October 10, 2015

20 Native American Authors You Need to Read

James Welch (via)
The Open Education Database put up this great post in 2012 about Native writers you need to be reading, most of whom are from the West. I don’t know about you, but I love these kinds of posts. Make sure to click over to their post to read details about each of the authors.
November is Native American Heritage Month, a celebration meant to give recognition to the significant contribution the native peoples have made to the history, culture, and growth of the United States. One way to get into the spirit of things is by reading works by some of the greatest Native American authors from the past century. …
  • Sherman Alexie
  • Leslie Marmon Silko
  • Janet Campbell Hale
  • Paula Gunn Allen
  • Vine Deloria Jr.
  • N. Scott Momaday
  • Duane Niatum
  • Gerald Vizenor
  • Louise Erdrich
  • James Welch
  • Barney Bush
  • Joy Harjo
  • Simon J. Ortiz
  • nila northSun
  • Charles Eastman
  • John Joseph Mathews
  • Diane Glancy
  • Winona LaDuke
  • Wendy Rose
  • David Treuer
Click over to the Open Education Database to read the whole post.

A Bold Reboot

One cannot be pessimistic about the West, right?

I find myself increasingly struck by the optimism of the West.

By that I mean that there are all these great writers doing all this great work. Claire Vaye Watkins and Alan Heathcock and Ben Percy and Jen Percy and so many more.

Not only that but there is a vital literary culture that incorporates many inheritances.  We might have to drive or fly a bit to get there, but it’s all brainstorming time, right? Or listening to a book on tape.

So I just haven’t been able to let Native Home of Hope go.

Another thing happened.  I became a Wikipedian and had a set-to with gatekeepers about the legitimacy of the literary West.  Apparently we aren’t a legitimate group ~ and I suspect they don’t believe we’re legit in other ways. Go here to read more about it as it relates to gender, though region is mentioned toward the end, and go here to see the Wiki Talk about my entry on Contemporary Writers of the American West.

See, the problem is that there is no place to go online to get a list of all the great writers of the West who are doing great work now.  If you search for western writers or writers of the West, almost all entries are for the genre of Westerns. Westerns are great, but they by no means encompass what we’re trying to accomplish, the great questions we’re exploring. And they leave a lot of people out.

So I had created a list for Wikipedia that they rejected, and I wanted some place to put it. Why not Native Home of Hope? It’s perfect.  And along with that, I’ll reboot the site, making it less time-intensive for editors by creating evergreen content and not posting as often. 

My vision for Native Home of Hope has always been to be a gathering place and clearinghouse for writers of the America West. Please join me. If you have something you’d like to have posted here, send it our way. If you have a new book out or a book tour coming up, let’s post about it here. We're taking fiction and poetry too.

This is your site. Submit! Email us at NativeHomeOfHope at gmail dot com.

November 2, 2012

We Apologize ...

We just wanted to put up a note here.

We very much still believe in this blog, and if we were able to we would continue it.  We all believe strongly in the purpose of the Native Home of Hope.

Unfortunately, however, it was just too much and we too few.

Rest assured, however, if we can find a way in the future to pull it off, we'll be back!

~ The Editors

September 19, 2012

A Conversation with David and Jean Abrams

Jean and David Abrams on their wedding day (courtesy David Abrams)

Three weeks ago I invited myself over to David and Jean Abrams’s house for dinner and an interview. David’s first novel Fobbit was getting ready to enter the marketplace, and I thought I would write a friendly piece for a new blog. I rarely read fiction, and I am not interested in war. What I was really after was an insider’s view of their marriage, during which the writing of Fobbit took place.

David is gracious, so of course he accommodated me. He was happy that I wanted Jean there as well.

I arrived promptly at 6 p.m. to find David bustling about the kitchen in his work clothes, making dinner, cell phone wedged between shoulder and ear. Jean poured us a glass of cool white wine.

I sporadically follow David’s blog posts, and I enjoy his sense of humor. It’s edgy, and often not proper. Not bound by that moral straightjacket that causes one to worry what people might be thinking.

Then there’s the non-fiction. The stories of his father, his wife, the birth of their children. This writing wrapped around the arteries of my heart, pulled tight, and sent me to my knees in literal pain.

I am the person in between an acquaintance and a friend. I have known David and Jean socially for a few years. We have a shared interest in the preservation of Butte, Montana, where we live. But you come to feel you know someone much better than you do by being connected through social media. And both David and Jean have blogs that will pull you in and make you feel right at home.

Butte, Monana (via)

And right at home I was. I had an inkling of guilt at this point, knowing full well David had gotten up at his usual 3:30 a.m. to write, review, and blog. He then put in a bit more than his usual 8-hour day, with apologies to me for getting home late.

He’d been fielding calls all day and spent 3 hours in interviews for his book. A long-lost relative had called to congratulate him, and he’d been interviewed by NPR’s Morning Edition. And other national outlets that I can’t remember because I was getting more intimidated by the moment.

I suggested a “conversation” rather than an “interview.” And after David changed out of his work clothes at the insistence of both of us, we went out on the deck to eat and chat.

David talked at length about the excitement of this moment, about the buzz preceding the actual release of his book a week away. It was, he said, a moment in time to cherish for it would never happen again. There is only one first book.

Jean was enjoying the moment as well. Having been by David’s side his entire thirty-year writing life, Jean had this to say:

“I just wondered when everyone else would realize what a great writer he is.” (Large swig of wine)

I believe that time has come.

“I just wondered when everyone else would realize what a great writer he is.” ~ Jean Abrams
Anyone that writes knows it is a one-person show. It’s been called “lonely,” but I don’t agree. No one else can take credit for those hours spent alone in your mind, or in David’s case, the basement of his beautiful historic bungalow. But the support that the other person contributes to that endeavor, that process, is invaluable. A simple “I believe in you” that allows you to follow your dream despite the day to day struggles of life.
I am always intrigued by relationships such as David and Jean’s where I witness this kind of support first hand. It is – don’t gag – a fairy tale I still believe in and strive for at the age of fifty.
David and Jean did talk a lot about their life together, and this is the nutshell version.
They married young, not long after meeting. They knew they were meant to be together. David pursued an English degree, Jean had their children. They were still very young. They had agreed that Jean would raise the children and David would provide. He kept his word though he was unable to provide enough through a writing career. So he went into the Army. There were many moves and time spent apart, but Jean raised the children and David worked. All the while he continued to write. Eventually he was deployed, and you can read all about that in his book Fobbit. The children were all raised successfully, and after twenty years in the Army, David retired. David and Jean moved to Butte, Montana, where they fell into the “More house for less money” trap and bought a gorgeous Craftsman home. David took on another full-time job and kept writing. Jean started an amazing business called Backyard Bungalow. They spend every evening together, enjoying fine food and drink. They do not like to spend the night away from each other.
That’s a condensed version of their life together. It might read kind of boring because it is not fraught with drama. 
And now, after almost thirty years of marriage, raising a family, lots of writing, and lack of proper sleep – success has arrived.
It is easy when someone “succeeds” to have no idea of the tidal push and pull that has kept them grounded through the process. 
I’m talking about the reader now. You, the reader, will only begin to know David by reading his book, perhaps meeting him at a book signing. I’m just giving you a little heads-up on the layers that make up this man.
"David is humble, gracious, and astounded at this good fortune. And Jean – well, Jean is just ready."
Remember that he is a methodical writer. Remember he has been writing for thirty years. Remember that his success has been excruciatingly long in arriving. Remember there is no guarantee. Remember his family always came first.
David is humble, gracious, and astounded at this good fortune. And Jean – well, Jean is just ready.
There has been a congratulatory letter from the Governor of Montana, reviews in various weekly magazines, online magazines, interviews on radio, and television. Last week, right here in Butte, Montana, the official launch of the Fobbit book tour took place. Both David and Jean were radiant. It’s real now, and the entire town is cheering.
If you are lucky to live in one of the towns or cities where David will be promoting his book, please go. And don’t just go to buy a book. Go to meet him.
Do not be fooled by the author photo on the back jacket. He is no tough guy. He has the face of a kindergartner on his first day of school and the same sense of wonder.
Maybe you can envision him in the Army in wartime. I still can’t. 
I’m still a little bit embarrassed that I was brazen enough to invite myself into their home during this busy time when everyone wants a piece of David Abrams.
The piece I got was the one I suspected I’d get: confirmation of a genuinely kind person, a loving husband and father, a hard worker and a kick-ass talented writer.
Oh – and by the way: He’s a great cook!

 Nicole von Gaza lives in Butte, Montana, where she runs a tour company, a stained glass studio, and a gift shop and tries to find time to write. She has lived all over the West and tries hard not to work too long at one job. She has been published, but it's been a while and all she knows is that it was in Alaska. Her website is www.uptownbutteworks.com and her blog is buttehub-bub.blogspot.com and contains no posts as yet.

September 17, 2012

Happenings, Week of September 17

This week is full of book-related events, not least of all the Library of Congress National Book Festival.  As always, please please let us know of your book events!

Week of September 17


Courtney Miller Santo, The Roots of the Olive Tree, 7:30 p.m., Powell’s Books on Hawthorne, Portland, OR




Betty Jones, A Child’s Seasonal Treasury, 7:30 p.m., Capitola Book Cafe, Capitola, CA

Shann Ray, American Masculine, Natalie Diaz, When My Brother Was Aztec, and Bill Wetzel, contributor The Acorn Gathering,7:30 p.m., Casa Libre en la Solana, Tucson, AZ

Jess Walter, Beautiful Ruins, 4:30 p.m., Purdue University, Rawls Hall, Room 2058, West Lafayette, IN

Lidia Yuknavitch, Dora: A Head Case, 7:00 p.m., Elliott Bay, Seattle, WA


Brush Creek Presents, co-sponsored by Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts, the University of Wyoming Art Department, and the University of Wyoming MFA, 5 p.m., Visual Arts Building, Laramie, WY

Cheryl Strayed, or Dear Sugar, Wild and Tiny Beautiful Things, Do Lectures, Campovida, Hopland, CA

Lysley Tenorio, Monstress, 9:15 p.m., Cork International Short Story Festival, Cork, Ireland

Jess Walter, Beautiful Ruins, Wabash College, Crawfordsville, IN

Yuvi Zalkow, A Brilliant Novel in the Works, 7 p.m., Annie Bloom’s, Portland, OR


David Abrams, Fobbit, 7:30 p.m., Tattered Cover Colfax, Denver, CO

Alyson Hagy, Boleto, 7 p.m., Old Firehouse Books, Fort Collins, CO

La Jolla Literary Festival, a 17-speaker event that includes Mitch Albom, Ridley Pearson, and James Bradley, Sherwood Auditorium, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla, CA

Cheryl Strayed, or Dear Sugar, Wild and Tiny Beautiful Things, Do Lectures, Campovida, Hopland, CA


CAConrad, A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon, 5 p.m., Night Heron Books, Laramie, WY

La Jolla Literary Festival, a 17-speaker event that includes Mitch Albom, Ridley Pearson, and James Bradley, Sherwood Auditorium, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla, CA

Library of Congress National Book Festival, National Mall, Washington, DC

Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried, Writers in the Woods, Sierra Nevada College, Lake Tahoe, NV

Cheryl Strayed, or Dear Sugar, Wild and Tiny Beautiful Things, Do Lectures, Campovida, Hopland, CA

Lance Weller, Wilderness, 10 a.m., Northwest Bookfest, Kirkland, WA


La Jolla Literary Festival, a 17-speaker event that includes Mitch Albom, Ridley Pearson, and James Bradley, Sherwood Auditorium, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla, CA

Three Ways to Look at a Landscape,” a benefit for youth literacy and leadership program Adventure Risk Challenge sponsored by Bona Fide Books, with Janet Smith, Sue Kloss, and Michelle Murdock, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sagehen Field Creek Station, near Truckee, NV

Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis, Under Wildwood, Baghdad Theater, Portland, OR (tickets Etix.com)

Library of Congress National Book Festival, National Mall, Washington, DC

Gregory Spatz, Inukshuk, with Eric Sasson, Margins of Tolerance, 7 p.m., KGB Bar Sunday Night Fiction, New York, NY

Cheryl Strayed, or Dear Sugar, Wild and Tiny Beautiful Things, Do Lectures, Campovida, Hopland, CA

September 14, 2012

We'll Be Back ...

Sorry we were slackers this week!  We'll be back next week - never fear.

September 11, 2012

Happenings, Week of September 10

This week of happenin' Happenings!  Be there or be square.  And as always, let us know what's happening in your world.

Week of September 10






Michelle Alexander with Liliana Segura, 7 p.m., Lannan Foundation, Lensic Performing Arts Center, Santa Fe, NM


David Abrams, Fobbit, 7 p.m., Barnes & Noble, Billings, MT

Cheryl Strayed, or Dear Sugar, Wild and Tiny Beautiful Things, Toronto, Canada

Lance Weller, Wilderness, 7 p.m., Tacoma Public Library, Tacoma, WA

Lidia Yuknavitch, Dora: A Head Case, with Chelsea Cain, Kill You Twice, 7:00 p.m., Broadway Books, Portland, OR


Casper College/ARTCORE Equality State Book Festival and Literary Conference, featuring Pat Frolander, Zak Pullen, Cat Urbigkit, Kendra Spanjer, Karla Oceanak, Alyson Hagy, David Romtvedt, Linda Hasselstrom, Rebecca O’Connor, Renee d’Aoust, Brian Turner, Matt Daly, Claudia Mauro, W. Dale Nelson, and Luis Carlos Montalvan, Casper College, Casper, WY

Celebration of Writers at Valhalla, 7 p.m., from Tahoe Writers Works, with Stefanie Freele, Steve Robinson, Tim Hauserman, and Suzanne Roberts, Valhalla Grand Hall at the Tallac Historic Site, South Lake Tahoe, CA (tickets $10)

Ivan Doig, The Bartender’s Tale, 7:30 p.m., Powell’s City of Books, Portland, OR

Alyson Hagy, Boleto, Equality State Book Festival, Casper, WY

Lance Weller, Wilderness, 7 p.m., Elliott Bay, Seattle, WA


~ ~ ~

Book Launch

A Growing Season, by Sue Boggio and Mare Pearl

Hailed by Booklist as "Two talented authors who vividly bring to life the beauty of New Mexico and its people", Sue Boggio and Mare Pearl return to Esperanza, New Mexico, where a devastating drought threatens the farming community's survival. Vultures circle in the form of developers who see failing farms as ripe pickings for a bedroom community for Albuquerque. Court battles pit the endangered silvery minnow against the farmers as the once mighty Rio Grande shrinks from its banks even as demand for its precious water increases.

Abby Silva and her adopted son Santiago must heal from the violence of the past to claim their futures. CeCe and Miguel Vigil care for CeCe's octogenarian Jewish parents, whose long-distance disapproval of their marriage is now played out under their own roof, threatening their once solid union. Their daughter Rachel finally confronts the Jewish half of her ethnicity through her grandparents, Holocaust survivor Zeyde Mort, and irrepressible Brooklyn Bubbe Rose.

In A Growing Season, Esperanza is an American community at the crossroads. A place where people are struggling to preserve a traditional way of life and bring it into the future despite overwhelming odds. A place where cultures must cross divides if all are to thrive. Where love is risked, secrets are revealed, past wounds healed, compromises become victories and somehow, standing together despite their differences, good, brave people prevail.

 1963. President Kennedy was assasinated. All the adults were distracted and sad. The TV sets in Iowa began to show a war brewing in Southeast Asia. Sue's parents sold the house she had come to consciousness in, a lovely little green cottage with a grove of pine trees perfect for forts and secret gardens. They moved a mile west into a new subdivision where all the trees were so puny they had ropes attached to stakes to hold them up in the wind.
It was lonely in the new neighborhood. Sue was ten and her little sister was only six and therefore boring. She walked two blocks to the new grade school she would be attending. Along the way, any kids she saw stared at her and she stared right back. They were all younger and therefore boring. She thought about the Beatles. They were the only interesting thing in her life. When she had seen them on Ed Sullivan she felt something she had never felt before. It was joy and sadness mixed together and it became hard to breathe. Afterward, on the commercial break, she found she had squeezed her fists so tightly her fingernails had made little cuts in her palms.

By the school there was a house with a girl in the yard who looked about her age. She had wavy long dark hair and she held the collar of a mean looking dog. They looked at each other and knew each other at first sight.

Mare was short and kind of round and Sue was tall and skinny. Mare was Lennon and Sue was McCartney. Jewish and WASP. Brash and funny, reserved and serious. Mare taught Sue how to giggle and Sue taught Mare how to think deep thoughts. They played Beatle music non-stop and spent every minute they could together. They started their sentences with "What if" and then let their imaginations run wild with scenarios in which they would meet John Lennon and Paul McCartney and impress them with their sarcastic wit and maturity. These 'what ifs" became stories, with dialogue, plots with twists and surprise endings. They harmonized to Beatle songs and Mare learned guitar.

To read the rest of their entertaining biographies, go to their website.

Buy A Growing Season at IndieBound or at Amazon

~ ~ ~

Sue Boggio and Mare Pearl, A Growing Season, 3 p.m., Bookworks, Albuquerque, NM.

Casper College/ARTCORE Equality State Book Festival and Literary Conference, Casper College, Casper, WY

Alyson Hagy, Boleto, Equality State Book Festival, Casper, WY

Ruben Martinez, Desert America: Boom and Bust in the New Old West, 5 p.m., Skylight Books, Los Angeles, CA

Claire Vaye Watkins, Battleborn, 7 p.m., Alumni Bookfair & Festival, OSU Bookstore / Barnes and Noble, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio


Junot Diaz, This Is How You Lose Her, 7 p.m., Baghdad Theater, Portland, OR