“Leaving the Lariat Trail” is a novella, or short novel, that is a little less than half as long as a traditional western novel. It has been published as an e-book by Sundown Press, a division of Prairie Rose Publications, and at some point in the future it may appear in print form with one or more other selections.
In the fall of 2009, the president
of Eastern Wyoming College surprised me with a small tribute. He told me that
the governor of our state was going to be visiting our campus on October 16 as
part of a visit to the new corrections facility being built near our town. The
governor was going to stay for the Baxter Black show, and there was going to be
a reception before the program. At the reception, said the president, he
planned to present the governor with a collection of four of my books that he,
the president, had found in the college bookstore. The president said that if I
liked, I could attend the reception and present the books myself. I was quite
honored by the invitation, and I said that I would have to make sure I didn’t
have a conflict. I added that if I thought I had a small conflict such as elk
hunting, my wife would make it quite clear that meeting the governor was much
“At the End of the Orchard” is a
story of mine that originally appeared in a magazine called Hardboiled in May 2009. This story is a little
under 10,000 words—not quite in the novella range but longer than most short
stories. It is representative of one kind of fiction I have worked on in recent
years. After its publication in Hardboiled,
it went on to win the Western Writers of America Spur Award for best western
short story in 2010.
“Prairie Center” is a relatively long poem (about five pages) that I wrote about three years ago. I brought it out in a chapbook of poems entitled Rangeland and Prairie, and it won the Western Writers of America Spur Award in 2019 for best western poem of 2018. It was also published in a magazine entitled Saddlebag Dispatches, and it is now available in my collection of western poems entitled Thorns on the Rose (second edition).
Dusk Along the Niobrara is
my twenty-eighth western/frontier novel, my ninth book with Five Star, and my
fourth Dunbar novel. I wrote it in 2017-18, and it came out in June of 2019. As
of this writing, in July of 2019, it has received good reviews. When I did the
proofreading on it about five months ago, I thought it held together pretty
Castle Butte is my twenty-seventh
western/frontier novel, my eighth book with Five Star, and my second young
adult novel. I wrote it in 2016, and it came out in May of 2018. During the
time I was working on this novel, I did the proofreading on Good Water, my previous YA novel, which
went on to win a couple of small awards, and I felt encouraged to write another
story in this line.
Destiny at Dry Camp is my
twenty-sixth western/frontier novel, my seventh book with Five Star, and my
third Dunbar story. I wrote it in 2015, and it came out in April of 2017. By
the time I wrote this novel, I had a decent track record with Five Star. Both Dark
Prairie and Death in Cantera had done well with reviews, sales, and
a small award each, and the editors at Five Star were happy with the prospect
of another Dunbar novel. So was I.
is a contemporary western mystery novel with Wilf Kasmire as the protagonist.
It was published by Fire Star Press, an imprint of Prairie Rose Publications,
in November of 2017. As with other works, this one evolved in a roundabout way.
Shaping the Story
is, as the subtitle says, an introduction to writing fiction. It was published
by Sundown Press, an imprint of Prairie Rose Publications, in January of 2019. It
is a little over 100,000 words all together, with 68,000 in the main text and
36,000 in a short anthology of out-of-copyright stories to illustrate many of
the elements and principles discussed in the main text. I hope it is useful to
people who want to learn on their own as well as to those who might end up taking
a class or workshop with me.