In 1984, I ran across an article in American West Magazine that totally captured my attention. "Paiute Revenge" it was called, written by the late Sally Zanjani. I cut it out and put it in my Eastern Sierra file. Every time we went fishing, camping, or backpacking on US Route 395, I pulled it out and read it. And every time, my reaction was the same: "I can't believe this story, so amazing, such intense drama that really happened. I can't believe no one has doine antying with it. It would make such a great movie. Someone needs to do something with this story!" As it turned out, twenty some years later I broke down and decided to give it a try myself. It took me a very long time, but Justice for All: The Search for Big Poker Tom, is the result. It's a historical novel about the events that took place in the spring of 1891 in Bridgeport, California. I spent countless hours researching in libraries, reading microfilm screens of old newspaper articles doing research. Then I began to write, filling in the blanks, creating the rest of the story.
Thinking I was going to become a National Park Ranger or biology teacher, I started on a biology degree at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, a very long time ago. After a short time at Asbury College, I transferred to UC Berkeley where I completed a bachelor's degree in biology. My life's direction changed, however, during my three-month (which became three-year) honeymoon in Vermont. I decided to go into the ministry and attended Talbot Seminary in La Mirada, California. I served in two large southern California churches, working with jr. highers, then children, then adults, for thirty-six years, before my retirement. I am married to Patty, my much better half, whom I met at Westmont. We have three daughters, who have brought into our lives three terrific sons-in-law and twelve absolutely amazing grandchildren.
Besides history, I enjoy Southwest landscape and wildlife photography, soccer, my faith, spending time with my famly, all things in the wild, and traveling (Italy in particular, as we have a daughter and family there). And I am now also a proud, bonafide, award-winning member of the Western Writers of America! My book was selected as a 2023 Spur Award Finalist in the historical fiction category! It's hard to believe! We traveled to the WWA Convention to accept the award. I have to pinch myself now and then to comprehend that it actually happened! to me!
In the spring of 1891, Big Poker Tom, a Paiute Native American from Nevada, left his reservation to find a high-stakes poker game in Bridgeport, California. Only his horse returned, several weeks later. His tribe sent a search party to Bridgeport to look for him.
This is the story of the clues they found, day by day for a five days. The evidence escaplated the story into an explosive conflict involving Whites, Paiutes, and Chinese, and their justice systems and cultures. Sheriff Michael J. Cody got involved helping them, intending to enforce the US justice system. He tried to keep the peace, his sworn duty, however . . . With two hundred armed Paiutes having gathered to help, the town of Bridgeport and all of its residents were suddenlty in grave danger. Find out how the story resolves, a true storyfrom the pages of history, a story that needs to be told!
It's now available at Amazon.com in paperback, eBook, and hardback.