Hello. Thanks for dropping in. This is a site where I offer commentary on my writing, primarily on work that has been published. If you are interested in knowing about a particular story or article or book, just enter the title in the search box. If you would like to contact me, please go to my website, http://www.johndnesbitt.com/ , and find my e-mail address on the "Contact Info" page.



Sunday, October 6, 2013

Dark Prairie


Dark Prairie is my twentieth novel with an Old West setting.  I hesitate to call it a traditional western because it was published as a Frontier Mystery with Five Star Publishing, but in many ways it is a traditional western, and like others I have written, it is a crossover western mystery. 

Dark Prairie was published in hardcover in July 2013 by Five Star, and with this event, my writing career took a very good turn.  I had not had a novel come out in two years, since the publication of Gather My Horses, my last western with Dorchester.  I did not quit writing, of course, but it took me a while to get connected with a new publisher.  My agent, Cherry Weiner, worked hard in my interests, and when Five Star began its new Frontier Fiction line, I was lucky to have Dark Prairie selected as the first book in the new line.  It received good reviews, and it opened the door for more publishing opportunities with Five Star.  This was a great development for a fellow who had been on the street for a couple of years.

When I wrote this novel, and when I was trying to find a home for it, I had the feeling that I had written one of my better works.  I was working on a plane of idealism, in which a stranger comes to town and brings justice for a bad thing that has happened.  The bad thing is the disappearance of a teenage girl, compounded by the lack of interest on the part of the town fathers to do anything about it.  To make this story work, I chose a young narrator, Grey Wharton, himself a little older than Annie Mora, the missing girl.  Grey tells the story of how a stranger named Dunbar comes to the town of Winsome, probes around for information, and brings the truth to light.  So the story is a combination of western, mystery, and coming-of-age story lines.

In writing Dark Prairie, I was able to do a few things I had been wanting to do.  I wanted to write a story about justice for a young Hispanic girl whom the mainstream Anglo society did not care to concern itself with.  I wanted to write a story with an enigmatic sleuth and agent of justice.  And I wanted to write a story with an observer narrator in the style of The Sea of Grass and other works.  I also wanted to write a story that was not all sunshine and happiness, a story that would live up to its title.

I was happy not only with the way the story came out but also with the way the book came out.  It is a beautiful hardcover book with a thought-provoking cover and some good dark colors.  Having reviewers appreciate what I was up to is very gratifying as well.  I am very grateful to my agent, Cherry Weiner, and to the wonderful people at Five Star, especially Tiffany Schofield and Hazel Rumney.  It has been a great privilege to have my work recognized in this way.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Thorns on the Rose

I am happy to report that Western Trail Blazer has published a collection of my western poetry entitled Thorns on the Rose. This collection has been produced as an e-book and is also available in print format. I am very grateful to Rebecca J. Vickery and Laura Shinn for their willingness to produce a book of poetry in their Western Trail Blazer line.

The book consists of thirty-two poems, ranging in length from lyrical poems as short as nine lines to blank verse and traditional sonnets to songs and ballads of a page or two to longer narrative poems. The book is about eighty pages long, which is normal for a chapbook, and the poems themselves occupy about sixty-four pages.

Small though it is, this book is a special achievement for me. Although I have not written much poetry in comparison with the amount of fiction I have produced, my first literary efforts were poems. I wrote poems in the eighth grade, thanks to the encouragement of a great teacher who had us read and write and try to be original. I continued to write poems on my own in high school and on through college, before I had an idea of how to go about writing a short story and before I had any kind of a base of knowledge, maturity, or method for writing something of book length. Even as I began to write more and more fiction, I always returned to poetry, either as an expression of smaller ideas and feelings or as a way of trying a variety of outlets for western topics and narrative methods. I wrote songs and narrative poems to go along with my traditional western novels, and I have had the excitement of hearing some of these ballads put to music. I have also had a good time reading many of these poems out loud at various events such as writers’ gatherings and book signings. And so my interest and efforts in poetry, which I have carried along all this time, have culminated in a nice book.

One of the poems in this collection is entitled “Labor of Love,” and although that phrase might sound like a cliché, it is not a bad way to represent my relationship with writing poetry. I do it for the love of it. Some of the poems are even about love. If there are characteristics of these poems that are common to my fiction, I would say that they are in craft and tone. I strive for shape and form, and I try to use competent technique. For people who like meter and rhyme, there are poems that I like to think are well done, technically, and that I hope bring an occasional moment of pleasure in that area. In tone, many of these poems reflect a view of life similar to what a person finds in much of my fiction—a bittersweet realism, not mushy and not cynical, hoping for the best in life and love but knowing that there will always be thorns on the rose.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Death at the Whistling Swan

A short story of mine entitled “Death at the Whistling Swan” has been published as an e-book by Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery. “Death at the Whistling Swan” is a contemporary mystery story about a murder committed in the parking lot of a bookstore (The Whistling Swan). The crime occurs when a visiting poet comes to a college campus in a small town.

This story is published by the same company that has brought out two other mystery works of mine, “Frost on Thin Ice” and “Trouble in the Labor Camp.” Like the earlier works, “Death at the Whistling Swan” is available at Smashwords, Amazon, and other places where fine literature is sold.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Blue Horse Mesa

My most recent collection of Western short stories, Blue Horse Mesa, like the collection entitled Field Work, which came out earlier this year, promises to be a significant event in my writing career. Blue Horse Mesa consists of twelve short stories, of which all but one have been previously published, and I have taken the initiative to bring them out in book form.

I am very pleased with how this book came out, and I think the stories show a good range in my abilities as a fiction writer. I also think this is simply a good collection of Western stories.

Here is a description from the back cover of the book:

Men and women, guns and horses, tough situations and no easy solutions—these are the features of a dozen new stories by one of the most acclaimed writers of Western fiction today. John D. Nesbitt shows once again why his work is consistently praised for its evocative setting, realistic characterization, tight prose style, and thought-provoking story lines.

The stories in this collection are original, and like Nesbitt’s novels, they are classic in form and style. What unifies this collection, in addition to its details of time and place, is its view of life, in which men and women have to make their own way and live or die by their choices.

This book is available through Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Horse-Mesa-Western-Stories/dp/147745683X/ref=sr_1_27?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1345910794&sr=1-27

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

LeBlanc Station

Goldminds Publishing has brought out an impressive anthology entitled ReadWest: Stories of the American West. It features the work of seven western authors, most notably Elmer Kelton, and it has a short story of mine entitled "LeBlanc Station." It is an honor for me to have my work showcased in this way, and I expect that this anthology is going to have great success.

For more information about this anthology, see http://www.amazon.com/ReadWest-Stories-American-Elmer-Kelton/dp/1930584601/ref=pd_rhf_ee_p_t_1

Friday, July 6, 2012

Drifter from Wenatchee

Short stories are still doing well for me.  A mystery/noir story entitled "Drifter from Wenatchee" has been published in Beat to a Pulp: Round Two, a collection of stories from many leading writers in hard-hitting genre fiction.  It is a great honor to be included in this collection.

This story is in the retro mode I have been working in for the past few years, and the story is part of my recently released collection entitled Field Work.

Back to this collection, Beat to a Pulp, Round Two, I would like to thank editors Matt Mayo and David Cranmer for including my work. 

This collection is available at http://www.amazon.com/BEAT-PULP-Round-David-Cranmer/dp/0983377510/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1341605564&sr=1-1&keywords=beat+to+a+pulp+round+two

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Frost on Thin Ice

I continue to have pleasing developments in the area of short fiction.  The good people at Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery have produced my short story "Frost on Thin Ice" as a an e-book.  This is a contemporary short story set in the American West and narrated by a genial jaywalker who is interested in finding out why one man would run down another in front of a small-town post office.

This story was published by Amazon Shorts a few years ago, but that program had a short life and did not sell very many copies (for me, at least).  So I am happy to see this story in its new format and wider distribution.  It is available through Smashwords, Amazon, and other places where e-fiction is sold.