Sunday, March 13, 2016

My Second Short Story

I write novels. Seven and counting. (Plus six nonfiction books, if I include my ghost writing assignments.) I’ve previously written only one short story, for which I received an Honorable Mention as a finalist. Maybe that didn’t count. It was a newspaper contest for a one hundred word novel. In the beginning, I thought anyone could string together one hundred words, but it took me a week to create a draft fit for submittal. Short is hard.

All of this is preface to telling you that I have written my first real short story. “Snake in The Grass” is a Steve Dancy Tale with a twist. I won’t tell you the twist. You have to read it for yourself. Where? First, you’ll need to wait a few months. The book is an anthology written by seven top selling Western authors.

Wanted, A Western Story Collection includes stories by Brad Dennison, Lou Bradshaw, Tell Cotten, Robert J. Thomas, WL Cox, James D. Best, and Duane Boehm.

I’ll let you know when it becomes available. In the meantime, I’ll leave with a few of my favorite quotes about short stories.
A short story must have a single mood and every sentence must build towards it. Edgar Allan Poe
A short story is a different thing all together - a short story is like a kiss in the dark from a stranger. Stephen King
The great thing about a short story is that it doesn’t have to trawl through someone’s whole life; it can come in glancingly from the side. Emma Donoghue
I used to write things for friends. There was this girl I had a crush on, and she had a teacher she didn’t like at school. I had a real crush on her, so almost every day I would write her a little short story where she would kill him in a different way. Stephen Colbert

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Celebrating a Birthday in Gardnerville, Nevada

Historic U.S. Route 395

For my birthday we ran up from San Diego to Gardnerville, Nevada. We stopped overnight in Santa Clarita to pick up friends, so it feels like a party. It’s a beautiful drive up U.S. Route 395. High Sierra with Humphrey Bogart was filmed in Lone Pine, Charles Manson was jailed in Independence, Bishop lays claim to the oldest rodeo in the country, Mammoth remains my favorite ski resort, Lee Vining is named after a saloon patron who shot himself in the most private of parts, and Bodie makes other ghost towns appear stunted. Schat’s Bakery alone makes the long drive worthwhile. This doesn’t even mention the stunning scenery. All that open beautiful land makes you wonder why everyone huddles on top of each other in Los Angeles.

Gardnerville is in Carson Valley, south of Carson City. The whole region feels peaceful. Homes are spread out, friendly people abound, traffic moves swiftly on the single thoroughfare, and majestic mountains loom in every direction. It’s a great place to live or visit.

Except … I can’t believe the amount of mayhem I’ve invented in these precincts.

Several Steve Dancy Tales take place in Carson City and Virginia City. Whenever I visit, I’m reminded that I wrote about another time. The Carson Valley of today seems quiet and subdued, but when Mark Twain wandered these environs, the region could truly be called the Wild West.

If you want to experience the history of this region, Roughing It by Mark Twain and An Editor on the Comstock Lode by Wells Drury provide first-hand accounts of Virginia City in its heyday.