Tag: frontier mystery

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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Crossing Over

One of the best pieces of advice I received when I was trying to find a home for my first novel came from an agent. She suggested that I not be afraid to try writing a genre western. As I had been writing short stories, articles, reviews, and poems for several years and was taking a big step toward book-length fiction, I was hesitant to try a second novel if my first one wasn’t going anywhere. But with her encouragement, I went to work on an idea for a traditional western. It took me a couple of years, in and around the shorter things I was writing, in addition to my full-time teaching position, but I ended up with a western novel.

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Justice at Redwillow Commentary

Justice at Redwillow is my twenty-third western/frontier novel and my fourth with Five Star in its hardcover frontier line. It was published in August of 2015.

I began working on ideas for this story line in 2011, but I struggled quite a bit with some of the elements. I think some of my uncertainties may have come from my status, as this was the period between the time when Dorchester ended its western line and the time when Five Star began its frontier line. As mentioned in other commentaries, I had begun working with an agent, but the various commercial publishing companies were wary of taking on new writers, and some of them had a rather narrow idea of what kinds of stories they wanted. I came to appreciate Dorchester, who, in spite of wanting things to be recognizable traditional westerns, was willing to accept stories that were a bit atypical and varied.

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Don’t Be a Stranger Commentary

Don’t Be a Stranger is my twenty-second western/frontier novel, published by Five Star Publishing in February of 2015. It was published before Justice at Redwillow, although I wrote them in the opposite order. I wrote them both while things were getting under way with Five Star and its frontier line. During that time, Dark Prairie was going through the acceptance, editing, and production process, and Across the Cheyenne River was making its way onto the list.

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