Thursday, May 26, 2016

Selfless Book Promo

Lately, I have been a bit dismayed at my book sale totals. That means, in my Wyoming vernacular, I ain't sellin’ much. Guess it proves the point, so many authors make – If you don’t promote you won’t sell many books. I have mentioned books in only one post, here last week, in the past six weeks. I normally promote on Twitter, Google Plus, and my five blogs on a regular basis.

Here They Are All Five of My Books

I hate self-promotion, but it is part of the business. I still do speaking engagements, and love those, and sell quite a few books when I speak. That’s my idea of promotion. I have two events coming up soon and am looking forward and getting ready for them. Meanwhile, if you are interested in a real western, give, Commitment, a look, I believe you will enjoy it. Adventure in the old west, with a terrific mystery. Click the link and read the free sample. This book is available as an ebook and an incredibly good looking soft cover. As most of you know from my previous posts, book two of this series is coming soon. 

Take A Look

The good news, it’s summer and my nonfiction book, The Civilian Conservation Corps and the Building of Guernsey State Park – With Folktales and Stories of the Park, is sold in several places, in and around where I live, and does quite well.

So, I guess it is time to get back to the old grindstone and see if I can start selling a few books again. I think it will help when my next book, or two, come out, just hope it is sooner than later.

Busy Doing Oregon Trail Reserch 

 Here Sitting In the Ruts of That Famous Trail
 Less Than a Mile From Our House 

This week I have been back at work writing. But there is a problem with that; it’s not on either of the books that I should be working on – Oh Well! 

And still time for a few photo sessions this week.

Up High the Snow is Melting, This is The Laramie River Yesterday
 It is normally about 20 Feet Wide - Now 100 Yards or More

Guernsey Lake Looking Through the Wonderful CCC Built
Sitting Bull Shelter

You can see all five of my books on HERE on my Amazon Author Site

Have a great week - keep reading and keep writing.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Story Ideas

From Where Do Story Ideas Come ?

Everyone that has written a novel or short stories has been asked that question. Today I thought I would tackle it myself. My ideas are often spontaneous and start with me writing the first line and then letting the story fall in behind. I write mostly historical fiction, but also children’s chapter books for readers seven to ten years old. Although I have not written a novel that would fall into the science fiction category, I have dabbled in short stories in that genre.

How About A Story About the Street You Grew Up On?
Yep This is Mine - See the House With  The White porch Rails?
That's It.

Do Most Writers Ideas Come From Dreams?

One thing I have learned is that my ideas do not come from dreams. I have read so many posts about stories that came from dreams, but not mine. My dreams are often so disjointed that I would have no idea how to turn any of them into a book. I think the best stories are based on real-life events, might be why I like to read historical fiction. For years and years, writers were told only to write, what they know. That has long since passed, as none of my favorite murder mystery writers are murders themselves. Writers can write, what interests them, something for which they have a passion.

Maybe If I Dreamed of Flying

Oh, No Writer’s Block

Many times writers blame the famous, for writers, writer’s block, as the reason for not having an idea for a story, but I don’t think this is true, ideas are all around us. The nightly news, if one writes contemporary stories and history books for writers that love the old days. Almost anything can and does make a good story. Some of the best stories are new takes on old stories. Indeed, it has also been said that there are no new stories, only retelling of old ones. I am not sure if I buy into this, but it might be true. In my western, Commitment, I gave my hero, Blade Holmes, a bit of a superhero feel. No super powers, but abilities and senses far beyond what other men had. In my kid's chapter books, I tell the stories of my life growing up in the 1950s, but center them around, ghosts, zombies, and vampires, just for fun.

It might be a cliché, but my stories start with a first line, and I go from there. I have quite a file of first lines or in some cases, first paragraphs or first pages. I should never have writer’s block, I have plenty of ideas, but sometimes I do have writers, I don’t feel like it, as I have the past two weeks.
This Might be a Place to Cure Writer's Block

Meanwhile At My Writing Desk

So what have I been up too? The final edit on my young adult mystery. I have thirty pages left, on this go through, and then I will be close to finished. Otherwise, I have not done too much, writing, that is.  I have been enjoying life, traveling, watching little league baseball games, going to elementary school concerts, playing golf, and getting my garden and lawn in shape. Oh, and I have also been doing, maybe a bit too much, substitute teaching.
Windmill Made in My Hometown, Many Years Ago
 Photo From Our Most Recent Trip

Keep On Reading and Keep On Writing!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

A Trip to Refesh

Home From a Short Trip

After a few days away it is nice to be back.  It is a dreary and rainy day here which is perfect as I am still recovering from an eight-hour drive yesterday. Fun times and with another long weekend trip coming up in a few days it looks like I will not get much done on my works in progress, Oh well, maybe it will clear my mind and motivate me to finish something.

Out at My Sister and Brother-In-Laws Farm - Sitting in Giant Hackberry Tree

Three Books Coming

I still hope to publish the three books, I have nearly ready to go, in the next few weeks.  But, it will be summer with lots of interruptions and much beautiful warm weather. Looks like I will need to go on a bit more of a schedule than I follow, for my writing, now. Might be an interesting trial or a complete disaster. I have followed a regular schedule before but never lasted long at it.

Books Can be Too Short

In other news I read a blog pushing a particular western, I went to Amazon, $3.99, not bad, length 78 pages. What, a novel 78 pages long. I don’t mind a short book but, this is too short for four bucks. The same author has a five book set for sale that is just over 200 pages.  He may be an excellent writer, I will never know. I might have given him a try if he had advertised his works as long short stories or short novellas and priced them appropriately.

Seemed a Bit Fishy or Froggy to Me

Thoughts From Deep in the Mind of a Western Writer

 I do have a book of short westerns, advertised as such, UnderWestern Skies,  Amazon lists this book as 100 pages, and the book ends on page 140 and then has a bonus first chapter from my western novel, Commitment. So I will give this writer the nod in that it might be listed shorter than it is, or it might be listed longer. I used a 12 point font instead of 11 for this one, as it targets older readers but still do not believe it would add more than a few pages. (I checked when I enlarged it, and the change added less than five or six, cannot remember for sure, old age, you know).   I am always reading about books making money and best seller lists that are really not very good. How about misleading potential buyers with a fancy cover a mid-range price and a 70 or 80-page book. I have never worried much about the length of books but do believe that if it is advertised as a novel, it should run at least 200 pages.  Just my thoughts on a rainy and tired day.  If you would like to read a few free pages of my western novel, which runs 352 pages, take a look at Commitment,here.

Enjoyed a Visit to Rock Creek Station ( Duckbill Hickok became Wild Bill here )

Keep writing and keep reading.

Made in my Hometown, an Old Fairbury Windmill Company Mill

Monday, May 2, 2016

April Words

I have mentioned before that two writers I follow commonly write more than a million words a year. Reading their posts inspired me to keep track of my word number this year. My wife was afraid I might become obsessed with writing everything down – she was right.

Geeting My Ducks in a Row - Even When it is Snowing

April Writing

This month I wrote 22 blog posts and that unfortunately made up about half of my writing as I totaled only, 20,393 words for the month. That means that my works in progress did not go far. The word total does bring me up to 100,466 for the year, quite a bit short of my ongoing goal. By this time, I was supposed to be 121,000 which would be 1,000 words per day for 121 days.  I am averaging 830 words or about 170 per day short of the goal. My actual target for the year is 350,000 (I just call it a thousand a day), so I do have a bit of leeway, but am still behind.

Words Are Like Water Under the Bridge

When I am Not Writing

So, if I am not writing what was I doing? Good question.  I played 11 rounds of golf and took 454 photos during eight photo sessions, mostly wildlife and the beginning of spring and snow in spring pictures. I also started the cold weather part of my garden, planting peas, potatoes, and radishes. The peas and radishes are up, but the potatoes seem to still be in hiding. Along with writing, I also substitute taught five days in April.  Most people especially retired teachers, are surprised that after teaching for 42 years I still go back and sub. I enjoy it still, and will continue subbing as long as I can do it and enjoy my days at school. I also volunteered and worked two long track & field meets.  This month I also had a few over 21,000 hits on my blogs. I don’t keep track of how many unique visits and how many people open multiple pages, that all seems too difficult for me. I am always happy with five thousand a week. I also had multiple blogs with several comments. I try to answer each comment and love it when people take the time to put something in the comments section. I often comment on others blogs if it is something I am interested in or if it strikes my fancy. (Do people still say that)?

One of my April Favorite Photo's

As Colombo Used to Say – “Oh, One More Thing.”

That’s it for this month, hope some other writer’s post how much they have accomplished this month. Oh, I read two books, may be an all-time low for me, but I am doing some commercial writing, and researching for my next non-fiction takes a lot of my time.

Meanwhile – Keep on Writing and Keep on Reading

Note -  this post is 508 words, I’m rolling now!

Laramie Peak in Eastern Wyoming on a Cloudy Day