Thursday, August 29, 2013

Reviews of Posse Justice and The Bloody Gulch

Received a fine review for Posse Justice on It states in part: "Posse Justice is a good old-fashioned cowboy story. I absolutely enjoyed this book. Exciting adventure with the posse chasing the bad guys through the rugged hills and mountains of Utah and Wyoming."

And a nice one for The Bloody Gulch:  "Enjoyed the word-pictures. The characters and plot ore well done.
. . . . . . . . I wish it had been longer."

Nothing like an unsolicited compliment to get the juices flowing through the veins and thanks to the reviewers. Anymore coming? I sure hope so.

The next book will be out before too much longer, title is O'Shaughnessy's New Deputy. Its the story of a young Mormon who returns home from a mission to Tennessee to learn that his parents were killed by Paiutes and he becomes a witness to a bank robbery and the fun begins.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

John Wayne in . . . .

Was reading blogs when lunchtime came along, so fixed a bowl of soup and turned on the TV while I ate it, and there he was on AMC, a John Wayne Marathon of movies. I got in just after The Sons of Katie Elder buried their mother and watched through to the bitter end. And I do mean bitter after the ambush of the Elder brothers on their way to sell horses. That is, they were waylaid by a posse on their way to Colorado to sell the horses to the miners and taken into town and thrown in jail for stealing the horses and the murder of someone by Tom Elder. The upset town people were getting ready to lynch them when they are loaded into a wagon and sent on their way with escort to Laredo. This is where the ambush comes in, in the middle of a bridge over a stream. The team is stopped by one of the new deputies who was working for a feller named Hastings who had taken the Elder's farm from them near the little town of Clearwater. Hastings had killed their father unbeknownst to the sons of Katie Elder and the sons were looking for the murderer.

Stellar performances by Wayne and Dean Martin, and also playing in the movie was Martha Hyer, George Kennedy,  James Gregory, Dennis Hopper, and others.

The bitter end comes in town after the youngest Elder bro is killed back when the bridge is blown up and Tom (Martin) is shot in the back and the other bro was shot in the chest, all for trying to make up for past sins to make Katie happy in her after life. No one could understand them, except for Mary Gordon (Hyer), and she was't too sure about them, either. A fine kettle of fish.

All in all, the photography (filmed in Mexico), the action, and the acting was just fine and may have been one of Wayne's better movies. Pick up the DVD and enjoy or just watch the TV movie. It'll be back around before you know it.  


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Elmore Leonard

Was just reading the obit of the famous novelist, Elmore Leonard, for the third or fourth time and was saddened by his passing from this world. I began wondering about his writing, why he switched to mystery and crime after being successful with Westerns. Was it because he just wanted to try something different? Was it because he was tired of the Western genre? Was it because he could make more money in crime stories? Were crime stories easier to write? All of the above?

 I see he received the Grand Master Edgar Award.  In 2010 he received the Peabody Award and in 2012 the National Book Award, Medal for Distinguished Contribution, and Best Drama Script by the Western Writers of America in 2013 with others for "Justified" by FX.

 I haven't read many of his works, but what I have I thoroughly enjoyed. He put forth his The 10 Rules of Writing, which I've read, but can't recall any. One has to be "Keep it skimpy and terse." The obits mention his style of writing, comparing it to Hemingway, a fine compliment.

Back to the questions above, several of today's Western writers also write crime and mystery, which is fine and dandy with me, since many Westerns involve the same subjects and it is just a short step away to make it a crime novel instead of a Western. I think the attraction is readership and the daily headlines that feeds new stories. Every morning newscast seems to have a shooting, a knifing, a brawl, a kidnapping, or abuse of some sort, even a bank robbery, a store holdup or a gas station, pawn shop, or jewelry store holdup. Lots of stories there to make into a Western or a crime/mystery book. The choice is yours.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Twitter, dee-dee/Novel Progressing

I finally gave in and signed up for a Twitter account. You can follow me by name Oscar Case. I felt that I couldn't hold out any longer even though I don't have a smart phone, I-pad, or any other device than Nook Color and my PC. This twit will try it for a while to see what happens. Don't expect tweets like "Going to the store" or "We're at the steak house for dinner," and I won't be twittering every five minutes, maybe not even every day.

I'm progressing on the next book, O'Shaughnessy's New Deputy, and it should be out before too long. I'm going to start calling these books Utah Westerns since they all take place there and most of them have some comments about the Mormon way as I see/saw it at the time. O'Shaughnessy certainly has some of this inside the tale. My thought about this is that it may turn some people away, but in the long run, I may pick up some readers. Here is an example of what I'm talking about from O'Shaughnessy:

[Bishop Lane said, "Let us pray for this poor, lost soul. Gather around him, please. Jack, Cadmus put your hands on his head with mine."

Amelia, Jack, Cadmus, and the Mayor moved closer to the bed. The Bishop put his left hand on top of the hands already on the head of Billy Kelly and began, "Our Father Who art in Heaven, we thank Thee for this opportunity to show our devotion. And we thank Thee for our own good health and that of our dear friend, Missus Wilson, who the doctor just said was going to be fine, and for this chance to address our concern for this poor, disillusioned bank robber. Our Father in Heaven we thank Thee for all Your great blessings, for the food on the table. . ."]

This excerpt is a "laying on of hands" the Mormons use in certain circumstances and maybe other religions. In the book, this prayer (and it goes on) didn't have quite the effect the Bishop was looking for, or any of the people gathered around. This is just one example of the "Mormonisms" I have used in the Utah novels and they are not saturated with it. I thought this type of writing should be included in stories that take place in Utah as a general rule to reflect the lives of those who live there.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Not-So-Old Movietime

"Sometimes the magic works, sometimes it don't."
"Let's go eat. My Snake wife cooks good food. I heard that Snake women copulate with horses, but my wife said she doesn't. I don't believe her, though."
And the old Indian and Little Big Man head down the hill at the end of the movie.

The first sentence above comes almost at the end, when  Old Lodge Skins goes up the mountain to its highest point to die, but it starts raining and he survives and says the second group of sentences above. Old Lodge Skins is portrayed by Chief Dan George and Little Big Man was of course Dustin Hoffman. Wikipedia says the movie was a protest against the military in the Viet Nam War and it may have been, since it was a long build-up to the Custer campaign at the Little Big Horn and the loss of everyone but Dustin Hoffman.

If you've never seen Little Big Man you may want to give it a go as it is a funny satire on the times of Custer and Wild Bill Hickok and others as the 120-year-old man (Dustin Hoffman) relates his life to a young reporter. He and his sister are found in a burned-out wagon by a lone Cheyenne after the Pawnee raided and killed the rest of the family. Hoffman is back and forth with the Cheyenne and the whites as he goes through life. Being adoped by a strong religious pastor with a horny wife (Faye Dunaway who later turns up working in a house of ill-repute), he becomes a gunslinger, a traveling medicne man's stooge, a drunk, a friend of Will Bill Hickock, etc., and barely escapes with his life when the Custer's men attack the tribe and later the battle of the Little Big Horn.

Like I said, it was a funny movie and just like the book by Thomas Berger in that regard and good entertainment for 147 minutes. Hoffman and Dunaway looked young, but acted their parts in fine fashion, in fact the overall acting and filming was just fine. Little Big Man, the movie, was released in 1970.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Things Learned Growing Up

Warm cowflop feels great when squeezed between the toes on a hot summer day.

Smoking "Indian tobacco" doesn't do a thing for you.

Hiding condoms in old, broken-down autos is not a good way to teach kids about sex.

Jumping off houses may result in shorter or crooked legs.

Head cheese is not all that bad.

Scraping the hair off a dead pig is a tough job for a seven year old.

Riding a horse bareback may cause blisters.

Jumping in a canal to get rid of lice may or may not work.

Getting a tick off the scrotum can be painful.

Old medical cures do work. My grandpa lived to be almost forty.

Putting sulphur and tobacco paste on your chest doesn't turn it yellow.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Out of Touch and Out of Town

We (the wife and I) have been traveling for a couple days to the land of milk, honey, nuts, and date trees, and more nuts - that is, California, Palm Springs, in particular. We have passed through there several times on I-10 and over the mountain to Hemet, but never spent any time in Palm Springs until now.

We had accommodations at the Casa Cody in downtown Palm Springs a couple of blocks off the main drag of Palm Canyon Drive. This Casa Cody was built in the 1920's by Buffalo Bill's cousin , Harriet Cody, and is on the Palm Springs Historical Preservation List. It  has two pools, a jacuzzi, a barbecue and free breakfast.
The room had a small, furnished kitchen, microwave, fridge, coffee pot, dishes, cups, glasses, etc., and we enjoyed our stay there. Oh yes, and a King-size bed for a comfortable sleep.

We had no idea what would be going on in the middle of summer when the weather is hot (just like Phoenx), but we stumbled on to a Marilyn Monroe Festival going on on Palm Canyon Drive with many vendors and the new, 26-foot tall statue of Marilyn on display with a Marilyn Monroe look-alike contest in the evening. Lots of people taking a "paseo" and eating, drinking, buying, and what-all - interesting and entertaining.  We hopped on the tram to the top of the Cohuilla mountain, which was awe inspring with all the rocks and the Cohuilla Spires on the side of the mountain. I've never been much of a fan of hanging in the air and watching the country go by, but it was fun and enjoyable. Had lunch at he Peaks Restaurant and looked at the scenery before returning down the cliff. Most of the hiking trails were closed from the recent fire, but our hiking was limited to the buildings and stairs and gawking at the rocks.  Friday night we ate at Lulu's, a busy place, with fine food, not as expensive as other restaurants we were told.

We returned to Phoenix via Brawley and El Centro and enjoyed the ride through the Salton Sea area with all the orchards and date trees. Thought Yuma had changed for the better. It looked more prosperous than a few years ago. All in all a fine excursion.