Writing

Good Sunday Morning

Good Morning everyone, thanks for stopping by, I would like to invite you to my virtual book launch today. I will be discussing both books; What Happened to me, and my new western Fiction, Letters From The Grave.

We will be playing some trivia, Q&A, and some other fun giveaways. all are welcome, so grab your favorite drink, your latte, and favorite music list and join in on the fun, and the memories.

You can join us here on my Virtual Book Launch Party for What Happened To Me, or use the QR code. Looking forward to seeing you there.

Categories: Current Events, Firefighters, History, Letters from the grave, Western, Western Authors, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Launching GoFundme Campaign

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I have launched a Gofundme Campaign to raise funds needed to publish my Laramie Taylor Saga, beginning with Laramie’s Thunder. while I am well under way at finishing the rough draft. I am in need of funding to travel to conferences, and author events to find the right publishers to take on my project. I am asking you to my readers, supporters, fellow Western authors, and western enthusiasts abroad to Fund Laramie’s Thunder. visit http://www.gofundme.com/FundLaramiesThunder to give for this wonderful trilogy that I have pioneered from the beginning, and help me in my journey to becoming a successful author.

Thank you to all of my readers, and PALS.

Categories: Cowboy Code, Current Events, Laramie Taylor Series, Western, Western Authors, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Legend of Black Bart

Born Charles Boles, Black Bart was known for being a skinny, short and bald, man. To enhance his qualities he took on a supernatural look. He wore a long white linen duster over his clothes, and a flour sack with cutout eye holes over his derby-topped head. Never owning a horse, he walked to his crimes, carrying a shotgun so old and rusty that it wouldn’t shoot. In fact, the weapon was never loaded. Black Bart always worked alone, although he would frequently create decoy gunmen for back-up, placing wooden sticks on boulders to stimulate their rifles. Bart’s strategy was deceptively simple psychology. He would wait at a dangerous bend in the road where the stage was forced to creep along slowly. At just the right moment, he emerged as an apparition in the deepening twilight.  As a gentleman bandit he plagued the stage lines of Wells Fargo and Company for over eight years during the 1870s and 80s. He relied on his quick feet for getaways, melting ghost-like into the brush. His deep, and hollow voice and polite confident manner added to this ghostly effect. Demonstrating a squeamish sense of humor, he frequently left a poem handwritten on foolscap paper in the emptied strongbox, which infuriated Wells Fargo officials. The two most often quoted of these Poems were;

First at the scene of the August 3, 1877, holdup on a stage traveling from Point Arena to Duncan’s Mills it Read:

I’ve labored long and heard for bread
For honor and for riches
But on my corns too long you’ve tread
You fine-haired sons of bitches.
—Black Bart, 1877  The  P O 8

The second verse was left at the site of his July 25, 1878, holdup of a stage traveling from Quincy to Oroville. It read:

Here I lay me down to sleep
To await the coming morrow
Perhaps success, perhaps defeat
And everlasting sorrow

Let come what will, I’ll try it on
My condition can’t be worse
And if there’s money in that box
‘Tis money in my purse.
—Black Bart The  P O 8

The Legend begins in late 1849, when Boles and two of his brothers, David and James, took part in the California Gold Rush. They began mining in the North Fork of the American River in California. Boles mined for only a year before returning home in 1852. He soon made a second trip to the California goldfields, accompanied by his brother David and another brother, Robert. Soon after their arrival tragedy struck and both David and Robert became ill and died in California. After mining for two more years Boles then moved to Illinois, changing the spelling of his surname to Bowles and marrying Mary Elizabeth Johnson. They had four children. By 1860, the couple had made their home in Decatur, Illinois.

The American Civil War began in April 1861. Bowles enlisted in Decatur as a private in Company B, 116th Illinois Regiment, on August 13, 1862. He proved to be a good soldier, rising to the rank of first sergeant within a year. He took part in numerous battles and campaigns, including the Battle of Vicksburg, where he was seriously wounded, and Sherman’s March to the Sea. On June 7, 1865, he was discharged in Washington, D.C., and returned home to Illinois. He had received brevet commissions as both second lieutenant and first lieutenant. After the long years of war, a quiet life of farming held little appeal to Bowles, and he yearned for adventure.
By 1867, he was prospecting again in Idaho and Montana. Little is known of him during this time, but in a letter to his wife in August 1871 he mentioned an unpleasant incident involving some Wells, Fargo & Company employees and vowed to extract revenge. He then stopped writing, and after a time his wife assumed he was dead, which is thought to have been the beginning of his criminal career. Over the next eight years Bowles was known for nearly 30 robberies in Oregon and Northern California, taking the names Black Bart, Charles Bolton, C.E. Bolton and Charley to his friends.

Bart was a Gentleman robber, on his first robbery in Calaveras County one of the passengers was so frightened she tossed out her purse. Bart returned the purse to the Woman and saying “Madam, I do not wish your money, in respect I honor only the good office of Wells Fargo.”

Bart’s list of crimes date from 1875 to 1883 to his capture:

1. July 26, 1875, Calaveras County: Robs stage en route to Milton, four miles from Copperopolis. Taken: $160 in gold notes and contents of a U.S. Mail pouch.

2. Dec. 28, 1875, Yuba County: North San Juan to Marysville stage. Taken: Unknown.

3. June 2, 1876, Siskiyou County: Nighttime robbery on the Roseburg, Oregon, to Yreka, California, route. Taken: $80 plus mail sack contents.

4. Aug. 3, 1877, Sonoma County: Between Fort Ross and Duncan Mills, on Russian River. Taken: $300 in gold coins and a $305 check. Poem: First poem.

5. July 25, 1878, Butte County: Quincy to Oroville stage. Taken: $379 in coins, $200 diamond ring, $25 watch and mail sack cash. Poem: Second poem.

6. July 30, 1878, Plumas County: LaPorte to Oroville stage. Taken: $50 in gold, a silver watch and mail sack cash.

7. Oct. 2, 1878, Mendocino County: Cahto to Ukiah stage. Taken: $40, a watch and money from mail sacks.

8. Oct. 3, 1878, Mendocino County: Covelo to Ukiah stage. Taken: Unknown.

9. June 21, 1879, Butte County: Stage from Forbestown to Oroville. Taken: Unknown.

10. Oct. 25, 1879, Shasta County: Nighttime robbery on the Roseburg, Oregon, to Yreka-Redding, California, stage. Taken: Undisclosed sum from Wells Fargo and $1,400 from mail pouches.

11. Oct. 27, 1879, Shasta County: Alturas to Redding stage. Taken: Unknown.

12. July 22, 1880, Sonoma County: Point Arena to Duncan Mills stage. Taken: Undisclosed sum. Whether robber was Black Bart remains a point of contention.

13. Sept. 1, 1880, Shasta County: Weaverville to Redding stage. Taken: A little more than $100.

14. Sept. 16, 1880, Jackson Cty. OR: Second nighttime robbery of Roseburg, Oregon, to Yreka, California, stage, occurring one mile north of state line. Taken: Approximately $1,000.

15. Sept. 23, 1880, Jackson Cty. OR: Roseburg, Oregon, to Yreka, California, stage, robbed three miles north of border. Taken: Nearly $1,000 and mail sack.

16. Nov. 20, 1880, Siskiyou County: Roseburg, Oregon, to Redding, California, stage, south of state line. Taken: Unknown.

17. Aug. 31, 1881, Siskiyou County: Final robbery of Roseburg, Oregon, to Yreka, California, stage. Taken: Unknown.

18. Oct. 8, 1881, Shasta County: Midnight robbery of Yreka to Redding stage, near Bass Hill. Taken: $60.

19. Oct. 11, 1881, Shasta County: Alturas to Redding stage stops at Montgomery Creek for harness repair and is robbed again. Taken: Unknown.

20. Dec. 15, 1881, Yuba Count: Downieville to Marysville stage. Taken: Wells Fargo reports “small loss.”

21. Dec. 27, 1881, Nevada County: North San Juan to Smartsville stage. Taken: Wells Fargo reports “small loss.”

22. Jan. 26, 1882, Mendocino Cty.: Ukiah to Cloverdale stage. Taken: Unknown.

23. June 14, 1882, Mendocino Cty: Willits to Ukiah stage. Taken: Estimated $300 and mail sack contents.

24. July 13, 1882, Plumas County: Shotgun blasts foil Black Bart at LaPorte to Oroville stage. (A buckshot pellet creases the robber’s forehead, leaving a deep scar.)

25. Sept. 17, 1882, Shasta County: Second robbery of Yreka to Redding stage at Bass Hill. Taken: Thirty-five cents.

26. Nov. 23, 1882, Sonoma County: Lakeport to Cloverdale stage. Taken: $475 and several mail sacks.

27. April 12, 1883, Sonoma County: Lakeport to Cloverdale stage robbed again. Taken: $32.50 and mail sack contents.

28. June 23, 1883, Amador County: Stage from Jackson to Ione. Taken: $750 and mail sack contents.

29. Nov. 3, 1883, Calaveras County: Sonora to Milton stage is stopped at site of first Black Bart holdup in 1875. Taken: Possibly $4,764.

The last holdup took place on November 3rd, 1883, at the site, fittingly enough, of his first holdup, on Funk Hill, just southeast of the present town of Copperopolis.  Black Bart, who had only a few run-ins with armed messengers, was ill prepared for his chance encounter with a hunter, 19-year-old Jimmy Rolleri. Armed with a Henry rifle for his deer hunt, Rolleri had been dropped off on the way up Funk Hill by Sonora-Milton stage driver Reason McConnell, who continued up the incline. Near the top, Black Bart, lying in wait, made his move. At gunpoint, he ordered McConnell to unhitch the horses and continue up the hill while Black Bart went to work on the Wells Fargo box bolted to the floor of the coach. While proceeding with the horses, McConnell spotted Rolleri and signaled to him. Once McConnell informed Rolleri of the situation, the hunter handed over his rifle. McConnell fired twice at Black Bart, missing him both times. Rolleri took the rifle and fired, winging Black Bart in the hand. The gentleman bandit fled, he left behind several personal items, including a pair of eyeglasses, food, and a handkerchief with a laundry mark F.X.O.7. Wells Fargo Detective James B. Hume trailed Black Bart since his stage coach robberies began (who allegedly looked enough like Bart to be a twin brother, mustache included)  found these several personal items at the scene. Using all the evidence, statements, and eyewitness accounts on Black Bart he and Wells Fargo detective Henry Nicholson Morse contacted every laundry in San Francisco, seeking the one that used the mark. After visiting nearly 90 laundry operators, they finally traced the mark to Ferguson & Bigg’s California Laundry on Bush Street. They were able to identify the handkerchief as belonging to none other than Black Bart, who lived in a modest boarding house.

It should be noted that there is a manuscript written some 20 years after the robbery by stage driver Reason McConnell in which McConnell says that he fired all four shots at Bowles. The first was a misfire, he thought the second or third shot hit Bowles, and he knew that the fourth one hit him. Bowles only had the wound to his hand, and if the other shots hit his clothing, Bart was unaware of it.

Bart described himself as a “mining engineer” and made frequent “business trips” that happened to coincide with the Wells Fargo robberies. After initially denying he was Black Bart, Bowles eventually admitted that he had robbed several Wells Fargo stages but confessed only to the crimes committed before 1879. It is widely believed that Bowles mistakenly believed that the statute of limitations had expired on these robberies. When booked, he gave his name as T.Z. Spalding. When the police examined his possessions they found a Bible, a gift from his wife, inscribed with his real name.

The police report following his arrest stated that Black Bart was “a person of great endurance. Exhibited genuine wit under most trying circumstances, and was extremely proper and polite in behavior. Eschews profanity.”

Wells Fargo pressed charges only on the final robbery. Under the name T.Z. Spalding, Black Bart was convicted and sentenced to six years in San Quentin Prison, but his stay was shortened to four years for good behavior. When he was released in January 1888, his health had clearly deteriorated owing to his time in prison. He had visibly aged, his eyesight was failing, and he had gone deaf in one ear. Reporters swarmed around him when he was released and asked if he was going to rob any more stagecoaches. “No, gentlemen,” he replied, smiling, “I’m through with crime.” Another reporter asked if he would write more poetry. Bowles laughed and said, “Now, didn’t you hear me say that I am through with crime?”

Black Bart’s end is in keeping with the way the romantics of his day would have wanted it. Charles Bowles never returned to his wife, Mary, in Hannibal, Missouri, after his release from prison. However, he did write to her after his release. In one of the letters he said he was tired of being shadowed by Wells Fargo, felt demoralized, and wanted to get away from everybody. In February 1888 Black Bart left the Nevada House and vanished. Hume said Wells Fargo tracked him to the Palace Hotel in Visalia. The hotel owner said a man answering the description of Bart checked in and then disappeared. The last time the outlaw was seen was February 28, 1888.

On November 14, 1888, another Wells Fargo stage was robbed by a masked highwayman. The lone bandit left a verse that read:

So here I’ve stood while wind and rain
Have set the trees a-sobbin,
And risked my life for that d***ed box,

That wasn’t worth the robbin.

Detective Hume was called to examine the note. After comparing it with the handwriting of genuine Black Bart poetry from the past, he declared the new holdup was the work of a copycat criminal. There were rumors that Wells Fargo had paid off the aging bandit and sent him away to keep him from robbing their stages. However, Wells Fargo denied this. Some believe that Bowles moved to New York City and lived quietly for the rest of his life, dying there in 1917, though this was never confirmed. Others believe the unlikely tale that the former poet bandit with failing eyesight had gone to the wilds of Montana or perhaps Nevada for another try at making a fortune.

Nevertheless, the vanishing of Black Bart is a mystery, a legend that looms over the west, like a gentle mist across the sky. Undoubtedly the way Black Bart would have wanted it.

Categories: Civil War, History, Legend Series, Western, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Will Rogers Born 134 years ago

On this day, the cowboy philosopher and humorist Will Rogers, one of the most beloved entertainers of the early 20th century, is born on a ranch in Cherokee Indian territory.

The son of a respected mixed-blood Cherokee couple, William Penn Adair Rogers grew up riding and roping on the plains of Oklahoma. An indifferent student, he earned only average grades in school, but he was by no means the ill-educated common man that he later liked to pretend. He was, in fact, highly literate and well read. In 1898, he left his family ranch to work as a Texas cowboy, and then traveled to Argentina where he spent a few months as a gaucho. But Rogers discovered his real talent when he joined Texas Jack’s Wild West show in 1902 as a trick roper and rider under the stage name “The Cherokee Kid.” For all his skill with ropes and horses, Rogers soon realized that audiences most enjoyed his impromptu jokes and witty remarks. Eventually, Rogers began to focus on making humorous comments on world events and created a popular vaudeville act with which he traveled the country.

In 1919, Rogers’ first book, The Peace Conference, was published. In the 1920s, he achieved national fame with a series of movie appearances, radio shows, lecture tours, magazine articles, and regular newspapers columns. Amazingly prolific, Rogers eventually wrote seven books, an autobiography, almost 3,000 short commentaries called “daily telegrams,” more than 1,000 newspaper articles, and 58 magazine articles. Rogers’ warm, folksy manner and penetrating wit were hugely popular during the Depression, and his concern for the welfare of average folks was genuine. He contributed frequent charitable performances in support of the victims of floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes worldwide.

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Will Rogers, photograph taken before 1900

 

Hollywood discovered Rogers in 1918, as Samuel Goldwyn gave him the title role in Laughing Bill Hyde. A three-year contract with Goldwyn, at triple the Broadway salary, moved Rogers west. He bought a ranch in Santa Monica and set up his own production company. While Rogers enjoyed film acting, his appearances in silent movies suffered from the obvious restrictions of silence—not the strongest medium for him, having gained his fame as a commentator on stage. It helped somewhat that he wrote a good many of the title cards appearing in his films. In 1923, he began a one-year stint for Hal Roach and made 12 pictures. Among the films he made for Roach in 1924 were three directed by Rob Wagner: Two Wagons Both Covered, Going to Congress and Our Congressman. He made two other feature silents and a travelogue series in 1927, and did not return to the screen until his time in the ‘talkies‘ began in 1929.

He made 48 silent movies, but with the arrival of sound in 1929 he became a top star in that medium. His first sound film, They Had to See Paris (1929), finally gave him the chance to exercise his verbal magic. He played a homespun farmer (State Fair) in 1933, an old-fashioned doctor (Dr. Bull) in 1933, a small town banker (David Harum ) in 1934, and a rustic politician (Judge Priest) in 1934. He was also in County Chairman (1935), Steamboat ‘Round the Bend (1935), and In Old Kentucky (1935). His favorite director was John Ford.

Rogers appeared in 21 feature films alongside such noted performers as Lew Ayres, Billie Burke, Richard Cromwell, Jane Darwell, Andy Devine, Janet Gaynor, Rochelle Hudson, Boris Karloff, Myrna Loy, Joel McCrea, Hattie McDaniel, Ray Milland, Maureen O’Sullivan, ZaSu Pitts, Dick Powell, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Mickey Rooney, and Peggy Wood. He was directed three times by John Ford. He appeared in three films with his friend Stepin Fetchit (aka Lincoln T. Perry): David Harum (1934), Judge Priest (1934) and The County Chairman (1935).[15]

With his voice becoming increasingly familiar to audiences, he was able to basically play himself, without normal makeup, in each film, managing to ad-lib and even work in his familiar commentaries on politics at times. The clean moral tone of his films led to various public schools taking their classes, during the school day, to attend special showings of some of them. His most unusual role may have been in the first talking version of Mark Twain‘s novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. His popularity soared to new heights with films including Young As You Feel, Judge Priest, and Life Begins at 40 with Richard Cromwell and Rochelle Hudson.

On August 15, 1935, Rogers was on a flight to Asia with the famous pilot Wiley Post when the craft developed engine troubles and crashed near Point Barrow, Alaska. The crash killed both men. Rogers was only 55.

Categories: History, Western, Western Authors, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dear William Pinkerton, It’s Me Butch Cassidy (Letter from the grave)

The facts surrounding Butch Cassidy’s death are uncertain. On November 3, 1908, near San Vicente in southern Bolivia, a courier for the Aramayo Franke and Cia Silver Mine was conveying his company’s payroll, worth about 15,000 Bolivian pesos, by mule when he was attacked and robbed by two masked American bandits who were believed to be Cassidy and Longabaugh. The bandits then proceeded to the small mining town of San Vicente where they lodged in a small boarding house owned by a local resident miner named Bonifacio Casasola. When Casasola became suspicious of his two foreign lodgers, as well as a mule they had in their possession which was from the Aramayo Mine, identifiable from the mine company logo on the mule’s left flank, Casasola left his house and notified a nearby telegraph officer who notified a small Bolivian Army cavalry unit stationed nearby, which was the Abaroa Regiment. The unit dispatched three soldiers, under the command of Captain Justa Concha, to San Vicente where they notified the local authorities. On the evening of November 6, the lodging house was surrounded by three soldiers, the police chief, the local mayor and some of his officials, who intended to arrest the Aramayo robbers.

When the three soldiers approached the house the bandits opened fire, killing one of the soldiers and wounding another. A gunfight then ensued. At around 2 a.m., during a lull in the firing, the police and soldiers heard a man screaming from inside the house. Soon, a single shot was heard from inside the house, whereupon the screaming stopped. Minutes later, another shot was heard.

The standoff continued as locals kept the place surrounded until the next morning when, cautiously entering, they found two dead bodies, both with numerous bullet wounds to the arms and legs. One of the men had a bullet wound in the forehead and the other had a bullet hole in the temple. The local police report speculated that, judging from the positions of the bodies; one bandit had probably shot his fatally wounded partner-in-crime to put him out of his misery, just before killing himself with his final bullet. Or did they?

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Dear William A. Pinkerton

Hi William Pinkerton, It’s me Robert Leroy Parker, thought I’d drop a letter to you to see how you might be. First I want to say that, I do regret robbing all them trains, but not for your sake, but for my mommas. I know, and I always knew I broke her heart becoming an outlaw, and in some ways know it’s what made her perish as well. I wanted and tried so many times to go straight and seek amnesty, yet I never found it, nor was my pardon granted that I asked for, so many times. I heard tell, that Wyoming spoke of it, however never said anything about it. Well that’s OK, in my book. Wish I had the chance to tell you that I left my boot tracks in a little side canyon along my travels back from Bolivia, near the Hole-in-the-wall. I assume by now that you know I never did succumb to a bullet in San Vicente in 1908, neither did ole Sundance. Percy Seibert, played it good for us didn’t he, telling them Bolivians that was us, just so we could live on without someone chasing us anymore. Truth is them boys laid cold from crossfire; they were just some random boys in the wrong place at the right time. We fled later that night before they came in to verify us dead, little to their knowledge we were on a pair of fresh horses, running for Mexico. I spent some time back home with my family before I traveled to the Northwest, Oregon, and Washington mostly. Heard tell you never stopped looking for us, and was convinced me and Sundance were still in South America, guess our story will live on forever, truth is I never passed till 1938, where my family buried me in an unmarked grave where my father said I could finally Rest in Peace, I wonder would you have dug me up if you knew where I was, would anybody? No matter William. Butch Cassidy, The Sundance Kid, Elzy Lay, Tall Texan, News Carver, Camila Hanks, Laura Bullion, Flat-Nose Curry, Kid Curry, Bob Meeks and the rest of The Wild Bunch will forever remain the last outlaws of the Old West. You remember that William, and tell your Pinkerton’s too for me.

Sincerely Robert Leroy Parker, “Butch Cassidy”.

Regardless of whether Butch and Sundance lived or died, their legacy will forever live on in the old west.

Readers Interaction::

Do you think that Butch Cassidy Lived as his sister revealed in her biography Butch Cassidy, My Brother? Or did he die in San Vicente, Bolivia, alongside his best friend The Sundance Kid?

I think the Outlaw lived on to see his family, and live out his days as he wanted to all along. What are your thoughts as readers?

Categories: History, Letters from the grave, Western, Western Authors, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Western Comics, to the Revisionist

Posted by: Ritchie White @shotgunborivers

DC Comics

For nearly two decades Western Pulp fiction brought us some of the greatest tales of the American frontier, but by the 1960’s it was beginning to die out with the rise of trade paperback. However the Pulp fiction era brought light to new medium, the comic book. A hybrid medium that allowed illustrations and strongly blended written words to convey the story of the illustrations. Even though the comic book era began in 1933, the western comics didn’t become popular until the 1940’s and 50’s, alongside the pulp magazines.  Due to competition of comic books, and other mediums, the aforementioned Pulp Magazine era had died out.

However the western comics would come to life for more than four decades, even after its decline in the 1960’s, western comics would move into the revisionist western. Favoring realism over the famous romanticism as western always portrayed, the western comics spun quickly into a Weird West style. A literary sub-genre that combined elements of the western genre and other literary genres such as science fiction, horror, occult, and fantasy. By the 1970’s characters such as Jonah Hex and Bat Lash were born, and  lived well into the 1990’s.
Western Comics have since stayed alive within the weird western sub-genre in the new century, and have made something of a comeback. They don’t dominate the market by a long shot.  Jonah Hex comes back to life in the All-star Western in The New 52 as late as 2011, and Bat Lash appearing as late as 2006 in comics, and converted to trade paperback in 2008.

To conclude, I have brought you the rich history of the western genre, and where it was born in the past month, to not only share the romanticism of western literature, but to also announce a huge turn in my writing career. As I have been promising the Laramie’s Series, they have taken a bit of a stall. However to my readers, and fellow western genre authors, in the last few months the gears have not stopped turning, nor have any of my ideas. I am glad to finally announce that my career will be taking me on an unexpected detour. I am planning to come forth with a ePulp mini-series magazine titled “Six-Guns and Tomahawks Magazine”  starring Lash Larue once named Akecheta (Souix for “He is Fighter”) a Native American turned outlaw. Coming in March with 6 short stories, and the wonderful art from my new illustration artist Brooke Presley-Caban.

We are also creating another ePulp series as well, which will blow you all away as I bring in a weird western under a developmental name of  “The Dark Rider” an action packed short story series starring Rex Quade, a gunslinger Cowboy brought back from the dead by Native American Indians to avenge a massacre, with a price to pay.

As a reader and writer what are your thoughts on the history of our genre, and the announcement of my changing gears? Comments are welcome.

Categories: Western, Western Authors, Writing, Writing Technique | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Western ePulp’s the modern pulp magazine, What……..?

Posted by: Ritchie White @shotgunborivers

Pulp magazines were originally published from 1896 through the 1950s. The typical pulp magazine was seven inches wide by ten inches high, half an inch thick, and 128 pages long. Pulps were printed on cheap paper with ragged, untrimmed edges. The term pulp derives from the cheap wood pulp paper on which the magazines were printed. Magazines printed on higher quality paper were called “glossies” or “slicks”. In their first decades, pulps were most often priced at ten cents per magazine, while competing slicks were 25 cents apiece. Pulps were the successor to the penny dreadfuls, dime novels, and short fiction magazines of the 19th century. Although many respected writers wrote for pulps, the magazines are best remembered for their lurid and exploitative stories and sensational cover art.

Western Story Magazine was a pulp magazine published by Street & Smith, which ran from 1919 to 1949.It was the first of numerous pulp magazines devoted to Western fiction. In its heyday Western Story Magazine was one of the most successful pulp magazines; in 1921 the magazine was selling over half a million copies each issue.

Western Story Magazine began when Street & Smith executive Henry Ralston decided to convert one of the company’s nickel weeklies, New Buffalo Bill Weekly, into a pulp.  Ralston installed Frank Blackwell as editor of the new magazine. The magazine attracted a number of famous Western authors, including Charles Alden Seltzer, H. Bedford-Jones, Stewart Edward White, W. Ryerson Johnson and William MacLeod Raine. The November 25th, 1920 issue was the first issue to carry the work of Max Brand (writing under the pseudonym George Owen Baxter). Brand’s work would dominate the magazine in the next decade; he would write dozens of stories for Western Story Magazine both under his own name and several pseudonyms. Western Story Magazine was also prominent in publishing material by women writers, including B. M. Bower and Cherry Wilson.

In the 1930s, the publication’s roster of authors expanded to include Walt Coburn, William Colt MacDonald and W. C. Tuttle, while noted pulp illustrator Walter M. Baumhofer contributed several covers.

In the late 1930s, Blackwell was succeeded as editor by John Burr, who edited the magazine until it ceased publication in 1949.  to read more about the original western pulps visit The western Story on pulpmags.org.

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A new chapter in the western pulps has arrived in ePulps, Well what in tarnation is an ePulp?

Well,I’ll tell ya, as explained on Rope and Wire  an ePulp is a western magazine in the style of the old western pulps like, Ace-High, Cowboy Stories or Zane Grey Western Magazine, however in electronic format. Since 2011 Rope and Wire has published four wonderful ePulps. They have the same great covers as the old pulps once did, and new stories come alive once again in each one to tell the traditional style stories of the old west, the danger, suspense, intrigue and deception as they do in Christopher Scott’s Rope and Wire’s Western Short Stories

What does the future hold for ePulp’s, will they continue to make a comeback? I know I plan on reading them, and after doing some research, I may attempt to even write one.

What are thoughts and comments on the ePulp?  Will you read them?

Categories: Western, Western Authors, Writing, Writing Technique | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Dime Novels-The history of the Western

As a western writer, I have been looking back at our history, even before Zane Grey, and Louis L’Amour. What was the first western? and where did we begin?

Personally I would have to say we got our start as many genres did from the Dime Novel era, from 1860 to 1895 the dime novel served as Americas first paperback, and From gun-slinging heroes to mysteries, the dime novel is notably the beginning of genre fiction. This ideology of the dime novel was particularly apparent in Westerns, in which the heroes always won and the villains were always brutally punished.

Some scholars ahttps://i0.wp.com/www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/images/189.1.jpgrgue that dime novel westerns appealed most to young, and working-class men – The mythic West of the cowboy as a place where class boundaries were marked in the industrializing East and the Midwest did not prevail.

Dime novelists helped to popularize the cowboy myth, but as Richard Slotkin notes, he had earlier precedents in American literature – tales about Davy Crockett and Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales.

The cowboy figure arose out of long literary tradition of frontiersmen that informed his character. Richard Slotkin, in Regeneration through Violence, demonstrates the beginnings of the American myth by carefully tracing the early figure, focusing on the influences of John Filson’s creation of Daniel Boone in 1784 and, building on Filson, James Fenimore Cooper’s The Leatherstocking Tales (1823) (importance also noted in Milton 7-9, 84-87).

Interpretation of the dime novel western actually embodies a world in which the values and practices of the pre-industrial order are given renewed life: a place in which machines still stand in gardens and where everyone is a worker.

As Americans began to mourn the “closing of the frontier,” they simultaneously began to celebrate the cowboy, who quickly became the hero of the mythic West.

It may have been the emergence of modern America, with its urbanization and industrialization, that sparked an additional interest among its people for a past that was more direct, more simple, more easily understood

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The nation had, some held, grown too fast, had lost something in that process; and now there was a yearning to return to that fast-disappearing life, as we know the Cowboy was not always regarded as an American hero. In fact, as late as the 1880s, the were regarded as violent and uncontrollable.

However the Dime Novel was a way to revisit the frontier, and by reading you could simply slip yourself bac

k into a simpler way of life. Today as western authors we spend our time praising the outlaws, and making them hero’s, as well as creating new one’s. We write what the west was about, and bring forth the tales of Buffalo Bill Cody, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday, Jesse James, and others, but without the Dime Novel, I think we wouldn’t have the western’s we write today, without the creation of the Dime Novel.

 

Categories: Western, Western Authors, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Writers Block at Ten Paces

Posted by: Ritchie White @shotgunborivers

 

Frozen in time, and locked in with nothing but a blank screen. I have the words, they won’t come out. It’s painful and agonizing all at the same time. Where do I begin? confusion, crazed thoughts racing around the ideas. Pages of research sitting, waiting,  collecting remnants of dust day by day, just waiting to be woven into the story. Still wanting to piece it together. Wait. I have an idea. No, that won’t work. I can’t write it in passive voice. Delete it, start over. OK where do I begin?

I begin to see a picture. The battle begins in my mind, like pastel soldiers moving on an elaborate painting. Once I open the document, and my notebook, the dripping not yet dry paint won’t fall upon the page as words. They always had before. I don’t understand.

More distractions, other noises in the house. I need to turn them off, find to way to be tone-deaf. I need to block it out and concentrate, paint my picture again; Write  before the paint dries and I forget what I am creating.

What will be my strategy? How can I get rid of it? I need some Writol. I wonder if it will work, 1000mg every four hours or as needed. Prescribed to all authors, with writers block. If caught in time, syndrome may dissolve in 3 to 7 weeks.

Something needs to work, it has to. If the Writol doesn’t work, a square-off at high noon in the middle of a distant ghost town, with the whispers of the outlaws who were killed in past showdowns,may be the answer. What will break it? What will help break down the walls to the flowing of words, and the left hemisphere of my brain?

Will I have to take my writer’s block on with a duel to the death? Standing in the street, stepping forward  at ten paces, my spurs clinking with every step? At the tenth step, we turn, hands hovering over our holsters with twitching fingers and still cold eyes, and hand slapping leather, and the shoot-out begins, coming to an end of a saga all on its own.

Who will win? My book, or my block?

I would love to hear anyone’s ideas on this subject, what are your comments on writer’s block?  Most importantly what are your strategies, strengths and weakness’s? Please comment.

Categories: Western, Western Authors, Writing, Writing Technique | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Battle of Wilsons Creek (Laramie’s War)

The Battle of Wilson’s Creek marked the beginning of the Civil War for Missouri and for the Taylor’s. Joseph, and Laramie were on opposing sides, brothers one fighting for the union and one for the rebels, it didn’t settle with August Taylor none, his boys fighting in a war, and Missouri his home, the third most fought over state in the country.

On August 10, 1861 Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon’s Union Troops attacked Confederate forces, under the command of Brigadier General Ben McCulloch,It would be known as Bloody Hill, which became known as the first major battle in the West, and only the second major battle of the Civil War.

The loss was substantial with 1,317 Union and 1,222 Confederate casualties (killed, wounded or captured).

Laramie Taylor a Lieutenant in the Missouri State Guard, under Maj. Gen. Sterling Price faces Nathaniel Lyon’s in his first fought battle at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek, or better known to the confederates as the Battle of Oak Hills. Coming later this month is Laramie’s accounts, his journal, and his story of fighting as a confederate officer, and his own brother a union cavalry soldier.

“Will Laramie a man raised by a code have   to kill his own blood?”

“I am taking a leap with writing Laramie’s War as a historical fiction, and rising from young adult western fiction, I personally feel it is bold, yet achievable. Nonetheless, if you read Laramie’s War you will not be let down, the facts are facts, and the fiction is fiction. enjoy.”

Categories: Cowboy Code, Laramie Taylor Series, Western, Western Authors, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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