Yesterday I received my copy of a contract with Globe Pequot Press for a new collection of first-person accounts of early travel to Yellowstone Park that I’m calling Shorter Stories of Greater Yellowstone. I have until Dec. 3, 2013, to finish the manuscript, so the book should be on the stands by summer 2014. Below is a excerpt from the prospectus I sent to GPP.
Talking to people in Yellowstone National Park during signings for my first book, Adventures in Yellowstone, convinced me that there is a good market for a book that provides a larger number of shorter stories. People want authentic tales that can be read quickly around the campfire or while traveling between sights. I have compiled such a book.
The book, tentatively titled Smaller Stories of Greater Yellowstone: Adventure Tales by People Who Lived Them, would contain sixty stories of 400 to 2,000 words. The stories are organized in twelve parts with titles like “Mountain Men,” “Hunting” and “Bear Stories.” The entire book would be about 60,000 words including introductions for each part and story.
I collected the stories for my Humanities Montana presentation, “Sidesaddles and Geysers,” and for my blog at mmarkmiller.wordpress.com. I have edited the stories to make easy reading for today’s readers. Longer items have been condensed to focus on dramatic stories and events. I have been careful to retain the original authors’ styles because they convey their personalities and emotions.
The stories in the book span the period from 1807, when John Colter first discovered the wonders of the Yellowstone plateau to the 1920s when tourists sped between luxury hotels in their automobiles. The earliest stories recount mountain men’s awe at geysers hurling boiling water hundreds of feet into the air and their gun battles with hostile Indians. The latest stories are set in a time when matrons felt comfortable taking children to the park without an adult male accompanying them.