Mean Pete--Head Honcho of Mean Pete Publishing

Friday, April 22, 2016

LAST STAGE TO HELL: Lou Prophet, Bounty Hunter now available on Amazon!


After another long, wild chase after badmen, Prophet and his sometime-sidekick and lover, Louisa Bonaventure, fork trails. Prophet heads to Denver to stomp with his tail up. He doesn’t realize, however, that the pretty young vixen who lures him to her hotel room is none other than the governor’s daughter, Clovis Teagarden. And that she’s only sixteen...

After the night they’d spent together, he’d thought she was twenty-five going on forty!

Run out of town with a charge of rape dogging his heels, Prophet opens a letter a liveryman had given him. The letter is from his old friend, Margaret-Jane Olson, or Lola Diamond, as she was called in her acting days. (See The Devil & Lou Prophet.) Lola was in trouble the first time Prophet met her, and she seems to be in dire straits again. She needs Prophet’s help.

Since the bounty hunter suddenly finds it necessary to get as far from Denver as possible, anyway, he hops the stage in Cheyenne for the little town of Jubilee, where Lola Diamond now resides, in the wilds of western Dakota. On the coach he finds himself in the company of a beautiful Indian princess who was raised as a white girl by a white rancher up near Jubilee.

He also finds himself in the middle of a shooting war, the likes of which he’s never seen...

He has no idea who’s doing the shooting or why. After everyone on the coach except himself and the Indian girl have been murdered, he and the girl are on their own and must run a gauntlet of kill-crazy gunslingers who seem hell bent on keeping them from reaching their destination.

Next stop: HELL!

From the book:

The blast was deafening inside the coach. Flames spat from the Richards’ right barrel toward the man aiming his Winchester through the window. The man’s head turned bright red as it was torn off his shoulders and thrown a good five feet straight up in the air.

The man’s headless body triggered the Winchester into the coach. The bullet tore into the left arm of Johnny Wells, causing the dead man to jerk once more.

The other man, on the coach door’s left side, widened his eyes and thrust his own Winchester through the window left of the door. Prophet tripped the gut-shredder’s second trigger and made both men who’d come to investigate the coach’s contents a matching pair of headless, blood-spewing, Winchester-wielding corpses.


Tuesday, April 12, 2016



When driving around my hometown of Fergus Falls in western Minnesota (pop. 13k, give or take), and find myself on the town’s south end, I have an almost irresistible urge to turn left onto County Highway 210, just beyond the car wash and the Buick dealership on the right and where UBC used to be on the left, and drive eastward past Nature’s Garden World and Wall Lake into the rolling, wooded hills spotted with lakes and ponds glittering like sapphire jewels set in oak and birch woods and bristling with barns and silos...back to the little calendar-picture farmstead nestled inside a shelter belt swaddled by sloping corn and wheat fields a quarter mile from Fisk Lake...back to the white farmhouse and red barn shaded by oaks and box elders that for eight years I once called home.
Back to where, as I drive a quarter-mile along the gravel section road, take a left, and drive another hundred yards along another section road toward the shelter belt, I know in seconds I’ll see a passel of black-and-white mutt collies skip-hopping and tail-wagging down the sloping driveway to greet me.
They’ll run down through the trees, barking and nipping each other playfully then splitting into two groups to turn and follow my pickup up the slope and into the yard. One will grab a deadfall branch and shake it or taunt one of the others with it.
I’ll park under the big oak by the propane tank and the two rusty wagon wheel vine trellises abutting the mouth of the ancient sidewalk. I’ll open the pickup door, and Buck and Thor will take Stella to the ground, pretend-mauling her because they pretend-maul their mother when they get over-the-moon about something as momentous as either or both my wife and I returning home after a brief trip to town. Buck and Thor’s fun will end abruptly when Stella has enough of their high jinx, and throws a nasty though brief tantrum that will leave them both just as briefly shaken and sheepish.
Whereupon they will turn their attention to me or Gena. Along with Stella and their unabashedly abusive father, Old Shep, they’ll make it nearly impossible for us to walk to the house, blocking the path with their wriggling bodies and wagging tails, barking crazily all the way along the sidewalk curving around to the crumbling concrete step fronting the new metal storm door we bought at Fleet Farm, replacing the old, splintering wooden door with its bulging, rusty screen. This skirmish is all the more hectic and even maddening when we’re trying to get groceries into the house, but also fun in a way, because we love our dogs (we were one of those couples who chose dogs over kids) and, in a vague way in our youthful hearts we sense even in the midst of life’s full flower how fleeting the blossom will be.
And it was...
Now, twenty years later, when I’m tooling around the south end of Fergus, I resist the urge (most times, anyway) to drive out that way, toward that calendar-photo farm, because, as much as I want the years to have not passed and for life to be the same as it was then, I don’t live there anymore.
I left the dogs’ ashes in Colorado. I left my ex-wife in Colorado, as well, and moved back to western Minnesota, to the area that is as much a home to me as anywhere I’ve ever lived. That’s the problem. I’ve lived so many places, starting back when I was a mere baby—mostly small towns in North Dakota, but then on to Arizona, Montana, and Colorado—that no one place stands out as more of a home than does the old farmstead in Minnesota where I lived for eight years, married and with four dogs and a cat and--for a couple of those years--chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese.
I would like to have the Colorado years back, as well. Those were good years, too. Most of the thirteen, anyway. I guess it’s good that I can look back fondly. Maybe it’s the sign of a life well lived. I can only hope I’m still living it well, so that I’ll look at these current years as fondly as the others.
I think I am, so maybe I will. I moved back here with an elderly rescue dog, a brown and white Australian shepherd named Sidney. I bought a house that I’d spied on a website while still in Colorado. I remembered visiting the place when we lived here before, and liking it. Friends had owned it then, and they’d invited Gena and me over one night for supper. I remember we watched the movie, Amelie.
The house is a little brown stucco bungalow at the end of a dead-end gravel road in the heart of town. (I had always thought that if I ever lived in town again after nearly thirty years in the county, it would have to be at the end of a dead-end gravel road.) Voila—I’m here! While I’m close to my neighbor to the east, Roberta and I have become good friends, almost like family, and there’s a big empty, wooded lot to the west. So I have plenty of room to stumble around here, being half-nuts and writing my western novels and doing whatnot, including brewing beer out in my garage with my friend Bill, whom I first met way back in the fifth grade when my family lived nearby in Wahpeton.

Sydney died four days ago. While I’m still numb from her passing, like what the old John Denver song says about losing a friend, I’m going to keep the memory. I’m keeping a lot of them. Sorting them out, day by day. The longer I live the more I realize our lives are almost all memory. The mind—my mind, at least--is a vortex of recalled associations colored by varying degrees of emotion—some of it sentimental emotion, some of it as real and honest as a falling-down barn.
That’s the kind of emotion, the result of a life well lived or at least well examined, which makes us most human.
So I’m here now, present inside a memory. I’m a little confused at times, because there is so much here in Fergus that reminds me of the past and the person I used to be, and the people and animals that comprised my life back then. Sometimes my mind is made up of overlying images from different decades. But mostly I’m working it out, not driving out overly often to that calendar-photo farm to stare at that shelterbelt from the main highway and pine for the past, but walking this new neighborhood with old Syd--even if she is only a memory now, too--creating a new one.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

New Rogue Lawman Novel Now Available!

From the king of the hard-driving, fast-moving, sexy western...


Gideon Hawk shoots three men who try to rob the saloon he’s drinking in. One of those men is the spoiled son of a local rancher, Mortimer Stanley. The rancher doesn’t take kindly to Hawk’s killing his son despite the crime his son was committing.

When the rancher sends five men into town to kill Hawk, and Hawk turns them all toe-down, dead as stones, war clouds gather over the little prairie town of Cedar Bend.

Waiting for Stanley to make his next move, Hawk sees that Cedar Bend needs some cleaning up. He takes the badge of the corrupt town marshal, Roy Coates, and pins it to his own shirt. Coates doesn’t take kindly to that. He tries to bushwhack Hawk and gets a whipping for his trouble. Coates crawls home, where he swills whiskey, licks his wounds, and stews.

What makes Coates even owlier is the fact that Coates’s wife, Arliss Stanley, the daughter of the rancher, Mortimer Stanley, finds herself profoundly, primitively attracted to the tall, fearless stranger with the jade green eyes set against the severe Indian features of his war chief father. She finds herself a slave to her own passions as well as to Hawk’s.

She also finds herself caught in a whipsaw between her husband, her father, and the man they both want dead at all costs.

Explosive forces inevitably converge to affect the rogue lawman’s demise. When the smoke finally clears over Cedar Bend, if the rogue lawman is still alive, he’ll likely discover that one of his only remaining friends is the local undertaker, who whistles while he works and laughs all the way to the bank...

Take a Look at AMAZON

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A Snippet from the Next Rogue Lawman--Undertaker's Friend

[The next Rogue Lawman novel will be out in about a week. Here's a snippet!]

Mortimer Stanley walked over to stare down at Roy Coates, whose feet were tied to his stirrups. Coates’s bound wrists were tied to his saddlehorn. He was slumped against the horse’s right wither. He didn’t appear to be conscious. Maybe not even alive. Stanley couldn’t tell if his son-in-law was breathing.
“Go around there and cut his foot out of that stirrup, Red Wolf.”
When the big Indian foreman walked around to the other side of the horse, Stanley used his own folding Barlow knife to cut Coates’s right boot free of its stirrip. Together, he and Red Wolf cut the ropes binding the town marshal’s hands to the saddlehorn. When the final strands broke, Stanley stepped back quickly as Coates tumbled out of the saddle to hit the ground with a dull thud and a faint groan.
He lay on his side, stretching his lips back from his blood-frothed teeth.
Stanley kicked the man onto his back.
“What in tarnation...?”
Coates’s face was a bloated mess. It looked like a cut of meat that had been left outside to rot in the sun and to be nibbled on by predators. The marshal opened his eyes, blinked.
“Coates?” Stanley said. “You worthless piece of shit.”
Coates stared up at him for a time. Then Stanley wasn’t sure if it was a pain spasm or a slight grin that tugged at the man’s battered, swollen lips, but he had a feeling it was a grin. Coates swallowed, tipped his head back a little. It was a gesture for Stanley to bend an ear.
The rancher got down on one knee and lowered his head within a foot of the marshal’s mouth. “What is it? Get on with it. You don’t got much longer on this side of the sod, Roy.”
Coates opened his mouth, spoke too softly and gravelly for Stanley to understand.
“What? Speak up, goddamnit,” the rancher intoned. “I can’t hear you!”
Coates made some more sounds. Stanley cursed and lowered his ear to within six inches of the man’s mouth.
Coates raked raspily out: “She’s fuckin’ him. Arliss is...”
Stanley jerked his head with a start, turned to glare down at the marshal smiling up at him. Coates blinked slowly. A little more loudly, he said, “He said to tell’re makin’ the undertaker a happy man.”
“Oh, he did, did he?” Stanley said, pushing with a grunt off one knee, straightening. “Roy, you’re a worthless mound of dog dung—you know that?”
Coates only smiled up at him, in a dreamy near-death state.
Stanley pulled his pistol, clicked back the hammer, aimed down at Coates’s head, and blasted a hole through the man’s left temple. With the pistol’s roar, the horse whickered loudly, leaped off all four hooves, turned, and galloped off down the hill toward the corral.
Stanley clicked his Colt’s hammer back and shot the town marshal again. Coates’s head turned sharply, as though he were obstinately disagreeing with Stanley’s assessment of things. More frothy blood sputtered on his lips, like hot butter in a skillet, and then he gave a couple of feeble death jerks and lay still.
Stanley turned to Red Wolf standing beside him. “Send every last man I got. Tell them if they don’t kill that man in town...that Gideon Hawk, Rogue Lawman not bother comin’ back here. They will not be given their final paychecks.”
Red Wolf gave a single, resolute nod then started retracing his steps back down the hill.
The foreman stopped, glanced back over his shoulder at Stanley.
“You stay here. In case he gets around ‘em.”
Red Wolf gave that purposeful nod again then continued down the hill.

Sunday, March 6, 2016




When Sheriff Ben Stillman’s deputy and best friend, Leon McMannigle, shoots a young woman who was about to shoot Stillman in the back, Leon takes the outlaw girl’s lifeless body back to her mountain ranch to turn her over to her family. He feels the need to explain himself, to personally account for the girl’s death.

His explanation falls on deaf ears. Old Watt Hollister sends his wild sons led by his eldest boy, Nash, out on the trail to exact revenge for their poor dead sister. Wounded, McMannigle is alone and on the run in the Two-Bear Mountains, hunted like a calf-killing mountain lion!

Ben Stillman isn’t at all happy when he gets wind of his friend’s fate. In fact, when you mess with Stillman’s friends or his family, it’s damn well guaranteed you have all-out war on your hands.



When the drifting half-breed, Yakima Henry, stops in the little town of Horsetooth for a drink to cut the trail dust, he ends up killing a saloon owner and bedding the dead man’s beautiful wife.

A man just can’t help himself when assaulted by the wiles of the beautiful Mexican seductress, Paloma Collado . . . the former Mrs. Clancy Brewer.

But it turns out that the lovely Paloma already had a lover—one who’d just robbed an Army payroll and after being scalped and blinded in one eye by Apaches, hid the loot somewhere in the Chiricahua Mountains. And she wants Yakima to help her find it.