Monday, November 4, 2013

Challenge Participant Feature - Sean McLachlan, Civil War, and the Wild, Wild West!

This month’s Challenge Participant is Sean McLachlan, author, freelance writer, and traveler. Sean is incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to history, and his A to Z Challenge theme was the Civil War and Wild West history. And if you think history is boring, read on…

You’ve written about Civil War history for so long – was it difficult to find topics that fit the A to Z?

Not at all! The American Civil War is such a rich topic, plus I look at the understudied area west of the Mississippi, which only now is getting the attention it deserves. As usual with my blog, I swerved off topic and talked about the Wild West and movies as well!

Did you learn anything new while composing your posts?

I learned a little while researching almost every one of my posts. That’s one of the things I love about blogging, it doubles as research to inspire my historical fiction and nonfiction.

Which letter was your favorite?

That would have to be G for Globster. See below!

Who was William S. Hart?

William S. Hart was the first Western film star, back in the silent movie era of the 1920s and 1920s. He starred in more than 70 Westerns from 1914 to 1925 and helped establish many of the tropes still used in Westerns to this day. In The Return of Draw Egan (1916) Hart favors a slight grimace and a cigarillo that looks like it inspired Clint Eastwood's The Man With No Name. I wouldn't be surprised. Hart inspired many Western actors and helped establish the genre. He was hugely successful in his day but sadly all but forgotten now.

What are Baldknobbers?

The Baldknobbers were a group of vigilantes in the Missouri Ozarks in the years after the Civil War. The Ozarks were hard hit by the war and returning Confederate soldiers found their land had been confiscated by the government and sold Unionists for failure to pay taxes. Some former rebels turned to lawlessness (like Jesse James did in western Missouri) and a group of former Union soldiers formed the Baldknobbers, so called because they’d meet on a bare hilltop (a “bald knob”) in local parlance) so they could talk without being heard.
Gunfights and lynchings became rife, with both sides losing many men in this replay of the Civil War.

You posted about Pterodactyls for P. Explain to everyone how Pterodactyls fit into Wild West history.

Pterodactyls are alive and flying over America! The old Native American legend of the Thunderbird, a giant bird, inspired many tales in the Old West of living pterodactyls. Back in 1890, the Tombstone Epitaph published a story claiming that some cowboys bagged one. Several photos have popped up since then purporting to show cowboys or Civil War soldiers proudly posing next to dead flying dinosaurs.

Continuing the weird theme, what are globsters?

Globsters are simply the cutest, cuddliest lumps of decaying flesh you’ll ever come across on the beach. Every now and then a large chunk of unidentifiable meat will wash ashore, sparking rumors of strange sea beasts. I've always had a soft spot in my heart for globsters. Perhaps it's the name, or their irresistible charm. Perhaps it's because I always root for the underdog, and you can't get much lower than being a rotting hunk of unidentifiable meat on the beach being gawked at by local yokels.

If you do the Challenge next year, what themes are you considering? 

I’ve expanded beyond the Civil War and Wild West in my blogging. While I’m keeping my blog Civil War Horror alive for those subjects, I’ve revived my old blog Midlist Writer in order to reflect my shift to other subjects in my fiction. Midlist Writer covers writing (a lot about NaNo at the moment), travel, history, photography, obscure films, globsters, and whatever else I fancy. I’m thinking the next A to Z will be a seething mass of chaos from the fevered brain of Sean McLachlan.

Thanks, Sean!

Co-host Ninja Captain Alex is the author of CassaStar, CassaFire, and CassaStorm, and his blog can be found HERE


Tony Laplume said...

The link to Midlist Writer needs to be corrected.

Rita A. said...

Great post. I look forward to reading much, much more.

D.G. Hudson said...

Hi, Sean, nice to see you here! Good luck with your NANO-ing.

I'm quite fond of Sean's travel writing and his interesting finds and photos.

Sean McLachlan said...

Sharp eyes, Tony! The URL is
Oh, and all you Nano crazies out there can find me under my own name on the NaNo site!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Globsters! I always love those stories and photos. I imagine back in the day, people really thought they were monsters.

Ella said...

Sean you really came up with some unique finds on this subject! Globsters-oh, my! I can't imagine! Good luck with NaNo~

Dianne K. Salerni said...

" can't get much lower than being a rotting hunk of unidentifiable meat on the beach being gawked at by local yokels."

This one almost made me spit out my coffee. LOL!

What do you make of those cowboy and pterodactyl photos? Fakes, aren't they?

Sean McLachlan said...


Yeah, sadly I think they're fake. But you never know! I want to believe. . .

Stephen Tremp said...

It's great to meet and see Sean in person. I had not seen a pic of him before.

And being gawked at by local yokels? Was Cletus the Slack Jawed Yokel one of them?

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Tina said...

I want to see a globster! That's a totally cool name for something probably gross and smelly...but I like unusual stuff, and I love beaches, so finding one while looking for sea shells would be cool!
Tina @ Life is Good

Shannon Lawrence said...

We've got some interests in common, Sean! Love the photos on this post. Keep the interesting information coming. :)

The Warrior Muse