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Lynn Downey

2020 WILLA Literary Award Winner in Scholarly Nonfiction.

Life in California’s Lung Resort for Women

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Dudes Rush In

It’s 1952, and restless war widow Phoebe McFarland decides to change her life and leave her home in San Francisco to spend six months on her sister-in-law’s dude ranch in Tribulation, Arizona. But Tribulation soon lives up to its name when secrets from the town’s past collide with a shocking revelation of her own, leading Phoebe down a trail to both discovery and danger.

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My Books

The novelist wants to know how things will turn out; the historian already knows how things turned out, but wants to know why they turned out the way they did.

–Michael Korda

The Dude Ranch Abides!

I’ve always been fascinated by the dude ranch: the Western-style vacation that began with guided pack trips in 1880s Wyoming and today offers guests everything from horseback riding to destination weddings.

 For over a century dude ranching has showed up in movies, books, music lyrics, and clothing styles and I’m going to track it all down. This year I’ll be jumping into the topic with research, visits to ranches, and interviews with owners and guests for a book, a lecture tour and, if all goes well, a YouTube channel.  

Stay tuned, and remember: don’t squat on your spurs.



See the Publications tab for my complete works.


My consulting work has given me the opportunity to work with great organizations. Here is some information on a few of my recent projects.