Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Here is another one of the short stories from my "The Yearlings" collection. I hope to have this collection published and available sometime in 2014. It includes stories from Ontario (where this one takes place) to British Columbia and a time frame from the late 1800s to the 1980s. Some of them are based on something that actually happened ... with some slight extrapolation.
Other stories are more in the line of major extrapolation; that is to say they may have been part of a bad dream.
Another selection from the collection, the title story, was posted here several months ago.

That's a lot of water!

                                                                By D.M. McGowan

            They lived south of town, about twenty miles. You leave town and go down through Nottawa, take the fork to the left, and go on through Creemore. After you cross the valley that Creemore sits in, you start back up-hill, and pretty soon you come to Lavington.
            Well, they don't live anywhere near there! You plumb missed it!
            You turn around; go back down the hill and through Creemore. Just after you leave that roaring metropolis - be sure to pay attention, because if you don't see the sign you won't know you've been through it - take the first road to the left and follow it west. Actually, you only go west for a wee ways, and then you start to angle south.
            You take a look around while you're going down that road. That's some of the roughest, standing-on-end country you're likely to pass through. You won't be able to tell how up and down some of it is, without leaving' the road, because the maples, birch, and what-not are growing thick as a jungle.
            You'd best take my word for that part. Don't be leaving the road to look! That's what they call the Devil's Glen. A stranger gets off the road in there, and it's only the devil can find him!
            Anyway, you follow that road on up the valley until it narrows down to a dirt track. A half a mile after you've left the gravel you'll see the Clayton place off the road to your right. It's hard to tell with all the trees and rocks in your way, but you're only about two miles across the valley from Lavington where you were lost an hour ago.
            As you turn up the lane, there's a little cedar-roofed house on your right that hasn't seen paint in fifty years. Fifty yards farther there's a big barn on your left that's in far better shape than the house, but with just as much paint on it.
            You know, I don't think you could paint those old pine boards. You could put a gallon on every square foot and it would make about as much impression as throwing a gallon of water in the Pretty River.
            When you get there, you stop by the house and have a look around. You'll figure that the only thing that land can produce is rocks and pretty, but you'd be surprised. The soil in between the rocks and the trees is mighty good land.
            The Clayton boys grow potatoes, corn, wheat, the occasional cow, and a few pigs. They eat a little of all of it, but their main source of income is the potatoes and corn. Not spuds and kernels, but the product of their manufacturing enterprise. They have what you might call a value-added business. The Clayton boys make some of the finest drinking spirits in the land.
            When you find yourself standing by the house looking at the view, just keep doing it! If you start wandering around the place looking for the Clayton boys, someone will take a shot at you, and you'll find yourself leaking all over the driveway! You just stand there and call out. Someone will come out and find you. They probably knew you were coming when you left Creemore.
            Calling them the Clayton boys is somewhat misleading for a stranger. Actually it's Jacob Clayton, and his two sons, Mark and Matthew. Mark would be about 25 now and Matthew about 28. If you've read any of the Bible it's not hard to figure out which one is the oldest, but it doesn't matter - there alike as two peas in a pod.
            Both the sons have been to school long enough to learn how to read and write, though it's hard to know if they still can. Jacob demanded they quit school after they had finished Grade 8 down in Creemore.
             "Ain't no money in that readin' and 'rithmatic stuff!" Jacob proclaimed. "You boys’ll stay home here an' learn the pride of makin' an honest livin'! Ain't none of them fools down t' town can teach yuh nothin' 'bout makin' good whiskey! 'Sides, if you go on you'll have to go to Collingwood. Ain't no fit place fer folks. Sinful! Must be nigh on t' four thousan' people there." An understanding of Jacob's ability with numbers can be partially achieved by knowing that at the time he made that statement the population of Collingwood would be in the neighborhood of fifteen thousand people.
            When Ma Clayton (During a previous life she had a name. It was Esther.) realized that she didn't have sons any longer, but three men to chase after and care for, she knew just what she had to do. She up and died.
            Behind the Clayton's barn there are a few out-buildings that look like they'll fall down any minute. One of them won't, because there's a Model A Ford truck inside holding it up.
            Every fall, Jacob would load that Model A with the year’s finest distilled product. At least, all that hadn't been bought by hunters, or drank by the production staff in an effort to maintain quality control. He would hide the jars of moonshine under a few sacks of wheat, drive the twenty miles into Collingwood, and sell the load, wheat and all.
            As preparations were made for these autumn trips, Jacob would fend off the pleadings of both of his sons for a chance to go with him.
            "Need you boys to stay home and keep the still runnin'," he would insist. "Can't make a living by shuttin' down production. 'Sides, you boys know that quality drops when you shut down."
            In these statements Jacob was right, as most parents are. Despite his being right, his sons continued to argue, as most kids will do.
            "But it'll only take one of us to keep the still runnin', Pa," one of them would whine.
            "The other one’ll be busy keepin' strangers away," Jacob would advise. "You know its huntin' season and there'll be folks wanderin' all over the hills."
            The boys' eyes would sparkle with the thought of sending a bullet whistling and clipping over some flat-lander's head, and the pleading would stop. However, Jacob would continue with his arguments.
            "Anyway, that city's a den o' transgression an' sin! No place for young boys like you to be! You'll be tempted to stray from the ways of the Lord!"
            Having completed his teachings, Jacob would climb into the old truck, set the fuel mixture, and nod. His sons would push the truck until it began rolling down the lane on its own. When he thought he had achieved enough speed, Jacob would pop the clutch, and the calm of the valley would be destroyed by the explosions of a flooded Model A engine.
            The boys knew they would be alone for at least two days, and perhaps for a week. They thought this was due to the long trip their father would be making, not being aware that it was only an hour’s drive in the Model A.
            Having sold his produce, Jacob would rent a room at one of Collingwood's finest hotels and stock it with one of the town's finest ladies of the evening. The length of his stay would depend on the variety of ladies available, and the amount of money he had raised through sale of his goods. When he spoke to his sons about "a den of transgression", he was not repeating some rumor he had only heard. He had first-hand experience.
            The son’s arguments for inclusion in the trip were likewise misleading. They were actually anxious for Jacob to leave so that they could start their yearly party.
            By drawing straws, one of the sons would be chosen to take a wheelbarrow loaded with sacks of grain down to the mill in Creemore. Having sold the grain, the chosen one would then purchase "some o' that store-bought sippin' whiskey," some bakery bread and a jar of peanut butter. Having returned home with the contraband cargo, he would join his brother in a serious comparison of their own product with the commercial variety, interspersed with an occasional peanut-butter sandwich.
            Since it was often difficult for them to remember the results of this comparison (even the next day), the test had to be repeated each year.
            One year Mark won the opportunity to push the bag of wheat down hill and to return with the whiskey. However, it was a particularly warm day, and he decided on the return trip to pause and take a small sip of his cargo.
            "Ah, that's mighty smooth corn," he proclaimed to the surrounding trees. "It deserves more 'preciation."
            When he had appreciated the whiskey several times, Mark found that the long trip and warm day had made him very tired. He decided that he should stop for a short rest before continuing on home. He passed out under a maple tree.
            On the Clayton homestead, Matthew began to worry about his overdue brother as evening turned to night.
            "Those folks down to the valley can't be trusted," he told himself. "No tellin' what they mighta done to Mark. He might be needin' my help."
            With a kerosene lantern, Matthew started down hill in the gathering dark to search for his wayward brother.
            With only a lantern to dispel the dark of night deep in the canyon of trees, Matthew missed his brother, sleeping soundly under the maple tree. He also missed the turn to the right that would have led him toward Creemore.

            On his way to work early in the morning, Harold Carlton saw someone standing out at the end of the long concrete dock on the Collingwood waterfront. Curious, he turned out along the dock and parked behind the vaguely familiar figure.
            The man did not change his stance as Harold turned the ignition off and slid from the car. Frozen in place, the man stood in the rays of the rising sun with a lantern held up at head height and stared out across Georgian Bay toward the haze on the distant horizon.
            Keeping his distance, Harold walked around the figure and began to approach from the left. When he could see the man's profile, he recognized him as one of the Clayton boys from down in Devil's Glen, several miles to the south.
            "Ah, Matthew," Harold said cautiously, guessing at which brother stood before him, "is there something I can help you with?"
            Matthew remained frozen, staring at the distant horizon. In a reverent tone, just loud enough to be heard over the waves slapping the dock, he said, "You know, I ain't never bin this far from home, but it was worth the trip, just to see the water!"


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Last "Official" duel in Canada

The last duel held in Ontario was in 1833. It was also the last fatal duel. The pistols used can be viewed at the local museum in Perth, Lanark County Ontario.

The participants were Robert Lyon and John Wilson accompanied by their respective seconds, Henri Lelievre (probably Lel-ee-vray) and Simon Robertson respectively. The focus of the confrontation was a school teacher Elizabeth Hughes.

Robert Lyon was born in Inverurie, Scotland on December 30, 1812. Along with his family he moved to Canada in 1829.

John Wilson was born February 5, 1807 in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland and came to “the colonies” with his family in Perth, Upper Canada about 1823. In 1833 he was studying law under James Boulton.

In early June of 1833 Lyon, also a law student, made disparaging remarks about Elizabeth Hughes. John Wilson heard these remarks and, since he had begun a relationship with the young school teacher, demanded that Lyon retract the remarks which at the instant he did.

Most of us are aware how the passage of a few minutes which then become hours can change the view one might have of events. Apparently this happened with Robert Lyon for, at the urging of a “friend” Henri Lelievre, he challenged Wilson. Due to an ordinance which had recently been passed in one county they arranged for the duel to take place across the Tay River in another jurisdiction.

It was June 13, 1833. The two combatants paced off the distance, turned and fired. Both missed.

Everyone is satisfied, right?

No, not for Lelievre. He insisted that satisfaction had not been achieved and demanded a reload; the pistols where recharged and re-primed.

When they where fired this time Lyon fell. He was rowed back across the river to Perth where he died a short time later.

Wilson and his second, Simon Robertson were arrested by the Sheriff and tried in Brockville for murder where they were acquitted.

Robert Lyon, Dec. 30, 1812June 13, 1833.

John Wilson, Feb. 5, 1807June 3, 1869.

The last official duel, yes. Not the last gun battle. There seems to be one every few monts, usually in an urban area between gang members or with one of the police forces involved.
Most of the gun battles recorded in the late 1800s were between groups with several shooters on each side. Some of the confrontations where exagerated with the telling and some became, "oh, nothing worth talking about."


Sunday, October 27, 2013

New sites for Partners and Homesteader

The work I perform to pay the monthly bills has exploded. I’m sure it will help to pay those bills at the end of the month but it does tend to interfere with working on the new novel, writing posts for the blog and doing things around here such as putting the summer tools away and bringing out the winter things.
It is also interfering with the work I need to do on earlier novels and their promotion. Strategic Book Publishing will be and has me supplying information for the changing of the web sites for “Partners” and “Homesteader”. They will become a single site with access to both novels on the one page. As we add more novels they will appear on the same site.
In regard to that I have four ready to go.
There is my first, the prequel to “Homesteader” which is titled, “The Great Liquor War” but is no longer available; four of the same characters as those found in “Homesteader”.
“Jake’s Justice” which I particularly like since it includes a story, or more precisely my changed and expanded version of a story I originally heard from an early pioneer to the Peace River Country. Of course that also means I include some Peace Country history and I do love the land and its history.
“Cattle Business” which includes more information on how ranching began its growth in the North West Territories, a subject that is also touched on in “Jake’s Justice” and “Homesteader”.
Cattle also appear in some of the stories in my collection of short stories. There are seventeen in the collection and they cover a time frame from the 1880s to the 1960s. I’ve titled the collection “The Yearlings” (cattle, of course) which is also the title of one of the stories and it has a connection to one of the others.
No idea when we will get to all of this because right now we are working on the new web page, new press release and a video trailer.
Once we have some of that finished and ready to be viewed I’ll post that info along with the new site addresses.
By the way, here are pictures of two men who changed my life with their work and a third who is doing well and making us all smile. Have any idea who they are?


Thursday, October 10, 2013


I was actually looking for a quotation from the Bible which I wanted to use in one of my stories. However, during the process I found a great many sites with quotations, some of which I have heard and some that I haven't. Of course there are thousands out there, but before I moved on to the task that had actually started me on this journey I found several that where interesting, enlightening, and humorous.

Oh, and yes, I did find the Bible quote, the chapter and verse. However, now I've decided not to use it in this particular yarn. Maybe in the next one.


Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. (John F. Kennedy)

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them - that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. (Lao Tzu)

If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor.
(Eleanor Roosevelt)

A person will sometimes devote all his life to the development of one part of his body - the wishbone. (Robert Frost)

Don't let life discourage you; everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was.
(Richard L. Evans)
The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases. (Carl Jung)
 I think I've discovered the secret of life - you just hang around until you get used to it.
(Charles M. Schulz)

 Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh. (George Bernard Shaw)

 When I hear somebody sigh, 'Life is hard,' I am always tempted to ask, 'Compared to what?' (Sydney J. Harris)

 Most people have never learned that one of the main aims in life is to enjoy it.
(Samuel Butler)

 A chain is no stronger than its weakest link, and life is after all a chain.
(William James)





Monday, September 30, 2013

The machines in this picture have been working hard for close to three weeks. However, on the last day of Sept., 2013 they are all fueled up and ready for the final day of harvest on this particular family holdings.

There are those out there who still have as much as a week's work ahead of them.
Canola, wheat, barley, and oats into the food baskets of the world.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Chetwynd the logging / mining town 100 km to the east has a chain saw carving contest every summer and this year was no exception.

These artists do some phenomenal work with machines of many sizes while I’m having a great day if I can get mine to cut straight..

I have been intending to stop and take some pictures of a few of the two dozen sculptures situated about the town and finally took time to get two.

Many are cut from a single log. Pegasus, which has been placed in front of the town hall is one of those that has attached parts; the wings, of course.
In the second one Mama Eagle is banking around the tree trunk and bear as two young eagles look out of the nest.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

New Stories and pictures from Canada's West

I’ve been working on a story that has a “crime baron” operating in New Westminster, BC in 1881. I’ve found the research interesting, due to the great changes that were taking place at the time. For instance, Vancouver did not come into existance until five years later and twenty years later was a thriving city and one of the more important ports on the Pacific coast. However, more about that in a later post.

For now, I was just looking through some of the material I collected for “Jake’s Justice” and “Cattle Business” and thought I would post some of those items.

“Cattle Business” takes place west of Edmonton in the early 1890s and has to do with some of the unlikely people who, despite their lack of a proper background, eventually became the developers of Canadian Agriculture. It also introduces an aboriginal policeman. According to a couple of sources I discovered the BC Provincial Police appointed “Special Constables” (a policeman’s responsibility, little training and no pay) very early on in their history when they were still “Colonial” police. The story also touches on the development of coal mining and the structure of the North West Mounted Police, their barracks and district prison at Ft. Saskatchewan.

Much of “Jake’s Justice” or perhaps the ‘heart of the story’ takes place in 1898 in the same area as “Cattle Business”. However we also learn something of Jake’s early life as an Ontario farm boy, a Great Lakes deck-hand, a fresh water fisherman, a cattle ‘tender’, and a ‘wolfer’ attempting to help clear the Canadian Prairies of predators after the blizzard winter of 1886. Following the rape and murder of his wife he also spends time trapping on the upper reaches of the Peace River system.
Both of these stories contain considerable mention of the North West Mounted Police. In fact, the main protagonist in "Cattle Business" starts out as a constable but for 'political reasons' is cashierd. Toward the end of the 1800s the Mounties moved to Regina headquarters but Ft. Macleod was still an important centre. Further north the administration centre was Ft. Saskatchewan where the NWMP had built a jail with 32 cells which, by the time of these two novels had very few which were empty. There was also a hospital.
Around the fort a few civilian services were built which eventually became a town and in the twentieth century a fine small city.

Ft. Saskatchewan hospital, 1899

Queens Hotel, Ft. Saskatchewan, 1906

Ft. Saskatchewan store and office

Ft. Saskatchewan, 1905

North West Mounted Police barracks,
Ft. Saskatchewan, 1890

Government Street,
Ft. Saskatchewan, 1906

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Have We Lost Our Way?

            From the title one might think this post is all about the apparent tendency to disregard the truth, moral conduct, or equitable treatment in our society. Such actions are, or at least appear to me to be more prevalent each day and are destroying the world we live in.

            Our legal system doesn’t seem to be a great help in supporting our society and ensuring its continuity. They keep making decisions that fail to reward upright behaviour, make special efforts to protect those who are trying to destroy our society (and our system of law) and fail to hold felons responsible for their actions.

            But no, that’s not what this is about at all, although it’s quite apparent from what I just wrote and how I feel about it that it could be and would be very long.

            No, this is about our sense of direction.

            When some one says “West,” or you see the word in print what do you think of? For most of those in North America, and even a few in other parts of the world, the first picture that comes to mind is Monument Valley, perhaps the plains of Texas, or perhaps a view of Arizona sagebrush. I know that was, and often is, the first picture that comes to my mind.

            We know that isn’t right. If a person is in Maine then New York is west. In Canberra Perth is out west, even if the Perth in question is in Perthshire or Ontario.

            So why is it that for millions “The West” is in the U.S. south-west? Because several people, most notably in Los Angeles, CA spent millions to make it so. Hundreds of so called “low budget” westerns with Tom Mix, Hoot Gibson, Rex Allen, Roy Rodgers and Gene Autry and a long list of others that we forget having seen. And then there are hundreds, yes hundreds, of big budget flicks such as Shane, High Noon, and all the Eastwood and John Wayne movies that, despite the critics decrying their costs still managed to make a dollar. They became vehicles that advanced the careers of those both in front of and behind the cameras including those who wrote both screen-plays and original stories.

            Why can’t a “Western” be about the west of Argentina? Perhaps an “Eastern” about the trapping, mining and rail road builing in Siberia. (Louis L’Amour’s “Last of the Breed” comes to mind as a good place to start.)

            Of course it has been done successfully for Australia with “Quigley Down Under” and the “Snowy River” stories.

            Personally I’m concerned with the West of Canada. A couple of passable TV shows have been done about the opening of Ontario in the early days, two “modern” western series that I can think of presented on CBC and a third that was absolutely awful and should never have seen the light of day. A couple of ‘made for TV’ movies; one about Bill Miner and another about early gold rush days in BC that where not only well done and entertaining but reasonably accurate.

            There are many reasons why I write, but this is the primary reason why I write stories placed in the early days of Canada’s west. Because I believe that more people need to know that Canada’s history, the stories of our growth and development, our cattlemen, farmers, lawmen, miners, trappers and railroad men are as exciting and entertaining as those from any “west.” They can also teach the value of truth, moral conduct and equitable treatment such as many of the Hollywood movies attempted.

            Besides, it is quite obvious from the money spent around the world on western memorabilia that there is a waiting, hungry market for the traditional western. (Not to be confused with the big budget, special effects, comedy western extravaganza.)

            On top of that, there aren’t many writing Canadian historical fiction. Guy Vanderhaeghe, Bill Gallaher, and …

            Perhaps the title should have been, “Searching for the West.”
Round-up crew at the chuck wagon.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

More pictures from Barkerville

As mentioned earlier I took a few more pictures of Barkerville on my last trip.

Those I took 3 years ago are on "my pictures" and you're welcome to take a look - a couple of coaches, the BX stables and street pics.

This time I took several of plaques and a couple of buildings I missed last time.
Williams Creek school. This is one of the buildings that was rebuilt from the original plans. One of my characters in the sequel to "Partners" (which, at this point I'm calling "Underbelly") is tutoring a few young people, therefore I need to know where his (fictional) students came from.

 Barkerville fire.
On September 16, 1868 close to 2/3 rds of Barkerville burned down. This plaque, believed to be at the site of ignition commemorates that. I plan to include this disaster in "Underbelly."

 Dillar Claim
 Stout's Gulch. Edward (Ned) Stout lived for many years in the BC goldfields. He was involved in the "Thompson War" in 1858 and was one of 5 survivors of a party of 26. He died in Yale in 1924
 Kelly Saloon, one of many that operated in Barkerville. There was also a local brewery and distillary although spirits were also freighted in. I have one of my characters owning one of the hotels and playing long poker games where a great deal of gold changes hands in places like this. I have tried to avoid using the names of actual hotels. There were gamblers who owned or worked in particular hotels but they tended to move around a great deal.
This plaque commemorating "Scotch Jenny" is on the road between Barkerville and Richfield. The drop into the canyon - and others like it in the area - undoubtadly took several lives. The picture on the plaque was taken in front of the Pioneer Saloon in Centreville, another of the small communities in the area that no longer exits.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Parlour, merchantile, & how much is enough?

Just spent some time in Barkerville again. Did some research for a story I'm working on and took a picture or two.
This is a great place to visit, although the legs were getting a little shakey; I'm not used to that much walking. Here is a parlour from (I think) the John Bowron house.

And here is a shot of the Mason & Daley store

And a bar sign we saw in Quesnel on the way back to Prince George.
Name your Poison!

Don't forget to take a look at the video up there on the right. I don't think it's as humerous as the bar sign, but you might get a chuckle.
If you're scared of that link click on this one;

The research I was doing while there was for a sequel to "Partners". I actually started the story more than 2 years ago but ran into a place where I needed some population info ... even though I write fiction I like to include historical events when possible and keep the facts accurate ... and should be able to get back to that sequel once I've completed the 2 other projects I'm working on now.
The archives at Barkerville, and the young woman who helped me are marvelous.
The curator also came over, said hello and offered some information.
Great town, great historical site with marvelous staff. Top notch campgrounds (no hook-ups but quiet, clean including the showers), three B&Bs and motel just down the way in Wells.
If you haven't been to Barkerville you're missing out on a great day or two - or however long you want it to be.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

New "Partners" reviews

As I wrote in the last post, I have some new reviews for "Partners" and here they are.
Not only do I appreciate the praise, but along with enjoying, all three also got the points I intended/
Review by Anne Boling for Reader’s Favorite
“Partners” by Dave McGowan transported me back to the year 1866. Unseen, I journeyed alongside Thomas Brash in his attempt to escape memories. He left behind his hundred acre farm, a teaching position, everything he once thought was important. After burying his wife and two children he just wanted to escape all that was familiar. All Tom wanted was to be alone. Along his tiresome journey he witnessed the cruel acts of two men and the bravery of a boy. Without thinking Tom stepped in to assist the boy, Frank Clement. Frank declared he would travel with Tom to protect him. At first it irritated Tom but he knew Frank was a better shot than he was and he had more “wilderness smarts.”
“Partners” is quite an adventure. Dave McGowan deftly combines action, adventure, history and a hint of romance to create a fascinating western. The plot moves along at a steady pace. I was particularly fond of Frank. He was a rather adorable boy: stubborn, strong willed, impulsive and compassionate, living on his own after losing his parents. Thomas was interesting: he was intelligent, compassionate and had a few surprises for Frank. Clyde and Sam are secondary characters but they add much to the plot. I was not fond of Alex; his reaction to Frank seemed cold.
Dave McGowan is a talented author. Fans of westerns need to make note of his name for they will want to follow all of his works.
Review by Trudi LoPreto for Reader’s Favorite

"Partners" by David McGowan is a part fiction and a part historical western story. The Partners in this story are two very different people – an older man and a young boy.
"Partners" is a study in human character. David McGowan has written a story that is believable with a strong plot. He mixed [historical] characters with things he has created together in a perfect blend. He offers the reader great details and explanations of how hard life was in the 1860’s for both the White Man and the Indian.
if you are a fan of Western genre with a thrust in details, this is a book you will enjoy.
Review by Alice DiNizo for Reader’s Favorite
In early June of 1866, thirty-five year old Tom Brash has abandoned both a teaching career and one hundred acres of farmland that he owned free and clear in Kingston
"Partners" by David McGowan is a readable, enjoyable Western about two men … distanced by upbringing and age … become good friends and partners in adventure as they fight and think their way out of situation after situation in the post Civil War west.
Good dialogue and short, succinct chapters make "Partners" a delightful read for history and western fans alike. The author's comments at the story's conclusion, that tell of actual people from that era, is enlightening for he tells of actual events that are woven into "Partners", a story no one should skip!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

More Reviews for Homesteader

I just recieved two more reviews for Homesteader and three for Partners.
I'll post the ones for Partners in a couple of days.
Yes, they are both available in several digital formats and as the good old lovable book.
Click on the covers to the right or take a trip to www.amazon.com/books
At the last site you can "look inside  the book" to get an idea of what Brenda, Paul and Rich are talking about.

From a review of Homesteader by Brenda Casto


“I found myself absorbed not only in the story, but the history lesson that I felt I was getting as the story unfolded. The plot never lags; instead it pulled me along making me wonder what might happen on the next page. Mr. McGowan skilfully crafts his words bringing to life the scenes he describes …

It was easy to see that the author really did his research with this story, from the range war to the way Hank and his two Blackfoot workers build the homestead. The details really make the story seem very realistic. I also found myself enjoying the secondary story of Hank and Sharon and couldn't help but wonder how that would turn out. Fans of historical fiction with an authentic feel that provides several twists, a bit of mystery, romance, and suspense, will certainly enjoy this story.”


From a review of Homesteader by Paul Johnson


“I have always been a fan of stories of the old west, in this instance it is fortunately the Canadian west. "Homesteader" is a story of action and adventure set against a backdrop that can be very harsh at times. It shows the true strength of the folks looking for a new home of their own. The main characters are very well-defined …

All in all, a satisfying plot with enough action to keep the reader turning the pages to see what will happen next.”

Monday, April 1, 2013

Another review of "Homesteader"

I've just recieved another review of "Homesteader" by Rick Follet that I'm very happy, nae, excited about and here it is:

“Homesteader; Finding Sharon” by D. M. McGowan chronicles the experience of Henry ‘Hank’ James, a homesteader in British Columbia, Canada, in the late 1880’s. “Homesteader” offers a fascinating window into a brave and formative era in Canadian history. McGowan writes with a cinematographer’s eye and a playwright’s sense of dialect; the result is an easy-to-read, entertaining saga that is as determined and winning as the settlers it describes - plain spoken, honest and impossible to put down. In Henry James, McGowan has created a character readers want to cheer for. As ‘Hank’ weathers the schemes and manipulations of the portly (and aptly named) Portis Martin and struggles to keep his cattle alive against impossible odds through one of the worst winters in Canadian history, readers become personally acquainted with a colorful cast of supporting characters and the harsh realities of a homesteader’s life. Hank has got his eye on a lady, too, but you’ll have to read “Homesteader” for yourself to find out where that trail leads...

“Homesteader” has it all - adventure, romance, nature, drama and actual history. Many of the events of the story happen within and around real-life headlines from the period. "Homesteader” is as educational as it is entertaining and appropriate for audiences of all ages. This book could just as easily occupy a shelf in the historical fiction, western, or romance sections of the local bookstore. In “Homesteader,” D. M. McGowan has written an engaging, seamless tale with universal appeal. Stake your claim and be ready for a thrilling ride!

"Homesteader" is #3 in the works I've had published and one of the two still available. I'm hoping I can manage to have two published this year. Perhaps one of them will be a 2nd release of my first novel, "The Great Liquor War." However, time (and income) will tell.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The capture of Almighty Voice

            Almighty Voice, a Swampy Cree mentioned in my novel “Cattle Business” was born in Duck Lake, District of Saskatchewan, North West Territories in 1875. In the autumn of 1895 he married a young woman from a neighbouring reserve. During the preparations for that event he discovered a cow wandering on the prairie which he butchered to feed his guests.
            Ownership of the cow is a question that can not be answered at the date of this writing. It has been said that it was loaned to the reserve for breeding purposes and was the property of the Canadian government. It has also been claimed as the property of a neighbouring ranch and had wandered onto the reserve. The one thing that is certain is that it did not belong to Almighty Voice, or as the white man had recorded his identity, Jean Baptiste. On October 22, 1895 he was arrested for butchering that cow.
            During his transport to NWM Police cells one of the officers, demonstrating that stupidity and poor taste are not confined to any particular time joked that the penalty for killing a cow was hanging. Later that very evening, during shift change at the Duck Lake jail, Almighty Voice walked off into the night. Undoubtedly he thought a penalty for escape was better than hanging for cattle theft.
            It is known that he went, that night at least, to his mother’s house but he did not stay there very long. He went from there to the John Smith reserve at Fort a La Corne and picked up his wife.
            Following a week of freedom the camp of Almighty Voice and his wife was discovered by Sergeant Colin Colebrook and his Métis guide/interpreter François Dumont. The Sergeant, sure of the protection inherent in his position as a policeman rode boldly into the camp demanding that Jean Baptiste surrender.
            Dumont translated the order.
            Almighty Voice raised his rifle, pointed it at the Sergeant and said, "Leave us. I must kill you if you don't turn back."
            Dumont translated the order in English for the Sergeant and added, "He's serious."
            Sergeant Colebrook continued his approach, although he did put his hand on his revolver.
            Almighty Voice repeated his demand.
            Sergeant Colebrook continued.
            Dumont translated again and repeated his warning.
            Almighty Voice fired killing the Sergeant with a bullet in his heart and driving him from the saddle.
            Dumont urged his horse out of the area as fast as possible.
            News of the Mounties death spread across the Territory. Within the NWMP force the news was followed by a demand for immediate action. Fewer than a thousand police officers trying to maintain order in an area larger than many continents with a population of a few hundred thousands can not afford to have their authority questioned. A $500.00 reward (more than $13,000.00 in 2010) was offered for the capture of Almighty Voice.
            Despite the best efforts of the Mounted Police it was 19 months before Almighty Voice was found and then it was because a civilian saw three Cree butchering another cow. It was later determined that the three rustlers were Almighty Voice, and his relatives, Going-up-to-the-sky and Tupean.
            On May 27, 1897 the owner of the butchered cow, Napoleon Venne and Mounted Police Corporal William Bowridge approached the beef carcass. In a nearby grove (locally called a "bluff" at that time) of willows and poplars they saw two men. However, when they tried to approach the men they were fired upon and Venne was hit. When they turned their mounts and attempted to flee the area another bullet drove the hat from Venne's head.
            Bowridge sent for back-up. On May 28th the grove of trees was surrounded by a posse of Mounties and civilians lead by Assistant Commissioner John B. Allen, "Bronco Jack" to his friends.
            Several attempts where made to approach the concealed outlaws. Two sweeps through the trees where made. The result of these several offensive probes was the serious wounding of Sergeant Charles Raven and Assistant Commissioner Allen.
            Corporal Charles H. Hockin was now in command.
            Hockin attempted to smoke the fugitives from the trees, but the wet, green growth of spring didn't do much to help their efforts. However, they had spent so much time trying to light a fire that now dark was approaching. With the need to transport wounded back for treatment the Corporal's posse had been reduced in size and he was afraid the fugitives would slip away in the night.
            Corporal Hockin called for another assault. Nine men entered the trees on foot.
            The trouble was that they found the fugitives.
            Six men retreated carrying three. The dead where Batoche post master Ernest Grundy and Mounted Police Constable John Kerr. Corporal Hockin was mortally wounded and died a few hours later.
            Assistant Commissioner John McIllree and twenty four Mounties arrived on the scene. With them they dragged two cannon, a seven pounder from Prince Albert and a nine pounder from Regina.
            From late afternoon on May 29th to mid morning of May 30th the trees where bombarded.
            The bodies of the fugitives where found in a pit they had dug.
            One civilian and four Mounted Policemen had been killed. One civilian and two Mounties had been wounded.
            The Almighty Voice story reached a conclusion that was a success for no one.
            During the many months of the Almighty Voice case there had been a strong feeling within the NWM Police and within some government circles that it might lead to a general uprising such as had taken place in 1885.