary of the DWPC clubhouse, a charming little Victorian building surround by tall office buildings and parking lots not far from Colorado’s capitol building. It is always a pleasure to spend time in the little house and visit with the talented journalists who belong to the organization. DWPC is one of few, or possibly the only woman’s press club to own a building. The house is a historic treasure purchased by DWPC in 1924.

My next stop on the holiday party circuit was the Columbine Genealogical and Historical Society. This organization meets in a church, and the holiday party is always a bountiful pot luck lunch. Members bring out their best recipes and wear their finest red and green sweaters for the event. This group of serious genealogists has always been interested in and supportive of my writing, and I look forward to rejoining their board of directors for the coming year.

A writing mole can socialize only so much. I was not able to attend the Colorado Authors’ League holiday party this year. I recently attended one of their interesting seminar presentations about e-books at the mens’ Denver Press Club. This past spring, I was honored at the CAL annual banquet with their 2010 award for Best YA Nonfiction book for my biography, General William Palmer: Railroad Pioneer.

Although my Women Writing the West group is spread throughout the nation, we stay in touch daily via a Listserv bulletin board. Once a year, the group gathers for a national conference in a different Western location. We often create friendships with fellow members who live nearby. I’ve enjoyed many outings and adventures with my publisher, Filter Press, my research partner, Christie, with whom I recently enjoyed a holiday lunch and history walk, and several others. Who says writers are isolated?

Groups and clubs perform an important function in our writing lives. They draw us out with opportunities to learn and socialize, and they provide fabulous opportunities to embellish our experience. Holiday parties are an especially nice way to enjoy our peers and associates.

Joyce Lohse, 12/15/10


Posted by on December 16, 2010 in Denver history, Writing Life


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Western Road Trip

Grand Canyon

Sunrise at the Grand Canyon

Nothing beats a road trip from Colorado to Arizona to get in touch with the Old West. Once again, Women Writing the West outdid themselves by producing the best conference experience ever near Wickenburg, Arizona. We took advantage of the destination by taking to the highway to get there, via the Grand Canyon. As if the stupendous beauty of the Grand Canyon was not enough to feed our spirits, there was plenty of western culture along the way.

Mule Train

Mule pack train at the Grand Canyon

Durango, Colorado provided yet another historic highlight to the trip. A narrow gauge steam train runs from Durango to Silverton, and houses a museum in its depot. Evidence of my book subject, General William Palmer, founder of the D&RG railroad, which connected Durango to the nation, can be found at every turn. Durango’s historic downtown is worthy as a destination in itself.

Joyce B. Lohse, 10/20/10


Posted by on October 20, 2010 in Western history, Western Travel


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Celebration Time

Wm. Palmer

Thank you, William Palmer! (Courtesy Colorado College Archives)

Recently, I received an e-mail from the Colorado Author’s League containing a list of finalists for the annual Top Hand Awards. As usual, I browsed through the names to see if any of my friends were listed. I was pleased to see that Susan Tweit, a fellow  Women Writing the West member, would be honored for her book, Walking Nature Home. When I continued through the list, I was amazed to find my own name listed. My book, General William Palmer: Railroad Pioneer, is a finalist in the Young Adult Nonfiction Book category. Wow!! I called up my publishers at Filter Press, who dropped what they were doing to share the joy.

This evening, we will be attending the CAL banquet. I am thrilled and honored that my Palmer biography is receiving recognition from a distinguished and long-established Colorado book industry association. I am also pleased and thankful that William Palmer reached out and inspired me to write his story. Beyond that, I am espeically happy to share joy and celebration with my hub, my publishers, and my book friends.

To see the CAL list of Top Hand finalists, go to:

Joyce B. Lohse, 5/11/10


Posted by on May 11, 2010 in Western history


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When I Came West

One of the benefits of my job as administrator for Women Writing the West is that a book occasionally lands on my doorstep for review. Although we don’t officially review books, and I’m not an especially strong reader, I read as many of them as possible. Member titles then go to trade show exhibits, then into library circulation at the Women Writing the West Collection.

Recently, I had the pleasure of reading “When I Came West” by Laurie Wagner Buyer. Laurie is a friend, and I knew it would be an outstanding piece before I started. However, I could not put it down for different reasons. You see, Laurie had an amazing wilderness experience in 1974. I had one as well in 1973. Mine did not transcend the wilderness experience as hers did, but mine was far greater in another respect. I was able to share my experience, working in Yellowstone National Park, with women friends who have remained close to me all these years. This was an aspect of Laurie’s wilderness experience which was missing for her.

My experience living and working in Yellowstone seems frivolous now in relation to Laurie’s. However, I continue to enjoy reunions and adventures with the same friends who have stayed close all this time. We’ve shared brilliant joys and profound sorrows that befall us all. From our little clan of five women, we’ve added others through our partners and children, including a set of twins, and my son. We’ve had relationships with cowboys, mountain men, war vets, park service workers, college guys, and hippies. Our reunions are always warm and wonderful, with new experiences to share. My life has been wonderfully embellished by them all.

But back to Laurie. She has the most wonderful way of sharing her life experiences, by baring her soul and inviting us in to understand her pain and share her victories.

I know her. I look at her photos from the 70s, and I know that look of defiance. I understand why she went into the wilderness. In ’73, my pals and I sat in the theater in Gardiner, Montana, watching the movie, “Jeremiah Johnson”. In total awe, we were ready to follow the mountain man or his ilk, a bearded guy in plaid shirt and jeans with a Buck knife hanging from his belt, to the mountains. A couple of us did. The difference was that we had our women friends to sustain us when we came out and while we stayed in. Laurie points that out, and knows well the power of such friendships. She is a composite of us all.

To learn more about Laurie and her books, go to:

Joyce Lohse, 2/12/10
Go to:
and visit the Yellowstone Savage page

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Posted by on February 12, 2010 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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