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Author Anne Hillerman Visits Sylvan Dale

New York Times bestselling author Anne Hillerman spent two days at Sylvan Dale Ranch during her September 18-19 visit to Colorado as the “Loveland Loves to Read” author of the year.

From left: Peg Isakson, Loveland Loves to Read, David Jessup, Anne Hillerman, Diane Lapierre, Loveland Library Director

Hillerman spoke to a sold-out crowd at the Rialto Theater on Monday night, and to another sold-out lunch at the Ranch on Tuesday.  She is the daughter of Tony Hillerman, author of 18 mysteries set on the Navaho reservation in New Mexico.  Her first novel, Spider Woman’s Daughter, includes characters Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn that her father created, while moving a female Navaho police officer, Bernadette Manuelito, onto center stage.  The book was enthusiastically received by the Loveland Community.  It received the prestigious Spur Award from Western Writers of America in 2014.

Anne’s parting comment when leaving Sylvan Dale:

“You guys are such a generous, professional, thoughtful bunch. I didn’t know what to expect at the ranch, and even if I had, you would have exceeded my preconceptions tenfold.  It was especially nice to be in a place where we could relax and be taken care of.  I have recommended your outfit highly to my brother and sister-in-law and will continue to sing your praises far and wide.”

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My Nov. 17 Book Talk at Loveland Museum

Here’s the Press release that just went out on my upcoming presentation of Mariano’s Choice at the Loveland Museum at 5:30 PM on Thursday, Nov. 17.  If you’re in the neighborhood, drop in and say hi!  Also, the Loveland Library is having a local author’s day tomorrow, Nov. 12, from 1-4 PM.  You’ll see my smiling face there too.

Author David Jessup Blends Colorado History, Fiction in November 17 Talk.

Mariano's ChoiceAuthor David Jessup brings Colorado history to life in his latest novel about Mariano Medina, Loveland’s first settler.  His presentation at the Loveland Museum on November 17 features photos of the real characters who lived on the frontier during the lead up to America’s 1846 war with Mexico.

According to New York Times bestselling author Sandra Dallas, the book “adds flesh and blood to the bones of one of the West’s legendary mountain men.”

“Mariano’s Choice is one of those rare, wonderful books that sticks in the mind and heart long after you’ve read the last page,” according to Anne Hillerman, New York Times best-selling author.  “Masterfully paced, it offers an intriguing snapshot of the West through the eyes of characters largely ignored by mainstream fiction.”

Mariano Medina is most well-known for having saved a U.S. Army brigade that attempted to cross the Colorado mountains during the Mormon War in 1857. While history does make some account of Medina’s adult life, little is known about the childhood of a man known for his grit, tough nature and courage. That’s where Jessup’s story begins in Mariano’s Choice.

“I mused about his motivations and personality. I felt the urge to fill that information in,” Jessup said. “I thought, wouldn’t it be interesting if he wasn’t always this brave tough guy, but as a youth was cowardly and afraid,” Jessup said. “And how might that transformation have come about?”

In Jessup’s fictional version, young Mariano Medina witnesses a vicious attack on a girl he adores and flees in inexplicable terror.  Fifteen years later, as a grown man training horses along the Oregon Trail, he has a chance to redeem himself if he can overcome his cowardly urge to flee. His choice will lead Medina back to the land of his childhood, where he must confront his darkest fears and uncover the hidden source of his panic in the ghostly stare that haunts his dreams.

Jessup’s talk and book reading is scheduled for 5:30 PM on Thursday, November 17th, 2016, at the Loveland Museum, 503 North Lincoln Avenue.  There is no charge, and no registration is necessary.  Proceeds from book sales will support the Loveland Museum and the Loveland Historical Society, which will also accept donations at the event.

For more information about the book, visit www.davidmjessup.com.  The book can be purchased in advance at the Museum and at the event itself, or ordered from local and online book stores.

Images of the book cover and an author bio are attached.

For Further Information, contact:

Author David M. Jessup, davidj@sylvandale.com; 970-481-8342

Jenifer Cousino, Loveland Museum, 970.962.2413   Jennifer.Cousino@cityofloveland.org

Mike Perry, Loveland Historical Society, (970) 667-3104, Mperry1000@aol.com

 

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Colorado Author’s Day Presentation on Nov. 5

Author David Jessup brings Colorado history to life in his latest novel about Mariano Medina, an important Front Range pioneer. His presentation at Colorado Authors’ Day on November 5, sponsored by the Colorado Springs chapter of the American Association of University Women, features photos of the real characters who lived on the frontier during the lead up to America’s 1846 war with Mexico.

According to New York Times bestselling author Sandra Dallas, the book “adds flesh and blood to the bones of one of the West’s legendary mountain men.”

“Mariano’s Choice is one of those rare, wonderful books that sticks in the mind and heart long after you’ve read the last page,” according to Anne Hillerman, New York Times best-selling author. “Masterfully paced, it offers an intriguing snapshot of the West through the eyes of characters largely ignored by mainstream fiction.”

Mariano Medina is most well-known for having saved a U.S. Army brigade that attempted to cross the Colorado mountains during the Mormon War in 1857. While history does make some account of Medina’s adult life, little is known about the childhood of a man known for his grit, tough nature and courage. That’s where Jessup’s story begins in Mariano’s Choice.

“I mused about his motivations and personality. I felt the urge to fill that information in,” Jessup said. “I thought, wouldn’t it be interesting if he wasn’t always this brave tough guy, but as a youth was cowardly and afraid,” Jessup said. “And how might that transformation have come about?”
In Jessup’s fictional version, young Mariano Medina witnesses a vicious attack on a girl he adores and flees in inexplicable terror. Fifteen years later, as a grown man training horses along the Oregon Trail, he has a chance to redeem himself if he can overcome his cowardly urge to flee. His choice will lead Medina back to the land of his childhood, where he must confront his darkest fears and uncover the hidden source of his panic in the ghostly stare that haunts his dreams.

Four additional Colorado authors will make presentations starting a 9:00 AM on Saturday, November 5th, 2016, at the Doubletree Inn by Hilton, 1775 E. Cheyenne Mt. Blvd. in Colorado Springs. Tickets are $60, including lunch, and can be obtained at http://coloradosprings-co.aauw.net. The session lasts from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Proceeds from book sales will support AAUW scholarships.

Jessup’s talk and book reading is scheduled for 1:45 PM. For more information about the book, visit www.davidmjessup.com. The book can be purchased in advance at the event, or ordered from local and online book stores.

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Author David Jessup Interviewed in Reporter-Herald

Just prior to the successful launch of Mariano’s Choice, my second historical novel, an interview was published in the Loveland Reporter-Herald September 25, 2016.  Excerpts below.  The original can be viewed here.

‘Mariano’s Choice’ looks at Mariano Medina’s early life

By Michelle Vendegna

Medina Mexican 84dpiDavid Jessup is following up his first novel, “Mariano’s Crossing,” with a prequel, “Mariano’s Choice.”

…”This (new book) goes back to [Mariano Medina’s] early life starting in Taos, N.M., when he was a 15-year-old boy and proceeding up to when it joins the first book in 1860,” he said of the new book. Jessup writes historical fiction.

Based on historical events, Jessup fills in the blanks with fiction. Most of the characters he features in the story were real people in the real locations.

“As with much of history, we know often what happened but we often don’t know why it happened or what the motivation and personality of the characters were,” he said, “That’s the fun of writing fiction.”

Jessup will be having a book launch at 8 a.m. Oct. 1 at Sylvan Dale Ranch, 2939 N. County Road 31D, Loveland, which he co-owns.

…”I became fascinated with this man and his family for two reasons,” he said.

The first was that Medina became quite successful in a time that many had ill feeling toward Mexicans following the Mexican-American War, Jessup said.

“I always wondered what it would have been like for him and the other European settlers in the valley to have this Mexican fellow be top dog,” he said.

The second reason …There was an oral history that following the death of Medina’s 15-year-old daughter, his wife Takansy (some historians spell her name Tacancy) took the girl’s body up the mountains for a secret burial. It intrigued Jessup that a couple that had been together for 28 years and had their own cemetery would have this conflict.

The new book focuses on how Medina became the man that he was. Jessup said in historical accounts he was described by others as a tough.

“How did he get that way? Was he born tough and resourceful or, in my imagination, I wondered, it would be interesting if he was timid as a young man and cowardly and how might he overcome that cowardice or timidness to become the man he became,” Jessup said.

He wanted to explore Medina’s relationship with Takansy as well.

“Mariano purchased her from her first husband for, what was then, a very high price and so I wondered, wow, he must have felt quite passionately about her,” he said. Medina traded six horses and six blankets in 1844 to Takansy’s husband, a French fur trapper.

“The facts of history raise questions in my mind,” he said.

As Jessup wrote the book he found a central theme emerge.

“You don’t always know the central theme of the book when you start writing it. For me, what became the theme of the book was overcoming fear and cowardice,” he said. How did a young man grow into the fierce mountain man that history knows today.

“To me, it was just a matter of: Was he going to be brave and tough from the get go? That didn’t sound very interesting,” he said.

Jessup said, as the name of the book implies, Medina will face [a] few dilemmas along the way.

 

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Successful Book Launch for Mariano’s Choice

mt_alexander_web_1500x573October first, 2016, was one of those magically beautiful Colorado autumn days that blessed the thirty participants in our sold-out historic sites tour for the launch of my new historical novel, Mariano’s Choice.  On our first stop, we visited the ruins of the old Weldon school in Sylvan Dale Ranch’s Big Valley.  Then our vehicle caravan ascended the old quarry road on Red Ridge, the fictional site of Lena Medina’s secret grave, to peer over the edge of the towering cliff where a golden eagle soared over the valley below.  Next we drove to Namaqua Park, site of Mariano’s original trading post and stagecoach stop, then on to the restored Medina cemetery, where tour members got a chance to heft a replica of Medina’s Hawken rifle and learn more about Mariano Medina from Loveland Historical Society members Bill Meirath and Sharon Danhauer.  After returning to Sylvan Dale for Lunch, I presented my slide show introduction of Mariano’s Choice and read an excerpt from the new book.

I also described the theme of the book–overcoming cowardice–by sharing a quote from NY Times columnist David Brooks, as follows:

“The people we admire for being resilient are not hard; they are ardent. They have a fervent commitment to some cause, some ideal or some relationship. That higher yearning enables them to withstand setbacks, pain and betrayal.  …grit, resilience and toughness are not traits that people possess intrinsically. They are means inspired by an end.  …As Nietzsche put it, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”  David Brooks, NY Times, Aug. 30, 2016

For me, that quote sums up the fictional journey traveled by my main character, Mariano Medina, one of the West’s legendary mountain men.

New Book Launch – October 1, 2016

Mariano's ChoiceMy new book, Mariano’s Choice, will be featured at a book launch event on October 1, 2016, at Sylvan Dale Ranch.  The event includes a tour of historic sites described in the books, breakfast and lunch, followed by a reading and book signing, with proceeds going to the non-profit Heart-J Center for Experiential Education.  For details and registration, click here.

According to New York Times bestselling author Sandra Dallas, the book “adds flesh and blood to the bones of one of the West’s legendary mountain men.”

When young Mariano Medina witnesses a vicious attack on a girl he adores, he flees in inexplicable terror.  Fifteen years later, as a grown man training horses along the Oregon Trail, he has a chance to redeem himself if he can overcome his cowardly urge to flee. His choice will lead Medina back to the land of his childhood, where he must confront his darkest fears and uncover the hidden source of his panic in the ghostly stare that haunts his dreams.

“Mariano’s Choice is one of those rare, wonderful books that sticks in the mind and heart long after you’ve read the last page,” according to Anne Hillerman, New York Times best-selling author.  “Masterfully paced, it offers an intriguing snapshot of the West through the eyes of characters largely ignored by mainstream fiction.”

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The Reporter Herald posts an article on upcoming historical tour

History and fiction combined in tour of Mariano’s Crossing

By Jessica Benes

Reporter-Herald Staff Writer

http://www.reporterherald.com/loveland-local-news/ci_28108484/history-and-fiction-combined-tour-marianos-crossing?source=most_viewed

POSTED:   05/13/2015 03:31:40 PM MDT

 

Mariano’s Crossing

“Mariano’s Crossing” is available at www.davidmjessup.com/ or on the Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites. His next book, a prequel to this one, is almost reading to be published.

Find out more about the tours at www.heartjcenter.org/marianos-crossing-tour.html.

David M Jessup surveying flood damage at Sylvan Dale Ranch

Standing on the bridge over the Big Thompson river where the road was washed away by flood waters, David Jessup, owner of Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch, talks with a man surveying damage Thursday, September 26, 2013 in west Loveland. The guest ranch sustained heavy damage in the Front Range flood. (Lilia Munoz / Loveland Reporter-Herald)

In David Jessup’s story, “Mariano’s Crossing,” he uses history and creative fiction to answer the “why” of many mysteries in Mariano Medina’s life.

Mariano Medina was one of the first settlers in the area before Loveland was Loveland.

History is full of holes. There were rumors that Medina’s wife, Takansy, stole their daughter’s body, who died at 15, and buried it in a secret place. There were rumors that Medina tied his son onto a horse and that his son died that way. There were rumors that Medina shot a man off a ladder while the man was working on his roof.

Jessup, who owns Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch with his sister, Susan Jessup, will host a tour on Sunday of historic sites used in his book.

Visitors will take a walking tour of the main ranch and look at a site of Indian tepee rings and a wall that was part of the original homestead of William Alexander, who settled with his family on the property in 1864. The wall used to be beneath a lodge that was destroyed by the September 2013 Front Range flood.

The tour will also include a drive to the site of the old Weldon School and to the Mariano Medina Cemetery near Namaqua Park. Jessup will also show viewers the location behind the Big Thompson School that he used in his book as the fictional burial site of Lena Medina and John Alexander’s hideout.

“We did a previous tour back in the spring of 2013. There was so much demand for it that we scheduled another in September 2013,” Jessup said. “Then, you know what happened in September 2013.”

The flood that came down the Big Thompson River dug out a big chunk of the Sylvan Dale land and took out several buildings. The ranch is back on its feet but can only serve half the people it used to. The ranch used to have lodging for 60 people for overnight stays and now are at around 30.

Jessup said the tour is available for only 30 people but they are compiling a waiting list for more tours at a time and date to be determined.

“Mariano’s Crossing” is available at http://www.davidmjessup.com/ or on the Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites. His next book, a prequel to this one, is almost reading to be published.

Jessica Benes: 970-669-5050 ext. 530, jbenes@reporter-herald.comTwitter.com/jessicabenes.

 

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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.