Writers Inspiring Change feature book review: The Posse: 8 Historical Western Romances
The Posse, An Anthology of Historical Western Romances, by seven authentic western writers, is a romping wild ride into the wide open ranges of America's west - filled with thrills and romance. Each of the stories in this anthology capture the essence of life back in the wild, as yet, untamed west. The Posse embraces the history of this rugged land and the lifestyle lived, the spirit and courage of the people who tamed its vast ranges, as well as the beauty and color of the flora, the wildlife and the sheer expanse, and even brutality, of its mountain ranges, arroyos and endless desert patches, all of which whisk the reader off to another world. Each of the eight short stories in this book is unique. In true western style, they pit good versus bad, but they also remind us that this was a challenging frontier and age, and that death was just a gunshot away. The qualities and merits of virtue, nobility, principle and a man's word are weaved throughout these stories - reminding us that civility and the essence of who we are as people played an important formative role during these rugged times. Pick up the book, read a story a night, and be entertained by great western storytellers, people who know these lands, whose very lineage springs from the great western frontier and who lived to tell the tale. If you like classic westerns with an historical and romantic touch, The Posse is the book for you.
Review by International Writers Inspiring Change
About Frank Kelso
I grew up around Kansas City, Missouri, the origin of the Santa Fe Trail. Historic sites, monuments, and statues abound, highlighting the journey west, including the Wagons West, Pioneer Women, and the Indian Scout located on the bluffs overlooking the wide Missouri. Writing western themed books fit with my upbringing. My parents considered storytelling a family tradition, and the taller the tale, the better, when sharing around the supper table. A biomedical research scientist in my day job, I write short stories and novels to keep the family traditions alive.
What prompted you to write? I operated in a “publish or perish” academic world, writing grants to fund my biomedical research. I raised millions for the medical center and university; I found success in addressing and taking peer reviewer’s comments to heart in order to improve my grant applications. On one groundbreaking application, the reviewer commented, “This application reads more like science fiction than science.” My research colleagues challenged me to write fiction. Creating my own worlds where my characters were free to explore their limits became an enjoyable pastime, which morphed into a new career.
What do readers like about your writing? Readers and reviewers often comment on my strong voice and crisp dialogue. Many enjoy my supporting cast of colorful characters.
Is there a message in your writing – something you want to inspire? I abhor “social justice” messages. In many of my stories, the protagonist dies in the end. My critique group teases, “nobody gets out alive in Frank’s stories.” The protagonists in my stories accept responsibility for their own action, even when it costs them their life. Individual freedom assumes the responsibilities for their action.
Tell us about The Posse… A group of authors I know complained about not having a market for their short stories. I said “Let’s quit complaining and publish an anthology of our short stories.” We did.