Is a Gift Card an Appropriate Gift?
James D. Best | Blog about Western Fiction Books
by James D. Best
4M ago
My kids called to find out what I wanted for Christmas. When I asked for a gift card from Amazon, they said that would be impersonal. I didn’t argue, but it made me wonder why they asked. Their response made me think about the appropriateness of gift cards. I think they’re great. If emailed, shipping costs are nil, they arrive at the speed of light, and I get to pick my own gift at the time of my choosing. What could be better? Then I thought about it. What would be better is a present the giver enjoys giving. A gift is not one-way social exchange. Fathers used to be effusive when they recei ..read more
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Top 10 Tips for Book Gift Giving
James D. Best | Blog about Western Fiction Books
by James D. Best
4M ago
  A book is unique. Reading fiction is like taking a mini vacation without leaving home. An engrossing story makes a person’s worries fade to the background. Reading nonfiction can entertain while learning how-to tips, gaining perspective, adding to knowledge, or finding enlightenment. At times, friends and relatives can be hard to buy for. Some seem to have everything. Due to age or illness, others may be less mobile than in years past. Some don’t really want much. Families scatter across this huge country and selecting a gift, packaging, and shipping can be a chore.  A book is al ..read more
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The Shut Mouth Society -- Free During Promotional Period
James D. Best | Blog about Western Fiction Books
by James D. Best
5M ago
  The Kindle version of The Shut Mouth Society free through Saturday, November 11, 2023, 11:59 PM PST Detective Greg Evarts and Professor Patricia Baldwin must unravel the 150-year-old conspiracy before it’s too late. A rich Santa Barbara collector acquires an Abraham Lincoln document and asks Evarts and Baldwin to authenticate it. Their research launches them into a dangerous struggle with a secret society formed during Reconstruction. Before they can solve the mystery surrounding the Lincoln manuscript, a shocking murder forces them to run for their lives. As they race across the co ..read more
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James D. Best's 3 favorite reads in 2023
James D. Best | Blog about Western Fiction Books
by James D. Best
6M ago
Shepard.com invited me to list my three favorite reads for 2023. Since most of my reading this year has been research for Maelstrom, my civil war novel, my list has a predictable theme. You can see it here. In case you are unfamiliar with Shepard, it's a site that helps readers discover their next book. This year, Shepard asked 884 authors and super readers for their 3 favorite reads in 2023. The book with the most mentions was Barbara Kingsolver’s Demon Copperhead. Fitting since Demon Copperhead has won prizes and awards galore. Here's the full results. And my own picks ..read more
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The best westerns where friendships drive the story
James D. Best | Blog about Western Fiction Books
by James D. Best
6M ago
Shepard.com invited me to pick a category of novels and select five books that exemplified the category. The Steve Dancy Tales are buddy stories, so I chose "The best westerns where friendships drive the story." Rules forbid me from picking my own books but you can click here if you want to know what five books I chose to exemplify buddy westers. Old Haunts was a kick to write because I brought all my characters back for another romp. Here's an excerpt from Old Haunts where Steve and Jeff give each other a hard time.  “Why didn’t ya tell me ya were takin’ coffee?” Sharp asked, irr ..read more
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Literary License or Error?
James D. Best | Blog about Western Fiction Books
by James D. Best
8M ago
  If readers are the judge, Old Haunts is a good read. After three months, Old Haunts has garnered a 4.5 Amazon score with 88 ratings and a 4.7 Goodreads score with 44 ratings. That doesn’t mean the novel has received exclusively high ratings. No book does. A couple of the poorer reviews mention two issues. One of the issues is embarrassing and the other intentional. Guns and horses are sacrosanct to western enthusiasts. Since he was a rich man, Steve Dancy always carries the latest in firearms. In Old Haunts, he uses a Winchester Model 1895, the first Winchester to use a box magazine t ..read more
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Old Haunts Excerpt
James D. Best | Blog about Western Fiction Books
by James D. Best
9M ago
Honest westerns. Full of dishonest characters.   Readers are giving Old Haunts great ratings. After two months, the new Steve Dancy Tale has garnered 75 Amazon ratings for a score of 4.5 and 39 Goodreads ratings for 4.7. Here is an excerpt. What happened next surprised me. The marshal cold-cocked him from behind with his pistol. The supposed Cutler offspring crumbled like a scarecrow cut from his supporting stick. He had been knocked out twice in as many hours. I bet this confrontation wasn’t how he had envisioned it in his imagination. The marshal gave me a sideways g ..read more
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Cormac McCarthy 1933 – 2023
James D. Best | Blog about Western Fiction Books
by James D. Best
11M ago
  I never met Cormac McCarthy, but I will miss him. He tucked me in at night many times ..read more
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Old Haunts: Book Cover Prototypes
James D. Best | Blog about Western Fiction Books
by James D. Best
1y ago
I'm not good at book cover design. I guess I'm not visual enough. Here is the design of the seven current books in the Steve Dancy Tales and prototypes for the next in the series. Comments welcome. Honest westerns. Filled with dishonest characters ..read more
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Lincoln Book Review: The Shut Mouth Society
James D. Best | Blog about Western Fiction Books
by James D. Best
1y ago
The Shut Mouth Society is my own Lincoln book. This modern day thriller is a typical chase novel à la Robert Ludlum. The Ludlum formula for this genre has a man and woman oddly meet to be accused of a crime and then chased by good guys and bad guys until they save themselves by unraveling a mystery that threatens social order. In my book, the mystery is a secret society formed after the Civil War that threatens to take control Mexico. The chase is launched when a small town police chief and renowned professor are asked to assess the validity of a pre-presidential document in Lincoln hand. Abe ..read more
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