Prison

Prison | Guy L. Pace

This is not a current cell in the Montana State Prison. This image is from the old prison.

Imagine, if you will, spending every day, every week, every month for years in a cell ten feet by six feet. You have a limited view of anything remotely resembling the outside. Your only contact with fresh air is the small time you spend in the exercise yard each day.

You might share this cell with another person. Your accommodations would be the metal frame bunk beds, a sink, a toilet, and a small desk with a cupboard. No privacy. One wall is just bars and a barred door.

My last post was about the Old Montana State Prison and my grandfather. Since then, I contacted the Montana State Prison and the prison librarian. I’d offered to donate a copy or two of my books to their library. She was very open and happy to get some new books. But, could I send four copies of each, please? See, the prison has four libraries in the different parts or security levels of the prison. I’m glad to do it.

Prisons Need Books

Montana State Prison needs lots of books, Wendy said, and they especially need dictionaries. The libraries Wendy oversees even have a Christian section and they could use more good fiction in that area. If you have new, or good used, books you can donate, please send some to:

Montana State Prisons Libraries
400 Conley Lake Road
Deer Lodge, MT 59722

Attn: Wendy Zunes

If you can, send four copies of each work. That helps.

I wasn’t certain how to get books to prisoners until a friend linked an article here. Granted the article is a few years old, but the information seems current. The article is a good guide to what to, and what not to donate. The Books Behind Bars organization often just wants cash to help fund the requests by prisons. Those books (usually used) get funneled through a couple of bookstores (one in Seattle, I understand).

But, sometimes, you can contact a prison directly and get books to them, as I did with Montana State Prison. With any prison, there are protocols to getting anything from the outside to them. I figured I could afford to donate a few copies of new books to the prison. I may contact a facility here in the Spokane area, too.

If you contact a local prison directly and have some success, you might post a comment here with an address like I did above. As mentioned in the linked article, prisons are for punishment. But they can also be places for second chances.

Keep writing.

(Note: Wendy said one of the most popular SF authors is Harry Turtledove and his alternate history books.)

 

Perception and Reality

Perception and Reality

Eldorado Ditch | Guy L. Pace

Plaque at historical site in Unity, Oregon.

Writing involves perception and reality. How we perceive things and how things really are.

On the one hand, we might be like William H. Packwood, who thought that bringing water to the Willow Creek Drainage in Malheur County in Oregon would be a great idea. His perception was that gold miners in the Willow Creek area needed the additional water. The reality is, the ditch–once constructed–took water badly needed by the ranchers in Baker County. Things got heated and–at one point–explosive.

Politics aside, the ditch was a pretty amazing construction. It wound about 140 miles, five feet at the bottom, seven feet at the top, with a grade of 4.8 feet per mile across mountainous country (Eldorado Pass is 4,623 feet, Willow Creek averages 2,000 feet). Constructed by Chinese laborers.

The perception is the Chinese laborers were cheaper and more reliable. That makes perfectly good, economic sense. You can read about the reality in the link above. It’s an old story of how they built things in the west.

You can still see much of the canal today if you travel through that part of North Central Oregon. If you get to this area, stop at the Unity historical site for more information. A small population of the descendants of the Chinese laborers still live in Baker City. More information on this engineering feat and the people involved is available at The Blue Pine Publishing website.

Travel

So, I didn’t know anything about this canal until earlier this summer when I stopped at the historical site in Unity, OR. I knew some sketchy things about mining in the Blue Mountains and I’ve seen the large dredge in Sumpter, OR (worth a visit!). But, I didn’t get the full picture until I found the historical site in Unity and found a few other online resources as a result. Sometimes you just have to know the questions to ask and the search terms to use.

As I travel, I do try to stop at interpretive sites as much as possible. It’s amazing the information they provide and adjust my perceptions of what happened in the past. Will I use this in a story or novel? Maybe.

Think about it. It makes a good story line. A group hires a brilliant engineer to build something. The project takes precious resources away from another group. There are consequences. Other story threads that would weave through it is the indentured labor used and the “side businesses” that crop up around that activity. And there’s the anger of the other contract laborers who lost out to the cheaper indentured laborers.

I used the word “explosive” earlier. Yes, that would accurately describe that story.

Keep writing.

 

Confidence

Confidence

Confidence | Guy L. PaceWe usually express confidence outwardly. It shows in our body language, dress, attitude, and how we communicate with others.

Or, lack of confidence.

Or, in the example provided by the image here, questionable fashion sense?

Okay, I’m really not one for criticizing other’s fashion taste, though. My wardrobe consists of t-shirts with pockets and jeans. Hmmm … getting off track a little here.

At one panel at the Spokane Science Fiction and Fantasy convention (SpoCon) I listened to fellow authors talk about confidence. When it came down to honest confessions, most said the same thing. While we know our first drafts are awful, we tremble in fear that we will be found as frauds when we submit our work. That’s basically true across the board.

This is familiar territory for men. We spend most of our lives in desperate fear we’ll be found out, and worry we aren’t good enough, smart enough, talented enough, or <whatever> enough. We hold ourselves up to co-workers and find ourselves lacking, and we beat ourselves up regularly. In truth we’re capable, strong, smart, and talented. It is just to hard to admit.

Yellow Jacket

Take the guy in the image with the yellow, double-breasted jacket. He is either, based on the impression, supremely confident and courageous. Or a complete idiot. But, when you compare yourself to certain best-selling authors, they look like that guy in the yellow jacket and you might feel like me–a guy who shows up in jeans and a t-shirt. They act, speak, and lecture like they know everything and the world turns on them. But who are they really?

Is their first draft gold? Does it go to press unchanged, unsullied by an editor? Does that best-selling author struggle with self-confidence after that first draft, wondering if it rises above the 90 percent that is crap in Sturgeon’s law?

What you find out in conventions–especially small, intimate ones where best-selling authors are honest and forthcoming–they struggle with confidence just like the rest of us. They know their first draft is awful. They rewrite, revise, and self-edit before getting more professional help. Just like the rest of us.

One difference is they (those best-selling authors) have been at it longer and manage to find a public persona to present to the world. They get up in the morning, put on that yellow jacket, and lecture to students, meet the adoring public, or get interviewed by the media.

It’s when they take off that yellow jacket and sit down and share with folks at a con, you get to meet the real person and find out they aren’t really any different.

Keep writing.

 

 

Countdown Sale

Countdown Sale

Sudden Mission | Guy L. PaceHappy Fourth of July weekend! This weekend, I’m celebrating the birth of our country (and mine) with an Amazon Countdown Sale on Sudden Mission.

Starting July 1, the ebook edition of Sudden Mission goes on sale for $0.99. That price last until July 3, when the price goes to $1.99. On July 5, the price goes back to $2.99.

You need to act fast to get the best price. Tell your friends and neighbors. Tell people on the street.

Hit this link for Sudden Mission. You can buy it as a gift or for yourself. Go crazy!

Enjoy!

 

Booksellers

Booksellers

This post is to bookstores and booksellers who buy or may buy my books.

BugBear Books | Guy L. PaceI recently got a shipment back from IngramSpark (the print-on-demand company). Of course, this is disappointing and frustrating. I had no idea who bought this lot and didn’t have a chance to help them sell the books. I communicated with Ingram hoping that there might be a way to help extend marketing by sharing some information. That’s not happening and it is no surprise. That information on their retailers is proprietary and they hold it closely.

So, I’m going around the long way.

If you purchase an order of my books for your inventory or for your store, fill out the contact form on the Connect page. Let me know that you bought them, how many, and if you would like some marketing support from me. I’ll post on this website to promote your business. I’ll post on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest to help you sell the books to your customer base.

If we can arrange it, I’ll even visit your location for a reading/signing/Q&A. There are some limits to this, but I’m willing to make the effort.

I don’t mind having a supply of books on hand. It’s expensive getting a shipment from the printer of returned books. I can’t sell books damaged in shipping and handling. The best solution all around is to make sure books ordered from the print-on-demand company (IngramSpark, in this case) get to the bookstore or bookseller and get the marketing support from the author (me) they need to get sold.

I updated the contact form and made sure it works on the Connect page. If you tried and failed to use the form before this date, please let me know.

Let’s make this work. Especially for independent Christian bookstores and booksellers.

Thanks.