WOLF CREEK: BOOK 1 BLOODY TRAIL–MEET THE AUTHORS!

Today, I’m proud to introduce five wonderful western writers who I was privileged to work with on a “new concept” western, the kick-off novel of the Western Fictioneers’ Wolf Creek series.

Western Fictioneers is producing a new series of western novels, under the umbrella title Wolf Creek. The series gets its name from its setting, the fictional 1870s town of Wolf Creek, Kansas. The first installment, Bloody Trail, was released on September 1, with a new volume to follow every three or four months. Under the house pen name Ford Fargo, the six authors who collaborated on the first book of the series, Bloody Trail, are Clay More, James Griffin, L.J. Martin, Troy Smith, James Reasoner, and me, Cheryl Pierson. I can truly say, this has been one of the best projects I’ve ever worked on. I couldn’t have asked for  more talented co-authors and genuinely nice people to have been a part of this group for book 1 of the Wolf Creek series. And a big thanks to Troy Smith for coming up with this idea and keeping a guiding hand on things to see it through to a fantastic finish!

Bill Torrance, Spike Sweeney, Derrick McCain, Charley Blackfeather, G.W. Satterlee, and Logan Munro are common citizens, until the day their small town of Wolf Creek, Kansas, comes under a methodically cruel siege. Led by one of the most brutal men of the post Civil War years, Jim Danby, the outlaw gang that invades Wolf Creek figures they got away clean with murder and bank robbery. But the dwellers of Wolf Creek have secrets of their own, and the posse that goes after Danby and his men are anything but the ordinary people they seemed to be before the attack. They’ll go to any lengths to keep their town safe, no matter how long they have to follow the BLOODY TRAIL.

I asked three questions of each of the authors about their character, collaboration, and what’s to come in future editions of the Wolf Creek series. For the sake of space, I’ll post the questions once here at the beginning and number the answers to correlate.

Questions:

1. Wolf Creek is a town filled with secrets, and people “with a past.” Tell us a little about
your character without giving away all his secrets. What kind of man is he and how does he change in this story?

2. The idea of a collaboration with other authors is sometimes daunting. What did you enjoy most about working with your co-authors under the pen name “FORD FARGO”?

3. Are there any plans for your character to reappear in a future edition of the Wolf Creek stories? If so, what edition will it be?

Let’s start with Clay More’s answers, since his character kicks the story off.

CLAY MORE—Dr. Logan Munro

1. Logan Munro is a Scottish doctor, as am I. Shortly after graduating from Edinburgh University he served with the British Army Hospital in Scutari in Constantinople during the Crimean War. In 1856, at the end of the war he had the opportunity to go to India. While there he married Helen, a young governess. A year later The Indian Mutiny took place and he was involved in the siege. Sadly, Helen died from malaria. Disillusioned with life, and bereft at losing Helen, Logan sailed for America. Along came the Civil War, during which he served as a surgeon in the Union Army. When the guns ceased and the smoke cleared he settled down in Wolf Creek. He has seen a lot of action in the three wars he served in and he has honed his surgical skills on the battlefields. He is tired of all the killing and he just wants to settle down as a family doctor in a sleepy town.

I don’t think that Logan has really changed in the course of the story. Like all of the decent citizens of Wolf Creek he is sickened by the attack by the Danby gang. When a posse is formed he insists on
going, since he feels that he may be needed. His training and his experience mean that he keeps a cool head when he is under pressure.

2. This was indeed a very daunting prospect, since I was working with top names in the western genre, five writers whose prose and imagination I greatly admired. When Troy gave me the task of opening the story I was naturally anxious in case I failed to engage the reader in those first two chapters, which would result in the whole project collapsing. Troy had worked out an outline for us all to work to and everyone had the opportunity to chip in until we had the plot mapped out. Then each writer told the story through the viewpoint of their character. I think Troy was inspired to come up with the whole concept. We wrote the book sequentially, so I had to write mine quickly and hand it on to Jim Griffin, who then wrote his story and handed it on to Troy. Then Larry took up the reins and handed it on to James. And of course, Cheryl had to finish it off, which she did beautifully.

It was a lot of fun, but each writer had his or her own pressure to keep the story moving. I really enjoyed working with all of the writers and seeing just how the story panned out. I feel privileged to have been involved in the first collaborative novel. Also, I have to say that Troy, who ramrodded the whole thing, did a fantastic job in taking the whole manuscript and blending it seamlessly together. I think the result is a book that has turned out to be greater than the sum of its parts.

3. Yes, I am happy to say that Logan returns in Book 4 – The Taylor County War. In fact, I am working on it right now.

LARRY MARTIN—Angus “Spike” Sweeney

Angus “Spike” Sweeney is the town blacksmith.

He wears a butternut wool  Confederate Kepi with a Davis Guard Medal pinned above the eye shade and invites comments, which might just be met with an iron bender’s grip on the throat and a pounding left to the proboscis. Considered a hero of  the Davis Guards and the defense of Sabine Pass. He is usually unarmed, but is deadly within twenty feet with his hammer, and can split hairs at  fifteen with his hatchet or Arkansas toothpick. A decent and deliberate  shot with both a sidearm and long gun.

Spike was born in New Orleans and was a sailor (both in trading vessels in the  Gulf of Mexico and on the Mississippi) and on-board smithy, where he  acquired some skill as a gunsmith as well. He keeps a garden in the rear of the shop with both vegetables and flowers, and is teased about the  flowers. He is bashful around women and wouldn’t swear in front of one if a  beer wagon ran over his moccasin clad foot, but is on the prod for a  woman who can put up with his (in his eyes) questionable looks, and long hours in front of a hot forge.

Spike’s silent partner at the  forge is Emory Charleston, an ex-slave -the two men make an incongruous, but mutually loyal, pair. Em’s biggest complaint about Spike is the  Confederate cap he insists on wearing.

JIM GRIFFIN—Bill Torrance

1.  My character is Bill Torrance, the owner of the Wolf Creek Livery stable. He’s a man who seems to care only for horses, and little else. He’s never even been known to carry a gun. In modern-day terms, he’d be considered a “wimp”. However, Bill Torrance is not his real name, and his background is far from the picture he presents to the citizens of Wolf Creek. This becomes clear when the town is attacked by the Danby gang.

2.  First, it was an honor to be asked to participate in this project, with authors far more well-known than I, all of whom I admire. What I found most amazing and enjoyable was the complete cooperation among all the authors, and the complete lack of egos. Everyone was willing to bend to let the storyline mesh together cleanly. All of the authors were allowed to use the other authors’ characters in their chapters, as long as they didn’t change the character “owner’s” concept of his or her character. By everyone working together and setting aside our natural instincts to not want anyone else using “our” characters, we were able to avoid transition and storyline problems.

3.  Yes, Bill Torrance, now using his real name, will be appearing in a future Wolf Creek book. I believe Volume 6. In that book, we’ll learn more about him, plus he’ll be interacting with Edith Pettigrew, widow of one of the founders of Wolf Creek. Bill had a confrontation with her in Bloody Trail, so when
they meet again the sparks will once more be flying.

TROY SMITH—Charley Blackfeather

1. Charley Blackfeather’s father was an escaped slave, and his mother was Seminole –he was raised as a member of that tribe, and as a very young man fought against the U.S. military in the Seminole Wars. Later, during the Civil War, he served in the same blue uniform he had once fought against… now (1871) he serves as a cavalry scout, making use of his vast knowledge of Kansas and Indian Territory.

Charley is an adept tracker and hunter. He bears a lot of pain from the losses he has suffered in the various wars, but carries it stoically. He can be pretty intimidating if you don’t know him well –but if he is comfortable with you he can display a wry sense of humor. In the course of our first episode, Charley is visited by ghosts from his past that re-awaken his grief and rage. He also begins to develop new friendships, with people he would not have expected he would ever trust.

 2. As editor of the series, I admit I did have some trepidation about trying to coordinate this kind of complex project, and about dealing with so many different authors. I feared it would end up being an exercise in herding cats, and that I would have a lot of stubborn, narcissistic, recalcitrant people to deal with (in other words, writers.) But I was pleasantly surprised. This book, and the ones that are set to come after, were joys to work on. Everyone cooperated wonderfully-it really did feel like a team from the outset. And the rich, vibrant characters everyone created came alive immediately.

3. Well, that’s kind of a trick question in my case. As editor, I will be writing a section in every book, to help pull the various other parts together. I have two characters –one for stories that take place mostly in town (Marshal Sam Gardner) and one for stories that take place largely outside of town
(Charley Blackfeather.)

 

JAMES REASONER—Sheriff G.W. Satterlee

1. My character, Sheriff G.W. Satterlee, is a former buffalo hunter and army scout who drifted into packing a badge, and in the process he discovered that he’s an instinctive politician who enjoys the power of his position. He’s not the morally upright lawman hero so often found in Western fiction, but  neither is he the corrupt official out to line his own pockets. Rather, he’s somewhere in between . . . which means that he’s capable of either inspiring us or disappointing us, depending on the situation in which he finds himself and his reaction to it. In BLOODY TRAIL, he discovers that maybe he has a little  more of a conscience than he thought he did. As with most things about G.W. Satterlee, whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, we just don’t know yet .. . and probably neither does he.

2. I really got a kick out of the passion and enthusiasm the other authors brought to the project. Everyone tried to make this the very best novel it could be.

3. Since G.W. Satterlee is the county sheriff, headquartered in Wolf Creek, he’s bound to make plenty of return appearances, ranging from brief cameos to leading roles in some books. I believe he’s supposed to be featured again in the fourth book in the series.

My blog can be found at http://jamesreasoner.blogspot.com

CHERYL PIERSON—Derrick McCain

1. I have two characters in this story, Derrick McCain, who has come back to Wolf Creek after many years of “drifting” after the war. He’s uneasy with himself and his past–he did some things that he regrets both during and after the war. But he has a personal stake in joining the posse to go after the gang that attacked Wolf Creek…he’s seeking revenge of his own. My other character is Carson Ridge, a member of the Cherokee Lighthorse law enforcement. He makes a brief appearance but will be back in future editions of Wolf Creek.

2. I truly loved working on this project. Getting to read the other parts first really helped me in my decision as to how to end it properly, since I wrote the last two chapters. It was important to “get it right” because the ending has to leave the reader wanting more. But every chapter built on the one that came before it, and Clay, Jim, Troy, Larry and James really made my job a lot easier than it might have been otherwise. This was Troy’s idea, and he has been organized and kept the ball rolling all along. So for me, the entire experience was really a good one–and nothing like I’d ever done before.

3. Derrick McCain will appear in book 5, Showdown at Demon’s Drop. I also have a couple of short stories planned for his character in future anthologies. Carson Ridge may also appear in book 5–I’m not certain yet, but I know he will turn up again in the future somewhere!

Thanks to all my co-authors today for joining me here at Petticoats and Pistols. We’ve enjoyed being here today to talk about this very different western, and we welcome any questions and comments!  

We will be giving away a print copy of WOLF CREEK: BOOK 1 BLOODY TRAIL to one lucky commenter. If you just can’t wait to see if you won it, here’s the link to the page at Amazon!

http://www.amazon.com/WOLF-CREEK-Bloody-Trail-Volume/dp/1475243197/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1347404335&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=Wolf+Creek+%3ABook+1+Bloody+Trail

 

 

Written by Cheryl Pierson

A native Oklahoman, I've been influenced by the west all my life. I love to write short stories and novels in the historical western and western romance genres, as well as contemporary romantic suspense! Check my Amazon author page to see my work: https://www.amazon.com/author/cherylpierson I live in Oklahoma City with my husband of 34 years. I love to hear from readers and other authors--you can contact me here: fabkat_edit@yahoo.com (Follow me on Facebook)

Visit Cheryl Pierson's website


49 Comments on “WOLF CREEK: BOOK 1 BLOODY TRAIL–MEET THE AUTHORS!”

  1. Tanya Hanson says:

    Cheryl, and everybody, what a terrific concept. I ordered this on August 27 and am eager to start it as soon as I get my current project done (10K words to go so I’m close!) Thanks for the “teasers” and letting us get to know y’all. Best wishes for tons of success!

  2. Troy D. Smith says:

    Tanya, I hope you like it! This project has been a joy to work on… my thanks to all the other writers.

  3. ellie says:

    Wonderful post today. The books sounds incredibly interesting and I enjoyed learning about this idea.

  4. James Little says:

    What an outstanding concept, looking forward to all you all do.

  5. Cheryl Pierson says:

    Ellie,
    We had a lot of fun working on this. There are many more to come in the series, and there’ll be many other characters introduced. Thanks so much for coming by!
    Cheryl

  6. Cheryl Pierson says:

    Hey Tanya– Well, I’m anxious to hear how you liked it, of course! LOL Oh, you are getting close to being done with your writing project, aren’t you? I know you’re busy–thanks for taking time out to comment!
    Cheryl

  7. Cheryl Pierson says:

    James,
    This whole idea was Troy Smith’s. He “thunk” it up and got it organized, created the story bible for it, and let us know what the plot was and what each character’s part in it would be. I really enjoyed working on this.
    Cheryl

  8. JOYE says:

    Really enjoyed reading about all of the different western books. I grew up reading Louis L Amour and Zane Grey books. I like reading books set in the West. I have added this one to my TBR list.

  9. Kirsten Lynn says:

    I couldn’t wait, Cheryl, and had to get a copy when I first heard about THE BLOODY TRAIL! I can’t wait to get into this one! The whole concept amazes me!

    Thanks to all for sharing a bit about their characters and the process, now I’m even more eager to get reading.

    –Kirsten

  10. Linda Broday says:

    How exciting! Sounds like a very fun project. It’s a challenge working with other authors’ characters. I found that out to some degree when I was writing those anthology stories with Phyliss, Jodi and DeWanna. It’s a little daunting at first messing with someone else’s character. But it sure makes the stories better and more cohesive. Congratulations on the new release!

  11. James Reasoner says:

    I can’t say enough good things about the job that Troy and all the other authors did on this book. Working on it was a lot of fun.

  12. anne says:

    This book sounds extraordinary and the characters compelling. fascinating to read about this Western. best wishes and much happiness.

  13. Troy D. Smith says:

    Linda, it is challenging to work on other folks’ characters… in this case, everyone involved communicated regularly and I was able to get feedback on the subject (“Would your character do/say something like that, do you think?”) Since mine and Cheryl’s character’s have a shared past (sort of…in a way) she and I worked pretty closely planning out both of their biographies to figure out how they fit together.

  14. Troy D. Smith says:

    If y’all DO like the book, the good news is, we have them plotted and in process through Book 6.

  15. Cheryl Pierson says:

    Thanks, Joye.I hope you enjoy it. It’s really different–we were just talking the other day about this being the first “shared world” in the western genre that any of us knew of.
    Cheryl

  16. Cheryl Pierson says:

    Kirsten,
    I am so happy to hear that! I think you will really like it. There’s plenty of action, for sure, and I enjoyed seeing the relationships evolve and change between the characters. Lots of surprises.
    Cheryl

  17. Cheryl Pierson says:

    Linda,
    We had so much fun working on this. Troy has a great brain for coming up with ideas and plots and keeping everything going smoothly. And you just couldn’t ask for better people to work with. James Reasoner, Jim Griffin, Clay More, L.J. Martin, and Troy were all the best. I was thrilled to be able to take part in this project.
    Cheryl

  18. Cheryl Pierson says:

    Hey, James! There you are. It was my pleasure, as well, to work with so many talented authors.
    Cheryl

  19. Cheryl Pierson says:

    Hi Anne,
    Thank you so much. I’m looking forward to getting started on my next portion–my characters won’t be back until book 5, SHOWDOWN AT DEMON’S DROP.
    Cheryl

  20. Karen Kay says:

    Wow, what an interesting concept! I’m going to study this out when I have a moment a little later today (I hope). Fascinating!

  21. Troy D. Smith says:

    Joye, if you like L’Amour I’m sure you’ll like our little venture; there is a lot of good ol’ action, AND believable characters.

  22. Troy D. Smith says:

    Karen, as Cheryl pointed out, we’re pretty sure this is the only “shared universe” series done in the western genre -it’s been done a few times in the fantasy/sci fi world. But I’m pretty sure that ours is the only series EVER, of ANY genre, that is BOTH “shared universe” AND “collaborative.” Most of the previous shared universe projects I’m aware of followed the format set forth in the old THIEVES’ WORLD series: there were anthologies of stand-alone short stories, written by different people, in the same setting and sometimes the same characters. In some ways a lot of licensed series are like that, such as STAR TREK or STAR WARS. But I don’t know of another case where each individual BOOK was co-written by multiple authors. (We do plan to also do an occasional short story anthology, btw, to give writers a chance to further develop their characters- Book 6 will be the first of those.) In a way, our series is a lot like a big role-playing game with me as dungeonmaster :-)

  23. Elizabeth Lane says:

    What a fascinating bunch of authors. Your own diverse backgrounds add to the richness of the story. Great characters and details.

  24. Cheryl Pierson says:

    Elizabeth,
    We really had a ball with this and it went smoothly. I’m looking forward to the next installment–think it’s called KIOWA VENGEANCE–(correct me if I’m wrong, Troy). There is always plenty of action going on!
    Cheryl

  25. Troy D. Smith says:

    Yep, KIOWA VENGEANCE- in which the stage to Wolf Creek stumbles into the path of a Kiowa raid, and a very disparate group of Wolf Creek citizens is thrown together in a struggle to survive… Charley Blackfeather, of course, is the scout for the cavalry troop trying to find them in time…

  26. Keith Souter says:

    Thank you so much for inviting us onto Petticoats and Pistols. Great job, Cheryl. From my point of view it was an absolute privilege to work with such an august group of fine writers and be a part of Troy’s innovative project. It was actually an adventure in itself, and I am pleased that Logan is going to be involved further down the trail in Book 4.
    Keith

  27. Kathleen says:

    I’m overjoyed to hear there will be five more books in the series! It’s good to see such thought-provoking, edgy western fiction. The characters are phenomenal — all complex, all tormented by their pasts, all with their own moral ambiguities. Can’t wait for the next book. :-)

  28. Troy D. Smith says:

    Thank you, Kathleen! It was a risky project- so many things could have gone wrong -I’m glad it worked!

  29. Estella says:

    What a different idea! Sounds great!

  30. Sarah McNeal says:

    I really like how each of you has developed a unique and interesting character that fits into the story plot. How each of you managed to follow the same story line, I shall never know but I sure do admire the effort and imagination it took to attempt such a trememndous feat.
    I can see right now that getting book 1 in the Wolf Creek series is an essential read if I’m going to follow this whole series.
    To Clay More,James Griffin, L.J. Martin, James Reasoner and Cheryl Pierson, I wish you all tremendous success. I think this is going to be one of those books that’s going to have diverse and very interesting characters. I can’t wait to get my hands on Fire Creek, Book 1 Bloody Trail.

  31. Celia Yeary says:

    Cheryl–I am truly amazed by you, and you know I already felt that way about your talent and your drive. Maybe you’ve just landed in a big pot of gold, getting to write with all these fantastic, well known authors..You have been honored, I do believe.And the gentlemen certainly have been blessed to have you in their presence.
    The story line is fantastic–I can just see the town and these benign characters going about their job…until danger strikes, and like Superman!!! …each and every one steps up to the plate. I’m getting chill bumps, for I do love Westerns…example–Hell on wheels. Much luck to you all.

  32. Cheryl Pierson says:

    Hey Keith! Glad to see you made it–the secret is out now about you and your alter-ego, Clay More! LOL I’m waiting to see what’s up for Logan in Book 4. I really did love his character.
    Cheryl

  33. Cheryl Pierson says:

    Hi Estella! Thanks for commenting–gotcha in the drawing–check back tonight around 9:00 CST.
    Cheryl

  34. Cheryl Pierson says:

    Hey Sarah! Thanks so much for coming by and for your very kind words. I know you will love Wolf Creek:Book 1 Bloody Trail. Every character is so different and has their own voice, but they all have to work together despite their differences–and of course, there is still some lingering animosity over the Civil War, since it only ended a few years earlier.
    Cheryl

  35. Cheryl Pierson says:

    Celia, it was my honor and my pleasure to be included in this venture. I really enjoyed it. Thanks so much for your very kind words–I know you have a lot of irons in the fire right now, too! Oh, yes, there is plenty of that “going about their regular lives” until the Danby gang comes to their town. Then, there are a lot of surprises.
    Hugs,
    Cheryl

  36. Keith Souter says:

    Hey Cheryl, I – er – meant, Clay!

  37. Victoria Bylin says:

    Hi Cheryl! What an amazing project . . . just reading this blog, each character stands out in his own way. And all that writing talent in one book . . . awesome! I bet you loved every minute of it!

  38. Mary J says:

    What an awesome concept! This could go on longer than Book 6. All the characters sound like a stand alone book. Great idea. Please place my name in that ole’ Stetson, one more time.
    Mary J

  39. Charlene Raddon says:

    I’ll be this project was not only fun but educational, not only because of what you learned with your research but what you learned about each other and working with others to accomplish a goal. Congratulations on a great feat. I can’t wait to read this first book and those that follow.
    charraddon@pobox.com

  40. Cheryl Pierson says:

    Too late now, Keith! LOL

  41. Cheryl Pierson says:

    Vicki, I really did enjoy it. Thanks so much for your kind words–it was a group effort and I think it came off splendidly (if I do say so myself.)
    Cheryl

  42. Cheryl Pierson says:

    Hi Mary J!
    Yep, got your name added in that ol’ Stetson and I’ll do the drawing a little later on this evening. I’m so glad you stopped by and that you enjoyed the blog!
    Cheryl

  43. Cheryl Pierson says:

    Charlene,
    It was a wonderful experience. It went off without a hitch and everyone really worked well together. Truly enjoyable.
    Cheryl

  44. susan leech says:

    I loved all of this information and thanks for sharing it with us. I love your books and would love to be lucky and win one. sue Leech garysue@dejazzd.com

  45. Troy D.Smith says:

    Charlene, as a historian in my day job, I was able to slip in a lot of history, hopefully in a form less painful than a lecture!

  46. Cheryl Pierson says:

    Susan, thanks for coming by and commenting! I’m going to draw a name here in just a few seconds and will be posting it.
    Cheryl

  47. Cheryl Pierson says:

    Thanks to everyone for coming by today and participating! We appreciate your comments and hope you’ll pick up a copy of Wolf Creek: Book 1 Bloody Trail.

  48. Caroline Clemmons says:

    I am eager to read this book, which sounds irresistable to a western addict like myself. James Reasoner and I live in the same area, and I feel as if I know Cheryl. I’ve hosted Troy on my blog. Nice to “meet” the rest of the authors and characters today. That is, the authors and their characters. ?

  49. Cheryl Pierson says:

    Hey Caroline! So glad you could make it! I don’t know…I think authors ARE characters! LOL We enjoyed being here yesterday so much and having so much wonderful participation and comments.
    Thanks again for coming by!
    Cheryl