It’s the First Monday of the Month and that marks one of the two days I will be blogging each month on the PRP blog site. In trying to decide what to write about I considered a couple of areas, and those include the following:
First of all, I am the wife of a fourth generation cattle rancher – and former bull rider (married 42+ years). We raise Angus-cross cattle in the far northern California mountains near the Oregon border, otherwise known as “the State of Jefferson,” and we live on the original farmstead. Three generations now work the ranch and we are immersed in history…because my life revolves around cows, horses, and cowboys, it was suggested that I can answer questions related to our life and lifestyle.
I’m also a writer who loves to pursue various genres; though I love fiction (particularly historical fiction), I have established myself in nonfiction and will be sharing how that avenue has provided substantial opportunities for me in the writing and speaking world, including co-authoring four books on the “State of Jefferson” (but more on that in a new blog!), three with Arcadia Publishing, one with Old American Publishing. I have also co-authored a fourth book with Arcadia on the history of Western Siskiyou County, California.
I’ve also written two screenplays (one coauthored with my sisters), both of which have placed in a number of screenplay contests…..Of course, I am still waiting for that “big sale” but have learned a lot about the formatting and the keys to what makes a screenplay marketable in the process of studying, writing, submitting, and rewriting.
Finally, I’m a retired history and English teacher, with a degree in Anthropology, so history, culture, and “people groups” are of intense interest to me. I hope to share some intriguing historical sidebars in a few blogs as we move through the calendar year. My YA novel, another historical, is the first novel written about Black Bart, the Poet Bandit -- California's most successful stage bandit.
Obviously my writing is all over the map! From short story to screenplays to nonfiction and to novels, I find writing to be such a compulsion and addiction, that I’m forever finding topics and ideas and characters from all walks of life. I believe I was blessed to have parents who patiently encouraged my writing as a young girl; indeed, my first “serious” attempt at writing for an audience was in the fourth grade...
My twin sister and I wrote a play (“The Princess Who Could Not Spin”), and our mother invited our teachers to preview our production. As a result, we were able to perform and direct it for our entire elementary school! Looking back I recognize what remarkable teachers we had to allow two nine-year olds to put together an entire performance and then celebrate it on a school-wide basis. There was even a party held in every classroom following our “successful” production.
And I kept writing from that point forward. My writing for many years, however, remained personal. Not until I was an English teacher and received a fellowship that required me to write on a more public level did my writing take on new priority. Again, I was blessed to actually sell the first piece of article writing I submitted for publication. From that day to this, I’ve been “hooked.”
I hope my future blogs will provide either inspiration or information that will encourage others! I look forward to using this opportunity to share what I’ve learned over the last 20 years.
ACROSS THE SWEET GRASS HILLS won a WILLA Literary Award from Women Writing the West. It’s a story that took several years to write, and I’m proud to announce that PRP also found it worthy of publication.
Here are a couple reviews about ACROSS THE SWEET GRASS HILLS:
From Jane Kirkpatrick, multi-award-winning author of ALL TOGETHER IN ONE PLACE, NO EYE CAN SEE, and WHAT ONCE WE LOVED:
"With three-dimensional characters and passion for her story, Gail L. Jenner authentically recreates the raw and rugged world of Montana in the late 1800s."
From Vella Munn, author of BLACKFEET SEASON, Tor/Forge:
"Gail Jenner’s ACROSS THE SWEET GRASS HILLS is a love story, and yet to say that touches only the surface of what takes place within the pages of this remarkable book. Yes, there is a compelling relationship between the young pioneer woman Liza Ralston and the Blackfoot warrior called Red Eagle, but Ms. Jenner goes much deeper. Deftly detailing her complex characters, Ms. Jenner pulls the reader into a world controlled by the elements and decisions made by governmental and military leaders who saw the Blackfeet as the enemy. The words she has written sing, her research is extraordinary, and the plot mesmerizes. I feel the wiser for having read ACROSS THE SWEET GRASS HILLS, as if I have now walked on Blackfeet land, and, along with Liza Ralston, experienced something precious."
For more about me, visit my PRP author page or www.gailjenner.com. For more about my life and relationship to ranching, check out my blog, www.wheresthebeeffromsouptonuts.blogspot.com ... And I look forward to meeting again in two weeks....so look for more blogs on the first and third Mondays of each month. And thank you, Cheryl and Livia and PRP for this opportunity...it's going to be a great new year.
Please leave a comment to be entered in my drawing for a digital copy of ACROSS THE SWEET GRASS HILLS! Drawing will be held tonight after 7:00 p.m. to give everyone a chance to enter.