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

What Would Dad Do?; or, Four Fundamental Reel-Life Lessons from My Father

I love reel-life tough, taciturn cowboy heroes, in case you haven’t guessed. But don’t try to make this into a therapy session about my real-life father figure, who was a generous, slightly nerdy guy who loved music and reading, The Muppet Show (yes, it’s true, eek), and walks in the woods. He taught me just as much as . . . → Read More: What Would Dad Do?; or, Four Fundamental Reel-Life Lessons from My Father

Enter My House Justified; or, Skirmish at the Old Homestead Cabin

The novel of the homestead cabin writes itself. 

It was a prologue of possibilities, of quails and tarantulas and Joshua tree groves and sunshine. Since then, its chapters, experienced at a 2,500-mile distance, waver between comedy and tragedy and tearjerker, with the love of my life, the cabin, being both beautiful and ugly, stoic and needy, a magnet . . . → Read More: Enter My House Justified; or, Skirmish at the Old Homestead Cabin

Reward Good, Fight Evil; or, the Western Hero Lessons of The Fighting Fists of Shanghai Joe

“I want to be a cowboy.”

–Chin Hao, aka Shanghai Joe, played by  Sessue Hayakawa, aka Chen Lee, The Fighting Fists of Shanghai Joe, 1973

I’ve always said that Silver-Screen Western Heroes come in all shapes, sizes, genders, and nationalities. Whether SSWHs are male or female, from the East or the West, they share

a certain stillness in their . . . → Read More: Reward Good, Fight Evil; or, the Western Hero Lessons of The Fighting Fists of Shanghai Joe

Shut up; or, The Eternal Silence of the Western Hero

It’s a well-worn stereotype that western heroes don’t talk about their feelings. But it’s not that they don’t have them. Western heroes are deep wells of emotion, actually. If you flicked a pebble into one of those wells, that little “plink” would echo and re-echo a thousandfold-fold-fold-fold-fold…

Spoiler alert: Coop gets the gal in The Virginian.

Take . . . → Read More: Shut up; or, The Eternal Silence of the Western Hero

Circle the Wagons!; or, More Advice from a Besieged Writer

Steer the rattling wagons into a tight circle! Protect the women and children! Draw your six-shooters as whooping Indians on painted war ponies streak over the rise of a hill!

Look sharp, Tonto! This isn’t just a tired western stereotype, it’s a Silver-Screen Western Hero Equation!

c. 2011 es cowboylands

In reel life: Earnest pioneers moving to promised . . . → Read More: Circle the Wagons!; or, More Advice from a Besieged Writer

A Silver-Screen Western Hero’s Journey; or, The Rough and Ready Life of an Unpublished Author

Some Silver-Screen Western Heroes have big pecs and holsters hanging alongside their brass balls.

The Silver-Screen Western Antihero

Some have breasts that don’t sag and thighs without cellulite, even if they try to wreak vengeance in a poncho.

Gratiuitous Raquel Welch photo

All ride into town and act all aloof and lo! They get the girl and kick the . . . → Read More: A Silver-Screen Western Hero’s Journey; or, The Rough and Ready Life of an Unpublished Author

The Miracle Rider; or, How Tom Mix Saved My Novel

In a reckless land…In a lawless place…Sometimes one man can make all the difference. –voice-over of trailer, The Miracle Rider

 

The story is an old one. Clichéd even. But satisfying.

Writer’s hopes for perfect manuscript leading to speedy publication, six-figure salary, film, and several homes around the world are killed in some suitably dramatic, bloody way. The writer, . . . → Read More: The Miracle Rider; or, How Tom Mix Saved My Novel

Of Rock Stars and the Rest of Us; The Seven Samurai’s Western Revival

“Find hungry samurai. Even bears come down from the mountains when they are hungry,” states the Old Man of the beleaguered village in Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai.

In the next scene, in a nearby town, four peasants look for samurai who would deign to fight for them against ruthless bandits. But would a noble samurai ever . . . → Read More: Of Rock Stars and the Rest of Us; The Seven Samurai’s Western Revival

Run, Man, Run; or, High Plains Adventures in Novel Writing

Let’s see…where was I before I dropped off the face of the earth a few weeks ago? Funny how novel writing brings out the best and worst of one’s inner self. (Cue any spaghetti western theme here, as its wailing singers and off-kilter drumming is the only kind of soundtrack appropriate for the angst-ridden wackness of . . . → Read More: Run, Man, Run; or, High Plains Adventures in Novel Writing