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A Little Bit About RETURN

In an effort to boost my sales, which are quite low on this story, I thought I'd share a little bit about it. Obviously as it's short, this won't take long and might even be harmless.

RETURN is the short story I'm most proud of, so I'll tell you about it today.

I wrote this story in... erm, the late nineties. I could probably hunt up a specific year, but let's go with I was in high school. I was on that western kick, where I couldn't get my hands on enough Louis L'Amour. I watched Silverado about 7 million times and Tombstone about 2 million times. No wonder my VCR is worn out. It was western, western, western on top of historical romance, historical romance, historical romance.

One day my English teacher announces that we're hosting the Mark Twain Conference Creative Writing Contest. I was super-thrilled because I loved to write. I entered every category except unrhymed poetry because I didn't write poetry that didn't rhyme. Most angsty teens do write poetry and I wrote *ahem* cowboy poetry. I kid you not (don't worry, I've stopped now). Anyway, I wrote this short story for the ss category called The Cowboy and His Horse. Lame title, right? That's the best I could do. I've only recenly come into title giving prowess and sometimes that skill still eludes me (seriously, The Treasure Hunter's Lady spent its first year as The Rainbow Serpent. Really? Just calling after the evil mythical beastie? *facepalm*). It placed 4th in the MTCCWC, shocking, I know. Fourth, really? It... needed work. You can read the blog about how I was accused of plagarism over this story here.

But it is, and has always been a story about a man who is nameless because... of... some... um, reason. No, I really can't recall why I didn't give this cowboy a name. Wait, wait, I know--because if he didn't have a name then anyone could identify with him. You could be the nameless soul going back to your home in search of redemption. I just thought of that right now. Brilliant, right?

Anyway, the tired old cowboy is on his way home because he's dying. He left the farm where he grew up after an argument with his father because he didn't want to spend his life behind a plow. Because eating cow dust is so much better. In his old-ish age, the cowboy gets wiser and makes it his last mission to return home. When he arrives, he's swallowed by the memories of good times and his first love and only love, Katie.

The cowboy's companion is an old gray cowhorse who also remains nameless. To keep things from being a total snoozer (in case the bittersweet memories aren't enough to get you), the cowboy talks to the horse. The horse seems sympathetic to the cowboy's plight, but it doesn't talk back (he's not that sick). I won't give away the ending because I kind of (read: absolutely) want you to buy the story.

In 2009, I entered this story in the Missouri Literary Festival short story competition under the title For Everything A Time, which is way better than The Cowboy and His Horse, but still not as good as Return. To my complete and utter surprise, it took second place. You can read about it in the Oct/Nov 2009 section of this blog.

Now you want to buy it, right? It's award-winning. It has a nifty cover. It's sad and beautiful all at the same time. You can find on Smashwords , Amazon and B&N for 99 cents.

So. To celebrate this, I will be giving away not one, but TWO copies of this story to commenters. I'll randomly draw names with a randomizer (gee, really?), so comment below, leave your name and e-mail addy somewheres in the comment and if you're the lucky puppy, I'll be in touch sometimes next week. Oh. I know how blogger can be about comments, so if you want to drop me a line at if you can't comment, that'll work too.


  1. First off - congratulations on taking this step and getting your work out there. Don't fret about the statistics, just be proud you did it! I'm going to buy a Kindle soon, I hope. I know, I know, I could download the Kindle app to my home computer, but I'd rather have a Kindle. What I'm trying to say is, don't give Return to me, cause I'm going to buy it!

  2. I've read this story and I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. In fact, I read it again last night while laying in bed. I had tears in my eyes the first time I read it and again last night.
    This story is not only very well written, but the emotions reach off the computer screen and grab you around the heart.
    Awesome story, Allison.

  3. I'm excited to read it, and to watch you on this journey. -

  4. Wow...this is your blogsite? Beautiful! I just downloaded your short story CLEAR AS MUD. You're such a talented writer, I'm looking forward to enjoying RETURN now. Best wishes on many happy sales!! And congratulations in joining the published authors club.

  5. Allie~
    If you wrote it, then it's bound to be wonderful!


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