Upcoming Title: Dustland

English: Firing a Brace of Replica Dragoons. W...

English: Firing a Brace of Replica Dragoons. Wearing a “duster”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I learned a lot from writing my first novel, “A Cold Black Wave”. As an author, we must measure our success against our own goals and not other authors. Sales-wise, if it never sold another copy, I’m satisfied with what it’s achieved. A lot of people are searching for answers to lackluster sales, and the universal answer is: write more books. My upcoming western, tentatively titled “Dustland”, will be finished by the summer. Here’s the blurb:

As the nation heads toward war over the newly acquired Mexican territories, two sisters head west to California during the gold rush to find and kill the man who had their father murdered.”

This is more my style as I love history, and I love doing the research for this kind of novel. Sci-fi is fun, but just from the first 100 pages of Dustland, I can say I’ve honestly enjoyed writing this far more than A Cold Black Wave. There’s more characters, subplots, a distinct villain, and a dramatic historical backdrop to tie them all together. When we think of the early western days, only the gold rush comes to mind. It was truly a frontier world at the time. The westerns we’ve all come to know and love, typically take place in the post-civil war era. In 1849, repeater guns were in their infancy. A lot of people heading to California were families, or long wagon trains working together to get into gold country. It wasn’t a time where everyone was armed with six shooters and having duels on dusty streets. This was a time where people were trying to survive against starvation, Indians, and extreme temperatures.

Little do people know, the country was headed towards Civil War at the time. The north and south were arguing over the newly acquired territories from Mexico. The south wanted to extend slavery west, and the north wanted more free states. In particular, the extremists in the south wanted to divide California, the southern half a slave state and the northern half free. This backdrop plays an important part of “Dustland”, with some fictional liberties taken to dramatize the story of the main characters. Eventually, a compromise was made in 1850 that averted Civil War. Had war commenced at the time, the outcome would likely have been very different, as the next ten years saw the north strengthen its industrial base which played a major role in the defeat of the south. What would have happened if the “hotbloods” had their way, and a compromise never occurred?

I’m working with a professional cover designer for Dustland, and will post the final cover as soon as it’s completed!

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