Rolling research

Miss D. and I are heading out for a ten-day research trip for my next Western novel, the third in the “Ames Archives” series.  We’ll be covering large areas of West Texas, Colorado and New Mexico, checking historic locations, following the routes that horse herds and cavalry patrols would have used, and generally making sure I have the terrain properly scouted out before I begin writing.  That’s important if one wants to be convincing.  Louis L’Amour was a great example in that regard, and I try to emulate his accuracy.

We’re going to Blogorado, our annual gathering of gun-bloggers and friends, as part of the trip.  Many of us are also writers and authors, so it’s very much a business gathering in that respect, exchanging news of what we’re working on right now, the state of the market, and so on.  It also helps with publicity for forthcoming books, of course.  All that makes the trip tax-deductible, which is very useful.

I’m going to try to put up a couple of blog posts every day, mostly writing them in the evenings in our hotel rooms.  If I can’t manage it some days, bear with me, please, and visit the bloggers in my sidebar.  They’re pretty good, too!  Say a prayer for traveling mercies for us, if you’re so inclined.



  1. I've been meaning to let you know about the book, Where The Old West Stayed Young, by John Roulfe Burroughs. This book chronicles the settlement of northwest Colorado. If you want a historical glimpse of the real old west this book would be a must read.

    I grew up on a hard scrabble ranch in this area and can attest to many of the stories as they are local lore and I knew or know many of the people written about.

    I would be willing to send you my copy of the book if we can work out some kind of "security deposit". Deed to you house? Actually, I'd send it if you would give me your word you would return it.

    Lee Fulton

  2. While they would add lots of opportunities for drama and action, remember that only a few of the truck stops and wind turbines you will see were present in that time period.

  3. First OldNFO, now you.

    You guys are missing a golden opportunity:

    Get LawDog to write a western too, and the three of you turn it into an annual tour bus cruise line pilgrimage.

    Any route west of the Mississippi would work.
    (If you pull it off, look into a week or so on a paddle-wheeler from St. Louis to Nawlins for the follow-up.)

    You'd probably only get about 1000 takers either way.

    Better yet, charter an entire Amtrak train across the region, and do seminars hourly on a rotating basis in the observation car.

    The idea's pubic domain, but if you do it, all I ask is a rate for one ticket…

  4. My granddad was born in Wyoming in 1885. He worked in the coal mines when he was big enough to carry a lunch bucket without dragging it in the dirt. Ran a sheep camp alone when he was twelve. Worked as a mule skinner for the coal mines and had a number of other jobs. He had a sense of humor so dry you needed a beer to wash it down. He also had the ability to stretch the truth to point of breaking. Many of my favorite memories of my childhood involved watching old westerns on TV with him, and listening to his comments about the accuracy of said films. One time when a young starlet portraying "Calamity" Jane appeared.He said, after nearly falling on the floor laughing, "That can't be Calamity Jane, she was as ugly as a mud fence" (actually a bit saltier than that). True or not I loved him for it. Sadly he died way too young and I never got a chance to sit down over a beer with him and swap lies.

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