Thursday, December 31, 2009


HAPPY NEW YEAR!! To one and all. I think that includes about everyone.

Now for some really bad news. What's with people and knives? On the news this AM a man stabbed his wife, she died on the way to the hospital. In the Salt Lake Tribune, man stabbed at party. I was reading the police reports for last month in my old neighborhood. There were sixteen burglaries, two stolen vehicles, three assaults, three drug-related crimes and one recovered stolen vehicle. Cheez! It used to be a nice, quiet place to live for the most part, or I just didn't know what was really going on, but we moved about eight years ago and the neighborhood went to Hell is my guess. Here in Sun City, the County Sheriff's office reported the following for Oct 26-27, the latest available (only two months behind, what the heck!): One burglary, one injured/sick person (what happened? Did they find him lying on the sidewalk? Or was it a home call? Or did someone just call in and say he was sick or injured? ??), one theft (what did he steal?), one vehicle accident with injuries (now we know what happened in this case), one fraud (what was that about?), and one vehicle accident no injury (thank God!). Damn! We move in and the place goes to Hell!

I received a letter this week from some lawyer in Canada (he sez), that told me a certain feller died and left $17,000,000+ in a Canadian bank, and they think I'm the only heir they can find. (WHOOPEE! I'm rich!) Now, if I would only contact this lawyer (he sez) confidentially......etc.....etc.... I reported this to the local sheriff's office and they told me to call the Attorney General. Well, I couldn't get a hold of him personally to tell him about this, so I asked the lady who answered, What shall I do with this letter? Should I send it to the AG? She replied, Just tear it up! Destroy it! Uh-huh, yah, that's what I did. They probably had three or four hundred reports about this scam already. The only person with my last name that would have that kind of money would be the descendants of J.I., the tractor man, and he would have deposited his money in Michigan, probably, since he was from there. If the lawyer (he sez) would have used a bank there, I might have fell for it, um-hmm.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! And watch your wallet, your house, your car, yourself, your family, your dog and everything else! Oh, yes, and welcome to Sun City and the Wild West!

P.S. Start the new year off with a copy of The Stranger from the Valley. My nieces said they liked it and wanted to know when the next one is coming out. I told them sometime in 2010.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Day and After

Christmas is over and be-done with. We had a good day at the granddaughter's watching the two boys play with their ton of presents and the two boxer dogs helping them. For the first half the day their house looked like a Civil War battlefield with all the toy soldiers lying around on the the floor and the artillery pieces aimed this way and that, and then it moved on to more modern warfare with helicopters, humvees, planes, tanks and more toys cluttering up the place.

Her kitchen also looked like it had been through a war with all the dirty dishes in the sink, on top of the counter, on the table after we finished overeating everything that was cooked and placed out for easy gathering and demolishing. The dessert table made up about half the meal including two cheesecakes, a pecan pie from Cosco (humungous), chocolate this and chocolate that, dip here, dip there, crackers, cookies, coffee cakes, rolls.

This all sounds like a lot or even too much, but there were thirteen of us making gluttons of ourselves and everyone was in a happy, Christmas mood, even the teenagers heaven forbid. They spent time outside throwing the new footballs around in the street and playing with with this and that thing they found under the tree.

Of course, in this land of PC, we had to feel a little guilt about all the homeless people and those out of a job, but there were donations to the Salvation Army, food banks, rescue missions, and others that soothed our collective conscience and were included in a prayer or two for a better year next year.

And yesterday, my wife and her daughter went to lunch and shopping, for what, I dont know. But they called me around 3:30 in the afternoon asking if I would like Chinese food for dinner. I don't much care for it, but I said yes, forgetting the tamales and ham and all the stuff in the fridge leftover from Christmas. They still had more shopping to do, but would be home in an hour or two. So I went back to watching The Big Country with Gregory Peck, Charlton Heston, Burl Ives, Jean Simmons, Caroll Baker, Chuck Connors, and others. It was a long movie, and this was the two-volume tape version, and I enjoyed it thoroughly, although it dragged out some, with the end taking a long time to come. By the time it was over, the Chinese food had arrived, so I ate it and watched the news, Mercy, and whatever and went to bed early.     

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A year of blogging

This year has whizzed by with no stopping, and now that it's about over I'm recognizing some blog posts that I liked, but are not necessarily limited to the ones shown here.

1. The Story With No Name, which posting has bounced from one blog to another and has not yet reached a conclusion. How will it end? Most are available at (the Culbin Trail).

2. This Week in Publishing posts by Agent Nathan Bransford at

3. Of course, I liked the inteview of myself with Davy Crockett's Almanack at Evan Lewis' blog, not that I am egotistical or anything, but there is nothing like tootin' your own horn. Thanks, Davy, at I also like the book covers, illustrations, and the radio shows on this blog.

4. And as long as I'm talking about myself, I enjoyed the way Joanne Walpole set me straight on her authorship in a comment to one of my posts, and I've enjoyed her book reviews at

5. The Archaivist is always interesting, and I liked his posts on Wild West Mondays and the e-book status at

6. David Cranmer's posts on his Education of a Pulp Writer blog and Beat to a Pulp short stories get my attention. I thank him for posting the poem by John Greenleaf Whittier, The Barefoot Boy, at last July.

7. I liked the series "Movies in the Santa Clarita Valley" by Laurie Powers at and the header picture of the horses presently showing.

This list by no means covers the entire gamut of my likes for the year. Maybe I'll post some more later. Thanks to all the bloggers for their articles and information, and a Merr-rry Christmas! Happy New Year!

And all the books mentioned on this blog during the year or which may have been considered to have been a "plug" by the FTC were unpaid and no gift or any other remuneration of any kind for such mention or "plug" was received.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Christmas Extravaganza

We were invited to an elementary school last Thursday morning to see a Christmas program put on by the first graders of which the great-grandson is one. We had no idea what the program would consist of and were surprised to read on the info sheet we received upon arrival that it is was going to be "A Cowboy Christmas." This brightened up my spirits somewhat, and as the curtain rose, there stood all the children in makeshift cowboy outfits of white T-shirts and red bandanna neckerchiefs. The great-grandson even wore his pair of cowboy boots to practice one day, I learned.

It was a boot-kicking, knee-slapping, toe-tapping good old show, let me tell you. The kids sang some old favorites like Home on the Range, I Wanna be a Cowboy in a Rodeo Show, the Twelve Days of Christmas (adpated to Arizona, e.g., 8 green lizards, 6 rattlenakes, 12 roadrunners, five million snowbirds, etc.), Silent Night, The Cowboy's Lament, and 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. They threw in a poem or two and had a Christmas Sing-A-Long, and my grandduaghter cried at seeing her son singing and clapping and going through the other movements of the songs. It was a heart-wrenching, divine spectacle, and the teachers and principal deserve a great round of applause for the play's production.

As the parents, uncles, aunts, grandparents, and everyone else filed out, there were broad smiles of happiness and satisfaction in the performances of their off-spring.  I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed the show, and it was something I wasn't exactly looking forward to. My wife thought it was a fine play, too, and I could tell she was proud of the job the kids did, especially that of the great-grandson.We had to go get a late breakfast after that at the bowling alley and brag to the waitress about what we had just seen. It was a geat start to the day!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Books of the West - 5

This edition I hold in my grubby little hands of Dakota Cowboy, My Life in the Old Days, by Ike Blasingame, is a paperback published in 1971, Fourth Bison Book Printing, and cost $1.95. I don't remember how much I paid for it, but I'm sure it was more than that. This one was reprinted with permission from G. P. Putnam and Sons 1958 edition by arrangement with Mrs. Ike Blasingame it says on the copyright page and is illustrated by John Mariani.

Mr. Blasingame starts off the book on a trail drive with the Matador Land and Cattle Co in 1904, leaving from Texas and heading to Evarts, South Dakota. From there he relates his life and happenings as a cowboy working for the Matador. As Mari Sandoz says on the back cover, "....Ike was certainly a salty representative of the Texs bronc twister when he came north with the most romantic of cow outfits, the British-owned Matador......There is the authentic smell and feel of the Northern cow the story Blasingame tells."

And Lewis Nordyke, New York Times, says "....and he tells the story straight in the language of the cow country without contrivance."

D. M. Johnson, New York Herald Tribune, adds ".......He paints a big picture without omitting details."

From these cover statements you get the idea that the book will be interesting and exciting as Ike Blasingame tells it like it was at the turn of the twentieth century. And I enjoyed reading his description of the job of a rep at the roundups, as well as the trail drives and Indians, marriage, etc, working for this big outfit.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

How about another little slice of "Murder Under the Cliffs"

This is from Chapter Seventeen. [Jimmy Snyder pays a visit to the Oliver Smith place occupied by Smith, his wife Bright Star (a Navajo), and her brother Billy Pine Mountain]:

I took a good look at the squaw. She was a pretty woman, her hair in a single braid hanging down her back over the same dress she had on earlier, a gingham thing that reached to the ground bunching out below the waist like a white woman's get-up. Her eyes were dark under slim eyebrows, a short Indian nose, light brown skin, and a smile on her face. I could see why Smith would be jealous, but not overtly so.

"Bright Star, how long have you and Mr. Smith been married?" I asked to help her relax, if she was stressed talking to a white man.

"Maybe ten years, maybe more, why?" she said, still smiling, but moving her eyes this way and that.

"Did you and your husband know those outlaws, Grumpy and Wally?" I asked. "And how well did you know Grady?"

"We see Grady about every trip into town," she replied, "but Grumpy and Wally not so much, maybe a few times. Ollie didn't kill Grady, Mr. Snyder, if that's what you're getting at."

"I've seen you both at the cafe every time I go in there," I said. Billy was listening closely, but trying not to show it. "Does he have some business with Mr. Jesperson?"

"It's none of your damn business, Snyder!" yelled Smith, who had come out of the house with pistol drawn. "Get out of the way, Star, and you, too, Billy. I'm going to teach Snyder a lesson about bothering my wife when I'm not around. Move, Star!"

Well, I thought, Billy was right about that. He's a jealous man, all right. I looked at him standing near the open door with a dirty serious expresssion on his face, his black mustache twitching every time he opened his mouth, his eyes in a squint in his bare, partially bald head. He was wearing suspenders to hold up his black wool trousers, one of the tails unbuttoned on one side at the waist and hanging over the top of his pants, his blue shirt partially out of his pants on that side. He held his gun steady, pointed at me.

"Mr. Smith," I said staring into his eyes from a distance of about ten feet, "I was just talking to Billy and Mrs. Smith about Grady's killing. Do you..." is as far as I got, as Smith put a bullet through my hat, sending it flying and landing on the ground maybe six feet behind me.

"The next one will be a little lower, Snyder," said Ollie, still with mustache twitching and that serious expression. "Mount up and get going, before I let you have it."

He was so sure that he had me covered that he glanced quickly at his wife, giving me a quick instant to step aside, draw Colt, and plug him in the gun-handling arm. A big mistake, Smith. He dropped his pistol after firing off a shot that was caused by my lead giving him a muscle twitch and pulling his forefinger back on the trigger. The lead nugget went whistling off into the hills to the west, wing-a-dinging off a rock or tree or something. Smith emitted a loud groan.

Billy slipped his knife out and took a step toward me, but stopped when he saw my .45 pointing at his gut.

"Better help your husband, Mrs. Smith, and you can help her, Billy, just put your scalper away first," I suggested, watching closely.

"I'll get you for this, Snyder," Smith groaned. "I'll turn you in to the sheriff for trying to kill me. Star and Billy will be my witnesses."

 "I don't think you'll have to, Smith," I said, putting Colt away and picking up Smith's gun. "I'll leave this at Fullenwider's office, and these holes in my hat will show him who shot first."

I retrieved my hat, stuck a finger through a hole, and pulled it over my brown hair, keeping my eye on Billy and his pig-sticker.

Smith groaned again and sat down on the porch steps. He told Star to get the iodine and a clean rang and tie up his bloody arm. He unbuttoned his shirt and pulled his arm out of the sleeve after slipping off a suspender. He stared at the blood and the crease in his arm, not a bad injury.

"It looks like you'll live," I said. "Who owns this property? Where do you keep your animals? Is that your crop of grain out there?"

He just gave ame a dirty look and said, "None of your business."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Books of the West - 4

Now is a geat time to order my novel, The Stranger from the Valley, for Christmas presents from,, Barnes and Noble ( or the e-book from A side note about the Nook e-reader of Barnes and Noble. If I had ordered it yesterday when I made a trip there, the rep said I would have it in January. He said it has sold out several times and they had none on hand. I can see why it is becoming so popular, being only about 5"x7" size and easy to manipulate. Books for it sell for $9.99, or there are plenty of free ones in the public domain. Cost was $259, a little high for me at this time.

The book of the West today is Jim Beckwourth, Black Mountain Man and War Chief of the Crows, by Elinor Wilson, copyright 1972 and published by the University of Oklahoma Press.

The picture of Beckwourth at the beginning of the book in a long coat and I guess you could call it a cravat or bow tie doesn't make him look particularly different from other pictures of Indians I've seen. His  black hair hangs down over his ears but no farther and he appears relaxed with one arm resting on a cushion or table and the other on the arm of the chair with legs crossed. But, what catches the eye is the set of his mouth and the sharp black eyes staring at the camera, and the big knife sticking out of the sheath across his mid-section over his buckskin (?) trousers. He doesn't look too happy to be posing for his picture.

He was one of those historical figures you never hear much about, but was an important pioneer, mountain man working for Ashley and the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, and contemporary of some of the most famous characters of the time, like Jim Bridger, Kit Carson, Jedediah Smith, and Thomas Fitzpatrick.

Elinor Wilson does a creditable job telling his story and how he became a Chief of the Crows. Beckwourth had many exciting adventures well researched by the author to lay out his story in a very readable book. Well worth your time, if you haven't already read it.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Books of the West - 3

The Sea of Grass was first published in 1937 by the Curtis Publishing Company and reprinted in 1965 by Time Incorporated. The author is Conrad Richter and the book was made into a movie in 1947. Off hand, I thought the book would be about the plains, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, etc., because that to me is the Sea of Grass, but it actually takes place in New Mexico Territory, where Richter moved from Pennsylvania to Albuquerque.

Seen through the eyes of his nephew, it's the story of a cattle rancher who marries a woman from Saint Louis (a mail-order bride?) and struggles against the homesteaders who want to settle on his ranch land. The antagonist is a handsome lawyer, who uses the courts to help the homesteaders and is a friend of the President.

Richter was reluctant to begin this novel, having been a children's author and short-story writer until then, and didn't know whether he could do it or not, but some say the result was classic. To me, the language is eloquent, poetic, and literary, as if he had wrenched each word out of the hands of the "word keeper." And it's short, only 118 pages.

I guess the movie was less than eloquent, and I don't remember seeing it under the title "The Sea of Grass," but the actors were Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, and a detailed review of it can be found here: (with a click on the mouse).

I caught the tail end of a documentary, Cowboys and Outlaws, on the History channel this AM that had an example of the subject of this novel where some ranchers lynched a woman (Cattleman Kate, they called her) and her husband for homesteading on land claimed by a cattle rancher (Boswell) in Wyoming, who distorted the facts and had it in the Cheyenee newspaper to his favor, claiming she was rustling cattle. An eye witness neighbor and her stepson were found dead under mysterious circumstances. Later, they found a bill of sale for the cattle she owned. 

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Books of the West - 2

The American Cowboy, The Myth and the Reality, by Joe B. Frantz and Julian Ernest Choate, Jr., was published in 1955 by the Universtiy of Oklahoma Press.This book gets to the bottom of the actual facts about the cowboy, starting off with Hopalong Cassidy and going from there to explain the differences between the life of the cowboy and the life of the cowboy as written in the stories and novels of the times.
It covers the trail herding days, ranching and the range, the range wars, the lawbreaking, the literature and the reality. The book is illustrated with several photographs of the cowboy at work in various places, along with the cattle and the land. A nice addition to any library of those interested in the west.

I've been drafting another novel over the last few weeks, and it was going very well for the first two-thirds, but too many roadblocks have been tossed into the mix, and it's practically at a standstill, although I manage to add a few words daily. As I plow my way through it, I can see where it will be needing revision, maybe even tossing out parts of it. I have tentatively given it a title of Murder under the Cliffs. The setting is southeast Utah around 1900, has a little romance, skullduggery, Indians, gun play, good guys, outlaws, missing gold, a smidgen of history, writers, and, of course, murder. An excerpt was posted a few blogs ago. If it works out, it should turn into a best-seller, he dreams alot.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Books of the West

I thought I had read a book entitled Memoirs of a Lawman, but there I go thinking again. I began looking through it to determine the true facts of the case, and decided I hadn't read it. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has purchased a book because it sounds like something you need or want and find out you've already read it. Anyway, the book is edited by Wilson Rockwell and published in 1962 by Sage Books, Denver.and is one of those I've had for a long time, picked up at a used book store along the line.

It's adapted from the writings of C. W. (Doc) Shores, the Sheriff of Gunnison, Colorado, at the beginning, and follows his exploits through to the end of his lawman's career as Salt Lake City's Chief of Police. Doc Shores was born in Michigan in 1844 and died in 1934 in Denver. He was a bullwhacker, a hunter, a buffalo hunter. While working for the railroad, he trailed the outlaws through the west and brought them back to face justice. I can't wait to get into it further to follow him on the trail and off as he delivers the lawbreakers to justice. A tough lawman and a straight shooter who gets his man.

A book I have read and thoroughly enjoyed was We Pointed Them North, Recollections of a Cowpuncher, by E. C. Abbott ("Teddy Blue") and Helena Huntington Smith, with drawings by Nick Eggenhofer. It was first copyrighted in 1939 by Farrar  Rinehart, Inc., and this particular edition is an 8th printing by the University of Oklahoma Press, 1986. E. C Abbot, known as "Teddy Blue," was a cowpuncher in Montana and trailed the longhorns from Texas in the 1870's and -80's. Tells you why he did it and how.  

Thursday, November 26, 2009


HAPPY THANKSGIVING to those readers in the U.S. and Canada, and to those who don't celebrate it, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!! Our family group will be celebrating turkey day at the Rustler's Roost Restaurant at the Pointe, South Mountain, here in Phoenix, a great place for Thanksgiving dinner. We've ordered two turkeys for the meal, which will be more than enough, and the Roost provides the turkeys and everything else. 

By the Gun, a collection of short stories by Richard Matheson and published in 1994 by Berkley, had some exciting and brutal stories, but that's what you would expect from the title. The one about the sixteen-year-old taking some cattle to market, but couldn't cross some land without giving up some of them in payment was especially good. And the first one in the book, about a city boy going west to make a name for himself was also worth the time it took to read it. Mr. Matheson is the author of Journal of the Gun Years (a Spur Award winner) and the Gunfight.

Another book from my small and inadequate library is Reminiscing Along the Sweetwater, by Ruth Beebe published in 1974 by Johnson Publishing Company, Boulder, Colorado. This particular one is autographed by Ms. Beebe, and I don't know from what used book store I procured it. In it, the author gives some history of the area and enumerates the farmers and ranchers along the river and its tributaries from the first settlers to the present day, giving an abbreviated history of each rancher. A valuable tool for researchers and historians, in my estimation, and writers.

There are several pictures of western art in the October 2008 edition of True West mag as it covers the Charlie Russell Art Trail and an article entitled Big Country Big Art, if you are interested in the art of the west.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Frontier Times Mag, 1968

I was file-diving over the past few days and came up with a Frontier Times magazine of January 1968. I thought I had given away these old magazines before I became interested in writing, but evidently this one was still here. It was published by Western Publications, Inc., in Austin, TX, and is Vol. No. 42, No. l, New Series No. 51, Pat Wagner, Editor, and Joe Austell Small, Publisher, cost 35 cents.

It contains true stories of the old west, and this issue has The Canyon Springs Robbery, Fastest Gun in Phoenix, "Git Fer Vegas, Cowboy!", Billy the Kid's Last Christmas, and An Irishman in Indian Country, and others, including a couple of Tumbleweeds three-panel comic strips. It appears similar to the present day True West mag and for all I know, may be it's forerunner or not

I never got around to reading it, or the ones I gave away, but I'm certainly going to dive into this one in my spare time. One of the book reviews is about the Spanish Naval Center in San Blas in Mexico, a very active port for the support of California in its early years. San Blas has not been prominent in the history of California, at least in the material I've read about it, but played an important part according to the review. I will be interested in reading the volume, if I can get a hold of it.

But before that I'll read The Fastest Gun in Phoenix by Maurice Kildare. This man was Henry Garfias, who at 23 pinned on a law badge and became the man who tamed Phoenix in 1874. The article begins with him confronting a free-for-all in a saloon on Whiskey Row where he kills one man and wounds another and goes on to solve stage coach robberies and rounds up the Valenzuela gang. A tough lawman to be sure. He was injured in a horse accident and died a few days later in 1896. In 1874 the population of Phoenix was about 1,500 and now its close to two million (1.6 in 2007).

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The TV and Them

I do write something beside westerns occasionally, usually caused by the course in writing I'm taking from the  Bishop Literary Service of nearby Youngtown, AZ, like this short piece.

Some people are addicted to the TV, turn it on the minute they hit the door, but never concentrate fully on it with other things going on.

Every time we visit my friend and his wife, the TV is blasting away, not at a reasonable volume but loud enough that it makes it difficult to carry on a conversation. The TV is playing sports, music or military programs, and once in a great while a history presentation, but seldom the news. In fact, I've never seen the News on in there house.

But, anyway, we were invited over last Friday night (my wife and I) for a get-together and a sandwich of some kind, and they were "watching" the Army training the Green Berets. The lady of the house tunes these programs out mostly, and it's primarily her husband's program.

I asked the barbecue-er what he was cooking tonight, and he replied, "Army burgers. You ever had one?"

"Probably, but not by that name. What the heck are Army burgers?" I asked.

He was intent on watching some soldiers jump over obstacles and didn't hear me.

"Jim!" yelled his wife. "Switch the station to some nice music for a change. Don't you get tired watching those GI's all the time?"

"What are Army burgers?" I asked again, after he changed stations.

"That's the way we cooked thim in the Army. A donkey, some sputterbutt, and two pieces of a bag-it."

His wife interrupted to tell him that, "They're singing our song. Wama-wama-wamoo-oo," she sang.

And he joined in with her and so did my wife. I just shook my head.

And so went the night, but he did get around to telling me about the Army burgers later, when they were watching the infrequent historical piece about the Egyptian pyramids.

He said, "They look similar to the base of one of those pyramids and are about as heavy, too. They throw on the grill some donkey (patties), squirt the barbecue juice, and catsup, mustard stuff (sputterbutt) on the patties, and shovel it in between two pieces of bag-it (buns). It's mighty tasty. If we hadn't have had cork-du-soley tonight, you could have tasted them.

We went home with me wondering what the hell cork-du-soley was, even though I had eaten some of it. His wife probably watched one of them French cooking programs.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Empty mind and an excerpt

Just ran across a blog entitled Ramblings of a Raconteur written by Rebecca Ryals Russell who said she has finished her NaNoWriMo project, see at

My mind is drawing blanks this morning on writing the blog. I thought I would pick out a book and say something about it, then I thought, no, I've already done that the last few times. So, on to something else. I guess I could start off by doing an excerpt from a new novel that I'm working on, like this one (not a NaNoWriMo):

"Never mind," I said. "We'll do it some other time. What direction did the rustlers take? This is a big country."

"They stole them from the main herd over there," Zeke, said, pointing to some cattle grazing peacefully, "and took off to the northeast for a ways, then headed northwest to the canyons. We lost them in the rocks at the edge of the gulches. I think it was Indians that stole them, Utes would be my guess, but can't tell for sure."

I stared at him as he spoke, trying to tell if he was lying, but there was nothing except a turning away of his eyes from my face for a split second. Could be a habit or it could be the reflection of a lie.

"Anything else you want to know?" asked Zeke.

"We better get back to town before it gets too late," I said.

"That's the best idea I've heard all day," said Julie, and she took off at a lope with Zeke and me trying to catch up.

A few hours later, I was sitting on the Jesperson front porch steps, Julie beside me, and telling her what a great cook she was. Mr. Jesperson and Zeke were in chairs, partially hidden in the shadows. The sun had gone down, and a full moon had slid over the cliffs from the northeast, casting its gray light over everything but Jesperson and Zeke in the shade of the porch roof.

"That roast beef was the best I ever ate," I said to Julie, "tender and easy to slide a knife through, and seasoned just right. Thanks for inviting me."

"If it had been up to me," said Jesperson with a touch of anger in his voice, "you wouldn't be here."

"I wouldn't be here anyway if the sheriff hadn't locked me up," I replied. "It's funny isn't it? An old man is killed, another cowboy shot, a cowboy dead from a slit throat, some talk about missing gold and missing cattle. I don't know what to make of it."

"Oh, Jimmy, I don't want to talk about it tonight," said Julie, watching me. "Won't it keep until tomorrow?"

"There's more," I said. "A pretty girl with a jealous sheriff as a bodyguard, an overprotective father, a couple of Indians. Anyone else? I ask myself." Before anyone could say anything, I continued, "A man in prison in Colorado for robbing a bank, his son the cowboy with the sore throat, two aged criminals, one dead, gold, and missing bank money. It gets more complicated all the time. And there's the sheriff who's supposed to be catching the outlaws, but has time to act as bodyguard for a beautiful woman."

"You talk too much, Snyder," said Zeke. [Note: Zeke is the sheriff.]

"Just laying it out for all to see," I said. "Is there some reason I shouldn't talk about it?"

"Lots of reasons," said Mr. Jesperson. "In the first place, I don't want to hear it, and in the second, this is man talk and should be between men, and in the third place, you're probably wrong about everything anyway, so please change the subject."

"You heard him, Snyder, stop talking about Grady and whatever, or I'll lock you up again for disturbing the peace," said the sheriff.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Flaming Gorge Country

By golly! This picture in the header isn't quite so big as the house. It's a drawing of one of the gravesites in Tombstone, AZ, that was imprinted on a magnet that is stuck on my file cabinet.

The book, Flaming Gorge Country, by Dick and Vivian Dunham, was copyrighted in 1947 under the title Our Strip of Land by the Dunhams, and in 1977 was copyrighted by Richard R. Dunham as Flaming Gorge Country, The Story of Daggett County, Utah. It has illustrations and photographs, and is where Brown's Park (or Hole) is located, in the northeast corner of the State bordering Colorado on the east and Wyoming on the north. The Flaming Gorge Lake on the Green River is in Wyoming and Utah. The Green River runs south then swings to the east and in to Colorado above Ladore Canyon. The lake dam is in Red Canyon on the river after turning east in Utah. Brown's Park is an area along the river in Utah and Colorado before it turns south through Ladore Canyon.

Some of the notorious figures that hid out in or passed through Brown's Park were Tom Horn, Harry Tracy, Matt Warner, Tom McArty, Isom Dart, Butch Cassidy, and others.

And this book is a great exposition of the history of the county, 384 pages with index. If you've never visited Flaming Gorge, you have an experience wating for you, whether it's fishing, hiking, camping, beaching, or what have you, or just passing through. It's a beautiful lake in a great setting.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

They called him Bill - Just Buffalo Bill.

Before we get started on the blog, I better explain the photo in the header. Egad, the size of it! It would choke a Clydesdale! First of all, I tried to reduce the size, but it didn't work, so it'll be this way until I throw up something else. This is a picture of the Lot Powell house taken in 1994 and had been vacant for years. It's located in Altonah, Utah, or what was Altonah in the '30's. All the buildings on the main road have been torn down because the land was returned to the Indians, as I understand it. However, there is a single-wide home in the old schoolyard. My oldest sister was married in this log cabin by Bishop Powell in 1929 and she and her husband lived up the road about two or three miles north from here, raising cattle, sheep, horses, etc., on the "ranch."

Now, on to the blog:  The Title lines above are from the poem by F. P. Livingston, The Great Scout, and this is a description of the book, Life and Adventues of "Buffalo Bill", by Colonel William F. Cody, copyright 1939 by Mrs. "Johnny" Baker, Lookout Mountain, Golden Colorado and printed in the U.S.A. by The Smith-Brooks Printing Co., Denver, Colorado. It is the Autobiography of Buffalo Bill Cody with an introduction by Cody and a Preface by William Lightfoot Visscher written in Chicago, January 25, 1917. After the Preface is a listing of Chapters with a short synopsis of each under the title, Autobiography of Buffalo Bill, and then it's on to the manuscript itself. It begins with his childhood and then continues on through his exploits and times of the wild west show to Chapter XXIV, The End of the Trail, with many illustrations. Right from the "horse's mouth," as they say, all in Buffalo Bill's words. In it, he explains how he come by the name, "Buffalo Bill," if you have forgotten or would like to read it again. You name it, he's done it, from trapping on the Chugwater, fighting the Indians (hostiles, he calls them), hunting buffalo, and the entertainment business, a busy and varied life, and an interesting book, sold by the Buffalo Bill Memorial Museum, Alt. 7375 Ft, Lookout Mt. Colorado. I paid $12.50 for it at a used book store or an antique store sometime ago, who knows where or when.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Exploration of the Colorado River

Many of you have read J. W. Powell's The Exploration of the Colorado River and its Canyons. I thought it would be a dull text-like exposition, but started reading it a few years ago and found it to be an exciting story as Major Powell, with one arm, climbs all over the various cliffs and inclines along the river. The book is a reprinting by Dover Publications, Inc. of New York, containing 250 illustrations and photographs, and a map, first published in 1961 by Dover.

Major Powell sets out in May of 1869 with nine men to explore the last open space on the map of the country. Three men mutiny before it's over and leave the party and are murdered by the Indians. Nobody knew what it was going to be like when they started out, but they found treacherous canyons with walls 5,000 feet high, hunger, turbulent and smooth waters, and battles with the water no one thought possible before it was over. He describes the geographic, geologic, and seismic details of the landscape, plus the vegetation and animal life as they make their way down the thousand-mile long river.

It's a common-place thing these days to run the rapids of the Colorado with tour guides and all, but on this initial exploration there were no guides to tell what was coming up next and would they survive the grueling rapids in their oar-powered boats? A dangerous undertaking and six men survived.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Ten Thousand Goddam Cattle

Continuing our "skim-overs," here is Katie Lee's book, Ten Thousand Goddam Cattle, first published by Katydid Books and Records, Jerome, AZ, in 1976. This edition is a 6x9 paperback, third printing (revised) 1985, and is autographed by Katie Lee. The front cover says it is a history of the American cowboy in song, story and verse, and the back cover has a small photo of Katie Lee with a short bio and overview of the book.

Wikipedia also has a bio on Katie Lee, born 1919 in Tucson, resides in Jerome, has written two other books, Sandstone Seduction and All My Rivers Are Gone. It says that Ten Thousand Goddam Cattle is a study of the music, stories and poetry of the American Cowboy.

It's a book for the student of the West and anyone else who is interested in the cowboy's music and its origin among the cactus, sagebrush and cedar trees, trailing a herd of cattle and in the bunkhouse. The book contains a number of cowboy songs and verses with illustrations by William Moyers, and is extensively researched. Katie Lee's official website is Take a look at her flash presentation on the site.

A couple of articles appear in the Salt Lake Tribune ( this morning of interest to the western way of life:

1. Shaping the Western Tradition, which is about the history of a hatmaking store started by Brigham Young and his personal hatmaker in 1853and is still in use, being closed for a time in the 1980's.

2. Roundup: Only 'brave spirits' need apply: The annual roundup of the buffalo on Antelope Island.

3. Heber City Cowboy Poetry and Buckaroo Fair, Nov 3 to 8. Includes a series of documentaries on the vaqueros.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sam Colt

I thought I would take another look at some of the books on my shelf and give a "skim-over" to let the readers know what they are about. I'm starting off with Sam Colt and His Gun, The Life of the Inventor of the Revolver, by Gertrude Hecker Winders, published by the John Day Company and copyrighted 1959 by the author. This edition is the Fourth Impression, and this particular book was in a library since it still has the small envelope that holds the checkout card glued to the inside cover. The library identification has been covered over with a black marker.

The title and subtitle explain the contents pretty well, but they don't get into the details, of course. Born in 1814, Colt had always been fascinated with guns, getting his first muzzle-loader at a young age. He invented a mine and then had the brilliant idea for a repeating pistol. The first models failed, but he kept at it, and to earn money, he gave demonstrations of nitrous oxide. With the money, he went on to perfect and patent the Colt revolver and died in 1862 at age 47. Thousands of his revolvers, muskets and rifles were used in the Civil War by the north.

The book may have been written for high school libraries as it is easy to read and understand with illustrations. But that is my own thought about it, an interesting story nonetheless.

Although not in effect yet, FTC rules will require beginning Dec 2009 a disclosure statement. To wit, I have not received any money or a free gift for this blog post.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hour of the Gun/Boston Book Fair

Whaddayaknow? I finished reading Hour of the Gun by Robert Krepps! It must have set a record of some sort or it was above avearage reading. The movie on which the book is based or vice versa starred James Garner, Jason Robards, Robert Ryan, and I didn't much care for it because of the acting, not that they were not good actors. It was they didn't fit the script, leastways not in my mind, or maybe I was too sloshed to pay much attention, it's been a long time since I saw it.

But the book was good, darn good, and I especially liked the part where Doc Holliday hires the deputies to assist Wyatt in bringing in the Clanton gang.  A gambler hiring his old gambling acquaintances, all on the wrong side of the law, now lawmen, looking forward to collecting the reward. What a kick!

 And the shootout in the villa was exciting, too, with Clanton getting what's coming to him from W. Earp, who had thought Holliday was dead there, too. It starts out with the OK Corral gunfight and ends up in Mexico at the Clanton Villa where Ike Clanton had moved his cattle stealing operations from Tombstone.
Doc Holliday survives to die in the Denver sanitarium which we all or most of us knew already from the other movies.

I enjoyed reading the book (I enjoy about all of them), and will now move on to another gun novel, By the Gun, written by Richard Matheson, a Berkley Book published in 1994, and if it's as great as the promotional blurbs included, it should be a doozy.

This weekend is the first Boston Book Fair, and a quick glance through the schedule of events is disappointing to western fans, since I saw nothing that represents the western novel nor did I recognize a western author, although I certainly am not familiar with all of them. There are 30 exhibit booths, and a couple of sessions on e-books and digitals, and one session called Thrillers and Killers featuring Stephen Carter, Andre DuBus III, and Joseph Finder, hosted by Jessica Stern, all unknown to me. This is the inaugural of the Fair, so there is lots of opportunity if it continues through the years.

My computer is fine. Memory is about the only thing I can replace in a few minutes without having to call an expert, so I added 1 GB and that should be sufficient for another year or so.  

Thursday, October 22, 2009

It finally happened! What do I do now?

It happened, if finally happened. I continued entering updates, which are automatic in most cases, adding new apps and such, programs, stories, notes about stories, more programs, more apps, widgets, more widgets, and what have you until my PC threw up, crying that's enough, don't put any more crap in here until you add some MEMORY. Shut off all programs, save it first, then try again.

That's what happens when you purchase a PC with a gigantic hard drive and minuscule memory. I said to the salesman that it doesn't have much memory for that great big drive, and he replied, "Oh, yeah, it's a nice PC all right. That memory is pretty big, actually. It'll hold you for quite a while, and when it gets filled up, you just come on back and pick up more memory."

So, it finally got stuffed to the gills and coughed up the notice to ADD MORE MEMORY! (OR ELSE).

I don't mind doing this chore, but it's not as simple as the one I had before. In the first place, they didn't include the hardware instructions other than how to set it up, but the booklet is on-line. And it's all there, all you have to do is find them and then find the section on memory and what to do to add more. And knowing that going through this for the first time is always the hardest, I'm setting aside some time to actually do it. Let's see, today's Wednesday, no Thursday, and if I don't do anything else tomorrow, I should be able to get to the inside of the PC by say, Saturday afternoon, if I don't have too many interruptions. And then I can run to the store, pick up a memory stick (I know why they call it a stick now, too, because I know right where I'd like to stick it), and just tuck it in place next to the other one. VOILA! There you have it! By Sunday, my PC will be faster than a whizzing bullet!

Let's see, how many screwdrivers do I need? Is it a Phillips or a standard or one of those little tiny square things? A hammer? An electric drill? A pneumatic wrench and a jack hammer? Two lifejackets? One of those static electricity gadgets you tie around your wrist? A lifeboat? An air compressor? An ambulance standing at the curb? An emergency telephone? An air mattress? An emergency generator? An air compressor? An arc welder? Piece of cake! It'll be up and running by a week from Friday! No, make that Saturday or for sure Sunday!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Swine Flu/Wild West

I feel like I'm coming in out of a fog, with my thinking machine only half, or less, functioning. It needs a good kick to get it to fully operational. But I won't bend your ears more than an hour or two about how bad the swine flu was (is) and recommend that everyone hye theirselves thither to a shot place and get yourself shot with vaccine. The other shot place (bar) is fine as long as they provide a little vaccine with the dollops of alcohol. I don't recommend getting sloshed and swine flu at the same time. You'll feel bad enough with one or the other.

The Wild West is still alive and kicking, at least here in Arizona. The legislature passed and put into law that you can carry a gun into a bar or restaurant as long as the bar owner doesn't post a sign saying no guns allowed. You should have heard the hullaballoo over that. Of course, if you're carrying, you can't drink any alcohol. That's the way it used to be, except it has been reversed. It used to be you could carry a weapon anywhere as long as it was in the open. Of course that doesn't fly with the left or PC crowd, so they banned all weapons, practically. Now, you need a concealed weapons permit and you can take it into a bar as long as the owner permits guns inside. When it was "open carry" no one ever got killed, or not many, at least I don't remember reading about someone being shot because of the law. And then, all guns were banned and only the criminals had them and the bullets began flying, and about every day now, you can read about someone being shot and killed here in Phoenix.

It seems to me that all, or most, of  the shooting is still coming from the criminal element, mainly gangs and drug dealers, who are not even supposed to have guns anyway. Would a new "open carrry" law help in this regard? I doubt it, they are going to continue doing what they can get away with.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bad weather

No article today due to the flu bug. It's a bad one - AH-CHOO!  sniffle, sniffle.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Something different

Today, we're getting away from the westerns for a minute and taking a look at a different genre. My niece, Tamara Imes Nicholas, has had a book on the market for the last few years titled The Storm Before the Calm. It's the true story of her young life after high school as she goes through Hell in the world of drugs. She reaches the depths before she is able to pull herself out. The book is honestly written with no apologies. It is an engrossing read and makes you wonder how she could live through it.

Tammy is a social worker with an associate degree in social work and calls herself an Innately Gifted Intuitive and Medium. She provides healing through White Light Therapy. Don't ask me what that is, but you can learn more at her web site listed below. On that site she has a description of her book and links to her poetry and videos. Her site is interesting and she is honest and forthright about what she does. Oh, yes, she can swear like a drunken sailor, but she is overcoming that habit, too. A charming personality with a great gift for writing, she is working on a sequel that takes her life forward after The Storm Before the Calm.

I don't agree with a lot of her philosophy and such, but she is welcome to believe and say what she wants. I do enjoy her writing and comments on facebook and look forward to her next book. And a personal note for her: Tammy, we love you muchly and hope you are getting over your temporary illness.

Tammy's website is here

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Blood and Blazes in Upamona/Bishop Literary Service

The past few days I've been working on Blood and Blazes in Upamona, which is a sequel to The Upamona Gold Claim Wrangle, and writing short stories.

In Blood and Blazes in Upamona, Slim Sanglant, the sheepherder, gets out of jail and comes back to Upamona to seek revenge against those who helped put him away, and Red Skene, now the County Sheriff, is on the case. It begins with Slom assaulting Mr. Heacock and pummeling him, and Tim Ryan is sent to fetch the sheriff. Red and his wife and kids, go to Upamona, and Red is confronted with the shooting of Dix Krantz, houses and barns burning down, and disappearing characters. Everyone thinks that Slim is behind all the terror, but is he? Skene's brother-in-law, Tim Ryan, and his cousins, Jed and Fred Cadwell assist Red as he tries to solve the crimes, as does Bushy Carlsen, Red's deputy.

The novel is finished in the second or third draft, and I just have to polish it up, check for typos, misspellings, continuity, etc.

I would like to put in a plug for the Bishop Literary Service. and owner Greta Bishop, who manages the Writer's Roundtable on the net, and from whom I have been taking courses over the last two-three years. Greta is a published author and ghost writer in her own right, and provides quality information for new and experienced writers through her newsletters and lessons. Greta can be contacted at concept077 at aol dot com. New members are welcome.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Early Background

The second interview was with Lacey McMurry of the Uintah Basin Standard (printed September 21), who asked me a few questions about my background and the book, The Stranger from the Valley.

A more detailed background is included here. My family lived in Altonah, Utah, until 1942 when we moved to the big city of Murray, a suburb of Salt Lake City. My father (born in 1883) first moved to Altonah in 1917, staying there only a couple of years, before moving on to LaPoint, another small town in the Uintah Basin. Butch Casssidy and the gang camped in Brown's Hole on the Green River, and I used to hear tales about them traveling to and from the Hole, not all true, or maybe none of them were true, but he was popular even in the 1930's among the local townfolks. He was like Robin Hood to them from the way they told some of his exploits. And this is another factor that probably played its part in my writing westerns.

The family relocated to Huntington around 1928 or '29, then moved back to Altonah in late 1930 or '31. I was born not long after, and the depression ended, some say. My young years were abundant with the western culture and the Indians. Playing cowboys and Indians was about as popular as twittering is today. Or playing a variation of that game, somebody would be Butch Cassidy and another kid the Outlaw. And along came the movies, the cowboy movies the most popular with the locals. I can hear the grownups groan now when a non-cowboy film was on the schedule.

The grade school in Altonah was a nice brick building with four classrooms, one used as a lunch room, and there were two grades in each of the other rooms. My class through the fourth grade had about eight to twelve students. One teacher taught both grades in each classroom, and I can still remember a couple of them, Norma Turpin (4th grade), Miss Davenport, Miss Dubois.

I've often wondered what my life would have been like if we had never moved to the big city.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Old file diving

I'm fumbling around this morning, trying to come up with something to post on the blog because I'm running late. Had to make another trip to the lab for my wife to have a test or two.

 I have a cubbyhole on the desk that now has about a ream of paper, mostly single sheets, some stapled together, that I thought was important when I put them in the hole. But, the trouble is I seldom go through them. Why do I need all this stuff, I ask myself. Let's take a look at it RIGHT NOW and see what's in there.

Right on the bottom are two envelopes from Nov 2002 from Paris, France, a former girlfriend trying to track me down, and she finally caught up with me. I hated to tell her that I'm now married, have been for over thirty years, and she was married for over twenty, she said in one of the cards. Well, well, life goes on, doesn't it? A-ah, the French women! Vive la femme!

Next are two newspaper clippings about internet security dated 2004. Throw them away, they don't apply now, since I have Vista.

Next in the pile was a series of articles on genealogy from the Genealogy Book and those were taken off the net in 2001. I was keeping them for when I had some free time to shuffle through and maybe purchase some of the material. Don't think I have enough time, yet, but I'll keep them just in case. One is entitled Colonial Famlies of Martha's Vineyard. Way back there in the 1600's was a William Case who settled there, and I thought maybe this would be interesting to see what happened to him. He is rumored to be a brother of old John, my great (7 or 8)-grandfather, When I get a few extra bucks, maybe I'll order it.

In the hole was a copy of Writer's Digest , December 2006. At least, it's fairly recent. Must have been someting in it I wanted to keep for reference. OK, put it back, may need it in 2014 or some time.

A copy of an on-line catalog of Mormon books three pages long. I guess I'll keep that, never know when you might want or need one of the books. It's all fiction, and I've read one or two of them like The Storm Testament series.

A receipt for dental work, crown, etc, $883.50. Whew! Hope that's finally paid off.

A Salt Lake Tribune article on CFL bulbs, how to take care of them if one or more break into smithereens. Keep that, at my age, I'm dropping things all the time.

A list of dermatologists needed when I had a couple spots on my face, a card saying thank you for participating in a survey (throw it away), a notice of cancellation of an order for something or other (toss it), some retirement info (old, toss it, too), receipt for my computer (hold it), some lottery info (toss), some submission guidelines (toss), Writer's Digest Special Issue, 2009 (keep this) with markets for magazine writers, and etc., etc., etc.

I've barely made a dent in the pile of papers today, and that's all the time I can spend. Maybe I'll get back to it next week or next month or next year. Might just throw it all out and start over again, and then again I might not, you never know when.....A-A-R-G-H!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Lost Time/Update

Rats! Thursday and Friday I shut down the computer after an early morning check. Our power company is in the process of switching electric meters to digital and left a notice on the gate to turn off all sensitive electrical equipment. Of course, they didn't tell us what time they'd be by, and they didn't show up until about 3 PM on Friday. So, two days of non-, or vey little, production. It wasn't like the world hinged on my producing 20,000 more words to add to the collection, but I did have a couple things I wanted to finish up. Such is life.

I did have a good first part of the week, though, finishing with The Bloody Gulch. Yup, it's ready to send off, but will hold on to it for another couple weeks or more. I would like to know if The Upamona Gold Claim Wrangle is going to be published or, heaven forbid, rejected after eight months of reviewing. With the turmoil in publishing that was a follow-on to the recession, I don't mind cutting them a little slack, but I hope they get around to a decision before I kick the bucket.

I plan to take up Moonlight Mesa's offer of a 25% discount on any book they are selling at certain events here in Arizona. Their blog can be found on the right side of this page, as I am a follower and enjoy reading about the progress of Moonlight Mesa Publishing.

 I'm working on a humorous (I use that word loosely) short story of some events in my great-great-grandfather's life. When I submitted Working with the Pawnees and Otos to (an e-zine dedicated to the old west, check it out), I thought that would be it, but I have decided to continue along with it and see how it turns out.

I finished reading Resolution by Robert B. Parker and found it entertaining. The Hitch-Cole duo makes for an enjoyable read. Pick up a copy, if you haven't already. I started on The Hour of the Gun, the aftermath of the shootout at the OK Corral and the Ike Clanton carryover. It was written by Robert Krepps and copyrighted in 1967. It's the Fawcett Gold Medal Edition and promotes the movie with James Garner, Jason Robards, and Robert Ryan on the front and back covers. I saw the movie, but so long ago I don't remember much about it other than I had seen better.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Interviews/Miami Book Fair and a Championship Fight

I had my first two inerviews the past few days, the first one with Dave Lewis of Davy Crockett's Almanack (here and the other one with Lacey McMurry, who works for the Uintah Basin Standard newspaper in Roosevelt, Utah, the locale of The Stranger from the Valley. I haven't seen Ms. McMurry's article yet, but I very much enjoyed reading about myself (tsk, tsk) on the Almanack. It was a fine posting, and I'm indebted to Dave for having undertaken the project.   

I get a newsletter and notices from iUniverse off and on, and the last one was a reminder of the Miami Book Fair coming in November, 8-15. It is billed as International and thousands of booklovers are expected to be combing the aisles. I would like to go back there and see what it's all about, but it's not on my schedule. In fact, there isn't much of anything on my schedule. If I had two or three more books published, I would think twice about attending, maybe.

I spent a good couple of years living in North Miami Beach back when the sand was still fairly plentiful on the beach. It was the time of the Cassius Clay-Sonny Liston fight. A funny thing happened on the way to buy tickets for the big deal. Brad (a sailor buddy) drove his little Nash Rambler station wagon to the auditorium to see if we could pick up tickets for the fight.  I was climbing out of the car when the rear end of my trousers ripped from top to bottom. I yelled at Brad, who had already taken off, and he came back to see what was wrong. When I told him, he cracked up, laughed his head off, and I joined in, thinking it was pretty funny. Anyway, he took my $20 and went to the box office to inquire about seats. He came back and told me it was all sold out. Big disappointment.

Around that time, we learned that an exhibition fight card was taking place in North Miami Beach a couple nights prior to the big fight. On the card was Earl Atley vs Mike DeJohn, light heavyweights (I think, my memory isn't too clear), as the main event, and a half-dozen lesser fights, including Champ Fontaine vs Willie Jackson, lightweights; Johnny Hobbs vs Kid Casey, welterweights, and Willie Cadilac James vs Nat Wright, welterweights. The next show held about a month later, featured heavyweights Cleveland Williams vs Billy Daniels. Cleveland at the time was a popular and great boxer, but couldn't win a title. My buddy and I saw both of these cards. Willie Pep was refereeing the bout with Atley and DeJohn. Sonny Liston was there, too, and afterward hung around and signed autographs. Of course, we all know the outcome of the Liston-Clay fight, with the sore shoulder of Liston and the great career of Muhammed Ali. Liston passed away a few years ago in Vegas, I think it was, and Ali has Parkinson's. My heart goes out to him and all others who have to suffer with this illness. They are making progress on finding a cure, but so far it hasn't happened, although some new drugs help to reduce the involuntary movements. If you have an extra sawbuck lying around, you might donate it to the National Parkinson's Foundation, Inc., Office of Development, 1501 NW 9th Avenue/Bob Hope Road, Miami, Florida 33136-1494.

At the time, I had an old Lincoln two-door sedan that I picked up at the corner lot for around $600 on installments, and it wasn't long before the transmission went kapoo-ey. The problem was, it wouldn't go into reverse, and with no money for repairs, I had to be careful parking, making sure I could always go forward. At times, I was stuck waitng for someone to move their car like at the dog track or a restaurant, so I could go home or wherever. We got a lot of laughs out of the situation. When I left Miami, I sold it for $75 and thought I came out on the good end of the deal, not exactly smelling like a rose, but maybe a gladiola. I was certainly glad to get rid of it or I would have had to abandon it, since I was leaving the country. No, I would've given it away to somebody who didn't want it either and let him worry aobut it. Father Joe wasn't around then, at least I had never heard of his program.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Excerpt from Stranger from the Valley

Correction to something on the last blog: The website for amctv blogs is That should be the correct address to get to the Westerns. I got to the site using the address on the last blog, but it took a couple more steps.

Another short selection from The Stranger from the Valley:

Cranky began laughing, too, at their little tomfoolery. "Pretty funny, huh, Chappie? Them Utes are funny," still grinning, as he lifted his beer glass.

"Ha-ha-ha! Pretty funny all right," Chappie agreed. "Tell me, Long Paul, how long has that Fedderson worked in your fields?"

Long Paul had gone back to setting the place to rights, but he looked around at Chappie, then Cranky, then back to Chappie. "That Fedders' fella plenty good worka', you bet, him do waterin' my hay 'bout three moons now, you bet, good white man. No mind work for Injun Long Paul. He no mind."

"Did he work for you last year?"

"I go his house yesterdee, pay him good money, you bet, no troubles with him. First time I pay him. No work very long. You bet."

Cranky said, "Shucks, you could've asked me that."

Long Paul eyed Chappie to see if he had any more questions, and then went back to doing what he had been doing when there were none forthcoming.

"Just wondered," said Chappie.

"It's getting late, and I an't getting any business, so I'm closing up as soon as these guys are finished. Where you staying?"

"Don't know. Haven't decided that far ahead yet, why?"

"Well, you could stay here in the bar, if you think you could find a spot to throw your bedding. That is, if this is good enough for you?"

"What's wrong with that old two-story building there on the corner, next to where that old man lives? Does he own it? Is he the only one in there?"

"That's old man Weaver's. He lives by himself there in that old house next to it. That old building used to be a hotel. It was always busy with the gold hunters and cattlemen, when it first opened up, I heard. But, when that fizzled, it pretty much fell into disuse. I wouldn't go in there myself. It's about ready to fall down. I got a bet with old man Henberry that this is the year it's going to crash.

"Ole man Weaver is a cantankerous old fussbudget, gives everybody a hard time, and just lives on what he saved up. I should say exists. He doesn't live, just exists. Esther looks in on him now and then to see if he's still alive. She says the place is a mess in there. Most everybody's forgotten about him, even the church. He took a shot at the last elder to visit him, so they haven't been there any more. Sometimes he doesn't come out of there for a week or two except his trips to the outhouse. A real odd feller, if you ask me. He hasn't done a thing to that ole hotel since he emptied it out, sold all the furniture and fixings. That was all going on when I showed up in this area about 20 years ago, now. He must be in his eighties, ole fool, but still getting around to do for himself. Goes to Thorneycraft's store just enough to keep himself in fixings, usually on Wednesdays is when I see him hobbling along with his cane and pulling a little wagon to carry his stuff in. Tried to talk to him a couple a times, but he was too busy talking to himself to answer. A strange ole man all right."

Chappie sat through this extended oration without saying a word, just waiting for him to finish. Cranky looked at him over the glass of beer to see his reaction, then Chappie spoke up, "Doesn't he have any relatives? Nobody from out of town even comes to see him?"

"I heard tell he had a brother came to visit him one time about soemething or other and they got into a terrible argument. The brother left town and has never come back. I sure would like to know what they were arguing over. Esther said she heard a shot before the brother left. But she didn't know anything more about it. I guess whoever was shooting didn't hit what he was aiming at, but who knows."

"Maybe that's why he chooses to live alone?"

"I don't lose any sleep over it. Ain't none of my business."

Their conversation continued for another few minutes, and by the time they had said everything there was to say about the old man, Long Paul and his brother had finished straightening up the place and were standing at the bar listening.

"You fellers want another beer?" Cranky asked, already knowing the answer. "One more free, then got to close up."

They each took a big swallow, and then Long Paul said, "That ole white man, Weaver, him good friend of the Utes, you bet. Him used have Ute wife long time ago. Very happy, laugh all the time, have a good time."

He was about ready to say something else, but Flat Paul began, "Ole man Weaver good man. Help Utes many times before white men come. He marry big Chief's daughter, Little Blue Wing. Very happy."

"Even I didn't know that," Cranky said, "Imagine that, married a squaw."

"Wife die, ole man leave Ute country," Long Paul added. "Come back in few years, build those houses where he live. Then him go crazy. No talk to no one no more. Hate everyone. He say him live with wife's ghost."

"That's what he say," Flat Paul chimed in.

"What do you fellers think? You see a ghost over there?" asked Chappie.

They both looked at Chappie with their dark countenances, showing very serious expressions, eyes in a squint.

"Huh-uh, no see ghost," Long Paul answered, "but that ole man do. All the time talking, he say, 'Come Blue Wing, make me dinner, clean house, wash clothes, take off boots,' him say. Then he do it. No ghost. Crazy in mind, sick."

"When's the last time you talked to him, Long Paul?" asked Cranky.

"Tonight. We stop say hello. He think we are Chief and friend, We leave him alone. Him die soon." Changing the subect, he asked, "You want we clean place tomorrow night?"

"Not tomorrow. You're drinking up all my profits. Next week. Come back next week."

With a look of disappointment, Long Paul said, "Next week, we come back five-six sleeps. Next time we drink whiskey, you bet."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

French Western Fans

A few days ago, Jack (of Open Range) commented that France, Germany and Australia had the most western fans and it's true for all I know, but looking through blogs over the weekend I ran across the site which had an article on French western movies in May, entitled "Think Westerns Can't be French? Au Contraire" which tended to support the fact that the French adore westerns. The article's author, Robert Silva, listed ten French actors in westerns starting with Joe Hamman going back to the early 1900's, and intimates that the French and Indian Wars may have had something to do with the French being cowboy-ized.  Robert Silva's column, Westerns, appears every Saturdy on that blog it says.

I have to say that I was in Paris from about July 1964 until Le Grand General DeGaulle expelled all foreign forces from French soil in '66, and as much as the French adore their bookstores, I never laid eyes on a western, but most of the covers those days seemed to be dull to me and never stood out. In those years I wasn't into westerns much, anyway, and I wouldn't have been looking for one in the French language since my rudimentary French was completely uninterpretable. I'm sure they were available in  English at Le Drugstore on the Champs. I did pickup a sortofa western by Henry Miller, "The Tropic of Cancer", and  "The Tropic of Capricorn," his autobiographical meanderings which had previously been banned in the U.S. because of language, bad, bad language. I thought they were well-written, funny, and enertaining. The western part of it comes from his former residence in Big Sur, California, about as far west as you can get and still be in the continental U.S.

 Even though I didn't know French, I visited the bookstores to catch up on books available in the U.S. through either "Time" or "Newsweek" magazine. I used to follow the top ten all the time, a carryover from my High School English Class and an argument with a fellow swabbie on a ship we were serving on. For some odd reason we used to memorize the top ten then argue about them, either the numbers or the books or both. It was a great life.

Well, I got off the subject again, something that rarely happens (he chuckles). Now, if I can only find something about the German western fans.......

BULLETIN! BULLETIN JUST IN Wed Afternoon: A short story I wrote and submitted to site has been published therein entitled, Working for the Pawnee and Oto Agency. Check it out and enjoy the story.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

This and That

My production lately has about come to a standstill with all the interruptions and other things, but I have about got the synopsis for "The Bloody Gulch" finished, whittling it down from six pages to four.  I should have it done next week (fingers crossed). But I hesitate submitting it to a publisher for now due to one reason and another. A lot of it hinges on the acceptance or rejection of the book at the publisher. If it's rejected I'll take it back to the drawing board and go ahead and submit "Gulch" or another one. And if it's accepted for publication, I may or may not send "Gulch" to the same publisher. Decisions, decisions.

I sent out a couple of news releases to newspapers on "The Stranger" and will wait to see what happens with them, if they put them in the paper or not, before I send any more.

Libraries must have quite a procedure to go through to get a book on the shelves, I guess. I haven't heard back from the ones I contacted. I can assume they aren't interested or they've gone ahead and shelved it. I would like the courtesy of a response, though.

The weather here is cooling down somewhat, only 106 on Friday, 105 Saturday, and a predicted 97 today and possible rain in the evening. WHOOPEE! The average temp for the day is 100.  

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Profit Obstacles

One of the obstacles to making a profit on book sales at certain events is the "transaction privilege tax" which is a State thing, and certain cities and towns add on to it. This tax is over 6% (over 7% in some cases), plus you need a license from the State and municipality where the event is taking place (State is $12 plus municipality, variable). Licenses are good up to a year. So you're in the hole before you start selling books.

And then there is the cost of a table or a booth at the event, anywhere form zero to one or two hundred smackeroos, or more, depending on the type of event.

And if you should happen to sell enough books to make a profit, you have to add on an income tax (or pofit tax) to that figure.

Of course, I was aware of this before I self-published THE STRANGER FROM THE VALLEY, knowing there wouildn't be any, or not much, profit in it unless I could sell a ton of books. That is highly unlikely, but I have had some sales, seeing that Amazon had only two books left in stock this morning with more coming. WHOOPEE! That means that if they had 10 or 25 books on hand to begin with, my profit would still be zero, until my costs are covered. At least, I shouldn't have to pay any income tax! I wonder how many have purchased the e-book, if any.

I'm in the process of making a suggestion to certain county libraries that they put my novel on their shelves for the general public if they come to the conclusion that it meets their standards. However, I must warn them that it was REJECTED once for being TOO SALACIOUS! In this day and age, I can't understand that what with all the nudity and adultery on TV and the dirty language used. And, Whereas, THE STRANGER has no vulgar language, I mean VULGAR language, and WHEREFORE only one case of suspected adultery, I mean confessed adultery, since the widow has had a baby by a married man, certain standards must be followed.

Anyway, as far as profit goes on this one, I kissed it goodby in the prospect of future profitabiltiy.perchance. But. that doesn't mean that you shouildn't buy it and give it a read. You should. ORDER IT TODAY! And ENJOY!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Blogs/Reading and Writing

I thought I would try  a different color and see what happens. Maybe it will liven up the blog. Red is usually the sign of danger of some kind, but there is no danger here.

Reading (I don't like this color) so I'll switch to blue. That's my color anyway. Reading so many blogs that I can't keep them straight and I forget about half or three-quarters what I read within a half-hour and 95% of it within a day. I enjoy reading them, though, and if there is something I want to remember, I usually can. I passed a pleasant two or three hours yesterday going from one blog to another and barely made a dent in all the material out there on the net. I was just fed up with working on the synopsis for THE BLOODY GULCH and needed a break.

I finished reading Will C. Knott's "The Return of Zach Stuart" as it read down to a climax of the father agains the son. They were both brutal men in their quest for vengeance on the one hand and money, land and cattle on the other, and they settled out finally. I will have to get "Red Skies Over Wyoming" and see if it is written in the same tone.and manner,

And I thought the outright blood and brutality had ended at the end of that one, but I picked up Robert B. Parker's "Resolution" and read into it a few chapters. I will keep reading it until the end, even though the character Everett Hitch appears to be about as brutal as the father of Zach Stuart if that's possible, with his sawed-off 8-guage shotgun. I'll be on the edge of my seat anxious to see how he ends up.

That's what I like about the south as the song goes, in this case western stories, they are always exciting and full of action, and that's what draws a crowd. 

On another note, the Christian Science Monitor had an article by Danny Heitman on Sep 4 that tells about the publishing world's output of books in 2008. The article is
A Labor Day Sigh Over Summer Books. (Click on this headline and then click on the URL that pops up and voila! there you should have it.)

To all U.S. readers. I hope you are enjoying the long holiday weekend, maybe cooking at the BBQ or passing the time at the lake or beach or somewhere COOL.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Horse Incidents

Whoopee! Yahoo! Get along little dogy! According to an article in the Salt Lake Tribune on Aug 30, a  horse got spooked while pulling a carriage loaded with a family of seven from Idaho Falls in downtown Salt Lake City. When it stopped, the driver got out and tried to calm the horse, named Jim, down, but away he went again dragging the driver and the carriage along until  the driver freed himself and jumped clear, receiving minor injuries. Next to try and stop the horse was a policeman on a bicycle. WHOOPS! He had an entanglement with the carriage and the bicycle was totaled, leaving him with minor injuries. HAYA! HAYA! Old Jim reached top speed with his tourists hanging on for dear life until CRASH! The carriage collided with a parked car, totaling the carriage! The tourists were unhurt but shookup a little.

Why, shucks, it was just like the old west when a stagecoach gets pulled away by spooked horses! A similar incident happened in New York City some months ago. I guess the horses and the city traffic don't make an ideal pairing.

Speaking of horses, it reminds me of the time when I was about 10 years old helping my cousin out at the pea factory. His job was to stack the pea vines when they come out of the chute. My job was to lead the horse around the top of the stack of vines while my brother and cousin unloaded the cart. The day was going fine until the horse stepped on my foot and my foot and leg and the horse's hoof sunk into the vines about a foot or more. And as I laid in the vines under the weight of the horse and looking up at him, I hoped he didn't pull his hoof off and continue trampling me. My cousin, though, got the horse to back up without any further damage and I pulled my leg out of the hole, and we continued working without any more incidents. I wanted to ride the horse, but the cousin wouldn't allow it.

That was a great, fun summer. We were between houses, staying with my aunt and family in a small town in the Salt Lake valley having moved into the valley in 1941  from a real small town in the Uintah Basin. On the way to the valley, the trailer with all our possessions caught fire and before we could put the fire out, most of it burned up. Since I was so young, I couldn't do much to help put the fire out besides be in the way, and we didn't have any fire suppression eqiupment anyway except a couple of buckets in the trailer.  The fire got started this way. My cousin, Dude, had volunteered to move us, so he showed up with the trailer pulled by his car, and after loading everything on to the trailer, we took off. I don't know how we all crammed into the car, but there were my older sister, my younger sister, about four years old, my mother and father, my brother a couple years older than me, and an older brother, oh, yes, also Dude, the driver. There was a lot of lap-sitting in that old sardine can, I think it was a Plymouth or a Ford, maybe. But, anyway, Dude had his window down as we were going up Indian Canyon, and he was smoking a Camel cigarette (or was it a Chesterfield?). Of course, he tossed the butt out the window and it landed on the trailer and WHOOPEE, we could have had a good hot dog roast right there on the side of the road if we'd had some hot dogs! The traffic on the highway was slim, in fact, we were probably the only car on the road that day due to gas rationing, etc., so nobody with a fire hose came along.

The remainder of the summer for me was just great as a ten-year-old. No, by gum, I was only nine for most of the summer and had never worn low-cut shoes or anything but overalls yet. During the summer we (my brother and I) were usually barefoot until we moved into the Salt Lake suburbs and had to wear shoes of some type. Shucks!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Western Fans

I woke up a little after midnight last night thinking about the over 800 westerns available from Berkley (Penguin-US), and my thought was: "That's one more book than the number of western readers."

We all know that ain't true, there are at least 900 fans of the western. Of course, I don't have any real statistics to back it up, but extrapolating from a survey that I recently conducted where I asked certain of my fans to tell me what type books they read, or if they don't read, why not, I can come up with that figure of at least 900, almost, being only 898 shy of the mark. None of my fans said anything about reading westerns, in fact, only three answered that they read a book now and then, other than the one who said she had read all of Janet Evanovich's novels. WOW! Ms. Evanovich is a terrific writer of mysteries, at least that's what I gather, including One For The Money, Hard Eight and Finger Lickin' Fifteen, which info I just copied from the net, not having read any of her writings, yet, since I haven't read a mystery since the days of Ellery Queen, or was it Mickey Spillane, except for Ulysses, which still remains a mystery to me.

But back to those 900 western fans. The other respondents to my survey said, er, one of them said, "I read about anything that catches my eye." So we can put her down as a definite fan of the western. And, if you add up all of the ones that didn't answer any question, it either means they don't have the time or they don't  read books at all, but at least one of them would go see a western movie if their boyfriend or girlfriend insisted, the odds are. So we can put one more down as a western fan.

And there you have it! We can say that the other 450 western bloggers have at least two fans of the western, if their results come out the same as mine, and totaling them up equals 900, or is it 902? That means, if I can corner those fans and convince them to buy THE STRANGER FROM THE VALLEY, I'll be able to sell at least about 902 copies of the book, and that would be about the break even point, I figure. It's available now from,, and others. And iuniverse will even sell you an electronic copy for only $6.00. Order it today!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

In the works

(NOTE: I changed the title of the introduction over on the right side so as not to exclude females for those who may have thought that "broncos" only referred to males. I should have said "bronco busters" or not even used the term to begin with, since I wasn't referring to wild horses. But if any wild horses can read, they are certainly welcome to sign on as followers.)

As a new "kid" on the blogging block, I'm doing my part to encourage people to read more western novels by writing them and making them available to everyone as time goes by. So far, I have eight novels in the works:

1. The Stranger From the Valley, recently published by iunverse. This was self-published in the attempt to get the ball rolling. It is the first novel I wrote, and is especially important to me because of the fictitious autobiographical aspects it contains, although it may not receive any good reviews or any reviews at all..
2. The Upamona Gold Claim Wrangle = At the publisher awaiting rejection?? No, that's the wrong way to look at it, it's awaiting acceptance and will be published (I hope). 
3. Bloody Upamona = a sequel to #2.
4. Trouble at Sagrado Ranch, starts out in Texas, moves to New Mexico and eventually to Utah.
5. Reluctant Deputy Tom Anderson. Set in Sevier County, Utah
6, The Long Time Posse - Boring so far, but am working on it. I like the Ute deputy though.
7. Up the Arkansas - Ugh! I've put a lot of time on this one, but it hasn't really jelled yet. Been rejected as a longer novel three or four times.
8. The Bloody Gulch -  The setting for this one is the early days of Roosevelt, Utah. The non-elected Sheriff has his hands full when a new outfit moves in. About ready for a try-out with a publisher, Black Horse Westerns?? Maybe. I think it has a good chance on the first go-round to be published. (He says, with fingers crossed.).

The titles may change as they are finished off.  I'll be submitting The Bloody Gulch to a publisher afore long, and hope it isn't rejected right off, and then Bloody Upamona, as it stands now today.

I have an eye appointment this morning to see how my glaucoma is progressing or not. If it isn't one thing its another. Old age is not for the ----------- (fill in blank with an appropriate word followed by a swear word or two).

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Another excerpt from "The Stranger From The Valley"

This is another scene in the saloon, where a confrontation is brewing between the Henberrys and Wesford, from Chapter 8.

     Chappie ignored them and ate his bacon and bread finally, and chased it with a glass of beer. He was watching Cramer wipe down the bar, wash a couple of glasses, and walk from one end of the bar to the other then back again. Cranky finally turned around and arranged some bottles on the shelf behind, then went and struck a match to the three kerosene lamps, one hanging by the front door and one at each end of the bar.
    The door opened and in walked Bishop Thorneycraft and Counselor Carlson. The men at the table stopped whispering. Chappie turned around as Cranky with a surprised look stared at the new customers all dressed up in suits and ties.
     "By golly!" Cranky exclaimed. "If it ain't the Bishop and Mr. Carlson. Howdy-do, gentlemen. What'll it be, sarsaparilla? And what brings you gents in tonight?"
     Thorneycraft looked at his assistant, then surveyed the group of men at the table, looked at Cramer, finally rested his eyes on Chappie.
     "Evening, gentlemen. Counselor and I saw all the horses out front as we left my house, so we came by to see what the occasion was, in addition to doing our duties for the town. We're glad you're all here so we can ask you to spread our message this evening, which is, as most of you may already know, our annual Fourth of July Celebration. We're hoping that everyone around comes into town to enjoy themselves and take part in the church picnic in the field behind the church building under the trees. We announced it in  church last Sunday, but we didn't say anything about a special guest coming to town to help us celebrate. So we ask that you all take this message home and tell everyone you meet."
     Turning his attention to the barkeep, he continued, "And, Mr. Cramer, we've come to present a petition to you on behalf of everyone who signed it to please stop selling hard liquors and beer to our citizens. The wives have been complaining that their husbands spend too much time and money on your evil, spirituous libations and come home drunk too many times. And you will see as you read it, that not only wives have signed it, but husbands, too, some cases, and even a couple of Utes have put their marks. And, I'd like to add on behalf of all the righteous citizens of this town, that the church must protest the continued practice of serving hard liquors and may be looking to force the shut-down of your establishment if such paractice continues. And, with that, we'll take a non-alcoholoic drink of some kind. Thank you!"
     Chappie stood up and applauded, and everyone joined in, even Cranky.
     "Mighty fine speech, Bishop!" said Chappie. "Any idea who this special guest is going to be?"
     "I don't rightly know, Chappie, but there's a rumor flying around that started with the feller that drives the mail wagon, Angus MacDougald. He said he heard something about a big uppity-up coming to Utah Territory for somethig or other. Didn't rightly know who or what or when. Said he could be coming any day, though. That's all I know."
     Jim Henberry spoke up, "Pa was talking about some darn politician coming to Utah that he read in the papers he gets, but said the feller's name sure wasn't familiar to him. Didn't say a thing about coming here, though."
     "Why would one of them people want to be coming to Altveel for? I'll bet you it's something to do with the Ute tribe. That's what it always is!" Oakley said.
     This set all the men to talking among themselves, and Chappie found it hard to get a word in edgewise, but he didn't have anything to add, anyway. He watched as Cramer set an old bottle labeled 'Sarsaparilla Made From the Finest Old Recipe Available" on the bar for Thorney and Carlson with two glasses. He thought it looked suspiciously like good malt and barley whiskey, but he knew that they wouldn't drink any had liquor, not even after dark.
     He glanced at the one front window and caught little Charlie's eye before the boy ducked out of sight. About five minutes later, Esther B igknife came in the front door. Conversation stopped as she looked around the room glancing from one hat to another, finally resting her pretty, dark eyes on Cranky. She said, "Thanks for the use of your buggy, Cranky. I put it back in the stable." Then turning her attention to Milt after a quick glace at Chappie said, "Milt, I've go some fresh-made oyster stew waiting, if you'd care to help Charlie and me eat it. Sorry, gents, I only got enough for us three."
     "Now, Esther, you know I'm drinking with the boys, and...," Milt began, but Jim interrupted, saying, "Widow Bigknife, if you're trying to keep Milt from causing a ruckus tonight, you don't have to worry about that, does she Milt? We're heading out as soon as we finish our drinks, aint' that right, boys?"
     Oakley and Wonder shook their heads up and down in the affirmative. Milt and Mike just sat there watching Esther.
     The Bishop thought he had better say something, so he spoke up, "Mrs. Bignkife, you can see we're just having a friendly drink to celebrate our upcoming holiday and the fact that there'll be a special guest coming  to town to help with it. Why don';t you have a sarsaparilla with us? Cranky, put a glass up here for Mrs. Bigknife.
     "If she's going to give that stew to that feller later," pointing at Chappie, "I'm going to go eat it," said Milt, rising up from the table.
     "Why would she do that?" asked Chappie. "I just ate some bacon and bread and I'm full, and just finishing my drink before I help the Bishop and the Counselor deliver the news."
     "I don't believe that feller for a minute," Milt said. "Where's he staying, anyway?"
     Chappie was growing a little tired of Milt's attitude. He stood up, looked directly at Milt, and said, "I don't believe it's any concern of yours where I pitch my tent, Mr. Henberry. If you're having a little trouble accepting my presence in town, maybe you ought to try running me out."
      This put a burr under Milt's saddle and he came at Chappie in a rush, but Esther stepped in tween them before he had gotten very far.
     "Milt! Stop! Chappie, quit egging him on! Don't you men have any sense at all?" she yelled.
     "Get out of my way, Esther!" Milt ordered. "I'm going to teach him a lesson he'll never forget! He'll never want to come back here!"

Whew! What happens next? Do they kill each other? Does Mrs. Bigknife get hurt? Does Cranky set 'em up again? Does Chappie ......Does MIlt......Does the Bishop do anything?  You'll have to Read it to find out! ORDER IT NOW FROM AMAZON.COM OR IUNIVERSE.COM!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Special Edition

This is a SPECIAL EDITION of the blog to announce the availabililty of 'THE STRANGER FROM THE VALLEY" published by You may purchase it at and for $14.95 retail price plus S&H. Slightly lower at other outlets shown at Also available as an e-book from for $6.00!

Chappie Wesford is sent to a small town at the base of the Uintah Mountains in Utah to present an award to two of its citizens, but the Henberry family thinks he is there to take over their business and they make trouble for him.  Oh, my golly gee! Will he survive? Does he make more friends or enemies? How does he handle it? What will happen to him? Oh, mi-gosh and scratch me chinbone! You must read it to find out! Please do!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Will C. Knot Book/Books From Avalon

In thecolumn to the right, I hope you will notice the cover picture of "The Stranger From The Valley" due out soon from iuniverse. It is in its final convulsions and should be ejected shortly to land in the middle of the public domain for voracious consumption.

I'm in the middle of reading "The Return of Zach Stuart", by Will C. Knot, published July 1980 by Berkley Books, and am finding it to be an exciting story. It's the story of Zach Stuart who is seeking revenge for his mother, who was terribly beaten by her husband, Dudley Stuart, and left in front of a whorehouse, pregnant. She later dies, but Zach is the offspring. Some twenty odd years later he sets out to take revenge, and the story becomes brutal and full of action between father and son.

I tried looking up Mr. Knot on the internet, but found nothing on him, but my time was limited and put it aside. He has another book by Berkley listed on the previous books page, "Red Skies Over Wyoming."  I'll be looking forward to diving into it if I can find it.

Upcoming from Avalon Books is the western, "The Hidden Truth" by Michael Senuta, and one of the latest releases is "Wild Card" by Loretta Jackson and Vickie Britton. Reading an excerpt from "Wild Card" from the Avalon site, it sounded like something I wouldn't mind reading. All three authors have more than one book published by Avalon. The catalog listing shows well over a hundred western titles available with Kent Conwell, Johnny Boggs, Clifford Blair among the most prolific of the authors.

I think I will compare their catalog with some of the other publishers just for kicks, that is, the ones I can find on the net. Here goes:

The first one I checked was Berkley Books, which came up as Penguin Books (US), and it had over 800 westerns available to buy.

Dorchester Publishing showed on their New Releases, eight books, including "Acres of Unrest" by Max Brand, and "Zane Grey's Lassiter: Brother Gun" by Jack Slade. They listed nine books on their Sale section, and said there were hundreds available.

Kensington showed nine pages of westerns, ten per page cover shots, with William W. Johnstone being the primary author.

I checked five or six other companies listed as Western publishers, but came up empty handed. Anyway there seems to be plenty of western novels available for purchase, and this doesn't count e-books. We just need to drum up enough interest in them for people to read them.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Excerpt from my soon-to-be-available novel

Here's another excerpt from "The Stranger From The Valley," from Chapter 6:

Standing at the door was Widow Bigknife looking very excited, "Is Oakley in there? Tell him to get over to the saloon quick! Milt is tearing up the place! I don't know what he's doing but Charlie said he saw him through the window throwing chairs, cussing, and...and..."
Oakley went running out the door almost knocking Fedderson and Esther down, and jumped on his horse before she could finish, and raced down the road toward the tavern.
I spoke up, "I think I'll go see what Milt's doing. I heard he gets wild when he drinks too much. Thanks for dinner!" I told the Feddersons, as I climbed on Spottie.
"Tell Oakley to be careful!" yelled Hilaine.
By the time I reached Cranky's, everything was calm and peaceful. Cranky was telling Oakley, "I'm sorry I had to do it, but he lost his head and was going berserk in here, breaking my furniture, thowing glasses, chasing out my customers. What's the matter with him?"
"I don't know, Cranky. Sometimes he gets like this for no reason," Oakley replied. "I'll take him home and let him sleep it off. Can you give me a hand with him?"
"I'll give you a hand, Oakley," I said. "Where is he?"
He looked at me and said, "He wouldn't want you touching him, after what you already done to him. Cranky can help me."
"I ain't going to help him," stated Cranky, "and I'm not going to let him in here anymore, either. You can tell him that he's barred from my place 'til he learns how to behave himself, and he owes me some money for all the damage he did. I drug him back behind the bar here, to get him out of sight."
Widow Bigknife came in out of breath and looked directly at me, "What did you do to him this time? Where is he? Is he hurt?"
I just returned her gaze and shrugged my shoulders.
"Now, now, Esther," Cranky said. "He didn't do anything to Milt. I had to give him a little tap on the head to stop him from destroying the place. He's back here lying on the floor, still out."
Oakley went behind the bar to attend to the unconscious Milt. Chappie and Esther followed along. It was getting crowded in the small space between the bar and the back wall with all four of them in there.
"C'mon, Oakley, let's get him loaded up," Chappie suggested. "I'll take him by the legs, and if you get him under the shoulders, we'll have him on his horse in no time."
Oakley reluctantly relented, as Esther stood staring.
"Good riddance," offered Cranky.
Before we could get him on the horse, Esther had to take his face in both hands and plead, "Milt, Milt, darling! Wake up, wake up! You're going to be all right! Wake up!"
There must have been a subconscious reaction to her touch or sound, because he let out a long slow moan, "Unnh-nn-o-nnm-n," but he didn't wake up.
We hoisted him onto the horse, and went back into the tavern. Oakley walked up to the bar facing Cranky and said, "I'll ask Pa to come by and pay you something for the damages, but I don't know whether I should thank you or not. You must've hit him pretty hard to put him out for that long."
"I think he was about ready to pass out anyway. I just hastened it up a bit. He was drunker than usual, if that's possible. His Pa ought to do something about his drinking."
"Nobody can do anything about that, Cranky," Esther said. "It's just the way he is and always will be. I'm sorry for thinking you did it, Chappie, but I thought..."
"That's all right, Esther. Glad to be of help for a you too, Oakley," I replied.
I looked around the tavern. "There's a chair still upright at the table there, Esther, Care to have a sarsaparilla before you go home, that is, if Cranky has any unbroken glasses?"
She glanced at the preoccuppied barkeep, and then looked into my eyes. "I'd like that, Chappie. Set them up, Cranky, and have a drink with us."
"By crimany, I think I will," he said, grabbing three glasses from under the bar and a quart bottle of sarsaparilla. "Let's all drink to Milt Henberry, the rage of Altveel," he said, sitting down at the table and pouring the glasses full.

As you can see from this excerpt the characters are drawn with humor and sympathy, and in my opinion it's a GOOD READ! DON'T MISS IT! It will be out shortly.