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The Story Is the Thing
by WILLA award-winning author
Amy Hale Auker
"Uncle Bill" Morgan knew about love and loss. He had watched over the land and the people
at the Benson Ranch for decades. Julia was a free spirit, quirky and fun, trapped in a
marriage with hospital corners and traditional expectations. Charlie was trapped as well,
but by something more sinister than tradition and, in the end, realized that it is okay to
love more. Cody Jack needed more — more of everything that soothed and comforted and
numbed — but he stood to lose the only good thing he'd ever known and he would hurt
anyone to keep it.
The old cowboy is gone, but he left his story behind. It is a story of love, loss and life
lessons, of confession and absolution, a story of poetry and rescue, a story of loneliness
and a story of coming together.
And, after all, the story is the thing.
Praise for The Story Is the Thing
Amy Hale Auker is a writer with a capital W. You will not pass through this book without being touched by it.
~ Dave Stamey, Cowboy Entertainer
The Story Is the Thing is a real page-turner, and any thoughts I had of 'skimming' it were
quickly disabused by the end of the first chapter. Ms. Auker can write and she weaves a tale of love
and loss in the big ranch country that grips your attention to the very end. A fine book by a gifted storyteller.
~ Ian Tyson, Musician, Rancher, and Storyteller
This is a challenging work by a very gutsy, gifted writer with large ambitions. One gets the sense
that Ms. Auker is poised to reach beyond that which is so intimately familiar to her—the cowboy
West—and break free of all genre labeling. Watch out, here she comes.
~ Kurt Markus, Photographer, Videographer, Screenwriter
This is a beautifully crafted novel with a cover beautiful enough to frame. I wish I knew Uncle
Bill. He's a cowboy through and through, but he has a kind heart that makes women love him and
children flock to him. He writes his memoirs on yellow legal pads and leaves them for the daughter
of his boss to read. In those pages, the reader learns about his marriages, the woman he didn't
marry but loved the best. and the women friends he shielded from near calamity. I'm a sucker for
past and present day stories of the West, and I loved reading the poetic descriptions of the
mountains, the sun, the sky.
~ Lou the Librarian
The Story is the Thing by Amy Hale Auker is one of the loveliest, most beautifully written,
and deeply sensitive books I've read in ages.
The story line involves ranch owners, workers, and others written about on a series of yellow
writing pads by William Morgan before his death, and read by Katy, an heir to the ranch. The
action switches from the notebooks to actual accounts by each of the main characters named in
the writings. At its heart, Uncle Bill is the one who knows and relates to all of them. The
sense of place—the ranches in Arizona—becomes a central character as well.
Bill is not your stereotypical cowboy. He reads, writes, plays his fiddle and, in his notebooks,
displays a beautiful soul. His love, wisdom, and amazing goodness, make him one of the most
outstanding characters I've read about in quite a while.
The story is not all sweetness and light; after all, it's about life. Bill writes searingly and
honestly of his mistakes and grave errors of judgment. By the end of the novel, I knew and liked
most of those presented and wished I could have known Uncle Bill Morgan.
~ Helene Benardo, at Story Circle Book Reviews
Chances taken, love lost, lessons learned, life moves on. The Story Is the Thing is the third
book written by Amy Hale Auker and with each book her writing gets better, her words more lyrical,
her story more heart-felt, more poignant. This book is written like a love letter.
It seems I've known a man like Uncle Bill before and I'll bet you did too and that is what is
wonderful about this book that we can find people we know in each of the characters. Julia is
the spirited outsider trying to find her place and Charlie is the cowboy-girl who lives a life
harder than most but only wants simple love like everyone else. Cody Jack is the type we've all
heard about or known, the type we have no use for in this life. It's Uncle Bill who weaves the
story together for us so we can understand a time and a place and a thing that happened, a thing
that changed everything.
And all around Uncle Bill's story is the story of a lifestyle, a story of the land, a story of
hardships accepted, of joy and of love held and lost.
The author took a chance in the way she set her chapters and allowed her characters to reach out
from the page but it was perfectly balanced with a beautifully smooth clarity to the reading.
It's not hard for me to recommend The Story Is the Thing to you. I hope you pick it up and enjoy
it as much as I did. Amy is fast becoming one of my favorite independent authors.
~ Maria Norcia Santillanes
This book is a wonderful story told by several different voices. It flows so well you change from
voice (person) to voice with no problem. The story is the thing, without a doubt! I sat down to
start it one evening and did not put it down until I finished. It is a story that grips your
attention from the first chapter and holds it to the last page. Amy writes, whether its fiction
or non fiction, in a poetic way that paints wonderful pictures. You see the country . . . you
feel as if you've visited the places her stories take you to.
This book stands alone . . . BUT, if you haven't read her non fiction Willa Award
Winner, Rightful Place, and her novel, Winter Of Beauty . . . read them!
Anything she writes grips you and holds you.
. . .
She is also a Cowboy Poet & you can find her poems in several books on her Amazon page.
. . .
She lives what she writes.
. . .
She has become my favorite author, and I read many good authors.
. . .
~ C. Estill
Hear Amy talking about The Story Is the Thing on
Food and Farm
Amy Hale Auker
Amy Hale Auker writes and thrives on a ranch in Arizona where she is having a love affair with rock,
mountains, piñon and juniper forests, the weather, and her songwriter husband who is also foreman of
She guides her readers to a place where the bats fly, lizards do pushups on the rocks, bears leave
barefoot prints in the dirt. Where hummingbirds do rain dances in August, spiders weave for their food,
and poetry is in the chrysalis and the cocoon.
She tells stories about the real world where things grow up out of the ground, where the miracle of life
happens over and over and over again, where people can and do survive without malls or Arby's.
Amy believes that what you put out there is what you get back, and that if you do the good, hard work you
will be rewarded.
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