Wednesday, December 23, 2015

In Production—Audio Version of The Return

Coming Soon in Audio

Jim Tedder has agreed to narrate The Return, A Steve Dancy Tale and has already completed 6 chapters. This is exciting news because Tedder did a great job on Murder at Thumb Butte. He has a long career in broadcasting and brings a great storytelling voice to the series.

In answer to some queries, I've completed ten chapters of Crossing the Animas, A Steve Dancy Tale. Darn, I sure wish I could write as fast as Jim Tedder can narrate.

Here is the first chapter of The Return.



Monday, December 14, 2015

Best Selling Novelist of All Time?

Agatha Christie as a Young Woman

Agatha Christie is often listed as the bestselling novelist of all time. If the list is for fiction writers instead of just novelists, then Shakespeare takes the top spot. Even with a four hundred year head start, Christie may be catching up with The Bard because royalties from her books are estimated to still exceed £5m a year. In a 2002 relaunch of the 1939 And Then There Were None, the book became a surprise bestseller.

Christie wrote 85 books and sold well over two billion copies. And Then There Were None sold 100 million all by itself. The success of the 1965 Hollywood remake of the story caused subsequent editions of the book to be retitled Ten Little Indians. Her works have been translated into every major language and UNESCO named her the most translated author in the world. (Lest you think Ms. Christie wrote Pablum, her language is measurably better than the texts recommended in the Common Core curriculum.)

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle became annoyed with Sherlock Holmes so he killed him. Never fear, he used a novelist's magic powers to bring the famous detective back to life. Similarly, Dame Agatha Christie grew tired of Poirot, once describing him as "insufferable" and "an egocentric creep".

Christie invented the classic murder mystery structure. A murder is committed with multiple suspects and secrets are gradually revealed with a surprise twist at the end. Murder mysteries are active reading, with the reader knowing all the clues uncovered by the investigator. The fun is guessing the guilty party. There have been truckloads of murder mystery written but few compare with "The Queen of Crime."

I studied Agatha Christie and other mystery writers before I started Murder at Thumb Butte. I wanted to use the Steve Dancy characters in a traditional murder mystery, albeit in the Wild West with gun play, horses, rowdy saloons, and celebrity frontiersmen like Doc Holiday and Vergil Earp.

I haven’t sold nearly as many copies as Christie, but I’m happy that the novel has found a large audience. 93 Amazon readers rated the book 4.5 stars, and 215 Goodreads fans gave the book an average score of 4.1. C. K. Crigger in Roundup Magazine wrote, "This is a well-plotted mystery, as well as a terrific Old West story. Best has a great character in Steve Dancy, and has created an excellent cast of secondary characters." If you like murder mysteries, westerns, or historical novels, Murder at Thumb Butte should be your next book.

Until recently, the novel was available in print, ebook, and large print. Recently Jim Tedder narrated an audiobook version. Any of these formats would be a great Christmas gift. 

As Tedder says, “Go on now, get to it.”

Print & Audio Formats



Sunday, December 6, 2015

Top 10 Tips for Book Gift Giving



A book is always a great gift … especially if you take the time to match the recipient’s taste in fiction or nonfiction. Suddenly, your thoughtfulness becomes part of the gift. Whether your relatives or friends are interested in the Civil War, literature, romance novels, westerns, paranormal fiction, railroads, guns, cooking, collecting old comic books, antique automobiles, or anything else, there's always a book that will bring a smile to their face.

Here are my Top 10 Tips for Book Gift Giving
  1. Write a personal message on the flyleaf that won't get tossed out like last year's Christmas card.
  2. Search out an author signing for your recipient’s favorite author or give a collector’s version of the recipient’s favorite book.
  3. If you need professional help or want something unique, shop at an independent book store, or specialty bookstore.
  4. If you subscribe to Amazon Prime then shipping is free, or mail books early to take advantage of media class at the Post Office.
  5. Give a book as a piece of art, like a fine print book, unique coffee table book, favorite book as a child, or collectible cover art.
  6. Make a highly personal photo book with ShutterFly or Apple Photos.
  7. Give a bookseller gift card for e-book and audio book enthusiasts.
  8. If you’re giving a gift to a college student, tuck a crisp $100 bill into the flyleaf as a bookmark.
  9. If your friend or relative already owns piles of books, give a unique set of book ends to hold them in their proper place.
  10. One final tip that comes close to re-gifting—find an Amazon print book that includes a “Match Book” deal. Gift the printed version and download the e-book for yourself.

Children's books are also great gifts. We search for autographed storybooks for our grandkids. Bookstores always have children book signings around the holidays, and this is one area where we join the crowd. The icing on the cake is that we get to read from one of these books when we visit.

Books are a great entertainment value. They provide hour upon hour of personal pleasure, and then they can be passed on to another person. What could be better?

You might even gift one of these.