Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Here We Go Again

Here we go again – off on our annual fall trip. This trip will make four of the past five years that we have taken a break and got out of Dodge in late October. It is not because of the weather, which has been unbelievable, just time to do what us old people do – travel a bit. And speaking of Dodge, this will be our second day stop, the old town in Dodge City for the third time. Many think it is over the top touristy, but it is still, fun, interesting, educational and helps with writing inspiration.

We will be spending time in Oklahoma, on Route 66 in Texas and then a week in Lousiana. We will also make a trip over to Vicksburg, Mississippi to tour, for the second time, the Civil War Battle Site. Then two or three days to take in some of the shows in Branson, Missouri, followed by a day with family in Nebraska and we will head back home to Wyoming.  Looks like we will be gone two weeks, maybe a few days more. Depending on how much fun we are having and how much money we have left.

I am not sure if I will post anything while we are on the trip, other than a few photos here or on Twitter, but I will get some writing done. We have a few days of rest scheduled where I will sit in the sun, or shade and write, edit, format and all the other things I am behind on.

No Place Like Home

 We schedule our trips well in advance and always have a few things we wish we could be home for. My son coaching his football team in the playoffs, and what looks to be a good Wyoming game Vs. Boise State, this weekend, but I will follow the updates and enjoy the trip south. Speaking of enjoying, I can hardly wait to get into southern Oklahoma or Northern Texas where many eating places feature fried pies. Not the best thing for my diet, but it only happens once each year.

Meanwhile enjoy the terrific fall weather, winter is not far away.

                               Pick your own caption here                               

 #1. Me, after too many fried pies                               #2. Winter is not far away

Keep on reading and for all of you that are writers, get in the chair and get busy writing.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Great To Be Back

It is always great to get away, but for me, it’s better to get back home. Don’t get me wrong, I love to get away but when it is time to come home, and I’m ready to come home, nothing is better.
Ahh - less than a half hour from home

We enjoyed a great four day getaway in Breckenridge Colorado, still a lot of Aspen gold, great weather and crisp, clean air at 10,000 feet.
When I say we, this is my travel partner/wife for the past 48 years
This photo is in the Laramie Range, west of home, a week ago

The summer crowds were gone, and it’s too early for the skiers. Still, there were quite a number of tourists in the area.
From the overlook west of Breckenridge

Now we have two weeks at home and then off to the south for a couple of weeks plus a few days. So how much writing do I get done when we are away? Not much, some, but not much. I will get a bit more done when we go on our longer trip, a few more days in hotels/motels and some days with family in Louisiana.
The light area is a parking lot - not snow - yet

I have some work to do, some new covers for some older books and three new books coming soon. One has been edited, the other two are my usual, behind schedule. What I like most about writing full time and being my own publisher is that I set my own schedule, if I fall behind – oops!

I read today that James Joyce only averaged about 90 words a day during his writing career. Even with my so-so writing routine, I will easily write more than 90 words a day on average. As a matter of fact, I will end the year averaging about 620 words per day. Not a huge input, but for me – hey, good enough.

According to a 2013 study, people check their phone 150 times per day, not me, more like five for me. Phones waste a lot of time, as does all social media and internet surfing. These three things are the most listed as things that take away working/writing time. I do spend too much time on Twitter and maybe Goggle+, other than that, my writing time should be mine. I was born long before everyone carried a phone around and computers were needed both at home and work. My twitter, in case any readers want to waste time is - @wyohistoryguy

So that leaves me with this. I could write more except, I love to play golf, work in the garden, outdoor photography, hiking in the mountains, reading, cooking, yep cooking, and woodworking. Guess that’s the reason I only write a quarter of a million words a year instead of a million. Oh, I love football, and the baseball playoffs are on.
Still looked pretty good a few weeks ago - sadly, frost has taken it all away

Meanwhile - Keep writing and Keep on reading. It’s great to be home. 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Writing Short Stories and a Walk to Refresh

Sometimes when I should be writing, but it is too nice to stay inside, my wife, and I go for a hike. We planned on two or three miles but went for four, a bit tiring but the day was spectacular.
Clear skies and a day to see for Miles and Miles

We spend as much time as we can outside and constantly marvel at the beauty that can be found in nature.

Whether it is landscape or animals seems there is always something to see. Sometimes even a simple rock can stop me as I walk.
Well Hello There

“The next best thing to being clever is being able to quote someone who is.”  -Mary Pettibone Poole-

“If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.”  Rudyard Kipling

Throughout my years of teaching, I was always proud when a colleague said they could never teach like I do because they just were not a story teller. I loved it when a student told me they loved my classes because I was a story teller and they had never been in a class with a storyteller before. I guess that is what turns storytellers into writers.

I seem to have an endless supply of stories, one of the reasons I am a fan of short stories, which brings me to my last point. A few weeks ago I published a short story and gave it away on Amazon for five days, after the giveaway, it continues to sell well at .99 cents, and for that I am grateful.

Here is the .99 cent short

Good enough sales and downloads that I believe I will try another in a few weeks.

Meanwhile keep on reading and keep on writing. My online western writer friend Oscar Case, you can find him here, posted a few reviews from a book of short stories called, The Mammoth Book of Westerns. I could not help myself. I bought it and now cannot put it down.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Words of September

Another month has passed, fall is here, and the colors are terrific.
Fall Color in Wyoming

Writing totals for the Month
I had hoped September would see an uptick in my writing, but instead, I wrote a bit less than last month. This month writing numbers include 17 blog posts and 11,291 words on all of my projects. This brings my word total for the year to just under 167,000. I need to pick it up to reach my goal of a quarter of a million words, right now it looks like I will come in around 200,000. My original goal was 350,000 then lowered to 250,000. I am not sure if I set my goals too high, or if I have become lazy. This year is the first that I have kept exact totals so maybe next year will tell the tale of how many words I write each day, month or year.
Standing in the Oregon Trail Ruts a half mile south of our home

Sales are up
Although my word total was lacking, my book sales were and still are up. I have three new books nearly ready to go and hope to update my Christmas book to a second edition and get it out before Thanksgiving.  If I do all of that, I should have a good writing month in October.
Two Fawns in Fall

What a September
Not much writing in September but it was a great month for everything else. We went back to southeast Nebraska for our 50-year high school class reunion – Class of 1966. I also spend some time in the Laramie Range, visited the old Iron mining town of Sunrise, spent a day at the world famous Spanish Diggings and half a day at one of my favorite places, Fort Laramie. My wife and I also, with the cooler temperatures, started our fall hiking at Guernsey State Park.
Here I am taking a break sitting on a pile of broken stone at the Spanish Diggings
Unbelievable that this stone was worked thousands of years ago - what a great trip

Garden Book 
Oh, and the garden is looking good. Which reminds me, I have not mentioned that one of my works in progress is a gardening book. Tips for beginning gardeners at altitude, and a collection of short murder mysteries that take place in – you guessed it - the garden. It will be a short book, coming in at around 100 pages, but so far I like it. The others will be my second Blade Holms western mystery and the third in my series of children’s books.
Nothing beats a backyard garden

Thanks for keeping, Ghost of the Fawn, and Interview with a Gunfighter, consistently in the top 200 the past month, it is appreciated more than I can ever say.

Keep on reading and keep on writing!

Top of the world view from the area of the Spanish Diggings