Thursday, December 29, 2011

What to read on your new Kindle or Nook

Did you receive a Kindle or Nook for Christmas—or just thinking about buying one for yourself? Now you’re looking to stock up on some excellent reading, right? Some words to carry you through these cold days of winter and into the new year.

Look no further! (Or, buy all that’s available here, then feel free to look as far as you want!) Find one of these stories below you want to read, then click on the “Library/Store” link above and find convenient links for ordering them on Kindle or Nook (and some even in paperback!). Most of the Kindle and Nook versions are only 99 cents each!

Looking for some stories about time travel and alternate history?

First Time: The Legend of Garison Fitch – Book 1 – Garison Fitch is a scientist in the Soviet Americas whose experiments land him in the 1700s. When he returns to the twenty-first century, he finds the world changed. There’s something called “The United States of America”, his parents are still alive, and a woman he’s never met before claims to be his wife. Should he go back in time and try to return everything to normal, or try to live in this world he somehow created?

Saving Time: The Legend of Garison Fitch – Book 2 – It’s two years later and Garison discovers that there is a hole in time. And it seems to be centered around his trip through time. Garison has to figure out how to sew up the rend in time, but he can’t use his time machine to do it. Can he do it before time itself is destroyed?

Lost Time: The Legend of Garison Fitch – Book 3 – Jason Kerrigan and Brownyn Dalmouth are pilots in the Republic of Texas Army Air Corp in World War II when an experimental aircraft propels them thousands of years into the future. When they return to 1947, they find the war over, the Republic gone, and people they once knew no longer recognize them. How can a trip to the future change the past?

How about a good western?

Overstreet – John Overstreet leaves Texas ahead of a vengeful family of outlaws and settles on a horse ranch in Colorado. There, he tries to make a life for himself, but is always having to look over his shoulder, lest the family of the man he killed come after him. (Set against the real life events and terrain of the town of Como, Colorado, and the South Park Valley.)

Need a fantasy story about the beginning of the end of the world?

All the Time in Our World – Edward and Marianne are a couple of teenagers on their first date when an other-worldly storm sweeps them onto a vast, barren plain. Yet, there’s something familiar about the landscape. Soon, they are traveling with an enigmatic man named Marcus who claims to be able to get them home, but first they must lead an army against evil himself.

Some of the Time – Edward and Marianne are again called to the strange land of Nid, but this time their travels take them under ground, where they find an entire civilization that hasn’t seen real sunlight in thousands of years. But the tunnels are collapsing and soon they will burst forth on the world—an event neither those who dwell under the ground or those who dwell above are ready for.

Marianne – (Coming soon!) Edward Garrett finds himself shipwrecked on unfamiliar shores and embroiled in an effort to rescue four teenage girls who have been kidnapped from their school. Edward just wants to get back to Marianne, but can he leave the rescuers leaderless and the four girls to their fate?

Or maybe your taste runs to an irreverent detective who never quite realizes he is in over his head …

The Nice Guy – Bat Garrett is a Dallas private detective whose cases usually involve proving that someone is being unfaithful to their spouse. Then, one day, he’s hired by a secretive government group called “The Home Agency” to investigate a drug smuggling ring. It seems like it’s the kind of case Bat always dreamed of: beautiful women, spies, nefarious bad guys … but someone is keeping the bad guys one step ahead of Bat. Are they that good, is he that bad, or is there someone who just wants Bat to be the fall guy?

the Return of Nice Guy – Bat Garrett is called in to investigate the murder of a Dallas banker two years before. The police and the justice department are confident they have their man, but the widow has never been satisfied with the why. Bat tries to discover why the mild-mannered banker was killed and the trail leads him into an amateur archeological society and through the ruins of Mesa Verde in Colorado.

Up to Bat – (coming in January 2012!) Bat Garrett is hired by a wealthy oil man to find out who is trying to kill him. Less than a day later, the man is found dead and everyone but Bat thinks it was just the protective brother of a spurned lover who did it. Bat digs in to find the dead man led more than one life, and every one of his lives had enemies.

If your tastes lean toward a relational drama about imperfect people trying to find the perfect love, try …

Psalm 88 – Joe Whitcomb is a preacher who hates God. Ellen Whitcomb is a teenage alcoholic hiding her problem. It seems easier to run from a problem when someone runs with you. Called “superior Christian fiction” by one reviewer, this novel has been loved by everyone who has read it. [Note: if you look for this title on Nook, it’s called “Hating God—a Love Story”.]

So Many Books – Chris Farmer is an investigator with the Bureau of Indian Affairs who tries to help a young woman named Alyste Smith escape from an abusive step-father. In the process, Chris has to grow up himself and take on the responsibility of a daughter of his own.

The Woman Caught – Opie Gates is the cleanest-cut Okie in New York City when he meets Chrissy, who is everything he’s not. First Opie falls in love with her, then he finds out what she really is. Can Opie find enough forgiveness in his heart to really love her? Does Chrissy really want to be forgiven? A modern story inspired by the Biblical story of the woman caught in adultery in John 8.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Writing (and other Obvious Blog Titles)

I love the mountains and, therefore, I have this daydream in my mind where I go to a mountain cabin for a couple weeks and do nothing but write. This is, of course, a terrible idea.

If I ever tried, I know I’d end up just like the time Rob tried it on “The Dick Van Dyke Show”. For those of you who haven’t memorized the classics, Rob goes to the mountain cabin of a friend and ends up doing everything but writing. That would be me.

On the other hand, I have thought about this one motel I drive past in Texline. Texline is the last town in Texas before you hit New Mexico in the far northwest corner of the TX panhandle. It used to be a farming town, but now it’s one of those towns that you pass through and wonder why it’s still there. Just a wide spot on the flat plains. But it does have a motel. I have no idea if it’s a nice motel. I do know it doesn’t have a pool. If I’m lucky, it won’t have wi-fi.

I don’t know if I’ll actually do it, but I keep thinking about heading over there for a few days and getting a room. No distractions. If I get hungry, I can walk to the convenience store down the street. And then come back and just write, write, WRITE! That sounds like a phenomenal idea!

Kinda doubt that it’ll happen. For one thing, even if it’s an inexpensive room by modern standards (and even if it’s open, it looked a little overgrown the last time I went by), it would still cost some money, I’m sure. Money that’s not easy to come by at this time, in this economy. And second? Even if it’s just a room with a bed and a bath like the Mayberry Hotel–and even if the TV didn’t work–I’d probably still find ways to be distracted. What I need to do is just concentrate, buckle down, do some writing, let nothing distract … hey, look! a Volkswagen!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Cowboys and Aliens

“Cowboys and Aliens” is a fun movie, if not one that’ll change your life in any noticeable way. The title pretty much tells you what the movie will be about. Still, it’s been so long since we saw a cowboy movie–let alone cowboys who had thoughts that originated above the waist–that I was glad to see men (and woman) a-horseback again.

The movie starts with James Bond waking up in the desert, shoeless, yet accessorized by a really snazzy bracelet. Before he can even stand up, he’s accosted by Newly from “Gunsmoke” who, with his not-too-well-coifed or overly bright sons, tries to take him in assuming the bracelet to be an indication of a prison break. Bond can’t remember who he is, but he remembers how to fight and, soon, is riding into town in clothing furnished by Newly & Sons.

In the town he discovers that one of the Carradines is the remarkably upstanding sheriff, the preacher is a sincere but somewhat foul-mouthed person I probably should remember and the bar is run by Guy from “Galaxy Quest”. If that weren’t enough trouble, Mutt2 is terrorizing the town because his father, Indiana Jones, is rich and hard and takes in Apaches. The girl from “Tron: Legacy” is there, too, though it takes a long time to figure out why.

After the old west town is attacked by aliens–who lasso their victims and jerk them into the sky–Bond, Indy and the girl lead a posse of townies, outlaws and Indians into the New Mexico dessert to find them all. If this sounds confusing, it’s not, really. But one thing is was, was unpredictable. In spite of the fact that I was thinking the title gave everything away, for the whole movie I never knew what was coming next. When I thought I knew, I was wrong. It turns out that the director who brought us “Elf” really knows how to tell a story.

I only have two quibbles with this movie. 1] there’s too much foul language and it rarely ever serves the plot or the characters well. B] For all the writers of this movie (there are 5 listed and rumor has it many more could have been credited) I kept thinking how much better it could have been if Louis L’Amour had been around to write it.

P.S. If you want to read a really good western, check out my novel “Overstreet“!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Time Warp Funeral

I’ve got almost 70k words written on the newest Garison Fitch book! No, I am not shooting for a particular total. I write until the story is told.

Unfortunately, the story took a twist I wasn’t expecting and I was having a hard time writing myself out of it. And then I went to the funeral. I don’t like funerals. I realize they are a necessary part of life, but I still don’t like them. So, as I sat there and listened to the speaker go on and on about the life of a person he never met, my mind started to wonder … or wander. Either word works.

When I am writing a story, the action of the story goes on in my mind in real time. If I break off writing to go to the store or work or whatever, in the back of my brain is the thought, “Garison’s still at the library, isn’t he? What is he learning there?” Or, “Bat’s on a stakeout. How does Jody feel about that?” So I sat there in the funeral asking myself, “Where is Marianne? Did she survive the attack?” (for those fans of hers, the answer is “probably”) “If she survived, where did she go? How did she get there? How can I get her back? What is Edward doing during all of this?”

I’m not going to tell you my solution here, but during the funeral I realized where Marianne was and what she was doing. (See, she’s still alive. Whew!) The problem is still getting her back to everyone else in the story. I think I found the beginnings of the path during the funeral. Now I just have to make sure that path meets up with the rest of the story somewhere.

Friday, July 1, 2011

King Louis L’Amour

by Samuel Ben White

When a Louis L’Amour character walks down a street, you get the sense that—if you were suddenly placed on that street yourself—you’d know where to go because he’s already laid it out so well for you. That trail through the mountains? You could find it from his directions.

L’Amour wrote about how, in preparation for his books, he would pour over old maps and journals. I’m sure this helped, but what comes through on every page is that he actually walked the paths he talked about or rode a horse over the hills he describes. With every sentence, the reader thinks, “This guy has been here. I may not get to walk those paths myself, but I feel like I have, because The Guide walked me over them with his words.”

So, how did I get on the path of this incredible guide with the (for a writer known primarily for westerns) unexpected name of Louis L’Amour? My father is and always has been a voracious reader. It must be in my genes, for I am the same way. In the late elementary years, I began to notice that one of the authors he was reading frequently was Louis L’Amour. I noticed this because my older sister had begun to put together her own collection of Louis L’Amour paperbacks.

One of our phones was in her room, so I would sit there, talking to friends (or, more accurately, listening to them talk about their “girlfriends” [something I didn’t have at the time]) and looking at that rack of paperback books with intriguing names like “Over on the Dry Side” and “Guns of the Timberlands”. Hearing her talk with my father, I came to know names like “Tell Sackett” and “Milo Talon” and felt like I knew them pretty well before I even picked up a book. (And I would one day name both of my sons after Sacketts, but could never talk my wife into letting “Sackett” be the middle name.)

I had missed out on the “golden age of westerns” on TV. By the time I came along, only “Gunsmoke” was left, but I remember watching it faithfully every week—and in reruns when the station out of Dallas would show it—and my love of cowboys and cow country culture was cultivated. Without the westerns on TV, though, where could I turn?

Seventh grade. That was the year I finally read a Louis L’Amour book myself. I think the first one was “Catlow”. I guess I liked it because I read the other fifty-plus Louis L’Amour books my sister had before I was out of junior high, as well as “The Lord of the Rings”, “Centennial” and every “Star Trek” or “Star Wars” book I could find. And I couldn’t figure out why I still couldn’t connect with the girls.

Part of that was because I wanted a woman like the women in L’Amour’s world. They were pretty, of course, but they were also strong and independent and they could ride and shoot as well as any man—all while maintaining their composure and virtue. I wanted the rest of the L’Amour life: long desert vistas, hard work done by strong backs, and battles that weren’t for glory but for right. As I read about sixteen year old boys leading trail drives or fighting to protect the family land I lamented that there were no such opportunities in my twentieth century west Texas upbringing.

Not that I would have taken them if they had appeared. I know now that I was too timid. The glorious charges on horseback were for people who weren’t afraid of horses (not to mention bullets!) and the fair maidens were won—they rarely ever threw themselves at the quiet guy in the back of the room scribbling furiously on stories of his own.

It’s been said by more than one observer that the western, or “cowboy story”, is uniquely American and that each generation of Americans re-writes it not to explain or explore the Old West but to try and make a comment about the current culture with a familiar venue. I find this comforting because I would hate to think that the west was really as it is written now: full of debauchery and mayhem and amoral horndogs.

I want the west of Louis L’Amour. A day when men protected women and the women walked side-by-side with their men. A day when a man didn’t just turn in a good day’s work for the boss, he worked from “can see to can’t see” to make the boss’s spread a better place and with an idea of building a spread of his own. A day when people thought the chivalry of Sir Walter Raleigh was how a gentleman ought to conduct himself and where even a man’s enemies were accorded respect. A day when people held the printed word in high esteem and thought bettering oneself through reading was a virtuous thing.

I can have that time any time I want, because the books are right there on my shelf, close at hand. I think it’s time to take one down.

[Coming soon: my epic novel of the old west: “Overstreet”. Available on Kindle and Nook. Read more about it at!]

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Here's the final cover for my new western novel (coming in July). Artwork by Mike Ray of Ink Tycoon!
Thinking of having him re-do all my covers. What do you think?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Now on Twitter

As a writer, I know I'm nothing without you readers. I appreciate your buying and reading and word-of-mouthing. Just wanted to let you know I am now on Twitter. Look for "GarisonFitch" and followed my latest musings ... 140 characters at a time.

And don't forget to read my latest novel: the Return of the Nice Guy. Bat Garrett has been hired by a woman to find out why her husband was murdered. His investigation takes him through an amateur archeological society in Dallas and onto the mesas of the ancient puebloans in SW Colorado! Just 99 cents!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Western Vista

Here's what the town of Como, Colorado (the setting for my new novel "Overstreet") looked like in the early 1900s.
Imagine it twenty years before when the tents occupied by miners swelled the population to almost ten thousand. If you were to see it today, you'd notice that it's not much more populated than in this picture. In fact, the amazing thing may be that it's still there at all, with it's lack of commerce and industry.
There was a time, though, when it was teeming with people and was even one of the three finalists for the capitol of Colorado. "Overstreet" is about John Overstreet, but you'll learn a bit about Como as you read. It's an exciting story of boom and, sadly, bust.
Would I move there? In a heartbeat.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Louis L'Amour

Ornithologists tell us that the reason flamingos are pink is because they eat so much shrimp. Likewise, if any of my writing seems similar to Louis L'Amour's, it's not so much out of a conscious effort but just because I have ingested so much of his work (having read every one of his works many times over). I don't feel guilty about this because even so great a luminary as CS Lewis said he had probably never written anything where he didn't quote--directly or indirectly--from George MacDonald.

My forthcoming novel "Overstreet" may seem to be my most obvious paean to L'Amour just because it's a western, but--honestly--I didn't sit there and write chapter after chapter asking myself "What would Louis write?" The connection I see between my novel and L'Amour is that, at the end of so many of his books, I'm thinking, "What next? I want to know what happened next!!"

One of the main threads of this story is that John Overstreet has killed the son of a prominent west Texas rancher in self-defense. But what happens next when that is (mostly) resolved? I take the opportunity to follow a life into the adventures that follow the one where the book usually stops. I believe I finish with a story that becomes more compelling (and fulfilling) as it reaches its denouement.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


I was stringing some fence near Como, Colorado, a couple decades ago when, way back in the forest, I tripped. I started looking for what I had tripped over and, when I had cleared away the brush, found the outline of a small cabin.

Emphasis on small.

Back in it's day, it must have only been about eight foot by eight foot in size. When I found it, all that was left was an outline, two logs high. It was located about equidistant from the (still existing) town of Como and the (long gone and mostly forgotten) town of Hamilton. Both were mining towns, and both sported some pretty impressive populations and accomplishments during their day.

So it made me wonder: who had built that cabin? Was it someone who worked in one town or the other, but liked a little bit of privacy? Could it have just been a tool shed and, if so, had there been another, larger building nearby that I never found?

Usually, when I see an old house--big or small--I wonder about who might have once lived there. I picture the owners moving in proudly, excited about the life they were building and the dreams they had. That little cabin, though, I always had it in my mind that it was just built by some miner. Someone who was just trying to make his living before heading to another strike. Maybe he only occupied it one winter, or maybe not even that long. Maybe he just threw it up long enough to last out another month or two before heading to better climes for the winter.

I've thought a lot about that cabin, and who might have been there, and it played no small part in inspiring my novel "Overstreet".

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Western Cover

This cover was created by Mike Ray, a graphic designer from South Carolina who acquaintance I made back when we were both drawing comic strips for the same newspaper in central Texas. The final version for the novel will be slightly different, but this ought to give you a feel for it.

I've spent a lot of days (and nights) walking the streets of Como, Colorado, where the story is set and sleeping on the ground where the protagonist--John Overstreet--finds his fortune, and his life. As I read back through the story now, I'm back on those pine-needle-covered grounds. I hope the reader will be, too.

Western Fiction

After many years of work, my epic western novel "Overstreet", is coming to Kindle and Nook in July of '11!

It's the story of a young man who flees a vengeful family in west Texas and comes to work for a horse ranch in Como, Colorado. Over the years, he sees the west change and tries to change himself. To read more about it and my other novels, go to