Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Endsville

Endsville is the first of my Harlan Finchley novels that I've now rebranded as an I.J. Parnham novel. In this case it's a western with a twist.


This story is a good example of what happens to writers who don't plan their stories in advance, for better or worse. This tale started as a traditional western. A bandit gang raids a train and everything goes according to plan until their leader is wounded. They flee with a marshal in pursuit and are forced to hole up in Endsville, a small town filled with mean-eyed and tight-lipped folk who don't take kindly to strangers.

At this point I was reasonably sure where the tale would go with shoot-outs, chases and showdowns, but then to my surprise the plot took an unexpected twist, and all because one character laughed at an inappropriate time. Then everything took a turn towards the horrific and the story became The Wild Bunch meets Texas Chain-saw Massacre...

The book is now available from all good amazon stores.

When Bodie McCloud’s outlaw gang steal the railroad payroll, at first their raid goes off without a hitch, but then their carefully laid plans start to crumble.

Bodie is wounded. Then the fresh horses that were supposed to aid their quick escape are no longer where they left them. Worse is it to follow when the gang suspect that a traitor is in their midst.
With no choice, they hole up in the dead-end town of Endsville where the inevitable recriminations threaten to tear the gang apart. But, just as everyone is thinking that their situation is as bad as it can get, they face their greatest threat – the horror that lurks in Endsville.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Harlan Finchley must die!

It's been a long time coming, but I've finally decided to bump off that pesky critter Harlan Finchley.

Harlan hasn't been much of a secret as I use the same publisher name for all my self-publishing ventures, but for the record I have written stories using pen-names other than I. J. Parnham. So as not to confuse my fan-base (stop laughing, please) I thought it best to publish my stories that weren't traditional westerns under another name. I chose Harlan Finchley, the hopeful and probably hopeless writer who appeared in The Treasure of Saint Woody.

Not surprisingly, with no promotion and no marketing effort on my part, the stories then devoted themselves to trying to answer that old philosophical question of whether trees that fall in forests without anyone hearing them actually make a sound, or in this case whether if a book is published and nobody notices did it actually get published.

Whatever the answer, the stories settled down to having sales ranks in the millions. One book even reached a rank of over three million and it was trying hard to be the worst selling book on amazon until I went one better with a book that sold nothing for a year until it finally sold a copy, only for it to get returned the next day.

I decided on that day that I either accepted the books were rubbish and gave up, or I accepted the books were rubbish and admitted I wrote them. I decided on the latter and so my Kindle I. J. Parnham bibliography has now expanded with several offbeat westerns, science-fiction and fantasy titles. Over the next few weeks I'll say a few words about each of them on here.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Massacre at Bluff Point now available on Kindle

Massacre at Bluff Point is available on Kindle. It was my 15th Black Horse Western, and the third and final book featuring Ethan Craig.

 
 
Republishing my books on Kindle has brought up many surprises, and this was another one as I'd forgotten that I'd written three Ethan Craig books. At the time I now recall I'd intended to write more stories, but along the way Ethan just passed from my thoughts.
 
The intention was that he was an ordinary bloke with no special gun skills or ingenuity, but who somehow survives and wins through. The other intention was that each book would be very different. So Bad Day in Dirtwood was a gritty homesteaders defending their patch tale, while Six-shooter Bride was a light-hearted romance. This book was the wrongly accused man clears his name tale.
 
I guess, now that I think about it, that it was the variety and lack of a common theme that stopped me from continuing his adventures.
 
The book is now available from all good amazon stores.
 
Ethan Craig picked the wrong day to start working for Sam Pringle’s outfit. Within hours of joining up, Ansel Stark’s bandit gang bushwhacked the outfit at Bluff Point and Ethan saw all his new colleagues gunned down in cold blood.
He vowed to get his revenge, but before Ethan could get his manhunt underway his bad luck continued when for the second time he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and Sheriff Henry Fisher arrested him. His presumed crime was being a member of the very gang he’d sworn to track down!
With nobody believing his innocence and a ruthless bandit to catch, can Ethan ever hope to succeed?

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Back in the Black Horse saddle again

I'm pleased to report that The Crowood Press have agreed to publish my western Marshal of the Barren Plains.

I actually wrote this book last year. I'd finished it, printed it off, and stuck it in an envelope ready to post to Robert Hale. Then I logged on to Royal Mail to print off a stamp only for the site to clog up and refuse to print, so I amused myself for a few minutes while I waited for it to clear. And it was then that I read the news that Hale had just announced they were closing.

Anyhow, I waited a while before trying the new publisher of the Black Horse series and I was delighted to find they are just as approachable and just as quick to report back as Hale was. So I remain hopeful that the series is in good hands and should keep going for a while longer, or at least until Dodgy Dave burns down the last library and stomps on the ashes.

This book returns to one of my favourite locales of the Barren Plains and this time, after getting several mentions in previous books, it finally has scenes set at the Bleak Point silver mine at the heart of the Barren Plains.

It'll be my 34th Black Horse Western and I guess it'll be out some time in 2017. Here's my draft blurb:

When Marshal Rattigan Fletcher failed to stop Jasper Minx raiding the town bank, the angry townsfolk forced him to leave Ash Valley in disgrace. Rattigan went west in pursuit of Jasper, and in the inhospitable Barren Plains he got a chance to put right his mistake.
 
Rattigan is hired to find out why men from the Bleak Point silver mine have been disappearing in mysterious circumstances. As Jasper now works at the mine, Rattigan doesn't have to look far for a culprit, but Jasper claims he's not responsible. With the miners siding with Jasper, Rattigan will need to rediscover his tarnished instincts as a lawman if he is ever to solve the mystery and bring his Nemesis to justice.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Bad Moon over Devil's Ridge now available on Kindle.

Bad Moon over Devil's Ridge is available on Kindle. It was originally my 14th Black Horse Western.

 
 
 
As I mentioned earlier on this blog this is the fifth Cassidy Yates tale, but I labelled the fourth one as being the third McBain book, so this one is now labelled as Cassidy Yates, Book 4. I hope that's clear because I'm already getting confused.
 
This story features Sheriff Cassidy Yates's long-lost brother Emerson. That's long lost in that Cassidy didn't know he had a brother until I started writing this story. Emerson is everything Cassidy isn't.
 
The thing I enjoyed about writing this book was alternating the viewpoint character with each chapter. I've often told stories from the viewpoint of several characters, but in this case I maintained the strict discipline of having one chapter relate Cassidy's adventures while the next one turns to the newspaper correspondent, Nick Kearney, and then back again. Making sure the plot advances for each character at the same pace while leaving both characters in tricky situations was a fun challenge and it was harder than I expected. I'm fairly sure I haven't tried it again since.
 
The book is now available from amazon.
 
When Sheriff Cassidy Yates rode into Eagle Heights he never expected he would be in jail by nightfall on an unfounded murder charge. Although Cassidy answered the charge, it was only at the cost of implicating his own wayward brother in both this murder and the kidnapping of the dead man’s widow.
Against an escalating conspiracy of fear operating in the town, Cassidy gains the help of a young newspaper correspondent in his quest to find the real killer and the kidnapped woman. But with gun-toting ranchers and numerous hired guns standing between Cassidy and justice, can he prove his brother’s innocence?

Monday, 2 May 2016

The Man who Tamed Lone Pine

The Man who Tamed Lone Pine is now available. It is my 33rd Black Horse Western.




This book features the return of Nathaniel McBain and Shackleton Frost. Having given Nathaniel the job in The Secret of Devil's Canyon of escorting prisoners to jail, which at the time felt like a job with endless possibilities for plots, I found that it wasn't quite the gold mine of possibilities that I'd first thought it would be. Every story idea I came up with seemed to revolve around the prisoner claiming he's innocent and Nathaniel being concerned enough to ignore his duty and help the prisoner clear his name.

So years have passed since that story without me writing about Nathaniel again until it occurred to me that if you have a man who escorts prisoners to jail, there are two basic plots available. In one the prisoner is a victim of a miscarriage of justice and in the other he's isn't. I decided to try the second one, although, as it turned out, the matter of the prisoner's guilt was only a small part of a bigger mystery....

When Nathaniel McBain and Shackleton Frost arrive in Lone Pine to escort a prisoner to Beaver Ridge jail, they are shocked to discover it is Shackleton's old friend Sheriff Ashton Clarke. Five years ago Ashton tamed the town, but now he's been charged with killing in cold blood. 
 
Ashton claims that someone from his past has framed him, and Shackleton believes his friend. Buts as more bodies are found and with all the evidence pointing to Ashton, the case against him begins to look unbreakable. If Nathaniel and Shackleton are to solve the mystery and save their friend, they will have to turn their backs on their duty and use their trusty sixshooters instead.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Devine's Mission now available on Kindle

Devine's Mission is now available on Kindle.
 
 

After 2012 's Devine I knew that I would one day write about US Marshal Jake T. Devine again, although it took me a few years before I decided to let him ride again.

Once I'd decided to start writing I had the usual problem that I have with Devine of creating a worthwhile adversary. Marshal Devine is a brutal, no-nonsense lawman who doesn't sit around waiting for the end of the story so that he can shoot the bad guys. He just kicks down the door, abuses everyone in the room, and then blasts the bad guy between the eyes. If he's in a good mood he might vary the routine by spitting on the dead man's face and whistling, but otherwise it's hard to avoid him just wiping out everyone long before the plot can unfold.

So this time I outlined a plot with plenty of twists involving stolen gold and the fiendish plans of master bad guy Scorpio Blake. Then I started writing. Three pages into the story Devine decided he'd had enough of idle chatter and killed Scorpio, which slightly destroyed my outlined plot. So, I just carried on writing and decided to see where Devine would take things. As it turned out, I was surprised by the solution to the central mystery of what had happened to the stolen gold, even though the clues had been there from the moment I wrote the title on a blank page...

Anyhow, the book is now available from amazon.

When Lachlan McKinley raided Fairmount Town’s bank, the four-thousand dollar bounty that was posted on his head attracted plenty of manhunters, but everyone that went after him ended up dead.
Bounty hunter Jonathon Lynch reckoned he could do better. Lachlan was Jonathon’s step-brother and his mission was personal, but when he joined the hunt he soon discovered that all was not as it seemed and Lachlan may, in fact, be innocent. Worse, U.S. Marshal Jake Devine was also after Lachlan.
Devine is more likely to destroy the peace than to keep it, and so can Jonathon bring the guilty to justice before Devine does his worst?