Phil Dunlap, Western Author

Friday, November 9, 2012


When AmazonEncore bought all the assets of Avalon Books, where I'd had a number of Westerns published, I wasn't certain what my future might hold. I had a new Piedmont Kelly novel that had been sitting in Avalon's que for some time. Then, out of the blue, Amazon started sending me contracts, forms to sign, the manuscript to revise, and cover art to approve. After waiting for such a long time for Apache Lawman to possibly see the light of day, suddenly it was about to be come reality. Thrilled? You bet.

I've loved doing the U.S. Marshal Piedmont Kelly series and the fifth installment was one I was particularly fond of because it offered a new dimension to Spotted Dog, the Chiricahua Apache who was saved from certain death by Marshal Kelly. As their friendship grows, so does the trust between them and Kelly finds the old Indian's skills at tracking so superior to his own, he is willing to go to General Crook and ask that the Apache be allowed to accompany him away from the reservation on a permanent basis, thus effectively making him a free man, unconfined by governmental constraints or arbitrary borders.

Apache Lawman brings many new and different story elements to the forefront in my attempt to portray not just Indians, but others in unfortunate situations, as worthy of having their stories told.

Apache Lawman is available as of November 13 at You can go directly to my Author page at:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Lure of the Gun: The New Frontier or?

Lure of the Gun: The New Frontier or?: Life is just full of surprises, isn't it? My latest surprise came when I received an e-mail informing me that my long-time hardcover publish...

The New Frontier or?

Life is just full of surprises, isn't it? My latest surprise came when I received an e-mail informing me that my long-time hardcover publisher, Avalon Books, had been sold to Amazon, which had formed a new, traditional publishing arm. Whoa! I didn't see that coming. Avalon had been a distinguished publisher since 1950. That's one heck of a run for anyone in today's publishing world. Naturally, I was curious, and a little apprehensive, as to what the deal might look like for all of us authors. Avalon had published five of my books and was getting ready to put out number six. I wasn't disappointed by what I saw.

When things started happening, I was again surprised, though I shouldn't have been, at how professionally and smoothly it all went. Amazon made lots of promises that would thrill any author, and easily make up for any possible disappointment at losing an old friend. They started by sending editorial correspondence aimed at assuring the manuscript met their standards. Excellent editing, I might add. Then they did something I'd never seen before from any publisher, they actually sent several covers from which I could choose my choice. And, to my surprise, they were all incredible. I immediately picked one and was told it was a go. I love it.

The book that Amazon is publishing as an AmazonEncore Western is called "Apache Lawman" and continues the U.S. Marshal Piedmont Kelly series. It will be out in paperback and Kindle ebook on November 13. Here is the cover. Let me know what you think.

There are several other new developments that I'll be announcing soon. Oh, by the way, an earlier Avalon book in the same series, called "Ambush Creek", came out today on Kindle for the first time ever. The Hardcover was published in 2010. The way they've priced it, I hope I might see some new readers. I've got my fingers crossed. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012


When I was in my impressionable youth, I lived for the weekends. Every Saturday was another double-feature at the movies. The Western movies. I’d get popcorn and a Coke and scoot down in the middle row and take up residence for the next two or three hours. All my heroes were cowboys or sheriffs or gunslingers or, well, you get the picture. As I got older, and finished high school, went to college, got my first real job, I just naturally figured I’d just move on and adopt a new set of heroes.

Problem was that it didn’t happen that way. I was somehow unable to mentally separate myself from the dusty trails and boulder-laden desert of the southwest. Oh I had other interests, of course: illustrating, flying, graphic design, all of which I immersed myself in to one degree or another. And I seemed to be sailing along quite well, until I actually went out west and walked among those very same boulders, cacti, and hot, dry sands that had held my interest for so long. And the mountains, those incredible mountains. The renewal of all those wonderful dreams of being on the streets of Tombstone or hunkered down behind a rise to await the inevitable ambush from Apaches, or riding a horse up and down the arroyos and across dry riverbeds in pursuit of outlaws. There’s even a smell of something that lingers just out of reach, it’s the smell of life and death, and it whisks you off to a time when good and evil clashed so demonstrably that you couldn’t escape the clarity of its presence. And maybe just a hint of fear that it might catch up to you.

So, today I write Western novels. Why? Maybe I’m still just a cowboy at heart. If that’s true, I know I need to reach out to all the other cowboys to share what I love about the West. Wouldn’t I like everyone to read my books and get caught up in the excitement of the early gunfighters, Indians, ranchers, and railroaders? You bet. And that’s why I’m here. Because, while to some it may seem a stretch, I think we’re all cowboys. We all love to ride in a convertible with the top down, race along on a motorcycle, or jog on a mountain trail in the cool morning air. Almost just like cowboys. Therefore, In my mind, every single one of us is a cowboy at heart. I know I am.

And that brings us to the National Day of the Cowboy, which will be celebrated July 28, 2012. Yep, just around the corner. It’s a celebration of all that’s the old West, but it’s also about the spirit that lingers in us all. It’s the spirit that drove men to do marvelous things in the most dangerous conditions imaginable in an effort to accomplish a dream: to build a nation. And they did. Those hardy pioneers–the cowboys, ranchers, farmers, railroaders and merchants–all worked tirelessly together to build what we enjoy today: the greatest nation in the world. And, by golly, we’re still doing it.


I hope you’ll visit my website at: and peruse my books, events, and tidbits. I've posted the cover of my next Berkley Western, "Cotton's Devil" on the website.