Monday, October 29, 2012


I picked up a copy of Dictionary of Obsolete English that was on sale at one of our local libraries. The book was written by Richard Chenevix Trench, DD, Archbishop of Dublin, and published by the Philosophical Library, New York, in 1958. I bought it with the idea that inside would be some uncommon words that I could use in my writing, but a quick glance through it quickly rid me of that idea. I read the Preface to see what was actually going on and the Archbishop wrote that he hoped to provide a list of words that no longer mean what they used to mean.  To put it in his language, he wrote: "Sometimes the past use of a word has been noted and compared with the present, as usefully exercising the mind in the  tracing of minute differences and fine distinctions; or again, as helpful to the understanding of our earlier authors, and likely to deliver the readers of them from misapprehensions into which they might very easily fall; or, once more, as opening out a curious chapter in the history of manners, or as involving some interesting piece of history, or some singular superstition, or, again, as witnessing for the good or the evil which have been unconsciously at work in the minds and hearts of those who insensibly have modified in part or changed altogether the meaning of some word; or, lastly and more generally, as illustrating well under one aspect or another those permanent laws which are everywhere affecting and modifying human speech."

And, he lists alphabetically some of the words that have changed meanings from what they used to be or represented, like "harlot" which was originally used of both sexes for the most part as a "slight or contempt", and now as interchangeable with "whore" and for the female sex generally, as an example.

I'm sure that if I study them long enough, I may be able to adapt some of the words to cowboy novels and may have already done so like with the word "explode" which used to mean "to drive off the stage with loud clappings of the hands" and now could mean about anything that makes a loud noise when set off or shot.

I will continue to "peruse" (not listed in the book) the list of words for possible use in my writings and along with Thirty Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary possibly come up with a better written product.          

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Saturday Out

On Saturday, October 20, 2012, the wife and her sister from Kansas and I went to the Wild West Festival at Saguaro Ranch in Glendale, AZ, and had a great(?) time. We no sooner got through the gate than...(Pardon me, my wife is yelling at me to vacuum the expanse of our square footage, a job I can't turn down in these hard times, besides, vacuuming is like lawn-mowing without cutting much off the top.)

(An hour-and-a-half later, I'm back after a good workout and a nice rest-up.) We no sooner got through the gate:

than we came to the first exposition area and Lee Anderson was explaining the history of horse-training and branding with his horse, Concho:

which was interesting in that my wife's father was a horse trainer in Kansas and we could relate.

We then moved up the line where the fast draw competition was underway:

It was the women's draw going on here, and we were thankful we were behind them instead of in front (HAHAHA!) 

After a minute or two of that we moved further up the line past a dutch oven and brisket sandwich stand and on to an old timey photograph stand where the sister-in-law had a photo made of herself in an old timey dress. It was a real impressive picture with her shoulders covered in a shawl and a bright red, long gown.  I didn't get a pic of this and I thought I did.

Nearby was this gent picking and singing and I think his name is Justus Harrison, but there was no sign to tell us. Inside the building was a stand with a pretty girl selling L. Ron Hubbard Westerns. I didn't buy any, leaving it 'til later and never got back to it. We moseyed further on and had a brisket sandwich from another stand in the food court. A little dry, but went well with water (cough, cough).

After disposing of the vittles, the two ladies started complaining that they couldn't take any more of the heat. It was a nice warm day, and this old, decrepit, reprobate they were with consented to head back home.
Up until now, everyone had been walking along just fine, except I had to remind the sister-in-law, who was in possession of a cane, to watch her step and take it slow. On the way out, we passed the Moonlight Mesa Publishing stand, and I didn't have time to look at anything or talk to anyone there. I didn't see anyone manning the stand and I had to catch up with the ladies. I caught up and passed them a few feet and TRAGEDY struck! My sister-in-law in her eighties stumbled on the sidewalk and fell into the gravel between the fence and the walkway! There was no way I could've stopped her, but she fell on her knees then hands and face and slid under the fence, cutting her head on the lower rail. I tried to drag her back, but she wouldn't let go of the fence rail, and by that time, a policeman and two EMT'S CAME TO THE RESCUE! And we spent the next six or eight hours in emergency while the doctors looked her over to make sure nothing serious happened to her. She was her old self when we took her home, except for the bandage on her head. She went home to Kansas City the next morning.

Update: Received a call from Kansas last night and the lady is doing fine and having the stitches taken out today.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Next Big Thing Blog Chain (A-a-r-r-g-h)

Thanks to Charles Gramlich (, I was chained to this Next Big Thing -y.  Mr. Gramlich is the author of the Swords of Talera series among others. Now, on to my WIP.

What is the working title of your book?

This one was tentatively titled Murder Under the Cliffs when I first started on it two, three or more years ago. It now carries the title of The Man from Hanksville which I think better represents the storyline.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

It came from traveling through the small town of Bluff, Utah, on bi-annual car trips to a family reunion in the northeast part of the State. The radiant splendor of the cliffs cried out for something energetic and action-oriented to be written, and I heard the silent scream and proceeded to write this story.

What genre does your book fall under?

It's a flat-out Western of the old school, with a little romance, humor, and suspense thrown in and an Indian or two.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

 I haven't thought about this and I don't watch many movies, so I have no idea of modern day actors. I'd say it would have to be someone like Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton, or even Clint Eastwood and a Betty Grable type. I can even picture them like a young Robert Duval and Taylor Swift-ish. So much for my thoughts on that.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A stranger rides into trouble and corruption in a small town, finds an ally in a pretty waitress, and fights to clear his name and rid the town of the bad guys.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I'm preparing it to be published by Create Space in print and Kindle as an e-book.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Not very long, say two or three months for 40,000+ words.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

There are any number of Westerns that I could compare it to as most have the same attributes, good guy vs. bad guy, etc., and on and on. I believe this book is presented a little differently in the way it is written and the use of setting in the telling that will connect with the Western reader.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Like I said above, the town of Bluff with the cliffs, the San Juan River flowing nearby and Monument Valley gave me the inspiration. I couldn't help myself from being inspired to tell a story with all this natural beauty surrounding the area.  

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

The Man from Hanksville is ex-Sheriff Jimmy Snyder, who quit being a Sheriff after he cleaned up the town of Hanksville, and is working to be a writer by trying his hand on a history of Bluff. He gets thrown in jail for the murder of one of Bluff's elder citizens and is released for lack of evidence. He sets out to find the real killer(s). Throw in a little whiskey smuggling to the Indians, bank robbery and lost gold, and a pretty young waitress, his only ally, we have murder, suspense and romance with some odd characters adding to the story. It has been a barrel of fun working on this novel.

The Rules now require me to add some people to this blog chain. The people will have to do the same thing, of course, but only if they can find the time - no pressure. I said to heck with it at first, but changed my mind and will leave it up to the individual to participate at his/her own leisure if they should happen to read this.

They are:  Vijaya Scharts  
                Charles Tyrell
                Elaine Ash 


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Richard O. Boyer's "The Legend of John Brown"

Here I go again, getting a little off subject, although John Brown was active prior to the Civil War and I consider him part of Western folklore in that he raised more Hell in Kansas and Missouri and elsewhere than about anyone else in his time as the West was being opened up.

I have no love for Communists and according to some people, Richard O. Boyer was a Communist who wrote articles for the Daily Worker, the Communist paper, and took the Fifth Amendment while being questioned by Congress in the 1950's. But this is not mentioned in the jacket bio on the book. As a journalist he wrote for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The New York Herald-Tribune, the Boston Herald and the Dallas Times-Herald in a long career. He died at the age of 70 in 1973.

That being said, I can put my feelings aside and take an objective look at The Legend of John Brown when I get around to reading it. The way the leftists obfuscate their real beliefs in the news and elsewhere, I have no idea how much Communist propaganda is in the book, if any, but I do have an interest in John Brown from a family viewpoint that I have mentioned once or twice before. Brown had a close friend in Lora Case, a distant relative long time deceased, and wrote one of his last letters to him as follows from The Hudson of Long Ago, Reminiscences by Lora Case:

"In the month of December [1859], John Brown, J. E. Cook, E. Cople, N. D. Stevens, A. Hazlett, five white men and J. A. Copeland and S. Green, colored, died on the scaffold at Harper's Ferry, and eleven others were put to death for their efforts to let the oppressed go free. On the morning of his execution John Brown wrote me the following letter.

     "Charlestown, Jefferson, Co Va, 2d, Dec, 1859, Lora Case, Esqr

     "My dear Sir

          Your most kind and cheering letter of the 28th Nov is received. Such an outburst of warm hearted sympathy not only for myself, but also for those who "have no helper" compells me to steal a moment from those allowe me, in which to prepare for my last great change to send you a few words. Such a feeling as you manifest make you to "shine (in my estimation) in the midst of this wicked;  perverse generation as a light in the world." May you ever prove yourself equal to the high estimate I have placed on you. Pure & undefiled religion before God & the Father is" as I understand it: an active (not a dormant) principle. I do not undertake to direct any more about my children. I leave that now entirely to their excellent mother from whom I have just parted. I send you my "salutation with my own hand." Remember me to all yours, & my dear friends. 
                                                           Your Friend
                                                                   John Brown"

"John Brown, son of Owen Brown, was born May 9, 1800, in Torrington, Connecticut. When he was five years old his father and mother with three brothers and one sister moved to Hudson [Ohio], July 27, 1808.

"I was born in Granby, Connecticut, Nov. 18, 1811. When I was two-and-a-half years old my father, mother, three sisters and one brother came to Hudson July 4, 1814, and, from what I saw and heard him [John Brown] say, our dress and experiences were similar in some respects. For a necktie we wore a piece of morocco leather to hold up our shirt collar called a stock, and we both wore buckskin pants with leather suspenders. He said he never attempted to dance or ever learned to know one card from another and I was as ignorant in that respect as he was.

[Skipping some narrative, we continue.]

"The first time I ever heard of John Brown raising his voice against slavery was in the church prayer meeting one Thursday afternoon. We got the news that morning that the pro-slavery men had shot Lovejoy while standing in his doorway and demolished his press. The death of Lovejoy was the topic of the meeting. (There was then strong prejudice in the church and throughout the state against the anti-slavery movement.) Owen Brown and his son, John, were present at the prayer meeting. After some remarks on the sad news of Lovejoy's death, Esq. Brown arose and made a very earnest prayer, and in his plea for help, especially in the matter before them, it seemed as though he had the help of Him who sits on the mercy seat to carry their case to the Court of Heaven for a decision, and it seemed by his expressions as we listened to his prayer that he felt as though the Judge of all the earth was at the door of his heart.

"After his father's prayer, John arose and in the his calm, emphatic way says: "I pledge myself with God's help that I will devote my life to increasing hostility towards slavery." The history of his life from that time to its tragic end gives him the honor of living and dying to maintain that pledge."

Reading the Legend of John Brown will be like reading the story of an old family friend who set his sights on the stars and got lost in the search and I keep putting it off even though I know the outcome..

Sunday, October 14, 2012


The Man from Hanksville is coming along, slow but sure. We've had company this month from out of State and on top of that, we have been taking care of our two great-grandsons for most of the past week. We took them to a local farm that runs a Halloween program the month of October and they had a blast picking pumpkins, meeting the pigs, chickens, goats, and horses, playing on the bouncing contraption, and riding the four-wheel pedal vehicles. With that and the other entertainments, I barely got anything done. The novel is written and I have been working on the formatting and etc. to polish it up. All sorts of things pop up as I transfer the manuscript to a publishing format, but the main thing that goes awry is the paragraph spacing and trying to get a page full without too many obvious blanks. It causes headaches, but I'm in no hurry to get this one published this year. Next year will be hunky-dory if I don't get it done this year.

Keeping up with the blogs, the new stuff, the local stuff, and my reading and writing has been impossible the last few weeks. Maybe things will get back to normal before too long.  

Sunday, October 7, 2012

General Crook and his Bad-Ass Scouts

As the Cibecue Uprising was going on and turning into the search for bad-ass, renegade Apaches, it turned into a hunt for the baddest-ass renegade to leave the reservation in a while. Geronimo, I'm talking about. And the Government had to send for the baddest-ass Army General to track him down, General Crook. He had earlier been re-assigned, but the situation was on the verge of getting out of hand and the Army Chief of Staff sent an order to General Crook to do what he had to do to bring Geronimo to justice. The General himself made visits to Mexican authorities to coordinate the operation to ensure that the Federales didn't start a border war.

That bad-ass General contacted those bad-ass scouts, Al Seiber and Tom Horn, to go with the Army assignees and the bad-ass volunteers and the bad-ass Apache Scouts to lead him to Geronimo's hideout down there south of the border. By the time they made preparations for the excursion, there were more Apaches than white soldiers, but Mr. Seiber and Mr. Horn were along to control them, and these Apaches had had enough of Bad-Ass Geronimo, anyway, due to his depredations and outright killing of some of the northern Apaches. He was a bad-ass neighbor.

Well, we all know that Geronimo was called to a meeting and he actually showed up to have a bad-ass parley with Crook and compadres down below the border, and we all know that Bad-Ass Geronimo let them take him back to the reservation. I guess he couldn't steal enough ammunition to fit the rifles the band had stolen and seeing the light, Geronimo said, "Heap big mistake, General Bad-Ass Crook. My party is in tough shape with hunger, pestilence, and bad-ass Federales, so, please take me back home and let me live in peace with my good-ass white neighbors."

And there was Peace!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

On Kindle

The Bloody Gulch is out on Kindle for the low price of $3.99, that's all.

Sheriff Little has his hands full when the CB Ranch gang comes to The Gulch. Are thy trying to take over the town or what? Will it be known forever as the Bloody Gulch? Grab a copy and read this fascinating story of early Roosevelt, Utah, and catch all the exciting action!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Gary Sprague at the Western Heritage Celebration

Yes, it's true, folks. Gary Sprague came riding into Casa Grande on September 30 on his beautiful horse, Dusty, and rode right through the front door of the Old Paramount Theater and onto the stage, where he sang his heart out for the crowd. It was a mighty fine treat and Dusty did some tricks, too. For a transplanted New Yorker, now known as Arizona's Singing Cowboy, he rendered some fine tunes of the Old Western artists and movie actors, including Gene Autry and Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers, Rex Allen, etc.
 It was another mighty fine presentation of Jim and Bobbi Jean Olson and Nancy Ruybal, and they all participated in the filmed introduction. Ms. Ruybal sang a couple of songs in her fine voice and Jim told his life story with Bobbi Jean helping out prior to Mr. Sprague cantering onto the scene with his guitar.

It was a pleasant way to pass a Sunday afternoon!