route 66

Another Happy Reader!

Another Strong Review for Diamond-T!

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“I love a good read and this was definitely one of them, especially being from Arizona, it truly did make me want those places to exist so I could find them.” — Sally V on Amazon

Read more HERE.

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The 66 Kid: Meeting Bob Boze Bell

Arizona has its living institutions, and one of these is author, historian, artist, raconteur, publisher, and radio personality Bob Boze Bell.

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While stumbling through the fields of the enormous Tucson Festival of Books, I turned a corner and happened upon a personal hero of mine. Bob’s articles and cartoons in National Lampoon and the Phoenix New Times in the 1980s reassured me there was someone out there who could relate. He was also proof that something great could bloom in the desert. From his beginnings as the son of a service-station owner in Kingman along the Mother Road in northern Arizona, he parlayed those experiences into an artistic career. He knew the road and life in the towns along that road, and it shows.

“My parents played Kingman. They were travelling lounge musicians!” I told him, realizing that of all people, he’d understand. He paused. His eyes glimmered.

“Where they happy?” he asked.

That’s the question a philosopher would ask, really.

Without getting too far into it while standing there, I explained that they likely would have been happy had they just left it at that. However, those evil deceivers Captain and Tennille had convinced them in about 1975 that they, too, could hit the big time. I might be the only person in the world who convincingly blames his lost childhood on Captain and Tennille. It’s not much of a distinction, but I’ll take it.

Bob appeared intrigued by the story behind my novel Diamond-T, and I proudly presented him with a copy, signed with my shaking hand (I think I got the date wrong. Oh well.) Yes, Bob: there really is a bridge. It’s on Hisoric 66 a few miles East of Seligman.

I picked up a copy of The 66 Kid, Bob’s compendium of images and stories collected through his youth spent along the Mainstreet of America. It’s a fantastic collection of snapshots, clippings, original art, and fond remembrances of Bob’s childhood in Kingman and at various places around Northern Arizona.

If I had an ounce or two more chutzpah, I’d call it a companion piece to Diamond-T.

If you want to see how things looked in the roadside oasis towns of that era, and learn the real-life stories of the people who lived there, I recommend it highly.

I also recommend all the other works of Mr. Bell — long may he reign as the troubadour of the modern West, and all that passed along that mythic old highway through Kingman.

Guest Posts Wanted

Do you have great a story from Route 66, or anywhere along the American road?

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Do you have thoughts on the American experience of the “greatest generation” and the vast transformations in America between the 1950’s and the ’60s?

Can you write well and concisely, keeping it to under 600 words or so?

Have an image you own (not borrowed) that you can put with it?

Post in the comments and let me know. I’d like to get more people aware of my book while helping my fellow bloggers get more exposure. Not a paid position (of course) but if I like your contribution and use it, I’ll send you a free ebook copy of Eye of the Diamond-T.

“Selig” means “Blessed”: Happy Coincidence

A dear friend brought up something interesting about my choice of locales for Diamond-T the other day. Something I hadn’t thought of at all. It was serendipity. Just a happy coincidence.

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The pivotal scenes in the book happen in Seligman, Arizona. You might remember that name from various human-interest stories about the hardy eccentrics who still live in this little town–one of the last along Route 66 to be bypassed by I-40. It also served as an inspiration for the Disney movie Cars, which thanks to my 8-year-old son, I have seen upwards of 100 times.

Anyway, this friend called to express delight about the book, but also to ask me if I knew what “Selig” (as in the first part of “Seligman”) means in German. I really didn’t. I knew the town to have taken the name of a railroad official in the area at the time the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe laid rails through the area near what had long been a wagon path, and before that a footpath, and before that an animal migration route.

It turns out that “Selig” means both “blessed” and “departed.”

In the context of the book’s location and what happens there, that’s pretty astounding. What makes it even more so are the Germanic natures of those who oppose my protagonist, Nick Pente.

So the main character finds his solace and redemption near a tiny Arizona town with a name that means — in German — “blessed, departed man.”

That, my friends, is only one of the many such happy coincidences that shaped Eye of the Diamond-T.

I hope reading it will also give you an inspiration to find the happy coincidences in your life.

Check it out at diamondtbook.com