Write that book! It’s not too late!

I was 72 when I published my first novel Flynn’s Gold on Amazon. Since then I’ve published three more and have another one in the works. I’m certainly not at the top of the charts but my books do sell steadily which is a wondrous thing to me.

I wanted to write a book and over the years I made a few false starts that never went anywhere. These false starts were trashed after I realized that I didn’t have a story in mind, at least not one that might be of the slightest interest to others. Added to that was the fact that I had failed high school English and had to take it in summer school in order to graduate. Also I was interested in things that offered more instant self-gratification than writing seemed to. Adding these things up I figured that writing a novel was probably something that I was not cut out for and so I joined the work force and forgot writing. That was in the early 1960s.

Over the years after making it out of high school I had many different jobs and met many different people. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I was really interested in people that were not quite the norm, and unknowingly I was collecting stories about them, stories that I would remember later. I managed to be friends with people from all levels of the social strata, and usually tried to accept them as they were and hoped they would do the same for me. During the late 60s, the 70s, and on into the 80s I was drawn to the night life of the honky tonks and ‘colorful’ individuals. Wasted years…you might think so, but as it turns out by some miracle they weren’t.

When I wrote my first novel about two widowers from Western North Carolina that moved to the Florida Keys it came to me how important those ‘wasted years’ were to my writing efforts. Many of my contemporaries from that time have left us, but the stories I unconsciously gathered remain for me to borrow from.

I’m not recommending that anyone accumulate a large part of their life experiences the way I did, but as we age we all have stories to tell if we want to badly enough. I barely graduated from high school but Microsoft Word and Amazon made it possible for me to start writing and self-publishing at 72 years of age. So if you’re getting up in years and think there’s a book in there that wants to be written, get busy and do it.

Bill North

Fourth novel finally finished!

I finally finished the fourth novel about Junior, Earl, and their adventures in the Florida Keys. It’s available in ebook form at: http://amazon.com/dp/B01LYVZ21W





Read the beginning of 22 Miles to Key West for free

22 miles cover copy

By clicking on this link http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0105BEG0S and then clicking on “look inside” which is located above the cover photo, you are able to read almost all of the first three chapters of my new novel.

My new novel is available!

22 miles coverFlynn’s Gold told how two widowers, Junior and Earl, moved from the North Carolina Mountains to the Florida Keys in search of a treasure in gold and silver coins. Junior’s deceased Uncle who was a rumrunner during prohibition had hidden the treasure. The book follows their search for the treasure and introduces some of the interesting characters that call Ayers Key home. Among their new friends are retired drug smugglers, a fist fighting bar maid, an ex-con, a gun loving camouflage wearing mute woman, a high dollar escort, a weed smoking seascape painter, and a Rottweiler named Sugar Cookie. And it being set in the Keys there are fishing guides, boats, tarpon, sharks, and a waterside tiki hut bar where the central characters hang out.

In Twenty Two Miles to Key West Junior and Earl have comfortably settled into life on Ayers Key. The ever-curious Earl is determined to find out what the source is of the mysterious lights that he sees at night in Lost Man Harbor, and he speculates about the purpose of the unmarked black helicopters that he sees.

Junior and Earl join forces with one of their friends in the search for the long lost wreck site of a pirate’s sloop. The search for the shipwreck leads to a hunt for buried treasure and Earl learns that pirates still walk among us today.

All their friends from Flynn’s Gold are back and they still spend a lot of time at Busted Rick’s bar, The Unloading Zone. It’s everyday life on Ayers Key and there are parties, a Tarpon fishing contest, a poker game, a boat race around Lost Man Harbor at night, and somebody gets punched in the face… really hard.

The print version will be available soon but as of now the eBook version is available at Amazon.com Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0105BEG0S

Thanks for looking!

Bill North


Red, the Wild One

     Red was the first “outlaw” biker I ever met. He looked like what is sometimes described as “a pretty rough customer”, and I guess he might have been just that. It was in the early 1960s, when Red whose last name I either never knew, or which escapes me now, was hired at the Esso service station where I was working washing cars. He was straight out of that Marlin Brando movie, The Wild One, and he had a hat like the one Brando wore. He rode a rat of a Harley Davidson that sported black leather saddle bags that were adorned with nickel plated studs and small, facetted, red glass reflectors. In addition to the Brando hat, he wore one of those big, wide, leather kidney belts decorated across the back with his name in the same fore mentioned nickel plated studs.

     After work Red would kick start the Harley. That basic task seemed to require quite a few attempts to accomplish, and then with straight pipes roaring, cross the bridge leading to town trailing a wisp of blue oil smoke. It looked like great fun to me, something that I could foresee perhaps in my future.

     One Monday Red showed up at work in a car, and when questioned, explained where his Harley was. It seems that the day before he and some friends were taking a ride to nearby Lake Lure and stopped to smoke a cigarette at a place called Hickory Nut Gap. When he tried to start the motorcycle to leave, it refused all attempts at coaching it into roaring, smoking life. The story ended with Red saying, “So I got my pistol and whiskey out of the saddle bags, kicked the son-of-a-bitch over on its side, took the gas cap off, and lit it on fire. I guess it’s still there.”

     One day Red paid another boy and me to wash his car which he was very proud of. It was a black, late fifties Cadillac as I remember. Anyway, as I vacuumed the front floorboard I saw Red’s Smith and Wesson revolver and a pint of whiskey under the driver’s seat. Those that he had salvaged from the now burnt to a crisp Harley I supposed, or perhaps spares that he kept close at hand in case he needed them. A day or so later Red came around and said he’d been fired for some reason that I don’t remember now. He had only worked there for two or three weeks. Anyway, the last time I saw Red he was accelerating across the bridge leading to town in his black Cadillac, trailing a wisp of blue smoke, and wearing that Brando hat.

     I imagine that Red left us long ago, and now an upscale hotel stands where the Esso station was. The bridge that leads to town is still there.


copyright Bill North 2014






Writing Flynn’s Gold part two, The Little Fish in the Big Pond

The Little Fish in the Big Pond

Well ok, this post isn’t really about writing the book, it’s about publishing it. I naively never really gave much thought to how many books, and how many authors there are on Amazon, until I published my first novel there as an eBook. Wow! I really feel like the oft mentioned little fish in a big pond. I had just assumed that prospective buyers browsing would find my book there, now I realize it’s not quite the sure thing that I had naively imagined. There are really a lot of books there!

Historically, rushing in has been the way I approach things, and publishing on Amazon was no different. I mean, why change at this late date? Anyway, I believe that I made several mistakes that would have helped my initial sales. I’m sure one of the big ones was not having the eBook version and the print version published at the same time, or as near to it as possible. I have had a surprising number requests for a print version, and so I am sure ignoring that detail hurt the initial sales of Flynn’s Gold.

I had the eBook ready so I published that. Then, and only then, did I discover that formatting for the print book at Create Space, was more complicated (at least for me) than it had been for the eBook at Amazon. I have about struggled my way through it, but did find the learning curve very steep. Now I understand why people charge for that particular service!

I have learned the lesson that writing and publishing a book is only the beginning of the work. The really hard work comes next, the promotion. Now that I have told all my friends that I have actually complete a novel, and some of them have purchased it, I can’t go to them begging anymore, I have to find a way to find readers. I imagine that most new indie authors are faced with the same problem and so I have plenty of company.

That’s enough drivel for this post; I’m going back to following the big fish around the pond.


 Bill North