I spent a nice chunk of last year working on something quite different from my usual SF/F genres: for many months, I was deeply absorbed in Early California cowboy culture, helping Mike Knecht edit his beautiful romance-adventure Western trilogy set in the 1800s Alto Sierra.

After that we worked together on his non-fiction collection of stories about Chimineas Ranch, a huge remote ranch 100 miles outside of LA where the author worked in the 70s and 80s, living a lifestyle that could have come from a century before.

The fiction trilogy, which consists of Scent of Tears, Wolves in the Shadows and Five Seconds Too Long, were published in early 2015 (under the pseudonym Juan Knecht) and are already getting warm reviews on Amazon.

The story over these three books tracks the beautiful and tempestuous relationship of an unlikely couple who find themselves in an arranged marriage. Lucinda is a fiery risk-taker who loves adventure and has a nose for danger, while Charlie is a straight-talking vaquero who often finds himself picking up the pieces after his troublesome but adored wife. Check out some reviewer quotes below…

Reviewer quotes for Scent of Tears:

5/5 stars

“Westerns have long been considered a male genre but this bucks the trend. Wrenching and emotional, this is a relationship story with a backdrop of the authentic west. It’ll be hard to put it down once you start!”

5/5 stars

“I’m not normally the romance novel type so when a friend recommended this series I was sceptical. I started reading this first book at 6pm and couldn’t put it down until it was done at 1am.”

5/5 stars

“Great story! … The author got the historical setting correct but the real story is about the eternal struggle between men and women. It is an interesting book about early California. It is even more entertaining because it is an account of a man and woman coming to know and appreciate each other…”

Mike Knecht’s non-fiction book is Tales From Chimineas Ranch: Humorous Stories of Wild Cattle and Wilder Cowboys, a collection of funny stories about the camaraderie, characters, and wicked sense of humor that gave life at the Chimineas Ranch its flavor.

Amazon reviewer quote:

5/5 stars

“Tales From Chimineas Ranch is a raucous collection of stories from a unique place and time. With an almost mythic setting, and characters who are gritty and memorable, this book will not only keep you entertained, but make you want to step into their boots and live the life of a wild cowboy.”

I’ll be working with Mike Knecht again soon on some more awesome stories, so stay tuned. 🙂