Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Guest Author Chuck Tyrell


The Posse Sweethearts
    Hi, Y’all, I’m Charlie Whipple and I write westerns under the moniker of Chuck Tyrell. Some time ago, I got the chance to write for the anthology we’re giving you a look at today. The Posse. And it’s a hard-hitting bunch of western romance stories that carry quite a punch.     Now, so’s you won’t get the wrong idea, love with the right man or woman was important in the west. Take my own grandpa Willard Whipple for instance. He borrowed a team to take his girl on a ride down the hollow. Thing is, he was tardy getting back, so the man he borrowed the team from came to find him, did so, removed his horses from the traces and took them home. Grandma Emma said, “And there we sat like fools in the hollow. Fools Hollow is still the name of that place. Grandma Emma married Grandpa Willard, too. And I’m one of the results.
My story is the one called “To Set a Thief.” You see, ranchers all along the Outlaw Trail were losing cattle in a big way. The law, not even U.S. Marshal Meade, couldn’t seem to put a stop to the thievery. So then went to the Pinkertons for a good man.

Mort Eggertson killed a boy in Holbrook and got arrested in Saint Johns by Sheriff Hubbell. He was supposed to wait in Hubbell’s jail until Marshal Meade could get there. He’d not been there three days when Cy Gibson and Jess Simmons, part of the Wilkins gang, busted him out. They grabbed their horses and lit out up the mountain, headed for the Coronado Trail into Mexico.

Two days out of Saint Johns, with Hubbell’s posse on their tail, the outlaws lost a horse. Stepped in a crack in the rocky trail and went down, breaking a leg. Nothing to do but put him down. Cy and Jess together were only about the same size as Mort, so they rode double while he forked the big chestnut sorrel.

They saw the smoke coming off the shoulder of Mount Ord and down into Sycamore Canyon. A little further on and they could smell the breakfast bacon. They shucked their six-guns and rode on in, but what they didn’t expect to find was a girl kid with a tame paint mare and a wild black filly.

She was just a little spark of a woman, a bit over five feet tall, but feisty as a wildcat backed up against a cliff. Still, she made them all breakfast along with some coffee, and Mort saw to it she was tied up so’s she could get away. Might take some time, but she could get away. As they were leaving, with Cy aboard the girl Kimberly’s paint mare, Mort couldn’t help looking back a time or two.

Mort got in with the Wilkins Gang that worked out of Alma, New Mexico, and found out how they ran stolen cattle down into Mexico, using Canyon Diablo as conduit. He got that information to Sheriff John Slaughter down in Coconino County, and the whole gang, Mort included, was caught red handed. Once the gang was in jail, Sheriff Slaughter thanked Mort Eggertson for his help, calling him Russ Taklin, and turned him loose.
Russell Taklin turned his horse’s head for the green meadows that lay below Alpine. When he arrived, Kimberly McCullough was training her black filly.

The moment she saw him, Kimberly ran for the house and came out with a Winchester cocked and loaded. But her pa wouldn’t let her shoot. This here’s Russell Taklin, Pa said, He’s a Pinkerton man. And Russ said he’d come calling on Kimberly McCullough.

Here’s a snippet from when Mort Eggertson (Russ Taklin) first meets Kimberly McCullough.

Daylight brought the aroma of frying bacon. “Smell that?” I said.

“Bacon, I reckon.” I pulled in a deep lungful of mountain air. “Yep. Bacon. Let’s go have a look-see.”

We eased off the Mormon Road into Sycamore Canyon, walking our horses in the soft grass, making as little noise as possible. Maybe fifty yards from whoever cooked that bacon, I dismounted the sorrel, pulling my One-of-One-Thousand Winchester from its saddle scabbard. Through the sunrise haze, a little girl stood at the cookfire. A woman, maybe, but as short as a schoolgirl. When she finished cooking, she swiped a hot biscuit in the bacon grease in the pan. The paint mare in the holding pen whickered, spoiling the moment. The girl reached for her rifle.

“Lay the rifle on the ground real slow, little lady,” I said. “Real slow.” I eared back the hammer of that almighty accurate Winchester.

She dropped the rifle like a hot poker, then stumbled back like her knees might be shaking.

“That’s a good girl. That grub you’ve fixed smells right fine. Got enough for visitors?”

“Quit lollygagging around, Mort. All we need is her mare,” Cy said.

The girl dipped her head before pivoting to face us.

My neck jerked stiff while my jaw dropped. Cuter than a bug’s ear flew into my mind.

“Your mounts look like they need a rest and time to graze,” she said. “I can feed the three of you while those poor horses are eating, too.”

We musta been a sight. Three bad men who’d not seen a razor for at least three days. All with cocked guns in hand.

The girl shrugged. “From what he said, you must be Mort Eggertson.”

“I am,” I said.

“My brother told me they had you in jail. How come?”

“Killed a man,” I answered, frowning.

Her face grew just as hard as mine. “Then you deserved jail.”

“Ah, but he’d of killed me if I’d been a hair slower with my Remington. They say he wasn’t heeled, but he had a hideout Derringer.” I waved the Winchester a bit, but not far enough for her to get any ideas about going for her rifle again.

“Come on, Mort. That posse of Hubbell’s cain’t be all that far behind us. Let’s git.”

“I could whip up a bit more bacon and biscuits if you want,” she said.

I reckon she thought to stall us to let the posse catch us.

She wore a six-gun, but unbuckled the rig to lay it by the rifle. “That’ll keep you from getting the wrong idea, making it an excuse to shoot me. Ain’t got no hideout, neither.”

“You don’t seem all that scared of us, Missy,” I said.

“Mr. Eggertson, you give me the feel of a better man than you carry on. If you were all that bad, I’d be dead. I reckon you don’t like killing. Maybe you’ve even rode with a posse your own self.” She talked big, but a little tremble hid in her voice.

I smiled. Women say I’m good looking, but I never gave it a thought ’til she smiled at me.

She took the biscuit and bacon from the frying pan, placing it on the grub box. Then she built another sandwich from what remained. She handed it to me, but I gave it to Jess Simmons. He took a big ol’ bite. He hadn’t eaten in nearly a day, and it showed.

“Go ahead, Missy. Fix some grub.” I held the Remington on her. No sense taking chances.

She stirred more biscuit dough. Quicker than you can say whodunnit, she cooked biscuit and bacon sandwiches for us. While we ate, she set a coffeepot on the fire. Always did like good coffee.

When it steamed, she filled a cup, handing it to me. “Only got one tin cup. The other men’ll have to wait on you.”

I took the cup, tasting her coffee. “Strong enough to melt horseshoes,” I said. “Just my style.” I slugged it down before I returned the cup. She filled it, giving it to me. I passed it to Cy.

“What’s your name, Missy?” I asked.

“Kimberly,” she said, “but everyone calls me Kid.”

“Kid what?”

“Kid McCullough.”

I couldn’t help taking half a step back from her. “You kin to the McCulloughs south of Alpine?”

“Family,” she said. “You been around here long, you’d know ’em. There’re my brothers, Kane and Kenigan. Then there’s Kris. I bring up the rear. Oh, yeah, my pa’s Kieran McCullough.”

“Mustangers,” I said.

“Among other pursuits.”

“Well, Kid,” I said. “We’re gonna have to borrow your paint mare.”
About our guest:

Charles T. Whipple is a native of Arizona who resides in Chiba, Japan. Whipple writes fiction and nonfiction. His articles have appeared in many magazines, including Time, Newsweek, Honolulu magazine, Tokyo Journal, Cruising World, Boating New Zealand, Sport Diver, and more. His nonfiction books include Seeing Japan, Inspired Shapes, and several in Japanese. He writes western novels under the pen name of Chuck Tyrell for Black Horse Westerns, Edition Bärenclau, Piccadilly Publishing, Sundown Press, and has contributed short stories to the Express Western anthologies Where Legends Ride and A Fistful of Legends, and Western Fictioneer anthologies. He is part of the Ford Fargo persona that writes the Wolf Creek series from Western Fictioneers. He has won prizes for both advertising and journalism, and received the first-place Agave Award in the Oaxaca International Literature Competition in 2010. His novel, The Snake Den, won the 2011 Global eBook Award in the western fiction category. Whipple was a lifetime member of the now-defunct National Association for Outlaw and Lawman History. He is a current member of Western Writers of America, Asian-American Journalists Association, Society of Writers, Editors, and Translators (SWET), Tauranga Writers Inc., and, of course, Western Fictioneers. Whipple is married, has one wife, two sons, four daughters, and 19 grandchildren. He is fluent in spoken and written Japanese, and understands many forms of English.

The WEB page is: www.thepossebook.com 
The FB pg is: https:www.facebook.com/thepossebook.1

We gave away 33 books and $110 at Cover Reveal.

We will give away 10 copies of The Posse in addition to other books and prizes at the launch on Mar 15 6-11 PM CST
Thanks so much for the help.
Posted by Celia Yeary

Sunday, February 26, 2017


Dorothy Scarborough is an author whose story intrigues me. She was the youngest child of Mary Adelaide (Ellison) and John Bledsoe Scarborough, a Confederate veteran from Louisiana and successful Texas lawyer. Dorothy was born on January 27, 1878, in Mount Carmel, a small Smith County community near Tyler, Texas. Her brother, George Moore Scarborough graduated from the University of Texas law school in 1897 and went on to become a successful playwright. Her sister, Martha Douglass (Mrs. George McDaniel), had degrees from Vassar and Baylor and eventually published three books.

The family moved to Sweetwater, in West Texas, in 1882 because Mrs. Scarborough needed the dry climate for her health. They left Sweetwater in 1887 and Mary and Judge John Scarborough moved their family to Waco into a Victorian mansion near the campus so that the children could have a good education at Baylor.

By no means comparable since my father was not a Judge, my parents moved to Lubbock so that my brother and I could attend good schools and later attend Texas Tech. Hero’s parents did the same to provide access to good education for him and his siblings.

Dorothy had always been encouraged in her studies by her parents. Writing became her passion along with a career in teaching. Judge Scarborough became a member of the Baylor University board of trustees in 1888 and served until his death in 1905. Dorothy made her home in Waco until she moved permanently to New York City, where in 1916 she began to teach at Columbia University.
Scarborough received her B.A. from Baylor in 1896 and her M.A. in 1899. 

Dorothy Scarborough, photo from Baylor University
She pursued further graduate work in literature at the University of Chicago in the summers from 1906 to 1910. She spent the 1910–11 school year in residence at Oxford University in England, even though women could not be awarded degrees there at that time. She went on for the doctorate in literature at Columbia University and received the degree in 1917. She was hired immediately to teach creative writing in the extension division of Columbia. In 1923 Baylor University awarded her an honorary doctor of literature degree.

While completing her master's degree she taught English at Baylor and also taught briefly in the public schools of Marlin, Texas. As a regular faculty member at Baylor from 1905 to 1915, she taught general literature courses, composition, creative writing, and journalism. She also taught a popular and influential college-men's Sunday school class at the First Baptist Church in Waco. Her progress at Columbia was marked by her promotion to lecturer in 1919, to assistant professor in 1923, and to associate professor in 1931. Her teaching emphasis was creative writing, especially the techniques of the short story and novel.

The study of folklore in Texas was in infancy when Scarborough was teaching at Baylor. She was an early member of the Texas Folklore Society, which was founded in 1910, and served as president of the society in 1914–15. She called herself a "song catcher." She believed radio threatened the survival of folk songs, and she traveled around the Appalachian Mountains recording centuries-old ballads with a hand-powered Dictaphone. Scarborough believed these folk songs told stories about a community's values and its collective history. Dorothy Scarborough took inspiration from America's regional cultures and, in doing so, preserved the creative expressions of ordinary people from times past. Don't you wish we could listen to those Dictaphone melodies?

As reflected in her publications, her interests as a folklorist were generally in folksongs, cowboys, and the lore of the Negro. In addition to various essays and articles, she published two major folklore collections, ON THE TRAIL OF NEGRO FOLKSONGS and A SONG CATCHER IN THE SOUTHERN MOUNTAINS (published posthumously in 1937).

Dorothy Scarborough was a novelist whose works dealt primarily with the plight and role of women in Texas and elsewhere, although she also had an interest in ghosts, sharecroppers, cowboys, and other local characters and settings. Her first book was a collection of her own poetry, FUGITIVE VERSES in 1912. She also published poetry in various magazines and journals at Baylor and elsewhere.

Mexican Family 1910
near Sweetwater, Texas

IN THE LAND OF COTTON, CAN’T GET A REDBIRD, and THE STRETCH-BERRY SMILE examine the crushing responsibilities of cotton farming on the children of tenant farmers and sharecroppers. These novels, plus her juvenile reader, THE STORY OF COTTON, vividly depict all aspects of cotton farming, from planting to chopping to picking and finally to ginning and selling.

Cotton in the field
ready for harvesting
I suppose another of the reasons Dorothy Scarborough appeals to me is that for most of his life my father was in the cotton business, first as manager of a cotton gin and later as a cotton buyer. He often talked of the poor treatment of migrants and said that the only thing a dry-land farmer raised in West Texas was dirt—not technically true but often the case. In addition, Ms Scarborough is a writer as I am and we both also worked as journalists—although she had a far better education than I have and a more respected journalistic career.

Ms Scarborough's books include FROM A SOUTHERN PORCH, IMPATIENT GRISELDA, THE SUPERNATURAL IN MODERN ENGLISH FICTION (her dissertation thesis), THE UNFAIR SEX (serialized, 1925–26), and THE WIND. This last, controversial novel, has assured her reputation as an American regional novelist.

THE WIND created a furor in Texas when it was published because of its negative portrayal of frontier living conditions on the cattle ranges around Sweetwater in the 1880s. The book was also published anonymously as a publicity ploy. Reviewers praised the book for depicting the West with "cold truth." However, many Texas readers attacked THE WIND—and argued that only a Yankee could have written it.

According to Gene Fowler, “few Texas books have generated such controversy as Dorothy Scarborough’s 1925 novel, THE WIND. Set amid the sandstorms around Sweetwater during the drought of 1886-87, the book described the West Texas winds as "the enemies of women," a "resistless force" that "wailed to [Letty, the main character] across waste places in the night, calling to her like a demon lover." R.C. Crane, a Sweetwater lawyer and president of the West Texas Historical Association, spoke for many West Texans when he blasted the novel’s author (the first edition was published anonymously) for what he saw as inaccuracies in local color, geography, and cowboy talk. The book, Crane declared, even slandered the prairie dog. Other, enthusiastic critics called the book a masterpiece and likened Scarborough’s treatment of nature to that of Thomas Hardy and Joseph Conrad.”

Many critics regard this novel as a Texas classic, notable for its characterization of a tragic heroine driven to murder and insanity.

Finally, the Sweetwater Chamber of Commerce invited Dorothy to visit, thinking its members could point out the many good aspects of their community. Ms Scarborough accepted the invitation, but must have felt vindicated when a West Texas “blue norther” storm blew in and proved her point. Winning her audience with humor and charm, she quoted a letter her mother had written after the family’s move to Waco. Complaining of Central Texas’ heat and dryness one summer, Mrs. Scarborough had exclaimed, "Oh, how I long for a Sweetwater breeze!"

Participants in Sweetwater's spring Rattlesnake Roundup
Sweetwater is a nice town in spite of the above (shudder)
THE WIND was made into a movie in 1927 starring Lillian Gish and Lars Hansen. That movie is probably the last great silent film, even though the producers changed—as movies are apt to—the ending to a happy one unrelated to the ending of the novel. By the way, Lillian Gish was producer of the movie and must have been one of the first actresses to produce a movie. She arranged for the story rights.

Movie poster
According to Ms Gish, “The film was shot near Bakersfield, California (where I lived for six years as a child) at the edge of the Mojave Desert where temperatures rose to 120 degrees in the middle of the day,” she said in an interview. “Eight airplane propellers were employed to stir up all the sand. There was so much swirling sand that everyone on the set wore black grease paint around the eyes and big goggles and scarves around the face as much as possible. The sand was so stinging and hot that it burned holes in my clothes.” Ms Gish tells of the day when she went to her dressing room trailer and unwittingly clasped the burning hot metal doorknob. It took the skin off her right-hand palm.

As Ms Gish related, the exhibitors liked the movie, but wouldn’t accept the ending. They knew that their audiences wouldn’t tolerate a tragic ending, so the crew was forced to shoot another scene, which ends with a happily ever after. Ms Gish said in the interview, “We all thought it was morally unjust to force us to change an artwork.”

Ms Scarborough’s story line of THE WIND is fairly simple. Traveling by train from civilized Virginia, the refined young heroine Lettie Mason is puzzled and disoriented by the sandstorms the train encounters as they reach West Texas. She is to live with a relative and his family.

To her horror, she discovers that the wind is never-ending — a driving, tormenting beast. Involved with two men who want her, she fights for her sanity. In the final scene, she runs out into the sandstorm and is swallowed up and lost.

Sandstorm rolling into at Midland, Texas, 1910
You can understand how someone could run
into this storm and get lost.

Ms Scarborough also edited three books, FAMOUS MODERN GHOST STORIES, HUMOROUS GHOST STORIES, and SELECTED SHORT STORIES OF TODAY. Her other literary productions include short stories, book reviews (she was on the literary staff of the New York Sun), critical essays, and articles dealing primarily with folklore and other literary topics. She also serialized “The Woman’s Viewpoint” in a magazine, in which she denounced the inequities under which women lived and worked at that time.

Though she lived the last two decades of her life in the northeast, she vowed, "I’ll match my loyalty against that of anybody in the State." As for Texas as a subject for literature, she wrote that "her native sons and daughters would be foolish to look elsewhere for literary inspiration."

Dorothy Scarborough died on November 7, 1935, at her home in New York City and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Waco, Texas.


Most of my books are set in Texas and two of them include sandstorms. The first is the historical THE MOST UNSUITABLE COURTSHIP in which a sandstorm plays a large part. 

The other is the contemporary , which takes place in West Texas, HOME SWEET TEXAS HOME.
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Friday, February 24, 2017

Change of Theme by Paty Jager

The current WIP has been giving me fits.

I started with the hero and heroine. They have a resemblance in some ways to a young couple I met a few years ago. They were so in love, you could feel the electricity between them. Then when I asked them some questions about their backgrounds, I knew I had to write a book with characters like them.

My heroine was to be a daughter of a preacher. The hero, half American Indian and half French. I wanted an obscure mission in the Pacific Northwest that I could have her father teaching at and have the hero be a part of the tribe they were helping to find God and learn to be civilized.

This is country where I grew up. It resembles the Lemhi area
I thought I found my obscure mission. Fort Limhi on the border of Idaho, almost in Montana. At the time of the story it was considered to be in Oregon Territory. During my first two rounds of research, I didn't dig up much about the fort other than the site was chosen in 1856 by a group of Mormon men sent north to find a place where they were welcomed by the Indians. The area in the Salmon River Valley was one where Shoshone, Nez Perce, and Bannock tribes came to fish for salmon and smelt and to have games and races. One band of the Shoshone the Salmon Eaters lived most of the year in the valley. Chief Tendoy of this band, welcomed the Mormon missionaries.  He gave them permission to put up a mission, and they could use the bounties of the valley for their own consumption.

This is the hero, Henrí Baudin
This was all good information. But I had trouble finding information specific to the mission that they built in a log stockade. How many people lived there? Men and women? What did they all do? I thought great! I'll have an Indian school, the teacher, the heroine's father would be mean to the Indian boys and the hero's uncle would ask him to come help the children. I was 100 pages into the story when I came across half a book on the life of someone who lived and worked at the Limhi Mission (now called Lemhi) in Salmon River Valley.

That skidded my story to a halt. I read all this information, and discovered the school I had outside the stockade would have been a very small school held inside the stockade in the meeting house. And that very few Shoshone attended the school. AND there were bigger political issues taking place that my hero, who was at Yale studying law could help his people with.

With this new information, the story no longer dealt with ill treatment of the Shoshone children. Instead, it now deals with the Shoshone seeing the missionaries friending their enemies, taking natural resources from the valley to Salt Lake, Brigham Young deciding in February 1857 they should build a community rather than help the Shoshone, the army trying to get the Indians on their side to roust out the Mormons, and the final straw, the mission taking in another tribe that had stolen Shoshone horses.

The mission that started in 1856 was abandoned in March 1858 when the Shoshone stole the fort's livestock and horses and killed some of the Mormons when they took over the fort.

As with all my books what started out as a moral theme turned into a theme of justice. I can't seem to get away from that theme in my books, but that makes them grittier and more fulfilling for me to write.

This research and digging is for the fourth book in the Letters of Fate series. Henrí will release in April. 
If you haven't read this series yet you can find, Davis, Isaac, and Brody on my website and peruse their stories. 

Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 30+ novels, dozen novellas, and short stories of murder mystery, western romance, and action adventure. She has a RomCon Reader’s Choice Award, EPPIE, Lorie, and RONE Award. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. This is what readers have to say about the Letters of Fate series- “...filled with romance, adventure and twists and turns.” “What a refreshing and well written love story of fate and hope!”