Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Writing Westerns and the Dreaded Contraction

The Use of Contractions in the Old West

To use, or not to use, contractions in a western that is. I ran across a review of a new western movie with the reviewer trashing it as not authentic to the old west period. The reason it was not authentic, according to the reviewer, was that the characters used contractions when speaking, which were not used in the old west.

Long story short, this is not true, the use of contractions in speaking the English language has been around for years, some can be found in English writings from centuries ago.  Mark Twain used hundreds of contractions in his works from the late 1800s.

It was all about the rhythm and cadence of the time that made the speech patterns different, not the lack of contractions.  Oh, and the absence of modern swear words that seem to have been fit into much of today's, old west literature and movies.

Some version of the old phrase, “If you got-um, smoke-um,” seems to fit here. If you have a place for a contraction and it is set in the old west, use it.  I find myself, along with many of the authors I read, using contractions more in dialogue than in the normal telling of the story – and I think that is the better place, and sometimes the only use for them.

Just my thoughts. Enjoy winter and all the time it affords to read and write. 

Now recovering, sort of - Day five of the flu, most unpleasant few days, stay healthy everyone. 

Friday, January 5, 2018

Off and Running In 2018

Welcome site at the end of a snowy hike this week
No New Year’s Resolutions for me this year. I have tried them in the past but never followed through. I do like seeing others with resolutions and hope they do well with them. But, I do have hopes for the new year.
Unintentional Slow Down - After publishing four books in 2014-2015 and four more in 2016, I finished one last year. So here I go with my non-resolution, resolution – I need to get back to four again this year. Shouldn't be hard, as my faithful readers know, I have two finished, and being edited now, that means I need to finish the other two I have stated.

New Things in 2018  -  I do have a new Author Page on Facebook 

I have great hope that the new page will add to my author exposure, and eventually to more book sales.

Working On - The first week of the year most of my work has been on my nonfiction book. This one takes more time with footnotes and so many sources, but I am having fun with it. Not sure when I will finish, looks like it could go five or even six-hundred pages. When this one wears me out I will go back to one of my other projects.
An old-time dugout in the snow

Happy New Year and wishing you Luck with your 2018 resolutions. 
Think Spring

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Last Post of the Year

Look's like we are about to do away with another year. I have much to look forward to in 2018. I have two books being edited now, and another soon - so, fingers crossed, three, maybe four, new books this year. Also coming, our anniversary number 50, and my birthday, number 70. 

Not sure how I feel about that last one. 

As of this late date, I have not come up with a list of New Year's Resolutions. No wonder, they never last long for me. But, I am thinking about a few things - maybe, just maybe. 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

I hope everyone has an enjoyable holiday season. We never mind the snow this time of year and it's a good thing as we have several inches on the ground. Nice White Christmas 2017.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


We are enjoying mild temperatures for the middle of December making it not at all Christmas like. But I did remember it was time to write my annual letter. I have for years, written my, tongue in cheek letter, I will admit only to it being an anti-everyone else’s letter. Here is an example from the second paragraph.
Reindeer ? - Probably not!

Christmas Letter Excerpt - Our kids, Jennifer, Aaron, Thomas, & Andrew, are all doing well. The grandkids, like everyone else’s, are all special, good looking, and talented. Jan and I are shocked and happy when people are surprised to learn we are over 50 years old and often remark, “You guys don’t look a day over 30,” It makes us feel so good. NOTE – I made up that last part, but our kids and grandkids really are fantastic.
 I write the entire letter without really saying much of anything, and that’s the way I like it, and I have written 49 of them. All letters are on one side of the page only – short and sweet.
Winter Look

A Week Of Writing - The reason I am talking about my Christmas letter, is because I am not getting much done with my two work in progress books. Some but not much. Christmas programs, shopping and maybe a bit too much time out and about with my camera have slowed down my writing. I did write about 5,000 words last week which is about average for me. My winter word numbers often run to 10,000, but guess I will take five.
Thanks to everyone who purchased my Christmas storybook, I watched with pure glee as it rose into the top 25, for a time, on Amazon.  
Open water and Ice

All photos were taken this week - my early winter collection.
Below Power Plant - Guernsey Dam - On the North Platte River

Thursday, December 7, 2017

At Last Cold Weather and a Time to Write - A Lot

Cold weather has set in here and it’s almost comical how much my writing has picked up. Yesterday I final-edited 30 pages from my humorous nonfiction look at aging, and completed another short story for my Christmas book, coming in 2018.

A Writers Struggles - I still seem to be struggling with my third western mystery. It is another Western historical mystery with my popular protagonist, Blade Holmes. Thinking about trashing the two chapters and outline I have, and come up with a new story. Meanwhile, I will just keep working on other things.

Outlining or Not - Speaking of outlining before writing, I have a bit of an unusual method, or at least it looks odd to me. I outline or list what I want to happen in my novels and nonfiction books. With short stories, I start with a title, use it for my inspiration as to where the story will lead. Occasionally, I will write a short story then go back and change the title I started with, but not often.

I keep saying coming soon, and hope it is a true statement - With a bit of luck I will have two books ready soon, one in the next few days, and another, the fourth in the series of my kid's chapter books, should be out within six weeks.

Photos - I still attempt to get out with my cameras most days. If the weather is nice we walk and I snap what I see, and when it’s cold most shots come from the warmth of my pickup.
All of today's photos are from one of our afternoon adventures.  

Keep on reading and keep on writing, and make sure to buy yourself a nice book for Christmas

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Christmas Stories From Out West

Excited to see my book of Christmas Short stories, all set in the west, up to Number 35 on Amazon – Thanks for readingUnder Western Skies