My name is Nancy Leek. I live in Chico, California and am a retired librarian. I have worked in public, school and academic libraries, including reference librarian for the Butte County Library and children’s librarian at the Orland Free Library. I am the author of John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer, and the co-editor (with John Rudderow) of The Miner Poet: The Poems of Pres Longley.
In 2015 I started a series of picture book biographies for young readers called Golden State Biographies. So far the series includes John and Annie Bidwell: The Long and the Short of It and Nancy Kelsey Comes over the Mountain. These books have full-color illustrations throughout by the talented Steve Ferchaud. They are colorful, exciting, and fun to read, and I have received enthusiastic feedback from California schoolchildren.
All books are available by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am available for presentations to any kind of group, including 4th grade classes studying California history. I thoroughly enjoy talking with students and will gladly present in your classroom at no charge if you are in my local area (Butte, Glenn and Tehama Counties).
I also have a program called A Conversation with Major John Bidwell, in which I play a lady reporter in 1858 interviewing Bidwell, who is played by talented actor Nick Anderson. We have presented this program to groups such as Rotary, SIRS, and the Chico Museum. Let me know if you would like to have us visit your group.
I call this blog goldfields because I love Northern California wildflowers and Northern California history. Goldfields is a wildflower that we enjoy seeing every year on Table Mountain here in Butte County, and the goldfields were the attraction that drew so many men and women to the Golden State. Now that I am self-publishing my books, my imprint is Goldfields Books.
At my home in Chico I have a little family orchard, a large vegetable garden, and a crazy flock of chickens. When not writing, I sew and volunteer at the library and at Bidwell Mansion. I also sit on the steering committee of the Association for Northern California Historical Research and assist in publishing ANCHR’s yearly book on local history.
When my husband Jim and I retired from our jobs in the spring of 2014, we went on a road trip to Wisconsin to visit family. One of my goals on the road was to see some of the sights that the pioneers like John Bidwell and the thousands who followed him would see along the way: Chimney Rock, Scott’s Bluff, Fort Laramie, Independence Rock, the Great Salt Lake and the Humboldt River. Here I am at Chimney Rock in Nebraska.