12 Awesome Motivational Quotes You Should Know

Whether you are starting a novel, a blog, a new business, or anything else, there will be times when it is hard to stay motivated. There will be difficult times, as with any life lesson, but these 12 motivational quotes and inspirational texts will help keep you going. #LifeLesson #LifeHack #Quote #Motivation #Inspiration
Whether you are starting a novel, a blog, a new business, or anything else, there will be times when it is hard to stay motivated. There will be difficult times, as with any life lesson, but these 12 motivational quotes and inspirational texts will help keep you going. #LifeLesson #LifeHack #Quote #Motivation #Inspiration
Whether you are starting a novel, a blog, a new business, or anything else, there will be times when it is hard to stay motivated. There will be difficult times, as with any life lesson, but these 12 motivational quotes and inspirational texts will help keep you going. #LifeLesson #LifeHack #Quote #Motivation #Inspiration
Whether you are starting a novel, a blog, a new business, or anything else, there will be times when it is hard to stay motivated. There will be difficult times, as with any life lesson, but these 12 motivational quotes and inspirational texts will help keep you going. #LifeLesson #LifeHack #Quote #Motivation #Inspiration

It’s often not easy. Most of the time it is very difficult. There will be obstacles, but the final success will make you forget them. It’s a life lesson you need to learn. Sometimes a motivational quote is just the push you need. Here we will discuss 12.

Learning life lessons is essential if you are to grow as a person. In a continuation of my I’ve Learned Series, today’s post offers motivation for you to keep pursuing your dreams.

life lessons

 

Some life lessons will help you cope with tragedy and discouragement. Many will help you live peaceably while being more empathic and compassionate. Still others, the ones you will read about today, will give you the push you need to get started and keep going.

Whether you are dreaming of being a published author, a renowned stage actor or just a few pounds lighter, these quotes will help get you moving.

life lessons

 Start Here

Motivational Quote: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe

It is easy to put off a dream or goal because we are not where we think we should be. Have you ever said any of these things?

·         I will do it when I get a little older and have more time.

·         I will start when my kids are grown.

·         I will start exercising on January 1st.

·         I will start when the weather gets warmer.

·         I will start when I’m in a better position financially.

There are lots of reasons to put off your dreams. The truth is, there will never be the perfect time or circumstances. Start here. Start now.

Success never happens overnight. Start today in the direction you want to go. Tomorrow, you will wake up one step closer to your goal.

Disclosure: This site is a participant in the Amazon Services, LLC. Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This post also contains affiliate links. Any purchase made through such links will award me a small commission or referral fee, at no extra cost for you.


 life lessons

Set Goals

Motivational Quote: “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins

A leader with motivational quotes, Tony Robbins gives one of the keys to success.

You already have your dream. The final prize is clearly in your mind. Setting goals is about more than just setting the ultimate destination. Success is achieved through reaching many smaller goals. These small goals serve as footholds and milestones that are an important part of your journey.

Even small goals are important.

Suppose your ultimate goal is to write a novel. Most novels are in the range of 80,000-100,000 words. Very few people could pump out that many words in a day. Most can’t even do it in a week.

That’s why you start with smaller goals.

If you want to write a 100,000-word novel in a year, that means you need to write 275 words per day. Writing 275 words isn’t nearly as daunting as 100,000. Up to this point in this post you have already read 350 words. It’s not that much to commit to writing each day. It’s a realistic and achievable goal.

The same is true for every goal. Use this life lesson and break your goal down into its smallest parts. Then set each of those parts as a goal that you can knock off one by one.

 life lessons

Look for Opportunity

Motivational Quote: “Your big opportunity may be right where you are now.” – Napoleon Hill

A few lucky people are born into wealth and privilege. Due to their family legacy, they have all the tools they need to work towards virtually any goal. Or at least the means to buy the tools.

The rest of us usually like to wait for opportunity to find us. Stop waiting and start actively looking for opportunities. That truth makes this one of the most popular motivational quotes.

I got started in the financial services field completely by chance. One day, while visiting one of my neighbors at his office, I noticed an abundance of files scattered around in piles on the floor.

Often not the most tactful person, I made a comment about them and how unprofessional they looked.

My friend explained that he desperately needed a new filing system, but his entire staff was so busy that no one had time to work on it. I had some free time in my schedule, so I offered to spend a few hours a week putting things in order.

That simple act led to a twenty-year career in financial services.

The point here is that opportunity is all around us. Rarely does it come and knock on our door, but if we keep our eyes and minds open, we will see opportunity all around us.

Look around your life for the opportunities you need that will help you achieve your dreams.


 life lessons

Forget Your Age

Motivational Quote: “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – Les Brown

A lie that people like to tell themselves, especially as they get older, is that they aren’t the right age to pursue their dream. That lie is complete garbage.

In my life I have had the pleasure of watching friends achieve their goals, even starting late in life. One friend started taking piano lessons when she was nearly 60. She is a very accomplished pianist today. Another friend about the same age started taking art classes. His paintings now garner more attention than those from painters with decades of experience.

Browse the internet and you will find stories of many octogenarians that have started running marathons, taken up sky diving or gone back to school. They learned the life lesson and apply it in their lives.

You are not too young or too old to start a new goal. Get that thought out of your head.

Walt Disney was famous for saying, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

Forget your age. It’s only a number. Keep this message with you favorite motivational quotes.

 life lessons

Leave the Past in the Past

Motivational Quote: “The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power.” – Unknown

Another obstacle people put in the way of their dreams is the past. Maybe you tried to lose weight before but then gained it all back. Perhaps you started a business and it didn’t succeed. You might have started writing a book that you never finished.

All those things are okay. There is nothing you can do to change them. Stop letting them halt your future progress.

Tomorrow is a blank page. Nothing from yesterday needs to color it. Choose for tomorrow to be the day that gets you closer to your goal.

life lessons 

Take Action

Motivational Quote: “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” – Mark Twain

Now that the past is behind you, and you have your goal broken down into more manageable parts, it’s time for action.

Do at least one thing every day to move you forward. It doesn’t have to be a huge task. But do something every day.

Sometimes it might be just making a decision.

For instance, if you are starting a blog, one of the things most bloggers struggle with is picking a domain name. Your goal for today could be to make a list of possible names. If you already have a list, today’s assignment could be to pick one and sign up with a hosting company.

Reaching a goal isn’t about making big strides every day. Doing so might get you there faster, but any forward movement is just that – forward movement.

Do one thing today that moves you forward and count today as a win.

 life lessons

Leave Fear Behind

Motivational Quote: “Success often comes to those who dare and act; it seldom goes to the timid who are ever afraid of the consequences.” – Jawaharlal Nehru

It’s a crazy truth, but many people never achieve their dreams because they are afraid of success. Singer song-writers may fear that fame will change their lives in negative ways. Actors may fear that they won’t be able to keep the momentum after one big success. Authors fear that they might not have another good book in them.

Fear also rears its ugly head from the other direction. An author might fear publishing a book that no one reads or likes. I venture that every author feels that way, at least with their very first book.

An artist may fear that no one will understand or like their art. A musician might fear that no one will connect with their songs.

Don’t let fear stop you. Most things we fear will never happen. Learn and believe that life lesson.

There are more than 7-billion people on the planet. 7 billion! Many of them are going to like what you do no matter how good or bad it is.

Think of some of the worst films you have ever seen. Probably they all have some sort of cult following that love the film.

And if you don’t succeed? That’s not even an option. If you reach your goal, whatever that goal is, you have already succeeded. That success will change everything else in a good way.


 life lessons

Keep Moving

Motivational Quote: “You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.” – Rabindranath Tagore

Imagine that your dream is to build a boat and sail across the ocean. You work hard for months or years in crafting an excellent vessel. If you never put that boat in the water and actually set sail, your dream will never reach its true fulfillment.

Many writers do this with books. They write books, sometimes dozens of them, but then they never pursue publication. One writer share on Twitter recently that she has a whole wall of books she wrote and never pursued.

Most likely fear comes back into play here, but I cannot say that for sure. I myself have written at least five books, but only one is published. Getting that one published with a struggle that I stopped many time. You can read my experience here.

Reaching a milestone is not the place to stop. Keep your goal in front of you always. Then keep moving forward.

Life lesson? If you already have the boat finished, now is the time to get in the water.

 life lessons

Expect Failure as Part of the Life Lesson

Motivational Quote: “There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.” – Brene Brown

The brutal truth is that failure is an integral part of success. But failure never has to be the end. Just because something doesn’t succeed the first time, or even the second or hundredth time, doesn’t mean that it never will.

Nearly all the biggest achievements in the world arrived with a past littered with numerous failures. Thomas Edison is a famous example. For each of his world-changing successes were thousands of ideas that had not worked.

To read more about Thomas Edison and perseverance, read my post 7 Reasons to Never Give Up.

What’s necessary is to change your mindset. Expect you will have at least some failures during your journey. Then, when they happen, meditate on what you can learn from the failure and move on.

Your dream is still achievable.

life lessons

Stop Procrastinating

Motivational Quote: “Procrastination is the bad habit of patting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday.” – Napoleon Hill

Perhaps the biggest barrier to success is procrastination. Continually putting off the steps that need to be completed to reach your goal keeps your prize forever out of arm’s reach.

The good news is procrastination is another thing that is in your control. There is a great post about how to beat procrastination. 4 Ways to Beat Procrastination – With Frogs  is another life lesson that gives you four easy things you can do to change your procrastinating habit .

Resolve that you will keep moving forward. Set deadlines for yourself and do everything in your power to achieve them.

 

It’s Up to You

Motivational Quote: “Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.” – Carol Burnett

Only you can do what needs to be done. No matter how many online courses you pay for, how many classes your take or how many personal trainers you see, at the end of the day you are the only one that can do what needs to be done. You are the one that needs to write, exercise or eat better.

You have the ability to reach your goal. Remind yourself of that daily. Hourly if you have to. It is possible. You can do it.

life lessons

 

Keep Going

Motivational Quote: “Never, never, never give up.” – Winston Churchill

No matter what happens along the pathway to achieving your dream, don’t give up. There will be bad days. There might be bad weeks and months. I’ve even had bad years. But don’t let anything stop you from moving forward.

Even if circumstances cause your project to stall for a while, as soon as possible, get moving again.

Remember that the small things count. That’s another life lesson.

If your goal was to fill a bucket with rocks, big rocks would get the job done quicker. But even the smallest rocks tossed into the bucket add to the whole.

Acknowledge the small successes as well as the big ones. Each one is moving you toward reaching your dream.

You got this.

 

Life Lesson Learned

This post contains just a few of the quotes that have helped to reaffirm this life lesson in my mind. Are there quotes that keep you motivated? Please share them in the comments below.

If you enjoyed this post, please share it with friends and on social media.

Need a little motivation? Here are 12 quotes to keep you moving forward. #LifeLessons #Motivation #QuotesNeed a little motivation? Here are 12 quotes to keep you moving forward. #LifeLessons #Motivation #QuotesNeed a little motivation? Here are 12 quotes to keep you moving forward. #LifeLessons #Motivation #QuotesNeed a little motivation? Here are 12 quotes to keep you moving forward. #LifeLessons #Motivation #QuotesNeed a little motivation? Here are 12 quotes to keep you moving forward. #LifeLessons #Motivation #QuotesNeed a little motivation? Here are 12 quotes to keep you moving forward. #LifeLessons #Motivation #Quotes

5 Blog Posts for Writers

It’s been another very busy week which reduced the number of blogs I was able to visit this week. Today for my Wednesday Writer spotlight I am highlighted five posts that will be enjoyed by all but especially useful to writers. Enjoy!

On the Basics — Tackling the Other Kind of Writer’s Block

Which type of writer’s block are you facing? Didn’t know there was more than one type? Ruth E. Thaler-Carter shares what this second type is and how to overcome it.

No More than a Dream

Jeremiah Trent shares a thought provoking poem about being a stranger in a strange land. Sometimes that strange land is just another part of your country of origin. This poem really spoke to me because I experienced a similar journey.

 

10 Lessons I’ve learnt from writing my first novel.

Writing Tip: The 3-Drafts Rule

How many full drafts should you complete before sending your manuscript out to potential publishers? Kayla Ann shares her advice is this post.

Changing Up Your Writing Routine Could Solve Your Biggest Creative Problem

Are you stuck creatively on your current work in progress? Meg Dowell post presents a tip to get your creativity flowing again.

What blogs have you enjoyed this week? Please share links to your favorite posts below.

Paradise WIP – Chapter 6

Chapter 6

 

When I woke up I was back in my room in the compound. The morning sun was shining in and the morning meal bells were ringing. I had overslept. I jumped from bed and began dressing, amazed that I did not feel any pain. How much more time had passed?

In the dining area it was the familiar faces. I had not befriended anyone other than Paul and he would be in his own barracks this time of time. Still, I needed to talk to someone.

Vann was the only person nearby I had spoken to for more than a few seconds. He was standing with two other men that I recognized as being in a leadership role like Vann was.

I walked over and could not stop myself from blurting out, “I need to find Sam.”

All three turned and looked at me. I was sure I saw a moment of alarm in Vann’s face. “I’m not sure I know a Sam,” he told me.

“Sam, my wife. Samantha.”

The look of alarm was unmistakable. Vann nodded, and the other two men grabbed my arms and started to pull me from the dining area.

“What’s going on? Where are you taking me?” Terror washed over me.

“Just be calm,” Vann demanded through his calm but threatening smile. “Just be calm. You are not well.”

“I feel fine. Someone help me!” I yelled to the people in the dining area, but everyone turned away from us and continued their conversations.

They took me to my room first, probably because it was closer. As soon as we were inside the door closed and I heard a familiar click. It was the first time I realized the door had a locking mechanism.

“What are you going to do to me?” Other than bursting through the window, I did not have any options for escape. The three men definitely had the upper hand.

“I need you to repeat to me what you said in the dining area.” Vann was smiling, but his tone was very sinister.

“I didn’t say anything.” Maybe, just maybe, I could talk myself out of this.

“It will go much better if you comply easily.” Much better? I did not like the direction things were going.

“Honestly, I did not say anything.”

“Rick, we only want to help.” The two men sat me down on the bed between them, both still holding my arms. Vann grabbed the chair from the desk and sat in front of us.

I had to give them something. “I was wondering about my wife.”

“What is a ‘wife’?” Vann asked me.

I was confused. That was a simple term.

“My spouse. My mate.”

“Mate?” Vann chuckled to himself. “What an incredibly primitive thought. There is no mate anymore.”

“I… I don’t understand.” I really did not.

“Reconditioning?” The man to my left spoke for the first time.

“This might be a temporary glitch,” Vann told him. Turning to me he asked, “Rick, what do you plan to do today?”

“Just my job, in the vineyard.”

“This here is Gregg.” Vann gestured to the man on my left. He is going to stick with you today to make sure you are not unwell.”

“I am not.”

“Still,” there was something downright creepy about Vann that I was seeing for the first time. “It is better for us to keep up with you. For the most part we have eradicated illness from the world, but some vestiges occasionally spring up. It is important to be thorough.”

Gregg did stick close to me the rest of the day. He did not speak another word to me but was never more than an arm’s length away. He even stood in the room while I showered, though he did have the courtesy to at least turn his back to me.

After evening meal, I thought it was best to just go back to my room. My hope was they would leave me alone until morning. When I opened my door, I saw that another bed had been added. The second man from that morning, I was to learn his name was Todd, was going to be keeping me company at night.

There would be no exploring that night. I was still tired from all the nights of little sleep. Crawling into bed, I turned my back to him and pretended he was not there.

I slept little that night, and I am certain that Todd was awake the entire night watching me. With little sleep, there was no dreaming of Sam. Was it a dream or a memory? I had to find out.

Gregg and Todd took turns over the next few days keeping me company. The compound that had seemed so warm and secure was transitioning in my mind into the prison I now feared that it was. Paul was still being kept away from me. I did not think that Todd would ever hurt me, but I found myself unable to relax while he was in the room.

I concentrated my efforts on acting like my fellow inmates. I started sitting with different ones at the meal times and smiled and partook in pleasant conversation. I learned some of the other names. No one else seemed to portray any sense of suspicion that the compound was anything other than what Vann said it was. Still, I grew more and more concerned that there was something terrible going on.

It was a full seven days before I had the dream again. It did not start in the same place this time. I was laying among chucks of rock or broken concrete. The air was full of smoke or dust. I was in pain again but not as severe as it had been in the past. I hoped that meant nothing was broken.

I was able to sit up. The small lantern was few feet from me partially buried. I pulled it out and held it up. I could not be certain, but I appeared to be in the same place I was at the end of the last dream. The only difference was that three of the walls to the room were now crumbled on the floor around. The only wall still standing was the wet, poisonous one.

My ears were ringing like the explosion had just happened. I was becoming convinced this was a memory. I managed to get to my feet. The small lantern did not produce much light. I could only see a few feet in any direction. Further reducing visibility was the abundance of dust and smoke in the air. I did not seem to be having difficulty breathing, but I still went ahead and pulled my shirt up over my mouth to filter out some of the worst of it.

There was a hallway not far from where I had entered this time. The hallway was long but there were a few lights still flickering along the way. I found a few bodies but none of them were alive. I had to find Sam. She was my only connection to this place.

The end of the hallway came to a T. Both directions were dark. I closed my eyes for a moment and listened. Some of the dust had settled and I could now hear sounds of others moving around. I judged that the closest sounds were to my left, so I headed that way hoping I was going to come across friendlies.

More walls were crumbled along the way partially blocking the hallway. The walls had collapsed where they were falling neither in nor out from their position. I tried to imagine what type of explosive would accomplish such a task.

Some minutes later I came upon a still standing metal door. Though the walls on both sides had crumbled away, the door itself still stood firmly in place. The strength of the door told me it was the entrance or exit to something important. I climbed over the remnants of the walls and once in the room was able to see it was some kind of supply room. There were a lot of standing shelves, though most of them seemed to be empty.

Closing my eyes again, I listened. The sounds I had heard that had lead me to choose this directly had stopped.

Just then, another piece of wall fell, and I heard someone cry out in pain. I rushed to the sound and found Sam mostly buried by concrete.

“Sam!” Even in the darkness I could tell that she was badly injured. Many of the pieces of wall on her were too big for me to move by myself.

“Bots.” She was gasping for air.

“I don’t understand.” I set the lantern down and started to pull the rubble away.

“Get the bots.”

“What bots?” I had no idea what she was talking about.

“Backpacks. Get the backpacks.”

“I have to get you out first. I can’t leave you like this.”

She reached out with her only free limb and touched my arm. Through gritted teeth she commanded, “Bots first. Important.”

My mind clicked over the soldier mode. I picked up the lantern and proceeded on my mission. More of the dust was settling so I could see a little further, but more of the walls had also crumbled so most of the hallways looked unfamiliar.

It seemed like an eternity, but I was finally able to find the remains of the room I had started in. There were two backpacks that I had been propped against early. Both were very heavy. With great effort and pain, I put one on my front and one on my back. I also scooped up the camo jackets I had been covered with and noticed two helmets as well. I put one on and strapped the other around my wrist with the hand holding the lantern.

I was nearly positive that Sam would not be alive when I reached her. At first, I was sure I was correct. Again, I closed my eyes and listened. I heard a slow jagged breath. I reached down and touched her gently.

“Sam, I have the backpacks. I need you to tell me what to do next.”

One eye fluttered slightly. I saw her lips move but heard nothing. I leaned in closer.

“Blue… box,” she was finally able to exhale.

There were several boxes in the backpacks and all of them were foreign to me. In the limited light it was difficult to see colors. I finally found a small one that was indeed bright blue when help up to the light. Inside was a cylindrical object. Was this the bots she wanted?

“Neck,” she gasped. Her breathing was becoming shallower.

I decided this must be the object they had treated me with earlier. I pressed one end up against her next. Nothing happened. I tried again and still nothing.

“There should be directions,” I growled. Sam did not respond. She was dying.

I flipped the object over and pressed the other end against her neck. Swoosh. The sound I was waiting for. I wondered if I should do it again. I figured better to be safe and I pressed it against her neck again. Another swoosh. I put the object back in the box and back in the backpack. Next, I went back to work on digging her out.

In between the rumble and crashes from the moving chunks of cement, I could hear that Sam’s breathing had improved. I did not know what I was doing, but hopefully that meant that I had done the right thing.

Click here to read Chapter 7.

Words Do Real Damage – 3 Questions to Ask Before Speaking

Words Do Real Damage –

3 Questions to Ask Before Speaking

Words do real damage. Sometimes we learn this life lesson by things that are said to us, and sometimes by words we say to someone else. Once a word is spoken, it can never be taken back. Even the most sincere apologize will never truly heal the wound.

With this in mind, it is important that we think first before speaking. Especially in a moment of high emotion or anger. Here are three questions you should ask yourself.

 

One of my favorite stories is about a little boy with a bad temper. Everything I found online says the author is unknown, so I will only be crediting the site where I found the story.

Nails In The Fence – Author Unknown

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.

The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.

The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there.”

The little boy then understood how powerful his words were. He looked up at his father and said “I hope you can forgive me father for the holes I put in you.”

“Of course I can,” said the father.

Story found on: Inspiration Peak

 

Life Lesson Learned

This story illustrates an important life lesson. Words can do damage. Words spoken in anger are like the piercing of a nail. A sincere apology might remove the nail, but the scar is now forever there.

Like the little boy in the story, there is something we can do to make sure we are putting as few nails as possible into the fence. Ask yourself these three questions before you are tempted to say something in anger.

Would I Write It Down and Sign My Name to It?

Internet trolls and cyber bullies have done their best to make social media a hostile environment. The common thread among these harsh critics is that they typically speak anonymously.

It’s easy to say something hurtful or disparaging when you know the words won’t be attributed to you. But if you don’t want your name attached, should you be saying it in the first place? Most likely not.

 

 

Take a minute to think the next time you are inclined to write or say something negative. Imagine yourself one, five or ten years in the future. Would you want these words attributed to you in your life story? Would you want them to be the words you are remembered for?

We never know which of our words will be the ones that will stick with someone. That is all the more reason to choose them carefully.


How Would It Make Me Feel?

Next, switch roles for a moment before speaking. How would you feel to be on the receiving end of what you are about to say?

Cruel and heartless comments have become commonplace today. High ranking people in positions or authority are setting the worst example by their careless use of words.

Don’t follow their example.

Would you want to be called fat? Stupid? Crazy? Lazy? Incompetent?

Then don’t say those words to someone else. Don’t post them on social media.

 

Would I Want It to be My Last Words?

The sad reality is that someday we are all going to die. That’s a life lesson we are reminded of every day. We may live to be 100, or we might die in a freak accident later today. The six people recently killed by a bridge collapse in Miami were just going about their daily life. They had no warning that their time was up.

If today were your last day, what were the last words you spoke to your loved ones? Is that how you want to be remembered? Would you want those words on your tombstone?

In other posts I have talked about how I lost my wife suddenly. In the decade since, I have often agonized over our last conversation. Trust me when I say that it is not a burden you want to carry.

In conclusion, remember the fence as you go through your day. It might take a while for you to stop putting nails in it. Likely you will never stop. But you can reduce the number of nails by thinking carefully about what you are going to say next.

I hope you enjoyed this life lesson. Do you have questions you ask yourself before speaking? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Until next time….

 

10 Blogs to Visit Today

10 Blogs to Visit Today

Every Wednesday (well, most Wednesdays), I try to take a few minutes to promote other writers and bloggers through my Wednesday Writer series. Here are ten blog posts I enjoyed recently.

 

Click on the title to visit the blog.

1. Sneak Peek: Opening scene from Scotch Mist: a Dottie Manderson mystery

Are you looking for your next great read? The upcoming instalment of the Dottie Manderson mysteries is due out on 30 April 2018, and is a novella called Scotch Mist. In this post, author Caron Allan shares a sneak peak into her new work.

2. Soundtracks Could Be Uniquely Positioned To Succeed

Do you like soundtracks? Some of my favorites CDs (and yes, I do still listen to CDs, even in this digital era) are soundtracks. I also enjoy soundtrack stations on Amazon Music. Chris Thilk takes a moment to discuss soundtracks from recent movies and how they have have been dominating the album charts.

3. sometimes

Poetry is an important and quick diversion. From Tornadoday comes a dark and haunting poem with notes of abandonment and untimely death.

4. Question of the Day #4

For a fun idea, Sara in Lalaland offers a question about the zombie apocolypse. Be sure to read the comments of how her readers would survive the apocolypse.

 

Interested in starting a blog? Check out the FREE resources on Billionaire Blog Club.

5. How To Build A Solid Relationship With Your Readers

The most important thing for any blogger or writer is a strong relationship with your readers. Rachel Poli shares a post about some of the best ways to build this relationship.

6. Ham House, Richmond

Do you like travel posts? The Traveller offers beautiful pictures and details from the Ham House in Richmond. Some day I will make it over the pond to visit great attractions like this one. Until then, I thoroughly enjoy the pictures.

 


7. What’s up Monday

James Edgar Skye, through blog posts, shares his journey both as a writer and as one successful coping with bipolar disorder. In this post, he talks about some changes he made to become more productive.

 

8. But wait, there’s a twist …

Remember The Sixth Sense? For me, it was a deeply profound movie about how we often cannot see what is right in front of us because of being distracted by other things. Paul Greenamyer shares his thoughts on how the movie changed the world of writing.

 

9. “I’m Not A Man But I Love Your Blog”

Dadding Depressed is one of my favorite blogs. Through humor and sober facts, the author uses blog posts to shine a light on a world where many men experience depression in silence. Today’s post offers some feedback from many of his readers. Even if you are not a man, you will love this blog.

 

10. Here is my interview with Douglas L. Wilson

Fiona Mcvie interviews author Douglas L. Wilson and gives us an inside look into the man behind the name.

This is a collection of just a few of the posts I have enjoyed recently. Is there a post you have really enjoyed? Feel free to leave a link and why you liked the post in the comments below.

Paradise WIP – Chapter 5

Hello, dear readers. Here is the next chapter in my science fiction WIP. Please enjoy and share your comments at the end.

Note: Remember this is a first draft and completely unedited. Thanks for your understanding and for being part of this journey.

Chapter 5

I had lost Paul as an ally but I was determined to get him back. Everyone seemed to be working against. Still, I was able most days to get close enough to say one word to him. Soldier. Commander. Sir. War. He never reacted, but I saw in his eyes a glimmer of understanding.

I decided to learn as much about the compound while I was waiting for Paul to return to me. Some afternoons I would skip evening meal, pick a direction and run as fast as I could. Invariably, not more than thirty minutes into the run, men would appear in front of me encouraging me to return to the compound and enjoy evening meal. In my mind, I started to create a map. It was smaller than I first realized. In addition to the wood working barns and the vineyards, there were several additional work areas. There was a cooking building where all of the meals were prepared and where items were canned for later use. They also made wine there. I found another field with cotton growing at various stages just like the grapes. Near there was a large building where they made fabric and sewed the pants and shirts that everyone wore. When I was able to get to that building I would steal strips of fabric from the waste piles and started to braid them into a type of show to protect my feet while running.

Click the picture above to read from the beginning

Vann seemed to catch on to what I was doing and men started to appear just before evening meal to escort me to the dining area. It became near impossible for me to slip away. Instead, I chose to start exploring during the night after first rain. That was a little more tricky not being able to see clearly where I was going at most times. My feet took quite a beating. I took the next several nights to go to the clothing facility and sewed myself a sort of cloth boot. The boots did not fully protect my feet but they did reduce the number of cuts that were easily visible the next day while wearing my leather flip flops.

In the following nights I found a laundry facility, more fields and various fruit orchards, and an area candles and other items were made. Lastly I found a small which building, quite secluded. The door to the building was locked. That alone made me want to find a way in because it was the first lock I had seen in the whole compound. I was sure something important was behind that door.

The little sleep I got those nights, I still relived the memory over and over. I never saw her face but became more and more familiar with the woman every night. She was someone I cared for very much. I could not remember her face or her name, but with each passing night, a feeling blossomed in my heart that could not be denied.

I stopped attempting to reach Paul. I knew that my attempts were getting me nowhere and I did not want to raise suspicion about myself so that I would be free to continue my exploring. Quite by accident I found myself alone with him one day.

I was working with a hoe preparing a new section of vineyard. I came down hard with the hoe and struck a rock, breaking off the end of the handle. Dave was nearby and told me to go to the barns to get another one. Most of the wood workers were gone cutting and hauling trees back to the barns. Paul had hurt his hand and had stayed behind where he was sanding spindles with his good hand.

“Paul!” I was shocked to see him.

“Hello, friend,” he smiled at me. My friend was not there. I had to try.

I searched my mind for the few items we had talked about trying to find some trigger that would bring him back to me. Finally I thought of one that might work. I walked up close to him and put my hands on his shoulders, forcing him to keep his eyes locked on mine.

“Mical,” I whispered to him.

A wave of confusion washed over his face. Then something clicked. His eyes rolled up in his head and he fell to his knees, almost crushing me under him.

Read part of the I’ve Learned series above

“Paul,” I struggle to hold him up but he was so much bigger than me. Finally and I had give up and lowered him as gently as I could down to the floor. He did not say anything else. A single tear rolled out of his right eye.

Just then, two of the wood workers returned with a load of logs.

“What’s going on here?” They ran over to us as soon as they noticed Paul on the ground.

“I don’t know,” I answer truthfully. “I can to get a new handle for my hoe and found him this way.”

“Quick, go get Vann,” the taller one told the younger one, and he promptly turned and ran off.

“I should help,” I offered.

“No, that’s all right,” he told me. He nodded his head toward a large bin on the far side of the room. “The new handles are over there,” he told me. “You should get one and be on your way. Paul will be just fine.”

I was desperate to know if I had reach Paul, but this was not the time. I did as he recommended and left the barn.

Paul did not disappear again. The next day I saw him at noon break, but he was different yet again. He was not the stiff soldier I had first seen, nor was he the jovial talker that he had been most recently. He was still smiling and still talking some, but he was different again. I took that as a good sign. Everyone was again working together to keep us apart. As a result, I never had the chance to get close enough to find out if any of his memories had resurfaced. Instead, I continued to focus on my mission of gathering intel.

Several weeks went by spent with my days working hard in the vineyards and my nights mapping out the compound. The lack of sleep built up until one afternoon I was so tired I did not even go to evening meal. I went back to my room, shower and promptly collapsed on the bed.

The dream started again. I was so tired. I could not even open my eyes. It felt like I had not slept in days. My entire body hurt. I felt like I had been tossed down a huge flight of stairs and had hit every step on the way down. I groaned involuntarily.

“Roman?” The woman was there. “Roman, please come back to me.”

Something was different this time. Things were more intense. I could feel the cold of the medical table I was lying on. I could feel the warmth of her hand on mine and how rough her hands were. There were strong smells that my mind immediately identified as medicinal.

“Roman, we need you to come back.”

The room shook violently. For a moment I thought I was going to fall off the table. The woman lay her body across mine to protect me from the bits of ceiling that came down. The bright white lights went out for a moment and then came back on but continued to flicker. Somehow I found the strength to open my eyes.

The woman was still shielding me with her body. I could see she had long black hair pulled back in a ponytail. She was dressed in a black and gray camouflage and was covered with dirt and debris.

“Where?” I tried to talk but my throat was so dry it hurt. I tried to swallow but there was nothing to swallow. My tongue scraped against the roof of my mouth like sandpaper.

“Roman! Oh, thank the skies!” The woman jerked up and looked into my eyes. Her right hand caressed the side of my face.

“Where?” I tried again but did not seem to have the strength to continue.

“We’re in the bunker,” she told me. Her eyes were royal blue. I could not remember ever seeing eyes that color before but yet at the same time they were familiar to me.

I knew I was going to be confined to single syllables, so I tried another, “What?”

“You were injured. Knocked unconscious actually. Some of the guys wanted to leave you for dead but I ordered them to cary you back here. We were too close to the shelling.”

The room shook again. Most debris fell from the ceiling and the lights continued their flickering.

“Shelling?” I felt like I should know that word.

“Oh, Roman.” I watched as a tear streamed down her right cheek. “They reached you, didn’t they?”

There was no going on with as dry as my mouth was. Why was I so thirsty?

Share my blogging journey with the Tale of a New Blogger series

“Water?”

“We have a little,” she told me. She handed me a small bottle but there was only enough water in it to barely wet the inside of my mouth. My throat remained dry.

“More?”

“Roman, you know I can’t.” I could see in her face that this woman cared deeply for me. Other than her eyes, nothing else seemed to be familiar.

I tried to sit up a little but she pushed me back down. “You need to rest,” she scolded me. “They are getting closer and we will have to move soon. Save your strength. You have not slept in days.”

I had not slept much, but I would not have said that I had not slept in days. How did she know how much I had slept?

With great effort, I spoke, “Slept last night.”

“No, no you haven’t. You keep insisting that you keep watch. Now it is your time to rest.”

It did not make sense. I was tired from all the activity of the last few days. It did not seem right that I should be this tired.

I was afraid to ask. “Who?”

“Who? What do you mean? Who survived?” She was genuinely confused by my question.

“You?” Breathing was suddenly getting more difficult. My chest tightened up as the pain in my back, legs and shoulder intensified.

She did not speak for a moment. I watched as both eyes filled with tears and her lips began to tremble.

“Who am I?” she slowly whispered.

I tried to nod but ended up only blinking instead.

“Oh, Roman.”

Another woman came up wearing a black turtleneck with black pants.

“How alert is he?”

“I’m not sure,” answered the woman holding my hand. “He seems to have trouble speaking and is a bit clouded.”

“It is probably the pain returning. Both his leg and shoulder were broken. I’ve done what I can but he will still have considerable pain for a few days. Let me get some more meds.”

The woman in black walked away and took a few items from a backpack. I looked again at the first woman and asked again, “Who?”

“You know who, Roman,” she whispered to me. “You know me. You know me.”

I searched my brain but there was nothing but blackness. I remembered the vineyard, the compound, Paul. This woman was not in there.

The woman in black returned and pressed something against my neck. I heard a quiet swoosh and everything went black.

There were brief moments of consciousness in the days to follow. I would start to recognize the world around me and someone would press something against my neck. I would hear that quiet swoosh and everything would go dark.

I cannot say how much time passed. Finally I woke up. I felt myself sitting up some even before I opened my eyes. I was in a different room. The walls appeared to be poured concrete and one appeared wet. I was propped up against a backpack and was covered by a couple camo jackets. The woman I had first seen was lying next to me. A small lantern next to her offered minimal light in the room.

I tried to sit up more and was relieved to find I was in considerably less pain. My mouth was very dry.

I reached out to gently rouse her.

“I’m up!” She jerked herself upright in an instant. “Roman! You’re awake!”

“Yes.” Speaking was not as difficult even though my mouth was overly dry.

“Water?” I asked her.

“I will have to get some,” she told me. “I have not been out much. I did not want to leave in case you needed carried out of here.”

I pointed to the wall that appeared to be wet. It looked like there was water that just needed to be collected.

“Poisoned,” she informed me. “Most of the free water has been poisoned.”

“Poisoned?” That did not make any sense. There had just been an abundance of water.

“You’re still not fully back, are you?” She reached out and rang her fingers through my hair. “But you are here and you are awake and I will be happy with what I can get.”

Something is her touch was very comforting. I reached up and grabbed her hand with mine. There was familiarity that I had not felt before. I held her hand against my face and closed my eyes. Yes, I had felt this hand before.

“Are you remembering?” She whispered like she was afraid to say the words out loud.

“Some,” I answered honestly.

“Do you know me?”

I opened my eyes. Her eyes were filling with tears again but her face was hopeful.

“No, I’m sorry.”

She tried to smile. “It should come back.” I was not sure if she was trying to console me or herself. “I’m Sam. Samantha,” she went on. “I’m your wife.”

Wife? The word echoed in my head. I could not have a wife and not remember her. When had I gotten married? And where was this place? Why were we in dark quarters instead or outside in the sun?

“I should get some water.” She pulled away. Part of me knew it was because she did not want me to see her cry.

“I’ll come,” I offered.

“No, you need to rest a little more,” she instructed. “I will be back soon.”

I did want to get out and see where we were in the compound. Stirring myself I could feel the fatigue that was likely the reason she was intent on me resting more.

She slipped from the room. I laid back against the backpacks and closed my eyes. She was only gone a few minutes when I heard an explosion and the room shook violently. So much so that the lantern next to me was knocked over. I could hear screams in the distance and I jumped to my feet. The door opened out and something was blocking it. I was trapped in this small room. I picked up the lantern and examined the walls to see if I had missed another way out. All the walls were solid concrete. I was careful not so touch the wall that was wet. I put the lantern back down and applied all my energy to trying to push the door open. I exerted myself for several minutes before another explosion knocked me from my feet. I felt my head hit the wall and everything went black.

Click here to read Chapter 6.

 

 

7 Reasons to Never Give Up

7 Reasons to Never Give Up

There are many ways to be taught a life lesson. Often the best teacher is also the most painful. Trials, struggles and adversities can teach a great deal if we can survive them. The key is to never give up.

Quotes are important to me. I love to write them down and refer to them for inspiration and comfort. Today I will share seven of my favorites and how they can help you to never give up.

 

This writer has had his fair share of struggles and disappointments. Most days it feels like more than a fair share, but we are all living with our own private hell.

Rather than focus on the struggles and negative, today I want to concentrate on how to keep going.

 

Focus on the Light

A light appears to be at its brightest when everything around it is dark. The trouble is that when things in our lives are the most dark, we often feel we can’t see past the darkness. Light is always there. It might be a small speck in the distance, but it is there.

Look for the light. If you see even a hint of light, focus on it.

Frequently, when things are at their worst, we tend to close our eyes, at least figuratively. Things are so bad, we can’t bear to see anything else. I have been in that darkness more than once. I’m sure I will be there again.

Have you ever watched a sunrise? I don’t mean just the last few moments before the sun crests over the horizon. I mean starting from the dead of night.

The first hints of light are barely discernable. But then, as if by magic, light begins to infiltrate the sky.

Keep looking for the light and you will find it.

 

It’s Okay to Start Over

I have failed at three businesses. It’s important to me to share that so you can understand where I am coming from.

Many times when everything falls apart, we can’t help but keep trying to put things back together. But sometimes Humpty Dumpty can’t be fixed. And that’s okay. Maybe he shouldn’t be.

Relationships, businesses, creative endeavors all may fail. Sometimes it’s an epic fail. So, ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?”

Many times, it is not really a failure. What may at first seem to be a fail may actually prove to be milestone on the road to your success.

Thomas Edison became famous for saying “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”

Learn from today and start new tomorrow.

 

Struggles Produce Strength

This quote provides a life lesson most easily illustrated through exercise. Starting an exercise program can be difficult and painful. But the only way to achieve that beach-worth body is to push through the pain.

Here in Tennessee the weather has started to warm up. A few days ago, I plunged myself into work in preparing my flower beds for spring.

Evidently, I have not stretched the muscles in my thighs and hips for most of the winter. Too much time spent writing, I imagine. After just a few hours spent squatting in the flower beds, I had the pleasure of hobbling around the next few days like an 80-year-old man.

Should I stay out of the gardens? Of course not. My body will adjust again to working in the yard. There might be some pain along the way, but it is worth it in reaching the end result.

If you are suffering through something right now, look for ways to gain strength from this experience.

 

Difficulties Produce Success

This quote by Samuel Smiles is one of my favorites. You could never reach the top of the mountain without climbing it. Why would we expect any other success to be different?

Let’s think for a minute about marathon runners. No one would just wake up one day and decide to run a marathon. The Boston Marathon is just over 26 miles. I’m not sure I could even walk 26 miles. In fact, I’m pretty sure I couldn’t. Some days driving 26 miles requires an effort.

Marathon runners train for months and years. They get up early to run in snow, rain and dark of night. They know the struggle is integral to reaching their goal of completing the marathon.

That’s an important point. Not every marathon runner, in fact most I would imagine, runs with the hope of winning the race. For many the goal is simply to finish the race.

Keep your eyes on your goal. And your first goal should be realistic.

If you were starting a new business, you would never expect to become a millionaire the first year. Yes, it does happen, but it is very rare. Very rare.

Instead, your first goal might be to be profitable. Most new businesses are not profitable for 2-5 years. Being profitable is a very realistic and important goal.

It’s the same for anything else. Yes, you may struggle. It may feel like you are always going uphill. But keep your goal in mind and you will attain success.

 

Success Requires Sacrifice

Intentionally, I am going to misapply this wonderful quote by Dr. King. While he was talking specifically about pursuing justice for all, the gist of his words can apply to any struggle.

Meditate on a few of the expressions he used. Requires sacrifice. Tireless exertions. Passionate concern. Dedicated.

Success in endeavors or in life does not happen without effort. If life sucks right now, well, I’m sorry. But that is part of life. Giving up now will get you nowhere.

Suffering is an important part of the journey. Many of us best learned empathy and compassion as a direct result of the terrible things we experienced.

Dedicate yourself to reaching your goal. Whether it is achieving a healthy life or writing a book, dedication and sacrifice will be your footholds to your ultimate goal.

 

Success is a State of Mind

I would have liked to meet Napoleon Hill. Over the years I have collected dozens of his quotes. Many of them keep me going from day to day.

You will never truly fail until you quit in your own mind.

One of my favorite stories is that of Captain Ernest Shackleton and the loss of the ship ironically named Endurance. I may even dedicate an entire post to it later on.

The Endurance was crushed and sunk in the South Atlantic by pack ice. Shackleton and a few of his crew set out in their small lifeboat to reach a whaling station. Terrible conditions forced them to land the boat 20 miles from the station.

With no climbing equipment and subzero temperatures, his small party treked uncharted, snow-covered mountains to reach the station and rescue the rest of their crew. It took 17 days.

None of his crew were lost.

What kept his crew going despite seemingly hopeless odds? They believed their captain would keep his promise to rescue them.

How did Captain Shackleton keep himself going? His primary ambition was to save every one of his men. Failure was not an option. His mind was determined on success.

The mind is more powerful than we often give it credit for. If you believe you will fail, you will fail.

But chance to believe you will succeed? You may just rescue your entire crew.

 

Refuse to Stop Fighting

Personally, I am not a fan of boxing. I’m sorry if that offends you. But I don’t understand two people senselessly beating each other to a pulp.

Boxing does teach us an important life lesson. The winner of the match isn’t necessarily the strongest or the biggest.

The trait that creates winners in the ring is the refusal to stay down. Hit them over and over and over. (Seriously, why do they do this?) They keep getting up.

Life is often like a dirty boxing opponent. It breaks the rules and hits you in the most sensitive areas.

Keep getting up.

The end of a relationship might flatten you.

Keep getting up.

Closing a business may be devastating.

Keep getting up.

Serious health conditions may overtake you.

To the extent you can, keep getting up.

You got this. I believe in you.

Thank you for taking the time to read this life lesson from the I’ve Learned series. What keeps you from giving up? Please share your thoughts and tips in the comments.

Until next time…

Paradise WIP – Chapter 4

Paradise WIP – Chapter 4

I felt the ground rumble beneath me but I was so tired I didn’t want to open my eyes. Then the ground rumbled again, more violently.

“Roman, we’ve got to move, now!” It was a woman’s voice. I couldn’t identify it but I knew it was familiar.

“In a minute,” I grumbled, my eyes still closed. I had never been so tired.

“Roman, now!” I felt the sting as she slapped my face and bolted upright.

Read from the beginning. Click this line.

I was alone in my room. My white sheets were wrapped around me. It was still dark but the view from my window to the East showed the first glimpses of light behind the mountains.

“Hello?” I whispered. I felt foolish as I said it but the dream had been so real. Surely there had been someone in this room with me.

I looked around for several minutes but there was no answer and no one with me. I laid back down so I could look out the window. “I’m losing what little of a mind I have,” I told myself and I drifted back to sleep.

In the morning I went off to the vineyard without having morning meal. I was eager to see Paul, or Peadar, again. I had so many questions. Were there others we knew in the compound? Where were we really? If the sky on Earth had been destroyed, did someone find a way to clean it or were we on a different planet? That seemed preposterous, but everything else was already so crazy that I did not want to miscount any possibility.

A section of the vineyard was ready to be harvested. I worked quickly snipping bunches from the vines and placing them in baskets. Every time a basket was almost full, someone would appear next to me and haul it off. There were no words between us, and I was happy for that.

It seemed an eternity before the noon bells rang. I sprinted to the large oak. Paul was not there. I supposed I had beaten him there. I got my plate of food and sat at our table. I ate slowly an anxiously ready to get some answers. Paul did not show. I surveyed the crowd and saw several of the men that Paul worked with. They were all here. I decided to get up and approach the man that seemed to be the supervisor of the wood workers. Dave popped in front of me just two steps from the table.

“Where are you off to?” he asked me.

“I was going to go ask someone a question.”

“And who might that be?” Dave was smiling, but I sensed a bit of warning in his tone.

I looked toward the man I wanted to talk to, but could not remember his name. I had given so little effort to paying attention to names that now I could not remember the one I needed. Instead, I pointed.

“You want to talk to Jack.”

“Yes,” I replied.

“Jack has had a busy morning. He probably needs to relax during noon break. Perhaps I could answer your question.”

I felt a rage building up inside me. The more Dave smiled, the more I felt the desire to hit him.

“It is a wood working question,” I told him. I tried to move around him, but he kept moving into my path.

“I used to work with the wood workers,” Dave said coolly. “I’m sure I could answer your question.”

Something in his stance told me I was fighting a losing battle. He still smiled, but his face had grown cold and hard.

“It’s not that important,” I told him. I sat back down at the table.

Paul did not appear again for many days. I only saw the wood workers at noon break. Each time I tried to approach one of them, someone stepped in my way. I kept sitting at the same table, but now only vineyard workers sat at the table with me.

Finally, sprinted to the oak one afternoon, I caught a glimpse of Paul in the distance. Even from afar I could tell that something was different. Paul looked very relaxed with soft features and a somewhat slouching posture.

I ran up to him and touched his arm. “Paul, where have you been?”

He turned and was smiling ear to ear. “Hello, my friend. I was working at the barns this morning.”

“No,” I growled as low as I could. “Where have you been the last few weeks?”

“You must have me confused.” His tone was jolly and relaxed. “I only arrived at the compound last night.”

From his eyes I could see that Paul fully believed what he was saying.

“Soldier,” I whispered, “I command you to tell me where you have been.”

“What’s a soldier?” he asked me.

Paul was helping me remember some of my memories. I decided I would have to do the same for him.

“Come, let us sit at our table and I will explain it to you.”

“Wood workers usually eat with wood workers,” he told me. “I am sure you would prefer to each with the vineyard workers.”

I did not know what had happened, but my Paul, my only link to my past, was gone.

I watched him closely throughout the noon break. He appeared to be a completely different person. He was laughing and relaxed and having a full share in the conversations at his table.

As I worked that afternoon I tried to make sense of things. Paul had told me a little about reconditioning, though I did not really understand what it meant. He had said something about them messing with our brains. His brain worked differently, though, so his memories should be reachable. I just had to figure out a way to access the backup he told me about.

In the days of Paul’s absence I had been having dream almost every night. I was so tired and could not even open my eyes but a woman was telling me we had to go. The woman would strike me and I would wake up covered in sweat. The dream made no sense. I tried to push it from my mind.

The night after Paul returned, though, the dream was very different.


It started the same way. I felt entirely exhausted. The woman’s voice was speaking to me, and the whole world seemed to be shaking. I concentrated all my energy on opening my eyes. For a fraction of a second I was able to. I was in a white room with bright white lights shining down at me.

“Roman,” the woman was very close to me. “Roman, please, we need you. Please come back to us.”

The room rumbled again. Even through my closed eyes I could see the lights were flickering.

“Roman, there isn’t much time,” the woman pleaded with me. “Please.”

There was a deafening explosion and I woke to find myself on the floor. My heart was racing. For the first time I realized that it was no dream but a memory I was having.

Author’s Note: I hope you enjoyed this week’s chapter. Be sure to come back next Tuesday to read the next chapter.

What do you think of the story so far? Be sure to leave your comment below.

Click here to read Chapter 5.

Paradise WIP – Chapter 3

Chapter 3

I had noticed it my first night. After I had woken that morning I felt like I had slept for years. When it got dark and everyone had wondered off to their own sleeping quarters, I had sat in my window just looking outside. Not long after all was quiet it had started to rain. It was a quiet gentle rain and lasted about an hour and then stopped. The sky cleared up almost immediately but then about two hours later it happened again.

That first night it didn’t mean much to me. I didn’t sleep much, though, not more than a couple of hours a night, and I had noticed the same pattern night after night. I also noticed that in the days that I had been here it had never once rained during the day.

After evening meal I went in my room and closed the door. I started pacing the floors waiting for the rain to start. In one respect my mind was running wild. Something had felt off since I had arrived here. Now there was something that could confirm what that something was. In other respects my mind was blank. Try as I did I could not remember ever having seen Paul before I met him here. I could not remember anything about myself or why he might be calling me “Sir” and me calling him “soldier.” I did not even know what a soldier might be. None of it made any sense. I felt like I was in some crazy dream that I couldn’t wake up from.

Vann slept in one of the rooming houses on the North end of the compound. Not long before all the lights started turning off for the night I saw him and the two tigers make their way in the direction. I hoped that they would stay with him there.

What seemed like an eternity later the rain finally started. I looked at my dark reflection in the mirror. Even with no lights on I was clearly visible in the mirror with my white shirt and pants. Everyone wore white. When the moon came out I would be easily seen running across the compound toward the wood barns. I decided to head outside right away.

Read Paradise from the beginning

Near the door at the entrance was the shelf where everyone stored their leather flip flops. I decided it would be too hard to run in them if I needed to run and I didn’t take a pair. The grass outside was just as plush beneath my feet as the carpet in my room. I made my way around the house to a little shed. I was hoping to find something to cover myself so there wouldn’t be quite as much white showing. The shed was disappointing. There were yard tools and buckets and a few shelves with jars of seeds and such but nothing I could cover myself with.

I could already hear the rain slowing. In the corner there were small bags of grass seed. I decided it was my only option. I ripped three of the burlap bags open and dumped the seed out on the floor. I turned one bag inside out and stripped off my shirt and pants, folding them neatly and placing them in the bag. With some ingenuity I was able to fashion a sort of loincloth from another. I took the third in case Paul might need it.

My pale skin would hopefully be less noticeable running across the compound as the white clothes would have been.

The rain stopped and I stepped quietly from the shed. Everything was silent except for the sound of the rain still dripping from the trees and the eaves of the buildings. I cautiously crept out about some distance from the buildings and carefully looked around. I hoped that the tigers would show up as brightly as my clothes had. After turning around several times I broke into a full run in the direction of the wood barns. Halfway there I felt a sharp rock cut into my left foot but it didn’t even slow me. I amazed myself that I could keep running in spite of it.

I made it to the barn and peered back out over the compound. Nothing was moving and I was sure I hadn’t been spotted. I made my way to the back of the barn to wait for Paul. It was nearly pitch black as I waited.

“Sir,” my heart leapt out of my chest as I spun around but I saw nothing.

“Paul, is that you?”

“Yes, Sir.” He moved closer and I could barely see the whites of his eyes as he blinked. Evidently he had had the same idea I had and chosen to come not wearing any clothes.

“Is it safe to talk now?” I asked him.

“Yes, I think so,” he told me. “As long as we are very quiet.”


Reaching out to offer the empty burlap bag to him, my hand quickly connected with Paul’s chest. He was closer than I first thought.

My eyes were adjusting some to the darkness, and I saw him look down at the bag and back at me. He said nothing, but the implication was clear. Paul was too large of a man for the small bag to accomplish anything.

He moved closer to me and I could almost feel the heat from his body. “That’s close enough, soldier. This is awkward enough.”

“There is no room for modesty in war, Sir,” he said flatly.

“I’m sorry?” Now that Paul was talking I felt like I understood him even less.

“There is no room for modesty in war, Sir,” he repeated.

“Who told you that?” I asked sarcastically.

“You did, Sir.”

“Me?” I asked him. “We hadn’t even spoken before today.”

“Not here, Sir. We have known each other for many years.”

“Why don’t I remember that?”

“It’s the conditioning, Sir. They steal our memories from us to use against us.”

“Steal our memories? To use for what? And How?” I was dumbfounded.

“In the war, Sir. We are the last resistance.”

Paul then started to tell me what he remembered of me. We had known each other as kids. Paul was younger than me and his brother, Mical, had been my best friend. Paul said that his real name was Peadar. They changed our names when they brought us here but they tried to keep something similar so that our brains wouldn’t reject the name completely.

“Is Mical here?” I asked him.

Even in the dark I could see him look down and his shoulders drop.

“No, Sir. Mical died many years ago when we were all still quite young.”

“I’m so sorry.” In my heart I felt his sadness even though I didn’t remember Mical.

“And my name?”

“Your real name is Roman. Roman Pierce.”

I let the name roll around in my head for a minute. I didn’t remember it, but somehow I knew he was telling me the truth. It felt right.

“Where are we?”

“I’m not sure. I’ve been here 385 days, but I have never been outside of the compound. If we could get to the mountains maybe we could get an idea of where we are. There is no easy way there and they would look for us as soon as they found us missing.”

“That’s probably not the best plan as long as I don’t know who I am.”

“No, Sir, I agree.”

“You don’t have to keep up the whole ‘sir’ thing.” I told him.

“I do, Sir. It is programmed. I cannot change it.”

“Programmed? Are you not human?” So much made no sense to me.

“I am very human, Sir. When the war started I was taken. The Hyatt altered me on a genetic level. I was programmed to fight for them and follow orders.”

“The Hyatt?”

“Yes, Sir. The Hyatt is the group that controls the water and food. They want everyone to slave for them.”

“Am I part of this Hyatt?”

“No, Sir.”

“But yet you report to me?” I didn’t know how I knew that.

“Yes, Sir. You rescued me from the Hyatt programming facility. You couldn’t undo what had been done, but you got to me before I was complete.”

“How is it you remember this and I don’t.”

“My brain was upgraded,” he told me. “My brain automatically segments and backs itself up. They tried to recondition me when I first came. They don’t know it didn’t work.”

“And my brain?”

“You have a normal human brain, Sir. It is much easier to tamper with.”

From there Paul gave me a quick overview. There had been a cataclysmic time. True to some predictions, much of the polar ice caps did melt and the oceans rose substantially shrinking the amount of habitable land. Things happened so quickly that the infrastructure couldn’t keep up and power plants were destroyed as well as communication systems. Then the volcanoes started, dozens erupting at the same time and in places that had never seen volcanoes before. So much ash poured into the atmosphere that the sun and moon and stars hadn’t been seen in years. A vision appeared in my head of a dark red sky.

With the sun gone it became much harder to produce food. Factions developed and each tried to control the food supply. Ironically with the abundance of water now covering the planet there was less and less fit to drink. Water became a lure to catch those who were starving and dying of thirst so that they could slave for the ruling faction.

“That explains my reaction to the pool water,” I mumbled to myself.

“Yes, Sir, I’m sure it does.”

Although it was the smallest faction, the Hyatt had somehow come out on top. No one was quite sure what had happened but suddenly the Hyatt had the power, the food and the clean water. They started snatching up people left and right and those who were caught were never seen or heard from again.

Resistances were formed, but they were disorganized. The general populace was beaten down and exhausted and many near death. He told me that I had been part of a small resistance and I kept insisting, much against popular opinion, that the only way to turn the tide was to fight from underground. I had gathered more and more people and brought them to a place that seemed to be safe. As we tunneled deeper and deeper we dug into a bunker full of scientists. They knew how to recycle the little clean water we had and how to get crops to grow without sunlight and without being on the surface.

Reaching those scientists changed everything. I became famous overnight as I was credited for finding the scientists and hopefully salvation from both a world that was destroying itself and from the Hyatt.

Paul had been captured 400 days ago. From what he knew it typically took 14 days to recondition someone which meant I had only been captured about three months ago.

The second rain storm was ending.

“This is a lot to take in,” I told him.

“Yes, Sir, it is. But it is also only the start. We must head back, Sir. Meet me again tonight and we’ll talk more.

I made it back to the little shed and put my clothes back on. Even though it made my heart race I went and washed my feet, face and hands in the little pool before going in to bed. It was the first time I had been truly tired since arriving. It didn’t take long and I was sound asleep. It turned out that that was also the night the dreams started.

Click here to read Chapter 4.

Tale of a New Blogger – Part 3

Tale of a New Blogger – Part 3

Tale of a New Blogger tells the true story of a blogger experience. This series shares the real stats, triumphs and epic fails experienced along the way.

It doesn’t seem possible that it can be time for March Madness already. Bring on the excitement!

It feels like I have barely blinked my eyes since writing the last installment of this series and now it is time to write again. What a month it has been!

My March Madness post this week is all about my blogging journey. This is part of a series where I am sharing my first year, and hopefully many years thereafter, of my experience.

Be sure to read Part 1 and Part 2.

There are all kinds of great things to share today so let’s jump right in.

 

Where Did the Time Go?

First up, as planned, I faithfully kept up with tracking my time throughout February. It seems unreal, but I devoted 134 hours to blogging in the month of February. 134 hours!

That is mind blowing especially since my last month of working full-time I only worked 128 hours. And, in addition, I also did a number of freelance gigs during February.

Something had to go, so I gave up sleeping.

No, not really. Though I am sleeping less.

I am a huge TV fan. For the time being, that is the sacrifice I am willing to make to produce a successful blog. I am way behind on all of my favorites shows. I may have to start reading episode highlights until I have time to watch again.

Now where do I find time to read those? Hmm…

Here is a breakdown of how I spent my time:

 

 

It is important to me and my blogger experience to track where I spend my time, and for two reasons.

1. I want to be able to look back in the future and tell people truthfully what it takes to start a blog.

2. I wanted to give me readers a glimpse into what it takes to have a money making blog.

As you will see further down, I am far from making money with this blog. FAR. FAR. FAAARRRRR.

But I know that will change, and in time I can refer back to these posts as I continue to tell my story.

Frankly, the people saying they spend four hours a month on a highly successful blog are full of crap. Either that or they have a whole team of people doing the work for them.

The biggest lesson I have learned so far is that blogs take time. A LOT of time.

 

Where Did the Money Go?

 

Despite my original plans, I did decide to spend more money on blog courses in February. I do not regret that decision at all.

I made three main purchases in February.

 

 

Carly Campbell – Mommy on Purpose

First, I decided to learn more about Pinterest from someone who is rocking the Pinterest world. So I bought Carly Campbell’s book, Pinteresting Strategies.

Carly has a completely different take on Pinterest from most other courses and her method is really working. It is not uncommon for her to get 8-9k views a day on Pinterest. A large number of those click through to her website.

I purchased this course on February 22, so I can’t tell you a whole lot about the successes so far. I can tell you that on Pinterest I went from averaging about 100 views a day to 800.

 

 

You can see I started to implement Carly’s method immediately. I decided to try her methods for just a couple days. The impact is undeniable.

Unfortunately, I have not been disciplined about working the system the way I should be, but the possibility of the impact is really exciting. I will share more with you on this journey next month.

Billionaire Blog Club

My other big outlay in February was for Billionaire Blog Club. I am not taking this course myself, but I paid for my personal assistant to take it. He is interested in starting his own blog and will be working on improving this one.

BBC offers it’s own unique blogger experience. If you buy in, you get a lifetime membership to all of Scrivs training and entry into a large and supportive community of likeminded bloggers.

Right now he is only eight days into BBC’s course. There will be an update on this journey next month.

You can test drive BBC by signing up for the free 12-day blogging boot camp found on the top of the main page.

Third, I have a new obsession. This is the biggest reason I got sidetracked from working Pinterest the way I should be.

Canva

I discovered Canva.

Note: I am not an affiliate for Canva, but I would love to be in the future.

Several bloggers have pointed me to Canva, but I was perfectly happy with using either Powerpoint or Publisher to make the graphic images I needed.

Man, was I missing out!

If you like designing and creating your own graphic images, you have to check out Canva. Even if you don’t especially love graphic design, if you have any need to create images, no system is easier than Canva.

 

What Happened on Social Media?

 

I didn’t spend nearly as much time on social media as I had the prior two months. My growth in followers will show that. A blogger experience is primarily about changing and then changing again. Or so it seems.

Of the 30 hours, much of that time was spent on implementing Carly’s Pinterest methods.

Still, there was growth.

 

The positive takeaway is that there was growth in every area. I am most surprised by Facebook and Instagram because they were definitely my neglected step-children this month.

 

And The Money Kept Rolling in…

 

So, here’s the part I am not as excited about. Income, money earned, changed very little in February.

I knew that I was looking at a six month or longer period before my blog produced any income, but I truthfully hoped it would happen quicker for me.

The grand total for February, and this is earned, so not even in my pocket yet, is $3.05. And that is all from Google AdSense.

This means that optimizing my posts for both SEO and monetization has to priority this month.

Sorry, but at some point this blog has to pay the bills. I will try to keep ads to a relative minimum.

 

Other News

 

One exciting tidbit is that Gundi Gabrielle reached out to me on Twitter after reading my review of her book series. I was so touched! It inspires me to keep writing and publishing.

If you haven’t already noticed, I started sharing my current science fiction project in February. The working title is Paradise and Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 are now available to read and the plan is to publish a new chapter every Tuesday.

 

 

Please keep in mind this is a first draft, so there will be some obvious errors. I want your comments, though, so please let me know what you think.

On the freelance side, I was able to get a few gigs going and make some real income in February. This will be a pet project for the time being as I intend to keep the blog and Paradise my primary focus.

How was your February? Please share your news in the comments below.

Resources to improve your blogger experience:

Billionaire Blog Club

Carly Campbell’s book, Pinteresting Strategies.