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Winter of Beauty
by WILLA award winning author Amy Hale Auker
The winter Bride wears diamonds. To those down below, she appears to be sleeping, locked inside a
chastity belt of cold. She naps lightly behind the veil of ice and snow, letting it shield her from
the sun and throw it back into the sky.
But her chill is only skin deep. Inside her hidden folds and caves and recesses, the heartbeat of her
lives and breathes and curls around the seeds of what will be. The winter Bride is pregnant,
gestating the future, smiling quietly at the snores of the bears and the mountain lions, allowing all
of the fertile places to swell and burgeon with the life that is to come.
The winter Bride is holding a flood in deposit for the sun's withdrawal in spring.
Praise for Winter of Beauty
Amy Hale Auker has found her own voice with which she has created a refreshing style of storytelling.
It is obvious she has a broad understanding of the politics and traditions of a ranch. It is also
obvious she loves the West. She stays spot on with the cycles, moods and language that have evolved
within the ranching community. Her characters have the recognizable traits of folks from the same
lifestyle and heritage. I tasted the food and the pain and the cold and the friendships.
Winter of Beauty will stand the test of time.
~ Waddie Mitchell, co-founder of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering
Amy has a gift for drawing the reader in, for building word pictures that put you right there
in the setting. I fell in love with all the characters and wanted to keep reading when the book was done!
We already know Amy Hale Auker can write, based on her award-winning memoir Rightful Place.
But can she write fiction? Can she create convincing characters out of empty paper and weave
invented threads into a convincing story? She answers those questions in the affirmative in
Winter of Beauty.
The book is set on a sprawling ranch and features a varied cast ranging from the owner and her
unsure future, her manager and his fatigued marriage, a young cowboy troubled by his late
father's mysterious past, the sick old cowboy who raised him, a wannabe cowboy singer whose
growing family stands between him and his dreams, and other well-made characters who grind
along day to day to save the ranch and a way of life.
The story reaches its climax with the arrival of a baby named Beauty, who brings hope and
renewed energy along with unexpected complications. Watching over it all is The Bride, a
looming mountain where changing seasons and circumstances and the comings and goings of
cattle and humans are of little lasting consequence.
~ Rod Miller, two-time winner of the Western Writers of America Spur Award
I teach English composition and literature. I edit manuscripts, and I write. As a result, I read a lot.
Some of it I even enjoy. But every so often, I come across a piece of writing that reminds me why I
fell in love with the written word in the first place. Winter of Beauty is the voices of people who
live forever on the edge of failure--a place where we all live, but some of us manage to conceal that
fact from ourselves--and yet, this proximity teaches Auker's characters to find meaning in each other
and in the land that they love. I read this book in wonderment, and I can think of no higher praise than that.
~ Greg Camp, author and editor
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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