Clues: Alex's Blog

Twenty-Five Years Later, Grandson Finishes Grandfather's Final Novel

Late Western Novel Writer's Last Book Now Available

Robert E. Trevathan's five-decade career as a novelist ended twenty-five years ago with an unsold, unfinished manuscript, but 25 years later his grandson made sure it was brought to publication.

BIG CABIN-6x9-Paperback-Upright-Front-Only3.jpg

"In 1993, my grandfather was in touch with Avalon books, which had published his work before, about this manuscript, but they passed on it," said his grandson, Alex Greenwood. "At the time I was editor of a small town weekly newspaper, and we were planning to serialize it, but then the newspaper closed, so the book never saw publication."

When Trevathan passed away in 2002, his papers were given to Greenwood, who put them in storage. A recent move reminded Greenwood, himself a mystery writer, about the last of Trevathan's twenty-plus Western novels.

"I found Big Cabin amongst his papers and remembered it had never made it to press, so I thought I would do it with my publisher, Caroline Street Press."

Greenwood had one problem: the first chapter was missing.

"I frantically looked everywhere, but it was gone. I suspect it was lost back in 1993 at the newspaper in the confusion when the paper shut down. So, working closely with my editor, I reconstructed the first chapter."

Greenwood and editor Robert Hayes, Jr. worked for months polishing the manuscript, leading to the publication of Big Cabin and Dispatches from the West (2018 Caroline Street Press 261 pages available in ebook and paperback exclusively from Amazon.com). The book cover by Jason McIntyre features a pair of horses in the sunset, one riderless.

Making sure Trevathan's historical research details were integrated smoothly into an exciting story of the beginnings of several towns in Southeastern Kansas and Northeastern Oklahoma in the late 1880s was most important to Greenwood and Hayes.

"My grandfather was a writer and historian, so his books were very meticulously researched," Greenwood said. "He had a knack for weaving real people and events into exciting stories of cowboys, frontier entrepreneurs and in this book, Ginger Young, a heroic, dedicated female news reporter."

He added that residents of Parsons, Kansas, Vinita, Oklahoma and of course, Big Cabin, Oklahoma will find the book a treat--as will railroad buffs. "You get a deeper understanding of how the railroads were instrumental in building America."

Greenwood also found a short story; "Cherokee Strip or Bust" originally published in a pulp Western magazine in 1957, and added it as a bonus, along with several essays, poems and letters Trevathan wrote in the last ten years of his life.

"He was deeply in love with history and words," Greenwood said. "Something he passed on to me. I hope this book, which is a love letter to his generation of writers of Western fiction, will help him find new fans. Most of his previous novels are out of print now, but you can find them online here and there and in some libraries. I think he's a great talent just waiting for a new generation to discover him."

"I think he would be really tickled by this book," he added. "He never lived to see the rise of ebooks and Kindles--he wrote all of his books on an old manual Smith Corona typewriter, and we of course never got a chance to write together, so this is very special to me."

About Robert E. Trevathan

A historian by trade, the Detroit-born cowboy Robert E. Trevathan fell under the spell of the Old West at an early age. After serving with distinction in the Navy during World War II, then teaching English in Japan, he spent a few years as a writer toiling in the pulp Western magazines (including Texas Ranger and the curiously fun Ranch Romances - an action-packed story from 1957, one of several that earned publication in that periodical, is featured herein). His first published novel was Dead in the Saddle (writing as Trev Roberts in 1959). He moved into hardback the next year with Stage to Laredo, and then began a long string of popular books with numerous publishers including Avalon, Criterion, and Thomas Bouregy & Co.

Other "Trev Roberts" works included Rawhide Trap (1962); Comanche Interlude (1963); The Hide Hustlers (1967); Cannon River (1967); and Desert Campfires (1967, in U.K. as Desert Flame, 1970). As Robert E. Trevathan he wrote Longhorns for Fort Sill (1962); Badman's Roost (1963); Showdown at Ringold (1968); Longhorn Gold (1971 in U.K. as The Moonstone Bullet); Ballanger (1974); Tracking the Bar-J Gold (1979); Rawhide Legacy (1983); Ransom Trail (1984); Ambush (1984); Plunder Trail (1985); Shootout (1985); Holdup (1986); Oklahoma Outrider (1988); Red River Bullets (1990); Red River Angel (1997) and finally, Big Cabin and Dispatches from the West (2018).

His signature work, the award-winning, cinematic and gritty Ballanger, earned the prestigious Colt. 44 Western writing award in 1974. He passed away in 2002.

About J. Alexander Greenwood

J. Alexander Greenwood is the author of the award-nominated John Pilate Mystery Series; including Pilate's Cross, Pilate's Key, Pilate's Ghost, Pilate's Blood, Pilate's 7 and Pilate's Rose. He also wrote the nonfiction top seller, Kickstarter Success Secrets. The Oklahoma native resides in Kansas City, Missouri.

For more information, visit Amazon.com, Caroline Street Press or PilatesCross.com.

 

ON SALE NOW: "Big Cabin and Dispatches from the West"

My friends, at long last, my grandpa's last book. I am honored to present to you the ebook version...paperback coming soon. Ladies and gentlemen...

Twenty-five years ago, noted, award-winning Western author Robert E. Trevathan hung up his spurs for the last time and retired, leaving "Big Cabin", his final manuscript, uncompleted. Now his grandson J. Alexander Greenwood has finished this Oklahoma cowboy's last ride for your enjoyment. Presented together with a classic Trevathan short story of familial love and conflict during the Oklahoma Land Rush, along with a trove of his later essays, wit, and correspondence, "Big Cabin and Dispatches from the West" is a breath of history, fiction, and lore of the Old West.

Ebook available on Amazon.com…Paperback coming exclusively to Amazon October 2018.

bigcabin_ebook_lg (1).jpg

GET SMASHED!

Hey ebook fans...if you don't like buying from Amazon, please note all six of my ebooks are available on Smashwords, where you can get them in ANY ereader format you need. I could sure use some reviews on Smashwords (and sales...well, that goes without saying!) so if you're shopping for some fun, award-recognized ebooks, check out Smashwords, would you?

(And yes, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, etc. have them, also.) Thanks! -- JAG

 

 

Happy New Year. There, I Said It.

Well, I have to tell you I had high hopes for a great 2017, but the election pretty well quashed that potential "era of good feeling" for me. Happy New Year, my ass.

Now, I realize you do not read this blog--or my books--for politics, so I will spare you any further commentary; other than to say I think we are in for a terribly rough ride and our republic may have been dealt a near-mortal blow.*

Just sayin'.

But enough about that. Let's talk about something important.

How about a word or two about where the John Pilate saga is? First thing's first--Pilate's Rose is behind. Like really behind. A novel initially promised to you on Halloween, then postponed to just before Christmas...is now in freefall. No end in sight. I have the story set, the characters are patiently awaiting me to return to them. I just don't have it in me to get it on paper.

Want my reasons (excuses)?

Well, firstly, the aforementioned election really distracted (and depressed) me. I went through the stages of grief (and not because I was in love with HRC, I was just very concerned about the damage DJT can--and likely will--do to our country). I just couldn't return to the manuscript when I was plagued by nightly dreams of armageddon. Then the holiday insanity hit, which was a nice diversion...yadda yadda yadda.

Secondly, I was pasted by work in December. That's a good thing. Have to earn (especially with my low book sales...yes, it's not attractive to mention that, but man, my sales are just in the tank). So, the day job takes precedence, and in my advancing years (!) the days of working 9-10 hours a day, then having family time, then staying up late to write for three hours or so are officially off the table for the foreseeable future. Stephen King (and Robert E. Trevathan, for that matter), I am not worthy.

Thirdly,  I made a commitment to myself and my family to take better care of myself. I have worked since October 2015 on getting in shape through a light crossfit/kickboxing regimen. It works! I lost nearly 20 pounds, increased my energy and stamina and am probably in the best shape of my life. Not only do I hit the gym 5-6 times a week, I'm back to running (half-marathons, 5Ks and obstacle races). Fitness time is scheduled every day and is non-negotiable, as it keeps me healthy, sane and happy.

So, not a lot of time to tend to JP and the gang.

That said, please know I love the saga and I want to finish Pilate's Rose. I do in fact pledge to do so in 2017. I'm not going to give a firm date--but definitely in 2017. Who knows, I may pull a Jason McIntyre and surprise you one day with a new book announcement. 

After that, I have some other plans for my writing. Won't say what, but I pledge this: stick with me and I will deliver. I will also crank up the Mysterious Goings On podcast again, so check out the back episodes on iTunes if you haven't yet--you have some time to catch up.

Friends, your support is vital. I sincerely appreciate your continued interest, your encouragement and your love of the John Pilate Mysteries. Thank you.

So Happy New Year. There, I said it in spite of myself. Let's hope we make it out alive. 

--Alex

* By the way, there was some good news: Pilate's 7 was named #35 on the Shelf Unbound Magazine 2016 list of Top 100 Notable Books! It was also the top-ranked collection of short stories on that list. That was really nice.

Thanksgiving Mackin' About The Walking Dead, Writing, Trump and More on the Podcast

Alex gives thanks with a Thanksgiving bonanza of a show!

Click here to listen on iTunes--select Chapter 26.

Click here to listen on your desktop.

He welcomes back acclaimed bestselling author Jason McIntyre to the show! The guys talk about (and provide tips for) the writing life, indie audiobooks, book cover creation by JasonThe Walking Dead and more!

Jason is the #1 Kindle Suspense author of THE NIGHT WALK MEN, bestsellers ON THE GATHERING STORM and SHED, the multi-layered literary suspense THALO BLUE and his latest: ZED. His short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and won several awards.

His debut novel ON THE GATHERING STORM is cited by readers as an 'uncomfortably thrilling' read and earned McIntyre a spot in the Top 20 Debut Authors for the Goodreads Choice Awards.

Currently, McIntyre is preparing for the launch of THE DEVIL'S RIGHT HAND which is the latest installment in the THE NIGHT WALK MEN saga.
 

Learn more about Jason at his mothership: http://www.thefarthestreaches.com/p/the-author.html.

 

ENTER TO WIN AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF Alex's award-winning novel Pilate's Ghost!

 

Here's how:

1. Go to Amazon.com (click here or search "J. Alexander Greenwood")

2. Select a book written by Alex.

3. Leave a starred review.

4. Screenshot the review (must be 3 stars or better)--this book review has to be new--reviews posted prior to the release of this episode are not eligible. 

5. Email the screenshot to Team(at)Alexgpr.com with the subject line "My Amazon Review" along with your name, mailing address and how you would like Alex to inscribe your copy.

6. The FIRST listener to do this will get the autographed copy. That's it!

 

Be sure to visit the Mysterious Goings On webpage at www.PilatesCross.com and join our community on Facebook!

Want to help keep new chapters of this podcast coming? Please tell a friend about us, and definitely leave a review on iTunes. It only takes a minute! Click here to learn how:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201991

Be sure to visit the Mysterious Goings On webpage for more about the John Pilate Mystery Series at www.PilatesCross.com and join our community on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/John.Pilate.Mysteries/

Are you an author? Want to be a guest on the show? Contact Alex on Twitter:@A_Greenwood or email him: Alex (at) AlexGPR.com.

Intro music Mary Celeste by Incompetech.

Any additional music stings by Incompetech. 

Copyright 2016 J. Alexander Greenwood. All rights reserved.

A Halloween Treat for You...

It's nearly Halloween!

In that spooky spirit, Alex reads his acclaimed suspense short story Obsidian on the Mysterious Goings On podcast. The show is free, available on iTunes, Stitcher your desktop and pretty much everywhere else you can find podcasts.

About Obsidian:

Catch a disturbing glimpse of the night with this multiple award-winning short story in the tradition of The Twilight Zone. A man awakens in a secluded cabin to find he's being watched by a shape with obsidian eyes. Who or what is watching him, and why? 

This story is the winner of the Shelf Unbound/Wattpad 2011 Short Fiction Award and the April 2010 WritingRoom Award.

Want more horror from Alex? Click here!

Note: There were some odd occurrences when recording this episode--gremlins? So you may need to adjust your device in a few places during playback. Thank you.

Want to help keep new chapters of this podcast coming? Please tell a friend about us, and definitely leave a review on iTunes. It only takes a minute! Click here to learn how:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201991

Be sure to visit the Mysterious Goings On webpage for more about the John Pilate Mystery Series at www.PilatesCross.com and join our community on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/John.Pilate.Mysteries/

Are you an author? Want to be a guest on the show? Contact Alex on Twitter:@A_Greenwood or email him: Alex (at) AlexGPR.com.

Intro music Mary Celeste by Incompetech.

Additional music stings by Incompetech. 

Copyright 2016 J. Alexander Greenwood. All rights reserved.

On Writing About Guns

As a writer of thrillers and murder mysteries, I am increasingly hesitant about using gun violence in my stories. The savage, senseless massacres (which the rest of the civilized world cannot understand)--Sandy Hook, in particular--and "accidents" that take place daily in America have reinforced my views on gun regulation. 

I do not own firearms, and do not begrudge responsible citizens who do. However, I think we should be more realistic about what kind of weaponry is so readily available to the public. 

The Second Amendment was written at a time when the British occupying government was trying to limit gun ownership to make sure an armed insurrection did not occur. It was also a time when the Founding Fathers had no conception of the kind of incredible damage our modern weapons can do.

If it ticks off fans of my work that I raised this question and advocate for stricter gun regulations, so be it. I write for the joy of writing, and if it offends anyone that I want sensible, sane gun laws--to prevent children from being slaughtered--well, that's the price I pay in a lost book sale or two. 

I have some thinking to do about my fiction. But I am much more concerned about the nightmarish reality we live with in today's America. The video linked below makes a thought-provoking point. I hope you'll watch and think about it.

In the Beginning: A Reading from "Pilate's Key"

Welcome to "In the Beginning" a series of audio recordings of the prologues or first chapters from each of the John Pilate Mysteries, read by the author. Today's reading is from fan favorite Pilate's KeyBook Two in the series.

The author hopes you enjoy the reading and if you have not read Pilate's Key that you will order an autographed copy from this site or get an ebook or paperback from your favorite retailer. 

If you'd like to enjoy an author reading of an excerpt from Book One: Pilate's Cross, click here. (Please note that an entire audiobook version of this book exists, read by the excellent John Edmondson. You can get it here.) To enjoy a reading of a short story from the latest John Pilate mystery book--a series of short stories-- Pilate's 7click here.

Music on this reading is Dark Beach by Aluminum Forest. 

(Updated) Pondering A Failure

Lately, after a very nice resurgence in sales and interest in my second book, Pilate's Key, I started pondering the book that followed it, Pilate's Ghost; which I affectionately call the "red-headed stepchild" of the John Pilate Mystery series.

The Stepchild.

Ghost gets good reviews and was nominated for a couple of awards, but for some reason it never sold much. As a commercial venture, it's technically a failure. 

The paperback version of the book was the product of a crowdfunding campaign I created to defray costs. I now wonder if the fact that most of the launch day sales were tied up as perks in the successful Kickstarter campaign I created killed forward sales momentum? 

I just don't know.

Technically with Ghost, I sold more copies of a paperback than ever before, and financially, due to the Kickstarter aspect, it made a profit--but the book's retail sales after the first month tanked.

Copies "sold" as perks of Kickstarter were never factored into the book's sales data, so to Amazon and other retailers, it was a stinker. The book has never recovered and now sits at the bottom of the Kindle Store rankings for Mystery novels. 

The all-time best sales rank for Pilate's Ghost is a dismal #1,158,421. (UPDATE: The book saw a resurgence of its own in September 2015--reaching #178,890!)

Contrast that with Pilate's Key's all-time best of #19,662 (NOTE: That figure is off--a more detailed check indicates that Key reached #14,413!). Heck...have a look at the whole ebook series (the Pilate's Cross under Pilate's Key on the graphic is the audiobook, not the ebook or paperback):

UPDATE Sept. 12, 2015: Well, the data for this post has changed...nearly all my titles have started selling again. I still stand by the thesis, but these numbers improve my mood a tad. Maybe all this talk of failure attracted readers who wanted to find out for themselves? Check out the updated graphic below--though the Pilate's Key ranking is still off by about 5,000.


To be clear--these rankings are for the ENTIRE Kindle Store. Most of my books have, at one time or another cracked the top-seller (paid and/or free) list for their genre several times--Pilate's Key made the Top 100 Sea Adventures list in between books by Michael Crichton and Clive Cussler.  Kickstarter Success Secrets  consistently makes the top 100 in the Crowdfunding charts. When I offer my award-winning short story Obsidian as a freebie, it always charts well. 

But, I'm haunted, if you will, by Pilate's Ghost. If I may be allowed to say so, it featured my most mature writing and most intricate story to date. Admittedly it was darker than the previous two books, but it had a great editor and a story that kept pages turning. I even appeared on television on the day of its Halloween 2012 release date to promote the book! 

 

It just didn't sell.

I think the only thing that has surprised me a bit more is the fact that my first Pilate book of short stories, the recently-released Pilate's 7, has also done better than Ghost and its successor, Pilate's Blood. Blood is regarded by many as a return to the Pilate's Key form, and frankly, it's on the fence of being a sales disappointment, also. But that's another story.

It's all so hard to say for certain, but I am coming around to the explanation that the Kickstarter campaign, which made the paperback of Ghost possible, also put a stake through the book's heart when it came to sales momentum.

Failure is a tough word for something that I worked very hard to create. It's also unfairly dismissive of a book that was nominated for an award or two and was the focus of a successful Kickstarter campaign. I'm not going to call it a failure, exactly. I'm going to call it a lesson learned and a necessary chapter in the continuing John Pilate Mystery Series. 

As for Pilate's Blood, well, that's one I really need to think on some more. Hmmm. 

What do you think, reader? I'd really like to know what you think--the comments section is open!

 

 

Never Miss a Thing! Sign Up for Our Email List!

Never miss a blog post, sale, special edition, coupon, reading, live event or other cool stuff--just sign up for our Mysterious Goings On email list.

We promise never to email more than twice a month (unless it's a book release month--we might hit you up once a week) and you will get a great digest of info about the John Pilate Mystery series as well as other writing by J. Alexander Greenwood and his fellow Caroline Street Press authors.

You can unsubscribe anytime! So what do you say, how about signing up?

CLICK HERE!

In the Beginning: A Reading from "Pilate's Cross"

Welcome to "In the Beginning" a series of audio recordings of the prologues or first chapters from each of the John Pilate Mysteries, read by the author.

Fittingly, our first selection is a reading of the Prologue of Book One: Pilate's Cross. This prologue sets up much of the mythology of the series that turns up in other installments.

The author hopes you enjoy the reading and if you have not read Pilate's Cross that you will order an autographed copy from this site or get an ebook or paperback from your favorite retailer. Please note that an entire audiobook version of this book exists, read by the excellent John Edmondson. You can get it here.

If you'd like to enjoy a reading from the latest John Pilate mystery book--a series of short stories-- Pilate's 7, click here.

Music on this reading is "Designer Drugs" by 37Hz.

 

A Reading from "Pilate's 7"

As a little preview of Pilate's 7, how about a reading of one of the stories?

Click below to listen to the sounds of some mysterious goings on in the Gulf of Mexico with a John Pilate fan favorite at the helm...

The story is read by the author, so it also includes your daily allowance of ham. And don't forget, you can still save $1 off the ebook if you order from your favorite retailer, including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Smashwords, etc. by July 30, 2015.

Enjoy! 

Paddling Through History with Author Ken Weyand

Today I'm excited to introduce you to author Ken Weyand.

After receiving a degree in Journalism at the University of Missouri, Kenneth Charles Weyand worked ten years for the Kansas City Star, becoming Advertising Copy Chief. Later he published several publications, including Discover North, a monthly history and travel newspaper. After expanding the distribution from a single county to more than nine states, Weyand sold the publication in 2001, but continued to write for the paper, since renamed Discover Vintage America.

For the past ten years, he has written a monthly history and travel column for Discover Vintage America, “Traveling with Ken" and recently won a Gold Award in the Kansas City Press Club Non-News Column/Blog category.

Ken has recently undertaken the process of publishing at least a half dozen ebooks on his Kyakker Books imprint, in partnership with Caroline Street Press.

Fiddling with Friends in the 1920s: A Chautauqua Trouper’s Story is Ken's first book (available wherever ebooks are sold, including Amazon, Barnes & NobleSmashwords, Apple iBookstore and KOBO), capturing the life of his mother who, as a young woman, left her small town behind for a great adventure and a chance to get a first-hand look at a changing America in the early 20th Century.

A much larger book, An Unlikely Love Story (now available for preorder), tells the unique story of two people from vastly different backgrounds who overcame great odds to begin a new life in the country amidst the depths of the Great Depression.

The author's own remembrances of a country life are recounted in the upcoming ebook Dirt Road Diary: Recalling a Country Childhood. It picks up where An Unlikely Love Story leaves off, and includes a lot of country-style memories.

Weyand’s passion is kayaking, particularly in Florida. He is currently working on two non-fiction eBooks on kayaking and plans to release them this year. Lost in the Everglades and Other Florida Paddling Adventures recalls a harrowing experience, but is balanced with other experiences that were equally adventurous but more successful. If you’re a paddler or would like to be, you’ll enjoy reading this one.

A Florida Paddling Bucket List is currently being compiled for paddlers (and would-be paddlers) looking to make the most of their free time on Florida rivers, creeks and estuaries, with helpful tips on where to launch and take out, and what to expect at each location. Factoids of local history are included.

Another ebook, Early-Day Flying in Kansas City, based on a similar history published in 1970 and including material not in the original book, also is currently in production.

We caught up with this enthusiastic adventurer and writer and asked him a few questions about his life and work.

AG: Ken, Fiddling with Friends is only the first of at least a half dozen books you have set for publication this year from Kyakker Books. Were these books written recently, or have you been working on them long-term?

KW: They’ve been a long “work in progress.” I think the first one was An Unlikely Love Story, based on my city-bred mother, a classical musician, and her relationship with my father, a farmer. The other one was a kayaking book, A Passion for Paddling, that morphed into Lost in the Everglades after an ill-fated paddle on the Turner River in 2010.

The third book, Dirt Road Diary, had been crouching about in the corners of my mind for a while, but was finished about a year ago. A Bucket List of Florida Kayaking was another book that grew out of the original Passion for Paddling, but was rewritten as a “how to” book rather than a personal diary. Finally, the Early-Day Flying in Kansas City is a recent rewrite of a book I put together in the early 1970s when I was involved with aviation history. Ironically, Fiddling with Friends in the 1920s was written while I was spending the winter in Florida and wanted to share my mother’s Florida Chautauqua experiences with others in the state. Then I expanded the content from Florida to her entire career.

The books that involved my mother, Fiddling with Friends in the 1920s, and An Unlikely Love Story, were the result of her daily journals. She also corresponded a lot with her folks, and those letters were saved along with the journals. The journals helped a lot with my own recollections that went into Dirt Road Diary.

The kayaking books were based on my own notes that I made when I “discovered” kayaking as a senior citizen. I’m anxious to share my “paddling adventures” with others who might be curious about Florida kayaking. The aviation book was more traditional. It involved a lot of one-on-one interviews and old-fashioned research in libraries and museums. I’ve thought about converting it to an eBook for a long time.

AG: You seem to have worked in and around publishing throughout your career. Can you tell us a little about that?

KW: After ten years with the Kansas City Star, I realized I wanted to do something on my own. I did a couple of aviation papers, including an aviation history magazine, and the original History of Aviation in Greater Kansas City. Then I began publishing a small paper about local history that was distributed at retail shops. It grew from one county into eight states and I sold it in 2001. I still write a travel/history column, “Traveling with Ken” for the paper, now called Discover Vintage America.

AG: One of your upcoming books. Dirt Road Diary, tells the tale of you as a young man of adventure who, among other things, takes a one hundred-plus mile journey on foot with some buddies. Then, in Lost in the Everglades we see a more mature Ken Weyand taking up solo kayaking in the wilds of the Florida Everglades. Both books are compelling reading. Have you always been drawn to adventure and taking the road less traveled?

KW: I’ve always been excited about travel adventures. My grandfather left me with a large collection of National Geographic magazines, and I spent a lot of time as a young boy poring over the exotic maps. I think there’s a common thread between solving the mysteries of the “thin blue lines” that define Midwest streams and exploring the creeks and estuaries I’ve been able to discover in Florida.

AG: Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process? Do you draft longhand or use a computer? Do you write everyday? Any particular inspirations that drive you?

KW: I guess every writer has a different approach. Personally, I think about a story idea for quite awhile before I play with it on my laptop. Working from my mother’s diaries and old letters was a different process, but I usually visualize the outline in my head before typing it out. For me, the greatest invention has been the laptop computer, and I use it every day.

AG: Your books are released in ebook format on Amazon.com and Smashwords, which effectively makes them available at all retailers, including Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, etc. What made you go the ebook route?

KW: I’ve had a bit of experience early in my publishing career with print books, and the idea of self-publishing in that form was a little daunting. I personally read a lot of articles and books online, and reading a back-lit screen doesn’t bother me at all, although I like “real books” too. I just think I can put my thoughts and ideas into digital format more efficiently than on paper.

AG: I understand you have a talented cover designer working with you. Can you tell us about her and working with her?

KW: My daughter, Holly, has been working in graphic art for years, and was a natural choice. She and I think a lot alike, and we communicate really well. I think she’s done a great job so far, and I look forward to seeing the rest of her covers.

AG: Do you have plans to create paperback or hardback versions of your books?

KW: I think it would be great to see them in “print form,” whether it’s paperback or hardback, but that will depend on the economics. No definite plans now, but we’ll see.

AG: If you wanted to convince someone to read your books using only one sentence what would that be?

KW: All the books are different, but I have a passion for preserving my family’s unique history and sharing my own crazy adventures, and I think you’ll enjoy the results of that.

AG: Any new books on the horizon besides the ones we've talked about?

KW: I’ve had a few thoughts, but nothing definite. I’d like to learn more about some of my other relatives, especially my dad’s seven siblings, all orphaned in 1900. They kept in touch with a family “chain letter” and I’ve got many of the original letters. But it will take a lot more research. There are also some things I’ve written about in my monthly “Traveling with Ken” articles that I might like to expand on. But as I said, nothing’s definite.

AG: Anything we forgot to ask you'd like to touch on?

KW: I’m always happy to answer questions or compare notes with readers. I hope to hear from others who share my enthusiasm for the subjects I’ve covered in these six books.

 Click here to contact Ken.

Thanks, Ken. Paddle on!