Sunday, 31 May 2009
AND MAKE SURE YOU SIGN OUR PETITION HERE -NOTE once you've signed they will ask for a donation but you can just skip this part. There is no need to make a donation and your signiture will be recorded.
The petition will be available throughout June and July - so get it signed.
JAMES DELINGPOLE INTERVIEW - The author of COWARD ON THE BEACH has a new Dick Coward adventure in Coward at the Bridge. The Archive will have the low down.
IAN PARNHAM INTERVIEW - The Black Horse favourite will be talking cowboys with the Tainted Archive.
Our review of the new Star Trek movie. There will be spoilers so beware if you've not seen it yet.
News of the Tainted Podcast - which should launch before the end of the month.
June sees the publication of The Tarnished Star and we will be going Tarnished Star bananas as we push the book from the shelves and into your hands.
Plus the usual eclectic mix of news, reviews, features and all round good stuff.
Wild WEST MONDAY is hours away folks.
And if you haven't signed our petition then please do so NOW
Lanigan and the She-Wolf by Ronald Martin Wade OUT JUNE 30TH FROM ROBERT HALE LTD/BLACK HORSE WESTERNS.
However as the Seventies turned into the Eighties something strange happened - apparently all book buyers started to demand books which were 500 pages plus and in which each story was basically a retelling of the one before. And the gems - the quick reads that were purchased by teenagers and young adults started to disappear. A new phenomenon started to appear - the mega- seller - Stephen King, Jeffrey Archer, James Herbert and in latter days J K Rowling and Martina Cole.
Now don't get me wrong I love some of these writers but even the great Stephen King ( a man who in my opinion has written at least a dozen all time classics) took a dip in quality after Misery as he tried to pad each book out to a size dictated by the market place. What no-one seemed to notice is that writing is a creative process and creation cannot be set by market forces. Not every story needs a billion willion squillion words to be at its most effective. Nevertheless books of this size started to dominate which was why we often got to learn, as well as the major plot, what kind of shirts our hero favoured or where he went to school. Irrelevances often ruined a story and dare I say it - "reading got boring"
So that's what Wild West Monday is all about - OK the emphasis is on westerns but it's about more than that. It's about telling the publishers what we want, about bringing back quick exciting reads that can compete with the latest DVD or Video Game in the thrills and spills department.
So take part tomorrow - visit your local bookshop or library and ask about their western section. If they don't stock any then ask them to do so. It's all as simple as that - but if we take part in large numbers then shops, libraries will be getting similar requests all over the globe.
Someones gonna notice.
Come on take part
WILD WEST MONDAY
An error made its way into the latest Wild West Round-Up report. Where I reported the June Black Horse Western releases. Ian Parnam's, Riders of the Barren Plains is actually out in July while Ross Morton's 300 Man was actually released last week.
The June writers are - Jack Martin, Dempsey Clay, Elliot Long, Alan Irwin and Owen G. Irons.
Check out all Hale titles HERE
And don't forget tomorrow is Wild West Monday III - so visit those bookshops and libraries and if you haven't done so already sign our online petition HERE
Saturday, 30 May 2009
Fonda's authority made him perfect for playing Presidents and solid men but his westerns prove his range was far wider than he is often given credit for. In My Darling Clementine his Wyatt Earp is a shy gunslinger, in Warlock he is both hero and villain and in Once Upon a Time in the West he shoots a child in one of western cinemas' most shocking sequences.
His first western was 1939's Jessie James in which he played the outlaw's down to earth brother. He reprised the role in the Fritz Lang directed sequel, The Return of Jessie James in 1940.
He then made three films with John Ford - Young Mr Lincoln, Drums along the Mohawk and Grapes of Wrath and then in 1943 he starred in William Wellman's classic, The Ox-bow Incident which was brave choice given that it was a brooding melodrama that questioned the lynch mob mentality. Although the film was not fashionable at the time it is these days considered a classic of the genre.
In his on - off career in Westerns which stretched for 40 years he worked with such great directors s John Ford, Sergio Leone, Anthony Mann - however after being blacklisted for his liberal views in the 1940's Fonda's roles dried up but he was rediscovered for westerns in the 1950's and made some stunning classics of the genre. He was great as a bounty hunter in The Tin Star (1957) and multi layered in the brilliant Warlock (1959). He played an aging cowboy in The Rounders (1964) and showed good comedy timing as a stricken gambler in 1966's A Big Hand for the Little lady.
In 1968 he played the bad guy twice. First in Firecreek opposite James Stewart and then in Once Upon a Time in the West which to many people qualifies as his best western role. His later appearance in My Name is Nobody was a fitting postscript to Fonda's westerns.
Steve is a true western fan and he's gone that extra mile 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 ( www.blackhorsewesterns.com ). 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.
Friday, 29 May 2009
Man of the West
1958 USA 100 mins
Directed Anthony Mann
A dark western for both the star and the director and one of those films that truly deserves the western noir tag - Jean Luc Godard hailed it as lesson in modern cinema, a tale of Oedipal sub-texts, rape, murder and insanity. It is, without a doubt, Anthony Mann's masterpiece.
James Stewart was originally intended for the main role but when the actor fell out with the director is was handed to Cooper - as good as Stewart was it is hard to think of him doing a better job as the tortured hero than Gary Cooper
When the train he is on is robber Link Jones (Cooper) find himself reluctantly reuinted with his old gang, led by the sadistic Tobin, played with relish by Lee J. Cobb.
This is a superb western that still manages to shock today. And is truly deserving of the classic status it enjoys.
I've been pushing the Wild West Monday Petition to not only blogs and websites but print magazines too. I was pleased with the following email from the editor of First Edition magazine which this month, issue 4, carries my short western, A Man called Masters (on sale now). Seems the story may have attracted some new readers to the western genre.
Oh and sign the petition HERE
And buy my debut western novel Tarnished Star for only £8.57 direct from the publisher NOW. Overseas readers use The Book Depository for free worldwide delivery HERE. There's only a month till publication on 30th June so order now to get your copy nice and early.
Thursday, 28 May 2009
Please sign, publicise on your web site or blog and get as many folks as possible to sign.
We aim to send the completed petition to as many publishers as possible.
Please support this.
Blackfish, a small independent publisher from Bath, are set to take on the big boys with their launch of their new film magazine, Filmstar. The company have had a huge success with their SCI-FI magazine, Deathray and they have now decided to take on the likes of Empire and Total Film with their new magazine.
In the first editorial, editor Mark Ramshaw outlines the fact that although Filmstar will cover all new releases it will also have a healthy amount of classic cinema features - The Archive praises this because there is definitely a gap in the market for classic film coverage.
Western fans should pick up the first issue for a great feature on John Wayne and the movies the magazine considers the Duke's core work. The films are The Big Trail,Stagecoach, They Were Expendable, Red River,She wore a yellow ribbon, Sands of Iwo Jima, The Quiet Man, The Searchers, Rio Bravo, The Alamo, The Man who shot Liberty Vallance, McLintock, True Grit. MQ and The Shootist. There are interesting reviews for each movie and the article makes great reading and published just in time for Wild West Monday too.
The magazines contains all the expected cinema news and reviews and certainly looks interesting - more intelligent than Total Film and with a broader reach than Empire.
Out now £3.99
First published 1954
this issue Bantam 1997
Cover price $4.99
Rafe Caredec is a restless man - a gambler, a soldier of fortune - a man who drifts through life with little purpose. However he is given a reason when he promises a dying Charles Rodney that he will ensure his ranch goes to his daughter, Ann.
However when Rafe gets to the town of Painted Rock he finds that two of the most ruthless and dangerous men in the territory have set their eyes on both the late Rodney's ranch and daughter.
Lamour's skill is in the fact that there's always something going on behind the main action packed traditional western - this book has an underlying theme of redemption running parallel to the narrative. Redemption for Rafe, a way to come to terms with his past and build a future built on doing the right thing with true love as the ultimate prize.
Lamour is still a huge seller more than two decades after the author's death and of course the reason for this is that he's just so damn entertaining.
Visit the official Lamour website HERE
Wednesday, 27 May 2009
Jubal Cade 1 - The Killing Trail
Charles R. Pike
SEVEN HOUSE HARDCOVER EDITION 1979
Originally published as a paperback original 1974
Cover price £2.50
This was a lucky find for your friendly neighbourhood western freak - This book was originally published in paperback original but Severn House experimented with library editions in 1979 and this is from that printing. It's not even got a library stamp, making it very rare and I found it in a second hand shop. Plus the old lady only charged me 20p but I gave her a pound because that's the kind of guy I am.
Course the fact that Charles R. Pike is really George Gilman who is really Terry Harknett who is actually the author of the legendary Edge series and my all time western writing hero.
I was curious about this hardback edition and so I dropped Terry an email and he confirmed that they were published as library editions. Here's Terry -
Isn't that great - the power of the internet. I get to chat with someone who entertained me for years when I first disovered the Edge series - anyone who hasn't read them start now. They are the Eastwood/Leone westerns taken to the extreme - yeah, their violent but it's all OTT violence and done very much with tongue in cheek and a style that few other writers were not able to pull off. Edge was a totally captivating character but enough of the bad tempered old half-breed.
What about Jubal Cade?
Cade was raised in a Chicago foundling home and later went to England to learn medicine from the best teachers of the day. He qualified as a doctor and then returned to his native land with his pretty young wife and a dream.
However it's a cruel world and soon the man trained to heal finds himself on a killing trail and by the time the book ends he discovered some things about himself that he rather were kept hidden.
Pike's characters are very much of the sub-genre of Brit-Adult Westerns. And it's not unfair to compare the adult westerns to the video nasties that came a decade later but like the best of these films, the books are widely entertaining without pretension to high art.
What more could anyone want for their money?
Anyone wanting to know more about the Brit adult westerns can check out this brilliant website HERE
Tuesday, 26 May 2009
At the moment I'm baking with the writing - working on three projects and things are going really well, no sitting around scratching of the head while waiting for inspiration, no staring at blank pages for hours on end. Still an enforced break today as I head for a costume fitting for the third series of Larkrise to Candleford which starts shooting this June.
I've got a couple of hours motorway driving ahead of me which is hardly my favourite thing - but I've just bought Miles Davies' Bitches Brew so at least I'll get to groove along to some neat vibes on route.
June's gonna be a biggie for me this year - Larkrise starts (hope that pleases you, George), Wild West Monday and the launch of Tarnished Star.
Here's a pic from the set of BBC's Merlin
Check back later for more western centric fun.
Directed by Don Siegel
1976 100 minutes
DVD available as part of Paramount's John Wayne Collection
Extra features: Trailer and interviews
The film opens with a montage of classic moments from Wayne's earlier westerns while the legend of J. B. Books is narrated over the clips. This sets up this story of an aging gunfighter and before we even see Wayne, here in his last role, on screen we know enough about the character to immediately feel we are in familiar territory with the Duke playing one of his trademark tough men.
Wayne plays the aforementioned J. B . Books who rides into Carson City to meet up with a doctor, played by James Stewart. The doctor confirms that Brooks has a cancer that will prove fatal and he gives him anything from six weeks to two months to live.
Brooks takes up lodgings in a boarding house run by Lauren Bacall who has a son played by a young Ron Howard. Books intends to spend what little time he has left in relative peace but when word gets out about his presence every young gunslinger sees killing the aging gunman as a way to earn a reputation.
It was a troubled shoot with Wayne falling ill several times and losing his temper with his director on more than one occasion - co-star Richard Boone told reporters after Wayne's death, that the actor knew in his heart of hearts that this would be his last film and that the damn cough he carried around probably meant that his cancer had returned. Wayne nevertheless carried on playing a gunman dying of cancer while he himself was suffering from the same illness.
The film is set in 1901 and is an effective tribute to the passing of the Old West and John Wayne himself - an early scene sees Brooks reading a newspaper which announces Queen Victoria's death. There are early motorcars and telephones in the movie and this beautiful western sunsets are interrupted by buildings on the skylines.
The film wrapped behind schedule on 5th April 1976 and was rushed through post production so it could be in cinemas in JulY. When Variety reviewed it they said - "it was like the Duke is saying goodbye."
How right they were.
The Shootist is an elegiac tale of an old man coming to terms with the inevitable. The photography gives every scene a wintry feel that perfectly sums up the feel of the movie. If you're one of those people who feel the Duke couldn't act then go watch this and reevaluate your opinion.
May 26, 1907 - John Wayne was born Marion Robert Morrison in Winterset, Iowa. His middle name was soon changed from Robert to Michael when his parents decided to name their next son Robert.
Love him or loathe him there is no one in the history of the motion pictures like John Wayne. And although he may have died in 1979 he is, like only a select few people, truly immortal.
Though largely known as a cowboy he made several classics outside the genre - The Quiet Man, Sands of Iwo Jima, Islands in the Sky, The Flying Leathernecks. Course it is as the cowboy that he is best remembered and many of his films rate as all time classics of the genre.
Stagecoach, Red River, The Searchers, Rio Bravo, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, The Horse Soldiers, True Grit, The Searchers, Fort Apache, the Big Trail, The Man who shot Liberty Vallance,The Shootist, Chisum, Big Jake, The Cowboys, El Dorado, Hondo, The Sons of Katie Elder...the list in fact is endless and this is not even a fraction of the classic westerns that benefited from the Duke.
So let's be thankful for The Duke's life and the work he gave us and remember him as a real American legend.
Below is a the original publicity video for Wayne's final movie, The Shootist which acts as a neat little video tribute. And later today I will be posting a retrospective review on The Shootist as a tribute to the great man.
Monday, 25 May 2009
I do hope everyone will do their bit because this can be done. It's easy to be cynical but then it's not difficult to do your piece either. Together we can do this - the incredible power of the Internet in bringing together like-minded people can be demonstrated with Wild West Monday.
So come on folks - next Monday give us a brief slice of your day. Visit bookshops and libraries and ask about their western section. If they don't have one then simply request they stock more westerns. Write and email publishers, newspapers, magazines - make our desire to see the shelves full of good old fashioned westerns. We don't need anymore building brick sized tomes with little story and much padding - give us thrills, adventure, danger, excitement - give us the western.
Wild West Monday - let's aim to make a difference.
Enjoy the new Wild West Monday video and please leave feedback.
From birth, Apache children were raised in a warrior culture that produced the greatest guerrilla fighters the world has ever known. Their skills would defy the Spanish, Mexican and American armies for over 300 years.
Male children were of high value in Apache culture, female less so, and polygamy was a way of keeping the Apache Nation thriving. Boys and girls were raised differently with the main differentiation in training starting around eleven years of age. From this age onwards boys would be taught how to hunt and take part in war games while the girls were taught to see to the needs of the men in the tribe, the warriors.
During the days of American settlement in The West several Apache leaders would find fame as formidable enemies of the whites - among these Geronimo, Cochise, Mangas Colorados and Kid Apache.
Before Spanish colonization, Apache domain extended over what are now (in the USA) east-central and southeastern Arizona, southeastern Colorado, southwestern and New Mexico and western Texas and (in Mexico) northern Chihuahua and Sonora states. However, the ancestral Apache probably did not reach the Southwest until at least ad 1100. They apparently migrated to the area from the far north, for the Apachean languages are clearly a subgroup of the Athabaskan language family; with the exception of the Navajo, all other Athabaskan-speaking tribes were originally located in what is now western Canada.
Although the Apache eventually chose to adopt a nomadic way of life that relied heavily on horse transport, semisedentary Plains Apache farmers were living along the Dismal River in what is now Kansas as recently as 1700. When the horse and gun trades converged in the central Plains about 1750, guerrilla-style raiding by previously nomadic groups such as the Comanche greatly increased. The remaining Plains Apache were severely pressured and retreated to the south and west.
Culturally, the Apache are divided into Eastern Apache, which include the Mescalero, Jicarilla, Chiricahua, Lipan, and Kiowa Apache, and Western Apache, which include the Cibecue, Mimbreño, Coyotero, and Northern and Southern Tonto or Mogollon Apache. With the exception of the Kiowa Apache, who joined the Kiowa tribal circle (adopting Kiowa customs and allegiance), the Apache traditionally functioned without a centralized tribal organization. Instead, the band, an autonomous small group within a given locality, was the primary political unit as well as the primary raiding unit. The strongest headman of a band was recognized as an informal chief, and several bands might be united under one leader. Chieftainship was thus an earned privilege rather than a hereditary one.
Once the Apache had moved to the Southwest, they developed a flexible economy that included hunting and gathering wild foods, farming, and obtaining food and other items from Pueblo villages via trade, livestock hunts, and raiding. The proportion of each activity varied greatly from tribe to tribe. The Jicarilla farmed fairly extensively, growing corn (maize) and other vegetables, and also hunted bison extensively. The Lipan of Texas, who were probably originally a band of Jicarilla, had largely given up farming for a more mobile lifestyle. The Mescalero were influenced by the Plains tribes’ corn- and bison-based economies, but their chief food staple was the mescal plant (hence the name Mescalero). The Chiricahua were perhaps the most nomadic and aggressive of the Apache west of the Rio Grande, raiding into northern Mexico, Arizona, and New Mexico from their strongholds in the Dragoon Mountains. The Western Apache appear to have been more settled than their Eastern relatives; although their economy emphasized farming, they did raid fully sedentary tribes frequently. One of the Western Apache tribes, the Navajo, traded extensively with the Pueblo tribes and was heavily influenced by these firmly agriculturist cultures.
Although they were among the fiercest groups on the colonial frontiers of Mexico and the United States, and perhaps because of their confidence in their own military prowess, the Apache initially attempted to be friends of the Spanish, Mexicans, and Americans. As early as the 17th century, however, Apache bands were raiding Spanish missions; the Spanish failure to protect missionized Pueblo villages from Apache raids during a five-year drought in the late 17th century may have helped to instigate the Pueblo Rebellion of 1680. During the Spanish retaliation immediately following the revolt, many Pueblo individuals took shelter with the Navajo.
In 1858 a meeting at Apache Pass in the Dragoon Mountains between the Americans and the Chiricahua Apache resulted in a peace that lasted until 1861, when Cochise went on the warpath. This marked the beginning of 25 years of confrontation between U.S. military forces and the native peoples of the Southwest. The causes of the conflict included the Apache disinclination toward reservation life and incursions onto Apache lands that were related to the development of gold, silver mining operations in the region; the latter often took place with the consent of corrupt Office of Indian Affairs staff.
Despite their adept use of swift horses and their knowledge of the terrain, the Apache were eventually outmatched by the superior arms of American troops. The Navajo surrendered in 1865 and agreed to settle on a reservation in New Mexico. Other Apache groups ostensibly followed suit in 1871–73, but large numbers of warriors refused to yield their nomadic ways and accept permanent confinement. Thus, intermittent raids continued to be led by such Apache leaders as Geronimo and Victorio, evoking federal action once more.
The last of the Apache wars ended in 1886 with the surrender of Geronimo and his few remaining followers. The Chiricahua tribe was evacuated from the West and held as prisoners of war successively in Florida, in Alabama, and at Ft. Sill, Okla., for a total of 27 years. In 1913 the members of the tribe were given the choice of taking allotments of land in Oklahoma or living in New Mexico on the Mescalero Reservation. Approximately one-third chose the former and two-thirds the latter.
Apache descendants totaled some 100,000 individuals in the early 21st century.
Notable Apache people
Geronimo - his original name was Goyahkla which means "HE WHO YAWNS"
Cochise - Chief of the Chiricahua Apache
Mangas Colorado - his name meant red sleeves. He earned the name when he took a red shirt from a settler killed in battle.
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