Thursday, February 23, 2023

At the movies.

Latigo Brown is a cowboy. A real cowboy, not like those TV and movie cowboys who ride everywhere at a high lope firing off six-shooters and hardly ever come into contact with a cow. But he finds himself lured to Hollywood by a rodeo hero, where he unexpectedly becomes a box-office star during the heyday of big-screen Westerns and cowboy heroes. Amidst the glitter and glamour of the movie business, he still harbors resentment for the way he—and other cowboys—are portrayed.

Will Latigo Brown swallow his pride and pocket the money? Will starlets, high society, and riches win out? Or will Latigo write “The End” to the movie business? Follow Latigo Brown’s adventures through rodeo arenas, film sets, and the Hollywood West in the pages of Silver Screen Cowboy. Coming soon in paperback and eBook from publisher Speaking Volumes.


Wednesday, February 1, 2023

On the trail of an idea.

Writers—including yours truly—are often asked where they get their ideas. It is not always an easy question to answer. But in the case of my short story “Black Joe” I know the answer.

“Black Joe” was originally published in the periodical Saddlebag Dispatches in 2019. It was named “Best Western Short Fiction” in 2020 and given the Peacemaker Award by Western Fictioneers, an organization of professional writers of—you guessed it—Western fiction. Now it is the title story in my just released hardcover book from Five Star Publishing, Black Joe and Other Selected Stories.

But back to the subject at hand and the source of ideas.

Andy Nelson, a radio host, entertainer, and cowboy poet—and friend—of the highest order learned of the event that inspired the story from his father, Jim. It concerns an ornery wild horse, a black stud called Black Joe, that attacked a father and young daughter while out riding in the backcountry of Idaho. Andy passed the story on to another friend, cowboy composer, singer, and songwriter Brenn Hill, who saw a song in the incident. He penned “Black Joe” and recorded it for his 2018 album Rocky Mountain Drifter.

Being a fan of Brenn Hill’s many talents, I heard the song numerous times as I played and replayed the album and saw in it the idea for a tale that starts with the story in the song and goes from there. The result is the short story “Black Joe.” (Starring, as it happens, two cowboys named Andy Hill and Brenn Nelson.)

So, many thanks to Jim Nelson, Andy Nelson, Brenn Hill, Saddlebag Dispatches, Western Fictioneers, Five Star Publishing, and you for the parts you all played in making “Black Joe” a success.