Sunday, July 26, 2015

Ten Shoes Up, a Novel by Gary L. Stuart

This story takes place in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico in the high country. “Angus” is a ridge rider, that is, he likes the mountains and is perfectly at home living at 12,000 feet in a self-built log cabin and only visits a town out of necessity. But A Captain Standard H. Plumb, railroad detective, thinks he has been robbing trains and is out to get him dead or alive. Plumb gets together a posse and lights out on the trail of Angus. The story has several points of view as each chapter is devoted to one of the characters and his situation as he tells it. The story moves along as each one picks up where the previous leaves off or simultaneously explains what went on or what his plans are.

Plumb and his posse nearly catch Angus as  posse member Branson fires his Hawken that barely misses Angus and puts a long gash in his horse’s thigh. Angus escapes by riding through the Ute Cut, a narrow opening in the cliffs on top of Ten Shoes Up, the name of the mountain.

The story continues with a few twists and turns and Angus meets Addie Morton in Montclair, Colorado, and falls for her. Her brother, Robert owns the bank there and Angus has business with him which he takes care of and heads back into the mountains on a new horse.

Well, it turns out that this Angus gent is not who he was made out to be and one of the former posse members, Bo String, who was nearly shot by a member of the new posse, holes up with Angus in his cabin on the mountain. The new posse finds the hidden cabin and Angus captures Under Sheriff Joe Pete. Angus gets the drop on the two remaining posse members, Plumb and Branson, and they both end up dead.

That part is over and Angus is on the hunt for a Tom Emmet and gang, more train robbers, who are rumored to be in the Cimarron, New Mexico, area. After some more tracking, shooting, and killing, Angus settles that round and the story is over.

This story of Angus Esparrazza was fun, interesting, exciting, and comes to an end with a surprise in store for the reader. The one thing I thought was a little overdone was the internal descriptive additions that explained too much unnecessary information, but I enjoyed the tale in spite of that. The use of the various POV’s didn’t interfere with the narrative, but moved it right along. An action-packed and thrilling tale of the old west.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Summer Events in AZ

You would think that there wouldn't be much going on in the desert heat in summer, but there are a few events taking place:

Today is the last day of the Annual Pleasant Valley Days in Young. Features a parade and historic site tours of the 1887 Pleasant Valley War, and other exciting things.

Jul 24-25: National Day of the Cowboy Celebration and Cowboy Artists of America in Sedona. WOW! This will be fun with gunfights, roping, and such, to celebrate the Cowboys. A whole lot of storytelling and I wouldn't be surprised there will be some tall tales among them and poetry, too. And some tall cowboys on horses.

Jul 25: First Annual Book Festival in Payson at Gila Community College. 60 authors available to sign and sell their books plus classes, etc., for writers and readers. I'm betting that this will be even bigger next year and the next.

Jul 25 - Grape Train Escape, Clarkdale. Wine tasting on the Verde Canyon Railroad, a great ride through the canyon and return to Clarkdale. You start out sober and return somewhat inebriated. YAHOOO!

Jul 25: Aquamoto Watercraft Race Series, Lake Havasu. Obstacle courses, bikini contests (Woot, woot!), flyboard contests, etc., etc., etc. 

Jul 25 - Sep 27: West of Center - A Community-Curated Event in Wickenburg. Media works by the Wickenburg Art Club, demonstrations, lectures, etc. at the Desert Caballeros Western Museum.

Aug 1-2: Antique Auto Show, Prescott. All makes and models of the old automobile. Fun, fun, fun.

Aug 6-8: Arizona Cowboy Poet Gathering, Prescott at Yavapai College. Perpetuating the culture, traditions, history of cowboy poetry. EEE-YAI!

And that be a few of the exciting events this summer in Arizona. Thanks to AAA's Magazine Highroads.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A Short Introduction

We were in Sedona, Arizona, last week on a mini-vacation and when we returned Saturday evening around 4:00 PM, there was some difficulty with the garage door - again. It stuck about a third of the way open. Being fairly late in the day and on a weekend, it took a while to find someone to make a service call. The man showed up around 6:30-7:00 and proceeded to replace parts and give the door an overhaul, which took an hour or an hour-and-half. I finally pulled the car in around 8:30 after the serviceman wrang me dry of funds.

Anyway, while we were in Sedona, we took advantage of a jeep tour through the red rocks and pines. Our tour guide and jeep driver was "Rocky" Sullivan, pictured below:

"Rocky" is a genuine cowboy who had done plenty of ranch work and cattle herding and tending and in addition, is a cowboy poet. On our trip back into town he recited a couple of his poems and we all thought they were great. He said he will be attending a cowboy poet get-together in Abilene, Kansas, in a short while and afterward will be moving on to another one, where he will have audiences to hear his version of the genre. He said he hadn't published anything yet, but he is thinking about doing that before long. I told him he should get right on to it and also start writing short stories of which he has plenty to tell.

"Rocky" was funny, intelligent, and had a lot to say. He took us to an old ranch over a very rough road and told us its history and the ghost that supposedly shows himself occasionally and gives bad information to lost tourists. The six of us thought he was a real character and enjoyed the trip immensely.  Here is another pic of him with my great-grandsons and son-in-law:

So, that's "Rocky" Sullivan, and if you ever get the chance to see him at a poetry gathering, I'm sure you will enjoy his company as much as we did. He told us he was going to move to New Mexico in the near future and I'm sure you will hear much more of him. I wish him good luck!   

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Fifth of July

I've experienced some great Independence Days and regretted them on the fifth of July. I usually woke up with a terrible headache and half-sick with a wonderful hangover. AAAGH! Those days included mostly beer among the champagne, cognac, wine, sangria, Kentucky whiskey, Scotch whiskey, gin, rum, vodka, saki, and other drinks that happened to appear ready for consumption. Some included women of low reputation, high reputation, or no reputation and others did not. But the result was usually the same - a grandiose hangover that left me wondering if I would make it through the day.

Well, those  days are gone forever and have been for the last twenty or so years and I don't miss them a bit, not one single little bit. But I do miss the good times I supposedly had but can't remember much of. Were they really that good? Yes, and the hangovers were terrific!

So, here's wishing everyone a Happy and Clear-headed Fifth of July!