My Western Journey, Part 2: Cody and Me + A Major Announcement!

Last month I began this series by talking about my new Hopalong Cassidy short story, "Behind the Tonto Rim" (and yes, the title is a node to Zane Grey's great novel Under the Tonto Rim, and is set at one of my favorite places in Arizona, the proper name of which is the Mogollon Rim). Here's the view from the rim's edge, looking south. Go back and read that installment, if you've missed it.

Rim View

Okay, all caught up?

"Behind the Tonto Rim" will be out in March, in the anthology #TurningTheTied. You can preorder the ebook here (it'll also be in paperback, but no preorder option for that).

I wrote in that previous installment about some of my earliest Western writing, including the Desperadoes comic book series, which comprised four miniseries and a one-shot, all of it compiled in the Desperadoes Omnibus (which is now out of print, but available in various places).

After that, I wrote another Weird Western, Graveslinger, with my pal Shannon Eric Denton. Graveslinger was four issues, and is available in a collected edition. Graveslinger is also part of the Monster Forge Productions family, so keep your fingers crossed for a movie or TV series.

Graveslinger Cover_FF

My love for Weird Westerns dates back to the single book that has had the greatest impact on my life. It's called The Mystery of the Haunted Mine, and it's a young-adult novel by acclaimed Western author Gordon D. Shirreffs. I got it in the sixth grade. It's a contemporary Western (as of the time of its writing in the 1950s), set in and around the Espectro Mountains, which even at that age I knew were a fictionalized version of the real Superstition Mountains. It includes Western landscapes, history, and action, but those are combined with elements of crime, thriller, and horror fiction. Anyone who knows anything about my writing career knows the things I love most are crime, horror, thriller, and Western fiction, so a single book blending all those genres really spoke to me. That one book set me on my career path, and my life path--eventually landing me in Arizona, where I can see the Superstitions from our bedroom window.

Screen Shot 2021-02-02 at 11.54.45 AM

My first Weird Western novel was a tie-in to the RPG Deadlands. Thunder Moon Rising was a lot of fun to write, and I think a solid Western as well as a good novel.

All of this is leading up to a MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT!

My years of reading and writing Western fiction, including being a finalist for the Western Writers of America's coveted Spur Award and the Western Fictioneers' prestigious Peacemaker Award for my novella "Byrd's Luck," in the anthology The Untamed West, have all led up to this:

I've just signed a contract for a three-book series with Wolfpack Publishing!

Wolfpack is a fairly new player in the publishing business, but it's figured out how to sell books--lots of them--and although it publishes in many genres, its real specialty is Western fiction. My series--the Cody Cavanaugh series--will be right at home alongside the other Wolfpack series, written by some of the best writers currently working in the field (many of whom are old pals). The first book is due May 1, and will be published shortly thereafter, and I'll of course keep you posted through the process. In it, you'll meet Cody, a survivor of a horrific Confederate prison during the Civil War, and learn about his promise to his friend Sean O'Meara. That promise takes him west, after the war, where he'll meet up with ex-slave Freeman Douglas and the population of Pedregosa, in the Arizona Territory, including the women running the all-female-operated Empress Ranch. From Pedregosa, Cody and Freeman will travel around the west, righting wrongs and kicking bad-guy butt. These books will be Western thrillers--fun, action-packed, and as historically authentic as I can make them.

Stay tuned for more!

In other news, Marsheila (Marcy) Rockwell is a contributor to an anthology that came out yesterday from Kandisha Press, in celebration of Women in Horror month. The One That Got Away: Women of Horror Anthology Volume 3 leapt out of the gate to land, before the end of its first day on the market, at the #1 New Release spot in the horror anthologies category. It's not a Western, but it's important enough to squeeze in here. Check it out!