S.L.Kotar and J.E.Gessler

It has often been said that authors should write about SL_Kotar_WGAW11-230x300JE_Gessler_WGAW2-229x300what they know, so we open our webpage with our credentials. We have been involved in writing fiction and non-fiction that specializes in the 1800s for decades and were members of the Writers Guild of America, West, for ten years, but it has only been recently that we decided to actively publish and promote our work.

Aside from writing the highest-rated episode of GUNSMOKE in the 20-year history of the series (“Kitty’s Love Affair” – NOT our title, by the way; and there was no “affair”), we created, published and wrote many articles for “The Kepi Magazine,” an iconoclastic publication that specialized in the Civil War and 19th century life.

When it became apparent to us we wanted to expand our creativity into books, we began by writing a number of novels set in the 1800’s, three series of which we present here as e-books. The first trilogy we called “The Kansas Pirates.” Set immediately before the Civil War, the story centers around a family in Lawrence, Kansas. Plagued by the townspeople and his neighbors because he has a son they consider “possessed,” Seth Ward struggles to maintain his small farm and raise two children after the death of his wife. A young seafaring woman named Nelander, who lost her berth in San Francisco after her father, Captain Nelander, is killed, is making her way across the country when she runs out of money in Lawrence. Considered “peculiar” for her occupation and strong will, she is sent to the Ward farm to seek a job. Together, she and Seth fight prejudice and the mounting tensions of War in this three-part series released by Tirgearr Publishing.

The second series we present is a more traditional Western entitled the “Hellhole Saga.” This trilogy centers around the maturation of a young man appointed marshal of Hellhole, Kansas in the post-Civil War era when Northern-Southern feelings still burn as hot as men’s tempers. Although he comes with credentials – he outdrew the gunfighter who killed his mentor, the legendary Marshal Jack Duvall – Claw Kiley quickly learns how difficult survival can be in an untamed hider town. This three-part seriesr is released by Tirgearr Publishing.


Books by S.L. Kotar and J.E. Gessler







Decapitated Detective Cover






hk7-small  HK8 COVER




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BeneathTheRose FINAL






Pirate Treasure Cover  Strawberry Fields cover  The Drinking Gourd





First Draw Cover  Audition for a Legend Cover  Strange Bedfellows cover





Riverboat Cover

Steamboat Era Cover  Balloon Cover





Circus CoverCholera Cover

Smallpox Cover






Telemetry Cover Yellow Fever A Worldwide History





The Kepi Cover






S. L. Kotar and J. E. Gessler have been writing together for more than four decades. Our earliest success was in selling a script to GUNSMOKE, entitled “Kitty’s Love Affair” (CBS’ title, not ours; there was no affair, as opposed to “Matt’s Love Story,” where there was an affair). According to John Mantley (executive producer) and Jack Miller (story consultant) this was the highest-rated episode in the series’ 20 year history.
We published the iconclastic Civil War and 19th-Century magazine “The Kepi” for many years, developing several important articles on “Stonewall Jackson.” We created and ran the authorized web site for Timothy Dalton for almost two decades and also the authorized web site for Darren McGavin and Kathie Browne (www.darrenmcgavin.net). Our published books include “Riverboat: The Evolution of a Television Series,” from BearManor (2009) and a comprehensive text on full-disclosure telemetry monitoring (non-invastive Cardiology)published in March, 2010. We have been writing for McFarland Publishing for several years. Our books for them include “The Steamboat Era: A History of Fulton’s Folly on American Rivers, 1807-1860”; “Ballooning: A History, 1782-1900”; and “The Rise of the American Circus, 1716-1899). Beginning in 2012 we began a series of historical medical texts; the first in the series was “Smallpox: A History.” Later in 2013 or early 2014 we will publish “Cholera: A History” and we are currently writing a text on yellow fever for publication by McFarland in 2014.
We have also decided to go back to our roots and publish our fiction. We have two series in development with Tirgearr Publishing, both 19th century stories. They will be published as e-books in early 2014.
Our interests include modern non-invasive cardiology; all studies involving the 19th-Century, including the Civil War and medicine; and we are also huge baseball fans. We consider ourselves Whitey Herzog’s greatest fans and we are very proud that he was FINALLY elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010. We write fiction in many genre, including Civil War, Westerns, science fiction, horror and psychological novels.