Boggs, Johnny D. 1962-
BOGGS, Johnny D. 1962-
PERSONAL: Born 1962, in Timmonsville, SC; married Lisa Smith; children: Jack. Education: University of South Carolina, B.A. (journalism), 1984.
ADDRESSES: Agent—Golden West Literary Agency, 2327 South East Salmon St., Portland, OR 97214. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Writer and photographer. Formerly worked as a sports editor for Dallas Times Herald and Fort Worth Star-Telegram; freelance writer, 1998—.
AWARDS, HONORS: Spur Award, Western Writers of America, 2002, for "A Piano at Dead Man's Crossing."
This Man Colter, Avalon Books (New York, NY), 1997.
The Curse of Dunbar's Gold, Avalon Books (New York, NY), 1999.
Ten and Me, Avalon Books (New York, NY), 1999.
The Lonesome Chisholm Trail, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2000.
Foundation of the Law, Avalon Books (New York, NY), 2001.
Once They Wore the Gray: A Western Story ("Five Star First Edition" series), Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2001.
The Despoilers: A Frontier Story, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2002.
Lonely Trumpet: A Western Story ("Five Star First Edition" series), Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2002.
The Big Fifty: A Western Story, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2003.
Purgatoire: A Western Story, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2003.
"hannah and the horseman" series
Hannah and the Horseman, Avalon Books (New York, NY), 1997.
The Courtship of Hannah and the Horseman, Avalon Books (New York, NY), 1997.
Riding with Hannah and the Horseman, Avalon Books (New York, NY), 1998.
Hannah and the Horseman at the Gallows Tree, Avalon Books (New York, NY), 1998.
Hannah and the Horseman on the Western Trail, Avalon Books (New York, NY), 1999.
The Odyssey of Hannah and the Horseman, Avalon Books (New York, NY), 2000.
A Job for Hannah and the Horseman, Avalon Books (New York, NY), 2001.
"guns and gavel" series
Arm of the Bandit: The Trial of Frank James, Signet (New York, NY), 2002.
Spark on the Prairie: The Trial of the Kiowa Chiefs, Signet (New York, NY), 2003.
That Terrible Texas Weather: Tales of Storms, Drought,Destruction, and Perseverance, Republic of Texas Press (Plano, TX), 2000.
Pampered Cowboy: A Guide to Western-Theme B&Bs,Hotels, Ranches, and Resorts in Texas, Republic of Texas Press (Plano, TX), 2000.
Great Murder Trials of the Old West, Republic of Texas Press (Plano, TX), 2002.
Contributor to periodicals, including Frontier Trails, Cowboy Gazette, Big Sky Stories, Western Digest, The Shootist, True West, Persimmon Hill, Wild West, and Boys' Life. Work represented in anthologies, including the Dan River Anthology, 1989, 1990; Broken Dreams, 1992; and American West: Twenty New Stories from the Western Writers of America, Forge, 2001.
SIDELIGHTS: Western writer Johnny D. Boggs has written a number of novels, including those in the "Hannah and the Horseman" series, which is set in West Texas during the late 1880s. In the series opener, Hannah Scott, who is raising five orphans on her ranch outside Fort Davis, is in danger of losing the property when she meets Pete Belissari, a college-educated Greek cowboy who has the skills to compete in a race that can save the orphanage from those who want to take it.
In The Courtship of Hannah and the Horseman, the couple are about to marry when Hannah is taken hostage during a bank robbery by a former Confederate colonel. Pete joins Sheriff Buddy Pecos's posse, and before the conclusion, both Hannah and Pete must resist distractions. Hannah's captor is a handsome outlaw, and Pete, who is attacked and thought dead, is nursed back to health by a beautiful Greek woman. A Publishers Weekly reviewer wrote that "this hackneyed yarn is distinguished by a curiously charming naivete."
In reviewing the third book in the series, Riding with Hannah and the Horseman, a Publishers Weekly contributor noted that "Boggs's series may look to old dime novels for its supporting characters, but its eponymous leads are less traditional." This story takes the couple on a cross-country stagecoach race against a lady gambler known as the Black Widow. Each of the books in the series finds Hannah and Pete in danger and tested by villains, the elements, or other romantic possibilities.
Among Boggs's stand-alone novels is This Man Colter, set in West Texas, in which a female photographer intent on snapping a mountain lion is protected from harsh weather and outlaws by a pair of guides. In The Curse of Dunbar's Gold, set in the Wyoming Territory, a young woman whose innocent father was murdered because it was thought he knew the location of stolen gold is herself captured by outlaws seeking the treasure.
Jack Lindsay Mackinnon reflects on his past on the day of his wedding in 1886 in Ten and Me. Not far away lies Charles Dennis Tenedore Keogh, a friend who displayed most of the characteristics of the infamous Doc Holliday, having been a hard-drinking dentist, gambler, lawman, and outlaw suffering from consumption. In flashbacks, Jack recalls how the pair's exploits were enhanced and documented in "penny dreadfuls," in stories where they were called "Ranger Jack" and "Ten" by writer Robin Hunter. This brought the two friends fame, but also a number of gunmen who wanted to challenge their prowess. Booklist's Budd Arthur called the novel "an entertaining western in the classic mold." A Publishers Weekly contributor said that "Boggs's narrative voice captures the oldfashioned style of the past and reminds a reader of the derring-do western legends of yesteryear."
In reviewing The Lonesome Chisholm Trail, Arthur said Boggs "is among the best western writers at work today." Sixteen-year-old orphan Tyrell Breen leaves South Carolina for his uncle's ranch near San Antonio, Texas, but is robbed along the way by gambler Rip Ford. When he arrives, penniless, he finds his uncle has become a beaten man who finds solace in a whiskey bottle. When a neighbor begs help from the old trail boss in getting his beef to market during a period of plunging beef prices, the man puts down the bottle and helps his friend. Ty joins the drive, during which he faces the man who robbed him. The story is a classic western that emphasizes the severity of life on the trail. "Boggs tells the familiar story with authenticity and power," concluded Arthur.
Foundation of the Law takes place in a lawless New Mexico Territory gold-mining camp where the sheriff, aided by a pair of gamblers, construct a courthouse and jail. Once They Wore the Grey is the story of captured Confederate soldiers who find relief from the conditions in the Illinois prison where they are held by serving for one year fighting Native Americans and keeping the Sante Fe Trail open.
A former slave and the first black man to graduate from West Point is on trial for embezzlement and conduct unbefitting an officer in Lonely Trumpet. The year is 1881. Army attorney Captain Merrit Barber suspects a government conspiracy by white officers who want to remove Second Lieutenant H. O. Flipper and volunteers to defend him.
Arm of the Bandit: The Trial of Frank James is an historical novel based on the trial of the brother of Jesse James, who was shot in the back and killed by Bob Ford in 1882. The trial of Frank, which was held in an opera house, was heavily influenced by the popularity of the folk hero outlaw brothers, and this novel serves as the introduction to Boggs's "Guns and Gavel" series.
Boggs has also written a number of nonfiction titles, including That Terrible Texas Weather: Tales of Storms, Drought, Destruction, and Perseverance, which documents the floods, hurricanes, and tornados of Texas up to and including the drought and heat wave of 1998. In Pampered Cowboy: A Guide to Western-Theme B&Bs, Hotels, Ranches, and Resorts in Texas, Boggs also provides a guide to cowboy eating and cowboy shopping. Although the lives of real cowboys in the late nineteenth century were far from easy, many people still want to live the romanticized version of that life, and Boggs shows them how to do that.
Some of the most notable trials of the period are included in Boggs's Great Murder Trials of the Old West, including those of John Wesley Hardin, Jack McCall, Alfred Packer, and Bill Longley. Boggs includes maps and photographs and draws on the actual transcripts, when available. He provides a background of each crime and an epilogue of what happened after the verdict was handed down.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, December 1, 1999, Budd Arthur, review of Ten and Me, p. 683; September 15, 2000, Budd Arthur, review of The Lonesome Chisholm Trail, p. 215.
Publishers Weekly, October 6, 1997, review of TheCourtship of Hannah and the Horseman, p. 73; May 11, 1998, review of Riding with Hannah and the Horseman, p. 52; November 15, 1999, review of Ten and Me, p. 57.
Roundup, December, 1997, review of This ManCoulter, p. 29; April, 1998, review of The Courtship of Hannah and the Horseman, p. 32; February, 2000, review of Ten and Me, p. 31; October, 2000, review of The Lonesome Chisholm Trail, p. 31; December, 2000, review of Pampered Cowboy: A Guide to Western-Theme B&Bs, Hotels, Ranches, and Resorts in Texas, p. 22; October, 2001, review of Once They Wore the Gray, p. 30.
Johnny D. Boggs Home Page,http://www.johnnydboggs.com (December 19, 2002).*