Novelist, Teacher, Family Historian

| Short Autobiography 

 | Novels and Short Story Collections
          (with some reviews)

 |"The Elements of Writing" Series    

   | Film Scripts

 | Family Histories

 | Works-in-Progress,
           with writing samples

 | Pictures
List of Publications
 | Other Texts   | Some Magazine Credits
Contact and Ordering information

Updated 29 January 2017

Short Autobiography:

   I was born on the south edge of "The Plains," the Llano Estacado in west Texas. Of predominantly English and Scots ancestry, I also have two branches of Cherokees in my family tree. At the beginning of WW II, my family moved to California to work in the shipyards and never got around to returning to Texas.

   I attended UC-Berkeley (B.A. 1956), San Francisco State (M.A. 1960), and I hold a Ph.D. from the University of Denver writing program (1962).

   I taught three years at the University of Stockholm on a Fulbright grant (1962-65), three years at the University of Michigan (1965-68), and 24 years at San Diego State. I retired on a "Golden Handshake" in 1992 in order to devote full time to travel, research, and writing.

   I have published twenty-two books, which include the novels, Under the Dawn Star: a California-Indian-Family Story (2011); Killing Cynthia Ann (1999), three collections of short fiction, Saving Sand, Stories of a Prairie Culture During The Great Depression (2008); Comeuppance at Kicking Horse Casino and Other Stories (2000); and Contemporary Insanities, Short Fictions (1990); and a book about a quintessential 19th century man, Brain, Brawn, and Will: the Turmoils and Adventures of Jeff Ross.

   During my teaching career, I published several textbooks, including Creative Writing (American Book Co, 1968); The Structure of Essays, (Prentice-Hall, 1973); and A Writer's Toolkit (1990; 2001).

   In 2001, I published a five-book series: The Elements of Writing; in 2005, I added a sixth book to the series: Elements of the Short Story.

   Magazine credits include stories in Fiction International, High Plains Literary Review, SAIL (Studies in American Indian Literatures), Blue Cloud Quarterly, South Dakota Review, Michigan Quarterly, Crazy Quilt Quarterly, Four Quarters, Returning the Gift, Ani-Yun-Wiya (anthology of Cherokee Writing),Appalachian Heritage, Denver Quarterly, Callaloo, Cimarron Review, American Indian Culture and Research Journal, etc.

   For almost 40 years, I have been collecting genealogical information on my Brashear, Whitaker, Nelson, Heath, Ross, and other families. I have published nine volumes of a planned nine of A Brashear(s) Family History. I and Shirley Brasher McCoy also published a book about the Brazier/Brasher family: A Brazier/Brasher Saga, 300 Years of the Brasher, Brazier, Brasier, Brashier Family in America.

I have also publish a history of the Whitaker Family: Whitakers of The Holme and their Descendants in America, Cinda Rilla's Genes (our Allen, Hunt, Scales, Napier, Nelson, Hart, Heath families), 2011; and Descendants of Francis Ross (Scotland, Ulster, Hampshire Co, WV, York Co, SC, Dickson Co, TN, Hardin Co, TN, Jefferson Co, AL, Hinds and other co, MS)

   I am a member or former member of Western Writers of America, Native American Writers and Storytellers, California Writers Club, The Willamette Writers, and The Writers' League of Texas. A short biography of me appeared in the 2001 and subsequent editions of Who's Who in America.

   Go to or > books > search > Brashear, Charles for information on and reviews of some of my books. Born Howard Charles Brashers, I legally changed my name in 1992 to Charles Ross Brashear, in order to correct my great-grandfather's misspelling of the surname.

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List of publications:

Novels and Short Story Collections:

Under the Dawn Star: a California-Indian-Family Story (Books etc, 2011), 300 pp.

Saving Sand, Stories of a Prairie Culture During The Great Depression, (Books etc, 2009), 251 pp.

Killing Cynthia Ann, a novel (Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1999), 208 pp.

Comeuppance at Kicking Horse Casino, and Other Stories, (Los Angeles: UCLA American Indian Studies Center, April 2000), 200 pp.

Brain, Brawn, and Will: The Turmoils and Adventures of Jeff Ross (Bloomington: 1st Books, 2001), 184 pp.

Contemporary Insanities, Short Fictions. (Arroyo Grande, CA: Press of MacDonald & Reinecke, 1990), 160 pp.

The Other Side of Love, Two Novellas. (Denver: Alan Swallow, 1963), 88 pp.

A Snug Little Purchase, How Richard Henderson Bought Kaintuckee from the Cherokees in 1775. [Documentary novel] (La Mesa, CA: Associated Creative Writers, 1979), 152 pp.

Whatta Ya Mean, 'Get out o' that Dirty Hole'? I LIVE here! Poems and Cartoons. (Spring Valley, CA: Helix House, 1974), 36 pp.

Little Crutches, Collected Poems, (Santa Rosa, CA: Books Etc, 2005), 80 pp.

On Being Contrary and Other Essays. (Santa Rosa, CA: Books Etc. 2010).

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Creative Writing: Fiction, Drama, Poetry, The Essay. (New York: American Book Co., 1968), 476 pp. Reprinted by D. Van Nostrand Co.

Creative Writing for High School Students. (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Bureau of School Services, 1968), 224 pp.

The Structure of Essays. (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1972), 326 pp.

Developing Creativity. (Spring Valley, CA: Helix House, 1974), 72 pp. Repr 1975, 1978

Creative Writing Handbook. (La Mesa, CA: Associated Creative Writers), in six 8.5"x11" editions: 1980, 35pp.; 1981, 72pp.; 1982, 90pp.; 1984, 120pp.; 1988, 230pp.; 1989, shorter ed, 174 pp; 6th ed. 1990, 280 pp.

Great British and American Authors, eds. Vincent Petti, Dennis Gotobed, and H.C. Brashers. (Stockholm: Svenska Bokförlaget, 1965; rpt. in paper 1980), 354 pp.

The Life of America. (Stockholm: Natur och Kultur, 1965), 144 pp.

Introduction to American Literature. (Stockholm: Svenska Bokförlaget, 1965), 239 pp. [Japanese translation of Introduction to American Literature: (Tokyo: Orion Press, 1967). 300 pp.

Elements of Creativity: on Creativity in General and Creative Writing in Particular, No. 1, in "The Elements of Writing Series" (Bloomington: 1st Books, 2001), 216 pp.

Elements of Dialog, Dialect, and Conversational Style, No. 2, in "The Elements of Writing Series" (Bloomington: 1st Books, 2001), 164 pp.

Elements of the Novel: An Update on Forster, No. 3, in "The Elements of Writing Series" (Bloomington: 1st Books, 2001), 208 pp.

A Writer's Toolkit: Elements of Writing Personal Essays, Poems, Stories, No. 4, in "The Elements of Writing Series" (Bloomington: 1st Books, 2001), 299 pp.

Elements of Form and Style in Expository Essays, No. 5, in "The Elements of Writing Series" (Bloomington: 1st Books, 2001), 176 pp.

Elements of The Short Story, No. 6, in "The Elements of Writing Series" (Santa Rosa, CA: Books, etc, 2005), viii + 176 pp.

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 Some Magazine Credits

"Växtvärk," Vi, [magazine of The Consumers' Union, Stockholm, Sweden], (Oct 5, 1963) 30-31, 46. ["Growing Pains" --translated to Swedish by Olav Jonasson]

"Crack, Crash, Orange Flare," South Dakota Review, V:3 (Autumn 1967) 28-35.

"Growing Pains," Michigan Quarterly Review, VII (Summer 1968) 166-170.

"Granny's Mourners," and "Music Lesson," in Eight Stories [with 3 other authors], (Spring Valley: Helix House, 1975).

"The Vision Quest of Charlie Stonecrist," Blue Cloud Quarterly, XXII:2 (1976) 3-23.

"A Cup of Fresh Rainwater," American Indian Quarterly, 3:1 (1977) 37-50.

"Betjegen," Four Quarters, 28:1 (1978) 13-19.

"The Battle of Wounded Thigh," Denver Quarterly, XIV:4 (Winter 1980) 54-77.

"It's What We Want," Appalachian Heritage, 16:1 (Winter 1988) 41-49.

"The World's Worst Scandal," Crazy Quilt Quarterly, 3:3 (September 1988) 54-60.

"Young Bull," High Plains Literary Review, V:1 (Spring 1990) 62-70.

"Chanco," SAIL, (Studies in American Indian Literatures), Ser. 2, 2:2 (Summer 1990) 34-42.

"Rough Creek, Texas -- 1888," Four Quarters, 2nd ser. 4:2 (Fall 1990) 47-54.

"The Discovery of Music," San Diego North County Magazine, August 1991, 64-72.

"When the Fry-Bread Molders," Fiction International, 20 (Fall 1991) 84-91. Reprinted in Looking Glass, edited by Cliff Trafzer, Publications in American Indian Studies, San Diego State University, 1991, 84-91. Reprinted in The Dragonfly Review, Winter 1999, No. 4.

"Preachers in Battle: The Blue Ridge, 1776," Appalachian Heritage, 20:1 (Winter 1992) 36-41.

"How Beans Make Decisions," SAIL, (Studies in American Indian Literatures), Ser. 2, 4:4 (Winter 1992) 18-27.

"The Invasion of Alcatraz," Callaloo, (Native American issue) 17:1 (1994) 309-317

"Triptych: Three Cherokee Women in 1776" Ani-Yun-Wiya, an Anthology of Contemporary Cherokee Prose, Greenfield Review Press, Feb 1995, 55-65.

"Away in a Manger," Vignette, 1:3 (Fall, 1995) 62-69.

"Cookies and Milk for Jackie," New Frontiers, The Magazine of New Mexico, 3:1 (Spring, 1996) 25-28.

"Chitty Harjo," American Indian Culture and Research Journal, (UCLA), 21:2 (1997), 255-265.

"Ghost-Face Charlie," Cimarron Review (Native American issue) #121, (October, 1997), pp.12-21.

"What is the Cost?" The Dickens, Copperfield's Books Literary Review, vol 8 (Dec 2005), pp. 1-3. Winner of the 2005 Dickens Short Fiction Contest.

Some Essays:

On Being Contrary; collected essays, 2011.

"Letter to an Apprentice Poet," Reclaiming the Vision, Native Voices for the Eighth Generation, ed. Lee Francis and James Bruchac, Greenfield Review Press, 1996, 69-72.

"Writing Documentary Fiction," Roundup (Magazine of the Western Writers of America), XII:3 (December, 2004) 11-12, 20.

"An Overgrown Short Story is Not a Novel," Writer's Forum (Britain's Quality Magazine for Writers), April, 2005, 49-50.

"Watching Grebes Dance," Bird Watcher's Digest, 27:4 (Mar/Apr 2005), 60-63.

"Remembering Walter Van Tilburg Clark," Roundup (Magazine of the Western Writers of America), XIII:4 (April 2006) 20-23.

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      Little Crutches, Collected Poems

          by Charles Brashear

     ISBN 0-933362-20X      $9.95

Poetry is a Little Crutch

                           Poetry is
                    The little crutch
                    That lets us limp
            Where admission is denied us.

                 By means of it, we feast
                   On life's orchards,
     Where farmers think we steal their plums.

That was an age when T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound were our poetic gods, and Dylan Thomas was a small saint. They shaped our notion of what poetry is.

To them, poetry was a high art in which emotion and intellect combined to transmit an experience to the reader-- a "poetic" message, if you will. It involved both feeling and symbol, concept and metaphor, music and gut-level conviction. A lot of it was non-verbal or, rather, "beyond" the verbal. The verbal was only a vehicle by which the poetic truth entered our being. As Eliot once said, a poem is likely to be felt before it is understood.

As I continued to study creative writing, I came to realize that poems are many things, but not any one of them exclusively, nor any of them all of the time.

Poems are messages,
But not just messages, for they don't just preach.
Poems are metaphor,
But not just metaphor, for they don't just compare.
Poems are rhythm,
But not just rhythm, for they don't just sing.

Poems are artificial constructions in language (we don't talk that way all the time!), which compose in the reader's mind a sensory world,
A created country, in which happen,
As if for the very first time,
      The messages,
      The metaphors,
      The rhythms,
Those happenings that are the poetry.

They create an imagined reality, a poetic reality,
From which we readers learn,
As if the messages, metaphors, rhythms
Were our own original experiences.

A good poem makes the poet's experience our experience.
That is how poetry communicates.
That is how we learn from poetry.

And when we have learned from the poetry,
       Our minds,
       Our hearts,
       Our souls (if we have souls)
Have grown,
For now we can imagine and understand
      The messages,
      The metaphors,
      The rhythms
That were the poetry,
Which we had not experienced before.
Poetry is an instrument of Progress.

There is no question that good poetry is difficult to write,
For it must make the difficult clear to the human mind.
There is no question that good poetry is beautiful,
For it fills the mind with the sense of Beauty, Transcendence, and Truth.
There is no question that good poetry is useful,
For it gives us a reason for existing.
There is no question that poetry is a noble art form.

So here in this little book are the poems I have written.
They fall roughly into three categories:
The Human Condition
Songs of My People,
      including Cowboy Poetry
      and American Indian matters
The Art of Poetry.

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On Being Contrary and Other Essays.