2016 Western Fictioneers Peacemaker Award Winner

Author GP HUTCHINSON - 2016 Western Fictioneers Peacemaker Award Winner

Popular Handguns of the Old West

If you’re going to enjoy Westerns to the fullest, it’s good to know some of the more popular handguns of the Old West.

What kind of gun is he totin'?

What kind of gun is he totin’? With its bird’s head grip, it might be a Colt 1877, or it could be a reworked Colt 1873.

It’s been suggested many times that gun play was not nearly so common in the American West as Western fiction makes it seem. Likewise some have insisted that the late Elmer Kelton (whom Western Writers of America crowned the greatest Western author of all time) didn’t write shoot-’em-ups. Both statements may be correct, but a great deal of fiction across all genres places heroes and villains alike at one end or the other of a gun. It’s fiction.

Meanwhile, the American West of the 1860s-90s was not a tame place. A cowboy might need a pistol if for no other reason than not wanting to get dragged to his death if his horse threw him and bolted while his foot remained tangled in his stirrup. Besides, there were snakes, wolves, coyotes, mountain lions, and the like to contend with, not to mention a wide open land with too few lawmen to keep up with scores of new settlements and problems.

With that said, what popular handguns did the folks of the Old West like to carry?

Famous Handguns of the Old West Continue reading

“Strong Suspicions” Is Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal Winner

The 2016 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards has named Strong Suspicions (Emmett Strong Western #2) their Westerns category Gold Medal Winner.

gold-shiny-webWriting for Readers’ Favorite, Geoff Baggett said,

GP Hutchinson’s Strong Suspicions is the second and latest installment in his Emmett Strong Western Series. It traces the ongoing adventures of Texas Ranger Emmett Strong, his sidekicks, and his new Oriental bride upon their return to Texas after a bloody confrontation in Nevada. The action resumes in the shady border town of El Paso. Strong and his companions are assailed on multiple fronts. They are accused of a heinous crime that they did not commit and pursued by enemies old and new. With so many potential adversaries, it becomes impossible for Emmett Strong to trust anyone but his faithful wife and trusty sidekick, Juanito. The book is peppered with numerous tense encounters with various foes, and builds like a brooding symphony toward the final, dramatic confrontation with the treacherous enemy who was the mastermind of their El Paso troubles. Continue reading

Get Your Cowboy On!

The National Day of the Cowboy is today (the fourth Saturday in July)!

Get Your Cowboy On

He’s the quintessential American folk hero—the brave individual who faced the untamed elements beneath the big skies of the wide-open American West. He’s the stuff of legends—America’s Robin Hood, our William Tell, our knight-errant. For that matter, when we consider the strong and courageous women of the frontier West, cowgirls are our Joan of Arc, heroes facing and overcoming hardship and perils—with or without a man at their side.

True, much of it is myth that has grown over time. Yet a great deal of American cowboy culture is founded in facts, based on virtues and values that have contributed in a powerful way to the forging of a distinct and honorable American spirit.

And today is the day to remember and celebrate America’s cowboy heritage. So “get your cowboy on!”

Five Ways to Celebrate National Day of the Cowboy Continue reading

Tell Your Friends: Free This Weekend Only

Tell FriendsIf you’ve enjoyed the action, suspense, and color of Strong Convictions or Strong Suspicions, this would be the perfect weekend to tell your friends about the books. July 15 through July 17 both books will be available for free in’s Kindle Store.

It’s prime vacation season, so maybe folks you know will be looking for something to read beneath the beach umbrella or at the end of a long day on the road, touring the country. They won’t be able to find a fun read at a lower price!

And if they’re still slugging away at work, what better way to unwind at the end of a long day on the job than to escape to the Wild West for a while?

At any rate, both books are free through Kindle this weekend only and can be read on any smartphone or tablet using Kindle’s free app. So why not tell your friends?

A Solid Month on the Road

I can’t tell you how many times Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again” and Gene Autry’s “Back in the Saddle Again” have played out in my mind during the past 30 days.

I’ve taken longer trips before, and I’ve ranged much farther from home, but I don’t know that I’ve ever driven as many highway miles in a single month.

Getting my daughter settled in with her husband out in West Texas. Visiting my wife’s aging parents, as well as my own (in North Carolina and Louisiana respectively). Spending time with my other two daughters and my grandchildren in Florida. It all added up to a whole lot of hours behind the steering wheel.

So what kind of mischief did I get into along the way? Continue reading

“Strong Suspicions” Named National Award Finalist

NIEAseal-2016-Finalist-200The National Indie Excellence® Awards has just named Strong Suspicions a Finalist in the Westerns category of their 2016 indie and small press authors competition. Publishers Weekly lists the National Indie Excellence® Awards as one of the top book awards for self-published authors, stating, “Competition is fierce.”

As you would naturally expect, to place or win in a contest such as the National Indie Excellence® Awards, a novel needs to present a compelling story. But it has to do much, much more than just that. Books that are not well edited or polished are eliminated pretty quickly.

“Now I would say that 95% of the books that come in look basically the same as the books you might see coming from a major publisher,” says Tara Johnson, who manages the self-pub awards program at Writer’s Digest.

Strong Suspicions is the second Emmett Strong novel to receive National Indie Excellence® Awards honors. Last year, Strong Convictions was the contest’s Westerns category winner.

Both Emmett Strong novels have been gaining excellent reader following. Currently, both titles are ranked among the top 12 classic-style Westerns in’s Kindle store. And readers have been regularly giving 4- and 5-star ratings and reviews for both books.

Many thanks to each of you who has already read Strong Convictions  or Strong Suspicions and expressed your enjoyment of the reading experience. If you haven’t yet read either story, why not grab a copy today and “saddle up” for an entertaining Western adventure?

Actor Alex Cord Endorses “Strong Convictions”

Alex CordAlex Cord—the New York Times dubbed him “The Man Who Dared to Fill John Wayne’s Boots.” In the 1966 remake of the classic Western film Stagecoach, Cord played the role of the Ringo Kid—the same role that vaulted John Wayne into the limelight back in 1939 when the original version of the film was released.

Mr. Cord, also, appeared in the highly acclaimed Western TV series Laramie, Branded, and Gunsmoke. In 2001, he won a prestigious Golden Boot Award in acknowledgement of his significant contribution to the Western genre of television and movies.

So, needless to say, it’s an immense honor for me to share with you Alex Cord’s endorsement of my novel Strong Convictions: An Emmett Strong Western. Mr. Cord wrote, Continue reading

Gun Leather Art

Halfbreed Holster

By Michael E. Cumpston – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

The gun leather worn by those who tamed the Wild West was generally pragmatic gear–something to keep your pistol close at hand, more or less clean and dry. Then as now, however, some folks didn’t mind indulging in a little something special when it came to how they carried their weapons. So singular were a few of these holsters and belts that I’m sure you’ll agree, they’re nothing less than art.

Among the earliest non-military holsters were the slim jim styles that showed up in significant numbers among those who flocked to California during the gold rush years Continue reading

Who Really Did Pack Iron in the Old West?

Photo Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

Photo Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

So did just about everyone who populated America’s frontier West pack iron? Or is that a misconception perpetuated by Western fiction, TV, and movies? While I make no claim to be an expert on the matter, and though my scholarship on the topic is superficial at best, I believe I can offer some legitimate observations in answer to the question.

One way to know the extent to which citizens of the Old West characteristically carried weapons is to go to period sources, including period photographs. Recalling that the latter half of the nineteenth century was not exactly the era of the “selfie,” getting one’s picture taken was something of a special event back in those days. Consequently, folks might not have behaved–or even dressed–the same as they would in day-to-day life. Continue reading