Jul 20

Hitting The Mark: What Might Be Holding You Back From Being A Bestseller

cowboyontargetOne of the great book success stories of the year has to be that of A.H. Holt, who went from selling a handful of books per month to becoming one of the bestselling Western authors of the year—so far. Her book, “Ten In Texas,” caught the imagination of Western fans, but her journey was not a quick one; it was a slow, tedious climb that culminated in great success. So what caused A.H. Holt to become so successful? To have almost a million pages of her book read in July 2016? Well, Pilgrim, it took three little things to create one huge success, and those three things are:

The three C’s.

Now I know we’ve talked about the three C’s before—and you can read all about them here, if you missed our conversation last week. I guess some of you might be becoming a little bored with hearing ol’ Nick over here bleat on about these magical three C’s—but listen– A.H. Holt’s success with her book “Ten in Texas” came directly from the three C’s. Those three C’s were the cornerstone on which her success was built. Now, I grant you that the ads, the keywords, and the reviews did the heavy lifting, but those three C’s made it happen.

So why can’t it work for you?

Well, there are plenty of reasons why it’s not working for you— little matters like are you ready to be successful? Do you have enough confidence in your written work to truly aim for success? Are you sure you want your book to be read? There are a lot of reasons why people don’t want success—some just have a fear of being successful. Other have issues with trust, or just don’t like to be in the public eye. Some people just write their books for their families to read or put together cook books for their grandchildren to learn from—so there are legitimate reasons for shunning those three C’s. If you’re book isn’t selling, you may not want to make it sell, in which case I have the greatest respect in the world for you. It’s not easy to want the opposite to what you believe everyone else wants, and if you can truly stand and say that you don’t want you book to be a success—then kudos. You’re an honest person.

Maybe just holding that printed book in your hands is all the success you want. In that case, you can forget all my ramblings about the three C’s.

But for those of you who crave success, and who want their books to be read around the world, I am asking you this: Do you have the confidence to promote your book? Do you feel you can be consistent in your promotion? Do you feel that you can be calm, cool and clear-headed when a radio interviewer asks you a question that you don’t want to answer? Because those are the three main ingredients of success. You can have all the money in the world, you can have the greatest book in the world—we can work together and try to put your book out there for the masses to see—but in the end, it boils down to those three things. If you want to be a successful “selling” author, you will need to have a little talk with yourself and find the three C’s before you start talking about ads, and posting, interviews and keywords.

Now, just for you, here’s the link to last week’s discussion about those three C’s. Take a look at them, and see if you feel that you have them or can find them. If you do—and you feel that you want to put them to work—you can contact me below through the contact form. But if you don’t have them—and know you don’t want that kind of success, I don’t want you to feel left out. There are no writers left behind in my opinion. You can get in touch, too, and tell me about your book. I am always looking for new things to read, and would love to hear about your book.

Jul 20

High Moon: at Hacienda del Diablo Is The New Western From Airwolf’s Alex Cord


alex christmasFrom movie star to TV star to award-winning author, Alex Cord has done it all. His new book has taken him back to his roots– the Western. When Alex was asked to write a Western, it didn’t dawn on him how popular this decision would turn out to be. Western readers are still a force in the book world, and this new Cord Western should prove to be one of the most popular Western releases of the year. How does a multi-faceted man like Alex Cord approach writing a Western? Let’s find out… This is the first interview with Alex Cord about his new Western novel, “High Moon.” Enjoy!

Which Westerns have most influenced your life?

Red River, Lonesome Dove, Monte Walsh, The Westerner, Stagecoach, My Darlin Clementine, The Wild Bunch, One-Eyed Jacks. I list them not in order of preference. They are all fine films that I have seen more than once, some more than three or four or five times. Any of John Ford’s films. John Wayne, Ben Johnson, the great, Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Slim Pickens, Marlon Brando, Karl Malden. These are the finest of the fine.

How did you research your Western?

I didn’t consciously do any research. Just living my life. Watching the films and many others made indelible, lasting impressions and consequently have influenced, inspired and educated me. I suppose you could call that research.

Tell us about the series. What is the overall story of the series?

Love. Seeking justice. I create the characters and see where they take me. I believe they are rich, fully realized, breathing individuals who have a lot to reveal. I am looking forward to seeing what paths they choose to follow

Do you prefer writing about the heroes or the villains?

I prefer to write about human beings and discover who and what they are. There are elements of heroes and villains in all of us. Shakespeare wrote entire plays about one element of humanity. Evil: Richard III, jealousy: Othello, heroism: Henry V. I like to delve into the depths of an individual and see what I can find.

A good villain is hard to write. How did you approach writing your villains?

I don’t find them any harder to write than anything else. I just go to the villain in me and see what he has to say. I don’t like to spend too much time there. It can be a little disturbing to discover the evil in one’s self. But there it is.

What real-life inspirations did you draw from for your book? Are any of your characters people you know?

My life is filled with experiences with all kinds of people. A rich bank from which to draw truth. Most of my characters are either based on people I know or have elements of them. I have made a practice of acquiring characters throughout my life and studying them. A creative artist, writer, actor, painter, dancer, musician, must be intensely curious, perceptive and interested.

Where do you think the Western is heading? Is it dying or growing? 

I don’t know. As long as there are people like me around, I think the Western will live. I suppose one chooses one’s friends according to a level of compatibility. I have many friends who will and do work hard to keep the genre alive. I dedicate my new western book, “HIGH MOON” to COWBOYS. I am grateful to Clint Eastwood, Tom Selleck, Rob Word and many more who are hard core believers in the western genre and contribute enormously to keep the blood flowing.

What was the hardest part of writing the first book?

Coming up with a story idea that motivated me to want to tell it. I think that everything one can think of has been done in one fashion or another. The trick is to tell it in a way that engages the reader. I cannot tell how to do that. I believe it is a God-given gift.

Can you see your series turned into a TV series or movie? 

A movie. I see it as a love story, with sweet violence, redemption and caring for another person more than anything else in the world.

Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it? 

I did. That writing is fun, challenging and bloody hard work. Many people say they would like to write a book and I believe that everyone has a book in them. Getting it out from within and onto blank pages is another matter. It requires huge belief and relentless commitment.

Is there a message in your novel that you hope readers will grasp?

Yes. That I am a good writer, and that they will care about what I have to say and the way that I tell it.

kevin diamond cover alexWhat comes next?

Deeper development of the characters and curiosity about where they will take us.

If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?

A scientist. A conservationist in Africa. I’ve been to Africa many times for extended periods of time. I found it to be fascinating in the extreme and actually gave serious thought to living there. That was years ago. Unfortunately, politics have corrupted it to the extent that it is not a comfortable place right now.

Where can readers reach you to send ideas for your books?

nick@nickwale.org I would take great pleasure in hearing from you and welcome clever ideas for stories. Meanwhile, be well, and read, read, read! And thank God for your eyesight and brain.

You can download “High Moon” today from Amazon!

Jul 18

Bestselling Author M.L. Newman Reveals What It Takes To Write Hit Novels

fade away coverM. L. Newman is an independent writer who lives in rural Connecticut with her wonderful husband. She is a member of the RWA. She has a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences from Marist College. She is active in community theatre and has played characters ranging from Brigitta Von Trapp in The Sound of Music to Ms. Hannigan in Annie which has inspired the many fun aspects and personalities for the characters in her romance novels. This interview is all about her writing dreams… let’s find out more…

Good morning!

Good morning!

Why was it important for you to write? What drove that ambition?

The ambition to write was driven mostly from the stories that I have within my mind. After getting one story out, there was another one waiting, and so on and so on. I enjoy sharing the stories with readers, and they have enjoyed reading them.

How closely do you try to keep to historical fact?

Historical facts don’t usually matter when it comes to my stories; however, I would stick close to the facts to drive home the reality portion of the story. It makes the fantasy or paranormal that much more shocking when it comes out.

Would you ever write a book about the Alamo or other historical events?

I don’t believe that I would write about historical events too deeply. I would definitely glaze upon them in a story, but it wouldn’t be the main focus. I currently have a story on the back burner, which is very much grounded in a specific historical event before it transcends into more paranormal features.

Do you believe in good and bad? Is that a concept that all who write books should keep in mind?

Most people are not good or bad; they are sprinkled with both. I think that is what makes characters interesting. Everyone has a motive to be successful, and when that is threatened, people can show a side of themselves that is either not so pure or push through to get what they want, no matter the cost.

Do you think it’s important to have a large publisher as an author?

I don’t believe that it is as important as some may think it is. As a writer, no matter who is backing you up, the story will be told one way or another.

Are you ever surprised by how many readers there are, still, in the world?

Yes, I am always surprised by the amount of readers there are in the literary world. It is a pleasant surprise that I hope to continue to help grow.

Is there any kind of book you wouldn’t write, or couldn’t write?

I don’t believe that I could write a children’s book at this point in my life; however, maybe one day it will happen.

Do you think writers read more books than the average reader—or is that just a myth?

That is a great question. I don’t think that I read more than the average reader simply because I do have to spend more time in my own head, writing, versus being able to binge read as often as I wish I could.

A kiss to remember….

Lauren Benson was enjoying her senior year in college with her roommates and best friend, Taylor. With tension building for midterms, taking advantage of a night of fun to cheer on the school football team was exactly the distraction she needed. However, that was the last night she’d ever be the same again. Lethal creatures are stalking the campus and Lauren becomes a target. Will she be strong enough to resist, or will she simply fade away…. Download your copy of this great new audiobook today!

 

fade away audiobook

Jul 12

No Book Sales? Have You Discovered The Three C’s?

celebrateI was talking to a very talented client of mine today who has a book coming out very soon. We were talking about the frustrations of preparing a book for release—and we discussed the two C’s I’ve been telling people about for a long, long time. But she added a third C to that message. I think it’s an important C.

The first C is Consistency. This is something all authors have to practice. Consistency in book promotion is the only way a book will move. You can’t do one, or two, or three things. You have to consistently promote your book—you have to always be doing something. Always looking to get more attention for your book, always running little ads, or trying to get more reviews. You have to be consistent on your journey towards success.

The second C is Commitment. We all have commitments in our lives, and those commitments sometimes seem like a problem. But in reality, a commitment is just achievement in process. As an author, you have to commit to your book, and commit to its success. If you don’t commit to your book, you won’t be able to be consistent (the first C), and you will find it harder to be successful. Commitment gives you the grit needed to get the job done. I ask all my clients to be committed to the promotion of their book. I ask them to answer interviewers, to write blog articles, to be involved, because unless you love your own baby—how can you expect anyone else to?

The third C is a very special one. One that this very, very talented author mentioned to me. This C stands for “cool,” and it’s true—you have to be cool to be successful. You have to keep a level head and not become depressed when your book isn’t discovered on day one. You have to be cool when you are interviewed, and cool when you are reading a bad review. You have to keep cool, and… be committed… and be consistent.

Whether you are busy promoting your book or enjoying writing that book—whether you are writing your third book, or toiling away on your first— take some time and think about these three C’s. All the books I’ve promoted, and the success my authors have had, can be traced back to the simple three C’s. The three C’s gave a solid foundation on which to build book sales and reader-author relations. Even though I didn’t know there were three until this morning, there are; and you can take these three C’s and turn them into your own success story. This also leads me to another point: we are all learning every single day of our lives, and there I go again—the three C’s allow us all to keep growing as people and moving towards achievement. If you would like to talk to me about your book, strategies to help move your book, advertisements to educate people about your book—or just to shoot the breeze and talk about your book—you can contact me via the contact form below. But I will warn you, we will talk about your relationship with the three C’s… because authors looking to be successful cannot afford to be without them.

 

Jul 07

Poor Book Sales? What You Need Is A Change of Habit!

beach womanAs a book promoter, I’m often asked the same questions over and over again. The usual question is: “Why do authors like Cliff Roberts and G.P. Hutchinson sell so many books?” The second question is usually: “What would it take to make me a success story?” While it is true that Cliff Roberts and G.P. Hutchinson have been hugely successful—G.P. with over a million pages read in mere weeks, awards by the bushel and Cliff with his insurmountable sales figures—it’s not true to say that there is a simple fix that will make you successful overnight.

You see, the greatest book promotion secrets are two very simple things. Consistency and Confidence. The consistency to keep going—even if you feel like nothing is happening, and the confidence to know that something WILL happen.

Be it G.P. Hutchinson, Cliff Roberts, Seth Nation, Michael Haden, Frank Fiore, John D. Fie, Jr., or Alex Cord—you can list off every major Western bookseller and still get the same answer. These people have Consistency and Confidence in common, and between them they make up a huge proportion of book sales in the Western genre. Yet, you have a book, too, and your book has a readership. You have tried bouncing it around Facebook, you’ve tried a few ads, you’ve tried telling your work colleagues about it—yet nobody bought it. You are sitting in silence losing confidence all the time. You feel like a failure—but you are not. You are attempting to do one of the toughest things in the world. You are trying to educate the world about your book, and you can’t give up. For every single success story in the book business, there are a hundred stories of failure. The only difference between success and failure is consistency and confidence. Authors with a mindset of success succeed. They succeed because they want to succeed more than anything else in the world. They take part in the promotion of their book—they do the interviews, they show interest in the keyword optimization, they want their book to be read by a million people, as do you.

So, if you’re looking at a lack of success, you may want to ask yourself two questions. Are you confident about your book? Are you consistent in the promotion of your book? If you have confidence and are consistent, or want to be, but your advertising and promotion isn’t working—drop me a line through the contact form below. That’s something with which I can help you, and asking questions costs you nothing. If you feel that you don’t have the confidence or the ability to be consistent, you may want to work on those feelings before you continue pushing your book—we all have moments when we wonder if we have made the right decision or feel as though we aren’t achieving— but we can all overcome those feelings. I would like you to get in touch with me using the form below and tell me why you don’t feel you can get behind your book. What is holding you back from getting behind it and pushing it to the top? As I said, conversation is free and I’d very much like to hear about your book, and I’m always open to meeting new people.

 

 

Jul 06

America’s Newest Hitmaker: An Interview With Western Star A.H. Holt

A. H. HoltAnne Haw Holt, or A.H.Holt, is from Richmond, VA – attended PVCC in Charlottesville, Mary Baldwin in Staunton, FSU in Tallahassee, FL – Ph.D. in History. Writes family stories set in the American west. Published FROM WRITER TO AUTHOR on Kindle in January. This work helps writers polish their manuscripts to publish on Kindle or send to a publisher. Anne just completed TEN IN TEXAS, a story of a settler on the Texas panhandle lands that were part of the famous XIT Ranch. “Ten in Texas” is currently one of the 200 bestselling Westerns in America.

What is the title and genre of your book?

Ten In Texas – A traditional Western.

Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

Readers of historical adventure, Westerns, good stories with no cursing, overt sex or excessive violence.

How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

This book is set in the early break-up of the XIT Ranch, which covered most of ten counties in Texas –  thus “Ten In Texas.”

Let’s talk a little about your cover art. Who came up with it?

My publisher J C Hulsey helped me design the cover. I think we did a pretty good job.

Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

The lead – Will Gantry is certainly my favorite.

If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be?  Why?

I wouldn’t make any changes to this book. I think we really got it.

Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series:

This book suggests another with a different protagonist – easy for the reader to spot.

Which other books are similar to your own?  What makes them alike?

Some say my books are similar to L’Amour, but with more family.

Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?

I read, write and take photographs. I try to keep busy.

How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

ahholt@ahholt.com or through my publisher jc@outlawspublishing.com.

What can we expect from you in the future?

A paper and Kindle version of Silver Creek, a Colorado book and a sequel to Kendrick.

What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

If you buy my book and like it, please go to Amazon and write a short review.

Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?

Keep writing. Learn to edit

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Thank you for the time.

You can download your copy of the fabulous “Ten in Texas” today from Amazon!

ten in texas cover

 

 

Jun 29

Could You Increase Your Book Sales By Simply Doing Something Like This?

smilingI was asked once what it would take to make a Western novel a bestseller. A good story? A great editor? A fantastic cover? I agreed that all of these things were important—but the two most important ingredients had been neglected and overlooked. These two ingredients are confidence and consistency. Two words that you are not likely to see written about the business of promoting books.

In every case of a Western becoming successful, these two ingredients have been crucial. You can have the greatest story in the world, you can have an award-winning cover, you can hire the greatest book promoter in the world—and you can still have a failure without confidence and consistency. You can ride your way across the world and shout about the book to all you meet, and those words will fall on deaf ears because you didn’t say them with confidence.

I have been asked many times, in many ways, why I have so much confidence in the authors with whom I work. It’s true. My confidence in those I work with is unshakeable. I’m just addicted to optimism—and that is down to the fact that the people I work with never give up. Even if the world is against them—even if the books haven’t sold a copy—they don’t give up—because they have confidence in what they are doing. The idea came to them, the dream was given to them, and they intend to continue their dream come hell or high water. Their dream is to be read, and my job is to help that dream come true. That success they seek may come today, tomorrow, next week or next year, and they will be there to meet it—because nothing worthwhile happens unless you fight for it. And a book pushed without confidence and consistency will not sell, will not be read—will not be reviewed—will languish, and only you can build your dream, or crush it.

There’s a common problem in our business, and I hear it a lot. That problem is this: “I hope that someone likes my book.” That is a lack of confidence; that’s a success destroyer. Authors with the confidence to be great successes do not wish or hope. They do. They had to write the book—they had no option, choice or plan. They had to write the words they were given, and those words tell a story that they were born to tell. When I hear an author tell me that he had to write this book, tell this story, be an author, I know that I am talking to a future success. Now, for those of you who are reading this blog and wondering—wondering if you have the confidence, perhaps? Do you have the talent? Do you have the right to be an author? I am telling you that you do not need the right, you do not need the talent—you need the confidence to know that your story is worth telling, and with that confidence, success is inevitable.

Every single person is a storyteller. They just haven’t accepted it yet, and I truly believe that. Every single person has a story to tell. But that lack of confidence that tells them that they don’t have time to write their story, have no chance of being published—and that nobody will read their book—stops them from grabbing the opportunity that has been placed in front of them their whole life. I truly believe that you—yes, you, the person reading this blog—have the gift already inside of you. This confidence and consistency is inside of you. You just have to allow it to blossom like a flower. Do it now, and then let’s get down to the business of making your dreams come true—because I already have confidence in your book—because I know that everyone has a story worth telling. I’m waiting to hear from you.

 

Jun 28

Why It’s Better To Be A Sinner: An Interview With Hybrid Author Megan Elizabeth

sinners final coverReaders have been enjoying Megan Elizabeth for some time now. Her first book “Sinners Craving” is currently available for 99 cents. If you are looking for a new paranormal series filled with great writing, this might be the series for you? You can learn more about the author through this interview… Why don’t you give up your day job… and take up reading?

How important are characters, and how much time do you spend developing characters?

Characters are essential to every story. It is the characters to whom the readers connect. Without characters, there is absolutely no story. I spend a great deal of time on character development. From start to finish, it is a constant work in progress.

Where do you find the most inspiration for your writing? Do you write about your own life?

I never write about my own life; however, I find inspiration around me on a daily basis. From the smallest interaction at a store to major drama swarming around me, anything and everything can inspire a great scene or character.

What do you think makes a relationship great and engaging in a romance novel?

Characters within a romance novel need to have a certain spark that attracts readers; it’s like a fire between the two of them. It could be any emotion, though: anger, sadness, playfulness. Whatever it is, it needs to connect with the audience as well as your characters. I myself am a great fan of banter between characters.

What do you personally look for in a book you are writing? Are you looking for a particular kind of character? A female lead? What drives your interest?

While I’m writing my books, I really focus on the relationship between the characters, keeping the conflict in the story interesting, and writing hot sex scenes which hopefully people will like.

How do you handle sex—should it be all in—or should it be toned down?

I feel that the natural progression of relationships leads to sex at some point. When it gets to that point, I am all in. I want my readers to read my scene and not be able to put my book down at all. I want them to connect with where my characters are at emotionally as well as physically.

Where do you do most of your writing?

I do most of my writing late at night while sitting in my bed with my portable desk and laptop on my lap. For some reason, I find inspiration when it’s dark outside, I’m comfortable and have quiet all to myself.

How do you plan a book?

I plan my books in three phases. First, I start thinking about what I want to write, who the characters will be, and where it’ll take place. Then I start my outline, determining which plot twists and turns I want to happen in each chapter. Then I start writing my first draft, whereby I will inevitably deviate from my outline and change everything around as I write. Then comes the editing phase where you hate all your work and you’re convinced it’s going to kill you, then once you’re done, you hopefully have something you’re proud of.

If you hadn’t become an author—what would you have done with your life?

I’d continue on with my day job as a teacher, which I also love doing. It’s just that writing calls to me in ways that teaching does not.

Who are the authors you instantly buy?

This is an easy question. Kresley Cole is hands down my favorite author of all time. Anything she writes I download the day of release and read it non-stop until I’ve read it from cover to cover. She’s amazing, and I would recommend her books to anyone.

Who would be your perfect book boyfriend?

My perfect book boyfriend would have to be Max Stella from Beautiful Stranger. Just enough sweetness mixed with spice to get my attention and keep it. Plus, I’m a sucker for a good accent.

What was the last great book you read—and how did it inspire your writing?

I recently just finished The Player by Kresley Cole, and it was amazing. The characters were so well developed, the story was completely addictive and the ending was something I did not see coming. I couldn’t wait to dig into my next book after reading that.

Of all your characters—which one do you really identify with?

Out of all my characters so far, I identify most with Taylor. She’s the first female character I ever wrote, she’s so bad ass, just wants to do the right thing, is a single mom and struggles with man problems. I love Taylor because she appeals to be on a deeper level, and I think as my first female character, I put more of myself in her.

Which place would you love to see—but haven’t seen yet?

I am dying to go to Europe. Don’t ask me a specific country because I want to see them all. I’m greedy like that.

If you could say one thing to your readers about your books—what would it be?

Thank you for taking the time to step into my world for a while. I hope you enjoy it.

sinners craving1

When the sins of the past claim the future, the craving for more can turn deadly….

When the Goddess of Love and the Father of Evil determine your fate, do you fight back?

Matteaus, leader of the Fallen, never backs down from a challenge.

Not even when his fated female proves to be the most challenging of them all.

A former warrior in the Heavenly Kingdom, Matteaus, bears the scars from a past filled with misguided deeds. Determined to right wrongs, his drive for atonement is his only companion – until his next assignment brings him in to the fiery path of a beautiful female who’s been on the run for reasons of her own.

Taylor, having no patience for an unwanted love affair, tries to ignore the instant attraction to Matteaus. Yet, as their desire for each other begins to overtake, Matteaus’ steadfast determination keeps him on the path of righteousness, and away from Taylor’s searing touch. Now Taylor and Matteaus must join forces to protect the ones they love.

Could this be the mission that finally earns his redemption? Or will his past cost him everything, including the one female he is destined to love?

******

meganMegan Elizabeth is a bestselling contemporary romance, and paranormal, author who currently resides in New Jersey, United States. Her first book “Sinners Craving: League of the Fallen: Book 1” was released in 2014. She has since written another book, in that series called Borrowed Sins, and has written her first contemporary romance novel “Bound To Me: The Leather Series: Book 1.”

Megan enjoys reading, watching movies and spending time with her family when she’s not working on her books. Download your copy of “Sinners Craving” today right here.

Jun 27

Rise of a Nation: How Author Seth Nation Went From Printer To Bestselling Western Author Overnight

Nation Pub PhotoOne of the biggest Western names of today is Seth Nation. Seth is the talent behind “The Devil’s Brand.” For those of you who already know the book– you know it’s one of the fastest selling Westerns of the year for a reason. For those of you who haven’t discovered it– what’s wrong? Did you lose your taste for Westerns? Don’t worry about anything other than getting yourself on your horse and over to Amazon. There’s a book there you now need to read. Do it now!

What drove you to start writing Westerns?

When I first started writing, I had this big epic fantasy novel in my head and aspirations of becoming the next J.R.R. Tolkien. I would have frequent periods of writer’s block and soon realized that I was having trouble because I wasn’t comfortable, I wasn’t invested. I decided to write what I loved to read, which was Westerns. I immediately noticed the difference. I think Westerns are important because, in a way, it is a process for us to connect back with our family’s past.

Where did you get the ideas behind “The Devil’s Brand?”

I wrote the scene where the Rider is near death escaping his followers with the intention of turning it into something—I didn’t know what—years ago. Over time and trial and error, I would create other scenes to see if they would connect. The backstory of Ethan came through this process until after a while I had what I needed. I think throughout all of this I got to know my character. There is quite a bit that I have written that I didn’t include in this book—that will appear in the follow ups. Living in Lawrence, Kansas, I knew from the start I wanted to include the Border War and “Bloody Kansas” as the backdrop to the story. My stepfather gave me the idea of the “man of remittance,” who turned into Oliver Kingston Dukes.

How long did it take you to develop “The Devil’s Brand?”

All told, I have been writing bits and pieces for nearly two years. In late 2015, I connected the dots and finished the novel in February. After a month of editing, I sent it to Outlaws for publication. The next ones will go easier because most of it is mapped out and partially written. I’m excited about book two because there will be a great train sequence that so far has been a blast to write.

How closely does the Western mirror the American way of life?

I believe they are one and the same. The American West was a time of great freedoms for many, think of Manifest Destiny and the call for a people to settle the West. For many, it held infinite possibilities, the American Dream, which in different ways is still alive today.

Which parts of Western philosophy do you personally try to add to your everyday life?

More than anything, I try to show great respect for those in my family who came before me. Their hard work and sacrifices granted me the life I have today. I have a deep appreciation and love for my family. I believe if you want something or want to achieve something, you put in the work and go get it. My dad and stepmother own a ranch in Oklahoma that is on land once owned by great-great-grandfather. They do a great job of passing on that heritage. My uncle on my mother’s side has done a ton of research on that side of the family. Thankfully, because of this, I have grown up with a huge sense of who I am and where I came from.

What are your favorite Western movies?

I love anything John Wayne is in. Growing up, he was my father’s hero, and we spent many weekend mornings watching them. I really liked Red River, Rio Bravo, and The Searchers to name a few. However, the biggest impact on me was the novel Lonesome Dove, which was turned into a pretty good movie as well.

What was your first experience of John Wayne?

Probably watching a movie with my dad or seeing the memorabilia my dad collected—he was a huge fan, and if John Wayne was on TV we watched it. As a kid, I enjoyed the films but not nearly as much as I do today. They say you turn into your parents. For me that is definitely the case. My dad gave me a love of Westerns and my mom gave me a good sense of music. I thank them both for it. They are my right side and left side. They keep me balanced.

How did those movies influence the way you write?

With Lonesome Dove, it was the realization of how well crafted and thought out characters could drive a story. To me, Woodrow Call and Augustus McCrae are two of the greatest literary characters of all time. The dynamic of their friendship is something I strive to insert into my characters. I grew up being blessed with lifelong friends. I think in my stories there will always be that element present. Even if a character is a quintessential “loner,” they will always need that someone. In The Devil’s Brand, Ethan Brody is that way. As much as he wants to be alone, he knows he needs that comradery be it in his younger years with Harland Poe or later on with Oliver Kingston Dukes.

Would you ever write a book about the Alamo or other historical events?

Definitely. The Oklahoma Land Rush is one. Many of my family come from Oklahoma so it is a familiar subject. I love the concept of Manifest Destiny and the settlers moving west. I also would like to write about historical figures. I had a novel idea about Butch and Sundance secretly faking their deaths and living out their years unknown until the 1950’s, only to reunite for one last heist, “The heist of all time,” to reveal their identities and go out guns blazing.

Do you believe in good and bad? Is that a concept that all who write westerns should keep in mind?

I think in any traditional Western you will have that. A reader always wants someone to hate and someone to root for. I always liked the stories where there characters were flawed and had both good and bad in them. I like the idea of redemption.

Who is the greatest American folk hero from the West—in your opinion and why?

Hands down, it is Lewis and Clark. They started it all. They took on one of the greatest adventures of all time, and in the process not only opened a nation for settling, but put forth that mindset that anything is possible.

What will your next book be about?

There will be at least one if not two more books featuring Ethan Brody and continuing the storyline from The Devil’s Brand and his pursuit of Gideon Pratt. I also have started a series of serial short stories that will feature two repeating characters.

Do you think it’s important to have a large publisher as a Western author?

Not necessarily. I think what is important is that an author finds a publisher who believes in them and the stories they want to tell. For me, I found that in Outlaws Publishing and JC Hulsey, and I couldn’t be happier.

Are you ever surprised by how many Western readers there are in the world?

No, Westerns are the stories of us, Americans, who we are and where we came from. There will always be an audience for that. Western readers are passionate about their genre, and It makes me proud that so far they are enjoying my story.

Would you ever write a non-Western?

Absolutely. Besides that itch to become the next Tolkien, I actually have a novel which is kind of a “Stand By Me” for the 80’s generation. It is about one-third complete and really reflects the adventures I had with the people I grew up with. Lifelong friends who helped make me who I am today.

How many Westerns have you written?

The Devil’s Brand is my first, and hopefully there will be many, many to come after that.

How have reviewers treated your books?

The reviews have been great. So far after six weeks, there are a few, but the book continues to hold a five-star rating. Although I really enjoy feedback, what folks liked and disliked, I think it helps hone your skills.

Do you have anything in the can that you haven’t released—and will this material ever see the light of day?

Baseball is one of my biggest passions, and one day I will write a baseball book, more than likely something about the Negri Leagues of the thirties. I have the story mapped out, just needs to be written. It will be a great story of intolerance and redemption. I also would like to write a solo novel about Oliver Kingston Dukes, a character in The Devil’s Brand, and dig into some of his adventures that I touch on in the book.

If you could travel back to the West and be a cowboy—would you?

Hell, yeah, if nothing more than just to see if I could keep up with my ancestors. Put in the hard day’s work like they did. Drive a herd of cattle, mix it up in some hole in the wall saloon, play cards with Doc Holiday, maybe get into some trouble with Billy the Kid. That is what is great about Westerns—the possibilities are endless.

Winter 1865: Five confederate deserters, near starvation and manic with fury over the state of the war go on a bloody rampage along the Kansas-Missouri Border taking retribution on a family of abolitionists they find harboring runaway slaves.

In the aftermath, Ethan Brody returns from the war to find everything he knows and loves reduced to nothing but ashes. Hell bent on revenge he sets off to find the murderous gang only to have them slip away. Losing his faith, he sets off on a life of bounty hunting, vowing to never again let justice go astray, “Alive” is no longer an option and in the process the legend of the Rider is born.

1894: Oliver Kingston Dukes a man of remittance finds his way to the town of Adobe Wells immediately becoming embroiled in the town’s struggle with the wealthy and powerful Katy brothers. Enter the Rider, on the trail of the notorious bandit Hector Salazar, he joins Dukes and the townsfolk to take back the town once and for all and perhaps… take back his own salvation. Download your copy of this great new Western here.

seth nation photo

 

Jun 23

Wild Is The West: An Interview With New Western Bestseller Weldon R. Shaw

 

weldon shaw imageLone Wolf is a novel for those who believe in true love and sacrifice for that one special person you love. To love someone so much you are willing to die for them to insure they are safe. It unfolds in the time frame of the 1840’s, in a wilderness of Montana which had not been tamed as of yet. It was a time period when peoples lives where lived in the harshest elements and death was a reality. This interview with author Weldon R. Shaw is all about the process behind the book. Let’s find out what Weldon has to say…

Why was it important for you to write Westerns? What drove that ambition?

I am a country boy who has always had a love for history, especially the history of what our country was built on.  Like most kids during my era, I was raised on the Old West movies.  I am a quarter Chikasaw Indian out of Oklahoma, and I love to read, talk and learn about the Native American cultures. The idea for Lone Wolf came about because of this love for the Native American culture.

How closely does the Western mirror the American way of life?

Lone Wolf is an action romance.  It is built on good morals and values.  It’s about breaking through cultural barriers, establishing trust between a man and a woman.  It is about real life and the forming of a true friendship that leads to true love.  The character Lone Wolf was brought to life by the values I was taught as a kid on how a woman should be treated.

What are your favorite Western movies?

That is an easy one—any Western made by “The Duke,” John Wayne.  I am also a big Sam Elliot fan, as well. My favorite writer is Louis L’Amour. He was a Rhodes Scholar and put great detail into his works.

How did those movies influence the way you write?

The Western movies were always about the true American values, the good against the bad.  I think movies like this not only influence the way you write, but more importantly, I think they influence young minds on how to carry themselves in life as they become adults.

Would you ever write a book about the Alamo or other historical events?

My first novel released was a historical fiction titled Pachuco.  It was about the transformation of Alta California to California and how it affected the Hispanic people through the years of a changing and evolving government.  When I write, I try to incorporate historical and cultural elements into my novels.  I am very selective of what I write about.  I try to stay away from the subjects that have been written about numerous times.

Do you believe in good and bad? Is that a concept that all who write Westerns should keep in mind?

Yes. Even in Lone Wolf, the story line is built on good and bad.  Lone Wolf will not hesitate to protect another person who cannot protect themselves, especially a woman. Let’s face it, there are very few books or even movies out there that are not based on good and bad.  It is as much about the story’s plot as any character in it.

Who is the greatest American folk hero from the West, in your opinion, and why?

I would probably say the James Younger gang.  They became outlaws—and who they were—because of people who had the backing of the federal government.  They were considered bushwhackers during the Civil War because they attacked Union-based cities and robbed them.  The Union also had their share of atrocities in the killing of civilians and the burning down of farms and cities, as well. I guess, overall, the Civil War in itself produced many folk heroes from both sides because it was the turning point of this country.

What will your next book be about?

Well, I am writing Lone Wolf: The Resurrection, novel 2 of the Lone Wolf series right now as we speak.  I will end the Lone Wolf series in novel 3. I have a Western in mind that is strictly an idea at this point. I also have a romance novel call Victoria In Search Of Myself that I need to finish. Also a horror novel call Interview With The Immortal One.

Do you think it’s important to have a large publisher as a Western author?

It is not necessary to have a large publisher, but if you get to the point where you are contracted by a major publishing house, it shows you that you have arrived as a writer, and your ability as a writer is being recognized.  Is it hard for a new writer to get into a large publishing house? Yes, very hard because they require your work to be submitted to them through an agent.  Is it hard to get an agent? Most difficult hurdle to jump over that you can imagine. I have been fortunate. All my books have been contracted by traditional publishers.

Are you ever surprised by how many Western readers there are in the world?

No, not really. I believe people like books about old history and, more importantly, good versus bad.  They like to see that guy portrayed who will stand up with good morals and take on a battle even if it isn’t his battle.

Would you ever write a non-Western?

I have two non-Westerns written as we speak. Pachuco is a historical fiction which starts in the 1860s and ends in the 2000s; and I have a self-help for parenting called The Rise And Fall Of Our Youth.  My next romance novel that I will write is Victoria In search Of Myself.  It will be based in current time.

How many Westerns have you written?

The Lone Wolf series will be the first that was written in the Old West time frame.  Pachuco is a narrated novel by an old man in his 80s who walks the reader through four generations of his family starting in the 1860s and ending in the 2000s.

How have reviewers treated your books?

The reviews of my books have been fantastic.  I sent Lone Wolf out to several female readers to get a feel for their reaction, and they are ecstatic about it.  Even though Lone Wolf is considered a romance, it is based on action, and because of this the men readers will love it, as well.

If you could travel back to the West and be a cowboy—would you?

Well, there is a lot to be said about that time period. Life was simpler as far as fewer distractions and less government oversight, but life was harsher.  The simple things we take for granted was a big deal back then.  Food is more plentiful now, you live in an air conditioned house now, even if it is a swamp cooler. Back then, there were no cool houses.  Food was not plentiful nor was money. The luxury of taking a bath, which most of us are use to taking once a day, was not that way back then.

If you were a ranch hand, you would more than likely go several days before you bathed, in some cases months.  For a lot of them back then, it was a horse trough or nearby creek. Going to town was a luxury and not a daily occurrence.  Electricity—how many can do without that? No, I think I am happy living in this day and age. It is not perfect, but it is convenient.


Are you looking for a great new Western book to read? Why don’t you pick up a copy of “Lone Wolf: A New Beginning” today from Amazon

lone wolf cover1

 

 

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