D. M. McGowan’s Books

Incredible Story Telling:
Historical Western Fiction With A Focus On Canada

Cattle Business: A Western Adventure by Dave McGowan

A brand-new Western adventure from Dave McGowan!

The evening of the next day Constable Edward Theason dismounted in a clearing not far from the Yellowhead Trail. He made a circuit every month, but he only came this far north and west every three months. It made the circuit another two weeks longer, thereby cutting in to his regular time off, but he enjoyed the trip. There were never any problems to deal with and he got to enjoy several nice, quiet campsites with protection from the weather and plenty of good water. Except for mid-winter when he often found those same sites isolated, lonely and sometimes dangerous.

He worked his ankles and stretched his legs. He put his hands on his hips and bent his back forward then back as far as he could.

“No law breakers, no Corporals or Sergeants, what could be better?” he said.

Cold Coffee 5 Star Review: Settle in for a Western Adventure that is far different from the Cattle Business of the twenty-first century. Constable Edward Theason’s leisurely horseback frontier security check comes to an abrupt end. His tracking skills creates an uneasy feeling.

The thieves might have gone quietly off into the night, but if caught, the price would be much higher than thieves pay today. Cattleman Sullivan Wheeler said. “Well, I reckon you’ve had enough time, Mr. Policeman. I wait much longer I won’t have any cows left.”

He decided to spend the day ensuring that everything around the buildings was properly stored and the horses in the barn pasture would have water and feed while he was gone. The area they were in was large enough for perhaps three times their number, so feed should not be a problem. Water, however, could be. If there was a heavy rain the resultant run-off could block the small channel through that pasture with debris, so he went out and made sure it was completely clear.

Having assured himself the place would manage without his attention he then concentrated on putting together the supplies he would need. He suspected it would take him some time to find the thieves which would require him to have two, or better yet three weeks of food for both man and horse. The horses could make do with the fresh grass in the country, but they would lose a lot of weight if he rode long days without supplying them with oats. Once he unloaded the pack horse at the two shacks, he maintained out in the hills he could switch horses each day, but even that would wear them down given enough time.

The air is clean, the elements can be merciless, the terrain beautiful, but not without its inherit danger. The adventure that unfolds is one of necessity, not leisure. This story reminded me that the west and ranchers of all types, in the United States and Canada owe a debt of gratitude to those who came before them. Those of us who aren’t forced to protect our land and livestock from wild animals and human predators, should respect the way of life still eked out by our farmers and ranchers.

Very enjoyable read. I purchase this book from Kindle on February 10, 2019.



The Making Of Jake McTavish: A Western Adventure by D. M. McGowan

In the west of the 1890s, Jake’s wife is raped and murdered, an image from which he attempts to escape and hide. When two thieves try to take what little he has left, Jake realizes he must face the past and solve his wife’s murder to truly escape the images in his head. But to find the killer, he discovers even more surprises …

Jake McTavish left his home in central Canada when he was in his Winnipeg, feeding cattle south of Fort Garry, and shooting wolves on the prairies, he starts his own cattle operation in the foothills of the western mountains. Then he meets his life-long partner, Anna.

Jake and Anna were married three years when it all came crashing down. He came home to find his beautiful wife raped and murdered. In an attempt to escape the vision of his butchered wife and all that he lost, Jake runs deep into the mountains, where he spends three years trapping and panning gold.

When two outlaws attempt to rob him and leave him for dead, Jake finally comes out of the stupor he has lived in and begins to fight back. First, he deals with the two thugs. Next, he returns to his homestead to find his wife’s killer. Solving a murder after several years is no easy task, especially when it includes surprises he didn’t want to find.

After a variety of work experiences, D. M. McGowan has now returned to work as a commercial driver and lives near Mile “0” of the world-famous Alaska Highway. His books bring Canadian history to life. This is his fourth published book. Publisher’s website: http://sbprabooks.com/davidmmcgowan

Cold Coffee 5 Star Review: The Making of Jake McTavish by D. M. McGowan is an 1800’s western pioneering era saga that combines exceptional story telling with an historical tale told by Peace Country pioneer John Brown.

Well-developed characters and true to life settings with descriptive writing put the reader into the story. The main character Jake McTavish stands alone in his empty cabin with his thoughts that he voiced to his blue tick hound, “Maybe I’ll just have t’shoot somebody. That way the government will have t’ feed us ‘til they punch my ticket and bury me.”

Life had been especially hard since the murder of his wife. For the fourth year he must continue his Peace River trek in British Columbia (1898) to take the furs that he had collected by canoe down to Ft. St John. This is an important ritual as Jake trades bails of skins for cash to pay for supplies and to repair equipment heading into the new season. Times were hard enough without the ambush that knocked him out cold and took most of everything that he had in his camp.

Just 11 years ago “in the spring of 1887 Jake became a wealthy saddle tramp. He only had fourteen Canadian dollars, two U.S. dollars and eighty-six cents, but he was rich in other goods. He had four horses, a fine, double rigged saddle, a short barrelled Colt pistol, a Colt Navy .36 and a Winchester rifle. He also had a serviceable pack saddle, bed roll, enough food to last a month and the pack covered with two tarps.”

By 1889 Jake had spent two years with the Cambridge Cattle Company and had accumulated some money. With a deep yearning for something more and the passing of the Canadian Homestead Act, Jake chose three hundred and twenty isolated acres in the foothills north of the Rocky Mountains. In the fall of 1891 with 15 yearlings to sell he met Anna Porenski. When she married him he no longer felt driven, because he had it all. Anna was raised on a farm, so ranch life came easy to her and she enjoyed gardening. The only thing missing are children for fate has refused to grant Jake and wife Anna a baby. To end such dreams Anna is murdered and the responding Mounted Policeman comes close to accusing Jake.”

Travel with Jake McTavish on a journey to find Anna’s killer or killers.

The Making of Jake McTavish by D. M. McGowan for the author’s incredible story telling of Jake McTavish. I invite you to also read: The Great Liquor War, Homesteader: Finding Sharon and Partners. D. M. McGowan tells us that Cattle Business is coming soon. This review was completed on December 20, 2015.

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The Great Liquor War: A Western Adventure by D. M. McGowan

The year is 1885. Hank James has been in Canada several months panning gold from a stream near Roswell, British Columbia. When he hears a prizefight will be held in town, he attends along with everyone for miles around. With a little help from the fight referee, he wins big betting on the fight. Having realized that the life of a miner isn’t nearly as romantic or rewarding as he expected, and with advice from the policeman who helped him win money on the fight, Hank goes to Farwell to haul freight with pack horses for contractors building the transcontinental railroad.

The railroad’s security, a detachment of North West Mounted Police, have maintained across the West that no liquor be allowed one mile on either side of the rail bed. Provincial authorities disagree. Hank James believes in honoring and repaying his debts, but that doesn’t mean he should be involved in a war between the BC Provincial Police and the North West Mounted.

He and his partners have trouble enough running their freight business, they don’t need to be caught between competing policemen. They are already stuck between Canada’s transcontinental railroad people and the contractors doing the actual construction. While the police are fighting one another, who is looking for criminals, particularly those stealing Hank’s horses? Despite a variety of jobs, D.M. McGowan now works as a commercial driver and lives near Mile “0” of the world-famous Alaska Highway.

His stories bring Canadian history to life. “I believe in seeing morality and societal responsibility rewarded. Too much of today’s fiction seems to lead into the dark instead of the light.”

Cold Coffee 5 Star Review: The Great Liquor War by D. M. McGowan is a western pioneering era saga that combines great story telling, true-to-life cowboy experience with US and Canadian history combined with legends from the 1800’s.

The main character Hank James was born in Canada and migrated south into the US with his family after the Civil War. Hank’s father headed towards Oregon in search of a farmstead while protecting his family from raids by outlaws and Indians. They made it as far as Kansas to find that the land was too dry to farm so pushed on to Oregon to find the land was too wet. With Mother Nature as their biggest obstacle and many mouths to feed young Hank James set out on his own. He settled down with his own gold mine claim near Rossland, British Columbia in 1984.

Hank wasn’t afraid of hard work, but he wanted more out of life than to eke out a living on his claim. With tenacity Hank took advantage of the Transcanada Railroad, found some partners and started his own freight business. Life should be good, but where there is industry, technology, commerce and economy, there are criminals.

In all my reviews I quote a passage so readers can get a feel for the authors writing style. I quote from page 37.

“It didn’t take a detective to know that the horse thief had played a little joke on the Provincial Police. Constable Art Hubbard was over six feet tall and probably ten pounds lighter than the one eighty mentioned in the description. Not only was he a long way from round, he was also clean shaven.

I gave Constable Hubbard my story, ending with the recovery of the bay gelding and the description I had from Miller. “An’ the fella called himself Art Hubbard,” I added.

The Constable’s expression didn’t change. He worked his chew around into one cheek and sent a stream of tobacco juice into the waste basket. “Feller with a sense o’ humor,” he noted, and then added. “It’ll be one ‘o Bulldog Kelley’s outfit. They work out o’ some of the illegal saloons t’ be found back in the bush. We catch one or two of ‘em every now an’ then, but we can’t get Kelley, an’ he’s the head o’ the snake. I can think of one or two that might fit your description, but not a one that had a full beard. An’ this fella’s probably shaved by now.”

I wrote out my story, signed it, and returned to work.”

Between the horse thieves, authority over liquor sales and a war between the BC Provincial Police and the North West Mounted Hank is he in over his head? Only time will tell if he makes the right choices and will he win the heart and loyalty of Sharon Dalton?

Saddle up your horse, holster your gun and join a rugged western cast of characters that will take you back to the reality and the legends of the Wild West.

The Great Liquor War by D. M. McGowan shares nuggets of history told within a great story of human experience in the Wild West. This review was completed on August 11, 2015.

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Partners: A Western Adventure by D. M. McGowan

Thomas Brash is trying to escape but knows he never will. Pursuing him is the memory of the family he lost to cholera. Perhaps he believes that traveling alone in a wild, dangerous land will end all his memories; there is no doubt he wishes to be alone. Whatever his intentions the appearance of Frank Clement and the circumstances of that meeting upset those plans. Brash views Clement as an uneducated child who requires fatherly protection and guidance. Clement views Brash as a tenderfoot and cannot understand how anyone who knows so little could live so long. These two loners are joined by others and they all become partners. Having achieved relative sanctuary and surrounded by civilization their wilderness past comes back to haunt them.

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Homesteader: Finding Sharon: A Western Adventure by D. M. McGowan

Staking a claim to a homestead in the rugged, untamed Canadian frontier of the 1880’s was hard enough. But when someone tries to run roughshod over the “nesters,” a man has to take a stand. There is more than bad weather for Hank James to contend with as he rides in search of the land of his dreams and the woman of his heart. Portis Martin, manager of a large cattle company, has no use for the small homesteaders that have begun to pepper the area…and he isn’t afraid of using every dirty trick he knows to run them out. And Portis had been doing a pretty good job of it-until Hank James and his partner arrive on the stage. The dreams of early homesteaders were not always strong enough to see them through adversity, but with Hank James on their side, the people might just find a way of uniting for the common good and building a dream that can endure.

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Spotlight Interview With Author D. M. McGowan

“Author Dave McGowan has been a cowboy, forest fire fighter, heavy equipment operator, farmhand, gardener, road musician and businessman.

He now writes, and works as a commercial driver, in Northern British Columbia.”

The forgoing is the bio from the back of my three novels and one might conclude from this information that I was a poor employee … either lazy or didn’t know what I was doing … and was kicked off a lot of jobs.

You would be partially correct, at least in surmising that I don’t know what I am doing. As for my being a poor employee, you would have to ask my bosses … although I think I’ve managed to trick the one I have now.

Of course, when I had my own business my boss thought I was marvelous.

Truthfully, I’ve managed over the years to find employment regardless of my location or the problems that might exist with the economy. I enjoyed much of that experience at the time and am glad that I attained it.

I’ve also visited a good portion of North America and lived in several areas of Canada where I met some great people and enjoyed some wonderful country.

Speaking of great people, Karen and I are parents to four great people who have supplied eight grandchildren who show that improvements can be possible in each generation.


What makes you proud to be a writer from Canada? I have received from readers and requests for another story.

I also take pride in revealing some of the past of this great country. Some strong people with great vision built this country but we seldom hear of them. They are the pioneers who came to a flat land of great distances, to a world of high mountain peaks, to winter’s cold or summer’s heat that was far beyond their comprehension and yet built something wondrous out of that, a world that we who live in it often don’t properly appreciate.

Those of us who look for it can gather information on politicians or major business leaders of the past but it’s difficult to find out about those who actually built Canada, the miners, loggers, cattlemen and farmers. People much like those who are continuing to make it work.

What or who inspired you to become a writer? Driven by a love of history I had gathered stories that interested me. In an attempt to feed and house myself and my family I enjoyed a variety of experiences through the years and turned some of those into stories as well. While we were traveling Western Canada playing music my wife and partner, Karen suggested that I should write some of those stories down. I did as suggested and found that what I enjoyed most was historical fiction.

When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? I began writing in 1990 but did not consider publishing until much later, perhaps 1995. My first was “The Great Liquor War” published in 1998.

Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? Yes, to both questions. As mentioned above I’ve had a variety of experiences and have used knowledge gained there in some of my stories. For example, a common practice in the mountains is to build a cache of goods and supplies for later use either at a permanent or long-term camp site or for use on an oft travelled trail. These caches are usually ten feet or more off the ground to save these supplies from the ravages of wildlife (primarily bears, wolves and coyotes). They may be no more than a floor or platform but are sometimes a log cabin high in the trees. I’ve never read mention of such in historical fiction or westerns and have included them in two of my stories.

Do you come up with your title before or after you write the manuscript? I generally make up some kind of a title so I can save it and find it in my computer. However, in many cases I’m aware this title will have to be changed when I’m finished. The stories usually take on a life of their own and become something I had not intended when I wrote the first paragraph. “The Great Liquor War” was “Liquor Laws” in the beginning. “Jake’s Justice” (unpublished) started off with that title and turned out to be close to my original idea.

Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? Historical fiction or a “Western” with a focus on Canada. I enjoy reading good stories from the west but have found very few sited in Canada. Two or perhaps three writers have done excellent work with fiction on the Canadian West and that work is as entertaining as any in the world. Except for those few, however much of it is very hard to read, misleading and inaccurate. There are billions of western novels out there but very few from “the North West Territories” or “the Colony of British Columbia.”

What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? The reviews I have received from many sites, the reviews from fans and the awards from Reader’s Favorite.

What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Write! If you have a problem which you wish to call “writers block” put that story aside and sit down and write. Start a new story, outline the person you want as a life partner or explain the one you have, write about your favorite pet or restaurant but write something. When you’re done or perhaps tomorrow go back and work on that story that’s giving you trouble.

Who is your favorite author? Anyone who is entertaining. Louis LaMour, Michael Connelly, Lee Child

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