Last week we had Reid on and he gave us a peak at his 2 books Threads West, and Maps of Fate. I started the giveaway, and it's still going to be going for another week. I'm going to post the entry form below so you don't have to search for it. Today, he's giving us a peak into his head.
Describe a typical day for you. What time of day do you usually write?
A Typical day? There is no such thing. The routine flows with seasons, altered by the demands of family, writing, and ranching.
I am laughing. My preferred writing atmosphere is pacing around the kitchen and living room, digital recorder in one hand, coffee in the other. A close second is the cozy interior cab of a one ton Ford as it screams down the highway from ranch to ranch, many of those trip durations of eight to ten hours. I would estimate that at least half of Threads West and a portion of Maps of Fate, was dictated driving at 90 mph -- and if any state trooper is reading this, I meant 75! Many times I've missed the next exit or turn, so engrossed had I become in the story the characters are whispering to me. On a few occasions my startled glance in the review mirror has revealed the winking lights of a patrol car. Generally the officer has asked me why I didn't pull over for the last thirty miles. The looks I get when I explain I am writing a book are priceless. All my writing is done via dictation. I can type -- matter-of-fact, around a hundred words per minute. Unfortunately, there are at least thirty typos per line. I've become somewhat infamous for my keys pounded with big paws hieroglyphic e-mails. Spell check takes longer than the original writing!
Five to eight in the morning, and eleven PM to three AM are my two most productive periods. I am both a night owl and an early bird. Sleep is nothing more than a necessary evil. I would prefer to be catching winks three days at a time, followed by six weeks without any rest. After the writing, the reality of daily life, business and the ranches takes over. Once in a while, after I've stepped through that time portal into the pages of the story, I'm reluctant to remove myself. On those occasions I can go three or four days without any sleep whatsoever. (Woe to those around me!)
How did you make the jump from rancher to author?
This author thing is akin to taking on a second full-time career. Time, energy, and focus are needed to run and operate the ranches, particularly when spread out over long distances. Fortunately I love that business too, and if affords me the opportunity to intertwine my passions and love of the land with a vocation. Ironically, it also gives me great fodder for writing backdrop, scenes, and places in which the action of the novels transpire.
I muse at times whether I am a rancher who writes, or a writer who ranches. In the most simple terms, I am just me. As with all others who share this planet, I have my shining, and less illustrious sides. I am a Triple-A type personality and with that comes both the good and less than good, inherent to those who suffer the same 24-7 demeanor. Yes, I am driven. I believe dreams are but the precursors of reality. One has only to make them so. I love the land, its special energy, solitude, space, and soul succor. Alone and far from others, whispers of canyon breezes playin' oh so gentle ’cross my cheek, the smell of earth, sage, leaves and horse sweat might just be the only time I truly relax. It is those moments, high atop a windswept ridge, rifle nestled in the leather of the scabbard, that I am transported to ten thousand years ago where I am a native sojourner, clad in a hide loincloth and carrying a spear in quest of fresh meat for the clan. It is cleansing, and real, this time machine of earth energy. The hum of it brings me back full circle to my very roots as a human being. These are the feelings of which I write, and they are universal in their truth of any historical era, though less realized today than at any other time in man's history.
I'm fourth-generation land and cattle. I own interests in a number of ranches in several Western states. I've always been enthralled by the land, its energy, moods, preservation, and the way it involves and shapes the lives that play upon its stage.
My interest in writing stems from long ago, when I was nine. We were taking a family vacation to the Virgin Islands. St. John had just been declared a National Park and we planned a week of camping on the beach in part to celebrate my sisters third birthday. A mongoose ate her birthday cake, but that is yet another tale. As penance for my playing hooky, my fourth grade teacher assigned me the task of keeping a daily journal with the admonition that I would have to read it to the class upon return.
My journal was written on the wide blue lines of a tablet with the ancient thick blue ink of the old octagon pens. On my first day back in class, hands trembling, I read to my classmates and Mrs. Darling, my teacher. I had convinced myself that no one really wanted to hear a tale of our vacation. Much to my surprise when I looked up there was complete silence, mouths were gaped, eyes were riveted on me, and my teacher clapped. It was then I realized I could tell a story and people wanted to hear it. It was on that day long ago that I promised myself I would write books. I was later blessed with teachers that exhorted me to do so, helped me hone my skills, and with insistent prodding built my confidence level in my prose. I had a double major in college – Forestry and Journalism, with a specialty in editorial writing. Some of my short story compositions did well in competitions, such as the Hartford Courant. That was as far as my early writing progressed.
In an odd way the plight of the country and need to reach back to the touchstone of our history, along my fascinations with landscape photography eased me, finally, back into the writing. I have found new purpose and energy (not that I have ever lacked either) in my prose and photographic expression now that I have become cognizant of their synergy. They are both of the land, that unique American experience of property, and the stage upon which we and the characters in my novels line dance in a fleeting moment of existence, to then be replaced by the shoulder taps of successive generations. Now I write to share my mind's image and my love of and respect for the land, my heart convictions, and my sense of passion, universal energies, the American spirit, and principle with others.
The camera and the beginning of my Threads West manuscript side by side on the desk back in 2010 brought home a sudden realization several years ago. I am also a landscape writer as well as a landscape photographer. The land is as much a character in my books as it is the predominate image of my photos. It is my touchstone, and the foundation of our country.
When you read, what genre do you read? Do you have a favorite author?
My taste in genres is wide and varied. The magic of Harry Potter, the action and history of Mila 18, Exodus, Battle Cry, and The Young Lions by Leon Uris. The Old Man and the Sea, and For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane. These would be some of the works that I draw from stylistically. I have read each and every one of Louis L'Amour's Westerns; I have his entire collection. So, too, I devoured Larry McMurtry's stunning Lonesome Dove and Max McCoy's two Spur award winners, one of which is Hellfire Canyon, and his Indiana Jones novels (and movies). I am stunned, and thrilled to have his very rare endorsement on the cover of Maps of Fate.
Each book and author has contributed to my own craft of words and story, style and structure, some—like Uris and Hemingway—more than others. I read many of these books for the first time of a dozen re-readings in elementary school. Many is the night I would huddle under the blankets, dim light of the flashlight I had snatched from the kitchen tool bag, fading and flickering as morning approached. I eagerly turned pages of the books, once in a while poking my head out to study the approaching light from the East, filled with youthful resentment that my reading time was coming to an end for another night. After my previously recounted experience in class, I vowed to myself that, I, too would write novels, spin stories, furrow the brows of readers with empathy for the characters, and transport them into the arc of the tale.
You could say the genres of Romance, Historical Fiction, and Western chose me, and I chose them. A mutual love affair, no pun intended. I muse at times about this tremendous gift these men have given me without ever knowing it. I wonder —should I be so lucky as to enjoy even a modicum of their great and well deserved success—if readers of the Threads West series will read these books and make promises to themselves about writing their own novels. I surely hope that kind of energy springs from my novels. And so, threads will once again converge. There is a symmetry to it all that appeals to me. Writers inspire each other. No doubt about it!
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
I am intrigued by universal energies. As a rancher, I am drawn by the power of the land. As a man, I am intrigued by the energy of steamy passions and the enveloping flow of heart-felt romance. As an American, I am enamored of the unique spirit of America and her people, and the evolution of all these energies through the relatively short span of American History. Each author needs to choose those energies which call to them.
Yes, my novels are stories. But they have a message – about universal truths, about romance, the difference between sex and making love, the synchrony of true feelings, loyalties and passions, and the juxtaposing coldness of just the physical, the forced, or the ulterior motive.
I have an advantage when it comes to setting. Being a rancher and a cowboy affords me great familiarity with the varying landscapes of the West, many of which I’ve walked or ridden across. The setting, the physical environment and specific era, of a western, or any story, is all-important. For aspiring writers of any genre I would say, know your locations. Go there. Breathe it, smell it, see it, feel it, let the energy of the place speak to you, and then translate that energy into the written word. Create the theater in which your characters will act and interact. Build it and they will come. Most importantly – write! Get it on paper. Don’t get bogged down on sentences or paragraphs. Edit the forest, not the trees – leave “the commas” to a third set of eyes – your invaluable editor.
Was it easy for you to find a publisher?
Ah, the world of Publishers! From what these relatively new author eyes see, it is in a state of flux – rapid change – unparalleled opportunity.
I was approached early on by two large publishers all via contacts at conferences. I was gratified to get the interest, but not thrilled with the deal structure.
The end result, as the books have gained momentum is a joint-venture affiliation between one small, one medium and one huge publisher/distributor out of Wyoming, Texas and New York City, respectively. Each does what they do best – print, e-book, graphics, editing, “reach and penetration,” but a better deal for the books, and the author – though undoubtedly more coordination time and effort on the part of me and my direct author team. I believe hybrid deals of this nature involving several publishers with different “muscle” might well be the future. Time tells all tales!
6. Tell us about your books
I'm astounded by the success of the Threads West, An American Saga series. I am excited about the second book, Maps of Fate, just releasing on April 17th, because I think, and hope, that I've met my goal of surpassing the high bar set by the first novel. The readers will determine that!
Maps of Fate examines slavery, from the viewpoint of the slave—a race yearning to be fully American, totally free and self-determining. This is a theme which will carry over into Book Three, Uncompagrhe – where water turns rock red, releasing in late 2012. Through their eyes, of the Indians, the tragic story that is a sad, dark blotch on the pages of American history begins to unfold and will carry forward in the series.
And, of course, Maps of Fate follows the evolving life threads, passions, loves, disappointments, tragedies, romances, and in some cases the pathos filled, lethal experience of the characters which the readers of Book One seemed to have thoroughly enjoyed and bonded with. Their life threads hurtle through American history towards the cloth of their destinies and still subsequent generations of the series.
Maps of Fate releases nationally on April 17, at Barnes & Noble dot com, Amazon, Hastings, Barnes and Noble, and many fine independent bookstores around the country, plus a number of international locations. It will also be available on that date in Nook, and Kindle – iTunes to follow a few days later.
We are having a great Release Branding Day and contest, with terrific prizes beginning at 3am Pacific, ending at 12 midnight Pacific on the 17th. Everyone who has reserved a copy of the book on our sites (www.threadswestseries.com) or purchases a book that day may enter.
Then we have a special military release April 24 and 25 with a dollar a book going to veterans organizations. Lots more info coming on that after the 17th!
I hope these musings, albeit from a newbie author who freely admits he knows little and has much to learn, have been of some help or stirred some thought.
Thank you, Jessica, for this great opportunity to blog here on your site!
You are so very welcome Reid! It was so much fun having you on the blog today:)
Here's a little bit about Reid
Reid is fourth generation land and cattle. He owns
interests in nine ranches in the western states. His
long-standing devotion to wild and remote places,
fierce respect for the American Spirit and values, and
reverence for the people – both past and present—
who leave their legend and footprint upon America and
the West is the inspiration and descriptive
underpinning of all of his writing. Perhaps he says it
“If your mind and spirit are seduced by images of
windswept ridge tops, flutters of aspen leaves
caressed by a canyon breeze, and the crimson tendrils
of dying sun…if your fingers feel the silken pulse of a
lover and your lips taste the deep kisses of building
passion…if nostrils flare with the conjured scents of
gunpowder and perfume, sage brush and pine, and
your ears delight in the murmur of river current…if
pride fills you at the snap of the stars and stripes in a
stiff breeze…if your heart pounds at the clash of good
and evil and with each twist and turn of interwoven
lives you feel a primal throb, then I have accomplished my mission.”—Reid Lance Rosenthal,
author of Threads West, An American Saga.
This passion fuels each novel in the widely acclaimed, #1 Best-Selling, multiple award winning
historical western romance series, Threads West, An American Saga. The sixteen-part saga
has been compared to McMurty’s Lonesome Dove, Michener’s Centennial and L’Amour (with
steam!) by reviewing authors and readers alike. Each ensuing book unfolds the riveting tale of
an emerging nation, an evolving west, and the land forged lives of the driven men and women
whose American spirit built and defended the nation. The western landscape, building of the
country, danger and passions weave personalities from uncommon origins into generational
tapestries of lust, duplicity, enmity, love and triumph. Threads West is the tale of the romance
and adventure of America, her people, her spirit and the West. “It is our story,” Reid whispers.
Then, raising his voice to match his passion, deep tones booming, he reminds us, “This is the
ongoing story of us.”
Drawing on his forty-year career in land and all types of locations, Reid has also written the
three volume narrative nonfiction book, Land For Love and Money, heralded as the first and
only book of its kind. Volume I releases on June 5, 2012. “Land, from the ground up,” Reid says,
“Love it, and let it grow your life.” For owners of land, and those who dream of owning land, this
book is filled with anecdotes from Reid’s own wealth of experiences which he employs to shows
us that if we love the land, that energy will flow back to us on many levels, including financial
abundance. Food for the soul – filler for the wallet.
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