Sunday, June 27, 2010

Jack M. Bickham, Author

I hadn't heard of Jack M. Bickham until I picked up The Apple Dumpling Gang, so I looked him up in Wikipedia and found out that he was a prolific writer, having seventy-five novels under his belt. Born in Ohio in 1930 he died in 1997 in Oklahoma from lymphoma. His professional career was in education, being a Professor at the University of Oklahoma School of Journalism from 1969 to 1990. He is a member of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame and the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame.

He wrote some books as John Miles (his real name was John Miles Bickham) and some as Arthur Williams. Most are Westerns it appears from the fantasticfiction site that has some cover pictures, and a complete list of his books, which shows three series, including one about a tennis player, and six books on Writing along with the others. The last book published was Murder at Oklahoma in 1998 after his death.

I'll be looking for some of hs titles like Dopey Dan, Gunmen Can't Hide, The Silver Bullet Gang, and will enjoy them just as much as Apple Dumpling, I'm sure.

(No money or gift was received for this post.).

Saturday, June 26, 2010


This Special Edition is to alert everyone that The Upamona Gold Claim Wrangle IS NOW AVAILABLE IN THE KINDLE EDITON from, Price $9.99.  BUY IT TODAY and see what happens as Marshall Red Skene tracks down two escaped outlaws!

It's a kick!

An easy, enjoyable read!

Cover picture will be forthcoming!

Paperback out soon! For $11.95 only!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Semi-Annual List of Blogs I've Read and Liked

As the title says, here's my list of blogs that I've followed and enjoyed for this half-year:

Evan Lewis' blog: for its colors and humor.
Sandra Seamans: for all the websites for short stories and writing tips.
Levitt E. Valance: for his sense of humor and stories.
Gary Dobbs: for the variety he provides along with his Western Weekends.
Charles Whipple: for the infrequency and his endeavors with his boat Endeavor.

And there you have it for this past six months. For all those great bloggers not listed, please don't feel left out because there are many more that I follow and enjoy just as much, and I would like to mention Chris Enss Journal at for her dauntless pursuit of the truth and history of Elizabeth Custer and the book she is writing on Mrs. Custer.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Stagecoach Station 12: Tucson, by Hank Mitchum

Station 12 Tucson is the first of the stagecoach series that I have read, a Bantam Book, pocket-size, published in 1984. As I have said before, I'm not much of a series fan, but I enjoyed this book by Hank Mitchum. A story of two brothers and a stagecoach line that isn't doing too good moneywise, it describes the animosities between the brothers and the struggle to keep the stagecoach in the hands of the Dundee family as Logan Montgomery tries to buy them out and put in the railroad. Something's afoot as the stagecoach and its passengers reach the Dundee rancheria in Casa Grande, with the female expert analyst making a study of the operations to determine the future of the line or whether it will even exist for very long.

There is a lot of anger between members of the Dundee family and it builds up to the attack on the ranch by men dressed as Apaches who are just guns for hire working for Montgomery. The survivors of the attack chase down the attackers and it comes to a climax as the family works out their differences.

About the first half of the book is devoted to the anger and love-hate relationships of the brothers and rest of the family, a stepmother, half-sister, and dead father and the struggle to keep the stage line in the family. I found it well written and enough arguments and excitement to keep my attention from drifting as the plot builds up to the big fight.  

(No gift or money was received for this post.)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A night or two in St. George, Utah

Shucks! I missed posting last Sunday morning, but there was not a thing I could do about it. I don't have a lap top, I-phone, or other thing-a-ma-jig that would post something from out of town. I had a little trip to take to a family reunion in a small town in Utah over the weekend and was ensconced in Motel Helluva Night in St. George for two nights. The accommodations were all right, but it was the noisest damn place I've been to for awhile and didn't get much sleep.

Friday night wasn't too bad, just noisy kids staying up late and running up and down the sidewalk outside the rooms and laughing and yelling and carrying on. And you add that to a fish sandwich made of the oldest fish in the world and half a banana split with chocolate ice cream and whipping cream and a few nuts and whatever else they put on it, the night was restless to say the least. I know it was the oldest fish ever, since nobody knew what kind it was.

It was colder than Hades in the small town with wind and rain, and snow up in the mountains, but the turnout was fair and everyone was stuffing chicken and baked beans and potato salad and talking a mile a minute. I think they were talking or their teeth were chattering from the cold and the wind blowing threw the ears causing a whistling sound as it exited the other side. My cousin showed up in a t-shirt and said the weather didn't bother him since he used to work in a turkey plant where the temperature was alway kept below 40 degrees. Lucky feller that day! I couldn't find a big enough coat to keep the cold out of my bones and only ate one chicken leg, some beans, potato salad, fresh cherries, grapes, potato chips, cookies, etc., to fight off the chilly wind.

Saturday night at Motel Helluva Night was a riot, trying to sleep. I was aroused around 11:30 P.M. by someone pounding on a door across the courtyard parking lot and yelling like he was madder'n a grizzly bear with cubs. Bang-bang-bang-bang-bang, Fauna! Fauna! Fauna! Let me in! (it sound like he was yelling). Rat-atat-tat rat-a-tat-tat on the door again and again and Fauna! Fauna! Let me in! Bang-bang-bang-a-bang-bang! More knocking, and it went on for about forty-five minutes or so before the guy passed out or something. And the damn telephone in the room didn't work (classy joint, huh) so I couldn't call anybody, and of course I couldn't get back to sleep for a long time. And it didn't help any that I pigged out at the Olive Garden before tumbling into bed with a package of Tums. I wonder if Fauna had a boyfriend or someone else in the room that the guy was so mad about. Hmm-m, that would make a good story if only I had time to write it.

Anyway, my brother-in-law said the reunion was a big success and he enjoyed it more than any he had been to, and I agreed with him, amost, if I hadn't a had to drive 400 miles on Sunday. I gave away three or four copies of The Stranger from the Valley and told everybody there that they could buy my next book that would be coming out in a month or two from Amazon. com, etc., and to please do so, they will enjoy The Upamona Gold Claim Wrangle. 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

School Days - A Distant Memory

Now that school is out for the summer, it's time for a little reminiscing.

If only I had paid attention when the teacher was lecturing about writing and diagramming English! I wonder if they still teach English that way - diagramming. I was pretty good at it, not getting too many words in the wrong place, at least I like to think I was. At least I earned a passing grade, or was that the one where the teacher gave me a "D?" All through high school, that was the only D I received, but I can't remember if it was an English D or a Physics D or a Geometry D or a History D or a Disciplinary D. It couldn't be the latter. I was a very well-behaved student, only getting knocked out of my seat once by a teacher. If he hadn't been so tricky about it, he never would have done that, pretending to be my friend and wanting to sit next to me at the desk and whoosh! I found myself sitting on the floor. I jumped up and was going to return the favor, but he moved as I attempted it, the chicken.

It wasn't like I had been disrupting the class, I hadn't. I was just my usual high school moronish self, yelling at my friends, laughing, and joking, but he didn't understand. He wanted to get on with the class and thought that I was interfering. I wasn't. All he had to do was yell louder than me and get the class's attention, after all, I was only in his class because they told me I had to be there. Didn't they know I already had enough credits to graduate and I would rather be somewhere else than making a fool of myself in his classroom?

If only I had paid attention!

Knocking me out of my seat didn't do anything toward getting my attention, either. I wanted REVENGE and by golly gumstump, I was going to get it, too! All of the teachers had a personal vendetta against me. Why? It couldn't be that I instigated a lot of the mischief, like erasing the blackboards with the lessons on them, or playing shuffleboard on the window sills with the erasers and laughing like a crazy person when I won a point, or whisper a joke to a friend that everyone heard. Or signing up for the music class when I couldn't play a lick of anything. Hell, they left me in the class playing the tuba for three months before they found I was tone deaf. That was the reason I never played a note in the right place or time. Their version of music was just a little different than mine, that was all. I always liked the sound of the tuba though, WHUMP-WHUMP-WHUMP! it went, always when the tune hit a nice quiet frotunda or whatever WHUMP! when they least expected it. Crimany, what did they expect, a Leonard Bernstein or what? Lawrence Welk?

I got my REVENGE, though, by graduating as Valedictorian of the class of 1950. Well almost, I wasn't actually the Valedictorian, but I got to sit on the stage with the girl who was, along with 108 other students.

If only I had paid attention!

This is written in the memory of an old high school buddy who passed away last week. We had some great times getting through the fifth through twelfth grades together, not counting all the mischief that happened to transpire. May he rest in peace!

Sunday, June 6, 2010


It was early dawn on a day in 1944, June 6th, when President Eisenhower sent a million troops on thousands of ships to land on the beaches of Normandy to finally conquer the German Empire of Hitler. It is remembered as D-Day. Today June 6th.

What does this have to do with today? Well, I can just imagine O-Day being in the same spirit as Eisenhower, rounding up all the oil in the Gulf of Mexico and sending it to conquer the Southeastern United States. I can hear the oil now as it creeps slowly toward the shores of Louisiana. Ssh-sh! Be quiet and we'll sneak up on them before they know what hit 'em. Muster your forces, gather your troops, ride the waves! We shall kill all those stubborn people on the shore, not counting all the animals and fish and plants and plankton! We shall pollute the beaches, the water, the earth, the inland waterways, the vegetables, the orange trees, the grapefruit and lemon trees, the fish, the cattle, everything! EVERYTHING by God! We shall overcome! There will be plenty of backup, too! Hit the beach! Pollute to your heart's content! Nothing will stop us! NOTHING! Pretty soon we'll be in control of everything! EVERYTHING by God!!

And it shall be known as O-Day! The Day the Oil hit the Beach! HOORAY! We shall conquer the earth! The Earth, by God!     

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Book I Didn't Care For

Here's another book I picked up in Quartzite, The Deadly Healer by J. R. Roberts, #58 in The Gunsmith series. I'm not much of a fan of series novels and this one didn't do anything to change my mind. I was into it about 100 pages when I tossed it aside. There was nothing wrong with the writing or the story, but I don't get wrapped up in a story like this one that contains gratuitous sex and flights of fantasy in a Western.

The book starts out like a normal western, but soon changes direction to fantasy, at least that's what it is to me, where things get too far out to be believable. For those who enjoy this type of story, don't let me stop you from reading this one, but it wasn't my bag of tea. Mind control, voodoo, and scantily clad women cavorting around in a cave is not my idea of a typical western.

My mind is just too set in its ways to absorb stories like this; they don't hit the nerve button that excites me as a reader, not at my age. This is not a criticism of the novel or the author, it just doesn't fit into my brain glove, and for those who like this story type, please, go out and buy it and enjoy.

This novel was published by the Berkley Publishing Group as a Charter Book by arrangement with the author, a first printing Charter edition of 1986 and this copy was well read (I assume), well worn, and about to fall apart.

(No money or gift was received for the post.)