Thursday, December 22, 2011


    I've written dozens of short stories and ten or so full-length novels set in the American West of the 1800s, but only one of those is an actual cowboy tale. And even then, it's just barely cowboyed-up.
    Line Shack Winter is about how Charlie Phipps, a dedicated aging loner who enjoys the solitude of working at a remote line shack near the mountainous summer pasture of a large Wyoming ranch, is roped into taking care of the foreman's annoying - and endlessly talking - teenage son during one particularly lively winter.
    If I may indulge in a little name-dropping for a moment, Larry McMurtry (who happens to live nearby and often shows up at the same kinds of functions I attend) once told me to write only the kinds of stories I like to read, because writing anything else is just a waste of talent and heart. It hasn't worked for me as well as it has for him, but taking his advice has been a lot more fun and personally rewarding for me than what I was doing; and I'm all about the fun.
    And so is Line Shack Winter.

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