The pandemic has affected businesses in ways that could never be predicted.
Rick Steber was releasing the announcement of his new novel as the country began the lockdown from COVID-19. His plans for promotion and marketing came to a temporary standstill.
The Western Prose and Poems, Volumes Three and Four, were also recently released. Volume Three, "Almost There," includes the subtitles, "Footprints, Blazing Trails, Wrong Way, Searching and Destination."
Volume Four includes subtitles "Solitary Places, Search for Meaning, Insight and Revelations, Losing the Way, and A Path to Follow."
"It was kind of a different venture for me because I have mainly written short stories or longer books," commented Steber.
He does similar posts daily on his Facebook page. He considers it like stretching for a runner. With COVID-19, he has not been able to dedicate as much time to writing and marketing as he is accustomed to.
His new novel, "A Cowboy to Love," is a contemporary novel set in Northeast Oregon during World War II. The main character, Jo Walker, falls in love with a local stockman, Bobby Blaylock, who later marries her and takes her to his ranch on the Snake River in the heart of Hells Canyon.
The only way into the ranch is on horseback or a jet boat that comes once per week. The loneliness and solitude of the isolated place eventually take its toll on Jo, and this becomes the ultimate thing that dooms the marriage, and she gives up on the marriage and moves back to a town called Enterprise. It is a beautiful little town under the Eagle Capps in Eastern Oregon.
She becomes entangled with a local rodeo cowboy, and the threads of the impossible love that lasts a lifetime is at the heart of this wonderfully entertaining novel.
"The thing about love is you never know when it's going to hit you, and sometimes those bonds go on forever. It's kind of a romantic, unromantic story," commented Steber of his new novel.
His next release is coming up soon and takes place in the small Oregon town of Burns. It is entitled "The Outlaw."
"It's about a cowboy out of Burns—a horse thief. It's really an interesting story," he said.
Steber has written more than 40 Western novels to his credit and is the only Oregon author to be presented with the prestigious Western Writers of America Spur Award – the Best Western Novel. He has won many other national and international awards, with five of his books having been optional for movies.
Steber is also a keen observer of the American West and articulates those changes in prose. He currently has four volumes in his Western Prose and Poems series.
Steber opened his business Rick Steber and Company-Makers in 2019. The building is located on Fifth Street in Prineville, just behind NAPA. He displays and sells his entire collection of books in the front of his store, including his new releases. But most importantly, he displays a plethora of local artwork that is for sale by Oregon artists. The inspiration for his business came from his late father, who was an artist in his own right.
"He ended up going to college, joined the service, met my mom in Alaska, and got married," indicated Steber. "He had seven kids and had a 35-year career and never got to do that thing he really wanted —which was carve birds — until he retired. When he retired, he also had Parkinson's. He didn't shake near as bad when he carved the birds."
As he showed the display of his dad's birds, he explained that he wanted to be able to showcase other artists in Central and Eastern Oregon who have talent and have no place to display their work. His late father was his inspiration for creating "Makers."
"That was the main reason I wanted to do it."
To obtain a copy of Rick Steber's new releases, "A Cowboy to Love" and Western Prose and Poems, Volumes Three and Four, order online at www,ricksteber.com.
You can also find copies at his business, Rick Steber and Company-Makers, 131 NE Fifth St., Prineville.
Makers phone: 541-447-3115
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.