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Three Area Authors’ Book Tour Stops at DDR Books

May 23 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

DDR Books will host a signing with three fantastic area authors Tuesday, May 23, 7-9pm, in Downtown Watertown.

Starting in 2008, Amber Jensen, Christine Stewart-Nuñez, and Mary Woster Haug met regularly at a coffee shop in Brookings, South Dakota, to respond to each other’s writing and give each other crucial—and critical—support. Now they are celebrating the fruits of their work—the publication of three new books—with a book tour.

Each author examines the experiences, people, and places that have shaped them through lyrical voice, employing vivid imagery and metaphor to deepen reflection. Their work demonstrates the varied forms of creative nonfiction, ranging from a personal memoir, to a collection of distinct essays, and a braided memoir that weaves personal experience with research about others’ lives.

Amber Jensen: “The Smoke of You: A Memoir of Love During & After Deployment”

“The Smoke of You” explores the challenges the author and her family faced during and after her husband Blake’s deployment to Iraq, his return and reintegration, his subsequent battle with chronic pain, and the slow-burning challenges of married life. Through it all, the couple draws on their deep commitment to each other and the legacy of family in order to discover, ultimately, what to let go of and what to hold on to. Clinging to memories of baseball and hunting, family traditions, and to each other, they learn to discard expectations and Midwestern reticence, to take comfort in silence but also to ask the difficult questions that will keep their love alive. “The Smoke of You” is a story of selfless love and self-discovery, of hardship and hope, that will resonate with those who have suffered and those who have loved.

Amber completed her undergraduate studies in English and Spanish at SDSU. After teaching English in Mexico for five years, she continued her studies in literature and writing, earning a graduate degree at SDSU and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing through the University of New Orleans. Encouraged by mentors in both of these programs, Amber began drafting essays, finding homes for some of them in North Dakota Quarterly, Narrative Inquiry, at Oh-Dark-Thirty, and in “Red, White, & True: Stories from Military Veterans and their Families WWII to Present.” These essays are now part of her first book, “The Smoke of You: A Memoir of Love During & After Deployment.” Amber is currently a Senior Lecturer in the School of English and Interdisciplinary Studies at SDSU. She teaches courses in composition, literature, and technical and creative writing.

Christine Stewart-Nuñez: “Chrysopoeia: Essays of Language, Love, and Place”

The pieces in “Chrysopoeia: Essays of Language, Love, and Place” occur in playgrounds of transformation. Its title, taken from an alchemic term, refers to the process of writing memoir as well as apt description of what happens as a result: I am transformed just as my experiences have been. “Chrysopoeia” aims to illuminate these alchemies—these ways we associate, complicate, think through and make meaning. There are essays in this collection about family secrets, calendar-keeping, pilgrimages, pie-making, dream interpretation, panic attacks, parenting, arguing with clergy, and magical cooking. They are set in Istanbul, Ireland, India, and Iowa; Poland, Greece, South Dakota, and Japan. They are held together by meditation, imagery, syntax, and style. One reader described “Chrysopoeia” as an “intense book of the heart.”

Christine Stewart-Nuñez is the author of “The Poet & The Architect” (2021), “Untrussed” (2016) and “Bluewords Greening” (2016) —winner of the 2018 Whirling Prize (literature of a disability theme). Her debut prose collection, “Chrysopoeia: Essays of Language, Love, and Place,” was published by Stephen F. Austin State University Press in 2022. Her work has been the basis for international, cross-artistic collaborations with colleagues in music, dance, visual art, and architecture. Christine served as South Dakota’s poet laureate from 2019-2021, and she now teaches in the women’s and gender studies program at the University of Manitoba. christinestewartnunez.com.

Mary Woster Haug: “Out of Loneliness: Murder and Memoir”

“Out of Loneliness: Murder and Memoir” opens on Memorial Day 1962, when a transgender man named Bev Waugh strode down a quiet street in a small South Dakota river town and shot Myron Menzie, a young Lakota engaged to Gina Lee, Bev’s pretty teenage lover. Haug was sixteen years old that day and had no context for understanding the complications of a triangulated love affair that led to murder. “Out of Loneliness” braids the author’s life with Bev’s in terms of how the western landscape shaped their understanding of masculinity, gender, identity, fathers, love, and grief.

Mary Woster Haug is the author of “Out of Loneliness: Murder and Memoir” and “Daughters of the Grasslands.” She has been published in several anthologies and literary journals, including River Teeth and Passager. She has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Mary is professor emerita in the English Department at South Dakota State University and makes her home in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

DDR Books is located at 7 S. Maple, Downtown Watertown. Regular business hours are 9:30a-5:30p Mon-Fri and 9:30a-4p Sat.

Signed copies of all three books are available in-store, at ddrbooks.com, or at 605-868-3705, for pick-up or shipping.


May 23
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
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DDR Books
7 S. Maple
Watertown, SD 57201 United States
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(605) 868-3705
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