Friday, July 31, 2009

Marketing Plan or ?

I guess my next step in the self-publishing set-up is to devise some sort of selling plan if I plan to sell any copies of " The Stranger." What do I do, contact everybody I know and those who I don't? Yes, that's exactly the strategy. And, of course, use the internet and your blog to advertise it and any other way that should pop up.

I have Wheatmark's book "Book Marchitecture, A Step-By-Step Workbook for Creating Your Book Marketing Plan," which is available free on the net from Wheatmark, but I haven't been able to give it a good read or study. And before I really get into it, I will search for more study material and see how they fit into it. As a novice at this sort of thing, I'll read what I can find about it to a certain extent before I set up some sort of plan. Then again, I can't spend too much time studying and searching, since time is limited (see my blog "Doubling Time").

I've already sent out advance notices about the book to friends and such, but hope to step up the hype as the days dwindle by, and am sure that some will get sick of hearing about it. Over-saturation is the way to go, I've heard somewhere along the line. Don't miss a chance to blab about it, either. Pretty soon, they see me coming, they'll turn the other way and disappear fast. Well, some are bound to do that anyway. Some do already. And I can't blame them, either. I would too, probably.

I'll be a one-dimensional sort of person. Won't be able to talk about anything but it, and become so boring that even the plants will go to sleep in the daytime when I step out the door. Oh, well, I have to do what I have to do. So, you've been warned.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Destination hard to see from this viewpoint

Awhile back, I blogged a little about the medications I was taking in that they were making things worse instead of better. So, I stopped taking everything I was taking except the baby aspirin, because I was feeling so bad. It turned out that I should have stopped them earlier, because they were causing kidney problems, one in particular, omeprazole, which is a generic form of Prilosec. I had a kidney biopsy and it showed I had damage from diabetes and the drugs were causing another form of injury. The kidneys were functioning at about 14% of normal. No wonder I wasn't feeling very well. But, now I am feeling much better and hope to stay that way until the diabetes takes it toll, and this is why the sudden interest in self-publishing. Since I feel I have a new lease on life for the time being, I thought I better get something into print while I had the chance.

Right now, I'm upping the word volume on "The Bloody Gulch," but I'm finding it's a slow process and deliberating on how and where to add the words is more time consuming than I expected, and what form do they take? It has to provide something relevant to what is already written and has to be action oriented for the most part. I may have to set it aside for awhile and pick it up later with a fresh outlook. I have plenty to work on besides that one, and I would like to get going on another one. Like I've said before, everything just takes too much time with all the interruptions and considerations. I can see where it could lead me into a mental state that wouldn't be conducive to producing anything with the limited time available at this stage of the game.

He who overworks is destined to be short-changed, and he who worries about every little thing is in big trouble.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Status of "Stranger From The Valley" and a note about "The Bloody Gulch"

I decided to go ahead and self-publish "The Stranger From the Valley," and submitted it to iUniverse. It takes a few months to process it, but it will be coming out by the end of the year or early next year. Whether it's well written, interesting, or just plain dull, I thought this would be a good one to e-publish. It's partly autobiographical in that I used memories of growing up in Altonah, Utah, for some of the content. It is fiction, though. The town is no longer there, other than a few houses, some abandoned in unlivable shape and pitiful to behold, but no businesses remain, even the old brick school house is no longer standing in the field across the road from our now empty lot and the empty church lot on the corner. I understand the land has been restored as part of the Uintah-Ouray Indian Reservation.

As far as "The Bloody Gulch" goes, it is a novel set in the beginning of the town of Roosevelt, Utah, mentioned before in an earlier blog, and is an action-packed story about the Sheriff, Bill Little, who appears only by name in "The Upamona Gold Claim Wrangle" which is being reviewed for publication, maybe, for the last six months. Bill Little appears only by name again in "Red Returns To Upamona." "The Bloody Gulch" tells the story of Sheriff Little taming a bunch of newcomers and routing out cattle rustlers as the town tries to establish itself in the early 1900's.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


All right, I changed the title again to "The Bloody Gulch," and it may change a couple more times before I'm finished with it. I have only just over 40,000 words in it so far, but I think I need more, like 60- or 65,ooo, although its a complete novel as is. I think there is a better chance of getting published at the higher number, but I can always revert to make it a tighter story. I think my computer is messing me up by throwing in a lot of minor errors in spelling or punctuation. They come out of nowhere. I read it and it appears all cleared up, and the next time I read it, there are more mistakes. The phantom typist has struck again!

Here is a short excerpt from the beginning of it:

Bill Little rode into town on a Saturday night on his sterling gray mare, tired and ready for a good night's sleep, thinking, "I'm going to stay in town tonight and go home tomorrow, so I don't wake up the wife and kids. It's after ten already and everything is closed up but the saloon. Maybe I better take a look in there to make sure everything's all right."

"Yep, Saturday night is about the only night you'll have to worry about in Roosevelt, Sheriff. That's when all the farmers and Indians come into town to wet their whistles and let off some steam after the week's work, like any town," Mr. Jackson, Vern Jackson, was telling me shortly after I was selected to be the Sheriff. Jackson was a local farmer with a hundred acre spread about a mile to the east on the main road to Heber.

The Sheriff had been attending a meeting of the County Sheriffs' Association in Heber and was just returning, a long, dusty ride through the mountains for about seventy miles, more or less. He missed most of the Saturday activites and didn't intend to be going to work tonight when he dismounted from the saddle, hitched his two horses to the rail in front, and stepped inside the Boot Trail for a quiet nightcap of some sort, beer, he thought.

"Here's the Sheriff now!" some farmer yelled loud enough to carry over the raucous crowd.

"Over here, Sheriff! They're going to kill each other any minute now!" another one yelled.

Bill Little approached and the bar grew quiet, men talking in subdued voices.

"What's going on, Vern?" he asked the man who had yelled to him. "Who's going to kill each other?"

"It's that new feller in town and Clarence Bisquet, Sheriff. They been arguing with each other and it's becoming deadly serious. You can see them, they each drew their guns and are have a Mexican standoff."

Sheriff Little appraised the situation and saw Clarence, who had never been in trouble before and was not the kind to start any fight, not even with people he didn't like, his greenish eyes wide open, glaring at the stranger with his pistol ready for action.

"The stranger looks like a hard-case type, a scar on the left cheek, probably from some type of blow. It's too jagged for a knife cut," Little thought. "His gun belt is riding too low on the hip, not typical for anybody around here who just carries a weapon for snakes and a bear occasionally."

"All right, Clarence, put your gun back in the holster, and you, too, stranger, if you know what's good for you," Little said. "This town don't tolerate any gunfire in its limits, and we don't take it lightly."

The stranger sill had his pistol aimed at Clarence as he took a quick look at the man who was doing the talking and saw a big man, wide in the shoulder, slim-hipped, his hat worn low over his eyes. The bright blue orbs had a certain glint in them that made him think twice about taking the argument further. He slipped his gun back in its resting place on his hip, looked full at the Sheriff with a big grin on his handsome, but slightly distorted, scarred face. His brown eyes weren't laughing as he said, "We were just having a friendly discussion, Sheriff, this gent and myself, and for some reason he got awful upset and pulled his gun on me. I was just protecting myself, is all. If I said anything to make him mad, I apologize. It's just the way I am. Don't mean no harm, I don't. Just having a nice quiet beer or two and he started asking all sorts of questions about why I was here and all, and I just got fed up with it. Go ahead ask him about it. I got to get back to my spread anyway."

(And the trouble begins in the new town of Roosevelt, Utah, for Sheriff Little.)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

More Art

As long as I have mentioned ART, I might as well list the books I have around the house on this subject in addition to "N. C. Wyeth":

1. "Norman Rockwell's America," Reader's Digest, Christopher Finch.

2. "The Story of American Painting," by Abraham A. Davidson.

3. "The Story of Painting, From Cave Painting to Modern Times," by H. W. Janson and Dora Jane Janson.

4. "The Flowering of American Folk Art (1776-1876)," by Jean Lipman and Alice Winchester.

5. Country Living, "Living With Folk Art," Text by Rebecca Sawyer-Fay.

6. "Story of the Great American West," Reader's Digest, Editor Edward S. Barnard. This one is not an Art book, but it has numerous photos and illustrations.

7. National Geographic "Greatest Portraits." This appeared to be all photographs, not necessarily an Art book, but many pictures.

8. "The West, An Illustrated History," by Geoffrey C. Ward. Has a great many photos and drawings.

9. "Rattlesnake Blues, Dispatches From A Snakebit Territory," by Leo W. Banks. This was mixed up with the other books, but has a few pictures.

10. 'R. V. R.. The Life and Times of Rembrandt Van Rijn," by Joannis Van Loon. This one is about an Artist and has some of his paintings as Illustrations.

I haven't read any of these books from beginning to end, except maybe Number 9, but I don't think I got around to that one either. I wonder how these holdings stack up to the average number of Art Books in a home?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Art for Hell's Sake

Let's switch gears for a minute and talk about something that nobody knows anything about - art. That is there are several people who think they know art and can explain to other people in a very educational way what they think it is, and they may be right as far as I know, but the average cowpoke or shopper, looks at a picture and he either likes it or he doesn't, or she likes it or she doesn't without getting into the meaning of it or the whys or whatfors. If he likes it well enough, he may even buy it and stick it over the couch in the living room because of the colors in it or it matches the lampshades, or something.

I have a few books on painting and art, having been interested in it at one time, that is, putting pictures on canvas or paper or whatever. But my natural ability didn't overcome my ineptness at doing, and so I put it aside. But in a pile of books under a lamp, I ran across "N. C. Wyeth, The Collected Paintings, Illustrations, and Murals," by Douglas Allen and Douglas Allen, Jr., and took a look through it after many years. Now, this is a fellow that knew what he was doing when it comes to drawing and painting, in the first half of the 20th Century! He drew things of and about the West, cowboys, outlaws, Indians, horses, cattle, mountains, rocks, plants, etc, among all the stuff he managed to illustrate. He traveled and worked the jobs of the cowboys and cowpunchers for awhile and sketched them on paper, making paintings later of some of them for magazine covers and books ala Frederic Remington.

I imagine somewhere, sometime someone has written a book on Great Illustrators of the West, but I haven't seen it, and if there is none, they should. I would like to have it, because I think it would be a great reference book for writers nowadays. They could actually see what something looked like back then in a great picture. I know the Inernet is loaded with all sorts of stuff and is also a great reference tool, and I have looked up things often to ensure that what I am doing is correct, but I think a reference book would be better in some instances where you could see a picture instead of just words explaining whatever it is. Anyway, that's what I think about it.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Doubling time

I've decided that twenty-four hours in a day isn't long enough. There is just too much news and non-news to read in the old-fashioned day. I can't even keep up with the blogs I have listed as following in only twenty-four hours, minus time for rest. The day should be at least forty-eight hours or maybe longer. If it was at least forty-eight hours, that would half the new releases and give you twice the time to read everything, maybe.

By doubling the length of an hour, there still would be twenty-four hours a day, if that's what you want, and you could sleep for only four hours instead of eight. Or, if you really needed it, you could sleep for eight hours maybe every two or three days. You would still be getting plenty of rest. And the beauty of it is, reporters, bloggers, and whatever, would only have to post once for the day, giving everyone more time to read what has been written. You could double your absorption of material and maybe catch up on everything you feel you need to complete a good day's work. There would be more time for production, and maybe something good would come out of that.

But, in order to do this, something has to slow down the turning of the sun, earth, moon and all the other stuff that goes into making a day. I wonder what would happen to everything if time was slowed down. Would you live twice as long? Or would it take twice as long to reach adulthood? Would you slow down in reading, writing, and arithmetic, or double your production? Would it take twice as long to grow vegetables?

Oh, well, something to think about, no? Who knows, maybe it will happen in a few million or billion years.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

To e-publish or not?

I've decided to e-publish one book and see how it goes, and "Stranger From The Valley" is it. Haven't decided which publisher to use, but it looks like iUniverse has the best overall program of this type, so the critics say on the iUniverse web page. For those who don't remember, and that's probably everybody that reads the blog, it's a story about a Marshal who puts his badge aside to answer the call of his country and deliver an award for Civil War exploits. When he arrives in the small town of Altaveel, he is not welcomed by the most powerful family in the area, the Henberrys, who try to chase him away by threats, shooting at, and downright belligerence. He interviews Esther Bigknife and ultimately falls for her, but she has an unusually close relationship with one of the Henberry clan, Milt, and the rest of the town thinks she is a woman of ill-repute, although that is not the case. Everything comes to a conclusion at the Fourth of July celebration where he finally doles out the award and the town finds out that he is really a U. S. Marshal recalled to active duty in the Union Army for the purpose of delivering the award.

So, anyway, that's my plan today, and we'll see how much red-tape I have to go through. If it becomes too much, I'll just terminate it, if the agreement allows.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Books and such

Here are the fiction books reviewed in True West Mag Jun 2009 edition:

1. North Star, by Richard S. Wheeler, a Barnaby Skye novel. I haven't read any of this series, but not saying I won't get to one or two sometime.

2. The Dark Border, by Frank Bonham, edited by Bill Fronzine. This is made up of four of Bonham's stories which I haven't read either.

3.Word Gets Around, by Lisa Wingate, a romance. I'm not much into romances.

4. Buried Lies, by Peter Rennebohm

There are a couple of ads in addition to the reviews for books. One of them is a novel by Dave McGowan called Partners, and another one is for a new series from Tracie Peterson set in Montana.

And there are a few non-fiction books reviewed which I won't belabor you with and a couple of ads for some different true stories.

I assume they have these book reviews every month, but can't say for sure, since I've only received two issues, but I always find them interesting.

The blog, "The Tainted Archive" by Gary Dobbs, has a lot of up-to-date book and movie reviews, also crime stories. If you are interested in the West, take a look at it. Mr. Dobbs has a
pile of data in about every blog and its worth your time.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A note on the Census and other stuff

I was just making some corrections to the 1920 and 1930 census for the family site. The whole dern family had been left off the 1920 census. Can't tell you why, but it was probably because of the moving around, or the takers may have missed the little town entirely, or nobody was home when they called, if they called in those days. I don't know where the basic work came from, whether it was submitted by someone, the actual census reports, or some other place, but the 1930 was partly accurate. They only missed two or three of us.

I tell you, we lived so far back in the country in those days that even the coyotes would miss our place when they came to pay a call. I'm just telling you this on hearsay, since I wasn't around yet. But they used to tell me to get to our place, you could catch a train, ride a bus, hop on a horse and ride 'til he was worn out, walk another twenty miles, swing through the trees, climb a mountain or two and there it was. Going to the store was always an experience not to be forgotten, it was a five-day trip up until they put in a new store at the cross roads only two days away. By the time you reached the old homestead, you had to turn around and go back to buy something that was consumed on the trip, say a 100-lb sack of potatoes. If you didn't have any money, tough luck, you might be able to charge it, or not, or you went without, the usual result.
My father was a deputy sheriff in this one-horse town and he owned the one horse. Most people had one leg shorter than the other from walking on the hillsides. When they planted corn on a piece of level ground, it would grow at an angle, thinking it was on a side of the hill. Digging potatoes you would find them all at a downhill angle crosswise to the plant due to the pull of gravity. And even the horse had two legs on one side shorter than the other. It took an experienced rider to stay in the saddle when traveling on level ground.

Too bad the town is no longer there. It wasn't destroyed by an earthquake or anything like that.
The citizens just left, and the town crumbled apart and slid down the hillside. If you want some good old lumber, all you have to do is find it, but it's probably buried in the dirt and rocks by now.