Western Short Stories – What A Ride

I cannot say how terrific it feels to see my book of Christmas short stories is still selling. Although the stories are set around Christmas, they are stories for any time of the year. The short tales are more of love, hope, relationships and most of all, the west.

The book did well before Christmas and is still going strong, selling a few copies, now, nearly every day. I often get notes on blog posts or by email about my books, and occasionally by mail. Recently I received a most heartwarming note about this book. It was so appreciated, as all of us that write hope that we are making a difference in our readers day, if nothing else, but to bring a bit more pleasure and happiness into someone’s life.

Take a look here, you can read the entire first story for free. Now that’s a good deal.

Interested in westerns? Read my western writing blog posts here – http://confessionsofawriterofwesterns.blogspot.com

Reading Through the Boring Stuff

I often pick up a book I think will be a great read then find it gets off to a slow start. At times I will keep reading with hopes the story will get better.  Sometimes I will put the book away for another day and never pick it up again. I have liked several of Elmore Leonard’s books over the years and have always been a fan of his 10 Rules for good Writing, especially his last one – “Leave out the parts readers tend to skip.”

As you may have guessed by now, I started an Elmore Leonard book and found most of the first chapter boring, went to the second, and then skipped ahead to see when a good Elmore Leonard story would break out. One last thought on this, what is boring and what is not, is up to the reader, other readers may find fascinating what I find boring. The old, “In the eye of the beholder,” thing.

Although Jack Kerouac is considered a genius by some writers and readers, others find him a bit too mystical to understand, count me as one of the latter. I do find much of what he wrote entertaining, just a little hard to understand such as – “It ain’t watcha write, it’s the way atcha write it.” I get it but am not sure it deserves an A+ for great use of the English language.

When I read the above, I may have said, “hummmm,” then scratched my head.

Meanwhile keep on reading and keep on writing.

Been Away Too Long

It has been three years since I have used this blog. Way too long, but I am back. Where was I?

Writing, I guess. I have published six books since I last posted. You can find them all here. I will not be away that long again, maybe a few days.

The End of the Old West

As I was writing an introduction to a book that I am working on several thoughts crossed my mind. The book, about Fort Laramie and the American West, has been a much more than interesting research project. Fort Laramie may be more a symbol of the old west and last frontier than anything else.

Fort Laramie 1849-1890

Throughout most of its active years, Fort Laramie was the most important fort of the West. The fort protected an area that was mostly unsettled when it was established as a military fort in 1849. One could argue that the 41 years the fort was active, were the defining years of what many called the old west. Yes, there were people, quite a few, in fact, Native Indian Tribes who would soon be displaced, and a few hunters, trappers, and wanderers, and with Fort Laramie, Soldiers.

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Here I am at Fort Laramie Trapper and Trader Days Last Summer

 

 End of the Frontier

During the active years of the fort the country rapidly expanded. The Gold Rush, Transcontinental Railroad, Telegraph, Pony Express, Civil War, and economic woes in the east all lead to the end of the old west. By the time 1890 rolled around, Benjamin Harrison was president and the United States Census Bureau announced the end of the frontier. In 1893, Fredrick Jackson Turner wrote an article for the Chicago World’s Fair, stating that there was no longer a line of Frontier in America. With the closing of Fort Laramie in 1890 also came the disgraceful Massacre at Wounded Knee and statehood for Wyoming. When Owen Wister published the first Western in 1902, The Virginian, the old west was gone.

Wild West

What about the Wild West? If it ever was, which it was not, it was a part of the old west. The Wild West was a creation by pulp writers turning out dozens of dime novel westerns and a few years later, Hollywood expanded the myth.

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My part of the Wild West – 30 Miles from home last March

 

Fort Laramie was the first sign, or last sign, of civilization to an American people who farmed the land or lived in cities on the east and west coasts and in the south. It was also a sign of things to come, and 41 years after it opened, the buildings were sold off for salvage.

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4th of July at Fort Laramie

 

The Time’s They Are Changing

At my age, we just returned from our weekend 50-year high school reunion, I am not always in favor of the changes I see taking place. It was no different with the ending of the frontier, some saw it as a good sign, others hated the Idea of everything settled. Such is life, change and time march on.

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Thanks for reading it’s great to be back.