Parts 5 & 6 Coming Soon
The Territories Saga Serials Collection
Introducing the serial book collection, The Territories Saga Serials Collection. The concept is based on the old "cliffhanger" movie serial short films they used to play before the main feature in American cinemas. Each novella in the collection is written as an instalment in a saga serial.
The sagas are divided into five to six novellas to complete each serial. These books are great for anyone who wants to read a good book but doesn't have the time to sit and read a 500 page novel. Titles are currently available in paperback and ebooks at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com.
Stephen drew heavily from family stories for much of the Into the West Saga Serial. His father and his father's sisters spent time in children's homes in Oklahoma in the 50's. Stephen grew up hearing stories of their years in the homes.
Later in life, he met someone whose aunt had come to Kansas on the orphan train. The stories of her experience fascinated him enough to make a trip to Concordia, Kansas to visit the Orphan Train Museum there. The more he learned about this time in history, the more fascinated he became. When it came time to pick a theme for his first book series, Stephen knew it had to be based on the orphan train and the triumphs and tragedies its young riders had to face.
Follow bestselling, western author, Stephen Burckhardt, here and on his other social media pages for information on publication dates, contests, and sneak previews of future book releases. Link buttons to all of his social media pages are on the bottom of every page of this website and on the About Stephen page.
The Into the West Saga Serial Collection
Into the West: The Orphan Train
Part One of Book One in The Territories Saga Serials
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This book was a finalist in the 2019 TopShelf Indie Book Awards and is now an award committee nominee for the 2020 TopShelf Indie Book Awards
Margret MacBride loves her children more than life itself, but as a young widow, she can't support herself and her children on a maid's salary. After losing their home they struggle for years to survive living on the streets. Distraught, Margret turns to the church for guidance.
Mary Agnus convinces Margret her children will be better off if she turns them over to the Catholic Foundling Aid Society for placement in a home. Little did she know her children would end up on the Orphan Train heading into the western territories.
Taken from the only home they have ever known, Elizabeth and Conner MacBride are frightened and homesick. Their aid worker, Mrs. Kelly, does her best to comfort the children and help them come to terms with their new situation.
When Elizabeth finds herself in trouble after a run-in with the foundlings' home's director, Sister Mary Clare, and bullied by one of the other children, Mrs. Kelly puts her job on the line to get Elizabeth and her brother on the Orphan Train and find them a new home in the wild west.
Into the West: A New Home
Part Two of Book One in The Territories Saga Serials
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Thanks to their case worker, Mrs. Kelly, Elizabeth and Conner MacBride make it onto the orphan train heading into the west. Mrs. Kelly is reluctant to part with the children as she struggles with the agreement she was forced to make with Sister Mary Clare to keep the children on the train.
If Mrs. Kelly keeps her promise she will keep her job but she may break the hearts of Elizabeth and Conner in the process. As the train heads into the Kansas territory to make one final stop, Mrs. Kelly must choose, place the children with strangers or return them to the Catholic Foundling Aid Society's home in New York City, something she does not want to do.
Finding a new home in a small cowtown in the Wild West will be a new and frightening experience for Elizabeth and Conner but with the help of a few good people they might be able to make a new life for themselves. Will Mrs. Kelly have to sacrifice her job to do what she believes is best for the children or can she find a solution with which they can all live?
Into the West: Sharon Springs
Part Three of Book One in The Territories Saga Serials
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Families in Sharon Springs are dealing with ghosts from their pasts as they consider welcoming the riders of the orphan train to their town. Many old wounds need to heal if they are going to make room for Elizabeth and Conner MacBride. Unfortunately, things do not work out as Mrs. Kelly had hoped and it may turn out that the only way to find suitable homes for MacBride children is to split them up.
When Elizabeth and Conner learn they are being placed with different families in Sharon Springs, both are heartbroken. After many tears and promises the siblings would get to see each other as often as they wanted, things begin to quiet down.
When Elizabeth meets her new family, she finds out Tim Ruth was much more thrilled to have a new daughter in the family than his wife, Stacy. Her new adoptive brother, Timothy, does not give her a warm welcome either. He is not interested in sharing his mother’s love with anyone and lets Elizabeth know from the moment they meet.
Elizabeth tries to get used to life in the Wild West but finds that living in the territories can be hard, especially when you’re alone and your new adoptive family doesn’t seem to want you there.
Into the West: Most Wanted
Part Four of Book One in The Territories Saga Serials
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Marshal “Blackjack” James has a reputation for being able to catch any criminal he puts his mind to catching. When his friend Ike “Shorty” Rowlett, sheriff of Sharon Springs, sends him a telegram asking for help catching bandits in the area, Jack saddles up his horse, Bucky, and heads north.
Meanwhile, the folks in Sharon Springs, are doing their best to help Elizabeth and Conner MacBride settle into their new homes in the Wild West. Unfortunately, not everyone is happy to have them there. Just as Elizabeth begins to bond with her new parents, her new brother decides he wants her to leave.
Conner MacBride is trying to learn to live without his sister but getting used to so many changes in such a short time is very difficult for a young boy. Ian Somerholder is doing everything he can to help Conner bond with his new parents but he will have to return to his own new family soon. It just might take help from the most wanted to bring everyone together.
Into the West: To Save Them All
Part Five of Book One in The Territories Saga Serials
Ines Rülke and her family have a secret, they are the most wanted bandits in the Kansas territory. When the law starts to close in on their trail, Ines decides it’s time to pull one last robbery to throw the lawmen off their trail and then just fade away into history.
When Elizabeth MacBride set out on her own to go find her brother, Conner, she never expected to stumble onto Ines and her new partner in crime, Tonja Miller. When they try to take her back home to her new family, things do not work out as expected. Now Elizabeth has to go along as they try to con tax money from homesteaders near the Missouri border.
Unfortunately, Sheriff Jones from Douglas County expected the bandits to strike and set a trap. If Ines and Tonja can pull this off job without getting caught and get Elizabeth back home to her new family safely, they just might manage to save one more homestead and get the lawmen off their trail for good. God willing, they just might be able to save them all.
Into the West: Last Showdown
Part Six of Book One in The Territories Saga Serials
Just when things start to calm down for the residence of Sharon Springs, more trouble comes to town. Mrs. Kelly is convinced she made a mistake letting families in Sharon Springs adopt Elizabeth and Conner MacBride. Now, she wants to take them back to New York City, but the townsfolk are not ready to say goodbye to the children.
When an old adversary of sheriff Ike Rowlett and marshal “Blackjack” James shows up in town looking to claim the bounty on the tax bandits for himself, tensions go from bad to worse.
Sheriff Jones is known for overstepping his authority. He’s had disputes with Jack and Ike before. In fact, Jack carries a scar on his face as a constant reminder of the other man’s treachery.
When the three men cross paths again, things get more than a little heated as sheriff Jones insults some of the members of the community and threatens to arrest another. When the townsfolk stand up for their own, things just might end up being settled once and for all.
Into the West: Family Ties
Part Seven of Book One in The Territories Saga Serials
Now that sheriff Jones has been dealt with, life in Sharon Springs is finally getting back to normal. The town and the families grow over the next few years. Family bonds were slow to grow for some of the orphan train riders, but with hard work, the families became stronger than anyone imagined.
Kansas finally wins their bid for statehood and just when the townsfolk of Sharon Springs start celebrating new beginnings someone from the past shows up and could shatter the new found happiness.
The Ruths and the Wellensteins will have to fight for their families once again. Will they do more harm than good to their beloved children if they fight for them or will it be worse to let them go?
It will take the help of their tight knit community to find a solution with which everyone can live. With a few prayers, a little luck, and a lot of love, everyone just might be able to build some new family ties that will bind them all together for the rest of their lives.
This bestselling western, Into the West: A New Home - Special Edition, includes the full text from the two time award-winning part one, Into the West: The Orphan Train, and part two, Into the West: A New Home. This book was rated #41 on Amazon's top 100 free westerns in February, 2019. Get your copy today!
Into the West: A New Home - Special Edition
Part One and Two of Book One in The Territories Saga Serials
eBook - Only on Amazon!
Now available on Kindle Unlimited
Contributing Author Books
I was included in a group venture with award-winning, best-selling Western author, Scott Harris. Harris challenged a group of western authors to craft 500 word micro-short stories using the exact same writing prompt. The resulted is a four book series of 52 micro-short stories from 52 different authors all putting their unique spin on the same few words. This was a fun exercise but unfortunately I earn no profits from these books. However, if you enjoy micro-short stories, be sure to check them out on Amazon.