Merry Christmas!
Dec. 25, 2014

I ain't much good at prayin',
   and You may not know me, Lord --
For I ain't much seen in churches,
   where they preach Thy Holy Word.
But you may have observed me
   out here on the lonely plains,
A-lookin' after cattle,
   feelin' thankful when it rains.

Admirin' Thy great handiwork.
   the miracle of the grass,
Aware of Thy kind Spirit,
   in the way it comes to pass
That hired men on horseback
   and the livestock that we tend
Can look up at the stars at night,
   and know we've got a Friend.

So here's ol' Christmas comin' on,
   remindin' us again
Of Him whose coming brought good will
   into the hearts of men.
A cowboy ain't a preacher, Lord,
   but if You'll hear my prayer,
I'll ask as good as we have got
   for all men everywhere.

Don't let no hearts be bitter, Lord.
   Don't let no child be cold.
Make easy the beds for them that's sick
   and them that's weak and old.
Let kindness bless the trail we ride,
   no matter what we're after,
And sorter keep us on Your side,
   in tears as well as laughter.

I've seen ol' cows a-starvin' -
   and it ain't no happy sight;
Please don't leave no one hungry, Lord,
   on Thy Good Christmas Night --
No man, no child, no woman,
   and no critter on four feet
I'll do my doggone best
   to help you find 'em chuck to eat.

I'm just a sinful cowpoke, Lord --
   ain't got no business prayin'
But still I hope you'll ketch a word
   or two, of what I'm sayin':
We speak of Merry Christmas, Lord--
   I reckon You'll agree --

There ain't no Merry Christmas
   for nobody that ain't free!
So one thing more I ask You,
   Lord: just help us what You can
To save some seeds of freedom
   for the future Sons of Man!

S. Omar Barker

S&S Book Progress Update
Slow-n-steady wins the race... we hope!
June 22, 2014

So, May didn't happen. Nor did June. And, if I'm honest, July is tentative.

May got off track because most of my free time was spent on a gaming project being developed by our partner, Paul "Mad Dog" Mauer. If it ever comes to fruition, you'll be the first to know... and so will the rest of the country. Yup, it's that big. And that mysterious.

I actually got a lot of work done in June, but not enough to finish the book. Right now I can't tell if I've misjudged the size of the project, or am just getting mired down in project scope creep. By that, I mean I keep adding lots of little touches here and there that, perhaps, are not needed -- but do add value to the final delivered book. It's probably a combination of the two factors.

So, this little missive is just here to let you know that I'm still hard at work on our next book, Gutshot: Showdowns & Shootouts Adventures. In fact, I think it's looking pretty darned good.

Here's a sample page from one the ninth adventure, "Klaus Needs a Holiday." If you've got really sharp eyes (and a good memory, you might notice that it's got a new sawed-off shotgun drawing. I never liked the old one, so this was definitely an opportunity to upgrade that piece of art a little. Other improvements include tweaks to the maps (and one adventure is even getting a new map).

Now, you might be wondering why I'm reformatting the adventures. After all, they looked pretty good the first time around. The answer is simple -- those adventures were formatted for you to print out on your home printer. For that reason, backgrounds and color were kept to a minimum. This time, however, we're doing a PDF and a book. The PDF can have all the color we want, and the book (which will be printed in black & white) will be formatted to take advantage of the larger print area (we can bleed artwork off the pages) and have tighter margins. In short, it's going to look a little slicker than the print-at-home pages.

Right now, I'm aiming to get the PDF out in August. Whether it's the beginning or end of August remains to be seen.

I'm still keeping a log of my work on this book.
If you're interested, you can find it here:


DEADWOOD - Grave Names
  1. Rust N. Peace
    This has always been one of my favorites.
  2. I. L. Beback
  3. Ray N. Carnation
  4. I. M. Mortal
  5. Theo Later
  6. U.R. Gone
  7. Six-Gun Sam
    Under his name, you can write, "Because it took 6 bullets to kill me!"
  8. The Coffin Kid
    On the marker: "I told yuh I wuz sick!"
  9. Count Alucard
    Read it backwards - This was actually the name the count used in 'Billy The Kid vs. Dracula.' Maybe you can draw a bat on the marker?
  10. Arch Stanton
    This was the name next to the unmarked grave from 'The Good, The Bad & The Ugly.
  11. M.T. Tomb
  12. The Grave With No Name
    What else would you give a man with no name?

The Coyboy's Lament

"O bury me not on the lone prairie
 Where coyotes howl and the wind blows free
 In a narrow grave just six by three—
O bury me not on the lone prairie"

 "It matters not, I've been told,
 Where the body lies when the heart grows cold
 Yet grant, o grant, this wish to me
 O bury me not on the lone prairie."

 "I've always wished to be laid when I died
 In a little churchyard on the green hillside
 By my father's grave, there let me be,
 O bury me not on the lone prairie."

 "I wish to lie where a mother's prayer
 And a sister's tear will mingle there.
 Where friends can come and weep o'er me.
 O bury me not on the lone prairie."

I've always liked this tune. I recall singing it as kid in Scouts and in school. To be honest, I couldn't imagine kids today being taught this song. And that's sad, because (and I don't care if I tick you off by saying it), I think we've allowed too many whiney people to dilute our culture into some sort of mamby pamby shadow of our former glory.

But I digress...

In Gutshot, eventually you're going to kill enough folks (all bad, I'm sure) that you'll need your own boot hill grave yard, and yer gonna want some names to put on the markers that are already there.

I also strongly suggest that you put some dead character names on the stones or wooden planks.

Thanks again to the guys at The Miniatures Page for their help, especially richarDisney!

- Mike Mitchell

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