Wednesday, May 29, 2013

There's Trouble on the S bar S

It seems that rustlers aren't the only issue to be dealt with on the ranch. These grays aren't exactly friendly. They're hungry and will knock down anything or anyone that looks edible, especially if they're hunting in a pack.

There isn't any love lost between them and Sourdough, the rancher. They're preying on his livelihood. Eli Walker, his Shoshone ranch hand, is conflicted. These animals are highly regarded in his culture even though both men had close calls with the wolves.

However, if life was easy, they wouldn't work a ranch. I'll keep you posted as I meander through this work in progress!


Friday, May 24, 2013

Memorial Day

As we enter this Memorial Day weekend here in the U.S.A., remember those who fought and died to allow us the privilege to enjoy the activities we do and share in the blessings bestowed upon us as a free nation.

Freedom came at a high cost. Don't let it slip away by becoming complacent. This year I would like to thank our Indigenous heroes for their sacrifices in service to the land. They have played a significant role in making us who we are inspite of some of the cards they were dealt over the years. I honor them.

Fly Old Glory at half staff from dawn until midday to honor the fallen and then full staff from then until sunset to honor past and present veterans and active duty members. This is the only time this etiquette is employed in this manner.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Approved by Lily

I have a new 8 month old puppy that I adopted from the Humane Society Wednesday running around here. She's a Terrier/Border Collie/Lab mix and higher energy than I'm accustomed to with Rollie Dawg.

I have already noticed that she has an impeccable taste in literature. I had a few draft pages of a chapter of Heart Of The Unsung on my desk that she found to be agreeable to her digestive tract. She enthusiastically shredded the pages and was proud of herself for her new-found literary hobby.

She gave a big "paws up" when I collected the ribbons of 20 pound paper strewn across the office and endeavored to devour more before I closed the book on her. If she knew how, she would no doubt give me several stars for the novel because I feed her and she would like that to continue, I'm sure.

Readership comes from many walks of life. I'll take any I can get!


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Guest Blogger Today!

I am guest blogging about BUFFALO HUMP for Sallie Lundy Frommer today (May 18th). Come visit at and learn a little more about one of the main characters, Pete Cooper.

Sallie is scheduled to return the favor on June 22nd and I look forward to having her as a guest.


Friday, May 17, 2013

Viking Fest in Poulsbo, WA

I'm repeating myself, but in case you didn't read it on my wordpress blog, I'll be walking around the Viking Fest celebration tomorrow, May 18th, giving away four (4) BUFFALO HUMP e-reader download cards to people who ask if I have a card. I'll be wearing something with a bear on it.

If you're in the area, track me down. I also hope you have a great time in Little Norway. Try some lutefisk (I dare you); make friends with a Viking; buy stuff. I hope to see you there!


Monday, May 13, 2013

Lessons Learned From A Cutting Pony

I was in high school and my friend, Copper Chadwick, invited me to his uncle's ranch on the Salmon River. We were going to head for the Joseph Plains the next day where his cattle had been ranging all summer, round them up, vaccinate them and bring them down to the ranch for the winter.

Visions of "Bonanza" wandered through my gullible head right up until we unloaded the horses from the trucks after arriving that chilly morning. Dick, Copper's uncle, said, "You're gonna be riding this one today." I should have known by the way the critter looked at me that it was going to turn into a long morning.

The advice I received was to hang on and keep my knees tight to the horse. He told me her name, but I came up with a lot more names before the day was done. He told me she was the best cutting pony of the string and she'd do all of the work.

Firstly, I had no idea what a "cuttin' pony" was or did. Secondly, she didn't respond well to a terrified, screaming rider; and thirdly, she was very good at finding every possible low-lying tree limb in the forest to evict said rider.

In between fits of playing "Dump the Rider," she'd find stray cows and move them back into the slow-moving herd, using her body to lunge and block the wayward beef from escape. That meant she spent a lot of time moving both front hooves back and forth simultaneously.

Her hooves went left; I went right, picked myself up off of the ground, and we repeated often. Needless to say, we brought up the rear. I was bloody and the horse was not. All it could do was whinnie its mirth to all of the other equines, while Uncle Dick just said, "Good job Gary. Let's give these cows their shots and go home."

What did I learn? A horse is not just a horse if they call it a cuttin' pony. Oh yeah, and be sure to hold onto the saddle horn for dear life! You aren't the one doing the driving, anyhow!


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Plugging Along On The Sheep Eater

Currently up to about 39,000 words on my newest work in progress, The Sheep Eater. The main character is a young, college-educated, Shoshone man, Eli "Strong Bow" Walker who works as a ranch hand near Yellowstone National Park on the Montana side.

For a guy and his boss that like to keep to themselves, they sure haven't been very successful lately. Every time they turn around, someone, something or the weather makes their lives more complicated. It's enough to make quiet men irritable.

Sometimes being a Shoshone isn't as romantic as many of the old white man-version stories would have a person believe. Paybacks are ugly and if you're going to spit into the wind, you're likely to get some on you, especially if you're an Indian from the Rez.

Stay tuned!


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Looking Out The Window

Inspiration to write comes from the strangest places, sometimes. I found myself looking out over the backyard that ol' Rollie Dawg used to watch over like the Lion King. He'd keep an eye out for his jousting buddies, the rabbits, that taunted him frequently. He never did catch one.

A couple of days ago, Rollie came back to mind as I watched one of the rabbits chowing down on some dandelions. Something caught my eye emerging from under the deck. It was a baby bunny from a new generation who was tentatively exploring its surroundings.

Its momma emerged and sprawled out under a bush looking tired. I could hear her telepathically saying, "You go play now, Junior. Mom needs a nap."

Life goes on and I think Rollie would've approved of the addition to the neighborhood -- a new friend to play chase with. Life does go on. Now the writing should, too. I've got rabbits to support!