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.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

More Waiting to be Read

Some great reading and writing here:


I haven't read a L'Amour in a while, so I picked this one up at a Used Book store or a flea market. I should find the first book in the series to read first. I'll have to visit some favorite haunts and see if I can pick up the others before I start this one..

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Books Waiting to be Read

Here are four books sitting in my credenza waiting to be read:

Three hardcovers and the Matt Braun double-novel paperback.

I don't know where to begin. I like Matt Braun, a fine writer. I also like short stories and the Tony Hillerman looks great, although there may be duplication in the stories with The Mammoth Book of Westerns. I may have read some of the other two authors over the years, but I don't remember right off. Decisions, decisions!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

How is Your Writing Going?

Any new books coming out? Short stories? Other stuff?

My writing is coming along pretty good. My novel is still going through critique, halfway done. And I'll be rewriting it shortly to get in most of the corrections recommended and see how it sounds after.

My collection of short stories is progressing, too, and and should be on the market in a few days or maybe two-three weeks. I'll be settling on a cover for it next week and it will be mostly finished. It'll be available on Create Space/Amazon at a very reasonable price and you won't have to go from place to place on the net to find them. Stay tuned!

Keep on writing!