Posts Tagged With: Western books

Heroes and Antiheroes in Westerns (Guest Post By Mathew Pizzolato)

We all have our heroes, some mystical, others superheroes, but me it was the outlaws and lawmen of the Old West. As an adult I still have those heroes, and in having them it fuels me to write at my best. Today as Matthew Pizzolato launches his book release  for Outlaw, he stops by to tell us who his heroes are, and compares heroes to anti-heroes in westerns. Welcome Matthew, thanks for dropping by.

“As you get older it is harder to have heroes, but it is sort of necessary.”
Ernest Hemingway

Western Author Matthew Pizzolato

I think that every child needs to have direction in life, something to emulate and admire and to strive to be.  Quite frankly, everyone needs heroes.  As a young man, I found my heroes by reading Westerns.

Mostly, I read Louis L’Amour but I partook of many others, from Max Brand and Zane Gray to Loren Estleman and Elmore Leonard and everything in between.  If it was a Western, I read it or watched it on the screen.  My heroes were Louis L’Amour, John Wayne and Clint Eastwood and the characters they portrayed.

The earlier Westerns told stories of right and wrong and the heroes of the genre lived by a black and white code of good and evil.  There was no middle ground, and there is nothing wrong with that kind of story.  In fact, I prefer them because it’s what I grew up reading.

However, beginning mostly with the films of Clint Eastwood, a new type of character was introduced into the Western, the antihero.

While there are still similarities to the Western hero of old, there are some vast differences.  Antiheroes are flawed characters.  They are not perfect and don’t pretend to be, but they still possess heroic qualities.

Like the hero, the antihero possesses honor and loyalty, but may on occasion step outside moral boundaries that a hero cannot.  Sometimes their integrity may be called into question, but there is always a line that the antihero will not cross.

It is that aspect that opens areas of new storytelling for writers because instead of the moral unequivocalness of telling stories in black and white, the gray areas of morality can be explored.  I think that if writers want to create fresh and exciting material for readers, it’s going to be in that gray area and not rehashing the same stories that have already been told.

That is what I have tried to do with Wesley Quaid, the antihero protagonist of Outlaw.  He is a bank robber who has killed plenty of men and done some things he’s not proud of, but he is still a man of honor and loyalty.

Heroes provide examples of the kind of people we should strive to be even though we might not be able to.  As humans, we are inherently flawed and so perhaps we can identify more with the antihero.

Perhaps in the future, we should mix a fair amount of antiheroes into our Westerns.  We still need heroes to emulate because as humans we have to be able to strive toward something, but part of the joy of reading is the escapism it provides, so we need characters that we can identify with also.

Outlaw Book Link on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009GDDGU8

BIO:

Matthew Pizzolato is a member of Western Fictioneers. His fiction has been published in various online and print magazines. He writes a weekly NASCAR column for Insider Racing News and can be contacted via his personal website:

http://www.matthew-pizzolato.com.

Contact Links:

http://www.facebook.com/authormatthewpizzolato

https://twitter.com/mattpizzolato

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5837035.Matthew_Pizzolato

OUTLAW Book Description:

The outlaw Wesley Quaid wants to put the past behind him and start his life anew in another place where no one has ever heard of him.  When a mysterious woman he once knew resurfaces, Wesley discovers that a man can’t run from his past anymore than he can run from the kind of man he has become.

To view or purchase Outlaw today visit Amazon.com.

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

My western inspiration

Growing up I was introduced to westerns on the silver screen, my late grandfather loved westerns, and would watch them regularly, which in most cases became a family night at my grandfather’s house ice cream sundae’s made by my grandmother, pop-corn or peanut brittle and good ole’ fashion horse-shit and gun smoke movie was a typical night at grandpa’s.

Purchase Today

My love for western writing didn’t really come until my mom brought home a book from a tag sale with the name Elmer Kelton on the cover, The Good Ole Boys. I was always told never judge a book by it’s cover, but when I got The Good Ole Boys, I flipped it over and read. “In Hewey Calloway’s world, his West Texas home of 1906, and the land of way of life that he loves are changing too quickly for his taste.” The way I had always felt an outsider looking in at the way life changed so rapidly around me. From then on The Good Ole Boys, became my favorite book, and Elmer Kelton my favorite author. I had to read more. Kids my age were collecting baseball cards, and comics, me I was collecting Elmer Kelton books.
Later I came to enjoy Louis L’Amour, and the Sackett’s, however, my personal favorite is Elmer Kelton. I have been told that my writing style is somewhat similar to his, although I take no credit from Mr. Kelton, as he was the greatest western author that ever lived, I do see some similarities in my western stories and that of the story of Hewey Calloway.

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Join me as I Romance the west with J.J. Devine

Today on J.J. Devine’s Blog, I show the romantic side of my western writing, and the romanticism that I have for the west.

The sun rises over the Rockies, and touches your face. You long for it, closing your eyes, you suck a deep breath of dusty, sandy air deep into your lungs, and for a moment it feels like heaven. You sit waiting patiently over crackling fire for the taste of hot and steaming coffee. When the fire extinguishes, you roll up your bedroll, and tuck it neatly into the rear of your saddle. You climb up and give your only friend a soft jab to his sides, forcing him to trot off over the rolling hills looking for a freedom not yet found………Read more at Defining J.J. Devine.weebly

Categories: Cowboy Code, Romance, Western, Writing, Writing Technique | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Be Honest, Be Fair, and Live By a Code.

You have to have a code. It doesn’t mean you have to wear a Stetson hat, or wear a pair of dusty Justin Boots. Heck you don’t even need Wrangler Jeans, but what you do need is a set of rules for yourself to live by. It doesn’t have to be J.P. Owens Code, or even John Wayne’s Code. You can write it yourself. All you need is a set of core values, that you can live by honestly. I always say be honest, be fair, and brave. Three words, that make up a core of who you are is all it takes. Best selling author Don Bendell stops in today, sharing his code of values, Welcome Don

Don Bendell’s CODE OF THE WEST:
• Cowboys should treat women like ladies, period.
• Cowboys fight fair, and only when they have to, and when they do have to fight, they win, period.
• You know exactly where you stand with a cowboy. There are no gray areas, only black and white, but not when it comes to skin color.
• A cowboy is only as good as his word.
• A cowboy protects his family, spread, and community.
• A cowboy will fight for, and take care of orphans, widows, and those who are oppressed.
• A cowboy will go out of his way to avoid a fight and is always willing to share his grub, campfire, and water with ya.’
• And finally; A cowboy believes in his God, and he believes in America and will fight and die to protect either.

As Don shares, I would also like to share an audio clip of my code and the Cowboy’s Prayer. Once again thank you all for coming this week to honor the National Day of the Cowboy.


Transcript:
Welcome everyone this is shotgun Bo Rivers, I want to thank you all for stopping by today. Today is the 8th annual
National Day of the Cowboy, and I wanted to do a little something different, I would like to share with you a
Cowboy’s Prayer, and The code that I live by everyday, written by James.p Owen in the book Cowboy Ethics, What wall
Street can learn from the code of the west. So if I could ask you to bow your head and PreyDear Heavenly Father, as a broken ole rodeo Cowboy, I ask…
Heavenly Father, I pause at this time,
mindful of the many blessings you have bestowed upon me.
I ask, Lord, that you will be with me in the arena of life.

I as  a cowboy of ethics, do not ask for special favors.
I don’t ask to draw around the chute fighting bull or horse, the steer that won’t lay,
or to never break the barrier.

I don’t even ask for all daylight runs.

I do ask Lord, that you will help me live my life here on earth as a cowboy,
in such a manner, that when I make that last inevitable ride, to the country up there,
where the grass grows lush, green, and stirrup high, and the water runs cool, clear, and deep,
that you’ll take me by the hand and say –

“Welcome to Heaven cowboy, your entry fees are paid.”

With this prayer, you must have a code to live by a set of standards in life and the one’s that I
choose to live by are

Live each day with courage.

Take pride in your work.

Always finish what you start.

Do what has to be done.

Be tough, but fair.

When you make a promise, keep it.

Ride for the brand.

Talk less and say more.

Remember that some things aren’t for sale.

Know where to draw the line.

You don’t have to be a cowboy to live by this code either, you may be a recovering addict or a prostitute,
maybe a science fiction author, no matter what you do in life you can live by this code, as i do. Thanks again,
and happy trails.

It isn’t much, and the gravel in my voice isn’t always a good sound but just a little something for you to enjoy

The Cowboy Song

Categories: Cowboy Code, Current Events, NDOC, Western, Writing, Writing Technique | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The National Day of the Cowboy: An American Heritage

Today being our last guest post for the National Day of the Cowboy, I had  to save this Cowboy, for the end. J.R. Sanders is not only a western author, but he is one of many that are tied in deep in efforts to get Congress to recognize the National Day of the Cowboy throughout the United States. J.R. also hosts a Read em’ Cowboy event, which is geared towards the children. Children’s authors will do readings and other activities with kids, and a cowboy/cowgirl costume contest for the youngsters.  Along with the authors, there is live cowboy music, rodeo queens, an art display, living historians, roping demonstration, raffles, cowboy vittles in the B&N cafe, and more. Below a youngster participates in this wonderful event.

Read ’em Cowboy Participant

Thank you J.R. for all of the hard work that you put into the National Day of the Cowboy, and the American Heritage of the American Cowboy. Welcome.

There’s no other cultural or historical symbol as uniquely American as the cowboy.  In fact, if the U.S.A. could have only one symbol with which to define itself, there’s probably nothing that would represent us better.  All the things the cowboy stands for – freedom, independence, honor, hard work, pride, loyalty, patriotism – are all things that our country also stands for – or ought to, anyway.  So it makes perfect sense that there should be a day officially set aside to encourage every American to recognize and pay tribute to a vital part of our national heritage and identity.  To me, the question’s not really “Why should there be a National Day of the Cowboy?”; it’s “Why hasn’t there been one all along?”  (I mean, there’s a National Pie Day, for crying out loud – not that I have anything against pie).

Bethany Braley and the National Day of the Cowboy organization have been working tirelessly for several years now to get the day recognized permanently by the Federal government, as well as by individual states, and 2012 has been a landmark year in their efforts.  Earlier this year Wyoming became the first state to pass the NDOC resolution in perpetuity.  They were followed just last month by – wait for it – California.  Eight other states have either passed one-year resolutions or issued proclamations (Texas passed a two-year resolution) naming the fourth Saturday in July the National Day of the Cowboy.  Those states are Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri and Texas.  NDOC continues its lobbying, with the eventual goal of getting the U.S. Congress to pass a permanent resolution.  It’s an uphill battle, but NDOC and its hardy crew of volunteers are a committed bunch.

And ultimately, what NDOC is doing is what we are all doing in various ways – trying to preserve a cherished history and tradition, and a

fans of these various pursuits, we’re all in this battle together.  We all support one another’s efforts.  If nobody ever read Western books, nobody would write them.  If nobody went to Western music events, nobody would play Western music.  If nobody watched Western movies and TV shows, nobody would produce them.  Yet people do read Westerns, and so people write them.  People do go to cowboy concerts, and buy CDs, and there are some fine Western performers carrying on their rich musical tradition.  No matter how many times Hollywood suits, or book publishers, have proclaimed the death of the Western, the Western refuses to ride into the sunset.  There’s a pretty simple and clear message in that.  There’s something in the American makeup that strongly identifies, even in this ultra-modern high-tech age, with our Western heritage, and those core values that it represents.  That’s what keeps the writers writing and the readers reading.  It’s why we do what we do, and why we love it so.

J.R. Sanders

Bio:

J. R. Sanders is a native of Newton, Kansas, one of the original “wild and wooly” cowtowns.   His deep interest in Old West history dates back to childhood visits with his family to the Dalton Gang hideout, Abilene, and Dodge City.  J.R. has written feature articles for a variety of publications, among them Law & Order and Wild West.  His children’s book, The Littlest Wrangler, was released by Moonlight Mesa Associates in June, 2010, and has been adopted for use in the educational programs at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.  His next book, Some Gave All: Forgotten Old West Lawmen Who Died with Their Boots On, is due to be published by Moonlight Mesa Associates in 2013.

J.R. is a member of the Western Writers of America, Western Fictioneers and the Wild West History Association.  He lives in Southern California with his wife, Rose, and dog, Monte.

To read J.R.’s Book The Littlest Wrangler visit his  Website at: www.jrsanders.com

Categories: Cowboy Code, Current Events, NDOC, Western, Writing, Writing Technique | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

What Is A Cowboy? By D.B. Jackson

After wrangling in eight western authors, I had one ask if I would like another western author to guest post on my blog. I was in awe others wanted to get involved with what I was doing. Very grateful I emailed D.B. Jackson, and the response was awesome.  Here Dale expresses what a cowboy is, and what he does.From the Old West to the modern day cowboy. Welcome Dale, and I want to personally thank you for a great post, and a wonderful look into what a cowboy is.

Dale Jackson

You already have some idea, in your own mind, what you define as a cowboy. Most of us do. Regardless of that definition, the important thing is that we recognize the cowboy as an important and enduring part of our American heritage.

The truth is, the American cowboy started off as, and largely still is, essentially a day laborer with a very specific set of skills that does not have much purpose in other jobs. Their days are long, the pay is short, and most cowboys invest a lot of money in the tools of their trade: a good using saddle, a dependable horse, a decent bridle, spurs to their own liking, and a hat that becomes an individualized trademark unique to each man.

His knowledge includes horsemanship, but he does not engage in talk of how to post a canter, or which new supplement produces the greatest equine performance. He knows cattle and is his own veterinarian. He understands the market and knows about futures, but can’t tell you anything about a mutual fund or a bond offering. He can look at a bale of hay and give you a detailed dissertation on the merits of its feed value.

His hands are calloused, he carries a pocketknife, he’s short, tall, thin, and heavy. He can handle a rope, flank a calf, and tell you a funny story. His politics are built around the realities of working for a living and making do with what he earns. He’s not impressed with your high-paying job, Ivy League education or expensive car, but you will get his nod of approval for a good heel catch or for being where you should be when a herd-quitter breaks and threatens to set your day back several hours.

Most cowboys I know are good to their word and their handshake. They do not feel compelled to tell you something to take the heat off a problem or to redirect your disapproval. They fix problems and move on. They spend no time judging those who profess to be cowboys or present themselves as real cowboys. You either are or you are not—everyone on the crew will know where you fit within an hour of you being there.

Is the guy who shows up with a new rope, new chaps, a lot of fancy gear, and wearing gloves a real cowboy? Probably not—but, he did show up and that’s worth something. I never met a cowboy who brags, draws attention to himself or makes an issue of him being a cowboy. There is an understated, self-assuredness about a cowboy that does not require him to do so. And, for most, it’s not in their nature anyway.

So, is there any such thing as the “cowboy spirit”? I’m not sure. There definitely are “cowboy values”, but they are not exclusive to the cowboy. The cowboy image certainly exists, and there are lots of people who identify with it, and many who look to be identified with it.

They Rode Good Horses.

Most cowboys do not view themselves as special. They consider themselves lucky to be in a position to lead a lifestyle that many would like to lead. They do not look down upon the guy in the big hat adorned with feathers and wearing boots that would never hold up in the branding pen. They do not feel threatened by or insulted by those who profess to be cowboys, but have never worked cattle or drug calves to the fire.
In the end, we are all part of a special culture unique to America and admired by people all across the world. That micro-culture should be preserved and celebrated—the American cowboy may well be our last handhold on a set of values that helped make this the great country it is. A National Day Of The Cowboy is one small way to help insure we do not lose those values.

D.B. Jackson, author of the 2012 Will Rogers Medallion Award winning book, They Rode Good Horses, Goldminds Publishing, and long time cattle rancher, resides with his wife, Mary, near Oakdale, CA. His latest novel, Unbroke Horses, Goldminds Publishing, is being released July 2012, to excellent critical acclaim. A short story, Last Of The Cowboys appears this month in a ReadWest anthology. Stories Of The American West, with the legendary Elmer Kelton, the bestselling author, Steven Law, and others. Another short story, A Blood Red Moon, appears in October in the La Frontera Publishing anthology, Outlaws And Lawmen.

To Read D.B. Jackson’s books, visit his website http://www.dalebjackson.com/
Or visit his Amazon Author Central.
You can find him on facebook via: Dale Jackson

Categories: Cowboy Code, Current Events, NDOC, Western, Writing, Writing Technique | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Where Did All the Cowboy’s Go?

When I began asking western authors and writers to guest post on my blog to honor the National Day of the Cowboy, I had to ask western author and enthusiast Phil Dunlap. His well rounded history of western novels have a great impact on the western genre, and his knowledge of the American Heritage is well shared abroad.
Welcome Phil, and thank you for your great contribution to the National Day of the Cowboy Blogathon.

When I was in my impressionable youth, I lived for the weekends. Every Saturday was          another double-feature at the movies.  The Western movies. I’d get popcorn and a Coke and scoot down in the middle row and take up residence for the next two or three hours. All my heroes were cowboys or sheriffs or gunslingers or, well, you get the picture. As I got older, and finished high school, went to college, got my first real job, I just naturally figured I’d just move on and adopt a new set of heroes.

Problem was that it didn’t happen that way. I was somehow unable to mentally separate myself from the dusty trails and boulder-laden desert of the southwest. Oh I had other interests, of course: illustrating, flying, graphic design, all of which I immersed myself in to one degree or another. And I seemed to be sailing along quite well, until I actually went out west and walked among those very same boulders, cacti, and hot, dry sands that had held my interest for so long. And the mountains, those incredible mountains. The renewal of all those wonderful dreams of being on the streets of Tombstone or hunkered down behind a rise to await the inevitable ambush from Apaches, or riding a horse up and down the arroyos and across dry riverbeds in pursuit of outlaws. There’s even a smell of something that lingers just out of reach, it’s the smell of life and death, and it whisks you off to a time when good and evil clashed so demonstrably that you couldn’t escape the clarity of its presence. And maybe just a hint of fear that it might catch up to you.

So, today I write Western novels. Why? Is it really that I’m still just a cowboy at heart? If that’s true, I know I need to reach out to all the other cowboys to share what I love about the West. Wouldn’t I like everyone to read my books and get caught up in the excitement of the early gunfighters, Indians, ranchers, and railroaders? You bet. And that’s why I’m here. Because, while to some it may seem a stretch, I think we’re all cowboys. We all love to ride in a convertible with the top down, race along on a motorcycle, or jog on a mountain trail in the cool morning air. Just like cowboys. Therefore, In my mind, every single one of us is a cowboy at heart. I know I am.

And that brings us to the National Day of the Cowboy, which will be celebrated July 28, 2012. Yep, just around the corner. It’s a celebration of all that’s the old West, but it’s also about the spirit that lingers in us all. It’s the spirit that drove men to do marvelous things in the most dangerous conditions imaginable in an effort to accomplish a dream: to build a nation. And they did. Those hardy pioneers–the cowboys, ranchers, farmers, railroaders and merchants–all worked tirelessly together to build what we enjoy today: the greatest nation in the world. And, by golly, we’re still doing it.

***

Phil Dunlap is the author of eight published Western novels (with three more contracted for). He’s been a TV Director, free-lance journalist (Newspapers and magazines), graphic designer, professional pilot/flight instructor, and an advertising agency executive. He has two series: US Marshal Piedmont Kelly (Avalon Books,
soon to be Amazon Encore), and his latest books are in the Sheriff Cotton Burke series from
Berkley Books (PenguinUSA). To purchase Cotton’s Law click the image provided for my book on Amazon.com

I hope you’ll visit my website at: http://www.phildunlap.com and peruse my books, events, and tidbits. My blog can be accessed at: http://lureofthegun.blogspot.com.

You can also find Phil on his Amazon author central Phil Dunlap.

Categories: Cowboy Code, Current Events, NDOC, Western, Writing, Writing Technique | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Exploring the Romance in the Old West.

J.J. Devine

Exploring the old west, and honoring the American Cowboy heritage, certainly can not be done without romance. J.J. Devine knows a lot about the historical romance, and the romance of the old west, which is why I asked her to write about the romance of the Cowboy, welcome J.J. and thank you for this beautiful romantic insight of the American Cowboy.

I write historical romance based on a western theme. Within the pages of my Acceptance Series, you’ll find a wide range of heroines. A Cheyenne mixed blood, looking to find her true acceptance. A woman sold for her body, looking for her escape. A cowgirl unafraid to face the elements to hide-away on a cattle drive to claim her hero. A woman hell-bent to avenge her family’s death, takes off after the murders in the wilderness of the Wyoming Territory, hero in tow. The list goes on in this seven book series.
Ever since I was a young girl I’ve always had a fascination with cowboys and the women who loved them. Their lifestyles were never easy. I quickly found an admiration for these wonderful, amazing, hardworking people. Combine my captivation for cowboys with my infatuation with Native American history and the Old West and you have the stories I cannot wait to pen. My heroes are not only rugged and handsome, they love their women with possessive venom that sinks to the core. They’ll move the Laramie Mountains if that’s what it takes to prove their loyalty and love. My heroines are exquisite from the inside out. Yet, it’s not their splendor that will capture the heart of my readers, it’s their incredible ability to overcome even the utmost turmoil life has to offer. Highly flavored women who require even spicier men to hold their hearts and their passions forever.

The Cheyenne Bride

Cheyenne Bride to be available Fall of 2012 through Soul Mate Publishing
http://www.soulmatepublishing.com/

Author Bio
Reading and writing have been J.J.’s passion her whole life. Starting out with being the poet, everyone came to in high school to get that “perfect” poem for his or her boyfriend/girlfriend. She spent her weekends locked away in her room, curled up on her bed, writing short stories for only a selected few readers.
She has been happily married for 26 years to her trucker husband. She is a mother of three, grandmother of three; a lover of dogs, cats, and fish.
J.J. started to pen historical romance as a hobby when her youngest child was a year old, creating the Acceptance Series. She got serious about her writing career joining Romance Writers of America and Indiana Romance Writers of America. She penned her first paranormal romance, Into the Darkness, in 25 days, taking herself beyond her comfort zone and just giving the characters free reign of their story.
Since taking herself out of the outside working world, she has dedicated her life to her writing and her writing world and raising consciousness for Domestic Violence Awareness.

-By J.J. Devine

To contact J.J. Devine, or to read her wonderful writing, connect with her below.

You can view J.J.’s new Book trailer at  Into the Darkness

http://definingjjdevine.weebly.com/
http://definingjjdevine.weebly.com/ramblings-of-a-writer.html
http://www.facebook.com/JJDevineAuthor
jj_devine@yahoo.com
http://www.soulmatepublishing.com/

Categories: Cowboy Code, Current Events, NDOC, Western, Writing, Writing Technique | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Celebrating the Skills, Protecting the Dream

I also had the chance to chat with Tyler Brentmore, a newly published western author, and his take on the heritage of the American Cowboy. Welcome Tyler.

Heritage Days are not a new phenomenon, and in some parts of the West I’ve traveled through locals would be hard-pressed to identify when normal life turned into heritage. The beds may have gotten softer, communications a mite easier, but a working ranch still needs its working men, and most of those are cowboys.

In my adopted second state of New Mexico there are around 6,800 stock-raising ranches. Including their support services, their businesses employ 18,000 people and pump over $2bn into the economy. This isn’t heritage, it’s normal life.

Over in Quay County, where the red dirt roads grid out the original surveyor’s one mile sections, feet are still pushed into boots, hats onto heads, at a time of the morning most town-dwellers don’t know exists. Breakfast comes later.

I mention to my host the stop-start tire dust threading its way towards us across the flat landscape. He doesn’t even lift his gaze. “Oh, that’ll be Henry.” State news might arrive through the television or radio, but the mail comes from a neighbor with a USPS sticker in the cracked windshield of his pickup. If Henry drops it in the mailbox or stops to collect the mail-to-go, there might be a wave. If he drives up to the ranch house he’s bringing more than letter news and everyone downs tools. It’s been a system that worked before telephones and email, and if it ain’t broke there’s no reason to fix it.

Henry carries more than mail and news, he carries goodwill and quiet concern. He has a standing invitation to collect vegetables from the garden which he’ll drop off later on his route – to the recently bereaved, to the returnee from surgery – and he’ll hear how things are over a coffee and pass on what’s needed. In a widespread community of fiercely independent people, I can see the benefit. It’s the reason my host is a First Responder EMT.

On Sunday we ride to the family church, a modern, airy building. I join in with the hymns, I listen to the sermon. It’s the notices that catch my ear, the community pulling together, encouraging their young by fundraising to augment a scholarship, congratulating a junior rodeo rider, supporting the family of a disabled serviceman. Over refreshments I hear plans to lend equipment and manpower, to share a cost. There’s talk of travel both near and far, of books read, jokes shared.

Then we’re out in the parking lot and I’m admiring the red-painted one-room schoolhouse strategically set on trimmed grass opposite its sprawling modern equivalent. “I was schooled there,” says the beaming woman who’d earlier poured coffee, “and I went to college.” I don’t doubt it, the way I know she’s told the story to grade students across the way. We should all seed a dream.

We ride out towards The Caprock where the wind turns the turbine blades. We’re heading for a single withered tree, all that’s left of a fruit garden. Grandparents lived here, raised stock, grew corn, taught the next generation how to work with the land, with the animals. The foundation line of their home remains plain in the thin dirt. It’s hardly bigger than the pickup we’ve traveled in. We talk of the dust bowl, of tornados, of hailstorms. But we talk, too, of childhood memories, of swinging from the tree, of sitting on the porch on Grandpa’s knee watching sunsets that filled the sky with fire and took away the breath.

Writers like me ill-serve these people. We focus on the notorious, the sensational. Sure, they were here: Black Jack Ketchum roamed these lands, William H Bonney, Dave Rudabaugh and many more. But such as these were far outnumbered by those pioneering men and women who did not try to take the easy route, those who kept to their purpose with courage and determination in the face of adversity, those who could, and still do, seal a deal on the shake of a hand and a look eye-to-eye. It is their traits that we write into our fictional heroes, when such heroes and heroines surround us every day.

If you are planning to enjoy a BBQ on Saturday, or shout for the barrel-racers, or just listen to a Country tune as you drive through landscapes to bless the eye, give your support to the National Day of the Cowboy. Deep down its values are yours.

Tyler Brentmore writes historical Western fiction. The first, Dead Men’s Fingers, follows a man as he finds the inner strength to face his past and do what’s right to protect his family.

Available as an ebook from:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0076QKFME
Barnes&Noble: http://bit.ly/BN-DMFingers
All Formats: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/136833

Visit with Tyler Brentmore at: http://www.tylerbrentmore.com

Categories: Cowboy Code, Current Events, NDOC, Western, Writing, Writing Technique | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Cowboy: An Iconic Symbol of American History

I had a chance to talk to several western genre authors, and writers about their feelings on the National day of the Cowboy, and it becoming a national day of recognition of our American heritage and the American Cowboy’s Heritage. During my interviews, and conversations with many of the authors and writers, I expressed how I would like to honor the National Day of the Cowboy by posting our personal feelings on the rich history that we know and love to write about. I feel it is important that our readers see, that we as authors want to support the movement in recognizing the Cowboy as a day we celebrate here in America.  I was able to get nine of the authors I spoke with, to guest post on my blog to honor the Day of the Cowboy. This week here on my blog, as well as my very good friend, and co-author Tim Bultman’s blog at cowboywithacause.com.  will be sharing  and honoring the true history of our country,and the true and rich history of our American Cowboy as it was when the Cowboy paved the way for America.

This Morning I would like to introduce a western wordslinger, as he is known Mathew Pizzolato. Hello Matt, What is your take on the iconic symbol of the American Cowboy.

Matthew Pizzolato

There are few things in this world that are unique to this country. The Western genre as a whole and the cowboy in particular go hand in hand as symbols that represent everything that is American.

The cowboy that rode across the American West helped to settle this country. He braved Indian attack, wild horses, stampedes, drowning and every other form of horrible death imaginable. The cowboy’s time came and went, but it was glorious while it lasted. While it was a period of danger and death, it was also one of loyalty and honor.

The cowboy often rode from can-see till can’t-see and faced death every second he was in the saddle. In fact, many of them lost their lives or suffered debilitating injuries. It was said one could tell a cowboy by his missing fingers or a gimp leg.

While he faced death every day, the cowboy was a man of honor, integrity and loyalty. He rode for the brand and was loyal until death. When he gave his word, he kept it no matter the consequences. Most of all, the cowboy was self reliant. He depended on no one but himself to get the job done.

The cowboy is a stereotype that transcended gender and ethnicity and encompassed all political affiliation. All cowboys and cowgirls adhered to a strict personal code that has quietly slipped away from popular American consciousness.

As a Western writer, I strive to keep the spirit of the cowboy and the American West alive in my work. It is my way of honoring those brave and hardy souls who made this country great. My characters, whether they are cowboys, lawmen or outlaws, exemplify the cowboy’s spirit of honor, integrity and loyalty.

Perhaps former president George W. Bush best described the meaning of the National Day of the Cowboy. “We celebrate the Cowboy as a symbol of the grand history of the American West. The Cowboy’s love of the land and love of the country are examples for all Americans.”

Modern American society has fallen away from the virtues that the cowboy held dear and would benefit from being made aware of the cowboy’s lifestyle, of his values and of his personal code. That is why the National Day of the Cowboy is so important.

It honors an icon that lives on in the hearts and minds of those who read and write Westerns and is exemplified everyday by those modern day cowboys and cowgirls who live and work on ranches in all 50 states, not to mention those who participate in rodeos all around the world.

The National Day of the Cowboy brings to the forefront the values that shaped this country and it honors a true American legend – the cowboy, who gave his blood, sweat and tears and many of them their lives, to those of us alive today and it’s something we shouldn’t forget.

By Matthew Pizzolato

Bio:
Matthew Pizzolato is a member of Western Fictioneers. His short story collection, THE WANTED MAN, is available for the Amazon Kindle and as a Barnes and Noble NOOK BOOK. His fiction has been published online and in print in such publications as: BEAT to a PULP!, The Copperfield Review, PULP MODERN, Frontier Tales Magazine, The Pink Chameleon Online, Perpetual Magazine, Long Story Short, and The Storyteller. He writes a weekly NASCAR column for Insider Racing News and is a contributing writer for Suite101.com. Matthew can be contacted via his personal website: www.matthew-pizzolato.com or he can be found on Twitter @mattpizzolato. When he’s not writing, Matthew is the Editor-in-Chief and webmaster of The Western Online.

Amazon Book Link: The Wanted Man http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006JEQM8U

My Blog: The Western Wordslinger
http://thewesternwordslinger.blogspot.com/

My Facebook Page:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Matthew-Pizzolato-Writer/144443992318861

Categories: Cowboy Code, Current Events, NDOC, Western, Writing, Writing Technique | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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