High Chaparral

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I just got back from my second visit to the Swedish western theme park High Chaparral. It’s a splendid place to spend a few days on holiday, and I’d dare say it’s just as fun for the grown-ups as  it is for the kids.

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Vaqueros in Main Street.

The constant presence of actors mingling with the visitors create a wonderful atmosphere.

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Get around the park by train…

hc50…or steamboat.
dil01Take a ride in the diligence.

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I’ve got my -I’m on a horse face- on.

Or just take a ride.
hc41Lots of friendly horses in all varieties.
hc62Several shows run daily during high season.

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A busy day in Old Mexico

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Bison!

I realize that this post reads like a commercial, but it’s not – I have truly enjoyed my stays at High Chaparral.

The Wildest Cat in The Crazy West

I’m busy editing the second book in the The 9 Lives of the Outlaw known as Crazy Cat series – I’ll get back to you about that particular process in a dedicated post. The Cowgirl photo project is also coming along nicely. I expect both books to be ready for release in more or less six months. I’m also working on a book trailer for Embers at Dawn, that I’m hoping to reveal to y’all within a few months.

In between editing words and photographs I’ve found the time to take a few pictures of Lee/Ingvild Eiring – I realized that I needed more images to represent my novel and series. I’ve had the idea of making a fake dime novel cover for quite a while and finally got around to put it together.

I’ve added a few items featuring the dime novel cover to the Crazy Cat Dry Goods & Sundries shop.

100 Western Movies

Well, I must admit that although there are 100 titles on that list; I ain’t done gone seen 100 western movies yet – there’s a few series, a couple of short films and a documentary in there too – but I’m pretty darn close. In the event of my (almost) 100th western movie I figured I’d share a few of my favorites with y’all. To view the complete list of western’s I’ve seen, head on over to IMDB. I’ll keep adding to the list.

I’d love to hear what y’all favorite westerns are too, or any recommendations you might have!

Deadwood (2004 TV Series)

I couldn’t find a proper trailer, so I picked a scene from the series instead. Enjoy ;)

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

Ravenous (1999)

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

Clint Eastwood. Sergio Leone. Ennio Morricone. Nuff said.

The West (1996 TV Series)

A fantastic documentary. Anyone interested in the Old West ought to watch it.

Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970)

My 100th western! The trailer is too cheesy to do it justice, so here’s the main music theme, which is no short of awesome.

IndieReader Review of Embers at Dawn

Charles Baker has reviewed Embers at Dawn for IndieReader. Here’s what he’s got to say about it:

Crazy Cat, also known as Lee, also known as Lily, is one of the toughest and baddest outlaws around, and she seems to be wanted everywhere she goes. Unfortunately, at this current stop, she finds that the marshal already recognizes her from the wanted posters. But she has one thing on her side: he’s a crooked marshal, brutal and violent and extremely hated by the townsfolk. So as it is with outlaws and crooked law men, there are some serious shoot-outs. If you like your Westerns dark and morally ambiguous, J.C. Loen’s EMBERS AT DAWN is plenty of both.

The protagonist of EMBERS AT DAWN is, quite frankly, a frustrating, brilliant and brilliantly frustrating character. In the few Westerns, or similar types of stories, that actually feature female outlaws, often the point of the story is this hidden sensitive side she has, or alternately what a cold and heartless she-devil she is. Lee is neither. While she does occasionally show her vulnerabilities in the story, it’s hardly the point of the narrative, and most of what she reveals in these moments is how little vulnerability she seems to feel. But she’s still a well-rounded character, seemingly at times so self-aware and at other times oblivious. She sort of falls in love, but not in a way that betrays her character.

Like a lot of historical fiction, EMBERS AT DAWN is meant to be an immersive experience, and generally the dialect of the book is one thing that really transports, with its Western-style mixture of roughness and elegance: “’Shut up, Stub. We best get this situation sorted and done with afore they come trying to torch up this place again.’ ‘Yous been saying so since afore Christmas. All I’ve heard is a lot of talk. I ain’t seen any doings,’ Cal said.” The first-person narration, strangely enough, doesn’t always match Lee’s dialect, but it often achieves a terrible poetry that sings out quite well: “Three strangers rode into town, trailing a fourth horse that had two lifeless bodies dangling about its flanks,” though more rarely it gets caught up in its own purpleness: “The sun kept rising, glowing through the branches, setting the dead tree alight with an incandescent hue.” But overall, the writing is good, more matching the quality of the former sentence than the latter.

EMBERS AT DAWN is a fairly earthy vision of the American Old West, never shying away from violence and vulgarity, but also not quite as nihilistic as it first seems.

Happy Birthday, Lee!

In the world of the outlaw known as Crazy Cat, it’ s Lee’s birthday today! Huzzah! Had she been alive (not that I’m saying that she ain’t!) she would have been 167 years old. She would no doubt have celebrated with drinking whiskey and shooting guns. Both fine activities I fully endorse, although not necessarily combined.

T-Shirt, tote bag, button and postcard featuring the sketch of Lee is available here: http://www.zazzle.com/crazycatdrygoods.

In the event of Lee’s birthday, I’m giving away Embers at Dawn (kindle edition) for free today and tomorrow. Get yours here: US or here: UK

Crazy Cat Dry Goods and Sundries

bildeI’ve opened up a Zazzle store dedicated to merchandise inspired by my western series The 9 Lives of the Outlaw known as Crazy Cat. My goal is always to make something I would wear or use myself.

bilde-2 I’ve ordered a few items to check the quality of the print, and have been very pleased with what I’ve received. More designs are in the making, I’ll let y’all know when something new is out.
The Embers at Dawn T-shirt is available here.