This is the cover for my new book Graves of His Personal Liking due out in October. (No aardvarks or rutabagas.) I got the final galleys today, so I guess it’s good to go. The title came from an Alexander Smith quote, “Every man’s road in life is marked by the graves of his personal liking.” As you can probably tell from the horses it is a western, but only from Louis L’Amour’s observation of, “If you write a book about a bygone period that lies east of the Mississippi River, then it is a historical novel. If it’s west of the Mississippi, it is a western, a different category. There’s no sense to it.”
It definitely is not a classic L’Amour or Zane Grey western–one cowboy in two chapters and he gets about ten lines of dialogue. Some Indians fit into the story, and there is a brief skirmish with them at the very beginning, but it is not a book about fightin’ Injuns. There is not much humor in the early chapters, but it eventually seeps in—I can’t help myself. As you can read from the back cover of the book, it is about Ben Cone who heads out to the Black Hills of South Dakota to get enough gold to marry his sweetheart Madeline. How the quick trip between planting and harvest turns into a two- year odyssey makes for an interesting story. I think the evolution of Ben from a naïve, love-struck boy into a hardened man who has to kill people, is interesting, too. When I have a two year-time span to work with the characters can evolve more than in the two-week period of my first novel. Don’t worry it’s not a “head” novel. The story is always number one with me, and it’s a good story, or as my editor said, a “GREAT story.”
I like the characters in the book, even the bad guys–and there are some very bad guys, There is a little more romance in this one than there was in my first book and probably a little more emotion, but readers aren’t going to bawl their eyes out; I’m not that kind of writer. It is not the mystery my first book is, but this one has its good points. There’s more action in this one. More conflict between characters, and of course the verbal back and forth. Also a surprise ending lurks at the finish line.(I think that is starting to become my trademark.) It’s a good read even for those who don’t like westerns much, but that’s just my opinion, and I’m the world’s leading authority on my opinion. As the release date gets closer I’ll let you know more.
IN THE STICKS website
THE WRITING DEPUTY website