Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"My Personal West" at Richard Prosch's MERIDIAN BRIDGE

A few months back, I posted mention here (along with an Amazon review) of Richard Prosch's fine collection of Western stories, DEVILS NEST. If you haven't checked it out yet, you owe it to yourself to do so or otherwise you'll be missing some of the grittiest, best written Western fiction to come down the pike any time recently.
Richard also writes powerful crime stories and other fiction. His work has appeared at David Cranmer's Beat To A Pulp e-zine and elsewhere.

In addition to his fiction writing, Richard also does a very entertaining, information web site called Meridian Bridge, which you can access at .
A recurring, expanding feature on the site is a segment called My Personal West where Richard invites current authors writing in the Western genre to provide essays on that topic. As Richard puts it himself:
"My Personal West is a series of essays by some of the best Western writers around. From intimate memories to future objectives, nostalgia to hope, the words written here are reflect an understanding of the western United States not just through history, fiction, and popular culture, but through lives spent working and dreaming there."
A wide range of writers --- James Reasoner, Bill Crider, Larry D. Sweazy, Laurie Powers, Gary Dobbs, Ron Scheer, just to name a few --- have previously provided essays. They are available in an Archived section and are wonderful to read.

Recently, I was honored to be invited by Richard to provide a piece to this impressive collection. It is now being featured on the site and, as stated, it was my honor to participate.
I hope you check it out. And while you are there be sure to peruse all else that is available on the site.

Persevere --- WD

Friday, January 13, 2012


For a couple of years now I have been signing off much of my personal correspondence (as well as these blog posts) with: Persevere — WD.
A few people have asked/commented about this, so let me explain.

A number of years ago, at the production office back in Illinois where I worked as 2nd Shift foreman, the Day Shift foreman put up this posting on the office wall:
Press on.
Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
The words are from a speech by Calvin Coolidge a few years before he became president. I loved the simple but insightful message. I found it inspiring and applicable to life's situations in so many ways. I found it particularly applicable at that point in time to my personal aspirations to one day be a published author. I took a copy of it home and put it on the wall of the room where I did my writing. I read that message every day, either at work or at home or both, and I never found it lacking as a mindset to always be strived for.

When we moved to Nebraska in 1998, that wall posting got packed away and somehow I never dug it out and put it up again either at home or work. I still thought about it a lot, though. I had it pretty much memorized by now and had long since adopted it as a way in which I always tried to conduct myself. I guess I didn't feel the need to have it as a visual reminder.
Time passed. Years. I'd had some success with my writing, but it was sporadic and not exactly a rip-roaring success; yet I still kept at it. Nine Eleven came and went. The American spirit sparked and flourished for a time, but then flagged again and the values of our society often seemed upside down to me. My beloved Pam passed away. Pressing on … persevering … came mighty hard at times. But Coolidge's words were always in my head—and they now meant a lot more to me than just persisting with my writing.
Without having the actual message posted to regularly view and read, my memory somehow substituted the word Perseverance for Persistence. After retiring from my job in the real world and re-focusing on my writing goals, I found myself corresponding more and more with various people, mostly via e-mails. My friend and fellow writer Andrew Vachss signs off his correspondence with "Stay Strong" or (in the past) "Keep Your Strength". I always liked the distinction of that, admired the understated message of encouragement. Desiring to apply something that might give a similar distinction to my own correspondence—but without blatantly copying Andrew—the words (as I somewhat erroneously recalled them) from Silent Cal's inspiring speech eventually came to mind and seemed quite appropriate. Thus, "Persevere —WD" was born.

Make no mistake, however—whatever the genesis, my choice and use of the wording is very sincere.

Press on … Stay the course … Persist … Persevere … However you say it, I truly believe that adopting such a trait/mindset is something that will take you farther toward the goals in your life than anything else. Sometimes it is a mindset you need just to get on with your life.
Not to say this will guarantee the achievement of your goals.
But it sure won't hurt.
And lack of perseverance will almost certainly guarantee falling short of the mark.

Leastways, that's the way I see it.

Persevere — WD

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Noteworthy Reads: A Tuesday Trio

Over Christmas I got a lot of reading done, much of it in the short novel/novella category that has become so popular on Kindle and other electronic reading devices.
Here are three that I recommend. All bargain-priced and all worth checking out:

Another enjoyable, laid-back mystery featuring Sticks Hetrick. Like the preceding novels in this series, this tale is set in the fictional town of Swatara Creek, PA, where the local color and characters always play an important part in the plot. But Lindermuth's assured writing style and the character of Sticks himself remain the most enjoyable ingredients.
Here is the latest breezy PI mystery from Jochem Vandersteen, featuring his popular hero, Noah Milano. This one has lots of action, a beautiful blonde packing all kinds of trouble, and some nifty plot twists. Be sure to check it out.
A highly recommended short novel from the always-reliable Mel Odom. A boxing story with action and heart. Read and enjoy.  
You can read a more detailed review (by yours truly) for each of these at their respective Amazon listings. And, while you're there, hit the "buy" button for each. You won't be disappointed.
Persevere --- WD

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Noteworthy Reads: DUST OF THE DAMNED by Peter Brandvold

Are you ready for the wildest, weirdest, rip-snortingest Western adventure ever to gallop hell-for-leather off the printed page? If so, then DUST OF THE DAMNED is what you've been waiting for! Be warned, though: No matter how much you may think you're prepared for this full-tilt ride into the darker side of the Old West … author Brandvold has some shocks and surprises in store for you.

Start with a bit of alternative history. In order to win the Civil War, President Lincoln struck a deal with evil forces from Europe and recruited the Hell's Angels, a pack of bloodthirsty werewolves, to come over and ravage the Confederate forces. They held up that part of the bargain—but the rest, the agreement that they would return to Europe after the war was over, the Angels reneged on. Instead, they fled to the wild, wide open West where they proceeded to turn the frontier wilder and bloodier than ever.
Jump ahead a decade and a half. The West is now overrun with shape-shifters and ghouls of every kind—werewolves, vampires (called swillers), hobgoblins, and various other horrors. It is the work of men like bounty hunter Uriah Zane, armed with an assortment of specialized weapons, to hunt down and kill these monsters. For reasons of personal revenge and also due to a dark secret known only to himself, Zane is uniquely qualified for this job. However, when Charlie Hondo and three other members of the original Hell's Angels escape from Hellsgarde prison, aided by a beautiful Mexican witch and the devastating dragon she has conjured with her demonic powers, the threat they represent may be a challenge too great even for the renowned Zane. But, along with lovely U.S. Marshal Angel Coffin, Zane is willing to ride into Hell itself if that's what it takes to stop Hondo's savage horde.

This is a big, sweeping novel that is by turns imaginative, boisterous, fun, and frightening. But the real key to what makes it work is the writing skill of Peter Brandvold. His imagery of the landscape is sometimes gritty, sometimes breathtaking, always spot-on captivating. And it is this foundation—a polished writer of strong traditional Westerns injecting horror into his storyline, as opposed to the other way around—that adds to the impact of this terrific yarn.

Saddle up and go along for the ride. You won't be sorry you did.

I've been waiting for this book for the better part of a year --- ever since Peter first told me about in an e-mail, and then discussed it further over lunch and a few beers at a downtown Fort Collins bar. Needless to say, I am not disappointed. And, speaking of beer, Peter claims that only Pabst Blue Ribbon was involved when he first thought up the bare bones for this plot ...

Persevere --- WD

Friday, January 6, 2012


(the Cash Laramie/Gideon Miles series)
as written by Wayne D. Dundee

Some months back, when David Cranmer (who, everyone knows, writes the hugely popular Cash Laramie/Gideon Miles short stories under his pen name Edward A. Grainger) asked me if I'd be interested in writing a Cash/Gideon novel, I was both surprised and honored. I'd never considered writing something based on someone else's characters before—mainly, I suppose, because I'd never been asked. It didn't take long, however, for me to decide that I did indeed want to give it a try. Number one, I really liked the characters and the strong foundation that had already been established for them; Number Two, I wanted the experience of writing under a "house name". (Although, in the end, David was very generous in giving me—as well as other writers who have or will be providing titles in the series—prominent credit.)

At any rate, the result of my efforts is MANHUNTER'S MOUNTAIN—available now on Kindle at a very reasonable price. I'm proud and pleased with the way it turned out. More importantly, so is David. As per the following quotes, a number of prominent writers in the Western genre were also kind enough to provide some positive comments. I am immensely grateful to them for their support.

"MANHUNTER'S MOUNTAIN is a fine Western adventure pitting man against man and man against nature. Filled with gritty action and sharply drawn characters, this is one that Western fans won't want to miss." — James Reasoner

"When the bullets start flying, U.S. Marshal Cash Laramie is in his element! A true son of the Old West, Cash delivers justice in a cloud of gunsmoke." — Mel Odom

"Wayne Dundee takes Edward Grainger's Cash Laramie and puts him into a fast-action Western tale that has everything you could ask for: an appealingly tough protagonist, a combustible (literally at first) situation, some low-down villains, a couple of pretty women, and unforgiving weather. Bleak, hardboiled, even funny at times. Check it out."
    Bill Crider

"A fast, hardboiled Western that continues the Cash Laramie legend with swagger and good, solid writing. Wayne Dundee brings his masterful voice to the Western and tells a Cash Laramie story in perfect pitch. MANHUNTER'S MOUNTAIN should be on every Western fiction reader's bookshelf." — Larry D. Sweazy

I can't top that, so I won't try.
I hope anyone reading this will be convinced to give MANHUNTER'S MOUNTAIN a try. I believe you will not be disappointed.

Persevere — WD