Just a little heads up, if you haven’t seen it on Facebook or the website. I’ve signed my longest story to date, Ain’t No Law in California and even though it hasn’t made the first round of editing, I expect it to be out sometime early next spring?
Actually we’ll get to see two novels next year, as the shorter, Walking to Babylon (modern crime), will make its appearance in 2017 also.
Ain’t No Law in California has to be one of those stories that will go down as a labor of love? The original version must have been started about 2010 or 11 and was written and rewritten as a traditional western. Then was scrapped and rewritten in first person as I hoped to bring something out in a story that I had lost control over.
Over the years, dozens of stories were written, placed, sold, whatever, but I still came back to the western as time allowed. (I have two others, of these novels that never quite made it, by the way?).
My first story accepted This Side of the River (The Big Adios) was a scene from the novel to be followed by The Forgiven and A Gun Fighters Last (Frontier Tales) and finally The Devils Hand and Arroyo Diablo (DGP’s Hangmen & Bullets). The Forgiven won a reader’s choice award in the summer of 2015.
Crime seemed to be the place where the readers were, so of course, I penned flash and short fiction as fast as I could, with a good number of the stories finding homes in crime anthologies and small press magazines. Along the way, a short horror story or two found a home and this last year I even managed to put out both a short erotic story and a longer erotic crime novella to follow it (under a pseudonym, of course) .
Post-apocalyptic, zombies and such had never interested me very much and I left that stuff alone. Dead Guns Press had put out a call for such doomsday stories (The Undead Wars) and I bit, writing a short story titled Pandora’s Box (of which I later cannibalized the title when DGP went belly up).
It was while working through the long western for the fourth time that I decided to mash genres somewhat and add in elements of a futuristic, post-apocalyptic world, but told through the eyes of an old west lawman a hundred years or better after a nuclear war has changed things some. The story has elements of steam-punk, modern military, zombies (although mine seek drugs and not brains?), but comes off as western.
What the hell, huh?
The story came together quickly, topping out at just over 101 thousand words and was submitted three times over the spring and summer, with Solstice forwarding the contract that would see it in publication.
We’ll have to see if anyone will read it and I’m nearly finished with a second—in the case that it does?