Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Life of a Resting Writer

"Read, read, read. Read everything--trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it's good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out of the window."
William Faulkner

I have spent quite a lot of time over the past few months reading and working on projects and precious little time writing. I guess with as much time as I have, I can do as I please, so I do. At one time I spent several hours each day, year-round, writing. I hope that someday I will get back to that.

What am I reading now? – Ernest Hemingway’s -A Moveable Feast
 I am getting some writing done, but so far, nothing finished. Along with a lack of writing I am also doing less photography than I was a year ago, maybe out with a camera once or twice a week instead of four or five times.

So what is the point of this? It is alright to ease up and take a break.
Soon the snow will be falling along with the temperatures, and writing will, once again, take up most of my daytime hours. It looks like that may be coming soon – snow forecasted for Thursday.

Book Sales - I am grateful that my books are again selling well. After my sales went through a case of the summertime Blues they are now close to brisk, at least for me. Thanks for reading! See all my books here on Amazon. 

Today's photos were taken this fall in Guernsey State Park two miles from our home.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Writing from my Wyoming Easy-Chair

Terrific read about writers and the west posted today by, Lex Anteinternet – take a look.

Meanwhile here from writing central, in my easy-chair, I am tapping along on my keyboard. I have two books with the first draft finished, but instead of working on those find myself writing new stuff. Not sure why, but it might be I am not in the mood to edit right now.

We had a bad storm move through yesterday.  Nothing much at our place, but a few miles north, softball-size hail and a tornado, glad we are safe, but sad for those who had much destruction.

Well, back to writing, maybe a bit of editing, perhaps not.

Photos of elk and Bighorn sheep from our drive to Laramie last Sunday.

“To err is human to edit divine” – from my Grammarly site.

I call this last photo - kids at play.

Have a terrific rest of the week. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Writing and Making Money as a Writer

Last week I said I was back, it's true I am, but not going too fast. I did work on a short story for Christmas and edited on my WIP, but didn’t write all that many words – but, it’s a start.

I am not sure if I will get back to writing every, or nearly every day of the week, maybe when winter comes, I will get a little more prolific. It is always rewarding to write a scene I like, but re-dos, do-overs, cuts, and adds, are tedious and can be downright dull hours on my laptop. 

It may be that I was enjoying writing more when I was not checking sales and looking at my writing income every day. What started as a hobby became more of a business, which is nice, but the business end takes time from, watching Baseball, playing golf, hiking, photography, gardening, and sitting around doing nothing – being retired.

I remember my first sale and the first check for more than $100. I keep a copy of that check

Of my twelve books, I have only two with sales over a thousand, but several more getting close. One of my books sits at less than 20 sold, guess they don’t all work.

What is Selling Now?
·                     1) Romance/Erotica
·                 2) Crime/Mystery
·                 3) Religious/Inspirational
·                 4) Science Fiction/Fantasy
·                 5) Horror

A few facts for new writers – or - how to not get rich quick.

The average traditionally published book sells 3,000 copies in its lifetime and only about 250-300 copies the first year.

To make the New York Times Best Seller list, a book needs to sell 9,000 copies, or more, the first week.

Most self-published eBooks sell less than 250 copies in their lifetime

Most self-published-only authors, make less than $1,000 per year, some much less than that.

I write, westerns/historical fiction, kids chapter book adventures, humor, and historical non-fiction.  Humm, don’t see any of those on the list above. I do write mystery into my historical fiction, that should help.

My Point for the day –
Write because you love it, write for the pure joy of putting words to a story -  and don’t quit your day job, not yet anyway.

Today’s photos are from Guernsey State Park, five minutes from our home.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Back to Work

I may be back, or at least I hope I’m back. With a little luck, a fast horse, the grace of God, and lots of fair weather and sunshine, I am going to attempt, again, a five or six times a month blog post.

It’s been a long year. I have dealt with things I never wanted to, none of us do. Family, health, finances, aging, the same things all of us have, or will have to deal with at some point in our lives. I didn't handle any of them well and wrote only a handful of blog posts and little of anything else in an entire year. I have several books in various states, one a finished rough draft, one 80% complete and another off to a good start. Goal - I will finish something before the year's end.

Did I learn anything from my time off? Yes. The less I did, the more my sales fell – I know, shocking. I also kind of missed the three or four thousand words a week I was writing.

Thank you to all my patient readers who keep asking when the next book or blog is coming. Looks like there will be more.

Today’s photos are from an enjoyable drive and hike last weekend into Wyoming's Laramie Range west of where we live.

Now back to work on the third in the series of my Blade Holme’s Western Mysteries, this one, tentatively titled after a completed rough draft - Wendover

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Taking it Easy

Still on my, self-imposed, hiatus from writing. Lots of other things going on that are taking up my time. I am not done yet, for those who asked, and thanks. I still have two nearly completed projects and will, someday, get back to them. I will keep you posted, today I am taking it easy watching the Masters and later Rockies baseball on TV. 

I have slowed down with my photography also but did get out a couple of times in the last week or so - today's photos from those outings. 

Enjoy the day! 

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Writing Slow Down

No writing in March, zero words on my WIP, and only one blog post. I did get out with my camera and took a few photos, but not many of those either.  The photos on today's post are from a trip to Guernsey State Park one afternoon last week. I am spending most of my time getting the yard ready for summer, organizing and cleaning the garage, and working on some, inside the house, projects.

I did quite a bit of writing in January and February but have, temporarily, I hope, lost my motivation. I am, however, enjoying working on the house, finished a new floor in the family room and, I must say, it looks great.

It is possible I will take off this month from writing as well, then see how it goes in May. I still enjoy writing, but too much going on right now to do anything.

Enjoy the warming of Spring.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Writing, Selling, Photos, Blizzards, and Such

It has been a busy couple of weeks. We took a week to visit family and friends in Nebraska and this week we are digging out from a blizzard. So goes March in the middle of the country.

From My Backyard

Book Sales – Not sure, what has happened but since Google Plus, where I posted quite a bit about writing, and about my books, started to shut down, my sales have slowed. Guess I did not know how important that site was for me. I hated seeing it go into shutdown mode; I have tried other sites, but have not fallen in love with any of them. Last month and this, so far, looks to be some of my lowest book sales, and KDP pages read in a couple of years. Guess I will get busy on some other platforms and see if it helps.

Writing – Like my sales, my writing has slowed some. I am near the end of my WIP and do not seem to want to finish – maybe spring weather will help.

Twitter – I am trying to ramp up my followers on Twitter, not sure it will help my sales but it is an excellent way to kill an hour or two every day.
The storm was just getting started good when I snapped this one.

Photos – The snow has slowed me some, but not much, there seems that I can always find something I want to photograph. Today’s photos are from the past week.

Have a great weekend.

My Amazon page 

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

A Writing Day

I am still working on trying to get more words on my WIP each day.

Seems I have settled into a routine when I write only around 500 words a day. Weekends are the worst because we have lots of things we like to do and some we don’t want on weekends. Weekends have often been zero word days, now I am trying to write some on both Saturday and Sunday, even if it only amounts to a page of 250-300 words.

Yesterday for the first time in quite a while I got close to 2,000 words – wish I could do that every day.

I am also trying to take more breaks,  get up and walk around more often as I write, might keep me fresh.

I am approaching 50,000 words on my WIP (work in progress, for my new readers) this book will end under 60,000, which means I am getting close. But then ugg, editing. 

Along with my writing, I have been able to get out for a few hours with my camera. Photos were all taken this week and within a few minutes of our house.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Richard S. Wheeler RIP

Sad day today, as I heard of the death of one of my favorite writers, Richard S. Wheeler. 

Wheeler, who spent most of his adult life in Montana wrote the terrific "Barnaby Skye," series and was an award-winning western author. His work was more real than Hollywood's made up wild west, often with no shoot outs or barroom brawls
Wheeler was the author of one of my all-time favorite books about the writing life, his - Accidental Novelist - Literary Memoir should be a must-read for all writers or aspiring writers.  

Friday, February 22, 2019


I have always been a goal setter, but not much of a New Year’s Resolution writer. When I did try to set a resolution or two, they were often so general that even if I reached them, I would not know. Things like, exercise more, get in shape, or lose weight, really are not goals. This year I decided on one, and it is a writing goal. This year I will write at least 250,000 words.

How Many? - I follow one writer that consistently writes one million words a year. For me, that is unrealistic, I am much too lazy to work that hard. For three or four years, I wrote 200,000 to 250,000 words each year. Lately, that has slipped to 100,000. This year I am recording when and how much I write each day. In this case, when is what days, not the time of day. I am an afternoon and evening writer, not sure why other than when I worked full time that was when I wrote.

So Far - Through yesterday, I have written 41 of 52 days, mathematically about 80% of the time. Writing, on average, four out of every five days is not bad for me.  Total words this year, so far – 37,030 words. That puts me on pace for more than my goal of a quarter million words this year.

Keeping On – I know it might be tough to keep writing at this pace, especially when I get to the editing phase of books and stories I am working on. I also am an avid amateur photographer, taking upwards of 10,000 photos each year. Most of my photos I take with fixed lens cameras with good telephoto range. I use these because I take most photos while we are hiking, or from my pickup as we travel backroads and explore new places. My favorite camera is wearing out after 25 or 30 thousand shots. Looks like I will be ordering another soon.

Looking Ahead - Now we head into March, and at last, we have snow covering the ground. I have already started some of my seeds that will be nice plants by mid-May. Spring cannot be far away.

Photos – on this post, I took this week, and with my dying cameras, still works if I am patient enough. I do have a couple others, so am not camera destitute.

Have a great week, get outside, and enjoy the end of winter.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Never Too Old To Write

It’s Never Too Late – After retiring this man decided to write a book. In his lifetime, he had published two works and a couple of essays. One of his books looked at early poetry, and another was about reading maps, both thirty years before his retirement in the early 1970s. He finished the book in a couple of years and, of course, no one wanted to publish it. At 240 pages it was, too short for some publishers and one rejected it saying, “It has trees in it.” Finally, at age 75 the University of Chicago Press, as a favor to one of their old professors, agreed to publish it for him. This book would be the first ever fiction published by their famous press. How did it do? Well, Norman Maclean’s, A River Runs through It and Other Stories, did okay. Well, that is, if fabulous sales, a major motion picture, and a Pulitzer Prize nomination are okay.
There you have it – it truly is – Never Too Late

Writing by the Numbers Another nice week, I have settled into a routine where I am writing three to five thousand words each week. For the year, I have written a bit over 31,000 words, through yesterday, and have written 33 of the 44 days this year. I am on pace to reach my goal of a quarter million words in 2019.

Reviews – I Can’t Make This Stuff Up To my dismay, the sample pages only contain the Foreward and Acknowledgement chapters, leaving me in the dark about the story.”   
The above was part of a one-star review I read about a very famous book. I wish this type of review could be taken off, as it has nothing, at all to do with the book.  (Note – I left the foreward, as I was using a direct quote – odd how so many misspell - foreword.
I once received a bad review for my misspelling of or misuse of a couple of words. The review stated they would go on to finish reading the book. This was at a time when I could not yet, afford an editor, still often my case. Did it really deserve a one-star if it was compelling enough to read on, and finish the book? Not in my mind, if I finish a book I will commonly rate it four or five stars. I rate on the story, not on a handful of errors I might catch. I finished a New York Times bestseller recently that I noticed a – the - where it should have been they. It happens!
From the Old West The man who apologizes when there ain’t no need knows something you don’t.  

Photo of the Week

Follow me on twitter at @wyohistoryguy

Keep on Reading and keep on Writing
Have a wonderful rest of February.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Writing and Selling Fiction - My Week

Feeling Better – It seemed to take too long – seven weeks, but at last, I am feeling better. So much better that my wife and I have got in a couple of nice hikes in the park. Now, come on spring.

Writing Week A good one for me, this week a bit over 3,000 words. Three thousand might not be a lot for some writers, but for me, that is not a bad week. I saw a tweet this morning where someone's goal for the day was 5,000 words – wow.

Book Sales January was okay, not great, but not bad. I did not sell as many books or eBooks, but my KDP pages read was up. Up for me means above 10,000 pages, about $50.00 worth. Some books sell, and others do not do so well seems to be a fact that everyone selling books has to face. My historical western mystery- Commitment – has been a consistent and reliable seller. If all my books sold as well as Commitment, I would be making thousands, not a hundred or two each month. As one of my kids used to say, “Oh well!”

My nonfiction gardening, humor and mystery book - Beginning Gardening & Other Entertaining Lies: Including - 4 Garden Murder Mysteries, is, at this time my slowest seller. Going to try a new cover and maybe with spring coming, some advertising to see if it picks up a bit. The gardening book I really like, and thought it was a unique idea with the chapters of garden tips broken up with short, murder in the garden mysteries, but, alas, it never caught on. Maybe someday.

It is still too early yet to tell how my newest and fourth in the series of kids chapter books, Howling at the Moon, is going to do. It will be the second to the last book in the series, and I have been told it has a great cover – hope that helps.

Writing Goals I seem to be on track for my goal of a quarter million words this year, and that’s good.
From the Old West – Do not tamper with the natural ignorance of a Greenhorn.

Photo of the Week

Follow me here on twitter at @wyohistoryguy

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

Monday, January 28, 2019

Writing Book Three of a Series

About  Goals for 2019 – I saw a funny tweet the other day that went something like this – “Well I have already failed on my 2019 New Year’s Resolution’s but wait until next year, in 2020 I will hold to my resolutions – wait until next year. That will be my year.
That is why I do not make any hard and fast resolutions.

Writing Year – I did say on here a couple of weeks ago that I wanted to write more – well so far, I’m doing okay. As of today January 28, I have written, with a bit of an estimate to the end of today, about 18,000 words – not bad. At that pace, I will end up only a bit short of my normal quarter of a million words per year.

New Book – I am presently hard at work on my third in the series of my western mystery – Blade Holmes books. These are not long I am shooting for fifty-five to sixty thousand words and more than halfway home with my first draft. Looks like I may have a first draft completed in February, then several editing rounds, some beta reads and, hopefully by the middle of March it will be for sale on Amazon.

Research – I am also back researching my Wyoming book – going nicely, but as always with research, slow going

Life Goals for the Year – At my age, soon to be 71 I have decided that maybe I need a few life-changing goals. I have ruled out a run for president and starting a rock band, and settled on the following.
1.  Start playing golf again – I hope I do. I have played most of my life, but last summer, life changes, and disappointments caused me to quit or nearly so. I played, four holes once and six holes once in early July, and have not played since. I used to play quite a bit, actually good exercise, even when I am riding in a cart.
 How much? – We will see, but maybe, before it gets too hot, nine holes three times a week.
2.  Make sure we make our spring trip south to do some poking around in New Mexico state parks and historic sites. This trip has been planned each of the last three years, but sickness and lack of traveling cash have put it on the back burner each time. Also, make sure we, again, take our annual Branson trip in late October.
3.  Start walking again – looking to get closer to 10,000 steps per day up from my present, 3,000 if I am lucky.
4.  Last – get back to Nebraska, where we grew up, more often to see family and a few sites.

Photo of the Week –

From the Old West – Life is like checkers when you reach the top, you can move wherever you want.

Follow me on twitter at @wyohistoryguy

Keep on Reading and keep on Writing.