Monday, November 19, 2012

Troy D. Smith: Wolf Creek

Wolf Creek: 
Book 1
Bloody Trail
by Ford Fargo

For the next two weeks, we'll be visiting with some of the finest Western authors today.  They've collaborated to create a new series called Wolf Creek, and are writing under the name of Ford Fargo.  (Find out why below.)  To begin, the Romancing The West welcomes the president of Western Fictioneers, a historian, teacher, overall great guy, and the trail boss of the Wolf Creek series:

Troy Smith

I’ve had the honor to serve as Western Fictioneers’ president this year, and of serving as series editor on our collaborative effort Wolf Creek. Jacquie Rogers has generously given us the floor here at Romancing The West, and we’re going to have different content up every couple days, as well as an opportunity for anyone who comments, on any of the days, to win a free book courtesy of Cheryl Pierson.

Troy D. Smith, author
I’m going to begin today by telling you a little about our project. Our series takes place in the fictional town of Wolf Creek, Kansas, in 1871. Right now we have about twenty authors involved. Each has developed one (and in some cases two) original, unique characters to inhabit our town. Each volume in the series features six writers and their characters, with each author writing a chapter or two from their character’s POV; as editor, I write one of the chapters each time and provide the other contributors with a story outline so they’ll know where they come in. Then, when everyone has done their section, all six of us look over the manuscript to make sure everything fits together. Then, in the next book, we have a different team of writers/characters, with me being the only constant. So after we’ve done several, and you’ve perhaps developed some favorites among our cast, in any given book there’s a chance one or more of your favorites may show up.

For more details about our town, including lists of writers and characters and some cool maps, go to our Wolf Creek site, or the Western Fictioneers site.

We have a great team working on this project, but I want to single out two members who have gone the extra mile by helping me in my editorial duties. Livia Washburn and Cheryl Pierson have both been invaluable in their willingness to make suggestions and serve as sounding boards, and Livia has served as our last line of defense in formatting, proofing, and distribution.

We decided to have a “house name” on the front cover for continuity, and went with Ford Fargo. All six contributors, however, are identified on the back and interior. We went with Ford Fargo because that name has a storied history (pun intended) among many of our members. Over a decade ago, before our organization was formed and when many of us exchanged emails informally, one of the guys told us of a typo that editors had introduced into one of his books- a character was supposed to say “I give you my word, Fargo,”, but it came out in the final product as “I give you my ford, Fargo.” I believe it was Kerry Newcomb who said that Ford Fargo would be a great name for a western character, and several of us started using the name playfully in our books, always as a peripheral character. Now, many of us are Ford Fargo.

I have two characters in the Wolf Creek series:
  1. Charley Blackfeather, an Army scout and trapper. His father was a runaway slave and his mother was a Seminole. Charley is around fifty, and has spent practically his whole life at war, from the Seminole conflicts in Florida to the Civil War. He is very imposing physically, but has a wry sense of humor –and he can track anything, and kill it when he finds it.
  2. Samuel Horace Gardner. Sam is the marshal of Wolf Creek. Son of a small-town Illinois lawyer, Sam was a Union cavalry officer before becoming a lawman. He is arrogant, showy, and a bit of a dandy –and not above taking a percentage of the saloons’ gambling profits –but has a steel backbone, a strong sense of fairness, and an uncanny precision with handguns.
We have three volumes finished, and three more in the works. Every few days for the next two weeks we’ll offer a synopsis for one or two of the books, and one very short excerpt. On Friday Livia Washburn will be talking about, not only her Wolf Creek character, but some of the other exciting Western Fictioneers publishing ventures that are available or coming soon. Several of us will be checking in every day to answer any questions and respond to comments.

And remember... in Wolf Creek, everyone has a secret.

Today I offer a synopsis and excerpt from the first book in our series:

Wolf Creek Book 1: Bloody Trail
In our first adventure, the town of Wolf Creek is assaulted by a small army of former Confederate guerrillas, who rob the bank and leave dead innocents in their wake. Sheriff G.W. Satterlee and his posse must overtake the outlaws before they reach Indian Territory—but the chase is complicated by the secret pasts of several posse members...

Excerpt, from Book 1 (James Reasoner’s chapter):

Satterlee and Charley Blackfeather were both good trackers, and Danby and the rest of the outlaws didn't seem to be taking any particular pains to cover up their trail. They followed the tracks without much difficulty. Satterlee knew they were counting on beating any pursuit to Indian Territory.

By midday, the posse hadn't come across any sign of the gang except the hoofprints they were following. Satterlee's keen eyes scanned the southern horizon for a dust cloud or anything else that would indicate they were closing in on their quarry. Frustration was growing stronger inside him.

He motioned Blackfeather up alongside him and said, "How much farther you think it is to Indian Territory, Charley?"

"If we make camp again tonight, we ought to reach there about the middle of the day tomorrow."

Satterlee frowned and lifted a hand to scratch his jaw.

"Danby's liable to be close enough by nightfall that he'll push on. If he doesn't stop and we do, we'll never catch him."

"If we keep ridin' after dark and he heads off in another direction, we're liable to lose the trail entirely," Blackfeather pointed out.

Satterlee sighed and shook his head. "You're not tellin' me anything I don't already know, Charley."

Quietly enough that the others couldn't hear, Blackfeather said, "We ain't gonna catch them before they reach the Nations anyways, Sheriff. I reckon you know that. What happens then?"

"Don't say that. I don't plan to turn back until I have to. Maybe we'll get lucky."

Blackfeather grunted. The sound was enough to make it clear he had his doubts about that.
Available at Amazon or Barnes & Noble (print or digital).

Authors and their characters
Win Free Books!
Cheryl Pierson is itching to give you a treat!  So one commenter in the next two weeks will win a print copy of 
Wolf Creek: Book 1, Bloody Trail
(USA mailing only)
Comment on every post for extra chances!

Also, comment on this post and you'll be entered to win a Kindle copy of your choice of Troy Smith's Blackwell series (short stories).  (And you'll also be entered to win the Wolf Creek book!)

Drawing for Wolf Creek will be held December 1, 2012, at 9pm Pacific Time.  Drawing for the Troy Smith book will be November 24, 2012, at 9pm Pacific Time.

Please include your email address so we can contact you; otherwise, we'll draw another winner.


  1. Hey Troy and Jacquie! A huge thanks to you, Jacquie, for having us "Wolf Creekers" here for two weeks. We appreciate that! Troy, thanks so much for the mention--I'm glad to help, and I think this idea of yours is fantastic. I'm so honored to be a part of it, and to share the name "Ford Fargo". LOL I love your Blackwell series, too--lots of good reading here!

    1. Hi, Cheryl! It's a pleasure to host such a bunch of talented writers, and of course Troy is always fun to have around at our campfire. :)

    2. Troy is one of my very favorite people! A joy to work with and a true friend.

  2. Hey Jacquie, I reiterate what Cheryl said. Thank you for inviting us all along.

    Troy, I just don't know how you fit everything in. You positively bubble with creativity, sir.

    I sincerely hope that our readers have as much fun reading about Wolf Creek as we had writing it. I can honestly say that it was the most enjoyable writing experience of my career, because ordinarily you just get on and write your stuff in a lonely old garrett. This was like stepping out into the street to have a chat with your co-authors and their characters, then grabbing your hat and gun as the bullets started to fly.

    1. You're welcome any time, Keith. And I think your pen name, Clay More, is very clever.

      About the story, I'd love to know more about 19th century medicine and how Dr. Munro went about his business without modern diagnostics.

    2. Why, thank you, Jacquie.

      Actually, 1871 was an exciting era for medicine and surgery. In 1865 Louis Pasteur had speculated about micro-organisms and putrefaction. This led Lord Lister to begin using a carbolic acid spray in his operating theatre (Brit spelling!) and so operations were starting to get safer. Logan Munro had studied under Prof Simpson at Edinburgh and was a staunch supporter of chloroform - which he'll be using in Book 4. And of course surgical techniques always advance during warfare.

      In the nineteenth century doctors had to depend heavily on physical examination to arrive at their diagnosis. Percussion was developed into a fine art. That is the technique that doctors use to tap over organs to detect fluid or solidity. The flat hand is placed over the abdomen or chest and the middle phalanx of the middle finger is tapped with the tip of the middle finger of the other hand. You gain information from the sound and the vibration felt coming back through the flat hand and finger. It was the ultrasound of its day - and we still use it.

      And auscultation, the use of the stethoscope was experiencing a boom. In 1852 the American physician Dr George Camman invented the two-eared stethoscope. It was a great advance on the single tube stethoscope that had been used up until mid-century, and the design is also still used today.

      Logan was using the best techniques available and he had an eclectic approach. He is happy to use Charley Blackfeather's herbal remedies, which he uses in combination with his own medicines, which he prepares by hand at his dispensing table. And as a scientifically inclined physician he is writing a monograph on venereal disease in Wolf Creek.

      Sorry to ramble on!

    3. Wow, that was excellent info, good doctor!

    4. Keith, that is really fascinating. And I love the way that Dr. Logan is still learning, using Charley Blackfeather's remedies in conjunction with his own traditional medicine.

    5. I'm impressed with Dr. Munro--not just his expertise but his willingness to incorporate whatever knowledge is at hand. Wolf Creek is lucky to have him!

    6. Yeah, I should've said Dr. Munro--I was brain dead last night after moving furniture and going to the grocery store. Sorry, Keith. I know it's Dr. MUNRO, not Dr. LOGAN. DDDDDDUUUUUUUHHHHHHH.

    7. LOL. No problem, Cheryl. I guess it is because I kept referring to him as Logan.

  3. Hi Jacquie!

    Hi Troy!

    What an interesting project and what fun! I'm intrigued to more about the stories. I'm sure the books will be fantastic reads. I've enjoyed your stories, Troy, and I love Cheryl's tales, too. I can't wait to check these out.

    I wish you all great success!

    1. Karen, thanks for stopping by! ♥

    2. Karen, thanks so much! I'm glad you stopped by today. This was so much fun to work on. My hat's off to Troy for coming up with this and making it work.

  4. From what I'm reading, your t-shirt lies, Troy. You may be a genius, but you're no slacker.

    1. That's an awesome t-shirt, isn't it? Should be the uniform of the day.

    2. I do try, Alison- both those clauses are probably arguable!

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. This book was AWESOME!! I still haven't started KIOWA yet. Can't wait!

  7. And I can't wait to hear what you think of it, Meg!

  8. this sounds like a book I want to read. What a great cast of authors!

  9. Each time I read how all the authors put together this book, I am amazed. It positively boggles my mind how a team could put together a cohesive story with characters from each author. I see editing nightmare. LOL I have this book and I am looking forward to seeing how ya'll put this together. I know it's going to be quite entertaining.
    I wish you all every success.


Romancing The West welcomes you to show your appreciation of our guest blogger by leaving a comment. If there's a contest, don't forget to leave your contact information. Thanks!