“In the Breaks” is a short story that is included in The Spoilt Quilt and Other Frontier Stories, published by Five Star Publishing in November 2019. This is a collection of stories featuring strong female main characters in frontier settings.

After a conversation with my agent and two editors at Five Star, I had decided to try my hand at writing a story with a female narrator. When the opportunity came up to contribute a story to this anthology, I went to work. I created a sixteen-year-old character named Katie Moran, who has come to Wyoming to live with her grandfather after living in an orphanage in Pennsylvania. In this story, she goes deer hunting in the Osteen Breaks, which are very much like a couple of areas I know in Wyoming. Early in the story, a horse throws her grandfather and puts him out of commission with a broken ankle, so Katie has to go through the woods herself. In addition to having a successful hunt, she has to endure the company of a pushy young man.

For part of my preparatory work for writing this story, I read Anne of Green Gables, also about an orphan, although my main motive in reading it was to acquire a sense of the voice of a young narrator not too distant in time from my own story.

“In the Breaks” is a somewhat low-keyed story, character-driven, in that Katie does not rescue hostages or fire away at marauders. She goes through her experience and grows as a result of it.

She also came alive for me as a character, and so I have decided to let her tell another story. I hope to have more news of it as time goes on.

Please click here to review and purchase The Spoilt Quilt and Other Frontier Stories.

Learn more about my contributions to Five Star’s predecessor anthologies, such as my commentary on “Darlings of the Dust” in Contention and Other Frontier Stories, and my work in The Trading Post and Other Frontier Stories.

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