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!