Sunday, November 28, 2010

Licenses and Shopping and Mail Delivery

The soccer season is over and I have to find some other way to pass a couple of hours on Saturdays. I could go visit the Wickenburg Cowboy Poetry event and sell some books, but I don't have a Wickenburg license to do that yet and since I post on Sundays that event will be over by the time this shows up on the blog..

Black Friday has come and gone this year and it was a no-shopping, stay-away-from-the-malls-and- stores day for us. We did most of our Xmas shopping before Thanksgiving so we didn't have to fight the crowds, but, guess what, it was almost as bad as Black Friday. People were out shopping from lack of anything else to do, is my guess. It's an unwritten law that nobody buys anything until the last minute, usually, but all the advertising gave them the bug to go spend money this year. PEOPLE, LISTEN UP! You shouldn't change your ways because some card sharp on the telly (British for TV) tells you to go shopping and spend your hard-earned money on the newest, unbelievable, fantastic, cheapest, double-thickest toilet paper or gadget that will make your kitchen like a spa or turn the TV set into a miracle bread-making machine. Uh-uh, just stay the Hell away from the stores and malls until you absolutely, positively can't wait any longer because Xmas Day is here - and then it's too late! See, the world didn't come to an end.

Back to licensing. Here in AZ it is required to buy a license for every little burg and town and city and county, almost, in which you want to set up your table and sell a book or two. I called the city of Glendale Tax and License people last week to find out about my application and was told it had been approved and mailed out on the 17th of November. WHERE IN THE HELL IS IT? We live only 10 or 15 miles away and by all rights the license should have been received the next day. Maybe they should initiate hand delivery and buy someone a mule, or make them walk, to deliver their licenses, it would get here sooner. Or maybe they spelled my last name wrong and sent it to someone else. Or, sent it to the wrong address. Them people at the post office have a hard time reading anything, let alone an address, I'm beginning to think.  I don't know how many popular events I missed by not having a license. My last name is only four letters long, but they could've spelled it backwards and the license ended up in the dead letter file somewhere for all they know.
WOO-EE! The stress a person has to put up with just to sell a book!  It's almost too much to bear. If I have a heart attack and be paralyzed from the neck down, who should I sue? The city? The post office? The delivery person? The mule that broke its leg crossing a ditch? Myself for expecting something so simple?

A-ah, the Hell with it! I think I'll go sit on the patio and think about a plot for my next novel.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Texas Blood Feud by Dusty Richards

Here's my take on this novel, Texas Blood Feud, a Pinnacle Book, by Dusty Richards, published in November 2009.

Chester Byrnes has his hands full with his neighboring rancher every since he hung the three horse thieves who stole his horses, one of whom was the son of that rancher. And his hands were full with running the family ranch, getting ready for the next cattle dirve, visiting a neighbor's wife for a little solace. Woops! This woman friend was raped and killed by the men Chet is feuding with and he isn't going to let them get away with it. His brother, Dale Allen, is supposed to be helping with the ranch, but Dale has his mind on other things, like the widow Louise, even though he's married and has kids to take care of, almost grown boys. Chet maims and kills more of the feuders, putting gas on the fire, when he catches them seeking revenge on him for the hangings. He seeks solace in his childhood sweetheart, whose husband treats her badly and plays poker one night a week.. .

Chet's sister, Susie, is the post he leans on for help to run the ranch. She gives him encouragement and runs the ranch house gang, cooking, etc., and Dale Allen finally straightens out and lends a hand. Chet has his hands full with hiring local Mexican farmers to plant his oats and do the farming for the ranch so the cowboys can travel to Mexico to bring a herd of cattle to augment their herd and to get on with the cattle drive.

Dale Allen sets out to take the cattle to Kansas to sell, but does he make it? Do the feuders get killed? Does the Sheriff help in any way? What does Chet do? Will this feud ever end?

Mr. Richards has written a 378-page story that I read with satisfaction and enjoyment. He describes the  ranch routine and the problems that arise during the feuding, and it all comes together in this realistic story of the workings of a Texas ranch. You will not be disappointed when you pick up a copy and give it a good read.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Looking Forward

I am looking forward to the next week or two when Blood and Blazes in Upamona will be available in my cotton-picking digits. The sequel to The Upamona Gold Claim Wrangle is about the return of Slim Sanglant to the small town from his time in prison and he begins hunting for revenge on the people who sent him there. But, what ho!, Red Skene is now the county sheriff and he is looking into the matter. With Slim supposedly in the mountains still looking for gold and herding sheep, Red's cousin's house is burned to the ground, and then his brother-in-law's friend is shot and killed and there are more fires and people disappearimg, and unbeknownst to Red, his wife is on the verge of having an affair with one of his deputies.
Red calls on another deputy to assist him in tracking down the culprit(s) that are causing all the havoc. Woe is me! Will Red and his deputy find them before they kill someone else? What's Slim doing in the mountains?
What's going on?

Blood and Blazes in Upamona is availabe for pre-order now at Amazon in paper and on the Kindle. Barnes and Noble has the cover picture and it is available to order now from there supply, and more places will be coming on line as time goes by. ORDER YOUR COPY NOW!!!!

A bigger cover photo will be forthcoming when I recieve the book.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Indian Captivity of John Tanner

John Tanner was about nine years old when he was captured by the Shawnee and later on joined the Ojibway Indians. He finished his childhood as an Indian eventually forgetting how to speak English. He was known as "The Falcon" in their lanugauge, "Shaw-shaw-wa Benase," as it is written under his photograph at the beginning of the book.

After a couple years with the Shawnee, he was traded to the Ottowas during a night of heavy consumption of alcohol by the Indians, and his new mother treated him much better than before. He became more involved in their way of life, hunting, skinning animals, etc., and the day-to-day work of their camps as they moved around. His new stepfather was an Ojibway. Tanner went on hunting parties, raiding parties, trading parties, etc., and one time killed 24 bears and 10 moose. He says he killed the ten moose with seven balls (bullets), which I find hard to believe.

After some time with the Shawnee and Ottowaws, he joined some Red River Ojibbeways (his spelling), and the main enemy is the Sioux, with whom they had several encounters. He ran into white men (traders) on occasion and they urged him to return to the States. He wanted to do that, but felt that the time was not right. Of course he took an Indian wife and had to consider that aspect as well. He did try to return to the white man ways, but it was a struggle and his white friends said he was a mean and contentious person.

His narrative was first printed in 1830. The book I have was printed in 1956 an edition of two thousand copies. I have copy No. 509. This narrative is very interesting and readable, telling about all the customs and ways of these Indians, including times of hunger, war, happiness, disillusionment, and the day-to-day activities in which he was involved. There is also a good deal of interaction with other tribes, the Crees, Assiniboines, Yanktongs, Mandans, Muskegoes (not very well liked), etc.  The book was prepared for the press by Edwin James, M.D., who also edited an account of Major Long's Rocky Mountain expeditions. It is 427 pages long, and Mr. Tanner had a great memory to recount all of his thirty years with the Indians.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dead Reckoning by Mike Blakely

Just finished Dead Reckoning by Mike Blakely and thought I should tell what I think about it before it fades out of my memory and becomes one of those books that I know I've read but can't recall anything about. Well, there I go thinking again.

Dee Hassard, con man, thief, killer, etc., is being hauled off to jail by Frank Moncrief, but Hassard retrieves a hidden gun at a rest point and shoots Frank and the story begins. Hassard takes the place of the right Reverend Moncrief  (Frank's brother) by trickery. A group of religious zealots have hired Reverend Moncrief to take them over the mountains but Hassard intercedes and poses as the guide the group hired. They are searching for the Cross on the Mountain to establish their church, and now the real guide (Moncrief)  is after Hassard for killing his brother and stealing his job.

And the plot thickens with Clarence Philbrick saving a lost wife from a fate worse than death and telling her to join the group of relligious nuts, who will take care of her, but Philbrick decides he can't let her go and becomes the main obstacle to Hassard's leadership. Philbrick is on his way to New Mexico with a pile of gold to buy up some land, including the little town of Guajalote, where a nun has a vision that their salvation rests at the Cross of the Mountain. She and a young lad head for the Mountain Cross not knowing about the other nuts, uh-oh, religious people, also looking for it.  Oh yes, the husband of the wife is also looking for her, but he is mean and abusive, and doesn't survive the discovery of her and Philbrick and the church people and Mr. Hassard. Poor lost soul!

They all gather at a point where the Mountain Cross is visible, Hassard and Philbrick, the right Reverend Moncrief, the nun and the young lad, and all the members of the Church of the Weeping Virgin for the grand finale. Who survives this clash? You must pick up a copy and see what happens.

I had never heard of Mr. Blakely until I bought his novel, but I will be reading more of his stories because he writes a very interesting and exciting story with humor and a finger on the pulse of the West. He also wrote Comanche Dawn, Too Long at the Dance, Forever Texas, and others that I'll be looking forward to reading. His website is:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

True West Mag adverts

I've just been thumbing through the November True West Magazine. Why my attention was drawn to the advertising, I don't know, but it was. I guess it's because I found it interesting. Saga of a Comanche Warrior was the last ad for a book in the mag, and it was almost buried in the lower right-hand corner of the seventh-to-the-last page. Also on the page are ads for outfitters, hand-made branding irons, gun holsters and collectibles, stirrup buckles, and beds made out of trees. That's probably the real reason I look at the ads - the variety and there is variety in the section called Trading Post: vintage western wear, guns of the old West, museum of the horse soldier, more guns, longhorns to mount on your wall, cowboy poetry, custom leathers, glassware, hat cozys and the collected stories of Red Barbre in Tales of the West. This book's ad was twice the size of Comanche Warrior's. I wonder how many more sales are generated by the larger ad or does it make a difference?

And the preceding page to that has books: Doc's Girls, about Doc Holliday, in a full column ad; Rio Sonora, a novel about the Arizona Rangers (sounds like a good one); Forts, Fights and Frontier Sites, self-explanatory; the last two being half-column. On the same page is an article about a book, The Cowgirl Way by Holly George-Warren. The page previous has articles on books to read while traveling, histories and facts about Wyoming, Nebraska, Europe and Lewis and Clark Trail and Ghost Town Travelogues. How did Europe get in there? And there is a full column ad on the Ghost Town books.

I would like to have all the books advertised or wrote about, and that's only in the last ten pages of the mag, but it's just not to be, unless my wife buys them for Christmas presents. And that's highly doubtful, since she has no interest in the mag. Maybe I can slip it into the Ladies Home Journal or Southern Cooking or, even better, Vanity Fair.  


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Arkansas Smith by Jack Martin

Arkansas Smith, former Texas Ranger, rides into Red Rock on his white horse, no, it was actually a sorrel, to find his old friend, Will McCord, shot and seriously wounded lying among the debris inside his cabin. So the novel Arkansas Smith by Jack Martin (Gary Dobbs) begins and continues through its twists and turns, as Arkansas vows to leave no chapter incomplete as he looks for the dirty culprits who did this to his old Ranger buddy.

Arkansas fixes McCord the best he can and heads to town to find a doctor to extract the bullet lodged in McCord's belly parts, after his friend tells him that it was probably a feller named Lance who has been trying to buy him out, that did this to him. After a couple of chapters, there is a flashback that relates the touching story of how Arkansas got his moniker.

After the doctor leaves and tells Ark that his friend will survive, a female entersthe picture. And the plot thickens and the suspense is growing, because the woman is the daughter of the Lance feller, but appears to be willing to help McCord and Arkansas. And in a tightly woven story, the heroes carry on to the final meeting with Lance, who turns out to be a pyromaniac or some other type of maniac and justice wins out.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this western, the second by Mr. Martin/Dobbs, the first being The Tarnished Star, and would recomnend it without a second thoughtIt carries you right along, and before you know it,  you've read the the whole thing and want more.

Arkansas Smith is a Black Horse Western published in Great Britain in 2010. I ordered my copy through Barnes and Noble and it took a long time to get it.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Visit to the Outpatient Clinic

This has been a bad week! Beginning Tuesday with the prep for a colonoscopy, when you are forced to drink a gallon and a half or two gallons of foul-tasting liquid as fast as you can with a little touch of lemon added. I know this test is very popular among older people for some obscure reason like the prevention of cancer, but it is pure torture. After you've devoured the liquid, your stomach starts to rumble and roar and you visit the bathroom several times in hopes of  a little relief, but your stomach keeps talking to you off and on for hours, And you can't have anything to eat except clear liquids, no alcohol to ease the pangs of horrific thunder and lightning in the belly parts. I don't drink anyway, but on this occasion a little nip would have been helpful.

The next morning you ease out of bed after a nearly sleepless night and mentally prepare yourself for the actual exam of the lower pipes. The reason I'm here so soon after the last exam (a year ago) is because the doctor found a polyp that had a lesion of some sort around it and he couldn't take it all out with the little snipper. He sent part of it away to be looked at by microbiologists or whatever they call themselves to see if there was any cancer found and painted the rest with india ink. There was no cancer, but he recommended another exam within six to twelve months, and voila! here we are stumbling toward the outpatient department, my wife and I.

We stop at the registration desk to let them know we are here and sit down and wait. After an interminable amount of time (it was actually only about five minutes), they call my name and take me into a little room where I have to divulge every disease, bruise, and operation I ever had in my life and what they did to cure it and all my personal history in case I didn't survive the exam. And then fork over my driver's license, medical cards, will, medical living will, trust account, and keys to my car, plus all my coupons for restaurants. That last item didn't sound kosher to me, but luckily I didn't have any coupons with me. And then I had to turn in my dentures, wooden leg, hairpiece, wrist watch, and metal inserts and other paraphenalia that might interfere with the procedure, and I was told to go wait in the room under the TV and they will call me.

Thirty minutes later, I was sitting up in a hospital bed naked except for one of those gowns with no back and getting my blood pressure taken and needles stuck in my arm and another round of questions. The doctor came in and introduced herself and left and I was wheeled into another room, told to lay on my left side, and kerplunk! the next thing I knew I was in the recovery room with the pretty nurse yelling my name over and over. I finally came out of it and saw my wife sitting in a chair patiently waiting for me with a picture of my insides. It was the most disgusting photo I'd seen in a long time with a little piece of metal sticking out of my intestine.

"That's where they're going to operate," said my wife. "They have to cut out that ugly thing there," pointing at the picture. "Otherwise, you're just fine." She gave me a wink and a nod, and chuckled.

I got dressed, collected all my wooden legs and such and we went home, sore belly and all. She had to drive, because I was placed on limited duty to just sit and relax and laugh at the ugly picture and wait for the doctor to call. "We have to take that out before it gets cancerous," the doctor told me.

The cute little nurse named Roshon was very helpful and did an outstanding job with the needles and such for which I was grateful.