Answers to the podcast actually given


A couple of weeks ago I was interviewed for J.C. Hulsey’s Wild West Showdown podcast.

As I noted before, my plan was to talk about my new Westerns and avoid talking about Jackson Speed, and of course all I did was talk about the Jackson Speed novels.

All the same, it was a fun interview and I enjoyed doing it. If you’d like to give it a listen, check it out here. My interview begins at the 13-minute mark.

I didn’t have any kind of picture that made sense to go with the interview, so I posted a photo of me paddling backwards through a shoal.


Answers to the podcast never given


I had a great time this morning doing an interview with J.C. Hulsey who does the Wild West Showdown podcast.

He contacted me last week about being interviewed for the podcast, and so last night I spent some time making notes so that I would be prepared for the interview.

The notes really focused on my new Westerns – Too Long the Winter and Redemption at Two Rivers Station.

These books are going to appeal to more readers than the Jackson Speed novels. I mean, let’s be honest, Jack Speed is a fun character, the novels are set against a very rich (and accurate) historical tapestry, and I love the Jackson Speed novels.

But not as many readers are going to be interested in a womanizing coward as a “hero.”

My new novels are selling pretty well, so I think obviously Mr. Hulsey’s listeners are going to be more interested in hearing about these.

So my notes in preparing for today’s interview focused almost entirely on the new novels.

What did I end up talking about?

You guessed it: Jackson Speed.

The interview didn’t feel so much like an interview. Mr. Hulsey and I just had a conversation, and the conversation naturally flowed toward one thing rather than the other, and I completely forgot about my notes.

But here I am with all these notes and nothing to do with them, so I thought I would share here some of what I prepared in an imagined interview.

I’ll call this “Answers to the Podcast Never Given.”



I have always had a fascination with the time period.

My dad is an armchair historian, and in particular he’s always had an astounding knowledge of Civil War history. Growing up, I remember thinking there was no way I’d ever be as knowledgeable as my dad. It’s still a challenge to me to include anecdotes or facts in my novels that my dad didn’t previously know, and once or twice in a novel I’ll manage to surprise him.

The Civil War leads naturally to the American West – what we call now the Old West or even the Wild West, and my interest in this place and time in American history very much developed naturally.

So I’m drawn to that time period of the 19th century from the Mexican-American War, through the Civil War and to the close of the 1800s. That time period takes you from the time of Manifest Destiny and exploration through the War Between the States and into the expansion period.

Not only was it a definitive period of American history, but it was also a time of some really amazing characters. You’ve got so many fascinating and true stories of lawmen like Dangerous Dan Tucker and Seth Bullock and Bass Reaves, and the lawmen were seldom as interesting as the outlaws. And a lot of those folks blurred those lines.



You also had people who had this really amazing spirit of adventure and willingness to take risks.

Not everybody, of course. Most folks just stayed put in the town they came from, but there were tens of thousands of people who sold everything and set off on an adventure.

Someone back east who sold everything traveled six months across the country, sometimes not really even knowing where they would end up. They faced dangers and obstacles that folks today can’t imagine and wouldn’t dream of taking on if they could.

I’ll tell you a quick story along those lines.

I’m working on the last book in a series of four novels that were inspired by a story from my family’s lore.

Sometime in the mid-1800s I had an ancestor, maybe a cousin to a great-great grandfather, who set out West. The family never heard from him again.

One day his trunk was delivered home with no explanation. No note, no idea who sent the trunk home. Nothing. No one in the family ever knew what happened to him.

That’s a story that has stayed with me over the years and really captured my imagination, and it’s the starting point for the series I’m finishing now.



One of the reasons I’m drawn to writing Westerns is that I read Westerns.

Louis L’Amour and Robert B. Parker are among my favorite authors. Robert Parker was probably better known for the “Spenser” novels that inspired the TV series “Spenser for Hire,” but he’s also written some great Westerns.

I love Owen Wister’s The Virginian – a novel that also inspired a TV series back in the 60s.

Robert Utley wrote some fantastic non-fiction books about the Lincoln County War that read like novels.

I’m also a fan of Glenn Tucker and Shelby Foote as Civil War historians.



My goal when I write a novel is to just simply tell good stories. I want to entertain my readers. If you’re not careful, you might learn a little history (especially from my Jackson Speed series which is heavily footnoted with historical context).

But really what I want to do is just entertain folks so that when they finish reading one of my novels they feel satisfied with the way they spent their time.

I charge $3.49 for most of my books, so it’s not a huge investment in terms of money. But it’s humbling to me to think that people are spending their time with my novels, and I don’t want them to regret that. So when I am writing a novel, that’s what I’m thinking about – I’m thinking about a commitment to the reader that I’m going to do the best I can to write a novel that is worth their time.


So … According to my notes from last night, that’s absolutely how the interview went. I was able to talk all about my interest in American history and my new Western novels and I hardly even mentioned Jackson Speed at all.

When the podcast airs, I’ll post a link and you can decide for yourself whether or not I accomplished anything resembling my goals.

I think, actually, the most interesting thing I said in the podcast is that I’m a professional doorman for my dogs.

I need to wrap this up now because I hear someone scratching at the door.

Western novels coming soon


If you follow me on social media, you might have seen where I’ve hinted in the past few months that I’ve been working on expanding my catalog beyond the Jackson Speed novels.

I wanted to try my hand at writing some more traditional Westerns, and I have spent several months writing those novels.

I’m actually writing in three different and unrelated series, and I also wrote a standalone novel, though the main character in that novel may end up appearing in one of the other series later.

Having spent almost six years writing novels set in the 1800s, the Western genre seemed like an obvious place for me. It’s not much of a transition to go from the Jackson Speed novels to a traditional Old West adventure novel.

In the next few weeks I’m going to start releasing some of these new novels.

My goal with these was to get large portions of the series (or in one case, the entire series) written before publication. I know with the Jackson Speed novels, readers sometimes get frustrated waiting a year for the next book. So I really threw myself into these projects so that I could publish books in each series within a few weeks of each other.

The first book to release will be “Too Long the Winter.” This is the standalone novel set in Colorado Territory in the early 1870s. The novel tells the tale of mountain man Bear Le Vrette who abducts a girl and takes her into the mountains (if you were one of my wonderful beta readers, don’t be confused … I changed the title after I sent out the book to beta readers).

In “Too Long the Winter,” U.S. Marshal and the girl’s distraught father turn to Le Vrette’s friend for help in tracking the mountain man and attempting to save the girl.

It is a fast-paced novel with a good bit of action to it, and it was so much fun to write. I never really intended to turn it into a series, but I liked the main character (Luther Corbett) so much that I figured out a way to work him into another series that I’ll be starting later this year.

The first series I’m releasing is the Two Rivers Station Western series. The focus of the series is Jack Bell, a Confederate veteran who after the war returns to the Texas farm his father had. These books are classic Westerns – badges and gunsmoke, good guys and bad guys.

The second series I’m releasing (look for it in March) is the Lodero Western series.

Lodero is the classic sort of gunslinger from the Old West, but he’s on a mission to learn what happened to his father who went to seek a fortune and never came home. This is a 4-book series, and my intention is to release all four books this spring.

I’ll share this with you: In my family’s history there is a story about an ancestor who went west to Oregon or California. No one in the family ever heard from him again. But some years after he left, someone shipped his trunk (empty) back to the family.

I’ve heard that story several times since I was a little kid, and that was some of the inspiration behind the Lodero novels.

After Lodero, probably sometime this summer, I’ll be releasing another series of books. These are much shorter, but my intention is to publish a story once a month in this series at least for a few months. The series is character-driven and is set in a gold rush boomtown in the Colorado mountains in the 1870s. The location Animas Forks, was a real gold mining boomtown and is now a ghost town.

To give you a flavor, if you enjoyed the HBO series Deadwood, you’ll probably like “Animas Forks.”

If you’re a Jackson Speed fan, I hope you’ve had an opportunity to read “Jackson Speed In the Rush.” I am still working on the next book in the Jackson Speed Memoirs – Jackson Speed and the Regulators. My hope is that I will have that book ready to publish sometime in August.

If you enjoy classic Westerns, I hope you’ll give some of my new books a chance. I’m  thoroughly proud of them and very excited to see how readers receive them.

Tearing down the Confederate statues


I remember as a child riding through Southern towns with my parents, and always searching for the statue of the Confederate soldier. When I was very young, my father had pointed them out to me and told me on road trips to look out for them.

To me, the statue was a tangible and expected memorial to the history of the War of the Rebellion, the war my father studied in the books sitting the table beside his chair; a war my great-great grandfathers fought in. The statues, to my young imagination, were a representation of my great-great grandfathers, one of whom donated his arm at Vicksburg to the cause of liberty.

I craved the statues of soldiers rather than a plain obelisk bearing only names, because in the faces of those statues I saw the faces of the dead in the old photographs from my father’s books. I frequently would lie on the floor and look at those picture in the books and try to imagine the lives of the corpses scattered on the recent battlefield; I would try to imagine who they had been and what they had lost.

The South was thoroughly beaten in the war. Sherman cut a swath through Georgia and the Carolinas, destroying property the entire way. The Army of the Potomac, and not much less the Army of Northern Virginia, ravaged the Virginia countryside. Veterans returning home near the battlegrounds in Virginia easily got lost as they found themselves in a landscape that in no way resembled the homes they had left in 1861. The men felled entire forests in service to their respective armies. Towns and homes and farms – all the familiar landmarks – were leveled.

Nearly all the battles fought happened in the seceded Southern states. Gettysburg and Antietam being the primary exceptions, the biggest fighting of the war occurred in Virginia, the Carolinas, Tennessee, Georgia, and Mississippi.

Like any beaten nation, the states that comprised the Confederacy suffered long after life in the Northern states returned to normal.

The Southern states were occupied and governed, at least initially, in the way that any victor would occupy and govern the land of a beaten foe.

Many efforts were made for swift reconciliation, and for some, that swift reconciliation came. Many of the South’s leaders went on to occupy elected office in the states or even the federal government. Others commanded black troops in service to the United States government.

But deep wounds festered in the South.

Politically and economically the South would not recover for two generations or more. Much of the South suffered in poverty for decades after the war. The blame, or much of it, can be laid not at the feet of the conquering Yankees, but at the feet of the Southern politicians who discovered that their political power was sustained by a weak and poor population. But so long as the Southern black was poorer than the Southern white, Southern politicians could be guaranteed reelection. Deepening the divisions of race to deflect attention from the solidarity of poverty was good business for white politicians.

Of course, the boll weevil and store credit played no small part in rural Southern poverty, but economics has a multi-faceted nature.

As the Confederate veterans aged, it became proper that they – and those who did not age – would be memorialized.

It does not require a vivid imagination to understand the motivations. Men and women who lost friends, cousins, brothers, sought to honor them. The sons and daughters of the aging Confederate veterans took up collections to raise statues to their fathers.

They did not erect statues to honor nameless and faceless heroes of the past, but to honor the people they knew and the people they lost.

In some instances, surely, the statues went up at the expense of the taxpayer and likely as not these were cynical (and successful) appeals for votes. Undoubtedly these statues also were intended as a defiant gesture against the Yankee government when Southern Democrats regained political control. That the statues were also intended as a message to freed slaves and their sons and daughters should not be ignored. That very defiance to the Yankee government told another tale to Southern blacks, a Jim Crow tale, and a warning of continued political oppression.

And so the question we must ask ourselves is whether it is right to continue to honor these Confederate dead, knowing as we do that their memorials in public places were often erected with the dual intention of telegraphing a message of defiance and oppression.

As much as some might want these statues to be lasting symbols of heritage and culture, the sad fact is that for many of our neighbors and our fellow Southerners, these statues are a constant reminder that their heritage at one time was the oppression of a people who equaled under the law only three-fifths of a man.

I cannot help but reach the conclusion that these statues should be removed from public squares and parks. I hate this, because for me personally these statues represent a tangible connection to the not-so-distant past, a past that thoroughly obsesses me.

But knowing that the statues hold a very opposite meaning for so many of my fellow Southerners, and believing that their view of these statues cannot be reconciled with mine, I see no way forward where everyone can be made satisfied and these statues left in place.

But it should not be the work of angry mobs, nor of politicians craving to garner the same cynical votes they craved a century ago.

The solution should come from the very people who erected the statues in the first place.

The Sons and Daughters of the Confederacy, the ones to whom the statues represent heritage and culture, should be given first right of refusal to receive back the statues they bought. And they should then mount the statues in private parks, or in museums or donate them to the Civil War Trust to put on battlefields where it might make sense.

And in places where these statues were erected by governments and not by private organizations, paid for by taxpayers, the Civil War Trust should be given the statues to put in appropriate places.

Whatever else these statues might have been, they are now forever a part of our history, a history that is complicated and often means vastly different things at the same time. The statues themselves are a part of our history beyond just what they represent. And history should not be lost nor ignored. But the place these statues occupy in our present should not be the places they presently occupy.

Public places – government places – must be places of equal access, and having statues of Confederate soldiers standing guard at courthouses and town squares is an inappropriate use of public property.

If James Garner is your Clint Eastwood, Jackson Speed might be for you

A few days ago, I wrote a post wherein I describe people who should not bother reading the Jackson Speed novels.

I thought it was only fair that I also put together a list of those readers who might enjoy the Jackson Speed Memoirs and should therefore be reading them.


If James Garner is your Clint Eastwood

There was a time when I thought that folks who enjoy a good Western would also make good Speed fans. Though most of the Speed novels published so far take place during or around the time of the American Civil War, I’ve always known that eventually the action would shift to a Western setting.

And, as is true with The Outlaw Josey Wales or The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly, the American Civil War and the traditional Western should never be completely separated. Much of the lawlessness of the “Wild West” was a direct result of the Civil War veterans who sought their fortune to the west in a hard and untamed land.

So knowing that one day Jackson Speed would rub elbows with the likes of Billy the Kid and Buckshot Roberts and would ride with the Pinkertons, I always considered the Speed novels to be akin to Westerns.

But I trip on a specific point.

Most Westerns feature as the protagonists brave and hard men who fear nothing. They are fast with a gun and are modern-day knights, chivalrous and noble.

If you love a good Western, there’s a pretty good chance that you want your heroes to be heroic.

Jackson Speed is not that. He’s a coward who stumbles into his adventures, and rather than putting on the white hat and figuring a way to beat the guy in the black hat, Speed is always trying to figure out how to get out of the trouble he’s in. And the color of the hat he wears is always whatever is most convenient for the moment.

I think about some of James Garner’s movies, particularly “Support Your Local Gunfighter.”

Speed is much more the conman with loose morals, more similar to Latigo, than he is Marshal Jed Cooper, the trail-hardened gunslinger.

Jackson Speed is the classic lovable rogue: Rhett Butler, Maverick, Han Solo. If he wasn’t, then how does he manage to always get the girl?

So if James Garner is your Clint Eastwood, and you like your heroes to be a bit on the cowardly side, you’ll probably enjoy the Jackson Speed Memoirs.


If you love history

I am meticulous when it comes to the historical settings of the Jackson Speed books, and I can all but guarantee that even the most avid of armchair historians will learn something in the Jackson Speed books. Some of the books are more heavily footnoted than others – Orange Turnpike, High Tide, and In the Rush all have numerous footnotes to assist in setting the historical context of the books.

In researching the books, I go to as many primary sources as I can. When historical figures make a cameo in the Jackson Speed books, I try very hard to be true and accurate to the character of the man or woman resurrected in the novels.

When describing battles or historical events, I attempt to recreate those as exactly as I can, and I will bend my story to fit the historical record before I will rewrite history to fit my narrative. And when I cannot tell the story I want to tell without altering history, I make a note of it in the footnotes to preserve the historical record.

I do this because I have both a passion and respect for history.

As a result, I also dig deep into my research to find the bizarre and outrageous and forgotten bits of history that you’ll not find in your text books.

Where – other than a Jackson Speed novel – are you going to discover the true and accurate reason why the Georgia volunteers were not taken into battle by Zachary Taylor in the Mexican-American War? Almost nowhere. That true and accurate historical accounting took extensive research, and it’s a moment of history that has almost entirely disappeared from memory.

And that was just a scene from the first book. Similar scenes can be found in any of the Jackson Speed novels.


If you’ve gone looking for Historical Fiction and you’re sick of finding this:













Nothing against Jasmine Ashford (if that’s your real name!). Her books sell significantly better than mine, and she’s got dozens and dozens more 4- and 5-star reviews than I have.

But if you’ve gone looking for historical fiction, and you found this, and you were horrified, I promise that Jackson Speed is not this.

“Shauna had loved Aaron so much; their eyes locking when they met on the street one day. She wasn’t stupid though; she understood completely that a Lord could never marry a peasant, no matter how much they thought they loved each other. She had accepted that from the beginning, just as she accepted everything about him. His smile, his blue eyes, his laugh; his penchant to dream. She knew everything about him as he did her, and she loved him with all of her heart.”

Jackson Speed is nothing at all like this.


You like your humor dry and dark

The Jackson Speed Memoirs are not laugh-out-loud novels, but they are rich in humor. Much of it is a dark humor, as a fair number of the punchlines are centered on some man’s misfortune or death. All of it is a dry humor.

If you like slapstick comedy because you don’t get the joke unless someone smacks you with it, you might not laugh much while reading Jackson Speed. But if a subtle joke that makes you crack a smile is how you roll, you’ll probably enjoy the Jackson Speed novels.


You’re sick of political correctness

I don’t go out of my way to write non-PC novels, but I am certainly not creating characters who have 21st Century sensibilities and putting them into novels about the 1800s.

Some of my characters are bigots. Jackson Speed is a womanizer. The only thing his wife hates more than an abolitionist is William Tecumseh Sherman.

I don’t seek to write offensive books for the sake of being offensive, but if you feel like everyone is too uptight all the time and you think an off-color joke shouldn’t be a crime, you might find that the Jackson Speed novels are just the right amount of offensive.

If you are easily offended, please see my list of people who should not read my books. It does not (but should have) included people who are easily offended.


Nipples and bigamy are cool with you

You think it’s funny that an old man in his 80s and 90s, writing his memoirs, recalls all the women he bedded by the size, color and shape of their nipples.

As noted earlier, Speed is a womanizer. He gets belly-to-belly with as many women as he possibly can in 100,000 words or so, and in writing his memoirs his favorite thing is to reminisce about those women. Often, he recalls them by specific features, in particular their nipples. And he refers to their breasts as “teats.”

The sex is not explicit, but there is a lot of it. Jackson Speed’s arch nemesis throughout each of the novels is the “toothed vagina.” Every escapade and dangerous adventure that Jackson Speed encounters is brought about by his desire to bed some woman, and he is only married to a few of them.

If this isn’t enough to put you off the books, then you are almost surely going to love the Jackson Speed novels.


You love a good adventure

The Jackson Speed novels are full of adventure. Some of them read like a spy novel, and some are military adventures.

Speed’s life span takes him from the Mexican-American War, through the 1849 California Gold Rush, into the War of Northern Aggression, and out to the Wild West. In that time he spends time as a Texas Ranger, a Pinkerton, an officer and a spy for both the Union and the Confederacy, an outlaw, a prospector, an Indian and he rides with the 7th Cavalry. He’s a member of the Knights of the Golden Circle, and he helps fugitive slaves flee the South.

You don’t have to know the history to enjoy the adventure.


So if James Garner is your Clint Eastwood and you get a kick out of a hero who will do any anti-heroic deed to get himself out of trouble, then I’d recommend the Jackson Speed Memoirs to you.

Only certain people should read the Jackson Speed novels

Sometimes when a person tells me that they are reading one of my Jackson Speed novels, I feel an involuntary cringe. There are some people who really should not read my books, and maybe it would be a good idea to help people self-qualify whether or not they should read Jackson Speed.

And I’ll tell you right now, if you are not the kind of person who should read my books, I sinerely don’t want you to read my books.

About a year ago I found myself in a meeting full of about 50 business owners – most of them folks I didn’t know. One of the people in the room – in front of everyone – announced that he’d read the first Jackson Speed novel.

He didn’t say it in so many words, but he didn’t like the book. He acknowledged that I told a good story, and he acknowledged that I’d developed a character. But he did say he “hates” the character, and when he said it, I understood that what he meant was that he hates the book.

That’s cool. I can live with that. He’s not going to read any more Jackson Speed novels, and that’s okay. My feelings aren’t hurt. I knew when I started writing the books that they were going to appeal to only a certain few people.

I understand that Speed isn’t for everyone, and I get why some people don’t like the books.

So maybe it’s worthwhile to eliminate prospective readers before their sensibilities are destroyed.


If the word “nipple” bothers you

The protagonist of the story is an old man telling about his memoirs. The character is not the guy running from Yankee bullets in the Civil War. The character is the old man reminiscing. A lot of what he reminisces about are the women he bedded when he was younger.

When I started writing the novels, it struck me as funny if the old man remembers his love conquests by their nipples. So when Ol’ Speedy remembers the girls – and there were many girls – he remembers them by their nipples. So for every female character in the series, there are nipples times two.

If nipples bother you, please don’t read the Jackson Speed novels.


If you are given to moralizing

The Jackson Speed depicted in the novels is not a good, decent, church-going type of person. If you are in law school and you want to develop a firm understanding of “moral turpitude,” perhaps you should let Jackson Speed be your guide. He often conducts himself in a vile, base manner. He is a scoundrel.

His only two motivations are self-preservation and getting belly-to-belly with whatever woman is unfortunate enough to catch his attention. He is no Southern Gentleman.

So if your favorite part of your religiosity is condemning other people who are not as good as you are, please take that somewhere else.


If you are offended by bigamy and/or extramarital sex

In all of the book descriptions, I specifically point out that Jackson Speed is a womanizer. While the sex scenes are not graphic depictions, Jackson Speed has sex with a lot of women. He’s only married to a few of them.


If you don’t like history

The footnotes alone should be enough to keep you away if you don’t like history. Most of the Jackson Speed books are heavily footnoted because the novels are full of true history. While Speed is a character of my imagination, the setting is often real and many of the secondary characters are people who actually lived. I’ve gone to some lengths to fairly and accurately portray those people, and often the quotes given to them in the books are things they actually said or nearly said. All these portrayals, of course, are through the filter of Jackson Speed – who dislikes most of these people – but I do try to be fair and honest when dealing with historical places, events, and characters.

If you don’t have a love for history, too much of the painstaking research I put into the books will be completely wasted on you. So even if you enjoy the stories and think the character is outrageous and funny, and your favorite word is “nipple,” maybe you should skip the Jackson Speed novels. If you think history is boring and just a bunch of dates and places to be memorized, I might recommend 50 Shades of Gray. I’ve never read it, but I’m told it’s pretty banal.


If you are under 16 years of age

You’re too young.


If you are anyone’s grandmother

Maybe you’d like “Four Things My Wife Hates About Mornings.”


If you are one of these three people

My sons, who have never read them, hate my books. It may have something to do with their father using the word “nipples.”


If you are this woman

One of my very first reviews came from a woman who said, “I borrowed this for my free Amazon Prime monthly download. I’m glad I didn’t pay for it. I didn’t finish reading the book. Sorry, I’m not interested in hearing about how many times a 15 year old boy gets laid.”

For the purposes of my story, Jackson Speed needed to be 15 years old when he fled his boyhood home of Scull Shoals, so necessarily the story is about a 15-year-old. And let’s remember, in 1845, a 15-year-old was a man, not a boy. A shit ton of 15-year-olds got holes in them in the War of Northern Aggression.

If this woman is you, don’t read Jackson Speed. You cannot imagine how glad I am that she did not finish reading the book.


If you think Robert E. Lee sits on the right hand of Jesus

My books, while well researched and historically informative, take a critical view (Jackson Speed’s point of view) of a lot of historical personages. Robert E. Lee is among them.

I spoke about my books once at a meeting of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. These are my people. These are people who love history, specifically the time period of the mid-1800s. These are people who have a deeply held affection for their forebears. These are people who I can talk to and relate to and spend time with. But let’s be honest – most of these folks don’t read fiction. They just want the War of Northern Aggression in stark and vivid reality. They want Ken Burns and Shelby Foote, not Rob Peecher and Jackson Speed. Although, the speech to the SCV went very well, and I had my audience laughing for an hour. But they still aren’t the folks who are going to read my novels.

And I’m afraid too many of them would have apoplexy when they read High Tide and discover that Speed turns Yankee halfway through the Battle of Gettysburg.

But if you are a Son of Confederate Veterans and you can take a joke, then maybe. Maybe. But don’t get mad at me if you start reading the book and discover that Jackson Speed helped prevent Lincoln’s assassination in ’61.


If you think I mean 1961

Come on.


There is probably a lot more that should be added to this list, and I’ll continue to give thought to other people who should not read my books. I’m sure more people will read the books, tell me how much they don’t like them, and help me identify the characteristics of people who should not read the Jackson Speed Memoirs.

But if nothing in this list excludes you from reading Jackson Speed, then you really should get on with it.

Click here to start buying the Jackson Speed Memoirs.

Two years in the making, “In the Rush” is now available

My wife, and first reader, Jean models the Kindle version of “Jackson Speed In the Rush.”

I wrote the first Jackson Speed novel in 28 days. It was a mad dash of late nights, early mornings, writing at the dinner table. My wife Jean thought I had lost my mind, and she worried she had lost her husband.

Over the years I’ve started and never finished a lot of novels. Back in the mid-1990s I was writing a novel I was really excited about. I spent months writing the novel. It was an enormous tome. I don’t know for sure, but if I had to guess, it was probably around 150,000 words (by way of comparison, most of the Jackson Speed novels are fewer than 100,000) and it was not even close to being finished.

Then I lost interest and quit writing.

And I’ve done that a lot with different ideas I had for novels. For many years, I didn’t even try any more.

But when I first had the idea for the Jackson Speed novels, it was like an epiphany. I can’t describe how excited I was about the concept, and I was just desperate to get the story written. And I was worried that if I stopped long enough to take a breath I would lose my momentum, and poor Ol’ Speedy would go the way of all the other novels I’d ever started.

So I wrote feverishly and didn’t stop to take a breath.

It was a weird month.

I’m not saying that writing El Teneria in 28 days made it a better book, but I finished it. And published it.

Five years later, I’m really pleased to announce that I’ve now published the sixth book in the Jackson Speed series.

Jackson Speed In the Rush was two years in the writing.

It was not the feverish, non-stop writing marathon that El Teneria was.

When I first envisioned Jackson Speed – that morning I had the epiphany – there were four very specific books I planned to write about Jackson Speed’s life. I knew there would be (or could be) many others, but I had four specific episodes in mind.

In the Rush is the last of those four.

I knew I wanted to start Speed in the Mexican-American War. I knew I wanted him to be a Pinkerton spy saving Lincoln from the Baltimore plotters. I knew I wanted to put him at the Battle of Gettysburg. And I knew I wanted to send him to California as a Forty-Niner.

I also generally knew the story before I ever started writing it.

It’s hard for me to say, then, why this particular book took so long for me to write. One reason might be that I had to do more research for this novel than I have for the others.

Prior to writing Jackson Speed, my knowledge of the American Civil War was already vast. I’d read countless books on the subject, visited battlefields, watched documentaries. I am, obviously, what they call a “history buff,” and before Jackson Speed was ever an idea in my mind I had already done the bulk of the research for any novels set during the Civil War.

But In the Rush takes up episodes in history that were less familiar to me. My knowledge of the California Gold Rush and the Cherokee’s early days in Oklahoma was only surface knowledge. When I wrote Orange Turnpike and High Tide, ever bit of research material I needed was already on my book shelf in my office. But for In the Rush, I had to buy or borrow several books, and I spent countless hours on the Internet doing research.

In the Rush is slightly longer than High Tide, which up to now was the longest of the Jackson Speed books.

In the Rush is almost like two novels in one, with two distinct and separate stories being told. So readers may come away feeling like they’ve just read two novels.

If you’ve enjoyed the previous Jackson Speed novels, I don’t think you’ll find anything disappointing about Book 6 of the series. If you haven’t enjoyed previous Jackson Speed novels, you’ll like this one even less because it is a little bit longer.

And if you haven’t read the previous Jackson Speed novels, what are you even doing reading this? – Get yourself over to Amazon and start reading them!

So, if you’re ready for Book 6 of the Jackson Speed Memoirs, click here to get the Kindle version.