I'm not the type of person who hides their weaknesses or denies making mistakes. There's really no point when you think about it because everything comes to light eventually. And being honest is easier than lying because a lie is a story you have to commit to. And lies get tested until they break, because you might have to add more to the story to the point until you are caught contradicting yourself.
However, lying is not the point of this post. The point of this post is about the mistakes that I have made and how I rectify them. Or more specifically, the times that life has knocked me down and how I strive to get up again, stronger. So I would like to dive into my past and tell you about the times life has done such to me and I've tried to show some resilience.
Almost seven years ago, I was fired from a job. I used to manage the surveillance department at a casino. There was a big shakeup in the management throughout the company and a lot of people were losing their jobs. The excuse they had to drum up is that I posted a hostile post on my Facebook page.
I posted that "I haven't been to the gun range in a long time, it's a great way to blow off some steam."
To give some perspective to that post, I knew that I was working hard and that even my off time was always invaded by my job. I actually wanted to take a week off and I ended up getting called in every day I was supposed to be on vacation. So, I decided that I needed to find a way to relax. And I have good memories of going shooting with my uncle and it was fun to plink off the targets like tin cans and so on.
However, my employers took that as a sign that I was planning a workplace shooting. Or that is the excuse they gave me. I had a feeling that they were looking for a reason to get rid of me, but they couldn't find justification in my performance.
Nonetheless, I was terminated from that job. However, I was also attending school in the hopes of getting my bachelors degree in Criminal Justice. Which I did. I graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Criminal Justice in December 2013, with a minor in sociology.
I was very happy to have the ability to say that I was no longer a college drop out. Even though many revered figures have dropped out of college to pursue their passions, I wanted to try for something more.
As part of the degree requirements, I worked as an intern in my hometown police department. Where I was offered a job. I worked there happily for six months and gained a lot of perspective in the police department. Some experiences were kinda funny.
However, after six months I was fired. Again I was terminated and I had done more to earn it this time I suppose. My sense of humor can be kind of bizarre and it didn't seem to fit well with the department I was in. (Records section). I was the first male to work in such a place and the ladies there couldn't tell if I was joking or being serious on what I was talking about.
One example, I was telling a story about a former coworker at the casino who once quit on the job without notice. That employee was rehired despite my objections and he quit later in the same way he had before. I was frustrated with him, and my joke was "I would've liked to leave his body in the middle of nowhere."
One of the reasons I was frustrated was that the employee had left us in dire straights, twice! Each time it happened meant a twenty four hour shift for me and possibly other workers. And when I said what I did, it wasn't a serious threat on the workers life. I'd even heard some of the ladies in the department make similar statements because someone's handwriting was illegible.
However, I didn't make a fuss when I was fired because I had done it to myself. There were other jokes I had made, and then some things that people accused me of saying that weren't true. When I was fired, I just took it in stride and left in peace. I've never made a scene when I was terminated because I know that nothing I can do will reverse their decision.
And I don't have any hard feelings to the police department or the city government. I'm still an admirer of theirs. I am also in good standing with the friends I made and supervisors. But I was depressed about losing my job and being unemployed ever since. Coincidentally, today is the third year anniversary of that termination and I've been out of work ever since.
I can't go back and put right the things that happened. I've even accepted my portion of the blame, but I don't feel racked with guilt now. I've always felt that guilt will paralyze you if you can't move past it. And I went through my phases of depression and blaming myself.
Moving forward from there though, I never have since found another job. Although I have done interviews and met some remarkably friendly people, I haven't landed a job. A little over a year ago, I began to write in earnest on my novel. I've always been a good writer, as I've been told. I just needed to take it seriously.
So I wrote a forty two thousand word novel. Novels are often longer, but I wrote to the natural conclusion of the story as it progressed. I don't feel obligated to add "filler" to the stories, because at that point reading is no longer compelling.
From that first novel, I tried to gain favor with a publisher or a literary agency. I'd done some research on the method in which you submit to such entities and I discovered that most of the big publishers won't accept unsolicited submissions. So I proceeded to try with literary agents and publishers that allowed unsolicited submissions, but just like a job interview or job posting, I failed to gain someone who was interested.
I decided to try and get me feet wet with something a little more simple that the novel. Then I came up with "Trinity the Troublemaker." Her stories didn't take as long to write and I thought it would be a more interesting topic to agents than a war novel. However, that was a bust too.
That was the point where I looked into the self publishing services through Amazon and Create Space. So I began releasing my books on Amazon. I gained several readers at that time. However, most of my readers consisted of free eBook promotions. Which I enjoy, I love it when someone reads my stories. I've been trying to build a significant following to get what they call a "platform."
It's slow growing, but I've been very patient.
In the past few months though, I've become restless. Books aren't selling anymore, and my job applications go unanswered. So I revisited my novel and began to polish it up again. I've kept good relations with a small publishing house who had turned me down on Trinity the Troublemaker.
I contacted them to see about professional editing services and helping me do the work polishing it. I sent in a sample chapter and they were very intrigued by what I had written. I don't have any money to pay them for professional services, but I've been looking into avenues of raising the money.
However, the senior editor nudged me to do a traditional submission to the company for considering for publication. I've done so, but it might be until September until I hear anything back, or later given the backlog of submissions that they receive.
Additionally while all this was going on, I had been tossing around the idea of returning to school to further my education. Criminal Justice was proving to be a difficult field to enter into. So I decided to try my hand at a Communications degree.
Even if I end up as a successful author, I know that despite the royalties I will need an income. I've read stories where successful authors might not have a book picked up by a publisher or agent that they've used before and it left them without knowing where their next check would come from. One of these authors got into the field of copy writing.
It doesn't take a college education to become a copy writer. You can apply for a certification course through certain online sources. However, that would be another job field that I would have stiff and unforgiving competition in. And my gut tells me that such an easily obtained certification would make workers a "dime a dozen." So what assurances do I have that I wouldn't be downsized if I got into a company who had a stack of applicants for the same job who could take entry level wages after I had built a following.
On a personal note, I've seen it that every time I get knocked down by life that it should become my habit to get back up stronger each time. Fired from the casino, got my bachelors. Fired from the police station, become an author and get a masters degree.
I truly feel that every time I get smacked down, that I need to come back better than I was before. It's not enough to just say it, but if I say it then I must live it. This is how I want to get back up every time. Eventually, I will be unstoppable.
It is not easy to live without money. Not long ago after I renewed my commitment to writing I made contact with a couple of companies that help with professional editing services. I have the hardest time proofreading and correcting my own work because I have difficulty finding the flaws in my own work. Like looking into a mirror and not believing in the authenticity of your own reflection.
These services that would help me to polish my novel up for publishing standards aren't cheap. Especially when I don't have a job or any income at all. In the past I have asked for help from friends who I trust with the job if they would be interested in helping me with the project. Despite their willingness, they just simply do not have the time to help me.
I can't blame them because life goes on and so do taxes, family, and bills. It's hard enough for anyone to make a living in my area, and I can imagine in most other areas as well. I wish with how easy it is for people to yell at me to "Get a Job!" That is would be as easily done as said.
I've considered starting up something on a crowdfunding website. However, I have a difficult time accepting money from people I know. And much less money from people that I don't know.
I've hoped that the children's books that I've published on Amazon would eventually generate a little revenue so I could invest it back into my own books. Once again, without advertising revenue I can't generate any brand awareness.
I'm too stubborn to accept money to help me in this endeavor of mine. For now at least. However, the good thing about being stubborn is that I am going to see this through until I achieve my goals in publishing. Regardless of when, it's not a question of "if."
Hello to one and all. I am back after a lengthy inactive period. I want to catch everyone up to this point and then discuss plans for the future.
After my last post about Halloween, I began to suffer from a heavy lack of confidence. One of the publishers I had last submitted to gave me some feedback regarding my published works on "Trinity the Troublemaker." They said the book was ripe with structural and grammar errors. Additionally, I wasn't descriptive enough to facilitate to the imagination of children. Because young readers need a lot more of the work done for them.
It wasn't an easy bit of criticism to take since the books were already released. However, with the loving feedback that I've gotten from the readers, I gradually realized that the most important critics have already spoken and they love these books.
I still struggle with self confidence regarding my writings and I've come to terms that Trinity will likely never see traditional publication. However, that doesn't mean her stories will end. On the contrary I'm going to keep them coming and self publish them on Amazon for as long as readers will enjoy them.
As for other projects, I'm seeking out editing services for my novel and finding ways of smoothing it over before I attempt to submit to a publisher or literary agent. It's a difficult thing to invest in when there's almost nothing else to my name.
I still struggle with depression and a self defeating state of mind. As well as struggling with keeping my head above water without making any money. As much as I have been turned down by publishers or agents, I have longer still been turned down by possible employers. It's not easy finding work in my part of the country, and especially trying to find any job I am qualified for.
I truly wish it was as easy getting a job as it was for people to yell at me to "get a job!" If I ever make it as an author to the point that I can live off of the profits of my books that I will remember to treat everyone I meet who is in the situation that I find myself now with a modicum of compassion that this world so terribly needs.
Hello my loyal readers. Happy Halloween to one and all. I hope everyone has a good time tonight trick or treating as well as a safe night. Be sure to look both ways before crossing the streets, get your candy checked in case of tampering, and brush your teeth before you go to bed after gorging on your treats.
As a bit of news, I want to let everyone know that I have decided to enter a writing contest on Writers Digest. In four thousand words or less, a short story in any of the genres of Love/Romance, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Mystery/Thriller, Horror/Suspense, and Young Adult. Personally, I always enjoy a challenge so I picked a genre that was not yet in my repertoire and I went with Love and Romance.
It's a singular challenge to write an entire story in four thousand words, or so I think. You want to tell the whole story and still make it embellished with some sensational hook to draw in the reader. I finished the rough copy and as soon as I am finished with this blog I am going to begin the task of revising it.
As a child and even as an adult, I don't seek to compete against others. Mainly because it doesn't matter to me to do better at something than anyone else. The only competition I typically seek is against myself. How good am I compared to how I used to be? Do I jump higher, write better, run faster, or lift more than I used to? My only competition is against myself and I am happy to try and beat my old records.
However, when it comes to writing I think I might need to step up my game a little more. My books haven't sold in awhile and it's still a month away before my collected works will be coming out. I'm still getting that project revised and put in order. I need to occasionally "shake it up" with something new, and writing a love story seemed like a good way to get out of my comfort zone and into something new.
My submission is due on November the 7th. Not much time and so much to do. So be safe and well on your Halloween night. And if you're looking for something good to read, visit my books section and see if there's anything you want to buy for yourself or someone special in your life.
Something I have been struggling with in my work as an author is the writing. Not coming up with a compelling story, but getting back to the actual writing. These past few months, I have been composing query letters for agents and marketing myself to try and boost sales. All the while, I'm not doing the work that I really love.
Therefore, I think I am going to designate only one day a week at doing the things that don't entirely contribute to my stories. I think on Fridays beginning next week that I will dedicate that day to manage my website, research publishers and literary agents, and market my books.
I think getting away from the work that I have come to think of as my calling is detrimental to my craft. Until I get a publishing agent, I am going to focus more of my week on bringing quality stories to the world.
The collected short stories of Trinity the Troublemaker will be prepared for release by December in time for Christmas. Once that project is completed I will be taking a break from Trinity to focus on the other projects I have in preparation. Trinity is always a joy to write, however there are always other stories to tell.
These new stories are going to require the services of a professional artist for the covers, and a lengthy time of story editing and revision. I hope that you will all find the stories to be real page turners and struggle with putting them down. I've been so busy trying to find help making my mark that I haven't been putting effort into making my mark.
These stories are coming, with or without a publisher or agent. If one of them want to hop on board once I get momentum, they're certainly welcome. Until then, I've got some readers to entertain.
For the life of me, I cannot draw complicated art. Originally I intended to do a picture of Westrock for the collected works edition of Trinity the Troublemaker. I wanted to illustrate areas of the town that have significance in the books such as Trinity's home, the school, the hospital, and the high school stadium.
I keep having to remind myself that I am a good author, but my artistic abilities are at the third grade level. So, rather than show a road into town with a sign that says "Welcome to Westrock," I'm going to keep it simple and yet fun.
On the front cover, I have the title in multiple colored letters with my signature on the front. Beneath that, and looking up at the title I have Trinity peering over a brick wall. On the back cover, I have the back view of Trinity at the brick wall with her using a couple of garbage cans to help her look over the wall.
Simplicity is the key to making a good cover for me. I love writing about this little girl and her world, and it's nothing flashy or fancy. So my covers should represent the sheer childlike simplicity of a fun little girl who has a love for adventures and helping others.
The collected works for Trinity the Troublemaker will be available in December 2016, and will be the perfect gift for your family. Celebrate the holidays with a little girl and her friends who looks beyond our differences to make everyone feel welcome and important.
Hello my loyal readers and newcomers. I wanted to share my new plans about what's coming up. As far as timing the release of new products and re-releasing my current stories.
First of all, the stories that are already published and available on Amazon are going to remain on there and available. However, I am planning to make all three of the Trinity series available on Kindle as a part of a free promotion again. Amazon will only allow me to run one free or discounted promotion every three months for each book. I was thinking about doing the free promotion around Thanksgiving and Black Friday to extend through Cyber Monday. I plan on making all three stories available for free for five days on that weekend.
Next, I am planning for a December release of my collected works volume of Trinity the Troublemaker. What I will be working on until then for that book is formatting and uploading the manuscript to Create Space. Also, I will be working on the cover art for the book as well as the interior art as a feature in the collection. I plan on introducing images of the characters that I haven't otherwise drawn up in concept. The book will be in full color as well.
I think the collected works would be a lovely Christmas present for families, and their children. I've always tried to make my work suitable for children to read, but the most feedback I get is from parents and adults who have loved reading my stories. I'd love to get some feedback from children reading my stories.
For now, those are the plans. Additionally, I will be working hard to try to get my video blog operating. My recording equipment can be very temperamental. Plus, I think I need to work on my delivery on video. I feel very bland and watered down. Not interesting in the least. I think I get camera shy too much.
As I get things worked out, I will pass the word on to you my friends. I hope everyone is doing well and looking for some good books to read. I have had NO book sales in September. However, I attribute that to the move to my new home and not being able to be as active to market myself and my books. Hopefully, October will be different and I hope to make my best sales yet. The first month my print sales came online, I had five copies of the first book that were sold. The second and third stories have had no sales ever.
The books are available on Amazon, in print for $6.99 and on eBook for $2.99. Kindle Unlimited Members can read the three eBooks for free of course. And remember, I am donating part of the royalties to the "Ark of Hope for Children." So buying my books will help real life children who are victims of bullying and abuse. Although, if you don't want to buy my books and just give to the charity directly, you can. Whatever we can do to help children is need. I'm broke and poor, but I help with what little money I get from my books. If you aren't broke or poor, you can spare just a little change to make a big change in the life of a child.
It's all as simple as the choice to try.
Last night, I approved the proof copy for my latest book of "Trinity and the Sad Child." This is the third book in the series of Trinity the Troublemaker. This story will also be available in my collected works edition that I am currently working on. I'm truly excited to have these projects in the works and to present the collected volume for my devoted readers.
Once the collected volume is released, I will be giving Trinity a break so that I can focus on other unrelated projects in my writing. These stories are more grownup in their theme and plot. Definitely nothing I would recommend for young children, but nothing I am deliberately trying to make too graphic for them. I don't write my stories for demographics and marketing, I write them because I can think of a plot with a compelling story to be told. An adventure to be shared, or an issue to provoke thinking in others. Frequently, I write on a given topic because I am constantly challenging myself to write in unfamiliar terms to take myself out of my comfort zone.
I used to write essays in college concerning social topics and criminal justice issues. However, I was also a part of writing in a creative writing class with the teach I wrote a dedication to in "Trinity and the Sick Kids," by the name of Brian Kirby. When I took my first class with him, it was an introduction to documentary films. Weekly we wrote a response to a film he would show us and then assign other papers as he saw fit.
To me, Brian Kirby is the definitive "thinking man" of today. He is an educator who challenges others and doesn't allow his students to merely slide by. He's the kind of educator that our society needs more of to turn out truly smart and intelligent people. Because of him, I honestly felt challenged to write well. Challenged when I took his classes, and challenged today to bring forth a story worthy of his class.
Not everyone appreciates a man like this. We all know someone who likes to take the path of least resistance. A life lived with minimum effort for maximum benefit. Which is a fine sort of life I guess if you never want to achieve anything great. Although, on the other side of the coin I can understand people who adopt this kind of life. People trying their best to pay their bills and raise their families. They can have the good and happy life of their choosing, and by no means do I condemn such people because they live their lives from a practical standpoint.
I hope no one takes my comments above as a reflection on their own lives and I certainly don't want to alienate any of my readers. I don't despise someone for living their life like this. On the contrary, I am saddened by it. I feel as though they have lost the ambition that drives them to pursue their dreams. The zeal for life that makes them strive for personal satisfaction of doing something that defies everyday monotony and doing something that people will talk about with admiration.
Whether it is writing, mountain climbing, scuba diving, community leadership, or volunteering I would love to see people who feel that their lives mean more than merely settling down and paying bills. People who will strive to make a mark and show how special they can be in what they've done. You don't owe anyone for deeds of excellence or greatness, you deserve the pleasure and the satisfaction of doing those things. You might just surprise yourself when your own hidden talents are revealed.
When I was twenty four years old, I applied to become a police officer in my home town. I had physically trained and studied things that I thought would be important and ask police officers for any inside tips that I might be able to put to use. The hiring process was a long and drawn out affair between all the tests and interviews. Over the course of a three or four month span, it all came down to the psychological testing.
I didn't pass the test because I was crazy. I didn't pass because the psychiatrist thought I wasn't cut out for the job. They believed that I wasn't assertive enough, that my moral compass was too good to be true, and I was even told that I was not obnoxious enough.
That failure still stings sometimes because I thought it was what I was meant to do. Four years later, I tried again with another city. However, failing once was enough to make the department decide not to try wasting any money on my examinations to try hiring me. Not only did I fail, but it was like I was marked.
I resigned myself to the fact that I would never be a cop, but that also didn't mean that I couldn't do good things as well. Back at that time, I worked at a casino and I was in the surveillance team. Regularly I had to seek out thieves or determine the truth of a given matter. I was even privileged to occasionally discover evidence that cleared someone of an accusation. That was my favorite thing to do, because it meant that if not for me then someone or a whole department wasn't pre-emptively cleared out under suspicion of theft or wrongdoing.
After a couple more years of working, I decided that I should return to college and complete my bachelor's degree. I'd hoped that acquiring it would open me up to new opportunities and give me a chance to do even more of what I loved, helping people. I love helping people with the gifts that I have been granted. An intellectual thrill from providing a solution or comfort by thinking out the problem. I was really good at investigations, but I also have a good ear for conversation.
I still haven't found a job where I feel like I belong. By the time I had published my first book, I had been out of work for nearly two years. I had to do something finally, and with the encouragement of my friends I took the leap with story writing. Maybe my stories don't solve anything, but maybe through happy tales of adventure and overcoming obstacles it will give someone hope.
People think I am funny for collecting trinkets that represent my failures. It's not from a sense or some need to punish myself. I want to remain humble and avoid being arrogant. I want to remember that even if I had succeeded at what I tried, that it still might not have been what I was meant to do. However, I believe that my failures have served to shed light on my road to success. It's a path I continue to walk because success isn't a stopping point, it's an everlasting desire. I have never been defeated by failure, I've been given a lesson from each time that I have failed. Although it is not always clear to me at the time, I think that lesson is simply put: "Not here, keep going and you will find it."
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
I'm a man with many fears. Admitting it is nothing to be afraid of because I tie up no pride in myself to the point of trying to play myself off as perfect. It's an ordinary thing to be afraid because the human body has its own built in flaws and weaknesses and is vulnerable to several kinds of injury. So is also, the human psyche.
A lot of fear exists in our minds, but it is no less real. How others perceive us is almost more important to us than how we perceive ourselves. Acting on that fear might drive someone to try harder to gain the approval of others and modify oneself to extraordinary efforts to conform to the group mentality.
That manner of behavior isn't facing fear, instead it is the act of surrendering to fear. Such a person may well one day come to the conclusion that while they have been so busy doing so much for others that they don't even know their self very well at all. Loss of identity by not trying to define one in the first place and going with the flow like a dead fish.
That example wasn't meant to be as long as it turned out to be, but it must have needed to be said. Otherwise, it would not have come out of my mind. So, therefore I think and therefore it is.
My personal fears could be along those lines with the sense of stage fright that I have. Getting up and speaking in front of crowds and being the center of attention has never been easy for me. However, when I began to write my books with the full intent of publishing them I came to a realization.
I realized that the fame and attention that I had shunned for all of my life before was now something I would have to reach out for. I am a brand and my stories are my product. My face has to be behind what I am trying to sell, otherwise it won't be worth buying. My fear was trying to draw attention to myself and I consider myself a very meek person.
I don't allow my fear to rule me, nor have I surrendered to it. I wouldn't say that I have conquered my fear, but I would say that I have defied it. With my website, my efforts to raise my brand awareness, and submitting query letters to publishers and literary agents I am now in a position where I am seen and judged for who I am.
As a Christian, I strive to remain humble and a good example of how I believe a person who accepts that label should act. While retaining my own sense of individuality. Being humble is something I do for myself because I don't want to raise high expectations. I don't want to be disappointed by big dreams and suffer from feeling unable to measure up. Aside from that, I am not a greedy person. Just making a living would be enough for me.
Another fear I think people have is to be deprived. To have to do without something. Not having enough, or ever having enough. That might be a fear I have conquered because I have had less than I have now and I survived well. I'm grateful for my blessings and I want to work hard to keep them.
At the same time, I also want to reach people with the written word. Beyond my image or anything else, I want people to hear my ideas and come up with some of their own. I want my thoughts to provoke thoughts and the things I have to say I want them to inspire friendship and kinship with each other. Instead of fighting to compete with each other, I would like for us all to have a common goal to bring our different talents and resources together to overcome a challenge.
Maybe we won't conquer the fear of the worlds problems, but we can do a lot to defy that fear. Wouldn't that be something?
I am back to the world wide web. It's so good to return to my website and to re-connect with my loyal readers and followers. So much has happened during my absence that it may take a little while to recount it all.
First, I have finished moving into my new home. (New to me, but it was built awhile back and fairly well kept and updated.) I have an expanded work space to continue working on my stories and I have new tools for my artwork that should help me to bring out something higher quality in the following days and weeks.
Before I moved in to this wonderful house, I built an enclosure for my cats so they could get the experience of being outside without having to cope with the dangers that they can get into. My neighbor has two large dogs in his back yard. I'm not sure of their temperament to other animals, but I will err on the side of caution as I would if they were children of my very own. I'm neither married or dating, and I have not run the risk in engaging in the act of making children in any way. So, my cats are basically like my children.
I "celebrated" my thirty fifth birthday during the time I was away. I used quotation marks because I don't celebrate birthdays as much anymore. At my age, it's not really an occasion to celebrate. Just merely observe.
My one gift is a drafting board easel. This is a special space I can use to work on the cover art for my Trinity books. This series is the only one that I will do the art for because my artistic skill is passable for the third grade level. So, right around the age of my target audience. As for other stories in the future, I will be turning to a professional artist and graphic designer of whom I have been friends for several years with. However, I won't use his services for free. I must pay him, and to do that I will need money.
If you're interested in seeing what's next on the horizon, you can help it happen. By purchasing books in the Trinity series and telling your friends with kids about the stories I have written. The more I get will roll back into my projects and I will be able to bring you some literature that you will not want to put down.
So I appeal to the compulsive readers and registered bibliophiles. (I think I just made up a term.) Read or recommend so I can produce my stories and share my entertainment with the world. You're a part of it, if you're reading this then you can help me continue my work. And I remind you that 15% of the royalties I receive from the sale of the Trinity series goes to support the Ark of Hope for Children.
Further updates will follow. Thank you friends, it's good to be back.
I usually like to post something new on my website everyday. Typically in the form of a blog. However, as of late I have been unavailable because I was doing some work on a house that I am preparing to move into.
For four days, I worked to enclose a covered patio for my kitty cats. Once I have moved over I will try to remember to post some pictures for everyone to review. I'm not trained or experienced in this sort of work. I have built some of my own furniture, but I have never taken on something of this scale.
However, four days working on my own and without any prior education, I think I did pretty well. Just needs some paint and a few other finishing touches and it will be a safe playground for my animals to play.
I used 2x4 wood studs to build the frame for the lower four feet of the walls, and then I used wire fencing to secure the remaining area on the upper half. The inner and outer walls are covered with segments of plywood, as well as a metal security door built into the frame.
The house has two back doors to access the house. One goes into the laundry room and the other entry is a pair of french doors. I enclosed the french doors but not the entry to the laundry room. I figure it's best to have an exit that bypasses the patio anyway, aside from the actual door built into the patio as well.
I'm happy to have the job practically finished. My animals will have the comfort of getting the fresh air outside as well as the safety from dogs or other animals intending them harm. Once I am moved completely into the new house, I will resume updating my website on a regular basis.
I hope everyone is doing well, and that you will all be safe.
Weird title for a blog post, but this is because something unusually wonderful happened to me today. I was at the restaurant with my mother waiting for our food. My mother ordered mozzarella sticks with her breakfast, (weird right?).
Anyway, this family was getting ready to leave. A father, his wife, and two little girls right around the ages of two to four. The littlest one comes to the booth that I am sitting at and just looks at me so sweet with a smile. I look back with a smile and I shake her hand gently asking her how she was doing.
The older one of the pair went to my mother and gave her a hug. Then they each helped themselves to a mozzarella stick each, hugged us goodbye, and left with their parents. The parents were there for the whole thing, and they got to see the face I make when my heart melts.
I missed a chance to snap a picture with them, but I was kinda taken by surprise. I've had it happen to me before on occasion when a kid sees me and wants to just meet me and say hello. They give me a hug just because or just treat me so sweet that I want to adopt them right there.
Kids really do melt my heart. Especially when they're sweet and so friendly. However, I do worry because if they get comfortable talking to strangers then they might come across someone who won't be nice to them. I'm relieved the parents have always been there to watch as I interact with their kids so that they know that everything is on the level.
It's a sad reality that kids could always come across someone who doesn't have their best interest at heart. As much as I like being surprised with a love-mugging, whenever I see a parent whose child is too shy to interact with me I do like to reinforce that behavior by saying, "That's good, never talk to strangers."
I want all kids to grow up safe, happy, and healthy.
I haven't been available to post within these last couple of days, and I do apologize for that. I've been very busy tending to some personal business, but beneficial. So here's the rundown on what you have to look forward to in terms of my website.
First off, I will be adding new art to the site. It's still my own work and my skill level isn't very complex. However, it's right around the third grade level of my children's series audience. I'd like to add the characters who have appeared recently in my stories as well as some of the places that I have added. I'm also going to be working on the cover for the collected volume of Trinity.
Continuing on, within the first couple of weeks I will begin posting a few video logs or vlogs. Nothing I intend to do too regularly, maybe just a Q&A or two. Perhaps a few things to announce other upcoming attractions, who knows.
The reason that all these changes are coming is because I am moving to more spacious accommodations. Somewhere that I can optimize my work and organize my projects better. As it stands now, I barely have room to stand at all. Much less to do my project artwork and work on my stories.
I'll post as best as I can. I'm looking forward to providing more content and improving on the quality. More news as it develops.
The chart above is a reflection of the free promotion that I run with each release of my books. These are Kindle eBook downloads. The first story was downloaded thirty times, the second was downloaded eighteen times, and the latest story came in at sixteen. Bringing the total to sixty four downloads of my stories in the span of time from June first to August the fifteenth.
Add in the six copies of the first book that were bought in print, gives me a total of seventy copies of the stories that have been obtained over the past seventy five days or so. A good portion of the sales and downloads took place before I opened this website.
I'm grateful for everyone who has downloaded or bought my books. The adventures of Trinity and her friends are likely to become a timeless treasure in homes around the world. The seventy times my stories have been obtained is also a sum of who around the world has sought out my stories.
If this website has the ability, I will display an itemized list of the areas that the stories were obtained in on their individual Amazon sites. I still manage this entire website on my own, so it may still look a little rudimentary. However, all the content is available for your amusement.
Well, the free promotion ended for "Trinity and the Sad Child." I'm happy to say that over the five day promotion that the story was downloaded sixteen times. Not a large number, but I think it's considerable. Considering I'm a new author with no advertising budget, I think I'm going pretty well.
Additionally, the genres available on Amazon are extraordinarily detailed. I've tried to make them as broad as possible, but alas it's not. Bullying is a popular category, sadly. Special Needs and Disabilities are not as common to read, sadly as well. And the Death and Grief category is even less common.
I don't like that bullying is such a prevalent problem that it is in demand so much. I also don't like the stigma that surrounded special needs, illnesses, and disabilities. That's why I put the word "sick" in my title for the second story. I know it's probably not "politically correct," but sometimes I worry that being so careful with our language just adds to the stigma and discomfort. Plus, I think the word "sick" adds to the urgency of special needs, illness, and disabilities.
If we don't add some kind of urgency to help the lives of children and people living with these conditions, then do we have less motivation to seek a cure? Do we just dismiss people that live in this way and cast them aside? Do we forget about children who are not yet born who could one day be cured?
I know I'm probably being overly optimistic. However, I don't believe anything is impossible. I believe that if we can't do something now, then someone more clever will come along down the line and do it. Our technology has advanced at unfathomable speeds. Whoever says that something cannot be done, is someone who places limitations on all of our dreams.
Death and grief is a topic that is always difficult to discuss with anyone. In the foreword for "Trinity and the Sad Child" in emphasized that listening is more important than speaking. After a devastating loss, it really is best to let the person who suffered the loss to begin speaking first.
Last night, I attended an event at the Lea County Center for the Arts. "Blackness in Latin America Hispanic Art Exhibition." I got to see some of the most amazing paintings and artwork that I had even seen. Such obvious talent and kind artists.
The highlight of the evening was watching some ladies from a Venezuelan dance troupe come and demonstrate their dances in the style of Caribbean. It brought the house down and I even got to meet the two ladies who performed. Super friendly and were of sincere delight. I hope they will pass through this way again some day and bring along more members of their dance troupe.
As I was writing this post this morning, I received some feedback from a friend who bought the print copy of my first book "Trinity and the Bully." Even if I never heard another word of praise for this story, I will always consider this one a resounding success.
She told me that her daughter had read the book and absolutely loved it. Hasn't put it down since it arrived. It reminded her of how she faced the challenges of bullying in her school. She faced them head on, a lot like Trinity does.
I'm forever going to be proud of Trinity. In my mind, she is a living and breathing little girl who is real in the little world I created for her. Her friends, her parents, the adults are all apart of a close knit community with new faces and names emerging from all over. I hope she sets an example for many others across the world, to learn about different people and try to understand them. To help them when they're in need and come to their aide when they're in trouble.
In my mind, that's sort of what a troublemaker is. Not merely someone who is accident prone or clumsy. And never someone who just likes to stir the pot and cause an unpleasant disruption. To me, a troublemaker is someone who will see an injustice and choose to try to do something about it. Even if, and especially if it doesn't impact them at all. Someone who doesn't stand idly by and let others be treated wrong. A troublemaker can be someone who goes against the status quo and try to make a beneficial change for all.
Such people are frequently mocked. Often times when someone goes against the group mentality they are regarded as the oddball. However, how unusual is it to know that something is wrong and let permit it to go unchallenged?
Today I will speak of things to come. But first to begin with what I know now. My eBook of "Trinity and the Sad Child" has been downloaded fifteen times so far and it is day four of the free promotion. The previous book of "Trinity and the Sick Kids" was downloaded a total of eighteen times during its promotion and the first book "Trinity and the Bully" was downloaded thirty times on its own. In print, "Trinity and the Bully" has been purchased six times.
Each of those stories are going to be released again in a collected edition. Three stories in one book for everyone to enjoy. Additionally, I will be releasing artwork not before seen on the books or online. As well as the blog entries that tell the story of Peter and his time spent at the boarding school that he was sent to from the first book. His story is told from the ten blog entry series I posted, but within the book will be a special exposition of the events that followed the final chapter of that blog. This will be exclusive to the collected volume.
Additionally, I will be adding a new foreword to the collected works as well as a separate foreword for each story. I will tell of the course and impact that each story has taken and what it has meant after its release. Furthermore, there will be additional commentary on the stories at the end. I'll also be including two of the three poems I read at the open mic event from August the sixth. I don't think "Naked for Climate Change" is neither pertinent or appropriate for the collected stories of a children's series. Besides, that poem is available to read under the stories tab on the website.
Once the collected works are released and attainable for the public, I will update the website with the artwork that I included. However, the additional texts or writing will remain only accessible through the collected volume.
The most important part of the collected works and what I have to look forward to the most is the dedication. I love to thank people who have supported me or influenced me in the course of becoming an author. Any success I attain now or ever is partly their doing and I don't deserve any success at all, if any, unless I thank them and keep them in my thoughts and their names on my pages.
I'm not merely grateful for the few things I have, but also for the friends I have made. I'm grateful for everything that they have done whether they knew it or not. I feel like they deserve a special mention because they have been special to me.
I hope to share many more names with you of the people who have given me the inspiration to do what I do. As well as the encouragement to try for excellence. One day, maybe I can do more for them than to mention them by name. Until then, I can make no promises. I can only promise them to try.
I know for most other authors, having their stories read around the world is something kind of commonplace for them. I'm guessing. For me though, it's not a small feat by any means. I love to see the comprehensive reports for my eBook sales and see the different areas that have downloaded them.
I wish more than anything, that I could visit these places and meet the people who have read them to ask if they enjoyed them. What were their thoughts on my little girl Trinity and her friends? Did the stories give them the chills? Excitement? Hope?
It's not merely being read around the world that I love so much as crossing cultural barriers. The norms in our society might be abnormal in another places. However, it gives them a glimpse into another world. The one I created on my pages.
Originally, I published Trinity as a writing credit for the sake of gaining a following so that I could perhaps make my writing as a way of earning a living. And I still have high hopes for that. Also, Trinity and her world was on the threshold of large social changes in the United States. Some of which are going to be reflected in future stories as I go on about my writing.
I've seen a lot of those same issues crop up again in recent years with racial tension and bigotry. I wasn't alive when the first civil rights movement was in swing, but I am alive for what people are calling the second civil rights movement. Our history has been influenced by great figures, one of whom I mentioned was Martin Luther King Jr.
His approach to the social injustices of the time was a strategy called "Civil Disobedience." Basically, in a non-violent way they would disregard a law that was inherently morally wrong. "Passive Resistance" is another technique in which people will not cooperate, peacefully in falling in line with societal expectations.
Today, it seems that the new civil rights movement has lost this precious philosophy of demonstrating that they deserve respect by doing no harm. And that can probably be inferred from the "fast food" culture we have given rise to that expects instant gratification.
I've been rejected by more publishing agents and publishers than I am willing to count. However, I am not discouraged because I believe that one day I will receive acceptance from someone. I have to be patient, and learn to be more patient for the big changes. Additionally, I have to be patient for my books to begin making sales. I use my books to teach valuable lessons to children, but also to parents. We are raising the future of our society and if lessons and teachings of our history haven't been taken seriously the we aren't doom to repeat our mistakes.
In fact, we are doomed to face similar situations without any idea of handling it properly from the history of our fore-bearers. So, if we can't take history seriously anymore then I will bring those lessons into the present with my books. Our revered social pioneers who fought for social equality and justice deserve to be remembered. Their lessons, achievements and mistakes, deserve to be practices. I can't jostle the memory of our society, but maybe I can pass on those lessons to the next generation through the intention of the goodness of spirit that I write my Trinity series.
"I'm going to change the world gradually with ideas, rather than use violence to undermine my message of peace." Erich C. Davis
I'm excited to say that on the first day of the free giveaway for "Trinity and the Sad Child" the story was downloaded twelve times. That breaks two personal records, one for most first day free downloads and two the most free downloads in a single day.
When not for sale for free, the digital copies of my books cost $2.99 each. Throughout the free promotions, all three total to date have been downloaded sixty two times. And they have been read in countries all over the world. Amazon Denmark, UK, India, Mexico, Japan, and of course the US.
However, there are zero total downloads for my eBooks. Not a single one of them have had cash sales. The books in print have not fared much better. Six total purchases for print copies. Half of those were purchased by my father.
I know it takes awhile to get discovered by the public. So far there has been no paid advertising, other than this website. Everything else has been "organic" or word of mouth on Twitter or Facebook. My online presence has increased dramatically and particularly on Twitter. Just recently passed 1,000 followers on it.
In news today, I received "proof" copies of "Trinity and the Sad Child" today. Proof means that these are copies that need to be checked for formatting issues, if any. And just the basic feel of the book. I ordered five copies, one for me to edit through. One for my mother because she loves them, and three for some friends. I've got several people who are waiting for a signed copy who are friends of mine and I'm going to deliver them as soon as I possibly can.
"Trinity and the Sad Child" the eBook Kindle edition is available now through Thursday for free. I hope you will read it, and enjoy it. And I hope that if you enjoy it, that you will tell other people about the book. I want you to share it with those you love, and especially children. It's geared for them.
Coming later on this year, I will be publishing the collected works of "Trinity the Troublemaker" which will feature original art, the blogs about the bully at St. Clarkes, and the summation of the events after the final chapter of Peters adventures there will only be available in the collected works.
Meanwhile, enjoy my stories. The free one on Amazon while it lasts, the free blog entries about Peter, or buy the books and invite Trinity into your home. I promise you won't regret it.
The free promotion for "Trinity and the Sad Child" is now live. Trinity and her friends try to save the Christmas for one family who has lost a loved one to the war in Korea. This story is dedicated to all of the military families out there who have or will be celebrating their first Christmas without someone special who perished in their service.
The cover has some story related elements. In addition, there is a soldier and a police car. The soldier of course represents all of the people who have given their lives for their country on distant shores and far away places. The police car represents the lives lost by all those who serve in law enforcement.
As I was revising this story and doing the cover, the city of Dallas suffered such a devastating loss of the lives of police officers. The result of one of the bad cops making the wrong choice in another town far away. We became more divided in this country because the actions of a few will blot out the reputation of all.
I believe in good cops, and I also believe in good people. The goodness of people comes out in how we treat one another. The wickedness tends to come out when people are angry or afraid. Does a cop pull their gun too soon because of fear for their own lives? Are they angry because of the stories we hear of police officers minding their own business or going about their jobs to suddenly be attacked without provocation merely because they wear the badge?
Likewise, has the public become so fearful and angry towards those few who use their badge as a way of bullying those they think can't fight back? I can't say these things for sure, these are only the things I wonder about the way our society regards the sanctity of life.
What I have to say next, I don't want it to be misconstrued that I am an ally or an opponent of any protest groups. I've heard it said that when people have addressed the "Black Lives Matter" movement, that many people respond with the phrase "all lives matter." It has been understood by me and the things that I have read that saying "all lives matter" is an offensive phrase because it is dismissive of the history of the plight of people who aren't white in this country. I can totally agree with that because to say that to someone whose ancestors have such a history of abuse and suffering is like mocking a battered spouse for not leaving their abuser sooner.
Not precisely apples and oranges, but I hope the point is made. I'd like to make another point as well if I may. Black Lives Matters is an activist group, individuals may get carried away under their banner but I don't hold the group accountable because no one can predict the actions of a wildcard. However, back to my point about Black Lives Matter being an activist group. If all lives truly mattered, wouldn't that be an activist group too? I've found the Black Lives Matter website, but I still haven't found one for All Lives.
I don't know how many people will read this. However, I want to issue a challenge to people who say that "All Lives Matter." If you're going to say that, then I insist that you prove it. I insist that once you tell someone that "all lives matter" that you begin to find ways from that point forward in giving your statement some meaning. Volunteer for service in a soup kitchen, donate some clothes to a local charity, pledge money to a worthy cause for the benefit of others.
If you say all lives matter, then that should also apply to the black lives matter movement. You are saying that their lives matter too. You aren't competing against them, and I hope they aren't competing against society. Because, all should be working closer to contribute to a fair and just society for each other. "All for one, and one for all" as the Musketeers used to say right?
Am I an activist? Yes. What do I do? I write books. What do I believe in? Unity, the mutual respect of one another and our cooperation to build a better world for each other and future generations. To preserve the life, rights, dignity and honor for everyone. The strength of diversity as our ability to adapt as a species. Justice for all.
Good morning friends and readers. Today was supposed to be the kick off day for the free book promotion for my newest story of "Trinity and the Sad Child." Unfortunately, I didn't get up early enough this morning, or stay up late enough last night to initiate the promotion.
Sadly, the book is out but not for free today. However, tomorrow it will be out guaranteed and shall run for five days as a free Kindle download. When I did the free download for my previous two books, the first one was downloaded by thirty people and the second one was downloaded by eighteen people. I'd love to see this one out perform the previous two combined. It's a free book and about forty pages long.
Our story begins with Trinity shoveling driveways in the snow covered town of Westrock. She begins with her own, and then offers to do it for people in the neighborhood. She shovels the drives for whatever money that the customers think is fair or whatever they are willing to spare for her.
As she is about to move on to the house on the corner, she sees a car with an army sergeant within. He gets out of the car and approaches the house that Trinity was about to see if they needed shoveling. She looks to see what's happening but she's interrupted by her friend Colin. He asks her if she would like to make snow angels and snowmen together.
Suddenly, they are both startled by a wailing cry of shock and disbelief from the lady that lives on the corner. Her son comes out to join her, and together they cry and hold each other for comfort. They go inside of their home with the army sergeant.
The kids are left to wonder what this was all about. Colin asked Trinity who lived there. Trinity tells Colin that was Mrs. Song and her son David. Colin asks where Mr. Song is and she tells him that he was drafted to go to Korea, just like their fathers. A sinking feeling in Trinity's heart tells her that the army sergeant carried bad news about the fate of Mr. Song to the doorstep of his family.
This story is devoted for all of our service members in the armed forces, for their families, for our veterans, and for all of those who did not make it home.
The new story coming out tomorrow is called "Trinity and the Sad Child." This is the third book in my series, but certainly not the last. This story is about losing a loved one to war, in this specific instance it is about the Korean War. So far all my stories have been set in the year 1950. A time when life in the United States was thought to be idyllic.
However, not all was idyllic at all. Maybe it was a better time with more aesthetically pleasing features. Beautiful cars, homes, white picket fences, and sensational music. I still believe we have a lot of those things, and just have to look to find them. Just because generations change doesn't mean those elements haven't endured.
So we still have beautiful cars, homes, white picket fences if people want them, and sensational music. I was privileged recently to enjoy the music of local talent in Hobbs. Additionally, I am acquainted personally with some breakout artists and talent. The next generation who will make their mark even more than they already have.
We still have some of the same enduring problems too. War is with us still. Racism is either making a bigger comeback, or the tension was building up until it finally boiled over. Hatred and fear of the police, resentment of authority figures, unrest and protests.
I'm not being dismissive of these issues. Gradually, I want to address them with my writing. I want to do these topics justice, especially in the writing of my children's stories. As best I can, I'll introduce topics that my audience of children will be able to understand in a tasteful way that can still bring awareness and provoke thoughts in children and parents alike.
I don't like that anyone would experience losing a member of their family to war. However, I want to demonstrate that a community can be supportive without being intrusive. My biggest fear about this story is that I worry that I am not doing justice to the service of the armed forces. Men and women who answer the call to defend our home and come to the aide of others in time of need.
I get to start off today with some wonderful news and I couldn't be happier. To begin with, last night I attended the open mic event at the Lea County Center for the Arts and I was mesmerized by all of the excellent talent. When I opened for the reading of my poetry, I stopped to mention how well I thought of every single performer there. I said, "The way you know how amazing these artists are is when you suddenly realize that your smiling because your cheeks hurt. And you have no idea when you started smiling in the first place. You just discover that they made you smile."
I read three poems in a set that I call "Good Things Come in Threes." I read them in reverse order than what I wrote them as. The reason for this is because I wanted the importance of the message to be the final and lingering thought for the people there.
I read "Trinity the Troublemaker," which is in reference to my title character of my book series. Leading off with my own book title and considering it the lesser of the importance is something I will explain later. I know it makes no sense from a marketing point of view, but bear with me for a moment.
The second poem I read has equal importance to the final one. "Naked for Climate Change," began as a joke on Facebook. I tell people that if the heaviest pollution producing corporations could get a load of me in my birthday suit, then they might frantically invest in clean energy alternatives.
The final poem, is a message about peace. I titled it, "Hatred Has No Home with Me." It was a Facebook post a long time ago and also the title of a term paper that I did in college. I think it's sad that there are so many people or entities that are trying to capitalize on our differences and trying to turn one another against each other. Not merely as Americans, but as a people. I feel that the eventuality of this course of behavior with lead to our own destruction. I've long said that "fighting fire with fire will be the end of us, we'll all go up in a huge conflagration."
This probably makes me sound like a pacifist, and that would be partially true. However, I think there are definitely things worth fighting for. Peace is worth fighting for, but I don't want to see the cost come in a body count. Even though it tends to more often than not. Peace should be a battle fought with diplomacy, where people learn how to live together and reach an agreement. Looking upon each other as neighbors instead of rivals. Helping others to help sustain themselves with resources of their own, or opening commerce in trade.
My most exciting bit of news that I have received today is that my story of "Trinity and the Bully" was endorsed by a charitable organization. Ark of Hope for Children is a part of a global initiative to come to the aide of children who have been victimized in human trafficking, abuse, and bullying. Fifteen percent of the royalties of the sale of this Trinity story has gone to support their mission, and I will continue to give to them as the book sells. The executive director of the charity and president is a man by the name of Blair Corbett. He's a man who actively practices compassion and love to the kids that he serves. I am grateful for the opportunity to support his work and humbled.
I will post a link to the Ark of Hope for Children's website so that you can consider contributing to him directly. Or, you can buy "Trinity and the Bully" and I will make the donation. Either way readers, we are working together for a good cause for the sake of children.
Today, I am pretty much just saying hello to all the wonderful people who have come and visited my website. Not even one day has past since it came live and already over fifty people have come to see it.
Later on today, I will be reading my poetry at the Lea County Center of the Arts. Once I have completed that task, I will publish the poems on this website with a little commentary of my own. I will talk about what inspired each poem and I will also mention how the crowd at the reading tonight reacted.
This is my first public appearance in the capacity as an author. I'm both nervous and excited. I don't usually take the spotlight, but I have taken on the burden because I need to get my brand out there. My biggest fear is that when I am speaking on stage, I might channel a distinctive celebrity inflection or different accents of ethnicity. I might sound Swedish tonight for all I know.
That's just how my stage fright manifests. I've had to do class presentations in the past, and that's how it typically turns out. However, I've also learned alot about stress management and different ways of coping. Maybe I will do well tonight, but regardless I promise it will be amusing at the very least.