Guest Interview: Weird West Writer Gemma Files

Gemma Files is the weird west author of A Book of Tongues, one of the novels included in the weird west StoryBundle which a reader can purchase at a very low price. I had the opportunity to interview Gemma recently and she was kind enough to allow me to post it on my blog. I …

Changing the Western (for the better)

While I was attending SoonerCon a week or so ago a writer friend relayed a conversation she had with a family member. She said the uncle stated he liked to watch westerns because "they were real." She proceeded to tell him, No, they were not real, but only Hollywood's version of the Old West.  What …

“I’m your huckleberry.”

In an old writing group we had an ongoing joke you never "arrived" until you wrote an Elvis story. Many members did, I did not. The same sort of thing might be said of westerns, but with Doc Holliday. This consumptive blue-eyed killer continues to generate stories, ideas, and unverifiable legends. I got to thinking. …

Shotokan Karate in the Old Takudai Dojo – 1946 Part I

Old, historical footage of Nakayama, Kanazawa, Enoeda and others practicing Shotokan in the old Japanese dojo and training outside. This is not the original Shotokan Dojo. The original was destroyed during the war in a bombing raid. But it gives you a definite flavor of what the training was like along with the intensity. This …

My Elevator Pitch for the New Haxan Novel “Quaternity” and Other Philosophical Arguments on Recursive Genre

*Press elevator stop button. Cage jerks to a halt.* "I can sum the novel up pretty fast. Jorge Luis Borges said man will one day resign himself to new abominations, and that soon only bandits and soldiers will be left. Which is why I'm going to beat the living shit out of you right now." …

Yes, I am going to write The Great American Hobo Novel

I have finally decided I am going to do this for my next big project. I have been interested in this idea for some time. A bit tongue in cheek, but I have called this idea The Great American Hobo Novel for some time. Mostly as a place holder name. I feel there's a lot …

The Value of Research. Or, riding the horse of serendipity until it bottoms out.

Heh. The value of research. In my WIP I had the main characters visit Abilene before they went into Fort Griffin. Except, this novel takes place circa 1869 and Abilene wasn't founded until 1881. Oops. So I did a little digging and found out Buffalo Gap was a staging area for hunters during their winter …

“Stagger Lee” by Lloyd Price

As a writer I am fascinated how small and seemingly insignificant events have, through oral repetition, come to play an important part in our culture. One of these events is the (very real) murder of Bill Curtis by Lee Sheldon, also known as "Stag" Lee.  Down through time his name has become corrupted into Stagger …

Un Ballo in Maschera: Beautiful Opera Music Marred by a Poor Storyline

Un Ballo in Maschera (The Masked Ball) is one of those operas in which the music is better than the story. It's about the assassination of Gustave III of Sweden during a masked ball. That much is historically accurate.  The rest of the opera...not so much, even down to the last scene when the king …

The Saga of Ragnar Greenkirtle and the “graskinna” Loki

One of the things I like about being a writer is how I can do research about topics that interest me and use that information to generate story ideas. I have always been interested in Viking culture and when I read the Sagas I was taken with the voice used to tell their stories. Being …

Violent Love and Quick Death with a Beautiful AI Construct in Star City, Russia

Mark here. My story "The Bonebreaker" has a strange germination. It grew out of my first novel  Fevreblau in that I cherry-picked a few parts from the book and expanded them into a story. Writers do this a lot in case you didn't know. We write a story about a character and then we might …

Little Big Man: A Classic Novel of Lies and Counter-Lies in the Old West

My review of the novel Little Big Man by Thomas Berger has been published by The Western Online. Here's the link, and I hope you enjoy reading what I have to say about this classic work. I tried to approach the review from the orientation of both an armchair historian and a writer working in …

The Flat: 5000 Buffalo Hunters, Ranchers, Prostitutes, Drunks and Criminals in One Place

While researching Fort Griffin and The Flat we came across a little town being rebuilt in the old western style. The owner claims he is going to turn it into a tourist trap when he completes it all, haha, but it is open now for anyone to browse around. So we took advantage of it! …

Lambshead and Daws Crossing on the Clear Fork Comanche Reservation (1855-1859)

This is Lambshead, one of the oldest ranches in the area. It was first built by J.A. Matthews. It lies south of the old Butterfield Stage Route. You could get from St. Louis, MO to San Francisco, CA in 25 days using this route. This is Daws Crossing where Robert E. Lee signed a peace …