Friday, August 19, 2016

Write for the Love of Writing or For the Big Money

Is writing a business or a literary pursuit? Depends on who is asked and who is doing the writing. I read many posts each week about the business side of writing, something of which I am most deficient. That must make me one pursuing the literary side of putting together a good book. I write because I love to tell a good story, not to get rich – seems to be working so far.
Nothing to do with this post but I thought this one of a Bull Elk
 I snapped last weekend was pretty sweet

 I also read and get advertising matter from multiple sites dealing with selling books. Some of my newest finds deal with writing short, quick, inexpensive material that, supposedly, people want to buy. They even offer ghostwriting so that the author could put out as much as a book a day, for a rather substantial price, I am sure. This sounds like something that would never be good for an author, a publisher or any type of bookseller.

Forget everything else, because it will make you rich – I’m not so sure about this one either. The type of books that come out of these short book mills are mostly self-help. Books such as, build a fence in a day, build a table in a day, build a chair in a day, build a deck in a weekend, I’m sure everyone is getting the point by now.

I took a look at some of these types of books yesterday and here is what I found. All are priced at 99-cents, all are short, most less than ten pages, all are in an eBook only format, not odd, considering the length of the book. Many are no longer available, and lastly no reviews, although I have a couple of very good books without a review. One last thing I noticed, research to write one of these books would take about 15 online minutes. Oh, and everything in these books can be found for free in multiple places on the net.

When I am looking for a book I always check to see its length, I think something nine pages long, is a short and should not be called a novel or a self-help book.

Ghost-of-the-Fawn   In other news, it’s done, finally. Sometime this weekend I will download my newest novel, Ghost-of-the-Fawn. I like it, and its modern day setting, from Casper to Wyoming’s Wind River Reservation, the Medicine Wheel and Butch Cassidy’s Hole in the Wall. Oh- and well over 200 pages, which I think is a pretty good length, 52,000+ words for a young adult book. The good news, or better news, about it, for me anyway, is that adult readers said, no, this is and an adult book, they loved it. Hoping others will as well – Coming this weekend.

Meanwhile, Keep on Reading and Keep on Writing

Have a terrific weekend

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Writing the Blogs

Have you ever noticed how bloggers come and go?

I started blogging toward the end of the year in 2006, eleven years ago – how time flies.

Over the years I have followed many bloggers, and I often see some very good ones go away. Sometimes bloggers give up because they run out of material. Others give it up because it becomes too tough to keep up a schedule. I had two very good blogs I followed, where sadly, the writers passed away.  One other I loved reading, I fear the writer just became too old and gave up on it. Often blogs disappear with no explanation, all of the sudden they are just gone. I appreciate and look forward to the blogs that I have been following for many years. One thing I have found is that those who last do not try to post too often. I have followed a few who were able to keep to a three or four posts each week schedule for a while, sometimes even for a couple of years. Seems that, after a while, it gets too hard for most everyone to post that often.
My Office - A Great Place to Sit and Write

In my nearly eleven years I have posted, over 1,000 times, matter of fact, this one is 1,090.  To do that I post on seven, yep 7, sites. I keep all of them active, but my posts numbers are vastly different, depending on the site. Some, like this one, I post, on average six times a month. My cooking site I post once or twice a year. Other sites, as often as every five days or as seldom a few times each year.

Nothing is worse than telling myself, “Hey you gotta write something today.” I try not to do that, and most of the time I look forward to posting and always look forward to seeing what others post each week.

Today I thought I might give readers a look at all the other interests I have where I post, at least occasionally. So here they are

Wyoming Fact and Fiction  - By far my most popular site with nearly 3,000 openings last month is my Wyoming Fact and Fiction site.

I taught history of the American West and Wyoming history for more than four decades at the Jr. High, High School and Community College level. I am a professional historian and love to read about, study, contemplate nearly everything dealing with the Oregon Trail, Indian Wars, Gold Rush, the building of the Railroad and anything else about the old west of America.
Inside the Sleeping Area at Fort Laramie - I am at work on two books about
Fort Laramie, one a historical fiction,the other a nonfiction 

Confessions of a Writer of Westerns – This site, gets a bit over a thousand hits a month and maybe more comments than any of my sites.

Like No Place on Earth – We are blessed to live three minutes away from a fantastic, 8,000 plus acre state park, Guernsey State Park. I even wrote a book about it a couple of years ago. This site gets about 600 views each month
The Incredible, Civilian Conservation Corps built, North Bluff Castle at Guernsey State Park

My Wyoming Garden and Other Lies
As a certified Master Gardener, not sure how I made it through, it may have been a slip-up by the garden people, but somehow I did. I just have to write about growing stuff, at least once in a while.  I also use this sometimes for other things I have on my mind and is the reason it has a rather unusual web address.

Old Guy Who Went to Play Golf – Mostly stuff for senior golfers. I still play a lot of golf and on occasion feel the need to write something about it, not often, but I do put up a few each year.

Crazy Cooking In Wyoming
Believe it or not, this one is also in its eleventh year. I don’t post but once or twice each year on this one. Seems like I ran out of things I knew how or liked to cook. Still, has quite a few readers.

Old Trails Publishing
The one you have been waiting for, my last one. It is also my newest, and I use it to keep followers aware of my books and upcoming new releases.

There you have it, that’s what keeps me busy, out of trouble, and my wife from having to chase me out of the house. I do also, post on additional sites on Google Plus, but that is a story for another day.
I snapped this one Friday - a two and a half hour drive from here. Great day in
the hills with family. 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Hartville Wyoming

We had a terrific time in Hartville Wyoming today.
Winter Photo of Harville, Wyoming Visitor Center/Museum
This weekend is the Hartville, Sunrise Reunion, and Hartville’s big Boot Hill Days celebration. The morning activity was in the old Hartville School now a completely re-done museum/visitor center.

I have now been to enough events selling books that,
evidently, I do them with my eyes closed. I have better
photos from today but this one is the funniest.

We talked with some old friends, made some new ones and had an all around great time. I signed and sold several books and handed out a bunch of my custom bookmarks. I love days like this.

The book I was signing and selling today - Click and take a look

We had to leave earlier than we wanted as we had weekend guests, but I am sure everyone had a great day.

I sat next to a Lady who's Grandpa had a business in this Hartville
Main Street building more than 50 years ago

For followers who do not know the tiny town of Hartville, it is quite a place with a rowdy cowboy and mining history. The town itself has been around for more than 130 years, making it Wyoming’s oldest city. Hartville was founded by Major Verling Hart who from 1880-1882 was stationed at Fort Laramie and several times was the fort commander. Hart, along with others staked out copper mining claims in the area. 
I took this shot of the Hartville Post Office last winter

Monday, August 1, 2016

Writing Goals

No Goals Reached

Another month and another dismal writing report. Not really, I did write some, but it was the fourth straight month I failed to reach my goal of 20,000 words. For many writers that would be a week or less of writing but for me it is running about seven weeks to get up to twenty thousand.

While not writing I found a website to make a Monet-like me.

I did take some time off

In my own defense, I did take a couple of nice trips out of state. Since making my goals seem to be pretty much unattainable anyway, I never take my laptop with me on vacation. Someday, when I reach the rich and famous stage, I will go away to a beautiful writing hideaway, laptop in tow. But, not yet.

Spent some time in Rocky Mt. National Park - always fun!

What I Finished

This month I did manage 24 blog posts, which by the way, had over 4,000 hits – thanks, readers. My word count for July was 11,601, and the blogs were more than half of all of my writing. I did get some editing work done and wrote a few pages in two of my, in progress novels.
Embarrassed to say - I am still at work on the final edit of this one

So Far

For the year I am a bit past 133,000 putting me on pace to fall about twenty thousand short of my quarter of a million goal. Who knows, once the weather turns cold, I may get my word count up. If I could just have a few 2,000 word days .  . . . . 

Part of our backyard, old-fashioned flower garden

Friday, July 29, 2016

Reading on a Lazy Summer Day

I am going through a lazy time as a writer. Presently spending more time in the garden and more time reading than I am writing.

I call what I do, working in the garden, but my dad used to call it,
puttering around in the garden - he is closer to what I do.
Finished rereading Conan Doyle’s, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes last week. Some readers see theses stories, and Doyle’s writing as too old fashioned, I like both. This particular book is a collection of 12 short tales, all fun, and easy, quick reads.

Yesterday I started Chuck Tyrell’s short story, Origin of White Deer, from another collection of 8 short stories, although I have not yet read much of it, I loved the first three chapters, and it looks to me like a good one.  This book titled, Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles Vol. II - should be an enjoyable read. I will post more when I finish in a couple of days.

Speaking of white deer, I was able to get this, and about two
dozen more photos, of this albino Mule Deer last Christmas Day

We spent an enjoyable day, yesterday, in Rocky Mountain National Park. As always the scenery was spectacular. I was a bit surprised at the crowds, looks like a bumper year for tourists.
Always special

Meanwhile keep on reading and keep on writing.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A Good Old West Resource

I have spent most of today researching and reading, and that’s not a bad thing on a 100-degree day. It all started with, what was to be, a thorough cleaning of my desk and writing area. Something I have been putting off for quite some time.

One of my first tasks was to decide which books to keep on my desk and which to move back to the family room bookcase. Seems when I move a book to my desk it stays well past its needed time.

Mr. Blevins Fine Dictionary

As often happens I ran across a book, that was a favorite, picked it up and gave up cleaning for reading. The book – Winfred Blevins, Dictionary of the American West. The book, now more than twenty years since its first publication, can make for really nice thumbing through reading. Some of us call that killing time.

Mountain Man Tales

For years I have enjoyed reading westerns that featured Mountain Men. I would guess that everyone who writes about these early day explorers, trappers and traders have read Winfred Blevins, fine tribute to, and history of, the Mountain Men in his wonderful, Give Your Heart to the Hawks.

By that time I had reached a non-cleaning/organizing state of being. I sat back in my office chair, now free of boxes and a ream of paper, and tried to remember some other of my favorite mountain men books.

My Favorites

I believe that I have read all of the William Johnstone and Richard S. Wheeler mountain man novels and enjoyed James Michener's mountain men in his massive novel, Centennial. I still give a try to most new mountain man books I find. Right now I am rereading Mr. Wheeler’s terrific books and the adventures of his character Barnaby Skye.

The Livin’ Was Easy

I have posted a few times on my Wyoming blog, stories of how tough life was for mountain men when the weather turned bad, wonder about hot. Yesterday we took a drive up into the mountains and even though we didn’t reach much over 8,000 feet the temperatures dropped 15 degrees.
As we headed to the high country yesterday

Now with my feet up and my office chair tipped back I can almost see those mountain men of old on a hot summer day. There they are, picking raspberries and currents, fishing and swapping tall tales in the shade of mountain aspen grove. Not bad.
I can usually find a nice cool spot to spend some time on a hot day

Back To Work

Well, it’s time to go back to work, but maybe to the freezer for an Ice Cream sandwich first – then back to work. Maybe!

Meanwhile, the gardens are looking fine

Friday, July 15, 2016

Write What You Know or Write Romance

Write what you know. The old cliché, so often seen on writing sites but now I am reading that is not necessary to know what you write.  Instead, it has become a world of write what people want to read. You know, the jump on the bandwagon, as soon as something makes a big splash, write three or four similar books as quickly as you can and become rich and famous. Some authors are making a living at it, but I wonder if other than financial, how happy they are with their creativity and writing life.

So, if a writer can write and wants to write only for the money – here it is Romance. Romance books make up 40% of Amazon’s eBook sales. There it is, if you are in it for the money, write romance. Oh, and no need to write steamy erotica books, they are a tiny portion of the romance books for sale on Amazon.
Speaking of Romance, this lovely couple is heading for
Anniversary number 48 in a few months.
Some say high school sweethearts never last
Jan and I beg to differ.

Sounds tough for someone like me and old guy that writes historicals and western fiction. But as one of my all-time favorite TV characters, Colombo used to say, “One more question.” Only, in this case, it’s one more thing, and pretty exciting at that. Westerns were on the rise last year. Yes, more westerns selling. Up as much as 7% and a few good western movies came out as well.

Now if I can just figure out how to write a bit of romance into my westerns. Never mind, I already have. Here is a cut from my western, Commitment.

    Blade’s dream flashed ahead and the couple walked hand in hand under a canopy of overhanging elms, the heavy branches filtering the silver glimmer of a half moon. An eerie yellow circle of light cast from one of the new city gas lights illuminated each street corner.  The two walked as if no one and nothing else mattered. And nothing and no one did. They walked, they smiled, and they talked about everything and then talked of nothing at all. The couple passed from the filtered moonlight to the yellow of the street corners, watched buggies and saddle horses pass and held hands letting the troubles of the world find others on this perfect night.
    Blade had never been in love before, didn’t know what it felt like and wasn’t sure what it should be. But he knew it that night, and it scared him worse than he had ever been scared in his life. They had kissed for the first time on their fifth date several weeks before. The first kiss extended Blade’s stay in Kansas City from one month to six months and as the time had worn on their relationship deepened, growing stronger and stronger by the day.

Not too steamy, but it works, at least in my world, because I write what I know.
Sometimes a great western setting is all the Romance needed