Thursday, June 12, 2014

What's a Christian Western?

There are traditional westerns, adult westerns with 'adult' themes, western romance which is shelved in romance rather than with western titles, contemporary westerns (set in modern times), and yes there are Christian westerns. A western is generally set west of the Mississippi river, and most traditional westerns are pre-civil war. My favorite definition is that a western is "a morality play set on horseback." They feature characters that are a "knight errant" traveling the West combating evil and the good guys and the bad guys are not usually hard to distinguish from one another.

The difference between a Christian western and a traditional western is not whether it is a good, clean read or not, most of these books are family friendly fare with the exception of a little coarse language in some. The difference is the fact that a Christian western contains some intentional faith content, a little or a lot of religious content. They aren't preachy and the content is seldom "in your face," but the faith of the author is always evident in these books.

My new book, "Hounded" from Lone Mesa Publishing is a Christian western and does have a light faith content. The storyline in a nutshell is: "When young Sam Duncan finds himself accused of a horrible crime, he must grow up fast to prove his innocence, bring his mother’s killer to justice and find the peace he needs to move on with his life."   A book trailer on the offering can be viewed here and it can be found in print or for Kindle at

There are only a handful of writers writing Christian westerns, one fewer with the passing of Stephen Bly who was perhaps the best known in the genre.  There are many more authors doing romance set in the west, particularly in Texas as this is a very popular setting in that genre.

It isn't surprising that I like to read and write westerns. I grew up spending Saturday mornings helping Roy and Gene clean up the west at the matinees. When I watched TV on one of our three channels it was filled with Gunsmoke, Have Gun Will Travel, Bonanza and The Lone Ranger. My library contains a full hardback collection of Louis L'Amour and Zane Grey who even today, long after their death, still dominate western book racks.

I have a number of books in print on a variety of subjects but westerns remain a favorite for me. I've done a couple of young adult western offerings and my "Beyond the Smoke" from Journeyforth Press won the Will Rogers Medallion. "Trails of the Dime Novel"  is a collection of short stories for Young adults each  representing one of the delicious little dime novels so popular in their day.

The River Oak imprint of David C. Cook published a three book "Mysterious Ways Series." A fascinating cast of characters such as a con man hiding in the guise of a circuit riding preacher as he bilked people out of their money kept me entertained as they told me their story. I wrote the stories down in "Mysterious Ways," "Brothers Keeper" and "Shepherd's Son." I told the story of a man that everyone he met thought they knew him in "Don't I Know You?"

Then there was the one that featured the Texas Panhandle town of Clarendon, known back in the day as Saint's Roost because it was a town founded by a group of Methodist ministers right in the middle of the wild Texas cow country. The real life story of the town rivaled what the characters themselves were doing in the book appropriately titled "Saint's Roost."

Hopefully these books are as fun to read as they were to write. They can all be found on my author page at Amazon or in my online bookstore and you can find them in many of your local libraries. I'd love for you to give them a try.


Sadie and Sophie said...

Enjoyable book trailer, and compelling blurb. It's great to see westerns gaining in popularity. Keep up the good work! :)

Neil Waring said...

Think it is about time I read one of your books. I have been reading your blog for several years, and like you, grew up on TV westerns and still watch them today.

Terry Burns said...

Hope you give one a try. Let me know what you think if you do.