I love the Western Writers of America’s conventions. They are a wonderful melting pot of colorful individuals from a vast array of backgrounds, all with fascinating stories to tell. People started arriving yesterday. Dusty Richards is here with his signature white Stetson – and heavens, he’s written close on 150 books. Terry Del Bene arrived armed with his wonderfully ironic sense of humor – and surely his book the Donner Party Cookbook should be on everyone’s list of must-reads. After all, who can resist such a great title?
Nancy Plain has flown in – winner of so many Spur Awards that she must be running out of shelf space. The King of Cool, Johnny Boggs, is here too, as are so many other great characters – writers, publishers, editors… And they all have one thing in common – a shared love of all things Western.
One character though can’t be here – sadly Stoney Livingston, the possessor of a voice which sounds like molasses over gravel, is laid up injured in Arizona. He will be sorely missed but I just finished reading his book, Doubtful Bounty, which is a mile a minute, action packed romp through southern Arizona and Mexico, so at least he’s here in spirit.
And last night a group of us had dinner with Henry Crawford, the highly entertaining curator of history at the Museum of Texas Tech University, and Tiffany and Hazel from Five Star Publishing. Henry might not know it yet, but he will be strong-armed into becoming a member of the WWA – he has far too many good stories to tell to be allowed to escape.
There will be more than two hundred people attending this year’s convention. So, the cast is arriving, the stage is set and later today the curtain will go up on what promises to be a great week of panels and talks on topics to inspire and educate. We’re going to have a ball.