Monday, December 31, 2012

Roy Rogers Items Auctioned


The Roy Rogers Museum in Branson, MO, has closed and all items went up for auction. Here are some of the prices received:

Roy's 1954 Oldsmobile went for $254,500.
Trigger's saddle and bridle, $386,500.
 Roy and Dale's dinnerware plates and silver, $11,875
Trigger sold for $266,500
Dale's parade saddle sold for $104,500

 These are just some of the items auctioned off. Who says there's no money in dead horses?


Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Sweetheart of the Rodeo

I see in the papers that Chenae Shiner of Roosevelt, Utah, has been crowned Miss Rodeo America for 2013!

The Uintah Basin cowboys and cowgirls have been active in the rodeo since the 1920's that I know of. It is a BIG thing to enter into one of these contests for the individual cowboy or cowgirl as it takes training to become a professional performer. Miss Shiner has been at it for years, too, winning the title of National High School Rodeo Queen a few years back, telling the Salt Lake Tribune, Quote: rodeo is a family sport. It is the only competition where your competitor is your brother and best friend.Unquote.

She wins a $22,500 educational scholarship and some nice awards from Wrangler Jeans, Justin Boots, Bailey Hats, Silver Mounted Court's Saddle and an official Miss Rodeo America trophy buckle from Montana Silversmiths.

Congratulations to Chenae Shiner and thanks to the Uintah Basin Standard newspaper for publishing this story. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Word's Out!!

As a resident of the State of Utah for the first seventeen years of my old life, I have to confess that I knew about the seamy side of life in that State, but I never told a soul how bad it was. I wouldn't say anything that would embarrass the State that provided me with a high school education for practically nothing - not by a long shot or even a double shot. But somebody has let the word out and I feel obligated to let everyone else know just how bad life was in early Utah. I received the news in an e-mail from a relative in Kansas and it is provided below, at least a reference to it.

But first, I would like to say a couple of words about two towns that are included in the photographs, Bingham and Huntington. Bingham High School was in our sports league and we played against them two or three times a year and always got beat no matter the sport. Bingham is the home of Bingham Copper Mine and the miners there were from all over the world, Greece, Balkans, Italy, and other little-known countries at the time I'm talking about, and they were bigger and stronger than our little town's, which only had a smelter. A high school buddy worked at a florist shop and since he had his driver's license they let him drive the truck to make deliveries, and he took me along on a couple of these jaunts to Bingham. Going there was an adventure in itself at the age of l6, a visit to the biggest copper mine in the world and the roughest town in the valley of the Salt Lake, we were told. Traveling up the mountain to the town, the darn old Dodge van overheated and vapor-locked on us right there on Main Street among all those bars and saloons, etc. We were scared out of our wits since we heard they didn't like strangers, and we stewed and fretted trying to get the Dodge going again. I was personally afraid I'd run into the football player I had clipped in a game that year. He told me he was going to beat me up if he got the chance. But we escaped with no harm done and breathed a sigh of relief. It was strange territory for this naive little Mormon kid.

The other town is Huntington, and I wouldn't be surprised that one or even two or more of those fellers in the picture are relatives. A couple of 'em look real familiar. My brother was born there in 1930 since the family lived there at the time and I've visited the place a few times since. The last time I don't remember seeing that saloon, but Huntington was not a very large town anyway and it was probably torn down or made into some other business. My Uncle Ben and Aunt Franny lived there most of their lives. They never talked about the bars or taverns, even though Uncle Ben was not immune from visiting them now and again. A "tough" town it wasn't to my knowledge, but they had their share of unseamliness going on.

Another town that had a reputation and not a very good one was Park City, where everyone knew there was a "hoorhouse", but I certainly didn't know anyone personally who lived there or even stopped for a visit. Park City at that time was another of those "rough" mining towns.

So anyway here's the link to those photos that show the seamy side of that Mormon State: 

Y'all have a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

High Plains Drifter

Turned the TV on yesterday PM and AMC was playing the movie High Plains Drifter with Clint Eastwood as the star and the "Drifter". Mr. Eastwood was a horny old woman-jumper in this one, taking on the likes of  any female that showed up--almost, and committing violence against everyone else--almost. I missed the first part of it, but got in on the memory sequence of the Sheriff being whipped ass-over-tea-kettle over and over again by three sadistic outlaws finally sending his mortal remains to Hell or Heaven and leaving him in the street for everyone to see. After a dust-up that kills seven men, Eastwood sets off after the three whip snappers. He plays shoot and be shot at with the three, shooting one's ear and raising bumps by falling rocks on the others when he lights off a stick of dynamite. Eastwood heads back to town and jumps in the sack with the hotel owner's wife for a little respite from all the violence. He then has the citizens of the town paint everything red and changed the name to Hell as he waits for the three outlaws to come after him. They do and they gather the townspeople in the bar to wait for the Drifter to show his face. He does and returns the favor of the whipping on one of them, then hangs another one, and finally shoots the third. And the hotel owner's wife follows him out of town - at least she climbs into a wagon with all her belongings as the Drifter leaves town.

And I thought here it is on a rainy Saturday afternoon and this movie is playing for all to see (kids, teens, and other shameless adults, like me) no matter all the violence, killing, raping, fornicating, whipping, and other immoral acts taking place on the screen. And then I wondered if the 20-year-old that shot up the Sandy Hook Elementary School was a fan of this type of films. Some can handle it, others have a tough time with it, using it for a training film, etc., like violent video games.

For a more realistic review of this movie head to Wikipedia.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Not Exactly the West

Key West is not exactly the West as we know it, but I finished reading Thomas McGuane's novel Ninety-two in the Shade which mostly transpires in Key West. Right off, I'll say that I enjoyed it and learned some new words by reading it. This Bantam edition was published in 1974 and to me is "hip" or "cool" for the times. He portrays the main characters by getting into their minds and letting them rant and rave in their own particular way, sometimes seeming normal and other times not quite so. It's the story of two fishing guides and their quarrel about taking customers out fishing. Although seeming to be good friends for most of the book, there is violence brewing under the surface. Nicholas Dance lets Thomas Skelton use his boat to guide a fishing party and ends up with the boat on the bottom of the sea by Skelton's own hand, and Dance promises to kill him if he ever guides again.

With colorful characters and more colorful language the story is carried to its logical conclusion. To quote Kirkus Reviews from the first page of the book, "This is Hemingway country, with a vast metaphysical difference. McGuane is very much his own man stalking his own kind of truth." And if I may add, writing in is own style with a knowledge of the fishing industry and the fish and Key West.

A good book to pass a rainy afternoon with.   

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Book Selling During the Holidays

The Hartline Literary Agency blog has some suggestions for selling your books during the holidays. In a blog article Jennifer Hudson Taylor puts forth some tips for you that should help increase your sales, so I will refer you to the blog here,, dated December 7, 2012, and you can take advantage of the tips to make this season a success. Good Luck!  

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Seldom Seen

The thing I'm talking about is diseases in the last half of the nineteenth century. Doc Halliday had tuberculosis and everyone knows it, showing up nearly every time his name is mentioned in a book. But there were several other illnesses that are barely mentioned, excluding TB, small pox, and cholera. Small pox appears regularly in the journals and diaries of travelers heading west, especially during the Great Migration. Cholera is mentioned in many of these journals, too.

One of the worst plagues on the children of the western settlers was diphtheria and along with that scarlatina or scarlet fever. Both these plagues killed many children. And then there were typhoid fever and whooping cough. No cures were available for these illnesses until after the turn of the century or just before. When I was growing up in the 1930's, there was dipththeria in the neighborhood and my mother was always telling me about typhoid fever that could be caught from drinking out of contaminated streams, one of our main sources of water. The 1918 typhoid epidemic ravaged our little town, killing many of the young residents. Scarlet fever was around in the 1940's, but I didn't hear much of it in the 1950's and -60's.

There are a few novels where one of these sicknesses is mentioned, but it didn't seem to be a very popular subject for inclusion in the stories people wrote back then or now for that matter. I'm just guessing but  TV shows like Little House on the Prairie had episodes where some kid was dying from one of these diseases and someone was sent for a doctor who showed up just in time to save the patient.

I haven't read anything recently where illness makes up part of a story in a Western, unless it's TB (consumption). I'm not saying that there should be more of it, but that these diseases killed a lot of kids and grownups and maybe could have been included in more stories to make a more complete picture of social and family life. Maybe it's just too gruesome a subject to consider.  

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Best of the Best

True West Magazine for January 2013 has the Annual Best of the Best Awards. It covers Movies, Art, Books, Music, Firearms, etc., and is loaded with great things to do and see. I'm mainly interested in the Books and Bookstores listing and they didn't fudge a bit. They named Guidon Books of Scottsdale, AZ, the best western history bookstore. It's on my list to go check out. I know I've been in there, but it was a few years ago and it's time to take another look. Maybe they will have George Hand's biography, volume three which I've been looking for for quite a long time.

Larry McMurtry has written Custer, a biography, which will be interesting to read, among the best books. Butch Cassidy, My Uncle, by Bill Betenson, is another one that I'll have to squeeze in somewhere. They have the Best Photography Book of the West as John Wayne, The Legend and the Man. 

I wish people would stop writing stuff, say take a break for a few years and let the world catch up on all the reading that is available now. Even a speed reader can't keep up with all the new material coming on to the market. I can see myself with audio phones, watching a cowboy movie on TV, sitting at the computer with my trusty 12G cell phone working away and the VCR recording  another good western, and me trying to write a novel or two, a blog, a news release, an interview , a book review - EGAD! Stop, stop, stop!    Just not enough time left, for Heaven's sake!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Giddy-up, Giddy-up

We've done got giddied-up and finished The Man from Hanksville, a story of murder, mayhem, and mischief set in the little town of Bluff, Utah. Paperback edition will cost $6.89 and the Kindle edition will be $3.99, available worldwide.

I have to make a remark about the Kindle edition just to clear my conscience. I used the Amazon Kindle conversion and let it go through as is. There are a few alignment errors in the format but the narrative was complete and readable and I don't think it will bother the average reader using the Kindle. If the reader likes it and wants to keep it, I think he-she will buy the print version which came out just fine.

Question: Was I wrong in not correcting the format problems or does it make that much of a difference on a reading device where the book will be only temporarily retained?   

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Cover for The Man from Hanksville

First, I would like to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving with lotsa turkey and dressing! 

Here is a Cover shot of The Man from Hanksville which will be out earlier than I first thought. The formatting and editing of this book went fairly smoothly, although I've been working on the narrative for quite a while:

And the back:

Receiving the proof copy of this story was almost as exciting as getting the first one published, and I'm happy that it is in the final stages of publication.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Mail Jackpot

Saturday was a good day for the mail in that I received the first two issues of American Cowboy mag, an issue of Writer's Digest (probably the last), and a surprise, a Special Edition of Phoenix mag - Wild West edition.

Phoenix Magazine, Special Edition has some great old photos and has articles on early Phoenix, Tombstone (of course), Prescott, Mining, Women, Guns, Pioneering, and the Indians (Cochise, Geronimo) and will be a handy quick-reference guide.

I recently bought a subscription to American Cowboy to help out my great-grandsons' school and received the first two issues of my subscription on the same day.. They have info on the rodeo circuit and riders among other things. One of the other things was an article on the cattle ranches in Hawaii. I was stationed in Pearl Harbor in the early '50's and knew there were cattle, but this article gives some in-depth info on the whole cattle business along with some history. There is only one ranch that has accommodations for overnight guests and you can arrange a nice visit the next time you go to Hawaii. Other ranches will show you around but you have to stay somewhere else. I think I will enjoy this magazine.

And the Writer's Digest was delivered Saturday, too, which always has something of interest if I have enough time to read it.

So, Saturday was a jackpot mail day. If could just win the Lottery it would be better though. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Welcome/Old Books

A warm welcome to Keith and my Greek or Russian follower. I apologize for not being able to understand the language his name is shown in, but I thank him for reading my blog.  

Was just thumbing through Huxford's Old Book Value Guide, 8th ed., and noticed that Zane Grey's fishing books are rather high, like for instance, Tales of the Angler's Eldorado, New Zealand, 1926, lst edition was listed for $1,250. Some others are listed for $400 to $650. The highest Western was Shadow on the Trail, 1948, Harper, lst. Ed., listed for $125.

I wonder if my books will ever reach that peak. Nah, not unless I raise the price.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

First Winter Storm of 2012

Our first winter storm passed through last night and the temperature dropped from 91 degrees on Tuesday to 62 degrees yesterday and even colder this morning - in the 50s. To those of us who are thin-blooded, it was C-O-L-D and I had to turn on the heater this morning. About an hour before sunset yesterday, the sky looked like this to the south:

And like this, still looking south:

Like this to the north:

The northeast:

And the northwest:

And one more, northerly, with a flock of starlings a little unsettled:

And, you know what? We didn't get a drop of rain, snow, sleet, or whatever out of it to my knowledge. I woke up this morning at 4:45 and hopped out of bed to check my rain guage and found nothing. The sun came up as usual and not a cloud in the sky. Oh, well, another beautiful day in the Valley of the Sun!

Thursday, November 8, 2012


The New Mexico Book Coop reports that two Santa Fe Publishers have bit the dust, Clearlight Publishing has declared Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and Pennywhistle Press is liquidating. Sorry to hear this. The Publishing Industry seems to be consolidating as reflected by this and Penguin Books is merging with Random House owned by Bertlesman, the German Company, the largest book company in the world! My, my! What is going on?

And the smallest Book Company owned by me, will have a signing at Gifts to Go in Surprise on November 16th. All my books will be for sale, all five of them: The Stranger from the Valley, The Upamona Gold Claim Wrangle, Blood and Blazes in Upamona, The Bloody Gulch, and Posse Justice. All are exciting and entertaining as my neighbor says: "I really enjoyed reading Posse Justice and just ordered two more."
And, "When is the next one coming out?" I will tell you that The Man from Hanksville is well underway, in fact it is written, complete, and will be coming out in a month or two if not sooner. And after that, there will be at least two more, Trouble at the Sagrado Ranch and Along the Sanpete, both tentatively titled.

So, I will not be going out of business this year! 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Some November Events in Arizona

Y'all come and bring your fiddles, gee-tars, banjos, and twangy voices to the Wickenburg Blue Grass Festival November 9 through the 11th at the Wickenburg Rodeo Grounds!

And for the exercisers out there from November 9 to December 28, on Fridays you can explore the town on a guided tour through Tubac, AZ. An interesting place with an old mud church built by the Spaniards or somebody.

On November 10 in Flagstaff a Navajo Rug Auction. Old and new handwoven pieces up for auction at the Coconino Center for the Arts, 2300 N. Fort Valley Road, 928-779-2300 for info. Everyone needs a Navajo Rug in their home!

November 10, visit the Happy Archers Arts and Crafts Fair in Sierra Vista at the Sierra Vista United Methodist Church.

November 10 and 17 and December 1: Book Events in Tubac where authors discuss their works including Father Kino's Herbs, Wild About Arizona Wildflowers. Wild Horses of the West, and Eight Valleys - A Linked Landscape at the Tubac Presidio State Park.

November 11, Sons of the Pioneers at Cottonwood, AZ, at the Mingus Union High School. Y'all come!

November 16-18, The Big Heap in Cave Creek. The Big Heap Vintage and Handmade Festival at 6245 N. School House Road.

And on and on, we go, from Art Shows to Dance Ensembles and Christmas Events!

(Thanks to the AAA magazine Highroads.) 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Little Bitty-Bit of Early American History

In case you may have forgotten, I will take you back to the 1600's to recall a piece of early American History, one of the first steps in the journey to the West. In this episode taken from a History of Norfolk, Connecticut,1744-1900, by Theron Wilmot Crissey, we see the beginnings of the expansion into the West.

     "The title to the land and right of Robert, earl of Warwick, was the first proprietary of the soil under a grant from the Council for New England. March 19, 1631, he ceded it by patent to Lord Say and Seal, Lord Brook, John Hampden and others. Before any colony could be established under their authority, individuals, headed by William Holmes of Plymouth had, September 1633, erected a grading house at Windsor [Connecticut]. The June previous to the arrival of Holmes, the Dutch from Manhattan, had established themselves at Hartford, having purchased twenty acres of land of a Pequot chief,--built a fort and mounted a couple of cannon. They claimed Connecticut, and never whiolly relinquished their claims until 1664 {those naughty Dutchmen]. The fur trade with the Indians was then very lucrative. The Dutch purchased of the Indians annually ten thousand beaver skins. [And I thought it was the white men who were doing all the fur killing and killing off the animal species. Where was the PETA?] In 1634, a few men from Watertown, Mass., came and erected huts at Wethersfield, which is the oldest town in the state. In 1635, a number of men cam from Dorchester to Windsor, and erected log houses. Other men from Watertown did the same at Wethersfield. [And these folks weren't unionized but free to build their houses.] In the autumn, having completed these preparations, these men returned to Mass. for their families, and on the 15th of October there set out about sixty men, women and children with horses, cattle, and swine. More than a hundred miles of wilderness through which no roads existed, whose streams were without bridges, and whose sole inhabitants were Indians and wild beasts, had to be traversed. [A trip repeated many times with the same conditions into the 1800's.] Dr. Trumbull says, "after a tedious journey, through swamps and rivers, over mountains and rough ground which where passed with great difficulty and fatigue, they arrived at their place of destination. But the journey had consumed much time, and the winter set in earlier than usual. [Shades of the Donner Party. People just never learned.]" [And their basic supplies ran out. They had to send some people back to the mouth of the Connecticut River, but when they got there, their boats with the supplies were not their. Most of the "invaders" made their way back to Boston.] Yet in the opening of the next year, 1636, the budding of the trees and the springing of the grass were signals of a greater emigration to Connecticut. The principal caravan commenced its march in June. Thomas Hooker, the light of the western churches, led the company. It consisted of about a hundred souls, many of them accustomed to affluence and the ease of European life............ Of this company, some settled at Windsor, some at Wethersfield, but the larger portion with Hooker took up their residence at Hartford."

     "Meantime the Pequot Indians had been exterminated, in 1637. This warlike tribe had from the first exhibited a hostile spirit towards the English. They had committed several murders.

     "Capt. John Mason, with ninety English, attacked Fort Mystic at daylight, May 28, 1637. It was set on fire, and in one hour above six hundred Indians, men, women and children, perished. This terrible blow struck dismay into the hearts of the other tribes, and secured peace to the colonists for a long period."
     [When you compare this massacre to those of Chivington or Custer or even the Mountain Meadows, the casualties are minimal, but, I suppose, it set the tone for the succeeding years of the westward expansion.]

Monday, October 29, 2012


I picked up a copy of Dictionary of Obsolete English that was on sale at one of our local libraries. The book was written by Richard Chenevix Trench, DD, Archbishop of Dublin, and published by the Philosophical Library, New York, in 1958. I bought it with the idea that inside would be some uncommon words that I could use in my writing, but a quick glance through it quickly rid me of that idea. I read the Preface to see what was actually going on and the Archbishop wrote that he hoped to provide a list of words that no longer mean what they used to mean.  To put it in his language, he wrote: "Sometimes the past use of a word has been noted and compared with the present, as usefully exercising the mind in the  tracing of minute differences and fine distinctions; or again, as helpful to the understanding of our earlier authors, and likely to deliver the readers of them from misapprehensions into which they might very easily fall; or, once more, as opening out a curious chapter in the history of manners, or as involving some interesting piece of history, or some singular superstition, or, again, as witnessing for the good or the evil which have been unconsciously at work in the minds and hearts of those who insensibly have modified in part or changed altogether the meaning of some word; or, lastly and more generally, as illustrating well under one aspect or another those permanent laws which are everywhere affecting and modifying human speech."

And, he lists alphabetically some of the words that have changed meanings from what they used to be or represented, like "harlot" which was originally used of both sexes for the most part as a "slight or contempt", and now as interchangeable with "whore" and for the female sex generally, as an example.

I'm sure that if I study them long enough, I may be able to adapt some of the words to cowboy novels and may have already done so like with the word "explode" which used to mean "to drive off the stage with loud clappings of the hands" and now could mean about anything that makes a loud noise when set off or shot.

I will continue to "peruse" (not listed in the book) the list of words for possible use in my writings and along with Thirty Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary possibly come up with a better written product.          

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Saturday Out

On Saturday, October 20, 2012, the wife and her sister from Kansas and I went to the Wild West Festival at Saguaro Ranch in Glendale, AZ, and had a great(?) time. We no sooner got through the gate than...(Pardon me, my wife is yelling at me to vacuum the expanse of our square footage, a job I can't turn down in these hard times, besides, vacuuming is like lawn-mowing without cutting much off the top.)

(An hour-and-a-half later, I'm back after a good workout and a nice rest-up.) We no sooner got through the gate:

than we came to the first exposition area and Lee Anderson was explaining the history of horse-training and branding with his horse, Concho:

which was interesting in that my wife's father was a horse trainer in Kansas and we could relate.

We then moved up the line where the fast draw competition was underway:

It was the women's draw going on here, and we were thankful we were behind them instead of in front (HAHAHA!) 

After a minute or two of that we moved further up the line past a dutch oven and brisket sandwich stand and on to an old timey photograph stand where the sister-in-law had a photo made of herself in an old timey dress. It was a real impressive picture with her shoulders covered in a shawl and a bright red, long gown.  I didn't get a pic of this and I thought I did.

Nearby was this gent picking and singing and I think his name is Justus Harrison, but there was no sign to tell us. Inside the building was a stand with a pretty girl selling L. Ron Hubbard Westerns. I didn't buy any, leaving it 'til later and never got back to it. We moseyed further on and had a brisket sandwich from another stand in the food court. A little dry, but went well with water (cough, cough).

After disposing of the vittles, the two ladies started complaining that they couldn't take any more of the heat. It was a nice warm day, and this old, decrepit, reprobate they were with consented to head back home.
Up until now, everyone had been walking along just fine, except I had to remind the sister-in-law, who was in possession of a cane, to watch her step and take it slow. On the way out, we passed the Moonlight Mesa Publishing stand, and I didn't have time to look at anything or talk to anyone there. I didn't see anyone manning the stand and I had to catch up with the ladies. I caught up and passed them a few feet and TRAGEDY struck! My sister-in-law in her eighties stumbled on the sidewalk and fell into the gravel between the fence and the walkway! There was no way I could've stopped her, but she fell on her knees then hands and face and slid under the fence, cutting her head on the lower rail. I tried to drag her back, but she wouldn't let go of the fence rail, and by that time, a policeman and two EMT'S CAME TO THE RESCUE! And we spent the next six or eight hours in emergency while the doctors looked her over to make sure nothing serious happened to her. She was her old self when we took her home, except for the bandage on her head. She went home to Kansas City the next morning.

Update: Received a call from Kansas last night and the lady is doing fine and having the stitches taken out today.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Next Big Thing Blog Chain (A-a-r-r-g-h)

Thanks to Charles Gramlich (, I was chained to this Next Big Thing -y.  Mr. Gramlich is the author of the Swords of Talera series among others. Now, on to my WIP.

What is the working title of your book?

This one was tentatively titled Murder Under the Cliffs when I first started on it two, three or more years ago. It now carries the title of The Man from Hanksville which I think better represents the storyline.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

It came from traveling through the small town of Bluff, Utah, on bi-annual car trips to a family reunion in the northeast part of the State. The radiant splendor of the cliffs cried out for something energetic and action-oriented to be written, and I heard the silent scream and proceeded to write this story.

What genre does your book fall under?

It's a flat-out Western of the old school, with a little romance, humor, and suspense thrown in and an Indian or two.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

 I haven't thought about this and I don't watch many movies, so I have no idea of modern day actors. I'd say it would have to be someone like Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton, or even Clint Eastwood and a Betty Grable type. I can even picture them like a young Robert Duval and Taylor Swift-ish. So much for my thoughts on that.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A stranger rides into trouble and corruption in a small town, finds an ally in a pretty waitress, and fights to clear his name and rid the town of the bad guys.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I'm preparing it to be published by Create Space in print and Kindle as an e-book.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Not very long, say two or three months for 40,000+ words.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

There are any number of Westerns that I could compare it to as most have the same attributes, good guy vs. bad guy, etc., and on and on. I believe this book is presented a little differently in the way it is written and the use of setting in the telling that will connect with the Western reader.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Like I said above, the town of Bluff with the cliffs, the San Juan River flowing nearby and Monument Valley gave me the inspiration. I couldn't help myself from being inspired to tell a story with all this natural beauty surrounding the area.  

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

The Man from Hanksville is ex-Sheriff Jimmy Snyder, who quit being a Sheriff after he cleaned up the town of Hanksville, and is working to be a writer by trying his hand on a history of Bluff. He gets thrown in jail for the murder of one of Bluff's elder citizens and is released for lack of evidence. He sets out to find the real killer(s). Throw in a little whiskey smuggling to the Indians, bank robbery and lost gold, and a pretty young waitress, his only ally, we have murder, suspense and romance with some odd characters adding to the story. It has been a barrel of fun working on this novel.

The Rules now require me to add some people to this blog chain. The people will have to do the same thing, of course, but only if they can find the time - no pressure. I said to heck with it at first, but changed my mind and will leave it up to the individual to participate at his/her own leisure if they should happen to read this.

They are:  Vijaya Scharts  
                Charles Tyrell
                Elaine Ash 


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Richard O. Boyer's "The Legend of John Brown"

Here I go again, getting a little off subject, although John Brown was active prior to the Civil War and I consider him part of Western folklore in that he raised more Hell in Kansas and Missouri and elsewhere than about anyone else in his time as the West was being opened up.

I have no love for Communists and according to some people, Richard O. Boyer was a Communist who wrote articles for the Daily Worker, the Communist paper, and took the Fifth Amendment while being questioned by Congress in the 1950's. But this is not mentioned in the jacket bio on the book. As a journalist he wrote for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The New York Herald-Tribune, the Boston Herald and the Dallas Times-Herald in a long career. He died at the age of 70 in 1973.

That being said, I can put my feelings aside and take an objective look at The Legend of John Brown when I get around to reading it. The way the leftists obfuscate their real beliefs in the news and elsewhere, I have no idea how much Communist propaganda is in the book, if any, but I do have an interest in John Brown from a family viewpoint that I have mentioned once or twice before. Brown had a close friend in Lora Case, a distant relative long time deceased, and wrote one of his last letters to him as follows from The Hudson of Long Ago, Reminiscences by Lora Case:

"In the month of December [1859], John Brown, J. E. Cook, E. Cople, N. D. Stevens, A. Hazlett, five white men and J. A. Copeland and S. Green, colored, died on the scaffold at Harper's Ferry, and eleven others were put to death for their efforts to let the oppressed go free. On the morning of his execution John Brown wrote me the following letter.

     "Charlestown, Jefferson, Co Va, 2d, Dec, 1859, Lora Case, Esqr

     "My dear Sir

          Your most kind and cheering letter of the 28th Nov is received. Such an outburst of warm hearted sympathy not only for myself, but also for those who "have no helper" compells me to steal a moment from those allowe me, in which to prepare for my last great change to send you a few words. Such a feeling as you manifest make you to "shine (in my estimation) in the midst of this wicked;  perverse generation as a light in the world." May you ever prove yourself equal to the high estimate I have placed on you. Pure & undefiled religion before God & the Father is" as I understand it: an active (not a dormant) principle. I do not undertake to direct any more about my children. I leave that now entirely to their excellent mother from whom I have just parted. I send you my "salutation with my own hand." Remember me to all yours, & my dear friends. 
                                                           Your Friend
                                                                   John Brown"

"John Brown, son of Owen Brown, was born May 9, 1800, in Torrington, Connecticut. When he was five years old his father and mother with three brothers and one sister moved to Hudson [Ohio], July 27, 1808.

"I was born in Granby, Connecticut, Nov. 18, 1811. When I was two-and-a-half years old my father, mother, three sisters and one brother came to Hudson July 4, 1814, and, from what I saw and heard him [John Brown] say, our dress and experiences were similar in some respects. For a necktie we wore a piece of morocco leather to hold up our shirt collar called a stock, and we both wore buckskin pants with leather suspenders. He said he never attempted to dance or ever learned to know one card from another and I was as ignorant in that respect as he was.

[Skipping some narrative, we continue.]

"The first time I ever heard of John Brown raising his voice against slavery was in the church prayer meeting one Thursday afternoon. We got the news that morning that the pro-slavery men had shot Lovejoy while standing in his doorway and demolished his press. The death of Lovejoy was the topic of the meeting. (There was then strong prejudice in the church and throughout the state against the anti-slavery movement.) Owen Brown and his son, John, were present at the prayer meeting. After some remarks on the sad news of Lovejoy's death, Esq. Brown arose and made a very earnest prayer, and in his plea for help, especially in the matter before them, it seemed as though he had the help of Him who sits on the mercy seat to carry their case to the Court of Heaven for a decision, and it seemed by his expressions as we listened to his prayer that he felt as though the Judge of all the earth was at the door of his heart.

"After his father's prayer, John arose and in the his calm, emphatic way says: "I pledge myself with God's help that I will devote my life to increasing hostility towards slavery." The history of his life from that time to its tragic end gives him the honor of living and dying to maintain that pledge."

Reading the Legend of John Brown will be like reading the story of an old family friend who set his sights on the stars and got lost in the search and I keep putting it off even though I know the outcome..

Sunday, October 14, 2012


The Man from Hanksville is coming along, slow but sure. We've had company this month from out of State and on top of that, we have been taking care of our two great-grandsons for most of the past week. We took them to a local farm that runs a Halloween program the month of October and they had a blast picking pumpkins, meeting the pigs, chickens, goats, and horses, playing on the bouncing contraption, and riding the four-wheel pedal vehicles. With that and the other entertainments, I barely got anything done. The novel is written and I have been working on the formatting and etc. to polish it up. All sorts of things pop up as I transfer the manuscript to a publishing format, but the main thing that goes awry is the paragraph spacing and trying to get a page full without too many obvious blanks. It causes headaches, but I'm in no hurry to get this one published this year. Next year will be hunky-dory if I don't get it done this year.

Keeping up with the blogs, the new stuff, the local stuff, and my reading and writing has been impossible the last few weeks. Maybe things will get back to normal before too long.  

Sunday, October 7, 2012

General Crook and his Bad-Ass Scouts

As the Cibecue Uprising was going on and turning into the search for bad-ass, renegade Apaches, it turned into a hunt for the baddest-ass renegade to leave the reservation in a while. Geronimo, I'm talking about. And the Government had to send for the baddest-ass Army General to track him down, General Crook. He had earlier been re-assigned, but the situation was on the verge of getting out of hand and the Army Chief of Staff sent an order to General Crook to do what he had to do to bring Geronimo to justice. The General himself made visits to Mexican authorities to coordinate the operation to ensure that the Federales didn't start a border war.

That bad-ass General contacted those bad-ass scouts, Al Seiber and Tom Horn, to go with the Army assignees and the bad-ass volunteers and the bad-ass Apache Scouts to lead him to Geronimo's hideout down there south of the border. By the time they made preparations for the excursion, there were more Apaches than white soldiers, but Mr. Seiber and Mr. Horn were along to control them, and these Apaches had had enough of Bad-Ass Geronimo, anyway, due to his depredations and outright killing of some of the northern Apaches. He was a bad-ass neighbor.

Well, we all know that Geronimo was called to a meeting and he actually showed up to have a bad-ass parley with Crook and compadres down below the border, and we all know that Bad-Ass Geronimo let them take him back to the reservation. I guess he couldn't steal enough ammunition to fit the rifles the band had stolen and seeing the light, Geronimo said, "Heap big mistake, General Bad-Ass Crook. My party is in tough shape with hunger, pestilence, and bad-ass Federales, so, please take me back home and let me live in peace with my good-ass white neighbors."

And there was Peace!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

On Kindle

The Bloody Gulch is out on Kindle for the low price of $3.99, that's all.

Sheriff Little has his hands full when the CB Ranch gang comes to The Gulch. Are thy trying to take over the town or what? Will it be known forever as the Bloody Gulch? Grab a copy and read this fascinating story of early Roosevelt, Utah, and catch all the exciting action!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Gary Sprague at the Western Heritage Celebration

Yes, it's true, folks. Gary Sprague came riding into Casa Grande on September 30 on his beautiful horse, Dusty, and rode right through the front door of the Old Paramount Theater and onto the stage, where he sang his heart out for the crowd. It was a mighty fine treat and Dusty did some tricks, too. For a transplanted New Yorker, now known as Arizona's Singing Cowboy, he rendered some fine tunes of the Old Western artists and movie actors, including Gene Autry and Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers, Rex Allen, etc.
 It was another mighty fine presentation of Jim and Bobbi Jean Olson and Nancy Ruybal, and they all participated in the filmed introduction. Ms. Ruybal sang a couple of songs in her fine voice and Jim told his life story with Bobbi Jean helping out prior to Mr. Sprague cantering onto the scene with his guitar.

It was a pleasant way to pass a Sunday afternoon!  

Friday, September 28, 2012

A Death in Indian Wells

Lewis B. Patten's A Death in Indian Wells turned out to be a page turner. It all started with the death of a young Indian who was put on display in a window in Indian Wells. Pete Handy, the Sheriff, was out of town with his son rounding up a killer when it happened. Upon their return, Handy immediately frees the Indian and takes him to a jail cell, where he has the doctor look at his wounds. It was three buffalo hunters that captured and wounded the Indian and put him on display. Sheriff Handy arrests them and takes them to jail and when the young Indian dies of his wounds, he holds them for murder against the town's wishes. Many of the citizens have friends or relatives who were attacked by the Indians in the past and murdered.

Well, Sheriff Handy is married to an Indian and his son, Johnny, is a half-breed, and he can understand why the people are not upset about the dead young Indian, but he must uphold the law. His son, Johnny, takes the Indian to a Cheyenne village for a proper Indian burial with the Sheriff's okay. This riles up the Indians and they plan to kill Johnny and attack Indian Wells to get even with the whites and this puts Handy and his son in a tight spot between a rock and a hard place. Does he release the buffalo hunters to the Cheyennes who will kill and torture them or does he let the town be attacked? Throw in a news reporter who is going to write up the story of how the town treated the Indian and some of the leading citizens going against the law to save the town and the tension thickens.

You'll have to read the story to find out what happens and who does what to who and how it ends. I thought it was an exciting read and enjoyed it.

Lewis B. Patten (Jan 13, 1915 - May 23, 1981) wrote a lot of westerns under his own name and as Lewis Ford, Len Leighton, and Joseph Wayne. And others in cahoots with Wayne D. Overholser. (From Wikipedia.) This book was a Signet Book from the New American Library and a First Printing, February 1972.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


I'm about halfway through Story of The American West by Carol Sletten and Eric Kramer. So far, it has been only about the early settlers of Arizona and their troubles with the Indians. It is a pretty detailed history of the settlement of of the White Mountain area, including the Mormons who were sent into Arizona by Brigham Young along with the early Mexicans and uses some of the Mormon history for certain details.

Am also reading The Comical History of Montana, A Serious Story for Free People, by Jerre C. Murphy. This is an old book published in 1912 it looks like and so far (I'm on page 23) I haven't read anything comical about it. It seems to be an attack on "Big Business," as stated on the title page. Maybe it was just comical in the eyes of the author.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Man from Hanksville

I am slaving away on my next novel, The Man from Hanksville, and I think one or two more read-throughs will get 'er done. This story is MURDER, MYSTERY, and MAYHEM in the small town of Bluff, Utah, when an innocent man is thrown in the HOOSEGOW accused of MURDERING one of the elder citizens. After being released, he sets out to find the KILLER and runs into more KILLING and MISCHIEF AND a PRETTY GIRL who he takes a liking to among the other OBSTACLES put in his path to prevent him from uncovering WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON. I'm finding this project much to my liking and written with HUMOR, COMPASSION, and SINCERITY for all my CHARACTERS, even the BAD ONES. I am looking forward to its PUBLICATION.    

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Another Arizona Event Not to Miss

On Sunday, Sep 30, 2012, Jim and Bobi Jean Olson will be celebrating another Western Heritage event at 420 N. Florence Street, in Casa Grande, AZ, at the Old Paramount Theater.

This event will feature Gary Sprague, the Singing Cowboy, and his horse, Dusty, who participates in the entertainment. Gary will be singing, twirling his guns, and putting Dusty through his paces for an all-out entertainment bash fit for the whole family Tickets are CHEAP, only $15 each with a small fee of  $1.52 per ticket. I got mine this morning through Brown Paper Tickets, Very easy and simple! Get yours today and I'll see you there at the Old Paramount Theater.

There will be other acts for your pleasure with story-telling, cowboy poetry, music and singing! Come one, come all!

Yesterday, I chauffered my wife, her daughter and granddaughter to West World in Scottsdale for the "Junk in the Trunk" sale. There were a variety of antiques, hand-made articles, furniture, pictures, a few old books and lots of other stuff to look at and buy if you were so inclined. My passengers were so inclined and picked up a few small items to add to their collections of old stuff. The weather was nice, sunny, a slight breeze and enjoyable for the most part. We had a great lunch at the Desert Ridge mall and came home and everyone was happy. I had my doctor-ordered glass of wine and collapsed. Shopping is not my bag!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Upcoming Arizona Events

Upcoming events in Arizona now that the event season begins to gather steam:

Sep 14, Pickin' in the Pines Bluegrass & Acoustic Music Festival, Flagstaff

Sep 14-16, 97th Annual Santa Cruz County Fair, Sonoita

Sep 15, 11th Annual Roasted Chile Festival, Tucson

Sep 19, Arizona's Five Cs, Cottonwood (copper, cattle, cotton, citrus, and climate)

Sep 22, Annual Fiesta de San Rafael, Concho

Sep 22, Oro Valley Classics & Older Classic Car Show, Oro Valley

Sep 24, Taste of Williams, Williams

Sep 28, Standin' on the Corner Festival, Winslow

Sep 29-30, Festival of Native American Culture, Camp Verde

Sep 29-30, An Art Affair, Pinetop/Lakeside

Sep 30, Wander the Wild, Prescott

Oct 5, Grand Opry Night, Williams

 Oct 5-7, Paris Flea Market, Mesa

Oct 5-7, Rex Allen Days, Wilcox

Oct 6, Ranch House Roundup, Lake Montezuma

Oct 6-7, Old Congress Days, Congress

Oct 6-7, Earth Harmony Festival, Tumacacori

Oct 12-14, Patagonia Fall Festival, Patagonia

Oct 19-21, 83rd Annual Helldorado Days, Tombstone

Oct 20, Tubac Anza Days, Tubac

And this isn't all of them as they roll out for the Fall season of fun and celebration. Come on out and enjoy!

Thanks to Highroads, the AAA Magazine, Sep-Oct 2012.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

On Writing

"There was a time--it seems further away than childhood--when I took up my pen with eagerness; if my hand trembled it was with hope. But a hope that fooled me, for never a page of my writing deserved to live. I can say that now without bitterness. It was youthful error, and only the force of circumstance prolonged it. The world has done me no injustice; thank Heaven I have grown wise enough not to rail at it for this! And why should any man who writes, even if he writes things immortal, nurse anger at the world's neglect? Who asked him to publish? Who promised him a hearing? Who has broken faith with him? If my shoemaker turn me out an excellent pair of boots, and I, in some mood of cantankerous unreason, throw them back upon his hands, the man has just cause of complaint. But your poem, your novel, who bargained with you for it? If it is honest journeywork, yet lacks purchasers, at most you may call yourself a hapless tradesman. If it come from on high, with what decency do you fret and fume because it is not paid for in heavy cash? For the work of man's mind there is one test, and one alone, the judgment of generations yet unborn. If you have written a great book, the world to come will know of it. But you don't care for posthumous glory. You want to enjoy fame in a comfortable armchair. Ah, that is quite another thing. Have the courage of your desire. Admit yourself a merchant, and protest to gods and men that the merchandise you offer is of better quality than much which sells for a high price. You may be right, and indeed it is hard upon you that Fashion does not turn to your stall."

The above words are from The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft by George Gissing, first published in 1903, and now in the public domain at Open Library and Project Gutenberg.

Well, here it is just short of 110 years later and not much has changed in writing. Like Henry said, "(I) don't want posthumous glory. (I) want to enjoy fame in a comfortable armchair." Then again, I can wait for the "posthumous glory" if it is to come and not have much choice in the matter. And if it doesn't come, I will never know about it. Maybe my heirs and assigns will reap the benefit if "they" choose to honor me with some  "posthumous glory."

That isn't what drew my attention to this excerpt, though. It was the "trembling hand that picked up the pen" and began putting words on paper. In my case it wasn't "youthful error" but senile excuse that I should begin to write in the hopes that someday someone will actually like what is written, and if "heavy cash" should come with it, all the better. All my books are "honest journeywork", even if a couple in the beginning could have been better journeyed, it has led me to keep learning and perfecting my journeying. "Thank Heaven I have grown wise enough not to rail at it." Railing and ranting and crying and carrying on will not help me one iota in this, so I try to keep it private and minimal and not be discouraged, but be encouraged with my little successes.

Okay, I will "admit (my)self a merchant," and present my books in high "Fashion", even if they "(do) not turn to (my) stall." Since this is the age of self-merchandising, we must all do our best to push our works on the markets that are available. However, I'm not a very good salesman and tend to sit on my laurels in this matter.

By the way, I have a few friends who are "Linked-in Associates" and will accept more friends. They tell me this is a good way to sell books. Ahem, yeah, yeah. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Look at the Clouds

Here are a few pics of the monsoon clouds that came near Sun City this week:

  It's maybe the Pillsbury Doughboy swimming through the sky.

Is that Dumbo in there somewhere?

Just a few scattered clouds.

 It looks like it could rain any minute.

A man with a torch?

Almost like the hole in the rock in the header pic.

Is that an angry ape's head above my chateau?

All those threatening clouds and no rain, although Camp Verde and Sycamore Creek areas received about 3 and a half inches. Another day under Southwestern skies.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Posse Justice is Now Out!

A cover picture of Posse Justice is shown on the right side, over there, that way --------.

Sheriff Ocklund and his outnumbered posse play cat-and-mouse along the Green River after a bank robbery in the small town of High Bench.

I had an easier time publishing this than with The Bloody Gulch, which has some alignment errors and a couple of punctuation mistakes. Posse Justice came out much better.

The cover photo is a picture of my father (on the left) and his brother-in-law and can be either part of the posse in the story or part of the outlaws, as the reader may determine (or not). The photo was posted earlier on the blog, but I decided it would make a fine cover and used it here.

Even my better half says of this one: "It's the best one yet," and I have to agree with her.

Don't forget to order a copy for your own library, and it will be on Kindle before too long.

Posse Justice is the fifth and final novel in what I call the Uintah Basin series. I will now turn my attention to The Man from Hanksville, which I am proofing and rewriting parts of it.

(Note: Header photo is one of those holes in the rock in northern Arizona, Monument Valley area.) 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Let's Continue

Wal, cowboys 'n cowgirls, I didn't quite finish the last post due to disruption of a major order concerning our telephone. We lost the signal and I had to tear my "Office" apart to get at the electrical inlet where the phone was plugged into the wall. I would've taken a picture, but it was just too messy. I think that desk weighed at least two tons as I tried to move it away from the wall and, of course, I had to remove everything on it and in it, including the drawers to get to the phone plug. My printer/scanner was down along with the rest of the mess, so I'm providing a couple of scans for the last post.

This first one is a copy of the cover of Jim Olson's non-fiction book, Cowboy Heroes of the Southwest, right here:

Ah-h! It showed up.

The next one is of Bobbi Jeen Olson's publicity/media card I picked up at the celebration Saturday night:

Ride 'em, Cowgirl. You go girl! (Front of the card)

(Reverse of the card). The back has her tell-all bio for public consumption, here, in three sections:

Check out her website at for much more.

Also, check out Jim Olson's blogs at and
for much more and great information.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fantastic Show in Casa Grande

The wife and I traveled the 50 or so miles to Casa Grande to attend a Western Heritage Celebration put on by Jim Olson, who sponsors the show monthly and is a Western blogger and writer. Being the first one attended I can't comment on the previous shows, but if they were anywhere near the caliber of talent of this one, they had to be winners, too.

The headliner was Chris Isaacs, Arizona cowboy poet and author. His routines, and I pluralize it because he had the microphone twice, were recited from memory from his experiences as a cowboy over the years. He was funny, truthful and sad in a couple of the poems. but most of them ended on a comical note and received a loud ovation from the audience. I wouldn't ordinarily spend money to hear someone recite poetry whether is was Western or otherwise, but we both found that we enjoyed what we heard and will probably attend more gatherings like this.

The other headliner was Nancy Ruybal, Western singer, who writes her own material in most cases. She has a real sweet voice and accompanies herself on the guitar. I enjoyed her singing, and you know what, we could even understand the words. She drew a loud amount of applause, too.

For the extra added attractions, there was Janice King Deardorff, Dennis Knill, William Merritt, and Jan Michael Corey. We arrived a few minutes late and missed William Merritt and Jan Michael Corey, which I am sorry to say. Janice King Deardorff was a Western singer and guitarist and she sang and played until her time ran out. She was a fine artist, too. And Dennis Krill was in the middle of his set when we came barging in, but he sings and plays the guitar very well and is a songwriter, too. A late add-on was "Pelon" as Featured Artisan. "A unique glimpse in how they used to do it." He makes all his rawhide equipment from scratch, tightly interwoven and strong. A dying breed in this day and age.

The next celebration is on September 30, 2012, at the Paramount Theater in Casa Grande, AZ, and will feature Gary Sprague, The Singing Cowboy, who will be on stage with his horse and guns singing old Gene Autry and Roy Rogers songs as Jim announced. I will attend if I can and urge everyone to come out and support Jim and these shows. His wife is none other than "Bobbi Jeen Olson, "The Arizona Cowgirl" and loves the Western way of life. She is the hostess of Arizona Country TV and has appeared in numerous western movies, shows, and modeled more western products than one person could use." (Taken from her publicity card.) A real talented family and they deserve all the support they can get putting on these celebrations of the Old West.

I piicked up a copy of Jim's book, "Cowboy Heroes of the Southwest" and expect a good read.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

True West mag, again

The October ed. of True West has some truly remarkable statuary in it. Some of the subjects I never heard of, like Kid Russell and Monte. Turns out that Kid Russell is Charles Russell, the artist who painted cowboys and Indians. And I've heard of Charles Goodnight but not John C. "Jack" Hays. The statue of Hays is in San Marcos, TX, and he was a captain in the Texas Rangers in the 1840's. There is a statue of John Wayne in Winterset, Iowa, his hometown, and several statues of Wyatt Earp. There is a series of statues that takes up a city block in Pioneer Courage Park, Omaha Nebraska, that memorializes the wagon train.

The title of the article is "53 Statues You Need to See Before You Die" and was compiled by the editors of the magazine. An outstanding collection and hits on a subject that is not well publicized as a whole even though some of the individual artists are well known.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

My latest novel, Posse Justice

Another short excerpt from Posse Justice from the beginning of Chapter 14:

     "We robbed that bank about two weeks ago," Rusty said, "and we ain't been able to spend ary a penny of the loot. And we ain't been able to lose that posse neither."
     "If we hadn't captured that girl, we could've lost the posse a long time ago," said Dave. "She's been holding us back. We ought to let her go and get on with it."
     "We can't do that. She's going to be our ticket out of here if we get surrounded. Ain't that right, Missy?" said Dusty.

     With Shaky and Flint on lookout, Rusty, Dusty, and Dave kept their eyes on me. I stared back at them from my cramped and tied-up position on the ground. I needed help getting off my horse after riding most of the day. We stopped to rest the horses in a small valley with lots of trees and bushes and a stream flowing through. I dropped to the ground.
     "Look at her," said Dusty. "A poor excuse for a woman. Her hair is all messed up, her dress is ragged and dirty, and her hands are grimy. Look at her face. What's that smudge or is it a bruise on her cheek below her left eye where it's dark-like? Did someone hit her?"
     "That's where I slapped her," said Rusty. "Had to, to get her moving."
     "You can't win her over that way," said Dusty. "You could treat her with a little kindness. Maybe she'll join up with us."
     I was quiet. I'm tired and my joints ached from the joggling on the horse. Being tied up was difficult, even if I am an experienced cowgirl. Not being able to move my arms and the strides of the horse threw me off balance at times, requiring more leg use and pressure on the inside of my calves and thighs. I managed to raise my head and take a look at the three men standing there staring at me. Groaning, I said, "Why don't yuou let me go and you can get away faster. Just leave me here."
     "Shut up!" said Rusty. "We heard enough of your suggestions."
     He raised his arm to slap me again, but Dave grabbed it.
     "You heard your brother, Rusty. You got to start treating her better to get any help from her."
     Rusty gave him a long, dirty stare and relaxed his arm, saying, "I don't believe in it, I don't. If you don't threat them rough, they run all over you."
      "I know I'm not going to change your mind," said, Dave, "but if you just take it easy on her she might start to cooperate and not hold us back with all her aches and pains."
     "Oh-ho, you done fell in love with her, haven't you?" Rusty said. "And now you're going to start protecting her like she's your very own. Did you hear that, Dusty? Dave's fell for the girl. Well, he can do all the watching of her, then, for all I care."  -End of excerpt-

Just finished this book and it should be available from Amazon in a week or two or a little longer. Pick up a copy when it's out and give it a good read and tell everyone how you liked it!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Fastest Gun in Texas

The Fastest Gun in Texas is one of J. T. Edson's fine western novels. The story consists of three major episodes in the life of Dusty Fog, the fiercest, fastest, gunman in Texas. The first third of the book is devoted to some of his exploits in the Civil War, like being assigned to blow up a bridge to disrupt the Union Army from making headway for a time, taking on a fencing master (yes, he's an expert with the epee) while visiting the Yankee camp to testify in the case of the Union soldier who was assigned to prevent the bridge blow-up. He was honorable, too. After he takes care of the big, bad, Union General who was behind this, he makes it home to Texas and goes after killers who had murdered five Texans in a saloon without giving them a chance. And the third major episode concerns a horse his uncle bought for the OD Connected ranch. It had been captured in a wild horse roundup and was the biggest, baddest, and orneriest paint that had ever been seen. His uncle, the ranch owner, had to try to break him before anyone else tries and gets his back broken for his efforts. So, you guessed it, little Dusty Fog gives it a try and the paint is stolen out of the corral as he make progress with it.

I haven't read too many westerns where swordplay takes place in them; can't remember any off hand. It was a pleasant diversion from the gunplay which you know is coming in this well written story and some of the descriptions gets a little gory in the details. I read the Dell book published in 1968, almost ancient history, and thought it was a good read with enough action to carry me through to the exciting end.

I will now dig out another from the box of books waiting to be read. Let's see, which one will it be this time that I will put in the car and read while the wife shops? It'll have to be a pocket-size book to fit in the cubby hole.   

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Mark Twain

In the late 1860's and '70's Mark Twain was resident in his mansion on a hill overlooking a valley in Elmira County, New York. He evidently was thinking about writing and censorship in a humorous way and must have spent many hours of brainpower on the subject. Whether he was thinking relative to his writing of Tom Sawyer which was already published or looking forward to writing Huckleberry Finn, I can only surmise. It was in 1876 that he wrote a short thing titled, 1601,  Conversation as it was at the Social Fireside in the time of the Tudors, and he had a heckuva time getting it published. It was finally printed up at the West Point Army Academy by the adjutant at the time. And it was passed from hand to hand among "the kings and queens" in Britain and Europe and the upper crust society of literary intellectuals in America because of the many cuss words or obscenities it contained, although the words were commonly used by the people of that time (1600) and are well known among our own generation. Mark Twain swore up a blue streak at times. I don't know if he used the epithets he picked up in the West or whether he swore from a young age. My guess is that he probably added to his swear word vocabulary as he travelled the West.  

At about the same time in American History (1880's), Tom Horn was talking to Geronimo on a hill in Mexico trying to get him back on the reservation and away from the plundering and pillaging and the vile acts he and his Chiricahua Apache cohorts had committed. Tom Horn and Al Sieber had been called there by Geronimo, who had put out the word that he wanted to return to the reservation, and he thought that he should be given about every kind of accommodation for all the U. S. Army had done to him and his family.
Tom Horn had said in his autobiography that "Geronimo must have talked for an hour or two," asking for the moon. Horn spoke Apache fluently and he was the interpreter for Sieber. Although the book by Carol Sletten and Eric Kramer, Story of the American West, that describes this meeting didn't indicate that any vile language was used, I am willing to bet that Geronimo used more than one curse word in his harangue that perhaps would have made the words in 1601 seem more ancient than they are. I'm sure there was just as much swearing going on on the part of Geronimo, Horn and Sieber and the rest of the Army as there was in the time of the Tudors. And, if all those swear words were printed in the newspapers of the time, the paper would never have been able to publish them.

At least we can enjoy 1601 now with Mark Twain's use of supposedly obscene language, and I have it on my Nook Color from Project Gutenberg ready to read. So, if you'll excuse me.......   

Here is a sketch of a young Mark Twain by me from a pic on Wikipedia? This was drawn a few months ago and I can't remember from exactly where. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Dime Novels

I'm always on the lookout for western books and I ran across an ad in True West Magazine for Tales of the West dimenovels. It turned out to be the site for Author David Brooks, member of Single Action Shooting Society and Western Writers of America. This is his sales site showing the books, collections and gifts he has for sale and his bio, in which he says, "I try to bring creativity to the printed page while further exploring the concepts of morality and social issues of my earlier work."

Some of the titles listed are:

 Left for Dead
The Gathering Storm  
A Hanging at Horse Creek
Guns of the Arroyo
Dry Springs
Hell is Never Full

The titles are interesting and evoke a mood of excitement and suspense, and you can check them all out at I admit I haven't read any of these, but will add dimenovels to my TBP (to be purchased) list. Take a look and see if you agree.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Author Deaths

Two more fine authors passed away this week, Maeve Binchy and Gore Vidal.

Maeve Binchy was an Irish writer who got a comparatively late start at the age of 42. 

Gore Vidal was an American writer who wrote such books as Myra Breckinridge and Burr.

Most of you have already heard about the deaths and I'm posting this to see if everything is working like it's supposed to. I've been having trouble with my PC since I downloaded a program that I thought was safe, but some PUPS came along with it. The PUPS were deleted and quarantined, but I still had lingering problems. I've ran the virus scan, here and from outside, and no virus is shown, so I'm hoping everything's straight with the new blogging setup from google. 

The new heading photo is Monument Valley in a light snow. Maybe it will make you feel cooler in this hot summer. 


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Unusual Cloud Formation

Damn! I'm having a helluva time getting this post on the blog! Anyway here goes.

We just returned from the high country about an hour ago.  We spent Friday and Saturday in Payson, AZ, and checked out the Rim Country Museum. It was a fine exhibition and included a tour of Zane Grey's house, not the original but a replica built on the Museum grounds. The original cabin was burned up in a forest fire a few years ago. The tour guide said the house was about a thousand square feet in size, and we goggled at the one room where he slept and wrote his novels. The kitchen was a separate room added on the back. Grey sat in a chair and wrote his books in longhand on a board set on the arms of the chair, and his secretary typed the manuscripts at a large table. Grey's saddle was set up in the room and there were replicas of the firearms he used, a rifle and a pistol. There were recorded details of his life on two speakers, just push the button.

The unusual cloud formation comes into the picture with the build up of the clouds prior to a rainstorm. Payson got very little rain out of it, but it rained like hell higher up toward Heber.

Here is the unusual formation. I thought the image in the hole looked like a pitcher or a coffee pot.

The rain clouds are the white ones just above the trees.

It was raining so heavy and fast when we got in the vicinity of Heber we had to pull off the road and wait for the storm to pass and we were in rain all the way back to near Payson. And down in the valley there was only dusty wind.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

True West Books in Sep 2012 edition

One of the books reviewed in True West is Butch Cassidy, My Uncle, by Bill Betenson. His great-grandmother also had a book, Butch Cassidy, My Brother. And I'm waiting for one called Butch Cassidy, My Cousin, or Butch Cassidy, My Fourth Cousin's Outlaw Great-Uncle or such. According to the review there is no new information regarding Cassidy's life after Bolivia, but the book does provide more info on the family and the outlaw with more research material available now than earlier. I wouldn't mind giving it a read to satisfy my inquiring mind of the new details, since he is always a good subject to read and write about. A fine review by Mike Bell, author of Incidents of Owl Creek: Butch Cassidy's Big Horn Basin Bunch.

This reminds me of an old high school friend, who claimed to be a relative of the Parker (Cassidy) family and whose name was Parker. Whether he was telling the truth or not, I don't know, but he was pretty convincing.   We both attended the same school in Utah and he had a real good sense of humor. I can see him now writing Butch Cassidy, My Idol, The Further Adventures of the Robin Hood of the Old West. It would've been a humdinger of a novel and a fantastic movie epic after the Broadway play had run its course, however, he has gone to meet his maker. When or how, I don't know. Just like Butch Cassidy.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Latest purchases/Good story

I picked up the books I ordered with B&N, only three of them came in:

1. Wild Cow Tales by Ben K. Green - Thirteen stories about Ben's days of catching wild cows. This should be good!

2. Roy & Lillie, A Love Story by Loren D. Estleman - Roy Bean and Lillie Langtry fall in love. This should be just as good!

3. A little diversion from the old West is A Matter of Honor by William C. Hammond. This is the first in a series of sea novels. "Bill Hammond brings the American Revolution to life in this outstanding blend of drama, action, and romance infused with details so rich you'll feel the blast of cannon and taste the salt in the air," so says Suzanne Giesemann, Commander, U.S. Navy (Ret.), author of Living the Dream, so states a back cover blurb. Can't wait to get into this one.

I also ordered Beat To A Pulp, Vol. 1, short stories edited by David Cranmerbut it wasn't available. I'll have to order it from Amazon.

A short story titled Six Guns and Pitch Forks  by Matthew Pizzolato at Fires on the Plain  is worth spending a few minutes reading. Fine story!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

It's Raining in Phoenix!

This is the second shower we've had in the last 48 hours:

WOW! A whole eighth of an inch!!

Another view of the rain guage!

LOOK at all the water in the gutters running down the street!

The  rain guage shows about an eighth of an inch so far this Friday morning. We had about a quarter-inch Wednesday night with lots of thunder and lightning. Today, Friday, no thunder/lightning yet at ten in the AM. The monsoonal flow looks good for the next week. We sure need it, being about two-and-a-half inches behind the average. We get about 7 to 8 inches for the year and so far we've had less than an inch as measured at the airport.  Saturday we received a few sprinkles on this side of town, but the other side had up to an inch and a half. YIPPEE!!  

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Guns of the Timberlands

Finished reading Guns of the Timberlands by Louis L'Amour. A gent by the name of Jud Devitt has his eye set on the timber in Deep Creek, but the land is occupied by Clay Bell. The way this started out gave me the impression that Jud Devitt was going to be the hero in the white hat, but that soon changed to Clay Bell when Devitt tries to force his way into Deep Creek to have a go at the timber. Mr. Bell is a forward thinker and thwarts every attempt by Devitt to get through to the timber, even though he has the local banker supporting him. The romantic interest for both men is the Judge's daughter, Colleen Riley, who came west with Devitt and her father. So, on top of the timber, both Bell and Devitt try to get on top of Colleen, and it takes to the bitter end to find out who the winner is with plenty of hints on the way. Devitt gets a government grant to the timber, but a couple of people are killed trying to get through Bell's defenses. Bell also has a government grant for grazing on the land, and he retaliates, killing a couple of Devitt's men. Devitt hires a couple of slick gunslingers to kill Bell, but they get shot instead, and it comes to a barefisted, knockdown, dragout fight between Bell and Devitt well described by Mr. L'Amour to determine the winner. By that time you know very well who the winner will be and the conqueror of Miss Riley.

This was a fairly short novel of 148 pages in the pocket book edition by Bantam Books. A satisfying read.