Friday, February 27, 2009

Progressing and another excerpt

When he screams and hollers,
Tax him more.
Tax him till
He's good and sore.

The poem on taxes is winding down, only two or three more verses, then the good stuff begins: a list of what is taxed. Of course, it won't be up to date, or will soon be out of date, due to the new Fedeal budget proposed by the President on top of the two bailouts and supplementary bailouts they're dishing out practically daily. A news report said the new budget has $11,000 spending for every individual in the country! If they would just give that to me, I could travel to Hawaii at least once a year.

I finished the first draft of the fifth version of the novel presently called "Tom Anderson." The title will be changed to something else shortly, after I read it and see if it all fits upside and down, inside and out. This one is now 42,000 words, cut down from 72,000, with characters added and more action inserted.

Here is another excerpt from "Tom Anderson", from Chapter 3:

Del was talking to Mrs. White with his back to the door and didn't notice Tom come into the room, but when he turned around and took a seat, he let Tom know that he was the same old Del.

"Well, well, if it ain't my old friend, Tom Anderson! Back in town, huh? I'd say it was nice to see you again, but I wouldn't mean it!" Del practically yelled, his face contorted into an unnatural but familiar shape.

"Nice to see you again, too, Del. I hear your family sold the store and moved up north," said Tom.

"Yep, we wanted out of this God-forsaken burg, but I keep coming back to raise Hell, 'cause I think the Sharps cheated us out of that store."

"Well, I was gone, so I don't know anything about it," Tom said.

"I don't trust anybody in this town anymore, and if you give argument, I'll whip you just like I used to do," Del threatened, giving Tom that scrunched up, dirty look and clenching his fists.

Mrs.White interrupted, placing a plate covered with beef and potatoes in front of Tom.

"Del, can't you be friendly for a change?" she said, taking a seat at the table.

"The Sharps are nice people, Del," said Tom. "How come you're so upset about them?"

"It's none of your business, you little pipsqueak!," Whitney said, stuffing his mouth with beef and flashing a dirty sneer at Tom.

Tom had a lot of resentment building up since his school days, and he lost control. He brushed back his blond hair, looked Whitney square in the eye, stood up, and said, "I've had about enough of those insults from the likes of you," and threw a strong right hand at the ugly face of his old nemesis.

Whitney was ready for such a move, leaned his head back far enough for the punch to miss, and caught Tom's hand. He laughed, "Ha, ha, ha, ha! You ain't even learned how to fight yet, have you Anderson!"

Mrs. White screamed, "That's enough boys! Stop it right now! I won't have any fighting in my place! Sit down, Tom, and finish your food! Let go of him, Del!"

"Well, well, well, saved by a woman this time! Ha, ha, ha! Same old Tom Anderson!" laughed Del.

Tom didn't say anything, but took his seat and began eating, his eyes watching the obnoxious Whitney.

"I can't enjoy my food with him starting at me, Mrs. White, I'm leaving," and Whitney stood up, jammed his hat on his head, said "Thanks for the meal, I'll see you next time," and left.

Tom turned his blue eyes to Mrs White and said, "Good riddance."

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Health, Wealth, Whatever

Tax all he has
Then let him know
That you won't be done
Till he has no dough.

I received a note from my eye doctor telling me that I have glaucoma and enclosed a prescription for Xalatan. The Doc also said, if I use the eyedrops, my eyes should be just fine for the rest of my lifetime. I didn't know whether to take that as good news or bad. Either I'm at the edge of dying or the product is so great it will ensure the use of my eyes for a long time. Either way, I decided I better use it, so added it to my active collection in the medicine cabinet. Woops! I looked at it again and read the literature from the pharmacist on How to Use, Store, etc., and it told me not to store it in a bathroom, but in a cool, dark place. I promptly stuffed it in a dresser drawer where I could get at it easy enough in the dark in case I had to for some reason.

I don't plan to make a bundle of money writing western stories, I'm doing it since I think there is something to be written, which is why I write, not overtly expressed but underlying some of the text, something like an inside joke that isn't a joke, but a few people will understand. There is more to it than just putting it down on paper, since it's all made out of whole cloth anyway. As to the money aspect, it would be nice to have a little more, especially with the looming costs of medical services that seem to hit all of us. It is like hoping to win the lottery, only on a much smaller scale.

And speaking of money, I think I should get a little bit of the stimulus package, say enough to build me vacation house in Hawaii and vacation travel several times a year. It was announced on TV that one of the Congressmen's brothers is getting TWO BILLION DOLLARS. I should have ran for Congress. It seems like a lot of them run poor and retire rich. One Congressman took the job with a net worth of a little over a million and eight or twelve years later, quit with a net worth of over six million, that's pretty a fair wage, or was it just inflation? Ha, ha, ha.

Attended a b-day party Sunday, 22 attendees, at a local restaurant that we have never tried, being a fairly new establishment of four or five years. Can't say much for the atmosphere inside, but they had activites outside, patios, volleyball, bean bag toss, horseshoes, twiddly-winks, and such. The food was good? The prices were too high? But everybody seemed to have a good time, and I guess that's the main thing. Personally, I don't plan to go back, since it's more of a drinking establishment than eating, and these days, I'm more into eating. A happy stomach is a contented stomach.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Miscellaneous or Extraneous or Randomaneous

Tax his car,
Tax his gas,
Find other ways
To tax his ass.

There we went again, got posted before I could get along with it. I was checking on formatting without saving, so the verse got published without the body. Most of the questions I have come up during a blog, and I look for the answer before saving. This time I won't cuss, I'll just get on with it and offer a simple apology to those who may have happened to read just the verse. Sorry, but I can't say it won't happen again.

Its going to be another short day of creation and production. I was informed that we're going shopping for groceries, hardware, and miscellaneous items we desperately need to keep the world turning around. This won't be published until Sunday or thereabouts, but Sunday will be another day of interruptions. Anything that interrupts my creative processes, which are pretty thin to begin with, sets me back to the beginning, practically. I've never been one to worry much about use of time, but sometimes it begins to crimp in the wrong places, and I'm beginning to understand people when they tell me they don't have time for something.

I'm trying to develop the habit of writing the blog a day or two or more before it is published. That way I can consider my second thoughts about it and is one reason why I've reduced it to two or three times a week. I haven't had much feedback, if any, since I began, so if anyone wants to comment on any of them, please feel free to do so. Otherwise, I'll just go on as usual.

I'm flying the flag on Sunday, George Washington's Birthday. I usually fly it on National Holidays, but since they rearranged them to celebrate all the Presidents, old George doesn't get the glorification he should in my estimation, so I'm putting the flag out on a non-holiday day to celebrate the Father of Our Country, as he is called, being the first President. I might fly it on other days too, if I remember them, like Ben Franklin's birthday. He provided a lot of advice and guidance to America, and I think it should be celebrated, too. And there are a number of other people, too, that should be celebrated, so I'm flying it for them, too. So when the flag goes up Sunday at my house, that's who it represents.

I've acquired three more Westerns to read: Will Henry's "One More River To Cross", Will Cade's "Flee the Devil", and Wayne D. Overholser's "Wild Horse River", and will get into them shortly. I started on Will Henry, but I'll have to begin again because of drowsiness. I guess I was extra tired.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Author? Writer?

Tax his cigars,
Tax his beers,
If he cries,
Tax his tears.

You may have noticed that I changed the wording under my "picture" to read "writer", taking out "author". I have no idea why I did this, except to satisy my ego, since I prefer some peoples' definition or understanding that an "author" has at least one book officially published. It gives me something to work toward. According to Webster's, anyone who has written a book is an "author". And it won't make one whit of difference to anyone, since I can call myself anything that comes to mind, and I often call myself dumb, stupid, idiotic, to put it mildly, when I make an error or do something that doesn't fit into the scheme of things. My wife occasionally calls me names under her breath, especially when I take too much time parking the car or park too far away.

"There's a place there," she will say, as I glide past it. "Not enough room," say I, and choose a place further away. "You ALWAYS have to drive around the parking lot two or three times looking for a place and end up a long way away from the door!" she tells me. "And when you finally find one, you have to back up two or three times to get it in the right place." "Uh huh," I reply. "This car has a longer wheelbase than the old one."

And that's the difference between "author" and "writer" in my way of looking at it. It boils down to being a matter of personal preference.

And now that I've beat that to death, pounded it into the ground, put it through the meat grinder, so to say, we can get on to something else next time.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

And Still More Reading

Well the Title got posted prematurely. Sorry about that. Had everything completed for the blog and was editing one word when it disappeared. I hit the space bar one too many times, it seems (cussword, cussword). So, will rewrite it:

Tax his tobacco,
Tax his drink,
Tax him if he
Tries to think.

Here's a continuation of the list of books on my bookshelf:

113. Robber's Roost by Zane Grey, 1932
114. Kansas Irish by Charles B. Driscoll
115. We Shook the Family Tree by Hildegarde Dolson
116. The Mustangs by J. Frank Dobie
117. Tombstone, Gun-Toting, Cattle Rustling Days in Old Arizona, by Walter Noble Burns
118 .Reminiscing Along The Sweetwater by Ruth Beebe
119. Wondrous Times on the Frontier by Dee Brown. Cover says "Here is the lighter side of truth in American History, funny stories to be enjoyed by young and old, history buffs and conscientious citizens alike. - Booklist.
120. The Oregon Trail by Frances Parkman
121. See Here, Private Hargrove by Marion Hargrove
122. The Days Before Yesterday by Fern M. Crehan
123. Cassidy, A Biographical Novel, by Lee Nelson
124. War Paint and Powder Horn on the Old Santa Fe Trail by Vernon Quinn
125. Easy Pickin's by Fred Harris
126. Chronicles of Courage by Daughters of Utah Pioneers
127. In Old Nauvoo, Everyday Life inthe City of Joseph, by George W. Givens
128. Whiskey, Six-guns & Red-light Ladies, George Hand's Saloon Diary, Tucson, 1875-1878, Edited by Neil B. Carmony
129. The Civil War in Apacheland, Sergeant George Hand's Diary, California, Arizona, West Texas, New Mexico, 1861-1864, Edited by Neil B. Carmony
130. The General; or, Twelve Nights in the Hunters' Camp, A Narrative of Real Life, Edited by William Barrows
131. Caballeros by Ruth Laughlin Barker
132. Undaunted Courage, Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West, by Stephen E. Ambrose
133. Apache Gold and Yaqui Silver by J. Frank Dobie
134. To the Land of Gold and Wickedness, 1848-59 Diary of Lorena L. Hays, Edited by Jeanne Hamilton Watson
135. Places and Faces, Holladay-Cottonwood, Stephen L. Carr, Editor
136.More Candid Chronicles, More Leaves from the Notebook of a Canadian Journalist, by Hector Charlesworth
137. Frederic Remington's Own West, Written and Illustrated by Frederic Remington, Edited and with an Introduction by Harold McCracken
138. Ghost Town's of Arizona by James E. and Barbara H. Sherman, Maps by Don Percious
139. The Rivermen, By the Editors of Time-Life Books with Text by Paul O'Neil

These are mostly historical or biographical, with a couple of novels thrown in. George Hand's Diaries are hilarious. I'm still searching for Vol. 3, may be out, but haven't ran across it yet. Will keep looking. Anyone have a copy or know where to find it?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Stuff that isn't necessary

It was a close call yesterday, when I decided that I would quit blogging, but my common sense prevailed. I was reading various blogs again and ran into one that talked about the legal ramifications of blogging, and I thought that if I had to take all that stuff into consideration before I said a few things, it wasn't worth it. I even wrote my final one and planned to delete everything. But, then had second thoughts. I don't intend to offend anyone, steal copyrighted material, copy other blogs, or delete certain comments that I don't like. So far, I haven't received any comments that would lead me to think of deleting them, but, like I said in my first blog, certain things will be deleted, e.g., some offensive language. A person can write a comment without using unnecssary four-letter words, if he puts his mind to it, and in many cases, the end result will be more scathing than obscenity. And in some instances, a four-letter word can place particular emphasis on what the writer is trying to say, but I still retain the right to delete those things I feel are not suitable. Oh, yes, one other thing, if I should want to use something that somebody else has said the way he said it, I would reckon that I would garner permission to do so. By the way, I haven't had need to delete anything so far, having only received one comment, and I appreciated that one and took it to heart.

Now, with that off my chest, we'll proceed as usual.

Tax his ties,
Tax his shirt,
Tax his work,
Tax his dirt.

Proceeding apace with rewrite of Tom Anderson, up to page 90-something now. Last week was very productive in my estimation. In those pages, Tom and Yonny are looking for the bank robbers and have reached Manti, hoping they can pick up the trail lost due to a snowstorm. The town's lawman, Sheriff Cobb, has his thoroughbreds stolen out of the stable and Tom figures it's the robbers they're looking for and they join the posse, but before they can get out of town, someone tries to kill them both, plugging away at them in the middle of town from concealment. Yonny tells the sheriff that it is a personal matter, and Cobb doesn't need to go looking for the shooter. He thinks it was Del Whitney out for revenge and will take care of him after they catch the men they're looking for, a more important job. The posse takes off on the outlaw trail, hoping to cut off the thieves before they can reach the Colorado line or get lost in the mountains near the border.

Zeke Haskell and Nellie Kelly, the two remaining outlaws, have another disagreement and Nellie decides its time to get rid of Zeke. And Zeke is thinking the same thing about Kelly, and taking all the money they've managed to steal. Who wins? Or what happens? And what happened to young Billy Kelly? Stay tuned.

This week is not starting off that way, though, with other things to do, I may not make as much progress, but it will be done, e'en if I have to use some of my midnight oil.

I saw on Yahoo a notice about some Hebrew books being up for sale. If I could understand Hebrew and was really interested, and I could afford it, I might think about one or two of them.
They're on sale as a collection, though, for preservation purposes, I suppose. I would think some library will latch onto them, but it might have to be a Government entity like the Smithsonian.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Reading adventures

Tax his cow,
Tax his goat,
Tax his pants,
Tax his coat.

My reading is not up to par. Over the past six or ten years, it seems that I've neglected to read in any book every day. Before that, I was an avid reader. I would always read something in my spare time, especially before dropping off to dreamland. That was the time I did my best reading, even though at times it would only be a paragraph or up to a complete book.

When I was in Honolulu, I visited one particular bookstore fairly regularly. I was into history back then, ancient history. One occasion I purchased a three-volume set on the history of Egypt, leather bound, each page was double columns, each volume had at least 800 pages, printed in the year 1885, cost me five dollars each, and I bought them one at a time. I always wondered later how much I could have made from them, because it wasn't just your run of the mill shoot-'em-up, although death and destruction ran amok throughout what with all the Pharoahs dying and being poisoned, etc, and the thousands dying from the plagues and pestilence, not counting those killing themselves working on the pyramids. When my final days there were about finished, the books were passed on to a shipmate, the only person whoever expressed any interest in them.

Another thing bought was a four volume set of books on Yoga. My interest was aroused when I heard the hearsay about how wonderful it was. I studied each volume and practiced breathing techniques, relaxation, movements, etc. I didn't actually do any of it, just studied it, er, read it, I mean, although I found it to be very helpful in putting yourself to sleep. I didn't actually need any help going to sleep, but psychologically I guess it helped. A few times I did try to follow through with the out-of-body experiences. It was explained very clearly how to do it and it looked easy. It never worked very well, though, as I could not get myself into a deep enough trance to actually put my spirit or other being or consciousness out of my body. Just wouldn't happen. I think it was because I began thinking about how I was going to get back into my body when I had had enough traveling around the world that way. And since I had a hard time finding out how you were supposed to do that, my out-of-body experiences were pre-destined to fail.

Maybe the swabbie who started a fire in our living quarters was practicing the same thing when he fell asleep smoking a cigarette. It caused quite a commotion with all the smoke and what-all, but he was still sleeping like a baby, or was it passed out from too much beer? No matter, we got him awake finally and drug his mattress out of the building still smoldering under all the water that was directed his way. I'm sorry to say he received what they called back then as "three days piss and bunk." His father was a full commander in the Navy and he probably heard about it worse from him, than having to live in the brig on bread and water for three days. Here, he was just trying to catch a little sleep after a hard day's work and a few cocktails or whatever, and he couldn't be left alone. Poor fellow. I felt sorry for him, but I'm glad that I didn't smoke.

That was back before I was reading many westerns, but I still squeezed in a "white hat gets the girl in the end" now and then or one of the western pulps.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I missed one

Tax his work,
Tax his pay,
He works for peanuts

(Continued from Preceding Blog):

6. Return to Upamona - The sequel to the "Gold Wrangle." Red is called back to Upamona to see what he can do about Slim, the Sheepherder, who is raising Cain again after his release from prison. Houses start burning down, and Red must find out who is setting the fires and catch a killer. Is it Slim? 40,000+ words.

You can see, trying to juggle all these stories, sort of boggles the mind, gives me juggle-boggle disease. There just isn't enough time in a day to work on all of them.

I confess, I completely overlooked this book, since it has been sitting on the sidelines for a few months, and I've been occupied with medical appointments and other stuff. I have a copy floating around to get reactions to it, and its been in the possession of one person for about eight months now. She reads slower than I do, or she is attempting to memorize it. No, she has eye problems, macular degeneration and glaucoma, and its a chore for her to read. And I wouldn't wish that on anybody, bless her heart!

I've been surfing through blogs, looking for interesting reading, and you'll notice that I've added a new blog to my follow list, THE TAINTED ARCHIVE. I'm amazed at all the blogs published. I think I saw on google that there is over a million published. Too many to read in a lifetime, so right now, I'm surfing through some of the Western writers' blogs, and I don't want to build up my follow list so I get bogged down on them, but occasionally I find myself doing just that just reading them. Another reason to delay actually writing something.

As for as query letters go, the ones I've sent out have been well received. I don't know why some people spend so much time discussing queries. You'll know when its bad, when somebody starts telling you its bad.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Novels underway

Tax his tractor,
Tax his mule,
Teach him taxes
Are the rule.

Here is a rundown of the novels I've written:

1. The Altaveel Chronicle - No it's not a story about a newspaper, but about a lawman running into trouble in the small town of Altaveel, as everybody calls it. He is on a special mission to award something to someone (read book), but some citizens think he's there for other things. It's around 57,000 words as it stands now.

2. Trouble at the Sagrado Ranch - Pete and Thad Hawkins return to Texas from the Civil War to find the rest of the family has moved to New Mexico where the father now manages a cattle ranch, which is being attacked by the Apaches and some of their own hired help. 43,000 words.

3. The Long Time Posse - The bank in High Bench is partly blown up and robbed of the money. Sheriff hires a Ute deputy after one is killed and with some other members chase the outlaws in to the Uintahs near Brown's Park. About 50,000 words.

4. Tom Anderson - Being rewritten. Currently about 70-80,000 words, reducing to around 50,000. It's about one-third rewritten, being on page 60 something and shouldn't take more than a month or two to finish.

5. The Upamona Gold Claim Wrangle - A Marshal is sent to Upamona to capture two escaped outlaws and protect his cousins' gold claim. Nearly 45,000 words. Submitted to publisher, waiting result.

I like to let a book sit around for awhile and then give it a fresh re-read, then tackle the story line again to freshen it up and move it along. And this is why I haven't had time to start anything new, although I have an idea or two for at least another couple stories.

And I like to work on more than one at a time. Tom Anderson and Trouble at the Sagrado Ranch are my present projects. "Trouble..." is in that waiting stage right now. I've revised it once, but it needs one more go-over.