The Power of Planning

I’ve spent some time over the last few days working on my production schedule for 2015. I’m through the first part of June and, I must say, I am excited for what 2015 has to offer.

My time losing over 100 pounds and working as a personal trainer taught me a lot. Many people want to do things, but fail to set goals and plan. They say things like “I want to lose weight” or “I want to save more money”.  While it’s great to want to do these things, you need something tangible to aim at.

Instead of saying something like “I want to run more”, a more tangible goal would be “I want to run 10 miles a week” and then mark 3 days on your weekly calendar that you will commit to running 4 miles. Make yourself accountable and stick to it!

I am going into this year knowing that I want to release 5 books that will each be around 50,000 words. Using a production template for each book, I calculate that I can release a book that size about every 65 days. So I have every day until June scheduled out so that I can hit those targets.

Will I hit every deadline? Probably not. But that’s okay. A lot of this is a learning process for me. I am still finding my stride and what works best for me as an author-entrepreneur.

The important thing is that I have something to aim at. And like the great Zig Ziglar said, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.”

So what do you have planned for 2015? I’d love to hear your comments below.

Also, if you want to be the first person to know when my books are being released, please join my mailing list. You’ll get a FREE book right now just for signing up and also be eligible for exclusive contests and giveaways.


Dark Reveries – Volume One is Available Now!


My debut fiction publication is now available!

Dark Reveries (Volume One) features four short stories with, what I believe, features something for every fan of horror.

It is currently available exclusively as an eBook for the Amazon Kindle.  If you do not have a Kindle, you can read it on any of the free Kindle apps for your mobile device or computer.

A paperback version will be available soon.

Purchase Dark Reveries (Volume One) on Amazon

And thank you to Ian White for the amazing painting on the cover!

“Intense, well-written, and creative!” – Jessica Hatton, New York (reader) 

“I couldn’t put my iPad down. The ending to ‘Inked’ was KILLER!” – Sarah Siepen, Australia (reader)

“I loved it! It was dark and something completely new!” – Jayme Baldwin, Tennessee (reader)


Inked – Terry Russell is a tattoo artist struggling just to make a living. But when one of his clients turns up dead in a gruesome murder, things begin to go south for Terry…

Heritage – After a successful bank robbery, a trio of notorious outlaws arrive in Blackwater: an abandoned Colorado mining town. They stay the night at the local, vacant inn, only to have the mystery of the town’s emptiness revealed to them…

Training Games – A serial killer with an interesting taste in victims puts his captives through a series of challenges with one simple goal: Survive. For fans of “Saw”

The Flesh on the Note – A disturbing 1500 word confession…

***WARNING*** Dark Reveries is a work of horror. While there is not a lot of descriptive gore, there is cursing, violence, and suggestive situations. Please use discretion when purchasing.

Thinking Long-Term As a Writer

Epic bro…

It’s basically impossible for me to do anything half-ass.  I was overweight most my life.  And I didn’t decide to make a change about it until I knew with 100% certainty that I was ready to make it my #1 focus in my life and that I would not fail.  Before that, I wasn’t ready and I wasn’t going to start then fail.  When I decided it was time, I put everything I had into it and I lost 115 lbs. in 15 months (95 in the 2012 calendar year).
With that, I made sure that I did things that would sustain my  health long term.  I didn’t do any fad diets.  I developed new habits and a new lifestyle that has stuck with me and I have been able to keep most of the weight off and I am a much healthier person now than I was 3 years ago.
Now that I have decided to write fiction, I am taking a similar approach.  
I understand that the novel that I am working on is not going to make me a lot of money.  It is probably not going to be read by a lot of people.  
The chances of hitting it big on the first swing is almost non-existent.
And I love that.
Because I am thinking long-term.  I would much rather my 5th or 8th or 10th book take off and kick start my writing career.
But why?
  • I believe that, over time, I will become a much better writer
  • I want my brand to have an inventory.  If people read and love Abiding Harvest, the novel I am currently working on, then what?  I have nothing else for them to read after that
  • I will make mistakes along the way.  I understand that I need to be patient and learn from them whether they be in my stories, my marketing, or any other aspect of my writing business
I love writing.  I always have.  And I want other people to love my writing.  The great thing is that I have the rest of my life to work toward that.  
I want to lose the weight and keep it off.  To me, there is no appeal in dieting down to go look awesome at the beach and then go back to my old ways.
Write and keep writing.  Over time, you will gain sustainability with discipline.  

Book Review – The Wayward Pines Trilogy by Blake Crouch

Click above to see these books on Amazon

I cruise around on Amazon quite a bit looking for new books and new authors.  I read 3-4 books at a time so I am always kind of on the lookout.  I like to spend time looking in the pages of the genres that I like.
While searching through horror and thrillers, I kept coming across an author named Blake Crouch.  Particularly, I kept seeing his series Wayward Pines.  Finally, I decided to check them out.
And I’m real glad that I did.
It’s hard to talk about the whole series too much without giving away the end of the first book, so this may be brief and I’ll be real careful.
The story follows Ethan Burke, a secret service agent who goes to a town called Wayward Pines, ID to search for his missing former partner.  When he gets there, he realizes that something isn’t right.  The people in the town are very strange.  He can’t get in touch with his wife.  And he can’t leave.  
Once the story gets going, it keeps you on the edge of your seat.  I couldn’t put it down.  I pretty much put the other books aside that I was reading and finished these in about 2-3 weeks.
I read and listened to the books using Amazon Whispersync which is a really cool feature.  
From a writing standpoint, I really like Blake Crouch.  One of the things I like that he does is that he uses sentence fragments in a very smart way to show you what characters are doing.  For example, instead of saying something like:  “She went to the kitchen, made herself some scrambled eggs, then sat down for a glass of wine.”,  He would write it like: “She went to the kitchen.  Made some eggs.  Enjoyed a glass of wine.”  I really like this and have started using it in my writing some.  
One thing I don’t like, and I have noticed it while reading one of his other books, is that his dialogue can be kind of weak.  His story telling is so good and flows so well, but sometimes I think the dialogue can be a little unrealistic.  In specific with female characters.  One particular problem I had was that I thought Teresa, Ethan’s wife in the books, came off very weak in the last book.  She came off like a scared teenager when I feel like a mother would be a little stronger in the situations she was in.  I thought that he also made his son come off a little too ignorant.  In Crouch’s defense, I did listen almost exclusively to the last book and I may have had more of an issue with how the narrator portrayed the two characters.  But again, I have noticed this in other works.
That being said, the series is incredible.  I would highly recommend it for anyone who loves heavily character driven horror, suspense thrillers.  The end of the first book will throw you for a loop and you’ll want to jump right to the second book.
Oh, and if you read the book before the first of the year, you can be ahead of the curve once the mini series based on the book comes out!  See the trailer below.  It has a very good cast.
Rating – 8/10

Only the Perspective is Unique

Since I was probably 10 years old I have loved writing.

For years I have wanted to write a book.  I started and stopped a few novels.  Never committing the time because of various excuses:
No one will read this.
How will I find an audience?
How can I even publish this?
This is really hard!

Yup.  I made a lot of excuses.

I finally realized my dream when I self-published my first book last year.  The book is entitled I Once Was Fat But Now I See… and is part memoir and part weight loss guide.  It chronicles strategies I used to lose 115 pounds in about 15 months.  It is still surreal to this day.  I actually finished a book.  Not the book I ever thought that I would write as I spent most my life over weight, but I finished and the book has done really well and helped a lot of people.

So let’s fast-forward to now.

A little over a month ago I decided that I wanted to finally start and finish a novel.  Some other things in my life have shifted that has given me a little more time to finally put some work into doing something I have always loved and always wanted to do.

I began jotting down many different “What if?” scenarios to come up with an idea to write about.  As I started to come up with ideas, I quickly realized that I could easily compare the idea to a similar movie or book.  This was further shown to me when I would mention an idea to my wife or a friend and they would give the ole “Oh yeah, that’s kinda like…..”.

At first, this was frustrating.  I wanted to come up with an original idea that no one has done.

Then a couple of things happened.

For one, I have been listening to a lot of podcasts and reading a lot of writer blogs.  I started to hear and read different writers say “no idea is truly original”.  I took note but knew I could still come up with something new and fresh to write.

Then, I heard an interview with Hugh Howey, the uber popular self-published author of the epic post-apocalyptic saga Wool.  When I heard the premise of the novel and then read the description, I was shocked.  The book was almost exactly like a novel that I had previously started a couple of years ago.  For the record, I am now reading the book and am thoroughly enjoying it.

So what does all this mean and what have I learned?

Every idea has been done.  But you haven’t done every idea.

What I mean is that your perspective it unique.  If you gave two different writers the idea “What if someone could go back and stop the JFK assassination?” and asked them to write a novel, you would get two completely different stories.  By the way, if you are thinking of writing that book, it is the premise of Stephen King’s 11/22/63 which is an incredible read.

So, if you have an idea, write it!  Your perspective will make it unique.  Your characters will make it unique.  We all have a different story within us.  So don’t be intimidated by thinking that you are copying another idea.