I can't tell you how excited I am to be listed among the great writers and stories in this new anthology from Western Fictioneers. This is a book I'd buy no matter what. Just read the names in the description.
A collection of twenty-nine tales of the Old West featuring previously unpublished stories by such classic Western writers as James Reasoner, Douglas Hirt, McKendree Long, and Michael R. Ritt. Edited by award winning author, L. J. Washburn. Western Fictioneers is the only writers’ organization devoted solely to traditional Western fiction, and this huge collection will take readers from the dusty plains of Texas to the sweeping vistas of Montana and beyond.
Western Fictioneers was founded in 2010 to promote the oldest genuine American art form, the Western story. Its worldwide membership includes best-selling, award-winning authors of Western fiction, as well as the brightest up-and-coming new stars in the Western field. The organization*s third anthology features original stories by Big Jim Williams, Easy Jackson, Jeffrey J. Mariotte, McKendree Long, Michael R. Ritt, S. D. Parker, James Reasoner, J. L. Guin, J.E.S. Hays, James J. Griffin, Jesse J Elliot, Ben Goheen, Barbara Shepherd, Nik Morton, S. L. Matthews, James Clay, Keith Souter, Tom Rizzo, Matthew P. Mayo, Dorothy A. Bell, L.J. Washburn, Angela Raines, Gordon L. Rottman, Charlie Steel, Douglas Hirt, Dennis Doty, and Cheryl Pierson.
Now, I'm equally as thrilled with the story I submitted. "GUNMEN CAN'T HIDE" is probably my favorite story I've written this year. It features a new character that I enjoyed so much, I'm already working on a sequel or two.
Here's a brief description of my story and a short excerpt.
Uriah, Blake, and Orim Brink are outlaw brothers. They are cooling their heels in Laredo, Texas, after their most recent bank robbery. And murder. Uriah, after winning at poker and pocketing his money, goes upstairs to celebrate with a woman. But what he finds up there will make him wish he would have lost it all…
"Gunmen Can't Hide" Excerpt:
Not waiting another moment, Uriah reached out and slid all his winnings in front of him. His heart slammed in his chest with the thrill of the win. It wasn’t the same as robbing banks and shooting lawmen, but it was the next best thing. He arranged all the coins in stacks of five and evened the greenbacks. He tossed his cards to the ranch hand on his left and was ready for the next hand when he noticed Orim approaching.
The youngest of the three Brink boys, Uriah knew what Orim was going to do even before his brother put a gentle hand on his shoulder.
“Why don’t you take a break, little brother,” Orim said. “The bartender told me there’s someone special waiting.” He paused for emphasis. “Upstairs.”
Uriah was about to open his mouth in protest, to say he was back on a streak of luck, but caught the look in Orim’s eyes. It told him all he needed to know. Do what I say. Just like always.
To maintain some semblance of choice to the other members at the table, Uriah made a show. He inhaled deeply, drained the last of his warm beer, and collected his winnings.
“Wait a minute, señor,” Rodrigo said. His hands balled into fists on the table. “I want a chance to win back my money.”
Uriah stood and sneered. “It ain’t yer money anymore.” He nodded to the two ranch hands, scooted the chair back with his legs, and pocketed the coins. The jangling sound was music to his ears.
Orim put a hand on his brother’s shoulders. “Upstairs, third door on the left.”
The thought of what awaited him instantly got Uriah excited. He had just won back his money. What better way to celebrate than in the arms of a woman. A grin spread across his freshly shaven face, a touch Orim had insisted on. The better to hide in plain sight.
Uriah stepped away from the table and made his way across the crowded saloon. It didn’t matter he was going to pay for the woman’s services, he nevertheless tucked his shirt in and smoothed out the front. He looked around for the third Brink brother, Blake, yet saw no sign. No, there he was, leaning on the bar top, hand curled around a beer mug, talking to a man dressed in nice clothes. Uriah wondered if Blake was trying to get another job or just passing the time.
He ascended the stairs and reached the second floor. He opened the door at the end of the stairs, entered the hallway, and closed the door behind him. The general chatter from downstairs mixed with the piano player’s tunes were muted up here, but what wasn’t muted were the sounds coming from behind the closed doors. His heart quickened with the knowledge he’d soon join the chorus.
Uriah counted three doors and then softly knocked. He heard movement, the gentle sashing of flowing fabric.
The woman’s voice was soft and sultry. Images flashed in Uriah’s mind as he imagined the type of woman who would possess such a sweet voice.
“Yeah,” he said. His voice cracked a little despite himself. He cleared his throat and repeated himself.
“Come on inside. I’m ready.”
Uriah reached out and gripped the door knob. He turned it and the door opened. He pushed it wide. The room was small. A brass bed was centered in the room. A bedside table held a lamp turned low. A mirror off to the left was next to a chest of drawers. Lavender permeated the room and he inhaled deeply. He detected perfume.
But he didn’t see the woman.
With slight concern, Uriah stepped inside the room and closed the door.
Something hard struck Uriah Brink on the back of his head. He saw stars. He blinked rapidly, trying to clear his vision. Whoever hit him was behind the door. Uriah tried to turn and confront his attacker, but something swiped at his ankles. He fell forward, feebly reaching out a hand to stop his fall. The wooden floor rushed up to his face. In another couple of seconds, he only saw black, but not before he noticed the deep red of a woman’s dress.