Ted Clifton's   Updater   2019

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Pacheco & Chino #3
Ray Pacheco and Tyee Chino continue their unusual partnership with each other and the Governor of New Mexico. 

I’m an Indie Author
I’m an indie book author.  What does that mean?  It means I finance everything about my books myself.  Most people I talk to about writing seem to have an image of an author sitting at a desk (maybe a drink in hand) working away at a computer, and a few weeks or maybe months later there is a book.  Brilliance on display in the first attempt.  Done.  I can assure you if that was the process, that is a book you would probably not want to read.

Currently I have three editors who assist me (I pay them to assist me-- it’s their job), also, there are people handling cover design, creating the layout of the books –both e-book and paperback, getting an ISBN assigned, developing the descriptions and marketing blurbs and more.  My wife helps me review editing changes (no she is not paid).  The books are a group effort with most being paid to assist.  As an indie author I locate those people, hire them and pay them—no matter what the book does; zero sales, these people are paid, as it should be.  Everyone gets paid no matter what.  And I keep all of the profits—if there are profits.

Other than the above editing and production costs my largest expenses are advertising/marketing.  There are times that it seems there are more people selling advertising/marketing opportunities to indie authors than there are indie authors.  The real money in indie books is probably selling these poor authors something—well, maybe not; most of us are not exactly rich.

So after months of creative effort, expense of paying the many people who help with the creation of the book, lots of money thrown at marketing; what should the price of the e-book be?  How about free?  So let’s see how long will it take to recover my costs at free?  Forever?  How about 99 cents.  Okay, the recovery period is approximately one-hundred years (will Amazon be around in one-hundred years?  Probably, it will be the only thing around.)  Some experts say the best price is $2.99.  Of course, the author does not get the $2.99 only a percentage.  Well, it is still better than free.

Of course no one is forcing you to write a book for months and months; spend a ton of money to have it professionally prepared and then give it away.  Of course not; because that would be stupid.  So you do it anyway; because?  Well, you’re building a reader base who will buy your next book.  Or maybe, it’s to build your author brand—sure that will happen.  It’s because you have no choice. 

You have no choice because someone started it, and now readers expect books from unknown authors to be dirt cheap.  Indie authors primary purpose is to provide the world free or cheap books.  On the other hand, if it was not like that, most indie authors would have never had a book published.  So, shut up and be thankful that your loses aren’t greater. 

If it is all that bad, why do it?  Because, I love it!  I know, there is no logic there; but that is the truth.  The whole process is something that makes me feel good about myself.  And yes, I do sell books, most at $4.99 and (don’t tell the IRS) I make a little money.  I’ve been lucky and my books took off pretty early.  Not New York Times Bestseller lucky, but I sell books everyday—not without effort; but name anything worthwhile that doesn’t take effort.

The one thing about being an indie author I do find sad is now I’m aware of how many people don’t read books.  Before I was an author, it didn’t cross my mind that people didn’t read.  I was a voracious reader.  Even when we didn’t have money, I was buying books.  And, of course, this was the time when the cheapest books were paperbacks (there were no e-books).  Because I was a reading glutton I would buy hardbacks as soon as they were available.  I thought most people read lots of books—most of my friends were readers.

Now I’m an author, and it seems most of the people I know don’t read.  It definitely makes me sad.  I know there are lots of ways to be entertained today, and most take less effort than reading a book.  But there really are a lot of great authors out there writing wonderful books that you will remember a lot longer than the latest Billions episode. 


Okay, here is my secret—I like cozy mysteries.  I’ve had some reviewers say my books could be cozy mysteries if I would just stop using such bad language.  Well I can’t.  But I took the thought as a compliment.  Cozy mysteries often tell a good story.  My books are about the characters just like most cozy mysteries—and the mayhem (murder) is usually not messy.  And I offer recipes in my newsletter—wait a minute--I AM A COZY MYSTERY WRITER.   Well, I guess there is the occasional F-bomb problem.

The labels attached to our whole world are convenient at times but also quite often misleading.  A good mystery is a good mystery-- cozy or not.  One author in particular I read some years ago is Karen MacInerney and her The Gray Whale Inn Mysteries series.  I think they are great fun and she is a talented author.  It has been a while since I read any of her books but based on her Amazon page she has been writing a lot.  Check it out on Amazon.
Breakfast Tacos
One of the best breakfast items is breakfast tacos.  This can be almost anything.  I said last month that I would feature calabacitas tacos in this edition, but decided to go with just a simple basic breakfast taco.  There are no rules when it comes to tacos so whatever you want in them is okay with me.  Enjoy!

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb diced russet potatoes
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon paprika
6 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
6 slices of bacon
6 flour tortillas

Optional toppings
shredded cheddar cheese
Grape tomatoes sliced
Cilantro diced

Heat a large skillet with the olive oil over medium heat. Add in the diced potato, add the salt and paprika. Stir to combine. Allow to cook for about 8-10 minutes (stirring only a few times to prevent sticking but allowing them to get crispy) until the potatoes are softened and slightly crispy on the outside. Remove the potatoes to a plate and set aside.

In the same skillet add the bacon and allow to cook for about 5-7 minutes until crispy. Remove to a plate and dry with paper towels. Cut slices in half.

In a medium size bowl beat the eggs with the milk and mix in the salt and pepper.

Santa Fe "Fun" Attractions

Canyon Road was once a trade route leading to the community of Pecos on the eastern slope of the mountains. Today, it hosts numerous artists' studios, galleries, and craft workshops, as well as cafes, tea-houses, and restaurants. All kinds of art, from sculptures and paintings to jewelry and pottery, are for show and sale along the road - most of it with a Southwestern flair. When you are done strolling around, there are also plenty of restaurants and places to relax.

Liquid Light Glass is a studio and gallery created by the acclaimed glass-blower Elodie Holmes. Visitors can admire the finished pieces, watch as the artists shape new creations, and even take a class. Workshops vary in length, and students can learn how to design and make their own glass creations, including paperweights, blown glass cups, and flowers. Convenient for tourists just passing through Santa Fe, the studio will gladly ship the finished piece once it is ready. Liquid Light glass is located in the Baca Street Arts District, which occupies part of the old Railyard on its southern end. Here, you will find a variety of unique shops, galleries, and quirky eateries within the heart of Santa Fe's art scene.
Address: 926 Baca Street, Ste 3. Santa Fe, New Mexico
Official site:

Located 10 minutes south of Santa Fe, El Rancho de Las Golondrinas is a living history museum located on a former Spanish ranch dating back to 1710. This expansive 200-acre facility has 33 historic buildings, including originals, as well as relocated historic buildings from around the state. These include a variety of homes, as well as barns, a chicken coop, general store, schoolhouse, and mills. Living history interpreters provide demonstrations of everyday life, including spinning, weaving, cooking, tin-smithing, farming, and blacksmithing, among others. The ranch also has traditional corrals and hosts special events throughout the year.
Address; 334 Los Pinos Rd, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Official site:

The 135-acre Randall Davey Audubon Center, on Upper Canyon Road in Santa Fe, has bird-watching tours and nature walks. It is a peaceful setting with a little history to it as well. Set in the Santa Fe River Watershed and surrounded by forest, the center sees approximately 130 different species of birds. Visitors can wander the trails on their own or take a guided walking tour to learn about the environment and its inhabitants.
The complex, which maintains several buildings, is home to the historical Randall Davey House. This unique building was originally a sawmill that Davey turned into his home and art studio. He died in 1964, and his family later donated the property to the National Audubon Society for use as a sanctuary and cultural center. Visitors can tour the house, which is today a museum, and see his artworks, the studio, and furnishings.
Address: 1800 Upper Canyon Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Official site:
Ted Clifton (short) bio
Ted Clifton, award winning author, is currently writing in three mystery series—Pacheco & Chino Mystery series, the Muckraker Mystery series and the Vincent Malone series.  Clifton’s focus is on strong character development with unusual backdrops.  His books take place in Southwest settings with some of his stories happening in the 1960s, 1980s and current times.  The settings are places Clifton has lived and knows well, giving great authenticity to his narratives.  Clifton has received the IBPA Benjamin Franklin award and the CIPA EVVY award--twice.  Today Clifton and his wife reside in Denver, Colorado, with frequent visits to one of their favorite destinations, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Book Updates

Four Corners War.  Preorder is up and running  Release date Sept 3rd.

Durango Two Step.  Can't shove Vincent to the back --he is now front and center.  Writing on this book now for publication in early 2020.
AudioBook-- Santa Fe Mojo.  Apparently I have no idea when this will be available.

Doctor Hightower.  Hightower has been shoved behind Vincent Malone #4.  Mostly because I hit a wall and was having trouble moving forward.  It will be written but later. 
Odds and Ends
TV Shows/Movies based on Books are better?
I sure can’t say if this is true or not—but it is my impression that movies or TV shows based on books are better.  Maybe this is just my natural bias towards book authors, but I think there are other factors at play here.  Books are written differently than screenplays.  There is a lot more depth to the characters in books and the book can be as long as needed to tell the story.  No arbitrary 90-minute time frame to convey a full plot.  Writers also usually have more freedom to explore what they feel is important to help the reader fully understand the characters and their motives.  As examples of why I think books based movies or TV shows are better would be the following:

Endeavor based on the Inspector Morse books by Colin Dexter.  Dexter is an English crime fiction writer I was not familiar with until I saw the Endeavor show on PBS Masterpiece Theater.  I have always loved the English mystery writers—of course, Agatha Christi being the most obvious.  But there are many I have read and enjoyed; such as, P.D. James, Dorothy Sayers and others.  I believe it is the pace of these books that I enjoy.  By today’s standards they would be incredibly slow.  But that slow pace seems soothing to me—it lures me into the story a little at a time; nothing abrupt but it flows in a way that seems more “normal” to me.
The Endeavor show has that same patient pace.  There is plenty of time to tidy up at the end but for now we will move very carefully.  Might not be your cup of tea but definitely mine.

Another series that I liked a lot that was based on books was Longmire based on books by Craig Johnson.  Those books relate very well to me and fit with my Pacheco & Chino books.  Tough, tired, overworked sheriff dealing with crime and politics.  My books are not the same, obviously, but they share a space.

The TV shows based on books have a character influence that I believe is greater than maybe just screenplays.  Most novels over emphasize characters and I think that comes out in these shows.  While by season 4 that whole concept may have gone out the window at the beginning these shows emphasize the characters—and usually their flaws.

A series from HBO that I watched and liked was Big Little Lies based on the book of the same name by Liane Moriarty.  While the series had several scenes I thought were unnecessary, the overall quality of the dialogue and plot lines (with twists and turns) was obviously due to excellent writing. 

Now I know there are great movies/TV shows written just for that medium; it’s just that the original book material gives the screenwriter so much to mine. 

On my list for best movies based on books:
  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Wizard of Oz
  • Gone Girl
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • The Godfather
Thanks everyone for being a reader!
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