Search This Blog

Monday, January 6, 2014


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.

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 For more about my life and relationship to ranching, check out my blog, ... And I look forward to meeting again in two look for more blogs on the first and third Mondays of each month. And thank you, Cheryl and Livia and PRP for this'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.


  1. Gail, I have been a fan for a long time. That you also write across the board also gives me a connection. I love history, love fiction, etc. Like you I grew up in an area that was its own region (it's called Forgotonia) and I think those things give an advantage when it comes to early education and sense of place. Congratulations on your many accomplishments and I look forward to your sharing of the wealth of information you have. Doris

  2. Gail, you lead a very interesting life! I'm so glad you are going to be blogging twice a month because I have a feeling that I could read your posts from now on and learn something new each time. I can't say enough how much I enjoyed ACROSS THE SWEET GRASS HILLS.

    I bet your experience in elementary school with writing the play and putting it on for the entire school, etc. was something that made you want to become a teacher yourself. That was really something! Great post, and I'm looking forward to getting to know you even better. We are so glad to have you here at Prairie Rose Publications!


  3. hi Gail, a bit jealous at the ranch life you lead! Although...not an early riser myself so I think the good Lord knew what He was doing, keeping me in the suburbs. I taught English too and adore history so that's a cool common thing. Your book sounds amazing, and you're just gonna love being part of Prairie Rose Publishing.

  4. Gail, you are definitely going on my list of research consultants. :) What an interesting life you must lead. And living on--and continuing--the legacy left by your family's work is amazing. Looking forward to being a fellow author with you at PRP.

  5. Great to see Across the Sweet Grass Hills coming out in print again. Good luck with your new publisher and keep us updated on a release date.

  6. Gail--I'd loved to have seen your elementary school production. You must surely have been born a writer. The title of your novel is wonderful--it almost sings in itself. I, too, taught (biology) and began writing. I suppose many of us did. I wish you much luck with your book with PRP. Cheryl is a good friend and I admire her so much for tackling a new publishing company. You'll do well with her and Livia.

  7. Gail,
    Wonderful to get to know you. I look forward to your future posts. My sister, cousin and I liked to craft plays and perform them when we were young. But we confined the performances to the family. (We were often winging it, dialogue-wise.)
    All the best to you!

  8. Congrats on your book and new blog. I look forward to reading each post! Keep up the good work! Blessings, Barbara

    1. Thanks everyone for your great support! I look forward to blogging every two weeks -- hopefully the topics/discussions will lend themselves to responses! I am just about ready to draw the name for the free download! I'm going to give it 5 more minutes and then I'll post the winner of a copy of ACROSS THE SWEET GRASS HILLS! This book was a labor of love -- took me a number of years to complete the research and travel to MT to view locations firsthand. The story grew from the events and the characters are ones I fact, I have just begun the process of developing a sequel! Okay....I'll be back in 5!!! :-) Keep your fingers crossed!

    2. Okay!!! Kristy McCaffrey has WON THE FREE DOWNLOAD!! Thank you all.....Kristy, I'll contact you individually.....and CONGRATULATIONS :-) I hope you enjoy the story!!

  9. When it comes to writing what you know, you've got it covered. I have no idea what it must be like to raise cattle or run a ranch. It certainly beats the heck out of researching everything.
    I like that you have a diversity of genres in which you write.
    I look forward to becoming more acquainted with you and your work in the future. Congratulations on winning the WILLA Literary Award for Across the Sweet Grass Hills.
    I am so sorry for being so late commenting. I was gone for most of the day yesterday. I wish you continued success, Gail.

  10. Oh, I've won! How awesome!! Thanks, Gail.

    1. Congratulations, Kristy!!! Enjoy.....I'll look forward to hearing from you :-)

  11. Hi Sarah -- Never too late! Thank for posting....Yes, I do feel blessed to live where I do. It's a special lifestyle....I will be writing in my next blog about life on a cattle ranch (in 2 weeks)! As a former high school English teacher who taught on Willa Cather many times, I was THRILLED to receive the WILLA Award for my novel...thanks again. I can already tell I'm going to enjoy being a part of PRP!