Life Achievement Peacemaker Award

The recipient of Western Fictioneers Eleventh Life Achievement Peacemaker Award: 

Larry J. Martin

L.J. Martin is a prolific author with an impressive catalog of over seventy book length works of fiction, primarily within the western fiction genre. Throughout his career, Martin’s literary contributions have been recognized and published by Bantam, Avon, Pinnacle, Five Star, and Wolfpack Publishing.

Early on Martin embraced the Digital Revolution, demonstrating his adaptability by personally formatting, designed covers, and self-published over eighty titles from a combination of his backlist titles and backlist titles from his wife New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin. This proactive approach to the digital landscape allowed him to reach a broader audience and bring a forgotten catalog back to life.

One of L.J. Martin’s notable achievements came in 2013 when, at the age of seventy-two, he founded Wolfpack Publishing. While his motive for establishing Wolfpack was not driven solely by financial gain, Martin sought to extend his success to a group of old friends. Over the years, Wolfpack Publishing has grown exponentially, establishing itself as one of the premier western presses in the industry. Through their dedicated efforts, Wolfpack has reintroduced and introduced tens of thousands of readers to the classic western genre.

In addition to his accomplishments as an author and publisher, L.J. Martin is an esteemed member of the Society of Professional Journalists, Mystery Writers of America, Western Writers of America, Western Fictioneers, and Thriller Writers of America. These memberships reflect Martin’s commitment to his craft and his desire to engage with fellow authors and industry professionals, further contributing to the literary landscape.

L.J. Martin’s remarkable career showcases his passion for storytelling, entrepreneurial spirit, and dedication to the western genre. Through his extensive body of work and his impact on the publishing industry, Martin has left an indelible mark on both readers and fellow authors alike.  --Mike Bray

I don’t recall exactly when I met Larry Martin, but I know it was at a Western Writers of America convention. After talking to Larry, I knew I had to read some of his books, because the man is a natural-born storyteller. His novels have never let me down. They’re set against colorful, well-researched historical backgrounds with plenty of action and compelling characters. His Clint Ryan series, set in the early days of California, is one of the best historical sagas of the past forty years. His recent cattle drive novels are some of the most authentic portrayals of those grueling experiences you’ll ever find. One of them, in fact, is called TWO THOUSAND GRUELING MILES. My father, though, perhaps summed up Larry Martin’s work better than I can. While we were on a long road trip together, we listened to the audio version of one of Larry’s novels, and when it was over, my dad said, “You know, that fella spins a pretty good yarn.”

Yes, he does, and he’s been doing it for a lot of years. Which makes Larry Martin’s Lifetime Achievement Peacemaker Award very well deserved.  --James Reasoner


The recipient of Western Fictioneers Eleventh Life Achievement Peacemaker Award: 

David Whitehead writing as Ben Bridges

Westerns have always had an international audience, and for a long time they were very popular in Great Britain. Not only were American Westerns reprinted frequently in England, but a number of British authors produced Western novels, sometimes with great success. Since 1984, one of those authors has been David Whitehead, who, under his own name, his best-known pseudonym Ben Bridges, and several other pen-names, has written approximately sixty Western novels and several dozen more in other genres. In addition, he’s written several Western and frontier graphic novels published in the famous Commando series in England. Although his longest-running series features Old West troubleshooter-for-hire Carter O’Brien, he’s produced several other popular series and plenty of stand-alone novels. I’ve known David and have been reading and enjoying his books for more than thirty years. Right from the start, he’s been a top professional. His books are well-written, tough-minded, very well researched and plotted, and, most importantly, just great fun to read. His fondness for the Western genre is evident, and even though he was born in the east—East London, as he points out on his website—as far as I’m concerned he’s a Westerner through and through and a very deserving recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from Western Fictioneers. – James Reasoner

David Whitehead is an excellent Western author, but he’s done more for the Western field than writing dozens of fine novels. In the late Seventies, he and his friend Mike Stotter created Western Magazine for the publisher IPC Magazines, the only magazine devoted to Western fiction being published at that time. Although it ran for only a few issues, it helped keep interest in the Western alive in England at the time. He had a bigger contribution to the genre coming up later, though, as a publisher, when he and Stotter founded Piccadilly Publishing a little more than ten years ago. Since then, they’ve published hundreds of Western novels in ebook editions, reprinting many classic series from American, British, and Australian authors and also bringing out many original novels. As both a writer and a publisher, David’s efforts have made Westerns a more vibrant and vital genre and provided countless hours of entertainment for readers. Congratulations to him for his Lifetime Achievement Peacemaker Award! -- L.J. Washburn

The recipient of Western Fictioneers Tenth Life Achievement Peacemaker Award: 

Peter Brandvold

For more than two decades, Peter Brandvold has spun the history of the American West into a living, breathing, bucking venue filled with lightning-fast action stories starring hard characters and characters with heart. With scores of stand-alone novels and series titles, short story collections, and comic books under his gunbelt, Brandvold is an unsurpassed master at his craft. Writing under his own name and the moniker of Frank Leslie, he casts a wide rope, pulling in readers from all over the world. Disciplined and well read, his perspective on writing and literature is respected beyond the borders of the genre, and his sense of humor, friendship, and humble comradery is enjoyed by his peers. Congratulations to Mean Pete Brandvold receiving the 2021 Western Fictioneers Lifetime Achievement Award. – Richard Prosch

"I write Westerns!" Peter Brandvold proudly proclaims. And, boy, does he ever. I can't think of anyone who practices his craft with more passion or pure joy. And the results are some of the boldest, bawdiest, most exciting and entertaining stories to be found anywhere. Despite his self-appointed persona of Mean Pete, he ain't really such a scalawag as he'd have you believe. He loves his dogs, his home brew, and is supportive and encouraging to other writers. Every time we communicate, I come away motivated to try and kick my own game into a higher gear. I'm proud to call him a friend and pleased he is receiving this much-deserved recognition. – Wayne D. Dundee

Peter Brandvold is the King of the Action Westerns. He’s packed thrills, adventure, colorful descriptions, and compelling plots into more than a hundred novels guaranteed to entertain Western readers. But at the same time, he’s a thoughtful writer who creates complex, well-rounded characters. His protagonists are heroic but human, while his villains are properly despicable but also human. And there’s absolutely no one better at giving the reader exactly the right details to set a scene and make it come alive. Not only a fine writer, this so-called Mean Pete is a good and valued friend to many of us in the business. He’s well deserving of the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Peacemaker Award from Western Fictioneers. – James Reasoner


The recipient of Western Fictioneers Ninth Life Achievement Peacemaker Award: 

Michael R. Linaker

Author, editor, and publisher Ben Bridges says of Michael R. Linaker:

Born in Lancashire, England, Mike Linaker became a Western fan when he first chanced across a copy of TOUGH HOMBRE by Dudley Dean, and his first published western appeared in 1967 as INCIDENT AT BUTLER’S STATION (1967) by "Richard Wyler". From then on, Mike devoted himself to the genre.

In the mid-1970s he adopted two more pseudonyms – Dan Stewart and Matt Jordan – but it was in 1978 that he created his best-known alias, Neil Hunter. As Hunter, he wrote the long-running Jason Brand series, which features a U.S. Marshal-turned-gun for hire. In addition to ghost-writing five Frank Angel Westerns for Frederick H Christian, Mike is best-known for the Bodie the Stalker series. The violent and often intense plots often recreate the mood of the old Spaghetti Westerns.

In his time, Mike has written horror, action-adventure, and science fiction, including a long stint with Gold Eagle Books, writing for the Mack Bolan franchise. In more recent years he has returned to the Western genre, writing new books in the Jason Brand and Bodie the Stalker series, as well as creating the Ballard and McCall books.

Peacemaker Awards chair James Reasoner says:

With his first Western novel having been published in 1967, and with him continuing to produce excellent Western novels today, nobody in the business has been at this longer than Mike Linaker. He’s the very embodiment of the Western Fictioneers Lifetime Achievement Award.

He's also a top-notch professional, capable of writing in almost any genre and doing it well. For many years, he was one of the mainstays of the men’s adventure field, producing dozens of novels for publisher Gold Eagle. No matter what the subject matter, Linaker can be counted on for a fast-moving, well-written tale.

Westerns are his first love, though, and the genre in which he has done some of his best work. He’s been an unsung hero of popular fiction for more than fifty years, entertaining millions of readers along the way, and is very deserving of this Lifetime Achievement Award!

The recipient of Western Fictioneers Eighth Life Achievement Peacemaker Award: 

Gary McCarthy


I believe I met Gary in 1982, when I attended my first WWA Convention in Santa Fe.  He was a youthful looking 39 with about 9 books published at the time, 4 in the excellent Derby Man series, which I immediately read and enjoyed. Gary managed to come up with a very nonheroic seeming hero in Darby Buckingham, a short, stocky, cigar smoking, gourmet food eating, derby wearing, cultural New York writer of dime novels about the West. In the books he has actually gone West to do research, and thereby runs into his adventures. There were 11 Derby Man books between 1976-1993.  However, like all series, it came to an end, but Gary moved on. To date he has written more than 50 Western and historical novels, all of which bear his signature attention to detail and character. His Horseman books describe the experiences of the Ballou family as they travel West from Tennessee after the Civil War and try to make their living breeding horses; the Medicine Wagon books show Gary’s unusual take on medical practice in the West while also on the run; his books in the Rivers West series and National Parks books are historical marvels.

Gary has written everything from well-researched, history-filled tomes to rough-and-tumble novels of the West, and stories of the heroic Derby Man (still my favorites).  And he ain’t done, yet. The Western Fictioneers newest member of the Life Achievement club has many more stories to tell, which we’re all waiting for. - Robert J. Randisi

I first met Gary in the early 1980s and was immediately struck by his big smile and friendly laugh. Back then he was still writing the Derby Man series.  Over the next dozen or so years we hotel-camped together at many a WWA Convention, and I always enjoyed his company and hearing about the research he was doing for his latest project. Gary has the amazing ability to weave fictional characters into real, historical events...and with such skill you’d swear it was all true!  His National Parksseries are so authentic, you almost believe the stories are actually part of the historical fabric upon which they are woven into. This is true in all of Gary’s novels, which are as compelling as that welcoming smile. – Douglas Hirt

It was 1988, and Gary McCarthy said to me, "Pay me a $1000 advance for three books and we can make a deal." I said, "Back off the advance and we will record all your books and pay you a royalty as they sell." Since then we have recorded forty-three of Gary's books and it has been lucrative for us both. RIVER THUNDER was Gary's book that won the Spur for best audiobook and it was well deserved. Gary and I have been good friends over the years and I can't imagine anyone more deserving of a Lifetime Achievement Award than Gary. He has never stopped writing and has always given of himself to help others achieve their goals. My hat is off to you, Gary, be ever humble and accept your award with the feeling of one who deserves it. —  Gary Challender, CEO, Books in Motion

The recipient of Western Fictioneers Seventh Life Achievement Peacemaker Award: 

Michael Newton

Mike Newton's contribution to the Western genre—as well as others—has been prodigious. And the dictionary description of that word —remarkably or impressively great in extent—says it all. His close to 300 book output is a prime example of a career that combines prolificness with quality in writing and storytelling. And it is a career that is far from over. We can look forward to many more years of the same. — Robert J. Randisi

 Mike Newton is one of those amazing writers who is prolific in output while at the same time maintaining consistently high quality in everything he produces. What's more, he writes in a wide range of genres and demonstrates mastery over all. His contribution to the Mack Bolan-Executioner series is well known, having penned well over a hundred of the titles (more than creator Don Pendleton), making him a key ingredient to that phenomenally successful body of work. As a Western author—under his own name as well his Lyle Brandt byline—his work has received both critical acclaim and previous awards recognition from Western Fictioneers as well as the Western Writers of America. This latest acknowledgment, the Lifetime Achievement Award from Western Fictioneers, is well deserved. Let's just hope it doesn't cause him to rest on his laurels and slow down from turning out still more of his highly entertaining yarns. — Wayne D. Dundee

Mike Newton is one of those professionals who can write just about anything and write it extremely well. Early in his career, he wrote a number of Western novels for a small paperback publisher (some of which are now available again as ebooks, and I recommend you check them out). Then for many years he was one of the top action/adventure writers in the business, most notably in the Mack Bolan series, while also writing critically acclaimed suspense thrillers and procedurals. When he returned to Westerns some time ago, it was with a vengeance, writing two long-running series for Berkley Books under the pseudonym Lyle Brandt that produced several Peacemaker Award finalists. He's written a number of other Westerns under his own name, including contributions to the West of the Big River series published by Western Fictioneers and the Blaze! series published by Rough Edges Press. As a reader, I've enjoyed Mike's books for many years, and since working with him as an editor on several of his books I have an even greater appreciation for his talent. It was always a pure pleasure to edit one of his manuscripts. I'm glad he's receiving this honor from Western Fictioneers for his lifetime of good work, and I know he'll continue adding to it. — James Reasoner

The recipient of Western Fictioneers Sixth Life Achievement Peacemaker Award: 

Robert E. Vardeman

Robert E. Vardeman’s first novel was THE SANDCATS OF RHYL, a science fiction novel published by a small California publisher called Major Books in 1978. In the nearly forty years since then, he’s written hundreds more novels, ranging from science fiction and fantasy (he wrote one of the first original Star Trek novels) to mysteries and thrillers (he wrote many of the Nick Carter/Killmaster novels) to critically acclaimed frontier historicals under the name Karl Lassiter to scores of popular house-name Westerns and traditional Westerns under his own name and the pseudonym Jackson Lowry. He’s also a former nuclear scientist, a background that not many Western authors can claim.

Former recipient of WF’s Lifetime Achievement Award James Reasoner says about Robert E. Vardeman, “With the possible exception of romances (there may be some Vardeman books I don’t know about), Bob has written every sort of popular fiction out there in the past four decades, written it prolifically, and most importantly, written it well. On top of all that, having known him for most of those forty years, I can also state that he’s a genuinely nice guy. At various times he and I have worked on at least four or five of the same series, spent hours of enjoyable conversation at various conventions, and collaborated occasionally. He’s a fine writer, a top professional, and a good friend, and he’s certainly deserving of this Lifetime Achievement award from Western Fictioneers. Congratulations, Bob, and here’s to many more books!”

Western Fictioneers president Bill Crider says, “I don’t remember the year that I met Bob Vardeman, but it was sometime in the early to middle 1980s.  The occasion was a science fiction convention, the annual Aggiecon at Texas A&M University.  Bob was already a well-known SF writer, and he’s gone on to write more books in that field than I can count, both under his own name and others.  What I didn’t know at the time was that, like me, he was also Nick Carter.  I found that out when I went into a room and someone called out, “Where’s Nick Carter.”  I said, “I’m Nick Carter,” and Bob said, “I’m Nick Carter.”  Not quite “I am Spartacus,” but close enough for me at the time.  This is my version of the story, by the way.  Bob might have another one, but this one is true.

After that event, the editor who’d bought my Nick Carter book left the publishing house, and the new editor told me that I wouldn’t be writing any more of the books because he’d found some writers he liked better.  He didn’t use those words, but I was sure that was what he meant.  One of those writers was Bob Vardeman, since he went on to write several more books in the series.  I’d be bitter if he weren’t such a nice guy. 

Bob also went on to write many more SF novels, but we’re here to honor him for writing westerns, and he’s written a ton of those, too, not only under his own name but as Karl Lassiter and Jackson Lowry.  He even has a collection of short stories (Tales from Texas) written by those two guys and Robert E. Vardeman.  I hope they can keep the bank accounts straight.

Besides that, Bob’s written more than 100 novels for a couple of adult western series, possibly with a little help from Lassiter and Lowry.  Now that the adult westerns have disappeared from the paperback racks, he’s written two in the Blaze! series for Rough Edges Press.  In other words, he’s had a long and amazing career in several fields, including westerns, and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Western Fictioneers.  Congratulations, Bob.”


The recipient of Western Fictioneers Fifth Life Achievement Peacemaker Award: 

Robert J. Randisi

 Over the past 34 years, Robert J. Randisi has been the most prolific Western writer in the world, authoring more than 500 novels in the genre. Best known for the Gunsmith series which he created and continues to write under the name J.R. Roberts (more than 400 novels to date), he has also contributed novels to many other series under his own name and various pseudonyms as well as writing numerous stand-alone Western novels. In addition, he has produced and co-authored several collaborative novels and edited many Western anthologies. Randisi is also well-known as an author of mystery and suspense novels and founded the Private Eye Writers of America. He lives and works in a small town in Missouri with fellow author Christine Matthews.

Veteran Western author and last year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient James Reasoner says, “When I picked up the first Gunsmith novel from a paperback rack in a newsstand all those years ago, I had no idea what it would be the start of. Bob Randisi probably didn’t, either. Although the by-line was J.R. Roberts, I was already friends with Bob and knew he was behind that pseudonym. I had read some of his mysteries and so I had a pretty good idea what to expect from that first Gunsmith novel: a fast-paced, well-plotted story with plenty of action and great dialogue. That’s exactly what I got, and Bob’s kept it up ever since, more than 500 times in the Western field alone! That’s the hallmark of a Bob Randisi novel: when you open one, you know you’re going to be entertained. That’s never changed. Thanks for all the hours of reading enjoyment, Bob!”

Western Fictioneers secretary and acclaimed Western author Livia J. Washburn commented, “For the past three decades, no one has done more for the Western than Bob Randisi. In addition to being one of the most popular writers in the field, Bob has edited many Western anthologies and helped keep Western short fiction alive during times when there were few markets for it. He was one of the founders of Western Fictioneers and continues to work tirelessly on the organization’s behalf. Western readers and authors alike owe a big thank you to Robert J. Randisi, and this well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award is a good start on that.”


The recipient of Western Fictioneers Fourth Life Achievement Peacemaker Award: 

James Reasoner

James Reasoner has been a professional writer for nearly forty years. In that time, he has authored several hundred novels and short stories in numerous genres. Writing under his own name and various pseudonyms, his novels have garnered praise from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and the Los Angeles Times, as well as appearing on the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. He lives in a small town in Texas with his wife, fellow author Livia J. Washburn.

Popular Western and Mystery writer, and former VP of Western Fictioneers, Bill Crider says this about James, "I've known James Reasoner for going on forty years now, since before he'd ever written a western novel, and I've never met anybody during that time who was more devoted to the craft of telling a good story.  He's as knowledgeable about western pulps, western writers, and western writing as anybody around, and he's happy to share his knowledge with other fans of the genre.  He's written hundreds of westerns by now, and I've never read a one of them that wasn't filled with color, action, great characters, and a respect for the American west and its history.  I know this is a "lifetime achievement" award, and a well-deserved one, but the final chapter isn't in sight.  James has a long way to go yet, a lot more books to write, and a lot more goals to achieve.  Much fine work lies behind, but I'm sure there's just as much ahead for all of us to look forward to and enjoy.   Congratulations, James!"

Former WF (Western Fictioneers) president, and Western and mystery novelist, Troy D. Smith had this to say, "The first time I read something by James Reasoner, I thought 'this is the kind of writer I wish I could be.' Straight-forward and unpretentious, yet with a depth that makes his characters jump off the page and a gift for mood and setting that is focused and intense. He quickly became one of my all-time favorites, and remains so."


The recipient of Western Fictioneers Third Life Achievement Peacemaker Award: 

Frank Roderus

Frank Roderus has been writing Westerns for more than 30 years. Before he started selling fiction, he was a newspaper reporter. He used to raise Quarter Horses. He has lived in the west, the midwest, and briefly in Asia. Now he lives in Spring Hill FL with his wonderful Filipina wife, four cats and a dog.

Cheryl Pierson, Western Fictioneers president, co-publisher of Prairie Rose Publications, and popular western writer says this: From the moment I read my first Frank Roderus novel, I have admired and enjoyed his skillful descriptive abilities. His young adult novel, Duster, is a story that can be enjoyed by readers of most any age--not just young adult readers, but us "regular" adults, as well! I can't say enough good things about Duster and the way this story just pulls you right in, hugs you close, and keeps you in Duster's pocket throughout all that befalls him. An excellent western tale by a master storyteller, and this is no "one-trick pony"! Thanks to Frank for some truly wonderful western reading.

Current Western Fictioneers vice-president Keith Souter aka Clay More, part time doctor and well-known western writer said this: Frank Roderus is an inspirational Western writer who seems to be able to create characters, short stories and novels in a mystical fashion reminiscent of the alchemists of days gone by. He invites you on an adventure and grabs your attention until the last tantalising paragraph. His achievements are astonishing. He is not only prolific, but he is a quality writer. Not only that, but he encourages other writers. Indeed, I am grateful to him for helping me place some of my own writing. He absolutely deserves a lifetime achievement award to go with his other accolades.


Western Fictioneers (WF) is pleased to announce the recipient of its Second Life Achievement Peacemaker Award: 

Robert Vaughan

Robert Vaughan sold his first book when he was 19 years old. That was nearly 400 titles ago. Writing under 42 pseudonyms, he has hit the New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists several times. 

His book Survival (under the pseudonym K.C. McKenna) won the Spur Award for best western novel (1994), The Power and the Pride won the Porgie for best paperback original (1976), and Brandywine's War was named by the Canadian University Symposium of Literature as the best iconoclastic novel to come from the Vietnam War. He was inducted into the Writers' Hall of Fame in 1998.

From the current Western Fictioneers president, Western and mystery novelist, Troy D. Smith  -- Robert Vaughan is, and long has been, one of the giants of this field. He is who most of us want to be when we grow up. I've noticed that when I speak to the public about writing, and writing successfully and well, it's never long before I start talking about Dick Vaughan.

Current Western Fictioneers vice-president Bill Crider, an award-winning mystery and western novelist, adds this --Robert Vaughan is one of the most prolific and entertaining western writers in the field of traditional westerns.  He knows character, he knows history, he knows storytelling, he knows the West.

Award-winning author, James Reasoner, had this to say about Robert Vaughan --  For decades, Robert Vaughan has entertained millions of readers with his fast-paced, well-written novels. Working in a variety of genres, he has won awards and made bestseller lists with everything from Westerns to historical romance novels to mainstream fiction. Along the way he's befriended and mentored dozens of other writers, and I'm proud to say that I'm one of them. Congratulations on this very well deserved honor from Western Fictioneers!


Western Fictioneers (WF) is pleased to announce the recipient of its First Life Achievement Peacemaker Award: 

Jory Sherman

Venerable author, and poet, Jory Sherman has been chosen by WF (Western Fictioneers) as the first recipient of the Life Achievement Peacemaker Award.  Sherman, of Muldrow, Oklahoma, has been writing and publishing for over fifty years for such publishers as Berkley, Avon, Zebra, Tor, and many others.  He has published over 300 books, 500 short stories, and 1000 articles, an unparalleled accomplishment in the world of Western writing.   His most recent Western series, Sidewinder, is published by Berkley (New York).

Popular Western and mystery author, Livia Washburn, says this about Sherman’s award: “Jory Sherman is a towering figure in the Western genre, both as the bestselling, critically acclaimed author of dozens of novels, but also as a leading member of Western Writers of America, and now Western Fictioneers.  No one in our field is more deserving of a lifetime achievement award than Jory Sherman.”

Current WF (Western Fictioneers) president, and Western and mystery novelist, Troy Smith, is also a fan of Sherman.  “Jory Sherman is more admired by his peers than just about anyone I know in the western genre. His paragraphs are poetry, his pages are paintings... he is a consummate artist,” he said, noting the author’s long career.

Previous WF (Western Fictioneers) vice-president, and award-winning author, James Reasoner, had this to say about Sherman, “Jory Sherman has been an inspiration, a mentor, and a good friend to his fellow writers for decades. Not only a prolific author of genre fiction, he's also a distinguished mainstream novelist and poet. Jory is the elder statesman of the Western field, and the very embodiment of the term Lifetime Achievement.”

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