Blood Moon by  Ernest Brawley

by | Aug 3, 2023 | Author | 0 comments

The plot of the novel BLOOD MOON, by Ernest Brawley, goes like this:

In 1880, an impoverished, half-English journalist named Eduardo Dawson, hitching from Mexico for the American border, meets three fellow travelers who could not be more different. The first is Phoebe Surgener, a wry, strong-willed American ranch lady of obvious wealth and influence. The second is Pleasant Honeyflower, a seedy, fast-talking, phony preacher.

The third is Marcela Sandoval, a magically beautiful Mexican shepherdess. After their meeting on the road, there follows a seemingly endless night that begins with friendly “get-to-know-you” chatter and evolves as they cross the desert under a great blood moon into episodes of violence, betrayal, rape, and abandonment that will have unimaginable repercussions for years to come. As fate will have it, they all end up in Pleasant Valley, Arizona, and their chance encounter in the desert will turn out to be a harbinger of The Pleasant Valley War, the bloodiest land war in the history of the American West.

The tragic, comic, and sometimes romantic events in this novel occurred in Arizona Territory nearly a hundred and fifty years ago, yet they are still so salient in the collective memory of my family that we speak of them as if they happened only yesterday. My people, Mexican and American, were among the first settlers of Arizona, as evidenced by the place names Brawley Wash and Robles Junction. Several of my ancestors were intimately involved in the bloody actions recounted in Blood Moon, including my great-great-grandfather, Milt Brawley, who ended up in Yuma Prison.

It is they who inspired me to write this novel. My target audience: readers of historical fiction and Western novels. Those who enjoy historical reading should be pleased with all the authentic incidents of Arizona history. Those who enjoy Westerns will enjoy all the excitement of the shoot- ‘em-ups, wild rides, desert chases, illicit romance, and revenge-seeking. My plans for Blood Moon are already in motion, as I am currently writing a screenplay based on my novel. As for my personal life, I was raised on the grounds of prisons all over the state of California, I worked my way through college in the tomato fields of the Great Central Valley and as a guard at San Quentin Prison, where I served in Death Row, the Big Yard, and as a rifleman in the gun towers.

Eventually I received an MA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. After a stint in the US Army, I spent several years working my way around the world as a deckhand, dishwasher, reporter, money changer, movie extra, bartender, and ESL teacher. I hitchhiked from California to Argentina, France to Singapore, and then on to Japan. Eventually I backpacked across Soviet Russia to Europe.

Perhaps the root of my wanderlust was that I sometimes felt like an escaped prisoner. Since then, I’ve spent my life writing, teaching, and continuing to travel, visiting every continent except Australia, living and working in Buenos Aires, Paris, London, Rome, Granada, Bombay, Bangkok, and Tokyo, teaching at the University of Hawaii, Hunter College, New York University, and the Sorbonne-Pantheon. As for my writing career: I’ve published eight novels. THE RAP was made into a feature film called FASTWALKING, produced and directed by James B. Harris and starring James Woods. SELENA was purchased by 20th Century Fox.

The ALAMO TREE was a featured selection at Literary Guild. LOVE HAS NO COUNTRY was published in 2021, STREETLIGHT in 2022, JIHADI JOE in 2023, and BLOOD MOON has just come out. Go to my website at


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