Friday, August 24, 2018

Time Out

As some of my regular followers may have guessed, after ten books and hundreds of blog posts, I am on a long-term writing hiatus. I have decided to step away, at least for a few more weeks or months.

Sometimes things happen in life that seems to require a change in perspective. I hope to write, and get back to photography someday - not sure when.

Meanwhile, I am still reading books, and blogs, and working in the garden and around the house as we sort things out. 
 Have a terrific rest of the summer.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Independence Day Week - Selling and Writing Books

July has arrived in all its heated glory. With Independence Day only two days off it is feeling very July like. We were blessed with a wet, and cooler than usual, May and June. 
With the weather so hot it is not fit to spend much time outside, I hope to get more work done with my two works in progress.

Wyoming, it’s too hot joke - I saw a coyote chasing a jackrabbit and they were both walking!

We spent the past weekend in Estes Park Colorado, about three hours away. We were there for our niece's wedding and were also able to take in some of the local sites. We have been to Estes more than a dozen times and always enjoy our time there. We especially enjoy people watching, seems everyone is walking, talking, smiling, and eating on the downtown streets.

Book Sales – Picking up the past week, but still in typically slow, summer mode. 
Reading – I have just started reading Louis L’Amour’s. To Tame a Land.  

My goals – Now that I am in need of finishing up some of my WIP, looks like I will need to set some goals

1.  5,000 words a week for July – those 20,000 words will go a long way towards finishing up some of my new projects.
2.  Finish up my Christmas book of short stories – my second one. Here is a link to read the first story for free in my first Christmas book – Under Western Skies
3.  Finish the next five chapters of my nonfiction book.
4.  Make sure I get my four posts here for July, as I have been slacking off to two or three the past couple of months.

Meanwhile, stay out of the heat, be careful with fireworks, and keep on reading and writing.

Photos – Today's shots from the Big Thompson River Valley in Colorado (the Big Horn Sheep photos), just east of Estes Park. The rest are from the Laramie Range west of town, and from Guernsey State Park

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

A Writers Week

Here in Wyoming, we have been blessed with the wettest May and June in the 35 years I have been in the state. Seems almost like I am back in the Nebraska farm country where I grew up. Gardens are looking terrific, now bring on the sunshine.

Writing – I have been spending more time researching people that served at Fort Laramie, for my next nonfiction offering, coming out in early 2019,  than I have spent putting words on paper. To some writers, research can be tedious, but I have run across countless wonderful stories. I am getting some work done on that book, and some on my third Blade Holmes western mystery, not a lot, the Blade Holmes book, about 1,500 words this week and the nonfiction, just over 300. Let me see, if my math is correct, I am only writing about 250 words a day. Why so little? Well, I have been playing golf about three times a week, spending time taking wildlife photos and building wooden tomato cages for what I hope will be a bumper crop.

Reading – Not sure how I missed this one but am reading and enjoying Mari Sandoz’s, Love Song to the Plains, terrific book. I am also spending more time reading about book marketing, probably won’t change the way I do anything, but it does put forth some good ideas.

Selling Books – As seems to happen this time of year, my nonfiction CCC book on the building of Guernsey State Park is selling pretty well. The rest, well, I will say they, like me, are moving along, but not as fast as they once did.

Today’s Photo’s – Backyard garden, and from the Civilian Conservation Corps, (CCC), built Guernsey State Park.

Summer Reads – Want something lighthearted and quick? I have two books that will fill the bill – my latest, On Turning 70, and my book of garden tips and short stories - Beginning Gardening & Other Entertaining Lies, which Includes - 4 Garden Murder Mysteries. Give one or both a try, click the link and read the free first chapter or more.

Enjoy the summer and keep on reading and writing.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Writing Westerns and a Trip to the Laramie Range

The garden is planted, the flowers are blooming and summer is here. I remember watching so many old (maybe as old as me), characters in TV westerns when I was a kid. They often talked about the sun making it easy on their old bones, now it’s my old bones enjoying the warm weather. Think I must have reached that point in my life. I spend time every day in the sun, and more in the shade, but still outside on these terrific summer days.

Writing – Blazing away on my third Blade Holmes western mystery, or at least working along on it. I have also taken some time to polish my second book of Christmas short stories this week. Kind of fun sitting in the sun and writing about cold and snow.

Reading – Much of my reading is centered around research for the books I’m working on, but I always take time to read for relaxation also. Right now I am enjoying, William Kent Krueger’s, Minnesota adventure, Iron Lake.

Selling Books – As is to be expected this time of year, sales are slow, glad my writing income is only part, and presently, a small part of our income. I have had a few weeks with only a handful of sales and darn few KDP pages read, but in the end, it will all work out when fall arrives.

Writing tip – Start with a character, preferably your protagonist, and put them in a mess – yep, create conflict, keeps readers turning pages. Here is how I started my second Blade Holmes novel, The Ghost Dance.

The man riding alone on his horse should have heard the shot, but he was already dead. The huge .52 caliber slug had torn through his shirt an instant before the sound reached his lifeless body. The noise from the big gun reverberated through the canyon, but only the shooter heard it.
Less than an hour later U.S. Marshal Blade Holmes found the body, vultures looked to have arrived shortly after Jimmy Spear had been blown from his saddle. The young, smallish Appaloosa he’d been riding was grazing oblivious a hundred yards away.

Todays Photos – From west of town on our Sunday drive and from our backyard.

It’s hot outside, super time to get in some extra reading and writing. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Late May Writing Update

Seems pretty quiet around here. Schools out, and the pool and golf course are busy. I am spending time working on my lawn and garden, and my wife is planting flowers. As far as my writing, I am doing some, but not as much as I should be, churning along at a pace of 500, or so, words a day. I am still working on both a fiction, and a nonfiction project at the same time, most often working nonfiction sometime during the day and working the fiction story late at night when I should be sleeping.

Another Book About to Go – An odd time of year for it, but I am putting the finish touches on my second volume of Christmas stories, to be released in mid-October. It has been complete, except for one last story, since January, right now I am adding the front and back matter.

Book Sales – After a slow couple of weeks, sales are picking up once again. Happy Days.

Now Reading – I should say looking through, Encyclopedia of Western Gunfighters, by Bill O’Neal, interesting nonfiction read.

Photos today from our Memorial Day trip up into the Snowy Range.

Meanwhile, enjoy the start of summer, and keep on reading and writing.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Writing, Reading, and the Distractions of Summer

Spring seemed quick, we are now into some summer-like temperatures, and it feels wonderful - until it gets too hot.

Yard Work - At one time, not so long ago, I enjoyed mowing and trimming the lawn. The lawn care only took a few hours a week, not much, but now I look at mowing as a chore that has to be done more than something I really like. In that vein, we do have some nice flowers started to show off in the yard, and that I like.

Writing Outside - I am writing churning along at five to seven hundred words a day. Right now I am doing most of my writing sitting outside on our deck. Writing outside can be a bit of a distraction watching birds at the feeder and the squirrels arriving to get their share. Living in a military town I also like to watch the helicopters, C-17s, and 
C-130s, as they circle practicing touch and goes and helicopters practice their version of the bucket brigade, for the fire season in the west.

Book Sales – My KDP pages read are way down, sales of both eBooks and soft cover books are down some but not nearly as much as the pages read has dropped. Not sure why thinks have tumbled so far on the financial side of my writing, I can only speculate.

10 Reasons Book Sales are down – My best guess

1.     People are spending all their free time mowing and trimming their lawns leaving no time to read.
2.     Fishing is picking up
3.     It is the start of picnic time
4.     School is out and adults, along with their kids, decide they will play video games on their phones instead of reading during their summer off.
5.     Too many baseball games to watch and not enough time
6.     Readers are turning to, summer romance on the beach books, instead of what they normally read
7.     Invaders from another galaxy have entered reader’s brains, and have them reading endless political and royal wedding articles online.
8.     Sunstroke
9.     Everyone has decided to reread old books
10.   Summer reruns have started on television and are too captivating to miss.

What Am I Reading? Mountains and Molehills, by Frank Marryat. I am also beta reading a book, far out of my normal genre, for an indie-author, so far it has been a fun read.

Enjoy the rest of the week, and please, keep on reading, even if the yard is calling.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Writing and Social Media - Spring Photos Too

Lots of May showers here in Wyoming hope that leads to an abundance of good pasture and many wildflowers.

My writing has taken a backslide as we had guests here the past two weeks. We did get to do much in the way of catching up, and, of course, took some time to see the local sites.

Words - I did get a thousand words, or so, on my nonfiction, but nothing else written in the last 10 days. Meanwhile, my third in the Blade Holmes, western mysteries, sat by waiting for more words, but it didn’t happen. Did have time to edit the 6,000 words I have completed, I like the story so far.

Cutting Back – I have cut back some on my social media, I just don’t have, or do not make, the time I need to use everything I was trying to do. I have several sites on Blogger along with this one, an active presence on Google Plus, and I try to keep going strong on Twitter. I recently created an author site on Facebook, and hope that will make up for giving up, mostly, on Word Press, and other sites that I just could not keep up with. (Please feel free to click the link and follow me on my Facebook author site). I am also posting less often, which I find may not be good, sales are down.

Speaking of Sales – Sales of my soft cover books and eBooks are trending down. May has also started with a downturn in my KDP pages read. At times I think maybe everyone that wants to read my stuff has already done so – then miraculously, everything takes off again. Waiting for my next uptick, but not waiting patiently.  

Reading- Much like my writing, my reading has suffered lately. I am re-reading a favorite, Absaroka Ambush, from  William Johnstone’s Mountain Man series. I have also started, (just), David Dary’s, Cowboy CultureA Saga of Five Centuries. Looks to be a fine reference for those who write about the old west.

Todays Photos – From a drive this week up to the tiny mountain village of Esterbrook, 50 miles away.

On Turning 70 - See my latest book here, a tongue in cheek look at aging, at least up to my age. 
Here is that 70-year-old taking a break on Horseshoe Creek

Have a great week, enjoy the beginning of spring, and keep on reading and writing.