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An illustration from my latest fictional story in SADDLEBAG DISPATCHES.

My dad’s birthday was yesterday, July 7. I thought about what I heard a lady say once, “When I was young, I thought my dad was just like John Wayne.” I suspect a lot of women grew up, identifying their fathers as strong John Wayne types. I know I did. Every time I write a Western story, I ask myself, “Would Daddy have liked this story and would he approve of my writing career? At heart, he was always a cowboy so I like to believe he would have been happy that much of my writing definitely has an Indian Territory or Old West bent.

I have noticed that many of my favorite characters are composites of my father. It is one way I keep his memory alive.

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