Kindle now available!

I just want to let it be known that all five of my books are now available on Kindle.  Support a starving artist, get a book to read on your Kindle.  They are $9.99 each, so get a couple for the long holiday weekend when all you will be able to see on tv are the same old Christmas movies and Christmas specials.  Read something you’ve never read before!

  1.  Common Threads
  2.  The Spirit of Redd Mountain
  3.   A Matter of Honor
  4.   A Matter of Justice
  5.   The Troll Bridge

The Troll Bridge

The proof is on the way to me for a review, and once I approve it, I can make it available to anyone who wants it. Hopefully there will be someone who wants to read it.  I am hoping that it will be available by December 10.  I think it is a good story.  

The Troll Bridge

Just want to tell anyone reading this that my latest story, “The Troll Bridge”, is now finished.  The cover has been designed and printed, and I am waiting for the finished proof.

This is a story about mysticism, spirits, and the hint for instant wealth and the price that can take on those who are willing to take shortcuts.  It takes place in 1930’s west Texas, and it involves four teenage friends and a lost treasure from the Confederacy.   Look for it soon on this website or order it from Amazon!


New Story Completed

Sometimes I feel like I’m talking to myself here, so it is with pride I tell myself that I finished my latest story, “Troll Bridge”, and I will have it ready to deliver as soon as I can design a cover.  I want to try CreateSpace’s cover design service for this one because I have a specific look that I want for it.  

I am putting the opening for the other stories up here, a little at a time, to see if anyone finds them interesting.  I get some comments, but from the wording they are all spam so I don’t count them as a true response.  

It’s kind of like being the last man on earth, so I do this to create the illusions someone is out there.


More later.

My Trivia Contest

Well, I’m pretty darn disappointed!  Not one person tried to answer my questions or win the contest.   Good thing I don’t take this sort of thing personally.  Not sure why no one was interested, sure would like someone to tell me.



Trivia Contest for August

Okay, so here’s the rules for my Trivia contest.  I have 10 questions for you, and this first group is relatively easy.   Obviously some of you will be quick to go to the internet to look up the answers, but I hope some of you will know them from your reading.  Anyway, I will leave this up for a month, and whoever gets all 10 questions right gets a copy of one of my books.  Not a great prize, but this is a simple and small trivia contest.   You still get something for nothing, so it’s all good, right?  In order to get the book, you have to leave me your mailing address.

The book up for grabs this first month is “Common Threads”.  It is a western, set in Reconstruction era Alabama.  It was my first attempt at writing, so be tolerant of a few small technical details.  I have a fondness for this story, because it was my first.    So, here are the ten questions.  Good luck and have fun!



Trivia contest – August


01:  Who is Davis Tutt and why is he famous?  

02:  Ilion, New York was the home of what company? 

03:  “Garryowen” was the marching song for what unit of the US Army?  

04:  John Brown was arrested by what two future legends?  

05:  Who is Thomas Corbett and what is his claim to fame?  

06:  Who are Myra Belle Shirley, Robert Leroy Parker, Jane Canary, Harry Longabaugh, William H. Antrim, Elizabeth Bacon, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson and Samuel Langhorne Clemens?   

07:  Who is Heinrich Hartmann Wirz and why was he the only soldier hung for war crimes?  

08:   Who is Laura Keene, and what is her claim to fame?  

09:  What do David Herold, George Azterodt, Lewis Powell and Mary Surrat have in common?  

10:  This actor got his start serving as a ‘go-fer’ on the set of Tom Mix movies.  He would stand around listening to Tom Mix talking to an older man who was always hanging around, giving Tom ‘technical’ advice.  This actor copied much of his later screen personas from this old man.  Who were these two icons of the old west?  



Something NEW!

Hello readers!  I had to stop the “Today in History” because it took much time from my work and my writing, but I wanted to do something different, so I’m going to start a Trivia Contest.   I am gathering my information together and I will be starting in about two weeks.  The winner will get a signed copy of one of my books.  Hope this will be sufficient enticement for you to play along.   I am halfway finished with “Troll Bridge”, and when that is done, it will be on the table as well.  I’m still working out the rules, simple as they may be, and I expect to be ready to roll it out on the 1st of August.


Stay tuned to see what the questions are.  The focus will  be on the people, places and events of the United States from 1800 on, but mostly pre-1920.  Of course, some questions will be easy and some will be hard.  I am leaning towards awarding all winners for the month at this point.  Your response to this will determine how many I give away.




The Toll Bridge: New Story Update

Just to let you know, work is progressing on my new story.   I have just completed chapter 5, and things are starting to heat up for the crew.  The crew are four high school friends, Abbie Conway, Ronald Conrad, Duane McCathern, and Anthony Picano.   Inspired by an old legend, and fueled by a chance discovery,  they are on a treasure hunt in 1930’s southwest Texas.  It will be an interesting journey for them, and they will never be the same.


I hope to have this finished and ready to be read by the end of the year or sooner.  Stay tuned for further updates.




June 9, 2016


Just a note to let anyone reading this know why the History column is not up to date.  I’m working on two new stories right now, so I really don’t have the time to work on that column.  I hope to get back to it at some point in the future, but for now, I am going to concentrate on my writing.  


Talk to you later as these stories reach their conclusion!

Today In Western History: Abilene Hires A New Marshal

June 04, 1870

Abilene, Kanasas, was a burgeoning Cowtown. The county itself, Dickinson County, had only come into existence in 1857.  A stage coach stop was built by Timothy Hershey that same year, and was Mud Creek began as a stage stop that same year and due to the landscape, it was given the unlikely name of Mud Creek.  In 1860, it was renamed Abilene, and the name was taken from a passage in the Bible (Luke 3:1), meaning “city of the plains”.

In 1867, Joseph G. McCoy purchased 250 acres of land north and east of Abilene, on which he built a hotel that he called the Drover’s 

Joseph G. McCoy, he built Abilene into a destination for the trail herds
Joseph G. McCoy, he built Abilene into a destination for the trail herds

Cottage.  He also put together a set of stockyards equipped for 2,000 head of cattle, and a stable for their horses. Why did he invest here?  Because he was a smart man.  In that same year the Kansas Pacific Railway (Union Pacific) had pushed westward through to Abilene. The Kansas Pacific put in a side-track switch at Abilene that enabled the cattle cars to be loaded and sent on to their destinations. The first twenty carloads left September 5, 1867, on their way to Chicago, Illinois, where McCoy was quite familiar with the market. The town grew quickly and became the very first “cow town” of the west.

McCoy encouraged Texas cattlemen to drive their herds to his stockyards.  From 1867 to 1871, the Chisholm Trail, a trail used by many cowmen to herd their cattle to market, ended in Abilene, and this convenient location brought in many travelers and very quickly turned Abilene one of the wildest towns in the west.   According to records, 35,000 head were sent on their way east in 1867 and this allowed Abilene to become the largest stockyards west of Kansas City, Kansas.  Another reliable resource declared that 440,200 head of cattle were shipped out of Abilene from 1867 to 1871. How-ever, in just four years, this total jumped to between 600,000 and 700,000 cows coming in to Abilene and other Kansas railheads, a 35-40% increase in traffic.   

This represented a tremendous boom in Abilene’s economy, but it came at a price. These cows didn’t come on their own, and that mean men were needed to move them.  After four to six months on the trail, with no liquor or women, when the men arrived and were paid off, they wanted to howl at the moon.  This allowed for a lot of opportunities for gamblers, pickpockets, saloons and painted ladies to make a killing as well.  And to prevent the other kind of killings, a strong and effective lawman was needed.

Town marshal Tom “Bear River” Smith was initially successful policing Abilene, often using only his bare hands. He survived two assassination 

Marshal Tom "Bear RIver" Smith. he tamed towns with his hands.
Marshal Tom “Bear River” Smith. he tamed towns with his hands.

attempts during his tenure. However, he was murdered and decapitated on November 2, 1870. Smith wounded one of his two attackers during the shootout preceding his death, and both suspects were given life in prison for the offense.  He was replaced by a man whose fierce reputation, as well as his unyielding style of law enforcement, was guaranteed to keep peace in town.  On June 4, 1870, the town father hired  James Butler Hickok, known far and wide as Wild Bill Hickok to be the new marshal.  Hickok’s time in the job was short.  One night while he was

James Butler "WIld Bill" Hickok, legendary lawman, shootist and gambler
James Butler “WIld Bill” Hickok, legendary lawman, shootist and gambler

 was standing off a crowd during a street brawl, a gambler named Phil Coe took two shots at Hickok, who returned fire, killing Coe.  

Phillip Houston Coe, gambler, gunfighter, and partner with Ben Thompson. He tried to shoot it out with Wild Bill Hickok and lost.
Phillip Houston Coe, gambler, gunfighter, and partner with Ben Thompson. He tried to shoot it out with Wild Bill Hickok and lost.

There had been bad blood between them for some time.   But Hickok then accidentally shot his friend and deputy, Mike Williams, who had come running up from behind in a desire to help his friend.  Running up be-hind Hickok was a smart move at any time, as Hickok was known to shoot to kill.  Hickok lost his job two months later in December.  It was the beginning of the end for Wild Bill, as his eyesight was already beginning to fail, possibly from an STD.  He never drew his pistol on another man for the rest of his life, which was only five years and four months.

It is reported that Hickok had a premonition that Deadwood would be his last camp, and expressed this belief to his friend Charlie Utter (also known as Colorado Charlie) and the others who were

Steve and Charley Utter (l to r) at the grave of Wild Bill Hickok
Steve and Charley Utter (l to r) at the grave of Wild Bill Hickok

traveling with them at the time. On August 2, 1876, Hickok was playing poker at Nuttal & Mann’s Saloon in Deadwood, in the Black Hills of the Dakota Territory. Hickok usually sat with his back to a wall. The only seat available when he joined the poker game that afternoon was a chair that put his back to a door. Twice he asked another player, Charles Rich, to change seats with him, and on both occasions Rich refused.  A former buffalo hunter, Jack McCall (better known as “Crooked Nose” or “Broken Nose” Jack), entered the saloon unnoticed by Hickok.

Jack "Crooked Nose", or "Broken Nose" McCall. He shot Wild Bill Hickik in the back of the head, and was later hanged for this killing.
Jack “Crooked Nose”, or “Broken Nose” McCall. He shot Wild Bill Hickik in the back of the head, and was later hanged for this killing.

McCall walked to within a few feet of Hickok, drew a pistol and shouted, “Damn you! Take that!” before firing at Hickok point blank.  McCall’s bullet hit Hickok in the back of the head, killing him instantly. The bullet emerged through Hickok’s right cheek, striking another player, Captain Massie, in the left wrist. The murder weapon was an 18 inch “Sharps Improved” revolver. 

Hickok was playing five card draw when he was shot, and was holding a pair of black aces and a pair of black eights. The final card had been discarded and its replacement had possibly yet to be dealt. The fifth card’s identity remains the subject of debate. 



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