21 December 2017

*Enter to Win!* BLUSTER'S LAST STAND by Preston Lewis

The Memoirs of H.H. Lomax, #4
  Genre:  Historical Western Fiction / Humor
Date of Publication: November 15, 2017 Publisher: Wild Horse Press

Scroll down for the giveaway!

Events on the Little Bighorn might have turned out better for George Armstrong Custer had he listened to H.H. Lomax rather than trying to kill him.  To save his own skin—and scalp!—Lomax must outwit Custer and his troopers as well as face hundreds of Sioux and Cheyenne warriors swarming Last Stand Hill. 

At least that is how Lomax in his inimitable style tells the story in this humorous romp across Old West history.  Lomax’s latest misadventures take him from the Battle of Adobe Walls to Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show.  In between, he’s a bouncer in a Waco whorehouse, a prospector in the Black Hills, a bartender in a Dakota Territory saloon and a combatant in the worst defeat in the history of the frontier Army. 

Along the way, Lomax crosses paths with Bat Masterson, Buffalo Bill, Wild Bill Hickok, General Custer, his brother Tom Custer and the troopers of the Seventh Cavalry as well as hordes of Comanche, Kiowa, Sioux and Cheyenne warriors, not to mention the most dangerous adversary of all—a newspaper reporter with ambition.

Told with Lomax’s characteristic wit, Bluster’s Last Stand puts a new spin on the Little Bighorn and its aftermath.  Whether you believe him or not, you’ve got to admire Lomax’s luck and pluck in both surviving one of the darkest days in Old West history and writing about the disaster in the latest volume of The Memoirs of H.H. Lomax.


“A new series by Preston Lewis features a protagonist, H.H. Lomax, who isn’t much of a gunfighter, horseman or gambler.  Instead, he is a likeable loser who runs into old western celebrities like Billy the Kid and the Jesse James gang, and barely escapes.”  
Wall Street Journal

“It takes a special talent to write first-person novels based on the premise of ‘lost papers,’ but Preston Lewis is an especially fresh and innovative writer and he knows how to do it.”
Rocky Mountain News

Fans of the Western as a genre will delight in Lewis’ ongoing spoof of many traditions which fiction writers from Owen Wister to Elmer Kelton captured well enough to turn into key parts of our myths and folklore….Lewis’s wit is at times Puckishly wry, at other times bawdy in the manner of Chaucer.  It is always engaging.  
Texas Books in Review

Several Old West historians have blessed the Lomax books as expertly crafted fiction. 
Dallas Morning News


What do you think most characterizes your writing? 
An editor once told me I wrote funny. Now that’s not necessarily something a writer wants to hear because you don’t know if it’s funny “ha ha” or funny “odd.” His point was, as he explained it, that I often have an off-center perspective that lends itself to humor. So, it was an editor that first helped me see the possibility of writing humor. And in fact, Bantam originally approached me about writing a humorous series that became The Memoirs of H.H. Lomax of which Bluster’s Last Stand is the latest volume.

How do you approach humor in your novels?
 I describe humor as a con game on your expectations or your intellect. So, I’ve developed my six “cons” of humor for novels: convention, contemplation, construction, contrivance (like this list), confluence and, worst of all, constipation. Convention is the parameters, stereotypes or clichés of your genre. Variances on those conventions provide opportunities for humor. Contemplation is a fancy name for research, where I am always looking for odd facts or information that can lend itself to humorous situations. Construction is the setup. Nearly all humor requires a sound setup for effectiveness. Contrivance is the use of plot twists or literary gimmicks to further the action and humor. Confluence is tying it all together into a coherent story rather than just a series of running gags. Then there’s constipation! Like life, sometimes in humor things just don’t come out right for everyone, particularly in these hypersensitive times. What is funny or amusing to one person may be offensive to another. I was once attacked by a reader who was offended by my flippant use of the word “Yankee” because it was demeaning. Seems as a child she moved to the south from the north and was called Yankee by her schoolmates, evidently scarring her emotionally for life. Weird! I happen to know a little bit about Yankees because I married a young lady from Pennsylvania. She is proud to be a Yankee, and we are proud to be parents of two half-Yankees.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Stopping the research and beginning the writing is always the hardest part. Research is the fun part. So, I have three writing milestones. First is completing page one. The start is always the hardest part, whether a book or a chapter. Second, when I get to page 10 it’s a milestone because now I am in double digits. The third milestone is when I get to 100 pages because now I am in three digits and I know I won’t have to go four digits, though I’ve written 450 pages on some manuscripts.
How do you go about your research? I had an aunt who was an expert quilter. She would cut out pieces of fabric, then arrange them and stitch them together in beautiful patterns and blocks. That’s what I do with research. Keep in mind in my historical novels I am writing about events that have been written about dozens of times. So, I first look for odd or unusual facts that haven’t to my knowledge been utilized in previous novels on this topic. Then I look for facts that intrigue me and facts that I think have some comical potential. Then I try to stitch them together in a narrative that I hope is as enjoyable to read as it was to look at my aunt’s quilts.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing? 
I now write full-time, but before I retired I wrote part-time. I’ve come to understand that writers face two problems—time and money. Some writers can handle money problems and some can handle time pressures but few can handle both. For instance, I could not handle the pressure of having to make my living for me and my family fully from writing. I might have done it, but I didn’t know and I could not leave my family at risk for my potential failure as a writer. On the other hand, I can handle time pressures and can manage my time well enough to work a job full time and then carve out enough time to write fiction on the side. Now that I am retired, I have all the time I need to write.

What are some day jobs that you have held? Have any of them impacted your writing? 
I started out in newspapers so I learned early how to write on deadline and how to force myself to write, even when things might not be coming easily. Then in higher education communication and marketing I got a variety of writing experience from scripts to brochure copy to magazine features. I created and edited a university magazine, which is a good experience in working and editing with other writers.

How has your formal education influenced or impacted your writing?
I was blessed to attend Baylor during a golden period of journalism education at the university. I was fortunate to have studied under legendary Texas journalism professor David McHam, who I remain in touch with to this day. He was not only an exceptional teacher but also an inspirational man. He was responsible for my first two newspaper jobs and a guide for my subsequent graduate education. In addition to my bachelor’s degree from Baylor, I got a master’s degree in journalism at Ohio State, where I was a Kiplinger Fellow in reporting, and a second master’s degree in history from Angelo State University. At ASU I was again blessed to study history under legendary Texas historian Arnoldo DeLeon, who chaired my thesis committee.

What do your plans for future projects include? 
I would like to do a historical novel on the last six months of the Civil War in the Western Theater as well as some additional comic westerns using some of the characters from my The Fleecing of Fort Griffin.

What does your perfect writing spot look like? Is that what your ACTUAL writing spot looks like? 
My perfect writing spot is expansive and uncluttered, a contrast from my writing room. Ernie Pyle once wrote that Americans leave a messy battlefield, and I leave an untidy writing space.
Who would you cast to play your characters in a movie version of your book? I’m so out of touch with contemporary actors I can’t give a legitimate answer. The ones that come to mind were classic stars from my youth.

Do you have a mantra for writing and/or for life? 
Be always sure you're right — then go ahead!—Davy Crockett; and “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,” John 8:32 (King James Version)

What do you want your tombstone to say? 

Preston Lewis is the Spur Award-winning author of 30 western, juvenile and historical novels, including Bluster’s Last Stand published by Wild Horse Press.   

Bluster’s Last Stand, a novel about Custer and the Battle of Little Bighorn, is the latest volume in Lewis’s well-received Memoirs of H.H. Lomax series of comic westerns that began with The Demise of Billy the Kid.  Subsequent books in the series—The Redemption of Jesse James and Mix-Up at the O.K. Corral—were both Spur Finalists from Western Writers of America (WWA). 

Lewis’s historical novel Blood of Texas on the Texas Revolution received WWA’s Spur Award for Best Western Novel.  His western caper The Fleecing of Fort Griffin in 2017 earned him his third Elmer Kelton Award from the West Texas Historical Association (WTHA) for best creative work on West Texas. 

 His True West article on the Battle of Yellowhouse Canyon won a Spur Award for Best Nonfiction Article.  In addition to True West, his short works have appeared in publications as varied as Louis L’Amour Western Magazine, Persimmon Hill, Dallas Morning News, The Roundup, Journal of the Wild West History Association and San Angelo Standard-Times
A native West Texan and current San Angelo resident, Lewis holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Baylor University and master’s degrees from Ohio State in journalism and Angelo State in history.  He is a past president of WWA and WTHA.  Lewis is a longstanding member of the Authors Guild and an associate member of the Dramatists Guild of America.  
1st Prize: Full 4 Book Set in the Lomax Series
2nd Prize: Bluster's Last Stand + The Fleecing of Fort Griffin
3rd Prize: Bluster's Last Stand
*all copies signed*
December 13-December 22, 2017
(U.S. Only)

Excerpt 1
Author Interview
Review                            Missus Gonzo
Character Spotlight
Scrapbook Page
Excerpt 2
Author Interview

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