Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Where Have All the Bloggers Gone?

Where Have All the Bloggers Gone?
The title, with apologies to a great song from my high school years, asks a question that I really wish I knew the answer to.  Much like everything else, blogs seem to come and go. Over the past decade or so, I have watched several that I enjoyed go away. One of my favorites, the writer got simply tired of posting and interacting from his front porch cabin. It was hilarious and he had quite a few followers, including myself, who often joined in on the front porch conversations. Two others, that I really looked forward to reading passed away – sad as neither was what I would consider old. Others just quit posting, one I checked on yesterday to see what happened, it is still up but no new posts for over three years, guess I will give up on that one. Another blogger recently announced he was quitting because, well, I’m not sure, giving up because he was tired of it and moving on to other things. One lady who wrote my all-time favorite gardening blog, gave up because she didn’t have as many followers as she wanted, too bad, as it was a terrific blog for gardening and food preservation.

So why am I writing this? Am I about to quit? No, not yet and not thinking about it. I have been blogging on this site for nine years, and eleven on my Wyoming site. I have not posted as much lately but that is a slowdown, I’m not quitting anytime soon.

I have always enjoyed reading a good blog but lately, most of what I read are big commercial type blogs with hundreds of thousands of followers. I like reading many of these, but they do not seem nearly as personal as ones I followed back in the old days of blogging, a few years ago.

Recently another of my favorites has slowed to nearly a stop, hope he makes a comeback.

Selling Books - Odd, but I have done no recent advertising and as my readers are aware precious few posts, but my sales and pages read are up. Who knows what drives book sales, just when I think I have it figured out – I don’t.
We are just back from a nice break, spending a few days in the Ozarks enjoying shows and great company in Branson.

Today's photos - are from our daily walks the past three days – wow were we tired after returning home, but we forced ourselves out on the trails anyway – once we were out we enjoyed them, came home and crashed.

Have a great week and keep on reading and keep on writing. 
This one I snapped on vacation at one of my favorite childhood haunts outside of
Fairbury, Nebraska where I grew up

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November - After a Fast Finish in October

Packing and getting ready to head out for some R & R.  Reminds me of years ago when someone asked Willie Nelson if he was ever going to retire. His answer, “Retire from what, all I do is play golf and play music.” That’s much like me saying I am going for some R & R. All I do is write, take photos and play golf. I also watch way too many football games and am enjoying this year’s World Series.

Vacation - We are off to Branson, Missouri, we have been there many times and always enjoy the entertainment and the friends we will meet there. On the way a chance to catch up with brothers and sisters.

Writing - I have not done as much writing as I expected this month although I did finish one small project I have been working on. The small project/book is about turning 70, which incidentally will happen to this old guy in early March. I thought a thoughtful but humorous look at turning 70 might be fun to write and fun for others of us Golden Year people to read. It is a short read of 75, or so, pages and after some editing should be ready to go by Thanksgiving. I had hoped to get out my second book of Christmas short stories this year, but it looks like it will not be ready in time.

Sales - I started slowly this month and then everything turned around, and October became my second best ever, sales month. Thanks, everyone.

Work – Work – Work - I am still working on other projects, both fiction and nonfiction, just not very fast. Looks like my next finished book will be the fourth in my series of kids chapter books. There will be a fifth book, and then the series will likely end. My third Blade Holmes novel is still in the outline, thinking stages, but someday it will take off.  I am still researching my second Wyoming history book and will be into my third year with it soon, might need to speed this one up a bit.

Now for 10 days of travel and relaxing. See you soon – Keep on reading and keep on writing. The first thing to pack? Reading material.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Writing in the Fall

Here in Wyoming, we are having a spectacular fall. Warm weather and wonderful colors. Looks like it might be winding down with more wintery weather coming in. Winter keeps me inside much more than I like, but it does give me more time to write, which I am looking forward too.

Lately, it seems I am too tired, or not motivated to sit down and write. I have several projects going but seem to have stalled on all of them. My wife has suggested that maybe I am not interested in any of the stories I have going. She might be right, I may be bored with them or, YIKES, they might not be good.

Considering that I am blogging about half of what is normal for me I guess I will chalk up my lack of writing to a shortage of motivation. But I will forge on – who knows – might be today. We do have a week of vacation planned, then for sure, I will start again – or maybe. . . . 

Enjoy the day and keep on reading, and keep on writing – as for me, at the present time I am reading, David Baldacci’s, The Christmas Train. Might be a little early, but it is an entertaining cozy mystery, I’m enjoying it.  

The hard part about writing a novel is finishing it.

Ernest Hemingway

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

After a Bit of Time Off

I have taken a few weeks off - seems a series of trips to the Dentist and Cardiologist will do that. If you are as old as I am, or close, you may have heard the expression, "I was feeling kind of punk." It came from when wood started to rot and got punky, not sure I like that definition but then again . . . .

Muted colors as the sun was setting -  Mule Deer  does and fawns

Now I am feeling better and hope to get back to writing more than a couple of hundred words a week, where I am now. I have always tried to post on this blog three or four times a month and hope to still make it this month. 

View from the Castle on the North Bluff in Guernsey, Wyoming State Park

We are also planning our annual trip to Branson Missouri, in early November. We have been going there for many years, and it always seems to rejuvenate me, and along with that, my writing.

Walking up a mountainside

Meanwhile, my sales and pages read also seem to be slipping - might be my lack of advertising and blogging. 

My wife and I have been out the past few days hiking and walking, and with that, I have taken a few, okay, a lot of nice fall photos. Enjoy!

See all of my books here - read a free sample.

Taking a break on our Saturday afternoon hike

Keep on reading and keep on writing!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Writing Can Be Hard Work

I have written several posts over the past few years about how fickle the process of selling books can be. This has been emphasized by my nearly complete lack of sales in September. It doesn’t help when bloggers write about September being slow because of school starting, doesn’t console me much.

Christmas comes early in the Laramie Range
Writing - Today instead of sales I am thinking more about the writing process. Seems that every week I read or learn by writing, new things about the process. Following is a list of what I learned about writing this week.

1.  Although many writers say that all first drafts are crap, I have learned that forcing myself to write results in something so bad it cannot be fixed.
2.  Not feeling like writing most often results in no writing
3.  Maybe there really is such a thing as working on too many projects at once
4.  Tired and Dr. appointments are good excuses to not write, but nothing more – still not many words on paper.
5.  Writing is hard when lacking enthusiasm and goals
6.  Maybe what I’m writing is boring me – Should I follow Elmore Leonard’s advice and leave out the boring stuff, in this case maybe an entire project or two?
7.  On the good side of writing – I am reading a couple of good books at the present and enjoying what others have to say about writing. Guess I am in the school of, when I don’t feel like writing I enjoy what writers have to say about the process.
New growth Aspen - in a burn area, looking wonderful

Fall is here - In other news, It’s fall, and here in Wyoming the weather is turning and it is officially my favorite time of year. I am hoping for a long and beautiful autumn, full of good writing, photographs, and friends.
Almost harvest time

My wish for you - Write on, and read on and get out and enjoy fall.
Photo’s today from our time out and about in beautiful Wyoming this week.

See all my books here  Free sample pages 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

I Got That Writing Feeling

No, Not Yet

Last year we were in Branson Missouri the second week of November. While there we attended several of the, just opened for the season, Christmas shows. The shows were excellent, but it seemed too early for us. Around our house, nothing Christmas started before Thanksgiving. So, where am I leading with all of this? I’m trying to polish off my second book of Christmas short stories, and the time of year makes it a bit hard for me.  Seems like I should be working on a golf mystery or an old west Fourth of July shootout when it's so warm out.

My first book of 14 tales came out two years ago and I felt like the time was right for a second book. This one is scheduled for 10 stories and I am more than halfway there. Hope I can make it. If you didn’t get a chance to look at my first book of Christmas stories you can read the first story for free - here.
Old Book Cover but this is the first one

Word Count – In other writing news, my word count is up, way up, must be fall. The past few days I have averaged nearly 2,000 words a day, a nice amount for me.  Now, if I can only keep it up.

Scattered Mind – Might be because I’m always working on several projects at the same time that has helped me get back to work. I spent one day recently, on my kid's chapter book, two days on my western mystery, and a day on my new humorous, I hope, nonfiction book. I blame my multi-tasking mind, the one I call scattered, on my 42 most enjoyable years as a high school teacher.

Sunset in Guernsey State Park this weekend

Hope everyone who writes is getting their nose to the grindstone and all readers have found a superb book. 
Dropped off the grandson at the ranch yesterday evening after school and FB practice

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Writing, Football, Nature, and Selling a Book or Two

With football in full swing and the last of summer visitors at our house, seems I am not getting much writing done. 

Speaking of football nothing beats watching the grandkids play sports - here my grandson gets ready to kick off last Friday in a Jr High game

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the company and football it just cuts back on writing productivity. Where we live in Wyoming winters can be tough, hard to do much, even get out of the house, that is when my writing picks up to its greatest level. See my books here.

Right now I am satisfied with three or four thousand words a week, including posts like this gem. J
Our Gardens still have quite a lot of color but also some brown

What am I working on?  Mostly my third Blade Holmes western mystery and the fourth in my series of kids chapter books. The kid's chapter books do not sell as well as the Blade Holmes books, actually not even close, but they are fun to write. I will carry on this afternoon and evening with one eye on the TV screen watching football and the other slowly adding to my working copies. I know this type of multitasking goes against conventional writing wisdom of writing, but I have done it for so many years it seems natural.

And if I tire of both? We will take a drive and possibly a short hike or walk – wonderful way to recharge the writing batteries.

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. John Muir