Monday, July 07, 2014

Call for Submissions


Pro Se Productions, a Genre Fiction Publisher known for reviving forgotten or obscure characters in new stories, announces an open call for an anthology centered on a movie cowboy from the 1930s. Herb Jeffries, singer and actor, portrayed cowboy crooner Bob Blake in three films. Known as The Bronze Buckaroo, the title of the second of the three Blake films, the character stands out as the first notable African American cowboy on the silver screen. Pro Se Productions proudly announces plans to build an anthology around Blake containing all new stories in The Adventures of The Bronze Buckaroo.

“The story of The Bronze Buckaroo,” says Tommy Hancock, Editor in Chief and Partner in Pro Se Productions, “could be told one of two ways. First, it could spotlight the creation of the character and the three films that featured him and focus on the fact that these were African American productions featuring African American actors and actresses at a time when that was nearly unheard of. Herb Jeffries came to be identified with the character so much that he wore the sobriquet the rest of his life. There’s a fantastic tale about those films and that time period waiting for someone to spin.

“Then,” continues Hancock, “there’s what Pro Se plans to do. Even though the three movies were B type Singing Cowboy pictures, the character of Bob Blake stands out as a classic character, the cowboy who rides into help someone and even when he finds himself in trouble, still manages to stay on the right side of the law. Jeffries pulled off this stock character as well as any of his contemporaries, including Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. And the fact that he is a series character adds to Pro Se’s desire to keep telling the tales of the Bronze Buckaroo.”

It is not lost on Pro Se Productions, however, the further significance of the character. “What we hope to do with the Buckaroo,” says Hancock, “is similar to the difference between the Hopalong Cassidy books and the Hoppy movies. We definitely plan to keep the continuity, what of it there is, the three movies establishes as well as the spirit of the character. He’s a strong, morally good character who is on the side of right. We also, however, want to be realistic. That is, Bob Blake is an African-American cowboy in the early 20th Century, so all that that entails should be utilized in these stories as the authors see fit Also, we’ll be looking for an authentic portrayal of Blake and other characters as cowboys, men of the range who lived by the gun and the saddle. Hats don’t stay clean and shirts pressed on the frontier. We hope to receive stories that pay homage to the Buckaroo movies, but are not pastiches of this really neat character.”

The three Bob Blake films were Two-Gun Man From Harlem (1938), The Bronze Buckaroo (1939), and Harlem Rides the Range (1939). Although they are considered westerns, the time period which they, especially the later two, take place in is somewhat murky. This was not uncommon in the B-westerns of this type. For the purposes of the collection, the stories may be set anywhere from 1935 until 1941, allowing that Bob Blake was cowboying at least a few years before the first film.

“This,” explains Hancock, “gives authors a really distinctive opportunity and offers something cool for readers as well. Because of the nature of the stories these films told, it’s possible to have gun slinging cowpokes side by side with gangsters and the more modern types of the 1930s. It's the wonderfully strange little world these B-westerns from that era created, a world where one side of the country was barreling toward the future in cars while the other chose to stay in the past on horseback. The possibilities with both are really promising for exploring either traditional western tales or stories that mix crime, intrigue, and mystery in with sagebrush and sixguns.”

Hancock also notes that for this collection, unless proposing authors indicate a reason otherwise, The Bronze Buckaroo will operate out of a ranch in California in the Apple Valley. This has a connection to the history of the films as they were all filmed at an African-American ran dude ranch in the Apple Valley.

A proposal of 100-500 words for inclusion in The Adventures of the Bronze Buckaroo must be submitted to by August 31, 2014. Accepted stories must be 6,000 to 10,000 words. Authors not previously published by Pro Se Productions must submit a writing sample of at least two pages with their proposals. When proposals are accepted and the collection filled, final deadline for completed stories will be determined and relayed to all accepted authors. 

The Adventures of the Bronze Buckaroo is planned, at this stage to be one of Pro Se Productions’ Event Anthologies, that being a collection longer than the company’s usual 30 thousand word digest novels and 60 thousand word trade paperback volumes. 

All three Bob Blake films starring Herb Jeffries are available on Youtube for viewing.

If you have any questions concerning this title or wish further information on Pro Se Productions, contact Morgan McKay, Pro Se Productions’ Director of Corporate Operations at

To learn more about Pro Se Productions, go to and like Pro Se on Facebook at

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