Monday, July 13, 2015
Well, y’all, I’ve decided to try my hand at writing a “weird western.” For those of you unfamiliar with weird westerns, it’s a sub-genre of oaters that dips into horror, science fiction, or fantasy. I suppose it could mashup other genres too, as there’s not a lot of rules it seems. Basically, one can let their imagination run wild.
I’m a bit nervous about my first foray into weird westerns, as I ain’t never dun it before (I think that’s proper English). I love traditional westerns, but lately I’ve been in the mood to try my hand at something a little “out there.” I came up with an idea on a recent trip to the Palo Duro Canyon, and this week I began writing it. So, below is a very short sample. And I do mean short; it’s only the first paragraph. I’ll throw it up on the Kindle when I’m done, if I’m brave enough and feel that it’s halfway worth reading. I’m playing around with the cover, and this is a very early rough draft so please don't judge the book by its cover! There will be more to come.
We’ll see how this goes…
I rode into Canyon, Texas unsure of what I would find. Deep down, though, I feared I'd be dealing with some sort of evil of a significant magnitude. Many folks go through life overly superstitious and looking for the devil under every rock, but I’m not one of them. Truth be told, most of my investigations have led to perfectly natural explanations for the various phenomenon I have looked into. But every now and then I come across one that is truly the work of supernatural forces. In my heart of hearts I knew that would be the case out there in the West Texas desert. I prayed I was wrong as I silently rode across the northern edge of the Llano Estacado, making my way toward town. Nightfall was still a few hours off and there was plenty of sun that allowed me to see the cluster of buildings in the distance; too much sun, actually. It was the Year of Our Lord 1892. The air was hot, the dust was thick, and I was tired, hungry, and a bit cranky due to my long travels.
Told you it was short. More to come later. In the mean time, have a great Tuesday!
I’ve been away for a while, but it is time to blog again! So, let’s jump right into my latest review…
Outlaw Ranger by James Reasoner is one of the best western novels I’ve read in a long time. I won’t give away any plot details (there will be no spoilers here), but I will tell you that this book is just a ton of fun! The plot isn’t overly complex, and that’s okay with me. The characters are still fully developed, and by the end of the book I felt like I knew G.W. Braddock, the Outlaw Ranger himself, pretty good. And speaking of characters, this story features one of the meanest villains I’ve come across in a long time! In fact, he’s so downright evil you’re rooting for him to get every bit of what’s coming to him.
The novel is short and that is not a knock. In fact, I think the briskness works in the book’s favor. It comes out of the gate strong and never lets up, and there’s not a dull moment to be found. Elmore Leonard once made a statement that a writer should leave out the parts readers tend to skip. In other words, dispense with the “filler.” Mr. Reasoner understands this as there’s not a lot of padding. Instead, we get a taut, lean thrill ride with more than enough action.
Unfortunately, the big publishing houses have canceled many of their Western titles. The news might sound bad, but I’m actually not worried. I feel like we’re living in a great time for Western readers and writers as the ebook era is opening up even more avenues of possibility. While we may not be able to pick up paperbacks at the local drugstore anymore, we can sign onto our Kindle and download hundreds of good titles in an instant. I’m grateful for authors like James Reasoner who are making their older titles available when possible, and releasing new works often. In fact, Reasoner launched his own publishing arm sometime back called Rough Edges Press. Not only can you find many of his works at reasonable prices, but also other talented authors to boot.
If you’re in the mood for a good, fast paced Western, check out Outlaw Ranger. Thankfully this is a series, and I’ll be reading the second and third installments soon! For more information about this book, click here.
PS…If you’re a member of Kindle Unlimited, which I highly recommend, you can read it for free!