Thursday, August 23, 2012

Wolf Creek Characters: #1

As we approach the release of the first installment of Western Fictioneers' Wolf Creek series, available on Sept. 1, I'll be giving brief descriptions of some of our fictional towns' inhabitants.

First, though, this excerpt from the review of our book at Singular Points, the blogsite of Charles Rutledge, sets the stage for what the series is all about:

"Wolf Creek: Bloody Trail is the first in a series of 'collaborative novels' by a host of Western writers, all members of the group Western Fictioneers. Sort of a cross between the old Thieves' World books and an ensemble TV show, the book features a host of protagonists, each written by a different writer. It's a nifty idea and if upcoming books are as high quality as Bloody Trail, then sign me up for the long haul...

"... The whole crew work under the collective house name of Ford Fargo. These aren't all the writers (or characters) though who will appear in upcoming books. The whole list reads like a who's who of current Western fiction..."

Today I will introduce you to two of Wolf Creek's citizens- one that is written by a Western Fictioneers author as "his" character, and another that is part of the ensemble supporting cast that all the writers share.

(L. J. Martin)

Spike Sweeney is the town blacksmith.

“Over six feet tall, 175 lbs lean, long muscled, well defined. Left handed. Early forties. Square jawed with a broken bent nose.Irish German, ¼ Choctaw. Speaks German, enough Spanish, and some Choctaw, as well as English, yet reads and writes with trouble. Quiet spoken: yep and nope, yes’m and no ma’am about it, unless he’s in his cups; but quick to anger. Black hair, gray sideburns, ice blue eyes. Scarred across forehead and left cheekbone from almost-blocked saber slash, eyebrow healed slightly off from one side to the other, but otherwise handsome. Slight limp in right leg from a close cannon strike.

Works in butternut pants, knee high elk skin moccasins, and an elk skin vest with ties not buttons, normally with no shirt unless a woman enters his shop, when he retires to don a one. Wears a butternut wool Confederate Kepi with a Davis Guard Medal pinned above the eye shade and invites comments, which might just be met with an iron bender’s grip on the throat and a pounding left to the proboscis. Considered a hero of the Davis Guards and the defense of Sabine Pass. Usually unarmed, but is deadly within twenty feet with his hammer, and can split hairs at fifteen with his hatchet or Arkansas toothpick. A decent and deliberate shot with both a sidearm and long gun.

Born in New Orleans and was a sailor (both in trading vessels in the Gulf of Mexico and on the Mississippi) and on-board smithy, where he acquired some skill as a gunsmith as well. Keeps a garden in the rear of the shop with both vegetables and flowers, and is teased about the flowers. Bashful around women and wouldn’t swear in front of one if a beer wagon ran over his moccasin clad foot, but is on the prod for a woman who can put up with his (in his eyes) questionable looks, and long hours in front of a hot forge.”

Spike's silent partner at the forge is Emory Charleston, an ex-slave -the two men make an incongruous, but mutually loyal, pair. Em's biggest complaint about Spike is the Confederate cap he insists on wearing.

Spike Sweeney (and sometimes his partner Em) is the POV character of Montana author L. J. Martin, who has written 22 novels -including the rousing western Nemesis.


Obadiah means "Servant of the Lord," as Reverend Stone frequently points out. He is a stout man in his late 50s, with a thick reddish-gray beard. Stone is a fire and brimstone preacher, and will thunder the wrath of God down upon the heads of heathens. He hails from the hills of Kentucky. He was never an abolitionist, and in fact believes that blacks are cursed by God, but he was and is a fervent lover of the Union; he was a Union cavalry colonel in the war, and took delight in hunting down Confederate guerrillas.

He carries a heavy walking cane, more like a cudgel... not because he needs it to walk, but because he tends to rap sinners with it if they are mouthy. He keeps a Walker Colt on his saddle, and a wears one of the new Smith & Wesson Model 3's on his hip(it helps to have cavalry connections)... he trusts in the Lord, but sometimes the Lord needs a hand with His smiting. He is gentle as a lamb with children and animals, as long as they behave, but is Hell on sinners (which means most adults.)

Stone's Union cavalry background does not endear him and Spike Sweeney to one another, and his racist views have the same effect on Emory Charleston.

Read more about Wolf Creek at ... and look for more detailed character descriptions at this blog in coming weeks!


  1. Troy, I just wanted to say how much I have enjoyed working on book 1 of the Wolf Creek series, BLOODY TRAIL. I thought Larry's character, Spike Sweeney, was very intriguing and there's so much about him we learn as the book moves along. He's a very in-depth and multi layered character,and I truly was thrilled to have a part in this story. So glad you thought of the concept! And a huge thanks to all the co-authors of book 1--Larry J. Martin, James Griffin, Clay More, James Reasoner, and you. I think the six of us put together a fantastic western story!

  2. We sure did- and your help was pivotal. I'm looking forward to your character's return in Book 5!

  3. Aw, thanks, Troy. I truly enjoyed it. And I'm looking forward to book 5, too!

  4. Great idea for a western novel. I look forward to reading the final product of this collaborative creative enterprise. It should make an interesting comparison to the ensemble of characters in Alfred Henry Lewis' WOLFVILLE.

  5. What fascinating characters these two seem to be. How they play out in the story should make for a great read.