Win A Swag Bag!

Blog_Contest

 

We’ve hit 5,000 “likes” over on the Facebook page!

To celebrate, the lads are giving away 5 copies of the anthology, plus an assortment of swag they’ve … er … found. Sure, that’s where they got it.

 

Blog_Rainbow_Win

Each Swag Bag will contain:

  • one autographed copy of DOWN THE OWLHOOT TRAIL
  • a deck of cards from Chance’s cabinet (he’ll never miss them, honest)
  • a mechanical doo-dad from Kye’s blacksmith shop
  • and of course, the usual author swag

“But how do I enter?” you may ask – it’s simple!

 

Blog_Enter_Ticket

Either comment with your email address OR email me at hays.jes@gmail.com and answer the following question: Who is your favorite Western character and why? 

Winners will be chosen at random from qualifying answers. Remember to put CONTEST in the email subject line if you choose to email me personally.

Contest ends December 30th

Blog_Enter_to_Win

You can’t win unless you enter!

Read Your Way to Good Writing

There are a lot of “You know you’re a writer when–” sayings out there. You’ve all seen them. There’s one more you might not have seen: You know you’re a writer when you have a pile of “to be read” books somewhere in your house.

Blog_Book_Tower

Writers read. It’s not just what we do to find information, or to look up just the right word. We read for the same reason you do: because we love it. Writers make some of the best readers. We toss “real life” out the window in a heartbeat and fall right into the world inside the book. And we’re reluctant to crawl back out once the story’s over.

Writers also make great readers because we know what’s going on behind the wizard’s curtain. We know how hard it is to come up with that perfect phrase, that pithy description. We appreciate good craft when we see it, and are usually quick to write and tell our comrade so, or at least to write a review of the book.

It’s not just about the enjoyment, though. Sure, it’s great to set the world aside for a few hours, but there’s more to reading that that.

Blog_Old_Books_Glasses

 

Writers read twice. The first time a writer reads a great book, it’s just for the story. We lose ourselves within it and enjoy the tale for the tale’s sake. And it’s going to be read again for pleasure, usually over and over again. That’s not what I’m talking about.

Writers read to learn. After that first reading, when we decide that we love a book, we read it again almost immediately. We read it as though we’re sitting at the author’s knee. This time, we’re not falling into the story world, but hanging above it. We’re looking behind that curtain to see how all those levers and gears work.

What makes a great book stand out from the crowd? How does a great author create a great story? How do they handle description and dialogue? What are their tricks and techniques?

Writers read to emulate. We try to understand how it’s been done well, and we try to apply that to our own work. You know you’re a writer when you have a great big pile of books to scour through, a stack of other writers to analyze.

Who are your favorite authors? What books do you read over and over again?