Jake Brady and Wiley Deluce met in a bar in Alma in the 1880s and became fast friends. In fact, they became partners -- and not in the "Hold it right there, partner" sense. The cowboy protagonists in part-time South Park resident Dave Brown's Golden Feather Series of gay westerns, Jake and Wiley are lovers -- big, tough, burly lovers with spurs, chaps and ten-gallon feelings. But they're not sissies. Yee-ha! What a twist.
Brown, who held various city jobs in Denver and even spent three years in a monastery before retiring, has only been writing for a decade, but he's definitely found his niche. His original inspiration, conveyed by a hospitalized friend who was among the first to be diagnosed with AIDS in the '80s, was really more of a challenge: "He asked if I could find a Western with a gay hero," Brown recalls. "I couldn't, so I decided to write one."
The other half of his muse whispers on the side of a mountain in South Park, 28 miles from the town of Jefferson and two miles from his nearest neighbor, in a cabin on land that Brown has owned and loved for 25 years. "It's a fantasy story, but the setting is real," he says of the three-book series (a fourth installment is due for release in 2001). Brown researched the history of the area's mining towns and threw the facts together with a spicy speculation: Just how did denizens of the Wild West find comfort and love in a such a rugged, testosterone-infused world? "I always wished I could have lived in that time," pines Brown.
In a way, he's found the means to do that and still be himself.
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