After a thirty-year career with the USDA Forest Service, a career which followed a six-year stint as a high school English teacher, I set out to pursue my lifelong dream of being a writer. My father always said there would be time to pursue other things after my family was raised and my career wrapped up. And he was right.
To date I’ve written five contemporary western murder mysteries featuring Sheriff Bud Blair of Lake County Oregon. The first two, Spider Silk and Stone Fly are set in Oregon’s High Desert. The action in Stone Fly moves Northwest for a time into the beautiful Puget Sound area of Washington. Each is an award winning novel. Spider Silk was runner up in the 2009 Hollywood Book Festival. Stone Fly was a finalist in the Eric Hoffer books awards.
Novel number three, Bloodstone, finds Sheriff Bud Blair using the ego of a former congressman to set a trap for a Colombian drug lord. And my fourth novel, Mariah’s Song, explores the underbelly of families living with drug addiction.
The most recent addition to the Sheriff Bud Blair series is Not Before Midnight. The action is primarily based in Portland, Oregon, where organized crime members are blatantly engaging in the sex-trafficking business, but the story also wanders north to Alaska. There I called on the memory of a salmon fishing trip in the waters near Ketchikan as the setting for one segment. A sub-plot has jihadists hiring a motorcycle gang to have their way in the Oregon high desert town of Lakeview — a plan the bikers and the jihadists will soon regret.
Bitter’s Run is a stand alone historical novel set in 1865 immediately following the end of the Civil War. John Bitter plans a solo trip across the Oregon Trail to his farm on Abiqua Creek. However, the Good Lord and Morgan Eagan have other plans, and Bitter’s journey home takes more time and includes more adventure than he’d originally anticipated.
Second in the saga of John Bitter is my newest book, Abiqua. It takes the Bitter family into the late 1860’s — an unsettled time in Oregon history, a time of gold rushes, conniving politicians, land grabs, and marauding Indians. My readers are already asking for the sequel to Abiqua (pronounced “ab-uh-kwa”) … an endeavor I’m prone to pursue.
I am also the author of What Do I Do When I Get There? A New Manager’s Guidebook. This little book, called a “gem” by one reviewer, received sterling reviews and was the 2007 winner of the Pinnacle Book Award.
Future works: Beer Drinker, is a novel of dark humor based in part on a real life character who named himself at age nine because he got tired of being call “Boy.” Although the story begins in Alaska, I draw heavily on my growing-up experiences in the little logging and mill town of Shady Cove, Oregon, and also in a limited way on my ocean sports-fishing trips.
Readers of the novels have been kind. One reader sent Christmas greetings to all of the fictional characters — characters like Sheriff Henry (Bud) Blair and Nancy Sixkiller, who (in the novels) live in the deep southeastern corner of Oregon, a place the reader knows and loves.
I also received a small fighting knife along with the suggestion that one of the NCIS team members in Bloodstone might find a use for it.
The whole writing and publishing business has been a joy and continues to promise more fun as the stories unfold.
My thanks to readers every where.
Some artists paint with a brush,
Some with a camera,
Some with music,
However, the artists who paint with words can take you into a story as if you are there.
Rod Collins is terrific with words, and I love his characters.
I even found myself falling in love with Nancy Sixkiller… and she isn’t even real.
I’m a total fan of Rod Collins’ writing, and I look forward to his next book.