Sunday, May 22, 2016

Kansas, Here We Come!

That's right, Kansas, been there and done that. It was the worst trip I ever made as for as traveling goes! The day before we left (we = my step-daughter, wife, and yours truly) I "cotched" a cold and it kept getting worse the longer we traveled. And on top of that, being the only gentleman along, I had to "rassle" luggage in and out of motel rooms, something I normally would think nothing of, but they got heavier and heavier as we went along. One motel had outside stairs to the second floor and that was a hard one.

Why Kansas? Well, it was my wife's 73rd high school reunion and I couldn't back out of it. Someone had to drive, and the daughter did most of it. I didn't have any time for book-looking or library research, museums, etc. It was visiting relatives here and there around Topeka. My wife figures it was going to be her last Kansas trip, so we made the most of it.

It rained one day in Topeka, not very hard, and one night in north central Kansas where the storm just brushed by. Nice weather, otherwise, but I was too sick to notice.

I crashed when we finally got home and it's taken me another ten days to get feeling half-way decent. I told the wife, "I'm never leaving home again." She said,"You will, your family reunion is coming up and you don't want to miss that." "We'll see, we'll see, right now I'm stayin' home!"

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Weather Report - Short Stories II

The header picture is through my windshield showing the rain. April ended with a cloudburst that left almost an inch of rain in the gauge on my front patio, although the TV news only reported .12 of an inch. We get very little rain in April, May, and June and this was appreciated.

The rest of the story about the Zane Grey short stories in The Westerners Frontier Stories from a couple posts back.

1. The Camp Robber is about a sneaky thief that sneaks onto the ranches and camps in the area and steals minor things. The ending is a good one and comes as a big surprise to the main character, a cowboy named Wingfield. I thought this was an entertaining tale and liked it very much.     

2. The Westerners was not the traditional western of the shoot 'em ups, but it's setting is Reno, Nevada, in the 1920's or '30's when it was widely known as being the divorce capital of the world. Katharine Hempstead meets a handsome cowboy, Phil Cameron, on the street and they are both trying to prevent their parents from divorcing their spouses. This story is rather long, but I found it interesting and absorbing as it works its way to a happy ending.

3. Monty Price's Nightingale - Monty Price is a stand-offish type of cowboy and a little irritating to some of the men he works with. This story of him and a forest fire I found exciting and emotional and enjoyed it, too.

4. On Location - This one is about an Arizona cowboy, who ends up as a double for an actor in a movie near the Painted Desert and and a female double. They both are stand-ins for the big stars of the movie and he gets into a knock-down, drag-out with the fellow he is standing in for. A nice, fun  story which I enjoyed.

5. Death Valley - Grey writes about a trip through Death Valley that he and a friend took and gives a good description of the area and their reaction to it. Interesting indeed, since I have never been there, and I don't think I care to go now at my age.

6. Strange Partners at Two-Fold Bay - This is the whale story I mentioned in that previous blog. I didn't know whether to believe it or not, but the story following by Loren Grey makes it pretty clear what happened. It takes place in Australia and Zane relates that some Killer whales (Orcas) helped the men to round up and kill the bigger whales they used for oil, the gray and sperm whales.

7. Of Whales and Men - Loren Grey made the trip to Eden, Australia, which is the town near Two-Fold Bay and talks to one of the old whalers who substantiates his father's story of the orcas.  There was one whale, called Old Tom, whose bones were saved and put in a museum in 1938 to commemorate the orcas who helped the whalers and tell the story to all who visit the museum. I still find it hard to believe, but some animals are smarter than we think thy are. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sites - Reading

I overlooked my Twitter site. You can also follow me on Twitter.

I've been reading and trying to absorb some of the information about indie publishing and marketing that's contained in The Indie Author Power Pack, a three-book set covering the subject of indie publishing and marketing, etc. The books are Write, Publish, Repeat by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant; Let's Get Digital (2nd Ed.) by David Gaughran; and How to Market a Book (2nd Ed.) by Joanna Penn. It also contains some Exclusive Content on the subject.

This set has taken me about a month to go through and I'm not completely finished yet. It was slow going in some areas with a lot of detail, all worthwhile to someone trying to learn about indie publishing and marketing. I haven't been able to do any writing on my novel because of this and the usual day-to-day "busy" times, violating one of the rules of the set, which is write, write, write. I've picked up some pointers which I will try out with my new book when it is finished.

This isn't a review of the set, but I can see where it is going to be very helpful in my future writing and would have been on my books already out there, if I had only known.

I purchased the set on Amazon, the Kindle edition, about a year ago.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sights on Sites

I'm on the following sites:




Send an e-mail to "ocase at" to join my sites or just go to each and look me up and be a friend. Be careful on Facebook. There is more than one with that name.

Enjoy the Springtime!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Short Stories by Zane Grey

I read a couple of short stories by Zane Grey this week from a book entitled The Westerners Frontier Stories published in March 2000 by Five Star in Unity Maine.

The first story was The Ranger about a Texas Ranger who reminisces about life in the past and hopes for the future before he is ordered to find out what happened to Roseta Uvalde. He and others think that she either ran away or was kidnapped by the Mexican Quinela, the bandit and "friend" of Senor Uvalde. Tex Medill, the Ranger, knows Roseta and thinks at times that he could resign from the Rangers and marry her and settle down on a ranch of their own. Now, he has the task of finding her and bringing her home safely. Turns out that everyone was right about her disappearence, she did "go on a ride" with a cowboy acquaintance for fun, and she was kidnapped by the Quinela gang of outlaws while on the ride. Quinela wants her and hopes to get revenge on Uvalde for a past misdeed.

Medill is captured, too, by the gang and must use his brain and ranger experience to get free and save Roseta.   How he does this and brings Roseta back safely is a dangerous and difficult job and an exciting story by Mr. Grey. It is a fairly lengthy story, but that doesn't lessen the interest in it for me. I liked it.

The second story, Lightning, is almost as exciting as two brothers set out to capture the wild mustang that has been stealing horses from ranches. Lightning is a beautiful, grey horse with a long, white main that lives in Sevier County, Utah, in the cedars and forests of central Utah. How they go about capturing the animal makes for a fine outdoors story where they have to outsmart the animal. This story has no shoot-outs or gunfire to enliven it, but I really enjoyed reading it.

This book also contains a couple of unusual stories, one by Grey's son, Loren Grey, about whales. Not exactly western in nature, but very interesting. I will tell you about them when I get to 'em. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

A Dusty Richards Novel, Ambush Valley

This novel has been my "waiting book", that is, it has been in my car waiting for me to read it while I wait for the wife to do her shopping. About every time she makes it back, I was caught up in the plot at an exciting place and had to put it away until the next time. It is one of the Byrnes Family Ranch   stories.

In this one, Chet Byrnes moves lock, stock, and barrel to Arizona from Texas. A year earlier he had gone to Arizona to check out the possibilities and found them pretty good. He bought a ranch in the Verde Valley and now he was ready to move in. He packed everything into wagons and took along some cowboy relatives and the family to supplement those in Arizona and settled in the Verde Valley. He was busier than a one-armed prospector digging for gold, buying a couple more ranches, chasing outlaws, and buying and selling cattle. When Chet was there before, he met Marge Stephenson and fell in love and they get married later on.

Dusty Richards paints a fine portrait of Chet Byrnes and family and all the problems that comes with running a cattle ranch, plus the other two ranches Byrnes acquires. The story moves right along with action mixed in with domestic plans. And like the other Dusty Richards stories that I have read, I enjoyed this one, too. The book is a Pinnacle pocket book in the First Edition printed in 2014.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

New Books

True West Magazine for April 2016 has some reviews of new westerns by Stuart Rosebrook. They are:

     1. A House of the Rising Sun by James Lee Burke. Fifth in a series of the Texas Ranger Hackberry Holland novels.
     2. The Grant Conspiracy: The Wake of the Civil War by Lee Martin. A mystery novel around a supposed conspiracy to assassinate President Grant.
     3.Entertaining Women - Actresses, Dancers, and Singers in the Old West by Chris Enss. Non-fiction review of some of the entertainers of the old West.

And there is an advertisement for three books "On sale now." They are:

    1. Pray for the Dead by Dusty Richards.
    2 .The Searchers by Alan LeMay
    3. Ten Guns from Texas by William W. Johnstone.

Sounds like powerful good reading there and True West Magazine is always full of good reading..


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Not Again?

Yes, I tried it again. I rolled out my two-wheeler and pulled into position in the hallway near the closet and wrestled my box of books out of the closet and onto the two-wheeler. What a struggle that was at my old age. I don't have enough common sense to split up the books into two boxes, and I stuff the box with more books than I'll ever sell in a morning. Always the optimist, I rolled the contraption back out to the garage and parked it next to the trunk area of my car. I had already loaded two chairs into the trunk and all I had to do was put in the books and the cart.

I only dropped the box once and the books came tumbling out onto the cement floor. I coulda cussed a blue streak, but I was calm, cool, and somewhat collected and only said a few words about the design the books made there. I promptly threw the books back into the box and managed to pick it up and push it onto the chairs where it said thank you for not dropping me again. My wife and I piled in and drove the one-half mile to the church parking lot that was full, except for the one spot I saw in the next to last row.

"Good, we have only 300 yards to the spot where our table is," I said to the better half, and started unloading the trunk. The box of books seemed to gain ten pounds pulling it out and setting it on the ground where the cart was already placed. Moving it onto the cart, I unloaded the chairs and placed them on the box. Off we went, pushing the cart in front of me for the distance. I set up a chair and sat down, regaining my breath before we unloaded most of it. "Next time, we're not going to bring so damn many books," I said.

For the next three hours, we sat and ate hot dogs and donuts that we purchased at the stand and drank cold water. We were hungry, not having any breakfast. We sold enough books to pay for the trouble and a little extra, so we packed up and headed home. We then went to the Olive Garden and had lunch, spending our profit. Oh, well, a penny earned is a penny spent.

Now I'll keep a record of the income and try to figure out how much tax we'll have to pay on it. Tomorrow I'll be all stiff and sore from the heavy lifting, and the next time, I will be sure to repack the books into smaller boxes or I'll have to hire somebody to do the heavy lifting.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Best Western Shows

Among the 12 Best Western Shows per an article on Yahoo was number one Gunsmoke. I sure don't disagree with that choice. I still watch some of the series in spare moments. Number 2 was The Wild Wild West and I never cared too much for it and only watched maybe a half-dozen episodes.

Other favorites on the list were Bonanza (No. 3), Have Gun - Will Travel (No. 4), Maverick (No. 6), and The Lone Ranger (No. 9).

Others were Cheyenne (No. 7), Zorro (No. 8), and The Virginian (No. 12), that I watched a few episodes of each, Cheyenne being the one I liked best of these.

The Guns of Will Sonnett and Kung Fu (Nos. 10 & 11), I never saw much of and don't know if they were good or bad. The Kung Fu shows I saw were all right.

And then there was Rawhide (No. 5). Didn't see too many of these, but were okay in my book.

Do you agree, disagree with my selections? 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Miscellaneous items

Lately I've been studying how to write fiction stories in the hopes that I could then produce better stories. I can't say that I do now write better than before, since I'm still trying to learn how to do it. I am looking forward to some of it sinking in or rubbing off on me, but only time will tell.

I have been also studying up on marketing and selling for self-publishers or indie writers. I knew exactly zero on this subject when I began writing and over the years have picked up on a few tips, but they don't seem to be helping me much. I'm sure my reading will help me on this subject, but I'm not certain about the doing of it yet.

And, I've also been checking up on some events that maybe I could afford to attend this year. The Tucson Festival of Books is out and I don't want to travel around the country carting a trunk full of books, so maybe I will just sit this year out. I have been contacted by someone looking for writers who would enter their books in some events like the Chicago Festival of books, but I think he was just trying to make some money by selling spots that are not very cheap for a three-day event. He called me again to see if I wanted to enter my book, Blood and Blazes in Upamona, at a special price, but I can't afford what he said. I tried selling a few times as I've said once or twice before and here is proof:

You can see Blood and Blazes in Upamona is to my right in the pic. But that day was a waste of time,
since nothing was sold. I may try an event here in Arizona if I'm feeling well enough, we'll see. I'll probably sell some at the church a couple blocks away later this month.

Enjoy the Spring weather and sell lotsa books!