Oct 12

Forum Featuring Douglas R. Cobb: An Interview With Scott Harris and Douglas R. Cobb

This great new interview with Douglas R. Cobb was conducted by hit writer Scott Harris. Scott always features great talent– and Cobb is now exception. His latest book “Bounty Hunter on the Border” is currently racing up the chart. What makes a writer like Cobb such an overnight success? Well… lets find out! You can read the original interview right here.
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When — and why — did you first fall in love with Westerns?

My Dad really loved reading Westerns long before I ever decided to check one out and see what made him love the genre so much. I’d say his love of reading Western novels, which he also passed on to my two older brothers, Robert and Richard, is what led me to loving the feeling that reading a great Western gives to fans of them. The drama, action and adventure in a well-written Western easily matches, or surpasses, the best novels written in any other genre.

I was, and still am, also a fan of reading science fiction, mysteries and other genres, though I have come to love Westerns and the skill it takes to write one. I especially enjoy the deep-seated sense of morality and justice that many Western protagonists have, and as far as Western TV series and movies go, I’ve also loved and still love watching them.

Who are your three favorite Western writers?

I’ll go old school with my first two choices, Scott, and say Louis L’Amour and Zane Gray, and when it comes to more recent ones, well, of course there are terrific books by authors like yourself. Loren D. Estleman is another one that comes to mind, along with the Westerns of other very talented authors like Clint Clay, Cherokee Parks, Wesley Tallant, Juliette Douglas and many, many others.

Which Western do you wish you’d written?

Any that are filled with pulse-pounding action and realistic depictions of what life was like in the era when the Wild West flourished. “Lonesome Dove” would have to be very near the top of my list, if not at the number one spot. It’s a perennial best-seller for a very good reason — it’s a fantastic and engrossing Western. I totally love watching and re-watching the miniseries based off the novel, so that’s for sure one I would have liked to have written, without a doubt. “True Grit” is another one.

What is the most recent Western you’ve read?

Hmmm … Well, I anticipated that question, I suppose, answering an earlier one. “Coyote Courage,” which you wrote, Scott, would be one of them, though the most recent one I’ve read is the latest Marshal Timber novel, written by Robert Hanlon. There are many excellent Western authors writing today, though, and eventually, I’d love to read even more by you and by authors like Clint Clay, Cherokee Parks, Robert E. Woods, Paul L. Thompson and others.

The “Desert Island” question. What are your three favorite Western books?

It’s hard to choose, but let’s go with “Riders of the Purple Sage,” “The Quick and the Dead,” and “Lonesome Dove.” The order is not necessarily written in stone — they are all terrific Westerns, to be sure!

What are your three favorite Western movies?

That might change on a daily/hourly basis. I would have to include “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” as well as probably any other Eastwood flick. I’m a big fan of John Wayne movies, also, and have favorites depending on the stages of his career — “True Grit,” “The Cowboys” and “The Shootist” are examples I really like, and “Big Jake,” etc. For a third (I’ve named more than that, but I’m cheating by going by lead actors), “Lonesome Dove” — “What would Gus Do?” and other iconic memes, T-shirts, etc., prove that the miniseries is still extremely popular, and the acting is impeccable.

If I were to narrow the choices down to not just Westerns by my favorite actors in Western movies, I would say “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” “True Grit” probably, and “Lonesome Dove.” Great question, though, and there are many fantastic Western flicks to choose from.

Of the books you’ve written, which is your favorite — and why?

All of them, if I’m being serious, but for different reasons. “Crossing the Dead Line: The Guns of Bass Reeves” will always be up there for me, as it was my first Western. However, when it comes to my more recent ones, all of them once again — while I’m writing them, for sure! “Gunshots on Hell’s Border,” which focuses on the life and adventures of the fictional bounty hunter Matt “The Boot Collector” Hardy, is also one of my favorites, Scott, as it’s the first one I wrote for Dusty Saddle Publishing.

What is the most recent Western you’ve written?

That would be the short story collection “The Guns of the Gringo,” which is scheduled to be published by Dusty Saddles Publishing next month. “Bass Reeves Outwits the Devil” is the most current one that’s out now, and I’m right now in the process of writing a novella with an iconic Robert Hanlon character, Marshal Jake Timber, as the lead male protagonist.

Can you tell us anything about your next book?

I jumped the gun with my answer to this one, revealing my incredible psychic abilities! Either that, or maybe I just might have read on ahead, LOL! The next one that will probably be out before the end of September will be the Marshal Timber one I mentioned. I can say the title of it is “Marshal Timber Rides to Hell’s Border and Beyond.” It will definitely be action-packed and full of adventure, gunfights, and it will team Marshal Timber up with a few of the Deputy Marshals of Hell’s Border that I have written about.

If you could go back in time, what would be the time and place in the Old West you’d like to have lived in for a year?

Any place with modern plumbing and toilet paper, though none of that existed back then. If that’s not taken into account though, and the question is meant to be asking which era/year based on things like the Wild West heroes who lived then, possibly Fort Smith, Arkansas, would be my choice, though I’ve also lived in Arizona and in Texas, so any of those would be fine by me. As far as the year, probably a few years after the Civil War, so that there would be somewhat of a distance looking back at it, so folks could reflect on it and its aftermath. Maybe 1883 or 1884. 1883 is the year I have set the upcoming Marshal Timber book in.

Is there a question you wish I’d asked?

All of the questions you’ve asked are terrific ones, Scott. Maybe one of the only other ones might be what’s your favorite beverage and/or cigar to enjoy while you write your Westerns and/or read them! Though whiskey or bourbon might be obvious choices, and I do like drinking on some occasions, generally it’s black coffee that fuels my nights of writing Westerns, and when I have a cigar, more often than not, it’d be a decent Maduro.

Another question might be, who would you say is your favorite lawman of the West/Wild West?

Again, what a great question, I have to say! Let me think about it … okay, I’m ready now!

U.S. Deputy Marshal Bass Reeves, probably, though maybe Heck Thomas, Bat Masterson or Wyatt Earp would be other good choices. It’s difficult to say, as we now think of them as primarily historical figures. What sort of people they were in real life might be somewhat different from our idealized conceptions of some of them.

I’ve truly enjoyed answering your questions, Scott! I recommend any fans of Westerns to check out all of your fine ones, and of course, mine, as well as the ones I already mentioned and other excellent Western authors who are now writing some of the best literature around in any genre!

Timber: United States Marshal Chronicles: Bounty Hunter on the Border: A Western Adventure (Robert Hanlon: The Timber U.S. Marshal Chronicles Western Series Book 3) by [Cobb, Douglas R., Hanlon, Robert]

 

This is the latest novel from Western adventure bestseller Douglas R. Cobb! With pistol and rifle in hand— Timber blasts his way through the bad guys to bring peace and justice to the Old West!

Marshal Jake Timber sets his own rules when it comes to hunting down outlaws. He has his own brand of justice, which usually does not involve the courtroom. He prefers to shoot first, and not ask questions, ever.

When his childhood friend and his family are brutally murdered, Jake, seeking to avenge the deaths, teams up with the lawmen from the Hell’s Border town of Fort Smith to track a notorious band of outlaws who have set a trap for Timber, leading him and his posse into Indian Territory and entangling them in a web of deceit and lies. Available now from Amazon!

Oct 09

REBLOG: How To Write A Bestseller With Western Writer Scott Harris: Mile 12: The Team

Scott Harris. An enigma in the Western writing business. A man who has scored hits with each of his releases. There isn’t enough room to name them all here… and now we are presenting his thoughts about writing. Each one of these blogs will give you the thoughts of a bestseller… directly from his mouth! Read on and discover more about Harris’ writing world…

 

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You’ve started to write, which is great! Hopefully, you’ve moved beyond the first line and maybe even written a chapter or two.

Writing can be, and usually is, a very solitary process. If you were writing a diary, or a journal, it would theoretically be designed to stay private. But you’re not. You’re writing a novel. Which means that you plan on publishing it one day, subjecting your work, your extremely hard and personal work, to the slings and arrows of an often indifferent or cruel reading public. And so you want the work to be the very best it can be, which, for most of us, means we need a little outside perspective. At least I do.

I’m going to share with you my process. To be clear, this is the process that works for me. The key for you is to find a process that works for you. You may want more people to review your work, or maybe fewer people. I like to pass chapters on when they’re complete, but I have other writer friends who never let anyone take a look until the entire book is done.

I have assembled a small group of four people who each read, review and critique my chapters. I am fortunate that each have different areas of focus, as they read my work. One looks at the overall story line, while another focuses on grammar (quite a challenge on my first drafts). A third simply gives me feedback on how the chapter struck her, and the fourth is great at seeing the bigger picture — how the chapter relates not only to this book, but also to my previous works, and what impact it may have on future books. In total, the feedback is invaluable.

Four people works well for me, but of course, you may want one or two more or less. I suggest, as a starting point, you look for help in the following ways.

  • One or two family members/close friends: Although they ALWAYS say they’ll be candid and direct, these people tend toward saying good things about the work, though sometimes accompanied by, “I really like it, but…” Don’t underestimate the importance of a little biased support.
  • One or two genre fans: Find a couple of people who love Westerns, and who have hopefully read hundreds of them. They can give you a great perspective from the reader’s point of view.
  • One or two pros: These can be editors, publishers, an old English teacher, etc. People who have no vested interest in making you feel good about your work, unless it is good, and can, and will, give you a candid, direct review of the work.

Combine the feedback you get from all three areas. Be open to listening to what they say. Be willing to make changes, large or small. But never lose sight of the fact that it is your book, your work. Stick to your guns (get it?) and write the book you want to write. It may or may not sell, but in the end, you should be proud of what you’ve written and never lose sight of the fact that it’s going to be your name on the cover.

The critical takeaway here is that there is not a right way or wrong way to get feedback on your work, simply what works best for you. What helps your project move forward, makes it better and makes you feel good about your work? Identify that process and stick with it!

I wish you good writing, and if you have a question or something you’d like to share, send me an email at Scott@scottharriswest.com.

Thank you, enjoy and keep writing!

CATCH THE LATEST SCOTT HARRIS WESTERN BESTSELLER!

Click here to download your copy

The latest adventure from one of the most exciting Western authors of today! This is “Mojave Massacre” from Scott Harris! A sure-fire reader pleaser!

Brock, Sophie and Huck are still living with the Havasupai at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. But their lives are threatened by the murderous and vengeful Paiute, and Brock and Huck, seeing no alternative, race one hundred miles to a small trading outpost, hoping to buy the rifles that will give them a chance against the much larger Paiute forces.

They stumble across four slaughtered Hopi Indians, track down the murderers, and find help in very unexpected places from friends – new and old.

The final battle is brutal, bloody and decisive.

Mojave Massacre is the exciting second book in the new Grand Canyon trilogy and the fifth book in the best-selling Brock Clemons Western series, following the tremendously successful Dry Springs trilogy. Click here to download your copy of this exciting new book!

Oct 08

How Reworking Your Catalogue Can Keep Those Book Sales Rolling In…

Every author wants their success to keep on rolling, and Western authors are no exception to the rule. One of the big questions is—how do I keep those sales coming in when I have no new product to offer? One of the big answers is—look at what you already have.

I know, I know… it’s cryptic talk from someone who tends to like plain truth. But the truth of the matter is that greatest hits compilations sell. When you’re in a record store and faced with a dozen releases from an artist, you’re very likely to go for what is commonly known as the ‘greatest hits’ package. You know, the one with all the songs you know. When Columbia first put together a greatest hits in the late ’50s, they didn’t realize it would become one of the best sellers their company ever released. The title? “Johnny’s Greatest Hits.” It consisted of the first six or so hits from Johnny Mathis along with ‘B’ sides and a few extras. This album spent hundreds of weeks on the bestseller chart and still stands as one of the great sellers of today. This was closely followed by “Elvis’ Golden Records” from Elvis Presley. Again, the formula proved correct, and this album became a top seller through the ages. Both Mathis and Presley had many volumes of their greatest hits—all creating fans, selling records and wizarding up much needed income.

“Johnny’s Greatest Hits” was one of the first ‘greatest hits’ packages to be created, and marketed. The result? A multi-million selling product, and a boom for record companies looking to move product.

And now you may ask—has this book promoter become a record guy? No. Absolutely not. But the logic still stands. Why not put together a box set of books and sell that set at the same price as a regular novel release and create more sales out of existing product? This formula has proven to be extremely successful for authors like C. Wayne Winkle, Paul L. Thompson, Robert Hanlon and Clint Clay. Now, not every box set will become a major hit—but then neither has every greatest hits record release.

Now there are some key points here. You have to make sure people know what they’re buying—you should also make a note in the book that folks are buying “previously released material” and you should try to list the stories in the collection. Be very open about it. Some readers may want to buy the same book twice—but a heck of a lot won’t. This box set, or greatest hits collection, is a product aimed at bringing in new readers and letting them work through a series of stories or novels you’ve had success with in the past, just like buying a greatest hits record means the casual listener gets all the hits in one place without wading through odious filler.

The latest in a long, long line of western greatest hits packages. This new collection houses the first four books of the top selling “Timber: U.S. Marshal” series. All for the bargain price of 99 cents. The set is already on the charts, and rapidly climbing. This one could well be the biggest selling Hanlon product yet!

It’s very important for authors to have a release schedule—but don’t be afraid to bolster your release schedule with special products. There’s nothing wrong with reintroducing a product to readers in a brand new way—as long as you are open about it.

Now, back to work! There’s a lot of books out there waiting to be sold, and I’m mighty happy to see that many of the new releases from my direction are hitting the charts. You sit back, enjoy that coffee, and think about your own catalogue and how you can create a new product from work already done.

As always—feel free to contact me through the form below and let me know about your books. I’d love to discover what you’ve been writing. My own reading list has been rather slim lately and I could do with a few reading suggestions.

 

Oct 08

“Six Bullets To Sundown: Volume 14” Coming Soon To A Kindle Near You!

Well, it’s that time again! A brand new volume of “Six Bullets to Sundown” will be heading out shortly. Brand new stories from Scott Harris, Michael Haden, Michael D. Abbott, ‘Big’ Jim Williams, M. Allen and Robert Hanlon. Each one circled with gold. Each one could have been a success on it’s own. The best of the best collected together for the greatest readers in the world– Western fans!

Oct 05

Colt Raines – Relentless Pursuer Western Series Moving Up The Charts!

What a year this has been for Cherokee Parks! Not only has he managed to score hit, after hit… he’s also managed to turn out some of the great Western novels of 2018. The second book in his hugely popular “Colt Raines: Relentless Pursuier Western Series” was recently released– and is bounding up the charts! Have you tried it?

 

BOOK 1

In Cherokee Parks release, Colt’s Justice: Chasing a Shadow, Parks expands on the life of Colt Raines, a Confederate veteran trained in the art of dealing death that all began with the short story Colt’s Justice: Almost Home. Although now a peaceful rancher with a small place in East Texas, his skills and sense of right and wrong are still in high demand, which brings Jacques Devereaux in search of those services. Devereaux’s daughter and grandson are in trouble, held for ransom by a vicious killer, the leader of a band of men like him who have been gathered for the sole purpose of robbing trains and banks, and leaving a trail of bodies in their wake.

As Colt takes on the job, he begins his pursuit where the criminal was last seen, Abilene, Kansas. Always seeming to be a step behind, Colt chases him into Colorado, New Mexico, back across Colorado to Wyoming, and finally to Lincoln, Nebraska. Colt manages to free the daughter and grandson and get them to apparent safety, but that is only the beginning of the fight to save them. The closer Colt gets to his quarry, the more bodies begin pile up, both friend and foe, until he finally manages to injure the elusive pariah and slow his movements. Still, the villain manages to escape once again, again leaving bodies in his wake. But his escape is only momentary, as Colt Raines, the relentless pursuer, ends his reign of terror on the plains of the Old West.

BOOK 2

In Cherokee Parks’ second book in the Colt’s Justice series, Parks expands further on the life of Colt Raines, a Confederate veteran trained in the art of dealing death that all began with the short story Colt’s Justice: Almost Home. Although now a peaceful rancher with a wife and children, and small place in East Texas, his skills and sense of right and wrong are still in high demand, bringing yet another individual in need of his unique talents. A one-time outlaw who turned to the ministry, thanks to a bullet from Colt’s Sharps rifle, comes seeking help for his entire congregation. Recommendations from friends in the San Angelo area prompt Colt to finally accept the request. Another friend, bounty hunter Bill Carson, decides to delay away his hunt for lawbreakers and include himself in this fight for justice.

Colt and Bill are joined by the Reverend Obadiah Mills, who choses to strap on his guns one more time, as well as other old friends who join the fight once they arrive in San Angelo. More unexpected help shows up, somewhat complicating the search for justice, but the newcomers prove their worth almost immediately as they pursue more than one batch of outlaws. The closer they get to their targets, the more blood is shed, and the more complicated things get as they find out there are outside forces at work. When all is said and done, there turns out to be enemies among their allies. But Colt Raines, the relentless pursuer, get to the bottom of the barrel and digs out the last rotten apple, bringing justice to the people of West Texas.

 

Oct 03

Discovering The Magical Three C’s To Selling Your Western In 2018

Now, as you know, the three C’s have been successful for some time… so I decided to take an article I wrote a few years ago and update it. The information is still valid, the hits are still flowing and the three c’s are waiting for you…

One of the great book success stories of the year 2018 has to be that of Robert Hanlon, who went from selling a handful of books per month in 2012 to becoming one of the bestselling Western authors of the last couple of years. His latest series of books, “Timber: United States Marshal,” caught the imagination of Western fans, but his journey was not a quick one; it was a slow, tedious climb that culminated in great success. So what caused Robert Hanlon to become so successful? To have almost a million pages of her book read in July 2016? Well, Pilgrim, it took three little things to create one huge success, and those three things are:

The three C’s.

Now I know we’ve talked about the three C’s before—and you can read all about them here, if you missed our conversation last week. I guess some of you might be becoming a little bored with hearing ol’ Nick over here bleat on about these magical three C’s—but listen– Robert Hanlon’s success with his book “Timber: U.S. Marshal” came directly from the three C’s. Those three C’s were the cornerstone on which her success was built. Now, I grant you that the ads, the keywords, and the reviews did the heavy lifting, but those three C’s made it happen.

So why can’t it work for you?

Well, there are plenty of reasons why it’s not working for you— little matters like are you ready to be successful? Do you have enough confidence in your written work to truly aim for success? Are you sure you want your book to be read? There are a lot of reasons why people don’t want success—some just have a fear of being successful. Other have issues with trust, or just don’t like to be in the public eye. Some people just write their books for their families to read or put together cook books for their grandchildren to learn from—so there are legitimate reasons for shunning those three C’s. If you’re book isn’t selling, you may not want to make it sell, in which case I have the greatest respect in the world for you. It’s not easy to want the opposite to what you believe everyone else wants, and if you can truly stand and say that you don’t want you book to be a success—then kudos. You’re an honest person.

Maybe just holding that printed book in your hands is all the success you want. In that case, you can forget all my ramblings about the three C’s.

But for those of you who crave success, and who want their books to be read around the world, I am asking you this: Do you have the confidence to promote your book? Do you feel you can be consistent in your promotion? Do you feel that you can be calm, cool and clear-headed when a radio interviewer asks you a question that you don’t want to answer? Because those are the three main ingredients of success. You can have all the money in the world, you can have the greatest book in the world—we can work together and try to put your book out there for the masses to see—but in the end, it boils down to those three things. If you want to be a successful “selling” author, you will need to have a little talk with yourself and find the three C’s before you start talking about ads, and posting, interviews and keywords.

Now, just for you, here’s the link to last week’s discussion about those three C’s. Take a look at them, and see if you feel that you have them or can find them. If you do—and you feel that you want to put them to work—you can contact me below through the contact form. But if you don’t have them—and know you don’t want that kind of success, I don’t want you to feel left out. There are no writers left behind in my opinion. You can get in touch, too, and tell me about your book. I am always looking for new things to read, and would love to hear about your book.

 

Oct 02

Coming Soon From Fred Staff: The United States Marshal: A Posse For The Marshal

 

Oct 02

REBLOG: How To Write A Bestseller With Western Writer Scott Harris: Mile 11: Stephen King

Scott Harris. An enigma in the Western writing business. A man who has scored hits with each of his releases. There isn’t enough room to name them all here… and now we are presenting his thoughts about writing. Each one of these blogs will give you the thoughts of a bestseller… directly from his mouth! Read on and discover more about Harris’ writing world…

 

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Stephen King’s book on writing is called, you guessed it, “On Writing.” Some consider it a classic of the “writers helping other writers” genre. I don’t actually know if that’s a genre, but it should be, and King’s book is a good one. While he’s best known for his horror, fantasy and supernatural books, none of which I’ve read, his advice here is invaluable and universal, crossing genre lines. It is as valuable to Western writers as it is to those who plan to write horror books.

His book is part autobiographical, part novel and part a writer’s roadmap.

It is broken into five sections.

  • C.V. – the autobiographical part of his journey.
  • What Writing Is – the title of this section could have been expanded to add “and Why It’s Important.”
  • Toolbox – the nuts and bolts of grammar, style, vocabulary, structure, etc. Not necessarily fun, except for the quirky among us, but necessary.
  • On Writing – cautionary and inspirational thoughts for those new to the craft.
  • On Living: A Postscript – details on the horrific accident King was in and how it impacted his life and his writing.

It is hard to pull a few things out of “On Writing” and highlight them, because so many of the pieces of advice, passages and candid insights deserve to be highlighted, I could simply yellow out the entire book and post it. But there are laws that forbid me to do so, so I’ve picked out a few of my favorites…

On criticism: In many ways, Eula-Bealah prepared me for literary criticism. After having a two-hundred-pound babysitter fart on your face and yell Pow!, The Village Voice holds few terrors. (If you like this line, you’ll love the book.)

On story ideas: …good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky…

On adverbs: I insist that you use the adverb in dialog attribution only in the rarest and most special of occasions.

More adverbs: All I ask is that you do as well as you can, and remember that, while to write adverbs is human, to write he said or she said is divine.

On improving: …it is possible, with lots of hard work, dedication, and timely help, to make a good writer out of a merely competent one.

On “The Great Commandment”: Read a lot, write a lot. (This might be the most obvious, most important and most overlooked piece of advice in the entire book.)

On descriptions: …if you have a feeling you can’t describe, you just might be, I don’t know, kind of like, my sense of it is, maybe in the wrong fucking class. (This is pulled from my favorite story in the book, and at least for me, it was laugh out loud, blow milk through your nose, lose a little bladder control funny.)

On the “Magic Secrets of Writing”: …there aren’t any—bummer, huh?

If you decide to never write another word, this book is still very much worth your time to read. If you do plan on writing, or better yet, are in the middle of a project, this book is borderline indispensable.

I wish you good writing, and if you have a question or something you’d like to share, send me an email at Scott@scottharriswest.com.

Thank you, enjoy and keep writing!

CATCH THE LATEST SCOTT HARRIS WESTERN BESTSELLER!

Click here to download your copy

The latest adventure from one of the most exciting Western authors of today! This is “Mojave Massacre” from Scott Harris! A sure-fire reader pleaser!

Brock, Sophie and Huck are still living with the Havasupai at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. But their lives are threatened by the murderous and vengeful Paiute, and Brock and Huck, seeing no alternative, race one hundred miles to a small trading outpost, hoping to buy the rifles that will give them a chance against the much larger Paiute forces.

They stumble across four slaughtered Hopi Indians, track down the murderers, and find help in very unexpected places from friends – new and old.

The final battle is brutal, bloody and decisive.

Mojave Massacre is the exciting second book in the new Grand Canyon trilogy and the fifth book in the best-selling Brock Clemons Western series, following the tremendously successful Dry Springs trilogy. Click here to download your copy of this exciting new book!

Oct 01

Cowboy Storyteller GP Hutchinson Holds A Brand New Copy Of His Latest Western Novel

A bushwhacked Wild-West-show entrepreneur must prove he’s no mere dime-novel hero; either that or lose everything he holds dear.

Cimarron Jack Wheatley is just wrapping up a tremendously successful first tour with his very own highly acclaimed “Real Wild West Extravaganza” when his show is stricken by a rapid succession of oddly coincidental setbacks—injuries, formerly satisfied troupe members suddenly quitting, and then a catastrophic train wreck. It soon becomes apparent that Jack isn’t simply experiencing a run of bad luck. Someone aims to ruin the business he has invested his entire life into—and to end his life if he puts up a fight. Now, everything that Cimarron Jack is supposed to have represented as a symbol of Wild West heroism in the show, he must actually be, in the deadly reality of chasing down answers and outlaws.

 

Sep 28

REBLOG: Forum Featuring Russ Towne

One of the most promising Western authors of today– Russ Towne– has been interviewed for “Forum” by Scott Harris. This interview should give you some good, solid reasons to go chase down a Russ Towne novel– he’s one of the best– lets read this interview! You can read the original interview from Forum by clicking here!

 

Read the original interview by clicking here

When — and why — did you first fall in love with Westerns?

When I was young, TV was full of Westerns. I loved “Cheyenne,” “Rin Tin Tin,” “The Rifleman” and others. I love the adventure and the way people thought and handled things back then. Good people helped and protected each other, and when they did, the bad guys were outnumbered and beaten, and when they didn’t, bad things happened until a hero stepped up took them on. I love the messages such shows give to people of all ages. I use present tense because I still watch the old shows despite many of them being 60 to 70 years old. They are morality tales I never tire of seeing.

Who are your three favorite Western writers?

Besides you, I like Zane Grey, Louis L’Amour, Owen Wister, who wrote “The Virginian,” David Webb Peoples, who wrote “Unforgiven,” and Carl Foreman, who wrote the screenplay for “High Noon.” I know that’s more than three, but they are my favorite Western writers. They each beautifully describe the cultural mores of their era, the human condition, loyalty or lack thereof, and courage or cowardice. They had a realistic feel to them and in quite different ways helped me to better understand and appreciate the land, the people and the era.

Which Western do you wish you’d written?

“Unforgiven.” I love the quirky and colorful yet believable characters, “feel” of the times, action, story, humor, drama, grittiness, many quotable quotes, and the ending that explains what happened to the protagonist and his children. Even minor characters had quirks that added to the sensory buffet.

What is the most recent Western you’ve read?

Several of your Brock Clemmons books, some of them twice.

The “Desert Island” question. What are your three favorite Western books?

“The Virginian,” “The Sacketts” series and “Robbers’ Roost.” I like how simply people thought and spoke in those times. There was time to think, and places of great beauty and solitude in which to do the thinking. There wasn’t a lot of blabbering and wasted noise or broken promises.

What are your three favorite Western movies?

“Unforgiven,” “High Noon” and “The Shootist.” I explained most of the reasons in my answer to your second question. I also love the actors and actresses. “The Shootist” in particular had many extraordinary stars in it. I love that John Wayne refused to follow the script and shoot a man in the back, saying something to the effect that, “John Wayne never shot anyone in the back and isn’t going to start now.” I believe the way the script was changed made for a more powerful movie and ending.

Of the books you’ve written, which is your favorite — and why?

“A Bloody Day in Destiny.” It was my first book of Western tales and features some of my favorite stories I’d written to that date. These stories whet my appetite to write more:

The past comes calling with a six-gun and a score to settle, and there’s no place to hide in “A Bloody Day in Destiny.”

An unwelcome sleeping companion holds the key to survival when two vengeful brothers catch up to the man who shot their brother in “I Hate Snakes.”

A lonely rancher gets much more than he bargained for when a beautiful woman with a secret past responds to his ad for a wife in “Mail-Order Bride.”

An aging marshal faces a desperate young killer with nothing left to lose in “Peace.”

What is the most recent Western you’ve written?

I’ve just written two more, both of which should be released in September 2018 or sooner: “A Bullet in the Neck” and “The Grizzly Creek Massacre.”

Here’s a taste of the stories readers will find in “A Bullet in the Neck”:

“Gold Fever” – Greed leads to violence, betrayal and death, as honest, hard-working gold miners discover a traitor in their midst when they must confront a killer and his vicious gang of murdering thieves.

“Big Dream Ranch” – An ambitious man works to overcome many obstacles as he strives to make his big dream come true, unaware that he has yet to face the greatest obstacle of all.

“Mary’s Medicine” – A dying man is awakened by a gun-toting stranger in his bedroom who has a terrible story to tell that might just save his life.

“Annie Davenport and Dr. Hartlee’s Miracle Headache Cure” – A series of tragedies push a young woman toward a terrible choice — marry a man she detests to save her ranch and ensure the survival of her young son and herself, or risk everything to keep her freedom — and her time is running out.

And here’s a taste of the stories in “The Grizzly Creek Massacre”:

“The Grizzly Creek Massacre” – Four young men in the cavalry witness a mutiny and brutal murder and are chased by their sadistic sergeant and his men through hostile Indian Territory until they make a desperate stand at Grizzly Creek.

“Hoodwinked” – A crooked rancher tries to hoodwink a young man into buying a nearly worthless piece of land.

“Desperation” – A four-year-long drought tests the mettle of two friends and neighbors as they face the complete loss of a lifetime of work, and perhaps much worse.

“Saddle Buddies” – Sam and Joe met in Saint Louis, both headed toward gold country. Their two thousand mile journey is full of hardship and danger: Indian attacks, snakes (human and reptilian), sleeping in the rain, fording swollen rivers, slogging through mud, and early snowstorms.

“Fool’s Gold” – A beautiful woman and her fiancé appear to create the perfect scam for fleecing whole mining camps full of lonely miners out of their hard-earned gold, but they learn the hard way that betrayal can be a two-headed coin.

Can you tell us anything about your next book?

It’s about a young man who promises a desperate, beautiful woman that he will save her young sister and others from being kidnapped by a ruthless gang of cutthroats and forced into a life of prostitution. The trouble is the young man is a city slicker fresh off the boat from Boston who can barely ride a horse, can’t shoot a gun worth beans and almost immediately finds himself naked, on foot, without guns, at night, walking barefoot cross country in an area he’s unfamiliar with. If he survives that, he’s got to race to a small village in Mexico in time to warn the young girls before the gang gets to them, but he doesn’t speak a word of Spanish. What could possibly go wrong?

If you could go back in time, what would be the time and place in the Old West you’d like to have lived in for a year?  

The California Gold Rush Gold Country. I would have loved to supply provisions to the miners, from picks and gold pans to food, tents and clothing. I performed a similar role during the Dotcom Boom and found the experience to be helpful, appreciated and quite rewarding.

Is there a question you wish I’d asked?  

Of all possible genres, why do you love writing Westerns?

The answer?

The Old West era was full of adventurous, courageous, hardy, strong, colorful, diverse, independent-minded, quirky and self-sufficient pioneers. It was a time of immense possibilities, clashing cultures, few rules, danger, action and adventure. The smallest decision could lead to life and death struggles. A man’s word was his bond, and an honorable man would do whatever it took to keep his word or die trying. Though far from an easy period, it was a simpler time, with fewer shades of gray. Ideas for Western tales often flow from my mind faster than I can capture them. I often even dream Western tales and edit the action as my dreams progress.

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