Thursday, May 31, 2012

Way Out West...Ahem

(The Header picture is of more rocks in Northern Arizona.)

Way back in the years 1964-66, I was way out west, so to speak. And, this morning, eating brekfuss (as my uncle step-dad would say) at Village Inn, the background music reminded me of those years way out west - of Paris. Petula Clark was singing her number one tune, Downtown. However, what really brought it all back was  the blog,which has a short article titled, "American Journeys--First Big Festival of the Season in France."

I don't think this festival was going on in those years or I just never heard of it. Otherwise, I might have attended or might not, depending on my state of sobriety and lack of transport. Anyway, there we were, sitting at a table in the cafeteria after work, enjoying a beer (Watney's in my case) at the Almighty Military Headquarters of NATO-OTAN, alphabetically known as SHAPE, some twenty miles WSW of the beautiful metropolitan city of Paree near Versailles. There were maybe a half-dozen of us gathered around from the British Army, British Air Force, British Navy (a feller called SNOWI), U. S. Army, U. S. NAVY (myself and Tom Taylor, the Sailor and 7th degree black belt in karate, and maybe one or two more swabs). Of course, with a group of this size and stature, there must be a favorite song that one or all of us would start singing at the drop of a hat or pith helmet when we reached that point of insobriety or just plain happiness. Into the jukebox would go the coins and immediately the sound of music would begin, "When you're alone and life is making you lonely, you can always go DOWNTOWN, when you've got worries, all the noise and the hurry seems to help, I know, DOWNTOWN.....tra-la-la-la-la-la, etc., etc."

As the night wore on and the liquor and beer flowed, the singing would get louder and louder  until we finally reached that point that we had to break it up and actually go DOWNTOWN (most of us, anyway). We would crawl onto the last bus of the evening and break into song anew with everyone on the bus joining in, even the driver. As the driver helped us off at the Etoile with a big smile on his face, we staggered down the Champs and headed in different directions, some still humming, singing, whistling DOWNTOWN, calling it a night and wending our way to our little apartments to wives, girlfriends, etc. Another day fighting the Cold War and Viet Nam heating up. Ah, yes.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


Ernest Haycox. Just read  "The blazing novel of a man who fought his way back from hell alone", it says on the cover of Man in the Saddle. I picked up this pocketbook to compare with the book I read some time ago in which I complained about all the descriptive writing Haycox used in it. In the Man in the Saddle he was not quite as descriptive as before, but it was a little annoying when he describes so many facial features like "His black head dropped a little; his lips rolled together, displaying surliness. This lasted for only a moment. He whipped up his chin and caught Owen Merritt's stare, and at once pulled all expression off his cheeks. He turned back toward the hotel." As I read along, it became less irritating or I read over it without noticing.

Anyway, aside from this minor complaint, it's a story of Owen Merritt and his battle with Will Isham, the big and rich rancher that is trying to take over the valley, including Merritt's smaller ranch and who married Owen's girfriend, Sally Bidwell. Fay Dutcher, Isham's foreman, hates Sally for horning in and becoming the heir to the fortune that Dutcher has his mind set on. Dutcher has no liking for Merritt, either, after they get into a fight and he came out on the loser's end. Isham is set on taking over Merritt's ranch, but Merritt isn't about to let him have it without a fight. Isham's gang finally gets around to attempting to run Merritt out and Merritt gets a shot in the leg. Merritt goes to his neighbor, Nan Melotte, an attractive schoolmarm, who bandages him up and they take off to avoid Dutcher's men from finding him, holing up in a cave. Of course Merritt begins to fall in love with Nan, even though his conscience still has his sights set on Sally. And it moves on to the final shootout where Merritt kills Isham and Fay Dutcher, and the rest of the Isham gang leaves town. But, poor Sally, thinks she can't marry Merritt now because he shot her husband and, and, and... I'll leave the story there, since I don't want to ruin it for the next reader.  

I guess the editor or proof-reader or maybe Mr. Haycox didn't catch the error in Merritt's name which showed up later on in the narrative. It was Merrill instead of Merritt two or three times.

According to Wikipedia, there were eight films from the Haycox novels: Union Pacific, Stagecoach, Sundown Jim, Abilene Town, Canyon Passage, Man in the Saddle, Bugles in the Afternoon, The Far Country (from Alder Gulch).

(I drew the picture from a photo at the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission.)


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Gifts to Go

For the  readers, here is a chance to get a weekly newsletter from Gifts to Go:

 A local gift shop owner is looking to expand her virtual connections to grow her business and attract a larger audience at book signings. She's been supportive of local authors and has asked that I invite my friends to register for her weekly newsletter.

She alternates the focus of each newsletter between books and authors and  general gift ideas and services. Each addition includes discounts, promotions, new products, related recipes, and upcoming events. Most importantly it is easy to read through to get the news most relevant to you.

 It is sent through an industry standard Constant Contact, and includes an unsubscribe if you try now and decide later you no longer wish to receive a copy.

You can preview the shop, Gift To Go, at or on Facebook as Gifts To Go. Her physical store is located on Bell Road in Surprise, AZ, but she ships gifts anywhere.

Get the next edition by either:
    1. Sending an email request to or,
    2. Texting your email address to her at 602 403 0646,
    3, Sending a Facebook message to Gifts To Go.

Did she say she ships anywhere, ANYWHERE? Now is your chance to pick up some of those unique gifts, including books by Arizona authors on many subjects. And thanks very much. I'm sure you will enjoy the newsletter.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Finally, it's on the way

The Bloody Gulch is on the way and will be available on in the next few days. Here are the opening lines:

    This is the story of early Roosevelt, Utah. Back then, it was known as "The Gulch," and being the Sheriff was a pretty easy job in comparison to some of them other places like Tombstone, Dodge City, Laramie, and others, but I had difficulties. It started when I had been out of town for a few days and returned to find myself in sort of a pickle.
     "All right, Clarence, put your gun back in the holster, and you, too, stranger, if you know what's good for you," I said, holding my .44 long-leg aimed at the stranger's chest. I knew Clarence wasn't going to shoot anybody. He wasn't a troublemaker. But the stranger was another matter. For all I knew, he could be one of the Wild Bunch come to town to raise Hell.
     I kept my eyes on the stranger, noting a scar on the left cheek too jagged for a knife cut. The empty holster hung low and was tied to the thigh, not typical for anyone around here who only carries a weapon for snakes and an occasional bear or mountain lion.
     "I get paid to prevent bloodshed, Stranger, but I'm not above shootin' you if that's what it's goin' to take to keep the peace," I said. "I don't know if you're a bad hoss or a black-leg preacher and it don't make no difference to me. Just put that hog-leg back in the holster."

I don't particulary like this cover, but it's representative of the country in which Roosevelt is located.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Anon-9 plus David Cranmer

I just finished reading the short interview of Anon-9 at and laughed my nether end off, well almost. It reveals a quick and witty writer with a great sense of humor. I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't a prelude to the release of her book Hard Bite published by Blasted Heath and which is now available at Amazon Kindle for $2.99. Get your copy now!

And another new release by David Cranmer of the site,  (The Education of a Pulp Writer). The new short story edition of Beat to a Pulp II is now out and available for purchase. Get it at Amazon for some great stories by great writers and take a look at David's blog for all the details. Look at that cover illustration, would you!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

More Reading

Ran across a couple of books in a used book store that I thought I would like:

1. Author Matt Braun, a double novel, Manhunter and Deadwood.

2. Author A. B. Guthrie, Jr., hardback, Arfive, a conflict of midwestern and, by extension, eastern Victorianism with the looser attitudes of a yet uncurried West, it says on the inside flap.

(The header photo is another one of those magnificent rock monuments of Northern Arizona.)

Oh, yes, welcome aboard to Helen Baggot as a follower and check out her site at !