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SONY DSCMarilyn Bay Wentz

Author of fiction and non-fiction that entertains, educates and inspires

 

Welcome to the prairie!

Whether you are a die-hard country resident, you grew up rural and long for simpler days or you live in the city and yearn for wide open spaces, I’m “your kind of people.”  Even if you’re a city dweller who loves life among the skyscrapers but is intrigued by history and rural life, we’ll get along just fine.

I grew up in northern Colorado on a farm a few miles from the land homesteaded by my great-great grandparents in the 1880s. The closest town was Galeton, and Dillard’s was the mom and pop grocery store where people bought supplies until they could “get into town and stock up.” Dillard’s had those heavy, wide-planked oak floors and a post office in the back. They still sold most of their wares on account, and families paid their bill once a month.

When it was time to attend junior high school, my Galeton classmates and I rode the bus to the next closest town, Eaton, itself a town of only one stoplight. I neither dreamed of escaping my tiny town and rural landscape, nor did I plan to stay on the farm. I did know I loved to write and tell stories that moved people. So, I got a degree in journalism, lived in two different foreign countries and was a successful public relations executive.

When my oldest daughter started elementary school, it hit me like a brick that I just had to get her out into a rural community. I also figured the neighbors might not take too kindly to our raising sheep in the back yard. We landed on a property south of Strasburg, Colorado, where I have raised sheep, cultivated a large garden and enjoyed a couple of horses for nearly two decades.

When I left the corporate world to put out my own writing, editing and marketing services shingle, my desire to write the all-American novel resurrected, and so, eventually, I dove in.

Prairie Grace was published by Koehler Books in December 2013. Prairie Grace is a historical fiction novel about the people, places and events leading up to the Sand Creek Massacre, which occurred Nov. 29, 1864. The conflict is told from the very different points-of-view of a settler woman and a Cheyenne brave. The storyline is tied very closely to the Colorado Territory timeline of 1862 to 1864. The story is fast-moving, not mushy at all, men.

In early 2014, my mother, Mildred Nelson Bay, and I pitched a non-fiction book idea to Cladach Publishing. All We Like Sheep, Lessons from the Sheepfold, pulls from our collective seven decades of sheep raising experience. It is a collection of sheep stories and the lessons our experiences have taught us about ourselves, others and God. Running the gamut from sad to touching to hilarious, All We Like Sheep, Lessons from the Sheepfold is presented in a devotional format. It is scheduled for release in the spring of 2015.

In addition, I am writing a sequel to Prairie Grace. Set in the San Luis Valley of Colorado, Prairie Truth is the story of Caroline, who seeks to escape the difficulties of her inter-racial heritage by pretending to be someone she is not in a land that is foreign to her.  Prairie Truth is fast-paced, deals with racial issues and is history intensive. For you horse enthusiasts, expect to read about a talented and daring female horse trainer in Prairie Truth. While we’re speaking of truth, the truth is I don’t yet have a publishing contract for, Prairie Truth. Koehler Books will buy it only if Prairie Grace sells very well.

That’s plenty about me. What about you? What do you love to read about? Why does the prairie call to you? Why do you think reading about simpler times is so uplifting? PLEASE get in touch with me by subscribing to my blog or sending me a message through the “Contact Me” tab on this website. I’d love to hear from you.

If we haven’t met, I hope we have the opportunity to do so somewhere along the trail.

 

Marilyn