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2023 New Releases for SWW Authors #4

Jane M. Bardal, Mark Fleisher, Sue Houser, Paula Paul, and Cassie Sanchez represent the diverse membership of SouthWest Writers (SWW) with 2023 releases in the genres of biography, poetry, middle grade fiction, contemporary fiction, and fantasy, respectively. Their releases couldn’t fit in this year’s interview schedule, but look for new interviews or updates for most of these authors in 2024.

A list of interviewed SWW authors with 2023 releases is included at the end of this post.

Colorado’s Mrs. Captain Ellen Jack: Mining Queen of the Rockies (The History Press, May 2023) by Jane M. Bardal. “You get off this property.” In 1887, Captain Ellen E. Jack backed up her orders with a shotgun as she stood at the entrance to her Black Queen Mine. To profit from the mine, she engaged in many other battles with lawyers and capitalists who tried to wrest her ore away. Mrs. Captain Jack contributed to the myth of the West by crowning herself the Mining Queen of the Rockies as she entertained tourists at her roadhouse near Colorado Springs. This is a captivating biography of a pioneering woman who fashioned a legacy through true tenacity and maybe even a few tall tales.

Colorado’s Mrs. Captain Ellen Jack is available on Amazon.

Knowing When: Poems (Mercury HeartLink, March 2023) by Mark Fleisher. Under the mantle of its intriguing title, Mark Fleisher writes of sadness and tragedy, lightens the mood with poems about love, nature, even baseball, as well as a mirthful look at technology. Fleisher’s blend of narrative and lyric styles cut to the heart of the matter, showing the ability to speak volumes in a minimum number of lines. His eclectic collection also invites the reader to contemplate questions posed in the title poem and other selections.

You’ll find Knowing When: Poems and more of Mark’s poetry on his Amazon author page.

Walter Steps Up to the Plate (Kinkajou Press, October 2023) by Sue Houser. Walter will do anything to help his mother when she’ s diagnosed with tuberculosis, but does that include standing up to Al Capone? Twelve-year-old Walter wants to spend the summer of 1927 watching his beloved Chicago Cubs play baseball. Instead, Walter must leave everything he knows and loves to accompany his mother to Albuquerque, New Mexico — a place he has never been to with relatives he has never met. To help with expenses, Walter gets a paper route. But the situation gets worse when his mother is admitted to a sanatorium and needs expensive surgery. A chance encounter with the gangster, Al “ Scarface” Capone might change his mother’ s fortunes and get her the surgery she needs. But to do it, Walter will become indebted to the notorious gangster.

Look for Sue at and on her Amazon author page.

The Last of the Baileys (March 2023) by Paula Paul. Trudy Bailey Walters, who is in her 70s, thinks the old house she just bought for back taxes might be haunted. Adam Bailey, who Trudy has known since childhood, says he will help Trudy find the source of the “haunting,” but he doesn’t want Trudy to know the truth. Although Trudy has no intention of taking in boarders, she soon finds several people living with her, including a young mother with a rebellious teenager and an undocumented immigrant who is searching for her child. While they all look for the source of the haunting, Adam convinces them to help find the missing child, including a reluctant Trudy. Illegal escapades, unexpected friendships, and startling conclusions ensue.

You’ll find Paula on her website at and The Last of the Baileys on Amazon. Many of her other novels are available on her Amazon author page.

Conquering the Darkness: The Darkness Trilogy – 3 (December 2023) by Cassie Sanchez. Ultimate victory is won within the battlefield of the soul. Without his magic or his memories, Jasce Farone finds himself in the frozen realm of Balten, suffering the lingering wounds from his last battle and haunted by a woman he can’t recall. He tries to be the man everyone expects him to be—the one they remember—but the spindly fingers of revenge wrap around his heart while a past he’s never confronted escorts him further into darkness. In his journey, Jasce will need to trust those who fight by his side while battling the demons within if he wants to preserve magic and prevent tyranny from spreading throughout the land. If he succeeds, then a chance at love and peace is within his grasp.

Visit Cassie on her website at, on Facebook, and her Amazon author page.

SWW Author Interviews: 2023 Releases

Marty Eberhardt
Bones in the Back Forty

William Fisher
The Price of the Sky: A Tale of Bandits, Bootleggers, and Barnstormers

Patricia Gable
The Right Choice

Cornelia Gamlem
The Decisive Manager: Get Results, Build Morale, and Be the Boss Your People Deserve

Joyce Hertzoff
Train to Nowhere Somewhere: Book 1 of the More Than Just Survival Series

Brian House
Reich Stop

T.E. MacArthur
The Skin Thief

Nick Pappas
Crosses of Iron: The Tragic Story of Dawson, New Mexico, and its Twin Mining Disasters

Marcia Rosen
Murder at the Zoo

Lynne Sebastian
One Last Cowboy Song

JR Seeger
The Enigma of Treason

Suzanne Stauffer
Fried Chicken Castañeda

Jodi Lea Stewart
The Gold Rose

Patricia Walkow
Life Lessons from the Color Yellow

R. Janet Walraven
LIAM: The Boy Who Saw the World Upside Down

Donald Willerton
Death in the Tallgrass

Linda Wilson
Waddles the Duck and
Cradle in the Wild: A Book for Nature Lovers Everywhere

2020 New Releases for SWW Authors #2

Parris Afton Bonds, Loretta Hall, Esther Jantzen, Dennis Kastendiek, and Paula Paul are a few examples of the dedicated members of SouthWest Writers. Each of these authors represents a different genre, but all pushed through the craziness of 2020 to see their work published. The releases in this post couldn’t fit into this year’s interview schedule, but look for interviews or updates for most of these authors in 2021.

A list of previously interviewed SWW authors with 2020 releases is included at the end of this post.

In The Barons (Lagan Press, July 2020), the second entry in the Texicans saga, New York Times bestselling author Parris Afton Bonds tells a tale of intrigue and loyalty stretched to the breaking point. Politics, plunder, passion, profit, and power collide in a new and bountiful land through the eyes of the Paladín family, a captivating, richly-painted cast of characters playing out their lives against the backdrop of history. Their loves, their desires, their perils and rewards — all rendered in service to create a new state in America’s southwest — take on an urgency and realism unlike any before.

With the third volume in her Texicans saga, The Bravados (Lagan Press, November 2020), Parris Afton Bonds weaves a spellbinding tale of love, hate, revenge, and reconciliation set against the milieu of the turn of the twentieth century. From the streets of Dallas to the oil fields of Louisiana and the blood-soaked jungles of Cuba, the Paladíns find themselves caught in the great struggle between the traditions of the past and the technologies that will shape the future. Can bonds of blood withstand such tides of change? What about the feuds of ages long past? With true-to-life characters, high drama, and painstaking authenticity, The Bravados is a masterpiece of epic romance.

Visit Parris at and on her Amazon author page.

Higher, Faster, Longer: My Life in Aviation and My Quest for Spaceflight (Traitmarker Books, 2020), by Wally Funk and award-winning nonfiction author Loretta Hall, tells the story of a unique American space pioneer. Since she was a girl in a Superman cape jumping off the family barn and stargazing from the slopes of Taos Mountain, Wally Funk has kept going higher, faster, and longer every time she saw an opportunity. She soared through the aviation program in college, landing herself a flight instructor position after graduation. From there, she set a record in astronaut testing. The scuttling of the Mercury 13 program didn’t stop Wally, who used her dreams to fuel an adventure-studded life. Traveling the world, shattering glass ceilings, and always keeping one eye on the stars, Wally relentlessly, joyfully reached higher, flew faster, and traveled longer on her way to space.

You’ll find all of Loretta’s books on her Amazon author page.

In September 2020, Esther Jantzen published WALK: Jamie Bacon’s Secret Mission on the Camino de Santiago, her first fiction book for children and young adults. This is the story of Jamie Bacon who’s angry at his parents for making him walk 500 miles in Spain as part of their homeschooling plan. He’s especially disappointed that his dad can’t come along, which means he’ll be alone with his mom and sister. But when Jamie meets Father Diego and hears the backstory of the Camino de Santiago, he becomes intrigued. And when he naively agrees to the request by two pilgrims to secretly carry a heavily taped envelope, unopened, all the way to Santiago de Compostela, Jamie is stuck with keeping his word and finishing the very long walk.

Visit Esther on her Amazon author page.

Dennis Kastendiek’s first novel, A Seven Month Contract at Four Thousand Per (September 2020), tells the hilarious story of Johnny, a small-town Kansas high school graduate who feels guilty after a prank results in his sister breaking a leg just before her community playhouse debut. Fortunately (or not), Johnny learned all her lines while watching her rehearsals. And when a talent scout passing through town sees a girl he thinks is the most gifted actress to be found on the plains in ages, shit really hits the fan for Johnny/Johnnie. Broadway, here he/she comes! Reviewers call the story “brilliantly written, with compelling characters” and “plenty of bumps and thumps to enlighten and delight.”

Murder is Contagious (February 2020) is Paula Paul’s sixth installment in her Alexandra Gladstone Mystery series. Several children have died in a measles outbreak in the village of Newton-Upon-Sea. Equally as frightening is what begins to look like an epidemic of murder that may be related in some way to the measles contagion. Dr. Alexandra Gladstone finds herself deeply involved in both threats. Not only is her own life endangered, but the lives of members of her own household are at risk. Her attempts to stop both epidemics are hampered by the reappearance of an old lover who threatens to reveal secrets from Dr. Gladstone’s past.

Visit Paula at and on her Amazon author page.

SWW Author Interviews: 2020 Releases

Connie Flores
Our Fascinating Life: The Totally Accidental Trip 1979
Sue Houser
BR Kingsolver
Knights Magica
Dr. Barbara Koltuska-Haskin
How My Brain Works: A Guide to Understanding It Better and Keeping It Healthy
Manfred Leuthard
Broken Arrow: A Nuke Goes Missing
Shirley Raye Redmond
Courageous World Changers: 50 True Stories of Daring Women of God
J.R. Seeger
A Graveyard for Spies
Lynne Sturtevant
Hometown: Writing a Local History or Travel Guide and The Collaboration Kit
Patricia Walkow
New Mexico Remembers 9/11

KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kathy posts to a speculative fiction blog at and writes about memoir at

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