Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

Writing, Teaching, Language, Landscape, Life


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Pre-order MEADOWLARK and Meanwhile, back at the ranch….

MeadowlarkAd.qxpI can at last announce that if you would like to pre-order a signed copy Meadowlark, we can now do this. According to my publisher (Pronghorn Press), the books should be available for shipping on August 1, 2013. From the back cover: 

“MEADOWLARK

Based on a true story, the author provides a captivating and crystal clear window into the lives of some of                        the early settlers on the plains of South Dakota.

In 1911, sixteen year old Grace has the same hopes and dreams as any other bride for a future built on love, commitment and family. But she also knows that a life of ranching on the magnificent prairie she loves so deeply will require years of perseverance, hard work and suffering. What she doesn’t expect is how quickly she will be required to confront these threats to her heart and her soul.

Despite challenges that often seem insurmountable, Grace builds two abiding friendships in a land where other women are very few and rarely seen. Daisy, a half Lakota widow befriends her and Grace also recognizes a kindred spirit in her nearest neighbor, Mae Thingvold, a young doctor on her own. It is these women and their connections to each other that will sustain all three through unimaginable pain and loss and bring them joy in the sharing of small victories and celebrations of milestones along the paths of their lives. 

Dawn Wink introduces you to Grace and allows you to share her journey as you walk the rolling hills of her beloved prairie at her side. You will laugh and cry with her and share her deep connection the land that is the anchor to the ship of her life on which she sails the endless sea of grass.”

There is a deep part of me that will only believe this book has come to life only when I hold it in my own hands. Whoops, got teary just thinking about it there. Okay, onward. There are multiple ways to purchase Meadowlark, depending on what you’d like and where you live. 

1) If you would like to purchase a signed copy from me, please write me at dawn@dawnwink.com, and include your name and/or the name of the person for whom you would like me to personalize the book. If there is anything that you’d like me to write, please include that, along with your address. Please send a check for $24.00 to:  Dawn Wink, 3 Featherbush Ct., Santa Fe, NM 87508.

If you live in another country, please write me and I’ll find out how much it will cost to ship the book to you.

I will pre-order these books from the publisher myself, have them sent to me, and then I send to you. 

2) If you live in Santa Fe, we will hold a reading at Collected Works. We’re still working on the date. I will let you know, as soon as I know. If you are able to come to the reading (and I hope you do!), then I would love to support our local independent bookstore with your purchasing the book there. 

3) I am checking Amazon daily for Meadowlark to appear for pre-order. My publisher says, “There is no rushing Amazon.” I’ll pop you a note through Dewdrops when it appears. 

4) I would love to support independent bookstores in all places and in all ways. I encourage you to buy Meadowlark through yours. 

I loved what Kate Meadows wrote about writing and Meadowlark in her piece, How to Eat an Elephant: A Rare Glimpse of an Artist’s Success. Meadows writes, “Times change, and circumstances change. We are tested by many hardships in this thing called life, moments of intense heat in which we, like hot iron, are bended and shaped. We won’t be in the furnace forever. But those trying times are the nuggets that test our true character. Writers count these times as gold for their craft – moments and emotions that provide foundations for creating riveting stories.” This is going above my writing desk. Thank you for these words of wisdom, Kate.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

After a week in Santa Fe, we are back at the ranch. Along the way, we pass many abandoned homesteads. There is something so poignant and evocative about these, each with their own stories. When I was writing Meadowlark, I spent a lot of time walking within these sacred places, listening for their stories.

Abandoned homestead, Wyoming

Abandoned homestead, Wyoming

This is one of my favorite places along the drive, a valley north of Lusk, Wyoming.

Valley north of Lusk, Wyoming

Valley north of Lusk, Wyoming

Madonna of the Prairie north of Hermosa, SD:

Madonna of the Prairies

Madonna of the Prairies

Outside of Rapid City, SD, as we headed out onto the prairie and had less than two hours to the ranch, we watched this rain cloud move across the plains.

Rain cloud moves over the plains.

Rain cloud moves over the plains.

We woke to a foggy morning on the prairie.

Foggy morning

Cottonwood in the fog.

Cottonwood in the fog.

This week Luke is off to Placerville Camp in the Black Hills. Luke wouldn’t let us take his picture, so instead we took pictures of one another. 

Noé Villarreal in the Black HIlls

Noé Villarreal in the Black Hills

Dawn Black Hills

Dawn, Black Hills

Noé and I soaked in the beauty of the Black Hills and stopped by Prairie Edge again. I could spend days in that place—the art, the books, the beads, the textures. I included the beads in the photo journal of the ranch. Some beauty and art to share with you. This piece is made of paper:

Allen and Patty Eckman

Allen and Patty Eckman

Ledger drawings. These fascinate and humble me…

Ledger drawings

Ledger drawings

Horse Gatherer, Don Montileaux

Horse Gatherer, Don Montileaux

Wyatt chose to stay and work on the ranch. Mom is teaching a class in Mallorca. Dad is gone for the next week, and Wyatt is responsible for checking the water, cattle, and pastures. We spent the morning before Dad left driving around, with Dad showing Wyatt what he needed to do. 

Dad and Wyatt

Dad and Wyatt

Dad left a list for Wyatt:

photo

Dad’s list for Wyatt

So often, our children believe of themselves, what we believe of them. Wyatt has embraced this responsibility. How much do I love this guy?

With Wyatt

With Wyatt

Pinterest – which I had no idea how to pronounce when I first read last year. Since then, I’ve discovered a world of visuals, bold images, and community. I created boards on Writing, Beauty:Colors, Textures, Places, and Meadowlark – and discovered that I love this creative expression. Here is the board on Meadowlark, with insights into the characters, time, and place of the novel: http://pinterest.com/dawnwink11/meadowlark/

Mae Thingvold, doctor and girl homesteader, was one of Grace’s best friends. She lived in a shanty and made her rounds with her horse and buggy.

Girl homesteader

Girl homesteader

When Grace moved to the homestead at 16, she spent the first years of her marriage there in a soddy.

Soddy

Soddy

This piece was composed here, in the eating/writing nook of the ranch house, morning sun streaming in through the windows. What a beautiful place to write.

Eating/writing space in the ranch house.

Eating/writing space in the ranch house.

* * *

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Meadowlark Cover

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It’s HERE! It’s here. It’s here. It’s here!

I just received the cover for Meadowlark from the publisher. And I LOVE it! I approached the cover with much trepeditation. I had some ideas. The publisher had some ideas. All I really knew was, “I’ll know it when I see it.” I worried that my expectations were too high, that whatever the image, it wouldn’t quite be it. I needn’t have spent energy on that. I am beyond thrilled. This image was taken on the ranch of the land Grace that walked and lived. I could go on and on about what I love about this cover—and all center on how this image conveys Grace’s story.

I am deeply grateful for what authors have written about Meadowlark:  

“Dawn Wink writes in the tradition of O.E. Rolvaag, Willa Cather, Mari Sandoz, and Mary Clearman Blew, with a clear-eyed understanding of the connections between isolation and oppression, especially for women, on the Great Plains. Wink is not afraid to look at difficult and uncomfortable issues such as domestic violence, Indian boarding schools, or the law’s corruption. She also surprises us by writing about intimate and hidden issues like early 20th-century contraception. She has a fine sense for characters and a deep understanding of land. The scene where Grace Robertson, her protagonist, makes a punching bag out of a feed sack in order to work out her anger, and then returns to work and love, is worth the price of the novel by itself. This is a gritty novel but also a hopeful one, exploring the ugliness of power and the ways despair can drive good people to do awful things but also exploring compassion’s ability to bind, rejuvenate, and redeem.”     — Kent Meyers, The Work of Wolves (South Dakota One Book 2005), Twisted Tree, The Witness of Combines

“The lives of those who homesteaded in Dakota Territory were difficult; the men and women tough enough to survive were not always kind and well-behaved. Dawn Wink’s Meadowlark thunders with harsh truths learned from her own ranching family history, including her knowledge of Lakota ways. And in these pages the prairie sings its truths.”     — Linda Hasselstrom, South Dakota Author of the Year, No Place Like Home: Notes from a Western Life,         Between Grass and Sky, Feels Like Far, Land Circle, Going Over East, Windbreak

Meadowlark is in the tradition of the American Western Novel, but with a twist. The heroes of this heart-felt book are the women who populated the mythic west and the reader gets a credible glimpse of what life might have been like for them. Many of the scenes ring true due to the author’s obvious familiarity with the inner workings of a ranch, her interest in the plight of her characters, and her love of the land.”     — Dan O’Brien, Two time winner of the Western Heritage Award, Buffalo for the Broken Heart (South Dakota One Book 2009)The Contract Surgeon, Stolen Horses, The Indian Agent

Prairie, June 2013

Prairie, June 2013

Meadowlark is a love story of the best kind: achingly real. At its center is Grace, a turn-of-the-previous-century teenaged bride battered by her husband and left alone for days on the isolated South Dakota prairie with her young son and a ranch to care for. Grace learns to love the tough and surprisingly beautiful prairie, the horse on whose back she finds freedom, her son, the women friends who become her family, and finally, her own scarred self. This haunting story soars like the song of the meadowlark it is named for, determined to be heard.”     — Susan J. Tweit, Colorado Book Award Winner. Walking Nature Home, Season’s in the Desert, Barren, Wild, and Worthless

“This heroine’s quest for meaning in the shadow of an abusive marriage is every bit as lonely and piercing as a meadowlark’s song heard over miles of empty prairie.”     — Jamie Lisa ForbesUnbroken, 2011 WILLA winner for Outstanding Literary Fiction.

With unprecedented lyric beauty, Dawn Wink brings the myriad chambers of Grace’s inquisitive mind and indelible spirit alive to the point where no reader will ever forget her story.     — Laurie Wagner Buyer, author of the award-winning memoirs When I Came West and Spring’s Edge: A  Ranch Wife’s Chronicles 

Meadowlark will be released by Pronghorn Press the end of July, 2013.