Mean Pete--Head Honcho of Mean Pete Publishing

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Devil's Fury: Sneak Peek!

Chapter 1 

THERE IS NOTHING quite like the ratcheting snarl of a coiled diamondback to send fear into a man like a hot Apache war lance being driven into a hot, still-beating heart.
Friends and relatives...if there are any relatives here...we have gathered here today at the invitation of Louis Hammond Maxwell Prophet and Mathilda Lenora Anderson to share in the joy of their wedding...
The sound is something akin to coarse sand being poured slowly out of a hollow gourd and the ratcheting click of a gun hammer being drawn back to full cock. If you could marry those sounds and give them two beady copper eyes, flat with passionless savagery, two long curving white fangs, and a flicking button tail rising from the end of a serpentine body coiled like cold, scale-covered, sand-colored hemp, you’d have the very essence of what a man fears most in this world...the essence of what jerked Lou Prophet out of a dead sleep in the Mexican desert with a yelp.
This outward celebration that we shall see and hear is an expression of the inner love and devotion that Louis and Mathilda have in their hearts toward one another...
Prophet turned to see the copper eyes glowing at him from a dark nook in the nest of volcanic rock he’d holed up in. The viper was coiled tightly, looped upon itself, head sliding slowly toward where the bounty hunter slouched against the rock, blood running down from the deep gash in his forehead, into his right eye, and down his cheek. He couldn’t see through that eye. Only the left one.
That wasn’t good. Being right-handed, he was also right-eyed.
I, the Reverend Ezra Thaddeus Waggler, believe marriage is of God, and that Mathilda Anderson and Louis Prophet have come here today to stand before me and God who is truly Holy, desiring to be united in this sacred relationship of marriage...
Slowly, Prophet slid his Colt from the holster thonged on his right, denim-clad thigh, and, oh-so-very-slowly, pressing his tongue taut against the backside of his cut and swollen bottom lip, clicked the hammer back.
As he did, he kept his eye on the snake, which kept both eyes on him. The snake’s forked, colorless tongue tested the hot desert air, following the tongue toward its target, which was likely the vague, sunburned shape of a man and the smell of several days of desert sweat and soiled buckskin and denim and the spine-splintering fear of certain death...or something worse than death.
Now, Mister Prophet, Miss Anderson, will you please turn and face one another and join hands to express your vows of love and devotion each to the other?
The diamondback shook its button tail again.
“I, Lou Prophet, take you, Mathilda Anderson, to be my wife...”
The revolting sound turned Prophet’s blood cold. He stretched his lips back from his teeth as he slid the cocked Colt across his belly toward his left side. The snake was coiled in a nook behind the bounty hunter, over his left shoulder. He could see the viper in the corner of his left eye. It moved its head and slithering tongue forward, forward...ever closer...
“ have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer...”
The bounty hunter knew the serpent would strike at any second. He had to get the gun across his body and aimed behind him before he did. A snakebite on top of his other sundry injuries would without a doubt be the last nail in his already sanded and varnish proverbial coffin.
“ sickness and in health...”
Boom! Boom! Boom-Boom! Boom!
 Prophet had fired half-blind, afraid to make any sudden moves lest the viper should sink those razor-edged fangs into his left shoulder. Now, as the echoes of his gun reports still banged around inside his battered head, he turned to see the snake in several ragged, bloody pieces behind him. The head was still opening and closing its mouth, as though chewing something, and the button tail was still writhing.
But for all intents and purposes, the beast was dead.
“ sickness and in health, I promise to love and cherish you.”
From somewhere around the rock nest, a man’s distant shout made its way to Prophet’s ringing ears. His shots had alerted his hunters to his position.
“Ah, damn...”
Wincing against the rotten-egg odor of powder smoke, he punched out the spent shell casings and replaced them with fresh from his shell belt. More shouts rose on the hot Mexican wind. The shouts were in Spanish.
Running footsteps grew louder. Spurs rang. A boot kicked a rock. The rock rolled past where Prophet was hunkered down in the stone outcropping rising up from a spur of a remote Mexican mountain range.
I, Mathilda Anderson, take you, Lou Prophet, to be my husband...
Prophet flipped the Colt’s loading gate closed and spun the cylinder as a stocky Mexican in deerskin charro slacks and calico shirt came running up on Prophet’s right from around a bulge of sandstone. The man turned his head toward Prophet. His eyes widened beneath the broad brim of his steeple-crowned sombrero.
He brought the two pistols in his hands around as Prophet’s Colt went to work once more, shredding the Mexican’s heart, blowing the bloody bits out his back, and punching him off the edge of the escarpment.

(The complete book, a sequel to The Devil's Bride, will be up on Amazon by February 15!)

Friday, January 29, 2016

Complete List of Pseudonymous Writings by Peter Brandvold

LONGARM as by Tabor Evans

340--Longarm and the Holy Smokes Gang (Mar 2007)
341--Longarm and the Wolf Women (Apr 2007)
343-- Longarm and the Dwarf’s Darling (June 2007)
347—Longarm and the Guns of Fort Saber (Sept 2007)
356—Longarm and the Diamond Sisters (June 2008)
357—Longarm and the Happiness Killers (July 2008)
365--Longarm and the Hell Up North (Apr 2009)
366--Longarm and the Tin Cup Trouble (May 2009)
368--Longarm and the Gun Trail (July 2009)
370--Longarm and the Shotgun Man (September 2009)
372--Longarm and the Pleasant Valley War (Nov 2009)
377--Longarm and the Howling Maniac
381--Longarm and the Santiago Pistoleers (August 2010)
383--Longarm and the Killer Countess (Oct 2010)
386--Longarm in the Lunatic Mountains (Dec 2010)
391--Longarm and the Crossfire Girl (June 2011)
394--Longarm and the Horsewomen of the Apocalypse (Sept 2011)
397--Longarm and the Doomed Beauty (Dec 2011)
402—Longarm and the Hell Creek Lead Storm (April 2012)
Giant 30—Longarm and the Ambush at Holy Defiance (Jan 2013)
408—Longarm the Sins of Laughing Lyle (Oct 2012)
409--Longarm and the Banker’s Daughter (Nov 2012)
412—Longarm and the Cry of the Wolf (Feb 2013)
415—Longarm and Senorita Revenge (May 2013)
417—Longarm and the Diamondback Widow (July 2013)
419—Longarm and the Arapaho Hellcats (Sept 2013)
421—Longarm and the War Clouds (Nov 2013)
426—Longarm and the Sonora Siren (Apr 2014)
427—Longarm and the Coldest Town in Hell (May 2014)

NAVARRO as by Ralph Compton

BULLET CREEK as by Ralph Compton

THE TRAILSMAN as by Jon Sharpe

 298—Dead Man’s Bounty (Aug 2006)
308—Border Bravados (June 2008)
314—North Country Cutthroats (Dec 2007)
316—Beyond Squaw Creek (Feb 2008)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

On Openings


I used to struggle with openings. But since I’ve been writing a book a month for the past couple of years, since I’ve been mainly writing 40k word novels and self-publishing on Amazon, I don’t struggle with openings nearly as much as I used to.

I’ve figured out what I like. I like to open with action. Not just action, because a saddle tramp riding into town and having a look around could also be called action. I like violent action. Or at least swift action. Visual action.

Note, however, that I don’t mean action to the exclusion of some description and even some background information, or exposition. One element of fiction can hardly ever stand alone for long without making the writing one-dimensional. But generally I like openings that begin with high-stakes movement.

Here are the openings of my last two action-westerns, The Devil’s Bride and Fatal Woman (as by Frank Leslie), as well as my current book-in-progress, The Devil’s Fury, respectively:

As the stagecoach abruptly slowed, the driver bellowing profanely at his poor horses, Mathilda Anderson, formerly of St. Paul, Minnesota, flew forward off her stagecoach seat and nearly ended up in the lap of the burly gent sitting across from her.

The scream cut through the frigid mountain night like a razor-edged stiletto tearing through naked flesh.
It was a high-pitched wail crackling with stark human agony.
Clay Carmody dropped the load of firewood he’d been about to carry into the remote line shack, and jerked back with a curse...

There is nothing quite like the ratcheting snarl of a coiled diamondback to send fear into a man like a hot Apache war lance being driven into a barrel of warm lard.
Friends and relatives...if there are any relatives here...we have gathered here today at the invitation of Louis Hammond Maxwell Prophet and Mathilda Lenora Anderson to share in the joy of their wedding.
The sound is something akin to coarse sand being poured slowly out of a hollow gourd and the ratcheting click of a gun hammer being drawn back to full cock...

That last example looks a little weird, taken “out of context” as the cliché so favored by current sports heroes and politicians goes, but what I’m doing there is mixing violent action—a diamondback ready to strike our hero, Lou Prophet—with the vaguely remembered words of Prophet’s wedding ceremony, which was the start of a whole world of trouble for our trouble-plagued ex-Confederate bounty hunter.

As a reader I also like to start reading with violent or at least fast-moving visual action. I won’t not start reading a book that opens with dialogue or description as long as the dialogue and description don’t go on for too many paragraphs and I’m guessing the book will get better later on. Call me impatient, but I like to know what’s at stake from the start, and I like the thrill of movement. I think that opening a novel, especially an action-novel, which is what I write, is the best way to do that.

I think I probably learned early that I preferred action best from reading none other than good old Ernest Hemingway. Here are the openings of two of my favorite Hemingway short stories that begin with action. Not violent action, to be sure, but crisp, clean, visual movement that give a sense of the high-stakes ahead.

from “Cross-Country Snow”:

The funicular car bucked once more and then stopped. It could go no farther, the snow drifted solidly across the track. The gale scouring the exposed surface of the mountain had swept the snow surface into a wind-board crust. Nick, waxing his skis in the baggage car, pushed his boots into the toe irons and shut the clamp tight. He jumped from the car sideways onto the hard wind-board, made a jump turn and crouching and trailing his sticks slipped in a rush down the slope.

from "Indian Camp":

At the lake shore, there was another rowboat drawn up. The two Indians stood waiting.
 Nick and his father got in the stern of the boat and the Indians shoved it off and one of them got in to row. Uncle George sat in the stern of the camp rowboat. The young Indian shoved the camp boat off and got in to row Uncle George.
The two boats started off in the dark...

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

New Revenger Now Available at Amazon!


Saddle up and ride the wild trails of the old frontier with the Revenger, Mike Sartain, as he rights wrongs for people who can’t right the wrongs themselves...and loves women with all the passion he was taught by the lovely doxies who raised him, an orphan, in the French Quarter of New Orleans...


Olivia Rosen is a single mother. When her only child, five-year-old Edgar, is murdered by the Lute Lawton Bunch during a train robbery, and Olivia is kidnapped by Lawton and repeatedly raped and then discarded like trash along the trail, she requests the help of the Revenger. Only, she wants to ride along with Sartain and help him wreak the vengeance the Lawton Bunch so desperately deserves.

A loner, Sartain doesn’t normally operate that way. But Olivia Rosen offers the Revenger a bribe he can’t refuse: herself.

Check it out at AMAZON

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Bone Tomahawk

This is a real oddity in today's cinema. A slow-moving, character-driven, gritty action western that is completely engrossing. The pace reminded me of 60's westerns like THE SONS OF KATIE ELDER or TWO MULES FOR SISTER SARAH. Great dialogue and acting, and even though it's slow, it's better for being so, because we get to know the characters and really care about their plight--rescuing one of the posse member's wives, a doctor, from a band of cave-dwelling cannibals. I was afraid this would be more like the slow-moving and deathly cerebral MCCABE AND MRS. MILLER or THE HIRED HAND. But it was more like something Robert Aldrich (ULZANNMA'S RAID, THE DIRTY DOZEN) would make--a good blend of action, character, dialogue, suspense, and gritty violence. And the much-maligned Sean Young had a cameo. Now, that's daring on the part of the director! I loved it. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

NIGHT OF THE GHOST CAT Now Available at Amazon!

This one has been in the works for a long time. At least, I've had it on the back burner for over two years. Books don't usually take that long to percolate for me, but for some reason this one did. When I sat down and started writing, it flowed like a snowmelt stream high in the Rockies. It's a follow-up to my first horror western featuring Clay Carmody, Canyon of a Thousand Eyes. I'm a big fan of the old weird-menace pulps, so this yarn has a lot of that kind of menace...and a whole lot it. And mixing my two favorite genres, horror and western, has always been a hell of a lot of fun for me.

Hell has frozen-over in the town of Sanctuary, New Mexico Territory...

Clay Carmody, unwitting ghoul hunter, has no time for ghouls. He had his fill of ghouls in Poudre Canyon. (See Canyon of a Thousand Eyes.) Having forked paths with the beautiful Claudine Bridger, sheriff of Camp Hawkins, the drifter has lit out on his own to the mountains of northern New Mexico, where he is holing up in a remote line shack.

It figures to be a quiet winter for Clay Carmody. He and his young line shack partner, Ronnie Landry, will likely fill their nights drinking and playing poker and watching the snow fall after days filled with making sure the range of their boss, Old Man Bradbury, isn’t encroached upon by rustlers or nesters.

Unfortunately, rustlers or nesters are the least of Carmody’s problems.

When a big cougar kills young Landry, Carmody must take to the hunting trail. The trail leads him to the town of Sanctuary, which, much to Carmody’s dismay, is no sanctuary at all.

It turns out that Sanctuary is being stalked by the same cat that killed Carmody’s partner. The cat seems to kill indiscriminately. Its blood lust is insatiable. Not even Carmody’s boss, Old Man Bradbury, and the young Duke and Duchess of Norfolk are exempt from its savagery. It will render Bradbury’s pretty, lusty young daughter speechless and worse...

As the storm rages over Sanctuary, the cat stalks the town—attacking and terrifying, torturing its victims. It amuses itself by torturing men in the most hideous ways imaginable.

And it seems impervious to bullets...

Clay Carmody, the reluctant ghoul hunter, finds himself on the hunt for yet another ghoul. At least he has a beautiful demon-hunting witch at his side. But not even the lovely witch from another time, another place may be enough to save Carmody from the cunningly wicked and shape-shifting ghoul who time and time again proves itself the Devil’s own worst nightmare.

For the ghost cat seems intent on turning the town of Sanctuary into a blood-drenched Hell...


Check It Out on Amazon

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

A Sneak Peek at Mean Pete's New Western Horror Novel, NIGHT OF THE GHOST CAT!

I'm nearly finished with my western-horror novel featuring Clay Carmody, the cowboy-ghoul-hunter I introduced several years ago in my novel, Canyon of a Thousand Eyes. I hope to have the book hammered into publishable shape and up and running on Amazon by January 1. Here is about half of Chapter 12. (WARNING: It's a little naughty...)

 “For the love of Pete--what does it take to get a girl warm in this frigid country!” exclaimed the Duke’s, widow...Duchess Katherine, as she shivered on the leather divan before the ticking potbelly stove in the main drinking hall of the Stockmen’s Saloon in El Sanctuario.
The saloon’s full name was the Northern New Mexico Stockmen’s pool.
“The Territorial,” for short.
Daphne Bradbury sat beside the raven-haired young woman of British royalty, her own cornflower blue gaze fixed on the two broad-shouldered Englishmen standing at the large, glistening bar, facing each other, each man’s right fist clenched around the other’s. Their ruddy faces were puffed up and nearly beet-red. The two burly Brits with the unlikely names Stumpy and Bodger, whom the Duke had appointed as chaperones of sorts for Duchess Katherine and Daphne, were arm wrestling.
 “I do, say, my dear Daphne, what has you so riveted over there?”
Duchess Katherine’s voice nudged Daphne from her reverie. If you could call it a reverie. More like a fantasy. Daphne felt the tug of frisky desire pull at her female parts, causing her nipples to tingle and a flush of embarrassment to rise in her peaches-and-cream cheeks as she turned to Lady Kat. That was what the Duchess preferred to be called by those closest to her. Daphne had found herself in that pleasing sphere, as she and Lady Kat were roughly the same age and of similar spirited temperament.
Daphne hemmed and hawed, unable at the moment to float enough air past the constriction in her throat to form words. Lady Kat sat a foot away from her on the large, overstuffed leather divan, facing the potbelly stove, hunched and shivering. Kat glanced over her shoulder at the bar. Just then the shorter of the two British brutes—Stumpy—slammed the taller Englishman’s hand down hard against the bar.
“Blast and damnation!” intoned Bodger as, beaming, Stumpy lifted his ale schooner and poked his beringed pinky out.
Because of the storm, there were very few other customers in the restaurant/hotel/saloon. Those four men, all hovering around Bodger and Stumpy, having bet on the match’s outcome, either broke into applause or groans, cursing as greenbacks switched hands. Stumpy turned toward the two girls watching from the divan. His gaze locked on Daphne’s. He winked over the rim of his frothy glass, and tipped the mug back, drinking heartily.
Daphne gasped and turned away, pressing a hand to her chest. “Oh, god!” She tittered an embarrassed laugh.
“Now I see what’s got your attention!” said Lady Kat.
“Oh, my goodness—I’ve never seen men with such huge muscles!”
“Well, the blacksmith out at the ranch is built like a bear—arms like yokes! Unfortunately, he has a belly like a rain barrel to go with it, and he smells like coal smoke and horse sweat. And he’s old...”
Hazel eyes aglow with devilish delight, Lady Kat looked askance at Daphne. “How do you know what the blacksmith smells like, dear heart?”
Daphne felt the heat rise from her cheeks into her ears. She took her face in her hands and leaned forward laughing, spreading her fingers to exclaim between them, “Oh, good God—you don’t think...? Oh, Lady Kat—I would never!
Lady Kat laughed, leaning close to Daphne. “For the love of Pete, my dear Daphne—are you saying you’ve never?
Daphne beetled her brows. “Never...?” Her eyes snapped wide. “You mean...?”
“Whatever else would I mean?” Lady Kat said, arching a skeptical brow.
Daphne shook her hair back, manufacturing a cool demeanor. “Why, of course I have. I am twenty-one years old, for goodness sakes!”
“But you’re not married, dear heart.”
“We westerners are not nearly as prudish as you would think. Why, the English are supposed to be the prudes!”
“Who what?”
“You know—who?
Daphne laughed into her hands again, blushing as red as a New Mexico sunset. Recovering, she glanced around, making sure no one else was near. All of the other customers were still gathered at the bar, hovering around Stumpy and Bodger, who were engaged in yet another wrestling match.
Daphne leaned close to Lady Kat, whispered into the brunette’s left ear. “My father’s foreman, Mister Lowry.”
Lady Kat looked astonished. “Your father’s fore--?”
Lady Kat sat back, snickering. “How many times?”
Again, Daphne glanced over her shoulder before holding up two fingers while sheepishly tucking her bottom lip under her upper front teeth and glancing demurely downward.
“How was it?”
Daphne hiked a noncommittal shoulder. “Rather too fast, actually.” She snickered. “He was so afraid that Father would find us out that it took him forever to get it hard, and once he did, it was all over in a heartbeat!”
She tittered into her palm.
“Oh, dear—that won’t do.”
“No, it won’t!”
“You need a good ash-hauling, dear heart.”
Daphne lowered her hand, frowning. “What are you talking about?”
Lady Kat tossed her head to indicate the bar, where Stumpy and Bodger were locked in a standstill, fists clenched straight up from the mahogany. They grimaced and grunted through clenched teeth. “Stumpy and I have an arrangement.”
“An arrangement?”
Lady Kat nodded, cheeks dimpling, eyes aglow. “An arrangement.” She pinched her nose as she sank back against the divan again, snorting. “He’s equipped with a foot-long dobber, dear heart. It’s nearly as big as his arm!”
“Oh my god!” Daphne glanced toward the bar then turned her astonished gaze back to her friend. “What about the Duke?”
Lady Kat pursed her lips, looked down at her hand, and raised her pale, slender index finger to half-mast. It resembled a worm trying to shake off a nap. Both women fairly roared as they rolled back against the divan. “But he’s so astonishingly handsome,” Daphne said. “With so much pluck!”
“Yes, well,” Lady Kat said, “looks and pluck are all he has, I’m afraid. A woman needs far more than that if she’s going to get one off, don’t you know.” Lady Kat sat up straight on the divan, raised her arms high above her head, stretching, and gave a loud yawn. “I do believe it’s time for a nap, dear Daphne.”
She’d raised her voice loud enough to be heard at the bar. Several of the men glanced her way. Stumpy remained facing his opponent though Daphne thought she saw his eyes flick toward the divan.
“Would you excuse me for a bit, dear friend?” Lady Kat asked Daphne.
Before Daphne could respond, Lady Kat placed her hand on Daphne’s thigh and leaned toward her, whispering, “Give us fifteen minutes. Then do join us. The door will not be locked, I assure you.”
Lady Kat rose with unspeakable grace, giving Daphne an oblique smile. Daphne stared at her, puzzled but with a warm feeling deep down in her belly. Swinging around, swishing her skirts, the ravishing Brit strode toward the broad staircase at the back of the room. She moved gracefully on her long, coltish legs, chin held high, swinging her hips with subtle enticing. Halfway to the base of the stairs, she gave another loud yawn, swept her hair up high above her head with both hands, and let it tumble back down to her narrow shoulders and slender back.
While she did not once glance at the bar, Daphne knew that Lady Kat was well aware of most of the men staring at her like horny schoolboys. Daphne heard one issue a barely audible groan of desire. Stumpy pointedly did not turn his head in her direction but kept his gaze on his opponent.
Lady Kat gracefully climbed the stairs, brushing the tips of her fingers lightly along the rail, her glistening hair dancing across her back, and disappeared into the cavernous building’s second story. Daphne glanced at the men at the bar. Bodger gave a grunt and slammed Stumpy’s hand down onto the bartop.
Stumpy cursed without heat.
The four onlookers clapped or shook their heads, exchanging more greenbacks.
“Bloody hell, old man,” Bodger said, flexing his right hand. “I thought for sure you had me a third time in a row. What happened?”
Stumpy shrugged and hunkered down over his beer. Daphne kept her furtive gaze on the Brit’s broad back. He remained at the bar for a couple of minutes then finished his beer, slammed it down on the mahogany, and said, “This cold weather’s got me fagged to the marrow. I’m gonna head upstairs for a kip.”
“More ale for me!” said Bodger, then motioned to the bearded bar tender for another beer.
After Stumpy had disappeared into the second story, Daphne sat hunched before the potbelly stove, shivering not from a chill but from her wild imaginings about what was happening upstairs in Lady Kat’s room.
Anxiety weighed heavy on her.
While she wanted very much to be part of Lady Kat’s and Stumpy’s tryst, she was afraid. She’d never been a part of such dealings. Mr. Lowry had been her first and only lover though on a dare she’d once kissed the cock of a stable boy. While neither of hers and Mr. Lowry’s hurried couplings had been one bit satisfactory and she’d longed for a longer, more adventurous and enjoyable tumble, she’d never expected a proposition like the one Lady Kat had just tossed in her lap.
Share a bed with both a man and another woman?
My, god—she’d never heard of such a thing!
Daphne gave a snort as her body was wracked by another round of anticipatory shivers. Stumpy was quite the good-looking man. He was shorter than Bodger, but he was by no means “stumpy” at all. (She had no idea where these Englishmen came up with their nicknames!) He was ginger-bearded and ruddy-faced, with blazing, dark-blue eyes—nearly the same blue as the Duke’s. His hair was a shade darker than his beard, and it was curly and wild. His face was deftly chiseled into the visage of a handsome barbarian.
While Stumpy was not as tall as the Duke, his shoulders were nearly as wide as a barn door, his legs firm and stout—a much more evolved specimen even than the brawny young man who cut hay for Daphne’s father, a simple, bashful but nice-to-look-at farmboy named Hayden Carlson whom Daphne often thought about when she touched herself.
When the fifteen minutes were up, Daphne found herself climbing the stairs. Her heart beat in her chest like the heart of a frightened little bird. Her breasts were warm. She could feel chicken flesh rising across them. Her nipples were raking almost painfully against the inside of her corset, but they tingled, as well.
Oh, dear Lord, what kind of a naughty thing was she about to do? she wondered, muffling a snort with her hand before turning at the top of the stairs.