Guest Post: “Where The Trail Cuts: The Golgotha Series, The New Trilogy, and the Ghost Dance Judgment” by R.S. Belcher
Today we’re thrilled to welcome author R.S. Belcher to the BiblioSanctum! As you know, I’m a huge fan of his work, ever since I discovered The Six-Gun Tarot, which also led to me check out his Nightwise and Brotherhood of the Wheel series and most recently The Queen’s Road which was published as an Audible Original. Now Belcher is back with another installment in the Golgotha series, called The Ghost Dance Judgment! With the book due to be released soon, we’re celebrating with a guest post! Mr. Belcher has kindly shared with us his inspiration for the novel and series, and I hope you’ll enjoy and check out strange and amazing world of Golgotha!
WHERE THE TRAIL CUTS: THE GOLGOTHA SERIES, THE NEW TRILOGY, AND THE GHOST DANCE JUDGMENT
by R.S. Belcher
I first stumbled across Golgotha in the years before my daughter was born. I was living in Richmond, Virginia and I had finished my first novel, Crusader’s Blues. It hasn’t, to date, seen print. I’m pretty sure that’s a good thing.
I recall my first idea for the book, which was originally going to be called Golgotha but became The Six-Gun Tarot, was a man stumbling through a hellish desert and coming across a pile of sun-bleached skulls holding up a slate sign that said: “Golgotha: 18 miles, Redemption: 32 miles, Salvation: 50 miles.”
I wasn’t writing for a living when the idea jumped me. And it was many years before I got a chance to start on the novel. After I won the Strange New World anthology contest and had a Star Trek story published in the early 2000s, that was when I got to start building the tiny town of Golgotha, Nevada.
I hadn’t heard the term “Weird Western” yet, that came after Six-Gun was published. I didn’t think that I was writing steampunk either. I found all this out when the book reviews came out. No, I was writing a traditional western story except for all the weirdness and horror. I viewed it as “High Plains Drifter Meets Twin Peaks, with some H.P. Lovecraft thrown in for good measure.” In short, I didn’t think I had a chance in hell of selling this thing, but I sure was enjoying writing it.
Needless to say, it managed to get sold, and did pretty well. Soon my publisher was asking what I might want to work on next, and of course I said a sequel. Then years later,there was a third book, but that was one of the places where the trail into Golgotha began to cut back on itself a little.
After the sequel, The Shotgun Arcana, came out, I had an idea to do kind of a spin-off series from the main Golgotha books, the ones that focused on an ensemble cast of all the characters that made up the town. I wanted to do this other series of books that focused on one of the characters, exclusively. The pitch to the publisher was to buy both the single character-focused book and the next ensemble book. My agent and I pitched five books (from three different series I was writing at the time) total and they bought three. Not too bad, if I do say so myself, but they passed on the ensemble book at that time.
So the third book in the series, The Queen of Swords was a bit of a game-changer. It focused on the character in the Golgotha books who is most popular with the readers. That would be Maude Stapleton, Daughter of Lilith, secret defender of Earth, and single mom in the late 1800s. It also focused on Maude’s mentor, the Pirate Queen, Anne Bonny, who I also get a lot of positive comments about. If you’re curious, after Maude, I get a lot of positive feedback on Deputy Mutt, Sheriff Jon Highfather, oh, and of course, Malachi Bick.
The Queen of Swords was well-received but many readers wanted to go back to Golgotha and catch up with everyone else. So, now, after several years, I am very excited to announce that the fourth Golgotha novel, will be released very soon (either late July or early August) by the wonderful folks at Falstaff Books. It’s called the Ghost Dance Judgement and it is an ensemble novel with all the characters you’ve come to know over the last three books together again, along with a few new faces.
Ghost Dance is exciting for me in numerous ways. It begins a “second trilogy” for the series that will be coming out over the next few years. After Ghost Dance, we have book five: The Hanged Man, a novel that focuses on Golgotha’s mysterious Sheriff, Jon Highfather, and then book six: Slap Leather With the Devil , which is another ensemble story with all our characters together in Golgotha.
Ghost Dance Judgement shakes up the series in several way, which I think long-time readers, as well as those picking up the series with the latest book, will enjoy.
Book six is the last Golgotha book I presently have plotted out and under contract, but if the readers continue to enjoy the series, believe me, I have plenty more Golgotha stories to write. I have an idea for an anthology of Golgotha short fiction, maybe filling in some the previous bizarre events in the town, that are alluded to but never fully detailed.
I hope you pick up and enjoy the next novel in the Golgotha series. Please let me know what you think. I’d like to thank the BiblioSanctum, and Steff for letting me drop by and tell you a little about my home away from home and how I found it in the desert.
R.S. (Rod) Belcher is an award-winning newspaper and magazine editor and reporter. Rod has been a private investigator, a DJ, a comic book store owner and has degrees in criminal law, psychology and justice and risk administration, from Virginia Commonwealth University. He’s done Masters work in Forensic Science at The George Washington University, and worked with the Occult Crime Taskforce for the Virginia General Assembly. He lives in Roanoke Virginia with his children: Jonathan and Emily.