No prettier place in the solar system . . .

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Made a wide swing through Eastern Oregon and once again realized there is no prettier place in the solar system than Eastern Oregon in late fall.

The draws are outlined by red willows and golden aspen and cottonwood. The delicate needles of tamarack trees stand out like sentinels of burnished copper against the deep green of the forest.

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On the swing I visited schools and impressed on the students the importance of reading, writing and saving our history for future generations to explore and enjoy.

I signed books at independent bookstores, but mostly I just enjoyed the traveling and sightseeing before a winter of holing up in my cabin and writing another  book.

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Rick Steber is an award winning writer of contemporary western stories. To find out more about his books, including non-fiction biographies and novels, audio books and DVDs, visit his website:  Writing the West http://ricksteber.com

To purchase a copy of Rick Steber’s latest release: Red White Black: A True Story of Race and Rodeo visit: http://ricksteber.com/newreleases.html

 

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Tracking down the lost manuscript

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I heard tell of a “lost manuscript.” It was said this manuscript told about an important era of Eastern Oregon history. And like a gold miner who hears about a lost mine, I became obsessed with finding this manuscript.

I made phone calls, chasing down any and all leads I happened to uncover. Some were disappointing dead ends, but I followed any slim possibility until I had collected enough reliable information that the urge to get going consumed me.

I threw together my camping gear, jumped in my pickup and started the hunt in earnest.

On the second day of my travels I unearthed the mother lode. The lost manuscript was in a cardboard box, 319 typewritten pages, yellowed and brittle with age. It had been hidden from the light of day for more than a half-century.

Will this lost manuscript became the basis of a book? I don’t know.

Time will tell.

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Rick Steber is an award winning writer of contemporary western stories. To find out more about his books, including non-fiction biographies and novels, audio books and DVDs, visit his website:  Writing the West http://ricksteber.com

To purchase a copy of Rick Steber’s latest release: Red White Black: A True Story of Race and Rodeo visit: http://ricksteber.com/newreleases.html

My desperate search for the lost manuscript

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The writer’s life . . . Only a small portion of a writer’s life is spent actually putting down words on paper.

That process can only begin after all the research has been completed. The problem I often find in my writing and researching are the distractions that suddenly appear .. The salmon are running in the Deschutes, or in the Coquille.

But recently it was something far different that called me away from work and sent me on a desperate search for a “lost manuscript” that was said to exist somewhere in the wild of Eastern Oregon. It was doubtful the manuscript had survived fires, floods and the passage of time. But the very possibility that it might exist drove me on a desperate search .. (more to come)

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Rick Steber is an award winning writer of contemporary western stories. To find out more about his books, including non-fiction biographies and novels, audio books and DVDs, visit his website:  Writing the West http://ricksteber.com

To purchase a copy of Rick Steber’s latest release: Red White Black: A True Story of Race and Rodeo visit: http://ricksteber.com/newreleases.html

Race, rodeo and discrimination

Rick Steber and Leon Ransom

Rick Steber and Leon Ransom

While in Pendleton at the Pendleton Round-Up, I had dinner with Leon Ransom. Leon’s wife, Georgia, fixed a wonderful salmon dinner that included a dessert of blueberry pie fixed from scratch.

Leon contributed to my research for Red White Black: A True Story of Race and Rodeo and was friends with one of the principal characters in the book, George Fletcher. We talked about race and rodeo, and how discrimination still remains woven into the fabric of America.

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To purchase your copy of Rick Steber’s book: Red White Black: A True Story of Race and Rodeo visit: http://ricksteber.com/newreleases.html

Rick Steber is an award winning writer of contemporary western stories. To find out more about his books, including non-fiction biographies and novels, audio books and DVDs visit his website:  Writing the West http://ricksteber.com

2013 Pendleton Round-Up a big success!

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Survived the 2013 Round-Up, that  time of year when the town of Pendleton swells to three times its normal size  and begins to burst at the seams.

round-up 040I did what seemed to be endless rounds of book  signings for “Red White Black” at  Hamley’s Western Store, Armchair Books, Round-Up Hall of Fame and Pendleton  Woolen Mills. Customers were excited about the new release and sales were brisk. I met a lot of loyal readers who have read and collected most, if not all, of my  books.

That always makes a fellow feel rewarded. Thanks everyone for making this Round-Up such a success!

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To purchase your copy of Rick Steber’s book: Red White Black: A True Story of Race and Rodeo visit: http://ricksteber.com/newreleases.html

Rick Steber is an award winning writer of contemporary western stories. To find out more about his books, including non-fiction biographies and novels, audio books and DVDs visit his website:  Writing the West http://ricksteber.com

The writing life – editing (or a lingering death)

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After a quick trip to the West side – celebrating Independence Day with family and drinking in the sights and sounds of exploding fireworks reflecting and echoing over the Willamette River – it’s back to editing my manuscript.

To me the details of editing are like experiencing a lingering death.

Is it pummel or pommel? Should army be capitalized or lower case? Sandbar, one word or two? And what about dryland, peace-loving and bullwhip? Two words? Hyphen? One word? At this point everything has a question mark. And plurals are the worst because my eyes see an “s” even if one isn’t there.

What I would really like to do is grab a few gallons of primary colors, a big roller and paint a damn billboard . . .

Who is the girl wearing nothing but a smile

And a towel in the picture on the billboard in the field near the big old highway

Rolling down the highway in my Jimmy hauling freight

From Chicago to St Louis Lord I see her every day

A double clutching weasel like me can hardly ever get a girl to look at him that way

SMILING like the girl wearing nothing but a smile

And a towel in the picture on the billboard in the field near the big old highway

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Rick Steber is an award winning writer of contemporary western stories. To find out more about his books, including non-fiction biographies and novels, audio books and DVDs visit his website:  Writing the West http://ricksteber.com

On the Trail of Rodeo Rider, John Spain

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On my last research trip I wanted to gather any last bits of information that was out there to add to my book Red White Black, A True Story of Race and Rodeo, as well as to visit the graves of the three main characters. I made a big circle; drove a thousand miles and was gone for a week.

John Spain

John Spain

I arrived in Baker City on a Sunday and there were a few people getting a jump on Memorial Day and putting flowers on the graves of loved ones in the Mt. Hope Cemetery. I stood on the green, wet grass and felt uneasy as I looked through my binoculars and tried in vain to find the headstone of John Spain among the 16,000 people who are buried there.

John Spain GraveThe next morning a caretaker looked up the grave and I took photos of John Spain’s grave marker as the sun edged over the bald hill to the east. And then I visited the library, courthouse, and sheriff’s office and talked to the man who has spent his lifetime gathering photographs of Baker County.

Visit my website at Writing the West, http://ricksteber.com for more tales of the Wild West, including non-fiction biographies and novels, audio books and DVDs. My books are now available for purchase as ebooks. Subscribe to this blog to find out more about my upcoming book: Red White Black, A True Story of Race and Rodeo.