The late Celia Yeary invited me to join Sweethearts of the West soon after my second western story, For Love of Banjo was published. After that I began to write western stories full-on. I invented the Wildings and then they became like family to me. All of the Wilding stories took place in the fictional town of Hazard, Wyoming. I only saw Wyoming once way back in 1969 on a road trip with my friends from Omaha, Nebraska. I was so impressed by the majesty and wildness of Wyoming that it seeped deep into my heart and I never forgot it.
Every detail of Wyoming had to be researched right down to its native plants and trees. Research to most writers, including me, is an exciting adventure into the unknown. Sometimes research can be time consuming and lead away from the primary goal of writing. I liked adding real history and places in the Wildings series and often I would write a blog about what I had found here in Sweethearts of the West.
I have a huge old Road Atlas that I used to find places in Wyoming. I selected a place near the Wind River and the Wind River Reservation for my fictional town and actually penciled in Hazard on my map. I made a mistake about a train being in that area of Wyoming in Banjo’s story and I never wrote about the interstate because all of my stories took place before they existed.
A few months back I submitted my last Wilding story, this one about the Wilding’s cousin, Kyle Red Sky. At present I am editing, revising, and almost rewriting a paranormal fantasy trilogy, Legends of Winatuke, I had written in the beginning of my career. When I am finished with those three books, I am going to take a new direction for my next projects. I’m going back in time to the pre-Revolutionary War days in a state I am familiar with—North Carolina. I am well acquainted with the beautiful state of North Carolina from the Atlantic coast to the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains. It’s been my home for most of my life. I was raised here.
Now I will have the joy of researching its fantastic history which I have never done for my own state before. This is going to be so interesting and fun for me. I always wanted to know where Charlotte got its names for streets like Tryon and communities like Myers Park. I want to know all about the Old Salem settlement, Black Beard the pirate, and the Scot-Irish Mountain folk. These are the places I can easily visit and the history I can relate to. Even the Carolina coast is jam-packed with history and interesting features like the Outer Banks and the old Cotton Exchange in Wilmington, North Carolina. I am so excited to take this new direction.
Moorehead City, NC
Of course, this change in subject and place will lead me away from western writing and from The Sweethearts of the West. Through researching for my posts here I have found a rich history and culture of the west. The Mississippi, the Great Plains, and the Rocky Mountains have all given our country an exciting and wild history that makes America a unique and proud place to live. I am going to feel a little lost for a bit until I get used to my change in story location, but I know I will always be around my delightful and talented friends here at Sweethearts of the West. To the person who takes over my time slot on the 18th and 19th of each month I’d like to say welcome and I wish you all the very best. It has been an honor to have been a part of this esteemed and talented group.
Diverse stories filled with heart