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Set in the Chisos Mountains, and the villages of Lajitas and Terlingua in the Big Bend of Texas in 1879, Calamity Creek is a rousing adventure that pits notorious gunfighter John Ringo and a gang of kidnappers against a renegade band of Comanches, an old scout, a young Texas Ranger, a saloon keeper, and an itinerant preacher who carries his own chuch around with him in a wagon.
First Sergeant Ethan Allan Twobears thought he could retire in obscurity and a drunken haze in the desolation of Lajitas. Suddenly, the kidnappers led by Ringo, and renegade Comanches following the old War Trail, force the old scout into action. The scout has failed before and that failure caused the deaths of many. His friends now need him to face those past demons, or they will not survive the present.
No one knows why outlaws and renegades both want to seize a
cold-hearted prostitute with past connections to the preacher,
but their desires lead to nothing but bloodshed. The old scout,
the Ranger, and the bar keeper will let neither bullets nor the
harsh Chihuahuan Desert prevent them from rescuing a woman who
may not even want to live.
First Lines From Each Chapter:
1) Dutch Dave was the first person to see it on the mesa early
that Sunday morning.
2) Temumuquit sat naked on the east bank of sacred Medicine Bluff Creek, watching dragonfliues flit over the reflections at the tips of the small waves the balmy wind kicked up.
3) The six men sat around a table in the Phoenix Saloon, four of them playing whist.
4) The first ray of morning light shined through the only window in Ethan Allan Twobear's adobe-and-stone shack and drifted slowly over his eyes.
5) For the first time in his life Hummingbird felt like a Human Being.
6) They sat in the shade of several pecan trees a few miles west of Uvalde.
7) Joaquin soaked up as much sauce as he could with the last piece of his tortilla, ate it, and washed it down with the weak lemonade that was the only beverage Jose served.
8) Brother Karl lay on his back in his wagon.
9) Dutch was happy today was as cold as a dead snake.
10) Ingrid rose as soon as she heard the roosters crowing across the rio.
11) The ride to Mule Ears Spring wasn't difficult on horseback; just up and down and up and down over the many foothills into the Burned Mountains.
12) "Hello, the shack!" Ethan hollered from the top of the hill.
13) "Your leg looks bad," Hunningbird said to Small Snake.
14) Joaquin and Ethan joined the others at daybreak.
15) One down, Ethan thought.
16) Karl was indeed a talented runner.
The adventure continues as the search for lost Spanish treasure lures Dr. Extraneous Hudspeth's Odditorium and Cavalcade of Wonders and Ever-Cure Elixer show to the desolation of the Big Bend of Texas in 1880.
Drawn into their arrival in the small village of Lajitas are an old scout, a young Texas Ranger, and a saloonkeeper. Unknown to them all, a band of Apache warriors led by the legendary woman warrior Lozen lurks in the Big Bend mountains, chased by buffalo soldiers of the 10th Cavalry from Fort Davis.
And Wyatt Earp, lusting after Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Girl, will determine their future.
First Lines From Each Chapter:
1) He rewarded himself with a can of peaches.
2) "Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, puppy dogs and pussy cats, and you horses should be paying attention, too, yes, folks that's because my Ever-Cure Elixir is a bona-fide miracle of the modern age."
3) San Antonio was a busy city so no one noticed when the tall, handsome, sandy-haired man with the brilliant mustache and cold eyes stepped off the Southern Pacific train at the depot.
4) Lozen was lost.
5) Graciela Salgado was a woman of many talents.
6) Wyatt almost dozed off even though he held the reins of six horses pulling the pomegranate red Concord.
7) Dutch Dave was the first to see it that morning.
8) The wagons stopped for the day.
9) Joaquin retuned to Lajitas happy to have done something as a ranger even if it was only dealing with stolen goats.
10) Ethan sat on the edge of the cliff facing east, waiting for the sun to set.
11) When Ethan awoke in Hell there was a demon sitting on his chest.
12) Lieutenant Maxon rode at the head of his column, glad to be returning to Fort Davis and end his 40-day-long patrol.
13) Jo-Jo didn't particularly want to kill Earl, but she saw no other way.
14) The morning dawned hot and so muggy that Ingrid couldn't seem to get enough air into her lungs.
15) Ethan spent the night on his stomach, watching the Apache camp from the top of a hill.
16) Joaquin was confused. "She went back? "
17) Catching her was easy; confining her was more difficult.
18) It was nearly noon and all Ethan was able to do all morning was sit by the body.
19) Lieutenant Maxon led his troop from Fort Davis to Presidio, the safest, easiest way to get to the Río Grande.
20) They heard the screaming all through the night.
21) Ethan and Joaquin sat at their usual table, Joaquin sipping his whiskey and Ethan sipping coffee.
Second Coffee Creek is a tale of betrayal and redemption set in the rugged Big Bend Country of Texas.
Travelin' Jones, a balloon aeronaut, thinks he's out to map
the Rio Grande with the US Army, but he's about to become involved
in a deadly chase. Texas Ranger Joaquin Jaxon is on the trail
of his friend, the old scout Ethan Allan Twobears, who has escaped
from prison after being convicted of murder, killing a guard in
the process. The scout taught the ranger everything he knows about
tracking. Twobears must return to a hidden treasure, then decide
whether he'll run to paradise or home, and avoid a fatal confrontation
in the Chisos Mountains.
First Lines From Each Chapter:
1) "That's twice you've saved my life now," Texas
Ranger Joaquin Jaxon said, his hands trembling as he buttoned
up his trousers then tucked in his shirt.
2) A Canadian cold front pushed high winds ahead of it.
3) He was on an unfamiliar, uncomfortable path.
4) Ingrid Weischopf walked barefooted on the beach alongside her husband, twirling her lacey parasol lazily on her shoulder.
5) The cloud hugged the inside of the basin, obscuring the rest of the camp, teasing Alsate who stood at the top of a small hill whirling his tzi-ditindi ferociously over his head.
6) The saloon cleaned up and the day's receipts locked away, Ethan stripped his clothes off and rolled into his bed, pulling the threadbare quilt over him to cover his head.
7) After camping for the night beside newly laid railway tracks, the wagon train split up.
8) The Mejor Que Nada was packed.
9) "I'm, I'm in the wagon; you're in the s-s-saddle.Can you handle that?" Stuttering Tom said.
10) Lerdo's sweat was almost unbearable.
11) Ethan stood on the bluff above the river watching a typical October thuderstorm roll in from the west.
12) Alsate rejoiced seeing the red sky when he rose from a sound night's sleep.
13) The Sunrise Kid beamed a broad smile at Joaquin when the Ranger entered the Mejor Que Nada, but Joaquin was in no mood to smile.
14) Edjie reached out to his father as Karl came through the door.
15) Joaquin heard the sounds of the work camp from more than a mile away.
16) Ethan must have passed by these hills hundreds of times on his way into the Chisos but had never paid them any attention.
17) The interior of San Fernando Cathedral looked lopsided the day after New Year's.
Allan C. Kimball has been visiting the Big Bend of Texas since 1969 and owns property in Lajitas and Terlingua. He has guided tours through the rugged Chihuahuan Desert and authored The Big Bend Guide: Travel Tips and Suggested Itineraries, The Legend of Fort Leaton, and other books.
He is an award-winning writer and photographer with a long career at daily newspapers in Texas. Over the years he has interviewed several presidents, discovered clandestine government air strips, and covered stories as diverse as chili cook-offs to prison boot camps, disastrous tornadoes to sea turtle rehabilitation, gubernatorial races to beer-drinking goats. As a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America, he also covered Major League Baseball. And he has chased killer bees throughout Central and South America. In 1990, he and his wife Madonna founded the Hill Country Sun magazine in Wimberley, Texas, and ran it for 16 years.
For recreation, Allan enjoys canoeing and Cowboy Action Shooting. His friends in CAS were the inspiration for this trilogy.
"The idea for Calamity Creek came to me when I showed a photograph of a very unusual place to a friend of mine. Madonna and I had been paddling in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of northern Minnesota and southern Ontario and one day came across a very unusual sight on the side of the road, near Emo, Ontario. It was a little roadside chapel next to a small lake. It didn't loook like anything I'd seen before so we looked inside. It turns out the chapel was actually the steeple of an old church that had been destroyed by fire. The steeple had been salvaged and , after adding a door and a small altar inside, it had been converted into a travelers' chapel. Over the years I had been wanting to write a Western set in the beautiful, rugged Big Bend country of West Texas but I never could think of the right story. Seeing the steeple/chapel photograph then made me wonder, 'What would happen if something similar to this chapel suddenly appeared on Comanche Mesa in Lajitas?' And that kicked off the story. So I owe the story of one borderland to something I saw in the opposite borderland."
"Initially, Calamity Creek was the only book planned for these characters. But one day I was having lunch with my friend Bryce Engelhart and he said to me, "You know, I miss those guys." I knew instantly who he was talking about. It had been several weeks since he had read the book, and I realized that I, too, missed those guys. I went home and immediately wrote Chapter One of Woman Hollering Creek, and had a plan for the third book, Second Coffee Creek. It's almost as if these fictional folk just wouldn't leave me alone. They obviously have a rip-roaring story to tell and I just feel lucky they chose me to tell it through."
"One of the delights in writing Second Coffee Creek was the ability to use an earlier incarnation of the famous beer-drinking goat, Clay Henry, as a pivotal character in the book. The original Clay Henry lived adjacent to the historic Lajitas Trading Post and day workers from across the Rio Grande would stop off on their way home in the evening and buy a six-pack of beer, listen to some corridos on the Trading Post jukebox, and share a beer or two with Clay Henry. Clay Henry ultimately became the most famous resident of Lajitas, its unofficial mayor, and a major tourist attraction. When he died, another goat was pressed into service to take his place, then another."
If you have questions or comments, e-mail ALLAN
Rainbows Wait For Rain may be found at selected bookstores such as Bookpeople in Austin, Hastings Entertainment in San Marcos, Front Street Books in Alpine, and gift shops such as United Stationery in Leakey and Rancho Deluxe in Wimberley and the Terlingua Trading Company in Terlingua. If you can't find these books at your local bookstore, you may order from www.txstarbooks.com or from Amazon.com, or directly from the publisher by sending a check to the address below. The large-size paperback sells for $19.95 (plus $2 postage).
SUN COUNTRY PUBLICATIONS, INC.
P.O. Box 1482
Wimberley, TX 78676
Do you like the rugged Big Bend country of Texas? Then you need The Big Bend Guide, a comprehensive comilation of information of what to do, where to go, and what to take with you. On sale at most stores, or order from the publisher at The Great Texas Line.
The music you hear playing is "Ashoken Farewell" by the incredibly talented Whitmore Family (Alex, Eleanor and Bonnie) of Texas. If you would like more information on their music, visit their web site at www.alexwhitmore.com.
Copyright © 2010 Sun Country Publications, Inc.
Last updated 7 July 2010