Sunday, July 7, 2013

James J. Griffin: New Beginnings (Wolf Creek 6: Hell on the Prairie) #western

New Beginnings
by James J. Griffin
A short story in
Hell on the Prairie
Wolf Creek: Book 6

This week Romancing The West features the July 2 release, Wolf Creek: Hell on the Prairie. It's an anthology of seven short stories, all featuring characters in or connected to the Wolf Creek series, and offering  in-depth understanding of your favorite Wolf Creek residents.  There'll be giveaways on each post, so please check back each day.

  • Monday: Troy Smith discusses his character, Marshal Sam Gardner, and his role in Wolf Creek.
  • Tuesday: In Drag Rider, Chuck Tyrell has some fun with Billy Below--how'd this character get his name?
  • Wednesday: Clay More tells us about doctoring in the Old West and in his story, The Oath, how Wolf Creek's Dr. Logan Munro deals with the conflicts his oath.
  • Thursday: Cheryl Pierson's story, It Takes a Man, gives us an in-depth look at Derrick McCain.
  • Friday: Jerry Guin tells us how his character, Quint Croy deals with his new job as a lawman, and how Asa Pepper ended up owning a bar in the rough part of Wolf Creek, called Dogleg City in Asa Pepper's Place.
  • Saturday: Jacquie Rogers penned a guest appearance by a special guest in her story, Muleskinners: Judge Not, that runs concurrent with Wolf Creek 1: Bloody Trail.
  • Sunday: In New Beginnings, James J. Griffin gives us insight into the past of the town's blacksmith, and how a surprise changes his life.

If you're not familiar with the Wolf Creek series, you're missing out! Written under the house name Ford Fargo (the house name for Western Fictioneers), each book is the collaboration of some of the best western writers in the business, steered by Troy Smith, who also writes two WC characters. Links to all the Wolf Creek books are at the end of this article, just above the contest announcement.  For more information on the story world, visit Wolf Creek, Kansas.

James J. Griffin
courtesy of Pat Johnson
RTW: Everyone in Wolf Creek has a secret, and Bill Torrance's secret was uncovered early on--he's really Ben Torrance. And a fascinating character he is! Today, we're treated to an interview with his creator, James J. Griffin. Tell us a little about yourself, please.

JG: I've been fascinated by the West, particularly the Texas Rangers, since I was a kid. I've traveled all over the western United States and Canada. My Texas Ranger novels are traditional westerns, and most are suitable for almost all ages. My extensive collection of Texas Ranger artifacts is now in the permanent collections of the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum in Waco.

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I've also been a lifelong horseman, and love nothing better than to climb in the saddle and spend hours out in the woods, just me and my horse.

While I love the West. I love my native New England, especially my adopted home state of New Hampshire, even more. Currently, I divide my time between Branford, Connecticut and Keene, New Hampshire.

RTW: We'd sure like to hear about your story.

JG: In New Beginnings, we learn much more about Ben Tolliver's background. There is much about Ben which he has not revealed, and an unexpected encounter with Edith Pettigrew, the widowed town busybody, will have unintended consequences and place Ben and Edith in extreme danger.

That's not the biggest surprise Ben will receive, however. When he rides back into Wolf Creek, there is an attorney waiting for him. An attorney who has a package which will change Ben's life forever.

RTW: What prompted you to write Westerns? What keeps you writing them?

JG: James Reasoner got me started. He asked me a few questions about horses for his Civil War Battle series, and wrote me into two of those books as a Texas Ranger. He kept encouraging me to try my hand at writing a western novel. Since I've always loved the West, and have enough knowledge about the Texas Rangers to be qualified as an amateur historian of the organization, it was only natural that I would write Texas Ranger novels.
Courtesy of Susanne Hall

As far as what keeps me writing westerns, it sure isn't the money. Although I do make some. I still have my day jobs. So I write for the love of the genre, and hope that in some small way I'm helping to keep it alive.

RTW: If you lived in 1871 Wolf Creek, Kansas, what would your job be and how well would you get along with your character, Ben Tolliver.

JG: I'd either be a deputy sheriff, a partner with Ben in his livery stable, or a horse breeder. I'd definitely be best friends with Ben, because of his love for horses. That part of the character is pretty much autobiographical. In Book One, Ben is more upset about the horses which get killed than the humans. If I were living through that attack in Wolf Creek, I'd feel the exact same way as Ben

RTW: What surprised you the most about Ben Tolliver? Are there more surprises coming in future Wolf Creek books?

JG: Can't say much without spoiling upcoming volumes, but what happens between Ben and Edith I never really saw coming, even as I was writing it. And boy, is there ever a surprise in Volume 8. Also a couple in Volume 9.

RTW: What would give Ben the ultimate happiness?

JG: Being able to live in peace with his horses and (can't say, will give too much away. Buy the books).

RTW: Please set up your excerpt for us.

JG: This is a bit of what we learn about Ben.

Excerpt from
New Beginnings
by James J. Griffin
a short story in
Hell on the Prairie
Wolf Creek, Book 6

Sure wish G.W. would stop pesterin' me about becomin' a deputy, he thought. Of course, he's right about a couple of things. I'm good when it comes to bein' a lawman, and I love the work. But it's cost me too much, and I'm not talkin' about the bullets I've taken. The law cost me Madelaine, then Pete. It's not gonna take anyone else from me.

A tear trickled down Ben's cheek. Madelaine, the woman he'd loved more than life itself, even more than Cholla. Madelaine, the fiery Scots-Irish-French woman he'd first met in San Antonio. Madelaine, with the emerald green eyes and blazing red hair, who had loved him with a passion as intense as that flaming hair, a love which he had returned with just as much passion. Madelaine, who had indeed seen him naked and swimming Cholla bareback across a lake, and who, when they returned, ripped off her own clothes and jumped up behind Ben, joining him as Cholla plunged back into the lake, her arms around Ben's waist and her full breasts pushed up against his back, clinging to him atop the powerfully swimming horse. Madelaine, who loved him without question... until he remained out on a Ranger patrol just a few days too long, and returned to find her gone.

Wolf Creek: Hell on the Prairie
Available in print, or ebook at
and soon at other online stores

RTW: Whew!  Now we'll all have to take cold showers. (fans self) Tell us about your other current releases.

JG: Right now I am writing a series of ten short stories for High Noon Press. They are under the title A Ranger Named Rowdy, A Texas Ranger Tim Bannon story. These are ebooks, available for Kindle, Nook, and so forth, and are also available as audio books. The first three books have been released, and the audio book of the first story is now available.

In August or September, The Ranger, my contribution to the West of the Big River Series, will be released by Western Fictioneers.

I've also got chapters in Volumes 8 and 9 of the Wolf Creek series, and have plans to do at least one more each of the Texas Ranger Jim Blawcyzk, Cody Halicek, and Sean Kennedy books.

RTW: Anything else you’d like to add?

JG: I want to say what a great experience it has been working with all the other contributors to the Wolf Creek series.


I'll take the names of everyone who goes to my website email within three days of the posting of this article and leave me a message they would like to win one of my books. I'll choose one name at random to win a copy of my Jim Blawcyzk Texas Ranger novel Ranger's Revenge.


  1. I love these posts about the various authors in the anthology. Thanks so much for sharing. I bought the anthology, so don't count me for a gift copy.

  2. Great interview and story, Jim. Quite a few surprises in it, all of which make it essential reading, I think, for the on-going Wolf Creek saga! You are not a man to pack punches.


  3. Thanks, Caroline and Keith. As I mentioned, parts of the story even surprised me.


  4. Good old B.T. (as Marshal Gardner calls him) sure does his part in keeping life in Wolf Creek interesting!

  5. Jim, this was really a great story. I was totally surprised! You chose a good excerpt, too! LOL If that doesn't get people interested, I don't know what will.

  6. Another excellent post thank you & that's quite an excerpt.

  7. One thing about writing under a house name is I write a bit differently than under my own. Glad everyone enjoyed the excerpt.



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