Saturday, July 31, 2010

Updates on the Updates

I keep learning more about the Kindle experience. I thought at first that kindle formatted stuff I downloaded from Smashwords couldn’t be read on the Kindle device, only on Kindle PC. I was wrong. If you ‘open’ a file bought from Smashwords it will open only in Kindle PC and then you can’t copy it from there to your desktop or Kindle device. However, if you ‘save’ that file to your desktop, then you can open it on Kindle PC or copy it to your Kindle device just fine.

The general consensus on the Amazon widgets seemed to be that I should use them on my sidebar instead of the covers by themselves. So, as you can see, I did just that. It was a lot easier than setting up the covers to be clickable anyway.

You might also notice that I now have a place on the sidebar, just below my first set of links, where anyone can subscribe to an RSS feed for my blog. I had to do that so I could link my blog to Goodreads and to the Amazon Author Page. It took me several hours to figure out how to do it, since I’m still using the original template I started with on Blogger a couple of Yarons ago. But, tis done now.

In writing news, a couple of anthologies have just come out with stories by yours truly included. These are:
1: Caught by Darkness, which contains a vampire story of mine called “Clowns in the Dark.”

2: Dusted, which has a short SF flash fiction by me called “Past Perfect.”

I have also been on a book buying frenzy for the last month, almost all of which have involved friends and blog buddies. I picked up Death’s Head Crossing and Westward! by James Reasoner, Adopted Behaviors by James R. Tomlinson, Plum Blossoms in Paris by Sarah Hina, Dark and Disorderly by Bernita Harris, What Remains of Heaven by C. S. Harris, Desert Justice by Paul S. Powers, Crossroad Blues by Steve Malley, Lancelot by Lee Whitney, Heroes of the Fallen by David J. West, Pallid Light by William Jones, A Storm to Remember and Revolt of the Dead by Keith Gouveia, Slick Time, New Orleans Mysteries, and A Short Guide to Writing and Selling Fiction by O’Neil De Noux, and Adventure Vol. 1, which contains stories by friends of mine, John Edward Ames, Mark Finn, and O’Neil De Noux. About half of those were Kindle purchases.

Unfortunately, my book buying budget is temporarily blown so no one else I know publish any books for a while. ;) Just kidding.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Skinny

I know everyone is simply hanging on the edge of their seats for updates on Gramlich’s life so I won’t keep you in suspense any longer. Here’s what I’ve been up to.

1. Thanks so much to everyone who has visited and commented over at Novel Spaces when I’ve blogged there. I much appreciate that. You folks are the best.

2. I now have an author page on Amazon. Nothing much to see except images of my books and a short bio that everyone has seen before. But I may add stuff to it over time and will let you know. It’s mainly for the twos and threes of folks who might stumble upon my work outside of this blog and find themselves desperately interested in the Big G Man.

3. I finished a semi-secret project and information on that will be coming out soon. I had a lot of fun with it. It’s quite different than anything I’ve done before.

4. I joined Amazon Associates. It’s free, and I’ve seen a lot of blogs around now with those little clickable rectangle widgets that are linked to specific products at Amazon. I wanted some of those for my own books, and for other things I might want to support. Here’s a couple of them below. I do have a question for everyone. The book covers on my sidebar are clickable and will take you to Amazon, but should I replace those with these clickable widgets to make that clear, or does that smack of too much “hackery?”

5. Killing Trail has now gone live at Smashwords, but let me lay down the skinny before anyone decides to buy it there. First, the price is the same, $2.99. Second, Smashwords does have a version for the kindle, and over there the table of contents is clickable so you can jump directly to the stories. HOWEVER, if you buy a kindle form book from Smashwords you can only read it on Kindle PC and not on the Kindle device. ALSO, the formatting is generally better on the Amazon version. Adding the clickables has meant that the stories do not all start on separate pages. Some do, but others start right after the previous story ends. The readability level of the book is fine in Kindle form.

In addition, though, at Smashwords you can also get the story in PDF format and it came out perfectly that way, with the clickable table of contents and all the page breaks just as they should be. I was happy about that. So if you want to read it but don’t have a Kindle, this is the best way to go.

There are a number of other formats offered by Smashwords and I uploaded every one to see how it would work. Here’s the skinny on those for Killing Trail.

A: Do NOT get the book in RTF or Plain Text. It’s completely unreadable in plain text and the formatting is seriously screwed up on RTF, though I don’t know why.

B: The HTML online reading is generally good with indents and centering of titles working just fine, but the clickable table of contents won’t work in HTML and the page breaks aren’t necessarily correct between stories, meaning that a new story doesn’t always start on a new page.

C: The Javascript won’t show the images in the book, and the clickable table of contents won’t work. But the text is readable and you can change font size and color. I definitely wouldn’t consider this ideal.

D: There are also some formats for other e-readers that I don’t have, so I couldn’t test them. If anyone does get the book for one of these formats, please, please let me know how it works so I can make good on any problems. Anyway, these are:

EPUB: Open industry format, good for Stanza reader
LRF: for Sony reader.
Palm Doc, PDB: for Palm reading devices.

That’s about it for now. Thanks for listening.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rough Edges and Killing Trail

Killing Trail got a nice review over on Rough Edges, which is the blog of James Reasoner. That means a lot to me because James makes his living as a professional writer, and much of what he writes is western themed. James is the author of over 200 books, many under his own name and others under various pen-names. He writes or has written for a number of series, some very long-running.

I've got several dozen of James's books around here, not all of them read yet. But it's always nice to have some good stuff in reserve. Probably my favorites by James aren't westerns at all but a couple of noir thrillers called Texas Wind and Dust Devils, both from Point Blank Press. I’ve reviewed both of these on Amazon. In westerns, my favorites by James are his Judge Earl Stark books, but there are many others to enjoy.

Every couple of years I get to talk to James Reasoner in Cross Plains, Texas when I go there for Howard Days. I always enjoy those visits. The man is stuffed with information about writing and writers, and it’s always fun to pick his brain. His taste is impeccable, as witness his enjoyment of Killing Trail. :)

James's wife, Livia J. Washburn is also a professional writer, so they are an interesting couple.

And the cover photo at top, well, guess who sat for it. No, not me, but someone mentioned in this blog. And not Livia either. :)


Friday, July 23, 2010

Some Notes on Publishing Killing Trail: Part 3

This should be the final post on publishing Killing Trail via Amazon’s Kindle ebook program. This one is mostly about the text itself, and about my results so far.

Text Issues: I purposefully decided not to make the first line of the stories flush left. Printed books do this but it always bothers me. Perhaps I’ve read too much stuff in manuscript form. Anyway, since it was my book I’d, as Cartman says: “Do what I want!” I indented the first line of all paragraphs, which looks better to me and improves my reading experience.

Whatever you decide to do about indents, however, you use the “paragraph” function on your word processor to set the margins. If you use the space bar to indent, it won’t come out right. You can manipulate the margins directly for the first line if you don’t want it indented. Always remember, though, that you can kindlize different versions of your manuscript to study before uploading it. That way you can use trial and error, if needed, to get the indents right. I’ve seen quite a few Kindle books that have indents all over the place and it does detract from the reading experience.

I picked up the margin information from Natasha, and I also learned that you need to create a hard page break after each section, as at the end of the table of contents page, and the end of each story or chapter in your book. There are a couple of ways to do this. You can put your cursor where you want the break to be, click on the “insert” button on your MS Word Menu and select “Page Break.” Or, you can put the curser where you want the break to be and hit the CTRL – ENTER keys. This doesn’t mean, necessarily, that the table of contents page will always appear on one page in an actual Kindle document, because the amount of words on a page depends on the size font the reader selects. However, it does make sure that chapter 2 starts on a ‘new’ page rather than a few lines down on the same page as the end of chapter 1.

Uploading Your File: After you have your file the way you want it (or before), have a look at the “Getting Started Guide” offered by Amazon here. You can also register and login from that page, which you’ll need to do to publish for Kindle. There is a very helpful video that walks you through the publishing process here.

Getting Paid: Amazon will pay you by check, but only when you’ve accumulated about 100 bucks. If you want to get paid before that, you’ll need to give them a routing number for a checking account so that the money can be deposited directly into that account. They apparently do this about every 60 days. I decided to set up a new account just for writing purposes and used that routing number instead of the one to my primary checking account. I’m not sure there’s any risk, but I’d prefer to take a chance with a 100 dollars instead of the several hundred in my regular account. I haven’t gotten my first pay from Amazon yet.

My Results Thus Far: And now for the good news and bad news. That is: Sales. The good news is that, between Monday, July 5th at 8:39 a.m. and Friday, July 23rd at 1:30 p.m., I sold 33 copies of Killing Trail. I make $2.07 per book at %70 percent royalties on $2.99 (minus .03 cent delivery charge), so the total comes out, according to Amazon, at $61.08. That’s $61.08 I didn’t have before. That’s a nice dinner for two at our favorite restaurant. But that’s not the whole story, of course.

The bad news is that I sold only 33 copies of Killing Trail in about 2 and a half weeks, and I laid out 25 bucks in giveaways before I even started. The bad news is that I sent several hundred emails to folks, did a blitz on my blog and on Facebook, got a big front page write-up in my hometown paper, spent 8 hours or more a day for most of the first week promoting the book…and sold 33 copies. During that time I also bought about $35 dollars worth of Kindle ebooks (and some printed books) from friends, to help them promote their work, and I know that most of them did return the favor. Take away 60 from 61.08 and I’ve got about enough for a MacDonald’s value meal. That’s still not the whole story, of course.

Honestly, I didn’t expect to do a whole lot better than this. I said going in that I’d like to sell 50 copies in the first two weeks. I figured 100 copies was real pie in the sky stuff. And, of course, the book is out there now and may continue to sell some copies over time. I can hope a bit of buzz develops. I can hope.

And, I also had good news in the form of some very nice reviews of Killing Trail. Those who read it genuinely seemed to like it, and that means a whole lot to me. I’m sure others are doing much better with their ebooks than I’ve done. Maybe they’re better writers than I am. Or better promoters. Or both. But they can’t be any happier when someone tells them that their stories are valued. I’ll end with a couple more of those reviews below.

From: O’Neil de Noux
KILLING TRAIL is a wonderfully familiar dusty, road - a thrilling ride of vengeance, unfulfilled love, sweaty saloons, bushwhacks, shoot-em-ups, bloody villains and cowboy heroes. What is familiar is not cliché when penned by Charles Allen Gramlich. The stories in KILLING TRAIL follow the tracks great western writers have left (Zane Grey, Louis L'Amour, Elmore Leonard, William W. Johnstone, Ralph Compton, Loren Estleman, John Edward Ames - the list goes on and I can't list them all). Gramlich joins the posse with stories of vengeance, right versus wrong and bullets flying. I highly recommend this book.

From: Gary Addis
The stories in Charles Gramlich's Killing Trail collection offer plenty of action, and surprisingly thorough character development as well.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Some Things I've Been Needing to Post

I’ll post the third installment of the Kindle publishing series Friday, but here’s a few items I’ve been intending to blog about and/or announce.

First, the newest Illuminata is out, and there’s an expansion of my piece on “To A Writer” in it. There’s also some stuff by the blogosphere’s own Rachel Olivier. You can download the July 2010 issue free here if you want, in either PDF or EPUB format.

Second, Jason Evans over at The Clarity of Night blog has published the winning stories from his first 12 contests in ebook form. The design and layout were done by JR Tomlinson, who also has a chapbook out from Motor City Burning Press. The Clarity of Night book is free as a PDF and includes a lot of great flash fiction. My story, “Precious Cargo,” which received the “Reader’s Choice Award” in the 2008 “Running Wind Contest, is in it. You can download your free copy here.

Third, a buddy of mine, Gary Addis, who is a talented writing coach and line editor, is currently accepting clients. His rates are very reasonable. So if you're looking to put an edge on your next manuscript, you might shoot him an email. Here’s his blurb below:

“When your car breaks down, you can lift the hood and stare at it. Or you can call a mechanic. What you don't do is abandon a valuable property alongside the freeway. A rejection slip from a publisher need not be the death knell of your dream of becoming a published writer. Send that manuscript to a mechanic.

I taught myself to write professionally by writing and rewriting and rewriting as many times as it took to get it right. The process required years and enough rejection slips to wallpaper my office. Allow me to shorten your learning curve. My services to you a beginning writer include manuscript evaluation, line by line editing, and even total rewrites when needed. My rates won't send you to bankruptcy court.

Initial contact should be via email.
Gary Addis:”

Fourth, I finished reading Bernita Harris’s Dark and Disorderly and enjoyed it very much. Here’s my review below:

This book is properly categorized as Urban Fantasy and I’ve only read a few books in that genre. Most of them I didn’t care for. This book I really liked, however. The main character, Lillie St. Claire, just seemed like an absolutely honestly drawn individual. She wasn't some super ass-kicking babe who every vampire and werewolf is in love with. She had faults and fears. She brooded at times, lost her temper at times, joked at times, felt weak at times, and strong at times. I felt like I could identify her as a real person.

The story was also very strong and really built up a steamroller of tension toward the end, with some nice twists here and there that I didn't see coming. The writing was excellent. The author clearly spent a lot of time crafting her sentences and it shows in the rhythm and poetry of the prose. I like to see an author who really cares about the writing. Bernita Harris certainly did. I highly recommend this one.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Some Notes on Publishing Killing Trail: Part 2

OK, so last time I talked about transforming the cover from an MS word file to a Jpeg and about inserting images directly into the word file and using them without converting. I discussed my copyright page and posted it as an example. This time I’ll talk about the text and the table of contents.

Again, I used an MS Word 97-2003 file for sending to Kindle and didn’t make any html notations in it before sending. I went with Times New Roman 14 as the text font, and I used TNR 16 point text for the chapter titles and for headings like “Table of Contents.” Here’s one thing I noticed. On page 2 of the collection I repeated the title above a picture of the gun in its holster. I tried to do the tile at TNR 40 point, which made it as wide as the image below it in my original file. It came out smaller than the image once Kindlized, though, which I think means that Kindle won’t recognize very large font sizes that are sent to it.

I don’t know what the largest size Kindle will recognize is, although I’ll do some experiments eventually to find out. If I had it to do over, I’d just convert page 2 to a jpeg too and insert it in the text. Font size is irrelevant to the result on Kindle when you do that.

For the table of contents, I did something different from any other kindle ebook I’ve seen before, and I’ve received one email from someone who thanked me for how I did it. Some ebooks have the table of contents set up as a “clickable” file using HTML. That means that you can select and click say, Chapter 12, and leap directly to that chapter. Other ebooks, including most that I’ve seen, just have the table of contents page without the clickables, which just tells you what stories or chapters might be in the book, but won’t allow you to jump to them.

It occurred to me that, for Kindle, the “location” is the equivalent to page number in a printed book. If you don’t have a Kindle this might not make much sense but I’ll try to explain. Killing Trail has 1371 ‘locations’ in it. If you want to go to location 1300, you press the menu button, select “go to location,” enter 1300 at the bottom of the screen using the keypad, and “click” the selector. You’ll be taken directly to location 1300.

What I did was figure out where the “locations” for the stories were going to be in the Kindlized book and add them to the table of contents as if they were page numbers. In Killing Trail, you don’t just click on the story “Powder Burn” to go to that story, but you enter the location for the story, which is 742, and that will take you to it.

How did I know what locations my stories would be at? Well, that takes me to the most important element of all this information. Kindle allows you to Kindlize all kinds of files. When I got my Kindle, it came with instructions about how to send any personal file to Kindle so they could change it to Kindle format and send it back. You can have these files sent directly to your own Kindle, for a very tiny charge, or can have them sent to your email for downloading free of charge. Then you can move them back and forth to your Kindle as you like.

I’ve Kindlized lots of text files for my own personal use. So, once I had Killing Trail set up how I wanted it, I kindlized it and had it delivered to my home email. I loaded it to my Kindle, checked where the locations were, and wrote those into the table of contents. Then I Kindlized that version to make sure the locations were correct. They were. I actually Kindlized five different versions of the book for myself and finally selected the one that I liked the formatting on best. That was the one I uploaded to be published.

At the end of the book, I wanted my contact information, my email and blog address, and I just typed them into the word processing file and hit enter after them. This automatically converts them to a clickable in MS Word, and that came through just fine on the Kindle when the file was converted, without doing anything else.

I also did the same thing for the “Other Books By Charles Gramlich” section. I typed the title of the book, then added the Amazon link and hit enter after it. It became a clickable and that translated into the final Kindlized version. If I had this to do over, I’d use the “tinyurl” process to decrease the size of the links. I did convert them to TNR font 6 in my text but they came out pretty large in the finished Kindle book. They are clickable, though. You select one and can jump right to Amazon to the listing for that book. Here’s exactly what it looked like in my original file:

Write With Fire: Thoughts on the Craft of Writing.

OK, there’s still more I can talk about so there’ll be a third post in this series, but this is enough for today. I’ll end with another review of Killing Trail, this time from Bernardl. Thanks, man.

“KILLING TRAIL combines all the elements of good Western storytelling - strong characters, hard places, and grim down to earth action. It is a very entertaining read.”

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Some Notes on Publishing Killing Trail: Part 1

There’s certainly more than one way to set up a file to publish to Kindle, and maybe some are better than mine. But here’s what I did. If I did it all wrong, well, if you have a copy of the book you can see and decide for yourself whether the formatting worked. I’m going to cover my process over the next few posts. (Before I forget it myself.)

First, the biggest surprise of publishing with Amazon’s Kindle program was finding out how easy it was. I didn’t use any HTML code and formatted strictly with my MS Word. I used Word 97-2003.

For the cover, I created a word processing file with the title at top and my name below, and imported the picture into the file using the “insert” command. I sent it to Lana, who found the font and did the frame around the page. She sent it back to me and I converted it to a jpeg using information at this site. We had to download the cover font from the web because my word processor didn’t come with it. But that didn’t take long. Then, when the rest of the manuscript was done to my satisfaction in MS Word, I just used the insert command to put the cover jpeg at the front of the file.

For the interior illustrations, I simply inserted photographs directly from my files into the text at various points. These were not converted to jpegs, only inserted into the word processing file. These were all photos that Lana took, by the way, so there were no copyright issues. Since the cover was the pistol by itself, I inserted a picture of the holstered pistol on page 2 of my file, with a repeat of the title. I then used a cropped down picture of the pistol by itself as a header illustration for each story in the file. These were copied directly into line 1 of the page where the story started. I double spaced down to put the story’s title. This gave me the start position I wanted for the story on the page.

Note, about the images, Kindle does not support color images so even though the originals were in color, they only show up in black and white in the ebook. But you can get a preview of how the images are going to look before you decide to include them or not. I’ll talk about that later. (By the Way, Steve Malley turned me on to the fact that Kindle for PC will show the illustrations in color. Thanks, Steve.) I’d heard repeatedly that Kindle doesn’t handle images well. Other than the lack of color, I had no problems whatsoever inserting these pictures in the book, and I think they added to the overall presentation.

For the “All Rights Reserved,” “Copyright,” and “Dedication” information, I got out a few published books and used the basic format I found there. I edited some elements slightly for my own taste, then put it all together on a single page of my word processing file. I just double spaced between sections, and I’m going to stop today with a copy of what my copyright page looked like in my original word processing file. It did not come out as a single page in the resulting ebook, however, but on two pages at the smallest kindle reading font size. As you can see if you have the ebook, the lines as they will appear in a published Kindle book are not as long as the lines in a normal word processing file. However, they wrapped just fine when I uploaded the book to Kindle without me having to do a thing.


Except for brief quotations, such as those to be included in reviews, no section of this book may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the author.

The short stories in this collection are works of fiction. All names, characters, places, and events are the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to real persons, places, or events is coincidental.

Dedication: To Louis L’Amour, who made me love the west.

And to Roger James, my brother-in-law, who introduced me to L’Amour’s work and who never griped when I borrowed his paperbacks. All of his paperbacks.

Text Copyright © 2010 by Charles Allen Gramlich.
Cover Photo & Design copyright © 2010 by Lana Gramlich.

Published by Razored Zen Press, 2010.
Contact at

“Killing Trail” originally appeared in somewhat different form in Elbow Creek Magazine in 2001.

“Once Upon a Time with the Dead” first appeared in Bits of the Dead, 2008.

I’ll leave you with a review of Killing Trail by Randy Johnson. Thanks, man.

“A fine collection of western tales by the author of the Talera novels and Cold In The Light. It is Mr. Gramlich's first venture into ebook publishing.

There are a couple of pieces that discuss authors, particularly Louis L'Amour, that influenced his writing and a bit about the old west in his home state Arkansas. I know what he meant about considering the west way out there and not realizing the history of his own state.

The price is right and the stories are good, an unbeatable combination. If you like westerns the Killing Trail should be an acquisition. I don't own a Kindle myself, but took advantage of the free Kindle download for PCs. It took me only about an hour to read this fine collection.

Definitely worth a look.”

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Gramlich Family Books, and Contest Winners

I am so pleased to announce that my very talented wife, Lana Gramlich, has had a book of her photography published. It’s called Eye Candy Photography: Scenes from the American South. The link is HERE, and you can get a preview of the images if you’d like. I’m happy to say I was present when many of the photos were taken. Most are in the general area around Abita Springs, although there are some from our trip last summer to Mississippi. You’ll see many of the wild critters that live around us here, from gators, to raccoons, to birds of many kinds. And there are some gorgeous pictures of sunsets through the massive old oaks. Treat yourself to some Eye Candy for sure.

And now for the drawing for the Killing Trail launch party. The first name out of the hat, picked by the Lovely Lana, was X-Dell. X will have a choice of whatever one of my books he might be interested in getting. The next name out of the hat was Ron Scheer, who will win a signed and framed copy of the cover photo for the book. I will be in contact with X and Ron shortly. Congrats to the winners. It might be as long as a week before I can get the framed cover done but the book I can send out right away.

Thanks to everyone who visited and commented on the Launch Party blog, and for those who bought Killing Trail. Sales were very good for almost a week, although they seem to be falling off rapidly since the weekend.

By the way, I'm finally updating and organizing all my blog links, so if you'd have a look and see whether I've put you in an appropriate place or not. Let me know if not, and if you are a frequent visitor to this blog but not on the list, let me know. I am trying not to forget anyone.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Novel Spaces Day

I'm posting today over at Novel Spaces. My topic is on what writing isn't and what it is. This is my first post as a member of the Novel Spaces crew, so if you get a chance I hope you'll check it out. Feel free to comment there instead of here.

I will be conducting the drawing for the prizes from my Killing Trail launch party next week. Probably on Tuesday. So, if you haven't gotten in on that drawing there is still time for you to comment on the Launch Party post. And thanks so much to everyone who bought a copy of Killing Trail. I will be posting more about the process of publishing the book next week.

Thanks also for all the wonderful outpourings of sympathy for the loss of my brother-in-law. I appreciate you folks so much.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Roger James

Strange how the world works. My brother-in-law, Roger James, died Tuesday morning, July 6th. I went up to Arkansas for the funeral, which was on Thursday. It was cancer, which also took his wife, my sister Dolores, five years ago.

Dying isn’t strange, of course. Dying is a waste of love and potential, but not strange. But there is a connection behind the scenes in this story, and that’s the subject of this post. On Monday morning, Killing Trail was published and I felt pretty good. Tuesday morning, we lost Roger and the good was gone. Yet, the connection I mentioned is between Roger and that book. Killing Trail is dedicated to two men. One is Louis L’Amour, the famous western author whose work influenced the stories in the collection. The other man is Roger, who was a big reader and who introduced me to L’Amour. Roger was famous only to his family and friends, many of whom just called him “Papa.” That was OK with him; it was all he would have wanted.

Fortunately, I sent the dedication, which included a short essay about Roger and L’Amour, to him about a month ago through his daughter, my niece, Anna. The essay included the story about how, as a kid, I used to borrow all of Roger’s books, and about how we often talked about the books once I’d read them. Roger liked a good story, and occasionally told a bit of a tall tale himself. Anna told me that Roger really liked the essay, and I’m glad he got to hear about how much I appreciated him before he passed. That doesn’t mitigate the tragedy of his loss. But somehow it lifts my spirits just a little. The good is not totally gone.

Roger was alive when I wrote that dedication. He’ll always be alive in its pages. And in our memories.

Monday, July 05, 2010


WELL, IT'S DONE! Killing Trail is published via Amazon’s ebook program, and via Razored Zen Press. (I’ve always wanted to say that.)

SOMETIMES when books are published, presses throw a launch party. Well, Razored Zen is throwing a launch party right here! I’m in tight with the Press’s editor, you know. I told him I wanted a launch party or I’d never publish with them again. He caved right away, me being by far the most famous author the Press has signed so far. He still didn’t give me much throwing around money. (Cheap Son of a Gun.) That’s small presses for you.

BUT LET ME tell you a little about the book and how it got set up. First, the cover design (seen at top) is a collaboration between Lana and I, though mostly Lana. The picture is of my Uberti .357 single action revolver. The background is a weather-worn bench at the nearby Flatwoods nature preserve. Lana took the pic a while back and I decided it would make the right cover for Killing Trail. I showed Lana a mockup, which I actually published on the blog when I first started talking about doing this book. Lana found the great western style font and did the frame and color scheme.

SECOND, the price. I’d originally planned to publish this for .99 cents but Amazon has changed their program and the cheapest I could go was $2.99. So there you have it. This is the first time I’ve self-published, but I’ve been thinking about it for a while, and I like how it turned out. I’ll post later about the “process” of publishing with Amazon, which turned out to be quite easy.

THIRD, the contents. This is not a novel length work. There’s about 24,000 words of material, including four fiction stories (three long ones) and a couple of short, non-fiction essays. Since Amazon has not yet put up the “about the book material,” here it is below:


Killing Trail is a collection of western short stories by Charles Allen Gramlich, the author of the Talera Trilogy and Cold in the Light. It contains:

Killing Trail: When they dumped Angela Cody on Lane Holland’s ranch she was scant moments from death. She managed to speak only a few words, but those were enough to make Lane strap on his guns and ride out on a killing trail.

Showdown at Wild Briar: Accused of a murder he didn’t commit, Josh Allen Boone has ridden a long way from his Wild Briar Ranch. But now he’s coming home, and the real killers are waiting for him with a rope. (Never before published.)

Powder Burn: They said Davy Bonner’s luck had run out and they ambushed him along a dark road. But luck or no, Davy wasn’t going down without a fight. (Written specifically for this collection.)

Once Upon a Time with the Dead: For the gray raiders, death was an old friend.

The work also includes two nonfiction essays, one about Louis L’Amour and another about the real Wild West.

FOURTH, the GIVEAWAYS. Those who comment on this Launch Party Blog will have their names entered in a random drawing. The first name drawn will get their choice of two prizes. 1: A signed copy of any one of my books. 2: A framed image of the Killing Trail cover signed by both me and Lana. The second name drawn will get the prize that the first person doesn’t choose.

I’m pretty happy about being a self-published author on this day. I worked very hard on the stories in this collection and I’m proud of them. I hope some of you will enjoy them too. Thanks for visiting, and I’ll be dropping in frequently throughout the day to respond to comments and to answer any questions.

FOR THOSE WHO DON'T OWN A KINDLE: If you don't have a Kindle, by the way, there is free app for the PC at Amazon. I've copied the link below. I downloaded it to my PC and it works just like the Kindle itself. You have to have an account at Amazon, which you probably already have if you've ever bought books from them. I'm glad I downloaded it myself.

Free Kindle App for PC Here


Saturday, July 03, 2010

Louisiana Saturday Night

Not really posting today, but if you get a chance, check out the interview with me at Louisiana Saturday Night. Thanks very much to Jessy Ferguson for interviewing me. I thoroughly enjoyed it.