janet fisher~writer

Following strong women through history

Heidi Thomas Book Tour

Dare Cover Final 1.5x2

 I’m delighted to introduce my friend Heidi M. Thomas, whose novel Dare to Dream has just been released by Globe Pequot Press/TwoDot, part of a trilogy about her grandmother who dreamed of being a rodeo cowgirl and went after that dream.

I met Heidi at a writers conference in Seattle, and now we share a publisher and an editor. This post is part of Heidi’s virtual book tour, so please come along and see what she has to say. Then let’s have a conversation with our comments.   ~Janet

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by Heidi M. Thomas

Heidi small Author PhotoLittle did I know on the warm Montana summer afternoons I rode horseback with my grandmother when I was about 10, that I would someday be writing books about her!

Working outdoors and riding horses was Grandma’s life. She loved it more than anything, and I think she wanted to instill that love in me as well. I did enjoy it and I helped my dad round up our cattle for branding and shipping, but it was part of the “chores” of ranch life for me. It wasn’t my life’s dream.

After my grandmother died when I was 12, I was looking through photo albums with my dad, and he said, “Your grandma rode steers in rodeos, and she beat Marie Gibson (a world champion bronc rider from Montana).”

I thought that was about the coolest thing a girl could have as a memory, and I carried it around in the back of my mind for many years—until I was an adult and had years of journalistic writing under my belt. I wanted to tell my grandmother’s story, but I decided to write it as a novel, so I could explore the feelings she must have had during a time of opposition to women riding roughstock with men, of having to put her rodeo dream aside to raise a family, of moving more than 20 times during the 1930s when drought drove them from one abandoned homestead to another and finally 400 miles over steep mountain passes with their horse herd to find grass.

CowgirlDreams Front Cover 1x1.5That first novel, Cowgirl Dreams was set in the 1920s, the sequel Follow the Dream in the 1930s, and Dare to Dream has completed the trilogy, set during the war years of the 1940s. In this new book, our heroine Nettie Moser completes her rodeo dream by mentoring two young neighbor girls in trick riding, since the national cowboy association the RAA no longer allowed women to compete in roughstock. This story is more fiction than the others, since to my knowledge my grandmother did not get into mentoring (unless you count me).

So, from that tiny tidbit of family history has come a novel trilogy (with two or three more books planned to round out the family saga) and a non-fiction book about the old-time cowgirls of Montana, Cowgirl Up!, to be released September 2 by Globe Pequot Press/TwoDot.

Little did I know…

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You can buy an autographed copy from Heidi’s website. Or buy a copy from the publisher. Or the usual on-line sites.

cowgirl-up-copyGood news, blog readers! Everyone who comments on this post today has a chance to win a prize. If you join the conversation you may be the winner! Please leave a comment with your (regular) T-shirt size to be placed in a drawing for a Cowgirl Up! shirt (design at right).

Tomorrow, May 7, Heidi’s blog tour host will be Brenda Whiteside. You’ll find Brenda’s blog at http://brendawhiteside.blogspot.com. Heidi and Brenda will be happy to see you there.

Thank you for visiting. ~Janet

COMMENT

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40 Comments

  1. Good morning! Welcome to Heidi’s blog tour. Heidi will check in throughout the day. She’ll appreciate your comments and will be glad to answer questions. I’ll be here as well a good part of the day. Thanks for visiting.

  2. I read Dare to Dream in manuscript, it’s a good book! We’re lucky that Heidi followed her own dream and chose to write about such a unique and fascinating subject.

    • Thank you for hosting me today, Janet. I’m as excited for your own new release as for mine!

      • I’m glad to host you, Heidi, and I appreciate your enthusiasm for my upcoming release as well.

    • Thank you so much, Irene–I appreciate your kind words and your support!

    • Our ancestors often have amazing stories if we can ferret them out. It’s good to see them find the light. Kudos to Heidi for doing that!

  3. Looking forward to reading about Heidi’s grandma. How lucky we are that Heidi had such an interesting relative AND the ability to write story so we could know her too.

    • Yes. When the story comes together with a family storyteller, that’s a good combination.

  4. Folks, if you’re visiting the blog today and are hesitant to comment, remember you’ll be in a drawing for the prize if you do comment–even if you just say hi. So, please say hi and let us know you’re here! 🙂

    • Yes, and please leave your email address and your T-shirt size! Thanks!

  5. Heidi, so glad you were able to find a new publisher and release Dare to Dream. I can’t wait to get my copy and keep up with Nette. Hope you have a great week with your release events. Carmen

    • Thank you, Carmen!

  6. I had to laugh thinking of my own grandma on a horse. She was fairly heavy. But she did take me to feed the neighbor’s chickens and we always spent time in her garden. She was always so loving that I was shocked and overly distressed when she chastised me severely for picking and eating unripe grapes. With families dispelled over the country (and world!), children miss alot by not being with loving grandparents. (medium t-shirt)

    • Carolyn, your comment reminds me of my grandmother on my mother’s side, who was also a bit heavy. When I knew her she lived in the city, so it was quite a surprise to my sister and me when she got on our old horse. Later she told us stories of when she was a young woman and worked as a legal secretary. She rode a horse to work, and one time the horse spooked and she fell off, catching her heel in the stirrup. Somehow she got the horse stopped, but that story always reminded me to keep my foot back in the stirrup.

      • So true about having loving grandparents to nurture and shape you! Little did I know how my cowgirl grandma would affect the way I’ve turned out!

  7. Judy Emmett

    Hi Janet and Heidi,
    This looks like a “remember your grandmother” day. My mother always said my grandmother was “five feet tall and five feet around.” I don’t remember her very well because she died when I was 6 but she was always sweet. She did sing three songs to me that I have never heard anyplace but in our family. Mother said Grandmother learned those songs while she was a kindergarten teacher before she married Grandfather.
    I have read Janet’s book and look forward to reading Heidi’s. Cowgirl Dream sounds really fun!
    t-shirt size medium

    • Hi Judy! Thanks for commenting. There was something very cuddly about those full-figured grandmas. So many wonderful memories. I hope more people will share.

      • Thank you, Judy. I hope you enjoy the stories I’ve woven around my family history! This grandmother was quite different from the plump, cuddly, gingerbread-baking grandmothers we usually think of!

  8. Yes, Heidi. I believe she was riding steers and things like that. I don’t think my grandmother was so plump and cuddly when she was riding to work either, but she was in later life. My dad’s mom was always slim–and a horsewoman. I have a little vignette of her in my book, telling how she met my grandfather when her horse spooked, jumped the fence, and he found her in the carriage on one side, the horse on the other side. He was in the house baking biscuits when he heard the commotion.

  9. I’ve read the first book in Heidi’s trilogy and look forward to reading the other two. Reading about the early female rodeo riders reminds me of a favorite quote by Patty Carey, rodeo rider, who said (in 1913), “I plan on growing old much later in life, or maybe not at all.” Heidi, I hope your trilogy is sold in the gift shop at the Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Ft. Worth. That would be a perfect venue. Best to you in all your writing projects. (Med.)

    • Thank you, Rae Ellen. I love the quote! And I would love it if the Hall of Fame would carry my books. Maybe when my non-fiction book comes out in Sept., they’ll consider all of them!

  10. Marylou Thomas

    One of the many things I like about Heidi’s books is that she sets the hook deep in the first few sentences, so deep that even if you wanted to stop reading you can’t! She’s that good.
    (lrg)

    • I’m glad I can hook my readers that way! Thank you for the nice compliment!

  11. Okay, Marylou, with comments like that you’re getting me hooked already.

  12. Heidi, I think you’ve had some winning comments here. I wonder who is going to win the prize.

  13. Great blog post, Heidi and Janet! It’s fun seeing all these tidbits about grandmothers and the associations with Heidi’s next book. My maternal grandmother died just before I turned 8, and my grandfather remarried a year after her death. It’s my German step-grandmother I became close to for most of my life, and I enjoyed her company, her cooking and teaching her English. There were no horses or rodeos involved here, but being close to a grandparent is a special bond no matter what! A large T-shirt will do me fine 🙂

    • I agree, Alice. It’s a special relationship. And when you get to be a grandmother, the bond with the grandkids is pretty cool the other way too.

    • I’m glad you had a good relationship with your step-grandmother, Alice. It truly is a special bond. Mine died when I was 12 and I felt such a profound loss, knowing that I would never see her or go riding with her again.

  14. Bunny Mode

    Heidi your books sound like a must read for me. So glad Janet made me aware of your books. Good luck to you both in your future books.

    • Thank you, Bunny. Glad you came by.

  15. Lindar

    I enjoy reading women’s history! Definitely want to read this! Thanks so bringing to our attention.

    • You’re in good company, Lindar. I think it’s wonderful that we’re seeing more about what the women were doing in history.

      • Thank you so much, Bunny and Lindar! I appreciate you stopping by. I hope you enjoy the stories I tell!

  16. Thank you, everyone who came by today to wish Heidi well on her virtual book tour and her launch of Dare to Dream. Remember Heidi will be with Brenda Whiteside tomorrow, http://brendawhiteside.blogspot.com, as she continues her tour. Have fun! Enjoy the reading! And somebody’s going to win that T-shirt. I look forward to hearing who it is. Have a good night and a great day tomorrow. 🙂

  17. Janet, thank you so much for hosting me today. This has been fun!! Great comments and conversation.

    • You’re very welcome, Heidi. It was fun!

  18. And the winner is…Judy Emmett!! Thanks to you all for stopping by. More prizes every day!

    • Congratulations, Judy!

  19. Cathy

    Did someone say that I could win a book with horses in it! Sounds awesome. My t -shirt size was much smaller when I had my own horses. Now it’s xl don’t tell anyone, lol.

  20. Hi Cathy. Good to hear from you. Check out Heidi’s host today at http://brendawhiteside.blogspot.com. That’s where she’s giving prizes today.

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