Friday, April 20, 2018

Writing Snacks and Other Nonsense

It's Warming Up and I Am, Once Again, Up and At Um
So much has been written about the habits of writers, so much, that I decided to make a list of some of my writing habits. Seems since most who write do it differently than others, we all might be a bit odd – but here we go.

1.  Most of my writing is on my laptop, (touchscreen, no mouse) sitting in my favorite recliner with the television on. (Seldom could I tell anyone details of what was on, I like the noise I guess)
2.  When writing in my office, about 10% of my writing, I also turn on a television
3.  Writing snacks – Salted peanuts, black licorice, dried cherries, hot or iced tea
4.  I always have both fiction, and a nonfiction project going on
5.  My best writing time – afternoon, evening and late – too late
6.  Mornings I use for news, and social media, and new research
7.  I try to walk a mile or more or play golf, usually 9 holes, every day. (When playing golf I ride, I figure I get plenty of steps along with twisting and turning in the 90 minutes I am on the course)
8.  I spend time in my gardens, or out with my cameras, whenever possible
9.  I spend an hour or two each morning reading, outside in the sun when possible
10.              I sign books with a black rollerball pen, I sometimes use fountain pens when I write personal notes from home.
11.              Last, I check my online sales twice a day – morning and evening
12.              Another last, my wife and I take lots of day trips when we do I take one of my cameras, but no writing when we are out enjoying the day.

There you have it,  as Frank Sinatra put it, My Way.
So how do you write? Anything that seems a bit far left or right of the norm?

Feeling Better – Writing More - I am spending more time writing, the past two weeks, than I have for several months. At last, I feel well enough to think and write. Seems the older I get the tougher it is to get through the winters without various health problems. Nothing serious, just the same old, cold and flu stuff, to which I added an ongoing problem with my left foot.

Writing – Still spending most of my time on the third book in my Blade Holmes western mystery series. I changed the tentative title yesterday and also a bit of the focus of the book. Now working on an updated character list and outline of events for my famous marshal.
Reading – Still reading Sioux Dawn, by Terry C. Johnston, also taking my time reading, A Guide to Photographing Rocky Mountain Wildlife, interesting and with so many terrific photos.

Today’s Photo’s – From the mountains 20-30 or so, miles west of town
Keep on reading, and keep on writing, see all of my books on my Amazon author site – here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Marketing Books

Last week’s (wow has it been two weeks?) eBook give away seemed to be a success. If nothing else it let me know I am reaching a few more people. Next year I will try another with hopes to give away 100 books. Not close to that yet, but when I passed 20 I felt good about it.

Book Sales – Surprisingly my latest book – On Turning 70, is selling pretty well, not only in the eBook form, this month I have sold more regular books with this one than any of my others. Maybe because it is a large print edition has helped with sales to people my age.  I sell a few of my CCC nonfiction book in the soft cover version every month and now that it is warming up my humorous and helpful look at gardening is doing better.

Book Marketing – I have been reading more and more about bookselling and marketing, trouble is, I read about it but do not do much – guess that’s not working. Like many writers I spend too much time writing, messing around on social media and unlike many writers, I spend lots of time gardening, playing golf and shooting photos outdoors, all fun, but not a huge help when selling a book or two.

Writing – Spending most of my time on the third book in my Blade Holmes western mystery series. The book, tentatively titled, Cattleman, is set from Platte County to Johnson County Wyoming.

ReadingSioux Dawn, by Terry C. Johnston, the book is based on the 1866 Fetterman Massacre, so far a well written and fascinating read.

Today’s Photo’s – Breaking spring in Wyoming

Keep on reading, and keep on writing, see all of my books on my Amazon author site – here. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Free eBook - Neil Waring's - Ghost of the Fawn

Free Book – download here.  Ghost of the Fawn. Set in modern-day central Wyoming.

Last week I mentioned that I would soon have a book up for free.

Free today through the weekend. This book – Ghost of the Fawn, has not sold as well as many of my others, not sure why. It is a story of two Native teens trying to find themselves until they get in the middle of intrigue and murder in Central Wyoming. I love the story and think you might too.

Thanks, and enjoy!
This year, here in Wyoming, this is spring.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Writing Update and Easter Guests

Looks like March does not want to go out like a lamb. Two or three inches of snow last night and looks like we will struggle to reach 40 degrees today (Thursday, March, 29).

Lots of guests here at our house recently, and that has made for good times, but not much writing. I have got out a little with my camera and taken a few photos. Now with Easter Eggs died, and the weather outside not fit for man nor beast, maybe, just maybe, I will get some writing done. Lately, most of my attention has been on the fourth book of my kid’s chapter book series, the Mike and Moose and Me series. They are fun to write and sell pretty well, but this one, the fourth is scheduled to be the end of the series. Might be a chance at another, but not right away, if ever.

Writing Goals - I am quite a bit behind on my writing goals, three books, to be exact. I hoped to have the kid’s book, I mentioned above, plus my nonfiction book, and the third of my historical fiction series, all complete by June first, now I hope to finish at least one by then. Such is the life of a procrastinating writer.

New free offer coming soon – One of my books, Ghost of the Fawn, has consistently underperformed, just does not sell many copies. The problem seems to be I wrote it with teenagers as the main characters, because of that it seems my adult readers are not giving it a look. I love the story, think it is a really fun read for all ages. In a couple of weeks, maybe sooner, I am going to put it up for a few days only - as a free book. Take a look here and read the free three chapters, I think you will like it.

Today’s photos from the Laramie Range a half hour west of our home in Guernsey, Wyoming

As always keep on reading and keep on writing - have a wonderful and safe Easter weekend. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Spring is Here and the Writing is Easy

Spring is here, and I say, it is about time. We, my wife and I, had a bit of a tough winter, flu, colds, and too much ice and bad weather. Now we are back walking and enjoying time outside.

Writing and Researching - My writing, or at least my researching is picking up. I always have trouble getting sidetracked when doing historical research – too much good stuff. The problem is I find stuff I will never use, at least on my current work in progress, but it is much too interesting to put down. Oh well, it can lead to several hours of enjoyable reading. I am managing to write, at least a few hundred words each day, not bad, when writing nonfiction.

Reading – Finished The Killing of Chief Crazy Horse, terrific nonfiction read, now I am back to fiction, reading Elmer Kelton’s, Texas Vendetta, Kelton’s western fiction is always enjoyable.

I have also pulled up some of the works I was stuck on and hoping that after a break I can get going again.

Spring Fever - Should have mentioned I am also reading several new seed catalogs, kind of a gardeners spring fever thing. I have started planting my early seed flats, with a little luck, the new plants will be ready for the garden in the middle of May.

My Gardening Book & my Newest Release – Last year I released my gardening book, Beginning Gardening and Other Entertaining Lies, the book has garden information and includes four garden Murder Mystery short stories. With spring approaching it is starting to sell again, thankfully, as March is a traditionally slow sales month, at least for me. My newest release, On Turing 70, a humorous and reflective look at my new age is off to a good start. If you fall into my age group or hope to reach it someday give it a look.

Today’s photos are from our Monday hike in Wyoming's Guernsey State Park

Want to take a look at all my books? Click to See my Amazon Author Site - here

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Writing - Reading and Birthdays

Well, I made it through my birthday, and am now, officially a septuagenarian. For all of the younger than me readers that fancy word means I am now 70, and yes, it is hard to believe.

Is it Spring Yet? - The weather, at last, seems to be warming and we have begun hiking in the local state park (Guernsey State Park – Wyoming) again. Feels good to get out of my chair and feel sunshine and outside air.

Writing - I am still spending most of my writing time working on my nonfiction book about Fort Laramie and all of its great stories. I also find a bit of time, every day or two and before my head explodes, to work on some of my fiction.

Reading –  Nonfiction - The Killing of Chief Crazy Horse. Good read so far, started today, and I am about a third of the way through. The book is pretty hard for me to put down.

Garden Time – I will soon be starting my garden seed flats: flowers, tomatoes, and onions, mostly. With spring I seem to get up a bit earlier, and if everything goes well, I should get more done. Then I am reminded that Day Light Savings Time, is just around the corner.

From one of my favorite writers -
You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different words on a page. Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write.
Annie Proulx

Today's photos from outings the past two days.

Keep on reading and keep on writing.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Writing, Walking, Laughing, and Selling Books

The sun is shining, and maybe, just maybe, some of the snow will melt this afternoon. One thing about an extended cold snap – lots of time to write, and I have been taking advantage of it. I am working mostly on my non-fiction Fort Laramie book, but thinking about digging out one of my work in progress fiction books to change it up a little bit. Maybe fiction in the morning and nonfiction in the afternoon?

On Turning 70 - My Newest book, a look at turning 70, a combination of tongue in cheek humor and reminisces is available and has started to sell a few copies – only .99 as an ebook. Click to see.

A Smile on a Cool February Day
Have you heard that Wrangler and Levi Strauss started manufacturing electric jeans!

We had to chop up the piano for firewood - but we only got two chords. (Sorry for that one)

Two old cowboys, wearing every stitch of warm clothes they could find, walked toward the barn attempting to talk about the weather. It was not working, their words were freezing in the air. At last, exasperated, the two each grabbed a handful of the frozen sentences and took them back to the bunkhouse, sat by the fire and waited for the words to thaw by the fire before they knew what they were talking about.
Watched these two young ladies Tuesday afternoon

Book Sales – Not as strong as last month but still doing fine – thank you, it is rewarding to see books sold online every day. If it has been a while since you checked my author site on Amazon – click here and take a look at my ten books, and one short story. Each book has a click to read a free sample – pretty cool!
Super Sunset last week

Exercise in Expectation of Warm Days to Come - Once we have a few nice days I will start thinking about playing golf again. I played a few times in December, not at all in January and have got out once for nine holes this month. My wife and I are on a new quest, to walk 100 miles, exercise-extra walking, by the first of May. Should be able to make it, only an average of a mile and a half a day. Not a lot, but pretty good for an old codger like me.

Meanwhile, keep on reading and keep on writing.
Our view from a hike in the park

Saturday, February 17, 2018

New Book and a Wyoming Drive

Feeling better and back to work – that’s me this week. Took nearly five weeks to get back to whatever is normal for me. The first battle with the flu I have had in many years, and the flu won this fight. But now, thankfully, looks like that is all behind me.

Reading - Spending much more time than normal sitting in my recliner had one positive outcome, I did a lot of reading. I spent quite a lot of time reading blogs and free sample pages of books I thought interesting. I found several books I added to my, to read, list.   Speaking of free pages, I love the, Look Inside, feature on Amazon, as it gives me a chance to see if it might be something I will like. I purchased half a dozen eBooks and two physical books over the last two weeks.

On Turning 70 – My newest book and my shortest is out. It is a story of reflection on turning 70 years of age. The book is not only reflective but full of humor and nostalgia. If you are getting, as we used to hear, “up there in years,” give it a try, it’s a quick hour or hour and a half read. This one, like all of my books, is available in soft cover or as an eBook. Here is the link to the $1.99 eBook.

Photo Trip – Thursday we made the hundred mile trip to Rock River, Wyoming to watch our grandson’s basketball game. For readers who do not live in Wyoming – no, a trip of 100 miles for Jr. High sports is not unusual here in the Cowboy state. The trip gave me a chance to drive through some rugged areas great for wildlife photos. All of today's photos are from that trip. You will see some snow coming down in a few of the photos, another, its that time of year, fact.

Meanwhile – Keep on reading, and for my writing friends, keep on writing.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Reading, Writing & A Winter Day in Wyoming

I follow quite a few writers on various social media platforms. Most of the time I enjoy what they have to say. Why only most of the time? I like authors who post about their work, works in progress, what they are reading, or how to write articles.

Posting Off Subject - When writers post political stuff, I don’t mind some, but if it becomes the norm, I usually quit on them. I have my own political views, which I keep to myself, except for one post which I still regret. It’s not that I don’t enjoy a good political conversation or read, I do, but for that, I keep to political bloggers. As far as politics, I follow people on both sides, liberal, and conservative, and sometimes enjoy what they have to say.
Off subject photo of Bison in Winter

Sites I Read - Like most everyone who writes, I follow/read many writing sites. Some are fun, some helpful, and some simply have so many followers I figure something must be going on. Here are five, in no particular order, that I look at several times a week, and often find good stuff, usable stuff, or inspiration to keep on working.

On a Windy and Cold Day

I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.  Harper Lee

I love that quote, and how true it is. No matter how hard we try, those of us who write are still going to be hurt, at times, by what others think about our hard work. I am still hoping for a five-star review to cover the single one-star I got for my novel, The Ghost Dance, on Amazon. 
Winter Sunset

It’s a good story and still sells pretty well, but the one-star review keeps it from being as popular as some of my other books. Why the one-star? I let my spell checker replace Marshal with Marshall, and sole instead of soul, (I might have done that one myself). Not grievous, most never noticed, but still wrong. The words were long ago replaced, but the one-star, sadly the books only review, lives on. Someday a kind reader, or two, will leave some four or five-star reviews and the book will sell better, and I will feel better. Meanwhile, I try to remember Harper Lee’s words about developing a thick hide.
Talking About My Book on the Civilian Conservation Corps 
What I am Reading Now – Elmer Kelton’s, Ranger’s Trail
Geese Flying Over in the Heavy Snow This Morning

Have a great week and keep on reading and writing

Coming Soon - Sring & Summer

Monday, January 22, 2018

Buried by Research - Who was Who

Research can, at times, be more than I can take. I spent two days working on one obscure commander at Fort Laramie. Not only was there not much about him but there were two of him. Not really two of him, but another with the same name. Both men held the same rank, captain, achieved six-weeks apart and both were with the same group of Kansas Volunteers. After a few more hours I was able to separate them as one went east to fight in the War Between the States, and the other, the one I was looking for, came west to Fort Laramie. 

Thought I had it all figured out, except now when my man coming west should have been listed as the fort commander, he is not. Now I have another dilemma to work through. So goes the life of a researcher.

At some point I will go down to Fort Laramie and see if I can find answers in their files, actually looking forward to it. As of now, I am swallowed up in books, military records, and online research sites. Fun, but it can be exasperating.

Oh, I didn’t mention when doing the research I ran across a murder at the fort and another of a past Fort Laramie Commander in Texas, a few years after he left Laramie. Two stories I will likely use in my book.

Hard work, but highly interesting and entertaining. 

All photos are from Fort Laramie - I took them on an April visit. 

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