Sunday, June 29, 2014

Yup, I Finished It

I set aside everything else, including digging trenches and blogging, but not babysitting or eating, in order to complete Trouble at Sagrado Ranch, and I just ordered a proof copy to review. If I find everything in good finish, it will be available for purchase in two or three weeks in Kindle and paperback editions at a reasonable cost.

This novel will complete the eight books I have written in the last six, eight, or ten years and I have nothing more planned at present. I will probably do a Kindle edition of some short stories and maybe start another western. I have several ideas floating around in my feeble brain that may make a good story or two. But right now, I will take a break and let the ideas swirl around until they reach a tornado pitch and have to be let out. Writing is a necessary evil that must be dealt with. The only way to deal with it is . . . . WRITE, WRITE, WRITE.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Feud at Single Shot

Luke Short's western, The Feud at Single Shot, is a gritty tale of an attempt to take over a ranch near the small town of Single Shot. Dave Turner, half-owner of the ranch with his sister, and Rosy Rand are finally freed from the Yuma prison and return to Single Shot to pick up where they left off. Mary, the sister, has been working the ranch with the assistance of a couple of no-good cowboys and her slick-garbed husband, Ted Winters, who is more interested in gambling than the ranch. On the way home from the train station, they are ambushed and Dave is shot, but not killed. Dave and Rosy thinks it was set up by a man named Hammond, who began mining below the ridge next to the ranch property, and a fellow named Crowell has offered to buy the ranch.

This story is also a mystery of sorts as Dave and Rosy work to find the person behind the shooting and the ranch offers, believing it is not really Crowell who wants the property. The cliff where the only water supply lies in a lake on the Turner ranch is blown to smithereens and the water runs out over the mine of Hammond on down the gulley to the desert floor. And the plot thickens as they find out Hammond wasn't behind either the shooting or the explosion.

And there are more twists and turns as Dave is kidnapped and tortured and made to sign over his half of the ranch to Crowell. But why does somebody want the ranch so bad? I will leave that answer for the reader to find out as Rosy and Dave and Hammond all work together to catch the unknown villain of the story. This was another of Luke Short's fine stories which took my mind away from the daily grind for a couple of hours.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

What a Sale!

What a Sale, yuk! We traveled all the way to Mesa Friday to sell some books ,at least I thought that was why were going over there. We picked out a nice hotel and made reservations for the night as the event would end at 10 PM and I didn't want to drive back that late. Hell, I'm over 80 years old and don't drive much at night any more nor any other time, either.

We signed in at 4:30 like the notice said, and set up the table and chairs, dug out the books and a sign, and an old battery-operated lantern in case we didn't have enough light. At exactly 6 PM we took our places in the l04 degree heat and waited for customers to inquire about the books. About 6:30 PM, I walked down the street to a Pizza parlor and bought a couple slices of pizza and we ate the pizza and drank a giant drink and waited for customers. I yelled at about everyone that passed the table to take a look, uh-huh, about six people so far. Around 7:30 a nice lady stopped and gazed at the books and chatted for a moment before moving on. The heat was cooling down a bit and there was a nice breeze and about 8:30 we started to pack up. A couple minutes later I dug the books out of the box to show a young lady and her son what I had and KaChing, she bought one. So we sat there a few more minutes with no action and I started putting the books back in the box  and another couple stopped to see what I had. KaChing, another sale! So we waited a few more minutes in the half-light before putting them away again. This time nobody answered our call to take a look, so we packed up and I went and got the car. I was told it was fine to double park to load and unload so there I was laboring away putting the table and chairs in the trunk and a city bus stopped, thinking he couldn't get by. I said to myself, "He'll just have to wait while I finish loading up." Another minute or two and we piled into the car and took off. I turned off that street, heading to the hotel and there was a police car following me. I  stopped for a light and the policeman turned the corner and let out a long sigh of relief.

It was Friday the 13th, what did I expect? We fell far short of meeting expenses, and besides almost having a heat stroke, I managed to enjoy the outing anyway.  Maybe I'll try it again next month.  

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Coming Along

I'm proofing the manuscript of Trouble at Sagrado Ranch. My editor, my wife, has proofread it and caught a number of typos and a couple of contextual errors. So, I'm going through it and making the changes and re-proofing the text. After this is done, I will read it again and start thinking about a cover for it that I can use at no cost. I have only about $8 in my book account and I don't think I would get much in the way of cover design for that amount. I hope to add some funds tomorrow night in Mesa at the 2nd Friday Night Out event where I will be signing and selling my novels to all the street walkers, er, er, the wonderful people walking by on the sidewalk and participating in the event.

Have a great weekend!.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Modern Cowboy's Unusual Story

Bob Norris was just a rancher in Colorado when one day he received a visit from a fellow named Jackson who wanted to rent six stalls for six elephants. The man was looking to get rid of the baby elephants for $18,000 each.  And that is the basis of this story by Malcolm MacPherson called, The Cowboy and His Elephant. It starts with a discussion of the life and habits of elephants in the wild and when you get through that the author takes up the case of Amy who was the only animal to survive a "cull" in the jungles of Zimbabwe.

Amy ends up on the ranch with Mister Norris and they get acquainted over the next few months, and by this time, they have fallen in love with each other. Bob Norris eventually gets around to teaching Amy a couple of tricks and Amy's world has opened up. She gradually gets acquainted with the rest of the ranch and follows Norris and his horse Big Bob around riding fence and all the other things required of a rancher. And Amy plays with her new friends, a goat and the dogs and is considered well adjusted. Norris was an animal lover of the best type, having had a bear in his young days and always looked out for any animal on the ranch.

As time goes by, Amy gets bigger and bigger and could hurt someone without meaning to, she is so powerful in her natural movements and curiosity. Norris had been taking her to various schools to entertain the kids and teach them about elephants. Amy was just getting too big to continue doing this and he stops and has thoughts about selling her to a zoo or a circus to ensure she gets the continued proper treatment.

I have a first edition of the book printed by St. Martin's Press, an imprint of Thomas Dunne Books of New York. It contains a few pictures of Bob and Amy and others and the signature of Bob Norris but not the Author MacPherson.

Anyway, I'll leave the ending out of this blurb, not wanting to disclose it and maybe ruin it for other readers. And there is also a surprise, at least it was to me, about Mister Norris which I will leave for other readers to discover, too. After I had read the opening discourse on elephants, the story moved rather fast and ended all too soon. I really enjoyed this book.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Hamlin Garland, Writer

This month's sketch is a resemblance of HAMLIN GARLAND, Author.

Garland wrote the "Border" books, A Son of the Middle Border, A Daughter of the Middle Border,  Trail-Makers of the Middle Border, and Back-Trailers of the Middle Border among others. Born September 14, 1860, in Wisconsin, he passed on March 4, 1940, in Hollywood, California, at the ripe old age of 79. He began his writing career in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1884.

He traveled to the Yukon in 1898 to witness the Klondike Gold Rush and wrote a novel, The Trail of the Gold Seekers in 1899. He lived in Iowa for a while which inspired many of his writings. He wrote about fifty books, including several that had Prairie in the title and  others that had Trail in the title. Garland won a Pulitzer Prize for biography for A Daughter of the Middle Border it says in, where this info is coming from and the sketch is from a photo there. While he was in Hollywood he investigated psychic phenomena and wrote in 1936, Forty Years of  Psychic Research and The Mystery of the Buried Crosses in 1939.

I read a couple of the Border books and found them to be interesting and not exactly what I would call traditional western, but they were personal reminiscences of his travels in the midwest and are literary in my world. If time permits, I will certainly read his gold book and Boy Life on the Prairie to see what they are like. He also wrote a biography of Ulysses S. Grant, Ulysses S. Grant, His Life and Character, which I may find time to read if I can find a copy.