When You Are Stumped By Your About Page

When You Are Stumped By Your About Page

As the Toby Keith song goes, “I wanna talk about me.” Well, not really, and that was kind of the problem with my About Page. It’s not always easy for me to talk about me.

I know there is probably some standard format that should be used for an about page. In part, you should talk about the website or writer. If you have visited my About Page before today, you noticed there were very few words on it. There were two lonely paragraphs that didn’t say very much.

 

Today, (actually yesterday now, as this will be scheduled to post tomorrow. Confused? Yeah, me too!) I decided to put some words on the page. I have never been one to conform to social norms, so I decided my about page should be different as well.

The thing is, ultimately, I had a lot of fun writing it.

I rarely visit about pages unless I need to know where a business’ main office is located or when the site was established. That means that more than likely, most people will never visit my about page. So, to make sure you don’t miss it (really, it’s nothing spectacular), I decided to copy it into a post.

About Wolfe Butler

Welcome

Welcome. I am so glad you stopped by. My name is Wolfe Butler. I have been an avid reader and writer most of my life.

Like so many other writers, I did not believe in myself enough to think that I could make a living as a writer, so I pursued a professional career in financial services. Twenty years later, and I am not as young as I once was, but I am taking the time to pursue my passion. This time, I intend to really give writing a chance.

About pages are sometimes boring. To hopefully combat that, I have decided to offer a unique approach.

10 Things About Wolfe Butler

  1. I love pasta and cheese

    Yes, I know that simple carbohydrates are blah, blah, blah (insert diet and fitness jargon here), but I don’t care. I love pasta. And all pasta has to have cheese with it.

  2. As a child I published a weekly newsletter

    That may not be a big deal today, but growing up in the 70’s, there was no one else I knew that was doing it. Each week on my electric typewriter (does anyone even remember those now?) I would type up a family newsletter. Every effort was taken to type slowly and accurately as I used carbon paper to produce copies as I typed. I still have a few of them and may share them on the blog at some point in the future.

  3. I’m addicted to TV

    If you follow me on social media, you may already know this one. Science fiction is my number one genre, but I also love court shows and anything music related. Plus, I’m a big binge watcher on Netflix and Hulu. I don’t like much for talk TV, but I do watch every episode of The View. Right now, my favorite shows are For the People, Grey’s Anatomy, The Big Bang Theory and Marvel’s Agents of Shield. I’m ticked that Rise was canceled when the show was finally finding its footing.

  4. I have reading ADHD

    No, not really ADHD. I don’t mean to downplay the condition for anyone that lives with it. What I mean is that I find it difficult to only read one book at a time. In fact, right now I am reading five, and they are all good books. I don’t know why I can’t stick with just one of them, but I have pretty much always been this way.

  5. I love the outdoors

    I no longer have the energy or stamina I once did, but I still love hiking. Many of the state parks in Tennessee feature waterfalls, a particular favorite of mine, and most have relatively easy, well-marked trails. One of my favorite parks is Fall Creek Falls. It’s a short walk on level ground to see the featured 300-foot waterfall, though some of the other park waterfalls are a little more complicated to get to. I also love Cades Cove and the amazing views near me in the Smoky Mountains.

  6. I love gardening and yardwork

    If you saw my yard, you might not believe that, especially this spring with all the rain we’ve had. My yard is a bit of jungle right now. I’m also a very eclectic gardener so most of my flower beds are not well organized. I concentrate more on making sure that something is blooming all year rather than on garden symmetry. It looks messy, but I like it.

  7. Volunteering is one of my passions

    I think it stems from spending a lot of time with my grandmother as a child. Volunteering and community care are important facets of life, so I try to do my part. Several times a week, I visit the elderly or provide them with transportation to doctor’s appointments or the grocery store. I love older people. Their stories have given me so much inspiration that I have applied in my own writing.

  8. I love thunderstorms

    This love has been shaken a few times in recent years by a few tornados and severe windstorms, especially the ones that have cost me precious trees on my property. But I love lightning and thunder and the sound of rain falling. If I’m not out on the porch during a storm, you will probably find me sitting near an open window so I can hear what is happening outside.

  9. I’m a little OCD

    No, I’ve never been diagnosed with anything, but I have enough friends that have been diagnosed to know that my obsessions are at least a little unusual. I’m a bit fixated on even numbers, so the volume on the TV and the temperature on the thermostat generally have to be set to an even number. Routine is another area I’m a little obsessive in. I like things to happen at the same time each day or on the same day each week. Maybe that’s why I like Sheldon so much on Big Bang.

  10. I am fiercely defensive of my friends

    I’m generally a very happy and easygoing guy. That said, I am very protective of my close friends and relatives. I will not listen to negative things being said about my friends, and if someone goes after them, well, you best just look out. Because I am coming for you.

I hope you like my crazy take on an About Page. You can learn more about me in my I’ve Learned series.

 

Paradise WIP – Chapter 14

Hello readers! I am happy to present chapter 14 of my current work-in-progress, and also happy to report that I have been writing actively. That means that the next two chapters are complete and the third is well under way.

If you are new to this series, Paradise is the working title of my sci-fi WIP. It’s the story of a man named Rick in one world and Roman in another. Plagued with memory loss, he can’t be entirely sure which world is the real one. Chapter 13 gave him hope that maybe he was finally starting to put the pieces together. Let’s see what happens next.

Chapter 14

Max moved me out of the med bay the following day. She said she was sick of my smell stinking up the place. Maybe that was her attempt at humor, but Sam was happy to move me into our private quarters. She found a small office near the center of the bunker and turned it into a home for us.

To say it was a home wasn’t a fair description, at least not as far as creature comforts were concerned. They had been able to find some mattresses in the complex, though they barely qualified as mattresses. About the thickness of two of my fingers and wreaking of mildew and years of dust, they provided little relief over lying directly on the cold cement floor.

Sam said I was too quiet, and for several days I am sure that I was. Peadar hung heavily on my mind. My only memories of him were from the compound, but none of that had been real. I couldn’t remember the real Peadar and that truth was devastating.

“Were we close?” I asked Sam late one night. We had both been pretending to sleep. There wasn’t much to occupy our time in the bunker. No one had ventured out since the last of us arrived for fear they would lead the Plax back to our new hiding spot.

“You were closer to his brother. Mical stood witness when we were married.”

Married. Another memory I didn’t have.

“Tell me about Mical.”

“There’s not much to say. I never did know him well. He was bigger than Peadar.”

“Bigger?” I interrupted her. Peadar was huge.

“Yes,” she laughed a little. “He was at least a head taller than Peadar. Something about the Hyatt treatment reacted differently with him. He was scary smart and had no trouble picking up us normal mortals with one hand.”

“The Hyatt made him bigger?”

What I Learned From the Cider House Rules

“I’m sure he was big to start with,” she told me. “The Hyatt didn’t bother to invest time in small or weak individuals. The bot infusion made him grow bigger. He would have been very uncomfortable in this bunker, if he could even get here at all. Some of those passageways were pretty small. If he were here, he’d have to always walk a little hunched over or he’d be constantly hitting the ceiling and lights with his head.”

It didn’t seem possible that I could forget such a mountain of a man.

“He was very protective of you,” she went on. “He even tried to stop you from marrying me.”

“He did? Why?”

“Mical wasn’t sure I could be trusted. Though really, I don’t think he trusted anyone outside of you and Peadar. The Hyatt had broken him and that made him suspicious and paranoid.”

“Paranoid and smart. That doesn’t sound like a good combination.”

“No, it definitely could have been very different. Had he not been intent on protecting Peadar, I shudder to think what the Hyatt would have turned him into. Had he come after us, none of us would have been able to stop him. In the end, even the Plax had a hard time.”

The Plax. I hadn’t thought about them in a while.

“In the compound, they were shapeshifters.”

“They who?” she asked me.

“The Plax.”

“Shapeshifters?” She sat up to look at me. Even in the dark I could see a new fear in her eyes. “What do you mean?”

“Um, that they could change shape.” I did my best to sit up. “Vann, the leader in the compound. He was Plax. So were Gregg and Todd. They were also the white tigers I kept seeing.”

“Shapeshifters.”

She was still looking in my direction, but I got the distinct impression she was no longer talking to me.

“Relax.” I reached out to touch her arm. “It wasn’t real. It was just some sort of construct.”

“I have to find Max.”

“Wait. What’s going on?”

Sam was already on her feet, but I was still struggling to sit upright.

“This could change everything.” She was oblivious to me.

“Sam, stop!” She was already out the door but stopped and looked back at me.

“Roman.” She said my name and stopped. It didn’t make sense what was going on. She decided it was a good idea for me to go with her and helped me to my feet.

Review: Working Stiffs by Scott Bell

Max was asleep in the med bay. No one had ventured out of the bunker so there were no injured filling the beds. I realized she wanted me out so she could have some privacy.

“Max, you gotta wake up.” Sam walked up to her and shook her awake.

“What’s wrong?” Max sprung to her feet ready for any emergency.

“What if they’re shapeshifters?”

Max shook her head as if to clear it. “Shapeshifters?”

“Yes!” There was an earnestness in Sam’s voice that I did not understand.

Max looked at me. “What on earth is she talking about?”

“The Plax,” I told her.

Something clicked in Max and she sat back hard on the bed where she had been sleeping. “Then everything..” she didn’t finish.

“Changes!” Sam shouted. “Everything changes!”

“Everything,” Max repeated.

Closing author note: What do you think of the story so far? I am eager to hear your comments! Please keep in mind this is a first draft that I am sharing as I write it. Please be kind as to editing and inconsistencies. Everything will be fixed before a final version is made available.

Until next week…

Why You Should Drop Back And Punt

Lesson 15: I’ve Learned that sometimes you sprint for the goal line, and sometimes you fall back and punt.

If you know me at all, you are probably a little surprised that this I’ve Learned installment is starting with a sports metaphor. It’s not that I don’t like sports. Watching football with a group of friends is always a blast.

When I am at home alone, though, sports seldom get much airtime. It’s not that I don’t enjoy watching the games. Instead, I think the game loses some of the thrill without an audience to share it with.

But this is not a post about sports.

No, I’ve come to a realization this month. Lately, it seems like I am having them all the time.

 

Why you should sometimes drop back and punt.

April Was Dismal

To be honest, I’ve been a little depressed most of the month. It takes a lot to get me down, but seeing my low blog numbers for April as I passed my six month anniversary – it was more than a little disheartening.

I have no intention of quitting. However, May has been largely a wash. There haven’t been as many posts as I had planned, and social media has not gotten the attention it deserves.

Something clicked yesterday while I was putting some new flowers in a bare spot in one of my front flower beds. It’s an unusually dry area and the soil is poor. The best thing I could do is dig all the soil out and replace it with good soil and be more conscious of watering frequently.

I was at the garden store earlier in the day. There into my view came an Ice Plant. Perhaps I’ve seen the plant before, but the name was not familiar. Removing the plant tag, I read how the plant loves direct sun and dry, sandy soil. Instead of replacing the soil, perhaps there is a plant that will thrive in what I already have.

Tale of a New Blogger – Part 6

So, I purchased and planted the Ice Plant. In the future I will try to comment on its progress.

That silly little plant got me thinking about my blog. I do my best thinking in the yard and probably that’s why I like to be out there so much. Anyway, it dawned on me, April was a bad month, but that hardly means I should scrap anything.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no intention of stopping this blog. But, I have been neglecting it most of the month.

So, That Didn’t Work

This will probably sound very egomaniacal, but please bear with me. I started this blog for me and to share me, Wolfe Butler, with the world. I felt like I had some things to say that maybe someone else would enjoy or benefit from reading.

Then I fell into a bit of a trap. I started reading other blogger’s success stories, big income reports and “expert’s advice.” Imperceptably, I became obsessed with SEO, catchy titles and appropriate blog lengths.

I’m not saying those things are not important. They certainly are, and especially if you hope to make a real income from your blog.

I didn’t start a blog to make an income. If that happens, wonderful, but it was never my purpose.

 

Review: Beginner Internet Marketing Series by Gundi Gabrielle

Sprinting in the Wrong Direction?

Without realizing it, I had started sprinting for the money goal line. The end result started to blind me to everything else. I lost much of my joy in the process.

I can’t help but think that is at least part of why my traffic dropped off.

The readers I had were likely not interested in which title was the most captivating or which post had the best keywords. They were coming around because they were interested in what I had to say. They were interested in me.

With blinders on, I lost some of me – what readers were responding to in the first place.

The View Is Different Back Here

One of the best things that happens when you step back is that your view changes. Up close, I’ve been obsessing about that barren dry spot in my flower garden. However, when I walk back to the road, that spot is barely noticeable because the rest of the garden is flourishing and full of color (and too many weeds at this point.)

It’s time I do the same thing with my blog. Obsessing over SEO and page ranking, etc., it’s not good for me. It’s not good for my readers.

So, I am making a commitment. Though I still plan to share my blogging journey, I hope to never become obsessed with stats again. The numbers may go up or forever stay flat. Neither will change my purpose.

 

7 Reasons to Never Give Up

 

Listening to the Fans

Three people recently really helped me with this realization, even though they probably don’t realize the impact they had on me.

One, the amazing Caron Allen, author of the Dottie Manderson Mysteries, has been a perpetual cheerleader both on my blog directly and on Twitter. I’m sure I owe many of my Twitter followers to Caron’s efforts to help promote me and my blog.

Two, the incredibly sweet Kristy Jo Volchko, author of Mall Hair Maladieswhich I reviewed recently, gave me the wonderful opportunity to be interviewed on her site. Even though that interview just posted, the experience did a lot to bring back my joy.

Three, someone I don’t know very well but hope to going forward, Drew J. T. Smith, author of Zodiac Awakening, made a touching comment on Twitter about something he had read recently in my current work-in-progress. He even said he had read everything in the tale so far.

Now, I didn’t ask these three people why they have helped me or why they are reading my work. I’m pretty confident, though, that if I did, none of them would say anything about SEO or page ranking. These wonderful people are reacting to me, Wolfe Butler, and the works I am most proud of sharing.

Lucy, Hold the Ball

As Charlie Brown did so many times, I am going to fall back and kick the ball. Like Charlie, I may fall flat on my back. Even so, I have found my way back to joy, and I think that will resonate with readers.

I am very open to suggestions. If there is something you really liked or really hated or even just thought was okay about my blog or writing, please share it with me. I want to connect to people. I want to connect with you.

All the blog ranking stuff will come. Or maybe it won’t. If Caron, Kristy Jo and Drew are the only people I ever touch, I am happy with that. My goal was to reach someone.

Mission accomplished!

Thank you for reading!

Until next time….

Please pin this post on Pinterest or share it on other social media.

Sometimes you'll power through, but other times you'll want to drop back and punt. How do you know which to do? Read this important life lesson learned.

This Moment – A Poem

This Moment

I sit aside and watch the world

The scene bestirs my heart

I see the light and life shine forth

And wish to play a part

The sun shines bright, the birds do sing

The Earth is all aglow

The flowers bloom and bunnies hop

And all around seems slow

I wish I could just freeze this scene

To visit every day

To step outside and feel this joy

And for a moment stay

And in a way, I can do that

For memories freeze in time

This blessed moment will live on

And fill my heart with rhyme

For just a grain in the clock of life

This moment will have passed

But in a way, it never falls

As long as memory lasts

– December 18, 2005

 

Author’s Note: This is another poem I wrote for my wife. Had I known how little time I had left with her at the time, I would have held on much tighter. In less than two years, she was gone. Still, I am forever grateful for the time I was blessed to have her in my life.

Paradise WIP – Chapter 13

Chapter 13

Author’s Note: Hello, readers! I apologize, but due to circumstances beyond my control, this chapter is a day late in being published.

If you are just finding this series, Paradise is the working title of my current science fiction work-in-progress. The story tells the tale of one man trying to make sense of two realities after an alien invasion. Each chapter is shared as it is written, so please keep in mind this is a first draft as you read.

Without further adieu, here is the next chapter.

Chapter 13

“Hold still!” Max’s voice was terse and strained.

“What?” I was strapped down. Nothing could be moved if I tried. Even my chin and forehead were held firmly in place.

I was back in the caves. It took my mind a moment to catch up. It had been some time. I couldn’t remember exactly how long.

There was something emitting a bright light above my head. With the straps holding me in place, I could not move my eyes enough to see it. Max was standing over me but looking intently at the light source.

“How long?” I knew time didn’t move at the same pace in both realities. I had been in the compound for many weeks.

Max looked down at me sternly. “Quiet,” she ordered me. “If you don’t want scrambled eggs for brains, I need to concentrate.”

She nodded to someone at the far end of the room. I caught just a glimpse of someone as I felt something cold touch my neck and everything went dark.

 

Paradise WIP

When I opened my eyes again, my head was pounding. I was very cold and my body was involuntarily shaking. The head of the bed was elevated giving my a view of the makeshift medical bay. It was dark and damp and didn’t look very sanitary.

Sam was sleeping uncomfortably in a chair next to me bed. I reached out to touch her and was relieved to find I was not strapped down. My head felt like it was bearing a 50 pound weigh.

Sam’s eyes sprung open the moment I touch her. Her wide smile lit up her whole face as tears immediately filled her eyes.

“Roman?” her voice quivered as she spoke my name.

“I’m here,” I told her.

She grabbed my hand and squeezed it tight.

“How long?” Speaking was harder than I expected. I knew the words I wanted to say but struggle with getting my mouth to say them.

Some of her smiled faded. “You fell back into a coma the first night we got here.”

“When?”

“That was two months ago.”

Two months? That didn’t seem possible.

Tears were streaming down her face. “I thought I had lost you for good this time. I hoped you would come back to me.”

“Always will,” I struggled to get out. Something was not right. I started to move my free hand to touch my head but Sam quickly stopped me.

“It’s better you don’t touch it,” she said. “The procedure was more complicated than we had hoped.

More complicated was a huge understatement. She went on to explain how what they had hoped would be a non-invasive brain scan where they could pinpoint and destroy bots easily turn into a major surgery where they had removed my entire skull cap. Max and her team had worked for hours slowly and meticulously removing each strand of alien hardware that invaded my brain.

My head was heavily banded with both my skull and the skin covering it stapled back in place. I glanced around the dingy surroundings and wondered what else had entered my head during the surgery.

“We think we got them all,” Sam told me. “Max was very careful.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means that you should never see the construct again. No more comas.”

It hadn’t been real. Peadar wasn’t real. Vann wasn’t real.

I was suddenly very tired.

“You need to rest.” There was a man standing next to me. I hadn’t seen him walk up. He pressed something cold against my neck and I entered dreamless sleep again.

I’ve Learned – Lessons 1-10

Considerable time passed. It was a dark blur. I would open my eyes and someone would encourage me to eat some food. Maybe I could ask a question or two, but then someone would send me back to sleep. Day and night had no meaning, and without even a clock to look at, I had no idea how many days were passing.

Finally, one time I opened my eyes and knew something was different. My head no longer felt weighed down and the grogginess seemed to be dissipating faster than before.

For the moment, I was alone in the med bay. Things were cleaner than the first time I had opened my eyes and more lights had been installed.

I was sure that getting up was not an option, but I did have the strength to push myself up some in the bed. My neck was weak and struggled to hold my head up.

A few minutes later, Max came into the room.

“Good morning, General.” Even her attempt at cordiality was cold and precise.

“It’s morning?”

“Yes, not that morning means much down here.”

“How long?” Speaking was easier but still a challenge.

“Since the surgery? About seven weeks. The good news is that we have seen no more signs of bots or Plax tech. I think we got it all. I’ve lowered your pain meds. We plan to get you up on your feet starting today.”

“I’m cured?”

“You seem to be.” Max came closer and stood alongside my bed. “We don’t fully understand the Plax technology, but I was able to remove everything we found. Even microscans did not find any bots.”

Relief and sadness washed over me. “And the compound?”

“The compound wasn’t real. It was the tech. The bots.”

“So, Peadar?”

For a moment, I thought I saw the hint of a tear in Max’s eyes.

“Peadar died on the surface. That was well over a year ago.”

Neither of us said anything for a moment. Peadar was gone. I had not remembered him to start with, but now I was sure I would never forget him.

“Max?”

“Yes, General?”

“Thank you.”

She placed her hand gently on my shoulder. For a second, I saw the care and concern in her face that drove her to work tirelessly to keep us all alive and well.

“I’ll send someone in to get you up in a few minutes.” The cold exterior was back. “You’ve been lazy long enough. It’s time you start pulling your weight around here.”

She turned and left the room without looking at me again.

You Asked Me – Poem by Wolfe Butler

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Author’s Note

My wife has been with me a lot lately. Actually, she always is. Her voice has been some louder as I wander recently through treasured memories. Maybe it’s because I am nearing the time of year when I lost her. Or it could be that there is some message I’m meant to know. In any case, her voice soothes me and makes me broken heart a little more whole. Occasionally, she even inspires a poem.

She asked me once what was my favorite moment that we had shared. To spur me on, she started first. She relayed a tale about a park bench where we had sat to talk one night. It was a memory I barely recalled as she started her story.

Her Story

I had left the windows open in the car parked nearby. The radio was playing in the car. At one point there had been a lull in the conversation. In the break, I had started to sing along with the Howie Day song playing on the radio.

I must interject here, I cannot sing. Music is very important to me, and I love to try to sing, but I cannot hold a tune, and I’m sure I am awful to listen to.

My wife went on to tell me, that in the quiet moment, me singing at my worst in full voice, that she knew for the first time that I was willing to drop all my walls and open up to her completely. That brief event told her that we were connected in a way that no one else could ever define.

 

 

My Story

My favorite moment was an equally uneventful occasion. A group of us had rented two condos on the beach. My dear Laramie and I were not even dating at the time. There was a mutual attraction, though, and we both felt something growing between us. But neither of us had dared to broach the subject.

One of the last nights of the trip, there was supposed to be a “spectacular” lunar eclipse. The sky was partly cloudy and the eclipse was rather unimpressive.

I had stepped away from the group to take a phone call. Laramie came running to me because she had gone to put some garbage in the dumpsters when she came across a family of raccoons. In her story, there were dozens of them, though when we went to inspect I never saw more than two.

To comfort her, I had put my arm around her and pulled her tight. I ended my phone call and gave her my full attention trying to calm her fears. Mostly we just stood there silently in the night.

Something changed in that moment. Laramie was no longer my closest friend. She was my heart’s desire, and we were a couple from that second onward. I will always cherish that night.

A Poem Is Born

That night will probably always be my favorite memory. It was then that I knew how much I loved her, and that we would always be together. Laramie may no longer be with me in person, buy her voice will always guide me.

Thinking about that night inspired the following poem.

 

You Asked Me

You asked me when I loved you

When I first knew that I cared

Your asked me what had happened

That caused my heart to be bared

 

It wasn’t at a dinner

Or dancing close in the dark

It wasn’t at a picnic

Or while raining in the park

 

It wasn’t while out camping

Or walking the crooked trails

It wasn’t at the movies

Or under white billowed sails

 

The love I have grew slowly

Snuck up on me from behind

A small seed grew and blossomed

In a corner of my mind

 

The hint of love came later

Although I was slow to learn

Each moment it grew stronger

Until my whole heart would burn

 

The light shined at its brightest

A light I couldn’t deny

The night that nothing happened

While gazing up at the sky

 

You’d run to me in panic

Raccoons disturbed the piled trash

You clutched my arm for safety

Love exploded in a flash

 

This is my favorite moment

While looking at the full moon

My arm held tight around you

Our two hearts then played in tune

 

I knew then how I loved you

My heart now forever yours

Our souls were joined together

To all others closed their doors

 

I knew in that brief moment

You would one day be my wife

No time of space could cleave us

I’d love you for all my life

 

April  1, 2018

 

Please share this poem with others. Thank you!

 

A poem about love blossoming. In memory of my beautiful wife. | #poem #poetry #poet

Paradise WIP – Chapter 12

Paradise WIP – Chapter 12

Author’s note: It is hard to believe that I have been sharing chapters of my science fiction, work-in-progress (WIP) for three months now. I am so very appreciative of all of you that are following my journey. Your kind words and encouragement mean more than you will ever know.

If you are just stumbling upon this find, Paradise is the working title for my current WIP. It tells the story of a man that wakes in two different realities. His memory is unreliable. Most of his past is a complete blank.

One reality is paradise, filled with enjoyable work, an abundance of food and pleasant happy people. The other reality is a stark opposite with people living underground with barely enough water or sustenance to keep them going. In the dark reality, they are at war with an enemy they have barely glimpsed and have never caught.

I have chosen to share this story as I write it. Keep in mind you are reading a first draft. It has only had basic editing and is bound to have inconsistencies and errors. If you enjoy it, please share it with others. Be sure to leave comments about how you are enjoying the story at the end of the post.

Paradise WIP

Chapter 12

Several days passed with no new information. Then one day at lunch, the look in Peadar’s eyes as he sat with his guards told me he had news. I nodded once in his direction and he nodded back.

Seconds dragged on to eternity as I waited for dark and first rain. As the rain slowed, I took off at a dead run for the meeting place.

Peadar was soaked when I found him. He had evidently arrived before first rain. That was a bit of a risk. I opened my mouth to scold him, but as he turned to me I could see something resembling terror in his eyes.

“Peadar?”

He held a finger up to his lips. With his other hand he pointed toward the entrance to the center. I didn’t see anything, but he grabbed me arm and pulled him down to crouch alongside him.

I didn’t see anything, but I knew he would not act that way if he did not feel it was vitally important. His hand still clutched my arm and I could swear that I could feel a slight tremor from him.

Two hours must have passed as we crouched in the thicket. Peadar held my arm in his tight grip the entire time. Finally, my legs started to protest the position and I had to move.

“Peadar,” I whispered as quietly as I could. “I don’t see anything. What has you so worked up?”

“Watch,” he pointed again toward the entrance. “It won’t be long now.”

He was right, it was not long. I never heard a sound, but suddenly Vann and the two white tigers appeared just twenty paces from the entrance.

What happened next, well, I understand why Peadar could not tell me. Just a few steps from the entrance, Vann reached into his shirt and pulled out a pendant that hung on a leather strap around his next. I vaguely remembered seeing the leather before but didn’t think anything of it.

As he held the pendant between his thumb and forefinger, the two tigers stood on their hind legs. In the blink of an eye, they were no longer tigers. No, instead, there now stood Gregg and Todd and either side of Vann.

“What the…” Peadar’s large hand tightly sealed my mouth.

Gregg may have heard something because he turned and looked in our direction. In another second the door to the entrance opened and the three of them disappeared inside.

It was one thing for Jasmine to tell me they were shape-shifters. In theory, I could accept the concept. Sure, they were shape-shifters. To actually see them change shape, and so quickly, was more than my mind could handle. I slumped hard to the ground.

A flood of information rushed into my mind. No wonder we had been unable to catch any of the Plax. If they could change in an instant… how could you catch something like that?

Peadar was definitely shaking. That was even more disconcerting. If Peadar was afraid, that drove the terror even further home for me.

“The tigers.” His words were half whisper and half desperation. “Any of them. All of them.”

He wasn’t speaking complete thoughts, but my mind was following perfectly. The tigers were Plax. Vann was Plax. Anyone and everyone in the compound outside of Peadar and me could be Plax. The realization was overwhelming.

We sat in silence for several more minutes.

Something in my military mind finally clicked. I put my thoughts in order and stood. Peadar followed suit but was a little unstable at first.

“Soldier,” I said to him, “we now know what we need to do.”

Peadar clicked to attention awaiting my order.

“We have to find a way to get that pendant.”

“Yes, sir.”

It was an easy plan to conceptualize, but another matter entirely trying to put it in action.

Peadar and I carefully inspected every person we saw in the compound. No one other than Vann wore any type of necklace, let alone a leather one with a pendant on it. Vann seemed to hold all the cards.

“There has to be more than one control,” I was thinking out loud as Peadar and I sat in darkness again in the thicket.

“Yes, sir.”

“Vann can’t be the only one with the ability to enter the center. Have you seen anyone else go in.”?

“Not during the night. No, sir.”

“Me either.”

Even though it was a risk, I had taken to spending hours of daylight in the thicket as well. The door never opened other than late at night when Vann opened it. Sometimes with Todd and Gregg and sometimes on his own, Vann was the only one to ever open it.

Just then the door opened. Peadar and I hugged the ground as we watched.

“I hate the way they smell.” It was Gregg’s voice. He was carrying something large. Todd was walking alongside him.

“Not as much as I hate looking like them,” Todd replied.

In the dark we couldn’t be sure, but Gregg appeared to be carrying a person.

“It’s pointless reconditioning them,” Gregg went on. “We should just exterminate the lot of them.”

“You know that’s not an option.”

“I know,” Gregg signed heavily. “I hate that we need them.”

They didn’t speak any further while they were in earshot.

Paradise WIP – Chapter 13

 

Tale of a New Blogger – Part 5 of the Blogger Experience

Blogger Experience: The Month That Should be Forgotten

It is with much frustration that I write this installment of Tale of a New Blogger. I would love to skip this month from my blogger experience entirely, and that is probably why it is already the middle of May and I am just now sitting down to write about April.

Blogging is a bit of a roller coaster. Some month have amazing highs while others feel like you are plummeting to your death. April was a month of downward spirals.

My intention of starting this series was the write the real experience of a new blogger. True to that conviction, here goes.

Sickness is a Different World for the Self-Employed

April started strong. The end of March saw some increase in momentum. I was finally starting to feel like I was getting into the right groove.

Then the universe decided to see how many things it could throw at me.

First, I had a week of issues from a chronic health condition I live with. Next, a severe chest cold led to weeks of difficult breathing and minimal sleep.

Just when I felt like I was starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, the pollen explosion had me wishing I could literally scratch my eyes out of my head.

Experiencing an illness when you have a traditional job can be a bad experience. But you at least have the comfort that the business will keep functioning and you may even have the benefit of sick or vacation pay.

When you are a business of one, even a moderate illness brings everything to a screeching halt. Production, customer service and income generation all stop as you do.

I tried to keep up with my blog and posted at least one new post each week. Social media got some attention as I tried to get on at least one of the platforms each week.

But, all in all, April and the first part of May were a dismal blogger experience.

Why Be Patient When Working Towards Success

Did Anything Good Happen?

Gloom and doom are not typical parts of my personality, so let’s switch gears and talk about the positives of the blogger experience for the month of April.

For one, even with my limited posts for the month, visitors and page views for the blog held fairly steady. To me, that is a huge win because it means the blog has finally developed some momentum and is growing organically.

While page views held pretty flat, the number of visitors on the site saw good growth. The trend also seems to be growing in visitors visiting more than one page during their visit.

My blog now has 110 blog followers. That means I need to finally get an email program up and running. The steady increase in followers makes me optimistic that I am producing valuable and engaging content.

Both Facebook and Instagram were woefully neglected. The small drop in Facebook likes is not surprising.

Twitter continues to be my social media platform of choice. I can’t say why I prefer that platform so much. Part of it is because most of my followers are writers and bloggers. Being able to interact with such amazing individuals and at 280 characters or less brings me much joy and inspiration. I might explore the other reasons why in a later post.

Twitter was also neglected during my illness, but the relationships I have nurtured and the presence I have built kept a steady increase in followers even on the days I wasn’t able to get online.

Pinterest started very strong. The blogger experience lesson learned here is that, no matter what other bloggers will tell you, manual pinning is important.

I use Tailwind and am very happy with the automated pinning product. Campaigns are set to pin 30 pins per day at various times. Even with Tailwind working properly, you can see near the end of April, when I was too sick to spend any time online, impressions dropped dramatically. However, I was only pinning about 10 pins per day with Tailwind at the time.

Pinterest was responsible for 12% of the traffic driven to my site for the month. That may not sound like much, but in the previous month, Pinterest only brought in 4% of the traffic. That large increase in such a short period means I will be spending lots of time on Pinterest in the coming weeks.


Be Constantly Improving

Whether you think of it that way or not, a blog is a brand. If you are an author, your name or psuedonym is also a brand.

Brands only continue to grow and gain popularity by buidling new and meaningful relationships with existing and potential readers.

I hate marketing. There’s no sugarcoating how negative I feel about the subject. Marketing is a necessary evil in the blogger experience, and is especially important for bloggers and indie authors.

During my illness, I read a particulary moving post about mistakes that authors, and by extension bloggers, frequently make. Here is the link to the post:

Help Me Understand Why Writers Still Do These 3 Awful Things

In her post, Meg Dowell discusses three mistakes that many authors and bloggers make. The point that resonated the loudest with me deals with interacting with readers on social media.

I have to admit that I have fallen into the bad habit of primarily using social media to promote either my book or content on my blog.

Meg’s post reminded me that readers follow writers because they want to get to know more about the author as a person. Most followers already read your work, so social media is a chance for them to get to know the person behind that work.

Much effort is being directed at improving this bad habit. I’ll keep you posted on the positive results I see down the road.

12 Awesome Motivational Quotes You Should Know

And in Other News

If you are not already following my science fiction, work-in-progress, working name Paradise, be sure to click this line. There are now 11 chapters available in what I intend to be book one in a series.

The feedback from the chapters posted has been positive and brings me much joy. I would love to have more insight. Please share the story with others you know that like science fiction. Even if someone is not a big sci-fi fan, they will likely enjoy the story because it is mostly character driven.

April was poetry month. While I intended to write a poem every day, I only ended up writing one poem for the whole month. I plan to post that poem later today or tomorrow.

Now it’s your turn. How did last month go for you? What lessons and tips did you learn about the blogger experience? Were there any triumphs? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Until next time…

Why Be Patient When Working Towards Success

Success takes time. Time requires that you be patient. Patience is not always easy to achieve, but it is possible.

The last few weeks have truly tested my mettle and patience. A severe chest cold knocked me on my butt. Then, just when I thought I was going to recover, the pollen explosion sent me spiraling back down into agony. To add insult to injury, a freak storm did damage to my property this week.

It is very difficult to write meaningful content when you feel terrible. It’s almost impossible to write coherent material on cold medicine. To keep you from thinking I had slipped into a pattern of heavy drinking, I chose instead to take some time away from my blog and be patient.

And I missed it terribly!

With everything that has been going on, though, I have been reminded of an important life lesson.

Success rarely comes quickly, so you must always be patient. You must never stop trying.

 

Independent or Stubborn?

Independence is a key attribute of many successful people. Unfortunately, being independent sometimes feels incompatible with patience.

I can only imagine that I gave my parents quite the fit. They did their best to raise me properly, but I didn’t always make it easy.

I taught myself to ride a bike, and refused help even when both arms and legs were skinned, and I had suffered more than one groin injury.

Learning to tie a tie, learning to shave and learning how to care for injuries are all life lessons I taught myself. On more than one occasion, I suffered injuries that should have been addressed by a doctor, but I never told my parents. Instead, I set out to treating them myself with the plan to tell someone only if the wound got worse. Fortunately, that never happened.

It’s amazing I survived childhood.

 

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 contains affiliate links. Any purchase made through such links will award me a small commission or referral fee, at no extra cost for you.


Independence and Patience

Being independent should not be a negative trait. In fact, it often leads to ingenuity and out-of-the-box thinking. It’s not surprise that so many leaders and inventers were independent people.

Learning to be patient tempers the independent spirit. Patience teaches you to wait and keep trying. It makes you understand that failures aren’t fatal, and that sometimes goals can only be reached with the help of others.

Both of my parents were incredibly stubborn, so I come by my need for independence quite honestly. My wife constantly picked on me about it.

Being stubborn has its strength. In the end, I learned how to ride that bike, even how to ride no handed. I survived all my injuries. My ties now always feature an elegant Windsor knot. I have shaved more times than I care to remember.

Every lesson was finally learned by being patient.

As a child I did not fully understand, but success only comes when you refuse to stop. You may not reach you goal today. However, if you are patient, tomorrow just might be your day.

You can read more about why you should never give up in the following post.

7 Reasons to Never Give Up

Is it worth it to be patient?

The question, then, becomes, “Is it worth it to be patient?” You bet it is.

My debut novel, Getting Home, is not really my first novel. In fact, I have five other complete novels that I wrote as a young man.

I can’t explain exactly why I never pursued anything with those stories. The writer brain is often a harsh critic, so I never fully imagined that I could make a living with writing. Often I thought that no one would connect with my writing, so there was no point in sharing it.

Last year, I changed that mentality. I decided to throw caution to the wind and tossed Getting Home out into the world. It is definitely not selling at a pace to provide me with a living, but it did set a ball in motion that will eventually get me to that point.

This month’s Tale of a New Blogger post hasn’t gone live, yet. That’s partly because I am very discouraged by April’s numbers. Being sick much of the month is no doubt the reason for poor numbers, but it’s still disheartening.

That said, there is no intention on my part to give up. Six months in, I am still loving my blogging journey. I love planning, writing and illustrating blog posts. Sharing my current Work-in-progress – Paradise – gives me great joy. Recently, I was even inspired to write some new poetry which you can read below.

Success takes time. Keep reminding yourself of that fact.

You Asked Me – Poem by Wolfe Butler

What Are You Working Toward?

What is your goal? Do you have a plan that you are working toward?

Be patient. If you get discouraged, think about the steps you need to reach that goal. Which ones have you reached already? Let that success fuel you to move forward.

Have you slipped an fallen? That’s okay. Get back up and back into the fight. Success will come, if you are patient and don’t give up.

Do you need some motivation? Here are 12 great quotes you can apply in your life to make success possible.

12 Awesome Motivational Quotes You Should Know

Rome Wasn’t Built…

There’s no reason to finish that line. You have all heard in many times before when someone was trying to encourage you to keep going. Maybe it was because you missed the mark of the goal you were aiming for. It’s a very true statement.

So, how do you keep going?

First, be sure to celebrate the small victories.

Building a house is an excellent analogy. The first step in building a house is finding the right property and then the right location on the property.

Next, the site is leveled out and the foundation is constructed.

Sometimes, it is weeks and even months later before the framing begins. After the framing, the home is dried-in, or in other words, the roof is complete and the exterior doors and windows are all put in place. From the dried-in stage, many more weeks can pass before there is further progress.

Every goal is very much like building a house. The foundation is the bedrock of your future. It’s based in patience.

Each step could be likened to the framing of walls, building a roof, or adding doors and windows.

The point is, each step is integral to the final goal of having a complete home.

 

4 Ways to Beat Procrastination – With Frogs

And That Means…

Writing a book, or any worthwhile project for that matter, is also not a steady forward moving process. Time and necessity (and sometimes illness) may force you to back away for a while. Writing yourself into a corner can take some time to overcome, often because difficult choices have to be made to correct the problem.

And editing. Ugh! Editing is murder. Ask any writer, and they will all pretty much tell you the same thing. Editing is the worst.

Yes, I am sliding a little off topic.

My point is that the final success of building a house or writing a book is built on many smaller successes along the way. That’s an important life lesson.

 

Celebrate Little Things

Take the time to celebrate the completion of the little steps, and it will be easier to be more patient until you achieve victory. Each mile marker is a move up to the top of your mountain. Celebrate each one.

Now don’t get my wrong, I didn’t see any contractors or homeowners celebrating when the framing or dry-in process was complete. But they could have.

Celebrate when you complete that chapter or word goal. Pat yourself on the back when you rework that particularly difficult passage. Sing from the rooftops when you finish editing a section of text.

OK, maybe not the last one unless you don’t have any neighbors nearby. I wouldn’t want any of my dear readers to be carted off to a padded room somewhere.

But you get my point. Each success is just that – a success. It’s too easy to get fixated on the long-term goal and fail to see the progress being made. Own that success and let it empower you to continue moving forward. By being patient, it will come.


But I’m Still Discouraged…

Some of you might be saying right now that despite the small successes, the ultimate goal seems too unattainable, so maybe you need to quit.

Stop. That. Thinking. Right. Now.

Or, if you absolutely have to have a pity party, give your permission to have that party today. However, that permission has to come with a condition.

Tomorrow, you have to get up with renewed vigor and dive back into whatever project you are working on. If you are writing, get back to writing. Are you are editing? Then keep editing, even through the tears and anguish that inevitably come with it. If you are building a house, go on to the next part of the building process.

For the time being, though, don’t think about your final goal. Instead, decide what the next step in your process should be and focus on that. If it’s writing 500 words or editing a chapter, that is now your goal.

Reach the goal. Celebrate. Pick the next goal. Repeat.

The big goal will come if you are patient and work hard.

You got this.

Yes, it’s true, Rome wasn’t built in a day. But when it was completed, what an amazing masterpiece it turned out to be.

Your work will be no different.

Until next time…

Please share this post on Pinterest or other social media. Thank you!

Why should you be patient when working toward a goal? Because success rarely comes over night. Read this life lesson on how to cultivate patience.

 

Paradies WIP – Chapter 11

Chapter 11

The next morning, I awoke again in the compound. For a few minutes I pondered what the other me in the bunker would be doing. Was I unconscious there again? There was no way of knowing.

I decided it was best to not bring attention to myself. I went back to keeping the stern look on my face and went back to work in the vineyards. As much as I was enjoying the food, I forced myself to go back to only eating three bites. Rations existed for a reason and there was no excuse for me to be a glutton just because food was available.

Paul’s six guards were more vigilant at keeping us apart, but I caught Paul glancing my way frequently at noon meal. When I could get even reasonably close to him, I would call out a word that I hoped would be familiar to him. Mical. Football. Menton. Something had to click.

Each night after first rain I made my way back to the barn hopeful of seeing Paul.

For two weeks I was in the compound and kept up my new routine. One night while waiting in the quiet dark barn I sat with my back against the crate contemplating what else I could try to reach Paul.

Paradise WIP

“Sir?” A voice came out of no where and I sprang to my feet. Paul was there and had scared me half to death.

“Peadar?” I whispered. In the darkness I didn’t see him, but he was only a few feet from me. He had come naked as I expected he would. “I brought you clothes,” I told him.

“They will see,” he objected.

“Not these clothes.” I retrieved his outfit from under the crate and he put them on. I felt more at ease once he was dressed.

“I keep mine hidden under the carpet in my room,” I told him. “You might find a better option.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“You can stop with the ‘sir’ business. Are you fully back?”

“Not fully, sir, er, I mean,” he stopped talking.

“Ugh. Sir is okay if that’s what you prefer.”

“I do, sir, thank you.”

“Do you know who you are?” I asked him.

“Some. I remember you. And Mical. And Menton. There are some gaps, but every day I am getting new glimpses of my past. Thank you for working to bring me back.”

“Everyone thinks you are dead.” After the words were out, I realized how abrupt they would hit him.

“Everyone? You have had contact with the others?”

“Yes, well, sort of,” I told him. I started to explain to him the dreams or waking hours in the bunker.

“And I am dead there?”

“We think so,” I told him. “Menton says you threw me clear of a grenade blast. There was nothing left of you to find.”

Peadar sat down hard on the crate and it creaked loudly in protest.

“I don’t remember,” he said slowly. “Do you think I’m really dead?”

“I can’t say. I don’t know what this place is for sure. What’s the last thing you remember from the other world?”

“I remember we went to the surface,” he told me. “It was dark and cold, the sky was red. There was something we needed, but I can’t remember what right now. The Plax had come out of nowhere. We were surrounded. Then I was in the reconditioning center.”

“Whatever they did this last time was more successful. Do you remember anything?”

“Not much.” Even in the dark I knew he hung his head. “What I do remember is a vague blur until a few days ago. When you kept saying ‘football’ it got the bots in my brain to get to work on repairing the backup. I may have lost some in the process.”

“I hope not,” I told him. “I have already lost so much of my own that we need everything you know.”

“I will try to remember, sir.” Peadar stood back up at attention.

“At ease, soldier,” I told him. “None of this is your fault.”

His silence told me that he believed that at least some of it was.

“I know where the reconditioning center is,” I told him. “But I’m not sure how we can get in.”

“Sir?”

“There is a door to an underground facility. Much more high-tech than our bunker. The door is sealed, and I don’t know how they open it.”

“Where are we now?” My comment about him dying was weighing heavily on him.

“I honestly don’t know. Max thinks it might be some sort of neural construct we are connected to. She says I might have bots in my brain.”

“Maybe,” Peadar agreed. “But that wouldn’t make sense for me. Even if deactivated for a time, my augmentation bots would set out to destroy any foreign bots the moment they were reactivated. They wouldn’t be able to keep me in a neural construct. It was a possibility that the Hyatt prepared for.”

“Then what is this place?”

“Maybe this place is real and the other is the construct.”

I thought of Sam. What if she wasn’t real? I did not remember her before my first night of dreams. My heart wept silently at the thought of her not existing.

“The other place must be real,” I insisted. “Sam. Max. Menton. They have to be real.”

“The people are real. I remember them. What I am saying is maybe they are the ones in a construct. You might only connect when you are exhausted enough to really sleep.”

His thought process made sense. I had not been back in the bunker for two weeks. Every night of those two weeks I had slept little with my plan of hopefully finding Peadar. The times I was in the bunker, when I returned to the compound I was never missing time. But when I went to the bunker, often considerable time had passed.

“If you are right,” I didn’t want to imagine that he was right. “How do we get them out? Where are they?”

“Before my last reconditioning, I had been thinking a lot about this place. There is no way this compound is on Earth. Everything was dead, the sky still filled with debris. No one has seen Earth’s sun in years and yet we see this sun every day. We can’t be on Earth.”

A cold chill ran up my spine. I hadn’t considered that we might not be on Earth.

“What about the others?” I asked him.

“I expect they have to be here. Maybe in the underground facility you saw.”

“I did meet a girl there. Jasmine I think was her name. She was one of our people.”

“So, there might be more of our people down there,” he said.

“Then our first priority is finding them.”

Tale of a New Blogger – Part 3

Peadar and I decided that we would only meet every third night. He felt it was important that I try to sleep. Sleep while in the compound was somehow the gateway to our comrades in the bunker.

Of course, sleep was a great concept. Actually sleeping was different matter entirely.

A thought started to grow in my mind that the compound was the construct. No matter how hard I worked in the vineyard, no matter how much I sweat out in the sun, come darkness I was seldom tired enough to actually sleep.

Part of my mind tried to play it off. I was a soldier. We had been fighting the Plax for years. My body could have adjusted to needing little sleep.

When I was in the bunker, though, I always felt tired. My body had been damaged several times, and the aches and pains were very present.

If the bunker were reality, then most likely Peadar was really dead. Somehow the Plax had found a way to salvage his consciousness. I kept that thought to myself. I knew Peadar was already thinking about it too much. There was no sense in my adding to his anguish until we had clear facts.

The next night that we met I took him to the entrance of the reconditioning center. There were no lights around it so we easily were able to inspect it up close.

“There has to be some sort of electronic signal that releases the door,” Peadar explained to me as he careful explored the door edges. “It’s almost perfectly sealed. There’s no way we can pry it open.”

“I agree.”

There was nothing else to the small structure. Had I not seen the door open, even distinguishing what was the door would have been difficult. The remainder of the exterior was smooth.

“Do you remember them having any type of control?”

“No, I was unconscious when they took me in. I’m guessing the door opens automatically when you are coming out.”

“We will have to conduct some surveillance,” he suggested.

“I was thinking the same thing. There’s some thick underbrush over there.” I pointed to the area just beyond the pool with the black liquid. “I think we would have a clear line of sight from there.”

“How should we work this?” Ever the soldier, Peadar looked to me for direction.

“You can’t be missing during the day. Your six ‘friends’ would quickly notice if you disappeared for anything length of time. I probably can’t be missing a lot, but no one has ever questioned me when I have gone exploring during the day.”

Peadar only nodded in agreement.

“We’ll meet here every third night rather than in the barn. The first night, I will keep watch from first to second rain. The second night you will. The third night we can watch together as we share intel.”

“Yes, sir.”

Author’s Note: Thank you to all you dear readers that are traveling this journey with me. You are almost caught up now with how far I have written, so I have to get busy at writing more content.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the story so far. Please share you comments below or drop me a note through the contact page.

Click here to read Chapter 12.