This would've been Ed Gorman's 75th birthday, and Patti Abbott suggested that we celebrate by sharing some memories and stories. I've already done a bit of reminiscing, but I haven't mentioned much about how I became a writer of adult westerns. Ed was writing some house name novels in a well-known series, and he asked me if I could help him out. This was before his cancer, so I don't know if he just had more work than he could do or if he was tired of writing the books. Anyway, I was glad to help. I always enjoyed writing house name or pen-name books for some reason. I know writers who hate that kind of work, but for me it was fun. I could do anything I wanted to and have a great time doing it. The thing about Ed was that when I'd do one of these, he'd read the manuscript and call to tell me how great it was. He'd tell me that it was the best thing he'd read in weeks and that it was award-quality work. I'd laugh, but he was serious. You gotta love a guy like that.
Later on, when the cancer was worse, he had some times when he wasn't able to fulfill his contracts, and that's how I came to be his collaborator on a book called Fast Track. It was originally published under Ed's name, but when it was reprinted, he added my name as co-author. Working on that one was interesting because for the adult westerns, Ed provided nothing but a location and sometimes a title. I did the rest. On Fast Track, I was working from a partially completed manuscript, probably about 1/3 of the book, but Ed didn't work like I do. I start at the beginning and to through to the end. Ed started at the beginning, but then he'd do a scene here and a scene there and fit them in to the book later. My problem was that he didn't have an outline for the book, just the beginning and a few scenes. Putting that together while working out a plot was a little stressful, but I think it worked out all right. Not that it won any awards.
Ed also got me work writing some essays and short stories, and he was always encouraging and upbeat. I've said it before: We won't see his like again.