I am thrilled to announce that my eleventh novel, RANGE, DIVIDE, AND ENDLESS SKY., is available now.
After two sojourns in Routt County in northwest Colorado I knew that I needed to write about this beautiful, powerful place. Of course I needed to paint it as well, and as I did so an idea began to make take form, taking shape as the story of an artist who comes to the region to paint and explore in the 1930s.
Below are a couple of excerpts, for any who would like to sample the story:
If you are fortunate in life, you will know what it is to have a particular mountain, with all the land, water, and sky it surveys, haunt your dreams and memories.
Wait… Let me write that again.
you are unfortunate in life, you will know what it is to have a particular mountain, with all the land, water, and sky it surveys, haunt your dreams and memories.
The mountain can bring beauty and inspiration: the power to lift your soul, your imagination.
The mountain can also bring pain and suffering: the power to break your will, destroy your body; to bring misery and death.
The particular mountain that haunts my horizon now is known as Hahn’s Peak. Before it was given the name of the man whom it helped destroy, it was known to trappers, explorers, and wanderers here in northwest Colorado as “Old Baldy”.
The Indians in this country, the Utes, might have their own name for it, but I have yet to learn it. I do hope to know that name some day, and even speak it myself. There’s so much I’ve yet to find out about this place, and that’s just one example.
I will try to describe the mountain with words, though it will take me some time, I think. I’m a painter by trade and calling, an artist. I describe best with line and color; with brush and wet pigment and the carefully preserved white of the paper. And painting was what brought me here to this wide and quiet wilderness in the high country near the Continental Divide, brought me here to live within sight of the mountain called Hahn's Peak......
It all started with a shave, a haircut, and a new Stetson hat.
There’s nothing quite like the feeling that comes with a fresh shave and haircut in town after you have been two weeks alone in the mountains. Add to that the feel of a stiff new fur-felt hat with a high crown, a broad brim to keep out the sun and rain while letting the cool breeze stir against the back of your neck—-well, maybe you get the idea of just how fine I was feeling.
I stepped out of the cool leather-and-felt mercantile smell of F.M. Light and Company, into the late-morning sunshine of Steamboat Springs, my new hat clamped down tight on my head. That sun was strong, but I was ready for it now. That cool breeze did its job on the back of my neck, right where the barber had splashed me with bay rum and dusted me with talc. I looked out at the clean streets and brick and wood buildings of town, the cars parked and shining in the sun, the big masses of mountains rising blue-black, streaked with remnant snow, that ringed the town.
“Good morning, cowboy.” The burr-throated female voice made me turn my head. Ursuline Kelley grinned at me. She had her hands in her dungaree pockets. Her green eyes glinted, even beneath the shade of her beat-up hat.
Let me make it clear that I would no way pass for any kind of cowboy, and that despite the Stetson. My eastern boots and paint-spattered pants were just the first things that gave me away, I’m pretty sure.
“Would you care to buy me a cup of coffee?” she asked.
Ursuline was for sure the forward type. Easy to get along with. But maybe not so easy to figure out.
“Hoped to—umm, had a feeling—I’d run into you,” she said, “It being the ranger’s day in town. Got something I want to show you.” She tapped the toe of a riding-heeled boot against a curbstone. “Over coffee.”
I had all day. Well, until four o’clock when I’d be meeting the ranger for a ride back to the Reserve with the supplies I’d be buying today. I had an order of watercolor cakes and papers to pick up from the stationers; groceries to purchase and pack back to the cabin. None of that would take a whole day.
And I bet you can guess that after two weeks alone in the mountains and another two weeks likely ahead of me, I was not at all averse to having a cup of coffee or two with Miss Ursuline Kelley.....
excepts from RANGE, DIVIDE, AND ENDLESS SKY, by Kevin Macneil Brown
You can purchase a copy here: