Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Christmas Short Stories - New Book

My second book of Christmas short stories is out. I expected to have this out over a year ago, but other things got in the way. 

This one - Under Christmas Skies - differs a bit from the first with more of the stories set in modern times. 

Take a look and use the - Look Inside - feature to read the first story and a bit more for free.


Saturday, November 24, 2018

Writing Westerns and a Holiday Slow Down

The Holiday Slow DownThanksgiving and Black Friday, 2018 have passed into history, and now it is time to get back to work for most folks. I managed, at last, to not overeat and did zero shopping on Black Friday, hope that is not un-American.

Reading for Fun – I have been reading some short mysteries and cozy mysteries the last few days and enjoying the stories. I am also reading, as I am most of the time, a western. I can always tell when a story really grabs me – I stay up too late reading. I will be reporting more, with some mini-reviews soon.

Selling Books – Book sales are going well, not sure, how I got it going so well, but I am most happy for it. I never will call myself a best-selling author, hope I can, but for now, selling a few books every day is quite nice. I hope it continues. My personal best-selling books right now are the two Blade Holmes novels and my two Christmas books.
Waterfall below Guernsey Dam

From the Old West Some men talk ‘cause they have somethin’ to say. Others talk ‘cause they got to say somethin’.

What I Am Working On – I hate to admit I have spent more time watching football than writing or editing the last few days. After coaching high school football for more than three decades, it seems to be in my blood. The good part of this is that some of the teams I was rooting for won. The bad part – I am falling behind, even without specific, word or page goals, I am getting behind. There is always next week.

 Photo of the Week –
The spectacular Gatehouse at Guernsey Dam

As always, you can find all my books here on Amazon
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Keep on Reading and Keep on Writing
Enjoy the coming of a new and more normal week.


Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Writing & Editing

This is a short week for most American’s – When I was a teacher I always liked Thanksgiving break. It was long enough for me to relax but short enough for the kids not to forget too much before coming back.

Writing can be hard work – Today, I am cleaning up some computer files, as in, changing names so that I actually know what each one is. What a mess.

Selling Books – I went through a downtime a couple of weeks ago but now, for unknown reasons, I am again selling quite a few books and my KDP pages read is also back up.

From the Old West An old-timer is someone who has had a lot of interesting experiences – some of them true.

What I Am Working On – Most of my week has been spent being lazy. The working part of my week (not nearly enough hours) I have been editing (still) my kid's chapter book. I am also spending time reworking the opening of the third of my Blade Holmes western mysteries.
I have great hopes that I will someday get back to a normal writing routine.
“Maybe – someday,” he says, fading away.

 Photo of the Week – 

As always, you can find all my books here on Amazon
Follow me here on twitter at @wyohistoryguy

Keep on Reading and keep on Writing
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Great First Lines

The snow is coming down as I write this, looks like four or five inches so far.
The First Line – So much has been written about getting a book or short story getting off to a great start with a first line hook.  I am not sure the hook or great line needs to be in the first line, but it certainly needs to be in the first paragraph. Is a great hook or line necessary, not always? Fiction seems to do best with a great start, but nonfiction and often short stories do not necessarily need a great line to keep readers engaged.  
My all-time favorite is the Charles Dickens start to his classic, A Tale of Two Cities. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
In contrast, I have never understood why Herman Melville’s line, “Call me Ishmael,” is so widely considered the greatest opening line in history. You might ask why I don’t like that line, well, I do, but it starts chapter three, not one, and is some eighty paragraphs into the book.  Off the subject a bit, but for all of my author readers, Moby-Dick, now a worldwide classic, sold only a few over 3,000 books before Melville died in 1891, forty years after Moby-Dick was published.

 First Lines from two of my Eleven Books –I spend a lot of time on the openings of my books, often changing the opening a dozen times before I like it. Here is how I started two of my books, the first from book one of my kid's chapter book series, Melvin the E-Street Ghost. “As a kid, I lived on a red brick street in a very big white house. Not unusual considering, everyone I knew lived in a white house on a red brick street.”

From the second of my Blade Holmes western mysteries, The Ghost Dance is this line. "The man riding alone on his horse should have heard the shot, but he was already dead."

First lines never make a decision for me to keep reading or not read on, but a few pages, or a chapter in, will hook me, or send me off looking for another read.

From the Old West A man who ain't got an idea of his own should be mighty careful who he borrows 'em from.
Backyard wildlife

What Am I Working On? Nothing much. What kind of an answer is that?  I just returned from the State School Boards Convention, and this post is the first thing I have written since Monday. But the rest of the day, and tomorrow, I will continue on the edit of my fourth chapter book. I might also do some research for my – in-progress – nonfiction book if I have the time.

 Photo of the Week – 
From a nice warm weather hike earlier this week

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Keep on Reading and keep on Writing
Have a wonderful weekend.

 My newest book - Under Christmas Skies 


Monday, November 12, 2018

Of Writing, Photos, and Eagles in a Tree

Busy Week – Talk about having too much to do. This week it looks like I will be scrambling to get any writing done. Meeting tonight, early breakfast at the school tomorrow and then three-day school board convention in Casper. Yes. I am on the local school board, going into my third year. I will, off course, take along a laptop and hope for some late night hours to write. On days like this, I most often work on outlines for future products and look at plot twists for my works in progress.
Guernsey Lake looking very Blue this time of year

From the Old West Men and barbed wire each have their good points.

What I Am Working On – Most of the past few days I have been working on attempting to figure out why my KDP page reads had slipped to nothing. Never figured it out after going through eight days in a nine-day period with zero page reads – not good. The past two days I am back to several hundred each day – about normal for me.
For my readers that enjoy writing, that’s great, because the marketing part of writing is long, troubling and boring. When I started writing it was for the love of it, glad I still feel that way. Otherwise, it would seem too much like real work.
Took this shot from so far away that it looks more like a painting than a photo - somehow it seems to work - I like it.

 Photo of the Week –
Took this on today - on a day I was looking for eagles

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Keep on Reading and keep on Writing
Have a terrific week.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Writing - Editing, and Selling Books

Today Looks Like Winter – As I write this post, I am sitting near a nice window overlooking our backyard. I have been watching it snow, off and on, for the past two hours. Not sure, I am ready for winter yet, but, as always, the snow, big soft flakes, looks nice floating down. Getting back to the normal life routine can be tough after a vacation - that really hit home yesterday as we raked the front yard. Working outside is nice, but not quite like spending time with friends and family, eating out, and watching great shows in Branson.

From the Old West – Never gamble with a man that knows both sides of the cards.

What Am I Working On? – I have spent the last two days researching and writing on actions and activities in Wyoming in the middle and late 1860s – post Civil War. I also continue the rewrite and edit of my kid's chapter book, fourth in the Mike and Moose andMe series. I have also spent time, possibly too much time, looking at some marketing ideas as my sales seemed to have slipped the last two months.
Now that my second volume of Christmas tales (Under Christmas Skies), is complete and on sale, I ordered ten copies for myself. I often have people that want to order from me an autographed copy so always keep at least 10 of all my books.

 Photo of the Week –
Western Nebraska's, Chimney Rock, one of the most well known sites along the trails west.

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Keep on Reading and keep on Writing
I Hope everyone is enjoying a nice long fall, and that winter does not come until you are ready for it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Back from Vacation and back to Writing

Home Again – After a nice trip to Branson, Missouri we are back home. It is always nice to get away, and then nice, to be back home. While in Branson we caught up with old friends and took in several, terrific as always, shows.
Now home again with regular chores and back to writing, and oh, we just voted a couple of hours ago.   

From the Old West –  Too little temptation can lead to virtue

A View of Laramie Peak from the Trails at Guernsey State Park

What Am I Working On? – Editing the fourth book of my Mike and Moose & Me kids chapter books. Also doing some serious writing and researching on my nonfiction Fort Laramie Book.
For writers reading this, I have never done the NaNo, write a book during November project, admire those that do. I am too lazy and too random to keep to a tight schedule and to stay on the same subject.

My New Book is Out - My second book of Christmas short stories is now live and for sale on Amazon. 

 Photo of the Week – 
A ride and dinner on the Branson Belle

Follow me here on twitter at @wyohistoryguy

Keep on Reading and keep on Writing
Hope everyone made it through the time change ok.