Sunday, January 8, 2017

Station at Diablo by Roger Raffee

I liked reading this book, although I had to stop three or four times and pick it up later. It is first in a series, Station at Diablo: Tumbling Dreams Series, Book 1, by Roger Raffee. This kid in Texas (the novel takes place in and around San Antonio after the establishment of the Texas Rangers and also in parts of Old Mexico) grew up with the Rangers, his father being the doctor for the group. Aaron, the young kid about six years old, meets Sungold Craig, who was living with the Comanches, and they become friends.

Aaron wanted to be a Texas Ranger all his life, and started training for it when he reached gun-handling age. He practiced all the time and when he became mature enough to join the Rangers, he was an expert shot, faster than anyone. He became a Ranger and was assigned to find out where the Comanches buried the gold, that Chief Quanah Parker and Sungold Craig had amassed. And that is the basic plot of the novel.

Along the way he meets up with Craig in Mexico. Craig is now a high-ranking member of the Northern Mexican Army and has a large hideout in the mountains with his gang of Comancheros and Mexicans, and tries not to get mixed up in a Mexican Revolution. Arron spends some time in Nogales where he meets his first true love, Maria Angelica, but they don't get married. He tells Maria he will be back after he finishes his business. And this romance is carried through the novel, even after he meets Sarah and falls in love with her, supposedly.

The story flows from one crisis to another in fine fashion, and may get tedious to some readers in parts, but I thought it read very well. A loner called "Bones" plays a large part with his ranch where he grew up alone and stole chickens from his neighbors to survive while living in a cave. "Bones" isn't too particular about his women, he just wants someone to marry him and be happy helping him on his ranch.

Aaron, Craig, and "Bones" find a train load of American money that is being prepared for shipment to Mexico by a gang of thieves, not one from Texas, being run by the son of the railroad owner. The money is being sent to support Porfirio Diaz in the revolution. And the story goes on to a nice ending back in the San Antonio area. They never did find the buried gold. I thought it made my list of four-star Westerns, being a fun, exciting, and suspenseful story.

Thursday, December 22, 2016


Got started with the Scrivener Program, that is, I glanced through the instructions again, loaded a chapter into it somewhere and now I'm wondering what I should do next? Maybe I'll load another chapter and see what happens. Or, maybe I'll read the instructions again. I'm sure it tells me what to do next. It says something about being a program to structure a book or something. The book is already built. I'm just rewriting it so it makes better sense.

You can see that I'm lost. I hope your program for writing is going better, if you have one.

Anyway, I'll pursue it again tomorrow or the next day and wish everyone a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Oh, Shucks Again

I sure don't know what the heck happened. I had no time to write a blog post yesterday. I'll tell you why. On the computer for about four or five hours trying to read my e-mail and barely got through it. I ordered a new program that's supposed to speed up my writing, but every time I hit the download button, up came a message telling me that there was an error. After about six times trying again, I decided to let it rest. Maybe my credit card had to be processed or something. I went back to reading mail and interrupted it to try the download again. Finally, about three-thirty PM, I tried it once more, having read my email, but still nothing but the darn error popping up.  I had to shut down the PC and do something else, thinking I would download the program in the morning.

Surprise, no download. I will have to try the support site sometime, but not today. I have too many other things to do. Maybe tomorrow morning it will work. I've done everything I'm supposed to do, even received my completed order form. Something's fishy, but I'm not going to contact Support just yet. I'll give it one more chance Saturday morning and keep my fingers crossed.


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Critique Class

So, I finally joined a critique group and it's been quite a bit of fun and entertainment. They tore my book apart with some great questions and now I'm trying to rewrite it using their suggestions. Some were even obvious to me and some not quite so obvious. I knew it needed improvement and am thankful for the critiques.  We still have a few chapters to get through, but they have pretty well covered all the errors I made, but I am anxious to hear the rest. I'm sure it is all going to make the story better than it was.

The other stories in the class have been interesting and entertaining, to say the least. There has been two non-fiction books, and I don't know if my comments are helping or not, but I offer them anyway.
The remainder are various genre fiction that includes Sci-fi, fantasy, literature-type, a modern western and general articles on the state of things in general, and some humor-type stories.

It's the variety that makes critiquing them fun and some need more lessons on basic English and spelling, and I'm sure that most comments and recommendations are helpful to some of the "writers".
I recommend a critique group for anyone writing, whether a beginner or pro. It will be of benefit in structure, plot, grammar, and English.

Thursday, November 24, 2016


If you tried to purchase Western Stories the last few days from Amazon, you will know that it was not available. I had one typo error in it that just didn't help any, so I have been changing the manuscript to make it right. I saw the error before and made the change, but somehow, ghosts or something, put in the wrong thing. You now strange things happen once in a while using a computer.

Anyway, the new book is available now or it will be in two or three days, as soon as Amazon gets it up for sale. Sorry, the price was raised about 50 cents to $5.48 to accommodate the new size. Five pages were added even though nothing much was changed. The new Kindle version will be up in a few days, too. I still have to make the change on that one, and price may go up a few cents.

Have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING and enjoy the turkey and ham.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Oakley Hall, Author

Oakley Maxwell Hall (1920-2008), born in San Diego, CA, served in the U. S. Marines during WWII. His most famous book, Warlock, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1958. Other Westerns he wrote are The Adelita (1975), The Badlands (Legends West) (1978), The Children of the Sun (1983), The Coming of the Kid (1985), and Apaches (Legends West) (1986).

It was almost twenty years between his first Western, Warlock, and his second, The Adelita. Hall wrote Adelita and his four other Westerns from 1975 to 1986. He wrote the Ambrose Bierce series of detective novels between 1998 and 2005. His other novels, including mysteries, were published between 1949 and 2007. There were fifteen of those, including Corpus of Joe Bailey, which is the only Oakley Hall book I have read as I try to remember. It is a story of experiences (fictional or otherwise) in WWII and moves to the college years after the war. Hall also wrote under the pen names of "O. M. Hall" and "Jason Manor".

 I just watched one of his interviews on YouTube, Story Hour in the Library - Oakley Hall and Michael Chabon. In it, Hall tells how he first got interested in Westerns, which I though was quite funny. His interest came from a stranger who looked like he may be a cowboy near his family's home. The stranger turned out to be Stuart Lake, author of Wyatt Earp - Frontier Marshal. 

Warlock was made into a movie starring Henry Fonda, Richard Widmark, and Anthony Quinn. Hall also wrote the novel The Downhill Racers, which was made into a movie starring Robert Redford.

Info from Wikipedia and YouTube.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Oakley Hall's Warlock

Warlock is a long western novel, 471 pages, and as the back cover says: "Oakley Hall's legendary Warlock revisits and reworks the traditional conventions of the Western to present a raw, funny, hypnotic, ultimately devastating picture of American unreality."

Warlock, the town, is Tombstone. It was having troubles with the San Pablo cowboys and the town committee decides to bring in Clay Blaisdell to to take over as Marshal. Threre was a list of sheriffs and deputies written on the wall of the jail as an informal memorial to those who got killed or left town in a hurry to avoid being killed. The committee hopes that Blaisdell and the new sheriff, Joe Gannon, will get rid of Abe McQuown and his cowboys. I found it interesting when Kate Dollar shows up, former girlfriend of Blaisdell and the bar owner, Morgan, the plot thickens. Then there are the miners who go on strike because their wages are lowered. General Peach comes into town with a bunch of empty wagons and couple of companies of soldiers to carry the miners out of town. McQuown gets shot and everyone thinks Joe Gannon did it. It's a long story, so this review will be short. Near the end, Gannon has to "post" Blaisdell, that is tell him he has to leave town and never come back. Does he do it? They have a duel at sunset. There is also a Gunfight at the Acme Corral earlier and lots more action.

The story deserves five stars for its wit, humor, action, and etc. My copy is a New York Review book. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Happening Now

In case you haven't been reading my Wordpress blog, Cattle Dust, Western Stories IS NOW AVAILABLE in print for $4.99 at the Createspace e-store and If you haven't read these stories, now is your chance to grab them all in one place. They are not your common, ordinary western-type story with gunfights, brawls, etc., although there is some of that. Butch Cassidy is in a couple of them and some fictional local folklore and the experiences (fictional) of my great-great-grandfather working for the Pawnee Indian Agency and traveling to Utah in 1847. I hope you find them interesting and entertaining.

The book is also available for $3.99 on Kindle, too. Rush right over and get yourself a copy of print or e-book. Thanks much!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Things to do until Christmas in Arizona

Thanks to the AAA magazine, Highroads, for the events listed below. Some are amazing and some are just great to attend:

Nov 11 - Bob and Bing's Road to Victory in Gilbert, AZ. A tribute to veterans, it re-creates a Bob Hope USO show, amazing! At the Higley Center, 4132 E. Pecos Road.

Nov 11-Dec 3 - Flagstaff Festival of Trees in Flagstaff. Your chance to see fully decorated Christmas trees and make a bid on raffle items. HOO-YAA! At the Arboretum at Flagstaff, 4001 S. Woody Mountain Road.

Nov 12-13 - Gem and Mineral Show, Lake Havasu City. If you like jewelry, this is it! The City Aquatic Center, 100 Park Ave. You know that place by the lake and the rental boat sites.

Nov 18-20 - Art Attack Fine Arts Festival in beautiful downtown Sahuarita. Original handrafted artwork at the Desert Diamond Casino, 1100 W. Pima Mine Road. Gamble and view fine art and have a steak and baked potato. Sounds good to me.

Nov 19 - American Heritage Festival, Queen Creek, AZ. The West's largest living history event, meet George Washington, watch battle reenactments, etc., at Schnepf Farms, 24810 S. Rittenhouse Road. Amazing!

Nov 25-26 - Old Pearce Festival, Pearce, AZ. Where zat? It's a ghost town brought back to life with bluegrass and country music and much more. A fine entertainment! 905 Ghost Town Trail.

Dec 3 - Tombstone Tour of Homes & More 2016 in Tombstone, of course. A really fun place to catch up on old homes, public buildings, churches, and the like at Wyatt's Hotel and Coffee House, 109 S. 3rd Street.

Dec 17 - Somerton Tamale Festival in Somerton, AZ. 85,000 tamales to gorge yourself with, a spicy, hot delight! Right on Main Street!

Dec 31 - New Year's Eve Boot Scootin' Bash, Kingman, AZ. Scrape a shin at 414 N. Toole Ave and have a gourmet dinner! Can't beat that!

See more in the magazine, too.

Friday, October 28, 2016

More Fine Books to Read

I've been busy submitting my short stories for publication and blog time was cut into, but I've found some more books that may be interesting to you, a couple of which I've actually read.

First up is Ferron Creek by Wanda Snow Petersen. Several relatives were born and lived here in Emery County in Central Utah, so I had to read it. It has quite the religious aspect like a lot of Utah books with their Mormon Bishops, other leaders, followers and founders, my family among them. It brought back some memories and is funny, too.

The next one, I think I read some years back, but there are several books about the main character in this one, I, Tom Horn by Will Henry. Was he unfairly found guilty of murdering the 15-year-old boy? It's still being argued. This copy was a library book and it was checked out many times as shown by the dates on the inside cover.

The Rocky Mountain Warden by Frank Calkins. Calkins relates his story of being a game warden in northeastern Utah starting as a "rookie to canny veteran" as it says on the front cover. He even worked at a fishery in suburban Salt Lake City which included the creek that ran through the Murray City park and others near where I went to high school and skinny-dipped in.

The following four books, I haven't got around to, yet:

I almost forgot that I read this last one, Memoirs of a Lawman edited by Wilson Rockwell. The lawman is G. W. (Doc) Shores, sheriff of Gunnison County and U. S. Deputy Marshal in Colorado.
Doc Shores chases down the outlaws, sometimes traveling to different States, but he always got his man. A very interesting read.