Monday 5 January 2009

Wild West News Roundup

The Tainted Archive is in the process of setting up another Wild West Monday and details will follow soon. But in the meantime here's a little Wild West News.

Chap O'Keefe has a upcoming western (full review in a few weeks) called Blast to Oblivion that will not only delight fans of fast paced, well written western fiction but followers of a certain consulting detective.

Zach Skann came to Denver toting a deadly 12-gauge Greener shotgun. His mind was warped and sick from fifteen years in a penitentiary and it sought the palliative of vengeance against mines investor Ryan Bennett, the former Pinkerton detective responsible for his incarceration and the hangings of comrades.
Subsequently, it fell to Joshua Dillard, gun-for-hire,
to seek the truth about Bennett’s murder for his sister, icily beautiful Flora Bennett. She declared she’d been cheated of a bequest; that Ryan’s widow and his smooth ex-secretary knew more than they were letting on.
To clear up the sorry mess of accusation and trickery, Joshua rode to a mining-town hell-hole. There the trail of inquiry became a trail of more blood!

There follows an extract, reproduced with permission, from a forthcoming article by Chap which will be published in the Black Horse Extra next month -

THE first words in this book, after the title pages, are written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: "The old wheel turns, and the same spoke comes up. It’s all been done before, and will be again."

Black Horse Western readers who are also Sherlockians will recognize that quotation as words spoken by Sherlock Holmes in the second chapter of The Valley of Fear. The Holmes novel was serialized in Britain in The Strand magazine between September 1914 and May 1915. Along the way, the George H. Doran Company, of New York, gave it a first book publication on February 27, 1915.

The Valley of Fear
was the fourth and last of the Sherlock Holmes "Long Stories", and is set in 1875 and 1895. It's a short novel by the standards of its day, the page count being not very different from today's average BHW.

When the four Holmes novels were collected and published in one volume for the first time, Conan Doyle wrote a Preface dated June 1929.

It began, "The following stories paint Mr Sherlock Holmes and his activities upon a somewhat broader canvas where there is room for expansion. This expansion must express itself in action, for there is no room for character development in the conception of a detective."

The book is to be published by Black Horse Westerns on Feb 27th so expect a full review on the Tainted Archive around the beginning of Feb. Chaps last book completely sold out in a matter of weeks so there should be a fair bit of interest in this title.

The latest issue of the always excellent WILD WEST MAGAZINE is now on the stands with a cover date Feb 2009.

There is a Buffalo Bill cover and the lead article this month is written by Paul A. Hutton and looks at the enigmatic western icon and showbiz star.

As always the mag is bursting with well written and researched articles and brilliant reprintings of historical maps and images.

The magazine is always a must buy.

This month sees the publication in Dorchester's famous movie range of the original novel that spawned the classic Wayne movie, The Searchers. The novel by Alan LeMay was a bestseller in its day and is here republished for a new generation of readers.

An excellent novel that spawned what many consider to be the best western of all time.

Upcoming in the series are Destry Rides Again, The Man From Laramie and The Unforgiven.

Also in Feb 2009 Dorchester will publish Only the Strong which is the latest in the Wilderness series from David Thompson.

At the end of January Black Horse Westerns will publish Lance Howard's latest offering - Coyote Deadly.

When the Chulo brothers sweep into the town of Thanody, a town that has sworn off violence, all hell breaks loose.And when Marshal James Tredder calls in an old friend and manhunter Josh Dellin to track down the vicious killers known as the Prairie Wolves the West runs scarlet with blood.Within hours Josh find himself forced to confront a powerful land owner bent on covering up his sons' brutal raids and struggling to protect the life of a beautiful young woman who's the only witness to their foul deeds.


The WESTERN - the genre too tough to die continues to thrive and may be entering something of a new dawn - look out for the next WILD WEST MONDAY and let's bring the genre back into mainstream favour where it belongs.

It'll be a long long time before the sun finally sets on the western. An art form as American as Jazz and yet belonging to the world for the western is a genre of myth and dreams, of courage and strength. And that's universal.


Wild West News Roundup is intended to be a regular part of THE TAINTED ARCHIVE so please email me with any news of upcoming titles and get this information to a large posse of western readers.


Weekly Stats Report: 29 Dec - 4 Jan 2009

Unique Visitors768264721207410859685
First Time Visitors5465434992578244263
Returning Visitors2217212328172615422


Ray said...

Too right - I've got in early for the latest Chap O'Keefe and Lance Howard.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

Ray - I've been looking at a draft of the Chaps O'keefe one and corresponding with Keith over the book. I'm half way through and you won't be dissapointed. I'll review the book early next month before publication. And don't forget keep me up to speed on your future projects.

Anonymous said...

I've ordered wild west magazine from W H Smith - thanks for the info.

Anonymous said...

Thanks much for the plug on my Jan relase, Gary. As usual a splendid job on an excellent blog. Coyote Deadly's violence and theme stretched the boundaries a bit but was toned done in editing, so I will be interest to see what readers think of the final product.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

Howard - I've ordered a copy so expect a review on THE TAINTED ARCHIVE in time.

Charles Gramlich said...

I've been intending to read some of Chap's work but haven't managed it yet. This looks like a good place to start.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the generous coverage, Gary. You're right about BHW titles going out of stock at the publishers very quickly. I was told by a correspondent last November 12 that they couldn't supply a book officially published on October 31! Which meant the warehouse had run out after seven working days! Tip for readers chasing in-demand titles: don't give up, try the online retailers, Amazon [.com and], WHSmith, Blackwells, Tesco etc).

Howard -- you're not alone on this toning-down thing. Myself and at least two other long-established BHW writers have had "warnings". The list of touchy subjects is growing: violence, oppressed minorities (e.g. Indians), the Civil War, strong language, twins, hypnotism, and not least, anything involving mistreatment of women, which by same strange quirk of logic includes all sex. Even nudity (and this is text fiction, remember) attracts busy red pens. For example, in the BHW Old West, a man is no longer allowed to share a tub with his wife. I think Clerkenwell House has been infiltrated by Miss Purity Wadsworth's Silver Vein Ladies' Temperance Society!

Anonymous said...

I kinda wondered what was happening. I actually had stronger material--at least in my opinion--in the previous two books and certainly in Ripper Pass, than in Coyote Deadly. Twins? Nudity? Darn, there goes the great scene combining the two in my present WIP! I have never had a reader complain about vilence or sex, though I think one did mention to me, a minister, that I should refrain from using "Christ" as a cuss word, which is understandable from his perspective. But I never use any of the harsher F or S words in these. I do get a bit violent but the West was a violent place. And have had a bit of nudity in previous books. I am finding myself starting to overthink things a bit when writing--can I do this, or will that be a problem?--and cutting scenes at the moment of violence or greatly muting it. I hate to do that because I think it waters things down a bit, especially on a villain.

David Cranmer said...

Gary, Thanks for reminding me. I will add Chap's latest western to my Amazon cart.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

Everyone - thanks for the interest. I will give at least a fortnight's notice for the date of the next wild west monday. If everyone could then promote it like crazy on blogs, to friends, in graffiti on subway walls.

Well that's be just dandy.

Anonymous said...

Howard -- I'm not surprised to learn that you were allowed stronger material in your previous titles. This is definitely a current, and I hope passing, trend though I have been told (Dec 13), "No, there has been no change in our policy. It is just that after having unsuccessfully endeavoured over the years to persuade you not to write material which a good many readers would find unpleasant I finally felt we had to draw the line somewhere."

The cuts under discussion sparking that comment included a very brief, non-explicit bathtub scene in Faith and a Fast Gun, which was a lot less detailed than the similar one in Misfit Lil Fights Back (2007), Chapter 7, "In Hot Water". This book has now gone through two editions without objection from a single reader!

Frankly, the present editorial work being done on some books smacks more of censorship than anything else.

Far from protecting your readers from the "unpleasant", I feel they would regard it as an insult to their intelligence if they knew.

Anonymous said...

Keith--I am wondering just who these readers are who are finding this material unpleasant. I've never been told by any except for that one minister, and that letter was forwarded sealed, so I am presuming editors never saw it unless a separate one was sent. I can remember Mr. Hale mentioning to me on Ripper Pass to be careful about graphic violence "in future books", but Coyote Deadly's violence was milder, IMO. I have never had a mention about nudity, despite the fact boobs have been a popping in some of my recent titles and one even had a dreaded bathtube nude scene! It's puzzling. Maybe it's more an overall theme I am dealing with? Or perhaps my horror writing has made me a little numb to what is graphic and what isn't? If I know where the line is, I am fine standing on it and not venturing over (though I kind of feel fiction should push boundaries a bit in some way so it doesn't become pablum)but if the line is retracting it becomes difficult.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

Violence is often needed to progress a story - I mean I don't like it for the sake of it but to push a story that's fine. If you ask me it's all down to the current politically correct climate. It's censorship at the end of the day, though and it's evident in all the media. Let's hope things change soon

Anonymous said...

Your "who" question was the very one I asked. The reply was: "The readers who found some of your material unpleasant over the years are all in house readers as it is rare for us to have any correspondence of any kind regarding westerns from readers."

My response was: "It seems to me it's always the sex, or rather the suggestions that it has or is about to happen, that attracts censorship. In Faith, a villain is virtually decapitated with a spade. An innocent man is shot down in cold blood for challenging intruders. Not a qualm about that apparently. Violent death? Oh, that's fine . . . have as much as you like, but don't you dare go scaring the hosses with that sex stuff!

"I also contend that conservative female staff members will say they find the material unpleasant because they think that is what is expected of them to retain respect as 'nice ladies' from their bosses and colleagues. (Although I now work solitarily, much of my career was spent otherwise, including a lengthy stint as chief sub-editor on a go-ahead women's magazine.)

"As you say, the decision lies with me. The argument is about ten of some 3,500 lines. It is unfortunate they should be ten lines vital to the story -- and ten, I might add, which are unlikely to be picked up by would-be book-banners or accepted by any regulatory authority as setting a work's tone. The cuts in dispute are not constructive editing, but rather isolated instances of bowdlerizing without consideration of the whole text.

"However, you appear determined to have your way about this, and in a monopoly situation I do not have the option of denying you. All I could do realistically is throw away more than a full month's work in its entirety, along with any results now being achieved by many years of BHW writing and unstinting promotion of the line."

As you know, I have never believed in being less than open and frank.

A worry I have is that events like Gary's Wild West Days will come to nothing for the BHWers if the books bought or borrowed as a result disappoint.

As David Whitehead commented just the other day, and I've previously quoted at Steve M's Western Fiction Review because it's so spot-on: ". . .the irony is that if only western readers were a bit more vocal, they would probably write in to complain that BHWs - which of course should have a little hair on them - are becoming too sanitized. We have the same thing going on on TV, of course - increasing numbers of poor but "safe" programmes that bear little resemblance to real life and thus will cause no offense to an increasingly touchy audience. But if you buy an apple, that's what you expect to get when you bite into it. And in the same way, if you pick up a western you expect it to be tough and harsh, with characters whose motivations are wholly believable."


Duane Spurlock said...

This issue of WILD WEST is a good one. I enjoyed the articles on the iconic Buffalo Bill and one mules and their role in the Wild West.

Anonymous said...

Forgive my ignorance, but what is an inhouse reader exactly? Aren't we writing for the, excuse the expression, "out"house readers? The folks who enjoy westerns? and that sex and violence thing has always bugged me. You can show a mangled dead body on TV in kid watching time slots here, but god forbid a breast shows up, because somebody will start screaming. I was actually questioned about a decision the hero makes at the end of Coyote Deadly--which, unfortunately I can't reveal because it would spoil the finale for anyone planning to read it. The decision was perfectly within character, if brutal, but I got the feeling the editor was bothered by it because it wasn't the most high of ground. I was lucky enough to have the event let stand as written, though and was asked, whcih was nice.
As far as sex goes, I would like to be able to use more. We are dealing with saloon gals in some cases, who weren't taking cowboys up to cubicles and giving them sermons!
One section I did have to remove in CD concerned the three Chulo Bros talking about a dog. Now, I am a big animal lover, so I didn't take this scene lightly. But the brothers were laughing over how one of them had done in a dog brutally, not described but enough to point out just how bad this brother was and how he didn't care about living things. It exemplified just how sick these guys were, something I felt important because of the event that was approaching. As a matter of fact, I'll reprint it here in its entirety. The set up is these brothers have ridden into a town that shuns violence and are about to take some of the women. They are discussing how much they are going to enjoy the easy pickings...

"“Yeah, reckon it is a mite peculiar at that,” Marcus said, letting out a sigh. “Reminds me of the way this damn dog looked at me once, all waggly and goddamn happylike, right before I took an axe to him.”
Brint let out a laugh. “I recollect that. Never heard such a pitiful howl come out of a critter. Goddamn funny. Hope some of these women yowl that way.”"

Granted, it leaves a bad taste, but these gusy are bad. In the long run it makes no difference, I guess. Their subsequent actions, thought toned down, prove them bad enough. And it's a little thing over the course of an entire book.

Australia empowers Big Tobacco with its new draconian and simply barking mad vape restrictions

 From July 1st 2024 it will be illegal to own or buy any vaping device other than from pharmacies, and flavours will be limited to mint, men...