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Ruby, Maude and More!

Welcome, Nancy Oswald, Ruby, and Maude!

I’m happy to announce the arrival of Nancy Oswald’s latest release, Trouble Returns. This book is full of mischief, humor, and, of course, the bond between a girl and her donkey.

What inspired the Nancy Oswald to write her Ruby and Maude Adventure books?

I love Colorado history and had two published historical fiction books set in Colorado before I set out on my journey with Ruby, and her donkey Maude.  I’d planned only one book set in the gold mining town of Cripple Creek, Colorado, but when I got to the end of the first draft, the characters would not leave town.  I took a deep breath and told myself, I would get them out of town at the end of the second draft.  Nope.  They wouldn’t leave.  This is when I began to think that Ruby and Maude might be staying for a while.  I wrote a different ending to Rescue in Poverty Gulch, and began my research for book two.

In April of 1896, in Cripple Creek there were two fires within just a few days of each other that completely gutted the center of this booming gold mining town. This event backgrounds all three of the Ruby and Maude Adventures.  The second fire threw the town into a fit of hysteria with talk of firebugs (arsonists) and people threatening to lynch anyone looking suspicious.  The second book, Trouble on the Tracks, begins at this point, and it is here Ruby comes upon a contrary stray cat that she names Trouble.

Each book of the Ruby and Maude Adventures can be read independently.  However, they have the same central characters: Ruby, Maude, her widowed Pa, and the strict school principal Miss Sternum who Pa decides to marry. Trouble Returns is set after the devastating Cripple Creek fires, during the reconstruction, but also takes the characters to Colorado Springs where Ruby must testify in a trial for her nemesis, Jake Hawker.

This is a long meander to talking about my inspiration for writing these books.  Beyond loving the research and actual history of people from the past, this particular setting and combination of characters speaks to my sense of adventure and fun.  The two books that preceded the Ruby and Maude Adventures were more serious in nature, and particularly, after writing a historical fiction book set around the events of the Sand Creek Massacre, I wanted to lighten up.

The Ruby and Maude Adventure books have won several awards, and at a ceremony earlier this year for Trouble Returns, I remember the moderator quoting a judge’s comments that were something like “…who wouldn’t love a story about an eleven-year-old girl, her donkey, and a cat…”  I certainly have loved writing about them!

I’ve been asked if there are other Ruby and Maude Adventures on the way.  Maybe.  The characters are alive for me, and hopefully, the reader experiences them in the same way.


About Nancy Oswald:

Nancy Oswald is a retired teacher living on a family ranch where she helps herd cows, goats, chickens, cats, dogs, and one nearly human donkey. She writes mostly MG Colorado set historical fiction, but has also published middle-grade humor and a biography for young readers. Her awards include the Willa Literary Award, Colorado Author’s League Award, two Spur Awards and two CIPA Evvy Awards.

How to find Nancy Oswald books:

For more about Nancy and her books visit www.nancyoswald.com, her FB page https://www.facebook.com/NancyOswaldAuthor/   or  www.filterpressbooks.com

I invite you to leave a comment and enter to win an e-book of Trouble Returns.

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  1. These books sound wonderful and I know how fun it is to write about such as donkeys, and in my case, mules. My historical western for adults, Miss Royal’s Mules, is due out from Five Star in 2018. I would like to order some signed copies of your Ruby and Maude books around Christmas time for my grands. I assume I can order those through your website. Or Filter Press?

    1. Hi Irene, Miss Royal’s Mules sounds like a fun book. I’m guessing mules are a smoother ride, and I can only imagine Miss Royal and her interactions with them. Just recently I shared a post on FB that Doris Baker posted about a program in Kentucky where librarians delivered books by mules to rural communities. It certainly got my author’s imagination going! And I love to get you some signed copies of my books for your grandkids. My website has a contact form, or here’s my direct email if that’s easier for you. [email protected] Thanks so much for visiting Carmen’s blog!

  2. We sat together at the luncheon meeting in Santa Fe last October. You were telling me how mama cows teach their calves to snuffle in the snow in the meadow to find food in winter when, much to my dismay, we were rudely interrupted by the beginning of the luncheon program! I hope to see you again at an WWW annual meeting so we can once more chat over our chicken sandwiches and I can learn more about the “real” side of living on a cattle ranch. This sounds like it may have a story idea for your next Ruby, Maude, and Trouble adventure.

    1. Hi Judith, You made me laugh about chatting about cattle ranching over our chicken sandwiches. Ha. This year I had a couple of broody hens, and got some fertilized eggs for them sit on. Had my first experience with baby chicks that weren’t ordered or purchased. I suppose that’s another conversation! So nice to hear from you.

  3. Cindy Searles says:

    A great series that I read with my 4th grader at the time. We both enjoyed that adventures of Ruby and Maude. It was interesting to have the historical aspect, since we lived in the area and many of the struggles still seem relevant. Nothing like a great western tale about a girl and her donkey.

    1. Hi Cindy, Glad you came by Carmen’s blog to leave a comment. I enjoy hearing from you on FB, too. As for our little darling, donkey Daisy, she’s doing fine. She whined so much the other day to get back in with the cows that Steve finally gave in. As for Ruby and Maude and Trouble, it seems kids really enjoy that character combination. One contest judge said something like, “Who wouldn’t enjoy reading about an 11 year old girl and her donkey?” Have a great day.

  4. What a delightful series! I can imagine how popular Nancy’s books are with children. Actually, you wouldn’t have to be a kid to enjoy these books.

    1. Thanks, Mary. I hear that “big” kids like them, too. In fact, they’re fun to write for the same reason. There’s nothing like an ornery girl and her donkey to take me back to my own growing up years.