Even at my advanced age, I continue to measure a good week in terms of results. Years of study and, more importantly, hundreds of hours of conversation with friends and mentors (including Anne who qualifies on both counts, though some mentors don’t qualify as friends) have taught me and convinced me that if you must judge a week as good or bad, the only measure is how you use it.
So, here I am returned last Friday from five and half weeks at Drakes Island (ME) with Anne and struggling to find my bearings. Any direction, any organizing principle would do in the effort to sort out way too much to do and way too little time or money to do it. I don’t even recall how I used the week. I sort of did half my level of exercise, half my level of work, half my planned tasks to clean-up and sort out for an orderly re-entry from the weeks away. I ate dinner with Anne every night, and we watched David Whyte and Sleeping Beauty (La Scala ballet, choreographed by Nureyev) and there is no better use of my time than that. Ever.
With one use of my time, I finished a short story I had committed to send to Western Fictioneers by August 1for their Christmas anthology. I worked on it in Maine, and I even wrote about it here on this blog. Slow progress and gulleys and other hazards plagued me. When I took it up at my desk here on Saturday, the trail looked as straight and clear as the one I travelled in 1849. Finished on Sunday. Submitted on Monday. Accepted on Tuesday. Contract signed on Wednesday. Now that makes a week feel good! But it’s a result.
Reflecting something I had used my time, a lot of my time, on a while ago, the Kirkus Review of Forever Sheriff arrived. Being the judge of a review of my own book is a biased effort. Nevertheless. It is a good review. Kirkus, an industry staple and major source of reviews for Indie bookstores, has specific, written rules for attribution. Believe me, we rushed to observe them and you can see the post here.
Sometimes, when you can’t figure out how to make the best use of your time, two good results come your way. I’ll take it. It was a good week.
February 17, 2021
The publisher, Five Star, deferred all 2020 publication dates from May, 2020, for six months. August became February. And now we’re here. Zoom is our new partner. Book Readings and Book Clubs will be the format through May, with great hopes that face to face events can start in June.
Book readings will contain four short readings (five minutes) followed by rousing discussion (ten minutes.) You do not have to buy the book to attend or to enjoy the readings.
Book clubs will assume reading the book and the study guide before the book club meeting. There’s no requirement to read the book or the study guide beforehand. The sheriff won’t be at the door to check up on you, but you’ll have a lot more fun if you do.
Sign up is easy
In about two weeks, I will post the schedule of book clubs (with study guide) and readings through the end of May. Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the date you want. A week before the event, your reminder will be a Zoom invitation and link. Simple. To those who asked, yes. You may sign up for both. Use the Book Reading to get a preview or a leg up on the Book Club discussion.
ROUNDUP Magazine, published bi-monthly by Western Writers of America, has asked me to do a (third) review. Coming in 2015, you can read it here, now:
ETHAN J. WOLFE. The Regulator. Five Star. Hardcover. 232 pages, $25.95, cengage.com.
The subtitle says Soldier. Sniper. Lawman. That just about covers it all. Except Congressman!
President Garfield summons Murphy, no first name, from his Congressional seat to resume his service, (he was once in the Secret Service to Grant), now as a lawman. His charge: to find and apprehend a sniper who kills railroad track workers and whole families of settlers.
Over the course of a few weeks, he invents forensic science and kills the killer. Aside from both hunted and hunter being snipers, the reader learns Murphy’s painful past makes him one of a feather with the insane killer.
Along the way, man gets his quarry and girl gets him.
ROUNDUP Magazine, published bi-monthly by Western Writers of America, has asked me to do a (second) review. Coming in 2015, you can read it here, now:
BRETT COGBURN. Two-Dollar Pistol Five Star. Hardcover. 322 pages, $25.95, cengage.com.
19 year-old self-created orphan Myra befriends 17 year-old sheriff’s son Claude who shoots bad man Mike before Mike shoots him. Myra’s stealthy hands move on to seduction and the two take off on a Bonnie and Clyde life in depression era Oklahoma and Texas.
Myra’s instinct for crime comes from her rotten family and Claude’s ability to keep them alive comes from being half-Indian and displaying the best qualities of both his mom and dad despite his outlaw ways.
Two or three violent and comical hold-ups lead to a giant shoot-out. Bonnie and Clyde did not survive theirs and I’ll leave the reader to discover whether Claude’s Indian Mother and Sheriff Father pulled them out in time to continue their life of crime in some future sequel.
I’m not sure why Five Star lists it as historical fiction, but it is a good depression era read.