Monday, November 28, 2016

Put Me In The Book and I Will Keep Reading

“Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen.” Louis L’Amour
Speaking of things I have seen - watched this doe and twins today as we headed out Eagle watching

I have always liked that quote. I guess because it can be taken so many different ways. Until a few years ago I had only read one L’Amour book then I read his, Education of a Wandering Man, and I was hooked. The next year I read twenty or so of his books. Some I liked, some not so much. But he was pretty good at putting the reader inside the book through his description of place.

Seems as I get older I want to slow down and take a look around. I like it when stories do that. I don’t need a description of everyone's clothes, looks, or everything they ate, but I need to feel like I am inside the pages of the book. It seems like each month I will start 10 or so books and finish half that at best. The one thing I find in common with the ones I finish is that I can feel part of it.

 I have been a long time fan of western writers, Tony Hillerman, Elmer Kelton, and Richard S. Wheeler. In the past few years, I have added Lee Child, C. J. Box and Craig Johnson to my list of writers I cannot wait for their next book. I read many other writers as I continue my quest to find more writers that make me feel like I am a character in their story.

Today's photos I snapped late this morning. The last days of November and early December is a great time of the year for eagle watching. They are very wary creatures and require a lot of patience to take a few decent photos. But, because I do not travel too many miles, instead I take my time and stop to look around, I often get lucky. Thankfully I have a patient wife who is willing to go as slow as I am.
Mom showing the little ones how to hunt or maybe fish

Meanwhile keep on reading and keep on writing. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Help For Writers and Other Fairy Tales

Help for Writers - Seems to me that more and more websites and blogs are tossing around books I classify as, writer helpers. Kind of like hamburger helper but for writers. When I see a new add for plotting, finishing, starting, editing, character development or one of many other writers helps, I look them up. Not what they are offering but them, what have they written and did it sell, often not, or not so much. Makes me think there may be more money in writing books helping others to write books than there is in any other genre. Just an observation.

Dusting off an old book - Years ago I started writing a book on failing in small business. It was a tongue in cheek look at how difficult it is to be one of the lucky ones that work on to make money in a small business. Think I might drag it out, it was fun. But don’t expect me ever to come out with a book on writing, well maybe, if I sell a few million, which seems unlikely. Several years ago vanity presses were all the rage, pay upfront and got your book published. Today buy the book and self-publish, at least the new way is easier. In all likelihood, few books will be sold, but at least by self-publishing, the writer will not finish in the hole.
First Snow of the Year

NANO Writers - As so many writers plug away trying to get sixteen hundred words a day in a quest to reach 50,000 words during November, the National Write a Novel Month, I have been taking it easy.  I could blame my lack of production on hand pain, and swelling brought on by arthritis, but it’s getting better, and I can type again. I don’t believe I have ever written much more than 30,000 words in any given month, guess that is good for me. Each year I think about attempting NANO, but each year I pass. Considering I was out of state the first week of the month and spend three days last week at a school board convention guess November is a bad month for me, writing production wise. Hey, maybe next year.
Too Much Hiking and Not Enough Writing - but that will end when the cold sets in

Progress Report – The books I had hoped to have ready for Christmas are going nowhere, I have done a bit of work on two of them but now hoping for February. Lazy strikes again, I guess.

Christmas Stories – I am considering some type of promotion for my book of western Christmas stories. Take a look here and read the first one, or most of it at least for free. The book, Under Western Skies, sold well last year and I hope to find some new readers this holiday season. 

Meanwhile, put your feet up grab a hot cup of cocoa and read or write a good book. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Back In The Saddle Again

The End of a Vacation - After a bit over two weeks on the road, we are home. Vacations are always great, and then it is wonderful to be back home. Meanwhile, my writing has been nearly nonexistent. Over the 15 days we were away, I tweeted twice, posted no blogs and wrote only about 1,200 words – not much. The good news is we had fun, a most enjoyable trip. Today's photos are all from our time in Dodge City Kansas where we spent an enjoyable day.
 Part of the Original Boot Hill
Old Town Recreation in Dodge City

A Month of Writing - Last month I wrote a few words less than 10,000 words, even short for me during my slacker writing times. Now here I sit writing my first words in November and it is the 11th.  Seems time to get started. Recently I read that 70% of published books lose money and that cover designers and editors often are the only one’s to profit from a majority of self-published books – something to think about. I have been able to make a profit, albeit a small one on each of my books. To do this, I limit my expenses. Not preaching to the choir just reminding everyone that spending thousands on a book that will be self-published might not be the best idea.
Watching Gunsmoke on 60+ Year Old TV in the Museum at Dodge City
I  kept my feet off the table, just liked the cool effect. I find it funny.  

NANO Writers - Many years I have thought about joining the NANO writers in trying to write a 50,000-word novel in a month. Guess that is not me, can't or won't push myself that hard. A good month of writing for me seems to be around 20,000 words, but most months fall in the ten or twelve thousand area. Maybe some day.
Thought this old time printing operation fit here nicely.

Works In Progress – My biggest writing problem seems to be that I have too many stories and not enough time. When I complete the first draft, I put it away and often write another novel and several short stories before I go back to finish the first novel. As all of my loyal readers know I have three books completed and in various states of edit and completion. What do I do, you guessed it, start another. Glad novels and short stories are only part, and not my entire writing income.
Black Smith Shop

Keep on reading and keep on writing.
A few days after leaving Dodge City we were in Louisiana

Oh – almost forgot, while away on vacation I was elected to the local school board. Looking forward to serving.