WANT TO HEAR MORE?
Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to be a writer. Back in 1974 when I graduated from high school, a daughter of retired dairy farmers, it never occurred to me to pursue a career as a writer or journalist. That was a dream, not real life, so instead I signed up for a Clerical course at the local vo-tech school and followed my path in life…marriage & children; single parenthood; married with a blended family of six kids.
My husband John and I were thankful for second chances and as our kids got older I started dabbling in writing late at night. Through time and practice I established the beginnings of a writing career and at the same time discovered this innate longing for the West. I took advantage of every opportunity to visit any of the western states and came to believe these two passions—writing and the West—were somehow connected. Even though I loved spending time in the West, never in my wildest imagination did I think we could actually live there. That was simply not possible, after all, our lives and careers were firmly rooted in the Minneapolis area and had been for 25 years. End of story.
Yet when God puts a dream on your heart, there’s no telling what can happen. My first book, Hidden Heritage: The Story of Paul LaRoche, was released in 2006 and subsequently opened doors to new and interesting places. As time went by I realized those doors continuingly led westward. By 2012 my passions for writing and the West crisscrossed in a big way, leading John and I to take that leap of faith and head west.
As only God can do, He brought us to the High Country Guest Ranch near Hill City, which we now operate, right in the “Heart of the Hills”. Our backyard is none other than the Black Hills National Forest. Running an operation this size is not without its own challenges; the ranch includes 12 large vacation homes, 10 smaller cabins, 14 horses for trail rides, ATV rentals, plus two popular summer entertainment venues. Summer days are nonstop, morning til night—just like real ranchers—and, like real ranchers, the rewards come in quiet, unassuming ways…colorful sunset over the western ridge; fresh scent of Ponderosa Pines; star-filled skies; trickling sounds of a nearby creek. Still new to the lodging business, we are doing our best to learn the ropes and with the Good Lord’s help, we’ll make it one day at a time.
The tiny upstairs loft in our old barn now serves as my writing studio. I’ve lined the barn wood walls with pictures of our children and grandchildren. We miss our close friends and family dearly, but believe in our hearts this is where we belong for now.
WRITING AWARDS for BARBARA MARSHAK:
Winner – Wyoming Writer’s Contest – Fiction Category: Cries on the Prairie; 2014
Winner – Jackpine Writers Block – Short Fiction: Prairie Promises; 2010
Finalist – Mesa Moonlight Associates – Short Fiction: Lost Letters; 2010
Winner – Brainerd Writers Alliance – Essay: Under the Shadow of the Tower; 2009
Winner – Bearlodge Writers & Devils Tower Residency; 2008
Winner – Brainerd Writers Alliance – Short Fiction: One More Chance; 2007
Finalist – Hidden Heritage: The Story of Paul LaRoche; National Indie Excellence Books Awards (2007) and Best Books Awards USA (2006).
Barbara is the author of three books and over 150 published pieces. She has also written
for the television series, Hidden Heritage, on the cable network RFD-TV. She has made
numerous appearances at book events and often speaks at writer conferences.