May 21

Baugher Took His Western Book And Made Into A Movie: How Did He Do That?

Last month, I left off with a promise to tell you about the premiere of my movie, C-Bar. It took eight months to film the movie and another eight months to edit what we had. Believe me when I say this, editing is an art form. This was my first experience with making movies, and I soon figured out that anyone can be an actor, but very few can edit it all together and make it an experience worth watching. Weaving the story together and using music that tells the story at the same time is like speaking a romance language.

We were finally thinking we had the movie as good as the movie was going to be. Problem was, by that time, we were so familiar with all the scenes, we had lost our ability to feel what was going on. I decided to show it to people in my living room, and the response was what we wanted. Then you start thinking, what else are they going to say? We know each other. They don’t want to tell me it stinks. All we could do then was set up the Premiere at the Elks Theater in Prescott. It’s a beautiful early nineteen-hundreds theater. If you are older, like me, you can think back on those kinds of places. Very ornate and bigger than life. A place to draw people and take them away from the real world.

We worked the community for a month to make sure we filled the seats. Television and radio interviews. Posters downtown. The time came to open up the advance ticket sales. We sold out the first morning. Five hundred seats and then it was standing room only. The pressure was on to make it a big night. Talented people usually have several expressions of their art. We lined up people who were actors in the movie to sing before the movie started. I did a warm up on the crowd. Then the curtain went up and the movie started. I was so nervous, I could hardly sit still, so I went to the lobby. Ten minutes into the movie, six people walked out. They looked at me and told me I should go to church. Oh, boy, my heart sank. The movie was getting to the end, so Patrick Ball and I went backstage. We planned to walk out and take our bows. As the credits started to run, I looked at Patrick and we thought about running out the back door. I said to him, “Patrick, they just may throw tomatoes at us,” but then the crowd started clapping. We got brave enough then to walk out on the stage. The crowd was giving a standing ovation. I remember thinking that this was probably my fifteen minutes of fame. It was good to be us that evening.

Two days later, a check arrived for five thousand dollars. I called the donor to ask what it was for, and he said he just wanted to help. In total, we received fourteen thousand dollars from people. In my fantasies, I was hoping for C-Bar to be a hit, but I never thought people would give us money. We now had some money and big plans. Next month, I will tell you what happened in the next four theaters.

Homework assignment: Go to Amazon and watch our movie. That’s all, just watch it. I will be giving a test afterwards. If you want extra credit, watch it twice. Just click on the book cover to see the movie!

May 14

The Last Gunfighter: An Interview with Western Writer Mike Hundley

Western writers are some of the most undervalued writers in the world. Their books sell to millions of readers, their styles are honed, their stories are filled with nourishing history, dramatic climaxes and all the action of the Old West– and then there’s Mike Hundley– a writer in his own class, with a Western that stands above all competition. A writer who feels the Old West and makes his stories as refreshing as a drop of sweet Texan rain. “Pistol Canyon” includes his acclaimed first book, a book that is sure to win awards, and sure to win a place on your bookshelf. Readers across America right now are enjoying the writing of Hundley. They are riding along with him. Have you joined their happy throng? Are you ready to sign up for the read of your life? 

 

Which Westerns have most influenced your life? 

I would say it’s bits and pieces of many mostly old TV shows and movies. In my childhood, it was black and white TV at the country store a mile away. We had no electricity in our farmhouse for a few years. I think The Lone Ranger and Silver got in every young boy’s head in those days. He was my first superhero, a symbol of good in the West. I loved Marilyn Monroe in River of No Return. Her beauty stunned us. I couldn’t wait to see the next episode of Lonesome Dove and the strong parts played by Robert Duval and Tommy Lee Jones. The one liners like when Captain Woodrow Call beat the hell out of the rude man with a branding iron and then proclaimed, “I can’t tolerate rudeness in a man.” I like most Westerns if they have a real story. Not all shoot ’em ups are good watching or reading. I think Westerns ought to honor our history and present a meaningful story about very real people. They ought to have that bigger than life epic feel, like the West is bigger than life. I hope my books will be seen as an epic story about real people who just happen to live in those hard times in the Old West, with some romance bound to happen.

How did you research your Western? 

I asked my brother, Ran Hundley, who wrote “Blind Legacy,” questions about the War Between the States, timeframes and weaponry, etc. My buddy, Jim Haynes, answered my questions of horses and riding. I used the heck out of Google and Wikipedia. I have hunted in the mountains and canyons of the West many times. And I know some stuff! Like the movie “The Revenant,” I tried to capture the feel of the Rockies. I hope you will call me promptly Alejandro. We can work on this together.

Tell us about the series. What is the overall story of the series? 

The Confederate Garrison family moved from Virginia after Lee surrendered; it was too painful to stay after their loss of the war. They headed to California, hoping to claim land under the Homestead Act, but the beauty of the Rockies stopped them in southwest Colorado. Over the next two decades, despite family death and many challenges, the Garrisons built a big cattle ranch with constant fights against warring Indian tribes, encroaching railroads, injustices and bullies. The Garrison sons become warriors, and Gabe, the eldest, found the truest love while running for his life. It goes on from there—timeframe 1865-1885. And then on into the sequel– maybe.

Do you prefer writing about the heroes or the villains?

I get a feeling of anger and disgust writing the villain’s part. It’s why they turn out to be so bad. And writing about good people takes me back to how I was raised on a tobacco farm in Southside, Virginia. My mama and daddy brought us up to be humble, kind and respectful. I think it’s how I have always lived. I get a swollen heart writing with passion about goodness, love or grief. I am unafraid to feel or show it, and I think the reader will also feel it.

A good villain is hard to write. How did you approach writing your villains?

Like the whole book, they just came out of my heart and then my fingers. The bad things they did just seemed naturally to happen in the heat of the moment. Once maybe good men, they worked themselves into becoming evil. And I had to give the Garrisons someone worth shooting at.

What real-life inspirations did you draw from your book?

Are any of your character’s people you know? I think to do good in the face of evil is the inspiration, to be patriotic and fearless when bad-thinking people try to do you or your family or your country any harm, fight back, make them pay.

Ransom Garrison is a lot like my little brother, Ransom—tough and hot blooded. I’m a good shot and think boldly like Gabe but can only wish I was as tough and courageous. Lee Garrett is a bit like I was—a volunteer soldier in the Confederacy or Vietnam; our country needed us and we stepped forth, but thankfully I never lived his war experiences. May is like my mother, May—brave and beautiful. Without her many sacrifices, neither I nor Ran would have had much of a life.

Where do you think the Western is heading? Is it dying or growing? 

I sometimes feel like a dinosaur in America now. Many people live like nothing I know, heads stuck in the sand politically, faces buried in social media. I love the Old America I once knew. Schools don’t teach history like when I was a youngster. There is so much competition in entertainment today and not as many readers out there. I hope Westerns find their way into more homes, a new age of enlightenment—wouldn’t that be something?  Western history is the true story of America growing. Fiction embracing history enhances it. I think people will always embrace and love the adventure of that Western migration, the unforgiving journey of our forefathers, I hope so, anyway. We need more really good Western books to be written to keep that alive. And epic Western movies and high quality TV shows would really help. The audience is there. It would explode in size. That’s my 2 cents.

What was the hardest part of writing the first book? 

I think finding the courage to start was the hardest, and that came from a good friend, Galen Pederson, who after reading my lengthy emails and messages to friends over the years, said on a visit last year, “Mike, you need to write something. You have a way with words.” So I came home and began, and couldn’t stop my fingers. You’ve got to start, then find excitement in the writing to finish, I think. That’s how it happened for me, chapter after chapter. I will always be thankful to Galen. He saw the writer in me and called me out.

Can you see your series turned into a TV series or movie? 

It would be the fulfilment and validation of my life to see this on a screen. I think it’s written to fit a TV series over several weeks. Parts of it might make a grand movie, epic, a saga like the old Westerns. I guess it would have been easier and more realistic years ago to dream this big. But I have always dreamed big; no reason to stop now that I can see. Dream it, believe it, do it. Big dreams are free.

Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it? 

I found it to be a wonderfully amazing adventure just like I was living it real time—sad when the characters were sad. I felt all their moods. I think feelings were the driver, and the book is written from an array of feelings I had as I was writing, like watching a movie out of body. I seemed to have little control of the characters. I set them out into a scene, and they acted and I just took notes. A romance bloomed as I watched. I never expected it in all that blood, but it would not be denied. In my years, I never felt anything like it before. I like the feelings of living in that era of American history and hope to do it again soon. It was crazy wonderful. I hope it will grab onto the readers and have them feeling the same way. They will smell the sweat of the horses. I don’t feel this is your typical Western in some ways. Readers can decide. The ending is surprising to many readers, and I never saw it coming. I am not to blame.

Is there a message in your novel that you hope readers will grasp? 

First, I hope all the readers will feel the thrill of adventure, wild and unabated, as they read it. I think the message is to understand in the world there is good and evil. Understand the difference, fight the evil and defend the good. Love the good people you know while they are alive, and avoid the bad ones. And hold on tight. Life moves on. Learn to shoot straight like Gabe. Be a good Arch Angel—it’s inside you. Embrace goodness! Repay the good in the world. Help others.

What comes next?

I’m working on a sequel, hoping to build a series. It’s a way off but working toward that. Time is compressed. Inspiration fleeting.

If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be? 

NASCAR driver, pro bass fisherman, pro golfer—I mean, if I could break 80! Or a superhero who could save America from itself. That would be the best job in the world, and I would have plenty of work to do. Lots of job security, too!

Where can readers reach you to send ideas for your books?

I have a Facebook page, and they can contact me there. It is the title of the book: “Gunsight Justice.” And to close, let me say many thanks to all who read my book and support me. It’s the thrill of my life when someone really enjoys the words I put on paper. Contact me, and by all means, if you loved “Gunsight Justice”, please leave a nice review on Amazon and on Goodreads.com. Thank you, Nick Wale, for promoting me, and thanks to all my friends old and new.

 

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Gunsight Justice: A Western Adventure: Book One

After the Civil War, Will Garrison takes his family west. Together they build a ranch and battle powerful Indian tribes who have hunted the lands for centuries. A peace feather is offered after a climactic battle. With the Indian tribes and the Garrisons now walking a path of peace, a new threat has emerged… the railroad. Greedy government-backed killers plan to annihilate everyone and claim the land they need to expand their rail lines north across Colorado and into Utah. Their vile, sinister plan is revealed after many fights.

Will Garrison’s son, Gabe, fights back and unleashes his pent-up vengeance against the railroad and kills one of their hired mercenaries. A destined meeting of chance leaves him rescuing a bloodied woman and falling hopelessly in love with the dark beauty. May is a brave woman who fights to guard a secret of her own. Together they flee to ancient trails, and as paid assassins track them, it becomes a long vengeance trail of dead men. When May reveals her deadly secret, Gabe finds himself at war with the railroad, an evil killer, and with everything he ever knew. He knows it’s time for GUNSIGHT JUSTICE!

This is the action-packed Western that will remind you that freedom is something you must always fight for. Good battles evil as epic conflicts become climatic love scenes, and you find yourself breathlessly riding a trail of danger, deceit and passion with Mike Hundley in this Western that leaves no bullet unfired, no emotion untouched, and no reader left behind.

The Guns of the Lost Canyon: A Western Adventure: Book Two

In 1886 Colorado rancher, Will Garrison gets a big bill. He owes years of taxes on his 100,000-acre Ranch, but he’s dead broke. Garrison sets up to mine silver on his ranch, it’s at 10,000 feet elevation and winter is setting in. As silver ore is blasted from a stone bluff a gang of gunmen close in and set up camp just miles from the mine. The leader known only as “Barrister” is determined to steal the mine and kill all of the Garrisons.

Evil deeds and bloody trails lead the Garrison sons to ride to Barrister’s hideout in The Lost Canyon. Gun battles leave the grounds strewn with bullet ridden corpses. Barrister hatches a deadly plan to divide the Garrison brothers and steal the mine. The plan works until Gabe and Ransom find the courage to take the fight deep into the canyon where a dozen gunmen await them. They have a bigger fight, to rescue a Doctor who can save one of their men critically injured at the “Devils Throat,” a gorge near the mine.

Barrister’s gunfighter brother shows off his silver pistol with hand carved notches in the grip. He challenges the brothers to fight or die, or to find peace or die. The depths of the dark canyon protect many secrets which the brothers and a new ally discover. The end comes as enemies, old and new shoot to kill all the Garrisons in a fight to the death. The new ally has a secret plan which opposes his friend, Gabe Garrison. The last fight determines who claims revenge on a mutually hated enemy, Barrister. Download your copy of these two great books today!

May 10

The Western Success of A Lone Wolf: An Interview with Weldon R. Shaw

weldon shaw imageThis interview is with one of the best Western writers of today. His name is Weldon Shaw, and his new book “Lone Wolf” has been a constant favorite with Western readers. “Lone Wolf” is the first book in a series– and what a series! Catch this new interview with Weldon– and get hooked! Hooked on a great story, by a great writer of today!

Which Westerns have most influenced your life? 

Anything written by Louis L’Amour.

How did you research your Western, Lone Wolf? 

I’m a history buff and I go on the internet to research the setting in which my story takes place. Things such as trees and bushes; I also research natural cures that may have been used during the Old West and the plants they came from.

Can you tell us about the series “Lone Wolf” has started. What is the overall story of the series? 

The overall story of the three-novel series is about a young white teen, Britt McCormick (Lone Wolf), who had to earn the respect and trust of the Cheyenne people who took him. It is about Lone Wolf earning status within the Cheyenne tribe. Lone Wolf is not only a Western, but it is a story about love and how it grew each day between him and Fawn, a beautiful young Cheyenne woman, which he later found out was the chief’s (Running Fox) daughter. The series is about his love for Fawn and his willingness to die to protect her. It is about the hardships the Cheyenne endured as two cultures were coming together and learning from each other.

It is about Fawn overcoming her distrust for Lone Wolf because he is a white man.

Do you prefer writing about the heroes or the villains of the Old West?

I always write about the heroes. I try to put myself into character and have the main character do and say the things that I would in that given situation.

A good villain is hard to write. How did you approach writing your villains?

In the case of this series, it was not hard. There were going to be those who did not approve of Lone Wolf being put in Fawn’s care. Fawn was a beautiful young woman who was very sought after by the other braves. I used history to create the villains from outside tribes that impacted the Cheyenne.

What real-life inspirations did you draw from for your book? Are any of your character’s people you know?

As far as real life goes, I believe men should protect women at all costs. I believe as a man you should be willing to sacrifice for those you love.

Where do you think the Western is heading? Is it dying or growing? 

Well, as far as Lone Wolf goes, it is growing. I believe in novel three you will see Lone Wolf stepping up into the position of authority, doing the things that are in the best interest of his people, the Cheyenne.

What was the hardest part of writing the first book? 

Getting people to believe in this series. Hoping people would not be critical about a misspelled word or a misused word, let’s say, as you know there is no such thing as a perfect book. There is going to be misspelled words or bad punctuation. The reader needs to key in on the story. A great storyline that is fresh is everything; it is either great or different than all other books written on the subject. If not, then it is just another Western telling the same old story told a hundred times before. So I guess what I am saying is, overlook some misspelled words and just enjoy a new and different story when you have the chance.

Can you see your series turned into a TV series or movie? 

Lone Wolf would make a great movie series. The three novels will be filled with adventure as well as love, which influences the complete storyline—the willingness to die for the one you love so they may see another day.

Did you learn anything from writing this book, and what was it? 

I learned a lot about myself since I breathed life into Lone Wolf by making him act as I would and think as I would.

Is there a message in your novel that you hope readers will grasp? 

The message is to be kind to other people. Treat women with ultimate respect, and take care of not only those you love, but take care of all women in a time of need.

If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be? 

Well, I retired from Law Enforcement after 25 years. I always wanted to be an oceanographer.

Where can readers reach you to send ideas for your books?

www.facebook.com/weldonshawauthor

amazon.com/author/weldonshaw

Web:weldonshawauthor.wordpress.com

Facebook:weldon.shaw.1@facebook.com

Twitter- weldonshaw3

 

 

Why don’t you catch a copy of “Lone Wolf” today from Amazon!

May 08

How Mark Baugher Turned A Novel Into A Western Movie And Hit The Big Time!

With “C-Bar” from Mark Baugher currently climbing towards the top 100… I thought it might be useful for me to share one of Marks articles for “Westerner” magazine with you all. This is the story of how Mark Baugher made his book into a movie. A real movie. You can learn more about “C-Bar” by clicking here.

Mark BaugherI told you last month that I would talk about the money needed to make a movie. What if I told you it costs $250,000 to make a movie, would you believe that? Truth is I have no idea. I was talking with an English filmmaker about how we made this movie. He said the story of making the movie is as good as the movie itself. Let’s see what you think.

In my movie making experience, I had everything line up and fall in my lap. Patrick Ball, the cinematography and directing genius, called me wanting to further his career. He and his crew used the C-Bar movie as proof that they know what they are doing. Since making C-Bar, they have all gone forward with their careers, from opening their own companies to working in Hollywood. Like I said last month, the secret to success is surrounding yourself with the right people.

The locations are everywhere if you live in Arizona. Most of the actors are Western re-enactors. They gather up on weekends and do skits for the tourism trade. They had the needed costumes. I just called the groups and put the word out, and they came. The leading lady I needed had to be young, beautiful and a good horsewoman. I was walking through a feed store and saw Robin talking with someone she knew. I looked her over. Here stood a young, blond, beautiful woman with a big belt buckle. I knew that from this chance meeting she was the perfect woman to fill the role. I just walked up to her and asked if she wanted to be in a movie. Luckily, my wife was with me. I gave her my novel. She called three days later, telling me that she has been the Jessie Lynn character all her life. She would do the part.

Most of the props came from thrift stores. But what about that big problem of insurance? We were an all-amateur group making a movie. My personal liability coverage covered us. Shooting in the national forest was not an issue. I checked with them and they said as long as we were not a commercial organization, there was no problem.

With all we had available to us, the next big hurdle was showing the people involved that they were part of a viable production. There were people doubting what they were getting into. Their doubts vanished after the first shoot. We had a good script. Patrick and his crew were professionals. I made sure everyone enjoyed the experience.

From that day on, it got more and more fun to be a part of. Over eight months, we shot thirty-eight days. I worked seven days a week for that eight months, pulling everything together. Was it work? I guess so. Was it fun? It was the most fun time of my life. I think that writing novels is fun, but it pales in comparison to the excitement of movie making. I would do it again just for the fun. Wouldn’t even care if I got paid.

We are working on another episode. It’s written. The actors are in place and the locations are lined up.  C-Bar is ranked at 35 at this time on Amazon. Are you ready for your homework? Go to Amazon movies. If you are a Prime member, just click on the movie and at the end, leave us a review. Reviews are very important for growth. If you are not a Prime member, you can sign up for a thirty-day free trial. Just click here to see “C-Bar” on Amazon Prime!

Next month, I will tell you about our premiere and the amazing things that followed. The kind of amazing that I still can’t believe happened.

P.S.  The movie cost nothing to make.

 

Day of the Gun: A Western Adventure: The C-Bar Ranch Western Adventure Series Books 1-3 (The C-Bar Ranch Western Adventure Series Book Series 4) by [Baugher, Mark, Hanlon, Robert, Winkle, C. Wayne, Watts, David Watts]

The first three books in one action-packed western series together for the first time!

Guns! Glory! Action! From Mark Baugher, the bestselling author of “Cimarron Frost, Bounty Hunter,” come the first three books in his bestselling, “The C-Bar Ranch Western Adventure Series.” Action, adventure and gun-smarts come in many forms. For Baugher, it comes in the form of his ability to write Westerns—a Western he knows how to write better than almost anyone else.

C-Bar: Book One

Filled to the brim with action, adventure, plot twists and gunsight justice—Dockie is not a man to be crossed. This is a book filled with the dead, the dying and those who don’t get in his way—because those who do cross Dockie end up dead. Real dead.

This exciting Western tale is told by Chris, the nephew of a tough old pioneer named Dockie Barnett, owner of the C-Bar Ranch. Chris was a city slicker attorney when he first came to visit his Uncle Dockie and Aunt Marsha, but he became one of the C-Bar Ranch family and a real cowboy.

C-Bar: Book Two

Chris has come a long way since leaving Chicago. He began as a joke and is now a serious cowboy. The Barnett family loves him dearly. This new Western novel continues with his adventures on the C-Bar Ranch. This is the Wild West, and Chris has made a reputation for himself as the man you don’t want to cross.

C-Bar: Book Three

Of all the characters in the C-Bar saga, Jessie Lynn is my favorite. The character was inspired by my youngest daughter, but the character of Jessie Lynn soon took on a life of her own. This novel is from her point of view. I didn’t know if I could tell a story from a woman’s perspective, but I found it easy to do. In fact, it was the most fun book I have written. So, ladies, I hope you enjoy Jessie Lynn’s story. Let me know if I have gotten it right.

If you like your Westerns written in the style of Robert Hanlon, Bruce G. Bennett and Paul L. Thompson, you will love this great series! Download your copy today, and start a read filled with action, adventure and drama—and the hopes and dreams of the American West.

Apr 30

Western Writing Star Fred Staff Explains How Bass Reeves Made His Novels Popular

A few months ago, Fred Staff had been a successful author but he hadn’t become accustomed to living in the top 100. Now, just a few weeks later, he has been riding high on the bestseller list. His popular trilogy has been thrilling Western readers around the world, and he has a new book on the way. Few interviews have been conducted with Staff—who lives in Bolivia—so this is a first. An exclusive interview with the man who has helped pull Bass Reeves out from the wilderness into the spotlight, a living, breathing legend once more…

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Fred Staff, doing what Fred does best. Taking care of business at his desk in Bolivia.

Fred, thank you for agreeing to this interview. It’s an absolute pleasure to finally have you in Westerner Magazine.

It’s my pleasure.

I loved all three books in the Bass Reeves trilogy. You must be incredibly happy with the way those books have performed on the market.

I’m very happy about it. I needed a hit, and all of a sudden, I got three of them. When it rains it really, really pours, doesn’t it?

It really does. Are you ever surprised by the success your Bass Reeves trilogy has had?

Yes. Probably. Yes. When I started writing, there was only one book about him. It was his autobiography, and it was extremely well researched but… alas… it’s boring. I took that dull book, the events, the historical truth and turned it into action. It was a straightforward process. But I did have to go through the pain of reading his dry book. When I write historically based novels, it’s pretty easy—you can find the facts, you know the story and then you just have to go back to who, what, where and why. Who did it? Where did he do it? Why did he do it? It’s quite easy.

The writing process seems fairly easy for you—would you agree with that?

Oh, yeah! This book I’m working on right now is one of the first times I’ve stalled. The only other time I’ve stalled was during Cherokee Bill. Why? Because he’s a psychopath. I had four sessions with a psychologist to learn and understand how psychopaths work. I wanted to really get that across to readers— and it was difficult. However, once I’d gotten through his childhood, I was off and running.

What is the biggest problem you personally face as a writer?

Discipline. I get sidelined all the time. I like to play poker. My breaks are full of poker and video games. Sometimes, I get too carried away and don’t get back to writing.

That’s the only problem?

Yep. Writing is easy for me. I’m not a flowery writer—I just tell a story. As I’ve told you, basically these books become a movie [in my head], and I’ve got my characters, where they are, where they are going and I write down what’s in my mind. It’s a movie playing in my mind. I’m not a great writer, but I’m a pretty good storyteller.

Let’s go back to the beginning. How did you get into the writing business?

Very good question. A friend of mine is one of the most avid readers I’ve ever met. I’m not much of a reader—I read a lot of history, but not fiction. We’ve been friends for years. He told me, “You know, you should write a book—you’re one of the best storytellers around.” I thought that sounded like one of the worst assignments I’d ever been given.

Did you know you could write, though?

Back in the ‘60s—1965 to 1967—I wrote proposals for government funding with some success. I managed to get thirty million dollars in funds—everything from 25,000 dollars to 250,000. It was very easy for me to write proposals because I used Hemingway’s process—who, what, why, when and how. I had very few proposals turned down.

But what was the first step in your writing journey?

In 1993, I made a trip to Potosi, Bolivia. That city is virtually unknown today, but in the 1500s it was one of the most industrialized cities in the world. It had the richest silver mine in history, and it’s where Spain got most of its economic wealth back at that time. They have a thing called “blockados” here where they block the highways if the populace is upset about anything. About three miles out of Potosi, there were rocks across the highway. I thought it had been a rockslide. I got out to move the rocks and was told it was a blockado. I ended up walking to Potosi. I got a ride on a truck farther down the road. If it hadn’t, I may have died because at 13,000 feet carrying two bags up a mountain, you aren’t going to last long. When I got to Potosi, everything was shut down except a hotel. I was sitting out on the street one day, and a Bolivian guy came down the street. He was an ex-miner who had gotten out of the mining industry. He spoke English to some degree—I have no idea where he learned it. We became good friends. Neither of us had anything to do. We would meet every day and tell stories. He loved my stories, and I loved his stories. He told me the story behind one of the books I would eventually write called “Rocha’s Treasure.” From ’93 to 2012, I kept mulling his story over in my mind. During a summer break, I decided to write that book (which took four months), put it on the market, and it became a bestseller in Bolivia. That’s a huge achievement as few people in Bolivia read—but I had a lot of sales. I had success, thought it was fun, and decided to keep doing it.

What was the process you went through to get that first book onto the market?

All it took to get that book published was money. I invested about $3,000 in that first book. I learned a lesson there, but I had success. I would have never thought I could have gotten it published.

How did you get interested in Westerns in the first place?

My addiction to Westerns started when I was a kid. Every Saturday I had to see the Western movie or my week was ruined. Later, I had a professor when I was at Central University of Oklahoma who was considered one of the best Western historians. In fact, he could seat thirty in his class, and if you didn’t sign up on the first day of his class, you’d never get a seat. He was a fantastic presenter. I was almost fifty when I took that class, and I was surrounded by a bunch of teenagers. The professor and I became friends, and I went from an Old West fan to becoming obsessed with it. After that first book, I wanted to write a Western, and I’d read about Bass Reeves as part of his course. I was fascinated by it. But I decided to write about Cherokee Bill first—but during my research for Cherokee Bill, I discovered Bass Reeves again and thought it was damn interesting, so I wrote the three Bass Reeves books. They were successful, so I decided to write the Cherokee Bill novel—then I discovered his father, George Goldsby, and ended up writing about him—then I finally got around to writing the Cherokee Bill.

So, it wasn’t for the sales or success—you wrote for the love of it?

I just loved the research and I loved telling the stories. It’s taking dull facts and turning them into action. I just got a real kick out of that. I was enjoying it. It wasn’t like I needed the money. I just enjoyed learning about history and people liked what I did, so I kept going.

“My first hit,” says Staff. “The one that people always talk about… even today!”

 

Would you have kept writing even if you’d never sold a copy?

No. If no one had ever bought it, I would have quit. I got some nice reviews and sales, and that kept me going. The reviews on the Bass Reeves book were so good. I didn’t write to make money—but I have no kids and wanted to leave a legacy that someone could enjoy in thirty or forty years. Just something people can remember me by down the line.

You’ve had a varied career—does that help you with your writing?

I’ve had more crazy experiences than anyone should have. I’m sure it helps.

Can you tell us all a little about your life?

I was born in Seminole, Oklahoma.   This was the heart of the homeland of the Seminole Indians.  I was raised in Pawnee, Oklahoma, and the heart of the Pawnee Tribe.  My early years were spent in a small town close to Ada, Oklahoma. At that time, it had the third largest rodeo in the world.  I lived for that.  My grandfather was mayor of Stonewall, Oklahoma and this was home to Dick Truit and Evert Shaw.  They were both world champion rodeo performers.  I knew these people through my grandfather and was in awe of them and their abilities.

My great uncle was an outstanding poet and he exposed me to the power of words through the writings of Robert Service.  I never realized that words could paint pictures until this experience.  Of course, it was also the kinds of pictures a young man full of adventure wanted painted.

My father’s office was next door to a saddle shop, and I spent many an hour there.  The men who came in and sat and visited had great influence on me.  They talked of old times and things that just pushed me deeper into the Old West and all the things that they actually were a part of.  Like all kids in my day, the ten cent Western comic books and the Saturday movie was a must. It was always a Western, and that also shaped my love of Western stories.  I remember that “Shane” blew my mind.  It made me realize that riding a pretty horse and wearing a white hat wasn’t what the West was really about.

Agriculture and sports pretty much filled my early years.  From the time I was twelve, I worked in the fields and was involved with raising animals.  An example of how much I was into animals, I was recruited as a football player to the University of Oklahoma and they would get you the best job around for the summer so you could make money to have for school. I chose to work for HEREFORD HEAVEN—it was the top Hereford ranch in the country, owned by the past governor of the state, Roy Turner.  I made very little money, but got room and board.  My main job was shoveling million-dollar bull shit, and I have been doing it ever since.

I ended up being a member of a National Championship football team and am now a member of the university’s Athletic Hall of Fame.  While in university, I had a professor, Royce Peterson, who took my love of Westerns and turned it into a passion.  He was a man who could stand in front of a class and keep you mesmerized with the stories of the Old West.  It seemed that he knew every story that ever happened.  I owe any success in writing to this man, because he showed me that history was not a dry subject, but a vivid, living experience.  You know in Spanish, history is the name of story and I believe with all my heart that this is the correct use of the word.

After university, I taught history and then worked for people projects, sold real estate and dabbled in oil. As soon as I could get together some funds, I went into the Registered Angus cattle business and did that for 28 years.

How did you end up living in Bolivia, of all places?

I was doing very well in the United States—but in ’82, things went to hell in Oklahoma. You could have bought the whole state for a dollar and they’d have thought they were cheating you. I went to Bolivia and mined gold off and on for five years.  Fell in love with the country.  I returned to the States and taught again.  I ended up working in the prisons in Missouri and Kansas.  I am probably the only Western writer who has worked with forty convicted murderers.  I am sure I learned more from them than I taught them.

“I always loved the book,” Staff says pointing at the cover. “The one I wrote about Judge Parker and the lawman Bass Reeves.”

Okay, let me ask you this one: Are sidekicks just throwaway devices in a tale? Can they become more? Do they need to become more?

I hope that every character in my stories is there for a purpose.  In fact, there are always at least three people in a story who are key elements. My first book, ROCHA’S TREASURE OF POTOSI, had a terrifically powerful sidekick whom the protagonist depended on for advice and protection.  There will be a sequel to the Rocha book, and his sidekick will be the protagonist in it. His brothers will also be strong characters in the following book. The book became a bestseller in Bolivia.  This really got me into writing, because there aren’t that many readers in Bolivia and even fewer that read English.

My BASS REEVES TRILOGY had so many real and famous people in it that a book could have and/or has been written about several of them. This series has had tremendous success, and I am so proud of the fact that I took a lot of pretty dry facts and was able to bring the most exciting parts of his life to the attention of so many readers.

SERGEANT GOLDSBY AND THE 10TH CAVALRY is also filled with real people who played an important part in the development of the West.  The cover on this book was done by Fredric Remington, a famous name of the West, and he said when the story of the West is written that this story had to be told.  Interestingly, I had already written the story, when I found his sketch and statement.  Its sequel, THE OTHER GOLDSBY, CHEROKEE BILL, will have many of the same characters, plus some other notorious people from the time.  This book is an adult novel, as he was a psychopath and the most feared man of the time in Indian Territory.  This is the most complete story of his life ever written and took me months of research.  The photograph used on the cover sold for 30,000 and the rifle in his hands sold for 70,000 dollars at a recent auction, and since I am the one who wrote his story, I take credit for his fame (laughs).

INDOMITABLE is based on the unbelievable story of Larcena Pennington. It is set in Arizona in the mid-1850s and involves the most challenging quest for survival I have ever researched.  It also covers the Bascom affair, which lead to the Apache war.  It has several famous Arizona people throughout the book.  I have often said that if you liked the movie REVENANT, you will love this story, as Larcena goes through a lot more in her quest for survival than Hugh Glass did, and her story goes on into the most violent time in the history of Arizona.  She proves that there is no such thing as the weaker sex, or if there is, it is placed on the wrong gender.

QUANTRILL’S REVENGE is based on the early life of William Clark Quantrill up through the Lawrence raid.  Many famous people are in this book, and the story was put together with readings from the Kansas and Missouri historical societies and newspaper articles as well as writings from people who were on the scene.  It was an interesting research project and what I present may change some people’s minds about the man.

I am presently writing my first fiction novel.  It will have a lot of famous names in it, but is totally fiction.  The title of the book is BASS REEVES AND KATIE QUANTRILL.  I promise my readers a trip that won’t be forgotten.  It should be out by the time this magazine is published.

Well, you certainly came up with something I didn’t know about you. What would your advice be to a younger writer starting out in the business?

Hemingway gives the best advice of anyone I’ve read: You write everyday—you never, never stop when you run out of words. Always have something you’re going to write the next day. Always read what you wrote the day before, and then it’s back to answering those questions—Who? What? Where? Why?

What’s the greatest compliment you’ve been given as a writer?

Reviewers have told me how well my books flow—I think that’s the greatest compliment.

Let me ask you this: Do you enjoy other Western writers?

Yes, at times I think they are better than me. I am always checking out other writers, and I’m often impressed by the books other writers are releasing.

Now to the million-dollar question. How do you promote your books?

I worked for a guy when I sold real estate who was very wealthy—back when the oil business ran the state. He decided that he would drill oil and he hired a top-notch oil engineer. They would have drilling meetings and the engineer would tell him where to drill, and he would ignore the advice and drill wherever he wanted to. You don’t hire an expert to ignore what they have to say. That’s how I operate. I write the books, and my publicist promotes them. We don’t interfere in each other’s business.

Western book sales are said to be going through the roof—

Well, I guess I’m in the right business then…. By accident (laughs).

Does it surprise you that Westerns are still such strong sellers?

I’m shocked, because in my mind the only guy I knew who ever really read Westerns had a bookshelf with over one hundred paperback books on that shelf. He’d read every one of them. Just an old country boy. In my mind, I visualized all Western readers as guys my age who had lived the lifestyle to some degree. I didn’t realize how popular Westerns were with the female readership. I’m surprised by the Westerns, their success and the readership every single day.

“Lawman took me some time to write but it was sure good seeing how well it went down with the readers,” Staff explains.

What would your advice be to a new up-and-coming writer?

The best advice I have ever gotten came from a friend, Dennis Hambright, who is a very good mystery writer.  He told me to write.  Don’t worry about spelling or punctuation; just get your thoughts down. An empty page is just that.  You can always go back and add, delete and correct.  Ernest Hemingway’s style is the one that I use most. Answer the questions. Who, What, Where, When, Why and How.  I have had a lot of people compliment me on my flow of the story, and I submit that these are the reasons.  Editing is far harder than writing.  Wait at least a day before trying to edit, but it is best a week and read it out loud. Hemingway said never write until you run out of words.  Always know where you are going to start the next day.  Read the work you have done before you continue.  If it is too long, at least read the chapter before.

Well, thank you for your time, Fred. It’s been an absolute pleasure talking to you.

And you! Thank you for a great interview. I’m pleased as heck to be accepted, and pleased as heck that readers and writers have written nicely about what I’ve done. I respect them and I hope I learn a little bit from them. I’m writing to please people, and when I find out I did, it makes my day. Pleasing the audience is more important to me than money.

 

Based on the truth life story of the most outstanding Marshal to ever serve in Judge Parkers court!

Somewhere, somehow, someone has to pay. Someone, somehow, somewhere, there’s a murderer who has conspired to blow apart a world. Between the light and the endless night, he has taken someone’s life. Enter Bass Reeves: The Marshal who will at all costs bring the guilty to justice. He will follow any criminal to the ends of the earth. There’s no bribing him, there’s no avoiding him. He is justice incarnate. He is judge, jury and executioner… He is the law for the lawless.

This is a fast-moving, action-packed Western, based on the true life of the legendary United States Marshal Bass Reeves. A man who rose from slavery and escaped into Indian Territory during the Civil War to become the most feared lawman of his time. He served for over thirty years and brought more than three thousand violent men to justice before the famous Hanging Judge Issac Parker in Fort Smith, Arkansas. His amazing story is full of adventure and courage. His place in history is now reassessed, and his gun will bring justice to your neighborhood. Click here to purchase your copy today for 99 cents!

Apr 25

Just Between You and Me: An Interview With The Legendary Charley Pride

{Taken from the October edition of Westerner Magazine which can be downloaded here. Reproduced with permission from Westerner Magazine.}

This week, David Watts caught up with Country and Western superstar Charley Pride. When it comes to a singer like Pride, you really don’t know where to start? To begin with, there’s the hits… “The Snakes Crawl at Night,” “You’re My Jamaica,” “She’s Just An Old Love Turned Memory,” “Happiness of Having You,” and “Hope You’re Feeling Me” are just a sampling of the great smash sellers this fella has turned out. Then there’s the albums—boy, the albums! Charley has been a consistent album seller throughout the years. There’s his fantastic success as a touring attraction, his membership of the Grand Ole Opry and his distinction of having been the second biggest selling artist on RCA records after Elvis Presley. Let’s find out what Charley has in mind for Westerner magazine’s very own David Watts…

The legendary Charley Pride performing live.

Mr. Charley Pride?

Yes! That’s me.

Thank you for taking the time to visit with us.

I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me.

Let me start by asking you how old were you when you discovered you liked country music?

My daddy had an old radio, and we listened to the Grand Ole Opry. My mother used to write off for pictures of the groups who were playing on the Opry. I remember just this year a man called Michael Manning was interviewing me. We were talking about those group pictures from the Opry. His eyes lit up like a Christmas tree— “I got some of those and I’m gonna let you have one.” He bought me one of the pictures in a folder to give me.

You purchased your first guitar…

At fourteen.

And taught yourself to play…

I played just open bar chords. I didn’t know how to tune it conventionally until I started recording with Jack Clement in the ’60s. I remember I would chord it with my two inside fingers. I still don’t know how to read music.

But you enjoyed yourself?

Oh, yes! The main thing I did wrong when I got the guitar was that I sat out in the wagon near the hogs and left the guitar in the rain that night. I could never keep the guitar in tune.

The very first Charley Pride RCA Victor album. This is the one that contained “The Snake’s Crawl at Night” which was his first hit record.

You started your career in baseball and then something happened in 1963—something that changed your life’s direction. Can you tell us about that?

I moved to Montana to play in the Pioneer League. You see, baseball plays quite a part in my life. Red Sovine and Red Foley came up to do a show in the capital… Helena. I paid my money and went to see them. The deejay said to me, “All right, I’m going to give you a signal at the intermission. I want you to come backstage and we will talk to the guys.” The thing is… if he gave a signal, I didn’t get it. His name was Piny Stokes. I just got up and went backstage and met the guys and started singing. The promoter asked me if I’d like to do a song or two on the show. I did “Heartaches By The Number” and one of Elvis’ songs, maybe “Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear.” Afterwards, Red Sovine and Red Foley looked at each other and said, “I ain’t never seen anything like this before. You ought to go to Nashville,” and that’s how it came about. That’s how I left baseball and moved into the music business.

You did well with the baseball too, though, didn’t you?

Oh, yeah! I made it to majors. I was in the Angels in 1961, but I didn’t stay. I gotta tell you something too about making it with the Angels in ’61. Gene Autry was sitting, eating a sandwich, and I said, “Sir, don’t let them send me away. I’m on a trial basis…” he looked up and said, “I own the club, but I don’t run it. You’ll have to talk to the manager, Bill Rigney.” They sent me packing; but I had a chance to go to the Mets the following year, but they ran over my ankle and broke it in ’62. But I still went down there but they wouldn’t look at me. So, I went back to Nashville, and I went to where Red Sovine told me to go—Cedarwood Publishing—and I met Jack Johnson, and from there I met my one and only first manager who took me to Jack Clement and we did “The Snakes Crawl at Night,” which Chet Atkins took to Monterey, California. And the rest is history now.

Do you think a higher power was in control of your life at that time?

Oh, there’s no thinking. There still is. Here’s what happened. The first time we stopped sharecropping, this old colored fella, Mr. Alan Putnam, he had one hundred and twenty acres. My dad rented some acres, and we had the best year of our life farming. I signed with the Yankees in 1953, so they sent me out to California and I came back, and Putnam said to me, “Son, have you ever thought that no matter how much you love baseball, you ain’t on this planet to play baseball.  You’re here to sing.”  Now, I could hit, I had a great curveball, and I wasn’t no slowy—I wondered what he was talking about. Before he died, I went to see him and asked him why he said that. He said, “Son, I could hear you out there singing. I could pick you right out.”

Charley’s first gospel album on RCA.

Now, you became what some people say is an “overnight” success in the 60s. You won so many awards. Out of all of them, is there one that’s more special to you than the others?

They are all special to me. They really are. But the Country Music Hall of Fame award is at the top. I just got one this year. It’s called “The Lifetime Achievement Award” from New York.

I’d say country music has been pretty good to you… (laughs)

You’d be right! (laughs)

You were a late joiner of the Grand Ole Opry. How come you didn’t join until the 90s?

Why didn’t I join the Opry until 1993? I had a standing invitation since the first time Ernest Tubb brought me on stage to sing on January 1st , 1967. My one and only manager Jack Johnson said, “Now, Charley… now I want you to join the Opry. But they got a criteria here, man. They want twenty-six Saturdays out of the year. You don’t get but eight bucks when you play the Opry. It’s a good, prestigious thing, but twenty-six Saturdays is when you make a lot of your money.” I didn’t argue at all. So, in 1993, my manager said, “There ain’t no criteria now. You should join the Opry.” So… I did.

(laughs) Did they pay you more than eight dollars by 1993?

I think by that time it was a little more. (laughs)

Did you ever sing at the Crystal Chandelier or the Panther Hall in Texas?

Oh, yes! Both of them. I cut the live album “In Person” at the Panther Hall. That’s where they got the single of “Kaw-Liga.”

Couple of hot spots back in the day, right?

Yes, a lot of people thought that because I had the song “Crystal Chandelier,” I owned the “Crystal Chandelier.” (laughs)

The great ‘live’ album that Charley recorded at the Panther Hall, Texas.

Let me ask you this. What was that special something that Charley Pride had that a singer like Stoney Edwards didn’t have?

Well, they liked my voice.

It really does just come down to having that magic ingredient called talent.

Yes!

You were drafted in 1956. How was military life? How were you treated?

Well I got out in ’58. It was pretty good.

You met your wife before you went into the military, right?

Yes.

How many years have you been married, Charley?

Ten years and a half century.

What’s your secret to such a successful, long marriage?

She put up with me. That’s it. In all honesty, we didn’t try to change each other. We let one each other breathe. You know?

Has there been one single individual who has influenced your life and career more than anyone else?

I don’t think it’s been just one person. It’s been a lot of different people. I’ve recorded all kinds of writers like Ben Peters.

How many songs have you written?

About two probably. I wrote a song for my Christmas album called “Santa and the Kids.” I only did the one Christmas album. I have one I never finished called “What Is Wrong with My America,” and I don’t know where it is now because Lawrence Welk bought my publishing company and then someone else bought it, so I don’t know where it is.

You’ve just released a new album called “Music in My Heart” Your first for a few years. Was there a reason for the break between this album and your last one?

Well, we just didn’t record is all I can say. We ain’t planning on letting that happen again. We already have three or four albums just ready to go. I hope to do a duet album. I’ve lost so many of my peers like George, Tammy, Conway and John. We just lost Glen Campbell. I would like to get some duets with some of them before we all leave here.

And you’re still touring?

Yeah, I leave tomorrow for Ireland.

That’s a long way from Texas.

You’re right!

Have you ever considered retiring?

No, I don’t think so. It’s been mentioned to me, but I don’t see any reason right now, the way I’m still wanted out there. We were in Bayfield, Wisconsin and it was sold out, and I hadn’t been that far in a long time.

Well, I have to say, Charley, that I hope you keep on going and recording great albums like this new one. It’s been a thrill talking to you.

Well, thank you. I appreciate it.

You have a great day.

You too.

The latest Charley Pride disc is a winner! Thirteen songs all ringed with pure gold and waiting for your home stereo! Catch your copy today from Amazon by clicking here!

Apr 23

Branded With The Old West: An Interview with Western Bestseller Douglas R. Cobb

This interview is with a very talented man. Douglas R. Cobb. A man who has recently scored his first major hit on the Western bestseller charts. The book was called “Guns of the United States Marshals” and is slowly shaping up into one of the biggest hits of the year so far. What drives Douglas to write such hits? I think it couldn’t do us any harm to ask him… I present Douglas R. Cobb to you…

The first Douglas R. Cobb hit with Dusty Saddle Publishing.

Douglas– This is a pleasure for me as I love your work. When can I tear you away for an interview?

Next week–just kidding. *Laughs*

Tell me about Douglas the man– what do you like? What do you do to relax?

Tax accountancy work, going over files like Bartleby the Scrivener from Melvile’s tale. No, not really, of course…mostly, of late, I haven’t had much free time, as I am either at work, online tweeting about my books, or writing. But, I like to spend as much time with my family as possible and I love to read and write book reviews. I have stacks of books that are rapidly taking over the house, demanding to be read–though, I want to get the as-yet-unwritten books inside of me out into the world, as well. Oh, and I like to play with Lily, of course, take her to the local Pterodactyl Park, lift weights, and do yoga…somewhat…though I find the more pretzel-like moves very daunting.

Sounds like you have a few bestsellers to come yet! Tell me about your writing? Do you listen to music when you write? Talk to the wife? Total silence? What does Douglas Cobb dig for writing?

When I was younger, I liked to listen to Rock whenever I either studied or wrote, like the Beatles, Led Zep, Pink Floyd, The Police, etc.–New Wave and Punk also,,, I still love to listen to this music, but as my family are asleep by the time I generally do my writing (between 10:00-2:00a.m.) I try to keep the noise down and maybe have CNN on in the background.

It’s difficult to keep inspired for a long period of time, unless I have dreamt up certain dialogue/scenes during the day for a chapter I’m working on, so I usually only write maybe 1,000-2,000 words per night. Sometimes I’ve hit over 3,000, but sometimes just 700 or 800 words a night.

You enjoy writing about the legendary Bass Reeves… don’t you?

Yes. He fascinates me.

What drove you to start writing westerns about this legendary western figure?

My teenage daughter, Kaitlin, actually suggested that I write a Western, and she gave me a very simple request: “Make it as good as Lonesome Dove and True Grit.” Well, I had never written a Western before, had no idea how to, and no one in mind to write one about. I had dimly heard mention of Bass Reeves, though, and I knew he was a native of Arkansas, where Rooster Cogburn, of True Grit, also lived. So, I was intrigued and started doing research on his life, and I became more and more interested in this fascinating man and his life.

The second Douglas R. Cobb hit with Dusty Saddle Publishing was called “The Guns of Heck Thomas.” 

How does it feel to currently have that Western on the bestseller charts?

Absolutely fantastic! I’m so appreciative of the readers I’ve gained since signing with Dusty Saddle Publishing.

So tell me, how do you publicize your work and what was your most disheartening moment?

I utilize House Elves, mostly. I am jonesing so much for J.K. (Rowling) to write more Hogwarts novels, whether with Harry or the offspring of the original characters.  Am I evading the question nicely? I write the books and my publicist promotes them.

Have you considered your books as films?

Only every single day, Nick!  I think that my series The Case Files of Lily and PAWS could be successful hits as either live movies or animated ones, possibly for a studio like Disney, Pixar, or Nickelodeon. My Brother, The Zombie, I believe, would make a great movie combining horror and science fiction, and ‘Guns of the United States Marshals’ cries out to be made into a Western flick.

Author Douglas R. Cobb.

Do you consider interviews like this crucial to sales?

Oh, yes!  Interviews and book reviews are other fantastic ways for authors to get the word out about their books. The best book ever written might lie unnoticed somewhere not because it’s a piece of crap, but because it hasn’t been noticed by enough people to make it into a commercial success. So, I and all authors definitely owe our fellow authors who are bloggers, like yourself, a word of thanks for agreeing to interview us and sometimes write reviews of our books.

What three items would you take to a desert island?

Well, everyone needs food, but assuming that the island is chock-full of food, my three items would be a pocket knife, writing supplies (okay, so I’m cheating with this, as it conceivably can refer to paper, pencils, pens, a typewriter, a computer–if the island has electricity, etc., anyway–so sue me!), and a Kindle Fire stocked with hundreds of books and movies and tunes–if the place has electricity.  If not, besides the knife and writing supplies–arrgh!–even with them, to be honest, thinking about it, toilet paper is one convenience that I would not like to be without.

I’ll cheat, and make one of my three items a boat (not one with leaks) so I could reach a proper town that has electricity!

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

That depends on how much gas I have in my car, LOL! If I only had an electrical one, I could really go places!  But, honestly, I hope that all of my books will be commercially successful, though they are really labors of love, and I’d keep on writing (probably) if I didn’t sell a single copy!  Don’t let that stop anyone from actually buying them, though.  I am unanimous in my recommendation of them!  I don’t ask for much, in terms of success–if I’m at the head of my own multi-media empire and worth millions, that’s good enough for me.  I will, of course, strive to remain humble, in the midst of the accolades I will undoubtedly receive by the lorry load.

Final question, with all your success– why do you keep working?

Ah, success is, as Einstein said about some Space/Time Theorem Thingy, relative.  Poppa needs a Maserati, or at least a Saab or Camaro. Groceries must be bought, and then there’s my immense staff of servants that need to keep the wolves away from their doors…am I wringing any hearts, yet?  I hope so. You can also purchase most of my books in paperback via Amazon–please do–they make great gifts for friends, relatives, yourself, and look fantastic under the Yule tree!

Nick, it’s been a sheer pleasure answering your questions, and I feel proud that I barely flinched when you drove those wooden spikes under my fingernails to get the answers from me, despite my initial insistence on only giving you my name, rank, and serial number!

It is a time period as vast as the desert and as relevant as our world today. It is the time between Colonial America and the modern age. A place that held death, destruction, love, desire and greed. A time of man’s bravery and fears. A place where a man needed every ounce of his strength to survive. A barbaric time. A better time. It is a place we call the Old West. This is an exciting adventure in that dangerous, yet, dramatic and exciting place. Grab your copy of “Guns of the U.S. Marshals” today!

Apr 16

The King of the Western Frontier: Paul L. Thompson Explains The Secret To His Success

When it comes to overnight success… none has been as successful as Paul L. Thompson. Two years ago… Paul was a middling writer who had seen some success. Now… he’s one of the top 100 bestselling authors in America. What caused such a sensation? What caused one Western author to sell over 8 million pages of product in one month? Let’s find out…

 *****

 

Paul, it’s great to meet you!

Likewise.

I know you’ve written a ton of books– but what is your latest called? 

“One Mad Woman” is my latest release. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever written, and readers seem to be really enjoying it.

Who is your intended audience and why should they read your books?

All ages are welcome to read my books. I’ve never put age limits on reading habits. I think they should read my books if they want Westerns that entertain them. You know a lot people denounce the Western as dead—but all I ever hear from my readership is that they want more dang Westerns! I love it!

How did you come to be a writer, anyway?

I was inspired by my father and great-grandfather. They were huge influences on my decision to become a writer.

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular style?

I leave that up to Outlaws Publishing.

Who is your favorite character from your books and why?

M D (Shorty) Thompson is by far my personal favorite. If you’ve read the stories, then you’ll know why.

How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?

I don’t really have a least favorite. How can anyone dislike any character that they’ve created! They’re all like my children.

If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be?  Why?

In hindsight, and this something we are working on currently, I’d actually have my books printed in large print. I think it’s important for authors to remember that a large percentage of readers, especially Western readers, are older, and we need to make sure that our books are accessible to those wonderful folks.

What other books are similar to your own?  What makes them alike?

Louis L’Amour, of course. I am proud of the fact that every location in my book is a real location. I like everything about my Westerns to ring true.

Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?

Writing Western novels is, some would say, my talent. More importantly, it’s my hobby, and it keeps me busy for hours. I can’t get enough of it.

How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

You are very welcome to check out my official website (OLDWESTNOVELS.COM). You can also email Outlaws Publishing, and don’t forget to check out Amazon. You can see my books there, read my reviews, and find out all about me.

What can we expect from you in the future?

More wonderful novels! Seriously! I will be writing more books, promoting those books, making interview appearances, releasing audiobooks and keeping busy.

What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

Tell the next person what a wonderful novel you just read. Review the book on Amazon. Review it on Goodreads. Share it on your Facebook wall. Do whatever you can to spread the word that you liked the book. I’d be mighty grateful for your help!

Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?

Do your research! That’s the most important piece of advice I can give. Always do your research.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

There’s a lot I’d like to say—but one thing that I really do want to get across to people is that the Westerns are coming back in a big way. More Westerns are sold every day, and if you have a Western in your head, rolling around… work on it and turn it into a story. Then publish it. You won’t be disappointed. Writing Westerns is fun, it’s healthy and it’s gratifying.

U.S. Marshal Shorty Thompson - Cora Laredo - One Mad Woman: Tales Of The Old West Book 53 by [Thompson, Paul L.]

 

The exciting new Paul L. Thompson hit! “Cora Laredo: One Mad Woman!

May 1st. 1888 Lance and Cora Laredo bought the twelve thousand acre Randal Hemphill Ranch, which lay along the Pecos River, eight miles south of Fort Sumner, New Mexico.

The money came from hard work and a huge gift from his father, a railroad tycoon. Lance was twenty four years old and Cora twenty. Their children, Lance Jr and twin sister Laney were three years old when they moved into their massive two story house. A few short months later, Cora took up Lance’s forty five and went looking for four men that had left Lance in a wheel chair, maybe for life. This was one mad woman. Those men had hurt the man she loves. Available now from Amazon!

 

Mar 15

Having Over Five Million Kindle Pages Read: An Interview With Western Hitmaker M. Allen

[Interview taken from an upcoming issue of Westerner commemorating Western Writing Stars of Today – Interview conducted by Robert Hanlon]

One of the brightest shining Western writing stars of today is a short name. M. Allen. A talented new writer who has scored six hits over the last six months, generating over five million pages read on Kindle. “The Rifleman,” a collection of the first three books in the hugely successful “Brotherhood of the Gun Western Series” paved the way. When that book zoomed into the top ten bestselling Westerns and into the top five hundred bestselling books in America, M. Allen was set. This interview was an informal meeting to talk about a brand new book currently rising up the charts. “A Sheriff To Kill For” has been steadily climbing the charts over the last few weeks.

 

*****

 

Hanlon: Thank you for agreeing to this interview with me for “Westerner” magazine.

Allen: It’s my pleasure. I really liked your “Texan Avenger” series.

Hanlon: You did? I didn’t realize…

Allen: Oh, yes… you really got those killers by the neck in that one.

Hanlon: Gave me a thrill just writing it. I couldn’t wait to get to the third book in that series. I’m currently working on the fourth.

Allen: Gave me a thrill reading it, Bob. I hope you are going to let me write the foreword for the fourth book.

Hanlon: Depends what our publicist says (laughs). How does it feel to have had such success over the last few weeks?

Allen: Rather amazing, really. It’s one of those situations where you wonder what will happen next. I’ve been wanting to try my hand at writing a Western for some time now… all of a sudden I’ve got a finished manuscript called “Colton’s Ambush.” We released it and it did fairly well. I never realized that when my publishing company wanted to release a collection of my first few novels it would become such a hit.

Hanlon: Exhilarating?

Allen: Exactly. A complete rush, as you know. Watching your book climb the charts. Your baby. Watching it climb the charts and stick around, knowing it’s being read every day is such a kick.

Hanlon: I know the feeling well. I felt exactly the same when “The Texan Avenger” went to number one.

Allen: And then, of course, we put out “Will’s Revenge” and it stuck around near the top of the charts for what seemed like months. In fact… it’s still in the charts.

Hanlon: What made you want to write Westerns of all things?

Allen: It all goes back to my childhood. I always enjoyed watching the old shows with my parents—and I would often make up stories in my head. Those stories helped me through some hard times. I just hope my stories help other people as much as they helped me.

Hanlon: You felt it was a calling to help people?

Allen: Yes. You could put it that way. I’ve always found it a driving ambition to help people as much as I can.

Hanlon: Do you find it easy to keep coming up with new storylines?

Allen: Yes. I get inspiration from all the things that are around me. I can be in the grocery store and I get the inkling of a story and off I go. I head straight home and start writing. I like to think that the idea comes to me to be written.

Hanlon: You certainly seem to be able to get the books out at a steady pace…

Allen: I try to make sure I always have something new coming out for readers. I get notes from readers asking when the next one will be heading out. The thing is… I’ve become good friends with a lot of my readers, and sometimes they direct me in the way they’d like to take. It’s become a joint effort in many ways—the readers are the most important people, and entertaining them is all that matters.

Hanlon: I think a lot of writers tend to forget about the readers…

Allen: I think so. I think it’s all too easy for writers to want to write what they’d like to read. I try to give my readers what they want to read. Who am I to question my readership? Only they know what they enjoy, and it’s my job to try and make them as happy as I possibly can.

Hanlon: What do you put the success of your series down to?

Allen: Interesting question, Bob, but I think it really comes down to trying to give the reader a story he, or she, can get behind and truly enjoy. I’ve been very lucky to have spoken to many of my readers, and they tell me that they find themselves engaged. That’s one of the great compliments. Do you realize how easy it is to put a book down? We are up against the TV, music and the noise of the world. It’s very easy for people to close the book and become engaged in other ways. If readers are reading my books through to the end, then I’m proud of that.

Hanlon: What do you think about the state of Westerns today?

Allen: My publicist told me that Westerns were hot sellers. I didn’t believe him. We don’t see many Hollywood Westerns anymore… and yet… they say my books have had over five million pages read. I think it’s a readership with some life left in it. Saying that… if there were only five readers, I’d still write my books and hope those five people enjoyed them. Writing Westerns is a way of life for me now.

Hanlon: We share the same publicist, and he told me the same thing. One minute I was trying to sell a thriller and I’d written this Western to shut him up. Next minute, I’m selling Westerns. “A Sheriff To Kill For” is riding up the charts already. Do you feel readers outside of the Western genre are reading your books?

Allen: Well, let me tell you this—my first four Westerns all charted in the Romance category. I would say a lot of romance readers are picking up my books and giving them a try. I try to make sure there’s a romantic connection in each book. That said—I get notes from all kinds of readers. A cross-section of the reading world.

That may be the secret to your success. Can you tell me what “A Sheriff To Kill For” is about?

Allen: Let me just read the back of the book to you.

Known across the West as The Good Doctor, Edward Sutton has a dark madness within him that he’s been trying to hide for most of his adult life. After witnessing the horrific murder of his parents, Edward allowed the madness to take him, finding pleasure in the torture of any who stood in the way of his hard-hitting gang of brothers, known across Texas as Satan’s Sons. Faced with no other choice, he is forced into confinement for the good of the territory. Months later, he emerges a new man, taking to heart his medical oath to do no harm. Until he comes face to face with a gunslinging beauty, unafraid to pull the trigger on any who threaten her town. But when she is taken by the greedy businessman, Barrett Wilcox, who is hell bent on taking over their town, Edward openly welcomes the evil madness he will need to rescue her. The only question is, will he be able to come back from the brink twice, or will he be lost forever? 

After the tragic passing of her mother, Grace Newton has been raised by her father to be the boy he never had. In a town where delicate beauty is favored, Grace never considered herself delicate nor beautiful. But she loved her town and the people within its borders. After ridding them of the crooked sheriff, she is determined to take his place and continue to uphold the law. When Barrett Wilcox is determined to have her, she is forced to turn to the one man who is crazier than Wilcox to help her—Edward Sutton. Stuck between two madmen, Grace can only hope the one she has fallen for will prevail.

How’s that for a description? Makes me want to read it too!

Hanlon: I just clicked buy as you were reading that description to me. I’ll be starting the book after this interview. Thank you for your time.

Allen: Thank you, Bob, it’s been a pleasure talking to you. I hope you enjoy the book.

 

Available now from Amazon and CLIMBING THE CHARTS ALREADY….

Jan 26

Riding With Guns Along The Weary River: An Interview With Bestselling Western Author John D. Fie, Jr.

This interview is with one of the giants of the Western writing world… John D. Fie, Jr! You may already know about his books, “Incident at Benson’s Creek,” “Luke Pressor: U.S. Marshal,” and “Blood on the Plains.” These books have been picked up by Western readers, libraries and even bookstores around the world. If you haven’t heard of these great books… you may want to check them out by clicking here. If you aren’t convinced to buy your copies now, you may be after this interview. Don’t forget that the latest Fie Western “Guns Along The Weary River” is currently in the top one hundred bestsellers. You can purchase your copy by clicking here. Scroll down to learn why Fie is leading the pack when it comes to exciting Western adventures!

 

When did you decide to become a writer?

I’ve been writing short stories for years, but just as a hobby for my enjoyment, and I never gave it a thought about publishing, until people wanted to see some of the stuff I was writing. I started sharing more and more and kept getting those compliments on how good my writing was and how it should be a book. My wife kept urging me on also for years.

We were on one of our trips across the country in the RV, and I stopped along the Santa-Fe Trail in Kansas. We both wanted to see the wagon ruts that are still visible even today; I got this eerie feeling out there. Like the ghosts who had gone before me were talking to me. My curiosity got piqued, and I started doing research. It was the following year when we were out in Wyoming that hit home when I walked a bit of the Oregon Trail that did it. My mind was made up at that point to sit down and write a book.

Which writers really inspire you?

I’m going to surprise you with this answer—it’s Stephen King. The man grabs hold of you and won’t leave go until he pulls that big surprise at the end of the story. But there are also a lot of others too numerous to list. But Stephen King is the one who inspires me the most.

Can you tell us about your previous hit Westerns? How did those come about?

Like I said previously, walking both the Oregon and Santa-Fe Trails got me to sit down and get serious finally. Blood On The Plains was my first book; I have to give a big shout out to J.C. Hulsey and Outlaws Publishing.

Blood On The Plains was first released back in 2014 with a bland looking cover, and it never went anywhere. J.C. wanted me to sign with Outlaws Publishing, and with the urging of Miss Anna, I signed on. The cover got changed and improvements made to the story, and the book re-released in 2015. Don’t you know, it shot up onto the best sellers list! Readers wanted more, and I quickly pieced together a short story from out of some of my older short stories that were never previously published.

Luke Pressor: United States Marshal was born. It also joined Blood On The Plains on the best sellers list. At this point, I was saying to myself this can’t be possible, but both of those books remained on that bestsellers list for almost all of 2015. People and readers are now really screaming for more, and along came Book 2: Gunfight At Bensons Creek, for what is now called the Blood On The Plains Western action series. Luke Pressor also is the same story; book 2, Pressors Hunt is also currently a series. I’m prouder than a peacock in full bloom at the success of both these sets. Now, maybe I shouldn’t say this, but I’m adding a book 3 to both of these series. For The Blood On The Plains Western action series, it will be Renegade’s Revenge, some time after the first of the year. The same goes for Luke Pressor. It will be Sudden Justice, and I’m introducing a new character to the series by readers’ request. He is Marshal Liam Garrett Kelleher.

Right now I have projects that I’m working on for the remainder of this year. But I just want to let my readers know I read your emails and get your messages.

Outlaws launched my writing career with those best sellers, and we’ve made a few changes once again when I signed with Dusty Saddle Publishing, who have now taken these two series and turned them into monster hits around the world, along with my current release, Taylorville Showdown. But I’m reaching down into my bag of tricks once more. I will be releasing yet another book this year. “Guns Along The Weary River.” I’m putting the finishing touches on it, and I believe it will move into pre-release sale within the next few weeks.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he do that is so special?

Wow, you’re going to get me in trouble with the readers. From the emails I get and the messages I receive from everyone, they all have their own favorite. But Matt Hutchins is the main character in the Blood On The Plains series, and of course Luke Pressor in that series. I have made the sub-characters so likable, everyone has a favorite. Mother Crawford, Clem, and Steven and Martha Beckerman just to name a few.

What are you working on at the minute?

I’m enjoying writing this new one, “Guns Along The Weary River.”

What’s “Guns Along The Weary River” about?

A wagon master has decided to build a settlement at a place called the Weary River. Wagon trains crossing the continent have a narrow window in which to get across the river. A lot of exciting things take place. I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag just yet.

What draws you to the Western genre?

I have always loved the west since I was a child. I watched every Western on TV; read every book I could get my hands on also.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban as Martha and Steven Beckerman in the Pressor Series, Kevin Costner playing Luke Pressor. Then I have a special place for Trace Adkins in my up and coming release with Sudden Justice. Julia Roberts as Sally in the Blood On The Plains series. They’re all perfect for those parts. They all ride (except for Trace, I’m not sure if he does or not). But he can play one mean hombre. Have you ever seen a few of the movies he has made? It’s too bad we don’t have Strother Martin or Bea Arthur anymore. I had Miss Roberts, Bea Arthur, and Strother Martin in mind when I wrote Blood On The Plains and of course Gunfight at Benson’s Creek. Miss Arthur is playing the part of Mother Crawford and Mr. Martin as Clem, the livery owner. My wife and I used to play a game, and when we would watch a movie, we would match actors and actresses to one of my stories. Miss Anna called my attention one night to a video she was watching on Facebook to Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban. Just by the way they interact with one another naturally they’re the perfect Beckermans. Boy, I could go on and on.

How much research do you do for your Westerns?

A lot. Even though it’s fiction, the clothes, weapons, and the products they used back when have to be right.

Have you have written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?

No novels, but I was asked to write a short story for the Six Bullets To Sundown short story collection for Dusty Saddle Publishing.

Why did you do decide to collaborate, and did that affect your sales?

I think it gives readers a chance to get a snap-shot look at all the different styles that Western writers have, and I don’t think it hurts sales. Taylorville Showdown made it to the best sellers list, as well as a few others.

Why do you want to write?

I write because of the fun I get out it, and it’s my hobby.

What made you decide to sit down and start something?

Out there on the plains, walking those trails, there are stories to tell. The Western genre has massive materials to write about.

Where do the ideas come from?

Sometimes I’ll see something interesting; it could be an old whiskey bottle or someone can say something. Because writing is my hobby, I have to create a story. You know what I think? It’s a challenge. My mind challenges me. I have been thinking about two words a friend challenged me with back at the end of 2015 or the beginning of 2016. I’ve lost sleep thinking about those two words. Those two words: Weary River. In a few weeks I think it is, readers everywhere will be reading the result of that challenge. “Guns Along The Weary River.”

Do you work on an outline or plot, or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?

I do all three. I could be sitting in a restaurant and an idea pops into my head. Out comes my notebook, and I write it down. At other times, I’ll see something and I pull out the phone camera. I have already told you about our little game that Miss Anna and I used to play.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I think I’m improving with every book I write. You learn something new with every release. When you first start out, you’re going in blind. The reviewers can be kind, or they can nail you to the wall. I learn from my mistakes and try not to make them again. Just writing short stories to yourself is one thing, but now I’m writing to an audience—something altogether different.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Staying focused and making sure you’re giving the reading public what they can enjoy.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

Writing the book as a short story. My thoughts were taking me way past the short story range. I had to struggle to condense my ideas, so I wrote them all down, studied them and came up with the solution.

What is the easiest thing about writing?

For me, it’s finding a subject to write about.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

For a novel, a month or two; for what’s called a novella, a few weeks.

Do you ever get writer’s block?

Yes, I think it happens to everyone now and then.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

I just walk away from it and do something else. It comes back when you’re not straining yourself to work.

Do you read much? And, if so, who are your favorite authors?

I use to, but lately I have been too busy. I read all different kinds of books. You never know what you’re going to find in a different genre.

 

What books are you reading at present?

I discovered a new author. I think this is his first book and it’s pretty good. It’s called South Of The Border by Ryan Fleming. For a fictional story, he’s getting pretty close to reality. I haven’t finished it yet. I’m staying focused on what I’m doing for the time being.

*****

It is a time period as vast as the desert and as relevant as our world today. It is the time between Colonial America and the modern age. A place that held death, destruction, love, desire and greed. A time of man’s bravery and fears. A place where a man needed every ounce of his strength to survive. A barbaric time. A better time. It is a place we call the Old West. This is an exciting adventure in that dangerous, yet, dramatic and exciting place.

Big Ben Culver thought that he found paradise and dreamed of a place where people could live in harmony. Farm, Ranch. And raise a family. Little did he know that greed always wants a part.

This is the latest action-action adventure from the #1 bestselling Western author John D. Fie, Jr. Saddle up and ride with a true Western bestseller through that wild and dangerous place called the Old West. This adventure will take guns, guts and glory… Purchase your copy of “Guns Along The Weary River” by clicking here.

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