Thursday, March 29, 2012


I'm forever on the lookout for old Westerns when I go "antiquing" with my wife. We recently made a trip to Scottsdale with my nephew and his wife, and I ran across these three:

    The Pioneers, by James Fenimore Cooper. This book was published by Grosset and Dunlap but there is no date on it. The inside cover and first page in the book (the frontispiece, I guess you could call it) has this illustration. This novel was the first in the Leatherstocking series to be published (in 1823). This book was probably printed in the 1930's or -40's or thereabouts.

The second was The Trail of the Lonesome Pine by John Fox, Jr. and also published by Grosset and Dunlap by arrangement with Charles Scribner's Sons. It was published in October 1908 and is an illustrated edition. Here is a copy of the frontispiece:

And the third book was Buck Peters, Ranchman, by Clarence E. Mulford and John Wood Clay, and this was also published by Grosset and Dunlap by arrangement with A. C. McClurg & Co., copyright 1912. This one got my attention on the Title Page which states: "Buck Peters, Ranchman  Being the Story of What Happened When Buck Peters, Hopalong Cassidy, and Their Bar-20 Associates Went to Montana"
Here is a picture of the front cover:

There were some newer editions of Double-D Westerns and Bar-20 Westerns, but I had to pass on them for now. If I ever get caught up on my To Be Read file, I might return to the store and see if there are any left. I think these will entertain me for awhile.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Shorty on Saloons

I thoroughly enjoyed the last chapter of Saloons of the Old West by Richard Erdoes. It covers the last of the old-time saloons and the Prohibition Act in a fun and informative way. This movement of the non-drinkers got a big boost from Carrie Nation in Kansas and I think she still is still playing a role in the liquor laws of the State and elsewhere even though she passed away many years ago. The lingering effects. According to the book there were only two saloons that made it through prohibition, but many of them have been revived since, at least in name.

I will be selling books at the Surprise Arts Festival next Sunday for a couple of hours. The First Annual Art is Alive in Surprise Festival is being held at the Dream Catcher Park, 14535 W. Tierra Buena Lane, and my thanks goes out to Tammy Fraser of the Barnaby Street Shops and Gifts-to-Go for providing the booth for authors to publicize their works. Thanks, Tammy!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Book signing

This should've been posted yesterday, but other matters kept me from the computer. The signing was not a success, but I did talk to some nice people. Better luck next time.

Will be signing and selling books Thursday, Mar 22, at the Bell Mar Plaza, Bell Road and 114th Avenue, in Surprise.

I'm about ready to finish tearing my hair out. The Bloody Gulch is in its final throes of birth, but it has been a confused and worrisome procedure. Maybe I will get it finished in the next couple of weeks if all goes well. I'm getting further behind in keeping up with the blogs because of it and will have more to catch up on. Y'all have a great weekend!

Sunday, March 18, 2012


The photo is the north side of a portion of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve which sits in the northeast part of the city of Phoenix. This was taken from the south end of North 32nd Street where SR 51 freeway begins its cut though Dreamy Draw. It's nice to have a mountain in the middle of the city where people can get their exercise running up and down the sides of it and falling off, and having heat strokes and heart attacks. It has a magnetic attraction for the locals and tourists in need of a good walk or climb.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Re: Picture, Plus

If you look closely at the picture in the header, you will be able to make out a road that comes out of the gully on the left and heads into the valley between the cliffs. Where does it come from and where is it going? I could hazard a guess, but I won't. I can imagine myself walking into that canyon and never coming out. I'm so thirsty I could drink water from a puddle, if I could only find a puddle, I'm thinking, with the hot sun beating down on my head and shoulders. Do I have a gold mine in there? Am I running from the law? Or, am I a lawman looking for outlaws? I don't think I'd be doing the last alone unless I was Tom Horn. It's none of the above. Maybe I'm a painter looking for a good spot to set up my easel, or a photographer searching for the ultimate photo, or maybe even a writer searching for solitude among the rocks to knock out a few chapters of my new best seller.

Speaking of which, my novel set in Roosevelt, Utah, (known then as The Gulch) is in the final stages of preparation for publication and should be available in about a month or so. Titled The Bloody Gulch it's a story of Sheriff Bill Little and his tussle with .a some new cowboys who have settled on the CB Ranch and act like their fixing to take over the town. And the Sheriff also has the problem of Red Nose and Chimmy Royo, Ute Indians, who are always on the lookout to cause trouble. There is shooting, cattle rustling, assault, killing, and even a mite of romance as the Sheriff and his new Deputy, Archie Mahoney, work to make The Gulch a safe place in which to settle down and enjoy life. I can't wait to get my proof copy. I'll open a bottle of liquid refreshment, take a seat on the patio in this 80-degree weather, and read it aloud to my better half to see if we like it. I know I will.

Further details will be forthcoming as to availability, price, ordering, etc. I know you will want to share this  by picking up a copy.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Finally Finished

Yep, The Prairie is completely read from cover to cover, and a thoroughly enjoyable diversion it has been from beginning to end. It was a very wordy novel about Ishmael Bush and his family who set off to "leave the settlements" behind and head out west. But he finds the adventure not to his liking after running into characters like the Old Trapper and the Army feller who is looking for his wife and the Siouxes who steal his animals and left the family stranded. The Old Trapper leads the various men and women through all their trials and tribulations and the family ends up back in the settlements.

After the manuscript there is an essay by John William Ward on what J. F. Cooper was trying to do with this novel and the others in the series. He states that "The Prairie is a threnody over the passing of something fine and heroic in American life." It may have very well been, but I don't try to analyze the books I read or psychoanalyze the characters, although the author may be trying to put over a fine point. I read for pleasure and that's all and I didn't find it dull or boring with all the unnecessary wording that was thrown in. But today's writing style gets to the point much faster to accommodate modern readers who have very little time according to some experts.

However, if you find yourself with extra time on your hands, pick up The Prairie and take the time to enjoy Mr. Cooper's wordy style.

I told Patsy Collins I would give her a mention and congratulations on her new book Escape to the Country. You can read about it on her blog at for Friday, March 9, 2012.  

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Writer's Book

I finished reading The Writer's Book and it was jam-packed with information on writing, of course. Essays by prominent men and women such as Paul Gallico, Lionel Trilling, Babette Deutsch, Phyllis McGinley, Niven Busch, Max Ehrlich, and Winston Churchill. The essays ran the gamut from Anthologies, Writing for the Movies, Television, Radio, Short Stories,  Style, the difficulty of changing your novel to theater, writing for the "Slicks", etc.

In two or three of the essays it is mentioned that you can't teach writing. It's  a natural phenomenon that an individual devotes himself to after learning the basics like grammar, style, vocabulary, etc., at least some of them learn those basics and some don't. Why writers become writers is another question that remained unsolved because of the many reasons for writing that are put forth by those practicing the profession. I got the impression that writers are all wacky, not necessarily not normal, but just a little bit odd. Who in their right mind would spend so much time staring at a typewriter or blank screen or piece of paper waiting for the urge to write something extraordinary and different than that already written? For what? Money, fame, publicity, notoriety? Good luck with that.

The last few pages of the book covered these questions and others in  a manner that made me laugh heartily, you know, guffaws, and pointed out to me the futility of such a pastime. But, what the heck, I will sit here staring at the screen for as long as it takes, sometimes not long at all, other times a little longer, just waiting for the urge to strike to write something.profound or striking or just plain dull. Oh, the joy of finally seeing words on paper! Am I slightly odd?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Low-Flying Clouds

Well, there they go! These low-flying clouds are the remnants of our "storm" that passed through last Monday and left a few sprinkles of rain down here in the valley and a few inches of snow up in the mountains. Flagstaff received around five inches, that is the Snowbowl got the snow and reopened for a day or two of skiing and snowboarding.

The weather continues in the upper forties and fifties at night here and upper sixties and seventies during the daytime. It will be in the eighties by Monday this week they say.

This photo was taken with my new little Vivitar digital camera that holds only 26 photos and cost $10. Certainly not a professional grade contraption, but it will provide a pic now and then that will provide fodder for a blog in emergencies.

The photo in the header of Monument Valley is professional grade, but the photographer is unknown by me. It was in an album I bought at an estate sale. Nothing like a good estate sale to get the juices flowing through my wife's veins.