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Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Bad, Bad, Badman

That Badman in the subject line is none other than the outlaw in the novel, Outlaw, by Matthew Pizzolato. The Outlaw rode into town on his fine animal that he named Cinnamon after never having named him before and lays plans to pretend like a good guy before he robs the town's bank. But, shucks, there are a few obstacles in the way: (1) A safe that has a timer, (2) a pretty woman, (3) a young gunman or I should say, a wanna-be gunman, (4) that pretty female, (5) A wanted poster of which he is the subject. You get the idea that he may never hold up the bank because he may die before he gets to it or he may marry first or get arrested and thrown in the clink. But the sexy owner of the saloon has other ideas and so does the local Sheriff, who makes him his Deputy. Wesley Quaid, the outlaw's present name, is put in a quandary - shall I rob the bank or settle down on a ranch with this pretty gal with the big brown eyes?

But that damn Kid keeps getting in his way when he is not occupied with the keeper of the saloon or the Sheriff, and he gets into a shooting fight with the Kid and his pals and gets himself all stove up. And there is the gal in the gray hood, Sabrina, an old acquaintance of sorts, who sticks her nose into his affairs as he lays unconscious in the countryside. He must deal with all these before he can think of stealing the banks' money. And that pretty female (Colleen) is the niece of the Sheriff, himself, and lives with the Sheriff and his wife and also Works at the Bank. The story leaves the Outlaw and the reader wondering what is going to happen and this makes for a very entertaining account. Mister Pizzolato has come up with a winner here.

  

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Book of the Navajo Code Talkers, WWII

I can't say enough good things about the Navajo Code Talkers of World War II and here is one of the books about them: It Had To Be Done - The Navajo Code Talkers Remember World War II.

This non-fiction book contains The Stories of a few of the Talkers in Their Own Words. Two of them were selling this book, Bill Toledo and Alfred Newman, and they also autographed it. The cover contains a picture of some of the Talkers with Navy landing craft in the background and there are pictures throughout the book.  Those still alive are in their late 80's and 90's. They talk about being recruited into the Marine Corps, their early lives, and their wartime adventures of island hopping in the Pacific as the U. S. invaded the Jap-held islands of Guam, Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Peleliu, and others.

A number of the Talkers herded sheep and took care of the family's animals while growing up and didn't get to school often enough to finish and lacked a high school degree. They were taken into the service anyway, specifically to be Communications Specialists (Code Talkers) and had to memorize the complete Code, which no enemy ever broke. The Code is included in the book and you'll see it is quite extensive. Each of them were assigned a personal bodyguard who had to shoot them if they were captured, or they had to shoot themselves so as not to give up any info on the Code.

Their Words don't tell the complete story. There is very little talk about the bullets flying around and their courage and bravery, although it is mentioned a couple of times. And there were a helluva lot of bullets flying as is shown in the numbers below of the casualties on our side. The Japanese casualties in each case were triple or quadruple the Americans. The battles lasted around thirty days each, give or take a few days.

U. S. Casualties:

     Guadalcanal - 7,100 dead, 4 captured, 29 ships lost, 615 aircraft lost
     Bougainville - 727 dead
     Guam - 1,783 dead, 6,010 wounded
     Peleliu - 1,508 killed, 6,635 wounded, 36 missing. U. S. Marine casualties on Peleliu:
                   1,300 killed, 6,450 wounded, 36 missing. The others were U.S. Army.
(Source: Wikipedia)

And this doesn't include the islands of Iwo Jima, Saipan, Kwajalein, Tarawa, Wake, and the other battles. A Pima Indian, Ira Hayes, assisted in raising the American Flag on Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima.

We all owe these Navajo Code Talkers our respect and a big thanks for their service.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Blood and Gore and Killers Galore

I looked down at my hands on the keyboard and saw blood all over. I moved my eyes to my chest. More blood coming out of the bullet holes and leaking onto my shirt and trousers. I looked at my legs and saw blood coming from the holes in each one. What a bloody novel that reading it made me think I had blood all over and on the floor. I was even seeing red, too. It wasn't exactly like that, but Shotgun by C. Courtney Joyner was a bloody novel with the red juice and gore over practically every page and running through the snow.

This story is about Doctor John Bishop who sets out to avenge the death of his wife and kids who were killed in cold blood by a Major Beaudine and his partners in crime. Beaudine was looking for the gold that Bishop had buried somewhere or had knowledge of, and when Bishop wouldn't tell where it was, the gang killed the family and hacked off Bishop's right arm.and left him to bleed to death. And that's just the opening of the novel. It gets bloodier and gorier as the story progresses as Bishop catches up with one of the detestable bunch and while he is looking for the rest of them, the gang is looking for him now that he survived. John Bishop's arm is rigged with a double-barreled shotgun apparatus that he can operate without using his hands and he must use it a number of times in his quest for Beaudine. Bishop and his Cheyenne Indian girlfriend, White Fox, must kill or be killed as they continue looking for that contemptible Beaudine. White Fox becomes his right hand, putting on and taking off the shoulder apparatus that holds the shotgun and the bodies pile up.  And, what do you know? There is a blind soldier, a Captain Creed, who reads everything around him with his other senses and his young helper, Hector,and the gang that he talks into following him for the gold who are also after the Doc, and more blood is let and the bodies just keep piling up.

Whew, I said, when I finally put the book down for the last time in reading it and the novel ended with a bang, a big bang in the dark of night and the survivors, if any, went on with their lives, question mark.

If you like lots of action and blood and gore and everything that it comes with, you'll like this book. Mr. Joyner's Spur award nominated short story, The Two-Bit Kill is included at the end of the novel as a bonus. I enjoyed that story, too. Shotgun was published by Pinnacle Books, Kensington Publishing Corp.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Dogs A-talkin'

I would like to give a shout-out to Duke Pennell and his site at frontiertales.com for the many fine stories he has published. I was just reading the December issue and highly enjoyed the story by Callie Smith entitled Rogue.

The story was told from the dog's viewpoint, which I thought was very clever and creative. I didn't know what was going on at first, but that changed the minute the neighbor's dog, Bull, came onto the property and launched an attack on the the dog guarding the sheep. They talked to each other like a couple of boys with backs stiffened and fighting to see who was best man. The fight was interrupted by an actual young man coming to see what was causing the ruckus and chasing Bull back to his own house. Bull was the McKeon's dog and it had already been the cause of  trouble with the McKeon's once before, especially with Niall McKeon, the older son and Tom, the lad who broke up the latest tangle. And the question for Tom's family (him, his mother and young sister) was "Is Bull a rogue dog that would return and cause more trouble?"

Yes, Bull was a rogue dog, but was it a bad dog? Well, maybe and maybe not. You'll just have to read the story and find out. In any event, the story got my vote for this month's best tale. I didn't dislike the other stories, but thought this one was more outstanding in my mind.

I recommend paying Frontier Tales a visit and see if you agree with me and enjoy the entertaining short stories that are published each month. And don't forget to vote for the story you like.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Whiskey Glass Blues

Who wouldn't have the blues or the angers or both while staring into a glass of Maryland Rye and thinking about what the Hell just happened?

Cash Laramie was upset about the turn of events he had just gone through bringing in a horse rustler. Bringing in the thief didn't particularly have an effect on him until he heard what actually happened. And that makes a great story by Edward A. Grainger who adds a moral dilemma to Cash Laramie's life that can never be undone and has him staring into that glass of whiskey.

David Cranmer, writing as Edward A. Grainger, tells this story, Reflections in a Glass of Maryland Rye, in his Second Volume of The Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles along with other great stories. The story not only made Cash think, but made me ponder the dilemma with him minus the whiskey. Next time I'll guzzle on a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon as I entertain myself and get lost in the works of David Cranmer's action-filled and suspenseful writings.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

It Must Be Thanksgiving!

I just watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade and saw floats, balloons, and etc., so it must be Thanksgiving Day.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!!

I'm off to eat turkey and cranberries with the family about 10 miles away .

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Education of a Pulp Writer

I've had this book of short stories on my PC for quite a while waiting for time to read it. And now that I've read The Education of a Pulp Writer and other stories by Edward A. Grainger, I will say a few palabras about it.

The first story, Blubber, left me laughing like a crazy man and brings to mind the recent stories of overly obese people that were on the news being taken out of windows or gigantic holes in the wall.
And not to give the ending away, I'll just say that it, too, could've been on the morning news with some censoring of some aspects of it or maybe a movie short on HBO. It could happen.

The other stories were not as funny, but had their own elements of drama and suspense. The story of Cash Laramie, the only western in the volume, was mighty fine, too., as Cash must take an unusual outlaw prisoner from a Sheriff's Office in Vermillion to the Marshal in Cheyenne, a two-day ride. The outlaw, Kid Eddie, was the exact opposite of a crazed killer arsonist that the wanted posters said he was and I was wondering if they would complete the journey. Well, did they? Yes, no,or maybe. You'll have to read it for yourself.

Everybody, by now, knows or should know, that Edward A. Grainger is the pen name for David Cranmer, author of the Beat to a Pulp blog and editor of the magazine of the same name. And a fine writer and editor he is, too.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Excerpt from Trouble at Sagrado Ranch

A few words from Chapter 6 of Trouble at Sagrado Ranch:

     "Let's go watch the wrangler break a horse or two," (said Legrand).
      "Sure, before I get involved in this stuff," I said, getting up.
      We walked to the corral near the barn that had two horses inside, a beautiful black and a sorrel. Pa was in the corral with Lute Kempus, who had just tethered the sorrel to a post in the corner and was getting ready to throw a rope on the black so he could put a saddle on him.
     "Getting ready to tackle Black Velvet, is he?" LeGrand said to Pa.  
     "For the second time, yup. He got throwed off the first time."
     LeGrand yelled to Lute, "Want me to hold that rope while you throw on the saddle?"
     "Nah, not this time," said Lute.
     The slim, bronzed wrangler was confident in what he was doing and had no trouble putting on the bridle and saddle gear.  The black gelding stood quietly, keeping his eyes on the wrangler, wo climbed jauntily into the saddle, holding the reins and getting settled. He no sooner got situated than Black Velvet lifted his front legs and dropped them back to the ground. He raised his back legs with a sudden jolt to the rider, trying to throw him off.
     Lute was expecting that and as soon as the back legs hit the ground, the horse took off in a run around the corral, stopping abruptly and sliding to a stop. Velvet started bucking and rolling with Kempus holding the reins and the saddle horn with his right hand and trowing his left in the air on each jump. The horse stopped, puffing hard, twisting his head and without any particular notice to the rider made a kick and put his front and hind legs touching in a wild buck. Lute went flying over the fence, landing on his head and shoulders, the momentum carrying him in a somersault and coming to rest in a sitting position in the dirt, unhurt, his hat askew, but still on his head. Kempus sat there, his arms resting on his bent knees, taking a few deep breaths, and staring at the hills in the distance.
     "Is that a new way to practice cartwheels, Lute?" said Pa, laughing. "Yer goin' to need some of that mustang liniment tonight for those shoulders and leg joints."
     Lute was sitting on his behind looking out over the horizon. "I'll be fine, Mister Hawkins. I was just admirin' the view of the hills, is all," said Lute, still panting. "I think that horse was trying to kill me, though."

Get your copy from amazon.com at a reasonable price on Kindle or paperback and enjoy.   

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Not a Western

By golly! The short story anthology of Nikki Mcdonagh entitled Glimmer is certainly not a Western. There are no cowboys or Indians anywhere in sight or even a pile of prickly pear. But the stories prick at my inner conscience like ghostly wind over the desert. Ms. McDonagh has created a world that is like an out-of-body experience almost. At least the stories took me out of my confined world and took me into science fiction, a little horror, drama, and wonder. She has a fine imagination and writes with a certain savoir faire style that takes you on a mental journey into another world, a world of creativity that sucks you right into a whirlwind of emotions and thoughts. There is the world of the Lost Girl and the world of Art, and an imaginative tale of a book and its owner, flotsam, and what I imagined as an alien in the opening story.for which the book title is named after. And there is the sick woman returning home with a fatal tumor. Intriguing, interesting, and creative.

I'm a Western sort of guy and don't get into other genres very much, but I certainly enjoyed reading Glimmer as great entertainment. It was 133 pages of fine writing and inventive imagery nicely done. I will give it at least four out of five stars and recommend it to fans of science fiction and horror and anyone else who likes a good read.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Speed Records on Horseback

According to Wikipedia, Buffalo Bill while working for the Pony Express covered 322 miles in 21 hours, forty minutes using 21 horses, (which is just over 15 miles an hour). His relief rider had been killed and he made the round trip between Red Buttes Station and Rocky Ridge Station. Quite a feat!

Over the past two or three years, I dip into an Anthology by J. Frank Dobie called I'll Tell You a Tale, ever so often when time permits. In this anthology Mr. Dobie wrote a tale of one Francois Xavier Aubry entitled Little Aubry's Ride. This Aubry feller was a little guy, weighing not much more than he could eat in a day or two, say a hundred pounds give or take a little. Well, this Mister Aubry was a tough little nut who traveled between Independence, Missouri, and Santa Fe New Mexico, delivering freight. He bet a thousand dollars that he could make the ride in six days. It was over 800 miles that he had to ride. The total time it took him was five days and 16 hours, actual riding time he figured was four and a half days. They said his saddle was bloody when he he got off the horse at the end of the ride.

Now, that's some ridin'!

Well, there is much more to learn about both of these horsemen at Wikipedia.com and also the famous writer J Frank Dobie and his writings. Interesting men, interesting books.