Where do stories come from? What inspires them? Many things: ideas gleaned from a phrase, an item of news, some snippet from a magazine or book… and so on.
Here you can find a little background for my western short stories. Their printing history ranges from 2007 to 2014.
‘Chance’ came about as the result of one of the writers’ circle prompts. This one was ‘gambling’, I believe. The original story was shorter, so that it could be read out at the session. In time, the short story grew into my second western novel, Last Chance Saloon (2008).
‘Bubbles’ also resulted from another prompt, this one being the single word ‘bubbles’. I found myself trying to think of the many ways I could use the word in the story and it simply grew. Again, this piece started out as a much shorter story. The characters demanded more space. One day, I’d like to revisit them and deal with them in greater depth.
‘Visitors’ was yet another prompt, with the same name. I wanted to deal with a siege situation, and a family fighting for their lives, though I didn’t want to fall back on the old stereotypical Indians either. Also, I wanted to portray a strong female character.
‘Silence’ grew out of some reading I’d done about the gangs of New York in the early 1860s. By now I was hooked on single-word titles, too. Again, I wanted to see how often I could incorporate the theme of silence. Gabriel García Marquez repeated the word ‘solitude’ a great deal in his famous novel A Hundred Years of Solitude and that subconsciously inspired me.
In 2013 I was invited to contribute to a gambling anthology set in the Old West, inspired by the TV series Maverick. For many years I’d been fascinated by the paddle-wheel steamers of the Mississippi, and this was too good a chance to miss. I’ll be returning to this theme for an upcoming novella.
‘Mescal Makers’ was as a result of a research by-product, uncovering the horrendous treatment of the Apaches by the Spanish invaders.In 2014 I was invited to contribute a story to a boxing anthology. In my research I discovered the fascinating early history of Chicago’s boxing, and inevitably there had to be a cowboy connection in ‘Cowboy in the Ring’!
The cover illustration is a detail from a sketch I drew in 1963.
Visitors - Collected short stories volume 3
Available as a paperback and e-book from Amazon here
Other books in the series are:
Gifts from a Dead Race – Collected stories vol.1 (science fiction, horror, fantasy, ghost)
Nourish a Blind Life – Collected stories vol.2 (science fiction, horror, fantasy, ghost)
Codename Gaby – Collected stories vol.4 (historical)
I Celebrate Myself – Collected stories vol.5 (crime and adventure)