A few months ago, I invested inBillionaire Blog Club (BBC). When you sign up, your sign up for life. One price covers you for all time. It’s one of the best investments I’ve ever made in myself. Here’s why.
Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. If you sign up through a link on this page, I will make a small commission, at no additional cost to you.
Becoming a lifetime member of Billionaire Blog Club gives you access to all of the books and videos that site owner, Paul Scrivens, AKA Scrivs, has put together. Scrivs is extremely (almost scarily) intelligent and has successfully launched dozens of blogs. Yes, dozens. It has probably changed, but I think the last time I checked he had 15 sites that were active.
What’s great about Scrivs having so many personal blogs is that he has first-hand knowledge about how to blog in a variety of niches. He takes all of the wisdom and builds it into each of his courses.
Scrivs started each of his blogs to prove that a blog could be successful in any niche. He then shaped that knowledge into a step-by-step video series that covers all of the things he does to take a site from ground zero to major income, including using social media, SEO and more.
Blogging can be a lonely business. To that end, and in addition to all the courses BBC provides, Scrivs sends out regular emails. He’s not one to waste his time on being salesy. His emails are written specifically for BBC members. When you become a BBC member, you are one for life, so there’s no need for him to try to sell you anything else. Most emails do not include any links.
Each email concentrates on sharing Scrivs’s knowledge and inspiration. As he learns new things about the blogging world, he passes that information on to the Billionaire Blog Club members.
The thing that I get the most value from is the fact that he’s not afraid to be brutally honest. In fact, it was one of his especially strong emails that pushed me out of my blog depression and made me get back to work.
In a nutshell, he said that the biggest mistake bloggers make isn’t in not knowing what to do. No, instead, the issue usually comes from not doing what they know they should do.
The email could have been written for me personally. That is exactly what my problem was (and still is, to some extent, though I am improving.) I had the plans to build a wheel, but I was spending all my time in my workshop trying to make a wheel without using that information.
Again, blogging alone at home all day can be a lonely path. There’s no understanding shoulder to cry on when things go wrong or hands to high-five when you get that win. BBC solves that problem with their Slack community. Through forums available on Slack, all BBC members can freely share inspiration, joys, triumphs and failures (happily not many of these) with each other.
Since everyone is working toward the same goal, that of being a successful blogger, conversations are very positive, encouraging and relevant. Everyone is working together so that everyone can succeed.
I’m not the type to join into most of the conversations. However, by following and reading the questions other members ask and the answers provided, many of the issues I’ve had with my own blog have been quickly fixed.
It’s very impressive to me that Scrivs makes himself available through the Billionaire Blog Club forum almost every day. He does this to make sure that each member is getting the direction that they wanted when they first purchased their membership.
However, even if he is not available, there are always other members online. Since everyone is on their own timeline, there’s bound to be someone ahead of you in the process that can quickly answer your questions. Plus, BBC employs a community manager and she is almost always quick to respond.
When you become a Billionaire Blog Club member, you have the assurance that you will have access to everything that Scrivs produces moving forward. Right now, the thing we are all excited about is the fact that BBC will soon become MOMO. Scrivs isn’t telling us what MOMO stands for, but we do know that our BBC membership will transfer over to a lifetime MOMO membership.
Right now, BBC is open to new memberships until 8/3/2018. The price is $397, but that is a steal. Once MOMO is fully launched and open for enrollment, the started entry will be well over $1000. If you think you want in, now is the time to act.
As much as I love BBC, it is not the right program for every blogger. I connect well to the way Scrivs teaches his video courses and writes his content. I am determined to be successful, no matter how unpleasant parts of the journey may be.
It’s also quite an investment. In fact, the purchase price is $397 US. In my mind, it is well worth that price just for the hundreds of step-by-step videos. I learn things from BBC that I have never seen from any other blogger. Once MOMO launches, things will be even more comprehensive.
But it’s a hefty investment, so you should not buy it unless you are veryserious about putting in the time and effort that is required to make a blog successful. It’s hard work and takes a lot of time, at least in the beginning.
The good news is that if you think you might be interested, there is a freeBlogging Bootcamp available on the top of the main Billionaire Blog Club page. The Bootcamp lets you learn a little more about Scrivs and his teaching style without any obligation. However, keep in mind that enrollment closes this Friday.
Note: Scrivs is very real and not afraid to say whatever needs to be said. Personally, I need that type of mentor, but some people might want someone that is going to be all sunshine and rainbows. That’s not Scrivs, though he is awesome and super funny.
Do you still have questions about Billionaire Blog Club? Feel free to message me through the Contact Page. I will be happy to answer any questions you might have.
Try out the freeBlogging Bootcampfor a couple of days. If you like what you see, then sign up. It’s that simple and a worthy investment. If you know you already want to sign up,click here and then click “Join” in the upper right hand corner. Then come back and let me know.
Hello, readers! It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post about me. So much has been going on that I feel like I need to check in with my audience and give a quick update on everything from building a launch team to growing an ice plant. As a result, I’ve decided to take some time off from my different series.
As usual, Wolfe is trying to go in more directions than are humanly possible (I don’t know why I’m referring to myself in third-person.) If I didn’t, though, I wouldn’t be me.
From hiring editors to killing plants, here’s what’s been going on in Wolfe Butler’s world.
Why You Need a Professional Editor
If you’ve followed me for any time at all, you know that my debut novel, Getting Home, was a labor of love that took me 15 years to complete. I finally self-published it simply so I would stop working on it. My goal was to go back to it at some point so it could be polished to perfection.
A couple reader’s pointed out some small grammar and typo mistakes. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so those mistakes have become an obsession of mine.
I decided not to wait and to dust off the manuscript. I raised the price on Amazon so no one would be interested in buying it for the time being, and I decided to get the help I needed to polish it into the gem I know it can be.
Through a little searching, I was able to find a great editor within just a two-hour drive from where I live. I am working with the wonderful and talented Angela B. Wade. Even though the book was finished, Angela is helping me do a developmental edit. Angela can also be found on Reedsyif you want to work with a great editor.
The Bad and the Good
When it comes to getting good and bad news, I always opt for the bad first to get it over with and so I still have something good to look forward to. Angela has helped me to see that there were some serious revisions needed in Getting Home due to plot holes and some confusion from inconsistent point-of-view.
On the positive side, as I work through the entire manuscript again, I’m finding that it’s actually a fairly decent piece of fiction. Yes, I know I shouldn’t say that about my own work, but I have been pleasantly surprised.
After almost seven months of not looking at it, I sat down to read it cover to cover. I was pleased to find some good writing. Yes, there are lots of things to fix, and I’m so thankful to reviewers likeKristy Jo Volchko for their kind reviews in spite of glaring mistakes. However, there is some good writing, so I can’t wait to do a new release for my passion project.
While I am disappointed with myself for putting my work out into the world in an imperfect state, I am so grateful to Angela B. Wade. She is helping me to put the book in order and has pointed out a few flaws that I would never have noticed on my own.
If you are an indie author, I strongly recommend that you consider working with a professional editor like Angela B. Wade. If you feel like a professional is outside of your budget, then, at the very least, find a teacher or other wordsmith in your life that is willing to give your manuscript a once-over before you launch.
You will be surprised at how many mistakes a fresh set of eyes can find.
One of the reasons for today’s post is that I am looking to build a launch team. There are two main reasons.
One, as I just mentioned, Getting Home will soon be re-released. I would love some help spreading the word.
Two, my current work-in-progress, Paradise, is also nearly complete for book one. My goal is to have it live on Amazon by mid-October, which means I have a lot of work to do between now and then.
I am coming to each of you to ask for help. In the coming days, I will be creating Facebook groups for each book. Please consider applying to join my launch team. In addition to my eternal gratitude, you will also receive a copy of the book when it goes live.
What Does a Launch Team Do?
Many of us have done book tours, whether online or in person. Developing a launch team is very similar. All I would ask from you is that you read the advance copy I will send to you and then leave an honest review once the book goes live. It would also be great if you were willing to post about the launch on your blog or social media accounts.
Now, I don’t want to cross any lines, especially with Amazon. If I send you an advanced reader copy (ARC) copy of either book, you are under no obligation to write a final review. I would love it if you would, but would fully understand if you did not. It would be good to include in your review that you received an ARC, but I don’t think it’s a requirement.
Please reach out to me if you have any more questions on launch teams.
You Gotta Have Help
Another huge change I have made in my daily life was addingCrowdFire to help me keep up with my social media accounts. I was spending hours each week on social media, primarily on Twitter and Facebook.
I still spend a fair amount of time on each platform, but CrowdFire has cut out a lot of the I spent posting to separate platforms and keeping up with followers and unfollowers.
CrowdFire has a free option, so you can check it out and see if it is something that will work for you. For me, it has saved me hours each week and worth every penny I paid for the upgrade. It also will help you post and repost blog posts and will post to Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Shopify, Etsy, Vimeo and more.
The biggest way it is saving me time is by helping me add new followers and remove those that have chosen to stop following me or become inactive. It turns out, over the last eight months, I have unknowingly followed a large number of spam accounts.
Those accounts become inactive in time and bloat your numbers when it comes to the accounts you are following. Removing those inactive accounts gives you room to follow new, legitimate accounts.
The best news? It only takes about 10 minutes a day to keep things up to date, and you can do it all from the CrowdFire app right on your phone. Honestly, I do it most mornings before I even get out of bed.
When I self-published in November 2017, I knew nothing about the subject. I thought I had done a lot of research in advance, but the months that have followed have taught me just how little I knew at the time, and how little I still know today.
To help me grow, I have teamed up with a self-publishing group. I will be posting more about this in the near future. The short story is they are teaching me about book design, layout, and effective book promotion. I can’t wait to share everything with you in the coming weeks.
That said, I will also be sharing my updates on how self-publishing is working for me. Hopefully, that will mean lots of success story posts.
My Yard Hates Me
Okay, so maybe that statement is a little harsh, but I am really struggling this year, and I’m not sure what I’ve done wrong. I’ve had both pampas grass and knock-out roses die this year. Pampas grass! I didn’t know it could even die.
The Ice Plant I wrote about inWhy You Should Drop Back And Punt is still not blooming, though it’s supposed to bloom all summer, and even my impatiens, which are one of my favorite flowers of summer, are barely blooming this year.
The only things I can think of is that we’ve had a lot more rain and a much cooler summer this year than normal. If you have any tips, please let me know.
There’s No Time to Read
Last, I want to comment on my lack of book reviews. With everything going on in my world right now, plus trying to still do some freelance writing, there has been very little time to read. That means that the books I have from talented authors like O.J. Lowe and Caron Allan are being neglected.
While I will eventually (probably not until winter) get to those books, I do want to see more reviews go live on this blog. To that end, I am talking to a few other bloggers and reviewers about posting their reviews on my site. Again, more on this will be coming soon.
If you are interested in writing a guest post book review for my site, please send me a note through the Contact Page link. Also, if you are interested in becoming part of my next launch team, please contact me as well.
That’s it for today. Thank you for stopping by. Don’t forget to check out CrowdFirefor social media management. The free version will give you a good idea as to whether it is the right tool for you.
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Author’s Note: Welcome to another week of Paradise, a science fiction work-in-progress. If you have just stumbled upon this site, each week new chapters are posted as they are written. This is a first draft so please keep in mind that there will be mistakes and possible inconsistencies.
Last week, the chapter ended with Menton jumping into full flight mode. Let’s see what happens next.
Everything blurred past me as Menton bounded along down the hall with gazelle-like strides. She had seen or heard something to make her run but wasn’t willing to take the time to clue me in. She was running in the same direction we had been walking, so at first, I wasn’t sure if she was running to safety or running into battle.
The wait for an answer was short as just as swiftly she swung me down from her shoulder and set me down against a wall.
“Don’t make a sound and don’t move,” she commanded me. In another second, she had bounded so much further down the cave that I couldn’t see where she went.
My headlamp was still shining, but the cave was wider where I was sitting and the light did not penetrate the dark far enough for me to see the opposite wall. A chill caressed my spine as I imagined what could be in the dark.
The shriek of weapon fire soon startled me into the reality of our situation. The orange light flashed in quick bursts far ahead of me in the tunnel. Frantically, with my heart in battle mode, I began to search the wall behind me for an opening. I was sure there was a reason why Menton had put me down where she did.
Crawling forward a little, I did find another opening in the rock. It was a little bigger than the last one I had to crawl through and not near as long. My head was clear of the wall before my knees had entered the opened.
It was dank and musty on the other side. Water was running down the far wall and in a stream that cut a path at the base of the wall. The “far wall” is a bit of a misnomer because the opening was so small I could almost reach it from where I stood. A quick inspection of the other three walls revealed nothing but a few cave crickets. I huddled close to the entrance after taking off my chest plate armor. The only weapon I had been carrying had disappeared during Menton’s epic sprint. I decided that if anything stuck a head or anything else through the opening that my armor would be enough to chop its head off.
Weapon fire continued far up the cave but the sound was muffled from my new vantage point. Moments later the firing stopped and an eerie silence enveloped me. There was some comfort in the trickle of the water running down the wall even if the water might be poisoned. At least I wasn’t in total silence.
It seemed like a long time before I heard movement outside the opening. I readied my shield to bash anything the came through.
“Roman?” came my name in a whisper. A wave of relief washed over me as I realized it was Sam’s voice.
“Yeah, it’s me. It’s safe now. You can come out.”
I clung tightly to the shield as I slithered back out of the opening. Sam was the only one there to greet me.
“Where are Benjamin and Menton?” I asked, fearing the worst.
“Up ahead,” she nodded. “Don’t worry, they are fine. Whatever was here is gone now.”
“If I knew that, I wouldn’t be here getting you.”
“Nice,” I reproached her.
“Of course, I’m kidding.” I was looking at her but I was sure she was smirking at me.
“I lost my weapon,” I told her, changing the subject. “It must have fallen when Menton was carrying me.”
“Menton has it,” she informed me.
“Menton has it?” I was incensed. “What was I supposed to use to defend myself.”
Sam laughed out and then caught herself because she was still trying to be quiet.
“Roman, she knew this part of the cave was clear. She took her stance at a bottleneck to make sure nothing got past her. You were never going to need your weapon.”
I wanted to put faith in her words but would have felt more secure with some form of defense in my hands.
Menton and Benjamin were standing guard at the choke point.
“Did you see anything?” I asked them.
“We never do,” Benjamin replied. “And that’s the problem.”
“So, what do we do?” I asked.
Menton turned to me and I was sure there was a hint of disapproval in her eyes.
“Um, General, sir,” she started, “I don’t hear anything. It should be safe to move forward.”
“What did you hear?” I wanted to know, still unsure as to how she knew there was trouble ahead.
“Enhancements,” Sam muttered, gesturing to her ear.
“Ah, okay.” I dropped the subject.
Our pack trudged forward and soon came to a large metal sliding door. It took all four of us to slide it open far enough that we could get through it. On the other side was the interior so large that I couldn’t see the other side.
“Where are we?” I asked just inside the door.
“They used to build airplanes here for the military,” Sam informed me. “Everything has been long since scavenged, though.”
For reasons that weren’t clear to me, Sam insisted we close the sliding door behind us. The stubborn door insisted on the strength of the four of us combined before it was willing to budge. I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if one of us did not make it back from our mission.
The hangar led to a number of builders that once had been a military base. Every room and hallway was strewn with debris and years of collected dust and cobwebs. I couldn’t help but notice that every so often there was a glass box on the wall with a red button inside.
“Sam,” I finally started, “what’s the deal with the red button.”
“Blast doors,” she told me. “They still work as far as I know.” She pointed to a metal seam that ran vertically up the wall near one of the buttons. “Press the button and a metal door instantly seals the corridor. Be careful, though,” she warned. “The doors are propelled by explosives. If you are not clear before you push the button, you will lose a hand or worse.”
I made a mental note, “Stay away from the red buttons.”
Deep in the base, we entered a small room just big enough for the four of us to lie on the floor.
“We’ll stay here tonight,” she told me. “Nothing can get into this room once we seal the door. Tomorrow we meet our help.”
“Who exactly are we meeting?” I asked her.
“You don’t want to know,” was her only reply.
CrowdFire will free up your time by making social media easier to handle.
Exhaustion pulled me quickly to the floor. It seemed like I had no more than closed my eyes when there was pounding on the door. My heart began to race, but Sam was confident that the Plax would not knock and she sprung open and opened the heavy door.
Standing outside the door was a mountain of a man that would have made even Peadar appear small. With a sour grimace on his face, he only said two words, “Let’s move.”
I was able to learn that his name was Chet before his harsh stare told us that he did not want any talking. Not far from where he had found us, we came to what appeared to be a dead end. The wall in front of us began to move and gave us a view of a long, downward sloping corridor. We walked down the corridor for at least twenty minutes before we reached a door. Along the way, there were the dangerous red buttons every fifty feet or so.
The room we entered was large. At least thirty people turned to look at us as we entered, and the room fell silent.
“Volunteers?” Chet barked out, and all the hands in the room went up with the exception of the four of us from the bunker. There was a distinct impression that “volunteer” did not carry the meaning we were used to. Something told me it was going to be an unforgettable day.
Author’s Note: Thank you for coming along with my on this journey. I would love to hear your thoughts.
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Author’s Note: Hello, readers! I don’t know about you, but these summer weeks seem to be flying by. That said, I have set the goal of finishing the first draft of Paradise by the end of August. I will continue to post a new chapter each week, but hopefully by fall, you’ll be able to have a copy of the finished book. More news coming soon!
Last week, we left Roman disappointed that he was not able to communicate with Jasmine like he had planned. I’m not giving up hope, though, and neither should you. This week, we’ll learn a little more about Peadar, Menton, and the Hyatt. Enjoy!
I went to sleep that night trying to formulate a plan of how I might be able to reach Jasmine, but the next time I opened my eyes, I was back in the caves. Someone was dragging me along the corridor.
“Stop!” I called out. I couldn’t see who it was because they were pulling me by the back of my body shield.
“General?” It was Menton’s voice. She let go of my shield without warning, and my body fell hard against the ground.
“Where are we?” I asked, struggling to get myself up.
“We’re heading back to the bunker. You’ve been unconscious again.”
I thought back to the event that had sent me mentally to the compound again. A rush of gratitude swept through me as I realized I would not have to make my way out through that tight passageway.
“How long was I out this time?”
“Less than eight hours,” she told me, and that gave me some relief. I hoped it meant that I could trust that the compound really was the construct and that I was back in the real world.
“Good. Where are Sam and Benjamin?”
“They continued toward the surface.”
“Without us?” The mission was going to be dangerous enough with four people. There was no way two people on their own could accomplish it.
“Sam didn’t want to give up. You were unconscious, so she decided it would be best for me to take you back. You may still have bots in your head.”
“I’m pretty sure I do,” I agree. “But there is no way Sam and Benjamin can do this on their own. How much of a lead do they have?”
“A couple hours. We didn’t come out into the corridor until this morning.”
“Good. That means if we move quickly, we can catch them. How far are we from the surface?”
“Not far,” she told me. “They should reach it in the next couple of hours.”
“Then we better hurry.” I started walking in the direction of the surface.
“Sir,” Menton was beside me in a flash and took hold of my arm. “You’re not well. You’ve been very weak and were just unconscious. I have orders to take you back to the bunker.”
“I’m alive,” I told her, a bit more brusquely than I intended. “The success of this mission has much better odds with more people. Even if my only asset is to serve as bait, it’s still better to have four rather than two.”
From her face, I could see she was considering my words strategically, but I also knew what instructions Sam had probably given her. She would have been told to ignore me no matter what I said.
“But, sir,” she finally said. “Sam ordered me…”
“I’m sure she did,” I cut her off. “It’s all well and good for Sam to give orders if I’m unconscious. However, when I am awake, I am still the general. Then I give the orders.”
It didn’t feel right for me to say those words. Everyone kept telling me I was the general, but I wished I had the benefit of years of memories and experiences to back up my rank.
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Menton was a good soldier. There was one thing the Hyatt did well, and that was to ingrain the importance of hierarchy into their soldiers.
“Yes, sir,” she replied letting my arm free, and we started walking at a brisk pace.
She was right, I was very weak. It was only a matter of minutes before I started to feel the drain of fatigue and my legs seemed to grow heavier with every step.
“What happened to me?” I asked her in an attempt to distract myself.
“We’re not entirely sure. You got stuck in the entranceway to the saferoom. I had to pull you through the rest of the way, but you were unable to talk and were shaking and rocking back and forth. Sam tried to calm you down, but in a few minutes, you were just unconscious. You didn’t move again until a few minutes ago.”
“Do I have a history of claustrophobia?” I didn’t really want the answer. It wasn’t a great trait for a general to have.
“Sam says that you’ve never liked tight spaces, but she’s never seen anything like it. She thinks there might still be bots at work, struggling to regain control. That’s why she wanted me to get you back to Max.”
The fact that I’d been back in the compound made that likely true, but I decided not to share that part of my episode with Menton.
“We’ll go back soon enough,” I assured her. “But not without our prize. This mission will be a success.”
We walked on in silence for several more minutes. The distraction had not been enough. Fatigue continued to pull down on me.
“Menton?” I started some time later.
“Could you talk to me?” I felt like a child asking a parent to read a book.
“Sir?” She stopped and looked at me.
Sometimes, the best you can do is step back and try again. Read Lesson 15 for more.
She didn’t speak again for some time. I was about ready to give up and just ask her to carry me when she finally started talking.
“We met when we were with the Hyatt. Neither of us had been there for more than a few days. Peadar was kind. Most of the other kids were already soldiers or had the soldier mindset. Peadar was different.”
“Fights were common in the barracks, especially among the fish.”
“The ‘fish’?” I didn’t remember that term.
“Yes, sir. That was what they called us, those of us that were new. We were fish because we had been recently captured.”
“Yes, sir. You know about the Hyatt, right?”
I knew a little from what Sam and Peadar had told me, but I didn’t remember anything about “fish.”
“Let’s say I don’t,” I told her ambiguously.
“Yes, sir. The Hyatt’s recruitment process isn’t one where they ask people to join them. Instead, they go out to areas, or at least they did when there were more of us on the surface, and look for kids that have lost their parents or become separated from their families.”
I struggled to remember the world on the surface, but no memories were forthcoming.
“Once they find one, or several, they start tagging them.
“Tagging is done with a type of dart. They shoot the kids with the dart. There’s a toxin in the dart that makes the kids pliable, almost like zombies, except something in the toxin makes you obedient to orders. There’s also a tracking bot in the dart. Once you’ve been tagged, the Hyatt can always find you. Even strong kids, like Peadar’s brother Mical, who might be a little less responsive to the toxin, can’t escape. The Hyatt wait for you to stop running and then surround you. Once captured, they take you back to one of their camps. They call the new kids, ‘the catch of the day’ or ‘fish.’”
“Yes, sir,” she agreed with little emotion in her voice. “But most of us wouldn’t have fought if we could have. We were living on the streets, constantly running. Sleep was rare because you never knew when the Plax would show up. The Hyatt offered food and a safe place to sleep. Most of us would have gone with them without the tagging.”
“But you later felt it was important to escape?”
“Yes. Mical saw it first. The Hyatt aren’t much different than the Plax. They did feed us, clothe us, and give us a place to sleep, but we were nothing but tools to them. If one of us was captured or died in the street, they just left us. Even if you were badly injured, you were left behind. I was not a small girl to start with, so it was pretty much guaranteed that I would be on the front lines with the big guys like Mical and Peadar. Mical knew we could have something better. He believed in you.”
“But I was a kid myself, wasn’t I?”
“Yes, you and Mical were the same age, but you were different. Even in the streets, you would share what you had. You wouldn’t eat so that others could. The Hyatt didn’t target you because you weren’t big enough physically. You watched over the other kids that were left behind. Many would have died without you.”
I wished I could remember more of my past.
“I had been alone on the streets,” she went on. “I didn’t have siblings, and my parents just disappeared one day. I was living in the shadows but didn’t escape the Hyatt’s notice. I wasn’t little, but I also wasn’t a fighter. I had been in the barracks for a few days. There was plenty of food, but the bigger kids often took whatever they wanted. They would take your food even if they weren’t hungry, just for the sport of terrorizing other kids. The rough kids usually became the troop leaders.
“Peadar said he had been watching me for a few days. I was keeping my head down, so I really hadn’t noticed anyone. Evening meal was delivered and the kids flocked to get what they could. I waited until most of the kids were gone and went up and got some small portions for myself. I made my way back to a dark corner, but a group of bigger kids followed me. They demanded I give them my food, as they had each of the days prior. Peadar was at the back of the group, and I figured he wanted something from me as well.
“I clutched the little food I had taken. I knew the kids wouldn’t let me go back to get more, and I was so hungry from days of not eating. Just then, I saw a kid fly across the room.”
“Fly?” I asked.
“Yes. Peadar decided he wasn’t going to watch them torment me anymore. Peadar was a big guy before the augmentations started. So, he picked up a few of the kids closest to him and tossed them as far as he could. It only took four before the rest of the kids scattered. I almost ran myself, because I wasn’t sure what Peadar would want with me, but he just came and sat on the floor next to me. He handed me his food and said, ‘Eat.’ Mical came a few minutes later and sat on the other side of me. They protected me from that day forward.”
I felt anger rising inside me as she spoke – anger against the Hyatt for stealing and abusing these kids and anger for the Plax that they had tried to steal Peadar’s memories away from him.
“Peadar was very kind,” Menton went on. “Mical became a troop leader and got all three of us assigned to his troop. Peadar kept me safe, kept everyone safe that he could.”
“And were you…” I stopped. I got the feeling there was romance between them, but I wasn’t sure if it would be appropriate for me to ask that question.
There was silence again for some time. I was reviewing the memories I did have of Peadar when Menton suddenly spoke again. Her voice was barely a whisper.
“I wanted it,” was all she said, and I was fairly sure the words weren’t meant for me.
Suddenly, Menton’s arm shot up with a tight fist, and she froze in her tracks. Instinctively, I froze as well. She closed her eyes and listened for a moment. I listened, too, but didn’t hear anything but the sound of water dripping in the distance.
“Someone’s close,” she whispered, and in a flash, she had scooped me up and over her shoulder. There was to be no debate this time.
Author’s Note: Thank you for coming by to share another week in my journey of writing this book. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or through the contact page.
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Hello readers! Thank you for coming back to the next chapter in my science fiction work in progress. If you are new here, Paradise is a tale of one memory dealing with no memory and living in two realities. Last week, Roman had returned to the compound, though that shouldn’t have been possible after the surgery Max performed. This week, something new is discovered in the compound.
Please keep in mind, this is a first draft, and it is being shared as it is written. If you notice inconsistencies or glaring errors, please let me know. Thank you for joining me on this journey. Enjoy!
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.
The next morning, I again woke in the compound. It didn’t make sense that I should be back there, but I decided to make the best of it.
I was sure that the key to figuring out what was going on could be found in the reconditioning center. Whether the compound was real or not, that center was important to that reality.
It was clear I couldn’t immediately go back to watching the door to the center. They would be watching me. Likely, they had been watching me for some time.
However, they were playing the game differently this time. Not only had they let Peadar come visit me, even telling him I had been injured, but they also allowed us to continue talking. We were even able to sit together at mealtimes.
Peadar was not impressed at the new way I was devouring large amounts of food, but I didn’t care. Real or not, I wanted to enjoy every morsel for as long as I could.
For several days, a group of barn workers sat around Peadar and I. It wasn’t clear who among them was the spy or if they all were, but we took the hint and spoke only about things in the compound.
The group quickly grew bored with us and soon let us sit at one of the fringe tables by ourselves.
“What happened?” Peadar asked me one day.
“What do you mean?” There were strawberries on the menu that day, and I was enjoying eating them in small, blissful bites.
“In the center. I know you didn’t fall.”
“No, I’m sure I didn’t fall,” I told him. “But I can’t tell you what happened. The whole time I was gone, I was back in the bunker. I don’t know what happened here.”
“And I’m still not in the bunker?”
I paused from my strawberries for a moment to look at him.
“No, I’m sorry. You’re not there. You died protecting me in that reality.”
“So, if this isn’t real?” He wasn’t really looking for an answer, and I offered none.
He looked down mournfully at his plate. “And we’re sure this is the construct?”
He looked back up at me. “Yes, sir.”
“I can’t say unequivocally. I thought for sure the bunker was real. Max found bots in my head and removed them. Life felt normal there, although awful most of the time. The people in the bunker seem just as real as anyone here.”
“So, this might be reality?”
For a moment, I imaged Peadar as a young boy, and I was having to find a way to tell him that his favorite pet had died.
“Again, I can’t say. I don’t know how to figure it out.”
He didn’t say anything for some time.
“Well, then, sir,” he finally said. “Perhaps that should be our new mission.”
It was then that I noticed a girl walking our direction from the barracks. My mind didn’t register anything at first, but it did pick up a hint of familiarity, so I did a doubletake.
“Who’s that?” I asked Peadar, nodding my head in the girl’s direction.
“The night we saw Gregg and Todd come out of the center, Gregg was carrying something.”
Yes, I remembered that. It had been too dark to see what it was.
“It was her,” Peadar went on. “They let her keep her name, Jasmine, but not much else. They really did a number on her.”
“What do you mean?”
Peadar paused for a minute like he wasn’t sure how to convey what he meant. “She’s not right,” he finally said. “Not upstairs. Something isn’t working right.”
“Still,” I replied, turning my head so no one would notice me paying attention to her, “she’s been in the center. That makes her our best ally.”
“Maybe.” Peadar did not sound as enthusiastic as I felt.
Jasmine didn’t have a work assignment. Instead, she seemed to be just wandering aimlessly around the compound. She didn’t wear the smile that most people did. In fact, she didn’t wear any expression at all.
I watched her much of the afternoon as I was working in the vineyard. There was no discernable pattern in where she walked or when, and I didn’t notice her interact with anyone.
When it was time for evening meal, I watched for her to come in to the dining area, but she never did. After feasting on corn, okra, and candied carrots, I set out to search for her. As luck would have it, I found her near the barn where Peadar worked, and no one else was around.
“Jasmine!” I called after her, but she continued walking at her slow pace.
“Jasmine,” I called out again softer as I got closer. Still, no response.
Finally, I caught up to her and grabbed her gently by the arm. She turned to look in my direction, but I got the clear impression that she wasn’t seeing me.
“Jasmine, it’s me.”
“Hello,” she said methodically, but her stare and expression remained unchanged.
I lowered my voice to a whisper. “It’s me, General Roman. I need your help.”
“Jasmine, you’re the only one that has been in the center. I know it’s the key to everything here. I need your help.”
“Hello,” she said again in her monotone way.
Peadar was right. This definitely wasn’t the girl I had talked to in the center.
Just then, Vann appeared from nowhere just behind us.
“Rick,” he said with the smile I wanted to rip from his face, “I see you’ve met Jasmine.”
I didn’t say anything.
“I’d prefer you let her go.” It was clear that Vann was giving me an order, though his smile remained unchanged.
“We were just talking,” I told him.
“Really?” His tone was sarcastic. “Jasmine doesn’t talk a lot, and not usually to people she’s just met.”
I wanted to confront Vann, but after my conditioning, I wasn’t supposed to remember Jasmine or the center. I also wasn’t sure what they had done to me in the two months I’d been in the bunker, so instead I stood there silently.
“Jasmine used to work in another part of the compound,” Vann started to inform me. It surprised me that he said that because everyone had always said there was nothing other than the part of compound we saw every day.
“She was a very good worker, but one act of carelessness, and she was unavoidably hurt. We’re doing what we can to help her, but I fear she may be forever altered.”
I let go of Jasmine’s arm. It shocked me what Vann was saying. He was giving me a warning. I had a choice to confront him or to pretend like I knew nothing. There was no doubt that Vann couldn’t be trusted, so I opted to remain silent.
Vann came closer and put his arm around Jasmine.
“Come on, young one,” he told her. “Let’s get you back to the barracks.”
“Wait,” I stopped them. I knew it was a mistake, but Jasmine was one of my people. She needed my help.
“Jasmine, has someone hurt you?”
Nothing changed in her pretty face. Her eyes stayed unfocused and fixed forward, looking right through me. After a moment of silence, she muttered another monotone, “Hello.”
Vann’s pleasant smile changed to more of a smirk. “I told you, something unfortunate happened to Jasmine. She’s a dear sweet girl, and we’ll do what we can to help her. In the meantime, she’s a good reminder for all of us as to why we need to follow the rules.”
If I had any doubt that I was being warned, that doubt was now erased. Vann may not have been sure if I remembered Jasmine from the center or not, but in either case, he was letting me know, if I failed to play nice, there would be serious consequences, to me and my people.
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Hello, readers! I can’t believe that another month is already here. I’m officially starting my eighth month as a new blogger, and June taught me some valuable lessons about blogging.
If you are a new blogger or a veteran, you probably know that June 2018 was a little crazy for a lot of us. Many bloggers that relied on BoardBooster were terrorized by messages from Pinterest about how BoardBooster was not an approved partner. Then, when things didn’t look like they could get worse, BoardBooster shut down completely near the end of the month.
Life is constantly changing, and blogging is no different. Here are the things I learned as part of my blogging experience last month.
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.
Tale of a New Blogger – Part 7
Each month, I publish a post about my real-life experiences as a new blogger. I share the good, the bad, and the sometimes very ugly. In time, I hope to have an amazing success story, but there is a lot of hard work and time that goes into building a blog in the meantime. You can read the previous six posts by clicking this line.
As I stated, June was a rather eventful month for blogging communities. All the blogging Facebook groups and all the chats over atBillionaire Blog Club (BBC)were on fire over the BoardBooster issues, but even in the face of trials, there are always important life lessons to be learned. Here are five of them from June.
1. Life is about change
It’s been said that the only constants in life are death and taxes. Everything else changes. That is especially true of blogging. In the seven months I have been a new blogger, things have changed in large and unexpected ways more than a few times.
BoardBooster, if you did not know, was a means of putting blog content on Pinterest. It was super easy to use and created a ton of new traffic for those of us that were using it. Many of us, myself included, were devastated when they couldn’t reach an agreement with Pinterest and were thus forced to close their doors. They will be missed!
But, as they say, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. (That’s really an awful expression. Who would ever skin a cat?) Into the rescue steppedTailwind. Well, actually, Tailwind was there all the time. Their product has many of the same features that BoardBooster had, so a great flock of us made an exodus to Tailwind.
I will devote a future post to Tailwind because I am still only a couple weeks in and just learning my way. However, I am happy to say that my Pinterest traffic did not fall as a result of losing BoardBooster.
This graphic shows my average monthly viewers on Pinterest and average number engaged with my posts.
As you can see, I was just finding my way with BoardBooster at the beginning of June, and my numbers went up dramatically as a result. I stopped using BoardBooster around the 20th. There was a negligible dip for a few days, but then things headed back north. I will keep you posted.
2. The best bloggers honor their commitments
You will likely see me write a lot about BBC in the coming months and years. I have rarely been overwhelmingly impressed by a company or person, but Paul Scrivens, or Scrivs as he’s better known, the man behind BBC, really impressed me in June. Within days of BoardBooster’s announcement, Scrivs created and launched a series of detailed training videos about Tailwind for BBC members.
I wrote in detail about BBC in Tale of a New Blogger – Part 6, so I won’t go into a lot here. Billionaire Blog Club is a program you can buy into for a low fee that pays for your membership for life. Once in, you have access to all the new products and training materials as they become available, without ever having to pay again.
The last few days I have been learning about search engine optimization (SEO) and affiliate marketing. BBC has 23 step-by-step training videos about SEO and 22 about affiliate marketing, with more coming soon.
BBC is currently closed for new members, but should open again in the next few weeks. If you would like to see if it would be a good fit for you, I highly recommend the12-Day Blogging Bootcamp. It’s 100% free and will give you a good idea of Scrivs’ writing style, and what things you can hope to learn if you become a member. My membership has already more than paid for itself.
3. You gotta have help as a new blogger
Twitter is still my favorite social media platform. However, my Twitter obsession was taking up so much time that I was not properly writing, editing, or formatting new content. I still don’t have a good email list program in place, and there’s two other blog series I’ve been meaning to start for some time now.
There are several products available to help you simplify your social media life. I have fought against the idea, especially after I spent two months on one product and was thoroughly underwhelmed by it.
That said, in June, I stumbled upon CrowdFire. I was very negative going in, but it was free, so I decided to give it a shot.
I’m not going to lie to you. CrowdFire doesn’t do everything I would like it to, and a few things not in the way I would prefer. That said, it does do a lot of things that save a ton of time.
Most important to me, CrowdFire has been unbelievably useful in cleaning up my followers and accounts I’m following. When I started on Twitter last November, I didn’t know much about the platform. As a result, those first months, I followed pretty much everyone I came across.
That process lead me to following hundreds of spam accounts. In just one month, CrowdFire has helped me clean up almost all of them. It also works well with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and seven more platforms.
The free option gives you a lot of functionality. I have no reservations about recommending it. I chose to go the paid route once I saw all the time it could save me, but the free option is definitely worth checking out. Click on CrowdFire to take a look, and help me out in the process.
4. Blogging is a fickle mistress
Every time I think I am finally getting a handle on blogging, something completely blindsides me. My assistant started a blog of his own in March of this year. His blog isSpeaking Bipolar, and you should check out his posts on dealing with mental and chronic illnesses. He’s on a mission to get more men especially talking about mental health.
Well, you would think that since this blog is four months older than his, my traffic should be at least some higher than his.
My June traffic was up. In fact, June for a record-setting month for me.
However, record setting was only 820 total views from 527 visitors, which isn’t terrible for a new blogger. For Speaking Bipolar, he saw nearly 3,000 page views from 2,300 visitors in June. For July, we are comparing our processes to see where I am falling behind.
5. Social media is key
As much as I don’t always love the idea, social media is the most important thing for a new blogger. Unless you buy ad space, which is something I am considering for July, the only way to increase traffic is to increase exposure on social media.
The good news, my Twitter account continues to grow rapidly. Using CrowdFire and following their tips has continued to grow my list of quality followers.
What most excites me the most about Twitter is that my followers are probably 80% bloggers and writers. I seem to be picking up quite a few musicians in recent weeks, but I’m great with that, because I love music almost as much as books. Almost.
I hope to have 10,000 followers by the end of July. That’s not too bad for a new blogger. Sorry, I just had to pat myself on the back for that one.
My other social media accounts are not growing as fast, but that’s because I don’t give them the care they deserve.
The numbers are low, but I’m getting about 12% of my traffic from Facebook, and that’s with doing little more than posting new blog posts to my page and account. Clearly, Facebook is deserving of some TLC even if it’s not my favorite brand.
Odds and Ends
To finish up today, I want to share with you a few other things. One, I took the plunge in June and connected with a professional editor. I am working with the talentedAngela B. Wade who is based just a couple of hours south of me in Chattanooga, Tennessee. If you are looking for an editor, I strongly recommend Angela.
She works with authors from everywhere, so don’t be disinclined just because she is from Tennessee. I have learned a lot from her already, and we’ve only been working together for a couple weeks.
Together, we are working on revising Getting Home. I know, I said I was going to let it sit for a while, but it desperately needs a better cover. I decided that if I was going to update the cover, then at the same time I should finish polishing it. Getting Home is my most precious baby, so I’m not sure I will ever be completely done with it.
I’ve Learned Series
You may have noticed that I am posting less often in the I’ve Learned series. The reason why is that I have decided to turn it into a book. That was actually my goal from the beginning. So, as far as that series, I’ve been spending more time on editing and revising posts and content than on writing new. Never fear, it will continue to be an ongoing series for as long as I am here.
Working with Angela has taught me so much about how a book should be written, so I am trying to get this one right on the front end. More coming on this topic in the future.
Printable Coming Soon!
One of the new series I am working on is a collection of writing tips and techniques. As part of that series, I will be creating printables. The first one, which will be free to everyone, will be on character development. I hope to have it out by the end of July.
Tailwind is a great product for scheduling and posting on Pinterest. They are an approved partner, so there should never be any issues with Pinterest. Try the free trial to see if you like it. You can also post to Facebook and Instagram through Tailwind.
Check out Billionaire Blog Club’s 12-Day Blogging Bootcamp. It’s free and with no obligation. It will give you a great chance to see if BBC might be something you are interested in down the line.
CrowdFireis a great app for managing Twitter and for posting to Facebook, Instagram, and more. There’s a lot you can do with the free version, so you have nothing to lose by checking it out.
If you are looking for a talented and professional (not to mention eternally positive and optimistic) editor or freelance writer, contact Angela B. Wade. She would be happy to give you a quote for any of her quality services.
That’s it for my new blogger experience for this month. What’s going on with you? Please share your latest news in the comments below.
Blogs grow primarily be readers sharing their content. Please share this post on social media or by email. I thank you in advance.
It was a wonderful surprise to sign on to Twitter a few days ago and see I was nominated for The Versatile Blogger Award by the lovely and talented blogger behind the Searching For Humor Blog.
Now, let me start by saying I don’t understand these blog awards. I have seen several variations in my last eight months of actively pursuing blogging. Though there are lots of nominations, it doesn’t seem to ever lead to a grand prize winner. Instead, at least to me, it seems a lot like those chain letters we sometimes did in school.
For you millennials, once upon a time, long before everyone had a cell phone in their pocket (and dinosaurs still roamed the earth), young people actually wrote things down on paper. Then that paper was folded into some crazy shape (the triangular football was my go-to). Those notes were then secretly passed in class or handed off to a friend in the hallway between classes.
Some of those notes were chain letters of sort. You had to rewrite the top of the letter exactly as it was, but the lower half, you had to answer questions about yourself. Some questions were silly and some embarrassing, but it was all about fun, so everyone did it.
This format reminds me very much of those paper notes. So, while I may not participate in every blogger award, since this is my first, and I’m feeling more than a little nostalgic, here goes.
The Versatile Blogger Award
The rules for the versatile blogger award:
Thank the person who nominated you with a link to their blog.
Share 7 things about yourself.
Nominate bloggers for the award.
Thank you, India!
No, I’m kidding, but now that song will be stuck in my head.
I mean thank you,Searching For Humor Blog! It means a great deal that you think enough of my blog and me to nominate me for this fun prize.
If you have never visited Searching For Humor Blog, head on over now and check it out. The blogger writes funny and entertaining stories that revolve around her visiting places that were featured in books she read. Every post is a treat, so be sure to bookmark or follow her page so you can stay up to date.
7 Things About Me
So, this one is a little tricky for me. I just put up an About Page only a few days ago that has 10 things about me, but let’s see. Maybe I can come up with seven more.
1. I have a serious weakness for Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
Yes, hello, my name is Wolfe Butler, and I am a Krispy Kreme-aholic. Addict? Not sure.
In any case, if I am any where near a Krispy Kreme shop and that big, red “Hot!” sign is on, lookout. I may have been known to eat an entire dozen in one sitting. Maybe. I mean, how can you not. They literally melt in your mouth, so it’s barely like eating anything. Just don’t tell my doctor.
2. I’m a serious sci-fi geek.
It doesn’t matter whether books, TV shows, or movies, I love science fiction. From Star Wars to Star Trek and all the Stargates, Babylon 5, and Andromeda, etc. in the middle. I love it all.
For books, I’m a huge fan of Michael Crichton. I’ve read all but a few of his books, including the non-sci-fi ones.
For TV, my favorites right now are probably Dark Matter,The Orville, and all the Netflix and CW superhero shows, especially The Flash and Supergirl. How can you not love Melissa Benoist? She’s cute as can be and sings like an angel. If only they would let her sing more often on the show.
3. I used to call my wife, “Buddha.”
Now, before any of you ladies get upset with me, it had nothing to do with her size or shape. Instead, it was a silly conversation we had late one night about how we were the gods or our dreams, and how in dreams, you can make almost anything happen. I think she was the one that said if she was a god she would be Buddha.
However, after a friend got offended when I said it in public, because she did not know the backstory, I stopped. From then on, I called my wife Lizzy, in honor of Elizabeth Bennett, the star of my wife’s favorite book. (I’m not offended that I was not her favorite author.) My dear wife was named Laramie Elizabeth, so it wasn’t completely without merit.
4. Once upon a time, I was a stamp collector.
It was a hobby I did with my maternal grandmother. She passed when I was fairly young, so I inherited her collection. Sadly, I never really did anything with it after that time. The whole collection now sits neatly boxed on one of my book shelves.
5. I’m a horrible public speaker.
If you need something written, I’m your man. I’m not a master by any means, but I can string written words together fairly well.
Stand me in front of a group of people, and suddenly, I can barely speak my own name. It is so bad that my wife actually banned me from public speaking. For that reason, it is good I took the indie author route, because there’s less chances to speak when you don’t have a publishing house behind you.
6. I did everything wrong in publishing my debut novel.
Two weeks ago, I broke down and hired a professional editor. (More on this in a future post.) Even though I promised myself I would walk away from Getting Home, I am back in the depths of it. I am disgusted with all the gaping holes and punctuation errors I am finding.
If you have not read it yet, DON’T! Please give me a couple of months to get the revision complete. Then it will be republished with both a new cover and new chapters and will hopefully be a respectable offering to the indie community.
7. My favorite color is periwinkle.
Okay, so no making fun of me. For years, I told everyone that my favorite color was black. Indeed, before I married, nearly all my clothes were black or white. My dear Laramie changed that and insisted I pick a “real color.” Nothing so “boring as a primary color” was allowed.
The short list came down to coral and periwinkle. Since I look yellow in coral shirts, my wife helped me see the wisdom of periwinkle. The ironic thing is, I don’t own a single article of clothing in that color, but my bedroom is painted periwinkle. If my wife was still here, she would love it.
And The Nominees Are:
Next, I need to nominate some great bloggers. Please bear with me. This was a difficult choice. On top of there being so many wonderful blogs to choose from, many of my favorites have recently been nominated for the same or a similar award.
Here is my list. Out of fairness to everyone, blogs are listed in alphabetical order by blog name.
Taylor is an author and blogger. Last I heard from her, she is currently revising her novel, The Darkest Side of the Moon, but the first edition can be purchased in the interim. Visit her blog or follow her on Twitter to learn more. She’s a great Twitter friend as well.
If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that Caron is my number one fan, or at least I keep telling her that she is. She has been extremely supportive and helpful in my blogging journey.
She writes blog posts that make me chuckle and has six mysteries available on Amazon. Criss Cross: Friendship can be murder is currently free for the Kindle version. Once you read one of her novels, you will want to read them all. Caron is also an awesome Twitter friend to have, so be sure to follow her.
Dave’s Draw is a blog I just stumbled upon a few days ago, but I am very impressed so far. The posts I’ve read so far are light, smart, and full of good information. Be sure to go visit and check it out.
R. A. Allen writes a lot about writing. I am always fascinated on her unique take to various writing endeavors and techniques. Many of her posts are related to mind mapping. Visit her page to learn more.
I’ve been following The Past Due Review for about a month. What I love about this site is the nostalgia. Rather than write about the newest movies and books, this blogger chooses to concentrate on topics from years gone by. The most recent post is about The Sandlot, which was released in 1993. For a trip down memory lane, be sure to stop by this blog.
Finishing off today’s list is Waking Up on the Wrong Side of 50. The blogger takes a very eclectic approach and shares much about her own life, her triumphs, and challenges. Every post is enjoyable, so be sure to visit soon.
I want to be sure to thank Searching For Humor Blogfor thinking of me when it came to nominating fellow bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award. Though I may not participate again, it was fun to write this blog and I am honored that you thought enough of me to include me in your list.
I also want to thank you, my dear readers. Your visits and comments bring so much light and joy into my world. I appreciate each and every one of you.
To any of my blogger friends that I did not list today, I apologize. I could have easily listed another 20 blogs or more, but I’ll save the remainder of that list for future posts. Please don’t give up on me.
Until next time…
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Michael Crichton was an amazingly talented author that we lost much too soon. Crichton finished his writing journey in 2008, but I firmly believe his legacy and books will last for eternity.
One of my favorite authors (it’s so hard to try to narrow that list down), I have read almost everything that Crichton wrote. This list is my seven favorites from his collection.
Even though Michael Crichton knew he wanted to be a writer, he initially set out to take the safe course. He pursued a medical career and graduated with an MD from Harvard Medical School in 1969. He started his writing career while at Harvard, initially writing under the pseudonyms John Lange and Jeffery Hudson. You can read more about Crichton on his official website.
Altogether, Crichton wrote about 30 books, three of which have been published since his passing. In addition, he was the force behind the hit TV series ER, and many of his books, including most of those listed here, have been turned into movies.
His experience helps keep me motivated and patient while I continue working today success. Hopefully, one day, someone will write a post like this about my books.
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The Top 7 Best Michael Crichton Books
I know not everyone will agree with me, but Sphereis by far my most loved book by Michael Crichton. While they did their best to make a worthwhile movie, it does not even shake a stick at the masterpiece Crichton originally wrote.
I’ll admit, the Sphere movie is better than a lot of book-to-movie adaptations. Unlike Battlefield Earth, which was an excellent book, but about the worst movie I have ever seen.
Sphere takes place at the bottom of the South Pacific ocean. A large spacecraft has been discovered and an elite team of scientists are tasked with exploring it and its wonders. The secrets they uncover and the dangers they face makes this a book that was hard to put down. It will always be my go-to when I need a little heart-pumping action.
I cannot recommend this book enough. It has been a treasured part of my collection since I purchased it in 1990. I have leant my personal copy out more times than I can remember, and recommended others read it probably hundreds of times. It will forever be one of my favorites. It’s been in my mind a lot as I develop my current work-in-progress, Paradise.
Timelineis another masterpiece that, in my opinion, did not get the rave reviews it deserved. In this case, the movie adaptation did do a decent job of portraying the story (and features Paul Walker and Gerard Butler – not related, but would be awesome if he was), but movies will never be able to cover the depth or emotion that can be found in the written word.
The book begins with a man speaking unintelligibly wandering dazed in the Arizona desert. He survives less that 24 hours after he is found.
On the other side of the world, an unbelievable find is discovered by an archaeological team. The discovery leads to the introduction to a secretive, international corporation that gives the archaeologists the chance to not only study the past, but to see the past first-hand.
This fun read is full of action and emotion as the team strives to rescue a beloved friend. If you have not read Timeline, be sure to add it to your reading list. The movie is worth watching after you read the book.
Perhaps the most well-known and most beloved of Michael Crichton’s books isJurassic Park. Don’t think that you know this book just because you have seen the movies. While the movies were masterfully done (except for maybe The Lost World), the book gives you much more detail and more insight into the characters than is possible with film.
I hardly need to go into detail, but Jurassic Park centers around a new theme park idea. An island has been transformed into a new home for dinosaurs. The dinosaurs have been resurrected thanks to the ingenuity of technical science.
Sometimes the best of plans lead to terrible consequences, and that is exactly what happens in Jurassic Park. Don’t think that any of the heart-racing moments are lost on the written page. In fact, I think the book scared me more than the movies did. This is a classic that everyone should read at least once.
To me, Preyis both exciting and terrifying. The story could easily take place today.
It centers around the Xymos Corporation based in the Nevada desert. Xymos is a leader in nanotechnology, but their latest invention has gotten the upper hand on them. When eight people become trapped by a cloud of nanobots, it will take all the ingenuity they have to survive – if they can.
I loved this book because it feels like something that could happen in today’s world. It’s the story of both technological triumphs and the warning of how technology could turn against us.
Everyone would enjoy this book, but especially those fans of speculative fiction. The simple idea of what could happen is sometimes more scary that what does happen.
Rising Sun is a break from the science fiction genre that Michael Crichton may be best known for. The book begins in downtown Los Angeles. The Japanese super-corporation, Nakamoto, is celebrating their grand opening for their United States headquarters, when the body of a young woman is discovered on the 46th floor of their building.
The death leads to an intense chase full of industrial intrigue and unexpected twists. The Japanese have a saying, “Business is war.” This tale takes that war to a whole new level.
I loved Rising Sun for its fast pace and the depth of the different characters. Not everything is as it seems, so you have to make sure you are paying attention. This is a great book to introduce you to Crichton’s writing style if you have not already read any of his other works.
For those of you that want to cheat, there is a movie adaptation. It stars Sean Connery and Wesley Snipes.
Disclosureis another fast-paced tale of corporate intrigue. The main character, Tom Sanders, works for the computer firm DigiCom and is quickly making his way up the corporate ladder. His future is bright until a meeting behind closed doors alone with his new female boss sends everything into a death spiral.
This book is just as timely today as when it was written, and perhaps more so, as the Me Too movement continues to gain traction. It tells the story from the other side, a what-if scenario where a man might be accused of something he didn’t do.
There are more secrets than just the ones involving Sanders. What he learns in his struggle to clear his name will forever alter his view of his beloved company.
I loved this book for its ripped-from-the-headlines feel. Michael Crichton was not afraid to feature a subject that many might have felt taboo at the time of his writing. Still as relevant today, it is a book that everyone will enjoy reading.
Last in my list is State of Fear. It revolves around Peters Evans, an environmental lawyer that is working to keep the world a safe place to live. Battling against an eco-terrorist group that is conspiring to cause natural disasters fueled by the weather, Evans’ work is cut out for him.
State of Fear takes you around the world from Antarctica to the Solomon Islands and many more locations. Full of action and science that could realistically be happening in our world today, it highlights issues like global warming and how man is affecting the weather.
It made my top seven list because it was full of facts that really made me think about what is happening with weather today. In addition, it is full of action and highly entertaining. Again, I had a hard time putting the book down and read it in one weekend. If you are at all concerned about the weather issues we keep seeing, you will be enlightened by this book.
This list of Michael Crichton books is hardly exhaustive. In fact, he wrote close to 30 books, three that were published posthumously, includingDragon Teeth, which was just published in 2017. It is one of the few books of his I have not read but will add it to this list later on.
I can’t say I loved all his books. To be honest, I was rather disappointed with both Airframe and Next. That said, even my least favorite books by Crichton were good enough that I read the book in its entirety. I’m not saying the books were bad. You may in fact love the books, but the seven listed above are my favorites. The two mentioned here just did not resonate with me.
Do you have a favorite by Crichton that I have not listed? Share your title and why you loved it in the comments below.
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