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Based on True Events

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My Story

In 1985, I ran across an article in American West Magazine that totally captured my attention. "Paiute Revenge" it was called, written by 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, an amazing, intense drama that really happened. It would make a great movie. Someone needs to do something with this story!" As it turned out, fifteen years ago I broke down and decided to give it a shot myself. It took me a very long time, but Justice for All: The Search for Big Poker Tom, is my historical fiction novel about the events that took place in the spring of 1891. I spent hours in libraries staring at screens of microfiche of old newspaper articles doing research. Then I began to write, filling in the blanks, creating the rest of the story. 

Let me know how you like it. A couple of very gory pages, but you being a nurse will be okay with that? All from the pages of the Bridgeport newspaper in 1891....Love that photo of Joel in the kitchen! How'd that turn out? Wayne

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. I transferred to UC Berkeley and completed my degree there. 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 College. We have three daughters, who have brought into our lives three terrific sons-in-law and twelve 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 a bonafide member of the Western Writers of America! 

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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.


This is the story of how they found clues, day by day for a week, clues which built into an explosive conflict involving Whites, Paiutes, and Chinese, and their justice systems and cultures. Sheriff Michael J. Cody was stuck in the middle of it all. He tried to keep the peace, his sworn duty, however . . . The town of Bridgeport and all of its residents were in jeopardy. Find out how the story resolves a story out of the pages of history that needs to be told!

It's now available at in paperback, eBook, and hardback. 

Next Event

Due to my book's Western Writers of America Spur Finalist Award, I was invited to be a part of the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival. Yippee! I'll be in the Buckaroo Book Shop tent on Saturday and Sunday, April 22 and 23, gabbing with anyone who comes by, and hopefully signing and selling a couple of books. In addition, on Sunday, 12-12:40, I'll be giving a short version of my PowerPoint presentation, "The Stories Behind the Story." That will be in the local library on Main Street in Old Town Newhall. Newhall is where the festival is bemg held this year. There will be Cowboy Church at 7:30 am on Sunday at the 1st Presbyterian Church (24317 Newhall Ave. in Newhall), three music stages going both days, food, and just about everything cowboy you can think of! Stop by and say hello Buckaroo Book Shop if you're able to! There's no charge. I've always thought it would be fun to go to this annual event, back when it was not free, and now I get to! 

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