Thursday, November 29, 2012


Author Stephen Bly
Stephen Bly
Stephen Bly
Copyright ©2008

Writers are gold miners at heart. Any story worth its gems has the sweat of pickax research behind it.

In the historical novel, Cowboy For A Rainy Afternoon, I discovered these jewels of info that played out in the plot ...

1.) Personal experience
Set in 1955, with the narrator as a 10-year-old boy, same as I would have been, I was able to draw on some past knowledge.
Gary Cooper in High Noon
In the story Tex Ritter sang, "Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin'" on a juke box, and I had known all the words since my youth when I saw High Noon multiple times at the theater. But I didn't realize that Gary Cooper, who played Will Cane, was a Montana boy, from Helena.

2.) History of a brand
Part of the story happens in a Woolworth's store, which was a Five & Dime, sort of like a "Dollar Store," only it included a soda fountain/lunch bar, better merchandise, and a friendly clerk behind every counter.

The first Woolworth's store was founded with a loan of $300 in 1878 by Frank Winfield Woolworth. Despite growing to be one of the largest retail chains in the world through most of the 20th Century, increased competition led to its decline, beginning in the 1980s. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Author Stephen Bly with horse and chaps
Stephen Bly

Stephen Bly


Robert Jack lived right down the road. He called me Butch and I called him Junior. We discovered we agreed on almost everything ... Dwight David Eisenhower and the New York Yankees, Dodge pickup trucks and quetta nectarines, Coca Cola and International Harvester Tractors, Daisey BB guns and High Noon. But Junior never concurred with me about horses or rodeo. He insisted horses were dumb and useless and that folks who did rodeo were too stubborn and stupid to stay safe and healthy.

But rodeo has taught me important truths.

1.) For some folks, life can seem like an 8-second ride. The secret is holding on until you hear the buzzer.

Some of you are riding bad bulls. A rocky marriage. A job that's wearing you down. No job at all. A strange storm of circumstances. If you let go, you get trampled. But one day when you reach eternity's door, your whole life on earth will seem like an 8-second ride. So, hang on.

Saint Paul said it this way: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7).

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bury Me With My Boots On

Author Stephen Bly photo
Stephen Bly

Stephen Bly


The lady seemed restless, like she wanted to ask me something important. The pastor and his well-dressed wife had met me at the airport and she hadn't had a chance to break into the conversation. As we merged into freeway traffic, she cleared her throat. Pointing to my footware, she blurted out, "You don't wear those when you preach ... do you?"

assorted cowboy bootsNow I suppose in some parts of the country it might seem strange that my heavy shoes have pointed toes, underslung heels and 13" finely stitched quarters. "Yes, ma'am, I wear cowboy boots to the market, the office, the rodeo, to lunch in New York City, and even in the pulpit."