Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Click on the link below to read the first fifty pages of Mean Pete's screenplay adaptation of his blistering suspense thriller, PARADOX FALLS…

Saturday, June 21, 2014

New Lou Prophet Action-Western Now Live on Amazon and B&N!


“Where’s Prophet?”
“Who wants to know?” Louisa asked again.
One of the other men chuckled.
Prophet ground his teeth together. He didn’t like the sound of that. He didn’t like the sound of any of it. There had to be ten riders up there, maybe a few more, a few less. It didn’t matter. Prophet and the Vengeance Queen were outnumbered.
Prophet increased his pace as he headed toward the shack.
“What do you think you’re doin’ out here?” asked the man who’d spoken before—the group’s leader, most likely.
“Who wants to know?” was Louisa’s mocking response to that question, as well.
Oh, shit, Prophet thought. Oh shit! He quickened his pace even more.
“Who wants to know?” asked the man who’d been doing most of the talking. “I’ll tell you who wants to know. The sons o’ bitches who’re gonna burn down your purty ass, Miss Bonaventure!”
Prophet broke into a dead run.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


Here's a Mean Pete sneak peek at the new Lou Prophet book which I hope to have up and running on Saturday. Just hammering the yarn into shape now, sanding down the raw wood…

Chapter 1

Lou Prophet reined Mean and Ugly to a halt along a dusty trail somewhere on the devil’s backside of southeastern Colorado Territory, between hell and high water though if there was a drop of the wet stuff out here, Prophet hadn’t seen it after two days of hard riding. He swabbed sweat from his sunburned forehead with a grimy shirtsleeve, and popped the cork from the mouth of his hide-wrapped canteen.
Mean gave a snort, twitched an ear, and glanced back over his right wither at his rider, the line-back dun’s wide, mud-brown right eye cast with a question.
“Sorry, pard. You had all you’re gonna get for a while,” Prophet said. “If it don’t rain soon, neither one of us is gonna be drinkin’ again until we find a spring.”
He glanced at the sky. Cobalt blue with only a few clouds hanging just above the southern horizon, somewhere over the vast New Mexico Territory. He glanced over his right shoulder, saw the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains jutting against the horizon like a badly uneven saw blade, a couple of the longest teeth touched with wax.
No clouds in that direction, either.
He was surprised that there was still snow this late in the year up there. His mouth watered as he thought of cool, gurgling streams tumbling down those verdant slopes through fragrant spruce forests and elk meadows.
The bounty hunter would rather be up there than out here on this parched plain. But he’d been summoned out here. Now he took a sip of the tepid, brackish water, returned the cork to the flask, and hung the canteen from his saddlehorn. He fished a scrap of lined notepaper out of the breast pocket of his pullover shirt, which he wore beneath a brown leather vest, and unfolded the paper that was soggy with the sweat his dried out body still managed to ooze out his pores.
In a woman’s flowing hand, in blue-black ink, it read:
Mr. Prophet,
On September First, please ride to the old Ramsay Creek Cavalry Outpost on Ramsay Creek in Brush County, eastern Colorado Territory. Take the Soldier Creek Trail west from Colorado Springs. A rider will meet you at the outpost with news regarding your friend, Miss Louisa Bonaventure.
The only signature was three X’s.
Prophet scowled down at the leaf, which fluttered in the hot, dry breeze, the sweat in the paper drying even as he held the note in his hand. Concern and curiosity plucked at him, causing the muscles between his shoulder blades to twitch uncomfortably.
He carefully folded the note and returned it to his pocket. He didn’t know why he was so careful with the paper, which had come from a small, lined notepad you could purchase in any mercantile. He’d already memorized what the note said. He’d recited it to himself over the three days he’d been riding through this vast country from Colorado Springs, where the note had been slipped under his hotel room door.
Still, since it alluded to Louisa, he felt proprietary toward the note—maybe because he didn’t have his partner and sometime-lover here to be proprietary to, in person.
He smiled at that. Whenever he acted proprietary to Louisa herself, he got an earful. He’d welcome that earful now, however. He was worried about the girl. Damned worried. Did someone have her? Was she dead, and was the writer of the note wanting to tell him about it?
Had she been kidnapped?
Or was someone using Louisa’s name to bait him into a trap?
“Ah, shit,” Prophet said, looking around carefully for any sign of an ambush. He looked behind him again. There was no movement along the horse trail that rose and fell and meandered and disappeared for long stretches as it dwindled off into the distance, as though swallowed by the distantly looming and majestic Pike’s Peak. The land was all shades of brown relieved only by the cream color of buttes and the deep blue of the arching sky.
No movement back there. If someone was trailing him, they were damned good at trailing. If they were that good at trailing, so that he, a veteran man-tracker himself, couldn’t detect him, then the tracker was likely a damned good bushwhacker, too.
Prophet didn’t have to remind himself to be careful, but as he touched spurs to Mean and Ugly’s ribs and started off along the trail, he did anyway.
“Go easy, hoss,” he muttered, continuing to look around. “Ole Scratch ain’t ready for you. Er...well, maybe he’s ready for you, but you ain’t ready for him. You’ll shovel his coal in good time, but you ain’t done stompin’ with your tail up on this side of the sod yet.”
Again, Mean and Ugly twitched an incredulous ear and glanced at him over his right wither. The horse blew.
“Hobble your lips, Mean.”
Mean shook his head, rattling the bit in his teeth, and continued walking down a grade and around the shoulder of one of the many hogbacks out here. As they climbed into some scrubby hills peppered with clay-colored boulders and twisted cedars and junipers, Prophet stopped the line-back dun once again.
He stared ahead, frowning.
They were almost to Ramsay Creek. The cavalry outpost would be a quarter of a mile or so ahead and to the north, on the left side of the trail. Prophet knew the outpost from having holed up there a couple of years ago. It had been abandoned even back then, and it had afforded good cover from the pack of young Kiowa he’d run into, and who’d chased him, whooping, hollering, and laughing and waving war clubs.
He hadn’t been sure if they were just funning with him, wanting to scare the shit out of the white-eyes because they were bored and simply out looking for a white-eyes to scare, or if they really meant to lift his hair. He hadn’t taken a chance on them not intending the latter, so he’d high-tailed it to the outpost along Ramsay Creek, which consisted of a half-dozen or so still-standing adobe brick, brush-roofed shacks, and snapped off a magazine of Winchester loads at the braves slithering around the surrounding rocky buttes and arroyos.
Prophet had thought that one of his slugs might have pinked one of the Kiowa. That had sobered the natives right fast, and they’d slipped quietly back, like coyotes with buckshot-peppered behinds, into the southern badlands along the Arkansas River. He’d neither seen nor heard from them again though it had been a nervous night he’d spent there at the ghostly old outpost, which some settlers in the country claimed was haunted by the ghosts of cavalry soldiers who’d been killed there during an Arapaho attack twenty-five years earlier.
Prophet could have sworn he’d spied a couple of blue-clad soldiers dancing together to the strains he heard of a loose-stringed, scratchy-sounding fiddle. He never told anybody about that, and he’d long since put it out of his mind though obviously not completely because he was remembering those two soldiers now. He could see them as though he’d seen them only the night before, and he could hear the squawks of a fiddle though it had to have merely been a trick of the wind stealing through the rocks and brush that hot summer night.
Not a fiddle. And the two soldier-ghosts had not been dancing together the way soldiers often did when no women were available.
Nope. The Kiowa had merely rattled him. He wished he could have blamed those ghost soldiers and that fiddle on too much tangleleg, but he hadn’t had so much as dipped his tongue in any who-hit-John since he’d pulled out of Julesburg two days before.
“Ah, hell,” Prophet complained as he swung down from Mean and Ugly’s back. “Why did I have to go and remember that?”
The horse looked at him through a dubious left eye.
“Remember what, you ask?” Prophet said, accustomed to having conversations with the hammerhead. “Them two soldiers. Now, why in the hell did I have to remember that? Not only do I got Louisa to worry about, but now I’m gonna be worried about them two blue-bellies showin’ up again just as soon as the sun goes down. And believe me, Mean, when the sun goes down out here, it goes all the way down. I mean, it sinks all the way down to the bottom of the dad-gum universe so’s you don’t think you’re ever gonna see it again, and that’s a bonded fact.”
Prophet was reaching under the stocky dun’s belly to unbuckle the latigo. “What I’m sayin’ is—it gets dark out here. Well, you were here. You remember.”
He slipped the bridle bit from Mean’s teeth, so the horse could forage, and held the horse’s snout steady while he said, “Mean—you an’ I never talked about this, but...did you see ‘em? Them soldiers, I mean? Did you hear that fiddle?”
The horse stretched his neck out so he could try biting off one of the bone buttons from the V-neck of Prophet’s soggy cream pullover.
“Ah, shit,” Prophet said, releasing Mean’s snout. “I don’t know why I ever try talkin’ to you. You never take nothin’ serious. If you had seen them two soldiers, or heard that fiddle, you woulda been so scared you’d have pulled your picket pin, and you’d still be runnin’ straight north. Likely be all the way to the North Pole by now!”
Prophet chuckled as he doffed his hat and carefully poured an inch of water into it from the canteen. He set the hat down in front of Mean and Ugly, and while the horse slurped up the little bit of water, Prophet lifted the lanyard of his ten-gauge, sawed-off Richards coach gun from over his head and right shoulder, and hung the shotgun from his saddlehorn. The ten-gauge cannon was savagely helpful for work in close quarters, but the bounty hunter anticipated no such work out here.
He slipped his Winchester ’73 from its scabbard, ran an appreciative hand down the barrel and walnut forestock, and pumped a cartridge into the action. By the time he’d off-cocked the hammer, the horse had finished the water and was snorting and bobbing his battle-scarred head, demanding more.
“You’ll just have to wait and hope the well at the outpost has water in it,” Prophet told him. “If not, we’ll both be chewin’ leather.”
The horse whickered, shook his head.
“Fuss all you want, pard,” Prophet said, leaving the horse’s bridle reins hanging, knowing the horse would stay with its reins until Prophet whistled for it. “Just stay put.” He glanced around, squinting one eye beneath the brim of his salt-stained, funnel-brimmed Stetson that had once been tan but was now bleached to Confederate gray, which was fitting. “Let me know if you smell Injuns on the wind.”
Prophet pulled his hat brim down low on his forehead and walked through the brush between two low buttes. To his left was a twisting, gravel streambed that was as bone-dry as the rest of this country, with a couple of bleached cows skulls, half-buried in the sand scalloped by previous floodwaters, mocking him.
Prophet made his way through the rocky buttes. The sun beat down and an occasional hot breeze scratched the creosote and Spanish bayonet branches together. That must have been what he’d heard that night.
So, if that’s what he’d heard—what had he seen?
He shrugged the niggling thoughts away, concentrating instead on the task at hand. He wanted to approach the outpost without being seen—at least, without being seen before he saw whomever had summoned him here and had learned what in hell they wanted to tell him about the blond-headed Vengeance Queen herself, Louisa Bonaventure.
He moved through the brushy hills, narrowly avoiding two rattlesnakes, hearing a hawk hunting unseen in the deep blue sky, for a good twenty minutes. Then he hunkered down behind a boulder sheathed in scrub brush and sage.
Below, in a clearing amongst the buttes, sat the scattered adobe brick shacks of the old outpost though a few weren’t so much standing as leaning, part or all of their brush roofs having fallen inside the wind- and sun-blasted walls. There were a half-dozen other logs shacks around the perimeter, but they’d long since fallen to one side, or their roofs had collapsed. In typical Army fashion, they hadn’t been built well. Probably not enough stone or straw in the mud. Only three or four of the shacks appeared to still be hospitable though likely not to much except black widows and diamondbacks.
It was eerily quiet down there.
The breeze lifted a plume of dust that tried desperately to form a devil, and failed. It bounced around a few tumbleweeds and threatened to scrape a few of the other many tumbleweeds away from the walls of the shacks, where they hunkered like frightened children.
Prophet raked a thumb down his unshaven jaw, making a scratching sound.
“I don’t like this,” he told himself aloud. “I don’t like this one damn bit.”
Then a horse whinnied. It wasn’t Mean who whinnied. It was a horse somewhere down there in the hollow but hidden back in the brush and rocks on the other side of the outpost.
Someone else was here.
Why didn’t he show himself?
Prophet was starting to like this even less. He hadn’t enjoyed the night he’d spent here several years ago, and now, like a fool, he’d come back for more.
Now, as he started down the slope toward the ruins, the breeze started sounding like the scratching of an old fiddle...

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

STILLMAN COUNTRY Volume 1, and Lou Prophet Rides Again!

The first Ben Sillman ebook omnibus, containing the first two books in the series, is now up and running on Amazon and Barnes & Noble…


Buy at B & N


A Brand-New Lou Prophet Novel
from Mean Pete Press!

Lou Prophet and his sometime-sidekick, sometime-love, Louisa Bonaventure, are lured to an old, abandoned cavalry outpost in southeast Colorado, and ambushed. Louisa is badly wounded. While the Vengeance Queen teeters on the edge of death, Prophet hunts the seven nightriders who tried to kick them both out with a cold shovel. So doing, he runs into a town teeming with scandalous secrets and seven devils who must pay for their sins in blood….

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Books Coming This Summer from Mean Pete Press!

Look for these new lightning-fast action yarns up soon at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, starting with the new Lou Prophet novel:

Friday, June 6, 2014

My Pal Karl Stefan--WWII Veteran Fighter Pilot…and Ernie Pyle

Amazing what happened 70 years ago. All those young men barreling onto the beaches under heavy machine gun fire, watching their friends cut to shreds in the water and on the sand before they could climb the cliffs. Incredible bravery. I stand in awe of those tough old salts, the ones that didn't make it and the ones who did. When I was a kid, I read every book I could find on the subject of the D-Day Invasion, including most of the books of Cornelius Ryan. Fortunately, that's all the closer I've ever gotten to warfare. I don't know if I'd have the cajones to do what they did. Probably not. The fellas were made of firmer fiber that most of us today, unfortunately.

I hope young people continue to reflect on that time in our history and to read the books on the subject. They probably don't realize it, but if it weren't for those soldiers, we in all likelihood wouldn't be here, living the extremely cush lives we take for granted today.

This is me and my neighbor Karl Stefan, who was not part of the invasion but he was a fighter pilot in the South Pacific. Crashed and burned on an aircraft carrier, burned off part of his face and nearly all of one ear. Lived to go ballooning with Malcolm Forbes all over this country and Europe. I met him about 13 years ago, when he was still hiking up Horsetooth Mountain three times a week. He's nearly blind from macular degeneration and near entirely deaf from all those night missions in the incredibly loud cockpit of a Wildcat fighter plane. (The Navy hadn't thought yet about ear protection…)

Anyway, my hat is off to all the WWII vets, including Karl. I hope yours is, too.

And here's my favorite essay of all time. It's by Ernie Pyle, one of my favorite writers of all time. Ernie Pyle was a war correspondent during WWII. He was there on D-Day, storming the beaches with the soldiers. A sniper's bullet killed him in the South Pacific. "The Death of Captain Waskow" is a classic, still brings tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat. Everyone should read it today and continue to read it in the years ahead, as we get farther and farther from that horrible war, so we never forget about it or the men who fought and the men who gave their lives.

Men like Karl and Ernie Pyle.

FRONTLINES IN ITALY-In this war I have known a lot of officers who were loved and respected by the soldiers under them. But never have I crossed the trail of any man as beloved as Capt. Henry T. Waskow, of Belton, Texas.
Capt. Henry T. Waskow
Captain Waskow was a company commander in the 36th Division. He had led his company since long before it left the States. He was very young, only in his middle 20's, but he carried in him a sincerity and a gentleness that made people want to be guided by him.

"After my own father, he came next," a sergeant told me.

"He always looked after us," a soldier said. "He'd go to bat for us every time."

"I've never known him to do anything unfair," another one said.

I was at the foot of the mule trail the night they brought Capt. Waskow's body down the mountain. The moon was nearly full at the time, and you could see far up the trail, and even part way across the valley. Soldiers made shadows as they walked.

Dead men had been coming down the mountain all evening, lashed onto the backs of mules. They came lying belly-down across wooden pack saddles their heads hanging down on the left side of the mule, their stiffened legs sticking out awkwardly from the other side, bobbing up and down as the mule walked.

The Italian mule-skinners were afraid to walk beside dead men, so Americans had to lead the mules down that night. Even the Americans were reluctant to unlash and lift off the bodies at the bottom, so an officer had to do it himself, and ask others to help.

The first one came early in the eveningThey slid him down from the mule and stood him on his feet for a moment. In the half light he might have been merely a sick man standing there, leaning on the others. Then they lay him on the ground in the shadow of the low stone wall alongside the road.

I don't know who that first one was. You feel small in the presence of the dead men, and ashamed at being alive, and you don't ask silly questions.

We left him there beside the road, that first one, and we all went back into the cowshed and sat on water cans or lay on the straw, waiting for the next batch of mules.

Somebody said the dead soldier had been dead for four days, and then nobody said anything more 
about it. We talked soldier talk for an hour or more. The dead man lay all alone outside, in the shadow of the stone wall.

Then a soldier came into the dark cowshed and said there were some more bodies outside. We went out into the road. Four mules stood there, in the moonlight, in the road where the trail came down off the mountain. The soldiers who led them stood there waiting. "This one is Capt. Waskow," one of them said quietly.

Two men unlashed his body from the mule and lifted it off and lay it in the shadow beside the low stone wall. Other men took the other bodies off. Finally there were five, lying end to end in a long row alongside the road. You don't cover up dead men in the combat zone. They just lie there in the shadows until somebody else comes after them.

The unburdened mules moved off to their olive orchard. The men in the road seemed reluctant to leave. They stood around, and gradually one by one you could sense them moving close to Capt. Waskow's body. Not so much to look, I think, as to say something in finality, to him and to themselves. I stood close by and I could hear. One soldier came and looked down and he said out loud, "Goddammit." 

That's all he said, and then he walked away. Another one came. He said "Goddammit to hell anyway." He looked down for a few moments, and then he turned and left.

Another man came; I think he was an officer. It was hard to tell officers from men in the half-light, for all were bearded and grimy dirty. The man looked down into the dead captain's face, and then he spoke directly to him, as though he were alive. He said:

"I'm sorry, old man."

Then a soldier came and stood beside the officer, and bent over, and he too spoke to his dead captain, not in a whisper but awfully tenderly, and he said:

"I sure am sorry, sir."

Then the first man squatted down, and he reached down and took the dead hand, and he sat there for five full minutes, holding the dead hand in his own and looking intently into the dead face, and he never uttered a sound all the time he sat there.

And then finally he put the hand down, and then reached up and gently straightened the points of the captain's shirt collar, and then he sort of rearranged the tattered edges of his uniform around the wound. And then he got up and walked away down the road in the moonlight, all alone.

Ernie Pyle

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Paradox Falls FREE on Amazon Through the Weekend!

Go on over and snag yourself a free copy today…or tomorrow…or even Saturday or Sunday for that matter… And I'd love to hear your thoughts. This is the first non-western novel I've written, but I had one hell of a good time hammering it out. And I'll be working on another one soon.


Here's what James Reasoner had to say about it on his Rough Edges blog:

PARADOX FALLS is Peter Brandvold's first true horror novel, although he's included horror and supernatural elements in some of his Westerns. It's a good one, too, as the plot finds three old friends upholding a tradition as they hike to the top of a mountain in Colorado. Jake is a writer, not as successful as he'd like to be, and when he and Ashley were teenagers they were each other's first love. But Ashley is now married to Dave, Jake's oldest and best friend, so anything that was between him and Ashley is long since over and forgotten.

Sure it is. With a setup like that, you know there's going to be plenty of tension on that hike to Paradox Falls, but if that's not enough there's also a serial killer loose on the mountain, a fortune in hidden gold that may or may not exist, a sinister, crossbow-wielding old-timer who may or may not be what he claims to be, a beautiful coed with a secret of her own, and assorted other complications.

As you can tell, Brandvold has packed a lot into this relatively short, fast-moving novel, and it really kept me flipping the virtual pages. The action takes a while to get started, but once it does it's full-throttle to the end and even more effective because of that build-up. Brandvold is one of the best Western writers in the business today, and PARADOX FALLS demonstrates that he may well have a fine career as a horror novelist ahead of him as well, if he pursues it.

This volume also contains the previously published horror short story "Devlin and Johnny Forever", which is also excellent and helps make PARADOX FALLS well worth picking up.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

James Patterson & The Pool He Peed In

James Patterson is one of those homogenous, androgynous, benign, uninspired writers whom legacy publishers adore. He's an easy bestseller because his simplistic yarns and lackluster prose appeal to the masses. And he's willing to take a small cut of each book's profits because he sells a lot of books, so he still makes a ton of money and his publishers probably take him out to eat a lot. The legacy publishers spend a lot of dinero promoting Patterson's questionable skills, which, by the way--sour grape alert!--would be sneered at by even the students in most freshman creative writing courses.

Patterson's a bad writer. His prose just lies there like wet noodles on dry linoleum.

Anyway, this wet noodle, albeit rich wet noodle, is out to get the government to shut-down Amazon and thus save Barnes & Noble and other bookstores. Personally, I think most bookstores suck. They have for years. Bookstores used to be where I went--no, virtually lived in--to find the new, the different, the challenging, the quirky, the subversive. As a teenage reader residing in the banal hinterland, I used to walk out of my local B. Dalton bookstore in Columbia Mall in Grand Forks, North Dakota, grinning like the cat that ate the canary.

I'd found something that really rang my bell and inspired the holy crap out of me. That took me far, far away from my shitty job at McDonald's--far, far away from the sugar beet fields.

The run of the mill new bookstore is no longer the place to find the kind of stuff that makes small town boys want to run away and join the French Foreign Legion…or even just become writers. The place to find that stuff now, the stuff that will inspire you to sing and jump and read late at night under the covers by flashlight...or on on Amazon.

Amazon is the home of virtual publishers and novelty publishers heralding new voices that the legacy publishers would turn their noses up at, because their bean counters in monkey suits would tell them to. Amazon is the home of virtual as well as small, print publishers who are also bringing back the neat old stuff that somehow slipped through the cracks over the years. I'm thinking in particularly of Stark House Press. I devour everything they put out. Publishers like that make me feel like I'm thirteen again! I want to join the French Foreign Legion…or at least swill beer and read on my patio till late in the night!

There are tons of publishers like Stark House out there now. But believe me, you won't find them at Barnes and Noble.

Only at Amazon and sometimes, if you're lucky, the Barnes & Noble website.

Now, there are some people who are just fine with the James Patterson-style authors of the world. Those are the only authors many people will ever read. And that's fine. But don't diss Amazon. You can find him and Dan Brown and all their ilk on Amazon, too.

So, to you, James Patterson, who have made a very good living churning out just the kind of stuff your readers want, shut the fuck up and let us more creative and imaginative folk get ripped on something really GOOD now and then.

Why do we all have to swim in the shallow end of the pool you peed in?

Here's the wonderful J.A. Konrath's take on it, which I like a lot: Newbies Guide To Publishing

Review of Paradox Falls

Here's a line from James Reasoner's review of my new horror thriller over at his Rough Edges blog:

"The action takes a while to get started, but once it does it's full-throttle to the end and even more effective because of that build-up. Brandvold is one of the best Western writers in the business today, and PARADOX FALLS demonstrates that he may well have a fine career as a horror novelist ahead of him as well…"

For the full review, go here: Rough Edges Review

To buy the book, which is priced at .99 cents for a limited time, go here: Paradox Falls at Amazon