Sunday, October 18, 2015

How to make a cowboy hat

Hollywood western movies
Looking the Part

I'm not a hat person. Although I own dozens of hats, I seldom wear one. I don't even like helmets. I grew up in a generation where you just wheeled your bike out of the garage and went riding without a helmet or spandex regalia. When we pulled our long boards to the beach behind our bikes, we wore flip flops, board shorts, and little else. I ski with soft head gear and when I surf, so far I can still rely on my hair to keep the sun from burning the top of my head.

That said, I like cowboy hats. I own one but seldom wear it because after all these years, it still looks new. I bought it at Wall Drug, and it immediately blew off my head and rolled down the center of the street for a quarter mile and still looked brand spankin' new*. I envy tattered, sweat-stained cowboy hats that scream authenticity. Mine says tenderfoot in neon. I know, I know, if I wore it more, it would eventually look like the genuine article. I'm just not a hat person.

For western head gear, I prefer Resistol, but here's a video from Stetson about making cowboy hats. Betcha thought it was a lot simpler.

* I'm a bit obsessed with phrases. This is an interesting article about the origins of brand spanking new.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Jenny’s Revenge Available in Print

At long last, Jenny’s Revenge, A Steve Dancy Tale is available in trade paperback format. This has been a long process that had mostly to do with abnormal issues around the cover design. The book can be ordered from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Books a Million, or independent book stores. Thank you for reading The Steve Dancy Tales.

literary fiction book series
Honest westerns filled with dishonest characters

Jenny Bolton has plans, and they don't bode well for Steve Dancy.
Married at fifteen to a Nevada politician, Jenny suffered repeated assaults, witnessed her husband's ghastly murder, buried her vile mother-in-law, and killed a man. Dancy, who had once served as her paladin, rejected her without as much as a goodbye. Abandoned on a raw frontier, she's single-handedly building an empire that spans the state. Despite her triumphs, she feels she never should have been left alone.
Soon to marry, Steve is eager to begin a new life unaware that Jenny is mad for revenge.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Murder at Thumb Butte Available in Audio

The audio version of Murder at Thumb Butte read by Jim Tedder is now available. Tedder is a consummate professional with over 35 years in broadcasting. He's such a natural storyteller, you can almost hear the campfire crackling in the background.

Books in Motion published the audio versions of The Shopkeeper and Leadville, and now Tedder has added Murder at Thumb Butte to the audio series. We anticipate that sales will be good enough for Tedder to narrate the remaining books in the series. I sure hope so. He does a fine job as you can hear from this audio book trailer.

You can purchase the audio version of Murder at Thumb Butte through one of the following links.

James D Best bestselling books

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Another Remake?—The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

My last posting was about Hollywood remaking The Magnificent Seven, one of my favorite western movies. No sooner did it go to press than I hear Paramount is remaking another one of my favorites, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. This remake is still in the initial stages, so actual projection onto a silver screen remains iffy. (Boy, the digital world is making lots of stock phrases obsolete.)

The original 1962 film starred Jimmie Stewart and John Wayne, with Lee Marvin playing the heavy. Vera Miles, Edmond O’Brien, Andy Devine, John Carradine, Woody Strode, Strother Martin and Lee Van Cleef also had significant roles in this John Ford film. Hard to believe Paramount can afford to put together that level of cast today.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance had a huge influence on the Steve Dancy Tales. Ransom Stoddard and Steve Dancy are eastern educated city dwellers trying to survive a raw frontier, both stories make use of political subplots, and the movie and books present day to day life as a backdrop to the action. At bottom, the film and the Steve Dancy Tales are fish-out-of-water/buddy stories.

I hope this particular remake never gets a green light. The original is a true classic and a new production is sure to fall short. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is a sophisticated, complex story, directed by a master, with a once-in-a-lifetime cast. Hollywood should quit trying to live off past glories and make new films that will be eagerly watched a half century from now.

Honest westerns filled with dishonest characters.