Monday, October 22, 2018

Sand Dune Saloon, MacLeod, North Dakota


Yesterday, Sunday October 22, 2018, was a great day for a road trip. My friend and old (but still young!)  schoolmate, Mary Altoff, and I hopped in my Ford truck and motored on over to the Cheyenne River country in eastern North Dakota, about an hour's drive west of my old hometown of Wahpeton, on the Red River of the North. A great time was had by us both. The beer was cold and the pizza tasty at the Sand Dune Saloon in MacLeod.










Sunday, October 7, 2018

Fourth and Final Book in the Bloody Arizona Series Now Here!



SADDLE UP FOR A HARD RIDE WITH THE HALF-BREED DRIFTER, YAKIMA HENRY, IN THE FOUR-PART SERIES...BLOODY ARIZONA!

In this final volume, Book 4—ARROYO DE LA MUERTE (CANYON OF DEATH)—Yakima Henry is once again Town Marshal of Apache Springs, Arizona. Not an easy job, for Apache Springs is booming and the railroad has come to town. Badmen outnumber the lawmen by a thousand to three. 

Yakima’s job gets all the harder when someone kills a prominent businessman and siccs two kill-crazy assassins on Yakima himself. Turns out that’s the least of his worries, for someone else sends even more killers bent on turning him toe-town. Yakima would like to know why. 

It seems to be tied to the fact that the mysterious, treasure-laden canyon southwest of Apache Springs is being the target of more and more gold-hungry men searching for their own El Dorados. However, according to the beautiful young desert rat, Emma Kosgrove, the canyon was cursed by an Apache witch. The removal of the treasure would release the curse from the canyon and wreak havoc across the land.
  
Throw the two beautiful Kosgrove sisters into Yakima’s mess, both of whom want Yakima for her own, and one who is determined to keep the treasure-laden canyon a secret or die trying, you have one hell of a blood-splashed, wild-assed tale on your hands!


Monday, August 27, 2018

Stagecoach to Purgatory Now Available!





From The Life and Times of Lou Prophet, Bounty Hunter by HEYWOOD WILDEN SCOTT

I’d been a tough-nosed newsman for nearly sixty years, yet it was with more trepidation than I like to admit that I knocked on the big, old rebel’s door.

I’d heard the stories about him. Hell, I’d printed many of those yarns in the various newspapers I’d written and edited in that grand old time of the Old West gunfighters, larger-than-life lawmen, and the much-maligned, death-dealing bounty hunters, of which he’d been one.

Yes, I’d heard the tales. I’d printed the tales. With feigned reluctance (I was a journalist, after all— not a reader or writer of dime novels!) but with unabashed delight, if the truth be known. With ad- miration and even envy. Imagine such a man living such a life at such a time, hoorawing badmen of every stripe, risking life and limb with every adventure while the rest of us suffered little more than festering galls to our posteriors while scribbling ink by the barrel onto endless rolls of foolscap in dingy, smoky, rat-infested offices off backstreet alleys, the big presses making the whole building rock.

I’d never met him.

I’d heard from those who had crossed his trail that he was a formidable, mercurial cuss, by turns kindhearted and generous and foulmouthed and dangerous, and he’d grown more and more formidable, unpredictable, and recalcitrant with age. The years had not been kind to him. But, then, what would you expect of a man who had lived such a life and who, it was said, had sold his soul to the devil, ex- changing an eternity of coal-shoveling in hell’s bowels for a few good years after the War Between the States “on this side of the sod, stomping with his tail up,” as he was known to call what he did between his bounty hunting adventures?

In fact, I once heard that he’d hunted only men with prices on their heads in order to pay for his notorious appetite for whiskey, women, and poker.

He’d seen so much killing during the war, out of which he’d emerged something of a hero of the Con- federacy, that he really wanted only to dance and make love and swill the Taos Lightning to his heart’s delight. But he was not an independently wealthy man, so it was only with great reluctance, I’m told, that after such bouts of manly indiscretions he took up his Colt .45, his Winchester ’73 rifle, his double- bore, sawed-off, twelve-gauge Richards coach gun, and his razor-edged bowie knife, and stepped into the saddle of his beloved but appropriately named horse, Mean and Ugly, and fogged the sage in pur- suit of death-dealing curly wolves prowling the long coulees of the wild and woolly western frontier.

He usually had a fresh wanted circular or two stuffed into his saddlebag pouches, carelessly ripped from post office or Wells Fargo bulletin boards.

Now, as I rolled my chair up to his room, I’d recently seen for myself that he was every bit the colorful albeit formidable old codger I’d heard he was. It had been only within a week or so of this recounting that the old warrior had shown up at the same Odd Fellows House of Christian Charity in Pasadena, California, that I, too, after several grave illnesses had broken me both financially and spiritually, had found myself shut away in, whiling away the long, droll hours until my own annihilation.

He’d been working as a consultant in the silent western flickers, I’d heard, until a grievous accident involving a Chrysler Model B-70, a couple of pretty starlets, and several jugs of corn liquor caromed off a perilous mountain road in the hills above Malibu. Now he prowled the halls on crutches—a big, one- legged man with a face like the siding of a ruined barn, at times grunting and bellowing blue curses (especially when one of the attendants confiscated his proscribed cigarettes and whiskey) or howling songs of the old Confederacy out on the narrow balcony off his second-story room, his raspy voice ratcheting up out of his tar-shrunken lungs like the engines of the horseless carriages sputtering past on Pacific Avenue.

As I was saying, I knocked on his door.

I shrank back in my chair when the door was flung open and the big bear of the one-legged man, broad as a coal dray and balancing precariously on one crutch, peered out from the roiling smoke fog inun- dating his tiny, sparsely furnished room.

“What?” he said.

At least, that’s how I’m translating it. It actually sounded more like the indignant grunt of a peevish grizzly bear prodded from a long winter’s slumber.

Out of that ruin of a face, two pale blue eyes burned like the last stars at the end of the night. At once keen and bold, flickering and desperate.

Wedged between my left thigh and the arm of my wheelchair was a bottle of rye whiskey. On my right leg were a fresh notepad, a pen, and a bottle of ink. I hoisted the bottle high, grinned up at the old roarer scowling down at me, a loosely rolled cigarette drooping from a corner of his broad mouth, and said, “Tell me a story, Lou!”

Purchase From Amazon Here

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Bear Haskell Rides!



NOW AVAILABLE IN BEAUTIFUL HARDCOVER AND EBOOK FROM FIVE STAR!

Two western novels featuring Bear Haskell, U.S. Deputy Marshal, who rides for Chief Marshal Henry Dade out of Denver’s First District Court. Haskell’s a former Union war hero and Pinkerton agent, a big man over six and a half feet tall and as broad as a barn door. He wears a necklace of bear claws taken from the grizzly that almost had him for supper. That’s the kind of man bear is. He holds a grudge and he gives no quarter—to grizzly bears or men. In these two rapid-fire westerns, Bear is given the nasty assignment of going after the man or men who backshot an old lawman friend; then, in the second book, of heading down to Texas to hunt a notorious, mysterious, and cruelly cunning killer known as “the Jackal.”

The two novels in this volume are the first two in my Bear Haskell series. The other two, available as ebooks at Amazon, will be available soon in a handsome hardcover--as well as professionally edited ebook--next year. These are rough and rowdy tales, with all the sex and violence galloping around in its rowdy writer's heart!!

Purchase Here From Amazon

Monday, July 23, 2018

Why I Brew Beer

The author with a fresh batch of beer

I brew beer for the same reason men and women have been brewing beer since they started pounding on tom-toms and genuflecting before the sun gods—because I like the taste of a good, heady pail of suds. Aside from a little slap ‘n’ tickle on a hot August Saturday night with the radio turned low, you just can’t beat a good beer buzz. It’s almost as much fun as wrestling pterodactyls. 

Brewing beer probably wasn’t as enjoyable back when men and women had so many other tasks on their calendars, like killing supper and holding the wolves at bay. It was probably just another damn thing they had to do. A necessary one if they relied on beer because they couldn’t trust their water, as was the case for some civilizations. No, really! 

Of course, for me brewing beer is a hobby. Like most hobbies there’s the obligatory explanation that it distracts me from my day job—writing—and helps me relax. That’s a somewhat spurious notion for me, however. I’m one of those rare, enviable schleps who loves his day job. Writing for me is fun and relaxing, and there’s the added benefit that the occasional paycheck helps hold the wolves at bay. 

I like brewing beer because I relish the complicated simplicity and the long elemental tradition of the age-old task. What is more basic and natural than scooping up a handful of malted barley, giving it a good sniff, drawing that malty aroma deep into your lungs, then dropping it into the converted meat grinder and churning up the grain so that the bouquet grows even more sweet and lush as the finely ground hulls and kernels separate and drop into the bucket below the funnel spout? 

The author with a few beers

That grainy tang is right out of my fond childhood and teenage memories of late July grain harvests back on my grandfather’s farm in North Dakota. It’s akin to the memory-loaded smells of lilacs in a country cemetery, the greasy tang of old cars, and the Magic Marker and chalk-and-varnish scent of old schoolrooms. (I don’t know what schoolrooms smell like today; do computers have an odor?)

Beer brewing is addictively simple yet complicated. In a nutshell, you grind the grain, add water, stir, boil, throw in some yeast and hops, let sit, and—voila!—you’re in the suds! Take it from me--any idiot who flunked seventh-grade algebra and whose girlfriend had to get him through physics can do it. The complication, and thus the fun, arises when you start experimenting with different grain combinations and hops combinations, different mashing temperatures, and when you decide you want to brew beers from different eras. I love researching old recipes to find out what kind of beer, say, Thomas Jefferson brewed and quaffed. (He added corn to his favorite ale.)
  
Because I’m a Midwesterner and in love with all things good ole Middle American, I once tracked down an early recipe for Pabst Blue Ribbon, and gave it a try. It was much better than the weak tea version of beer that that once-regal company is brewing these days, I tell you. It was once thick and rich and so malty that taking that first sip was like diving into a combine hopper in late July!

Another reason I enjoy brewing beer is because, since I’m solitary most of the time, as most writers are, it provides an opportunity to mingle with like-minded friends who also like to brew beer. My rundown garage has not only become a brew barn but a metaphorical gazebo on the proverbial town square, where I and two others guys—both of whom I’ve known for over twenty years and one of whom I’ve known since we were in the fifth grade together—can grind and boil and stir, rib and kid, meander down shared memory lanes (we all grew up in the wilds of North Dakota in the 60s and 70s) and swap recipes as well as more than a few tall tales.

Which is no doubt what most folks have been doing while brewing beer since we were hoofing it after mastodons. 

The author with his brew pals (l to r), Kent Quamme, Bill Schmidt

7/23/18

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Next Lou Prophet Book Giveaway at GoodReads!



Sign up for the Goodreads Giveaway of my new mass-market paperback Lou Prophet novel due out next month from Pinnacle...This book is two 50k word Lou Prophet novels in one. Each I published briefly as ebook originals but when Pinnacle asked if I could send them a book fast to fill a hole in their schedule, I took those two ebooks off Amazon and put this single volume together. The books are framed by a fictional introduction by an old, ink-stained newsman who got to know Lou when Lou, in his later years, had gone off to California to consult for the "flickers," the silent movie westerns, and ended up driving off a road above Malibu in a car filled with starlets and moonshine. He lost a leg. He's old and tired and he's living in the Odd Fellows Home of Christian Charity, but still has enough vim and vinegar to recount tales of his past life as a bounty hunter in the old West...



And, by the way

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!!
Patriotism Ain't Dead at Mean Pete Press!

Sand Dune Saloon, MacLeod, North Dakota

Yesterday, Sunday October 22, 2018, was a great day for a road trip. My friend and old (but still young!)  schoolmate, Mary Altoff, and I...