Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Write More in 2015

Not sure my writing total of a bit over 100,000 words was enough this year. In the past couple of weeks I have read two posts by authors that wrote over a million words in 2014.  Not sure I could ever get close to this but am hoping to get close to 250,000 in 2015.
 I have an advantage over many writers and would be writers, because I don’t need to sell anything. I live comfortably on retirement and occasionally substitute teach in the local district to pick up what we old folks used to call, “a little pin money.”
I have been lucky to publish many short stories and travel pieces over the years but still have high hopes for a novel. So 2015, will be the year!
At present I have a non-fiction, local history, being edited with publishing coming, I hope, in February. When that is complete, I will work on the two novels I have completed and two completed volumes of short stories.
 Who knows? If everything goes great I might get a few books out this year – and maybe write a bit more.
“I was sorry to hear my name mentioned as one of the great authors, because they have a sad habit of dying off. Chaucer is dead, so is Milton, so is Shakespeare, and I am not feeling very well myself.
- Mark Twain

Freezing up North of Town

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 19, 2014

170 Year Old - A Christmas Carol - The Story

 In the past few weeks I have watched all or parts of several versions of the Charles Dickens story, “A Christmas Carol.”  Some newer movies kept the Dickens title and others have been renamed, Scrooge or Scrooged along with many other names that relate to the original story. Dozens of other short stories, books, television programs and movies are loosely based on the Dickens tale.
Dickens wrote the story as a commentary on greed in Britain at the time. His character Ebenezer Scrooge, became one of the most well know names in all of literature because of the story and likely because he was such an uncaring person throughout the first part of the story and changes as his life is revealed to him.
Dickens wrote the 80 page novella fairly fast, starting in September and finishing six weeks later in early December. Publishing it 170 years ago today- December 19, 1843 it became an instant success. The only problem was that Dickens needed money and hoped to make much more on the book than he did.

Dickens, “The Christmas Carol.” Has been continuously in print for 170 years and still sells well, especially around Christmas, throughout England, America and numerous other countries around the world.

Merry Christmas! 
Corner of Our Family Room

Monday, December 15, 2014

Snow Day

Now that summer is officially over with snow yesterday and last night, guess I can get into my normal grumpy winter mood. Here in the cowboy state we get most of our yearly moisture in the form of snow. It reminded me of this line from a C. J. Box book -

Wyomingites, Joe had observed, didn't know what to do when it rained except get out of it, watch it through the window, and wait for it to go away.” C. J. Box - Open Season

With snow on the ground today, I couldn't wait to get outside. By afternoon the wind was gone, the sun peek-a-booed in and out and the temperature went to 30. Another great day out west.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Maybe That Old Boy Hemingway is Right

Ernest Hemingway gave the following advice to help with writer’s block. “The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day when you are writing a novel you will never be stuck. That is the most valuable thing I can tell you so try to remember it.”
Some of my writer friends and I often write until we are stumped then go to bed and sleep on it. Funny that seems to never work. I have a tough time stopping if I am on a roll. Seems Hemingway thinks you quit when you are ahead. He seemed to do okay, maybe he has something here.
By the way my checker didn't like Hemingway using good instead of well.
That’s my two cents for today time to ride off into this evenings Laramie Range sunset.
Photo Taken Four Miles Northwest of Town

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Old Cowboys and New Westerns

Last evening I finished reading, A Texas Ranger, by William Macleod Raine, written more than 100 years ago but still a very good tale. Some of these older westerns seem to be somewhere in between all the pulp westerns that were so well read a half century ago and the newer, truer western of a few years ago.  The difference between the new and the traditional westerns was summed up by Elmer Kelton, an all-time favorite of mine, when he said that Mr. L'Amour's characters ''are always seven feet tall and invincible, mine are 5 feet 8 and nervous.''
Seemed to me that much of the action, in westerns today, is still the seven foot tall and invincible style but grittier in modern westerns. That’s why I read them, love the action, that’s why its fiction, it’s over the top. If I see any big changes in newer western novels it might be the removal, at times, of stereotypes of Indians, women, Mexicans and some religious groups. (See Zane Grey)The so called formula western is still alive with a fair following, the one that puts the good guys against the bad guys. More and more westerns seem to be of the romance variety and these new westerns seem to be dominated by women writers, nothing bad about that, just an observance.
Type in “Westerns,” into an Amazon book search – most interesting. You will find a mix of new and old, romance and traditional and many very cheap or free on Kindle stories. 

And like any good cowboy in the end I will ride off into the sunset.

Great Sunset Over the Laramie Range December First 2014