Thursday, September 29, 2016

How is Your Writing Going?

Any new books coming out? Short stories? Other stuff?

My writing is coming along pretty good. My novel is still going through critique, halfway done. And I'll be rewriting it shortly to get in most of the corrections recommended and see how it sounds after.

My collection of short stories is progressing, too, and and should be on the market in a few days or maybe two-three weeks. I'll be settling on a cover for it next week and it will be mostly finished. It'll be available on Create Space/Amazon at a very reasonable price and you won't have to go from place to place on the net to find them. Stay tuned!

Keep on writing!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Interview With a Gunfighter by Neil A.Waring

Four-and-a-half questions, not five, because one is something that had already been asked, is the extent of the interview in this short story. I liked the interview, being short and not too complicated for the reporter. With each question, the old gunfighter relives the moment and takes some time to answer. He goes over in his mind the answer, showing his side and what he thought about at the time the event happened before he speaks.

Each answer requires him to think about it and take some time, and at one of the questions he goes outside and ruminates before answering. With the last question, he responds with a quote from Henry David Thoreau and the interviewer takes her notes and goes back to the office to finish up.

An enjoyable, well written tale this Interview With a Gunfighter, and I look forward to more stories by Mister Waring, a Wyoming resident and writer of both fiction and non-fiction..  

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Surprise or Not

Hell, it's just taking too long. My new site, Cattle Dust, is. I've been plugging away to get it on air by the first of October, but it's a horse race. That blog is a Wordpress site and will be used to publicize my novels and other things and maybe this one will be discontinued after a while. For now, I plan to keep running posts on subjects that come to mind in the Western sphere of things in this blog.

Anyway, if anyone has a comment on the title Cattle Dust,  please use this blog for now. I will let you know when the Wordpress site is ready for use. You may try looking for Cattle Dust on Wordpress or at and please let me know if you run across it. Thanks a bunch!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Short Story by James Warner Bellah

James Warner Bellah (1899-1976) wrote several western stories, including the novels, Massacre, The Apache, Ordeal at Blood River, and A Thunder of Drums. He wrote short stories about the cavalry in his Fort Starke stories of which this one is. This one is Command. John Ford was a fan of Bellah and based his movies, Fort Apache, Rio Grande, and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon from the Fort Starke stories and Bellah worked on the screenplay of several of Ford's movies.

While reading Command, John Wayne was buzzing around in my head, since he was the star of many of Ford's movies and I couldn't get him out of my mind. In Command, John Wayne - er, Nathan Brittles, the dusty, crusty, old cavalry captain and his cadre was on a mission to find Gresham's party, who had been sent to check on some Sioux. They found them and buried what was left. The Indians had cut off their feet and hands and scalped 'em. The young officer, Cohill, Brittles' second in command, didn't get along with Brittles, thinking he was cowardly and had no faith in him as captain of the group. But Cohill was taught a lesson in commanding troops and his mind was changed regarding Nathan Brittles. That is about the plot of the story as Brittles leads his men through a maneuver or two in order to catch the Indians, Apaches in this case, red-handed as they attacked Cohill's detail.

This was put into one of Wayne's movies and I remembered it too well. That's why he was on my mind as I read the story. It was really slick the way Bellah wrote it and kept me glued to the page. A fine story contained in The Mammoth Book of Westerns.  

Thursday, September 15, 2016

I Hate Formatting

That's right, I do hate formatting. I'm trying to format my short story collection so it looks nice and professional, but I'm having a heckuva time of it. I set the page numbering system, but it numbered everything, even the cover. So, what now? I deleted it and went to the design and layout pages and I did get the right numbers on the stories, but trying to number the metadata alphabetically, I haven't figured out yet. And there's more, like setting the fonts and spacing between stories on an already formatted page isn't working out too good. I will probably start all over and read the instructions again.

I want to get this collection out soon on Amazon and other sites without hiring someone to do it. That costs money!! And I don't have it right now. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. If it wasn't for these sites letting you post your stories and novels for free, it would be a hard deal to self-publish in my case. I think it's about the best thing since sliced bread, as they say, and there are some great stories and novels self-published by some authors.

I expect the book, Western Stories, A Short Story Collection, will be forthcoming before too long and I will be glad that it is finished and on the market for everybody to read.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

A Short Western Story

Old John McGinnity was getting in his morning exercise by hopping in his golf cart and cruising around on the streets of Sun City, Arizona. He pulled into the median of one of the streets and threw his dog out on the grass to do its business while holding onto the leash. He drove along with the dog trying to keep up. He stopped and watched the canine sniff the bushes and complete his daily habit of crapping in the grass. Finished, the animal hopped in the cart and Old John started off down the median to the nearest intersection. Deciding to take a shortcut home, he drove onto the cement walkway on the golf course and putted along slowly for fifty or a hundred yards and came to a sudden stop.  He had been waylaid by Cranky Fred, the golf course cop.

"Where do you think you're goin', old man? The golf course is restricted to players, so turn your car around and git the Hell off the grounds," said Cranky Fred.

"Git outta my way!" yelled Old John. "I'm goin' home!"

"Not this way, yer not. No one is allowed on the golf course unless yer playin' golf, and I ain't lettin' you go any further. Turn around and git motorin' off the course."

"I'll beat the holy crap outta you, if you don't git outta my way. Move, so I can git by!" yelled Old John, startin' to climb out of the cart.

"Come ahead, and we'll see whose goin' to beat the crap outta who," warned Cranky Fred.

Old John managed to get one foot on the ground before he was hit in the chops by Cranky Fred. Fred, in a fi now,, threw a left jab that caught Old John in the right side below the ribs and knocked the wind ouit of his sails.

Old John pulled himself the rest of the way out of the cart and fell to the ground with a swing aimed at the left eye of Fred. Of course, he missed, and Cranky Fred kicked him in the stomach while he was down.

"You'd better git back in that contraption and turn around, before I git any madder, y'ole son of a bitch," said Fred. "Go! Git in there."

"I'll kill you, you dirty pig," said Old John. He swung at Fred's head, catching him high on the cheekbone, drawing blood.

Cranky Fred was getting crankier now, and lambasted Old John several times until he fell back into his cart with a bloody nose, a black eye, and couple of bumps on his forehead.

A lady was watching the ruckus out of her rear window from her house on the side of the golf course and called 911. The cops showed up as Old John fell into his cart. One cop called the ambulance while the other checked on both men's.injuries. Cranky Fred just had the cut on his cheek, but Old John was taken to the hospital. They were each given a ticket for assault and battery and told to "Fight it out in court."

There was an actual case similar to this and it was determined that Cranky Fred was in the wrong and had to pay up. He needed some anger management and it cost him more money than it was worth.


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Exciting News!

As I said before, changes are coming to this blog, Stay tuned. I'm working on it and hope to be ready within a month.

Meanwhile, now that Labor Day is over and school started with all the traffic headaches means that the snowbirds will be coming back to Arizona before too long, like October with some trickling in in late September. The result is that the movies, restaurants, clubs, and sports sites will be over-run with old people and the entrepreneurs will be happy about that. You won't be able to go anywhere without bumping into old, retired, fat people talking a mile a minute in loud voices. They compete with each other to see who can laugh and talk the loudest. They want everyone to know they're from Minnesota, Michigan, Montana, Canada, New Jersey, New York, Wisconsin, and wherever else they can get away from. Ah, yes, the annual exodus. There is only one thing to do, wear earplugs like in that Dalhart, Texas, motel that issues them to everyone who checks in for the night. All night long it's trains and trucks whizzzing by within 100 feet of the motel.

Well, a person gets used to it, just like the old cowboy out on the range sitting his saddle in all that quietness. You just get used to it.     

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Short Stories Review

I return to The Mammoth Book of Westerns. In high school in the late forties, I was introduced to Oliver LaFarge. The teacher raved about him. She was a nice lady, but on the liberal side and read Newsweek instead of Time. She went on about Mister LaFarge like he was the best writer since Shakespeare, because he wrote about the Indians and their ways. He had won a Pulitzer Prize for his novel, Laughing Boy, and she recommended it as THE story to read. I started reading it at the library, but I can't remember finishing it. At the time, I thought it was pretty dull. LaFarge was an anthropologist and the President of the American Indian Affairs Association. Now, having read his short story, The Young Warrior, I understand what my teacher was getting at - realism.

In The Young Warrior, a young boy sets out on his first hunting party led by Nantai, an experienced warrior. The young Indian is full of eagerness to do his part as they head for a small town in Mexico to raid, but were able to take only a couple of horses. On the following day, they spot a group of four wagons heading west and follow them. The young Indian is impetuous and ready to attack the wagons first thing, but Nantai tells him it isn't the time. It is after much watching and scouting from their hiding places that they finally launch the raid. The build up to the raid and what happens during and after was described with the realism and intensity that my teacher had indicated that makes Oliver LaFarge one of the great writers about the Indian ways. I thought it was a fine story and I may have another look at Laughing Boy. 

 The other story I read yesterday was written by A. B. Guthrie, Jr., author of novels about the mountain men in the Far West and the Pacific Northwest, The Big Sky, The Way West, and These Thousand Hills. The story is an excerpt from The Big Sky and has the same title. It is the story of two mountain men having a meeting with Red Horn of the Piegans and two other Indians about a forthcoming attempt by a white man to cross into the land of the Black Hawks. They are all sitting in a tepee discussing the pros and cons of the two white men joining in the party. Nothing extreme happens, but it is a very realistic version of what may have actually happened years ago among Indians and Whites. Mr. Guthrie is a fine writer who lived in Montana and was familiar with the territory about which he wrote.    

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Events Coming Up in Arizona

The average temperature in the Valley of the Sun is 104 degrees. Today it is only going to hit 100 degrees, and although it is HOT, there are things going on in Arizona that you could attend. Some are inside and others outside in the higher elevations.

Sep 2-5: The Coconino County Fair in Flagstaff. All the usual fair attractions.

Sep 3-4: Pine-Strawberry Arts and Crafts Guild Labor Day Arts and Crafts Festival. An annual event that draws crowds from the valley. Held at the Pine Community Center grounds.

Sep15-17: Mohave County Fair in Kingman. All the usual fair attractions.

Sep 17: Sedona Car Club Car Show at the Sedona Airport. Exciting car show activities.

Sep 18: Antiques on the Square, Prescott. Draws huge crowds from the valley to Courthouse Plaza.

Sep 25-Oct 2:.65th Annual Rex Allen Days Rodeo, Wilcox. Classic Western events like steer wrestling - Yippee!

Oct 1-9: 35th Annual USBA World Finals, Lake Havasu. Contestants from around the world compete for the world title in watercraft racing.

The events should keep everyone amused for a while!