2018 Will Rogers Medallion finalist for Best Western Novel
A drunken plan to make some quick money with two friends landed drifter Whit Ralston in the Yuma Territorial Prison—the worst prison in Arizona. Now he’s doing hard time in the inferno the inmates call the Hell Hole, counting the days until his release. He’s vowed never to do anything so stupid again, but that becomes a hard promise to keep when his crazy cellmate starts talking about a load of stolen gold stashed up in the mountains. When he falls for a beautiful, blue-eyed lady of the evening named Oleta who seems as taken with him as he with her, he realizes he might have a new reason to run some risks. Once he gets out of prison, Whit starts making plans—but he’s going to have to make better choices about just who to believe in order for his latest scheme to hit pay dirt. People say a lot of things, especially when it’s money on the line. In the Old West, though, following the law is never as important as trusting the right people.
2018 Will Rogers Medallion finalist for Best Western Inspirational Novel
Mennonite farm boy Lance Roark’s faith is as big as the challenges he faces on his family’s drought-ravaged Dust Bowl spread on the old Chisholm Trail. He can also run over, around, and away from people on the football field and is a natural-born aviator. These abilities lead him to college gridiron glory and bring him into contact with famed aviators Charles Lindbergh and Wiley Post, entertainment icons Will Rogers and Bing Crosby, best-selling young author John F. Kennedy, and President Franklin Roosevelt. As war clouds gather across the seas, Lance finds romance first with teenaged Chickasaw cowgirl and stunt flying sensation Sadie Stanton, then with beautiful oil heiress Mary Katherine Murchison, whose mesmerizing voice carries her to the heights of Big Band Era stardom. Nearly all of this crashes against his pious, peaceable ways. And it leads him into the dangerous world of America First, the Lindbergh-led organization that opposes the popular Roosevelt’s covert drive toward American involvement in World War II, now ablaze in both Europe and the Pacific. When the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, Lance, with his lifelong commitment never to raise his hand against another human being, faces his ultimate decision—whether to accept command of a B-17 Flying Fortress in which he would face, and inflict, mass slaughter in Nazi-occupied Europe amidst history’s most fearsome war.
Poem ”The Knowing” by Rod Miller
2018 WWA Spur Award finalist for Best Western Poetry
Short story ”Lost and Found” by Rod Miller
2018 WWA Spur Award winner for Best Western Short Fiction
2017 Will Rogers Medallion double Bronze Medal winners for Best Western Fiction for Young Readers
Sammy Chappel is on the run after being arrested for a series of late-night burglaries he didn’t commit. He’s alone and afraid in a city he doesn’t know, and without a miracle of some kind, there’s no doubt he’s headed to prison. Help arrives in the form of his employer, Karen Richardson. Convinced of her young friend’s innocence, she sets out to move heaven and earth to prove it. Her efforts bring her into contact with two men from vastly different worlds—police Detective Marco Salcido, and her former boyfriend, billionaire New York businessman Flemming DuBois. Either man can help the search, but Karen has to decide if they’re really interested in Sammy’s welfare… or her. Racing against the clock, Karen leads the effort to track down Sammy and his wayward family, before it’s too late.
Eighteen year old Vicente Zermeno is being pulled deeper and deeper into the gang in East LA—his only future? An early grave. His frustrated parents have tried everything but nothing is working. Finally, in desperation they call a relative in a small town in New Mexico hoping that shipping the boy to the country will bring him to his senses, but his defiant attitude makes any chance of success almost impossible. A glimmer of hope arises only after an offer comes from Ricky Richardson to have the boy come to his ranch. West Texas ranch country with nothing but wide open spaces and miles of grassland in which to find himself may well be Vicente’s last opportunity. A well written story of a young boy’s past and uncertain future—of individuals trying to find the good when there is so much bad—and of a family’s coming to terms with the way things are, no matter how much they want them to be different.
2017 Western Writers of America Spur Award for Best Western Traditional Novel
Vince is a mustanger with a solitary camp high in the Hondo Mountains, where he works his operation alone. He likes it that way. Then, on a trip back from selling some mustangs, he comes across Julie, a saloon girl on the run from some pretty bad hombres. Vince takes her back to his camp with the idea that, as soon as her horse heals up, he’ll send her on her way. But then he falls in love with her. Before he knows it, her fight is his fight, and he’s looking forward to a life with her. They just have to survive a small war first.
2016 Will Rogers Medallion double Gold Medal for Best Western Fiction for Young Readers
A good horse gone bad and a young, ambitious cowboy meet in an epic battle of wills in the dry and dusty southwest. Hard working and honest to the core Ricky Richardson, taught by one of the best, is injured in a freak horse accident that leaves him in the hospital and the horse dead. After six weeks of recovery and without work he is desperate for a job. An offer comes with a catch, he must show up with a horse to ride and the only horse in his price range is a mistrusting black with a history of having been mistreated. He is cheap for a reason as Ricky would soon learn. Both stubborn, one will have to give. Which one will it be? A tender and emotional story of the bond that develops between a horse and his owner. That bond is tested as the young man and his horse endure an almost unbearable hardship. It will take all the fortitude Ricky can muster and all the help his friends can give as he faces the possibility of losing his favorite horse forever.
A young cowboy, an aspiring artist, and a rich man form an unlikely friendship. None wanted anything more than acceptance from the others… but sometimes acceptance comes with strings attached. Flemming DuBois, a bilionaire businessman from the East Coast who has everything but happiness, sees a gallery painting in San Francisco. He vows to meet the artist who can bring such a feeling of peace to the viewer, a feeling he himself has not felt in a long time. On a personal trek to understand where his life has gone off track, he travels to rural New Mexico to meet Jake—the artist—and by association, Ricky, a young, hard-working ranch manager and his wife. Flemming’s time in the world of high finance and business has not prepared him for the humble, hardworking ranch couple. With regret he realizes that in spite of all his wealth, he doesn’t have what Ricky and Jessie have—love for each other, love for life, and friends that care not for the size of one’s bank account, but for the size of one’s heart.
2016 Will Rogers Medallion Silver Medal for Best Western Romance
Gil Slatter’s quick on the draw and has a head for running a ranch, but he’s also a lonely man with nothing more than a cot in the bunkhouse at the TXY Ranch to call home. But when the foreman drops dead of a heart attack and the owner picks Gil to take his place, his world turns upside down. One day life is simple. The next he’s running the outfit and married to a woman who has never known affection. Between wild horses, outlaws, rustlers, an ambitious young landowner with a mean streak, and the flirtatious wife of the ranch owner, it’s no easy task Gil faces. But with his new bride beside him, he’ll take the TXY to new heights of success… or die trying!