Author of The Sheriff of Para Siempre
While writing my story “The Sheriff of Para Siempre” for the anthology Once Upon a Time in the Weird West, I became interested in how people talked in the Old West. I’d seen plenty of westerns, so I knew how people talked in movies about the Old West, but I wasn’t convinced they really talked like that. And even if they did, movie talk wasn’t that interesting to me.
I have a theory that one unusual detail is worth ten run-of-the-mill details, when it comes to setting the period. Expressions like “darn tootin!” (whatever “tootin” means—probably something I don’t want to know about) and “ain’t worth a hill ’o beans” might be historically accurate, but by now we’re so familiar with them they don’t stand out.
So I did some research. And I discovered Arbuckle’s.
Back before the Civil War, Americans who wanted coffee had to roast the beans in a skillet, then grind them up. The end result was that coffee beans were often burned or roasted unevenly. So a company called Arbuckle’s started producing the first coffee beans people could buy pre-roasted, and it became so popular that people began calling coffee “Arbuckle’s” the way someone might call soda “Coke” today. That little detail fascinated me. And I was thrilled to discover Arbuckle’s (https://www.arbucklecoffee.com/ ) is still making “the Coffee that Won the West.” It turns out to be a damned good coffee.
Another online site proved invaluable: Legends of America, which has a section dedicated to Old West slang (http://www.legendsofamerica.com/we-slang.html ). That provided me with a host of slang terms I could happily wallow in for days. Many of them were familiar, of course, but the ones that caught my eye were the unusual ones. Here are some I’d either never heard before or had only heard rarely:
Disremember – to forget
Dumpish – sad or melancholy
Joy Juice – whiskey
Knee-high to a Grasshopper – (I like this one, because my grandfather used it) referring to a short youth
Moonshiny – deceptive
Pirooting – having sexual intercourse
Unshucked – naked
Whomper-jawed – uneven
Some of these, along with others, made their way into my story. Others I simply love because they evoke a fascinating time and place. If you’re interested, the website owner has compiled the slang section of the site in a book called “Frontier Slang, Lingo & Phrases” by Kathy Weiser-Alexander, which is available on the site.
Once Upon a Time in the Weird West
Jamie Fessenden, Andrew Q. Gordon, Jana Denardo, Kim Fielding, Shira Anthony, Tali Spencer, Venona Keyes, Lex Chase, C.S. Poe, Nicole Kimberling, Ginn Hale, Astrid Amara, Langley Hyde
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 16th December 2016
Genre ~ Speculative Fiction, Western Theme, Anthology
This isn’t the same old Wild West. The usual suspects are all present: cowboys, outlaws, and sheriffs. There’s plenty of dust, tumbleweeds, horses, and cattle on the range, but there are also magical gems, automatons, elementals, airships… even dinosaurs and genetically modified insects. Roaming among the buffalo and coyotes, you’ll encounter skinwalkers, mad engineers, mythical beings cloaked in darkness, and lovers who stay true to their oaths… even beyond the grave. On this frontier are those at the mercy of their own elaborate devices as well as men whose control of time and space provides a present-day vision of the West. There might even be a dragon hidden amongst the ghost towns and wagon trains.
If you like your Westerns with a splash of magic, a touch of steampunk, and plenty of passionate romance between men, these genre-bending tales will exceed expectations.
Hold on to your hats, cowboys and cowgirls. The West is about to get weird, and you’re in for a hell of a ride.
The Sheriff of Para Siempre
In 1875, Billy Slade is one of the fastest gunmen in the territory of New Mexico, despite his youth. With his lover, Joe Brady, he travels from town to town, hiring out his skill wherever he can—provided the cause is noble. Billy fancies himself a hero defending the common man against bandits and ruffians. But a night of passion gets Billy and Joe run off the ranch they helped defend from rustlers.
In the failing mining town of Para Siempre, Billy’s skill as a marksman lands him the job of sheriff. But the town is run by the corrupt Cassidy brothers, who take a liking to Billy and Joe, and they’re used to getting what they want. When Billy rejects Jed Cassidy’s proposition, Jed challenges him to a gunfight. It's a fight Billy could easily win—but the Cassidys don’t play fair.
Meet Jamie Fessenden
Jamie Fessenden is an author of gay fiction in many genres. Most involve romance, because he believes everyone deserves to find love, but after that anything goes: contemporary, science fiction, historical, paranormal, mystery, or whatever else strikes his fantasy. Jamie Fessenden set out to be a writer in junior high school. He published a couple short pieces in his high school's literary magazine and had another story place in the top 100 in a national contest, but it wasn't until he met his partner, Erich, almost twenty years later, that he began writing again in earnest.
With Erich alternately inspiring and goading him, Jamie wrote several screenplays and directed a few of them as micro-budget independent films. He then began writing novels and published his first novella in 2010. After nine years together, Jamie and Erich have married and purchased a house together in the wilds of Raymond, New Hampshire, where there are no street lights, turkeys and deer wander through their yard, and coyotes serenade them on a nightly basis. Jamie recently left his “day job” as a tech support analyst to be a full-time writer.
Blog Tour Schedule
12/6 – Gay Book Reviews – Jana Denardo
12/7 – The Novel Approach – Kim Fielding
12/8 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words – Venona Keyes
12/9 – Diverse Reader – Tali Spencer, Sinfully Gay MM Book Reviews – Jamie Fessenden
12/12 – Love Bytes – Lex Chase
12/13 – Boy Meets Boy – Astrid Amara
12/14 – Prism Book Alliance – Ginn Hale
12/15 – Alpha Book Club – C.S. Poe
12/16 – Joyfully Jay – Langley Hyde
12/19 – Divine Magazine – Nicole Kimberling
12/20 – My Fiction Nook – Shira Anthony, Open Skye – Andrew Q. Gordon