Meet the new CEO of Mean Pete Press! Her name is Sydney and she's a 9-year-old Aussie. She's slipped write into the command chair here at Mean Pete Press though she did allow us a little time off yesterday to waltz down Pearl Street in Boulder and sip a beer or two at Connor O'Neil's.
And here's the cover of Mean Pete's first family-friendly western, which will be out next August in hardcover from Five-Star…
Currently, I'm wrapping up the first book in a Yakima Henry prequel series--AMBUSH AT APACHE PASS. Just about done. Then I'm going to edit through Christmas and New Years.
DEAD RIVER KILLER is now available for download at Graphic Audio. The cd's will be available on January 1. They'll be available in truck stops around February 1. I'll have an audio book coming out from Graphic Audio for many months ahead, so you might want to bookmark the website..
I've listened to DEAD RIVER KILLER and was blown away by the quality of the actors and general production values. It really is like a movie in your mind!
I was notified yesterday that the translation rights to my most recent Yakima Henry tale, DEAD MAN'S TRAIL, were bought by the largest of the Italian book publishers, Mondadori.
I thought that was fitting, since some of my very favorite westerns were made by the Italians, including my favorite Italian flick of them all (though it's a very close first, skimming in ahead of the "Man With No Name" trilogy by the breadth of a frog's hair)--LE GRAND SILENCE, or, THE GREAT SILENCE.
I believe Graphic Audio will be publishing DEAD MAN'S TRAIL in February. Since they don't have the cover image up yet, here's the link for DEAD RIVER KILLER, which will be available soon and is available for preorder now…
A good half of my wild-assed oaters have been picked up by Graphic Audio, the best audio company in the business. The first book, a Yakima Henry yarn, should be up and running next month though the official publication date is January 1. I think it will be available the first week in December if you're a subscriber.
Click on the link below to hear an excerpt. Personally, I think GA has done a killer job on Dead River Killer!
I've always hated going to the dentist. Hated it like a nuclear apocalypse. I have a feeling this over-zealous fear stems from the fact that my parents tried to straighten my teeth several times when I was a shaver, so I was in and out of dentists' scary offices for several years. And none of these bastards did the job. My teeth are as crooked as an old Welsh miner's!
Anyway, given my fear of dentists, I just naturally wrote the following scene from the third Cuno Massey book, .45-Caliber Manhunt, the ebook reprint of which will be up at Amazon and Barnes & Noble by the end of tomorrow. The formatting is nearly complete.
In the mean time, I'm working on a brand new Yakima Henry prequel series, FORT HELL, the first book of which will be out from Signet next September.
the giant bellowed, sounding as though he had a large rock in his mouth. "Pull the
damn tooth! Oh, Christ! Pull the damn thing out!"
The doctor's features flattened and his
flush abated as he realized the reason for the bizarre stranger's visit.
"Toothache, eh?" Romer felt
relief. "I see. Sit down. I'll get my knife. No, not in my chair —
you'll break it. Sit on the floor against the wall."
Pacheca obeyed without hesitation,
dropping clumsily to his knees, then twisting around on his butt, shoving his
back against the wall beside the door.
The doctor reentered the room, carrying a
knife and a thin pliers. "I'd offer you more whiskey, but from the smell,
I'd say you've had enough."
Pacheca shook his
head. "No whiskey. Just cut
the sumbitch out. . . now!"
"Hold on, hold on," the doctor
muttered, moving a green-gold Rochester lamp from his desk to the small, round table near
When he'd got it lit, he jerked up his
pants at the thighs and dropped to his knees.
"Open wide." He peered inside
the big, dark hole of Pacheca's mouth, squinting against the hot, fetid breath.
The giant let out a weak groan as he
opened his mouth another inch. The doctor canted
his own head sideways, squinting into
the smelly chasm, looking for the problematic tooth.
It wasn't easy to find. They all looked problematic — rotten and crooked and half
dead. He'd seen better teeth on taffy-chewing Welsh miners.
"Ah," he said finally.
"There we go. Mercy."
He reached inside Pacheca's mouth with the
pliers in his right hand, the scalpel in his left. As he tugged and probed,
Pacheca pressed the back of his head against the wall, squeezing his eyes
closed, cheeks rolled up into his eye sockets.
"Good Lord," the doctor
exclaimed after several minutes, withdrawing his tools and shaking his head with
a sigh. "The damn roots must be wrapped around your jaw."
"Oh, for the love o' Job!"
Pacheca grabbed the pliers out of the doctor's hand, stuck them into his mouth,
closed them over the tooth.
As his hand twisted and pulled, sweat
washed over his pale, mottled face. His eyes turned dark and flinty, glazing,
the pupils narrowing. A steady groan peeled up from deep in his chest,
gradually rising not in volume but in pitch.
Wide-eyed with horror, the doctor backed
against his desk.
"Ahhhh!" Pacheca cried at last, his head smacking
the wall as his hand jerked back, the pliers exiting his mouth in a spray of
blood. In their grip rested the molar, the size of a large-caliber bullet, its
snakelike roots dripping thick red drops onto the knotted pine floor.
Pacheca leaned forward and spit a wad into
the doctor's basin. Looking up, he saw the doctor staring at him in shock. He
removed the tooth from the pliers, slapped it into Romer's hand.
"There you go. Did your job for
ye." Pacheca smiled bloodily.
Romer looked up from the tooth in his
hand, gray mustache twitching, brown eyes dark
with awe. "My God, man. Who are you, anyway?"
I got a new iPhone last week, after I took a spontaneous swim in Turtle River near Grand Forks, North Dakota. While the river spit me out, it fried my cell phone. That's all right. It was an old, flip-top cellphone and I'd been needing a new one though I was too cheap to do the deed on my own.
So now I've been enjoying the camera on the new Iphone, and here are some pics from the area around where Mean Pete carries out most of his nastiness. The foggy ones were taken today, Monday, October 28, while the others were taken on a crisp, sunny autumn day last week, along a trail I bike on. I've gotten a lot of ideas for books while traipsing and riding my mountain bike around these hills, so I thought I'd share a few of the pics.
Autumn Fog Settles Over the Neighborhood Here on Mount Milner
Old Sodderberg Ranch.
A little mule deer buck in the neighborhood. (One of many!)
Fall foliage on the Colorado State University Campus
That's me and my aunt and uncle, Wayne and Ginny Meyer, in their home outside of Edinburg, North Dakota. Don't we all look like I've just brought home our very first television set, circa 1945? Or laid out plans for indoor plumbing?
Mean Pete's always been a ham.
Sadly, Uncle Wayne and Aunt Ginny are some of my last remaining relatives in North Dakota. Lots of memories of some colorful family characters up this away, and I hope to start writing about them all soon.
Mean Pete's on sabbatical in North Dakota, his home state, the rural regions of which look more like a Rob Zombie movie every year. I've seen some great locations for a new slasher flick: NORTH DAKOTA CHAINSAW MASSACRE!
Anyway, I'm tooling around, visiting some of my old haunts, scribbling notes for a memoir, the working title of which is NORTH DAKOTA GOTHIC. I think the above pic would be a great cover photo, though I didn't take it.
A writer I've long considered the Ring Lardner or
Damon Runyon of North Dakota, my home state, is retiring from the Grand Forks
Herald newspaper after 40 years of writing on deadline for both the Herald as
well as the Minneapolis Star Tribune. His name is Chuck Haga, and you've likely
never heard of him if you've never read either newspaper.
That's too bad. You've missed out on some fine
Chuck Haga might have written for a relatively small,
regional newspaper when he wrote for the Herald, but his columns, features and reporting on that
"large, rectangular blank spot in the nation's mind," as Eric
Sevareid, another North Dakota newsman, once dubbed mine and Chuck's
motherland, transcended their roots every bit as much as, say, Alice Munro's short
stories transcend her rural Canada.
I'm not saying Chuck deserves the Nobel Prize, which Ms.
Munro just won, but if it were up to me--yeah, I'd give it to him.
I started reading the Grand Forks Herald religiously
back in the 70's and 80's because of Chuck's funny, humane columns that were
written with Steinbeckian heart and bucolic simplicity. They related even to me
at thirteen, fourteen, fifteen years old. How extraordinary for this hayseed
wannabe scribe to find a “real” writer from my hometown writing about this
dreary backwater and making it much more than a blank spot on my own
Chuck made North Dakota in general and the Red River
Valley in particular, seem like a real place--like Huck Finn's Mississippi and
Ahab's big, chilly North Atlantic. My provincial home country with its long,
cold, bland winters and its ice fisherman's and hockey player's one-dimensional
reality was given the same sort of significance as Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha
The dimension of Ray Bradbury's Mars...
Having early on found Chuck Haga's newspaper work
meaningful as well as entertaining and artful, I've over the ensuing years
sought out other newspaper writers to my great enjoyment and enrichment. I can
honestly say that I've learned as much about the world and the craft of straight-forward
writing from Joseph Mitchell, A.J. Liebling, Red Smith, Jimmy Cannon, and Mike
Royko, just to name a few other newspaper writers whom I admire, as I've
learned from the novels of, say, Ernest Hemingway.
And I have Chuck Haga to thank for that.
Funny how just because a guy or gal writes on deadline
on pulp newsprint, he's less esteemed. Well, it ain't right. If you ever get a
chance to read Chuck Haga's flowing columns about real people in a real place,
you'll see that it is so.
I hope Chuck isn't really retiring but that he's merely
leaving the Herald to start a brand new writing career. Or maybe to collect his
columns into one, big, fat, entertaining book.
For a sample of Chuck's writing, click here to read his
farewell column in the Grand Forks Herald.