My Work

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Western Book is Alive and Well

I'm going to convert this from a standard blog to one in which I discuss writing, my writing, and promote others as well.
For instance, this is the cover of my latest novel. It is basically a YA, that is, young adult novel, but has been well received by adults as well. It is riding high on Amazon lists and has received two good reviews already.

Jack Slater became orphaned at ten when his parents were killed in a buggy crash. He wandered the streets of New York until a copper with a soft heart turned him over to the Children's Aid Society. They ran the orphan trains from the mid 1800s until well into the 1900s, finding homes for thousands of children with farming and ranching families living on the frontier.

Some have called this story hearwarming. Others have used the word uplifting. Jack has a unique outlook on life, doesn't understand the work quit, spends a great amount of time making friends. Be careful, he's just liable to grab your heart, too.
Jacob Chance, U.S. Marshal was my first published western novel and is close to my heart. He's always believed that he was a loner and then was sent to a little podunk of a village in Nevada to clean up a land fraud problem. Yup, this big old law-dog met a pretty girl and she roped him, dragged him to the fire and put her brand smack dab on him.

He did clean up the town, retired from the Marshal Service, took up a homestead and started to raise a family. Then his brother in law went outlaw.
Jacob Chance put the badge back in place and chased the man down. He visits many little communities spread across Nevada's high mountain desert. Blizzards, attempts on his life, and a lack of food tend to slow him down, but he continues the pursuit. Back in Preston, Nevada, there is chaos and Chance returns home in time to get in the middle of that also.
Take Out The Judge wraps up the Jacob Chance trilogy, and it's a humdinger. A Nevada Supreme Court Justice's life is on the line, the same judge that Chance has tremendous respect for, and in the middle of another fierce Nevada winter, he takes on some seriously dangerous, selfish, very rich people looking to take out the judge.

Coming soon, a three book series starting with Ezekiel's journey. Ezekiel Hawthorne has the internal strength of giants, a heart big enough to forgive even those wishing him dead, and a love for a half Shoshone woman that would last through eternity. He carves his way into Oregon history, helping bring the territory to statehood.

You'll meet Terrence Corcoran, sometimes lawman, sometimes pain in back side, soemtimes lover, who rides the open range of 1870s Nevada. His first novel will be called, Name's Corcoran, Terrence Corcoran. Watch for it.

Until next time, read good books and stay regular.

Johnny Gunn
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Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Hows and Whys of an Amazon Best Seller

With the wonderful acceptance of my latest novel, Jack Slater, Orphan Train to Cattle Barron, I thought it might be fun to discuss some of the background and little points of interest in the book. First off, of course, are the orphan trains. These were operated by the Children’s Aid Society in New York City. It’s estimated that as many as 200,000 orphaned or abandoned children were moved from the east coast to homes and families in the hinterlands of the western frontier between 1854 and 1929.

That’s an incredible number. The Children’s Aid Society was founded by Charles Loring Brace in 1853. The 1850s were bad, but it was following the Civil War that the numbers of orphaned and abandoned children soared. Stories have been written about some of the children who grew up to be civic, business, and political leaders in their adopted communities.

It was a combination of stories that the concept of Jack Slater began to form. The greatest majority of the children that rode the trains to their new homes and families found warmth and love, hard work and plentiful food, but I couldn’t let Jack have that kind of happiness. He was a feisty, strong willed boy with an incredible sense of personal responsibility. No, he had to ride into an atmosphere of cold, fear, and depredation.

It was those personal characteristics that kept him alive and made him into the man he became, allowed him to find two strong loves, and become a community leader. Which brings us to one of the fun parts of the book. Fun, that is, from my point of view as the writer. He settled in a wonderful valley south of Elko, Nevada that is home of many fine cattle ranches today. The grass is high and rich, the water is pure and cold.

Slater met a man named Paddock who lived in a little town called Skelton and bought some land from the man for his ranch. Paddock said he named the town after his mother, which Slater found rather humorous. Those of us that wander all over this great state of Nevada are rather familiar with Skelton even if we don’t immediately recognize the name. Today, we call it Jiggs, Nevada. The saloon is closed, but the sign always says open. Paddock’s story about naming the town after his mother is real. It’s history.

On his travels Jack made numerous friends, including the first sheriff of Deadwood, sat at the table where Wild Bill met his end, and participated in protecting the herd of one of Wyoming’s first major cattle ranches.

I have to say, of all the stories I’ve written over the years, this one was plain old fashioned fun to write. I took on the character and just let it flow, and apparently the currents and eddies were adequately postulated. Jack Slater, Orphan Train to Cattle Barron is an Amazon Best Seller, my first best seller. Thank you, Jack, it’s been a fun ride on that old train.

Until next time, read good books and stay regular

Johnny Gunn
Will you join me on facebook from time to time?
Or Tweet with me, darlin’?