Sep 26

King of the Wild West Frontier: An Interview with Western Super-Seller Bruce G. Bennett

bruce bennettBruce. G. Bennett is one of the most successful Western authors of 2016, so far. His Westerns have been racing up the bestseller charts. I want you to use your imagination for a few moments. Imagine for a few minutes that you are back in the Old West. A stagecoach has arrived in town, and you are helping the good folks unload their personal possessions from the coach. The door opens, and you find a man holding a book. That book is called “Preacher’s Corner: A Gabriel Torrent Western,” and the owner tells you this is the latest Western bestseller from Bruce G. Bennett. You are stuck in Cheyenne for the day. You sit down, and you start to read. Meet Bruce G. Bennett.

*****

Nothing gets more Western than Bruce G. Bennett.

Of course, doing a really preposterously good job of writing Westerns depends a lot on knowing the rules about what makes good writing. Knowing the archetypal definition of telling Western tales: How is this story different? Why is it individual? What is that character driving at?

 As a writer, it takes someone with patience, intelligence and an imagination the size of Kansas. Take Bruce G. Bennett, for instance—a writer who scored a huge hit with “UnAmerica” and then disappeared to take in the country air. He then came back with three possible books, the first of which is now sitting on Amazon. It’s called “Preacher’s Corner,” a Western. A true, gritty, down-to-earth Western that will blow you away. That’s why Bruce G. Bennett takes his time. He, as a writer, needs to blow you away. The second book of those three he presented will be released later this year.

.On a personal side, he lives with his wife in Pennsylvania and spends his days writing and listening to the sounds of Marty Robbins and other country superstars.

 *****

Bruce, how did you get into the writing business?

I always enjoyed reading, and as a salesman, I had a lot of opportunity to travel the world, normally with a book in my hand. I decided to try my hand at writing because I had a story to tell. That story became “UnAmerica,” and readers liked it. I just hope they will enjoy “Preacher’s Corner” as much.

Why Westerns?

As a kid, I would watch the Westerns on TV—Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Wild West West, and the rest. I knew that I enjoyed the genre, but I didn’t really think anyone was writing Westerns anymore—let alone reading them. My publicist told me that Westerns were a big market and BOOM! I knew I was going to write a Western. It was a dream come true for me.

Do you think you will write more Westerns?

Certainly. Just as a writer needs to write, the Western reader needs to read. I have the second one plotted out in my head already.

What do Westerns say about being American?

That’s an interesting question—and one any American could answer in a very deep and personal way. For me, the Western signifies the struggle we went through becoming American. The fighting, the independence, the struggle and the strife. Westerns are the history of our country—the place where we all came from.

Do you enjoy the Westerns currently riding high on the bestseller listings?

Certainly. Especially those of my good friend, Cliff Roberts. I was fortunate enough to have a foreword for my new book written by Jeff Breland, who has a great series of Westerns called “The Loner with a Badge Series.” I also enjoy the publisher I am currently allied with—Outlaws Publishing. A good name for a Western publishing company, don’t you think?

Where do you see Westerns heading in the future?

I see them staying as popular as they currently are. A lot of people are moving into writing Westerns, and those people are having varying degrees of success. It comes down to the stories they write, though. The readers are there, but the stories have to be good. If the stories are high quality, there’s no reason for the Western to die.

What would your dream Western be?

I’d love to write about some of the great Western folklore heroes. Guys like Davy Crockett, Billy the Kid, Sam Bass, John Chisum, Joseph Glidden. I believe there are a lot of untold stories from that time. I would love to be the one to write them.

Why did you sign with Outlaws Publishing?

My publicist suggested them as a good alternative. I liked their marketing plans; I like that they know the market. I enjoy that they, along with my publicist, take care of my writing needs. Every writer should consider a publisher, but that publisher has to be a good fit for the author. Outlaws was what I needed at that time.

Will there be any other books coming from you this year?

Quite possibly. I have a book called “UnDefeated” coming out in the near future—we are having the audiobook recorded right now. Watch this space.

Where can we find out more about you, and where can we buy your books?

Go West… to Amazon, young man. Search for Bruce G. Bennett on Amazon, and you’ll find out everything about me. It’s all there. If you need more information you can email my publicist at Nick@nickwale.org.

You can catch “Preachers Corner: A Gabriel Torrent Western” by Bruce G. Bennett today from Amazon. You can also learn more by visiting his official Amazon Author Page today.

preachers corner cover

Sep 23

Flashback Friday: An Interview with Western Super-Bestseller G.P. Hutchinson

gp photoHave you been looking for a new Western series to cherish? How about checking out one of the most successful Western authors of today… G.P. Hutchinson. Success, if you can get it, is something to be cherished. G.P. Hutchinson has been at the top of the Western tree for some time now. His first book, “Strong Convictions,” was one of the major Western hits of 2015. His new book, “Strong Suspicions,” climbed to the top of the bestseller listings and has become one of the fastest selling Westerns of the year, so far. In fact, over ONE MILLION pages of “Strong Suspicions” were read during the months of April and May. So with that in mind, this interview should give you some insight into the mindset of a writer who has been, and is, so successful.

Now, G.P. is a very humble fella, and he writes because he loves to write, and that may be the very reason for his success. You can also add his consistent mindset towards promotion and his ability to please Western readers to that list of ingredients… But the biggest ingredient is that he has a talent for writing. That’s the key. If you put all of these ingredients together, you can’t help but find success. But let’s ask G.P. about his formula… He’s waiting!

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

Sometimes stories are more effective than non-fiction in influencing the way people think. There’s a lot of madness in the world today. In spite of all the advantages of rapid change, 24/7 news cycles, and the ability to Google any subject on Earth, a lot of folks seem more confused than ever about how to live life. My hope is that, while entertaining readers, I’ll offer them something attractive to consider regarding how to live meaningful, purposeful lives based on enduring values in this complicated world.

How closely do you try to keep to historical fact?

History matters—a good deal. But if my story is better served by having a railroad run through a town in 1881 when in fact the railroad did not arrive until 1883, I don’t believe any great harm is done in most such cases. What shouldn’t be changed for the sake of story, in my humble opinion, are the prevailing social conventions and attitudes of the specific era in which the story takes place. Too much is already being expunged from history books these days in order to advance politically correct societal agendas.

What were the most influential movies on your writing?

Tombstone (1993), Broken Trail (2006), The Quick and the Dead (1995), and Appaloosa (2008) all had stylistic influence on my Western novels.

What first got you interested in the written word?

An active imagination and a thirst for adventure in other times and places.

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

I’ve learned to never say ‘never.’

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

If by “good and bad” you are referring to how well or poorly done something is (stories, books, visual and performing arts), then of course I believe in good and bad. And I believe anyone who writes a book and sets out to sell it to the public has a moral imperative to give his readers the best work he can possibly produce under his current circumstances. Meanwhile, I think you’d really like to know whether I believe in good and evil, which is a slightly different question. A quick look at the world around us reveals abundant examples of both good and evil—the epic battle of the ages. With all due respect to the postmodernist antihero (a protagonist who is not only flawed, but who also leaves the reader or viewer questioning whether any moral absolute can be applied), I believe there are profound reasons why most readers want to see good heroes who eventually triumph and bad villains who eventual get what’s coming to them. We simply don’t seem to see enough justice in the world where we live out our everyday lives.

If you could go back to any time period—where would you go?

Scary idea—probably the American West of the later 1800s.

Can you describe all of your books in one easy-to-read answer?

In my books I strive to blend the best conventions of classic-style Westerns with the pacing and suspense of modern thrillers.

What will your next book be about?

In Strong Ambitions, Emmett Strong and his family will have to stare death and destruction in the face and cobble together a way to overcome dangerous and determined enemies with seemingly endless resources.

As an author, do you think it’s important to have a large publisher?

While landing a contract with a big publisher could boost an author’s career in a significant way, there’s no guarantee that that would be the case. From what I understand, traditionally published books have a fairly short window of opportunity in which to make a big splash. If they don’t live up to expectations within that window of time, they may very well end up being pulled from the market. There’s a lot of competition out there and limited promotional budgets. Even when published by one of the bigger publishing houses, authors still have a substantial responsibility to promote their own work. Self-publishing has a lot of advantages. There are pitfalls, to be sure. But well-written, well-edited stories, when targeted at the right audience, can remain on the market and gain fans over a long period of time. Either way—traditionally published through one of the larger publishing houses, or self-published—it seems to me that the key ingredient to the success of an author who writes good material is visibility.

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

Not really. Life is—at the same time—tough and mundane. We often don’t see the fruits of our labors until much later, if ever. Reading offers a wonderful way to vicariously experience both excitement and the successful accomplishment of bold and daring deeds.

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

I wouldn’t write anything that, in my estimation, dishonors God or weakens the essential moral fiber of society.

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

Don’t get me wrong—you have to be a reader in order to be the best writer you can possibly be. On the other hand, while I’m busy writing for six or eight hours in a day, someone else may be devouring books I’ll never have time to get to. I’m amazed by (and a bit jealous of) how much some people read.

How have reviewers treated your books?

Overall, very well, I’m humbled to say. Every now and then, there’s a review that makes me cock my head and say, “What?!?” But as with anything, as much as we might like to, we can’t please 100 percent of the people 100 percent of the time.

And your luxury item to take to a secluded island is….?

Some means of staying connected to the internet.

Thank you, G.P. for stopping by. You can download both of G.P’s  bestselling books today by clicking here. You can also check out his website here. Don’t miss out on great books by one of the great Western authors of today.

strong convictionsstrong susp1

Sep 14

Why Being Positive Could Be The Biggest Book Promotional Breakthrough Money Could Never Buy

postiveiAs humans we find ourselves being negative more often than being positive. As a writer, it’s easier to be negative about the reception your books have garnered than to find the good. In my everyday job as a promoter of books, I have found that, at times, you are working against a wall of negativity—a writer who doesn’t believe their book will be a success, a writer who doesn’t believe they can write, a writer who feels that other writers are superior—these mindsets, or doctrines, have set up authors for failure. To negate is to take away, to remove, to leave less. To negate is to start your journey as an author who feels as though they have less to offer—and that doctrine is a sure way to fail because believing you are a failure will make you a failure.

I’d like to share a story with you, if you have the time to listen. This story is about an author who wrote an incredibly moving book, a Western, a book that had commercial appeal, a book that could have been a contender. A book that may well have been considered a far superior book to others that were outselling it. This author told me from day one that his book would never sell. It wasn’t a “selling book,” he told me. “It’s a dream that I’ll never achieve to be a selling author,” he once told me as we watched football together. “Dreams are useless things.” I told him that he was setting himself up for failure, but he deemed what I had to say as “mumbo-jumbo,” and pretty soon he soured on the relationship. We parted ways, and I expected never to hear from him again. Several months later, however, I received an email from this man. He had been through a lot in those several months: had lost a job, a wife, a home, and was on the verge of losing his mind. He had taken solace in reading his book and had discovered that it was, indeed, a pretty good yarn. He decided to renew his promotion with vigor. The book wasn’t an overnight success, but it gained momentum and sold fairly well—it still is selling—and it’s with his blessing that I wrote about him in this blog article. In those few months he found the confidence to pursue his dream, and the faith in his own work to see it down the road and through the journey towards success.

The point of my story is that we all have things holding us back—we all have hang-ups, issues at home, issues with staywork, and problems to deal with. We all have issues that need to be fixed—and we have people who want us to fix them—but when we start a project on a negative note and we negate ourselves, we are only going to receive the very worst outcome. Time and time again, I have told people about the three C’s—and I’ve had arguments from hither and thither about the usefulness of such a thing. At this stage in my career, I couldn’t care less about what others think. Everyone has an opinion, but I do know that those three C’s have helped a lot of authors become successful, and I know those who are negative have been less successful. So if there is any inkling of good you can find in your book, your readership, and your reviews, take it and hold onto it because it’s the good, the positive and the forward that will lead you to success—not the backward, negative, negating thoughts that we all want to have so badly. Those thoughts will never bring a good thing to anyone’s doorstep.

So why don’t you start today? What happened with your book this week that made you smile? Did you get a great review? A fantastic new interview? A great trailer? A person who stopped you in the street and told you how much they loved your book? What happened to make this week a great book week? I want to know about it. Just drop me a line through the contact form below and fill my inbox with the good that is happening with your book. Let’s focus on success—and success will come from positivity.

 

Sep 13

D.G. Wyatt Rides Into The Sunset With His Latest Western Hit

You know the younger generation loves Westerns, too. Take a guy like D.G. Wyatt who writes Westerns for a modern audience. His “Redemption Ride” has just been released— and his next one is already on the way. You can’t normally tie down a guy with such publishing energy for an interview—but we’ve managed it! Welcome D.G. Wyatt, star of “Redemption Ride”

 *****

“Redemption Ride” is the new book from Western author D.G. Wyatt. Filled with action and suspense this new Western takes you to Civil War torn Texas and places you right in the middle of a story that will leave you enthralled and energized.

When two cousins unwittingly meet up—they find they are fighting for opposing sides. But when a common enemy, stolen gold and a traitor are thrown into the mix they find that they have more in common than they think. But it’s a race against time—can they save a defenseless town, and themselves from being destroyed by a merciless enemy?

*****

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

Teens to adults of all ages. My book isn’t just the typical Western. It has a science-fiction twist to it which will keep you right on the edge of your seat wanting more. I built it that way to really get my audience involved in the story.

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

My wife and I were discussing my latest manuscript, and we both came up with the title together. It was really more her than me. But I certainly helped.

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?

I wanted something that was dramatic. I think we got it just right.

How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?

I like all my characters. They’re key to my stories. Again, you have to think about the Shakespearean aspect to books. Even the greatest villains are beloved by millions of readers. In my new book there are a lot of characters you could call “bad guys,” but they’re all victims of circumstance really.

Do you ever have regrets about the books you write? Do you ever want to go back and change them?

Why? There’s always another story. I really enjoyed writing “Redemption Ride,” and there’s nothing I would change. There’s nothing I would change in any of my books.

Can you give our readers some interesting facts about “Redemption Ride?”

I used a lot of personal facts about myself in writing the book from places I visited as a child on trips, to experiences I had in my life that I shared in the story, as well. In many ways, it’s a very personal book.

Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?

I enjoy learning new things on projects I do with my hands. I also enjoy my family—family is one of the most important things a man has.

What can we expect from you in the future?

Look for my next Western coming in 2016. It’s just around the corner, folks!

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

Send me your comments and suggestions for stories or ideas you have for me at dennisgager@yahoo.com. I love to hear from the readers.

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

Yes, write from your heart, never take no for an answer, and let your imagination run wild in your stories. You have to think big when you write a book. Think BIG, and you’ll get a big story.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Yes. I’d like to thank all of my readers so far for reading all my books. I’d like to tell you all that I’ll be working to give you all the books you want in the future. I have many ideas—and I hope you will travel along with me and try some of my new literary adventures.

 And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:

“Redemption Ride” is the new book from Western author D.G. Wyatt. Filled with action and suspense this new Western takes you to Civil War torn Texas and places you right in the middle of a story that will leave you enthralled and energized.

When two cousins unwittingly meet up—they find they are fighting for opposing sides. But when a common enemy, stolen gold and a traitor are thrown into the mix they find that they have more in common than they think. But it’s a race against time—can they save a defenseless town, and themselves from being destroyed by a merciless enemy?

Redemption Ride,” the latest hit from D.G. Wyatt, is available now on Kindle from Amazon. If you love Westerns you won’t want to miss this great book!

redmption

 

Sep 12

The “Real Outlaws” Head Out On Tour: John D. Fie, Jr, Alex Cord and Cliff Roberts Together For The First Time!

This interview is an interesting one. It’s not just a single author—it’s a threesome of the biggest authors in the Western writing business. This is an occasion—and one that won’t happen too often. For the first time, we have gathered Cliff Roberts, John. D. Fie and Alex Cord together for a series of interviews.

 

john d fie photoJohn D. Fie, Jr.

One of the most successful Western authors of his generation. His hits include the multi-million selling “Blood on the Plains,” “Luke Pressor: U.S. Marshal,” and “Incident at Benson’s Creek.”

 

Cliff Roberts OfficialCliff Roberts

A multi-million book selling powerhouse who has turned out hit, after hit, after hit. His latest is called “Draw!” His other million sellers include “Reprisal: The Eagle Rises,” “Reprisal: The Gauntlet,” “Connor Slate: Bounty Hunter,” “Ambushed” and many others.

 

Alex Cordalex-cord-movie-star

The legendary actor and star of TV’s “Airwolf,” who has scored award-winning hit novels like “A Feather in the Rain.” His latest novel is called “High Moon at Hacienda del Diablo.” “A Feather in the Rain” is currently being considered as a movie.

 

Welcome to this interview Alex, John and Cliff. How are you all today?

Alex: Feeling pretty good—thank you for having me.

John: Great to be with you.

Cliff: Greetings!

Cliff, let me start with you. You seem eager to start. Are you ever surprised by how many Western readers there are in the world?

Yes, I was surprised at the number of people who currently read Westerns. At first, I thought it was one of the niche genres and that Westerns had pretty much faded into history. I was wrong. The Western readers are great, friendly and loyal to a fault. I greatly appreciate their patronage. Thank you for reading my work, and I’ll endeavour to make each new book better than the one before.

John, I think this is a good question for you. With your novels constant favorites, perhaps you can explain to us why Westerns are still so popular?

As surprised as people are at the success of Westerns, I’m really not. I’ve always enjoyed the West, and I know many others have, too. I think there’s a lot of hype when it comes to romance, erotica and horror—but the Western fan base is just as busy buying the books they want.

I guess you can identify with that, Alex. As someone who has been writing and making Western movies—let me ask you this one: Do you prefer writing (and acting) the heroes or the villain characters?

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.

Interesting—but it’s the title that sometimes draws the reader in before they’ve even discovered the writer. John—let me ask you this: How did you come up with the title of your “Blood on the Plains” novel?

Well, I was looking at a photo of the Kansas Plains and thought about how it must have been back then, with the first wagon trains crossing the plains and facing a vast nothingness in all directions. Then, the thought of Indian attacks and the blood that must have been spilled making that crossing. As I looked over more photos, the story was forming in my mind. I then came up with the title Blood on the Plains.

Did you have a different experience with “Luke Pressor: U.S. Marshal?”

Luke Pressor, U.S. Marshal is a story in itself. I was asked to publish a short story by Outlaws Publishing. I looked through the short stories I had written over the years, and I just couldn’t make up my mind. Then I thought, why not combine a story or two? From the outset, it became a challenge. Luke Pressor became the hero of the story. This is how it became Luke Pressor, U.S. Marshal.

It’s interesting how things develop. Cliff—let me ask you this: Do you think part of the appeal of Westerns comes from the fact that they mirror the American way of life?

I think Westerns are the basis of the American way of life. The good guy is always honest, sometimes to a fault; and he believes in fair play, family and doing an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. In the Westerns, good triumphs over evil without exception.

And Alex—which Westerns do you think have really affected 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.

John—I suppose part of the appeal of the Western comes from the covers chosen by authors and publishers to illustrate the book. What has your experience been like with covers?

Blood on the Plains, at first, had a very bland looking cover. I had a contract with a different publisher at the time. The book wasn’t moving. Outlaws Publishing took a look at the book and the cover. It wasn’t until I signed with Outlaws Publishing that the book was pulled from the market. The book was re-designed, and I immediately saw the difference. The book, with the new cover design, just jumped at you. I knew right then I had made a good decision going with Outlaws. They specialize in the Western genre. Luke Pressor, U.S. Marshal also had two different book covers. Several covers were designed, and we put our heads together and again came up with a colorful book cover with eye appeal.

I think you have some of the best covers around, John. Cliff—you signed a contract with Outlaws Publishing after being both traditionally published and self-published. Do you think a larger publisher is important? Is it a step towards success to garner a large publisher’s interest?

I think it is important to have a good publisher, no matter in which genre you write. I’ve had several publishers who failed big time at actually helping me or being part of my team for success. The larger, well established publishers seem to be out for the almighty dollar and that alone. Your success as a writer doesn’t matter to them, other than they get more money. If you’re asking who I’d consider publishing my Western novels, I’d say use Outlaws Publishing. That’s who I use. They will treat you right, and they really want you to be a success and place their success secondary to yours. Outlaws has several divisions, so they can help you publish in almost any genre. If you’re looking for a publisher, send your manuscript to Outlaws and see if they can help you. Oh, yeah, they don’t charge you to up front to publish your book and are extremely fair on royalty splits.

John—what do you do differently to other authors when writing a Western?

I like to use small, quick one-liners in my stories to add a little comedy. Also to have a few characters who are somehow different from the others.

I think that’s an important part of being human, John. It’s a shame more writers can’t attempt to inject human characteristics into their books. Alex, let me ask you a similar question. What real life inspiration do you draw from people you know when writing your books?

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.

Cliff would you agree with Alex? And would you go back to the West if you could?

I would agree with Alex. And no, I don’t think so. Whereas part of the Old West seems romantic and peaceful, it was a very dangerous place. Knowing me as I do, I’d probably end up having to learn to be a gunfighter and fast because I don’t take injustice well. I’d be out there trying to stop the lawlessness and probably get shot dead. Maybe I’d even become a historical figure if I did. The quickest lawman to get killed.

John—what would your one piece of advice be for a young author?

For new writers, make sure you get an editor. You can’t edit the book enough. When you’re ready to publish, look around and choose wisely, then stand by for the reviews.

I think that’s great advice. Alex, did you learn anything from writing your latest Western?

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.

What a learning process. Cliff, what do you think is the key to success?

Good writing, good promotion and making sure you surround yourself with those who will help you, rather than hinder you. A good publisher, publicist, and editor will make you as an author. A poor publisher, publicist, or editor will break you. I need say no more. Invest in yourself, your product and hire a good publicist.

And John—what does it feel like to be one of the top authors in the business?

It feels pretty good. It’s good to know that somebody is enjoying your story.

Check out the latest books from these three great authors.

incident at bensons creek1

kevin diamond cover alex

draw!

 

Sep 09

“Murder? Maybe…” With Hollywood Actor, Producer and Author Troy Andrews-Smith

troy-1Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a titan of the entertainment industry? I sure have. This interview is with Troy Andrews-Smith. A man who has acted, written songs, written books, produced motion pictures and lived among the Hollywood elite. He has been entertaining himself lately with a new kick. That kick is… Westerns. Let’s catch up with Troy and find out how much he is enjoying being a Western writer…

What made you want to become a writer in the first place? 

I was thrown into it purely by accident and my big mouth. I’d always lipped off about how I was going to write a book someday but claimed I never had the time. Then I broke my back, had surgery, and suddenly I had the time and no excuses. That’s how Radersburg Gold came to be.

Have you written any other books that are not published? Do you have ideas lying around that you may work on one day?

All the books I have written so far have been published. It did take seventeen years to get the first one done, but hey, I’m persistent.  Yes, I have lots of ideas for books and movie scripts both.  Hope I live long enough to get them written.

What do you think about the e-book revolution?

I think e-books are great, but there are some drawbacks to them. Same with self-publishing.

How would you describe your writing style?

Not sure what to say here. I seem to write the way a story dictates. Like, in Radersburg Gold, I had no idea where the story was going. I just went where the characters took me. Whereas, in the screenplay A Town Too Small, I knew how it was going to end before I ever started writing. Guess I could put a whole ‘nother meaning to the term freelance.

Pen, typewriter or computer?

I wrote the first draft of Radersburg Gold flat on my back, in a back brace, using Bic pens. This was after the surgery on my back. I’d write until the pen quit working then get a new one out of the jar I’d put next to my bed. I can’t say I recommend this method. Since then, personal computers came into prominence, and I do not plan on ever writing another anything any other way.

Do you write alone or in public?

I’ve done both but mostly alone.

Music or silence?

Since moving from Montana where I lived at the end of the road a couple of miles away from my closest neighbor, I find I crave silence more and more. So, most days, the quieter the better, but some days I like to listen to Don Williams, Merle, Jim Reeves, Alison Krauss, or others. Problem with that is, I get excited about the music and have to go write another song. It’s a vicious cycle.

When you are in full writing mode, do you have goals of a certain number of words a week, or do you just write when inspiration strikes?

I don’t worry about the numbers of words per day. I just try to write something every day. Some days, I may write ten words; other days, twenty pages and have to force myself to stop and eat. It’s all about where the story is going on that day.

What tactics do you have when writing? Do you jump right in, or do you have to outline?

I’m a jumper. Outlines I use when I already have a good idea of the story, like if I’m doing a writer-for-hire job and the other person has already told me the basic idea of their story. On my own books and scripts, I write out of my head but make key-notes as I go along and think of something I don’t want to forget or leave out but it’s not going to be needed until later in the story.

What has your experience been like as an author? 

I’ve wondered more about my sanity than I ever have before.

What have you put most of your effort into regarding writing?

Entertaining the reader. I love it when a totally unexpected person comes up and says they loved my book (poem, song). They don’t have to do that. I don’t even know they’ve read it. But, if I can entertain them for a while, I feel I’ve done a little bit of good in this life.

What is your new book about?

Murder! Maybe? is a murder mystery wrapped inside of a contemporary Western that I guarantee is different from any other book they’ve ever read. They don’t believe me? They can buy it, read it and then tell me what they think.

Why don’t you catch a copy of “Murder! Maybe” and discover the wonderful writings of Troy Andrews-Smith today!

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Sep 08

“There Will Be Cake” At Each Destination of the New Sheila McPhee Book Tour! Are You Going To Attend?

 

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Sep 07

The Black-Eyed Kids Phenomenon… Urban Myth? Something More Sinister? An Interview With Paranormal Investigator G. Michael Vasey

The Black Eyed Kids – Urban myth or something more sinister? It’s not just kids with Black Eyes either but increasingly, Black Eyed People and more bizarrely – White Eyed People too….  G. Michael Vasey, a supernatural expert, carefully investigated this phenomenon using real-life encounters with these scary beings. The result is a truly unsettling and sometimes terrifying book that will have you listening fearfully for the knock at your door late at night.  This interview is with the man behind that new bestselling expose– “The Black Eyed Kids: Your Haunted Lives.” Let’s shine some light on the man who exposes these demons….  

vasey newGary—thank you for agreeing to this interview. Can I start by asking what got you interesting in the BEK phenomenon in the first place?

While I was familiar with the BEK, it was a story submitted to my website – Your Haunted Life Too – that got me interested. It is a very creepy phenomenon, and the encounter that was submitted had the hairs on the back of my neck up – that doesn’t happen too often these days!

Let’s go back to the start—what are the earliest accounts of visitations by these kids?

The problem here is that most people think the stories originate with a particular account at the beginning of the Interne era. Brian Bethel reported an encounter in a car back in 1996 in Texas. However, my research showed that Black Eyed Kid stories go back much further, and I found encounters in the 1950s and even earlier. Before the Internet, such stories were passed around verbally and rarely got wide distribution. In fact, black eyed humanoid stories go back all the way into prehistory.

Are they always kids?

Nope. Some of the creepier stories involve black-eyed people or adults. They share many characteristics with the kids – black eyes, monotone, hypnotic voices, asking for rides or entry. I think the kid stories are more popular because it is difficult to believe a child can be the host of evil.

Do you think these people have roots in mythology? Have you found any mythological basis for them?

Absolutely. Demonic creatures have been described by many races and social groups throughout history that had black eyes or even no eyes at all. Examples include American Indian legends, Japanese myths and much more. The bogeyman or woman of many cultures was here in the forest or the hills waiting to bring bad luck or death and often they were marked out by their eyes.

Have they always existed?

One theory is that Lilith, the first demon, had black eyes. If true, then yes. There are stories on groups like Reddit that are claimed to be written by the BEK in which the claim is they have lived side by side with us since time began, preying on our souls.

What do you think caused these people to become BEKs?

Interesting question. There is absolutely no evidence to support any theory so far as I can see.  However, if they are demons, then the shape that they present is simply a disguise and they are not kids nor human in any way. I don’t think there is any suggestion that BEK victims become BEKs themselves, but you never know.

Do the cases have anything in common—are these incidents connected?

There are many common features of a classic black-eyed encounters. These include unexplainable fear, wanting entry to your home or soul, the black eyes, the element of hypnosis that means even though you want to run, you cannot and more. It is a formula that works and is designed for maximum effect.

Do they pick certain people to visit, or is it seemingly at random?

It seems to me it is at random although in some stories there appears to be a casing out period. People have observed them watching from across the street, for example, for several days. It seems to me they favour remoter locations but then there are stories taking place in busy streets as well. There is also a suggestion that they select only those who have heard about them – so beware!

Which account shocked you the most—and why?

The one that shocked me most was the one where the couple let them in. They sickened and suffered afterwards as did their pets. Bleeding from the nose and tumors and so on. The suggestion is that they are soul eaters and feed on life energy. By letting them in, you give them permission to steal your soul. One worrying fact is that so many people simply disappear for good, and one wonders perhaps if some fell victim to the BEK?

Is there anyway to protect yourself from these people?

Avoid them like the plague and most certainly – do not let them in.

How can you tell when you are faced with a BEK? Other than their eyes—are there any other ways to tell them apart from your average door knocker?

Typically, it will be two small children – early teens. One will do all of the talking. You will be filled with an unexplainable fear and dread but not know why. The child will ask to enter and you may feel compelled to allow them to. They talk in a monotone and are apparently quite hypnotic. They may even demand entry. Those are the characteristics of the BEK – other then the eyes, of course.

What do you think causes the black eyes?

Eyes are the supposed gateway to the soul. To have black eyes is a common tactic used in horror movies to denote a soulless or possessed person. Black is the color of the lowest form of demon, as well, we are told, so the black eyes most likely denote low level demonic possession. There is also an alternate theory that they are alien-human hybrids that have inherited the eyes from their alien DNA.

Have these incidents only taken place in the United States?

Most of the stories – the ones that follow the form anyway – take place in the USA. However, I did find similar stories and accounts in France, the UK, Ireland and Australia. It certainly appears to be a western phenomenon. Other supposed BEK stories exist in other locations but lack the same formula – such as the black-eyed ghosts children reported in the UK in recent years.

What caused you to write a book about these incidents?

I became obsessed by the stories of encounters and thought I saw some things that were worthy of comment. The formula, the mythological origins of black eyed soul eaters and that sort of thing. It was a hoot to write!

Why do you think these people need to be ‘invited’ into homes?

Even in Hollywood movies and TV shows, a vampire or demon needs permission to enter. In many stories, the BEK not only ask to enter but actually tell their intended victim that they NEED permission to enter. This is entry into the threshold and once given, you have given them carte blanche over you and your soul.

Have there beenbek book any accounts of people who have asked these people into their homes?

Yes, the one that I mentioned but that seems to be the only one I could find. Others are suggestive as opposed to definitive such as the people who didn’t let the BEK in but then their neighbors disappeared without trace the same night!

Are these incidents becoming more common, or less common?

I think neither. I think the Internet provides a vehicle for the stories to get around and make it seem as if they are more common than perhaps they really are.

Where can we find your new book?

You can find the book on Amazon. Just click here to check it out.

What would your advice be to anyone who wants to get in touch with you with an account to share?

Oh, please do. Go on over to the website and submit the story there. It will be great to hear from you.

 

 

Sep 06

Outlaws Publishing, LLC Records Record Western Sales Over Labor Day With A Little Help From Novel Ideas

Cliff Roberts  Banner 2Outlaws Publishing, LLC has announced that sales of Western novels in the United States doubled over Labor Day weekend with the help of Nick Wale, of Novel Ideas leading the promotional way.

Texas-based publisher Outlaws Publishing, LLC is currently celebrating a huge increase in sales of Westerns over Labor Day. The company, that had huge success in 2016, also announced that a new book from A.H. Holt would be hitting the market shortly.

Industry pundits have been saying for years that Western sales were in decline. Major publishers have refused to even look at Western manuscripts—yet Outlaws Publishing has built a stable of Western authors who consistently outsell the competition.

“It’s all down to giving folks the books they want to read,” Outlaws Chairman J.C. Hulsey explained. “We are giving people exactly what they want—good, clean stories of the West.”

With hit novels like “Blood on the Plains,” “Preacher’s Corner,” “The Devil’s Brand,” “Willow Falls” and “Ten in Texas,” the company has been racking up sales and recently announced they would be releasing a series of Western romance novels aimed at female readers.

“We are an inclusive company,” Hulsey remarked. “We know women love to read about the West—we have the mail from readers to prove it. We want to capture the romance readers by putting books out that appeal to women and the romantically inclined male—and that’s what we hope to do with these clean Western romance novels.”

To celebrate the company’s huge success, Outlaws Publishing has announced September to be “Cliff Roberts month.” Roberts, one of the company’s most successful authors, has written a series of bestselling Westerns that will be available throughout the month on Amazon for 99 cents.

You can see the full press release here. You can purchase your commemorative Cliff Roberts novels here.

Aug 30

Fightin’ To Be A Western Bestseller With “Massacre” Master Lon Safko

Since the release of his first Western, “Massacre,” the world has been hearing a lot about Lon Safko. With that first book now available as an audiobook, and his second book on the market, I decided to sit down and find out the motivation behind the success of Lon Safko. What makes him such an interesting author to read? What gives his Westerns that ‘punch’ fans love? Why was his first book such a genre favorite?

As we conducted this interview, it became clear that a writer like Lon Safko has to exist. There has to be a writer who screams quality, and tells the tales of the West we never knew. Without any further discussion, I want you to read this interview with one of the finest Western writers of our age.

Lon, why did you want to move into the Western world?

I’ve always been fascinated by Westerns. As a Western reader, I’ve been noticing lately that there’s low supply—and high demand—so I decided I would start to share my own stories with readers. I think the Western is one of the most important genres in the world. The Western is America, and we need to cherish it. We need to cherish our history. Everyone is all excited about the romance novels, the erotica, the vampires—but Western readers are plentiful, and they yearn for stories of the Old West. With time to spare and plenty of ideas in my head, I thought I might be able to please some of them.

Do you think the Western is going through a resurgence?

No. I don’t think it’s ever been out of fashion. I think the publishing houses have forgotten them—but the readers are still there. Just because Pat Boone isn’t making record sales anymore, it doesn’t mean people aren’t buying tickets for his concerts. Unfortunately, every entertainment industry is hemmed in by what is popular, or hip, or cool, or considered desirable. The consensus is that if what you have isn’t part of the “cool,” it’s not going to sell. Well, it just isn’t true. Some of the greatest artists have been pegged as not being part of the in-crowd, yet many of them are sitting in Malibu drinking their pina coladas because they have strong fanbases who don’t care if they’re number one; they just want to see, listen and read what they like.

Why do you think Westerns have maintained their popularity?

Simply because people respect the beginnings of our great country. People want to be part of what we have to offer, and they want to re-live some of the most exciting times ever. Can you imagine what it must have been like for the pioneers? The gunfighters? The early lawmen? Can you imagine what it was like to live in a lawless place? You can’t get into a time machine, but you can live the life through fiction.

How many Western novels do you plan to release?

A whole series. I can’t put a definitive number on how many books are in my series. We have just released the second book, “Love, Lust, Death,” and will be moving onto the third book this month. The first book in the series, “Massacre,” was very well received, and I believe people will tune in to see what happens next.

Do you enjoy other Western novels?

Certainly. I have read a great many of them. From classics by names like Zane Grey to some of the newer stuff by Cliff Roberts, G.P. Hutchinson, Frank F. Fiore… the list goes on. Do you know what makes a great Western novel? No? A great Western is one-third Bible-based, one-third action-based and one-third dialogue-based. You have to have an age old theme—and all the age old themes of note are in the Bible. You have to have the right amount of action to keep readers reading, and you have to drive the story with dialogue. I’m not sure that I’ve managed to write the great American Western—but I’m sure trying—and making sure to follow my own rules.

How do you write your novels?

How does anyone? I sit down in front of my computer and spill my ideas onto a Microsoft Word page. Then I arrange them in such a way that I can see a story. Then I connect my ideas together and take out the ideas that don’t fit. Then I hone, shape and fascinate myself with the story I’ve created. Sometimes, I ask myself if I wrote the story, and I’m not entirely sure I can say I did. I think my subconscious did all the work, and thank God it did because my stories seem to keep readers entertained.

What was your first experience of the Western?

My first experience of the Western was John Wayne. I saw his movies when I was a kid. We would pile down to the local movie house and see them one after the other. I don’t think there was ever another movie star like The Duke.

Would you ever consider writing a series outside of your current series?

You bet. I have one in mind at the moment that would take place shortly before the Alamo. I also have a Western detective series, and a crime series that I’d like to get out there. I just need to sit in front of the computer and let those ideas spill. Once the ideas are out, they can never go back again. They must be read.

Where can we find your latest book?

Head over to Amazon, punch in my name, and pick out the book called “Massacre” first. When you’ve finished reading that one, move onto “Love, Lust, Death.” Then keep your eyes peeled for the other books in my series. There will be more coming—that’s something you can be quite sure of.

You can download your copy of  the hit-Safklo-sized Western “Massacre” today from Amazon Kindle. It’s just 99 cents… so enjoy your weekend with a book that will give you pleasure, for less investment. You can’t go wrong with Safko.

 

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