Tahoe Time

When I dumped my Tumblr account, one of the other blogs I was following there that I made certain to add to my Google reader was from a guy from Wyoming named KC O’Connor. I love the stuff he posts and the adventures he reports on. This timelapse video from Lake Tahoe that I stole from him is a perfect example why. Expand this thing to full screen (by clicking the little icon next to where it says HD that has arrows jutting out to each corner) and prepare to be blown away. I’ve been to Tahoe a couple times; this makes me want to go back, pronto.

 

Action-Packed Stories Full of Action

I’m not going to be around tomorrow, and this goes on sale then, so I’m posting this today:

This is a Kindle-first, print-later anthology that was the most fun I’ve had writing in ages, the third in a series of which the first two are still available. It’s a throwback to the old Destroyer and Penetrator and Mack Bolan The Executioner novels. My story is called, “Blood and Sweetgrass In: This Rez is Mine!” Think of it as a cross between the 70s movie classic Billy Jack and the ’09 movie classic Black Dynamite.

From the official Blood & Tacos website, here’s the lowdown on what it’s all about:

There was a time when paperback racks were full of men’s adventure series. Next to the Louis L’Amours, one could find the adventures of The Executioner, the Destroyer, the Death Merchant, and many more action heroes that were hell-bent on bringing America back from the brink. That time was the 1970s & ’80s. A bygone era filled with wide-eyed innocence and mustaches.

Those stories are back! The new quarterly magazine Blood & Tacos is bringing back the action, the fun, and the adventure. Also, the mustaches.

In each issue of Blood & Tacos, some of today’s hottest crime writers will choose an era and create a new pulp hero and deliver a brand-new adventure. Each issue will include 5-6 stories featuring action-packed mayhem written in the style of that bygone era. The stories might not always be politically correct, but whether satire or homage, they will deliver on every page. Fast and fun, action and adventure, Blood & Tacos.

If the stories weren’t enough, Blood & Tacos will also feature fine pulpy art, reviews of some of the fine (and not so fine) novels from the same period, and maybe even a recipe or two.

Each quarterly issue of Blood & Tacos will be available for you here on the web for the low price of absolutely FREE. Or if you prefer, it will also be made available through Amazon via Kindle, and other fine ebook retailers in the ePub format, for the modest price of $0.99.

So prepare yourself for the coming of Blood & Tacos. And remember, if it’s too cheesy, it’s a quesadilla.

I’ll be back next week with a link to get the thing, but feel free to seek it out on your own in the meantime. This is one of those rare occasions where I heard about a publication being launched and I thought to myself, “I got to get involved with this thing. . . . ”

 

The People You Meet

 

Last Sunday I headed out for a hike to the top of Mt. Sentinel in Missoula, taking a trail that runs about three miles or so up the backside via the Crazy Canyon Trail. It was a hot day, and, at the height of the afternoon, a sweaty trip. I was roughly three-quarters of a mile or so from the top when I saw another hiker, headed toward me down trail, stopped at and studying one of the few signs one encounters. We exchanged hellos in passing, then he called out again after a few steps. He was looking to loop around back to where he started, and he’d started out on the front of the mountain, taking the steep trail straight up to the M, and from there on up and over the crown. After asking a few questions, I learned he was from Illinois, and that the hiking directions he’d received were for him to descend down to the Kim Williams trail. Basically, he’d made a right where he should have made a left, and he was well out of his way. Further descent would only make it worse. Considering where he should have turned was directly on my route, I offered to show him the way, so we retraced his steps together.

The man’s name was Dave Rigby. I asked him what brought him to Missoula. He paused, then asked if I’d heard about the young man who disappeared in Glacier about this time last year. I said I had. He told me the man was his son, Jacob. Jacob’s body had been found at the base of a tall cliff after several days of searching.

Dave was in Missoula for the week, staying with friends, to get acclimated to the elevation. His other son would be flying in on Thursday, then together, with members of the search and rescue people who looked for Jacob, they would be hiking to the spot Jacob fell for the purposes of holding a memorial. It is a sad story.

We spoke of the outdoors. Dave gave up hiking about 40 years ago, he said, due to problems with his knees, but is an avid kayaker. He said it has been a difficult time, but he recognizes that at least his son died doing something he loved and was passionate about. We talked of sons, and being fathers. When we got to the spot where the trail splits, I directed him on his way. We shook hands. I took his picture, he took mine.

I had a book with me I planned to read a couple passages from once I reached the top; The Spell of the Yukon by Robert Service. At the summit of the mountain, I read the first poem; it seems appropriate to reprint it here.

The Spell of the Yukon

I wanted the gold, and I sought it,
I scrabbled and mucked like a slave.
Was it famine or scurvy — I fought it;
I hurled my youth into a grave.
I wanted the gold, and I got it —
Came out with a fortune last fall, —
Yet somehow life’s not what I thought it,
And somehow the gold isn’t all.

No! There’s the land. (Have you seen it?)
It’s the cussedest land that I know,
From the big, dizzy mountains that screen it
To the deep, deathlike valleys below.
Some say God was tired when He made it;
Some say it’s a fine land to shun;
Maybe; but there’s some as would trade it
For no land on earth — and I’m one.

You come to get rich (damned good reason);
You feel like an exile at first;
You hate it like hell for a season,
And then you are worse than the worst.
It grips you like some kinds of sinning;
It twists you from foe to a friend;
It seems it’s been since the beginning;
It seems it will be to the end.

I’ve stood in some mighty-mouthed hollow
That’s plumb-full of hush to the brim;
I’ve watched the big, husky sun wallow
In crimson and gold, and grow dim,
Till the moon set the pearly peaks gleaming,
And the stars tumbled out, neck and crop;
And I’ve thought that I surely was dreaming,
With the peace o’ the world piled on top.

The summer — no sweeter was ever;
The sunshiny woods all athrill;
The grayling aleap in the river,
The bighorn asleep on the hill.
The strong life that never knows harness;
The wilds where the caribou call;
The freshness, the freedom, the farness —
O God! how I’m stuck on it all.

The winter! the brightness that blinds you,
The white land locked tight as a drum,
The cold fear that follows and finds you,
The silence that bludgeons you dumb.
The snows that are older than history,
The woods where the weird shadows slant;
The stillness, the moonlight, the mystery,
I’ve bade ’em good-by — but I can’t.

There’s a land where the mountains are nameless,
And the rivers all run God knows where;
There are lives that are erring and aimless,
And deaths that just hang by a hair;
There are hardships that nobody reckons;
There are valleys unpeopled and still;
There’s a land — oh, it beckons and beckons,
And I want to go back — and I will.

They’re making my money diminish;
I’m sick of the taste of champagne.
Thank God! when I’m skinned to a finish
I’ll pike to the Yukon again.
I’ll fight — and you bet it’s no sham-fight;
It’s hell! — but I’ve been there before;
And it’s better than this by a damsite —
So me for the Yukon once more.

There’s gold, and it’s haunting and haunting;
It’s luring me on as of old;
Yet it isn’t the gold that I’m wanting
So much as just finding the gold.
It’s the great, big, broad land ‘way up yonder,
It’s the forests where silence has lease;
It’s the beauty that thrills me with wonder,
It’s the stillness that fills me with peace.

 

Glacier is a rugged place, but so is any other place. It’s important to be careful, and mindful, whether we are out in the wild or crossing the street. But we can’t let the fear of what could happen get in the way of living. I admire Dave and his mission to honor his son. I was happy fate allowed our paths to cross.