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Mariano’s Choice Reviewed in True West Magazine

The June issue of True West Magazine contains a nice review of Mariano’s Choice, my second historical novel.  Here’s a quote:

Is courageMariano's Choice something learned or is it in our DNA? Can we control it? Based on a true story, Mariano’s Choice (Pronghorn Press, $19.95) follows Mariano Medina’s quest for courage and respect—growing from a cowardly teenager to a mountain man who, at long last, learns to stand up for those he loves. Not your stereotypical Western “hero,” Mariano changes with the challenges life throws at him. At first blush it’s hard to like Mariano. But within a matter of pages, he blossoms into someone you truly care about. Set in the mountain West, northern New Mexico and up to Wyoming’s South Pass and Fort Bridger, author David Jessup’s fluid and compelling prose of early 1800s fur trappers pulls the reader into a time and place rarely written about. The attention to detail and obvious research Jessup has done brings an unparalleled richness to the story.

Melody Groves, author of She Was Sheriff

 

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Medina Cemetery Mystery

Historian Ken Jessen just wrote two excellent pieces about the history of Mariano Medina’s Cemetery. A third article in the series is on its way. Here is the link to the first article.  The second article is here:  After the cemetery was destroyed by the county in early 1960, as Jessen notes, “the remains were put in “suitable containers” and transported the short distance to Namaqua Park where they were buried and covered with a single concrete slab combined with an elongated tombstone-like feature. On the slab are the names of those thought to have been removed.”

Mariano Medina

One of the names on the new marker is that if Marcelina (Lena) Medina, Mariano’s young daughter who tragically died shortly after her 15th birthday.  Whether her real bones rest there is a mystery.  According to one early pioneer recollection, Lena’s body was stolen from their house on the Big Thompson River and spirited off by her mother for a secret burial on a ridge to the west.  That incident became the initial scene in my historical novel, Mariano’s Crossing, published by Pronghorn Press in 2012.

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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.