“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.
“Blue Is Not the Word” is a longer story, almost 10,000 words, so it is almost a novella for some readers. I had been wanting to write this story for a while. I had a few different ideas that came together, and the time came around. One idea was related to the mournful feeling I have had in listening to songs such as “Crazy Arms” and “Down to My Last Cigarette,” songs that the narrator in this story listens to in older and newer versions that track with a remembered love affair and the narrative present of the story. Another idea was related to an old utility or
equipment shed I had seen out in the ranch country where I have hunted deer and antelope for a longer period of time than is covered by the story. So I put these ideas together, went on a field trip to see the shed again, and practiced with a pistol like the narrator does. I also listened to a few songs a few times, and I wrote the story. It is pretty much the story I wanted to write (things always change a little), and I was very pleased to see the story in print with the shed on the
“Buckskin Trail” is a traditional western story. It came about in an unusual way (or at least unusual way for me). Some years back, as part of an exercise or mini-competition in an online writers’ group, I wrote a four-sentence story line. I usually keep track of things, but in this instance, I did not note whether I ever sent this thing anywhere. I found it in one of my many folders, and I was taken by the story line, so I decided to write the story itself in similar terse fashion, one sentence after another like the footfalls of a horse. As sometimes happens, imperatives presented themselves, so the main character meets the sheep queen and she drugs his posset, which was not in the original four sentences. He also has to go through a couple of more gunmen, but none of this was excluded by the original synopsis. So it was fun to write. It came out at about 7000 words, a little longer than what some people consider to be the standard length of 5000 words for a commercial western story.
I hope readers enjoy either or both of these stories.
“Blue Is Not the Word” and “Buckskin Trail” are available as a double feature at Amazon.