The Ranch


Colby Jackson

Welcome to the Flying D, pilgrim!
Three professional writers with hundreds of books between them are putting their brand on Western fiction. Bill Crider, James Reasoner, and Mel Odom collaborate to bring readers stories of the Old West. Covers are done by Star Trek art legend, Keith Birdsong.


In 1871, veteran army scout and Indian fighter Sam Blaylock finds an abandoned ranch with a lethal history just outside of Shooter’s Cross, Texas. Despite the grim nature of the land and the sulfur-stink of the poisoned water, Sam sets about taming that ranch.
To do that, Sam calls in his friends, hires East Texas’s most cantankerous ranch hands, and recruits drovers from town – including one young rider that had been in on an ambush party with Sam in its sights.
After much hardship and a lot of hard work, Sam and the boys of the Flying D are operational. They hadn’t counted on the jealousy and avarice of the powerful businessmen in the area, but those things didn’t surprise Sam.


In the beginning, Rancho Diablo is rumored to be a home to ha’nts and might even have a gateway to Hell itself, if the sulfur stench is any indication. The previous owner hanged himself after the water turned bad and his family deserted him. Some say his ghost walks that patch of earth looking to share his misery.

Other people fear the Indian spirits. There are burial grounds on the ranch and stories are told that those braves will one day rise up out of that ground bloodthirsty for revenge.

But the ranch has deep woodlands and meadows, butts up against the Brazos River, and has enough natural resources that a man with a strong back and lot of heart can make a home for his family there. Sam knows those things, and he has the nerve to stand his ground when things turn rough. He’s no stranger to gunplay.

The Flying D becomes a world and a law unto itself in the wilds of East Texas. As Sam builds a home and an empire and raises his family, he has to fight for everything he has to hang onto Rancho Diablo. Fortunately, Sam Blaylock is a man used to trouble, and he won’t back away from a rough trail if he wants to get to the other end of it.


RANCHO DIABLO offers novellas, perfect for an evening or three of getting lost in the Old West. Each story is self-contained, so you can mosey into the ranch and set a spell anywhere you want.

The stories will feature recurring characters, but will introduce new ones as well. Many of the core group are introduced in the first book, Shooter’s Cross, but many more are coming. People tended to wander through the Old West, and many of them – with various kinds of trouble nipping at their heels – end up at Rancho Diablo.

With so many people involved on the ranch, not all of them agree all the time. Lives and friendships are on the line on a daily basis. Not even Sam and his wife Jenny can agree on everything.

The stories are going to be a combination of action, characterization, and a love of the Old West and frontier days. Sam and his drovers have to fight men and beasts on a regular basis, and sometimes they fight each other. They also learn about each other, the land, and about themselves.

Sam and his outfit aren’t welcomed into Shooter’s Cross, the nearby town, and troubles from there spill over onto the ranch at times too. Other ranchers dislike Sam’s good fortune, owlhoots try to rob him, rustlers try to take his stock, and there’s always the enmity of Mitchell McCarthy, the newspaperman that’s out to own everything worth having in Shooter’s Cross.