Wednesday, February 23, 2022


the blog about the medicine and surgery of yesteryear

Keith Souter aka Clay More

Acupuncture was an integral part of my medical practice since the early '80s until I retired just before the pandemic. I hold a professional qualification in  the subject and over the decades have treated many thousands of cases. Now, since the pandemic the only needles I wield are the ones used to put vaccines into arms.

Nonetheless, in my view acupuncture is a highly effective treatment for many disorders, especially pain-related conditions.


Acupuncture is essentially a treatment derived from ancient Chinese medicine. It involves the insertion of fine needles at certain points in the body for therapeutic or preventive purposes. 

It is either practiced as part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), as it has been practiced in the East for centuries, or as Western Medical Acupuncture, which is based on western medicine and physiology. 

In TCM acupuncture, the concept is that life energy, called Qi  flows around the body in interconnected meridians and that blockage or disturbance of flow results in symptoms, disorders and disease. The needles inserted at acupoints on the meridians are thought to balance the energy, stimulate healing and promote relaxation. 

In Western Medical Acupuncture  conventional medical diagnosis is followed by the insertion of needles to stimulate sensory nerves in the skin and muscles, which results in the release of natural substances including pain-relieving endorphins. 

Both systems use the same meridian system and location of acupoints along all of the meridians to locate and record which points are being used. In antiquity it was thought that the meridians were channels like arteries and veins through which Qi or life energy flowed. 

There are twelve main meridians , each of which is related to a particular organ of the body. These are bilateral, so there are twelves on each side of the body. Each acupoint has a traditional name, but the international classification is now numerical, so that points are described by the initials of the meridian and a number. For example, a powerful pain-relieving point is traditionally called Hoku, or Co 4. This is the fourth point on the colon meridian, which is found in web space between the thumb and forefinger. 
(It is sometimes also referred to as LI 4, or Large Intestine 4).

Hoku, or Co 4

There is inevitably some overlap between the two methods of practice.


The origin of acupuncture goes back into the mists of ancient Chinese history. The first  written records appear in the Nei Ching, known in the West as The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine. It dates from the period of the Warring States (403-221 BC)

This classic text was written in the form of a dialogue between the legendary Emperor Huang-Ti, who is believed to have lived about 2697-2596 BC, and his minister Ch'i-Po. The Emperor poses questions which are answered by Ch'i-Po with a fairly lengthy discourse. Each of these discourses takes a medical point and explores ethical issues arising from it and links it with Taoism, which was the man religious philosophy at the time the book was written.

The book is in two sections, first the Su Wen, meaning 'simple questions,' which contains the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and the second, Ling Sou, meaning 'Magic gate' or 'Spiritual Pivot,' which deals with therapy. The meridian pathway system that is fundamental to acupuncture is described. 

Essentially there are twelve paired meridians (ie, one on each side of the body), each of which is associated with an organ of the body. In addition there is one central one on the front and the back of the body, the back one being the Governing Vessel or brain meridian and the front being the Conception Vessel meridian. 

Chinese medicine was introduced to Japan sometime between 100 BC and Ad 700. It is thought that it reached Korea in the sixth century AD The Nei Ching was the fundamental text. 

The author's acupuncture mannequin


Seemingly, Jesuit missionaries became aware of acupuncture and its related treatment of moxibustion in the sixteenth and seventeenth century. In 1671 the Jesuit father Placide Harvieu wrote Les Secrets de la Medicine des Chinois, The Secrets of Chinese Medicine.

It was not until several generations later that the medical profession picked up on this therapy. Dr Louis Joseph Berlioz (1776-1848), the father of the composer Hector Berlioz, was the first western practitioner of acupuncture. He introduced the practice in his hospital in Paris.

The first doctor to practice in America was Dr Franklin Bache, the great-grandson of Benjamin Franklin.  He had in about 1825 obtained a copy of Memoire sur L-Acupuncture by M J Mourand, a physician at the Hospital Saint-Louis in Paris. 

Dr Franklin Bache (1792-1864)

At a colleague's suggestion he translated this into English. 

He also began practising the method on prisoners under his care at two prisons in Philadelphia, including the Walnut Street State Prison where he was the physician in charge. In 1826 he published a paper, Cases Illustrative of the Remedial Effects of Acupuncturation in the North American Medical and Surgical Journal. 

Dr Bach predominantly treated pain conditions using what he called acupuncturation, which we would nowadays call trigger point acupuncture. Interestingly, this was the method used by Sun Sou-miao, a renowned physician of the seventh century during the Tang dynasty.

Dr Sun Ssu-miao (590-682 AD)

Sun Sou-miao wrote Pei chi chin yao fang, meaning 'Thousand Golden Prescriptions for Medical Emergencies.'

The practice of acupuncture in the nineteenth century involved using quite long, hard and thick needles. Doctors suggested using ladies' hat bonnet pins. 

Acupuncture came and went in medical practice over the decades.  Indeed,  Dr T Ogier Ward, an English physician describes this in an article he wrote an article in the British Medical Journal of 1858:

Acupuncture is a remedy that seems to have its floods and ebbs in public estimation; for we see it much belauded in medical writings every ten years or so, even to its recommendation in neuralgia of the heart, and then it again sinks into neglect or oblivion; and it is not unlikely that its disuse may be occasioned, partly by fear of the pain, and partly by the difficulty the patient finds to believe so trifling an operation can produce such powerful effects. Another reason for its neglect may be that, like every other remedy, it fails occasionally, and the practitioner, disgusted at having persuaded his patient to submit to a pain, which, though slight, has been attended with no benefit, will not again undergo such a disappointment. However this may be, its use is not as frequent as it deserves

In America the situation was similar in terms of the medical profession. A difference, of course was that with the great influx of Chinese immigrants the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine including acupuncture flourished. This was not just the trigger-point acupuncture that Dr Franklin  Bache and his colleagues and followers practiced, but was the traditional methods as first promulgated in the Nei Ching. However, as such it was not much practiced outside the Chinese communities. 

A huge boost was given to acupuncture in the United States in 1972 when President Nixon visited China and was shown treatments carried out under acupuncture. Since then it has been extensively studied and utilised as an effective and valuable treatment modality.


The doyen of late nineteenth - early twentieth century physicians was Sr William Osler, professor of Medicine at McGill University in Canada and Oxford University in England. His Principles and Practice of Medicine was published in 1892 and was the standard textbook of medicine for decades. In it he describes the technique used by many doctors (including I have no doubt, Doc Logan Munro of Wolf Creek) to treat lumbago.

"For lumbago acupuncture is, in acute cases, the most efficient treatment. Needles from three to four inches in length (ordinary bonnet-needles, sterilized, will do) are thrust into the lumbar muscles at the seat of the pain, and withdrawn after five or ten minutes."






Tuesday, February 22, 2022


 Post by Doris McCraw

writing as Angela Raines

Photo property of the Author

We love the Western Genre. I will say, although perhaps not as popular an idea, the Western, like Romance is a broad category. 

As some of you know I am hoping to post quarterly marketing tips on my personal blog. The thing about marketing, other than being time-consuming and a pain, is you need to know your audience.  Does your audience like action/adventure? Perhaps it's historical, or maybe weird? The thing is, what kind of Westerns do you read? What kind do you write?

I know most of my works have a redemption quality to them. There is also that sense of trying to make it fit into the history of the area and time I'm writing about. Plus, -insert growl here- I've been placed in the 'sweet romance' genre. I may not always get too violent in my work, but sweet? Oh well, it sells and keeps the royalty checks coming. 

Photo property of the author

As I move into 2022 I hope to define not only my sub-genres but the sub-genres each of you write in. It is amazing how knowing where you fit in and who your audience is can help. 

In the meantime, it's writing, editing, and reading as many books by Western Fictioneers members as I can. Supporting others is a big part of who I've always been. The more the word gets out, the better it can be. 

Here's to the Western and all the sub-genres it is composed of. Long live the stories of our history, even those that are fiction.

Doris McCraw

Monday, February 21, 2022

Texas Outlaws and Lawmen - Texas Ranger Cicero Rufus Perry by Vicky J. Rose aka Easy Jackson


Cicero Rufus Perry
Cicero Rufus Perry

               Whenever someone comes up to me and says something like, “Your relatives were horse thieves,” I grin and give my shoulders a little shrug. My reply is: “Maybe some of them were, but I love my family anyway,” and that usually shuts them up.

              The Texas Rangers have been taking quite a hit lately from qualified historians, the armchair variety, and the sensation seekers, mostly the latter. Whenever I read about their supposed brutality, racism, etc., my response is the same. I love them anyway.

              In Texas during the 1800s, there was a group of Indians who loved to steal horses and a group of white men who loved to chase them. Let them hear of a neighbor being scalped, horses stolen, or women and children kidnapped, and they would drop the plow handles so fast the dust didn’t even have time to settle before they would be gone—riding as good and as fast a horse as they could saddle in the race to catch the perpetrators.  Most entered into the service of the Texas Rangers at one time or another.

             Certainly, the Indians, the women, the slaves, the children, and the old people who were forced to stay behind and do the everyday work deserve to have their stories told—but this blog is about Texas lawmen. And Cicero Rufus Perry was one of those men.

“Old Rufe” as he came to be called, left Alabama and arrived at Bastrop, Texas, in 1833 when

Gen. Edward Burleson

he was 11 years old. Bastrop, situated on the banks of the Colorado River along the Old San Antonio Road, had Indian raids every “light moon.” Indians stole all the Perry horses as soon as they arrived.  Consequently, young Rufe developed a case of hero worship for one of the best Indian fighters of the time, Edward Burleson. Burleson later led the Bastrop men in the charge at the Battle of San Jacinto and became vice president of the new Republic of Texas. At one time, he was just about the most popular man in Texas.

Gen. Sam Houston

But whereas Sam Houston was an attention grabber who jumped in front of the camera in showy clothes at every opportunity, Burleson only had his picture taken once, and that was at the insistence of his daughter. He was a down-to-earth man who accepted responsibility but never trampled anybody to get it. Much to the disgust of his longsuffering wife, however, he was always willing to drop everything to pursue Indians.

If Rufus Perry wanted to be an Indian fighter, soldier, and Ranger, he learned from the best.  At age 13, he and his father were with the other Texican soldiers as they retreated toward San Jacinto after the fall of the Alamo. Maj. Alexander Somervell approached the boy—they needed someone to go to Capt. Mosely Baker’s camp at San Felipe some 30 miles away and give him a dispatch from Gen. Houston. He was to burn the town so the advancing Mexican army couldn’t profit from it. No one else wanted to go. Would Rufe be afraid to take it?

San Felipe was second only to San Antonio as a commercial center  - its destruction upset many Texans. Houston would later claim he never gave the order to burn it, infuriating Capt. Mosely Baker.

“I toald I woold take it whitch I did” the semi-illiterate Perry wrote later.

Perry continued to run dispatches for Houston, and after the Battle of San Jacinto, he joined the Texas Rangers, continuing in that capacity as a regular and volunteer for the next 40 years, chasing marauding Indians, Mexican bandits, and thieving outlaws. He first volunteered for duty under Capt. William W. Hill whose company was attached to Gen. Edward Burleson’s Rangers. They were all that stood between the settlers returning home and rampaging Indians emboldened by their evacuation.

While Perry honed his Ranger skills under the tutelage of Burleson, he was receiving an education about life on the raw frontier. He watched in disgust as one “desperado” they had riding with them jumped on the first dead Indian he came to and began stabbing him. Perry remarked wryly, “I think if hee had of bin a live hee woold have went the other way.” Another shock came when an old backwoodsman cut the thigh off a dead Indian and tied it to his saddle, saying he was going to eat it if they did not get anything in the next few days. Fortunately, they made it to someone’s house, and “got beeaf and raostinears then wee dun fine.”

It is important to note, according to historian Donaly E. Brice, that up until the Battle of Plum
Creek in 1840, the fight against Indians in Texas was a defensive one. Horses would be stolen, people killed or kidnapped, and then the Rangers would go after them. In 1839, 16-year-old Rufe joined Col. John Moore’s company of men that included 42 Lipans for an expedition against the Comanche. At San Saba, they were able to surprise the enemy, and a battle ensued. Comanche women and children fled wildly into thickets. Andrew Lockhart, whose daughter had been kidnapped, ran ahead, screaming her name. Although the men were brave and experienced, the expedition had been poorly planned and executed.  Under a white flag, a parley was held between the whites and Comanche, with the Lipans translating. 

           The Comanche tried to bluff the whites with a threat of nearby Shawnee, while the Lipan translator convinced them the whites had no wounded. Badly outnumbered by the Comanche, they agreed to a truce. When they returned to where their horses had been, it was to find that every horse, blanket, and saddle had been stolen. Rufe joined the others in walking the 150 miles home.  

This humiliating episode did nothing to dampen Perry’s fighting spirit, and he continued to serve and scout for the Rangers. In his memoirs, he talks openly about taking a scalp because a young lady in Bastrop asked him to bring her back one. “hee fell as tho hee was dead and wee thaught hee was but when I went to raze his top not hee razed with me I tell was had a liveley time for a while until oald butch got the best of him.”

Punch Nash is about to drive his stagecoach across the Colorado River in Bastrop, TX

       Perry relates an incident that happened the next day just as frankly. The Rangers, along with some Lipan Indians, were on the trail of Comanche, killing two. The Lipans took a woman prisoner. “the way the friendly Indions did to ceap hur was to Sleap with hur each one evry night as their time come young Flaceo toald mee to tell Coln Lewis hee and mee could sleap with hur when thay all went around as he was commander and I interpretor but wee did not but let them have hur to them selves.”

Rufus Perry and his Indian guide Banzincum

In the meantime, an obsessed Santa Anna was unwilling to let Texas go and would continue to send soldiers in attempt after attempt to conquer the Texans, and Perry participated in stopping them. Although the Mexican American War is now deemed unconscionable by some historians, it was the only thing that finally put a halt to Mexico’s invasions into Texas.

After three predatory raids by Mexican soldiers into Texas, in a political move intended to stop the outcry of settlers, Gen. Houston allowed Alexander Somervell to lead a raid into Mexico. Perry again joined up, and as Houston expected, with little equipment and supplies, it showed how futile a raid into Mexico could be, and it had to be aborted. Perry was one of the 189 men who obeyed Somervell’s order to return home—308 men disobeyed and continued on in what became known as the Meir Expedition, leading to imprisonment and the infamous black bean episode.

Capt. Jack Coffee Hays, a great nephew of Andrew Jackson's wife, was the first to use the Navy Colt Paterson five-shot. He later helped Samuel Walker get to New York so he could meet with Samuel Colt and redesign it into the legendary Colt Walker six-shoot revolver.

             In 1844, Perry joined the legendary John Coffee Hays’s Ranger company and participated in many more Indian battles. On the Nueces River, an incident happened with three other Rangers that was to add Perry’s name to the legend.

 The Rangers were on the trail of horse thieves, and Perry told the other men to camp on a bluff while he continued a short distance ahead. When he returned, he saw they had not camped on the bluff, but closer to the river. He told them Indians would not have camped in such a spot, and he felt they weren’t far off. He rode up a hill to have a look, but couldn’t see signs of any Indians nearby. He went back to camp to eat, all the while having a premonition that things were about to go wrong.

Two of the men went to the river to bathe, but Perry and the other ranger, Kit Acklin, refused to join them. The men had just shucked off their clothes when Perry and Acklin were attacked by about 25 Comanche. Perry received one shot through his left shoulder, all the while firing his five-shooter at the enemy. He received another shot through his belly, and the third on his temple, cutting an artery so that he temporarily fainted from loss of blood.

Although the Colt Paterson gave the Rangers an advantage in the field, it had to be disassembled into three pieces before it could be reloaded.

John Holland Jenkins,
Perry's boyhood friend.

Perry later told his friend and fellow Bastropian John Holland Jenkins that when he came to, he put the gun to his head, considering suicide with the last bullet rather than be taken by the Indians and tortured. But Perry realized he could move, and he was able to join Acklin at the river, and he pulled the arrow out of his shoulder, leaving the spike. Perry caught hold to the tail of one of the horses and got across the river to where the other Rangers were, but he fainted once more. One of the Rangers had taken Perry’s gun to reload it when they were attacked again. Panicking and thinking Perry wouldn’t live anyway, they took his gun and ran off, leaving him and Acklin to the Indians. Perry was able to crawl to a nearby thicket and hide while Acklin made his escape. (Another account has Acklin being much more proactive in helping Perry—only leaving after both agreed that splitting up and going for help separately would be better.)

Perry could hear the Indians talking and walking around the thicket, but perhaps thinking he was armed, decided to leave him alone, and they soon left. He stuffed his wounds with dirt and little sticks to staunch the bleeding, and once it was dark, he crawled on his hands and knees down to the river for water. It was only about 200 yards, but it took him from dark to daylight to get there. After getting his fill of water, and filling up his boot with more, he crawled to a hole left by a fallen tree and stayed there all day.

At nightfall, Perry started for San Antonio on his own. On the seventh day he reached San Antonio after walking 120 miles with nothing but three prickly pear apples and a few mesquite beans to sustain him. People stared at him as if seeing a grisly ghost, for the two Rangers who had taken the horses and run away had arrived before him, naked and horribly burned from the sun, telling everyone he and Acklin were dead. Acklin, who wasn’t in nearly as bad a shape as Perry, made it into San Antonio the next day.

San Antonio as it was a few years after Rufus Perry walked into town, a bloody, swollen mess.

The women of San Antonio took such good care of Perry, to his dying day he praised them, two in particular, a Mexican woman he called Madam Androon, and a German woman named Mrs. Jakes. It took him two years to recover from his wounds. They counted twenty holes in his clothes where arrows had pierced them. The optic nerve in his right eye was severed, disfiguring it, and for the rest of his life, it twitched. He was 22.

While recuperating at home in Bastrop, Perry married a beautiful young woman described in later years as being somewhat haughty. But Perry must have been perceived as something of a hero. As soon as he recovered enough to ride, the people of Bastrop County presented him with a fine horse. He later served two years in the Mexican War with the Texas Volunteers and afterward served again with the Rangers, being stationed in the Texas Hill Country. In 1851, he left Bastrop and began moving ever westward, finally settling in Blanco County. Although the owner of four slaves, he sidestepped the Civil War, joining the Confederacy but leading forces in frontier protection, preferring to fight Indians, not Yankees.  

The first time Samuel Walker
went out as a Ranger, he
accompanied Rufus Perry.

Half of the Perry cabin was restored
and brought to Johnson City, but
it has since fallen into disrepair.
The Perry cabin would have originally
resembled this other Pedernales River cabin.

Rufus Perry's daughter said 
when she was a little girl, they were
attacked by Indians on their way
home from Fredericksburg. Everyone 
was handed a rifle, including her
and her two brothers. When the smoke
cleared, three Indians lay dead and
another wounded.

Pedernales River - rugged and beautiful.

The end of the Civil War brought about a social collapse in Texas and a period of unprecedented lawlessness. Not only were there bandits harassing ranchers on the border, Indians harassing citizens on the western and northern frontier, there were former soldiers wandering around, suffering from disillusionment and extreme trauma, falling into outlawry. Other ruffians used the defeat of the South as an excuse to go on crime sprees. When it became clear the U.S. government was only too happy for Texas to suffer for her misdeeds, Governor Richard Coke recommended Texas form her own forces to protect the frontier. When the citizens of Blanco County found out, they requested “Old Rufe” Perry be made captain of Company D, and his approval was soon forthcoming. In 1874, at age 53, he was back in the saddle again, wasting no time in raising a company of 75 men.  He immediately put his men out in the field, arming them with shotguns for guard duty, 61 Sharps Carbines, 57 Colt revolvers, and 900 Winchester cartridges for those who carried their own 1873 Winchesters. Capt. Perry organized the fledgling company, getting it off the ground and leading it through skirmishes and battles, but when budget cuts came down from the legislature, he resigned in 1875.  By 1881, life as a Ranger as he knew it had changed and passed him by.

Company D men on the Leona River

A Ranger camp in the 1870s.

             Cicero Rufus Perry began life as a young man full of vigor with a head full of gorgeous dark hair and a dancing gleam in his eyes. Before he died, his face was scarred, with one eye distorted and twitching, and he had to walk with a cane. But he never lost his love of the chase or his sense of humor.

As an old man, he wrote: “when I first wint thair (to Blanco County), there was Indions nearly evry light moon  I was oute verry often but never caught up with them but once  thair was but 2 of us and 40 of them So wee dun the runing.”

Old Rufe had the courage and the grit, packing as much dangerous and exciting service into his lifetime as any other Texas Ranger. People who knew him well liked and respected him. So why isn’t he more famous?

Like his hero Gen. Edward Burleson, Rufus Perry didn’t chase fame. His near illiteracy also held him back. In an era when men refused to say the word “bull” around ladies, his frank earthiness didn’t always fit into polite society. He hadn’t gone off to fight the Yankees with the rest of them, but stayed to do battle on the frontier.

In addition to those drawbacks, Perry had become involved in a relationship with a widow who had eight children. How a man, honorable enough not to participate in the gang rape of an Indian captive on the frontier when very few people would have ever known about it, managed to get himself entangled in a public web of having offspring with a widow while still having children with his wife, is a head-scratching mystery.  

But Cicero Rufus Perry never let the opinions of others get him down. What went on between him, his wife, and his lover, we’ll never know. When he died, old and feeble, he was not at home in Hye with his wife or in Austin with the mother of his other children. He was at a neighbor’s ranch, and they buried him all alone in the Masonic Cemetery in nearby Johnson City, while his wife, who outlived him by several years, chose to be buried in Hye.

At the time of his death, Rufe Perry’s body showed twenty scars made from bullets, arrows, and lances in his quest to retrieve stolen horses, to keep women from being kidnapped and raped, children from being snatched from homes, and to rescue them when they were. If he stumbled sometimes in life, it didn’t matter to his friends and neighbors. They continued to hold him in high esteem.

Perhaps somewhere in another dimension, there are Indians stealing horses with glee from Anglo settlers, and Old Rufe Perry and his fellow Rangers are excitedly saddling up to chase them once again—and neither party gives an owl’s hoot about what we think.  And that’s just as it should be. 


“Memoir of Capt'n C.R. Perry of Johnson City, Texas: A Texas Veteran” by Cicero Rufus Perry, edited by Kenneth Kesselus. “Recollections of Early Texas—The Memoirs of John Holland Jenkins,” edited by John Holmes Jenkins III. “Edward Burleson—Texas Frontier Leader” by John H. Jenkins and Kenneth Kesselus. “Moore’s Defeat on the San Saba” Frontier Times Magazine Vol 3 No. 5 February 1926. “One Of Our Texas Queens” Frontier Times Magazine Vol 21 No. 04 - January 1944. “Thrilling Escape of Two of Hays’ Texas Rangers” Frontier Times Magazine Vol 06 No. 11 - August 1929. “Perry, Cicero Rufus (1822–1898)” Handbook of Texas Online. “Savage Frontier: 1838-1839” by Stephen L. Moore. “Winchester Warriors—Texas Rangers of Company D. 1874-1901” by Bob Alexander. “Texas Rangers—Lives, Legend, and Legacy” by Bob Alexander and Donaly E. Brice. Donaly E. Brice Speech, November 8, 2019, Bastrop, Texas. Email Exchanges, Lisa D. Bass, Rufus Perry Cousin, February, 2022.


As V.J. Rose 

TREASURE HUNT IN TIE TOWN—Reader’s Favorite Five Star Award

A rancher takes his nephews on an adventurous hunt for buried treasure that lands them in all sorts of trouble. 


Two lonely people hide secrets from one another in a May-December romance set in the modern-day West. 

As Easy Jackson 

A BAD PLACE TO DIE—Will Rogers Medallion Award and A SEASON IN HELL

Tennessee Smith becomes the reluctant stepmother of three rowdy stepsons and the town marshal of Ring Bit, the hell-raisingest town in Texas.

MUSKRAT HILL—Peacemaker Finalist

A little boy finds a new respect for his father when he helps him solve a series of brutal murders in a small Texas town.

Short Stories: 

WOLFPACK PUBLISHING - "A Promise Broken - A Promise Kept"—Spur Award Finalist

A woman accused of murder in the Old West is defended by a mysterious stranger.

 THE UNTAMED WEST – “A Sweet-Talking Man” —Will Rogers Medallion Award

 A sassy stagecoach station owner fights off outlaws with the help of a testy, grumpy stranger. A Will Rogers Medallion Award Winner.

UNDER WESTERN STARS - "Blood Epiphany"—Will Rogers Medallion Award

A broke Civil War veteran's wife has left him; his father and brothers have died leaving him with a cantankerous old uncle, and he's being beaten by resentful Union soldiers. At the lowest point in his life, he discovers a way out, along with a new thankfulness. A Will Rogers Medallion Award Winner.


Seventeen-year-old Dulcie is determined to find someone to drive her cattle to the new market in Abilene.

Reenactment Video on YouTube “Blood in the Streets”



“Katie Jennings & John Holland Jenkins: Young Heroes in the Fight for Texas Independence”











Saturday, February 19, 2022

Interview- Author Jeffrey J. Mariotte

This month the interview is with Jeffrey J. Mariotte. An author, like most of us, writes across genres. He co-wrote a story about Joaquin Murrieta and has a new series he has started. I do hope you enjoy Jeff's interview, I know I did.

*. What decided you to start writing for publication?

I’ve aspired to writing for publication since early, early days. I was rejected a couple of times in high school. In college I took third place in a San Francisco Bay Area short-story competition, earning my first money—a big $30—for writing. I also had some journalism published, which only whetted my appetite. My first actual fiction sale didn’t come until I was in my thirties, though, to a science fiction anthology. After that, I wrote some comic books and graphic novels, and my first novel was published when I was 44. Since then, I’ve stayed busy.


*. Do you like to write short or longer stories?

I lean toward novel length. I’ve written a handful of novellas and maybe a couple dozen short stories, but more than fifty novels. I like to have the space to stretch out and tell a big story that a reader can get lost in for a while. My longest book was published last year by Sundown Press. Blood and Gold: The Legend of Joaquin Murrieta, which I wrote with Peter Murrieta, a direct descendant of the Gold Rush-era bandit, clocked in at nearly 600 pages. I don’t anticipate going that long again any time soon, but anything’s possible.

*. Where did you get the idea for your latest release? What is the elevator pitch for it?

Inside a Confederate prison camp, a dying man tells a young Union soldier is told where a cache of stolen Confederate gold is and asks him to deliver it to the man’s beloved after the war. He finds the gold and—12 years later—finally finds the woman. But in doing so, he walks into a town at war with itself and discovers that the woman has taken up with the mysterious figure at the heart of that war. If he’s going to do his dead friend’s bidding and deliver the gold, he’s got to bring the war to an end—if he can survive it.

I don’t remember where the initial impulse came from. All I had was the young man in the camp and the promise to a friend. I was on a long car ride with Bob Boze Bell, the publisher of True West Magazine, and I told him that part. He said, “What happens next?” I didn’t know. So I had to sit down and figure that out, and that became O’Meara’s Gold, the first book in the Cody Cavanaugh series from Wolfpack Publishing.


*. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’m definitely a plotter. I’ve written a lot of tie-in fiction, in which you’re writing in an established fictional universe owned by somebody else, and you have to have an outline approved by the license-holder before you can write. Then you have to stick pretty close to that outline. I have written a few books without an outline, but it’s harder going for me. I’m much more comfortable with a roadmap that tells me where I start, where I’m going, and the main points of interest along the way.

*. Do you ‘interview’ your characters before or at any time while telling their story and what do you do if they don’t cooperate with your story idea?

I have done that. I first learned about it in a writing book by my friend David Morrell, and it’s helped me out of a number of tight spots. That said, I don’t do it as a regular practice, just when I can’t figure out what comes next and need my characters to tell me.

*. Do you write in other genres?

I love many different genres—mystery, thriller, horror, western, fantasy, science fiction--and have written in all of them, as well as having written for different media, including comics and graphic novels, games, newspapers, magazines, and the backs of trading cards. I’ve been a member of writer’s organizations for just about all of those genres, but I’ve let some of those memberships lapse. I’m currently a member of Western Fictioneers, the Western Writers of America, the Horror Writers Association, Sisters in Crime, the International Thriller Writers, and the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers because I still occasionally write in all those genres. At the moment, I’m working on a series called Major Crimes Squad: Phoenix, a police-procedural series for Wolfpack Publishing. I don’t know that I could ever pin myself down to just one genre.

*. Research, do you find it important?

Research is definitely important to everything I write. When possible, I like to stand where my characters will, so I can see what they’d be able to see, smell what they’d smell, etc. When writing in a historical era, I need to know what the technology was like, what the prices of things were, what the characters would wear, and so on. Some writers who’ve written lots of western fiction might know those things cold by now, but I’ve fooled around in so many genres that I have to do a lot of reading and a lot of digging, and traveling when I can, to get it right. Or close enough to right that I can tweak it as the story demands.

*. What books or authors you grew up with that inspired you to take pen to paper?

I’ve always been surrounded by books, from Dr. Seuss and the Hardy Boys to today. I’ve managed and owned bookstores and been a publishing executive. I have a massive collection of thousands of books, mostly first edition hardcovers, many of which are inscribed to me thanks to my decades in the book biz. The single book that was most influential in my youth was Mystery of the Haunted Mine, a juvenile novel by Gordon D. Shirreffs. That’s the book that introduced me to Western fiction (though I had been a fan of western TV, movies, and comics since my earliest days), and steered the direction of my life and career.

Jeffrey Mariotte

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