One Long, Continuous Story; or, East Meets West in The Chintz Age: Tales of Love and Loss for a New New York

“The western, when I do one, will be one long, continuous story,” the Spanish/Mexican cartoonist Sergio Aragonés once (might have) said. Good versus bad, civilization versus wilderness, lawlessness versus law and order … westerns are part of one long story studded with spurs, mustangs, and ten-gallon hats. But take out Ye Olde West trappings and you’re left with any . . . → Read More: One Long, Continuous Story; or, East Meets West in The Chintz Age: Tales of Love and Loss for a New New York

Of Cattle and Men: A Review of The Big Drift, by Patrick Dearen

“In the early days storms drove the cattle irresistibly before them; the cowboys not able to handle the frightened and half frozen animals were forced to drift with them, often for a hundred miles, living as best they could.” –Frederic Remington

“A bovine was what made a cowboy a cowboy, with the help of a horse, and . . . → Read More: Of Cattle and Men: A Review of The Big Drift, by Patrick Dearen

Searching for the Mother Lode; or, How Writing about Writing Reviews for Western Novels Is Like One Big Gold Rush

Mission: Craft  reasonably intelligent author queries to write reviews of two novels set in a western mining town (new trend?).

Focus: Mining towns. No idea, really, what they’re all about. I’m all gunslingers and cowboys. Miners are all gold and digging and claims. I think. 

Objective: Get back in the saddle and…research!!!

I mean, look, classic western towns are easy. Bank . . . → Read More: Searching for the Mother Lode; or, How Writing about Writing Reviews for Western Novels Is Like One Big Gold Rush

Galloping To Hell or the Pecos; or, One Bucko’s Review of a Novel of Pursuit, Redemption, and River Crossings

To Hell or the Pecos, by Patrick Dearen, is a fast-paced western that had me flipping the virtual pages on my iPad as fast as my finger could swipe. (Oh, I was riding a bucking bronco at the time, and shooting at bandits to save a rancher’s daughter. Just so you know I’m not a total . . . → Read More: Galloping To Hell or the Pecos; or, One Bucko’s Review of a Novel of Pursuit, Redemption, and River Crossings

Writing the High Country; or, Author Larry Bjornson on His Western, Wide Open

Writing a novel is hard work. Writing a good western can be even more daunting: westerns, which tend to have plotlines so well traveled you can drive a wagon train through them, nonetheless require historical specificity and a protagonist who typifies rugged individuality—laconic and gimlet-eyed from the start or in a dude-to-hero arc.

So whenever I read . . . → Read More: Writing the High Country; or, Author Larry Bjornson on His Western, Wide Open

Brand Fires on the Fridge; or An Out-West Pin-Up Souvenir

What to do when your long-awaited field trip to the West didn’t produce lanky cowboys dropping into your lap?

Buy one.

Take this tall glass of cool water I found at a Long Beach bookstore.

A twofer special from Monarch, from the collection of es

Monarch Books doesn’t reveal the illustrator of this western by King of Cowboy Lit . . . → Read More: Brand Fires on the Fridge; or An Out-West Pin-Up Souvenir

Sagas of Fighting Men and Flaming Guns; Max Brand’s Words Move Me

A mighty happy (um, late) birthday to Max Brand! He never thought much of his westerns between May 29, 1892 and May 12, 1944, but I can’t hold that against him for too long. If you had been named Frederick Schiller Faust, you might have wanted to be a high-falutin’ poet too.

Unlike many pulp western writers, . . . → Read More: Sagas of Fighting Men and Flaming Guns; Max Brand’s Words Move Me

Of Western Writing and Dreaming; or, William Post’s The Mystery of Table Mountain

Writers are badasses. They have to be. The stereotype of a writer is a coffee-shop-writing fop in a cravat not needing to cling to a 9-to-5 job, but honestly, to get images to incarnate as black-and-white correctly spelled prose between a front and back cover with ISBN number, and read and critiqued and/or praised by more . . . → Read More: Of Western Writing and Dreaming; or, William Post’s The Mystery of Table Mountain

The Buckaroo’s Guide to Writing Novel Happiness; or What Better to Give the Silver-Screen Western Hero of Your Life

There is a strong possibility that during 2 a.m. sleepless dreads or after one too many shots of rye alone, your  Silver-Screen Hero can turn into a shaking mass of insecurities.

As for my 2 a.m. dreads, they too easily take the scenario of

I am spending forever writing a novel;
A fatal flaw in me will always keeps . . . → Read More: The Buckaroo’s Guide to Writing Novel Happiness; or What Better to Give the Silver-Screen Western Hero of Your Life

The Man from Laramie; or, The One-Two Punch of 1950s America

Ah, the beauty of pulpish western cover art, filled to the brim with all the perfect 1950s western cover clichés, combined and intertwined in a perfect union of cinematic, pulp western majesty.

Can life get any better?

You might recognize the title, perhaps? Anthony Mann’s films with James Stewart, such as The Man from Laramie (1955) are . . . → Read More: The Man from Laramie; or, The One-Two Punch of 1950s America