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Saturday, 30 May 2009


With only two days to go until Wild West Monday it is hoped that more people than ever will take part in the lastest event. And if you've not done so already don't forget to sign our online petition in support of the western genre HERE.

the Book Depository is already listing the next Misfit Lil book for pre-order, with its usual free delivery worldwide. Misfit Lil Robs the Bank was originally titled Misfit Lil and the Mesmerist. The book, by the popular western author is already charting in the pre-order lists and expectations are high.

Also Keith Chapman AKA Chap O'Keefe tells us that Wild West Monday is clearly working - "Steady growth has continued during May for BHW site, Black Horse Extra ( ). During the month until this weekend, almost 1,000 "unique" (different) visitors had made more than 1,600 visits, loading almost 3,000 pages! Each "page", as many readers here know, consists of a quarterly edition containing three or more articles of paid-magazine standard, plus a dozen or so Hoofprints newsbriefs of about blog-post length.

Clearly, the complete May statistics are going to be record ones for the Extra.

The site's reach can hardly be indicative of a "dying" genre. It is also difficult to accept contentions that growing interest in the likes of the Extra and the Tainted Archive is not having an effect on the demand for western fiction.

A US crime-fiction reader and commentator, David Vineyard, said of the latest Black Horse Extra at the Mystery*File blog:

"Great site, a lot of fun to see the Western from a different but clearly affectionate, talented, and devoted point of view. I'll be interested to read some of the books."

Popular mass-market paperback author James Reasoner said:

"If you haven't checked out the latest issue . . . I strongly urge you to do so. . . the usual assortment of entertaining and informative features. Good stuff all around."

If none of this effort is reflected in book sales and borrowings, one explanation coming to mind is that the western books readers want to see are just not available to them. We know for a fact that some orders and requests have been unable to be met. I cannot stress too strongly that Gary's Wild West Monday initiative is everyone's chance to make the situation known in the places where book-business decisions are made.

Time, too, perhaps, to lend to, or buy for a friend a western you have enjoyed. The more "converts" the better."

Fort Sumner Denies Kid Statue - a statue by sculptor, Buckeye Blake has been scrapped by Fort Sumner officials who felt the piece, showing a hatless and bootless Kid stretched out in death, was not what they had in mind to be placed on the tourist hotspot that is the Kid's grave. It's back to the drawing board and officials have asked for a more traditional styled statue to be placed on the site were the kid may or may not lie.

In other Kid news the Brushy Bill story won't go away - while most historians favour the story that The Kid was shot dead in Fort Sumner during 1881, there are still many who believe that Bill Roberts who lived until 1950 was really The Kid. Finally wanting to put the story to test the Lincoln County Sheriff's department have made a request for Brushy Bill's body to be exhumed for DNA testing. What they are going to test it against is unclear.

Dorchester Publishing's western release of the month is Robert J. Randisi's Beauty and The Bounty. The book about a bounty hunter on the trail of a woman outlaw promises to deliver old west thrills and spills and a damn good romantic story between the gunshots. Also out from Dorchester is the highly recommended Outlaws by Paul Bagdon. The author is a Spur finalist and the Archive really enjoyed this book.

Robert Hale's Black Horse westerns launch not only Tarnished Star but five other western novels during the month of June. Among these are new works by Black Horse luminaries Ian Parnham and Ross Morton. Check out the full list of Hale's current titles on the latest Black Horse Extra HERE

The hotly anticipated supernatural western, Jonah Hex moves a step closer to completion with new pictures of Megan Fox who plays opposite Josh Brolin in this adaption of the DC western anti-hero. Megan looks stunning in her outfit and is a real pin up girl for The Tainted Archive. Other western projects moving ever closer to becoming reality is the Cohen brothers re-make of True Grit with a casting announcement expected shortly.

Also worth a mention(or two for that matter) is the Black Horse Express site - the current issue features many extracts from Black Horse westerns including Long Shadows and The $300 Man. There's also an interview with Charles Whipple and an article by our favourite pulp historian, Laurie Powers on the history of Wild West Weekly.

And finally don't forget this Monday is Wild West Monday when western fans worldwide will be hitting those libraries and bookshops and enquiring about their western sections. If they don't stock westerns then request they do so. Please, please, pretty please with sugar on top take part in the initiative - together we can do it.

And get that petition signed and push it on websites and blogs, message boards and forums - we've all gotta' be pro-active here in the name of wild west fiction. We need a few thousand signatures to truly reflect the demand.


Nik said...

Well said, Keith. If we say it often enough, then perhaps those movers and shakers in the business will eventually take notice: westerns never went away - they're great entertainment and the inspiration of many memorable movies.

Chap O'Keefe said...

Thanks, Nik, and yes, we do have to keep saying it!

While I'm here, maybe I should explain that title switch on the next "Lil". Publisher Mr John Hale had reservations about emphasizing the mesmerism/hypnotism in the title for a traditional western. So I changed it. But I figure everyone can guess who motivates Lil to rob the bank. And isn't the dark-clad rider on the cover nicely suggestive of the evil Dr Fran├žois Guiscard? Late of a Paris hospital infamous for the experimental treatment of madwomen, the nasty doctor is hired by Lil's long-suffering pa to cure his daughter of her behaviour problems. Naturally, that sets off some fireworks!