A longtime fan of Westerns -- both in print and on the screen -- Emery Mehok, who describes himself as growing up in the golden age of Westerns when they were popular in the movies, on TV and in bookstores, has published his first book "Johnny Bluehorse and Other Western Tales" (iUniverse 2008, $14.95), a collection of two novellas and a dozen short stories.
"I enjoy the history of the West," says Mehok, who taught for almost 40 years in the Diocese of Gary schools at St. Joseph-All Saints, Bishop Noll, and St. Thomas More. "I love horseback riding and have written a lot of articles on Western craftsmen -- saddle makers, boot makers and spur makers."
Mehok, a member of the Western Writers of America, lives in Hammond with his wife, Helen, an attorney, and their Australian shepherd. He has had more than 40 short stories and articles published in the last 14 years as well as one audio book, which was produced in Canada.
"It was recorded but never released as the company went out of business," he says. "So, I never got a chance to see if the stories would have found an audience in the audio world."
Now retired from teaching and working part time at Albert's Jewelers, Mehok is currently working on a second book, another collection of short stories that will be published next year.
"It will be titled "The Search for Sarah Owen and Other Western Tales" and will follow the same format with two short novels and a number of short stories," says Mehok, who enjoys reading such classic Western writers as Louis L'Amour, Luke Short, Alan Lemay and Will Henry.
Mournful of the passing of interest in Westerns, Mehok hopes that there will be a resurgence of interest in them. But even if not, he'll still pursue his passion.
"Westerns are not wildly popular like they once were," he says, "but I love doing them."
"Johnny Bluehorse and Other Western Tales" is available through online booksellers such as Amazon.