Saturday, March 9, 2013

A Mean Pete Book Proposal

Writing proposals that catch an editor's eye is a damn tough thing to do.  Over the years of hammering away at it, I've come upon a formula that works pretty well.  And that is to make the proposal almost as entertaining as the first pages of the book itself.  Make it smooth and dramatic and colorful enough that no editor who reads it and knows good writing and the makings of an exciting yarn could possibly turn it down.

I figure the best way to illustrate this is to post one of my own proposals.  This is a recent pitch that has not yet been sold (though I have had an offer on it), as I'm still trying to find a new home for my Frank Leslie novels, since I recently haven't been able to agree on terms with Signet.  So here's my brainstorm for a book that pairs up two of my favorite and most popular western heroes...or maybe I should say anti-heroes...the half-breed Yakima Henry and the young redheaded pistoleer, Colter Farrow.

If you're a writer, I hope you find it useful if not inspiring.  If you're an editor in the market for the next big western, send an offer Mean Pete can't refuse in a limo with a good-lookin' starlet, a bottle of coffin varnish, and some sandwiches, an' we'll talk in the morning...


A Western Proposal

By Frank Leslie
(Peter Brandvold)

The half-breed adventurer Yakima Henry has a bounty on his head.  Apparently, the man who’d been roughing up a whore in the brothel Yakima was cooling his heels in was a deputy sheriff with a stable full of loyal amigos.  Yakima wishes he’d known that before he shot the man though it probably wouldn’t have made much difference.  The hombre had needed killing.

With hot lead and drumming hooves warming his backtrail, Yakima heads for Mexico for some rest and relaxation.  Likely, several years worth, and that’s all right with him.  He has nowhere else to go, nothing else to do.  Things hadn’t worked out with the woman he’d met in Wyoming (see Dead Man’s Trail, Signet 2012).  Lasting love hasn’t so far been in the cards for Yakima Henry.  He could use a warm winter with a sweet senorita along the shores of the Sea of Cortez.

Meanwhile, Colter Farrow--the young, red-headed pistolero who wears a nasty S-brand on his cheek compliments of the sheriff of Sapinero up in Colorado Territory (see The Guns of Sapinero, Signet 2010) has an even larger bounty on his head.  Young Colter not only killed the man who branded him but he’s been framed for the murders of another pair of U.S. marshals.

Colter, too, decides to drag his ass down to Mexico, only he does so in a storm of dust and hot lead with a whole pack of bounty hunters barking at his heels.  When the scar-faced gunslinger crosses the Rio Bravo and finds a night’s solace in the arms of beautiful senorita, he lands himself in even more trouble. 

The senorita didn’t tell Colter that her father was a Rurale captain who’d been bound and determined that his daughter retain her virginity until she married the man of the captain’s dreams.

On the run once more, Colter runs into Yakima Henry.  Since they’re like-minded and share similar problems, they decide to team up and head to Baja together.  Not even the craftiest bounty hunter could track them across the Mojave Desert.

Only, when the pair makes it to Baja, they run into a mad Irishman and former General in the U.S. Cavalry.  General Ciaran Yeats’s crazy dream, influenced by baconora as well as marijuana, is to carve his own private empire out of the Mexican State of Sonora.

Yakima Henry and Colter Farrow, down on their luck, pockets empty, agree to work for a wealthy hacendado, Frederico de la Paz, whose hacienda has been plundered for gold and weapons--as well as his daughter Alejandra.  The patron wants Yakima and Colter--both of whose impressive reputations have made their ways to de la Paz--to find the gang, led by a gringo in U.S. Cavalry gear, that attacked his ranch and kidnapped his daughter.

Yakima and Colter follow the marauders’ trail to the old Mexican prison that has been taken over by Yeats and his small army of kill-crazy cutthroats.  Some of the most vicious pistoleros on either side of the border, Yeats’s gang is comprised of Americanos, Mexicans, half-breeds, blacks, and everything in between.

The General calls his fortress Castillo de Luna, Fortress on the Moon. (The landscape is decidedly moon-like.)

Outnumbered seventy-to-two, Yakima and Colter decide that the only way they have a shot of getting the gold, the weapons, and the girl is to join Yeats’s ranks and destroy his army from within.  Only, the odds get even steeper when they discover that young Alexandra has no desire to be freed from her captors.  In fact, she hadn’t been “captured” at all.  She’d gone willingly with the General’s gang.  She intends to marry General Yates despite his being nearly as old as her father--she’s intoxicated by money, power, and marijuana--and live as his queen once they’ve wrestled Sonora away from the Mexican Army.

But when the lusty, ravishing girl falls in love with Yakima and tries to convince the powerful, gun-handy half-breed to double-cross the General, so she and he can rule Sonora together, a chinking in the General’s army reveals itself.  And it’s one that Yakima and Colter decide to exploit most thoroughly...with the help of a Gatling gun and several hundred pounds of dynamite.

In the end, Castillo de Luna a smoking ruin behind them, Yakima and Colter head back north to Don de la Paz with the guns, the gold, and the girl tied to her saddle and cursing like a hard-rock miner.

Blood on the Border, like all of my other seventy-plus novels, will be kick-ass action from front to back, with a gripping, unrelenting pace and characters that vault right off the page!

Who Is Frank Leslie?

Peter Brandvold has penned over 70 fast-action westerns under his own name and his penname, Frank Leslie.  He is the author of the ever-popular .45-Caliber books featuring Cuno Massey as well as the Lou Prophet and Yakima Henry novels.  Recently, Berkley published his horror/western, Dust of the Damned, featuring ghoul-hunter Uriah Zane.  Head honcho at “Mean Pete Publishing,” publisher of harrowing western ebooks, he lives in Colorado.  Visit his website at  Follow his blog at:

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