Sunday, November 30, 2008

More bookshelf

Here are some more items from my bookshelf. No. 15 has a caboodle of my ancestral relatives listed in it. Henry was the brother of my first ancestor, John, to find America on the Dover in 1635, along with his father and brothers Richard, Thomas and William. That Thomas was a Quaker rabble-rouser, causing disturbances at the meetings, etc. John, William, and Thomas lived on Long Island at one time or another, but Henry was there the longest. I was really excited to find this book and since have collected some others along the way. John and Richard settled in Connecticut. My first writing began with the Genealogy of my ancestors, and has now moved on to Westerns.

Most of the books on the list are non-fiction, except for the McMurtry novels, which I haven't got around to reading yet, but are targeted.

14. Fort Gibson - Termination of the Trail of Tears by Brad Agnew
15. The Descendants of Thomas Hutchinson of Southold, N.Y., 1666-1982, by Jane Errickson Hutchinson
16. Geography of Nebraska by George Evert Condra
17. The Nation 1800-1845 by Charles M. Wiltse
18. Presbyterian Missionary Attitudes Toward the American Indian, 1837-1893 by Michael C. Coleman
19. Where to Find Gold in the Desert by James Klein (I confess I haven't been looking, but may have to start with the markets going kerplop.)
20. History's Timeline by Jean Cooke, Ann Kramer, Theodore Rowland Entwistle
21. Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647, by William Bradford, Sometime Governor Thereof, Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison (Shucks, he didn't even mention Old John.)
22. Fort Worth Stockyards by Horace Craig
23. The Savage Years by Brian Connell
24. Spanish for Beginners by Charles Duff (This one was picked up in Spain while I was there, but I'm still a beginner in that lingo.)
25. Telegraph Days by Larry McMurtry
26. The Wandering Hill by Larry McMurtry
27. Sin Killer by Larry McMurtry
28. Boone's Lick by Larry McMurtry (I'm in the process of reading this one.)
29. Journal of George Fox edited by John L. Nickalls (George Fox was one of the earliest Quakers. I don't know why I have this one. I've never been a Quaker nor do I plan to become one, but the book is interesting to a degree.)
30. Flags of Our Fathers by James Bradley with Ron Powers (Will get to this one of these days. They tell me it is inspirational.)

I have another list coming, since I've barely touched the surface so far. You are probably wondering, (if anybody is following this) how do I find time to read all this stuff. For the most part, I spent maybe ten years going to bookstores, swap meets, thrift stores, etc, finding books about the West and early America hoping to run across something that explained my family's forefathering and mothering, even volunteering for a couple years at the Genealogy Library and going through book after book. I might say I had some success but hardly enough. One thing I found interesting and exciting was in the Federal Records Archives on microfilm. I was going through some of those one day and ran across my great-great-grandfather James, who was working for the Indian Agent for the Pawnees and Otos in Nebraska, he and his two sons, Aaron and Solomon, from around 1837 to 1847. James was hired as the Farmer for the Agency and was supposed to teach the Indians how the Whites farmed. Aaron was the Blacksmith, and Solomon, age 16 or 17 was the Interpreter. Believe me, I thought I had hit the jackpot! I purchased a copy of the films from the Federal Records Archives and later passed it on to the GenLib so I know where it is if I want to go through it again. Well, back to James for a second. He lost his farmer's job but still resided on the Pawnee Reservation when the Mormons first hit Nebraska and he joined up with them, them making him a Captain of Ten Wagons in the first party with Brigham Young and he traveled to Utah. Aaron, Solomon and his mother remained behind for a couple of months then followed him in 1847. Aaron stayed in Nebraska as far as I can determine and was never heard from again on record.

And after composing four or five books for family use only on family history, etc., I decided to try my hand at a Western. So, that's the short story.

I passed on to my nephew a book, The Texas Cattle Drivers, I think it was, which is a compilation of memoirs by the people concerned with driving cattle to Kansas or other places. I should have kept it for reference, besides being expensive. It was very interesting and informative and recommended reading for those interested in what really happened.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

What it's about

The western I've been trying to finish up is the story of a sheepherding outlaw who hired a couple of gunslingers to help him do some claim-jumping in the Uintahs of Utah. Red Skene, a Marshal is assigned to catch the two gunslingers. He planned to keep his business secret and join up with the gang so he could round up the outlaws. But his scheme is thrown askew at the outset by the head claim-jumper and he has to take a different tack. He gets the job done and along the way meets a pretty girl and falls in love, etc., etc., after nearly being arrested by some of the town's citizens, who think he is in cahoots with the gang.

I'll be sending it to a publisher before long and hope they look on it as favorably as I do, but won't be thrown back to the Stone Age if they issue another rejection.

I have some other stories that I'm also working on, a couple of which have been rejected, but I'm an optimist and know that someone will eventually like one of them or maybe all. I try to see the bright side in everything, and don't "sweat the small stuff."

I tried to post a picture for my profile yesterday, but had a little trouble with finding it on the computer to send it. Well, that's not entirely true, I went right to it, but it's a little big for the space allowed even though I reduced it a couple of times. One of these days it'll appear in the appropriate part of the blog, sure as the dickens, it will, I just have to keep at it.

Friday, November 28, 2008


I was going through my bookshelf yesterday after chowing down on the turkey with all the trimmings and reviewing some of the books I have on hand. In one bookcase I came across the following:

l. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry, a great western by a prolific and great author
2. Ten Thousand Goddam Cattle by Katie Lee
3. Life and Adventures of Buffalo Bill by Colonel Wm F. Cody
4. Flaming Gorge Country by Dick and Vivian Dunham
5. Dictionary of the American Indian by John Stoutenburgh, Jr.
6. Gun Notches by Thomas H. Rynning
7. The Outfit by J. P. S. Brown
8. Life and Adventures of Frank Grouard by Joe DeBarthe
9. I, Tom Horn by Will Henry
10. Memoirs of a Lawman edited by Wilson Rockwell
11. Rocky Mountain Warden by Frank Caulkins
12. Indians and Outlaws by Albert A. Lyman
13. Ferron Creek by Wanda Snow Peterson

Except for the first in the list, everything else is non-fiction, some of which bring back memories of my first ten years growing up in a place that is no longer in existence as a town. I think I've read and passed on more books like this than I can show in a listing, some of which I'm sorry I didn't keep, but space limits, and my beautiful better half tells me I have to get rid of all that stuff in the garage, it's too hot out there to keep paper things. But I still have two or three big boxes of baseball cards, etc., which will be passed on to descendants some time or other. There for awhile I was attending card shows and getting autographs on occasion at the urging of a friend who kept telling me it was good deal. Hah! Maybe in a hundred years one or two of them will amount to something.

I had an aunt who lived in Ferron we visited with off and on a few times when we could catch a ride there and back, so when I spotted number 13 above in a used book store somewhere, I had to buy it and read it to see if my relatives were mentioned. They weren't, but I certainly enjoyed reading about the area and the creek that caused so much trouble. My cousin, same age, and I had great entertainment running around the hills looking at things near his house. One time there was an incident with a calf in the barn that was hilarious, but my cousin's life was cut short one day at work later on in his 20's or maybe 30's by an accident. He hadn't been home long from the Korean War zone, and phfffft! it was all over. And the same think happened to another cousin a few years' later. Hell, they went through the battles in Korea and come home only to get blown away in industrial accidents. Life isn't pretty for some people.

But there I go again, wandering on about everything in the world except Westerns, and I've used up about all the time I have to spend on this this morning. I made a little progress on my book yesterday before we went to dinner. The whole thing is down on paper, not a very long one, and I'm rewriting some parts as I read it again for the umpteenth time hoping the great ideas, or near great ones, at least good enough ones, come to me from out of nowhere. That's happened once or twice or I wouldn't have written all the things already that's waiting to be put in commercial book form. Another day, another thousand words, is what I say!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Not much time

Yesterday, I attended a kindergarten Thanksgiving Day program, which I thought was entertaining, comical, and worth the time. I thought the audience went a little overboard when the curtains were pulled apart with all the ohs, ahs, clapping and "There he/she is, right there in the front row/back row, middle, left side, over there, ain't she/he cute, like they hadn't seen their kids/grandkids for a whole hour-and-a-half when they dropped them off, and the cameras snapping photos and videos of the kids in costumes. The whole production lasted at least 20-25 minutes with a lot of clapping, laughing, and the kids struggling to be on cue for their big moment in the limelight. The curtain came down and the on-lookers hung around gabbing about how good their off-spring looked and did for at least twenty seconds before filing out and back to work.

Of course, this has nothing to do with my main subject, but I was working on one of my novels to polish off and send away to the great publisher in the sky and I don't seem to be spending as much time as I need to prevent another rejection due to all the interruptions and etc. I've finished reading Lee Wells "Tarnished Star", Nelson Nye's "Hideout Mountain", both published in the 50's or 60's, and am reading the new one of D. B. Newton, "Disaster Creek". Am enjoying/enjoyed all three and trying to absorb the different approaches and nuances they use to tell the story, hoping some of it will rub off in better writing of my own.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A new blogger

Being a new blogger, I have a lot to learn setting up, editing, posting, etc. But I think I can get past that and on to the more essential parts of blogging itself. So you can crawl off your high horses and hunker down around the fire. I don't plan to be particular about accepting comments from those who take the time, but a few don'ts first. Make that one don't for now regarding wordage.

Don't use language that's considered offensive, e.g. four-letter words beyond damn and hell, and other epithets that may be considered western dialoguish, like son-of-a-bitch, you dirty bastard, etc. Sexual references using the most popular four-letter words will be deleted without comment. Other than that, your comments will generally be accepted subject to my deletion rights.

I hope to receive posts pertaining to the writing of Western novels in particular, both from published and non-published practitioners of the craft. Feel free to let your blogging instincts loose on the range.