Upon deciding to become a full-time freelance writer, I had no idea where being a journalist would take me—literally. Early on, I discovered that by simply holding a pen and paper, doors opened. I’ve inspected coal chutes in the basement of a historic hotel; come face to face with a bucking bull (resulting in dirt clods in my hair and ears); toured and stayed overnight on a ranch smackdab in the middle of New Mexico. Along the way, I have met and spoken with a wide, fascinating array of people eager to share their stories.
A deep love of anything cowboy and the Old West creates a fertile playground for my imagination. I spent ten years with the New Mexico Gunfighters Association and learned what it feels like to go “toe to toe” with revolver-wielding sheriffs and/or bad guys. I’ve played all the parts—cranky wife, dumb deputy, outlaw—and admit I loved being the “bad” guy. I knew the bullets weren't real while I was performing, but my adrenalin sure was. As a bad guy, staring into the eyes of a surly sheriff made my heart pound harder. Those ten years gave me a firsthand feel for what the real Old West characters experienced.
I retired from Gunfighters because, although I didn’t mind getting “shot” and hitting the ground, getting up became increasingly difficult. It was downright embarrassing to ask for help up, especially in front of crowds of tourists.
Although I spent a few formative years in Guam and then years later in the Philippines (during the height of the Viet Nam War), growing up in southern New Mexico shaped me. As a child, I rode horses, visited ghost towns, traversed the desert looking for . . . well, just looking.
Still today, I love to stand among the cactus, mesquite, and dunes. They all speak to me. The West speaks to me.
In April 2022, Melody became the President of Western Writers of America (WWA). She is pleased to serve this esteemed organization. WWA was founded in 1953 to promote the literature of the American West and to recognize the best in Western writing with the prestigious Spur Award and the Western Writers Hall of Fame.
Jammin' Time Band (formerly Jammy Time) has been playing and performing together since 2011. Starting as a weekly jam session, Jammin’ Time morphed into a well-oiled band that today performs at top listening venues around the state.
Our music is eclectic—jazz, County/Western, folk, soft rock, and bluegrass. Members range from a ghost tour operator to a Mars Rover parachute scientist. Like the music, the players are an eclectic bunch.