How the Horse Was Lost

12 07 2012

I wrote a book.  I think it’s a pretty good book.  Of course, I wrote it, so I am a bit biased, but I think it’s pretty good.  My mom also said it was good, but I don’t think she actually read it.  My dad read it, but when I asked him what he thought, he just grunted a little and fell asleep – I wasn’t insulted – he does stuff like that.  My son just said, “that book has lots of words.”  He’s right, it does.

Way back in 2003, I was working on a draft of a play I’d written about three morons in an apartment in New York City who suddenly realized there was a bear in outside their door.  A bear outside the door is not something you expect when you’re in an NYC apartment, so all sorts of wacky hi-jinks, because I happen to think that wacky hi-jinks are the best kind of hi-jinks.

At one point, during the writing process, I got a little sidetracked, day-dreamed a little bit, and somehow, without knowing why, I wrote down the line, “I’m a cowboy.  Okay, maybe that should read, ‘I was a cowboy,’ because I’m not really a cowboy anymore.  Now I’m dead.  It’s okay though, you don’t have to feel sad for me, it was a long time ago, and I’m over it, but…well… here’s my story…”

I didn’t finish for a while, but that dead cowboy haunted me for a while.  Not in a literal sense, there wasn’t a spurs wearing spirit sidling through my living room, but he was stuck in my head just the same.

Then, like happens to folks sometimes, I realized he had a story, so I wrote it.  His name was Billy Thickub.  He lost his horse.  Now this wasn’t just any horse, this was Old Steve, Billy’s best friend in the whole wide world.  And he didn’t lose him like you might misplace our house keys or lose track of your cell phone, he lost him in the worst way.  He made a bet, and he lost.

Now, Billy wasn’t the sort of fellow that would lose his horse in a bet that he thought there was any real possibility of him losing.  He thought for certain he’d win, but this was a bet in a spittin’ contest.  Against Scoots McGinty.  A sneaky, low down, snake in the grass for sure, but a sneaky, low down, snake in the grass who happened to have a spittin’ disorder so that he couldn’t muster up enough saliva to lick a stamp, let alone win a spittin’ contest.  Yet, he won, Billy lost, and Old Steve was gone.

Turns out, though, that Scoots was cheating, so Billy, not to take being swindled like that, tried to gather up a posse to bring down that cheat Scoots and get back Old Steve.  The only problem was, Billy’s posse wasn’t much of a posse – it was just a old man named Merv who was so hard of hearing that he was more-than-half-deaf and a slow looking kid with a silly grin who never said anything but, “Sloop Sloop.”  That’s not a terribly effective posse.

Just the same, Billy and his new friends set off after Scoots McGinty, along the way encountering all sorts of adventures and some unusual characters like some angry Native Americans, a bunch of pickle salesmen, and the world’s meanest outlaw.

How the Horse Was Lost is just the first book in a trilogy about Billy and his pals (at least it’s a trilogy in my head) written for middle grade readers.  Strangely enough, it does not include that first line that I wrote – that one got deleted somewhere around the 17th or 32nd draft – it is, however, loaded with action, adventure, comedy, and more than one joke about poop.

I’d like to give away 20 FREE copies of my new book, especially to folks that will read it and pass it on to their friends/family/students/kids.  All I ask in return for a free copy of the book is a review on Amazon or Goodreads from you and whoever you pass the book on to after that.  I’d prefer a good review, but I’ll settle for honest.  

I’m going to leave the comments section of this post open for a week.  In the comments just let me know if you’d like a free book and your Twitter name (or email if you don’t have Twitter).  I’ll pick some random winners next Friday and send some free books out soon after that.  

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Hey! Mr. Curtis Wrote a Book

17 04 2012

Yeah, that’s right!  It took a long, long time, but Mr. Curtis’ book Wanted: The Adventures of Billy Thickub is finally out and available.

It’s the story of a young man growing up in the Old West.  His best friend is his horse, Old Steve – which Mr. Curtis freely admits is a ridiculous name for a horse.  Anyways, this young fella – his name is Billy – is cheated by a low-down, filthy snake named Scoots McGinty in a spitting contest, and he loses Steve to this cheat.

Once Billy finds out that the contest wasn’t fair and square, he decides he’s gonna do whatever it takes to get Steve back.  Along the way he meets up with a more-than-half-deaf old man, a slow minded kid named Sloop, the baddest outlaw in all the land, and the world’s fattest cow.   Billy fights his way through all sorts of obstacles to win back his horse, surviving outlaws, angry mobs, and even some really antagonistic buffalo.

A lot of times these book reviews have a quote from some famous person, but I don’t know any famous people, so here’s a pretend quote from Rosanne Collins, the pretend sister of the author of The Hunger Games – “Mr. Curtis wrote a funny book.  It’s got funny stuff and there aren’t a whole lot of big words.  You should read it.”

You can get yourself a copy here or here.

Happy reading.