Caleb Pirtle III

Caleb Pirtle III, international best-selling and award-winning writer, is the author of more than seventy books, including three noir thrillers in the Ambrose Lincoln series: Secrets of the Dead, Conspiracy of Lies, and Night Side of Dark. Secrets and Conspiracy are now audiobooks on The fourth book in the series, Place of Skulls, will be released during the spring of 2017. Pirtle’s most recent novel is Friday Nights Don’t Last Forever.

Pirtle is a graduate of The University of Texas in Austin and became the first student at the university to win the National William Randolph Hearst Award for feature writing. Several of his books and his magazine writing have received national and regional awards.

Pirtle has written three teleplays: Gambler V: Playing for Keeps, a mini-series for CBS television starring Kenny Rogers, Loni Anderson, Dixie Carter, and Mariska Hargitay, Wildcat: The Story of Sarah Delaney and the Doodlebug Man, a CBS made-for-television movie, and The Texas Rangers, a TV movie for John Milius and TNT television. He wrote two novels for Berkeley based on the Gambler series: Dead Man’s Hand and Jokers Are Wild.

Pirtle’s narrative nonfiction, Gamble in the Devil’s Chalk is a true-life book about the fights and feuds during the founding of the controversial Giddings oilfield and From the Dark Side of the Rainbow, the story of a woman’s escape from the Nazis in Poland during World War II. His coffee-table quality book, XIT: The American Cowboy, became the publishing industry’s third best selling art book of all time.

Pirtle was a newspaper reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and served ten years as travel editor for Southern Living Magazine. He was editorial director for a Dallas custom publisher for more than twenty-five years.


In addition, he is rapidly gaining recognition for his humorous and inspirational programs  and workshops developed for writer’s conferences and writing groups that are working to better understand the advantages of  creative writing and publishing in the midst of the digital eBook revolution.

Pirtle teaches fiction and nonfiction writing classes at Tyler Junior College’s continuing education program. He is presently available to present programs at colleges, writer’s conferences, writer’s organizations, association meetings, chambers of commerce, civic organizations, schools, historical associations and libraries. See below for a list of past speaking engagements.






  1. Musings of a Back Roads Scholar
  2. When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It.
  3. Why Collect Stamps When You Can Collect People
  4. When Ghosts Whisper My Name
  5. Why Vacations Are Better Without a Map
  6. Lessons Learned from Whittling and Whistling on a Courthouse Lawn
  7. Confessions of a Thief
  8. When the Roads Don’t Lead You Where You Want to Go
  9. First Impressions Aren’t Always the Lasting Impressions.
  10. Everything I Know Came from Someone Else.


  1. Writing in the Digital Age
  2. Giving the Novel the Backbone It Deserves
  3. The Hard Truth about Nonfiction
  4. Writing Narrative Nonfiction
  5. The Driving Force: What Makes Writers Write?
  6. Would Anyone Carry Your Characters Home for Dinner?
  7. What Makes a Great Novel?
  8. The Art of Brevity: Your Readers Will Appreciate It
  9. Can You Develop Plots by the Seat of Your Pants?
  10. What do Great Writers Have to Say About Great Writing?
  11. If You Don’t Have a Hook, You Don’t Have a Novel.
  12. The Magic of Telling Stories
  13. The Power of a Good Story
  14. Is Literary Fiction Just for Snobs?
  15. Writing for Reading
  16. What Makes a Book Sell
  17. Why Write if You Don’t Have a Good Editor
  18. Punch Them in the Nose: The Art of Writing Punch Lines

TITLES by Caleb Pirtle III

  • Back Side of a Blue Moon
  • Bad Side of a Wicked Moon
  • Confessions from the Road
  • Echoes from Forgotten Streets
  • Gamble In the Devil's Chalk
  • Kilgore: Visions of Forgotten Streets
  • Life On Kilgore's Unforgettable Streets
  • Lonely Night to Die
  • Place of Skulls
  • Secrets of the Dead
  • The Man Who Talks to Strangers
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