Friday, June 18, 2010

Deadly Encounters


Never would I have believed that I'd be defending my life in my own country against invaders. But it's been happening.

I've been in the Chiricahua Mountains quite a bit this last spring getting a feel for the area so that I know what I'm talking about when I write the upcoming chapters in my third, and final(?),Jake Silver Adventure, Canyon of Death. The book could not be more aptly named, that's certain. A few times I've wondered if my own death might not transpire here.

Twice I've come back to my campsite to find it ransacked and mostly destroyed. Food and water are always missing. Clothes, too, even though I'm a big guy and I think the raiders probably aren't. My truck, an older one, has been broken into but not stolen, although I do have a busted out window. Partly this is because I have a unit on the old thing that requires a special plug to get the engine started. If someone tries to mess with it, or hot wire it, the whole thing automatically shuts down. Fortunately, I had a hunch and have been carrying all my proof of insurance, vehicle registration, etc. in my saddle bags. My horse trailer's even been searched. Nothing in there but some extra rope, tack, and a camp chair. No one seems too interested in that stuff.

I've left the area for now, mainly because the other night I heard a running gun battle that sounded pretty close by that lasted a good hour. I'm outta here for a few weeks. I may stop again on my return from Ruidoso, and I'll certainly return in October for my signing at the Rex Allen Days, but in the meanwhile, it's getting damned ridiculous down here.

I've been armed the entire time and have mostly seen what looks like youngsters hurrying along. I'm not interested in shooting anyone unless they shoot first. These travelers looked like kids afoot running away from home. I hear what sounds like jeeps and trucks occasionally rumbling over the dusty roads at night. I never see headlights, so I can only assume they are people who shouldn't be there.

I've seen a few border patrol vehicles - not a lot though compared to the other traffic. Fortunately, these border patrol guys are better armed than I am, but I suspect they are greatly outnumbered by the invaders.

It's been difficult working on the book down here and I suddenly realized the other day it's because I'm constantly stressed about the possibility of deadly violence occuring at just about any moment.

Meanwhile, I'm back to civilization and pestering my publisher here at Moonlight Mesa Associates. She's threatening to take out a life insurance policy on me if I head back down that way.

The bottom line is, the border has got to be controlled, pure and simple. There are deadly incursions onto American soil by people coming from Mexico. There are gun battles taking place between drug cartels on Arizona soil. I was ambivalent about the SB 1070. I no longer am. This is my country, my state. They need to keep the hell out of it or suffer the consequences.

I'm sure this area now is as lawless as it was back in the day that I'm trying to write about. Most interesting that this is what it's reverted to.

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Chiricahuas and Canyon of Death

I know, I know. It's been four months since I last blogged, but hey! I put information on an author's page for Amazon! It's not like I haven't been doing anything!

My webpage is going to expire one of these days soon, and in my next contract I'm making sure I put in some declaration that writing blogs isn't one of my duties. It's not in there now, but that publisher insists I do this. But, if I put it in writing that I dont' have to....hmmm. Wonder if she'll go along with that!?

I've been spending a lot of time in the Chiricahuas the last couple of months. It's probably some of the most beautiful country in Arizona that I've seen. Everywhere I go though, I insist the country is beautiful. But it's true. I must say though, that some of the Steens Mountains in Oregon and the Sisters Wilderness area is pretty spectacular, but the Chiricahuas probably beats them out overall.

The new book is progressing...slowly. I'm not sure why at this point. I've gotten a huge reprieve because of the Casey Tibbs book the publisher is working on, but not that huge of a reprieve. At least I know where I'm going in it. Actually, I've known all along where I'm going - I just haven't been sure how to get there. I pretty much have that figured out, but it looks like I've got a hell of a lot of riding to do this summer to check out some of the areas I'm putting in the book.

For a while I was thinking of ending the Jake Silver series, but at this point I'm thinking I may continue it, but I'm going to have to make some big changs to do so. The next book isn't under any deadline though, so I'm good! I'm staying with the western book publisher I now have, by the way, and that's Moonlight Mesa Associates.

I'm also thinking of getting a mule. This mountainous terrain is hard on my horse, and he's not young anymore. Now a mule could probably handle just about anything...but would a self-respecting cowboy be seen on a mule? I've heard nothing but good about these animals. I'll check it out next May when I go to Mule Days with Moonlight Mesa in Bishop, CA.

Had a good time in Tombstone. Signed a lot of books on Saturday (especially Saving Tom Black), met some crazy characters, got drunk that night...a good time was had by all. I'll be at the Pine/Strawberry Festival for one day only...probably Saturday. Stop by and say hi.

I'll also try to be at the Show Low Event as well as Heber/Overgaard, but not sure I'll make it to Ruidoso, although the Wild West Historical Convention sounds interesting. I'll be picking up some rodeos instead. Did I tell you I was a bull-dogger? I don't go by Jere James in rodeos, by the way. Go by my real name. Can't make it to Big Bear in August either, but I may get to Kanab, Utah, later that month.

Meanwhile, I've gotten lots of emails from people who really are enjoying my books, and that really makes me proud. I thank each and every person. Your words are music to my ears...well, since they're written, I guess I'd have to say they're desserts for my eyes...???

Apache has picked up a couple of other terrific reviews. I thank you. Each of you who says something good about my books deserves my sincerest thanks.