Friday, March 24, 2017

Ghost of the Fawn - Free eBook

Now in the second day of my free ebook give-a-way. So far, not bad. I hoped that during the five days of the give-a-way that I might get 100, or so, downloads. After the first day it looks like I will fall short of that goal, but still, it is not bad for my first try. Maybe, the weekend will help, and I will still make it. I did give away a short story a few months ago which did fairly well and helped my sales of other books for more than a week.

I have lamented a few times, on this site, that I was a poor book marketer, but I am trying and will continue with a few other promotional ideas as I go along. This book, classified as a mystery or modern day western takes place in Wyoming and spends time on the Wind River Reservation, in Riverton and at the famous, Big Horn Medicine Wheel.
Medicine Wheel

It's funny how things happen, I wrote this novel, Ghost of the Fawn, with Jr. High and High school readers as my target - but I am getting some wonderful comments from older readers who love it. Now if I can just get some of them to post reviews instead of just e-mailing me.

I will post an update and then a conclusion to this exciting story as I move along. In one small genre category, it is now up to number 3, pretty happy about that.

Here it is if you have not got the free download yet! Give it a try.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Ghost of the Fawn - Free for next few days.

Free eBook, this is the first time I have given away a book. I did this several months ago with a short story and it was well received. This one is a book of Wyoming mystery, intrigue and history. Set in central Wyoming in modern times, Give it a try today.  FREE!!  Click to Order

Friday, March 17, 2017

Getting an Amazon Best Seller or at Least in the Top Half

I spent some time this morning doing research as to how many books Amazon has for sale. Might have fit better into, messing around on the internet, but I’m going with research because it sounds like I was working. During this research phase of my day, I could not find anything from the last few months but did see that in 2015 Amazon had 17.1 million books, in English, available for sale. The same information listed more than three million, written in English, eBooks.

If this is true, an author with a book consistently listed in the top one million seven hundred thousand will make it to the top ten percent of books on Amazon. The same eBook would need to be in top 300,000 to qualify. To be in the top half of all books listed for sale on Amazon, it would take a book in the top 8,500,000 or the top million and a half eBooks. Sounds pretty good except that a book selling near the bottom of the top half of all books on Amazon would only need to sell a copy or two each month to qualify for that ranking, maybe even less than that.
My first six books - click to go to my Amazon Author's Page
Got my proof books for my two latest novels today. Will need to make a few changes to the cover of, The Ghost Dance, I didn’t like the white font. Otherwise, it looked fine. Hope that doesn’t take long. That book will be out to first readers in the next day or so – then some final edits, and it will be published. The other proof is for the third in the series of my of kids books – Yikes, My Neighbor’s a Vampire. It is fine and should be as this is the third time I have made changes. My thought is, keep doing it until I like it.
I liked how it looked on my computer, but too light here

Now I am in the final part of my first draft of a gardening, and murder in the garden, book. It is a bit different, I hope readers like it.

I also continue the painstaking research on my second nonfiction book, still hope that I will get it out before 2018, but not sure. I am also hard at work on the third of my Blade Holmes, historical fiction- mystery novels.
Pronghorn walking the foothills west of town
The days are warming, and spring cleanup has started in our backyard. We have also made a few nice drives giving me a chance to get out with my camera.
Young Bison Bull

Keep on reading and keep on writing. 
Mule Deer running the Pronghorn off

Friday, March 10, 2017

Western Writers or Writing Westerns

I write about the West, some of it old, some new. All five of my adult books are set mostly or partly in Wyoming, my three kids books are set where I grew up in Nebraska. There is an old writer adage that says, write what you know. I like the idea of writing what you know, but also about where you have been. I still spend as much time as possible outside, observing and listening to nature, and anything else that flows in or out. Some of what I take in with my senses finds a way into my stories.

I love watching all sorts of wildlife and listening to anything that breaks the silence. I have found that the smell of a campfire can travel for a mile or more under the correct conditions. That made it into one of my books. A river and lake sound different and both sound wonderful in the rain. Describing the sound can be both challenging and rewarding.
Three Mule Deer - Rare Albino 2-year-old in Front

I call this site, Confessions of a Writer of Westerns, but I really don’t write westerns. Some are in that time period, but they are Historical Fiction, some I classify as Historical Mysteries. Everything I write is out west. Thus I am a western writer. I had a reader email me that read my book of Christmas stories. She had this to say, “The stories are so warm and true to life, I couldn’t put it down.” I thought well, that’s great.
Our Local View

Then she went on to say, “They sure don’t seem like westerns to me.”
In my reply I let her know that I appreciated how much she liked the stories and added, “They may not seem like westerns because they are not.”

 Most people, or maybe I should say many people, confuse the real west with the fictional wild west, where gunfights at high noon and barroom brawls were an everyday occurrence. The wild west of television series fame was a creation of Hollywood and made a good living for many pulp writers for decades. My books tell stories of the west, some old, and some modern, but they are set in a real west.
I enjoy writing about people in the west, some real and many products of my imagination all tied together. I am in the read through the proof stage now on my third kid's book, and my second historical mystery, with my legendary protagonist, Blade Holmes.

For the last few days, I am stepping a bit away from my usual stuff, but still set in the west. The book I am working on is about gardening in the West, gardening takes up much of my time when the weather cooperates. I also have a cozy mystery in the works about a Wyoming Golf Pro/amateur detective. But I will never get away from writing stories involving cowboys, ranchers, Native Indians, townspeople, soldiers and shopkeepers, all out west.
Taking a break - out with nature

Now it’s time to get back to writing and reading. 
Used this Golden Eagle for a scene in my newest novel - available next week

Monday, March 6, 2017

Writing - But No One is Counting

Seems I have had a burst of energy this week, more writing and much more editing. Now the weather is warming, and I can set some goals for spring. Oops, just looked out and it’s snowing – again.
Five Days Ago
I have, at times, posted a, what I did this month blog at the start of a new month, so what did I do in February? Quite a bit. First, I quit counting how many words I wrote. I have kept track of everything for two years and did again in January of 2017, then stopped. I got mixed reactions from writers who counted or did not count their words. Some thought it necessary to keep on task, others said they wrote what they wrote. My wife thought that I was getting a bit too hard on myself if I missed a day or two of writing. She was right, I put a lot of pressure on myself to write every day and to stay on pace for my quarter of a million words each year. Now I am writing, but no longer keeping track of numbers, kind of a relief and I don’t need to keep my calculator at hand.
I did go back and check to see how much I blogged last month, not bad, 11 on my blogger sites, three on Wordpress and five on Google plus. I had been away from Wordpress for a couple of years and decided to give it a try again, not gaining much traction and not sure I will continue posting there on a regular basis. Google Plus seems to have a lot of people, but I don’t get too many comments on Plus, nothing like my regular Blogger site where I have much more traffic.
This Golden Eagle Backlighted by the Setting Sun Yesterday - Spectacular Bird
I did get the review copy of my third kid's book, made a few changes on the cover and ordered another. Should go live later this week. That will be my seventh book and will be followed shortly by my eighth, as I will order the proof this week. Then I hope to finish the first draft – almost there – of my book on gardening. Busy days!

Meanwhile, keep on reading, writing and thinking of spring.
As We Left the Park Last Evening

Monday, February 27, 2017

Reading - Writing - and Wintering

Seems I am suffering through the writing blues of late. Not stuck, just don’t feel like writing much. Oh, I do some, but not many words, not sure why. Guess I will blame it on the weather, seems as good as anything. Wait maybe I could blame it on politics, naw, just not feeling it.

Typically in the winter, I get out and do quite a bit of hiking, this winter, not so much. I think I need the exercise to get my mind going and the old creative juices flowing. At present, I’m waiting for the review copies of my most recent kid’s book – the third in a series. Shipped on Friday, shouldn’t be long now.
Nice herd of Mule Deer with Laramie Peak in the distance

As always, I am reading several books at the same time, presently reading books by, Richard Wheeler, Elmer Kelton, and Hank Haney. The books are different enough that it is not a problem reading all three at various times of the day or week. What are they? Wheeler’s, Accidental Novelist, a story of his life from editor to writer of western novels,  Kelton’s, Ranger’s Trail, a western novel, and Hank Haney’s golf book, The Big Miss, about working with Tiger Woods.

When working I am re-editing my second Blade Holmes, Western novel, and finishing up my gardening book. I am also in the planning stages of the fourth of my kid’s books. Soon, when the inspiration strikes, I will get back to research and writing of my second nonfiction book. I have found nonfiction to be both rewarding and challenging, but, someday I will finish.
Nice setting for a Mountain Man book

Keep on reading – keep on writing, and keep on thinking SPRING!

Photos were taken yesterday on a snowy drive.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Story Idea's

Seems to me that recently I see a post or Tweet every day that starts with something like this – “Are you stuck, can’t find anything to write about?” Odd.

Are there actually writers who cannot come up with anything to write about? My problem is the opposite. I have too many ideas, too many stories, and I have to pick and choose which ones I might have time to write. 
At times, a single photo can bring on a good story

I hope no one would be serious about buying a book with ideas to write about. Might be a better idea to read more widely, travel, work and experience life, then come up with what you like to write. If you are lucky enough to make your dreams of writing turn out, and the story falls into a classification of Children’s Fiction, or Fantasy, congratulations, they are the two best-selling fiction genres.

Westerns, the old style shoot-um-ups are, for the most part, or for all parts, dead. On the other hand, historical fiction is alive and well, selling about three percent of all books. Children’s fiction is still far above all other genres selling nearly 40% of all books. Children's fiction is still riding the wave of the Harry Potter books, and the numbers may be a bit high because of J.K. Rowling. (By the way, I have read all of the Potter books and enjoyed them).

For writers at all levels, first bookers or author’s that have written several books, the key is finding an audience. Find enough readers who like what a writer is doing and the books will sell, even westerns.

I read an interesting blog recently that suggested writing in several genres instead of only one. This advice is opposite of what has normally been preached to new writers.  I was sure that I would never sell a book as I have written in so many genres

So far I have dabbled in Children’s, Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Short Stories, and nonfiction-historical. And have been lucky enough to sell books in all genres, not best seller sales, but enough to take a nice trip or two.
Where else would a western writer vacation? Dodge City last October