• J.J. Wheeling

Do you remember the first time?

Updated: Feb 25, 2019

I do. I remember it very clearly. The echoes of clapping hands, the warm glow of sincere satisfaction filling my heart and an inner voice saying, “They really liked it.”


My first story.


While I wrote plenty of stories and essays for my schooling after this sixth-grade experience, none of them hold the memory magic like that assignment, read in front of the class, my quavering voice threatening to expose my personal terror as the words jettisoned out for my classmates’ judgement.


And now, decades later, after children have grown and two careers passed, I’ve written another story. This one is longer and more complicated than the first. It calls upon years of dedicated historical research, the accumulation of personal experiences and the thrill of learning how to weave fictional characters into the under-told nooks and crannies of American Western history.


As I did the research and discovered nuggets of true stories from diaries and first-hand accounts about life in the 19thcentury, I struggled with how to set the scene for my 21stcentury readers. I was shocked to learn about the alarming similarities and vast differences between our current state of affairs and those that happened 170 years ago. I asked other authors and editors what their strategy would be to accomplish this goal but never got a satisfying answer. Until I talked to a millennial.


And so, it begins.


It takes so long to get a book published that I’m hoping this blog will help set up the background to my story. I don’t write science fiction or fantasy or wizardry. I want you to understand my own awe or horror at certain discoveries. I want you to celebrate the tenacious, creative and indomitable human spirit that settled the American West. I want you to be shocked and uncomfortable with the lies and injustices of those who wielded great power at that time. I want you to recognize hypocrisy while cheering for honor and goodness. I want to expose questionable decisions to light’s cleansing qualities.


I hope you’ll be as intrigued to read my blog as excited as I am to share my discoveries.

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