I’ve been chomping at the bit (and yes, the original phrase was “champing at the bit,” but who remembers what the verb “to champ” means anymore) waiting to announce this deal, and now I can!
Here’s the quick backstory: Western fiction publishers are few and far between, and getting fewer all the time. One of the biggest, Five Star, shut down its Western division altogether, and now is only putting out a very few books in large-print editions, primarily intended for libraries. Kensington, the biggest publisher of mass-market Western paperbacks–the traditional format for Westerns going back to WWII–announced last year that its only editor working on those was retiring. He decided to stick around for one more year, but what happens after that is anybody’s guess. I’ve had Western novels published by Sundown Press (Blood and Gold: The Legend of Joaquin Murrieta) and Wolfpack Publishing (the Cody Cavanaugh trilogy) but the two friends who run Sundown aren’t sure how long they’ll be willing to keep putting in that kind of time and energy–and I don’t blame them. And Wolfpack’s publication schedule wore me out and burned me out. There are a few other small-to-medium size presses out there, but none of them looked right for what I want to do.
My compadre Howard Weinstein was in the same boat–only worse, because Five Star actually published his first historical Western novel, the terrific Galloway’s Gamble, and wanted a sequel–until they shut the doors. So we talked, and we came up with a solution. Then we approached some other friends, who just happen to have a publishing company called Crazy 8 Press, and we all decided to launch a new Western fiction imprint within Crazy 8, called Silverado Press.
Crazy 8 Press is actually a consortium of writers who all support one another and publish under that banner. It includes several terrific writers who are also long-time pals, so take a look at their offerings while you’re on the site!
The first book to launch from Silverado Press/Crazy 8 Press is my Byrd’s Luck & Other Western Stories, a collection of ten Western tales–half traditional Western and half Weird Western. Eight of these stories have been previously published in various anthologies, and two–the longest two, I’m pretty sure–are brand new. The first new one, “Byrd’s Law,” is a sequel to my Spur- and Peacemaker-Award-finalist story “Byrd’s Luck.” The story sends Byrd to Pedregosa, where he encounters some of the characters from the Cody Cavanaugh books. A crossover!
In the Weird-Western half of the book, the new story is “Desperadoes: Into the Everdark,” the first-ever prose story featuring the characters from my long-running, hit horror-Western comic book series Desperadoes. This one finds the gang in a remote canyon where the sun don’t shine–ever.
So. New book, new imprint. What else is there to talk about? How about the cover?!
That cover painting–never seen on a book before–is by my good friend Bob Boze Bell. In addition to being a highly acclaimed Western writer and artist, Bob is the president and executive editor of True West Magazine–essentially the public face of the magazine. His work has never, to my knowledge, graced the cover of a book of Western fiction, or a book that he didn’t write. So this is truly a momentous occasion. The cover was designed by Aaron Rosenberg, another super-talented Crazy 8 friend.
Need more? Here’s the write-up about the imprint on the Crazy 8 blog. Here’s a piece in Publisher’s Weekly’s Booklife mag, with a great freebie–the entirety of the much-praised story “Byrd’s Luck” (click on the Read an Excerpt button). Here’s the book’s Amazon page, where you can pre-order the Kindle edition for the introductory price of only 99 cents (but that price won’t last long!). There’s also a link to the paperback edition, which you’ll want for your bookshelves. You can also snatch up the paperback (beginning on May 30) at Barnes and Noble, Bookshop.org, and pretty much anywhere else you can buy books online. If you’d rather get it at your local brick & mortar bookstore, they might not have it in stock but they can order it for you from Ingram, from which virtually every bookstore orders. And if you’d like to take part in a blog tour, read the book early and possibly win great prizes, you can sign up here!
In the event that you’d like a signed copy of the paperback, email me at email@example.com and I’ll arrange it for you. BUT–if you are, by chance, in the Phoenix, AZ area on Saturday, May 20, you can be among the very first to get a paperback copy, ahead of the official publication date. That’s the day that Marsheila (Marcy) Rockwell and I are speaking and signing at Con-Fusion, a movable con that’s happening at different libraries on different days, for its Weird And Wild West day. In keeping with the themes of this post, at 10 AM we’ll both be on a panel called Reach For the Sky: How to find success in various publishing markets–a subject with which I have a certain familiarity, given my extensive background in the publishing biz, and you can bet I’ll be talking about this new venture! Marcy’s got her own publishing experience, and of course since we’ve been working together (from before we were even married) we have encountered the field’s ups and downs as a team. And at 3 PM I’ll be on a panel called Space, Steam & Spaghetti: the takes on traditional “Western” tropes. I’ll have advance copies of Byrd’s Luck & Other Western Stories with me, so you can be ahead of the curve! You can find the event details here. It’s taking place at Phoenix’s Ironwood Branch Library, 4333 E Chandler Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85048.
If you’ve read this far, you understand how important this is to me. I want Silverado Press to succeed, so we can publish other Western writers and keep expanding what’s sadly a currently contracting field. You’ll love Byrd’s Luck & Other Western Stories whether you read Westerns, horror, or any other fast-paced, exciting, sometimes humorous prose fiction. Please buy a copy in your preferred format, review it at online bookstores, blogs, Goodread, Bookbub, or wherever else you post reviews, and tell all your friends. Tell perfect strangers! They’ll love it, too, and they’ll thank you later.