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Featured Story: Boundaries: An Old West Tale


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Looking for inspiration for a Halloween costume? How's about you put on some chaps, a button up, a hat and swagger your way down to the watering can for... a good ole fashioned gunslinger western romance novella by Headstall that spike382 gives two spurs up in his review below. Read on to find out more! 

Boundaries: An Old West Tale
by Headstall

Reviewer: spike382
Status: Complete
Word Count: 16,640

One thing that I love about being a longer-term member of this community is seeing certain writers evolve and improve over time. One writer in particular that I’ve followed for a long time is Headstall. His earliest offerings on the site were all good, but as time has passed and he’s written more and more, it amazes me how much he has evolved as a writer in the last seven or eight years. Nowhere is this more apparent than in his latest story on the site, Boundaries: An Old West Tale.  

In Boundaries, we meet wandering gun fighter, Virgil Pruitt, a lonely man headed for greener pastures. His journey takes him to a troubled Texas town, very close to the Mexican border. It’s been just a few years since the Mexican-American war, and the tensions remain. When he visits the local saloon, Virgil is immediately held with suspicion and prejudice, forcing him to show off those gun fighter skills previously mentioned.  

Luckily, Virgil’s a little more Shane, and a little less Man with No Name. If you don’t get those references, go watch some classic westerns when you’re done reading this story. Anyway, Virgil soon encounters a local outcast Wyatt Burnham, a young man with his own dark past. The two share an instant connection, and the story takes off from there. As the synopsis says, a lot can happen in one day. 

This is a short but sweet tale packed full of themes and conflicts facing the characters. It touches on sexual assault, prejudice, tragedy, love, and self-acceptance. It’s all handled masterfully and again it’s amazing how much Headstall can pack into such a short story. This easily could have been spun out into a much longer entry, and yet it has a perfect stopping point. I can’t recommend this story enough, if you haven’t had the privilege yet, go check Boundaries out!

Category: Anthology 2022 - Anniversary  Genres: Western, General Fiction, Romance, Historical  Sub-genres: Drama, General Romance, Historical Romance, Romantic Western, Western, Western Romance  Tags: adult, gay, north america, serious, abuse  Rating: Mature

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14 hours ago, northie said:

I don't, yet I read this and loved it. 🤷‍♂️😄 It's the Gary charm - the story, the ambience, the characters. The writer in me admires and studies the craft on display. Short for Gary, this story is complete and well worth a read. That's not just my recommendation or spike's - Gary's legion of fans have made their views known.  

As one of Gary's legion of fans, I concur with northie's analysis of Gary's talents as a writer.  I would like to add one addition to the description. Gary does in depth research to make sure his stories also have an honest, authentic feel, especially the dialogue. 

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I am a fan of western genre. However, it is not the genre that makes a great story, but how well the story has been written.  Like all of the many different stories Gary has written in many different genres, Boundaries is a story I will treasure.  I could easily repeat what Spike and northie have said, because their statements are so true.  As you know Gary, Boundaries was a beautiful and unexpected surprise for me.  I said it in my review and will say it again.  This story will delight readers no matter their genre preferences.

@spike382, Your feature is a very well written review of Boundaries.  Good job! I am now following this blog as a result of your review.

 

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8 hours ago, raven1 said:

As one of Gary's legion of fans, I concur with northie's analysis of Gary's talents as a writer.  I would like to add one addition to the description. Gary does in depth research to make sure his stories also have an honest, authentic feel, especially the dialogue. 

Thanks, Terry! You're right about me doing a lot of research, and while I've gone down a few rabbit holes a time or two, I mostly enjoy the process. I started researching westerns years ago with my first one, Finding Refuge https://gayauthors.org/story/headstall/findingrefuge/ . Getting a western dialect I was happy with was a challenge because there isn't much solid information to be had, but with enough enough clues found, I ended up happy with one that now flows out of me. Looks like I'm stuck with thinking in western-speak a lot of the time. :) 

 

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7 hours ago, raven1 said:

I am a fan of western genre. However, it is not the genre that makes a great story, but how well the story has been written.  Like all of the many different stories Gary has written in many different genres, Boundaries is a story I will treasure.  I could easily repeat what Spike and northie have said, because their statements are so true.  As you know Gary, Boundaries was a beautiful and unexpected surprise for me.  I said it in my review and will say it again.  This story will delight readers no matter their genre preferences.

@spike382, Your feature is a very well written review of Boundaries.  Good job! I am now following this blog as a result of your review.

 

It was a surprise for me too, Terry. A comment from @Aditus I took as a challenge, spurred me to write Boundaries, even though I had already written two other anthology submissions. It has revived my interest and confidence in my abilities after covid did a number on me, so it's a treasure for me as well. Genre is important for the feel and authenticity of the story, but you're right that it is the heart of the story that transcends genre. A good story is a good story.

You're right about @spike382 too. He and the other members of the review team do really good work. They put in a lot of effort to help provide readers with information about available reading... a valuable service indeed. Focus on our stories does a lot for us authors too. Thanks again, Spikeman. :) 

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5 hours ago, dughlas said:

A well written review of a well written story. The setting may be a western but the story is universal. An excellent read.

Thank you, dugh! Spikey does great work. :yes:  Thanks for reading and recommending Boundaries to others. It's nice to hear you consider the story universal... I agree. There are themes presented in this Old West story which are still present today unfortunately. Cheers!

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44 minutes ago, Headstall said:

Thanks, Terry! You're right about me doing a lot of research, and while I've gone down a few rabbit holes a time or two, I mostly enjoy the process. I started researching westerns years ago with my first one, Finding Refuge https://gayauthors.org/story/headstall/findingrefuge/ . Getting a western dialect I was happy with was a challenge because there isn't much solid information to be had, but with enough enough clues found, I ended up happy with one that now flows out of me. Looks like I'm stuck with thinking in western-speak a lot of the time. :) 

 

I was wondering where the 4th western was. I haven't read all of your short stories yet, but this one is open on a tab and ready to be read in the morning.  Thanks for posting this!

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36 minutes ago, raven1 said:

I was wondering where the 4th western was. I haven't read all of your short stories yet, but this one is open on a tab and ready to be read in the morning.  Thanks for posting this!

Awesome! You're welcome, Terry. It was my first western, and I hope you enjoy it. :hug: 

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