Category Archives: Announcements

Ghost Towns: Lost Cities of the Old West out today!

Today is the official release of my book, Ghost Towns: Lost Cities of the Old West.  It is available direct from the publisher, most all online booksellers, in major bookstores, and at museums and national parks.  If your bookseller doesn’t carry it, they should be able to order it in.  Just give them ISBN # 0747810850.

If you’d like to order through my affiliate link, click here:
Ghost Towns: Lost Cities of the Old West (Shire Library)

Thanks to those who have already picked up a copy, and for the kind words from those who have already read it.  Thanks also to the Tooele Transcript Bulletin for the nice profile in last Thursday’s edition.  Enjoy the book and spread the word!




Announcement – Ghost Towns: Lost Cities of the Old West

Dear Reader,

I’m ecstatic to announce the upcoming release of my first book, Ghost Towns: Lost Cities of the Old West, from Shire Publishing.  The book is available for pre-order now and will be released on April 17. An e-book version is expected to be released by June.

About the Book
“There comes a time in every rightly-constructed boy’s life when he has a raging desire to go somewhere and dig for hidden treasure.”

This quote from Chapter 25 of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer has captioned this website since its inception.  The raging desire of which Mr. Twain speaks came upon me early in life, and has sparked several passions.  Among them is the study of abandoned places.  My somewhere was the great American West.  My hidden treasure, ghost towns.

The dialog that follows the quote in Tom Sawyer is priceless.  It goes something like this:

Huck: Where’ll we dig?

Tom: Oh, most anywhere.

Huck: Why, is it hid all around?

Tom: No, indeed it ain’t. It’s hid in mighty particular places, Huck – sometimes on islands, sometimes in rotten chests under the end of a limb of an old dead tree, just where the shadow falls at midnight; but mostly under the floor in ha’nted houses.

Huck: Who hides it?

Tom: Why, robbers, of course…They always hide it and leave it there.

Huck: Don’t they come after it anymore?

Tom: No, they think they will, but they generally forget the marks, or else they die. Anyway, it lays there a long time and gets rusty; and by and by somebody finds an old yellow paper that tells how to find the marks – a paper that’s got to be ciphered over about a week because it’s mostly signs and hy’roglyphics.”

Like Tom’s treasure, ghost towns can be found most anywhere, especially in places that seem odd and secreted.  There they remain, mostly forgotten and in various states of decay, waiting for a couple adventurous kids with an old yellow paper.

There are many guide books available that list ghost towns by region.  This is not one of those books.  This book is a primer to the ghost town phenomenon and the ghost-towning hobby.  It’s the book you read before you pick up a guide book.  Ghost towns are best experienced with as much context as possible.  What exactly is a ghost town? How did they rise? Why did they fall? What can their remains tell us about the people that once called them home? And how can they be experienced today?

Ghost Towns: Lost Cities of the Old West answers these questions, and then some.

Pre-order yours today!

  • Pre-order direct from the publisher (this earns me highest royalties): Link [make sure to set your location to USA in the top corner]



I’m going on hiatus.  Not from the blog (though I can see how the lack of regular postings here lately might lead one to that conclusion).

If you’re a regular reader, you may have noticed that It’s been quite some time since I re-posted any content from my newspaper column.  A few people have asked why, and I suppose a brief explanation is in order.

For just over three years I’ve written a (mostly) weekly outdoors column for my local newspaper, the Tooele Transcript Bulletin.  This has been an exhausting, but unbelievably rewarding undertaking.  It’s become a passion, and I think I’ve published some  insightful and worthwhile pieces through it’s course.

So it was with mixed emotion that I made the decision last fall to put the column on indefinite hiatus.

There are several reasons for this, one of which is a reassessment of sorts.  I found my literary muse a little late in the career game.  So far it’s been strictly a side gig, limited to ever-decreasing amounts of spare time.  But the column has given me a foot in the door, and I need to pause in order to explore opportunities to grow and expand.  Can a side career be made in campfire philosophy?  I don’t know, but I need to find out.

In that vein, I’ve begun one new venture– a history-related project with a focus on Old West ghost towns– and am laying the groundwork for another, which will take a hybrid/New Media approach to  Utah’s outdoors.

I’ll explain both of these projects in more detail as time goes on, and of course keep you updated on the column’s status.  In the meantime, I’ll continue to write regular features in the newspaper’s Hometown section, and  I’ve got a few more Outdoor Adventure articles to re-post here, including a 2010 retrospective from last week.


Best sleepover ever

If you’re bored tonight, tune in here to read about what is sure to be the best sleepover ever.  I can’t say much about it– mainly because I don’t know much about it.  Yet.

Bridger will be with me, along with a couple dozen strangers.  Not sure how that will work, but we’ll have sleeping bags, maybe pillows, perhaps a laptop, and my smartphone.  And I think some beluga whales and/or a polar bear might make an appearance at some point in the evening.

If I’ve got service, I’ll be tweeting and liveblogging.  Talk to you tonight!


It’s Halloweentime at!

The decorations and costumes have been in stores now for over a month, but with the weather now turning (at least here in Utah), their presence on the “Seasonal” aisle finally seems appropriate.  Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays, but the last few years it’s kinda sneaked up on me.  Somehow in the hustle and bustle of work and newspaper and kids school parties, the oh-so-sweet Halloween spirit has passed me by.

Not this year, dangit!  The house is already decorated, the Goosebumps books already put in the kids’ nightly reading rotation, and I’ve already downloaded an iPod full of old-time horror radio shows.  Bring it, October!

Here on the blog, I’ll be dedicating the Thursday slot to posts about Halloween, ghost towns, and general spookiness.  [I say Thursday, but don’t hold me to that schedule– I’m a busy dad riddled with adult ADD.]

I’ll be re-adapting and re-posting some of my older stuff that you might not have caught back then.  I’ll be linking to external sources of eerie goodness, and I’ll be blurbing about some of the more Hallweeny places I’ve been.  So sit back, grab some candy corn, and enjoy Halloweentime here at!

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Posted by on October 6, 2009 in Announcements, Site Updates


A new addition to the family

I just wanted to jump on and explain my absence here the last few days.  Friday morning the missus gave birth to a strapping young lad who, for the time being here, shall be known as “Little D.”  So for the last few days I’ve been off the grid, hangin’ with the mumma, and watching Law & Order reruns.  Mom and baby are doing just fine.  Oldest brothers love him to death.  Middle brother is indifferent.  Miss Ella feels very, very betrayed, but she’s finally starting to warm up to her baby brother.


Posted by on April 8, 2009 in Announcements