Thursday, October 31, 2013

Book Signing Today

I'm heading out to Surprise, the Bell Mar Plaza, to sign books at the Gifts-to-Go Shop today. Included are all my titles:  The Stranger from the Valley
                    The Upamona Gold Claim Wrangle
                     Blood and Blazes in Upamona
                     The Bloody Gulch
                      Posse Justice
                      The Man from Hanksville

Come on out and visit and buy your Christmas presents!

Most are available as e-books and all are available at

O'Shaughnessy's New Deputy has had a slight delay. It should be coming out in November if all goes well from here on.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

American Cowboy the Magazine

The December-January 2014 issue of the subject magazine has a great article by Kendra Santos about Lane Frost, The Legend Lives On. Mr. Frost was a legendary bull-rider who died too early, age 25, after one of his rides. He was the 1987 World's Champion and a really nice fellow, outgoing and companionable.

I have attended a total of two rodeos in my life, one in Payson, Utah, and the other in Midvale, Utah, both of which I sneaked into to watch the goings-on in the 1940's. I was always amazed at the contortions the bucking horses went through during the short ride with the cowboy hangin' on as best he could. And I always wanted to try it, but never did. Rodeos were a big thing in Utah back then and still are, but you almost have to be born into that life to turn out a good cowboy. I haven't heard of too many rodeo riders who weren't raised in the life, but I'm sure there are some who got into it for the entertainment and excitement right  off the street, so to say.

Anyway, I recommend the article to those who are interested in rodeo-ing. It not only tells you about Lane Frost but a couple of the other rodeo circuit riders who were good friends with him and how they met and became friends. And it lets you know about riding bulls for a living. It is the fastest growing sport in the country and Silvano Alves, two-time defending champ made only $1,464,775 last year, according to another article on the history of bull-riding by Jesse Bussard.

By the way, the Wild Western Festival is going on here in Glendale this weekend with Don Collier, the actor,  signing autographs and participating in a panel discussion along with all the other attractions. I won't be attending this year even though the weather is great.   

Thursday, October 24, 2013


I reckon I shud poljize fer not be'n hyar the last cupla blog days, but thangs on the hom'frnt dun need my tenshun. Thet's wy thar wuzn't a blogspiel the last tahm er to.

So with that out of the way, let's move on to something Western for the most part - Cattle. I was searching around for some statistics and ran across the Market Report for week of Oct 18, 2013, on Slaughter Cattle in Utah. There were 1,275 steers weighing 1100-1300 lbs and 975 heifers weighing between 1000-1100 lbs slaughtered. The Dressed Carcasses weight was: Steers 600-900 lbs, Heifers 550-800 lbs, and the Prices were $200-203 for Steers and $199-202 for Heifers.

From that report, if you multiply the number of cattle slaughtered for the year you come up with 27,000.  Let's say the average is around 713 lbs per carcass and times that by 27,000 is 19,241,000 lbs of meat for sale if my arithmetic is correct.  That is less than 7 lbs per person in Utah. Where does the rest of the meat come from to feed the Utahns? Of course, it's imported from Australia or Argentina or wherever.    

And that isn't all I found:  The Annual Grazing Fee Report as of May 1, 2013, for Wyoming, Western Nebraska and Southwestern South Dakota. It states that "Summer grass lease prices are generally higher for the 2013 grazing season due to overall lack of availability. ................. This area is still in the stronghold of an extreme drought and producers are being cautious in terms of moisture. ............... More moisture is desperately needed to sustain this grazing season."

This is a small portion of what is available on a site called and I know those in the cattle business know about this already, but maybe some Western writers will find the site interesting. It has many subjects available and a whole host of sites to find info you may be looking for for some reason or another.

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Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Strong Woman's Ride

Reading Women's Diaries of the Westward Journey reminded me of the lady in early Ohio who took a ride back East to find a minister as told in the History of Ashtabula County [Ohio]:

""During the apring of this year (1810), Mrs. Austin, the wife of Judge Eliphalet Austin, of Austinburg, a woman of great piety, innate strength of mind, and energy, came to the conclusion that they ought to have a settled minister; that the field was ripe for a bountiful spiritual harvest, and she notified her husband that she would go back to old Connecticut on horseback and hunt up a minister! And sure enough that brave woman, with all her change of clothing in a traveling portmanteau, started alone on horseback on that long journey to Connecticut, six hundred miles away, through an unsettled country, and almost unbroken forests most of the way. She arrived safely at her destination after a ride of over thirty days. We have in our mind's eye some of her great-granddaughters who, when they made a journey taking about one-half of that time, were constrained to take along several enormous Saratoga trunks. What would they have thought of traveling on a thirty days' journey with their wardrobes concentrated into a portmanteau? We cannot help drawing a contrast. In spite of their thorough modern education, their culture and accomplishments, and the advantages they had of living in the midst of a higher grade of civilization, they can never excel their good old grandmother in her piety, in all the that made the true woman, in the amount of the sound sense she possessed, of the strength of character she had, the remarkable energy she showed, and the heart she had overflowing with kindness.

"Mrs. Austin went to Bristol, and was closeted with Mrs. Cowles, and there she brought up the subject of the need of a minister to preach the gospel in New Connecticut. Mrs. Cowles fell in with the idea of having her husband accept the call thus tendered by the intrepid woman who had come so far for that purpose. She saw in the then far distant Western Reserve rich and cheap land, and a chance for her boys to fight successfully their way through life. The matter was broached to her husband, and he was easily persuaded to take a trip to New Connecticut, and make a prospective examination of the field which he had been invited to cultivate. Accordingly he started on horseback, and reached Austinburg, and the result of his examination was that he concluded to move the family there. He returned to Bristol, and in the following year, 1811, he took an affectionate leave of his old parishioners, with whom he had been associated so long. We of this fast age are in the habit of accomplishing that same journey, with the comfort and adjunct of the sleeping-car, in from twenty-four to twenty-eight hours, and can communicate with absent friends (literally in no time at all) by telegraph. . . . . . . . . . This can be appreciated when it is considered that the country they were emigrating to at that time was thirty to forty days' journey off, over horrible mud and corduroy roads, up and down steep ungraded hills, with scarcely any hotels on the wayside, with the consciousness that the probability was very remote indeed of any ever returning again to the scenes of thie childhood, and this too at a time when it took over two months for a letter to be sent and deliverd and an answer received, at an expense of fifty cents' postage both ways."

Wow! If that wasn't a daring and dangerous journey for any single rider, let alone a female, to make at the time. The town of Austinburg had only been in existence since 1799 and you could count the number of settlers on your fingers.  It isn't much different today from what I can gather, although the Western Reserve had several hundred or even thousands of land-seekers all told at that time.

(NOTE: History of Ashtabula County, first published in 1878 is in the public domain.)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Cover for the Soon-to-be-Released Novel

I searched for two days for a free photo that I could use for a cover and decided to go with this one, since the action takes place in wintertime along the Sevier River in Central Utah. I hope it makes sense to someone looking for a Western to read. I could have used a picture of saddle trappings, but I thought this one would better portray the location.

I'm double checking the Proof copy and found some errors, but it won't take long to correct and the story should be out next month or maybe sooner.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Old TV Episodes of.....of.....of.....The Lone Ranger

To me, The Lone Ranger is as good as anything to watch while I'm waiting for the Cardinals to take on the Carolina Panthers here in Glendale, AZ.

I(we) watched three episodes, (1) The Old Ranchers or something (2), The Hustler or something and (3) was War Horse.

In the first the Lone Ranger and Tonto have to figure out a way to capture the Devers gang and free the young ranch owner of the Circle K, who was hornswoggled into hiring Devers as his ranch foreman and is now a prisoner in his own house. The Lone Ranger sends his faithful companion, Tonto, to round up the ranchers, who are all old men, to come to the Circle K and lend assistance while he tackles the Devers gang head on disguised as an old Rancher posing as an agent of a man who wants to buy the Circle K.

The second is somewhat similar. Young Bob Fitzpatrick is taken hostage and the fighting duo must free him from the Madden gang and help Fred Vance to clear his name of being a rustler.

And the third is also somewhat similar. The law-abiding duo must free Chief Lame Bear's son from the evil hide hunter, who has stolen the War Horse named Black Hawk from under the nose of the Chief and taken the boy hostage. In this one the U. S. Army has to get involved, too, so as to prevent an Indian uprising.

These were all exciting stories filmed in black and white and cut to the minimum necessary to move the plots along. The pseudo-lawmen carry out their plans superbly with everything falling into place within the allotted time slot and end with "Who was that masked man?" as they ride off into the sunset.


And now, I'm ready for some football!  

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Life of a Woman

I've been reading Women's Diaries of the Westward Journey by Lillian Schlissel and find it very interesting re the women on the trail. It is my belief that the hard life of women portrayed in the book really goes back to the days of the cavemen. I think in those days of the caveman, the female of the species was just as rough and tough as the male. We've seen the cartoons of the caveman dragging the woman by the hair and carrying a big club, but we've never seen a man being dragged by the hair by a woman because it was always men who drew the cartoons. The female could just as well have carried the club and bonked her mate on the noggin, as they almost do here on the westward trail.

As time went by, the female realized she didn't have to act this way, if only she would let the male of the house bring in the food and only wash the dishes. And soon, professional dishwashers replaced the man. And that is the way it has been until some great crisis or movement comes about wherein the woman is forced to take on a greater role and she again picks up the club. In the case of the westward journey, women were forced to take over the chores of the man in some cases and did just as much or more work than her mate, and she had to do it all when her mate died en route or became too sick to carry on and that meant taking care of the seven or more kids they had all by herself. And the healthy men were off trying to find some game to kill or helping the oxen pull the wagon up a hill or something.

I would be the first to admit that a woman's life on the trail was no joy in Mudville because if they wanted to get to Oregon before the snow flew, everyone had to pitch in. Some of them set off and made the trip in three or four months and others took eight or ten months due to one thing and another. If the husband kicked the bucket on the way, the woman had no alternative but to continue on. Going back to nothing was as bad as going on to nothing, since many of them were left penniless and with a horde of children. Others on the trail would lend assistance as long as it didn't hold them up.

And, maybe the time has come again for the women to pick up the club and bounce it off some noggins of the people who are running the country. Maybe just the hit on the head would put some sense in to those people who occupy the seats of Government, but if it had no effect, maybe the women should take over and send the men packing with their tails between their legs, as some did out of necessity on the old Oregon Trail.