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Sidewinder

   (30 reviews)

Life in the Old West was harsh. The work was hard, but the men were harder, and death.... well... it came easy. Boone had no one until he met Coy, a handsome cowboy with a good heart. Their friendship was quickly formed, and meant everything to him, but after five years of being at each other's side, it was time to move on. Coy didn't need him anymore, and Boone wanted someone made like he was. Finally accepting that was never going to be Coy, and tired of being rootless, he sets out to find a home... land that was his, and a place he could belong. Coy? Left on his own, what path will he take?

What was life like for a gay man in the Old West? Westerns are not a popular genre, but this author grew up on them, and I wrote this for me. This is my second story set in these times, and I wanted to explore how these men coped... how they survived, and what the attitudes of the times were. A lot of research went into this, but the trappings of the story are only a small part of it. This is a simple human drama about wanting what we all want... to stay alive, have a place to call our own, and someone to share it all with. Sometimes, it's just a dream....
Copyright © 2020 Headstall; All Rights Reserved.

Story Recommendations (52 members)

  • Action Packed 27
  • Addictive/Pacing 40
  • Characters 52
  • Chills 8
  • Cliffhanger 23
  • Compelling 14
  • Feel-Good 8
  • Humor 9
  • Smoldering 27
  • Tearjerker 21
  • Unique 37
  • World Building 26

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J J

   4 of 4 members found this review helpful 4 / 4 members

Wow!

This story has it all.

Love. Though thought unrequited.

Hard work to no avail.

Toil, trouble, family jerks and tragedy.

An almost ethereal respite from the tragedy.

Admission from both sides of a love long unspoken of.

Growth, passion and a moral of the story included that most language arts teachers would agree with (unless prejudiced). They always said it was integral to any story.

All the while the author uses seemingly simple words to portray the images and characters of this story so as I read it I felt as if I knew these guys and felt their emotions.

That's Entertainment!

Response from the author:

Thanks, J J. I tried to give us a full experience of what it might have been like in those times, and it truly does take us on a journey. Your review is extremely kind and appreciated. I love when a reader gets engaged enough to think about the story as a whole, and yes, there are a couple of morals in this one... but I tried not to beat anyone over the head with them. :)  It's been my experience that such a review as this brings in new readers. Prove me right, potential readers! Thanks again, my friend. This made my cold, somber January day. Cheers!

  • Love 5
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Tnels28

   4 of 4 members found this review helpful 4 / 4 members

This was an absolute delight and so well written. I enjoyed ever second of it. Thank you very much!

Response from the author:

Thanks, Tnels28! I'm really pleased to receive this review, and hope it helps stir new interest in the story. Sidewinder is the first of two closely-tied books (Larkspur: A Sidewinder Tale), with an associated third (Bearpaw: An Old West Tale) posting now. Please keep sharing your thoughts with me if you read those others. Cheers! 

  • Love 4
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Bdamdifino

   5 of 5 members found this review helpful 5 / 5 members

This is an exceptional tale of 2 young men going through self reflection and internal growth, while battling their feelings toward what the Lord thinks, and what their heart needs. I'm not normally a western fan, but at the suggestion of the author, me being a gay rancher and all, I can say I was never disappointed.  The story was riveting.  It told of hardships and fears most of the "men like us" feel even in today's society when you're tied to agriculture of some form. This is an exceptionally well written book, that takes your heart on twists and turns to the point you can't set it down.  Even if you aren't a western fan, this is a MUST READ book!!! You will not be disappointed!

Response from the author:

Wow, thanks, Bdamdifino! I'm so glad you acted on my urging to read this story, and I love hearing you see the parallels to today's world for us. For a rancher to find this a must read makes your praise doubly powerful, and I am humbled. This was my first multi chapter western, and I had very low expectations as far as it being popular, because of the genre. Turns out I was wrong, and the reaction encouraged me to write other westerns. :)  I so appreciate this recommendation... and the very kind words. Each time I get a review like this, new readers come on board, and that means a lot to this writer. Coy and Boone will always live in my heart and my mind. Cheers, and thanks again! G.  

  • Love 6
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JohnnyC

   5 of 5 members found this review helpful 5 / 5 members

Very Beautiful & Well Written Story By One of GA’s Prolific Writers . Set in The Old West with Gold Fever running rampant .Two Cowboys :Boone & Coy have a good friendship and good horses ,But not the relationship Boone desires . Very Enjoyable Read , With a Sequel to Follow 🐴

Response from the author:

Thank you so much for the wonderful review of "Sidewinder", Johnny. It is a tale of love and discovery and pain and joy. It is a story I wanted to write, and I strove to make it as authentic as possible. I hope potential readers will see this and be convinced to take this journey... and the one in its sequel. Again, I appreciate your recommendation, my friend. :hug:  

  • Love 6
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Dan South

   4 of 4 members found this review helpful 4 / 4 members

I tend to ruminate when I finish a book. I’ve spent some hours thinking on this one trying to capture and keep how I feel about it. What I might say about it. Who I met. Where we journeyed.

This is a western and a classic one at that. I opened this book with all the shoot-‘em-up western television shows of my youth on my mind. Sidewinder  is like none of them.

It’s better.

I’m at an advantage because I know there’s a sequel. I can see Boone & Coy again. That won’t make saying goodbye any easier just because there’s a next time available right now. Good guys.

Great characters. Vivid imagery. Compelling pacing. Not a single dull moment.

Thank you Headstall, it’s a great read!

Response from the author:

Wow, Dan. I am really moved by this. THANK YOU! If you think this story is better than the westerns you grew up on, then I have done something better than right. I don't need much from a review, but I have to say this one is perfect, and I hope it entices new readers to open up the story page and take the journey. I say to such readers, Dan and I don't think you will be disappointed. :)  

  • Love 5
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Doha

· Edited by Doha

   5 of 5 members found this review helpful 5 / 5 members

Sidewinder is a tale of unrequited love, exploration and discovery, in which two young cowboys make some bold moves in a time and context that would not be on their side. 

This is a beautiful love story that will have you reading late into the night. You will cry and shout and laugh and keep on "turning the page".

One of the best stories on GA by one of its finest authors. 

Response from the author:

Wow! I feel blessed today. Tow really encouraging reviews for "Sidewinder" within minutes of one another. :D  Thank you so much, Doha, for taking the time to share your thoughts on something I am very proud of. I wrote this story for me during the pandemic, knowing 'historical western' wasn't a popular genre, but I didn't care. I needed something to be passionate about to snap me out of a writing slump, and I really didn't expect it would garner the support it did. Yeah, definitely feeling blessed right now. Thanks again, my friend. I hope new readers will take note of your words and dive in. Cheers! :hug: 

  • Like 2
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PBax

   5 of 5 members found this review helpful 5 / 5 members

The author tells us this story is "…a simple human drama about wanting what we all want... to stay alive, have a place to call our own, and someone to share it all with." But don't think the story is simplistic. It's simple only in the sense that the themes are elemental and essential. The setting is the Old West, but I really encourage you not to allow pre-conceived notions of the setting let that keep you away. Just accept the earth and sky into the story. The wide-open spaces allow you to feel all the more clearly and deeply with the characters. 

I want to make a special note about the powerful descriptive skills employed here. After one exhilarating passage that intertwined description of scenery with description of action with description of emotion, all so incredibly well laced together--I felt nearly exhausted because it had elicited such visceral reading. Again, forget the setting. Just let the author guide an experience for you.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding read. I will be looking for another story from Headstall.

Response from the author:

Thanks for this incredible review, PBax. As important as the setting and time period are, it is the characters who drive this story, so I agree with you. I might be biased, but I believe even if you don't care for the Western genre, it is still easy to get lost in this story... and the earth and sky. I am passionately proud of "Sidewinder", so much so that I wrote a sequel, something I seldom do, so your kind praise for the elements of this story makes me very happy indeed. I hope your words stir new readers to give this a shot and join a very supportive group of readers who lifted me up. In all sincerity, this review truly made my day. Cheers! :hug:   

  • Like 3
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Mancunian

· Edited by Mancunian

   7 of 7 members found this review helpful 7 / 7 members

I can't believe that I haven't read this story until now, well I do know why. I always said westerns were not my kind of story, but then I read one written by Headstall and loved it now he has me converted. Then I read this one, it's brilliantly written and fits its timeline well. If you don't believe me then read it and find out for yourself, trust me you won't regret it. I'm not going to give the story line away, I want everyone to read and enjoy it as I did. Headstall is a skilled writer who knows how to write and satisfy his readers, I strongly recommend this as a must read.

Response from the author:

Thank you so much, Mancunian. I have come to respect and appreciate your opinions on this site, and what you say about this story makes me extremely proud and happy. I have come to love writing in this genre, but I also have come to realize a good story can transcend genre if one takes care and gives respect to what might make a genre special. Westerns are unique for what an author can mine in them. Rich in detail, they are about a time period that has long been romanticized, but there is opportunity to tell it like it really was as well, and that is what I tried to do with "The Sidewinder Series". It is rewarding to know my striving for authenticity has paid off with a passionate readership who inspires me to explore further. You caught me in one of my rambling moods, but just know my appreciation of your recommendation is sincere. Cheers!

  • Like 3
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astone2292

   8 of 8 members found this review helpful 8 / 8 members

Having grown up watching rerun western TV shows, I was skeptical about reading such a story. 

Well, I reckon I should've read this story sooner. What a beautifully paced story, filled with turns, storms, and a hopeful love that nearly forced me to pull my hair out at times. Boone and Coy are brilliantly crafted characters, and as several have already said, I could read 83 more chapters about them. 

Wonderful work as always, Gary. 

Response from the author:

Thanks, Aaron! The response to this story is why a wrote a sequel. I hope someday you will find the time to read Larkspur: A Sidewinder Tale. Whether you do or not, I appreciate your kind recommendation to others. Cheers!

  • Love 8
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Quixo

   7 of 7 members found this review helpful 7 / 7 members

A wonderfully written story of the Old West that goes in unexpected directions.  Very easy to get caught up in the characters and get fully engaged in the action.  Add to this some hot romance, and you have a very engrossing read indeed.

Response from the author:

Thanks, Quixo! As much as it may have been a joy to readers, it was also a joy to the author. :)  Immersing myself in that time period was a rewarding experience, giving voice to stories I made up in my head as a kid about the Old West. I expect I will always be thinking about writing more in this genre. Cheers!

  • Like 1
  • Love 7
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Pascal

   8 of 8 members found this review helpful 8 / 8 members

I never knew I would enjoy a Western Adventure so much until I read Sidewinder!

This story about two young men dealing with the harsh reality of life, trying to make the best out of it, it touched my heart. I've read it a second time now because of the sequel, and again it was one of the best experiences here on GA

The characters are very well written, the scenery is descibred beautifully and the pace of the story is absolute perfection. At times it's heartwarming, at times it heartbreaking, at time it's frustrating and at times it's tear-jerking. This story has it all, and all in perfect quantities and perfectly aligned with character development that never feels forced but always feels natural.

You managed to perfectly capture the internal and external struggles for many people that aren't straight, no matter when or where they live. In the end, this is a story about two people that just happens to be set in the historical Wild West. You fit it into this environment perfectly, but the emotions, the conversations, the development, these are all universal and timeless and you manage to capture exactly that.

Thank you Headstall!

Response from the author:

Thank you so much, Pascal. I am happy to hear my story set in the Old West touched you as it did. To be honest, this story surprised me, as did the reaction to it. I know westerns aren't a popular genre as a rule in this day and age, but I hope your kind words will encourage others to give this story a chance. This story is dear to my heart, and reviews such as yours help inspire me to keep writing. Cheers!

  • Love 8
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raven1

   7 of 7 members found this review helpful 7 / 7 members

Sidewinder is a beautiful love story that takes place in the Old Wild West. I love the story and want to read the sequel. Usually I am a Sci-Fi or Fantasy reader, but this story is sooo good!

Sidewinders is a story that engages the reader from the very start.  It is so well told that it was difficult to stop reading.  The author demonstrates his achievement as a popular signature author in all aspects of the story.  It is evident from the first chapter that his writing evokes the reader's emotions, but paces the story so you can comfortably assimilate these emotions and understand how they affect the characters lives.  The various paces, fitted to changes in mood and action, make this story an easy read. Headstall's skill in research has given the Old Wild West setting authenticity, and his command of words and flowing descriptions make the setting come alive.  This authenticity is also found in the dialogue between characters and the wonderful characters he has created. You will find yourself wanting to meet several of these wonderful people, and afraid to even be close to others.  The plot can be slow or rapid, but always interesting.  I highly recommend reading this beautiful story.  You will be glad you did.  

Response from the author:

Wow! Thanks, raven1. I certainly couldn't ask for a better review than this one. I hope potential readers take note and give this western a chance after such a glowing recommendation. You're correct that I did do a lot of research for this story, and it is as authentic as I could possibly make it. I enjoyed writing this story, and the response to it is why I've written a sequel call "Larkspur: A Sidewinder Tale". Cheers! 

  • Like 2
  • Love 8
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VBlew

   8 of 8 members found this review helpful 8 / 8 members

I started off reading the sequel to this story, and found myself drawn to the characters and wanted to get to know them better. This is a great story about 2 men falling in love and dealing with emotions and expectations of family, that we have still in the present, it is set in the old west and that adds to the flavor of the writing, which is beautifully set.  Highly recommend reading this.

Response from the author:

Thanks, VBlew! I'm glad you've now read Sidewinder. It should make the sequel more enjoyable, and Boone and Coy's story is what makes Larkspur: A Sidewinder Tale a more special endeavor for me. I haven't written many stories set in the Old West, but I'm really liking the time period, and the settings, so there will likely be more to come.  :)  Appreciate your kind words and recommendation to other readers. It was a fun ride. Cheers! 

  • Like 3
  • Love 6
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Geron Kees

   6 of 6 members found this review helpful 6 / 6 members

Westerns are a very particular genre, and to really enjoy one it needs to be written by someone that knows the scenery well. All the little facts are right in this tale, which makes the romance that is at the heart of it all stand out that much more clearly. As a look at what could have been, it's memorable.

Gary's characters are always special people, and Boone and Coy and the other humans in this one are no exceptions. Look for some people you wish you could know, and a few you wouldn't want to! The animals in this story are also very well presented, people in their own rights, as our animal companions often can be. It was a real pleasure to go along with all of them on their journey, to participate in their adventures, and to ultimately reach the very satisfying conclusion.

A wonderful tale of the trail, all the way!   🤠

 

Response from the author:

I've been a fan of Westerns my entire life, whether books, movies, or TV shows. Yet, most of those were notoriously inaccurate. Bad guys didn't wear black hats all the time, and Indians weren't vicious savages. :)  I wanted to write an authentic western that happened to be a gay love story. Your kind words make me feel successful in that endeavor. 

Characters make a story, and like many readers, I fell in love with Boone and Coy early on. And of course, animals were crucial on the frontier, and it was only natural to make them characters in their own right. Thanks for supporting my little western, Geron, and for leaving such an affirming review. Potential readers take note. Geron knows his stuff and if he recommends it, you should give Sidewinder a chance. :)  Much appreciated, buddy. Cheers!

  • Like 2
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AFBNOW

   5 of 5 members found this review helpful 5 / 5 members

Having been raised in a small settlement neighboring a Fort known as Lauderdale (a trading post known primarily for its liquid refreshments)  we had horses growing up.  Therefore I am attracted to horse stories (sorry Blue).   I'm not big on romantic stories.  This story was well written  and held my attention  to the end.  I didn't even notice any of the occasional spell check errors most stories have.

Response from the author:

Thanks, AFBNOW! I appreciate you reading "Sidewinder" and leaving such a great review. I'm a horseman myself, and was always a big fan of westerns while growing up. I like romance, but I prefer to think of my stories as human dramas, encompassing the themes many of us have in our own lives. Religion, for example, plays a part in this story because it was very much a part of the people of the frontier. And yes, this story is well edited, but the cadence, word choices and overall dialect in both dialogue and narration was something I worried about. As near as I could tell in my research, tenses were often mixed up, and the rhythm of speech was far different from today's. I am so pleased my interpretation was well received. :)  Just as a heads up, I am in the process of writing another western tied to this story. You might want to follow me on my author's page for updates. I am nearing completion of it, and will begin the editing process soon. Thanks again, and cheers... Gary....

  • Like 4
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Atlboy

   6 of 6 members found this review helpful 6 / 6 members

Interesting story - strong writing and excellent editing.  I don't expect every story on gayauthors to be this well-crafted, but it's nice when one is.

Definitely recommended.

 

Response from the author:

Thanks, Atlboy! Reviews are so helpful in bringing other readers to a story, and I truly appreciate this one. Writing a multi-chapter human drama set in the Old West was something I'd wanted to do for a long time, and am pleased this one was so well received. If you like westerns, check out my shorter story called "Finding Refuge." It's a little over thirteen thousand words. Cheers! Gary. 

 

  • Like 3
  • Love 5
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wenmale64

   7 of 7 members found this review helpful 7 / 7 members

This story is very well written and includes nuances of the old west way of life. It is a serious tale with sorrow, loss, hope and love. As said above, it is very much worth a read. The author, Gary, has a wonderful way with his words that draw you into the story and make you want to reach out and help.  Give this one a read. You will not be disappointed!!!!

Response from the author:

Thanks so much for giving my little western a chance, wenmale64. I'm pleased you liked it, and thank you for your kind words and recommendation. No matter how much time goes by, I always appreciate my stories receiving reviews because they can stoke new interest in my work. Cheers! :hug: 

  • Like 3
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Sherye Story Reader

   7 of 7 members found this review helpful 7 / 7 members

I loved this story! You have a knack for westerns! I want more of these kinds of tales. Very inspiring and action filled! 

Response from the author:

Thanks for the wonderful review, Sherye. I fully intend to write another western, because I really enjoy delving into that time period. The Old West has been a magical place for me since I was a kid, and I hope others will be spurred by your enthusiasm to give this little story a chance. Cheers!

  • Like 3
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chris191070

   5 of 5 members found this review helpful 5 / 5 members

Having read all the fantastic reviews for this story, I had to give it a read and find out what I'd missed.

I wholeheartedly agree with each and every one of the reviews.

This is a terrific story about two people in the Wild West who are in love with each other, who learn to overcome there individuall inhibitions.

This is a fantastic story from one of the best authors on GA and I highly recommend Sidewinder to everyone.

Response from the author:

That's the power of reviews, isn't it Chris? They can be enticing and help a potential reader in their choices. I knew westerns weren't a popular genre when I wrote this, but I have been very pleased with the response. Thank you so much for giving it a chance. I'm stoked you liked it, and I thank you for the kind words and the recommendation. Cheers!

  • Like 2
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Bft

   6 of 6 members found this review helpful 6 / 6 members

A great story about love of two people in the Wild West and how they overcome their own inhibitions. I like stories about cowboys and this story is a must read

Response from the author:

Thanks, Bft! The Old West is a fascinating time for me, and as someone who's been involved with horses for so long, I kind of relate to cowboys... I like them too. :) Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Sidewinder and recommending it to others. I truly appreciate that. Cheers! 

  • Like 1
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James Baxter

   7 of 7 members found this review helpful 7 / 7 members

One of my favorite westerns ever!  Move over Larry McMurtry.

Response from the author:

Thanks, James for such a wonderful review. I don't think Larry McMurtry need move over, but I am humbled by any comparison to such a writer. It is high praise indeed that this is one of your favorite westerns ever. :D I hope more readers will give this little story a chance, whether they are fond of the western genre or not. Cheers!. 

  • Like 5
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LD Stratton

   7 of 7 members found this review helpful 7 / 7 members

From one of the best GA authors an intelligent, well written story of self-acceptance and a growing love. Set in the old West, the author brings the story alive with colour, dialog and a cleverly crafted plot that engages the reader from beginning to end. Worth a read?  NO! This is a must read.

Response from the author:

Wow. Thanks, LD! I hope other readers take your advice and read Sidewinder. This has quickly become one of my favorite endeavors, and I'm pleased you found it so worthy. Cheers!

  • Like 2
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Sweetlion

   6 of 6 members found this review helpful 6 / 6 members

Another great story, as Gary can do. It has a bit of drama and doubts, but doesn't drag the plot, while still allowing us to peel several layers of the characters. A good day themed western.

Response from the author:

I appreciate you leaving Sidewinder a wonderful review, Leo! As you probably know by now, I don't like to drag a story out with unnecessary drama, and character development is something I like to unfold naturally. These guys have stolen my heart now, and I thank you for your kind support. Cheers!

  • Like 2
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JeffreyL

   8 of 8 members found this review helpful 8 / 8 members

I was going to write a review, but after reading the others mine would be redundant. I don't think you have to be a fan of westerns to enjoy this story. Boone and Coy are interesting, well written characters. If you're not certain try reading a couple of chapters. Remember Headstall is the author, and he has written several good stories!

Response from the author:

Nothing wanting for this review, Jeff. It's a wonderful testament for potential readers to absorb, and I thank you for it. This story turned out to be a wonderful experience to write and post, thanks in no small part to the readers. Cheers!

  • Like 3
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CincyKris

   8 of 8 members found this review helpful 8 / 8 members

I loved this story!  One of Headstall's best.  If you like action, love, nature, and complex social relationships, this story is for you.  I envy future readers ability to binge read this pageturner!

Response from the author:

Thanks, Kris! Maybe I should get you to do my PR work for me. :) I truly appreciate the marvelous review, and hope it will resonate with potential readers. Cheers! 

  • Like 3
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