As for who Raymond Cook is, well, I’m a 66 year old disabled veteran. In 1972, at the age of 18, I enlisted in the marine Corp. My plan was to retire. But fate has a way of changing our destiny. In 1974 on my way back to my base, a drunk driver hit me head-on going 80, and my life was forever changed. Those were my darkest days. Eventually in 1983 I enrolled in college and took a creative writing class as an elective. At that point I had no interest at all in becoming a writer or author. In truth, how many people have taken a writing course in high school or college and believed one day they would write a book?
Little did I realize what a ‘profound Impact’ that class and my instructor, Mr. Art Wicks would have on my future. Between 1983 and 2010 I wrote my poetry and short stories, but refused to believe that one day I could set down and pen thousands of words, put a title to what would one day be considered a book. In 2003, I wrote a 5 page western romance story I simply called, “A Western Romance Story!” It was only meant to be a short story. Each year though I would add a few pages to the story because I liked the story plot and characters. In 2011 while wanting to add 10 more pages to what was now a 50 page story, ‘something happened’ and it became my first novel called, “Was It Fate Or Destiny?”
This is my 9th year writing western frontier novels. I have written 33 western frontier novels since 2011.
I recently learned that Arthur William David Wicks, my college professor who taught Creative Writing to me in 1983 recently died on Nov. 10, 2013. It is a great loss to the world because he truly touched the lives of his students, me in particular. Without his guidance, encouragement and inspiration, none of my eBooks or poetry would have been written.
An author’s goal is to not just ‘Entertain a reader’ but to try to touch the reader’s emotions too. After all, that’s the entire purpose of reading a book, to enjoy what you’ve read.
My newest 2019 book is called, Devastation Came To Paducah, Kentucky:
About This eBook
Devastation Came To Paducah, Kentucky is a 1877 western romance story about Michael and Catherine Woods who live in Paducah, Kentucky. When the Ohio River floods and wipes out the town, the couple are swept away by floodwaters and fighting for their lives. Both of them are injured and saved by a couple. After the governor of Kentucky compensates the 424 survivors for their losses, Michael and his wife decide to leave Kentucky. The couple moves to Independence, Missouri to join a wagon train headed for Colorado.
But first they have to save enough money for their covered wagon, horses and provisions. On July 1, 1880, wagon master Craig Holmes and his six scouts take 46 families from Independence, Missouri across the Missouri River to Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming and eventually Colorado. Among them were also a number of Chinese and colored families. But the journey they’re all about to undertake will be fraught with danger. After steamboats get everyone across the Missouri River, families hoping for a chance to start a new life out west could face Indians, drought, dysentery, wagon wheels breaking, wildfires, dust storms that choked people and livestock to death, drownings at river crossings, injuries, tornadoes, thunderstorms, rattlesnakes and highwaymen who had no mercy.
The wagon master didn’t know among the families he’d leave Independence with, nine men were former confederate soldiers who resented colored families. After the soldiers start a brawl with a group of colored men, the fistfights turn to gunfire and it’s an all-out gun battle. Also, on the wagon train was Tessie Thompson Abell. She'd been a nurse during the flood in Paducah, Kentucky. She'll do all she can to save those who are wounded. Reverend Thomas Kincaid will be close by to comfort those dying.
My Self-publishing Journey:
Where did I first learn about self-publishing?
In 2011 when I wrote my first western frontier eBook.
What was your first self-published book and when and how did you publish it?
It is called “Was It fate Or Destiny?” I created my author website back then, calling it, www.wasitfateordestiny.com not thinking for a moment that I would write a second book. Later I changed the name of my website to: www.westernfrontierebooks.com
Name three things you know now about self-publishing that you wish you’d known then.
First and foremost I have learned how important it is to re-read each eBook I write and fix the grammar since typos aren’t the issue. English was never my strong point in college and five years into writing, I realize now that it is critical for the reader to enjoy what I write.
Second, I learned that Amazon only offers my eBooks to those who (OWN) a Kindle. This definitely has a strong impact on sales.
Third, I learned that on any given category on Amazon there can be over 100 pages of similar books as mine. Most readers won’t scroll down more than a few pages to pick out something they would like to read I believe. Thus it isn’t easy for a reader to find anyone’s books unless they type the exact title.
What has been your biggest surprise as a self-published author?
My biggest surprise has been not realizing the (NEED) to not only re-read what I have written (BEFORE) I upload it onto the web but also find a Beta reader to read my books. A Beta Reader is someone who loves to read and is an extra set of eyes catching many mistakes I didn’t catch. That includes punctuation.
What is your proudest achievement as an indie author?
I think my proudest accomplishment has been the persistence to re-read 7,500 pages of my eBooks (SEVERAL) times trying my best to (POLISH) what I have written to make each eBook more enjoyable to my readers.
How do you describe yourself and your books – self-published, indie, or something else?
Self-published is how I describe myself.
What are your future ambitions as an author?
To be a more successful author is all I hope to be.
How different do you think the self-publishing landscape will be in five years’ time?
I feel the world of self-publishing is rapidly changing and I hope it will always be in a good way for us self-published/indie authors.
~~Random stuff about me~~
I grew up in Shelton, Washington, a small logging town.
My family lived on an Indian reservation for several years.
I have a grown daughter, 31 and a grown son, 27.
I presently live in California and love the blue sky.
I’m a life member of the DAV having served in the Marines. (1972-74).
I love deer hunting and fishing but don’t do either right now.
My best friend’s grandchildren treat me as a long lost uncle. (Big Smiles)
I like going to rodeos, county fairs, garage sales, swap meets and farmers markets.
I like helping others if I can and have a strong ‘volunteer’ spirit within me.
I love all types of music but couldn’t carry a tune if someone handed me a bucket.
I like to garden and am health minded.
I love horses, dogs and cats.
True Grit, Silverado, The Magnificent Seven, Unforgiven and Pale Rider
Favorite Bucket List Thing I’d Like To Do: Go shark fishing off of Monterey Bay, California
As you scroll down my homepage you’ll see the three 2018 books I wrote. Since my first eBook in 2011, I’ve written 31 western frontier eBooks totaling 7,500 pages. If someone had told me in 2011, I would write this many books, I wouldn’t have believed them. I hope one of my eBooks will become your favorite.
~~My advice to anyone who wants to write a book but thinks they can’t, stop saying, “I can’t” and take a ‘creative writing course’ like I did back in 1983.~~