Never Too Late 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 UpTo 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 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.

My Photo of the week

As always, you can find all of my books here on Amazon

Follow me on twitter at @wyohistoryguy

Keep on Reading and keep on Writing

Have a wonderful rest of February.

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My Writing Year

There Goes 2018 – Like so many people, as the year comes to an end, it is time to do a bit of looking back. This year seemed to be a slow down year for me. We didn’t travel as much, I took a few thousand fewer photographs, and I did not write as much as I have in the past.

Writing Year – I have written 250,000+ words each year since 2012 – this year about half of that. I posted on this site 43 times down from 59 last year. The other sites I post quite a lot on really took a dive. My Wyoming history blog went from 27 posts a year ago to seven this year. My Guernsey State Park blog went from 21 posts down to three. I did manage to publish a couple of books this year, although much of the writing on one was completed in 2017.

2019 Goals? – Looks like I could use some goals for the next year. Like most Americans, I would like to lose a few pounds and get in better shape. That being said, what about writing goals?

Writing Goals – I would like to get, at least, back to my quarter million words a year mark. I would also like to publish another book in my kid’s chapter books series and another of my Blade Holmes western mysteries. I also hope to finish at least one other novel and work on my nonfiction book and continue writing short stories. Wow – that’s a lot of writing, hope I can do it.

From the Old West When a cowboy’s too old to set a bad example, he hands out good advice.

Photo of the Week –

big horse

As always, you can find all of my books here on Amazon 

And

Follow me here on twitter at @wyohistoryguy 


Keep on Reading and keep on Writing

Have a wonderful New Year.

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.

best shot

Thanks for reading it’s great to be back.

Hey-Where Is My Horse?

The cowhand raced to save the distressed maiden, he leapt from his trusty steed, and ground tied him, as whistling lead and the smell of gun powder filled the air.
I made that up, but did recently finish reading books by two different authors, where the hero ground tied his horse under all conditions- they ground tied so much I got tired of waiting for the horse to run off. Things that I have read, and or tried with ground tying indicate the cowboy may need hiking boots instead of cowboy boots if he ground ties too much.
Much like the cowboys that loop the reins around the hitching post in the old movies, horses will shy and get the heck out of Dodge if too much action and noise starts. Heck my pick-up doesn’t like to stick around if things get to wild——-but I do.
I like well researched western reads, not sure these writers had spent much time around horses. Too bad, one of them was fast paced and fun.

Published in: on January 31, 2011 at 12:02 am  Comments (2)  
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The Last Stagecoach Hold-up

The summer of 1914 may have truly marked the end of the old west. Why, because that was the year of the last stagecoach holdup, and it took place near Shoshone Point in Yellowstone Park. Other places claim the last holdup, including one of the Cheyenne-Deadwood Stage and one in Nevada, but I like this one. The year marked the end of the horse’s only transportation in the park, as cars came for the first time the next year, and a year after that, 1916 would mark the end of the coaches in the park.

I like this bit of history  because the robber, Edward Trafton, (Ed Harrington) did not just hold up a stagecoach, he held up fifteen in a row. The stages carried tourists seeing the sights of the park, and the sixteenth coach, sniffing out something bad, turned around and went for help.

Wearing several layers of extra clothes and a black mask,Trafton stopped each coach rustled out the passengers and asked them, while holing a rifle, to put their money in a sack lying at his feet. For his days work he collected a little over nine hundred dollars and jewelry worth another one- hundred and thirty dollars. Trafton, a ladies’ man, or one who believed he was, laughed and asked the ladies to hide their jewelry, he was only interested in cash. Not sure how or why he ended up with more than a hundred dollars worth anyway, maybe he didn’t like some of the women as much as others.

Trafton had so much fun holding up a stage every half hour that he even allowed some of the passengers to take his photo. Not sure Tafton was the smartest of outlaws, but he likely believed he was, because of this day, famous, and needed to secure his place in history. It did secure a place but maybe not what he had in mind.

The well photographed outlaws next stop was Leavenworth, where he rested up for five years. He died more than a decade later
with a letter in his pocket claiming he was the cowboy Owen Wister based the Virginian on. More likely, if Wister  ever met him and put him in the famous novel, he was one of the bad guys or less than bright characters in the story. Trampas?

Modern Day Western

Just finished reading, Cormac McCarthy’s, No Country for Old Men, I liked the story line, and have always enjoyed, so called, modern day western’s. The trouble I had with this book, and one other of his that I have read, is trying to figure out where dialog starts and ends, or story narration is taking place. Part of the way down each page I would figure it out and then often start that page over. But somewhere along the ling I realized I could not put it down—I really liked the story, and now I want to read another of his works. Good book, but beware of the lack of punctuation.

Published in: on January 8, 2011 at 3:21 am  Leave a Comment  
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Western Movies

In just a few days the new version of True Grit opens. Will it be a winner or just another western that today’s audiences don’t like? Fifty years ago nearly everything on Television was some kind of western series and many feature films were westerns. Did too much cowboy time on TV kill the western? Twenty-nine series westerns in 1959 –Over exposure, maybe! And maybe that is what killed the big budget westerns on the silver screen. There have been some exceptions but for the most part westerns, of today, are marginal hits at best.

Maybe westerns don’t lend themselves to enough special effects and big screen tricks to keep today’s young viewers in their seats.

Or likely we oldsters don’t go to the theater enough.

Just for fun here is a list of my favorite westerns (some well know some a little more obscure) – not in order just my top 15.

What are your favorites?

       Here is mine.

  1. Open Range

  2. 3-10 to Yuma

  3. The outlaw Josie Wales

  4. Winchester 73

  5. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

  6. The Shadow Riders

  7. Last of the Dogmen

  8. Jeremiah Johnson

  9. Dances With Wolves

10.  Stage Coach

11.  Unforgiven

12.  The Good the Bad and the Ugly

13.  Rio Bravo

14.  Treasure of the Sierra Madre

15.  Ride the High Country

Lauran Paine

Every few years a new list of greatest of all time for something comes out. Westerns are no different with a little research I was able to find, greatest western novels, greatest western short stories, TV series, mini-series and movies.
Never have I read a list of the most prolific authors. I have one particular author that I really enjoy, William W. Johnstone, who wrote what I felt was a great mountain man series. He wrote in several genres, but mostly westerns. He was published for only about twenty-five years but managed to write and impressive two-hundred books.

But that does not come close to Lauran Paine the author of Open Range Men, a novel later made into the movie “Open Range”. If you have never heard of him, how about these writers all pseudonyms for Lauran Paine: John Armour, Reg Batchelor, Kenneth Bedford, Frank Bosworth, Mark Carrel, Robert Clarke, Richard Dana, J F Drexler, Troy Howard, Jared Ingersol, John Kilgore, Hunter Liggett, J K Lucas, John Morgan.
Lauran Bosworth Paine was born February 25, 1916 in Minnesota and has written more than 900 books.

–WOW-

Have you read anything by him?

Published in: on December 12, 2010 at 7:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Wyoming in Summer

Second night in a row I am setting out on the patio enjoying another beautiful Wyoming evening. We pay for it when winter comes but summers are spectacular.  Seventy-one degrees, southwest breeze and 27 percent humidity can’t beat it. Last night we sat outside until ten-thirty, put the blankets over us about nine. Temperature went down to 48 last night but back around 80 today.

Published in: on August 12, 2010 at 1:54 am  Leave a Comment  
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Fort Robinson, Nebraska

Took a day trip to Fort Robinson to do some research yesterday. Always good to go back again. This is my fifth or sixth trip to Fort Rob and I always come away with something new, plus we ate a great lunch at the post cafe. Fort Fobinson and the Red Cloud agency are such a big part of Sioux history that it is a must visit for anyone who loves the old west and it’s history. Crazy Horse was killed on a site at the fort and remains to this day a spot of reverance to Native people and history buffs alike. The fort also has some world war one and two history with the United States Army Calvary and Canine Core.