Riding Tunnel Drive on Easter Sunday

Photo of telegraph pole, with railroad tracks and river in background.
Old telegraph pole next to the Arkansas River at the end of Tunnel Drive

This year was the first time in seven years that I had Easter Sunday off. It was a beautiful day in southern Colorado, so I decided to do something I hadn’t done in several years. In Canon City, Colorado, they have a river walk that now spans from one end of town to the other. I used to ride this trail all the time when we lived in Canon City, and Mike and Josey were kids, but not for many years. When I was riding it, it was in sections and the route was not a continuous one, but they’ve completed the full length since my last ride in Canon City. On Easter Sunday, I started off at the Department of Recreation on Reynold’s Avenue and road clear through town, which is a fairly flat route and an easy ride all along the Arkansas River, to Tunnel Drive, which has a steep climb at the beginning, and then follows the river through the canyon from above.

Tunnel Drive is a path was the old wagon road which follows the river into the Royal Gorge Canyon along the east side. It runs through a series of three tunnels blasted through the granite of the mountainside, hence the name. When I’d come here with my boys, you could see bats hanging from the tunnel ceilings, and near dusk, you might see them flying. But besides bats, these tunnels and this trail have an interesting history. Originally proposed as an open ditch system to carry water to Penrose until citizens turned against the project after blasting caused damage to nearby houses, and then funding fell through, it eventually carried water through the canyon in an elborate piping system to the Canyon City water department. According to Brooke Johnson of the Canon City Daily Record, “A 30-inch wooden pipeline ran from the center of the Royal Gorge alongside the gorge walls across the river bringing water to an open ditch.” In fact, you can still see the remnants of the old pipeline running along the Gorge in spots, high up on the canyon walls, and there are pieces still remaining at the end of the trial.

Two people walking up steep paved incline
A Steep Start

As I mentioned, the start of this trail is pretty steep, and I won’t lie, I walked my bike to the top. Even an electric assist bike needs help for a climb like this one, and this old lady didn’t have it in her. But once up the hill, the ride to the end of the line is fairly smooth through three tunnels and across two bridges to the end of the line, about a three mile ride one way. At the last bridge I was fortunate to see the Easter Sunday train coming down the canyon below, which was kind of cool.

Canon City has it’s own tourist train that runs up the Gorge and back these days, complete with a dining car, an open car and one that is glassed in for those who don’t wish to brave the elements, but still want to enjoy the view. $119.00 per person to take the Easter train. I checked because I was thinking of doing that with my son for Easter Dinner, but a little too pricey for my pocketbook. Instead we ended up going to The China Garden and ate Chinese food for Easter dinner. As usual, Josey wouldn’t let me take his picture, even though we haven’t had a meal on Easter Sunday together for the last seven years, so I settled for photos of the food.

It was a very pleasant day, over all. It was a nice way to spend an Easter Sunday for someone who had maybe forgotten how. The river walk was a pleasant ride, as was the ride over Tunnel Drive. It all brought back fond memories of times past. Maybe I’ll go to the Royal Gorge Bridge for Memorial Day. HAven’t been there in a while either.


Royal Gorge Region: Tunnel Drive

Johnson, Brooke. 18 July 2020. “Back in Time: Tunnel Drive Originally Had a Different Purpose”. Canon City Daily Record. Retrieved from https://www.canoncitydailyrecord.com/2020/07/18/back-in-time-tunnel-drive-originally-had-a-different-purpose/

About Kaye Lynne Booth

Photo of upper body of author Kaye Lynne Booth in front of pine trees.Text on shirt: Careful, or you'll end up in my novel

For Kaye Lynne Booth, writing is a passion. Kaye Lynne is an author with published short fiction and poetry, both online and in print, including her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction; and her paranormal mystery novella, Hidden Secrets. Kaye holds a dual M.F.A. degree in Creative Writing with emphasis in genre fiction and screenwriting, and an M.A. in publishing. Kaye Lynne is the founder of WordCrafter Quality Writing & Author Services and WordCrafter Press. She also maintains an authors’ blog and website, Writing to be Read, where she publishes content of interest in the literary world.


Want exclusive content? Join Kaye Lynne Booth & WordCrafter Press Readers’ Group for WordCrafter Press book & event news, including the awesome releases of author Kaye Lynne Booth. She won’t flood your inbox, she NEVER sells her list, and you might get a freebie occasionally. Get a free digital copy of her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction, just for joining.

The Mysteries of John Henry “Doc” Holliday

Faro Table Display at the Doc Holliday Museum in Glenwood Springs, Colorado

Doc Holliday – The Man

John Henry Holliday, was a man of many talents. Born and raised in Georgia, he practiced dentistry, earning him the handle of “Doc”. He contracted tuberculosis while caring for his ailing mother before her death, and eventually had to give up his practice, as no one wanted to let “a lunger” work on their mouth for fear of contracting the disease. He came west, trying to take up dentistry, but supplementing his income with gambling, often dealing cards at the local faro tables. He was a heavy smoker, and a heavy drinker, with a hot temper and considerable skill with a gun, earning him a reputation as a notorious outlaw andl killer, as well.

He left his mark in frontier towns such as Dodge, Kansas; Tombstone Arizona; and Leadville, Colorado, but he spent his final days in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

Doc Holliday’s Final Days

John Henry Holliday traveled to Glenwood Springs from Leadville, where he had resided for the previous year and a half, to see if the mineral baths, which at that time were scattered up and down the canyon, could improve on his failing health, as he struggled with tuberculosis, which he’d contracted while caring for his ailing mother, who died of the same disease.

Holliday worked at one of the saloons in town as a faro dealer for a short time, probably about a month, following his arrival in Glenwood Springs, but he was soon too ill to keep the job. He did a few odd jobs to pay the rent on his room, but was eventually too sick to climb the stairs to his second story lodgings at the Hotel Glenwood, (which burnt in 1945), so thereafter was confined to bed. The photo below is believed by some to be Doc in his final days at the Hotel Glenwood. It is displayed in the Doc Holliday Museum, in the basement of Bullock’s western store, which now sits where the hotel was in 1887.

Photo of unknown man – Doc Holliday Museum, Glenwood Springs, Colorado

Too sick to earn a wage, Doc may have found himself on the street were it not for his friendship with Walter Deveroux, one of the town’s leading citizens, who would later build the hot springs pool. Deveroux stood by Doc in his last days, bringing nourishment when he could no longer leave his second story room, and contacted Doc’s long time companion, Kate Elder, (Mary Katherine Harony-Cummings), also known as Big Nose Kate, requesting that she come to Glenwood Springs and help to care for the ailing Doc. (The same Big Nose Kate who had traveled with Doc for several years and had saved him from a mob in Fort Griffin, Kansas, ten years earlier, in 1877).

Doc’s Final Resting Place

There is some question about Doc’s final resting place. According to signage at the beginning of the trailhead for the Linwood Cemetary, the organization of the hillside cemetery, which requires a steep walk up the trailhead to reach, was rather haphazard to begin with, and graves were placed wherever a spot could be found. Then heavy rains came along and washed the cemetery and many of the graves and caskets down the hillside, which then had to be re-interred. It is said that it was such a mess that no one could tell who was who, and so graves were mismarked and some headstones may not actually have anything lying beneath them.

Others claim that he was buried in the pauper’s cemetery which lies above the main cemetery, Potter’s Field, and still others claim his body was shipped back to Georgia, where his family buried him in an unmarked grave. Any of these stories could be true: Doc died penniless, so may have been buried in an unmarked grave in Potter’s Field; or his friends in Glenwood Springs, who assisted him during his last days could have paid for his burial; or his family could have paid to have his remains shipped back to Georgia. Vandalism may have caused these various claims to spring up as efforts in misdirection, and only those present in Glenwood Springs at the time would know which is true, and they aren’t telling.

There have been three different headstones for Doc Holiday’s grave in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. The one above is supposedly the original grave marker, which had to be removed due to vandals. It can be found today on the floor of Bullock’s western store, where Doc spent his last days in one of the rooms above. Below is the headstone which is currently found in the Linwood cemetery. In the hillside cemetery the current headstone is protected from vandalism by a barred fence which look a little like a jail cell. Doc was never a friend of the law, so perhaps this is a fitting end for the notorious gambler.

Doc may have died penniless, but he was wealthy in friendships. Kate did come to care for him, gathering firewood to sell from the nearby hills, to help to pay his expenses, and caring for him when he no longer had the strength to care for himself. It’s not every man who had friends of such devotion. Kate arranged to send Doc’s dental equipment and other belongings back east to his family members, although they were pillaged before they arrived at their destination. It says a lot for Doc’s character that he had loyal friends like Kate and Deveroux.

John Henry Holliday died in Glenwood Springs on November 8, 1887 at the age of 36.

Sources Cited

Not only did the mineral baths not improve his health, they most likely exacerbated it, with the moist air surrounding the pools, and he died less than two months later, penniless. In the Doc Holliday Museum, located in the basement of Bullock’s Store, they display the picture below, surmising that it might be Doc in his final days, taken in his second story room in the Hotel Glenwood above, which was the although they do not state this as fact.

Carla Jean Whitley (3/10/2017) To Doc From Kate – But Who Was Kate? Post Independent. Retrieved from https://www.postindependent.com/news/local/to-doc-from-kate/

Maggie Van Ostrand (2017) Katie Elder a.k.a. Big Nose Kate, Her True Story. Goose Flats Graphics & Publishing. Retrieved from Southern Arizona Guide: https://southernarizonaguide.com/katie-elder-her-true-story-by-maggie-van-ostrand/

Joseph A. Williams. The Real Story of Doc Holliday and Big Nose Kate. Old West. Retrieved from https://www.oldwest.org/doc-holliday-big-nose-kate/

Big Nose Kate – Doc Holliday’s Sidekick. Legends of America. Retrieved from https://www.legendsofamerica.com/we-bignosekate/

(2/28/2022). Couples with History: Glewood Springs Loves Stories. Glenwood Springs Blog. Retrieved from https://visitglenwood.com/blog/2022/02/couples-with-history-glenwood-springs-love-stories/

Doc Holliday in Glenwood Springs. Glenwood Springs blog. https://visitglenwood.com/history/doc-holliday-in-glenwood-springs/

The True Story of Katie Elder. Notes from the Frontier. Retrieved from https://www.notesfromthefrontier.com/post/the-true-story-of-katie-elder

Doc Holliday: A High Roller Brought Low. Hotel Colorado blog. Retrieved from https://www.hotelcolorado.com/blog/doc-holliday-a-high-roller-brought-low

Death Spot of Doc Holliday. Roadside America. Retrieved from https://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/35312

Patrick McGuire (1/24/2022) Where is Doc Holiday Buried? Colorado Uncovered. Retrieved from https://www.uncovercolorado.com/doc-holliday-grave-location/


For Kaye Lynne Booth, writing is a passion. Kaye Lynne is an author with published short fiction and poetry, both online and in print, including her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction; and her paranormal mystery novella, Hidden Secrets. Kaye holds a dual M.F.A. degree in Creative Writing with emphasis in genre fiction and screenwriting, and an M.A. in publishing. Kaye Lynne is the founder of WordCrafter Quality Writing & Author Services and WordCrafter Press. She also maintains an authors’ blog and website, Writing to be Read, where she publishes content of interest in the literary world.


Want exclusive content? Join Kaye Lynne Booth & WordCrafter Press Readers’ Group for WordCrafter Press book & event news, including the awesome releases of author Kaye Lynne Booth. She won’t flood your inbox, she NEVER will sells her list, and you might get a freebie occasionally. Get a free digital copy of her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction, just for joining.

Tales from the Bird Sanctuary: Frantic Hummingbirds

Colorado weather is always unpredictable. There’s a saying, that is you don’t like the weather in Colorado, just wait twenty minutes, and having lived in Colorado for all of my life, I can say that it is usually true. But this year, we had an unseasonal snow storm on May 21-22, and my area was hit hard. We got at least 24 inches of wet, heavy snow, which left me temporarily snowbound, and confused all the plants in my garden, like my rose, day lilies and lilac bushes, which already had new growth showing. The plants weren’t the only ones confused. After all, the previous week, the temperatures were in the seventies. I was a little confused myself. All the birds who visit the bird sanctuary and the hummingbirds, which have been in the area since April 18th this year, were absolutely frantic.

The snow began falling on the evening of the 20th, and the trees were already drooping low by 10 p.m. As I went to shut my generator off, It sounded like the trees were alive with the little twitts of hummingbirds. They should have been all tucked into their nests by that time of night, but for some reason, they were all perched in the tree branches griping about the weather. I believe that many of these tiny birds were just passing through and the snow stranded them, but for whatever reason, I could tell by the sound that there were a lot of them in those trees.

Hummingbirds are migratory and they fly great distances every year from South America all the way up to the northern regions of the United States. It’s really quite amazing how far these tiny travelers commute. What they don’t do is fly in the dark, at least not usually, but on that night, I must have startled one of them, because I actually got buzzed. At 10 o’clock at night, that is unheard of.

The next morning, I awoke to about a foot of snow and everything was covered in white, and at 5:30 in the morning, the hummingbirds were frantically fighting to get nectar from partially frozen feeders.

Hummingbirds consume mass amounts of food in order to maintain their high metabolisms. In situations where the food supplies are limited for some reason, like a surprise snow storm, they can find a perch and go into a torpor state to conserve its energy reserves, but for some reason, these hummingbirds remained frantically feeding all day.

I placed a fresh feeder under the porch where it would be sheltered for them, in order to up their food supplies. But, it was so cold that even that feeder was soon partially frozen. That didn’t stop them from feeding from it though. Below is a video I took from inside my cabin. My front porch was busy like this all day long. If nothing else, they provided good entertainment on a day when I was stuck indoors.


Kaye Lynne Booth lives, works, and plays in the mountains of Colorado. With a dual emphasis M.F.A. in Creative Writing and a M.A. in Publishing, writing is more than a passion. It’s a way of life. She’s a multi-genre author, who finds inspiration from the nature around her, and her love of the old west, and other odd and quirky things which might surprise you.

She has short stories featured in the following anthologies: The Collapsar Directive (“If You’re Happy and You Know It”); Relationship Add Vice (“The Devil Made Her Do It”); Nightmareland (“The Haunting in Carol’s Woods”); Whispers of the Past (“The Woman in the Water”); Spirits of the West (“Don’t Eat the Pickled Eggs”); and Where Spirits Linger (“The People Upstairs”). Her paranormal mystery novella, Hidden Secrets, and her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction, are both available in both digital and print editions at most of your favorite book distributors.

When not writing, she keeps up her author’s blog, Writing to be Read, where she posts reflections on her own writing, author interviews and book reviews, along with writing tips and inspirational posts from fellow writers. In addition to creating her own very small publishing house in WordCrafter Press, she offers quality author services, such as editing, social media & book promotion, and online writing courses through WordCrafter Quality Writing & Author Services. As well as serving as judge for the Western Writers of America and sitting on the editorial team for Western State Colorado University and WordFire Press for the Gilded Glass anthology and editing Weird Tales: The Best of the Early Years 1926-27, under Kevin J. Anderson & Jonathan Maberry.

In her spare time, she is bird watching, or gardening, or just soaking up some of that Colorado sunshine.


Join Kaye Lynne Booth & WordCrafter Press Readers’ Group for WordCrafter Press book & event news, including the awesome releases of author Kaye Lynne Booth. Get a free digital copy of her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction, as a sampling of her works just for joining.

Why do I do it?

Reciting from Delilah for the Birds

Living in a rural area in the Colorado mountains provides a unique set of obstacles to be dealt with, including a forty-five mile commute, one way, on winding mountain roads which can be treacherous in winter weather conditions and clogged with tourist traffic in the summer that can turn a forty-five minute drive into and hour and a half. It can be nerve wrecking and even hair raising at times. And the wear and tear on my vehicles – proper maintenence and tires, etc… – due to all the mileage I put on them gets downright expensive!

I hate that commute and for several years now I’ve been asking myself why I do this live in this remote place. Three years ago, I hit black ice and rolled my car over on its side, totaling the car and raising my insurance, even though I had broken no traffic laws or violated the rules of the road. I hadn’t been driving too fast or being reckless. It was simply the road conditions that caused me to wreck. The cop almost landed on his derierre when he approached to issue me the ticket because the road was a sheer sheet of ice.

But it’s not just the commute. There are other unique difficulties that come with living off-grid, like hauling water and keeping generators and solar systems functioning, and chopping wood for winter fuel. Only in such remote locations does one have an internet outage during the writing conference that your hosting, causing you to have to stay at a hotel and miss one full day of events, as it happened during this year’s WordCrafter virtual writing conference. It can be tough when you don’t have the simple ammenities that many people take for granted.

Yesterday, as I was driving home from work, I saw something that reminded me of why I live where I live, in spite of the need to do that often treacherous and all too frustrating commute. As I turned off the highway and headed up the dirt road that I live off of, I came around a corner and saw a patch of brown, almost hidden in the meadow grasses below a heavily forested hill. At first I thought it might be a cow or perhaps a horse, as the folks who live just over the hill keep livestock, but it didn’t stand tall enough above the grasses to be of the equine or bovine persuasions. I slowed down to get a better look, and the sound of my car must have drawn the as yet unidentified animal’s attention, causing it to look up and allowing me a good look, as well.

I hit my brakes and then threw my car into reverse, backing to a spot off the road, where I had a fairly decent view of a large brown bear which was now watching me to see what I was up to. The bear watched me for a couple of minutes, as I dug in my computer case for my Kindle, the only device with a camera that I had available. Then, he must have decided I didn’t pose much of a threat and went back to whatever he had been doing in the grass before I came along. The grass still hid him partially, but I was able to snap several photos of him before he lost interest and decided to head back over the hill. I had a much better view as he ambled away, so I slid out of my car and walked to the back of the car to snap a few more shots. He looked back to see what I was doing, but didn’t seem to concerned, as he turned and continued on his way.

That’s why I do it. That is why I make the commute, and why I make lists and keep things stocked up, so I don’t end up making extra trips, and do all of the other things that are kind of a pain, but are necessary to accomodate my chosen lifestyle. That’s why I work so hard to grow a following and make money from my writing and publishing skills, so I won’t have to make that commute anymore.

Because living where I live, I get to see things like that big brown bear and many other kinds of wildlife that city dwellers miss out on. The bear I saw yesterday was only one of many wildlife sightings that living here has offered me. Many are just glimpses, such as the two foxes playing in a drainage pipe at the side of the road, or the bobcat running through the trees, but on a few occasions, I’ve even been afforded the opportunity to capture them in photos and created the wonderful images I’m sharing here today.

The flora and fauna surrounding my Colorado mountain home are what makes it all worth it. Beside road side wildlife, my mountain home offers opportunities to view and often, photograph many species of birds and plant life. Beautiful wild flowers and and magnificent bird photos inhabit my photo library, where the images of a small fraction of all the magnificent species to which I have been witness to, have been captured. Many encounters that I wasn’t able to capture through the lens have instead inspired poetry or found their way into stories that I’ve written, or other writings.

All of this serves to remind me of the reasons why I do what I do, and live where I live, strengthening my resolve to keep doing what I’m doing. My motto has always been “Endeavor to Perservere”, or keep on keeping on, and that’s just what I’m going to do, but now I remember why I’m doing it.


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Jeff’s Pep Talk: “Doing the MFA Thing”

jeff black and white

“Doing the MFA Thing”

By Jeff Bowles

The first Wednesday of every month, science fiction and horror writer Jeff Bowles offers advice to new and aspiring authors. Nobody ever said this writing thing would be easy. This is your pep talk.

When I was deciding to go back to school for an MFA, I noticed that a lot of writers—particularly those working in Science Fiction and Fantasy—looked down on the need to earn a secondary degree in what is essentially a field dominated by outsiders and formerly independent upstarts. Most successful writers have no MFA, after all. They learned to write successfully on their own. Teachers and professors need MFAs, but not writers. That’s the general feeling out there.

And I had no intention of becoming a teacher. I did, however, have a strong desire to tell stories at a higher level than I was capable of at that time. The thought of going back to school was both exciting and nausea inducing. Like many writers, I’ve got a touch of anxiety and isolationism. Meeting new people, lots of new people, it can be tricky for me. I also knew if I chose the wrong program, it’d set me back in my career rather than push me forward.

If you are considering a creative writing MFA, know there are basically two categories these kinds of programs can fall into: literary and traditional vs. everyone else. I write genre fiction. I’m a hopeless pop culture nerd and it never occurred to me to write anything else. Luckily, that made my decision much easier. Sensing correctly that most traditional master’s programs can get snobby about what and how you write, I knew I needed to place myself among like-minded people. At the time I decided to apply, the early part of 2013, there were only a few programs in the United States that specialized in genre fiction (that is to say, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror, Crime; you know, the good stuff). Two of these were clear across the country, and all had a ‘low residency’ requirement, which is just another way of saying students have to live on campus a few weeks of the year.

The third program I found was a fairly new entry into what has since become a growing category of alternative MFA programs and certificates. It was also in my home state, Colorado, about 150 miles west of the little prairie town where I live with my wife. Western State Colorado University is a small but growing mountain college nestled in the Gunnison Valley, absolutely beautiful place, especially in the summer. The setting is rustic, but I’m a rural Colorado guy anyway, so it suited me just fine. Like I said, I was pretty nervous about meeting a whole new group of people, but I was hopeful in the very least that I’d come out of the program a much better writer, ready to take on the literary world in all its many serpentine manifestations.

During the two years I attended Western, I wrote an enormous amount of material, the majority of which I published. Actually, I started publishing it in the middle of my coursework, which impressed my classmates. I’d already been writing seriously for seven or eight years, and that’s kind of a stereotypical calibration mile marker at which point writers ‘stop being just okay’ and ‘start getting good’. Anyway, maybe the timing was on my side. Make no mistake, writers can be a jealous and fickle lot, and many who doubt their own abilities fall victim to popular whims and the nasty habit of clinging to others who, ehem, smell like success. That’s actually a constant in entertainment industries far and wide, so it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that nastiness and in-fighting can and do occur in MFA programs.

So while I can honestly say I produced a large amount of quality (and more importantly, saleable) work, the sum total of the experience was perhaps not exactly what I expected. For one, if you find that you’re a bit of a loner—as many authors are—you may consider other avenues. The notion of community is indeed important, but in programs such as these, group dynamics are a factor. You may experience interpersonal drama as the natural course. Heck, you may even participate in it. Some people think competition is good, that it breeds character, dedication, and an overall positive, can-do attitude. I don’t agree. I think it usually brings out the worst in people. The problem is that folks get into the mindset there is only so much success to go around, a grand lie if there ever was one. And really, a high-stress creative environment can only exacerbate insecurities, anxiety, and small-minded thinking. It’s entirely possible you’ll experience nothing of the sort during your time at an MFA, but then again, you may find yourself crawling through a big stinking pile of it.

The other thing worth mentioning is that if you as a writer are prone to overwork or burnout, you may consider getting a certificate or simply attending a really good writing workshop or two. There are plenty of those to go around, and they don’t require tens of thousands of dollar to attend, either. I wouldn’t trade my time at Western for anything. Really, I wouldn’t. The experiences I had, the people I met (even the ones I ended up disagreeing with), shaped me in unexpected ways. Pressure cooker situations can make you better at what you do, but they can also cause a slowdown or even complete stoppage of your natural creative drive. Ultimately, this is what happened to me, though luckily, writer’s block is perfectly surmountable given enough time and patience.

As I’m sure you well know, creative writing can be pretty difficult, especially when we as writers are put into situations or contracts under which we’re required to maintain constant output. But writing isn’t like most other creative professions, in that it doesn’t just require your creativity and imagination, but also your intellect and higher reasoning skills. To string one word after another, continuously, until a fully realized narrative emerges, that’s pretty hardcore, right? So again, if you are prone to periods of overwork or burnout, if you make a habit of pushing yourself too hard or of not being forgiving or gentle enough to allow yourself time to recoup your creative energy, an MFA may not be for you.

Yes, you can teach with one, and that may be the most useful outcome. Not every writer wants to teach. In fact, I think most don’t. But if you’ve been doing this a while, I’m sure you’ve also recognized the very real truth that superstar authors are few and far between, and even fewer simply got lucky on their paths, as opposed to agonizing over their craft for years and years before anyone showed even the slightest interest. So to teach or not to teach? Well, a paycheck is better than an empty bank account under any circumstance, and since reality is (unfortunately) rather persistent, you may find you need to pay some bills before your incredible new urban fantasy novel sees the light of day.

At the time I attended Western State, the school’s Genre Fiction program was still pretty new, and as such, the faculty still had a few things to iron out. This led to an uneven learning experience at times, but as far as a basic academic progress went, I always felt satisfied. Some of my classmates had a bad habit of complaining about certain aspects of our coursework, but I was always of the opinion that you get out what you put in. In other words, I never even bothered second-guessing individual assignments or their value. I simply treated them as writing challenges, opportunities for me to have fun and excel. And I loved to write, so I committed myself to telling the best stories I could, and at least in the short term, it paid off for me.

One thing is certain, if you go into an intense learning environment with a bad attitude, you’re already behind the eight ball. I had a great attitude, though my somewhat imbalanced mental health picture (at the time I suffered from some pretty bad depression) set me apart from my classmates, in that I occasionally needed extra help and time in order to get my work done. My teachers were more than willing to accommodate me, and thanks to them, I graduated on time and with (mostly) straight A’s. I used that lovely piece of frameable paper to bounce myself into some editing and freelance work, but if I’m being honest, sustained productivity become an issue after that. Perhaps I was just dog tired. Can you really blame me?

When all is said and done, the choice to pursue an MFA comes down to what you value and what you think you can accomplish on your own. An intense, focused experience like this can make you a better writer. I know it made me better. But it’s also true that you can get better on your own, through dedication, persistence, and a healthy work ethic. I think I was open and ready for something that allowed me to hone my abilities in a safe, nurturing, and output-driven environment. I’d like to thank all the faculty and staff at Western State Colorado University for their generosity of spirit and willingness to pass on their considerable knowledge and expertise. Don’t forget, folks, this is your story. Tell it how you want to sell it!

Until next time!

Jeff Bowles is a science fiction and horror writer from the mountains of Colorado. The best of his outrageous and imaginative short stories are collected in Godling and Other Paint Stories, Fear and Loathing in Las Cruces, and Brave New Multiverse. He has published work in magazines and anthologies like Tales from the Canyons of the Damned, Black Static, the Threepenny Review, and Dark Moon Digest. Jeff earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing at Western State Colorado University. He currently lives in the high-altitude Pikes Peak region, where he dreams strange dreams and spends far too much time under the stars.

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A Published Author At Last – Now It’s In My Readers’ Hands

Delilah Cover

The exciting news this week is, Delilah is now available in digital format! It’s something I’ve been waiting for for quite a while, so of course, I am ecstatic. But, something many aspiring authors may not realize is that publication isn’t the end of the road. No, it’s actually just the beginning of a new chapter in the book of writing, this one titled Sell that Book.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with my road to publication, I started Delilah back in 2012, when I entered the M.F.A. in Creative Writing program at Western State Colorado University. The assignment given by my instructor, Russell Davis, was to write an excerpt in a genre outside our comfort zone. I was assigned to write in western genre, and low and behold, I found not only am I good at it, but I like writing western. Four years later, that small excerpt, grew into a 60,000 word western novel which I’ve been trying to find a publisher for over the past year.

You see, writing the book, while a great accomplishment unto itself, is only half the battle. It doesn’t do any good to write a story, if no one ever reads it. In order for that to happen, the book must be published, and while I could self-publish, (I had considered it), I held out hope of finding a publisher, and in the end my persistence paid off.

So, now that I got Delilah published, with the help of Dusty Saddles Publishing, I must get the word out through marketing and promotion. I must get people to read, and maybe more important, write reviews.

Reviews are where it’s at these days. According to Amazon, reviews are how you get your book promoted, and I just read somewhere that Amazon has recently increased the number of reviews needed for them to promote your book, from thirty-five to fifty or one hundred.

The question is, where do I get reviews from? Although I do honest reviews here, on Writing to be Read, I don’t know many other bloggers who do. So, it comes down to appealing to you, my readers, to buy Delilah, read it and then go onto Amazon and Goodreads, (Delilah will be listed there soon -another thing I still need to do), and leave a review.

If you are willing to go to the trouble of doing all that, I thank you, but I also ask that you leave a review that is honest. While I would love you to leave a review which sings Delilah’s praises, I want it only if it is heartfelt. If you see problems with my story, I need to know what they are, in order to improve my writing of future books, so I am asking for honest criticism, if you are kind enough to leave a review at all.

In the end, it’s up to you, the reader, how successful Delilah, or any book, will be. So, buy the books you want to read, (which I hope includes my debut novel), and be kind. Leave an honest review.


Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs at no charge. Have a book you’d like reviewed? Contact Kaye at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com.


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Trouble Seems to Follow Ruby and Maude in “Trouble Returns”


Trouble Returns, by Nancy Oswald, is the third book in her Ruby and Maude Adventure children’s series. The series are historically based stories about Ruby, an independent and headstrong young girl, and her ice cream loving donkey, Maude, and their adventures in Cripple Creek in the late 1890s. I had the pleasure of reviewing the first book, Rescue in Poverty Gulchin which Maude is donkey-napped and Ruby risks her own life to save her beloved friend and companion.

Ruby must face her greatest fears in Trouble Returns, when she must face the villain, Jake Hawker, who’s she’s tangled with twice before, in a court of law, when she testifies against him. But she finds her fears very real when he breaks out of jail and comes after Ruby and her friends and family. Can Ruby triumph over Jake Hawker for a third time?

Trouble Returns is crafted to be a stand alone book as well, making me aware enough of events in the second book, Trouble on the Tracks, that I was able to easily follow the full story line, although I hadn’t read the second book, without giving me a bunch of block exposition. As you might guess from the titles, books two and three feature an additional character, who steals readers’ hearts: Trouble, Ruby’s lovable little cat.

I found this story to be a delightfully entertaining story which was skillfully written. Oswald has crafted another story that readers of all ages won’t want to put down. She’s done her research and the historic details are wonderful. Another plus for me was the fact that it is available in paperback, because I’m an old fashioned type of gal. I give Trouble Returns five quills.

Five Quills3

Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read, and she never charges for them. Have a book you’d like reviewed? Contact Kaye at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com.