Monday, January 31, 2022

Reading Lawrence Block & A Finished Book

 Confessions of a Writer of Westerns

January 31, 2022

Most of the time, life can be good, even at 73. It's the last day of January, and it's 51 degrees. Right now, I'm sitting in the bright sunshine of our enclosed on three sides deck. I'm not sure what the temperature is as I type away facing the southeast direction, but it is hot. Guessing it might be above ninety here in my little favorite writing spot.

I had a pretty productive writing week, putting down about 4,000 words. I also managed to finish editing my next Senior Citizen book, which, God willing, I will publish in February. This week I plan to complete the second edit of the third book in my Blade Holmes, western mystery series. I had to move some things around in this one and had a couple of gaps I had to fix. Besides changing how I wrote the ending, everything seems to be rolling smoothly along.

I also spent some time shooting photos and videos this week, which always seems to make my life more fun. I also got in five good walks, down from the typical six or seven I shoot for each week.

Since I finished one book this past week, I am also in the planning note-making stage of the fourth of my series for seniors. Maybe this week will be when I get some writing done on the fifth in the series of my children's chapter books.


ReadingTelling Lies for Fun & Profit – A Manual for Fiction Writers by Lawrence Block

There is lots of fun and information in this writing, how-to, book. Block is a master storyteller, and it shows through in this terrific collection of writing advice essays. Every chapter is timeless and told in the unique, down-to-earth, and often humorous way that only Block can do. A fine read for anyone who has hope of one day becoming a writer or better writer.  

Writing Tip – "Write to please yourself." Lawrence Block

That is always good advice, and if it just happens also to please a broad audience – even better. 😊

Weather – Another great week here in east-central Wyoming. It looks like snow is coming in the middle of the week, that's ok by me, we can use it, plus I have nowhere to go.

Quote of the day "The more you look, the more you find." John E. McIntyre – from, The Old Editor Says


Today's Photos – Are from a drive through our local state park (Guernsey State Park) this past weekend.

 Click the link to see all of my books on Amazon

Have a great week. Keep on reading, and keep on writing!


Monday, January 24, 2022

Oh What a Week

Confessions of a Writer of Westerns

 January 24, 2022 

What a week. My wife, Jan, had some outpatient surgery on Monday. Anything, at our age, with the word surgery in it, is troubling even when it is outpatient. I had a crown placement (no, not that kind - this one was on a tooth). Now that, usually, is not much of a dental appointment – in and out, no shots, no discomfort. The problem was I had been having a painful time with another tooth – yep, another broken tooth. Another crown is coming, and still not one for my head. Then the dentist said, "Might as well fill this small cavity we've been watching." Not sure who we are, but I never watch my cavities. The good news is my mouth does not hurt anymore. At least for a few days, weeks, or hopefully years. Disclaimer - My dentist, is the greatest ever, he is so good I sometimes even like going to see him. Oh - I forgot to mention, he is also my son.
But the past week was not all bad. We took a trip to Colorado to watch one of our grandkids play basketball. Now that was fun. I also got in several pleasant walks. All and all, I didn't get much writing done, nor did I do much editing. But some weeks are like that. Hopefully, this week will be better.

Reading – Slowed down here also, but I am trying to finish up a couple of previously mentioned, on this site, books. I did go back to re-read some pages from two different favorite writing books. For me, those old writing books are relaxing. 

Writing Tip – Find a great spot to do your writing. "I wish one time in my life I could do what other writers do . . . get me a villa in Spain and go there to write a book." Lewis Grizzard Sounds good to me. 😊
Weather – Pretty nice January week - We had a couple of inches of snow this week. That new snow brings us to 36 inches for the season. I hope we get another two or three feet, just not all at the same time.

Quote of the day – "In truly good writing, no matter how many times you read it, you do not know how it is done. That is because there is a mystery in all great writing and that mystery does not dis-sect out. It continues, and it is always valid. Each time you re-read, you see or learn something new." Ernest Hemingway.
Today's Photos – From one of our many trips west of town. We love that drive and make it about twice a month. 

Have a great week. Keep on reading, and keep on writing!

Monday, January 17, 2022

Write Fast Edit Slow & Zane Grey Too

 Confessions of a Writer of Westerns

January 17, 2022

We are back from a short trip to see family in southeast Nebraska. Always nice to catch up and, for us, an excellent time to refresh. I didn’t get much written during our short trip, but as always – some good ideas.

Editing westerns can be tricky, especially when using old west slang or vernacular of the day. I am often asked about editing. Most wannabe writers are as worried about this as they are writing. Today I want to talk a bit about it. First, it is hard. Second, find some great, before publication readers.

Zane Grey

Zane Grey, often credited as writing the first western – The Virginian – started as a somewhat stiff and grammatically poor writer who told great tales. His wife Dolly was his manager and first and often only editor. Like most editors, she made it better. Some historians believe she made his writing more stiff and proper, but it was likely the other way.

Dolly Grey worked much like many writers of today’s first readers. Let them read it and make suggestions. Most importantly, listen to what they tell you.

Before letting it out to my first readers, I also use two, yes two, and sometimes three, grammar, spell, and proper-use software programs.


Flicker puffed up in the cold.

ReadingThe Old Editor Says, by John E. McIntyre. Yep, that is where I got the idea to write a bit on editing today. It is a tiny little book of 76 pages packed with wisdom from the long-time editor. My best takeaway from the book? Take your time when editing – like the adage. Write fast, edit slow.

Noticed – It is always nice to be seen and appreciated, and last week I received word that this blog is now listed in FeedSpot as one of the Top 25 Western Fiction Blogs & Websites. Click the link to see the list. I read several of these sites – good stuff.  


Weather – Almost spring-like today. Lovely, but it is January and will not last. We are enjoying it! Yesterday we were in the 40s. Today we are in the mid-fifties.

Quote of the day “Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers.” T.S. Eliot


Today’s Photos – January photos along the North Platte River ¼ mile from our home in Wyoming.


Have a great week. Keep on reading, and keep on writing.  

Monday, January 10, 2022

Writing Places and Edward S. Curtis

 Confessions of a Writer of Westerns

January 10, 2022 

I am off to a pretty good start this year. I have not written too much, but I am picking it up. Last week around 3,000 words, this week almost 5,000, and I have edited through nearly 20,000 words of my new western mystery book. This is the first and longest of the three edits I usually do. After those edits, it will be off to beta readers – hopefully sometime in February.

Often writers, especially Indy and small house published writers like myself, have no set deadlines, leaving us open to changing gears, or directions, when we probably should not. By that, I mean we tend to stop what we are working on and start something else before finishing. I did this twice this week, had a great idea, and had to write it down. Most of the time, I write a few pages – in the case of these two book ideas, I wrote about three-thousand words. Now, I will leave both alone until inspiration strikes. If it does, I will let you know here.

My office, I did pick up a little before snapping this one. 

Reading – More looking at photos than reading, and very much enjoying – The North American Indian – The Complete Portfolios. This is the one-book compilation of Edward S. Curtis's thirty-year, twenty-volume work on the American Indian. Some day I hope to get a chance to look through one of the original books; sadly, not many around any longer.  

Reading Bookcase - constantly changing.

Weather – After the freezing temperatures of a week ago, this week has turned relatively mild. Most days start cool, low twenties or below, but reach around forty by mid-afternoon. Quite comfortable.

Quote of the day "For one who reads, there is no limit to the number of lives that may be lived, for fiction, biography, and history offer an inexhaustible number of lives in many parts of the world, in all periods of time." Louis L'Amour

Beside my recliner in the family room - lots of writing gets done here.

Today's Photos – Self-explanatory – But I have an admission here. I bought another camera this week. Guess I thought six was not quite enough. Sigh – it's only money, they say - yikes!

Running in the snow

Have a great week. Keep on reading, and keep on writing.  

Monday, January 3, 2022

2022 - And Off We Go

January 3, 2022

As always, it seems odd to switch to a new year. I’m talking about writing 2022 instead of 2021 on anything I need to date. I wonder how long it will be until I write 21, 20, or maybe 19 as the year on something?

Writing – My writing rate was - I will give it an ok. I wrote just under 3,000 words the past week – not great, but for a busy week, not bad. I was somewhat distracted from writing by so many football games on television. We have not done anything special for years to celebrate New Year’s Eve or Day, which allowed me to put a few extra words on paper. 

I am still working on the editing portion of my historical mystery/western. It looks like I am about a third of the way through. I’m still not sure about the ending, but I did work on it.


Reading – Lawrence Blocks, highly entertaining, The Thief Who Couldn’t Sleep.   I am a long time Block fan but somehow never got around to this Evan Tanner series

Weather – Dipped under zero for the first time this winter. About one inch of new snow and lots and lots of wind, which I can do without for the rest of winter.

Quote of the day I was brought up in the great tradition of the late nineteenth century: that a writer never complains, never explains and never disdains.”  James A. Michener

Today’s Photos – All shot from my walks this week and a trip to the state park a couple of miles north of here.  

Have a great week. Keep on reading, and keep on writing.