Share it

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Another First

Friends, Romans, etc., I've been reading a Western-like story set in Ancient Greece. In it something comes up missing, someone threatens to kill, someone falls in love??, and someone greases a goat. It's all about a missing piece of the puzzle that a young man needs to cure himself of a boil on the bum. The youngster with the boil is Tutor Timo and he can't remember the missing item to make his Auntie Aspic's Brilliant Boil Balsam.

It is all contained in a children's book by Ali Aardwolff (pen name of Georgina Titmus), Nugget's Bum Deal. Tutor Timo is going to kill Nugget the Chicken, pet of Colin Plato, who was asked by Timo to talk to his dead Auntie Aspic and find out the last ingredient of the elixir needed for the Boil Balsam. Colin must find the one scroll of Wiseman Hermit Tottle that told how to talk to dead people. But Timo can't wait and wants to use the only other tried and true method to cure a boil - sacrifice a chicken. And so he goes after Nugget with his pop's battle axe.

Colin finds the proper scroll on contacting a person who has died and gets his girlfriend (Iris Tottle) and his young brother (Gifted Doug) to participate in a seance of sorts. It is at Grandfather Yannis' where Colin finds Iris while the Grandpa greases the goat named Frittata.

I will not spoil the ending by discussing it here in case of ruining the story for someone else. I will say that I enjoyed reading this book for children and will recommend it to my great-grandsons. It was funny, inventive, ridiculous, and entertaining, a fine story for the young and young at heart.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Spirits of the Old West, Vol 2, by Kathryn Kaye

This book focuses on ghostly sightings and other unworldly happenings in the West's most famous town - Tombstone, AZ, and has short bios of some of the main characters - The Earp Brothers, Doc Halliday, Ed Schifflein. Most of you have read enough about Tombstone, the Earps, and Doc Halliday, but I found the book interesting having visited Tombstone several times and seen the old buildings and corral mentioned in the book.The author, Kathryn Kaye, did some research to back up what she writes about and includes the references at the end so you can look them up and read them for yourself, if so incliined.

I recommend it for readers who are not familiar with the subject matter and give it four stars. There are some misspelled words and the context at times is not exactly correct, but it was a fun book.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Overlooked Events

I missed posting a couple of events in the last blog, so have included them here:

Oct 18 - Western Auction at the Old Trading Post in Casa Grande sponsored by Jim and Bobbi Jean  Olson. Well, what do you know? This one is over. Sorry I didn't get this one up there.They always have tons of Western stuff on the block. Only wish I could afford it, I'd like to have a .44 Colt to put by my bedside. Maybe I can attend next month's auction just for kicks.

Oct 25: Legend of the West with Bob Boze Bell, editor of True West Mag and lives right near here in Cave Creek. Great artist and illustrator and author of Western books. I am looking forward to this one at the First Presbyterian Church here in Sun City, AZ. That's next Saturday coming up fast.

And, and, and it's time to choose a health plan for next year. You have until December 7, or 15th, or 31st depending on your particular situation. I don't know about you, but there's a big change in the air for us as the company is no longer going to do it like they always have. You have to go look for it, instead of them providing it. I think it's in some way related to the passage of the Affordable Care Act which no one in Congress read before they passed it. I have no intention of reading it either. If Mark Twain and Will Rogers were alive they could have a great time with this one.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Coming Events in Arizona

Here are some exciting events to attend in November:

Nov 1-2: 12th Annual Javelina Jundred 100 Mile Trail Run and Jalloween Party, Fountain Hills. Takes place at the McDowell Mountain Regional Park on the 15.4 mile Pemberton Trail. Aid stations every 5 miles.

Nov 1-2: 6th Annual FearCon Film Festival, Phoenix - FearFarm.  Showcasing the best horror cinema from around the world, presented byTrash City Entertainment. $10.50, none-midnight.

Nov 3-7: 3rd Annual John Wayne's Monument Valley Ride, Monument Valley. Four-day horseback ride in the heart of the Navajo Tribal Park. Includes horses, tack, wranglers, Navajo guide/historian, meals, "Period clothing" recommended, reservations needed.

Nov 7-9: 5th Annual Chandler Chuck Wagon Cook-Off, Chandler - Tumbleweed Park. Demonstrates 1880s Old West lifestyle. Teams from across the Western U.S., old fashioned culinary competition.

Nov 7-9: American Cup Championship Arabian Horse Show at Westworld of Scottsdale. A grat horse competition, uh-huh.

Nov 11: Veterans Day. Various celebrations around the State. Get out and salute the vets.

Thanks to Sun Life Magazine.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Trouble at Gunsight by Louis Trimble

Trouble at Gunsight, copyright 1964, is the other half of the Ace Double with Trail Drive.

Louis Trimble, author of many westerns, created a tense plot in this one. Set around the area of Reno, Nevada, at a place called Gunsight, his main character, Cole Pender,  received an offer to buy half of the Tepee Ranch and sets out with a herd of prime graded beef with his two ranch hands, Julio and Nito, a father and son pair of cowboys who would do anything for Pender. It is the area where Cole grew up and he is looking forward to returning to Gunsight Valley and the Tepee. He makes a quick trip to Reno and receives an anonymous note to stay away from the Valley and never return. Of course, he continues on and is ambushed twice as he nears the valley and runs into his childhood acquaintance, Chad Leeman, who warns him to stay away. He and Chad had a knockout fight that Cole remembered and never considered Chad a friend after that. Throw in a newcomer to Gunsight, Raul Horneman, and a couple of gunfighters, Riddell and Parker, and the plot thickens. Add his old girlfriend, Myra Callahan, and her brother, Allie, who has never grown up but is now a deputy sheriff under Sheriff Mullan and it gets thicker and thicker leaving many questions unanswered, like who was behind the ambushes? Who is this feller Horneman, who seems to be a friend of Myra's?

The story continues on and Cole is almost killed in the various melees that take place as he falls in love with Myra, and it races to an end with Cole's questions being answered on the mountainside above the valley in a gun battle to the end.

Don't remember reading other books by Mr.Trimble, but found this one to be just fine and entertaining. Recommended, a four-star novel in my internal grading system.

Friday, October 10, 2014

More Reading

Recently acquired a couple of novels to be added to the TBR file:

1. Dusty Richards' Ambush Valley, A "ride into an unforgettable tale of valiant courage and bloody conflict" it says on the back cover of the Pinnacle paperback. If it's as good as his Texas Blood Feud,
it'll be mighty fine reading.

2. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. This will be the first book by McCarthy that I will be reading and it sounds like a good one. Some of the bloggers have mentioned it as being one of the best, albeit bloodiest, novels that they've read. If it lives up to its billing: "seems to me clearly the major esthetic achievement of any living American writer" so says Harold Bloom of The New York Observer. Heavy praise, indeed, and I will see if it lives up to it in my estimation.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

What Am I Working On?

I was working on a short story, but so many avenues popped up that now it's a long story. It's shaping up to be my ninth novel and I have a title in mind, but it will probably change. What happened was, I began writing this as a follow on to "Welcome to Dry Creek, Reverend" and it seems to have taken on a life of its own. A short story just wouldn't fit with all the things happening to the characters.

Bobby Chase-the-Lord, the Cayuse Indian who was found by Reverend Sweeney and taken into their household, has decided to leave town with a new character called Kid Ferry. Bobby plans to start his own church and make money like the Reverend, but the Kid has other plans for him. The Kid escaped from an orphanage when he was nine years old and has been taking care of himself ever since by learning tricks of the trade, e.g., thieving, lying, cheating at cards, even working in the mines, and he fully intends to pass on what he has learned to Bobby as they take the next stage out of Dry Creek.

They start out in Great Salt Lake and will carry on from their as the story develops. I hope to create something that will have plenty of action, humor, and drama and some suspense as these two "cowboys" live their own style of life. Now, all I have to do is "git" it down on paper, that's all.   

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Willa Cather, Author

Above is my sketch of Willa Cather, early American author, from a public domain photo. Born in 1873 and passing on in April 1947, she graduated from the University of Nebraska and wrote of life on the Plains in some of her novels. I don't know about you, but in high school she was one of the writers we "just had to know about," and O Pioneers! was the main one we were taught about.  But Ms Cather was known for more than just that novel, having written ten or twelve novels, one of which she received the Pulitzer Prize, One of Ours,  set in World War I.We also had to know about My Antonia. She also wrote poetry, short stories and essays which have been published in collections.
She took criticism seriously and maybe even became a little gun shy from it and refused to let her letters be published.

Will Cather has a lasting Monument to her life of writing in Willa Cather Memorial Prairie in Webster County, Nebraska. See the Wikipedia website on Ms.Cather for a picture of this and quite a detailed biography of her life and writings from which this info came.  

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Trail Drive by Brian Garfield

Trail Drive is part of an Ace Double, the other being Trouble at Gunsight by Louis Trimble, a paperback printed in the 1960's.

Dan Sweet was asked by Ben Gaultt to take a herd of 4,000 cattle to the railroad and he showed up to do just that.  Sweet is a tough, determined, strong-minded cattleman and he said he was the one in charge of the drive and if anyone objected, they could head for the boonies right now. Of course, some of the boys didn't like his overbearing attitude and he would have to iron out the wrinkles to ensure he had total control. And there was the trouble between Ben Gaultt and a man named Nate Ringabaugh, exactly what the trouble was between them Sweet didn't know. Then there were the Apaches that Sweet figured he would have to fight off to protect the cattle, and what about the crooked men that sold whiskey to them?  And what about Harriet Gaultt, who was in love with Ringabaugh? Sweet thought he just might fall for her himself and what was her brother, Russ Gaultt up to, taking off every night?

He had a lot of ironing to do to get things straightened out and the herd to the railroad, including interference by Emmett, young Pete Santell and Owen Mingo, but Hank Flood was on his side and would fight to help him out. All the characters are well drawn and fill out the script nicely. They run into the Apaches as they enter the final drive up the mountain to the railroad and snow begins to fall. If it doesn't stop the cattle will never get through the pass.  

Everything should come out fine in the end, but getting there is not only half the battle, it's all the battle as Sweet struggles to control the men, the cattle, and the Apaches. Oh, yes, and Harriet, too.

A fine novel from Edgar Award winner, Brian Garfield, who has written more than 70 books..

Thursday, September 25, 2014

E-Book, Prisoner of Gun Hill

This is the first book that I have read by Paul Lederer (writing as Owen G.Irons), Prisoner of Gun Hill, and I can't say that it will be my last. This story starts off with a man, Luke Walsh, running away across the desert from Tucson to put some distance between him and the law. He reaches the point where his horse finally dies from the heat and lack of water and Luke is about on his last legs, too. He collapses and is lying on the desert floor thinking about dying when he feels someone trying to pick him up and offer some water. He is loaded into a wagon and wakes up at the place called Gun Hill. How did he get here, he thinks, and remembers why he left Tucson. He had shot a man at the request of his old female friend, Dee Dee Carlson, a local girl who works in a bordello.. The man he killed was supposed to be the outlaw named Virgil Sly, mean and tough, who Dee Dee was trying to get free of she said, but it was Marshal Stoddard that was shot.

He finds himself in a tough predicament, being a prisoner of  Boston Sears, Frank Rafferty, Billy Rafferty, Susan Rafferty, and an older woman who we later find out is Boston Sears' mother. Boston turns out to be a member of the Red Butte outfit, Virgil Sly's gang of thieves. They took his revolver and rifle and he doesn't know where they are. All he has to do is get away, but how? They put him to work with Billy from sunup to sunset digging a shaft. It grows uglier as two more outlaws show up and Virgil Sly and Dee Dee appear. A young man called Tick Tock is brought in by wagon having lost his mule on his way to Crater. There are rumors of other men dying or being killed while working in the mine, which was originally the property of Frank Rafferty and Chris Gunn. Gunn ends up dead and leaves a map for his pardner, Frank, to dig another shaft and find the gold vein which had run out.

Luke is falling for the young blonde girl Susan to add to the mess he's in and she returns the favor, he thinks, but Dee Dee has messed that up. Will he make an escape and get away clean or will he join with Billy and Tick Tock and get away and end up with Susan in his arms? And what happens to Dee Dee who owes Luke for setting up the wrong man for death? Which gal will he choose if he gets a chance?

This is what kept me glued to the page, to find out if Luke gets away and how he manages to do it with all the odds against him. A fine story, not too long, but tightly written and keeps the suspense going to the end. I would recommend Prisoner of Gun Hill to anyone who reads Westerns..