Sunday, April 28, 2013

Western Heritage Presentation

We attended another presentation in Casa Grande, AZ, of the Western Heritage group yesterday evening and it was fantastic starring Mary Kaye, multiple-award winning singer. The applause was loud and raucous after each song. She sang the hit songs Any Name Will Do and No Wilder Place along with Road to Prescott and  Grow Up to be Cowboys among others. Her voice is strong and melodious accompanied by her outstanding guitar playing.

The venue was the Old Western Trading Post, a small, intimate, newly painted and not yet finished-off theater. To start the show off there was a short magic show by Rowdy James Olson, the teen-age son of Jim and Bobbi Jeen Olson, which was hilarious, and he closed with his speech to the Optimist Club, a fine burst of eloquence about Your Voice. Nancy Ruybal and Jim Olson were the producers of the night's entertainment and the crowd loved it.

The goal of the Western Heritage Group is education on the Old West and keeping the Western way of life alive.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Writing Again

As I tear apart the novel I'm working on peparatory to reorganizng and rewriting parts, here is a reminder of my published books available at Amazon:

The Stranger from the Valley - Paperback $14.95, Kindle $9.99
 The Upamona Gold Claim Wrangle - Paperback $11.95,  Kindle $9.99
Blood and Blazes in Upamona - Paperback $12.95, Kindle $9.99
The Bloody Gulch - Paperback $8.99, Kindle $3.99
Posse Justice - Paperback $8.99
The Man from Hanksville, Paperback $6.98, Kindle $3.99

It'll be a while before I get Posse Justice Kindle-ized, but you can read the others on Kindle or in Paperback and enjoy the stories and characters. They are fine stories, even if I do say so myself.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

It's Hopalong Cassidy's Buck Peters

In this novel  published in 1912 by Grossett & Dunlap by arrangement with A. C. McClurg & Co. of London, England, Hopalong Cassidy doesn't take an active part until about two-thirds of the book is finished. The title of the book is Buck Peters. Ranchman, subtitled Being the Story of What Happened When Buck Peters, Hopalong Cassidy, and Their Bar-20 Associates Went to Montana and written by Clarence E. Mulford and John Wood Clay. It's Mulford's name that is stamped on the hard-back cover.

So what did happen way up there in Montana? It 'pears as Buck Peters is in cahoots (partners) with a McAllister and they own the Double Y Ranch, and Peters is in Montana to get the ranch going by procuring cattle, etc. Peters sends word back to Texas that he figures he's going to need the assistance of the boys of the Bar-20, at least some of them. The first one that sets out is Tex Ewalt, who recently returned from the East and a failed marriage. Tex tells Hoppy, who is now married, and the boys that he'll sally on up there and take a gander and stay under cover from the Boss Peters to see what's goin' on and gather whut information he can in support of the Double Y. Hoppy and the boys will be headin' north as soon as they finish the spring roundup, it was settled.

George McAllister is doin' his part by sending to the West an Englishman by the name of H. Whitby Booth, a softie who thinks some time among the rough men will toughen him up and make a man out of him if he thinks he's goin' to marry up with Margaret McAllister, McAllister's pretty daughter. McAllister tells him he would be valueless if any one discovered you were acting for me. And part of the stage is set.

Buck Peters makes his appearance in the little Montana town of Twin River and gets into a poker game with Dave Owens, a former Texan, but no one knows it but Buck. A slick gambler, Dave is beat at his own game and reaches for his gun, but Buck has him covered and Dave leaves pronto by the front door. It turns out that Dave works for Karl Schatz, the big German rancher that's tryin' to take over the countryside and squeeze out the Double Y. Dave gits his girlfriend, the French Rose, to set up Peters so Dave can shoot him, but Rose LaFrance sees what he's tryin' to do and Dave is unsuccessful. Rose falls for Peters, but keeps Dave on a string. And Peters goes about the business of getting some cattle, hiring men, and arranging things at the ranch.

Tex rides into Twin River and gets his name changed to "Comin' Thirty," his reply to Dirty's (Pop Snow's) question about how long he'd been travelin', "comn' thirty year, about." Tex steps into the I Call saloon and into a face-down with Guinea Mike, who ends up shot three times at least. And Tex sets about larnin' which way the wind blows regards the Double Y.

About the time Hoppy shows up with some of the boys, Dave has run some mite-infested cattle across the Little Jill into the herd of the Double Y in the hopes the whole caboodle will die of the itch. But Buck sees what's hapennin' and sorts out those cattle and runs a fence to keep 'em separated from his herd. They dig a trench and fill it with water and a solution that Whitby Booth comes up with to kill the little rascals causing the itch. They run the cattle through to hopefully prevent the itch from spreading. The next thing that's tried by Dave and his pards is to try to steal the cattle by acting like Indians are attacking and doin' the dirty work, and the Double Y loses a lot of their cattle. To the rescue comes Karl Schatz, who is willin' to put up as much money as McAllister and Peters together to buy more cattle and help him out. Schatz and Dave launch a scheme to steal all the money from the bank as a way to git the Peters' Ranch, but Dave has a scheme of his own to leave town with all the money leavin' Schatz and Peters wonderin' what happened.

Buck takes after Dave alone and gets shot in the thigh from ambush. Rose LaFrance (the French Rose) was supposed to leave with Dave, but instead follows Buck and finds him lyin' on the ground, losing a lot of blood. Hoppy and Tex and the boys show up and Hoppy and Tex head out on the tracks of Dave, while Rose and boys take Peters to her place to recuperate. Well, Cassidy and Tex shoot Dave, get the money and bring it back.

I really enjoyed reading this novel because it has humor and excitement along with some great nicknames, like Dirty, Bow-wow, Pickles, Cock Murray, Comin', Chesty, and others, and being published in 1912 the swear words had dashes in them, like d--n, H--l, etc., which I found quaint in this day and age and received a little chuckle each time I saw one. The book was 367 pages of entertainment.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Tips on Characters

Betty Webb's blog post on "Method Acting for Writers" has some good points to consider when developing characters for your stories. She had written a character into her story that didn't fit. So she thought about how to increase the suspense and interaction and ended up pounding away on the keyboard and not remembering anything about it with the idea that popped into her head. Her husband told her it was "an out of body" experience.

But what she really did was fully immerse herself in the character, becoming the character in her mind's eye and everything fell into place. That's why she couldn't remember it. I've had a similar experience on a couple of occasions and was thrilled with the outcome, and wondered where did it come from? I am sure that these experiences are prevalent throughout the writing community.

Check out Betty Webb's blog at for her take on this phenomenon.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Header Picture

Well, I've had enough of looking at my own picture in the header, so I posted a Spring photo of hollyhocks growing  alongside my garage. The wife planted them a few years ago and they keep coming back fluffier and blossomier than the year before. Ain't Nature grand? For some reason hollyhocks were always a desired flower to put in the yard, but I never saw them grow as tall as these in the wilds of Northeast Utah. Maybe the summers are too short or maybe it was lack of proper watering or fertilization. No, it couldn't be fertilization, because their was always plenty of cow manure to spread around them. I recall helping to shovel a load of the stuff into a manure spreader while the horses stood calmly but observant swatting the flies with their tails and shaking their heads a few times. Once loaded, my brother-in-law headed for the garden where he set the gears and let the S--t fly through the air, perfuming the environment and everything around the garden. It would produce a wonder crop all through the summer, and we would have fresh peas, beets, corn, cabbage, watermelons, canteloupe, potatoes, and wonderful weeds and beans. Ah, the joys of farming! My brother and I used to do the weeding of our garden, sometimes whacking the vegetables instead of the weeds and ending up in a tussle over who cut the most weeds the fastest or some other nonsensical reason and giving each other a black eye and a few bruises. Ain't Nature grand?  

Thursday, April 4, 2013

On Writing

Do you have questions about plot, character, grammar, queries, agents, jobs, etc. I recommend you check out the May/June 2013 Writer's Digest and the article on their 15th annual  101 Best Websites. An easy reference guide to help you write your best and sell it, too. I like their "Writing Advice" sites, which I'm going to start looking up for my own amazement. Some I've glanced at, but as I get further into this writing thing, I'm damn grateful for these blogs and sites, although I didn't once see the words "Western Genre."

Have a great writing day and a good weekend, too!