I wrote a western story, which was a bit of an accident. My character, who came to me in the middle of the night, was a boy living in the Owens Valley in the Eastern Sierra Nevada Range just after the turn-of-the-century (the last one). On the cusp of becoming a man, his rite of passage was to join the men in town in their efforts to keep their river water from being funneled away by the needs of the big city. Then there were guns in the sagebrush, and several dead people. And birds, which seem to creep into most of my stories.
Anyway, this story “The Water Men” just won the Moonlight Mesa Associates, Inc. Cowboy Up Short Story Contest. I’m deeply grateful and very surprised.