Direct Purchase Instructions

Thank you for investigating my new form of selling my novels.Go to my Amazon link -- the one on the far right of this page. Click and scroll through the titles. Choose one to preview. Please read the preview. If it appeals to you, you have a choice to make. If not, try another. NOTE that all titles are 9.99 and that my titles are not part of any Amazon give-away program. My novels are no longer free -- from anywhere. Not Amazon, not Bookbub, not Smashwords, Diesel, or some Russian hacker. So, now you have to decide. 1. click and purchase the book from Amazon -- or2. contact me and buy it for 50% less. 60% less if you are a member of my blog.If you choose the second option, contact me via e-mail and tell me the title. I'll give you a price. You send me the money via PayPal and I'll send you a zip file with the novel in these formats: PDF, MOBI, and Epub. You can then upload whichever format you choose to your reading device. Sound fair? Happy reading.RWHPSFor those of you in the Philippines, I accept cash via Palawan. Contact me for my mobile number.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013



Transportation in Panama is a complicated issue.  If you live in or near any city of size (except Panama City) ‘getting around’ becomes much simpler.  Taxis, buses and being biped will put you most anywhere you wish to go.  Public transportation is better in Panama than most parts of the USA or Canadian West. 

The streets and highways of Panama exceed those of neighboring Costa Rica, but are still substandard compared to the USA & Canada. 

I used public transportation for the first few years I was in Chiriquí.  I lived 6 miles from the center of town.  Ingress and egress wasn’t a problem until I had a load; like groceries. One can reach almost any spot in Panama by public transportation; EVENTUALLY!

Typically, the cobra (fare) across David in a bus is 35 cents.  A taxi will charge $2.50 for the same distance.

Unless you are an undercover drug agent, driving in Panama will be the most dangerous thing you will ever do.  Without a doubt! FUBAR describes Panama City in regards to driving.  I was just there last week; they are building a subway, extending the coastal strip, and a hundred other building projects. Recently they eliminated all of the ‘Diablo rojos’ and replaced them with a metro bus system.  Talk about disorganized.  Wow!  PC will always suffer from Extreme--Fubar! It’s pretty, tho!

David and the adjoining communities have a population of around 150,000 people.  The Pan-American Highway cuts through our town.  We have six stoplights in the entire province (350,000 people)!  When I arrived here 10 years ago…they had none.


It’s only been since 2009 that I played with publishing any of my novels on e-books.  Played is the operative word in that sentence. My first efforts were quite lame and amateurish. Not the stories; most of them had already been published.  It was the formatting, covers, and definition of my readership.  I kept learning and trying new ideas; some lifted – some created. The money wasn’t important as it went directly into an account for Nutri Hogar, a charity I help as much as possible. 

Several of my friends read my work and did some research for me.  I was gifted several e-books about e-books. (I believe they were trying to tell me something.)

I tried various “professionals” and was across the board disappointed with their performance; especially in the editing and formatting.  I kept paying and received poor quality performance. The formatting problems I could spot.  The editing and proofreading – no way. (most writers cannot spot their own errors or typo’s.)

I suffered through the criticisms and bad reviews. (Why would someone down rate a writer for typo’s? My opinion is that these people have NEVER achieved anything of merit in their lives!)

EUREKA!  I crossed paths with a formatting guy on twitter who advertised ‘don’t pay unless you’re 100% satisfied’.  I used him and now can’t do without his services. He put me on to a good proofreader and editor and now all my recent novels (the last 6) and a lot of my previous works are being PROFESSIONALIZED. I have 12 novels of which six have been totally reformatted, proofed, and edited.  The other six are reformatted and in the queue to be proofed and edited. My two BIG novels are scheduled to be republished within the next sixty days. Look for an announcement within a week.  I’m going to take my writing to the next level. 

Taxi, bus and other commercial drivers for the most part are poorly trained, stupid, and inconsiderate. John Q. Citizen, the average Panamanian, consist of a high percentage first generation drivers. Most gringos’ have a dash cameras to protect themselves in case of an accident.  

Owning a vehicle is not cheap. Also, vehicles of any model are more expensive in Panama.  Fuel prices are set by the government and vary up or down every two weeks. Right now, diesel is hovering just below $4.00 a gallon; gas a few cents higher. I could cover a variety of do’s and don’ts regarding driving in Panama; specifically in Chiriquí.  Perhaps I’ll make a separate post in the future.  

Sunday, April 28, 2013


Everyone has to eat.  Groceries in Panama can be inexpensive to outrageous; depending on your tastes. If you try to replicate your meals from North America.  Two things are going to happen.  First you will be extremely disappointed in the variety and quality of the products imported from the USA and Canada.  Secondly, your grocery bill will be criminal in nature.  If you adjust your diet and cooking style to the local culture, you can eat very inexpensively. 

Anything grown or produced in Panama is inexpensive.  That includes rice, beans, sugar, rum, beer, and the vegetable and fruits grown on Baru Mountain. Potatoes, onions, carrots, celery, even strawberries are grown here in Chiriquí province.  They have trout and salmon farms as well as Tilapia and other aquatic life forms growing in contained environments.

Another great adventure in the modern-day Wild West, April 26, 2013
Zoe Saadia - See all my reviews

This review is from: Partners (Kindle Edition)
Having read UNTAMED, I picked PARTNERS with much anticipation, expecting a sort of a sequel, a follow-up. I had definitely not enough of Curtis and RC, so another book that involved those two looked promising.

Well, disappointed I was not!

This book is not a sequel, but a stand-alone novel, yet it continues the story of both cowboys very smoothly, giving you a sense of a closure to both very likable people and their lives (even some of the 'bad guys' managed to catch my sympathy, which shows the talent of the author and the skillful way he developed his characters).

The story takes you on quite a few breathtaking adventures, providing you with just enough romance along the way. Both Curtis and RC are living to their standards from the previous book, but many new angles are added. It is a delight to follow some of their reckless adventures while discovering more of their personalities.

I definitely recommend this book. Five stars and more if I'm allowed ;)
Usually out your back door are a variety of fruits.  I have bananas, papaya, and lemons. Plus I have two varieties of bush peppers (one mild the other hotter than your little sister). I have aloe vera and cilantro growing wild…and I live in the city. Also in my yard is yucca and bush beans planted by my landlord.  Alfredo, my neighbor across from me has a mango and avocado tree. I won’t mention all the produce I get from my friends with farms…get your own friends. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013


I’ve received a few e-mails requesting that I continue to post information pertaining to Panama.  I’ve receive an equal number that suggested I stay on topic; an author blog.

Here’s my solution.  I will continue to post PANAMA PERTINENT with the agreement that those of you seeking data or opinions regarding Panama will have to read information germane to my writing world.

As I review the blogs and chat rooms that pertain to panama, I’m seeing a lot of rental houses come on the market.  Prices range from $300 a month in David to $1200 a month in Boquete. 

Typical Panamanian housing is a low-roofed cement block home with tiled floors, suspended foam ceiling tiles and small kitchens.  Older homes have very few electrical outlets and their kitchens seldom have cupboards.  I have NEVER seen a pantry.

Laundry is usually a double deep sink outside with a clothesline somewhere in the yard or carport.

All the water in a typical Panamanian home is cold.  There are seldom hot water heaters or furnaces or any heat of any kind.  This is the tropics.  Those that live on the mountain need blankets and some kind of heater in the winter months (May thru Dec.) Those of us that live in the valley and close to the beach only need a fan.  I live in a Panamanian style home.  I built shelves, installed a special shower head(suicide shower) on my shower to get warm water, and have added a few breakers to the electrical box.  Otherwise I live like most everyone else in my neighborhood.  I have more fans than my neighbors and a slightly larger electrical bill each month because I have several computer running 24/7, the TV and 2 refers. My utilities are as follows: electricity-- $20-25.  Cable (including internet) -- $46.52.
New! Clara B. Ray reviewed Boomer

An Epic Western Adventure April 24, 2013

How I enjoyed reading this book "Boomer" by Robert Hatting! This is the feeling I like to have after I read books. I highly recommend this Western, especially for people who love a good old fashioned western style cowboy book.

Boomer was a well written story of a sheriff who befriended an orphaned Native American boy. It covered all the aspects of a western story, including: Outlaws, shootouts, saloon brawls & fun,...Rea

How I enjoyed reading this book "Boomer" by Robert Hatting! This is the feeling I like to have after I read books. I highly recommend this Western, especially for people who love a good old fashioned western style cowboy book.

Boomer was a well written story of a sheriff who befriended an orphaned Native American boy. It covered all the aspects of a western story, including: Outlaws, shootouts, saloon brawls & fun, quick justice at the end of a rope, and several swooning western romances.

The characters are bold, whether nice or ornery, the plot flows easily, and the last half kept me up late just to finish it. Boomer is an epic western adventure. Looking forward to reading more from this author.

 Water and garbage is included in my rent.  So is yard and shrub maintenance.  I live in a 2 br, 1 ba house on a corner lot.  My phone is a pre-pay cellular and I spend $20-30 a month. I have a housekeeper.  She comes once a week to clean my house, wash my clothes and change the bedding. I pay her $11 for her 4 hours of work.  All in all I spend very little to live comfortably. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013


A lot of my blog traffic is the result of people looking for information about Panama.  When they chase the URL’s they end up with my AUTOR’S BLOG. Sorry folks! I’m just an old writer living in paradise.  MURDER IN PANAMA is the title of my novel, not a headline.

Here’s a bone for those of you who are researching the possibility of moving to Panama. 

The first place to begin in any country – check with a good immigration lawyer.  Get the facts before you invest a lot of time and money in research or travel.

I’ve used Magalis Arruz Duncan.  Magalis is married to a retired Air Force officer, she was educated in the USA, speaks excellent English, and performs at the top shelf level.  She handled my pensionado process. The complicated process took less than 90 days and recently handled my conversion to a permanent residency; less than 60 days. She’s answered many questions from not only me but people I’ve referred to her. So if you’re looking to move to Panama for any reason.  Contact me and I’ll put you in touch with her.  My e-mail is on the blog.

Monday, April 22, 2013

MURDER IN PANAMA -- back story

Panama is not for the weak or timid souls.  This is a beautiful country but it’s also a dangerous place. All manners of peril exist just beyond the ‘next turn in the road.’  Since making Panama my adopted country, I’ve experienced pirates attempting to board my boat, a fistfight with a drunk in the public market, my home was looted – twice in the same year, I was attacked by two knife wielding robbers, and just a year ago I was in a fistfight with a couple of drunks at the local beach. 
Being a gringo in a Latin American country is dangerous.  Within the last three months, three North Americans have been murdered just in the province of Chiriquí.  On a weekly basis, two or three of the narco-gang members in Panama City are found murdered. 
All of these murders, the incidents that make the news plus the antics of some of my friends here and in other locals in Latin America, keep me constantly supplied with ideas and inspiration.  A few years ago  two couples (volunteers in the Peace Corp) fell in love while posted here in Chiriquí.  I observed and was pleased as their romance blossomed.  Both couple are now married and living in the states.  Their romances were also an inspiration for my story
The Diethelene Glycol poisoning deaths were still in the headlines so I decided to include that tragic truth into the story. (Actually they are still in the headlines – 2013)
This novel is a work of fiction but there are some truths included in this story. The two-hundred-thirty-seven deaths in Panama due to medicine manufactured with Diethylene Glycol is the truth. The spread of KPC (Klebsiella Pneumoniae Carbapenemases) in Panamanian Hospitals has killed one-hundred-seventeen folks -- at this writing (September, 2011) – that’s true! Just reporting the facts pertaining to the above atrocities justifies the title of my novel.
About a year before I began the novel, I learned of a gringo in Boquete who had cultivated a field of marijuana and was selling the illegal pot to not only other gringos but some Panamanians as well.  Surprise – surprise!  He was murdered. That was another point of inspiration for the story of Jimmy Hart and his crew of misfits.
Sue nodded, walked through the rancho, and entered the laundry room. Jimmy took his position in his hammock. “Okay, what’s happening, sport?” Jimmy asked.
Lowdown took the last sip of his beer, crunched the can and pitched into the garbage receptacle.
“Remember the pot growing gringo that was murdered up near Boquete last year?”
Jimmy tried to recall the name of the man but couldn’t. “Yeah, he received the ultimate cure for stupidity. They caught the killers, right?”
“His name was Bart Bartholomew. I was hired by his family to handle their affairs down here. His sister finally came down after the arrests were made. She took over and I was out of the loop. But being the curious sort, I kept up with the case. There were four teenagers involved; they admitted to being his dope distributors, but they denied killing Bart. None of them tested positive for gunshot residue, and the weapon was never found. The slug came from a .357.”
“That caliber is as common as white on rice,” Jimmy quipped.
“Not if it was fired from a Sig Sauer, model P229,” Lowdown stated.
Jimmy chuckled. “They found the weapon?”
“Yep, it was being brandished about by a thirteen year old kid trying to rob a tienda near the marina in Pedregal. The cops caught him in the act,” Lowell chuckled.
Jimmy held out his hand. Lowdown reached into his pocket and handed over a slip of paper in a zip top baggie. Jimmy stuffed the baggie in his shirt pocket. “I’ll run the numbers after the ladies go to bed,” Jimmy stated.
“Yeah, mate, let’s keep the seamier side of my life from the girls,” Lowdown suggested. “The less people know the better.”
Jimmy considered Lowdown’s new evidence. A Sig Sauer weapon was very unusual in Panama. The Panama National police were recently issued Glocks. Prior to that it was mostly a hodgepodge of hand-me-down weapons. No serious effort was made to regulate their weaponry. The Sig had to have been stolen from a gringo. It was a very expensive pistol.
MURDER IN PANAMA is the first of the series. (My Jimmy Hart series). REVOLUTION OF FOOLS is the second, and HART RULES is the third novel that rounds out this trilogy. I’ve truly enjoyed writing these novels because the mirror a lot of people and events I know firsthand.
Jimmy Hart, the main character in this series is an amalgamation of two warriors I’ve known plus my dad-- up close and personal.  One was a Marine, stationed at the Naval Communication Station on Guam. Glenn was a member (team leader) of their Overland-Sea-Rescue-Recon team. (Or something like that – 1961 was a long time ago, folks). The other warrior was a Navy SEAL I met while I was on assignment in Vietnam back in the mid-sixties.  Both guys were WAY beyond Special Forces. They were super calm, very intelligent, and very polite.  They were also extremely lethal.
Barry and I bumped into each other at the airport in San Francisco in 1977; we were on the same plane to Seattle.  We stayed in touch over the years.  I started the story just before Barry passed away four years ago at the age of 75.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


My good friend Ray Samek and I go way back.  We were friends in High School.  We hunted and fished as well as played in a band together.  We stayed in touch over the years and I’m pleased to say he has read each of my novels.  Ray sent me a letter after reading my recent posts to my blog.  I asked him for permission to reprint a portion to refute those dopes that suggested I was stretching the truth in my back-stories.  My blood was still high and I was going to post Ray’s response as an authentication.  I cooled off later and decided to drop the issue and move on.  THEN, I received this latest letter from Ray… I was crying tears of laughter.  What a clever guy!! This is his response to my suggestion that he ‘join my blog’.


No problem with you posting an excerpt from my yesterday's email.
I am not sure how to join your blog and let others know about your scripts. I haven't got past emails to blogs yet. I caught a frog in my younger days but really don't know what a blog really is or how to post to one. My cardiologist says I have clog in my arteries but I think that is something else. I have a dog, cut up a log, been stuck in a bog, lost in the fog, replaced a cog, chased a hog and drank eggnog but never posted to a blog. I don't know if it is like taking a jog or really know what that means and what you do with one. I kind of sounds like something that might make pretty good bait.

Here’s an excerpt from a letter Ray wrote me yesterday:

Wow, I love the way your new blog looks. It really gives some background of your experiences that helps promote the fact that your books are based on some experiential reality. Otherwise one would not have a clue if they were just what you dreamt up on the crapper that morning or what. It really helps to get to know you, the author, and whether the book is really based on some reality or not.
If you don't realize it, your life is not like the average guy. I thought I have been an adventurer of sorts and have done a lot of things that the average citizen has only dreamed of...but your life's adventures are so far beyond mine and the average citizen's that people cannot fathom the depths of adventure and experiences that your stories are really based on. Your blog helps readers to get to know you and that you really have lived a life of adventure.

Thanks, Ray.  That really sums it up!

Thursday, April 18, 2013


A couple of blog readers have questioned the truthfulness and accuracy of my PARTNERS back story.  These readers see me as I am now; an old writer living in the tropics about as far away as one can get from the RIDE-ROPE-SHOOT action of my younger years.

Take a look at the cowboys on the fence in the old photo that heads my blog and my Face Book page. This was me and my friends in May of 1973.  Do I look tame? 

Left to right:  ROBERT HATTING, Bob Jacobsen, Nick Creason (the kid) Ted Creason, Ron Siler, Mert Hunking, Jack Hammack, Richard Rollins, Bill Erickson, Willis Wright, Dick Allen, and Jerry Koch.  Half of these guys are still alive; some read my work and my blog.  Each can attest that I was an action-adventure junkie and lived each day like it was my last. 

The photo I’ve included is that of Rick and me last October. The other photos are me doing me.  Rick still operates his ranch outside Tucson, AZ. He’s involved with more action in one day than most people see in a lifetime. We still get into trouble when we’re together. Perhaps that’s why I live abroad?

I guess the point I’m trying to make is this.  If you worked forty years for the post office or some giant corporation and your biggest thrill was a vacation to Disneyland, you’re naive and slightly stupid to doubt that the world also contains its adventurers and misfits. I’ve always been surrounded by the latter! 

BACK-STORIES are the truthful explanations of how and why a novel or screenplay was originated; the seeds of imagination. This will be my last posting on this matter.  Doubters should just pound sand!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


In 1981, my riding partner, Rick Dailey, and I learned that a Mexican bandit was crossing the border near Arivaca, AZ and raiding the ranches and outlying homesteads.  Rick’s grandparents lived near that small town and were concerned that they would be next. Their neighbor had been hit twice in a month; the latest, erlier that morning.  Rick and I volunteered to check it out.

Rick and I loaded our horses in the gooseneck trailer and drove to Arivaca.  We visited with Gramps and Granny and then saddled up and rode to their neighbors.  We scouted around and found the tracks of an unshod horse; the one the bandit had ridden.  We spoke with the neighbors and had a pretty good idea where to look. We were about to chase down the crook when a deputy sheriff arrived. He was a joke. When he found out what we were planning, he threatened to arrest us.  We laughed and just rode away.  He didn’t follow because there was no road; just a trail off through the high desert.

Looking back, I believe this Vega-Vega guy had been watching us all along.  We didn’t pay attention to his tracks and rode right into an ambush. His first shot hit the pommel of Rick’s Saddle.  It ricocheted past my ear.  I have no idea about his second shot. We both bailed off and looked for some cover.  I had my Winchester, Rick his pistol.  Had the shot been true and not deflected by the saddle horn, Rick would have been killed.  We fired in the general direction of the ambusher.  When no shots were fired in about ten minutes, we slipped back to our horses and returned to Gramps and Granny.  The cop was waiting for us and again threatened to arrest us for interfering with his duty. 

Rick wanted to pound him into the dust.  I felt the same way but used some of the legal jargon I had somewhere in my cranium to disarm the fool.  I reminded him that lawyers made a good living suing police for wrongdoings.  He backed down and took the arrest threat away.  He issued a personal treat, however.  I signaled Rick to keep quiet.  The deputy went away and we planned our next moves.  We were determined to get this Vega-Vega Bandit.
Here's a peek:
Slowly their adversary came toward them.  He kept them in his sight at all times, and was prepared shoot if either partner made a move toward his gun.  The man was alone.  He was Mexican, but his English was very good.  He still had the Spanish accent, but it was clear that he’d had some education.  He was bigger than most Mexicans were.  He wasn’t tall, standing around 5’8” but massive shoulders and a barrel chest made him appear formidable.  A broad grin crossed his face when he visually inventoried their camp.  He held the rifle on them and ordered each to lie face down in the sand.  RC didn’t respond as quickly as the bandit liked, so the Mexican fired toward him, and RC flung himself to the ground.

“I do not joke you, Señors.  I can kill you where you lie if you do not do as I say.”  He spat angrily.

    “What do you want?”  RC asked.

    “Everything you gringos own,” he laughed.

    Curtis could see the man out of the corner of his eye.  The bandit felt that he was safe from authority way out here.  He was casual but alert as he examined the items still left lying on the ground.  He found Curtis’ pistol and stuffed it into his waistband.  He wore camouflage trousers, surplus combat boots, and a long sleeved knit shirt.  He took his time saddling Curtis’ horse.  Not once did he allow either of his victims out of his sight.  When he attempted to put the saddle on the mule, he had a problem.  The ornery cuss never did like the feel of the packsaddle, and usually threw a fit when the britchen was put under his tail.  Rather than risk either RC or Curtis jumping him, the man ordered Curtis to do the task.  Curtis obliged, but contemplated every move to figure any way that he might have an opportunity to attack the robber.  The Mexican bandit never gave him a chance.  He stood away from Curtis and was able to cover them both with his rifle.  He enjoyed watching the mule taming.  Finally, with both horses and the mule loaded, the bandit ordered each man to empty their pockets and throw the contents to him.  Complying with his instructions, RC begrudgingly tossed the man his wallet, which contained over three hundred dollars in cash.  Curtis had to turn over the ounce of gold he had panned earlier in the morning as well as the hundred and fifty in his pockets.  The Mexican outlaw left the loose change in the sand and mounted RC’s big Grey gelding.  It was obvious to the partners that the thief was an experienced horseman.  He led the other horse and mule out of the arroyo and when he topped the ridge, snapped two shots in their direction to discourage any thoughts of pursuit.

Rick and I spent the night with his grandparents in Arivaca and set out the next day to track the bandit to wherever he might have holed up for the night.  We found where he’d cut and restrung the barbed wire fence that separated the US from Mexico.  We foolishly went on through. We rode for a mile into Mexico and then came upon a stream.  We discovered a cave near the stream.  The hoof prints and dung from his horse were all over the area.  The cave was evidently where he’d spent the night.  It appeared to be well used by wetbacks as well.  Disposable diapers suggested the cave had been recently used. 

While I poked around the cave, Rick scooped and filled a saddle bag with black sand he’d gathered from the stream bed.  He was always prospecting. We followed Vega’s trail a few miles further into Mexico.  We were wary of an ambush. One of us always scouted ahead; we leapfrogged into the uncharted territory.  I kept lobbying for us to turn back.  It seemed like the logical thing to do.  Rick was still peeved about the bullet that destroyed his saddle horn and almost took his life. 

We were so concerned about being ambushed again that neither of us had considered watching our back trail.  Trouble came to us from that direction.  Not from Vega-Vega but two other guys. (we couldn’t agree; Rick thought they were wannabe illegal’s -- I thought they were bandits)  One had a pistol, the other a rusty old butcher knife.  I was the closest to the pair when we turned around.  I spurred my horse into the guy with the knife and kicked him in the face as he fell to the ground.  Rick and his horse Guthrie rode down the guy with the pistol; he was running away.  The bandit tried a snap shot at Rick as he disappeared over a ridge. The shot missed but evidently hit the saddle bag full of sand; we found the slug later in the week when we panned that sand for gold dust.  A lot had leaked out of the bullet hole.  Rick swore it was the good stuff we lost.  We skirted the area around the cave and stream to avoid running into any other people.  They all seemed pissed at us…

Neither Rick nor I went back that cave or stream on the Mexico side of the border.  Nothing was heard from Vega-Vega. There was a rumor flitting around that two cowboys snuffed his ass. (I learned years later that Vega Vega had been captured in Hermisillo, Mexico and spent 10 years in prison.)    
I wrote the novel PARTNERS with some modified scenes that sorta-kinda depicted our real life encounter.  The book was published by an unknown publisher and was a huge failure. HUGE! I’d sold my ranch and was heavily invested in a weekly newspaper when the ‘blue lines’ were sent to me to proofread.  I didn’t even look at them and the book was published missing an entire chapter.  I rewrote it years later and it happened to be published at the same time the movie “Broke-Back Mountain” was being hyped.  It was a movie about two gay cowboys.  Everyone assumed PARTNERS WAS THE ROOT OF THAt STUPID MOVIE…another failure!  Damn!


Bill Moomey was kind enough to allow the use of this photo of his original painting for the cover of my Novel, PARTNERS.   He also gave me permission to several photos of other paintings.  They are dispersed throughout the novel.  Note: I was writing under a pseudonym while my dear mother was alive.  Now that she has passed, I write under my full name; Robert Wayne Hatting.

Monday, April 15, 2013


Over the past several months I have received a few questions from loyal readers (all seven) about where the ideas came from for many of my novels.  It started me thinking.  Perhaps I would use my blog to describe my inspiration or explain the action that prompted my train of thought at the time.

My first published novel was entitled OIL SPILL.  I had written it by hand on scraps of paper while working on the Alaska Pipeline in 1975.  It was a horrible book (350,000 words) written by a rank amateur. (I finally typed it on an old Olivetti portable – 1400 typewritten pages. Almost 3 reams of paper.) I probably spent over $3,000 in postage to various agents, publishing houses and critics.  It was finally picked up by a publisher out of San Francisco, California.  It was a failure – commercially, but a success in another; I learned I had the discipline to write lengthy novels and take the criticism from agents, publishers and readers. OIL SPILL is no longer.  If anyone finds a copy, let me know and I’ll buy it from you.  It was produced before digital was invented, the publisher went bankrupt and my agent died.  (Probably of starvation!)

SO, the first novel I’ll blog about is PARTNERS. I’ll write the back-story today and post it in a day or two.

Remember, I have 12 novels and 6 screenplays to write about so this could be a loooooong mission!

Monday, April 8, 2013


In 1982 I answered a classified advertisement from someone looking for a ghost writer.  My friend, Billy Egli (Werner J. Egli) was the one who pointed it out to me.  I used his phone and called the guy who’d posted the ad. The guy told me he wouldn’t discuss the job over the phone – only in person. He did say that I would make more money that I ever believed possible. 

So, Billy and I climbed into my pick-up and drove to this guy’s address.  He was located in a senior mobile home park near South Tucson.  It was a ratty looking single-wide mobile home.  The guy was about seventy years old.  He seemed to function okay… not crippled or anything.  He invited us to sit around an old chrome and Formica kitchen table in his dining area.  He sat in a recliner and began by asking us how many books we had ghost written.  Billy explained that we were both young authors and were getting our work published.  (Billy more than me)  I spoke about OIL SPILL, my first novel, and about the current work, (PARTNERS).  I also spoke of my journalism background.  Billy explained that he wasn’t applying for the job because all his writing was in German since he was Swiss.

To shorten the story, this guy pulled out a bunch of maps, photos and other evidence that he had discovered the lost 7 cities of gold.  He’d discovered it back when his wife was alive and they had taken an enormous amount of wealth out of the cave and lived high until she died.  He wanted me to write the story and if the book was published he would provide us the exact location and we could have half the treasure.

I told him I wanted twenty dollars for each page; a page representing approximately two-hundred-fifty words. I explained how I would write the story, bring him ten pages to review and edit, and then he would pay me $200.00. 

This pissed him off.  He reached into the side of the chair, pulled out a pistol and told us if we were going to hold him up we should use a gun.  I looked at Billy and he gave me the ‘let’s get the hell out of here look’. 

So, to extract ourselves from this nut case, I just mentioned that if he didn’t have the money we could work out some kind of payment program or trade for the jewelry he made.

Well, that pissed him off, too.  He jumped out of that chair and went into the kitchen.  He opened the freezer and took out two foil wrapped bricks and tossed them on the table.  “I have money!” he shouted.

Some of the frost and foil came off one of the bricks and by fingering through the stack I could tell it was not just cash, it was a hell of A LOT OF CASH.  Grover Cleveland on the face of some of the bills. Others in five hundred denominations.  There looked to be a quarter of a million dollars lying in the middle of that old table.

I glanced at Billy.  His eyes were the size of goose-eggs.  I gave him a questioningly look and he shrugged.  “Okay, you have our attention.”

The old bugger pulled out his pistol again and waved it for effect. “Don’t even think about robbing me.  I will kill you both!”

We were there about an hour longer and looked more closely at his notes, photos and maps.  The site was located at Elephant butte near Tubac, AZ.  Just a short drive from Tucson. 

I believe it was Billy that came up with the excuse that we had to leave to pick up his daughter at soccer practice.  That was a lie; he had no daughter but was getting worried about this crazy old man. I told the guy I’d work up an outline and come back in a couple of days.

Neither of us ever went back.  I often wondered about all that money.  Egli speculated that it may have come from his diseased wife’s insurance policy.  I kinda agreed but often though the math didn’t work.  His wife had died only a couple of years before but the 500 and 1000 denomination bills had been out of circulation for a few years.  Of course, the bricks may have been ‘hustler’ props; a couple genuine bills of large denominations wrapped around a bunch of fakes.  We’ll never know because we went on with our lives.  Billy Egli went back to Switzerland to promote his books.  I went back to running my ranch and raising my son.  I drove out to Elephant Head butte two years later and poked around.  I hiked in a few miles and was able to reach the summit on a well worn trail.  I recalled all the research data the old guy showed us and it didn’t resemble anything I was witnessing from where I stood.  I looked at the clouds rolling in from the East and then saw another butte the resembled an Elephant’s head.  The butte off in the distance actually had more definition than the one on which I was standing. I charted the location in my mind for further research. I decided to go back and see the crazy old man again.  That didn’t happen until a year later.  Billy came back into town, we talked about the old coot. His prognosis was that we would probably get shot if we arrived unannounced.  He was probably right so we dropped it.  My friend, Rick Daily had been advised of the original meeting and one day we were in the general neighborhood. We drove by the mobile home park and inquired about the crazy old man.  The owner said the old guy had moved away and didn’t know if the guy was still alive. (This happened 5-6 years after the first meeting)

Years later, I wrote a pilot for a TV series that depicted the discovery of seven cities of gold being stored in a limestone cave in the second Elephant Butte near Tubac.  It had four layers of flashback scenes; starting with present time and going back to the Spanish enslaving the Indians in this particular mine.  I’m reviving that story that was shot down by the TV network executive as “too complicated”.  I’ll write it as a novel and see where it takes me.