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Western Short Stories Bio. of Jim Bryson
Jim Bryson is a retired psychotherapist and college teaching professor, retiring in 2015 after an almost 40-year career. He has published four books on teaching practices at the postsecondary level that have been widely read and praised for their innovative approach to teaching and training adults. A life-long love of the western genre, from stories read beginning at a young age, and a preference for short stories, has led to writing a series of stories. His work is much in the style of Louis L'Amour, Jack Higgins and Robert B. Parker, principal influences on his writing.
Writing has always been a passion, but most of that writing was in relation to teaching practice, clinical work and documents supporting his national and international organizational consulting work. It was only upon retirement that friends suggested he turn his love of western reading into equal passion for western writing. In his early seventies, Jim plans to continue writing for the entertainment of others and for personal satisfaction.
THE RIVER MAIDEN
It was one of the largest steamboats on the Mississippi and she shone brightly in the April afternoon, like the queen of the river she was.
Nick Jansen leaned on the balcony of the second deck of the Louisiana Queen and watched the water flow away behind the paddle-wheel. He never tired of the sights and sounds, even after two years aboard as the head of security. Plying the waters of the Mississippi from Vicksburg to New Orleans was an endless adventure for someone from the lower east side of Chicago. Read the full story HERE>>
BACK WHERE YOU BELONG - (Morgan Westland #2)
He stepped down from the stagecoach and bent forward and back, stretching muscles that were cramped and tired from the long bouncing ride in the stagecoach. Turning, he took the large saddlebags that the driver handed down to him from the top of the stage and draped them over his broad shoulders.
"Leave the boxes at the station," he said and the driver nodded, clucking at the horses and heading to the stage station at the far end of town. He would pick them up when someone from the ranch arrived with a buckboard. Read the full story HERE>>
GOING HOME - (MORGAN WESTLAND #1)
The stage station in Kansas City was nearly empty. Morgan Westland sat stoically, staring at the single suitcase and satchel on the floor in front of him. Almost his entire life was in those two pieces of luggage and the large travelling saddlebags that were draped over the wooden chair on which he sat. It did not seem like a lot to show for his eight years in the west, he thought to himself. But then again, he was still alive and in one piece which, given some of the events of those eight years and some of the jobs he had taken on, was something of an achievement in itself. And he now had a wealth of experiences that had taught him much about life and about himself, and that counted for something more. And, of course, he had his sizable stake safely stored within the saddlebags that never left his side. Those same worn saddlebags also held his guns. Read the full story HERE>>
EASY THROUGH THE MOUNTAINS - (MATT RILEY #2)
The locomotive chugged its way up the long gradual slope, spewing dark smoke and slowing from its normal speed to almost a crawl. You could almost walk as fast at that moment, Matt Riley thought, again wondering what kind of a fool's errand his boss Ben Alembert had sent him on this time. It seemed Alembert always had something of this sort for him to do and it usually meant trouble. He had the scars to prove it. This time the assigned task was finding a reclusive mountain man in the high Copper Mountains, a man who may or may not want to be found. Still, Alembert had given Riley an envelope to deliver and deliver it he would, if he could. Inquiries at Fort Simpson suggested the man lived somewhere above Albertville and the only way there was to take the railroad to the top of the mountain and hike up the mountain in hopes of finding him. Read the full story HERE>>
FROM THE SEA TO THE LAND
The wind lashed the sails that snapped and cracked noisily as Mac Travers slid across the slippery foredeck to loosen the row of ties on the jib sail. Huge dark waves were splashing over the tall gunwales of the clipper ship. They had been trying to outrun the violent storm for several hours but it was gaining strength and speed and the captain had men hurrying here and there across the deck preparing the ship for the even heavier wind and rain that was sure to come. He stood middeck, hanging onto a hawser and shouted orders to each man as they slipped and slid by on the wet deck. Read the full story HERE>>
A STRANGE PAIR - (TRAY SLOANE #1)
The two people who entered the restaurant of the Randolph Arms hotel in Lindsay, New Mexico, were unlike any that the town had seen before. The town of Lindsay, nestled in southeast New Mexico, was not particularly a destination for new people, and because of that such novelty stood out even more. Read the full story HERE>>
WOMAN FROM THE SKY
It had been a long day and I had not slept well the previous night. The day opened up sunny and cool, one of those magical days along the Colorado River in April. The landscape was coming to life after a dry winter with relatively little snow except in the higher mountains. The blue tint of mist on the river some half mile away rose like a watery curtain against the bright morning sun and almost as soon as I noticed it was melting away under the warming light of day. Read the full story HERE>>
EMILY'S TREASURE - (MATT RILEY #1)
She stood in the middle of the office with her hat in her hands, her face downturned a little, a sad and somber expression on her face.
"Could I see Mr. Alembert, please?" she asked in a quiet, clear voice.
The receptionist sitting at the large mahogany desk frowned up at her. "Do you have a scheduled appointment to see him today?" She searched a page in front of her without finding any such entry. Read the full story HERE>>
NO GOOD DEED
The old grizzly stared up at the bee's nest. He rose on back feet and leaned against the tree, pushing his weight against the slender trunk and shaking the tree back and forth. Gradually the link between the bee's nest and tree was shaken loose and the hive tumbled to the ground, splitting into three pieces. The grizzly nuzzled at the largest piece, savouring the honey and in the process swallowing a number of the bees that hovered around him buzzing angrily. If their stings hurt him he did not show it as he moved to the second piece of the hive. Read the full story HERE>>
Nate Ford shivered against the chilly wind and pulled the fur collar of his heavy coat up over his chin, tightening the chin strap of his fur cap. The heavy-coated Montana horse he rode was cold-mountain bred and the temperature bothered it not at all. It just kept moving forward at the same steady gait. Read the full story HERE>>
BONES ALONG THE TRAIL
The bones lay scattered, white and dusty on the ground, a few tatters of ragged clothing stuck to some of the remains that had lain on the rocky slope for a long, long time. How long, he did not know. Read the full story HERE>>
The ship was taking on water, huge waves crashing over the deck, pouring in more water than they believed the ship could handle. The captain, Myles Davis, knew that it was only a matter of time, and not much of that, before she rolled over and was pulled under the huge pounding waves. The sudden and unexpected Atlantic storm, coming out of the south without warning, had battered them mercilessly for more than five hours without so much as a break in the wind and rain, driving the ship north and east far off its westward course to Boston. Read the full story HERE>>
The sounds of a nearly-tuned piano played by someone with not much more than the skills of a beginner welcomed anyone who stepped inside the Lucky Shamrock Saloon and Restaurant in Wyevale, Nevada. It was a mid-sized town just inside the pointed southernmost tip of the territory and within a half-day ride west into California or east into New Mexico. There were a few ranches around, though it was mostly farm country and there was some mining that contributed to the local economy. That and the annual rodeo, one of the biggest in the country at the time. For that annual event, participants and visitors came from the farthest reaches of the country and beyond. Read the full story HERE>>
PEARLS FOR EDITH - (Boon #1)
The big roan stepped gently down the rocky slope toward the fast-moving blue and green river below, the rider leaning back to balance the horse against the sharp downward slope. They were both tired and thirsty. The horse was the long-legged and sure-footed roan they breed in the low mountains and they reached the bottom safely. The horse stretched its legs, walking eagerly toward the river and a drink of the cool water it could see and smell. Read the full story HERE>>
THE LOST BOY
They were tired beyond belief, beyond all their expectations and almost beyond the limits of their endurance. But they had a compelling vision, they had a goal and they had an endless fund of passion that would carry them forward day after day on this long and demanding journey. Twenty-eight adults and children travelling in eight wagons heading from the east to the west, from Virginia, Georgia and Tennessee toward central Kansas, toward new lives and exciting times on the expanding western frontier. They travelled from the familiar toward the unknown, determined and unafraid. It was story that played itself out over and over across the western territories. Read the full story HERE>>
THE CHAMBERLAIN MURDERS - (Mat Benjamin #1)
Coming upon the cabin surprised him, for it was situated where no cabin should rightly be, at least not in his experience. Small ranches like this were usually built within a day or two of the nearest town, but this one would be at least four or five days from the town of Eureka, that being the closest town. Read the full story HERE>>
Jeb Dales never asked why. He just asked who, where, when and how much. That was all he needed to know. For an agreed upon amount of money Jeb Dales would kill anyone. No questions were asked, none answered. His life was simple and uncomplicated, just as he liked it. Read the full story HERE>>
Finally Settling Down
Jacob Weatherly Blackstock sat his horse on the top of the rise, staring at the valley below. He was here! For seven long weeks he had travelled, much of it across wide open country with no one in sight. The only living creatures save himself and his four heavily-laden pack animals, two sturdy Montana horses and two long-legged mules, were the animals of the plains and the forests. He would have preferred a large wagon, but where he was going a wagon could not easily go.
He had ridden through this area twice in the past eight years, each time riding the dust of a trail herd as a paid rider. Read the full story HERE>>