About Me

ORDER BOOK HERE (Also available on Amazon.)

Six divorces (happily married to wife #7, Pam, hooked at the hip since 1996), two bankruptcies, one foreclosure.

More than 100 jobs.  Got laid off once.  Quit the rest.  Never fired, but did the Take This Job And Shove It thing a lot.

Nearly a dozen career paths, a few of the most prominent being professional rodeo, insurance underwriting, sales (network marketing no less), mining, and trucking (both long haul and offroad).

Figured out I qualify as a hardcore conservative (to the right of Reagan) Tea Party activist when it comes to supporting limited government and the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution…and as a raging liberal on many social issues, particularly when it comes to privacy and relationships.

Lived in more than 50 different places of residence throughout 8 of the 11 western states.

Ended up “retiring” (for the 2nd time) in 2009 after my Colorado trucking job done went & got itself Obamafied and new jobs were suddenly scarce as hen’s teeth.  Settled on 20 acres in southern Cochise County, Arizona, one mile from the Mexican Border.  Built the Border Fort (our current home) in 2010 from the ground up with my own two hands, no outside assistance, thank you very much.

The Border Fort as of March, 2011.


Formal education?  Besides the fabled College of Hard Knocks?  Sure, let’s see….Northern Montana College, two year certificate in Auto Mechanics, 1963.  Montana State University, B.S. degree (figures) in Psychology, 1970.  Western College of Auctioneering, certificate in Auctioneering, 1980.

That said, I’m back in Montana, not far from where I grew up.  My feisty redheaded wife, seriously disabled, is back on grid but still in Arizona to be close to her doctor.  The Honey Do list still exists; it’s simply long distance for most of the year these days.

Writing topics to cover?  Anything and everything.  Many a day, I don’t have any idea in the morning what will be hitting the keyboard by midnight, nor am I writing every day (as of 2019).  But there’s plenty of “old” material for the reader to peruse (see Index menu at top of page) for those nights I miss hitting the Publish key by daylight.

Ah.  Yes.  The origin of Ghost32.  For whatever reason, my complexion changed drastically when I was in my mid-fifties.  Despite the fact that I’ll outlive most if not all of them, a lot of folks figure I’m one of the living dead when they first meet me.  More times than I can count, I’ve been asked,

 “Why are you so BLUE?!”

Now, I don’t really think I’m all that blue, but it is what it is.  And when I signed on as a truck driver with Production Transport of Grand Junction, Colorado in 2006, a senior driver (by the name of Hippee, no less) took one look ad me and announced,

“You are definitely getting called GHOST!”

Eh.  My wife and I figured, why not?  I’d been called worse things.

Thus Ghost was born, adding the “32” when it was time to start writing on the Internet.

Bored yet?  Thought so.  I know I am.  Let’s hope my other writings are more entertaining than this autobiographical stuff.


with publication year, genre, and availability

1. Ptolia, Book I in the Ptolia series…1982…science fiction…limited availability on Amazon and through other online sources.

2. Dwagelia Rises, Book II in the Ptolia series…1992…science fiction…scarce as hen’s teeth, almost impossible to find.

3. Tales of a Golden Heart, anecdotal autobiography…1992…scarce as hen’s teeth, almost impossible to find.

4. The D.T’s * Driving Tips for Bad Weather…1992…pen name, Chet N. Barnes… unavailable.

5. The Hawkins Heresies: MLM (Multilevel Marketing) from a Different View…1992… pen name, Chet N. Barnes…unavailable.

6. Tam the Tall Tale Teller, Book I in the Flywheel Ranch trilogy…2015…western fiction…available on this website, at Amazon, and at various other outlets.




70 thoughts on “About Me

  1. I had dinner with Connie Cox, yes, THAT Connie Cox , tonight. I’ve been a friend of his since 2002. I stumbled on your blog, your story about financial advice from a brhama bull, and sent it to Connie. Of course he still remembers you. He would love to write to you. Will you please reply to me? I will get his address to you. He’s doing well, age 79, still riding and working cattle.

  2. Ghost,

    I absolutely loved this article and so happy I re-read your profile on the Hub to find out about your new website.

    I’ve shown it to Nee (my sister, Alicia) as well, and we would both like to subscribe, and even refer a few friends to it, but … there’s no “follow” option that I can find.

    Am I overlooking it?

    Last, I’ve dropped you an email from femmeflashpoint@gmail.com regarding the loss of our Marine. Wanted you to be on the watch for it in case hotmail dumps it into the junk folder.

    Awesome job on the site and I think it’s a very cool endeavor! I’ll be back!


  3. Cindy: Thanks for getting me back in touch with Connie. A signed and numbered copy (leather bound version) of his Epic Trails book now graces our home library.

    Femme: No, no Follow button. May get around to figuring out how to add one of those eventually–probably requires a Plugin of some sort, to notify the followers. But I’ll try to let you know via email when I publish new pieces, at least for now.

  4. Wondering about Hippee, the driver that named you Ghost. I knew a driver named Hippee back in Reno. He drove school bus with my mom until he got old enough to get his CDL.

  5. Hm. I don’t know if the Colorado Hippee drove school bus in his youth or not. I do know he specialized in truck driving–and I mean SPECIALIZED–from the time he got his first CDL. Believe he was a few years younger than me, so maybe in his mid-sixties now, at most. Blue eyes, if memory serves. Probably didn’t have the long flowing beard when/if you knew him. Somewhere around five-nine or five-ten. Used to be stouter than your basic bull, but a horrible not-at-fault truck wreck left him with a terrifically bunged-up shoulder that he has to favor in certain lifting situations (like lifting tire chains onto and off of under-trailer hooks).

    What he couldn’t do with a Kenworth tractor and a 13-speed hasn’t been invented yet.

  6. He is too old to be the Hippee that I knew then. The one I knew would only be about 65, maybe a little younger. Shorter and skinny too. I was a teen when he was driving with my mom.

  7. Beckey, he COULD be your Hippee. 65 is about right, give or take. As for the height, I could be off on that–I have trouble “noticing” height in men unless they’re at least 5 inches taller than I am (around six-four) or six inches shorter (around five-five). And when I referred to him as “stouter than a bull”, I did NOT mean his build, just that his strength was right up there.

    I ESPECIALLY wouldn’t rule him out by the “skinny test”. In my own case, at five-eleven, I maxed out under 160 until I was in my 40’s. Run around 180 now, but it’s mostly “older guy stuff” that wasn’t there at all during my earlier years.

  8. Just testing. On another site (HubPages, where I write a lot), my comments suddenly refuse to “take”.

  9. Good to see you found us, Sha. Thanks for the Feedburner link I took a look at it, probably won’t use that one, but will check for WordPress plugins that do the same (subscription) thing. The site (here) is doing really well by sticking to those, at least so far–but if you hadn’t suggested it, I might have gone for months more without thinking to set up a “subscribe” button.

  10. Hippee’s real name was George, and so was his father. He drove school bus from 18 years old until he was 21, when he could get his CDL. Then he got his CDL and went driving. His father lived in Reno.

  11. I’m betting it’s the same Hippee.

    He’s probably still driving for PT (Production Transport) out of Grand Junction (trucks are yarded at DeBeque). When I left, I didn’t have the impression he was going anywhere.

  12. Please email me at the email I provided. I have a question about the article: The Strange Aging of Jared Loughner. I would like to talk to you.
    A curious mind. –

  13. Uh-h-h…(*he said, feeling foolish*)…I’ll be happy to email you but have to confess I have no clue how to access the emails left by subscribers (which is where I’m guessing you left yours, on that form).

    That said, feel free to email me at:


    Note: I refuse to use Outlook, so you’ll need to copy the email address into your own program; there’s no way to go straight from this site without me bowing to Microsoft on that issue, which I hope not to do for a few centuries yet.

    You just made me realize I’d never set up a Contact page…so I’ll buzz right over and take care of that, too.

    Apologies, and thanks, and all that. 🙂

  14. Ah Fred I enjoyed reading through your website-love the pixs! Thanks for giving me your site/addy to check out. I will send your addy on to others.

  15. Welcome, Lois! Delighted to see you made it, and that you liked what you found when you got here. Got a new snake story to tell this evening; should have it published by midnight. 🙂

  16. How goes the battle Fred? I’m still looking for a place to hang my own hat, but no one needs a broken down old short story writer! Poor me.

    Carolyn says howdy to Pam.


  17. Indeed, poor you! (Your comment reminded me of my 4th wife. Whenever she thought I was complaining about life or whatever, she’d circle her right thumb over the side of her index finger. World’s smallest record player, playing “My Heart Pumps Passionate Purple Panther Piss for You”. The woman had no mercy!)

    The battle at our end is…interesting. Working as I can on behalf of Chuck Wooten, CD2 candidate for Congress, up against Martha McSally & the GOP machine in the primary. Pam’s Alzheimer’s is progressing, not unexpected but definitely a bit challenging here and there. Paloma Trail is nearly washed out again, & we couldn’t risk missing Pam’s scheduled blood test at a lab early Friday morning, so we’re at the Windemere Hotel for a couple of nights. Her eldest daughter Amy, estranged (and strange!) for 10 years, suddenly grew up & brought her whole family down from Utah, good reunification times had by all but still stressful for the redhead. Etc, etc, etc.

    I’ll tell Pam howdy from Carolyn in the a.m. (she’s asleep & I’m using the Business Center computer at the moment).

    On the literary front, my favorite at the moment is writing science fiction again, “Rimlanders,” first in the “Long Mission” series. Haven’t been able to find enough time to hit it regularly, though; am only up to Chapter 7: Without a Mark on Me.

  18. I enjoyed your article about ragged nettle spurge. I had found information about it in of the Medicinal Plants of the Desert and Canyon West by Michael Moore. He used the scientific name Jatropha macrorhiza and the common name Sangre de Drango. Which was confusing because a couple other plants have the same common name. The plant has a giant root that it comes back from … so I guess it is a perennial

  19. Fred it was indeed a pleasure hearing from you today. I have often thought of our trip down to see you and that seems like years ago. I will be making a trip down to Bisbee sometime in the near future, perhaps we can meet for coffe or something?
    Say hello to Becky and her husband. It is great that you now have them for neighbors.

    Talk to you more after I do some reading on this new website of yours. It is awesome at first glance.


  20. Colleen: Thanks for checking in. I didn’t know about the root (have never dug one up to look).
    Mike: Coffee in the Bisbee area sounds fine. Easiest spot for me would be the Burger King at the west end of town (near the Safeway parking lot), but if you have an Old Bisbee hangout, that’s cool, too. I’ll definitely say hi to Becky & Dennis, easily done as I’ll be working the home stretch on their wheelchair ramp build tomorrow.

    Glad to hear you like what you see of the site so far, and looking forward to your “second glance”.

  21. Your story and life style is like looking into a mirror. I’ll have to explore your site. I’ll probably be sending notes along the way.
    I too am trying the writing thing but. I haven’t figured out how to convert it into a money making deal. Any ideas? Dale

  22. Notes along the way are good, Dale; nothing like comments from a reader to keep a writer’s juices pumping. As for making money, though, I’m probably not the right guy to ask. Got my first science fiction novel published in 1982 and made about $900 total off of that one, wrote for five years at a writer’s site (HubPages.com) which shared revenue a bit but also censored some topics, and am currently “ad free” on this site of my own. Made a few hundred per month at most at HubPages, but even that was up and down. Obviously, I’m not trying to make any money from this site at the moment–but do figure to use it to advertise my own book(s) starting next year.

    That is, I’m planning to self publish Tam the Tall Tale Teller (published here under “Western Fiction”) and to place ads for Tam (the book) on every page I have here. There’ll be some steps to take to do that: Get the title registered with the Library of Congress, get a bar code, locate and negotiate with a printer, work things out with Pathway (pathwaybook.com) to handle order fulfillment, use them (Pathway) to provide a shopping cart on this site and also to get things set up with Amazon (including Kindle), etc. But…how long it will take for that to turn a profit? No prophecies here!

    Note: I do think most if not all of the “writing sites”…stink.

  23. Yeah you certainly qualify as a right wing type. Sounds like you are living the right wing dream: hold up in your compound, fearful that the illegals will get-cha, locked and loaded. While I recognize your right to be whatever you want to be(not to do whatever you want to do) I am delighted that you have chosen to hold up in your compound and be a Ghost. I imagine the left leaning liberals of Bisbee’s coffee shops must look forward to discussions of civil unions(six divorces, really? that says a few things doesnt it?), health care(damn that medicare huh, you would rather pay for your medical needs out of pocket!), etc. etc etc.

    I stumbled upon your blog while looking for info on our local snake population. I have many rattlers that decide to live around our 3 acres of land. When I happen upon one of these beautiful reptiles I find a way to move it out of the yard, or simply leave it alone. The cooler weather is driving many to hibernate so not a problem really until next spring. The idea of killing a snake simply because it happens to wonder onto our property(remember it is really the snakes property as well) just seems to smell of FEAR, the type of fear that describes most right-winger.

    I’ve spent more time adding my comment than i really need to, and I am sure you and your readers would agree. Wish you well in your life and that should we ever meet it might be a civil discussion of our differences and perhaps some similarities.

  24. Thanks for commenting, Tom. It’s not fear, though we do have different views regarding what constitutes a common sense approach to a few things, especially rattlesnakes. Near the house, we simply can’t afford to risk even a one in a million chance of my disabled wife being bitten. Her impaired lung capacity alone (COPD) would pretty much guarantee her death from a bit of neurotoxic venom before we could get her to a hospital in either Sierra Vista or Bisbee. I would willingly wipe out a whole lot more than a few rattlesnakes in order to assure my wife’s safety, should the need arise. Plus, we tend to side with the rattler’s natural prey animals, the kangaroo rats and ground squirrels and cottontail rabbits and such. And moving a predator has never seemed all that “non-invasive” to me anyway; how am I to know I wouldn’t be dumping Mr. Rattler in some other critter’s claimed territory and precipitating a turf war? Unintended consequences and all that….

    On the other hand, I do have a recent post featuring a batch of awesome pictures of a Mojave green I did NOT disturb. Named him Harvey Mojave, in fact, and even stopped traffic to make sure he could finish crossing the road safely. He (could have been a she) was far enough away from our domicile that I felt comfortable enjoying his presence and awesome modeling capacity.

    As for Medicare, you’re right; I’m qualified for it but do not use it at all, preferring to pay healthcare out of pocket. I’m a firm believer that insurance in general is but man’s attempt to duck his own karma.

    I suppose six divorces does say “a few things” all right. That I wouldn’t settle until I got it right, for one. On the other hand, Pam and I’ve been together longer now than any two of my six earlier marriages, and we’re still hooked at the hip.

    Your use of the word “compound” in describing our residence is kind of stereotypical, but I suppose if you can define a compound as a modestly sized home plus a camp trailer and a couple of storage sheds, then it’s a compound.

    Civil discussion sounds good, and I wish you well in your life, too.

  25. Thanks for your reply Ghost32; I just read it today. At any rate you are right about most writing sites sucking. They suck and are ripoffs I think. I started my own on my FB page and a very few have responded. Most use the forum for short incomplete antidotes instead of stories. I publish short stories on there and encourage people to respond with comments and write anything in response and request clarity if needed and post comments on things they liked, clarity and flow. People will resort to nit picking your title or the intent instead of content. You are welcome to join it as a contributor and you might provide a few hints. I am writing for the fun or telling a story and some day with enough positive comments then try to publish something for profit or be discovered by a publisher. All I want to do is hone the art of painting the word picture and the subjects are going to always be subjective. I want to screen write more than book write.
    I think I have the mental ability to do multi layered writing. I just don’t know how to do it yet.

  26. Any animal in the wild will kill or chase off a threat to its home. So; Man should not be considered different or has less of a right to secure his nest. However; man does take things to extreme levels. I had rattle snakes, copperheads and several other types and critters on my land in Missouri. If I caught the snake in my area of my space which was clearly marked by my activities and piss he was a goner or he got a good whack. On the same turn; If I found him in the pastures or even in the barn or around the lake area that was considered friendly no kill area; I left every critter in peace. There were plenty of snakes and birds and frogs and everything around my lake and they had their area and I HAD MY AREA. They must have figured that out because in a space of 2000 feet on one shore line I had made wild life sanctuaries on both ends. Each end of the lake was their side . My area was the center. I built the lake so I get to choose. There were plenty of wild critters to be seen and heard all around the lake but seldom were then seen in my immediate space. So animals are not stupid. once warned or the message is out there. Even a dumb snake learns. So; it doesn’t always take killing to send the message. Red Wing black birds use to visit me every morning at the lake and I would canoe to their area and they would raise hell so; I WOULD LEAVE. LOL Snapping Turtles on the other hand are hard headed mainly because it’s hard to mark a territory in the water. So; I harassed them until they got tired of being shot at or bugged constantly. They ate all my baby ducks and would borough into the dam looking for crawdads. It usually took 2 or 3 days to get them to find another lake or place on their own. Sometimes they were shot and left at the creek entrance to the lake. COYOTES and a few panthers that lived in the area would eat them.

  27. Thanks for the invitation, Dale. I won’t be joining, but that’s only because I avoid joining pretty much everything, being at heart a loner. (NOT a lone wolf terrorist, you understand, just a guy who works best alone.) It’s pretty cool that you’re able to publish stories on Facebook, though; I’d never thought of using it that way.

    Fascinating rundown on your wildlife. I like your approach–and yeah, I bet those snapping turtles ARE a bit hard headed! One of my exes and I loved on 45 acres in the western Montana mountains. There was a sizeable pond on the property, fed by a small stream, so we figured we’d try hatching a few mallards and Canadian geese. Forget what finally happened to most of the ducks, but we wound up with a batch of full grown, absolutely beautiful Canadian honkers that stayed with us because they were frankly too well fed and too heavy to join the migrating birds. All went well…until a predator started wiping them out, one by one. Couldn’t figure out what sort of critter was getting them–fox? Coyote? We simply didn’t know.

    Until one winter night. We’d brought the half dozen remaining geese into a large pen, a nice place with a small pine tree in the middle of it. The pond was frozen over anyway; we figured to feed the geese through the winter until things warmed up and they could forage on their own.

    Pretty soon, though, we were down to four geese. Dogs barked one evening, I went down to find out what was what. Two geese down, both with throats torn out, one half eaten. Finally located the culprit, well up in the pine tree: A big ol’ boar raccoon. He didn’t survive the experience, but his Last Supper was definitely a doozy.

  28. You’re lucky Fred. I had a bear eat my baby ducks. I bought six of them and something ate them, so I bought six more of them. The next night, we caught a bear in there with them. We just quit buying ducks and watched the dog when he was out. He was too old to run fast enough to get away from a bear. We also had a bobcat that used to come sit on our front porch and look in the window at us. I felt like it was sizing me up for a meal.

  29. A bear and a bobcat, eh? We had more bear experiences in western Colorado than anywhere else, but we’ve never had a bobcat staring in. Did see a way cool photo online (forget where) of a grown bobcat hugging the lady who’d raised it from a baby.

  30. Thanks again for your reply ghost32. I understand about the lone wolf concept; I would guess that most writers are more on the reclusive side than being the social butterfly. It’s too bad we have to explain; lone wolf concept but add; (not) lone terrorist. News media and .GOV has done that because they want everyone socially accountable for observation. To full fill there fake war on terror.

    Censorship in America from printers and publishers. I didn’t know that existed until I started a once a month published news paper out in Missouri. I and a partner wrote sort articles concerning local events, antidotes, jokes, commented on the local race track events and generalized comments and of course the advertisers supported the funding and costs with maybe $90. profit for the effort. I started writing political commentary and commenting on board of edu. policies and published articles of history, math formulas and explained in detail how math could work in the readers daily life. I started putting topics I had never seen in a news paper and began to wonder why news papers weren’t used to inform and help people.
    I received a letter from my PRINTER the guy who simply prints the paper and distributes them. I did the layout, I paid them to print. I was told; if I continued to write on political issues or issues concerning education they would be forced to stop printing our paper. I forgot the exact words but politics and education were now off limits to me; a news paper publisher.

    Not one single reader ever commented in a negative response to any article I wrote and I INVITED the public to post any comments they had regarding the contents of the paper. No one ever came by and contributed either; but that’s the way people are.

    I operated a video store and payday loan and bail bonds service, check cashing and finally a pizza shop. in the same place with the paper and I worked 6 and 7 days a week till 11:pm. So I got the news and sentiments from everyone.

    My partner was actually afraid and with a look of more concern than I would have expected and more concerned over the likes and wishes of the printer than the facts or my insistence on writing political commentary and helpful tips into understand math formulas. I could see no harm and in fact I saw it as my duty to use the paper as a community benefit. My political commentary switched to quoting NY TIMES or some other main stream media hub. But that didn’t cut it either; It created arguing and I couldn’t understand the fear factor then or now but I stopped contributing at all. The paper stopped after one more printing after I SWORE OFF IT. There were probably a total of 4 or 5 publications of that paper and after the second printing and warning from the PRINTER the project became a pain in the ass. I can’t abide by censorship in any way. I can see it if it were lies or was to liable or offend some one but that wasn’t the case.

    My article on censorship was the straw that broke the proverbial; camel’s back. I think someone; .GOV. was getting to my partner and fiance as well. She was on some kind of state assistance for her kids so She could be manipulated. She owned the building and property and I pretty much filled the building with the various business and enterprises. So; There was the conflict. I should have bought her out but the idea was to build something together so each would be bound by investment. Well; today that’s called male dominance and manipulation . That entire community is all but dried up now. Another AGENDA 21 success story.

  31. PS; my ducks were also killed off by predator animals. That’s why they are naturally forced to migrate. Those that don’t follow another natural course; they become winter food for some other creature. I had 5 beautiful Mallards in my 3.5 acre lake. Turtles ate the chicks. Once it froze over……. they were subject to being eaten by coyotes, bob cats, dogs and even panthers were sighted every once in a while in the area contrary to the .GOV. Fish and WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT GUY. Ducks are a pain in the butt if you have a dock or floating platform for swimming. They had my floating dock covered in duck droppings and it took hours of cleaning to make it suitable to use or invite people over for a swim. They are also territorial and so I fed them at one end of the lake which darn near made that end off limits to human use. They would honk and fake attacking if anyone dared to get too close to their nesting area. lol I was sad and glad when they were gone. They sure were pretty to look at especially in the evening when the lake was quiet and the catfish were jumping and the bass would pass under the dock every evening about the same time. I built that lake and did a good job of landscaping 7 acres of my 32 just for wild life and fish and of course me.

  32. Thanks, Dale; that’s some awesome commentary.

    Interesting that you had so much to say about printers. I haven’t run into censorship there–yet–but then, neither have I been in a position to be manipulated or coerced on that subject. Plus, I tend to get assertive rather than fearful when the oppressors start oppressing. However, I am currently scratching my head a bit as I search for an affordable printer to print my books. I’m ready to begin the publication process for Tam the Tall Tale Teller as a trade paperback, estimated 600 pages. (Western fiction.) So far, the only printer I’ve located who can get me the books in hand at under $10 a copy (essential, as Amazon has all softcover fiction priced under $10) is Print Ninja. Takes a couple of months to produce…in China, just like Walmart. Big whoop. I may have to bite the bullet on that one, but going non-USA does not overly tickle my ribs.

    Wow. That lake does sound awesome, from dock to ducks. 🙂

  33. Hello again Ghost; Sound like you have a problem alright. Finding a printer and distribution has got to be tough row.

    I can see where any writer is stuck between a rock and a hard spot. After all the intent is two fold. Passing a story for fun or historical value the bottom line still surrounds the profit value.

    I appreciate your openness where as most folks jump on the celeb wagon as soon as they write; “the end.” lol

    My deal with the printer isn’t unusual I don’t believe. Citizen journalists are forever hounded by the press and .GOV as far as the “PROFESSIONAL” news gatherers vs homeboy with a CELL PHONE or video camera and access and liabilities.

    I ended up bucking the printer and my former fiance over the issue of the 1 AMENDMENT until I was plum tired of it. I guess it was finding out there was no SANTA CLAUS after all.

    I wish you the best in finding your printer and keep us all posted when it will hit the market. I for one will buy it and promote it (if) you did a good job. lol

    I would really suggest you give Robert Gunn a call for future cover illustrations. He may be too famous now; I don’t know.

  34. Dale, I agree with you wholeheartedly on all but the Robert Gunn issue. His work is definitely top drawer…but it does NOT have the particular “bite” I want for my cover(s). He reminds me of a “western Norman Rockwell”. I seriously doubt we would ever be happy with each other. I’d do my own illustrations (which I may at that) before contacting him.

  35. Ghost, Dale, I have published e-books on Kindle, and have a friend who has made good money with e-publishing himself. He has info available on his website, http://abintrapress.com. His name is Ed Howdershelt, and he has a written science fiction, western, fantasy and war fiction… though all of it is based on his own real life experiences. Fifteen years ago he offered all his books on a CD for $10, and now people can download them directly. I suggest you check out his ideas, since they do work – and pay better than Kindle does. But, having printed books through a non-profit, I can tell you that selling ebooks via Kindle is still much better than the physical book route!

  36. Thanks, Manny. I’ll take a look–eventually. Not getting much time to work on the publishing project right now; should be better in a month or so. I’m definitely going to have both Kindle and hard copy available, though; that’s crystal clear in my imaging, at least as of now. There are some of my rabid fans who simply won’t be happy without a “real book” to hold.

  37. Hi again GHOST and thanks for the info Mr. Perez. I will definitely check that website out.
    Ghost; concerning Mr. Gunn’s art style. Yes; He is top shelf, I agree. I just thought of someone for you to consider. Almost as pun considering how famous his work is. It was funny how I called him up (years ago) thinking he was just a guy looking for work. lol

    I also agree Mr. Gunn’s art does resemble Norman Rockwell’s style. I guess that’s why I like it so well. It feels honest and home spun I guess.

    You are lucky to be talented enough to do your own illustrations. I would try it I’m sure but; probably would have to resort to a professional’s hand in the end. I doubt I call Mr. Gunn again either.

    I have too may stories started. Several what I call; finished with a “the end” but do you ever find you have that problem?

    Another element which makes my surplus of unfinished stories even greater is; I have become interested in molecular science and physics regarding biological and geophysical properties of materials which, leads me into investigative research and looking into some of these conspiracy theories which seem too plausible to simply leave alone. I am not into sci-fi although my topics sure sound like it if not for the reality of the applied science and physics. I really am stepping into an unknown area. But I really like the investigative reporting aspect of this type of writing. If I blurt out the facts it sounds wacky; if I’m too serious; it’s boring, the use of the wrong descriptions it will make the information sound totally sci fi and ridiculous. My objective is to inform and hopefully they will keep it in the back of their minds for later; if not sooner.

    These subjects seems to be streaming across the web 24/7 these days as well. Some using scare tactics and some using religion and some using extra terrestrial and super natural ploys. So it pollutes the playing field for; plain ole (complex logic) to be considered. Now; these folks I mentioned seem to have a fair following but their information is more inline with fantasy than reality. Maybe that’s the true market these days; FANTASY.

    I know you can relate because when you start something there is no stone un turned that you don’t know about. That’s the way I am too.

    I need a medium with the best opportunity to be read and maybe earn a few nickles in the process. Mr. Perez may have answered and solved the question and problem I have.

    So; again, have a great week and thanks again for commenting on my …… run ons.

  38. Dale, I do have a bunch of unfinished novels at the moment, but not because of any difficulty with figuring out how to wrap things up. It’s kind of related to your challenge in that I get distracted rather frequently by an idea for ANOTHER story and need to get a start on that before losing the concept altogether. At the moment, right on this site (where I’m test-writing my work before hard copy publishing it), there are:

    1. The Seeder, about 5/8 online. (Science fiction.) The complete rough draft has been sitting in a little lockbox for the past 16 years.

    2. Tam the Tall Tale Teller. (Western fiction.) Complete online. Hope to start serious work on getting it published before too long.

    3. They Walk Among Us. (Contemporary fiction.) Got “stale” for a while. It’s up and running again now, though, 95 of the 120 chapters complete and chapter 96 in the works. Haven’t quite visualized the ending yet but can feel it coming on.

    4. The Letters of Henry and Sadie, the next generation sequel to Tam the Tall Tale Teller. Eighteen chapters done; may not get back to that one until early sales results from Tam are in, say 2016 or 2017.

    5. Happy Bleeping Birthday to Me. That’s the one I WANT to be writing on more than anything, but I’m trying to pretend I’m disciplined, figuring to finish They Walk first.

    6. Rimlanders. Love that one, too, but after 22 chapters, I realized it had given me a “future anchor” in Wing Holder, Wing being the man Harrison Polson will become in another hundred thousand years.

    Frankly, whether it’s the Old West or the science fiction future, the science or fantasy or culture or whatever is for me ONLY the backdrop for the psychology of the characters involved. I don’t care one whit about the science or technology except as tools for the survival of the protagonists.

  39. Ghost, Dale, an alternative to traditional hard copy is actually available at Lulu.com, which will print out individual copies of your e-book. They have offered me their services, but I haven’t had the need to test them. Still, I’ve read that they are a good service, according to Ed Howdershelt’s readers.

    And thank you, Ghost, for the explanation of how you are writing your books. I’m sorry writing is going slowly for you right now, but I know how difficult it is to be worrying over a loved one. Wishing you the best.

  40. Thanks, Manny. It’ll all work out sooner or later…one way or another.

    I’ve looked at Lulu, but that was a few years back. Can’t remember why I wasn’t impressed with them, but it probably had to do with me figuring the learning curve to publish with them was more than I cared to tackle.

  41. Good-day to you; Ghost, Manny and a everyone. Talk about a good commentary; your’s is right up there with the best of them; thank you both for the reply and tips.

    At least I don’t feel so scatter brained by having a little more than half a dozen started and running stories. I can’t say books or novels yet; I’m still in the neophyte stages. I’m still on the mindset there is a conspiracy as to who gets published and who doesn’t; like movie stars or tv actors or singers. Not totally convinced the selection pool is strictly based off unique abilities. Although;I guess it is unique; for the buyer; that is.

    I could ask you a million questions but if I were forced to pick my next most important question I would ask; (“When do you call it good, done, finished, the end?” Every time I re-read one of my finished stories I end up correcting paragraphs, redefining the intent of the character or deleting what seems; (all of a sudden) irrelevant and run on sentences, paragraphs and even chapters. Then, the next read I notice holes in the story and edit; yet again. I have one story I have been whittling on since the 70’s. I’ve written and rewritten that one story; complete no less than 5 or more times.

    That was my first attempt at seeing something published by submitting it to READERS DIGEST short stories section. I didn’t get the $200.00 bucks and it didn’t make the magazine either. I subscribed for the next 5 years looking for my story. lol I thought it was damn good and the few family and friends that claimed to have read it said it was good; but, what else are friends and family going to say?

    I posted variations of the original story on face book to see if I could generate interest and curiosity in the character but so far; zip; except for a few LIKES but no comments.

    When I solicited for comments and got wanna be suggestions that didn’t seem remotely relevant to the story or character’s nature.

    Which brings me to how I come about finding your site. Which; I’m glad I did. At least I am communicating with bonafide writers. And ghost; your past experiences are like looking in a mirror. There is an uncanny similarity to our adventures in life with the oil patch, rodeo, and there were several more I can’t recall at this moment. Perhaps more than any is your philosophy in going for it and bulldoze into the next chapter of life head long. I know we all do this but your trail is not the common trail nor is mine. ANY-HOOOO; Thanks again for the reply and for the suggestions. I hope everyone’s health remains good or gets better and good luck to everyone who writes their stories.

  42. Dale, I don’t know if it’s a conspiracy in the strictest sense of the word, but anyone not having an “in” to the mainstream publishing world is definitely going to have to play catch up if he/she is going to crack the publishing/distribution walnut. Around the middle of the 20th century, a new writer still had a chance to come in “over the transom” and get picked up; publishers hired low-end readers to plow through the “slush pile” of unsolicited manuscripts, panning for literary gold. But that changed. By the time I first got published in 1982, the scene had gotten pretty ugly. Nowadays, large publishers summarily reject any and all unsolicited manuscripts–and even those literary agents who claim otherwise are usually rather unsavory characters.

    I recall clearly a manuscript I sent to one Scott Baker in New York. He was at that time a big time agent. Sent me back a rejection slip, which was fine–except that he lied. Made several derogatory comments about my story that made it abundantly clear he’d not even read the thing.

    About “when to end” a story…that’s a tough one. That is, for me it’s easy. Louis L’Amour was the very best at that, but I’m not bad. When I decide a plot is wrapped up, that’s it. Period. I very seldom change an ending. As for the meat of the text, yes, when I reread I often polish as I go–but there aren’t very many “holes” in my rough drafts. Mostly, I CANNOT change much without running into problems because the flow of the tale gets interrupted in a rather jarring fashion. Proofreading, yes. Once I’ve read a manuscript through three or four times, though, it’s usually pretty close to “done”.

    Emphasis on “usually”. My first published science fiction novel, Ptolia, got nine read-throughs before I found a publisher (which took 7 years of struggle I don’t care to repeat, which is why I’ll be self publishing Tam and the rest). That said, when a publisher DID pick up the manuscript, it was because the first editor (at that company) who read it realized, “Hey, this is ready to go; it doesn’t need a single comma changed!”

    Getting comments on stories online is neither common nor easy. I’m fortunate to have a few readers–you, Becky, Sha, in particular–who will comment. But other than that…my top post, Why I Quit Stealing: Karma: Spiritual Psychology, has now received more than 4 point 6 MILLION views…and NOT ONE comment.

    I do appreciate having my “mirror image” aware of me on here, Dale. In a smaller way, something similar happened at the Verizon store today. My five year old flip phone decided to retire itself and had to be replaced. The gentleman who helped me buy the replacement had worked on the rigs in Louisiana until a blowout on a Nabors rig pretty much incapacitated him for that kind of work forever–largely due to severe hearing damage from the blast; he’s only got 20% hearing on one side.

  43. oh yeah; blow outs; experienced 3; two in one day offshore and one years earlier on a land based rig. TG no fires and no one hurt. I almost could say a near death gas blow out did occur but thank god for a quick thinking geologist on site.

    I was welding up some pipes inside a mud pit and on the number 2 pit and the shale he was analyzing was super saturated in gas The pipe I was welding on was that vent pipe. He came out of his shanty yelling; STOP WELDING, STOP WELDING well I darn sure stopped on the first command.

    5 minutes later the gas was burning in the reserve pit blowing 40 ft high. That was a close one. The two offshore has us divers standing by the rescue boats for 16 hours outside. The mud weight was around 12 pounds; which is super high in gas saturation. The two blow outs did damage to the rotary table and the BOP seals. All was repaired and the mud cleaned up both times and they kept right on circulating the mud weighing it down.

    This is just one of the stories I want to write about. The experiences of a 35+ year veteran commercial diver and welder/ fabricator. I have some very interesting chapters during the boom days and the bust. As a regular contract welder/ diver and as an inventor.

    This is where I may be delusional. I think it’s as interesting as hell but that’s a biased thought. Maybe no one else would see the adventure or relate to it.

    I am surprised that no one comments on your stories. I really am. You are a very personable guy and you stories are almost like a good conversation. I feel almost compelled to reply. lol. Almost as if it would be just plain rude to close the story without at least a thanks and compliment a good story. No one else is so considerate of their readers that I have seen anyway. SO; GOOD ON YA.

    We’ll have to talk about the rodeo days and broken bones. someday. lol

  44. Well now, thanks for the “good on ya”, Dale, and yes, we’ll have to swap rodeo stories sooner or later.

    Pam (wife) and I were driving up to the county landfill on one of my days off in Colorado when the remains of a rig fire (resulting from a blowout) caught our attention. Bronco 1, the first rig the owner had ever purchased, his baby, burned to the ground. It had been burning for a few hours before we went by (on the other side of the Colorado River, but not far off) and it still had a few hours yet to go. Nobody hurt on that one, either, which was pretty amazing.

  45. Man; time flies. How have you been? How’s the wife? Hope all is well. Has anyone ever recommended HYPERBARIC OXYGEN THERAPY to you or your wife?

  46. Time doesn’t exactly fly for me–but it does definitely march on.

    The wife is doing pretty well, actually. She lived with her daughter’s family in Utah for 26 days after her local doctor in Arizona messed up–there was a fine Nurse Practitioner in Utah–but that didn’t work out. She called me on Jan. 31 to get her out of there, which I did. We’ve now made re-contact with a former provider of hers, the ONLY one in the world who truly understands her case in all its many ramifications. We’re more than happy about that.

    Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has not been recommended, no. I read up on it (a bit) before responding to your comment–and I wouldn’t recommend it, either. I have no issues that need it, and her COPD would scare the crap out of both of us were she to consider HBO therapy. Plus, the claustrophobia inside the HBO chamber would likely kill her if nothing else did.

  47. Well; there are large room size HBO chambers. There are a lot of benefits in the neurological aspects as well. The AMA never recommends increases in sodium either but we all know sodium increases electrical conductivity in all areas of the body. Increasing O2 concentrations would only help as well.

  48. Theoretically, yes, upping the O2 should help…but one would need to persuade my redhead of the benefits of pursuing such a course of action first, and that’s another matter altogether. 🙂

  49. hey..accidentally ran across your site while searching for land in the Montana /northern Az area..very impressive stuff…im a couple yrs shy of 50 recently divorced. youngest son just turned 20 and doing his own thing and im itching to head west…its been a dream of mine for many years…trying to find 20 acres or so I like northern Az all the way up to northern idaho…and plan on living completely off grid…I have lived my entire life in the southest (think ive lived in just about every state in the south) im in North Ga right now. and am completely burned out on the sheeple and humidity. gotta say that sand bag house you built was impressive..looks like it’d be cool in summer..is the floor concrete? you are an interesting guy and reading several of your articles reminds me a lot of myself…may hit you up from time to time with some questions since you’ve been there -done-that..i found some property in northern Az that I like that already has a small cabin on it but no well/water.. hauling in water sounds like a pain..is that what you do?

  50. Thanks for checking in, kk–and please know that you’re more than welcome to hit me up for info any time. I usually check the site at least once per night unless I’m out of town, which isn’t often these days. Also, I’m one thousand percent in sympathy with anyone who’s “seen the light” and made the decision to head off grid.

    Hauling in water could be a pain, yes. No, that’s not what we do here in Cochise County. I made a fast run from my then-job in Colorado during my days off in February of 2009, zipping down here to find us a new homestead because my job was in the process of getting Obamafied. Lucked out and ended up with 20 acres that already had a well drilled with a pump in place; it only needed a generator to power the well pump. We started with 4 acres because we couldn’t afford any more but were fortunate to have our finances improve enough to pick up the other 16 acres before the developer could sell it to anyone else, so we don’t have any icky-poo HOA to deal with.

    We started in 2009 with a 500 gallon plastic batch storage tank atop a 9 foot wooden tower, gravity feed only, firing up the generator to refill the tank as needed. By 2013, I had city type water pressure–thanks to a booster pump–and did a hybrid installation of a 2825 gallon Bushman tank. It’s designed as an above ground tank, but I decided it looked strong enough to partially bury. The bottom 2 feet (a bit less than one third of the tank’s height) is underground, as are the pipes, which is more than enough depth to protect everything from freezing in this warm climate.

    However, even though we’re not hauling water these days, we did have to do that “on the mountain” in Montana–where we were when I dug the two hand dug wells. For some time, it was a tossup: Would it be more practical to tackle digging the well (the answer in our case turned out to be yes) or to set up for proper hauling? Our pie in the sky dream at that time was to obtain a 300 gallon plastic tank we could cart around in the back of a pickup truck. We never did get to that point, but we did dream about it.

    Aside from the hauling tank, it would be good to have a larger tank or cistern at your homestead that would allow you to dump a number of loads before it was full. And beyond that, the biggest issue would be locating a willing source of decent water. In Montana, we were blessed with a gracious store owner in a nearby small town who had no objection to “mountain dwellers” filling up from his outside tap. The water was good (the town was too small to even think about fluoridation). We survived by filling 5 gallon jugs there for some months prior to getting the well dug.

    Ah. You asked about the floor here at the Border Fort. No, it’s not concrete. I vetoed that possibility early on for two major reasons: 1. Cost. 2. Pam (wife) is way busted up and her balance is not good. I did not want her falling on concrete. For both reasons, the floor is simply:

    A. Dirt.
    B. Covered by 6 mil black plastic sheets from Home Depot, 1 sheet per room, to deter moisture and tiny critters and…dirt.
    C. Covered by a layer of OSB strand board.
    D. Covered by rubber flooring, 3’8″ thick interlocking 3-foot squares of the type you see in weight gyms, etc.

    Every bit of the flooring is loose lay. That design proved itself when we got flooded a bit in 2012 (5 inches of rain in a single 3 hour period and I’d missed building a berm out back to deal with such a contingency). The floor, being on natural earth, is a bit uneven–and that was a good thing. The water puddled instead of sheeting the entire floor. I was able to lift the rubber, shop vac most of the water, let everything dry, treat it with bleach to kill mold, let it dry again, and simply put the rubber back in place. Total cost of flood fix: $6 bucks worth of bleach and a $4 paint brush to apply the bleach. That was it.

    Most impressively, Pam has fallen inside any number of times with no harm done. (She did have a nasty fall outside that necessitated an ambulance run to the hospital a few weeks ago, but inside, no.) I found out just how good the rubber floor was when I spent a week at a second home we bought in Montana–which, paradoxically, is both more remote/private and ON grid, but oh well. That’s a modular home with linoleum over wood. There’s no comparison; out rubber arrangement is definitely softer, more comfortable to walk on, etc.

  51. sounds like you got it figured out..alot of old cabins back in the day had dirt floors ..I remember as a kid in south ga we lived in an old farmhouse ,dirt poor . my aunt lived with us and she had some issues to say the least..i remember her sweeping the front yard..lol yeah.. it was only dirt and she would sweep it clean I was amazed after the top sand/soil was swept away what was left was like concrete.. hell you could even walk on it barefoot without gettn your feet dirty damndest thing ive ever seen…..
    so about heading west.. any places I should stay away from ,good questions to ask landowners before purchasing etc. I plan on paying cash which will leave me close to broke so what ever structure I put on it will have to be small initially..how were those montana winters in your lil cabin?

  52. I understand the “dirt poor as kids” scene. Though I’m actually one generation removed from that–my parents owned a working ranch, not a big one, but the log ranch house (still occupied, rented out by the current property owner) did have a wooden floor plus linoleum and we had on grid power lines by the time I was six or so. (Before that, it was kerosene lanterns or nothing.)

    To ask landowners: That’s always tricky; it seems like there’s always some little hitch I forget to ask about until after I’m on the land. But there are a few things that I never forget to ask:

    1. Covenants. I hate ’em with a passion, and our current property has none, but the Montana place did. Nothing that impacted us directly, but the evil things were always lurking…. 🙂

    2. Home Owners Association. (HOA). Those usually track one-on-one with covenants; if you have one, there’s probably the other.

    3. Water, water, water. If there isn’t any, fine, but of course you need to know what you’re getting into before you go oops and die of thirst or some such.

    4. General conversation. Letting a seller who smells a sale talk and talk some more…that can be really helpful. You might learn something you never would have thought of asking about.

    You have a real edge in that you’re paying cash. That cuts through a whole lot of the ugliest stuff out there.
    Our Montana winters were cozy. In today’s society (especially the sheeple variety), it’s all about “bigger is better”, but much of the time that’s not true–and it’s certainly not true when it comes to heating a home in a sometimes subzero winter. All we had for heat initially was a small (VERY small, 5,000 btu if memory serves) seriously used propane furnace to heat the cabin, and it did just fine. The smaller the home, the easier to heat. That one eventually broke down during our 2nd winter and had to be replaced; we had a bit of income then and were able to get a larger NEW unit that rocked.

    Admittedly, it was a bit chillier toward the door end. It helped when I converted the super wide 4 foot storage shed type door, leaving us with a 2 foot wide walk-in. (Two feet wide was plenty; we didn’t have any huge furniture to move.)
    Where to stay away from: For me, it’s easier to tell you where I’d consider going; the list is considerably shorter. But keep in mind that this is according to my personal preferences which include (a) extreme privacy, (b) remote enough location to help County snoops forget I exist so that I can do a bit of building here and there without being noticed, (c) land prices, and (d) (sigh) politics.

    That said, here’s my current preference list–and I do keep it current:

    1. Northern Arizona–where you’ve already been looking. I’ve considered some of those properties fairly serioiusly.

    2. Southern Arizona, specifically Cochise County (where we are) for one extremely important reason: The pricing sucks (though the market has fallen in the Obama years and isn’t as bad as it was), but the big plus is that the County did something good in 2005. I know; I didn’t believe it, either.

    What they did was put in an amendment to the local building code. Called the Owner Builder Amendment, Option B allows a landowner (as long as at least 4 acres are involved) to sign up when applying for a building permit…and build pretty much anything he or she so desires without any building inspections whatsoever (as long as you’re off grid and not connecting to the grid). They do the usual Gestapo style inspections for the septic installation, but after that they go away and your permit is good for 3 years.

    3. The northern portion of Granite County and extreme western portion of Powell County in Montana, which is where I bought our second home (and also where I grew up, probably not coincidentally). Basically, we’re talking the Drummond, Montana, area. Many of the cheapest acreages are snowbound during the winter months, though, so unless you’re a snowmobile fan, true off grid spots are rare.

    4. Southeastern Colorado, especially Huerfano County. Pam and I were buying 35 acres there (east of Colorado City, Colorado) and intended to build when I retired…but Obamification intervened first and we had to give up the land. I did get revenge in my western fiction novel (posted on this site and soon to be published in at least e-book form) titled Tam the Tall Tale Teller, placing the protagonists’ Flywheel Ranch in that area.

    5. Western South Dakota, where I once owned a 160 acre ranch (known as the 20 Mile Ranch) in Custer County. South Dakota has no income tax. When I was there, Custer County had no out-of-town building code at all–again, unless you wanted to hook up to the electrical grid. But prices have jumped in the area in the last 20 years, so maybe not. (I still miss that place. Bought it at auction for less than $800 acre, ranch buildings included.)

    There might be a few others if I really had to look, but that’s the cream of the crop for now.

  53. thanks FOR THE INFO..yeah im kinda torn between the beauty of Montana and their brutal winters and north az with cheap land/ mild climate but water issues..and my love of trees… I went out west years ago and I never knew how much I liked trees until I stopped seeing them around Tex-Arkana and didn’t see another until flagstaff..i guess what im looking for is relatively flatland with mountains nearby, and trees…but damn az has some beautiful land cheap..but im guessing a well would costs around $20-30,0000 and have to dig 600-1000 ft ..is that about right? how was south Az after leaving west Montana? bet that took some gettn used too huh?

  54. You’re welcome. I’m not current on well costs, so won’t comment on that–I do know that one of my exes and I had a well drilled in Montana that cost around $20,000. If memory serves, that one ran about 300 feet down and hit one really ugly rock fault on the way that stuck the driller’s progress for a while. I’d have to research which aquifer supplies northern Arizona. Here at the southern end, we’re tapped into “the” major aquifer at 325 feet. Politics are always in the back of my mind, though; there are major forces doing everything they can to get government control over even private wells. It hasn’t happened yet–We the People have beaten the opposition back a couple of times just since we’ve been here–but they keep at it as they always do. At some future date, facing the prospect of a government mandated monitor on our well is not out of the question (though of course the power grabbers deny that “could ever” happen). So please BEWARE on that issue.

    Our finances got a nice bump last year, which allowed me to actually do a bit of investing for a change–and I promptly put into Montana timberlands which I happened to know very well, as they’d formed part of my parents’ summer graze for cattle when I was growing up. I’d give up the Border Fort (in AZ) before letting go of that MT land–in large part because (a) it’s remote enough to be out from under Big Brother’s eye, and most importantly, (b) there are several springs on the property that never go dry. On the other hand, they snow in hardcore during the winter, are accessible only by rough dirt roads, and would require either a fleet of snowmobiles or a serious road grader to keep the route out plowed during the winter months.

    My move to Arizona happened in steps, so I was kind of prepared when the time came. I’d been down here a bunch of times because of Pam’s son growing up (and still living) here, so I had a bit of a clue. There were a few things that caught me a bit off guard, though: Chiggers (yuck), Mojave green rattlesnakes with cobra type venom (didn’t know they existed), sun damage, etc. But I acclimate pretty quickly wherever I go.

  55. how many months are snow in that area of Montana?
    I kinda like the idea of snow ..makes everything even more “rural”

    and yes… politics definitely high on my agenda..i really wanna stay away from “gun unfriendly” states…how is Utah and Colorado on the gun issue? I seem to remember reading that parts of Colorado are extreme liberal strongholds…California,washington,and Oregon are completely of my radar for this very reason…

  56. Let’s talk gun law first: The leader BY FAR in that area is definitely Arizona. A few years ago, our conservative legislature passed a law that gives Arizonans the right to carry concealed WITHOUT a permit. It has always been OK to carry openly here, and a trip to our local Walmart will usually turn up a shopper or three with a shooter on his or her hip. That may not be the case in the larger cities–megalopolis Phoenix or ultra liberal Tucson–but in the smaller, more rural areas, people are not “bothered” by seeing people packing.

    None of the other states come close. In Montana, it’s technically legal to carry openly but freaks people out if you do. A rifle in a pickup truck’s gun rack won’t bother anybody, but a former classmate of mine–a lifetime rancher–once attended a sizeable agricultural conference in Helena with a revolver on his hip and scared people. They called the Granite County Sheriff, who did no more that give my friend a telephone call–especially since he hadn’t broken any laws. Plus, Missoula in particular is the “liberal bastion” in the state (as is Tucson in Arizona). Beyond that, Montana keeps electing Democrat Governors, so…. In the areas of Montana I’m interested in (mainly extremely rural), guns are cool, but no way does the legal environment or general attitude match up to Arizona’s.

    Colorado voted for Obama. Twice. ‘Nuff said on that score.

    Utah’s laws are relatively pro-gun (Wikipedia covers this fairly well), but I’ve yet to see anyone packing a short gun openly (outside of law enforcement) in the state, and I’ve spent a fair amount of time in and/or traveling through there.

    Were I to rank those four states, it would be like this:

    1. Arizona. (Concealed carry without permit okay.)

    2. Montana (No concealed carry in towns, but carry in vehicle does not count as concealed carry–only on the person.)

    3. Utah.

    4. Colorado. (This has always been an “iffy” state, clear back to the forming of the Colorado State Constitution.)

    I would HIGHLY recommend reading at least the Wikipedia articles on the gun laws in all four states.

    Snow in “that area” of Montana: Varies dramatically by year, but roughly we’re talking about three distinct areas based on elevation. In the Clark Fork River valley, where Drummond sits at 4,300 feet, I was there in early April and there was little or no snow left. At 5,000 feet (give or take), where I bought our second home, it was also pretty much melted off. But at 6,000 feet, where I bought the timber lands, there was still a pretty full covering of snow. I’ve seen the first real snowfall in the valley area (the kind that stays around and doesn’t melt during the next few days) as early as October, but early November is perhaps more typical. (I can remember one November 3rd blizzard that was a ring tailed doozy.)

  57. Hello Ghost,
    I just discovered your site last night when I was looking into what others had to say about different options for teeth. What a blessing your Pam has been, to share in such detail what it took for her to get her implants. My sister went down to Costa Rica for her teeth. It was a hard time for her too, but in the end, she was very glad that she did it. She does have a beautiful smile.
    One of my jobs was to assist in the care of many people who had to deal with various types of dementias. A tough deal for all involved! All of the so-called prescription drugs for dementia didn’t seem to help too many people. I did experiment a bit with acytel l-carnitine and co-enzyme 10 and that did slow it down a bit for one gal. May you always know that you can be confident and proud of the kind manner in which you care for your Pam. Caring for someone in situations when the person who is cared for doesn’t even know all that is being done, let alone anyone else on earth, is an extreme teaching time for the caregiver. We have to look at ourselves and figure out who we’re doing this service for. Only God knew what how I was caring for others and He blessed me for it. May you too, feel the blessings of His appreciation for what you’re doing.
    I have looked at your various posts on construction, politics, locations to live and other thoughts. Thank you so very much for giving a lot of food for thought.

  58. My job keeps me in the middle of traffic and a lot of people who recently moved to this country but are not thankful for the good this country has. I live in Microsoft land. This area has beautiful tall trees and a good amount of rain but the pressure of the people and their choice of politics is making look longingly at any place that is quiet.
    Thanks to you and others who have posted their comments regarding where to live.

  59. Thanks for commenting, Linda. I’ve been in and around Microsoft land a number of times, never for more than a few days at a time, and have always been happier leaving than I was when getting there. Pam does use both acytel l-carnitine and co-enzyme 10, along with a number of other supplements, though not always consistently–except for two specific supplements that support liver and kidneys; she never misses those.

    Fortunately, her dementia is not yet to the point that she’s unable to realize what’s being done for her. Our journey remains a team effort at this point.

  60. Well it’s been a long time again since we chatted Ghost so in catching up I’ll just say with a soft voice ” Cancer ” entered into my life a few years ago and woke us up to a whole different way of thinking about life.
    I started out in July of 2012 with so much lower back pain that I was going to kill myself if I didn’t get help. The local doctors here in B.C.,do not give out narcotic drugs to anyone unless you are dieing. That’s right you have to be hours from death before you can get anything for pain except for tylenol.
    My back gut so bad that I ended up in a hospital in New Westminster,B.C.,for about a week with it. A neurosurgeon came to see me and ordered an MRI but we are so backed up in all medical departments that I had to wait until July and it was not Xmas yet in 2012 ! He asked me what I was going to do and I out and out with no reservations told him ” suicide ” ! After another night of screaming in pain he came back and ordered Oxycodone 50mg.,pills and sent me home. It must have been because I was spending to much money staying there so my wife took me home.
    After the new year I went to the hospital near my home and told the gal in the MRI that I am coming there every day and waiting until there is a no show or someone called in sick.At the end of May I was taken in and had the MRI.
    The surgeon called at home the next day and told me I have had the largest full ruptures L4-5 and L5-SI discs he had ever seen. He pit me on Demerol pills for the remainder of the year so I could stay reasonably pain free but I was real sick most of the time as my surgery couldn’t be done until January 2014. So,,I’m stoned but I did feel a ok enough for my friends to put my boat in a lake nearby so I could just relax qand sit in the sun with friends etc.
    Well summer was over so we had to get my boat out of the lake . I was meeting a few friends at the lake to bring it home not that I was going to do anything but watch. I turned off Lougheed Hiway and was hit by a guy at a speed of 143 Km/Hr or about 95 Mph ! broke my car in half and into the hospital again. My hip was dislocated , shoulder dislocated and rotator cuff tendons are ripped and frayed everywhere. My neck was in the same condition and my back was instantly in spasm and my legs were numb. I thought I would die right there but I made it to the hospital siren screaming ans all. The same surgeon save me and shook his head and said ” you’ll do anything to get that surgery sooner eh ” He was kidding and my wife took me home . Well after a long time waiting in oain and drugs I made it to the surgery on Jan.,22/2014 or what was left of me!
    I had a great surgery and while resting in my bed the anethesist ?? came to see me and rolled over to check me. The bed was full of blood ! He called for emergency nurses to get me out of bed and into an emergency room where Doctors went over me. I was hemoraging from my Penis but they didn’t know why. Aftyer a few days a Urologist came in and did some tests and a scope. He told me I had Cancer Tumors in my bladder that had erupted possibly from the accident ? Man,,,how can I win. So while recovering from the back surgery I was operated on 3 times to remove the tumors and followed by chemotherapy until a few months ago this year.
    I am happy as the cancer is in remission so far but now every 3-6 months I have to have a scope exam to check for tumors and maintenance chnmo.,for a few years
    My lawyer for my accident has enough ammo for the court case to begin and 2 surgeons wrote him letters telling him I have permanent total disabled Shoulder,Neck,Hip and lower Back as a result of the accident ! That should wake up the insurance company ( Government owned though ) !
    We are doing good though and I just put my boat back in the marina close to our house but nothing to serious for the year and just a place to get away for a few hors here and rthere. I am heading to 68 in the fall if I can make it that far.

    So how are you guys doing in the border fort these warm days? I see by the pictures of it that the sides must be concrete or whatever. and not many windows. The photography has gotten a whole lot better so you must have gotten a better camera. The last time we talked you relatives kids had shot some animals on you property and you were ticked off about them and their BB guns ?
    I forget when that was a things here have been not very relaxing lately.

    Say Hi to Pam for me and take care RSVP. Anytime.


  61. Sorry about my spelling and such as I’ve been like this since last year. Hope it gets better over time.

  62. Roy,

    Wow. Those are some “updates”, all right. First thought: If Pam had zero pain meds, she’d have been dead years ago. Literally, no exaggeration. Even with the nominal relief she does get, she can more than relate to your *suicide* reply to the doc.

    The waiting periods (such as for your MRI) that are pretty much guaranteed in government-powered health systems…that’s a huge part of why at least some of us in the U.S. detest Obamacare with a purple passion. Fortunately for us, that length of wait has not hit here yet, but if our direction does not change, it will.

    Oh, crap. I’m responding to your update as I go through it and just got to the wreck part…okay, finished reading everything. I should say your lawyers ought to be ready to give ’em Hell! Your spelling and grammar are fine, by the way. Unless I’m slipping and can’t see it…:)

    Well, if you haven’t earned enough of a break to make it to 68, you’ve probably at least set some sort of record. Pam will turn 64 in September, with me hitting 72 in November. Pam and I lost a close friend last August to cancer–my 2nd wife, Carolyn, one of the finest ladies anywhere. She was diagnosed with inoperable uterine cancer in November of 2012 (she lived in South Dakota); the cancer had already spread throughout her body, including her brain. She passed at a hospice in Wyoming, where her kid sister lives and could visit regularly.

    I built the Border Fort for defense, which is why the windows are relatively small (2′ x 2′ sliders, starting 4′ off the ground) and small in number (2 to each side of the building). The walls are 17″ thick with centers for the first 6′ of height that are 11″ wide earthbags, enough to stop ordinary rifle fire (though probably not one of the big 50 caliber machine guns). The outer “skin” is a thick coating–which fills in the curves between earthbags as well–of concrete stucco. Inside, there’s a “regular” 2″ x 4″ stud wall with OSB strand boards (not sheetrock) .

    You asked about the warm days, though, and for that we have a window air conditioner cooling Pam’s room, though it’s not actually set into the window. It has its own little “shed on stilts” (4″ x 4″ treated posts) 3 feet back from the window with a “slide chamber” of aluminum sheet metal directing the air into her room. That means the AC unit (8,000 btu) has to pull hot outside air during the day, so it’s less efficient than it would be if it could recycle room air, but it still does the job. We’ve had outside temps as high as 106 Fahrenheit this past week, yet the AC has kept her room no higher than 76 degrees and the rest of the house no higher than 79.

    The relatives shooting bunnies did not happen on our land but at my stepson’s place, about 15 miles from ours. Had it happened on our property, I would have gone to war with that family on the spot–so it’s good it didn’t, I suppose, since that’s Pam’s eldest daughter’s family, but Pam would have been right there with me on that one.

    For our “quick summary”: Pam’s M.D. cut down her pain meds in November of 2014. In early January of 2015, we moved her to be with her daughter (yeah, the bunny shooting bunch) in Utah because the daughter was working for a Nurse Practitioner who was happy to take Pam on as a patient. At that point, we believed we were done living under the same roof full time, though the daughter & her husband were buying a bigger home with a mother in law apartment and I’d be there with Pam part time.

    But that blew apart in 26 days, so instead of taking Pam her stuff, I went and brought her back–and glory be, we got hooked up with a Nurse Practitioner down here in AZ that we both knew very well from when said NP had been working for the arrogant M.D. That part, Pam’s official family doctor stuff, has gone very well ever since. We see her (NP) every other month, next appointment being Jun. 24. She’s a gem, a true blessing.

    I did get a better camera, the current version being a Canon PowerShot SX260HS. It rides in its case at my left hip any time I’m up and dressed. Has a 20X optical zoom with digital 4X multiplying that to 80X, though of course the image degrades noticeably when the digital zoom is involved.

    Latest Border Fort doings: Solar generator went down a month or more ago; the guy who built it included a fatal design error that trashed it in 3 years instead of 10. But by living with it for those 3 years, I’ve learned the basics of solar now, got them down cold. Zach (stepson) welded up a frame extension, I built a bigger battery box, and then replaced the ruined 12 volt batteries with twice as many super heavy duty 6 volt units. Also had to replace the charge controller (which is where the original builder had made his fatal design error) with a different brand. The first one wouldn’t let any watts from the panels through, so they shipped me out a replacement. Just got that today, swapped the nonworking one out, and things look really, really good. Will need to get a bit more sun on it in the morning to be 100% sure, but I’m at 99.99999999.

    We’re also in the process (simultaneously!) of upgrading our propane system which powers the hot water heater, kitchen range, refrigerator, and clothes dryer. 400 feet of trenching, most of it done with a backhoe. Zach and a friend will be over in the a.m. to hand dig the rest. (I dug enough to locate and expose the water line they need to avoid.) So far, we’ve had to survive on portable 100# tanks, one for each appliance, because the local propane companies in AZ can’t rent a bigger tank unless the homeowner can prove his piping system was installed by a licensed contractor, and I’m not going there.

    But then I saw an ad, went and talked to a smaller (but well established) local company who agreed there was a workaround I could do. “We’ll sell you the tank, not rent it, and you can do whatever you want with it!” Excellent, especially because they WILL gladly FILL the tank. So I bought a 330 gallon tank, which is sitting out back, full of propane and ready to rock. Will be running polyethylene underground piping–installing it precisely to code, actually, just not getting the inspections to “prove” it.

    This is getting awfully long. I’ll fill Pam in, come daylight. Glad to hear from you–and glad you’re still around to write, too.


  63. Thanks for the great review Fred! But I must ask: What can I do to help you get Tam more noticed? Now, I know I’m one of those bleeding heart liberals that’s somewhere left of Bernie Sanders, but even I know an authentic voice when I read one. Shoot me an email because I have started a project that might interest you and might help with the book marketing a bit. Meanwhile, I’ll just have to finish the rest of your book and review it as well.

  64. I believe I saw you a while back on HP. After posting to the forums yesterday in search of off grid or survivalist writers I received a recommendation to check out your website. After a few hours (interrupted much with the real world) I’ve managed to read most of your articles.
    I find myself a bit jealous of what you did with your home. What you managed to build on your own is quite amazing along with how detailed and thorough so many of your articles are. Did I miss an article that may have included interior finishes before you put your personals inside?
    As I was reading last night I was jabbing my hubby’s side saying “ohh look what he built by hand” “ohh look at this” “we need to do this”. I’m sure he was cursing you in his mind. He and I are opposite on the whole off grid living, build it with your own hands, never rely on anything views. You have me motivated though. My land is simply just under an acre in a rural small town. For days I have been putting off building my chicken coop, even though I have the supplies. However reading your website has given me that push I need to get out there and get to work today!
    One last thing, I did not see share buttons, and you have a couple articles that I would love to share. Did I miss them or have you decided that just isn’t the route you want to go?

  65. Annsalo, you caught me: I simply never thought of including a Share button. I’ll have to search the WordPress plugins and see if there’s one that might do that job effectively. It might take me a little while to get that done (due to other obligations limiting my time), but hopefully within a week or so….

    Heh! From what you say, you’re probably right about your husband cussing me now. Which is fine by me; I’ve been vilified by some of the best. 🙂

    I doubt you missed articles of interior finishes before we put our personals inside–because the only things I did before we moved in were (a) build interior stud walls in one bedroom, (b) install the loose lay flooring in that bedroom, (c) add OSB strand board walls and ceiling (same room), and (d) slap a coat of paint on the wood. Most interior work was done AFTER we were living inside, not the easiest way to go but in our case the ONLY way that made sense.

    When we first moved in, we still had mouse-friendly earthbag walls with no exterior stucco added yet (which made the place mouse proof), dirt floors inside except for that one room and a narrow board walkway, bucket toilets, etc.

  66. Loved your memories of Writers Bookstore and Haven. Great memories with Hal and the gang. I used to run the open mic, Listen Up! Spent a lot of time there, made some lifelong friends. Wonder if our paths ever crossed.

  67. Hey, Erik. Couldn’t do better than Hal. Your name does ring a bell, but I’m not sure whether we met or whether I’d simply heard of you. I was never there for the open mic, but my time in the area ran from December 1984 to August of 1989. Didn’t spend nearly as much time there after 1986, though, and eventually my visits to the Haven dropped to “rarely.” Had a “change of ladies” and also moved up from walking to a small motorcycle and finally back to a real live car, plus my new lady (at that time, though there’ve been two more since) and I bought a house in Lemon Grove. With my work location having shifted to La Jolla, the Writers Bookstore and Haven no longer fit my daily route.

    As of last May (2017), Pam and I moved back to Deer Lodge in my original home state of Montana and put the Border Fort up for sale. We do still have to run back down to that area every other month for Pam to see her doctor; the medical practitioners in western Montana simply don’t want to deal with her case. But I haven’t been to San Diego at all since 2002.

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