Author: John D. Nesbitt (Page 1 of 9)

Blue Is Not the Word and Buckskin Trail Commentary

“Blue Is Not the Word” and “Buckskin Trail” are two separate short stories that I wrote when I was in between novel projects. I offered them to the publisher, Speaking Volumes, with the idea that they might be published as individual short stories in e-book form, as I have had several stories published that way in the past. The publisher chose to publish them first in print form, which resulted in a short book, and I was pleased to see it come out.

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Trails and Crossings Commentary

Trails and Crossings is an audio collection of poems on CD, read by my humble self. This work intersects with my other work in writing poetry and song lyrics, so it is something of a companion to my printed collection of poetry, Thorns on the Rose, and the CD of songs composed by me and recorded by the great W.C. Jameson, In a Large and Lonesome Land.

My son, Dimitri, engineered the recording of this CD. The person who did the cover for In a Large and Lonesome Land, Cheryl Quallenberg of Llano, Texas, designed the cover using a painting by Tom Browning, for which I paid for the rights. The CD came out in February of 2022.

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Coldwater Range Commentary

Coldwater Range is my thirty-first western/frontier novel and my twelfth book with Five Star. I wrote it in 2020, and it came out in April of 2022.

For this novel, I wanted to write something on a par with some of my other recent novels such as Great Lonesome. For the premise of this story, I present a main character who decides he must follow his conscience when he discovers that his boss has expanded his cattle ranch through crooked activity.

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Double Deceit Commentary

Double Deceit is a novella of 21,000 words that was published in November 2020 by Five Star Publishing. I wrote this story in the late fall of 2019, and it appeared in a quartet of frontier crime novellas entitled Perilous Frontier.

I have written a few other works in the novella range. As I mention in other commentaries on my work, I enjoy working in different lengths. Some people consider the typical length for a commercial story to be about 5000 words, while many literary magazines have limits such as 1500, 2500, 3500, and so on. Over the years, I have written stories of just about every length from 1000 to 28,000 words. In this past year alone, I have written stories at 1000, 5000, 8000, 10,000, and 20,000 words, plus a novel at 70,000. So when the opportunity came up to write a work in the 20,000 range, I was happy to give it a try. 

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Great Lonesome Commentary

Great Lonesome is my twenty-ninth western/frontier novel and my tenth book with Five Star. I wrote it in 2018, and it came out in November of 2020, delayed by a few months as many books were during the pandemic. 

Prior to writing this novel, I gathered notes over a period of a few years. I wanted to write a story about a person who rejected materialistic and conformist values, and I thought it would be a good story if this person met another person with similar interests. And so I came up with my protagonist, Reese Hartley, and my unconventional heroine, Muriel Dulse. Both characters have come west in order to have their own land and to forge a new life. Hartley also wants to get away from systems and machines, which become sort of a correlative for a way of life in which people pursue wealth and material possessions and oblige others to cooperate with them.

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Short Fiction Awards for 2020

Like last year but quite different, this year has been a good year for me with awards. My short story “Return to Laurel” was a finalist for the Western Writers of America Spur Award for Best Western Short Fiction Story and was also a finalist for the Western Fictioneers Peacemaker Award for Best Short Fiction. My novella “Leaving the Lariat Trail” won the Peacemaker Award for Best Short Fiction. Any one of these distinctions would give me an occasion to be thankful, and so I am appreciative three times over.

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Dangerous Trails Commentary

Dangerous Trails, published by Prairie Rose Publications in June 2020, is a collection of twelve western short stories that (with one small exception) I wrote since my last collection (Blue Horse Mesa) came out in 2013.  This is my third collection of western short stories and my eleventh collection of short fiction. It includes “Return to Laurel,” which was a Western Writers of America Spur Award finalist and a Western Fictioneers Peacemaker Award finalist, both in 2020.

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