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.Continue reading
“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.Continue reading
My collection of Western short stories entitled Blue Horse Mesa came out during the same period of time as my collection of retro/noir stories entitled Field Work, in 2012 when I was in between novel publishers. Blue Horse Mesa consists of twelve short stories, of which all but one had been previously published, and I took the initiative to bring them out in book form.