Dear Friends of Sylvan Dale

First came the massive torrent that ripped through our beloved Sylvan Dale Ranch during the pre-dawn hours of Friday, September 13. Linda and I, and Susan and her Dave, couldn’t believe our eyes. How could another "500-year storm" happen only 37 years after the one that menaced our parents, Maurice and Mayme Jessup? This time, unbelievably, the destruction was even greater than the famous flood of 1976.

View the full letter, photos, and video at the Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch blog.

Washed Away - Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch

Washed Away

Want to help? Consider a donation to the Sylvan Dale Ranch Recovery Fund

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Get Your Autographed Copy of Mariano’s Crossing

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To receive an autographed copy of Mariano’s Crossing, you may buy a copy using a button below. The first button is for shipped orders. If you have the opportunity to visit Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch, please select the second button and pick up your copy from the ranch gift shop; stop by and say hello!

Mariano’s Crossing is also available from most book stores (please support your local independent book store!), in addition to Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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Tour de Pants – Mariano’s Crossing

It’s Historic Preservation Month in our fair community, and this year’s focus is on Mariano Medina, the major character in my historical novel, Mariano’s Crossing.  I’ll be reading a passage from my book at the event, which takes place in P…eter’s Park across from the Loveland Museum, around 10 am on Saturday May 3.  There will be a viewing of Mariano’s 150-year-old leather breeches; hence, the title “Tour de Pants.”  Should be fun!  See http://www.cityofloveland.org/index.aspx?page=2129
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A Sunny, Literary Break

Key West SunriseWe don’t mean to rub it in, but Linda and I managed to escape the cold north and our flood recovery woes for a few days at the Key West Literary Seminar.  I was invited to join eleven other writers in a workshop/critique group led by Paula Alden, with the purpose of “taking your writing to the next level.”

The workshop was very helpful as I work to put the finishing touches on a prequel to my historical novel, Mariano’s Crossing.  The new book’s working title is Mariano’s Choice.  Mariano Medina falls for Takansy when they first meet at Fort Bridger in 1842, then must choose between abandoning her or betraying his friend, and her husband, Louis Papin.

Paula Alden is the author of The Answer To Your Question, a literary thriller.  Linda and I are half way through it, and are totally in its grip.  A devoted mother is awakened by police looking for her college-age son, who they claim is a serial killer.  The harrowing hunt unfolds in alternating chapters, first through the eyes of the mother, then from the point of view of a poor, uneducated young woman seeking the mother’s help to resolve her own troubles.  Each point of view is authentically rendered, each with a distinct, and very believable, voice.  We find ourselves caring about these people, even the son, and can’t wait to keep reading.

David J

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Author Readings at Bas Bleu

I’ll be participating in an evening of readings by local writers on November 5th at 7:00pm at Bas Bleu Theater. There will be poetry, excerpts from novels and essays. Written and read by members of Northern Colorado Writers: Dean Miller, Nan Reed, Wanda Tierney, Nic Widhalm, David Jessup, Rich Keller and Stephen Benjamin. Doors open at 6:30pm and admission is $5.  C’mon down!
Details here

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Conversations With Authors Event

When I started twelve years ago to write my historical novel, Mariano’s Crossing, I never thought I would be sharing a speakers platform with two of my favorite authors, Laura Pritchett and Patty Limerick.  Now, I am pleased to say, that moment has come.

On Saturday, October 5, starting at 10:00 AM, the three of us will be speaking at a “Conversations with Authors” event at the Embassy Suites Hotel near the Budweiser Events Center Near Crossroads Blvd and I-25.  Sponsored by the American Association of University Women, the event raises funds for post-graduate scholarships for women.  The cost is $50.

For reservations, including lunch, contact Martha Diccico by e-mail  or call 970-461-5794.  The RSVP deadline is Monday, September 30, but if you get this too late, try anyway!

I first learned about Laura Pritchett when I got hooked on her book, Hell’s Bottom, Colorado.  It’s a collection of inter-connected short stories which, taken together, create a compelling account of three generations of a ranching family in a town suspiciously like Bellvue, Colorado, where Laura lives.  Word is out she has a sequel in the works, and I’m elbowing everyone else aside to be first in line to buy it.

Patty Limerick runs the Center for the American West at CU, and in her previous books has transformed the way we view the history of the American West.  Her latest book, A Ditch in Time, tells the fascinating story of Denver Water, with some characters that appear stranger than fiction.  Each wonderfully readable chapter begins with–you guessed it–a limerick.

Hope you can join us.  For me, it will be a nice break from Sylvan Dale flood recovery!

Thanks,

David J

PS.  Click here to read an article about this event in the Loveland Reporter Herald.

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My Book Signing Event in Crested Butte, August 1, 2013

If you ever get a chance, go to  Crested Butte, Colorado.  Boosters call their town the Wildflower Capital of the World, with good reason.  Our visit, on August 1, was two weeks later than the peak blooming season, but the valley was still spangled with yellow coneflowers, blue asters, red firecracker flowers and scores more.  The Slate River meanders through the flat valley floor,  meeting itself coming and going like a gray snake coiling for sheer pleasure through the green meadows.

My reason for visiting was to give a presentation and book signing at the town’s Old Rock Library.  Book club members had read Mariano’s Crossing and wanted to meet the author.  I was only too happy to oblige.  “Readers in the Rockies,” they call their author series.  Not only are they enthusiastic, gracious hosts, they happily promoted my book to the local “Townie” book store, which bought several copies.  Icing on the cake.

Like many mountain resort towns, Crested Butte’s shops, restaurants, and art galleries draw crowds of tourists.  But celebrity wealth is less on display than in Aspen or Telluride.  It feels more accessible somehow.  The Old Rock Library’s historic, two-story stone walls embrace a thoroughly modern, well-lighted interior, the kind of classy, comfortable place that makes you want to curl up with a good book when those summer rains fall.

David J

Photos:  Old Rock Library

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“Book Presentation at “Readers in the Rockies”

One cool thing about being a finalist for the Colorado Book Award is getting invited to speak at book events in interesting places.  Crested Butte, Colorado, for example.  I’m doing a presentation and book signing there on August 1st, 2013, at the “Readers in the Rockies” event.  Never been there, but everyone tells me it’s a beautiful mountain town above the Gunnison River valley.  Linda and I will be driving there with our Australian shepherd, Promise, for a two-day summer get-away.

For details, click here.

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Mariano’s Crossing Tour

Mariano's CrossingIn response to the many readers who asked to visit some of the sites described in my historical novel, we took the first Mariano’s Crossing Tour on Saturday, June 15, 2013, at Sylvan Dale Ranch.

Twenty-eight readers joined  the tour.  More wanted to come, so I’ll be scheduling another tour sometime in September.  Stay tuned!

The event began with breakfast in the old ranch building that still houses, behind the current walls, the remains of the original Alexander homestead dugout in the riverbank.  The tour ended with a bag lunch on Red Ridge, the novel’s imagined location of John Alexander’s hideout and Lena’s secret grave.  In between, we visited the Medina cemetery and the site of Mariano’s Crossing on the Big Thompson River.

Book tour group pic - Red Ridge

David Jessup


SCHEDULE:

8:00 AM.  Breakfast in historic Sylvan Dale Dining Room.

8:45 AM.  Walking tour of William Alexander Homestead, including the location of the original riverbank dugout inside the ranch kitchen, the original bridge supports, old barn, main ranch grounds, Indian tipi rings, and view of Mt. Alexander.

9:30 AM.  Historic photo slide presentation at Wagon Wheel Bunkhouse.

10:00 AM.  Depart for driving tour, car caravan to the Old Canyon, Boothroyd Graveyard, Weldon School ruins, Dry Creek, Marianna Butte, Medina Cemetery, and Mariano’s Crossing near Namaqua Park.

11:30 AM.  Red Ridge (hikers and 4-wheelers only).

12:00 Lunch on Red Ridge at the “Hideout” overlooking the river valley below, or at Namaqua Park.

1:00 PM  Tour ends.

COST: $55.00, paid in advance, plus tax (total $55.81).
Includes full breakfast, sack lunch, meeting facility and tour.
($25 of this amount will be donated to the Loveland Historical Society’s Medina Cemetery Project.) 

RESERVATIONS:  Call the Sylvan Dale Ranch Front Desk, 970-667-3915, with your credit card number, or send a check to Sylvan Dale Ranch, 2939 N. County Rd. 31D, Loveland, CO 80537.  Questions?  E-mail davidj@sylvandale.com

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Book Club Event

Organized by Lois Pierson for book club members.  David M. Jessup will present slides of the characters in his historical novel, Mariano’s Crossing, followed by a reading and book signing.

Time:  Tuesday, May 21, 7-9 PM.
Place:  meeting room #2 at the Loveland Community Building (545 N. Cleveland Avenue, downtown Loveland)

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