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Wednesday, 25 February 2009


As announced previously next Monday ( Wild West Monday none less) The Archive will become a cyber publisher by issuing Chap O'keefe's long out of print classic western, The Sheriff and the Widow. The novel will be published in four parts on each consecutive Monday. This is an experiment that if popular could be repeated - we are trying to recapture the old days of weekly serials in the pulp magazines.

So to get us all in the mood here's the book's author to tell us a little about the book:

"The Sheriff and the Widow was the third western I wrote for Robert Hale Ltd, but it became the second published. It was submitted in 1993 and published in January 1994. The first O'Keefe novel was Gunsmoke Night, appearing in September 1993. The second, Shootout at Hellyer's Creek, was published in May 1994 and was the first story to feature ex-Pinkerton detective Joshua Dillard, who is still with us, appearing in the February 2009 release, Blast to Oblivion.

"Why The Sheriff and the Widow appeared ahead of the Dillard book I was never told. Perhaps the market's acceptance of Gunsmoke Night persuaded the people at Hale that another O'Keefe book should be offered sooner than seven months later, or maybe there was simply a gap in the BHW schedule that had to be filled. The Sheriff and the Widow sold out completely.

"Later, I asked Mr Hale about the possibility of a reprint. Not unexpectedly, given the length of a viable print-run at that time, Mr Hale declined to take the risk involved and all rights in the novel reverted to me. Fortunately, he was happy to publish my next novel, and the next . . . and so on. As writing of one sort or another always constituted my sole means of living, I was obliged to take a break from westerns that lasted some years, but I returned in 2003 and I'm now working on my twenty-fourth.

"The Sheriff and the Widow is a western in the traditional vein preferred by Hale. Its influences are probably more Gold Medal than Piccadilly Cowboys. It does also have some adult themes and, especially in the later chapters, slightly macabre content that might today be called western noir."

The Sheriff and the Lady kicks off here next Monday and a gentle reminder - anyone not entered the Misfit Lil contest (see earlier posts) will have to get a move on for a chance to be entered into the draw. I will not be accepting any more entries after the 27th when the winners will be announced shortly afterwards. The 27th is also the day Chap's new novel, Blast to Oblivion is published. Demand is bound to be high so order now to avoid disappointment.


Charles Gramlich said...

I'll definitely have to catch it.

Howard said...

This is actually an experiment that worked well for me. I originally wrote The Chloe Files #1: Ashes to Ashes as a one chapter per week serial a year or so back, even going so far as to set up a mock blog for the character. It ran nearly a year and gathered quite a bit of interest and some loyal fans, which helped the sales on it and the second book in the series. Perhaps after you run the final chapter, Keith might consider self-publishing this book.

Hagelrat said...

I haven't read a western in years. Sounds a fun experiment will have to check it out.


I'm excited about this myself. Once it's posted it's there forever. I wonder if this will affect the price of the odd second hand copy filtering through on ebay.

Chap O'Keefe said...

Howard, Self-publishing is a suggestion all authors re-visit from time to time as circumstances, technology and marketing change. Not being a businessman, and knowing how much work is involved in any publishing, I still tend to shy away.

The writing and production I could be comfortable with, but not the sales, distribution and higher level of promotion required.

As far as I know, public libraries in general will not buy self-published fiction. Nor will bookstores stock it.

That leaves you with friends, relatives . . . and a heap of copies stored in the garage, basement, attic or wherever.

And as far as western novels are concerned, it would surely be producing competition for other, new titles being published by Hale -- including my own!

Congrats on your success with the Chloe Files experiment.



I've always been dubious about self publishing myself but I think it is becoming more and more viable. And of course there have been examples of self publishing books going onto become massive mainstream sellers. But then there are probably countless ones filling up garage space somewhere.

Nik said...

With the arrival of POD, the garages full of self-published books will become a thing of the past. Lulu is one example, which prints WHERE LEGENDS RIDE to order. No garages full of WLR. And it's relatively inexpensive.

Best of luck with the experiment.
Nik (Ross Morton)


Nik -as much as I prefer reading on the printed page - the time will come when we'll be reading more and more electronically. Initially I hated MP3'S but now all I use for music is my Ipod. Printed books will never dissapear but the Kindle is a mighty fine machine - get those things down in price and a lot more will be published electronically

Ah yeah I see POD becoming a big part of the future.