After a brief hiatus, we are ready now to return to the rough-and-ready fictional cowtown of Wolf Creek, Kansas. For those unfamiliar with this series published by Western Fictioneers, you're missing out -it's almost as fun to read as it is to write.
Each of our writers -there are currently over two dozen -creates one or two unique characters to be citizens of our little community. Our books are either short story anthologies, in which the authors delve more deeply into their characters, or collaborative novels in which each chapter is written by a different writer, from their character's POV.
We have two such novels to offer now... yesterday we talked about Book 11, Stand Proud... today we'll tell you a little about the second book, The Dead of Winter.
Cruel cattle baron Andrew Rogers is still trying to take over the whole county -but his resources are growing thin, and his secret investors are losing patience, so he is growing desperate.
He makes one final gamble, and Wolf Creek will not be the same...
Here is an excerpt:
Marshal Sam Gardner shivered from the cold as he stepped onto the front porch of his office. He had just been to Ma’s Café for steak and eggs and half-a-pot of coffee, which had finally warmed him up from the walk there; by the time he got back to his office, warmth was already a dim memory.
He closed the door behind him quickly, after kicking as much snow off his boots as he could. He was probably going to have to drink another half-pot of coffee just to feel human again, and this time it would be of his own making rather than the decidedly superior brew they offered at Ma’s. But enough bourbon added into the mix would balance things out a bit.
Quint Croy and Satterlee’s deputy Zack Zacherly were playing checkers. The two were often seen together when they weren’t on duty, and even when they were. It was only natural, they were a lot alike: both in their twenties, former cowboys, both known for having level heads and being slow to anger. They did both have quite a bit of green on them, especially when it came to trusting people, but maybe age would cure that—or maybe, Sam thought to himself with a bit of surprise, maybe that would make them better lawmen someday than he was. If they lived long enough. He had taken a very protective view of Quint, and the two young deputies sometimes reminded him of younger versions of himself and G.W. Satterlee, who had become the best friend Sam had ever had.
“Mornin’, Zack,” Sam said. “I see you’re using a shrewd strategy, taking Quint on after he’s put in a night shift.”
“Mama didn’t raise no fool,” Zack said with a smile. “The sheriff sent me over to drop off some reward dodgers, I figured I could spare the five minutes or so it usually takes to outwit Quint, here.”
“Well, if we’re having a party, I might as well put on a full pot,” Sam said. Then he heard a horrible caterwauling coming from the back room.
“Oh, hell,” the marshal said. “Please tell me that’s not what I think it is.”
Quint shrugged. “He’s been here since I got in, Sam.”
Sam sighed and headed for the back room, where he kept his cot. This building was more than his office, it was his living quarters—and one person in particular seemed to think it was theirs, as well.
Sure enough, Rupe Tingley was stretched out on Sam’s cot, snoring like a banshee. Sam actually wouldn’t mind—he had a soft spot for Rupe, who reminded him of an uncle he used to have—if the town drunk’s bathing habits were more consistent. Or if they existed. Every time Rupe stumbled in and occupied the marshal’s bed, the sheets had to be taken to the Li Laundry and fumigated.
Sam reached out and grabbed the other man’s shoulder—the good one, that still had an arm attached to it—and shook.
“Rise and shine, old hoss,” he said. Rupe burped, but made no indication he was gaining consciousness. Sam shook him harder.
“Damnation, man, what does it take to wake you up?”
And that was when all hell broke loose.
The air became alive with the sound of gunfire, and the thuds of bullets—it was not just a few shots, it was a veritable fusillade. It reminded him for a moment of the battlefield. And then it was over, as quickly as it had begun, and he heard the sound of horses galloping away.
Rupe was still asleep, but Sam Gardner was more awake than he had ever been in his life. He ran back into the front room.
The books are released under the house name Ford Fargo- but here are the writers in this volume, and the characters they write for:
James Reasoner - Sheriff G. W. Satterlee
Cheryl Pierson - Derrick McCain, farmer
James J. Griffin - Ben Tolliver, hostler
Clay More - Logan Munro, town doctor
Big Jim Williams - Hutch Higgins, farmer
Troy D. Smith - Marshal Sam Gardner
Check it out today- and if you haven't read the first ten, shoot, find 'em and see just how much fun they are!