Eli Colter

Eli(za) Colter was born in Portland, Oregon. At the age of thirteen she was afflicted for a time by blindness, an experience that taught her to "drill out" her own education for the remainder of her life. Although her first story was published under a nom de plume in 1918, she felt her career as a professional really began when she sold her first story to Black Mask Magazine in 1922. Her style clearly indicates a penchant for what is termed the "hard-boiled school" in stories that display a gritty, tough, violent world. Sometimes there are episodes that become littered with bodies. Over the course of a career that spanned nearly four decades, Colter wrote more than 300 stories and serials, mostly Western fiction. She appeared regularly in thirty-seven different magazines, including slick publications like Liberty, and was showcased on the covers of Fiction House's Lariat Story Magazine along with the likes of Walt Coburn. She published seven hardcover Western novels. Colter was particularly adept at crafting complex and intricate plots set against traditional Western storylines of her day - range wars, cattlemen vs. homesteaders, and switched identities. Yet, no matter what the plot, she somehow always managed to include the unexpected and unconventional, as she did in her best novels, such as OUTCAST OF THE LAZY S (1933) or CANON RATTLERS (1939).