A note from Dave Lloyd...
I ﬁnished high school in Rosebud, Montana in the area I write about. While going to school, I hayed and cowboyed for several ranchers around the area along the Yellowstone. My Uncles (Barleys) had a large ranch up Sand Creek, over 100 sections. That ranch was folded into the Lockies’ place and a portion of the Moore ranch when Norris Grain Company bought and put it together in the late 1950s. I went to work for them after two poor years of college (couldn’t decide, besides partying, what I wanted to do) and worked up to Asst. Ranch Manager under Art Brandvik, then was transferred to Rapid City, where I was Asst. Ranch Manager over nine large ranches in SD, ND and Montana. I worked there until 1964 when the ranches, most of them, were sold. I went back to the one they still owned, the JN Quarter Circle (Western Cattle CO.) there at Rosebud. At one time, I had 11 horses in my string. and rode them all, though a couple were hardbuckers--one was later sold at the Bucking Horse auction, but I had ridden him at work for over a year. (I also married Donna Dobias that year.)
After the disastrous winter of 1964-65, with temps down to -45 and wind up to 50 miles an hour, making wind chills for weeks on end that went all the way down to -100, I decided I wanted an inside job for awhile instead of watching cattle freeze and horses and men get hurt. Bus Pinkerton, a good friend of mine (older man w/ 6 kids) had a heart attack unloading cake that winter and was ﬁred because he could no longer work hard. No pension. That made me think where I might be 30 years from then. I decided to go back to college and graduated from Rocky Mountain College, in Billings, Montana, in 1967. For years I taught school---English, Journalism and History. I then went into administration - becoming principal and ﬁnally superintendant. Supted at Forsyth, Montana, St. Mary’s, Alaska, ﬁnally Harlowton, and then at Moore, Montana. (Princ. and Supt. are high stress jobs.) Anyway, I’m now retired, and it gives me time to hunt and write.
The book, “Pardners” was my second book- the sci-ﬁ “Arikara” was the ﬁrst. I had read about the Yellowstone Wagon Road Expedition out of Bozeman and was very impressed with the story. It was led by Ben Grounds. He was such a dominant character that I wanted to see him live on [he died in the Black Hills during the Gold Rush there]. I was just doing some writing in leisure time, ﬁghting the stress of the supt’s job there at Forsyth, to get my mind off things. The story grew on me--ﬁnally got it done in time for the Montana Centennial in 1989. I ran a thousand copies softbound and sold them out in about a year and a half, running all over the state - selling, consigning/commissioning. Then life intruded and I let the story sit for nearly 2 years before I got started again and started writing the sequel. This one (“T.S. Grounds”) took alot of research and hard work. It took about 8 years, and when I got it ﬁnished, I put them together under one cover. I had 500 copies run in Billings for the expensive price of $4000 and didn’t like the job the binding outﬁt did! So, I started binding them myself.
When I got the last one of the saga done (“Home Ranch”) I started running them myself on my own copier, too, then binding them in leather. Finally, I had enough people bugging me to read about Frank and Matthew (the main characters of “Pardners”) when they were young, so wrote the book, “The Rebels”, to tell how they got together and came to Montana. That makes the four book set a 100 year saga, from 1860s to the 1960s. The various series snowballed from there.
Now, I no longer print and bind my own books, instead selling them on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and at my table around gun shows and fairs. I do not put it them in other book stores (got burned on that back when I started selling the ﬁrst books.) Most of the novels are out in an audibook version now, too.
I have a screenplay in the works on “Pardners” (who knows where it will go - they say only one in 1500 makes it to ﬁlm).
My aim is to write a book a year. Never expected to break into the big time - just want to write and sell as I do.