Sunday 31 July 2011


EBooks have now gone mainstream – the sales figures prove it. And one of the implications of the rise of digital books is that previously ignored genre fiction can be made more readily available than ever before. Take the western for instance, which has been conspicuous by its absence from most book stores for a great many years, but thanks to the popularity of eBooks has made a comeback. Visit any eBook store and the chances are better than good that they will have an eBook section devoted entirely to westerns – the coolest genre of them all.

Which leads us to our Magnificent eSeven eBooks, each of which will provide top quality western writing and we hope you enter into the spirit of things and buy one of these eBooks, or indeed any other western, this Wild West eMonday. Go on – spend a few pennies and show the authors who have worked hard to provide this Wild West eMonday weekend of western posts, that all our efforts are worth it. It’s a win/win situation for the reader, since we guarantee that each of the very different westerns selected in our Magnificent eSeven will provide top quality entertainment, but beware they are dangerous and will likely lead to severe genre addiction.
So come on folks and enter into the spirit of Wild West eMonday and buy a western eBook this Wild West eMonday. You don't have to select one of our Magnificent eSeven but each title is guaranteed to entertain.

The eSeven are (with links to further info)

Later on today, it's Monday where I live, Wild West eMonday, we will give you the rest of the images in the competition to win a signed copy of The Ballad of Delta Rose and from there on in it's business as usual on The Archive. Thanks to everyone who helped make this weekend of western posts so varied and interesting and thanks to all those who buy a western eBook today.

How about letting us know what you bought in the comments section of this post. PRETTY PLEASE!

Saddle up - It's Wild West eMonday!!!!

Oh and what did that curious image I've been randomly posting mean? Why it's Wild Bill Williams but more of that later...much later.

This Wild West eMonday has been brought to you by,"I'MF**KINGSHATTEREDNOWPRODUCTIONS."

Wild West eMonday - Tony Masero interview

When I first became friendly with Tony Masero I knew him chiefly as the cover  artist of many of the books in one of my all time favourite western series, Edge by George G. Gilman. At the time I was involved in bringing the first Edge novel back into print via the digital medium, and using the internet I approached Tony to provide a cover for the new electronic version of the Edge book. He did and then Tony asked me to look at a book idea he was working on, the artist had picked up a pen. That book eventually became The Rifleman which is available from Solstice Publishing now. And later this year Tony will see the publication of a second western, Jake Rains - This time the book will come out from my own publisher, Robert Hale and their Black Horse imprint.  Incidentally all of the images on this post are Tony's work.

I asked Tony about his novels The Rifleman and Jake Rains.

‘Jake Rains’ is my first book to be published in hardback. Hale Books (aka Black Horse Westerns) were kind enough to let one of their cover artists have a try with the pen instead of the paintbrush and miraculously it was accepted and they let me do the cover art for my book as well.
Having painted Western book covers for four decades, it seemed about time to put something between the covers instead of on them. Over the years its meant a lot of visual research whilst doing the Edge and Steele series amongst others and that of course led to an interest in the era and also, like so many of my generation, as a youngster I was raised on a diet of both Western movies and comics.
            I guess in a way I like to push the limits as it were, so although ‘Jake Rains’ is a story about a cowhand and a crook, there are some differences with the traditional take.
            Jake is a Mauser pistol touting Rough Rider just back from Teddy Roosevelt’s campaign in Cuba where he swore to his dying friend he’d take care of his widow. Soon he runs foul of the local cattle baron who’s courting the widow. After that, it’s crazed Mountain Men, a racing Winton Phaeton and a preaching killer who are all met on Jake’s way to a bloody shoot out on Main Street.
            The second book, out now as an e-book by Solstice Publishing but soon to be in hardback is ‘The Riflemen’ is a tale about two ex-Civil War sharpshooters who were master and slave before the war and end up as friends and partners after it. They are commissioned to take out a wealthy renegade who is raising a new Confederate Army south of the Border. Tracked by a trio of killers they make their way through Indian territory, meeting all kinds of woes along the way until finally tracking down the renegade at his base in an old Aztec ziggurat. It doesn’t end there and before it does the duo’s pair of Sharp’s long rifles came in for plenty of use.

So was it difficult after a lifetime spent with the brush to pick up the pen?

 I’ve always written, well certainly as a young man in the sixties but more in a private way. There was something initially attractive about describing the pictures that came into my mind using the written word alongside the visual interpretation. If you’re born with an imagination I guess it’s a natural progression. The skill in actual production comes later, be it using either a brush or a pen. A big help with technique on ‘The Riflemen’ was my editor at Solstice, Nik Morton who also writes his own Western novels under the name Ross Morton. Nik recently asked me to do the cover art for his latest Black Horse book ‘Old Guns’ and Hale have agreed to the commission. It’s a double honour for me as Nik is an illustrator in his own right, so praise indeed.

So then will there be more from Tony Masero the writer?

At the moment my third Western novel ‘The Hunted’ has been accepted by Solstice and is going through the production process. Once again I get to do the cover art, which is great for me as it kind of completes the circle. You can view the original artwork on my website at: The story is about a wealthy cattle baron with a past, who receives an invite to visit with one of his old comrades. The sickly comrade leads him on a path that takes in tracking down three other friends from the old days and leads him back to a brutal Civil War atrocity, a vengeful prisoner in Yuma prison and a fortune in Confederate gold. Somewhere along the line though a hidden killer is trailing him and the story isn’t over until the assassin is revealed.

            The success of the books, ‘Jake Rains’ already reaching a healthy pre-publication listing on Black Horse’s top ten, certainly encourages me to continue writing. Inspiration is not a problem and I’m already bubbling with new ideas. It intrigues me to write stories on the edge of the traditional Western format and a little out of the ordinary ….  but, failing that, there’s always another cover to paint!

Indeed there is and Tony's next commission is to produce a cover image for my forthcoming novel, The Dead Walked which will see me switching to horror and the pen name Vincent Stark, but it's my bet that very soon the name Tony Masero will be as much associated with his writing as it is with his stunning artwork.

Find some of Tony's creations below:

Wild West eMonday - The Magnificent eSeven 7

And to show how varied the genre can be we have selected John Locke's Follow the Stone. You could hardly call this comedy western traditional, but that's part of the charm. It's a rollicking adventure that plays with genre conventions and drags the reader from page to page.

International best-selling author John Locke (Saving Rachel, Wish List, Now & Then, Lethal People, Lethal Experiment) tackles a new genre, with hilarious results.

Follow the Stone (An Irreverent Western Adventure) is a good-hearted, rollicking story about a former gunslinger and his crablike scout, who journey West with a mail order bride, a witch, and a wagon full of prostitutes! 

Wild West eMonday - Steve M's Reviews

Well after all this work putting together Wild West eMonday, I'm sure you all won't begrudge me a little self promotion. And so here is Steve M's review of my latest novel, The Ballad of Delta Rose. I'm especially pleased with this review as Steve certainly knows his westerns.

By Jack Martin
A Black Horse Western from Hale, July 2011

After more than twenty years of living life on the road, Delta Rose returns to the ranch he once owned with his fiancĂ©e, Etta James. A bullet wedged close to his heart has dealt Delta the dead man’s hand.

He soon discovers Etta has a secret: they have a son who, by now a young man, is in trouble. He is charged with both robbery and murder. Can Delta redeem himself for a past ill spent and save the life of the son he never knew he had?

Jack Martin starts this book with a strong opening scene and the story never lets up from there. The plot moves forwards quickly and defies the reader to put the book down before finding out how things will end for Delta Rose. Can you save his son? Will he tell his son that he is his father? Will he tell anyone he has come home to die, and will he still be alive by the end?

Jack Martin puts his characters through some strong emotional challenges and does so with confidence and resolves them believably. As the bullet moves closer to Delta Roses’ heart we see the hero become paralysed, share his fears that he will not live to save his son. The action sequences are equally well portrayed.

The author’s sense of humour also comes through as he mentions a dime novel written by ‘some purple prose-loving hack named G.M. Dobbs.’ For those who don’t already know Jack Martin is a pseudonym used by writer Gary Dobbs.

The book ends with a twist that did come as a surprise, and if you want to know whether Delta Rose lives or dies then you’ll just have to get hold of a copy for yourself as I’m not going to reveal that answer here.

The Ballad of Delta Rose was officially released on July 29th so is available now, but be quick if you want a copy as Jack Martin’s previous two books sold out extremely quickly.

Wild West eMonday - Archive's Sunday Comics: TheTrain Robbers and a whole lot more

Today's Sunday Comic is wild west themed to keep in the spirit of   Wild West e-Monday.

Our main strip, The Train Robbers was written by Keith Chapman in 1966 and published late summer 1967 in Boys' World Annual 1968. Keith (best known to us today as western novelist Chap O'Keefe) says, "It has nothing to do with the 1973 John Wayne movie written and directed by Burt Kennedy
except that the movie picked up the same title."

The simple, four-page comic-strip was very much a late entry in a tradition of UK-produced, boys' western comics that had been dominant in the 1950s before they were all but swept away by the growing popularity of World War II comics.

British kids and their parents in the late '40s and early '50s probably were not ready to see war as something to read about for fun.
At worst, the revived memories of war could involve the loss of loved ones, homes, and property. At best, war was  associated with shortages and rationing, which continued for luxuries like "sweets" (chocolate and candy) years after the war was over. Even story papers, comics and books had been affected by multiple closures and limitations on new periodicals; all print-and-paper production had been shaped by "authorized war economy standards".

The Wild West was a safer, mythical world of action and derring-do; a removed and different kind of "bang and he's dead." Among the new, post-war comics were the photogravure Sun and Comet, originally published in 1946 by J. B. Allen in provincial Cheshire but soon taken over by the London-based Amalgamated Press. In their early years, they published serial strips printed in distinctive green and red inks and sometimes based on Hollywood movies. Examples we show here from 1950 were based on the now-classic westerns A Ticket to Tomahawk and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon.

Elsewhere at the AP's Fleetway House in Farringdon Street, other staff turned their attention to a new format: monthly pocket-book comics of 64 pages containing complete stories, often featuring heroes who also starred in serials in the Fleetway weeklies. The digest size was probably chosen instead of US standard measurements for monthly comics because the company's presses had produced for years text-story "libraries" in the more compact, saddle-stitched format.

Cowboy Comics was launched in April 1950 and its initial stars were Buck Jones and Kit Carson. In mid-life, in 1957, the series title was changed to Cowboy Picture Library. By 1962, with many readers lost to War Picture Library and its like, the line was struggling. It folded in September of that year after 468 issues.

Meanwhile, midget rival publisher Micron Publications was launching a Western Adventure Library to fill the gap left by CPL. Its storylines didn't feature stock heroes but reflected the general run of adult western fiction. Under the editorship of Keith Chapman, who joined Micron from Fleetway, the scriptwriters for these new 64-page comic books included Vic J. Hanson (later a prolific Black Horse Western author) and Jacques Pendower, a veteran author of all kinds of genre novels, including westerns as Penn Dower and T.C.H. Jacobs. Western Adventure Library was quickly joined by a companion Cowboy Adventure Library, doubling the publisher's westerns to four books a month, thus matching output of its Combat Picture Library war series. Though the artwork was commissioned from the beginning through Spanish agencies, Micron's financial difficulties eventually led to its sourcing, translating and reprinting Spanish-language western comics produced by Barcelona publisher Editoral Ferma.

By late 1964, the ownership of Micron had changed, too, to its comics' overall detriment, and Keith Chapman was working for Odhams Books ... which brings our story back neatly to that company's Boys' World and The Train Robbers.

And because the Archive is the place where you always get more please enjoy these two pages that are sure to delight western fans, and then scroll down to read The Train Robbers. Don't forget you can click each image for a larger version.

And now The Train Robbers

Wild West eMonday - Jack Martin on the Bridge

There's a Wild West eMonday flavoured interview with myself over at Meridian Bridge - Find it HERE

"The fact that nothing ever needs to be out of print is, as far as I’m concerned, a big plus to digital publishing. It means that in theory everything ever written can be easily available. I also think that genres such as the western can reach a bigger audience as eBooks. I don’t really think there is a downside other to eBooks themselves since traditional books should be able to co-exist with this new technology. The ease of self publishing means that at the moment there is a lot of swill about and that could be seen as a downside, but quality will out and in time the bad writing will simply vanish. So long live the eBook."

Wild West eMonday - Competition image 2

Image 2
Win a copy of my new western, The Ballad of Delta Rose

We've already posted one other image and there'll be another three - that's five in all. All you have to do is take a long hard look at the image that accompanies this post. Study it and then look out for the other four severely cropped images over the weekend and then tell us which book these images come from. To make it all nice and easy each image used will have come from a book that will be featured during the weekend. You'll see the complete cover during the weekend and all you have to do is identify which cover the images were cropped from.

We will post all five images together on Wild West eMonday

Wild West eMonday - what about Delta Rose?

In all the fuss we neglected to mention that this novel by a certain chap called Jack Martin (that's me, folks!) was published yesterday - it's print only for the moment but I'm mighty proud of this one and hope readers enjoy it.

After more than twenty years of living a life on the road, Delta Rose returns to the ranch he once owned with his fiancee, Etta James. A bullet wedged close to his heart has dealt Delta the dead man's hand. He soon discovers Etta has a secret: they have a son who, by now a young man, is in trouble. He is charged with both robbery and murder. Can Delta redeem himself for a past ill spent and save the life of the son he never knew he had?

The latest from Jack Martin, this was a literal page turner. I pulled it from my mail box Monday morning and finished it in one setting. I was easily pulled into these characters’ lives, always a good thing.  FULL REVIEW

Once again Jack Martin takes his ingredients and turns them into a tasty treat. Incident piles upon incident that gathers speed until justice is seen to be done.
If you haven't read Jack Martin then you have missed a treat
. Broken Trails Full Review

Wild West eMonday - The Magnificent eSeven 6

I had to include at least one all time classic western amongst The Magnificent eSeven and it had to be this one. Why? Well I read it for the first time ever recently as a Kindle eBook and was stunned.

The movie that came from this book is, to my mind, the best western movie ever made and the book is just as good, if anything the book is far more powerful in dealing with the racist aspects of the lead character. Ethan Edwards becomes Amos Edwards in this  great American masterpiece, which served as the basis for the classic John Wayne film, two men with very different agendas push their endurance beyond all faith and hope to find a little girl captured by the Comanche.

It's a brutal read but it doesn't pull any punches in dealing with attitudes that were common in frontier America. A true work of art.

Wild West eMonday - David Whitehead

Born on the wild frontier of East London, David Whitehead always wanted to write. As a child his father would pass on his old western books and also record stories he'd invented himself onto a tape for his young son to listen to.

And now that boy has become a man but that boyhood love of storytelling, and specifically westerns is still with him. To date he has penned almost fifty westerns under a handful of names as well as venturing from time to time into other genres. And now David is making many of his backlist titles available electronically which should excite any western fan. Just goes to show what we've been saying around here for ages now - if you're a western fan there's never been a better time to get a Kindle, Sony, Nook or other eReader.

David has used many names over the course of his career - Ben Bridges, Carter West to name but two of a wild bunch - but what's in a name? Is there any difference between a David Whitehead and a Ben Bridges for instance?

"Yes, there are subtle differences between the styles I use for the different pseudonyms.", David told the Archive. "Ben Bridges, for example, was always a tougher style with action as the main driving force, whereas my westerns as Glenn Lockwood (which have yet to appear in ebook format) were far more character-driven. Overall, however, I would say there are more similarities than differences. I hope always to tell a good, original story the old-fashioned way, with a beginning, a middle and an end."

"We need to be at the top of our game so that we can produce original westerns aimed at a more modern market." David Whitehead

The new electronic editions are sporting stunning new artwork, with a uniform look. The Archive liked the design, told David so and then wondered who the artist was.

David smiles, "Many thanks for your kind words regarding the covers," he said. " I like them, too! I buy the illustrations from various agencies and then design the cover text around them. I think it's important to have a recognisable 'house style'. I don't use photographic covers, for example, always illustrations. The text is always bright and eye-catching."

Eye catching indeed and the cover images evoke memories of the golden days of the westerns.

"I suppose I've been influenced by the good old days of Richard Clifton-Dey," David continued. "And Tony Masero and David McAllister. Anything I can do to recreate that feel of the old Piccadilly Cowboy days is all to the good."

"I was born wanting to write. And since my Dad took me to see all the western movies that were still being made during my childhood (the 1960s) and we were forever watching westerns on TV, and since he used to make up western stories for me and then read them into a reel-to-reel tape recorder so that I could listen to them while he was working evening shifts as a security man, the western seemed a natural genre for me." David Whitehead.

Bringing these modern western classics back into print via the digital medium must have presented more than a few problems. I have bought several eBooks over recent months in which the formatting is abysmal, with text running across the page as if set by an epileptic on cocaine, and yet the formatting in these editions is spot on. How much of a challenge was this?

"It was difficult to format the books for Kindle, David admits. "But only at the outset. It was very much a case of the blind leading the blind. But I had the great good fortune to have a wonderful friend in the shape of Malcolm Elliott-Davey, who writes westerns as Cody Wells and whose first BHW, SIX WAYS OF DYIN', is now awaiting publication. He educated me as to the right way to do this thing, and I will always be grateful to him for that."

And western fans should also be grateful to Malcolm Davey AKA Cody Wells because the books are now out there. There are some great titles in David's backlist and western fans should give one of these books a try, but prepare to dig deep and buy the rest. David's writing, like that of all great western writers, has an addictive quality. The books he wrote with Steve Hayes for instance are among the best I've read in many years.

"I always wanted to bring my old books back into print." David said.
"If there was no such thing as Kindle I would have started issuing them in paperback via a site like I would have probably issued them as uniform sets, say with blue spines for the O'Briens, yellow spines for The Wilde Boys, grey spines for the Judge and Durys etc., so that when you had the lot they would look really beautiful set out on your shelf. But that would have been an expensive proposition for the reader, especially when you think that we're talking about seventy books here. Kindle enables the reader to buy the book at a bargain price and receive it instantly as a download. It's more convenient all round."
What is also convenient is that using the Amazon store readers can download a sample of each book and then after reading you can decide to buy the book. They're all priced reasonably, cheaper than a new paperback. So come on - readers who want to head West best take a short detour up the Amazon.

Check out the new eBooks HERE

Wild West eMonday - Still playing

Still to come

A Wild West themed Archive's Sunday Comics
A Chat with Tony Masero
How to write a western by Jack Martin (that's me, guys!)
and more
the remaining titles in our Magnificent eSeven

Wild West eMonday - Steve M's reviews

Steve M runs Western Fiction Review

Misfit Lil Cleans Up

 as by Chap O’Keefe
A Black Horse Western from Hale, 2008

A senseless killing stopped Jackson Farraday from investigating an odd situation in the raw mining settlement called Black Dog. For answers he tricked Lilian Goodnight into spying at the High Meadows cattle ranch.

Lil was dismayed to find range boss Liam O’Grady running a hatwire outfit crewed by deeper-dyed misfits than herself. Then she was obliged to save ex-British Army major Albert Fitzcuthbert – sent to investigating High Meadows by its owners – from renegade Indians.

Everybody had secrets: Lil’s childhood friend Liam; his spouse Mary, and Fitzcuthbert’s cruelly humiliated young wife, Cecilia. Lil was facing problems only her savvy, daring and guns could settle!

Chap O’Keefe definitely knows how to tell a good yarn, he immediately hooks the reader by introducing a number of questions, the answers to which Misfit Lil will have to struggle to find.

There is plenty of action in this fast moving tale and Misfit Lil makes for an engaging lead character. O’Keefe also includes brief mention of her past adventures – this being the fifth Misfit Lil book – that makes me want to find those books and discover just how she and the other characters, already known to her, came to like or dislike each other.

It is also unusual to find the main character, in a Black Horse Western, being female and, for me, this made a pleasant change.

Mention must also be made of the excellent cover painting – the artist sure knows how to use light, shadow, and hints of colour to great effect. This scene ties up nicely with an exciting chase of a stagecoach by Indians within the story.

When the book was originally released it sold out in twelve days! This must be some indication to how popular Chap O’Keefe’s westerns are.

I always like to follow bad news with good so I’ll remind you that Black Horse Westerns are first and foremost produced for libraries so there’s nothing to stop you going there and requesting a copy. I’m sure you’ll find it worthwhile.

Arkansas Smith

as by Jack Martin
A Black Horse Western from Hale, March 2010

Arkansas Smith: the name was legend. Once he had been a Texas Ranger, but now he was something else entirely. Some said he was an outlaw, a killer of men and a fast draw. Others claimed he was a kind of special lawman, dispensing frontier justice across the West and bringing law to the lawless.

Arkansas Smith arrives in Red Rock looking for those who shot and left his friend for dead. He vows to leave no stone unturned in his quest to bring the gunmen to justice and, soon, those who go against him must face the legendary fast draw that helped tame the West.

Jack Martin (Gary Dobbs) presents the reader with an entertaining story with his second western. Arkansas Smith is an engaging hero whose background is only hinted at in a number of flashbacks that serve to flesh out the character, yet also leaves you wanting to find out more; something that is planned to happen in further books about Smith.

Gary Dobbs’ writing is confident and moves at pace, the story building up nicely to its final shoot-out. Smith is not the only memorable character, Rycot being one of my favourites. And for those in the know, Gary also tips his hat to a few other Black Horse Western writers by having characters named after their pseudonyms – he even mentions himself – which I felt was a fun touch.

The book is easy to read and difficult to put down, and left me eager for more tales about Arkansas Smith.

Revenge by Fire

as by Bill Williams
A Black Horse Western from Hale, November 2009

Steve Ross has been forced to give up the struggle to keep his small ranch going during Arizona’s worst drought in living memory. He intends to leave town in the morning, but events result in him being given an unusual ultimatum.

He must face the prospect of hanging for killing a man, or becoming the Deputy Marshal of Craigy Plains. Ross has never owed or fired a pistol, but following his appointment as a lawman he is taught how to handle a weapon by an old gunfighter. His prowess with a gun is soon given a severe test.

He is drawn into tragic events that put his own life in the greatest danger.

Although Steve Ross is the person who this story revolves around, Bill Williams spends as much time fleshing out the many other characters that fill this book. Although you don’t realise at first all these people will play important parts in bringing the many, seemingly, unrelated threads together by the end.

Bill Williams writes well and is very readable. He drops little hints as to what is going on and cleverly uses misdirection a couple of time to make you wonder as to just who has been killed. There is plenty of action but it’s Bill William’s character studies, their motives, the guessing of who is double-crossing whom and why, will Ross get back with Stephanie, and will any of them be alive at the end, kept me reading.

The final major showdown takes place a few chapters before the end, everyone’s true identities and fates resolved; or so you think, for Bill Williams continues the stories of those left alive, telling what happens to them, ties up the few remain loose threads, and has a few more tragic surprises waiting for his readers.

From what I can tell this is Bill Williams’ ninth BHW and having now read my first book by him I am keen to try more of his work.

Wild West eMonday - The Magnificent eSeven 5

Author Chap O'Keefe is a good friend of mine, but that didn't guarantee his inclusion among the Magnificent eSeven - far from it, each of the seven titles chosen for promotion during the Wild West eMonday are fully deserving of their place on the list. Indeed the problem I had was that there are several O'Keefe books now available as eBooks and being a big Misfit Lil fan I was torn as to which title to include amongst the seven eBooks. I had originally intended to feature Misfit Lil Cheats the Hangrope, but In the end I opted for The Sandhills Shootings, simply because it is Chap's newest eBook release. It may not be a Misfit Lil title but protagonist Joshua Dillard is no slouch.

Ex-Pinkerton detective Joshua Dillard was a gun for hire. He was also a man given to doing only what he had a mind to do. So he refused the presumptuous Omaha financier Fergus O'Callaghan's money, but rode the trouble-busting trail to the Sandhills region of Nebraska anyhow. In that country were his dead wife's brother Tom Holley, a tenderfoot deputy unversed in frontier life's wicked ways, and beautiful Ruth Swain, gutsy widow of a murdered homesteader. Both were up against the odds. Their obvious enemy was salty rancher Stella Tinwald, who cracked the whip for the cattlemen's association -- when she wasn't corraling likely young studs of the two-legged kind. Joshua was set to take on Tom's and Ruth's fights. The odds were stacked against Joshua and a drygulcher's bullet pushed him to death's brink ... but he was a mighty hard man to kill.

James Reasoner: "Joshua Dillard is a very likable hero, tough and competent
enough to handle just about any situation, despite his occasional self-doubts, but not a superman by any means. I’m ready to read more about him right now."

David Whitehead aka Ben Bridges: "Joshua Dillard once again emerges as a wholly credible and eminently likable protagonist."

Read a sample of the novel HERE

Saturday 30 July 2011

Wild West eMonday - The Western

"The thing to remember about this appetite for Westerns and the West is that millions who possess it are entirely uncritical. They’ll take anything in buckskins, literally. The Karl May cult in Germany has not even begun to slow down, although May died in 1912 and was himself never west of Buffalo. Indeed, as I discovered with Lonesome Dove, it is really impossible to get people to look at the West critically - they just refuse. The director John Ford is said to have decreed that if you have to choose between the truth and the legend, print the legend. From my experience I’d say that there’s really no choice: for most readers and viewers it’s the legend or nothing."  

Larry McMurtry

Wild West eMonday - Ghost of eMonday's past

This video comes from the third Wild West Monday - a time before the rise of eBooks but the message's the same.

Wild West eMonday - what it's all about

When I was a kid the local book shop was a much more interesting place - the shelves were filled with brightly coloured paperbacks of all genres - crime, horror, science fiction, fantasy, war, westerns and even erotic fiction - writers with names like Guy N. Smith, Sven Hessel, George Gilman, Oliver Strange, Shaun Hutson and Mark Slade were household names. Most of these writers worked in the mid range - they would never trouble the bestsellers of the day but they would shift tons of books between them.

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 eMonday 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 this Wild West eMonday - buy an eBook and show your support for the genre. It's all as simple as that - if folk  take part in large numbers then shops, libraries will be getting similar requests all over the globe.

Wild West eMonday - What's in a name?

Nicknames, aliases and fancy monikers were popular in the Old West - often people would assume a name in order to hide from the law but sometimes it was in order to build a reputation.More often again these colourful monikers were attached to a person by friends or enemies and the name would stick whether they liked it or not.

Below is a list of Wild West nicknames followed by given birth names.

Annie Oakley was actually Phoebe Ann Mozee
Billy the Kid was actually William Bonney (or Henry Antrim depending on which story you believe)
Apache Kid was actually Sergeant Joe Kid
The Baron of Arizona was actually conman Jim Addison Reavis
Bat Masterson was actually Bartholomew Masterson
Big Foot Wallace (pictured) was actually William Wallace, Texas Ranger.

Often the non-de-plume attached to a person would be descriptive of their appearance or manner. Thus the cold hearted bandit Charles E. Bolton became known as Black Bart and Frank Lelsie, a Tombstone gunman became known as Buckskin Frank.

Some more aliases were:

Theodore Roosevelt was wildly known as Bullmoose because of his hunting skills.
Ella Watson who was lynched for rustling in Wyoming was known as Cattle Kate
Crawford Goldsby was known as Cherokee Bill
Nat Love (pictured), an African American cowboy was known widely as Deadwood Dick
O. C. Hanks, a member of Butch Cassidy's wild bunch was known as Deaf Charley
Mountain man, James Capen Adams was known as Grizzly Adams
Texas outlaw, William Martin was known as Hurricane Bill.

Alice Tubbs, a mining town gambler was more commonly known as Poker Alice
Conman and saloon owner Jefferson Smith who was eventually lynched in Alaska was Soapy Smith. Be sure to check out Jeff Smith's Blog - he a descendant of the famous conman and writes much about the old scoundrel.
General George Armstrong Custer was known as Longhair.
Sam Bass, outlaw, had the rather romantic title of, The Robin Hood of Texas and fellow outlaw, Charles Fallon was known as Rattlesnake Jake.

These are just a few of the colourful nicknames that abounded in the Old West - it has been an hobby of mine to document as many of these as possible over the last few years and I have a list running into two hundred names..

Wild West eMonday - Famous Last words

ake good care of my horse - General Winfield Scott 1866

I feel better - Brigham Young 1877

Cowboys, there are no more Cowboys - Frederick Remington 1909

Bury me next to Bill - Calamity Jane 1903

Hanging is my favourite way of dying - Bill Longley 1878

Texas, Texas Margerat - Sam Houston 1863

This is the last game of pool I'll ever play - Virgil Earp 1882

Wild West eMonday - The Magnificent eSeven 4

The eBook by Chris Scott Wilson was originally published by Robert Hale, home of the Black Horse Westerns imprint, and we all know that's a sign of quality.

Morgan Clay had tried his hand at almost everything. When he stumbled on a rich gold vein he thought all his troubles were over, but for him trouble was just beginning. . .

. . . A Kiowa brave and two boys eager to earn their man-names cut Morgan's trail and saw the opportunity to do more than steal his horses. . .

. . . Shuck Alison, a two-bit gunslinger and card sharp, had been drifting ever since he killed his stepfather back in the hill country. His woman, Anne Marie, was a whore with the face of an angel. Together, they worked the frontier towns, an eye on the main chance.

But when they found Morgan Clay, they all found more than they bargained for.

Wild West eMonday - That Man L'amour

He's the bestelling western writer of all time and most of his back list is now available in the eBook formart and so for Wild West eMonday, the Tainted Archive in conversation with Beau L'amour the man responsible for keeping his father's legacy alive.

More than 300 million copies of his books in print. The only author ever to be awarded both the Congressional Gold Medal and the Medal of Freedom. Louis L’amour stands head and shoulders above every other western author in terms of both sales and acclaim.
He is the benchmark by which all other western authors measure themselves.

He is the western writer’s writer.
The Tainted Archive talks to Beau L’amour about his father’s amazing legacy which continues to entertain readers and will do so, no doubt, for as long as books are read.
NOTE QUOTES IN BOLD are from Louis L’amour himself. I have used these, with permission, from an entertaining video on the official website. To see the full video click HERE.
In many way Louis L’amour’s name recognition with western fans is equal with say that of John Wayne. I wonder at what age did Beau become aware that his father was this legendry figure?

“We lived in Hollywood where any writer is a fairly minor player. Until I was in my early teens our income was pretty modest and Dad was only recognized by certain groups. I would argue that his name recognition is still way below Wayne's. In many of the areas we travelled and with many of the people we socialized with westerns were not considered special or important. Dad was known for being an interesting guy in a lot of ways and to a lot of people ... I've always thought that his work was almost the least of him. He was an amazing individual and in social gatherings his personality, life experiences, and wisdom on many subjects was more valued than his writings or what eventually became fame.”
When Louis L’amour first put pen to paper the days of the Old West were not that far away – in fact, in many ways the young writer touched the period. What stories did he tell that may not have seen their way into print?
“This would be too long to tell and I wouldn't do as good a job as the man himself. There is a 30 minute interview at the end of our latest Audio Drama, Son of a Wanted Man, that is all about the different western characters that Louis knew in his youth. In my opinion the so-called accuracy of Louis's novels is not nearly as important as the fact that he actually touched the time period he wrote about ... the people he knew and the places he lived prepared him as well as any research.”
My great grandfather was killed by Indians and scalped. And my grandfather fought Indians. I grew up being told stories like that.”

Louis L’amour had a reputation as a wondering man. I wonder, did his itchy feet ever leave him?
“He settled pretty firmly in Los Angeles 1946, living there until he died in 1988. He never had a driver's license so he was trapped in town unless he could recruit a friend, my mother, or me. To a certain extent he did this on purpose, to impose discipline so he would work. You can't write 89 novels and more than 300 short stories if your doing too much wandering around!”
I like to spend time in the mountains. In the really wild country – mountains or desert.”

Louis L’amour’s early life was as rough and rowdy as that experienced by any of his characters. He was, for instance, quite an accomplished boxer. What other stories are there of his adventures?
“Probably the most fun way to experience that answer would be to visit
A section of our nearly finished Adventure Stories site that covers some of louis's personal adventures and contains pictures and artifacts from his life.”
I used to do some boxing. Every town had a fella thought he was a fighter. I fought fifty fights and I lost five – thirty four knock outs. I never lost a fight when I was eating regularly.”

People like myself are huge L’amour fans and would love to know what your father was like in everyday life? Was he always wandering around looking for ideas?
“Rarely, though he loved to do just that. He knew that most good idea
s don't come to you when you search for them but during the execution of other pieces of work. He tended to sit in his office (at first a small one then later a much bigger one) in our house and write. Usually a couple of hours before breakfast, then 'til lunch. Then he'd eat, exercise for an hour or two and either write or read up to dinner time. After dinner he might write for another few hours. Time in the wilderness was just once or twice a year and only for a few weeks total, if that. Dad didn't make enough mon
ey until the very end of his career (when he was in his 70s) to relax much. We had a comfortable middle class lifestyle as long as he wrote 3 to 4 books a year. It was only after all the books had been selling a long time that the financial situation got much better. This was typical of everybody writing paperback originals in that era. The advances were quite low and so were the royalties ... it was only if your books stayed in print that you made any real money.”
Are there any unfinished manuscripts that could one day see the light of day? Will any other writer be working one day on unfinished works?
“There were plenty, we've published them in the last many short story collections but no further stories that seemed to have had a particular ending indicated by Louis that I could finish or polish. My rule of thumb was always to do the least that I possibly could. First, I would try to cut a story into publishable condition with no additional writing, then I would sometimes write "bridging material" if the cuts were too severe. Occasionally, I'd do more, "modernizing" some stories (removing some of the political incorrectness from the narration ... but rarely the dialogue ... hey, that's how people talked!), clearing up cluttered plots and strengthening characters. Dad and I were a good team, he didn't like rewriting and I love it. Only once did I "write" nearly a whole story, the novella The Diamond of Jeru (which I also turned into a movie and now a Dramatized Audio production ... exhausting ALL the possib
ilities!) and that was because the book was looking like it was not going to be under length so creating a 80 page novella from a really rough draft of a short short story was called for to bulk up the book.

There are quite a few unfinished stories documented at
but none of which did I feel comfortable finishing because the end of the story trajectory was indicated ... probably why Louis never finished them. The site also contains finished work, notes, and correspondence. The site will have three sections, one is already finished and one partly done.”
Removing political in-correctness from the original scripts. There are those that would say that is sacrilege. Was this decision the publishers or yours?
“My decision. Louis was one of the most open and unprejudiced people I've ever run into but different times have different vocabularies. So my decision, mostly on the Crime and Adventure stories, was to alter the narrator voice but very, very rarely, the dialogue. So the characters speak in era specific vernacular but the narrator has a more universal voice, which is appropriate to the concept of a third person narrator.”
“I always wanted to be a writer but it’s tough getting started because there’s nowhere to begin. As soon as you start trying to sell stories you are competing with the best people who sell stories. So you’ve got to be good from the start.”
Looking after the backlist of books, every one of which is still in print must take some doing. So is this a full time job?
“Relatively full time. I occasionally work in the film industry and often write and direct our audio dramas but the main effort are the books. Today that is a completely backlist operations but until the early 2000s we had a new book every year.”
If Louis L’amour were around today and working would be still be producing westerns?
“Some certainly but he really enjoyed writing books like The Walking Drum and was looking forward to more work in the Science Fiction genre, like The Haunted Mesa.”
Thanks for Beau L’amour for taking the time to answer these questions.
Louis L’amour on the web:
This interview is respectfully dedicated to the memory of Louis L'amour.


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