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.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Since the HART TRILOGY is free to the first 50 downloads and contains three separate but related novels I thought it appropriate for me to re-run the back-story of the first novel in the series, MURDER IN PANAMA.  If you acquire this volume, contact me by e-mail and I’ll send you the back-stories on REVOLUTION OF FOOLS and HART RULES!
This is the first of my 'Private' offerings.  I won't make any announcements about this freebie until later in the day.  I'm trying to give most of my blog followers the first opportunity to acquire this volume. 



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 couples 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 they 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.


Monday, July 29, 2013


I need to stray off course once in a while in order to address some topics that are of interest to my blog members.( Not all followers and subscribers are focused on my writing career?) Many readers find my blog while searching for Panama information.  Perhaps the following post may be of some interest.


Many of my seasoned years have been spent in  a variety of tropical climates; Panama, Guam, Costa Rica, Mexico, SE Asia, & Panama, again.

What draws me to the tropics?  I’m not sure.  It certainly is different than being a cowboy.  Perhaps it’s the adventure. Perhaps it’s my rendition of being Jimmy Buffet – cheeseburger in paradise -- author in the tropics… I know one thing for sure. One has to adapt or you will go nuts. I’ve learned many lessons the hard way over the years.  It’s time I pass along a bit of this knowledge. 


One of the lessons I learned from my father about visiting strange countries was to beware of the water.

People forget that ice is made from water; sometimes contaminated water in a 3rd world nation or South Tucson, Houston, or LA & LA (Louisiana)

My father always carried a pouch of chrome ball bearings ½” to 1” in size.  He’d place the pouch in the refrigerator and freeze the metal. He later changed from the ball bearings to the Panamanian silver dollar (silver Balboa’s) when we lived in the Canal Zone of Panama. Any time we ventured out of the Canal Zone, he used the frozen coins to cool our drinks.  I’ve always used the coin trick.  I have a jar full of Panamanian dollars (the current Balboa) that are frozen in the freezer.  When we have water outages, (which is often in the rainy season) I revert to the coins rather than the cubes. 

The first thing that is necessary is to ‘launder your money’ ha!  Sterilize by boiling.  Freeze and repeat after using. It just takes a few minutes to have peace of mind. When I take a trip I place the clean coins in the mini-bar refers in the hotel rooms; again, peace of mind. – cool drinks without the fear of bad ice.

One question you are asking.  What about a restaurant or a bar?

The answer is simple.  Order bottled whatever.  If you need a drink – take it neat; never with water or ice.  Even Everclear, the 200 proof booze of yesteryear, will not kill all the bacteria in some water.  Don’t be stupid -- why take a chance?

All the water in my house has been ozonated and stored in glass jugs.  That’s my drinking water.  I do not put ozonated water into the ice cube trays.  They are plastic. Ozonated anything & plastic does not mix. I do not trust plastic.  I avoid plastic like the bubonic plague.  I refuse to eat or drink from plastic. PERIOD! Most plastic products come from China and all of us here in Panama know about their QC. (diethylene glycol poisonings) 


I do all of my own cooking so I like a clean kitchen.  I mean clean – not some passable kitchen with hoards of ants and cockroaches.  I detest insects and they don’t like me so much, either.  Those SOB’s don’t pay rent or contribute to the food budget and they usually bite me. So my policy – if insects come into my house they die!

All of my windows and doors are screened.  (Screens on doors to keep insects outside are a concept not yet embraced in Panama).   The locals haven’t grasped the understanding that a mosquito packing Dengue Fever in its stinger can kill just as sure as a drug dealer’s drive-by bullet. Besides, here in Chiriquí, it’s more likely.

Ants and cockroaches are not kept out by screens.  At one time I had millions of those sugar ants.  Leave a crumb of bread or a drop of syrup on the counter and within minutes the counter was swarmed with the freeloaders.

I recalled from my time in the Canal Zone that my folks used sugar and borax to reduce the presence of ants.  I tried mixing boric acid with the sugar.  The ants would swarm the mixture.  Perhaps some of them died – no way to tell.  But the humidity would cause the powder to cake and become ineffective.  So I decided try something a bit more extreme.  I placed a package of boric acid (one ounce) into a quart mason jar along with ½ cup of sugar.  I poured boiling water into the jar and stirred it thoroughly to make sure it was totally dissolved. Then I took cotton balls (used for ladies make-up removal) and dropped them into the jar.  They absorbed the liquid. I placed them on jar lids all around the house.  I went outside and tossed the soaked cotton balls on my front and back porches.  I even put some in the trunk of my car and out by the laundry tub.  I placed some of the cotton balls next to my computers.  PRESTO! Three days later, no more ants.  Nada, none, zip! I believe this system killed all the cockroaches, too.  I haven’t seen one or any sign of them for months.


No, we’re not discussing the 50 shades of grey; we’re preventing 50 shades of mold, mildew, and rust.  Back in the day; in the ZONE, every house had a ‘hot closet’.  A closet with a heating element to keep the closet dry and reduce the mold and mildew that attacks leather in humid climes.  In the tropics if it’s metal it will rust.  If it’s leather it will mildew.  Placing items in the hot locker assists in reducing rust but doesn’t do any more than prolong the process.  If you use it often and care for the tool or item; chances are it doesn’t belong in the hot locker.  My dad’s old 35mm camera has a leather case and a steel body.  It remains in the ‘locker’ unless it’s being used.

Most of the homes I’ve seen here in Panama do not have the proper wiring for a ‘hot locker’.  Zonian houses had a light socket in the bottom of the closet and a short heating element screwed into the socket instead of a light bulb. I didn’t want to go through the trouble of rewiring the closets so I use a ‘trouble light’ with an incandescent bulb (15 watt).  It creates just enough heat to create a dry environment and keeps my electric bill manageable. 


I tried those ‘mosquito traps’ made from plastic water or soda bottles.  They work okay but they needed to be recharged too often (2 or 3 times a week). Also I still had mosquitoes so I decided to try something different.  The clear bottles are less effective than a dark bottle. I’ve discovered a modification that works better. (I tried spray painting a clear bottle – don’t do it!  Gad, what a mess!)  I took the brown bottle used in hydrogen peroxide and cut it in half.  I turned the cap side down and taped the unit together.  I poured a couple of tablespoons full of the ‘bait’ -- warm water, sugar, and baker’s yeast. I use this to recharge the unit every Saturday.  I keep the trap in my shower because mosquitoes seem to be drawn to the small room which is ‘dark and snaky’ most of the time.

Another treatment of the plastic bottle cut-in-half is my ‘herb garden.’  I use it to create a small hydroponic environment. “Do you like Herbs?  He likes yours!”

I’ve just started this program and as you can see by the photo; not many plants.  Only cilantro and ‘palm’ for heart of palm – in a few weeks.

I mounted my herb garden (using the coke case) on the retaining wall outside my back door. It gets the sun and rain but it’s out of the way when my yard is mowed.  I can water it easily with a hose during the dry season.

Another application of the ‘plastic bottle’ is to use just the top – the cap part.  Use a plastic bag and WALA!

You have a container with a top for virtually no cost. These work much better with liquids than a ‘zip lock’ style.  Besides, it recycles. I use them also for portion control on my pancake/waffle dry mix. 

Fruits and vegetables all get a bath in my house.  Not a soap and water bath but a Hydrogen peroxide rinse before preparation or cooking. I place 2 caps (1 1/2 tbsp) of hydrogen peroxide into a sink full of water. All the fruit and vegetables get rinsed to remove any pesticides or toxins.

I use Hydrogen Peroxide a lot. (It’s cheap)  Mix it with baking soda and it makes an excellent cleaner for all metals. I gargle with it, disinfect my cutting boards and counter tops, wash my food, and even use medicinally once in a while.

I use the cardboard of an empty milk carton for a cutting surface when preparing vegetables and some meats.  I save the empties and break them down so they’re easy to store.  I often cut vegetables and fruits on the waxed surface of the carton.  One can chop veggies or chicken or fish and then pitch the entire unit.  It saves having to sterilize the cutting board each time it’s used (which is recommended)


These last few photos are results of me canning my food and baking my own bread.  I’m not comfortable ingesting copious amount of sodium and salt; ingredients found in most canned or packaged food from the super markets.

I’m lazy.  I like the ‘dump and stir’ method of cooking. I spend 4 – 5 hours one day a month to preserve (can) my meats.  I use my pressure cooker, pint jars and preserve enough for an entire month. 

None of these jars of meat need to refrigerated until they are opened (the seal is broken).

I have a friend that visits once a week; brings her jars and prepares enough canned meat for her and her boyfriend for a week. (They don’t have a refrigerator – very common down here.)
I have a bread machine and usually bake bread twice a week. During the rainy season I bake in my oven using my cast iron or outside in a hole in the yard.  (More on that technique – later.)

I cook rice, beans, oatmeal, and pasta in my pressure cooker.  I use a stainless steel bowl for my cooking (like a double boiler) so I don’t cook in aluminum. It floats in the water of the pressure cooker.  It takes a while longer but it’s worth the peace of mind.

There enough adventures here in the tropics. We don’t need t be constantly concerned about what we eat and drink.  I hope you have found these ideas helpful. More later…

I’d like to see some comments.  Is anyone reading these posts???? 

Sunday, July 28, 2013




Back when I owned one of my weekly newspapers, (over my career I owned 8) I was sent an article about an Apache half-breed named Chato who was murdered in the streets of Tombstone in 1880. I researched the event and couldn’t find any record of the crime. I handed it off to my editor and he couldn’t verify the story either.   

At the time I was reluctant to run the piece because my policy was to print news and features; not fiction.  A few years later while researching something else, I saw a short blurb on the ‘Chato Affair’.  It had occurred in the streets of Tucson – not Tombstone. By this time I had sold the newspaper and had moved on.  I looked into the Chato killing and discovered it was indeed a true occurrence in 1866; the year Arizona territory was established. I also learned there were no laws on the books at that time (1860’s) to punish those that murdered an Indian or half-breed. I advanced the story to the late 1880’s, fictionalized the events surrounding the killing of Chato and wrote my period novella, HALF-BREED.

During my research I discovered the law enforcement of that era was marginal at best.  In addition, Tucson was very corrupt and some of the law enforcement officials were in the pockets of the Tucson Mob. Most ranchers took the law into their own hands to prevent and punish thieves.  This was one of the elements that prevented Arizona Territory from becoming a state of the union until 1912; the last of the contiguous states to be admitted.



Saturday, July 27, 2013


Since BOOMER is free today, I decided to run the back-story again.  This novel is appropriate for all audiences.  It was written originally for the youth market.  It’s been more readily accepted by period western readers because the youth of today are more into video games then reading. (does that sound editorial?)
My old riding partner owns a ranch outside Tucson Arizona.  One of the buildings on his ranch is an old adobe that was once a Butterfield stage depot. Since my ranch adjoined his on the back side, we spent a lot of time helping one another instead of hiring help.  When we had a few idle moments, we would ‘shade-up’ near the old stage building.  I discovered a couple of arrow heads and several bullet slugs in the old adobe brick.  It was evident a battle had been fought at the site.  I did some research and found no evidence of any Indian attack during the time period the stage depot was operable.  However, during my research I discovered an old article of a stage being held-up and the gold that was taken by the bandits was never recovered.  Rick stated that he’d heard a story that the gold had been hidden in the back entrance to Colossal Cave (very close to Rick’s ranch).  Legend also suggested that one of the bounty hunters of that era had killed the robbers and made off with the loot.
Rick and I went rooting around in the cave and found nothing that resembled hidden gold.  I found a few obsidian arrowheads and Rick found an old spur; evidence that cowboys and Indians had both used the rear exit of Colossal Cave.   During our search for the treasure, Rick told me that a member of his family served as a US Deputy Marshall when Arizona was still a territory. I did some research on his grandfather and discovered that Arizona Territory was the last of the contiguous states to be admitted into the union. I later used these facts as some of the basis for HALF BREED.
Boomer was originally written as a youth novel but has proven to be more popular with adults.  It’s a period western but is more than a ride-shoot-shucks story.  It has several layers and an actual mystery included in the major plot.  It’s not your normal western novella.  BOOMER measures 70,000 - 80,000 words. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Over the past two weeks I’ve received several WHINE e-mails from readers – followers – fans? – Freeloaders?  All were complaining that the 100 FREE books were gone before they had a chance to download them.  One person wanted me to be like all the other writers and give them away for two days. (about a likely as me kissing this horse's ass)

I wrote all seven people who complained and attached this posting.  I also asked them to write back if they had read any of my ‘freebies’.

So far I haven’t heard received a reply. 

In the next week (7 days) I will have a couple more offerings so I’m going to leave this post (RANT) on the blog until it soaks in!!!!



Commencing immediately, after the GIA event has passed into history, A NEW DEAL will be initiated – By me, Robert Hatting! 

My twelve (12) novels represent a lot of work and expense.  I will no longer place them on sale for 99 cents.  That’s a crap price. You can’t buy a package of bubble gum or a condom for 99 cents anymore.   Neither will there be free offerings that last 48 hours.  Perhaps an offering once in a while that lasts 4 hours – tops out 100 freebies – never more. 

My base price per title will increase to the current price of a gallon of diesel in Panama $4.99.   (1 gallon of diesel represents a round trip to the nearest beach for me.)

I’m not going to fall prey to the gizmos, gimmicks, or the sleeze that seems to follow us hard working authors.  Outfits like BookBub, bargain book hunters and these other parasite blogs get rich off our sweat.  I will not use these people anymore.  This is not a call to arms; just one guy who’s had enough!

If this hurts my meager sales or offends the parasites…BFD.  I’ll go to the beach and photograph bikinis!



This set of statements that will hold true for the balance of my writing career.  I’m probably shooting myself in the foot.  The cause and effect of life’s decisions. But I don’t give a furry rat’s ass!   I have no one to answer to; my mother and father have passed away, I’m not married and from where I sit, not even the clown in the white house has the power to keep me from making my own decisions.  Amazon will probably whine -- but again, I don’t care.  There are many e-book retailers in the world today. 

Discounting my work is like pissing on my entire life’s endeavors.  A visit from the ghost of Edward Abbey would agree.  I chose to be a writer because it’s fun.  No other reason.  If I can’t enjoy what I do, I won’t do it.  It would be nice to be rewarded for my creativity but I will no longer pimp myself out!!!

Readers don’t realize the steps we authors take to get a manuscript self published.  The first expense is the actual copyright registration.  That’s the government getting their pound of flesh before anything else occurs.  Then the beta reader, the editor, the proofreader, the cover art, the formatting guy and finally a manuscript is ready to publish.  This expense is AFTER the manuscript is completed.  Sometimes thousands of dollars are spent on research alone.  Add in the cost of travel, hotels, meals while away and paying tour guides and the like. It becomes a financial burden for some writers.  I plan on travelling to the Philippines in a couple of quarters.  Another writer friend is planning to travel with me so the expenses can be shared.  I have a trilogy outlined and it takes place in the current times; located in several islands in the Philippines.  I haven’t been there for a long time and certainly not to some of the islands I expect to visit in this upcoming trip.   Will I ever recover my expenses?  Probably not.   I strive to depict a location or event as close as reality as I can get.  The term ‘grounded in reality’ is not just a buzz phrase.  I apply it with gusto.  My writing buddy is also a stickler to details of reality.  Back to the subject at hand; giving away our hard earned creativity.  That’s the operative word – CREATIVITY! 

Just because my novels are in a digital format does not mean the process from start to finish is any less.  When one goes the old-fashioned writer-agent-publisher route, the author doesn’t take any shortcuts.  It’s still the same creativity and work.  The format for the final product is different.  No paper, ink, and binding are involved but also there’s no agent, publisher, or big-box retailer involved either.  The paradigm has changed.  Now, it’s changing again and Amazon controls the rules if you play in their park.  When I offer one of my novels for 99 cents, I forfeit 50% of my royalty.  Amazon gets a HUGE percentage of the sale.  Amazon didn’t write a word in my novel.  Nor did they pay to have it edited and proofread.  But they are the ones offering the cyberstore -- so, they benefit. 

I’ve restructured my prices to reflect the creativity of my offering.  If the book was in print and I was selling it on the corner of ‘walk’ and ‘wait’, I would receive X number of dollars.  I eliminated the printing – binding – shipping costs, the agent’s commission, and the profit usually taken by the publisher.  What’s left is what the retailer and I split. No more sales!  No more games! That’s the price. 

The most expensive novel in my inventory is about the price of a hamburger and fries.  It contains 140,000 words.  Most of my work is way above average in the e-book market.  I have two novels or novellas under 50,000 words; the remainder are average or above average in reading pleasure. Also all my work is 4 & 5 star in the review department.

Giving away for free – an e-book.  This marketing program was developed by some pimply face genius in the bowels of Amazon.  Again, it favors the retailer.  It’s like offering crackers and a cheese spread in the aisles of a warehouse retailer.  Offer the sample for free.  Maybe the shopper will buy a box of crackers or the processed cheese dip.  Good idea, right?

Now, let’s take a family with seven brats….put them in the store and they go from vendor to vendor eating all the free samples. They don’t buy a thing.  That’s what has happened to the e-book industry.  In addition to the freeloaders, there are parasites offering to spread the word that the author’s e-books are free.  They get paid to offer this information to their data base.

I’m embarking on a new program with the FREEBIES.  I can understand the concept.  Give it away to gain a broader reader base.  But I don’t want the freeloaders.  I was told that only 5% of the people that download the free books actually read them.  That’s crap if true.  So, here’s the new plan.

REVOLUTION OF FOOLS will be offered for FREE  today, 7/24/2013.  The schedule starts at midnight Pacific Daylight Time and goes until I flip the stop switch.  I will allow 100 novels for free.  If you are subscribing to my blog or on my FB friends list, you will have a head’s up.  Perhaps I’ll make a few tweets on the subject but for the most part, no one else will be touting my offering. The parasites won’t know about it nor will the freeloaders.   


Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Over the past several months my brother has been shipping my personal items I had stored in his basement. My cranium has been flooded with memories; some bad but mostly good.  One package in particular I was anticipating; my dad’s old 35mm camera. The unit with all the accessories arrived via the freight forwarder a couple of days ago and I’m dusting off that part of my brain that used to know how to operate a SLR with an external light meter.

My intention is to retrace my father’s foot steps and to take photos from approximately the same place he did and create BEFORE and AFTER photos of locations here in Panama.  It should make for some interesting contrasts.

Before that happens I need to burn a dozen rolls of film to retrain and renew my basic knowledge of photography.

Another item in those ‘Surprise boxes’ was my notebook from when I attended auction school many years ago.  I was in a class with 32 other guys. 9/5/78.  WESTERN COLLEGE OF AUCTIONEERING.   During a six week course, we were taught through a basic training intensity to become auctioneers.  Twenty-two instructors were involved with our learning process.

I mention this why?  Because I’m still capable of performing an auction (I did a charity auction a few years ago).  The lessons learned and the discipline required to learn this craft have helped me immensely throughout my business career and now my writing career. The technique I learned coupled with some other aspects of my experience has culminated in a new form of learning; specifically a method to teach languages.

More on this subject later.

Friday, July 19, 2013


Several months ago, after I changed the format to my blog and became serious about posting and promoting my twelve novels, I placed the back-story of PARTNERS at the front of the pack.  I’d previously published two other novels -- neither did well.  I felt that PARTNERS was on a different track. I still believe it’s one of my better stories. (My mother was still alive so I wrote under Robert Wayne)

For those of you who tuned in late, I decided to repost the back-story.  I also added a few lines about the ‘movie’ PARTNERS and the people who encouraged me


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’s time; the latest, that very morning.  Rick volunteered us to check it out.

Rick and I loaded our horses into his gooseneck horse 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 (5 hour response time). 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 bandit 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 after 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.  Being reminded that there were lawyers that made fine livings suing police for wrongdoings.  He backed down and took the arrest threat away.  He issued a warning, 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 character.

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’d 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.  There was 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 as he was running away.  The bandit tried a snap shot at Rick and the bullet hit the saddle bag full of sand; we found the slug later 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 near Hermosillo, Mexico and spent 10 years in prison.)    

I wrote the novel PARTNERS with some modified scenes that sorta-kinda, almost depicted our real life encounter.  The book was published by an unknown publisher and was a huge failure. HUGE! By then I had  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 a few years later (version 2.0) and it happened to be published at the same time the movie “Broke-Back Mountain” was being hyped.  That was the movie about two gay cowboys.  Everyone assumed PARTNERS WAS THE ROOT STORY FOR THAT STUPID MOVIE…another failure!  Damn!

RC & RW on his ranch last October.

Not to be deterred, with and the encouragement of my riding partner, Rick, some of my other friends and Michael Blake, (Dances with Wolves) I set out to write a screenplay for PARTNERS.   After six rewrites I showed it to Michael.  He suggested a couple of changes so I rewrote it again.  Once satisfied, Michael made two phone calls on my behalf. I was tickled pink.  I submitted it to the Hollywood production company he’d suggested.  Three months later, they bought a two-year option. Spending the money was the only action after that point. The movie, PARTNERS, never came to fruition. The screenplay exists and remains for sale. However, getting me on a plane to Hollywood might be the trick of a lifetime!

After this back-story was posted several months ago I received a few e-mails suggesting I was stretching the truth. One woman went so far as to scold me for trying to sell books by “Blatant disregard for the intelligence of your fellow expatriates!” (this woman lives in a gated community in Boquete and suffers from acute cranial rectalitis!)

 For those of you still having doubts…. Hmmmm let me see -- how do I put this? Dial this number 1-800-poundsand!

Billy Egli in ’73. 

This is yours truly, RW Hatting, in ’73.  I'm using this photo for the cover my current novel (wip), SHOOTER.   

Okay, so your daughters weren’t safe with us around.
We were not outlaws but we weren’t tame either.  We were ‘hell on horseback’ most of the time.