All posts by Wolfe Butler

I have been an avid writer and reader since I was old enough to write and read. I grew up in a small midwest community. Now I am most at home in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee. Getting Home is my debut novel. Others will follow.

15 Best Gift Ideas for Thoughtful Writers and Poets

The writer in your life needs a gift, and who best to tell you the best gifts but another writer. This post looks at 15 unique gifts for writers with items that are on real author’s wishlists. It also includes comments as to why I love each item.

15 Best Gift Ideas for Thoughtful Writers and Poets

This list of gifts for writers could also be called, “A writer’s wishlist.” Everything on this list is either something I have already purchased or that I hope to in the near future.

1. SUPERJARE 9-Shelf Tree Bookshelf

Every book lover always needs more space for books. The SuperJare tree bookshelf has a unique design that will display your books in an attractive way. Its dimensions are 55.8”x 9.8”x 19.6” making it the perfect size for just about any room.

Why I Love It

This bookshelf is on my wish list because it is pleasing to look at and different enough to start conversations. It’s not very wide, so it will fit almost anywhere you would like more book space. Three different color options are available (black, cherry, gray), though I am partial to the cherry.

2. Uni-Ball Vision Elite Rollerball Pen

As a writer, you can never have enough pens, and Uni-Ball is known for their high-quality assortment. The Vision Elite series is one of the smoothest writing pens you will find. Great for taking notes or writing in a journal, these pens will quickly become your favorites.

Why I Love It

Vision Elite pens are my favorite because of how well they write. I love that they have a cap, so I never have to worry about them opening if they are in a suit pocket. The eight colors mean I can color-code my notes as I write them rather than having to go back later with a highlighter. A set of these pens lasts me 4-6 months.

3. Emenest Glass Apothecary Jars

Who doesn’t love candy? The Emenest Glass apothecary jars will be the highlight of any author’s desk or home office. This 3-pack comes with a small (9.5″ height, 4″ diameter), medium (11″ height, 4.5″ diameter), and large (8.5″ height, 4.75″ diameter) jar. Each jar is hand blown and has a removable cap.

Why I Love It

I’m a little addicted to sugar, so it’s nice to have a few bits of candy nearby when I need a little break or pick-me-up. I love that there are three jars in the set, so that I can have one for M&Ms, another for LifeSavers, and a third for Jelly Belly jelly beans. Yes, I like sugar that much. Don’t judge me.

4. Rocketbook Erasable, Reusable Wirebound Notebook

In addition to pens, writer’s can never have enough notebooks. This 32-page notebook is different, though, as it can be used over and over again.  Designed to work with any Pilot Frixion pen, highlighter or marker, its pages can be wiped clean with a damp cloth. If you frequently scribble short-term notes, this notebook should be part of your green initiative.

Why I Love It

I’m one of those writers with sticky notes stuck to everything. This is a great alternative for temporary notes. I keep one by the bed for those odd thoughts and story ideas that invariably show up in the middle of the night.

5. Wall Art Moon Sea Ocean Landscape Picture

The ideal writing space has at least some visual stimulation. My desk is near a large window, so I can enjoy my yard when I need a moment of inspiration. This moon and sea picture is both inspiring and calming. Art is always appreciated on lists of gifts for writers.

Why I Love It

Two of my favorite things are the moon and the sea. The picture captures both beautifully yet is not so big as to take up a lot of wall space.

Author Interview: Tereza Mackova (Tokyo Story)

6. CafePress – Writer’s Clock

What’s the most important thing for a writer? To be writing! This fun clock reminds you every time you look at it what you should be doing.

Why I Love It

I love the humor on this clock face, especially the panic and booze spaces. Now, I don’t have to feel guilty for that glass of wine because the clock says that’s what time it is.

7. Tree Journal

Keeping a journal is one of the best ways to keep the creative juices flowing. This beautiful, faux leather journal will inspire you to write just by looking at it. Journals are always high on the list of gifts for writers.

Why I Love It

A third item on my favorites list is trees. I love that there is a tree embossed on the cover of this journal. There are eight options for the cover including a compass and mountains, which are my other two favorites.

8. Magnetic Poetry

Magnetic poetry was always one of my wife’s favorite things, and our refrigerator was always covered with words. This set includes three hundred magnetic words that will have you standing at your fridge for hours at a time.

Why I Love It

My biggest struggle with writing poetry is coming up with the right words. Having this set on the refrigerator, all I have to do is stand there and look over the words, rearranging them as needed. This is also a great gift for families with children as it encourages both reading and writing.

9. Great Drinkers – 6 Piece Shot Glass Set

This tongue-in-cheek shot glass set is all about humor. Featuring famous authors like Dorothy Parker, Oscar Wilde, Winston Churchill, W. B. Yeats, Charles Baudelaire, and Lord Byron, at least you know you are drinking in good company.

Why I Love It

It always brings on a lively and fun conversation when I bring out this set of shot glasses. Each author’s glass also shows one of their quotes about alcohol or drinking.

10. The Storymatic Classic

Everyone gets writer’s block from time-to-time, so having the right writing prompt is often essential. This set includes 540 unique cards with nearly unlimited combinations.

Why I Love It

When I’m really blocked, I need something to get me out of my normal headspace. Grabbing a couple of these random cards almost always does the trick, and often they end up fodder in whatever work I am currently working on.

How To Get To Know Your Novel Characters

11. Vintage Feather Dip Pen Ink Set

Every writer should have a quill and ink set in their collection. This beautiful set features an antique-looking feather with five writing nibs.

Why I Love It

This set is a décor piece in my home, sitting on a shelf near my writing desk. It comes in four different feather options, though my wife was partial to the peacock feather. A quill is one of the best gifts for writers.

12. 5-Piece Typewriter Coaster Set

This is another gift idea that will get people talking. Shaped like an old-timey typewriter, this coaster set looks great even when not in use.

Why I Love It

I have a special fondness for old typewriters because I first taught myself to type on an old manual one. These coasters bring back fond memories while protecting my furniture from the perils of sweet tea.

13. “Please Do Not Annoy The Writer” Mug

Who of us hasn’t killed a friend or two in our writing over the years? Okay, so I won’t ask for a show of hands. This 11-ounce mug is a great way to put a smile on your face or to get others talking at the office.

Why I Love It

To me, humor is an important part of good mental health. This cup makes me laugh every time I look at it.

14. The Writer’s Toolbox

The Writer’s Toolbox is another gift option designed to combat writer’s block. A longtime creative writing teacher crafted the kit. It includes:

  • 64-page booklet filled with exercises
  • 60 exercise sticks First Sentences
  • Non-Sequiturs
  • Last Straws
  • 60 cards fuel creative descriptions
  • 4 spinner palettes

Why I Love It

I love anything that gets me unstuck. While I have not purchased this toolbox yet, it is most definitely on my wish list.

15. AcuRite 01121M Vertical Wireless Color Weather Station

The weather station was picked because it’s always good to remind writer’s that there is a world outside their office and workspace. Its display includes the date and time, indoor and outdoor temps, and the weather forecast.

Why I Love It

I’m a little obsessed with the weather, so there are actually two of these in my house. I love that it also includes a humidity sensor, so I know when I need to click on the air or the dehumidifier.

Author Interview: S. L. Harpel, Author of Contained

Wrap Up

I hope you’ve enjoyed this list of some of my favorite gifts for writers and poets. If you did, please share this post with others.

15 Best Gifts for Writers and Poets


Author Interview: Tereza Mackova (Tokyo Story)

Recently, I had the chance to conduct an author interview with Tereza Mackova.

Wolfe: Hello, Tereza, and welcome to my blog!

Tereza: Hi, thank you for inviting me!

Wolfe: Let’s start by learning a little about you. Please tell us a little about yourself.

Tereza: I’m 33 years old, a mother of two, a coffee lover, not a morning person, and a Japanese freak. I love traveling, meeting new people, and long night talks over a glass of wine.

Wolfe: When did you start writing?

Tereza: It was about three or four years ago. I left my job for maternity leave with my older son. Suddenly, I had more time to think and began to consider whether what I had been doing so far was really my “dream job”. I concluded that it wasn’t. I’ve always enjoyed inventing stories, just in my head. And suddenly I thought, what if I tried to write it down? So, I tried. And it went pretty well.

Wolfe: It went very well. Where do you most like to write?

Tereza: In a café. I order my coffee, put on my headphones, and focus on nothing else than writing.

Wolfe: You mentioned to me that English is not your first language. Why did you choose to publish your first book in English?

Tereza: There were many reasons. I have a lot of friends from different countries. Every time when I mentioned that I wrote a book, they immediately asked, “Really? Can I read it? Is it in English?” Also, I haven’t found a publisher for my book in the Czech Republic so far (I believe finding a publisher is difficult for new authors in every country). So, I decided to take this hard but exciting and adventurous way of self-publishing. Self-publishing isn’t that common in my country. People are not used to buying e-books, especially not from independent authors, and the market is very, very small. I knew a few people in the U.S. who published their novels through Amazon. Therefore, I’ve decided to give it a try as well.

Read the review of Tereza Mackova’s book by clicking below.

Book Review: Tokyo Story by Tereza Mackova

Wolfe: Now let’s talk about your great book, Tokyo Story. What was the inspiration behind the story?

Tereza: As I mentioned before, I love everything connected to Japan. My obsession started about five years ago when I visited this beautiful country for the first time. When I came home, I enrolled in a Japanese language course and watched a lot of Japanese movies to hear the language as much as possible. When I started writing, I knew immediately I wanted to set my first book in Japan. Then, piece by piece, I put the whole story together until I got it where it is now.

Wolfe: Tell us a little more about the main character, Alice. Is she modeled after anyone in your real life?

Tereza: Not particularly. Well, I think you could find some autobiographical elements in her. She loves coffee and everything from Japan, and she lost her mother in her young age. But otherwise, she is a unique, distinct person.

When I started thinking about the heroine for my book, I knew she had to be Czech. Also, for a young girl to go to an unknown city by herself, she must have had a good reason and a strong determination and a little carelessness in her nature. And so, Alice came to the world.

Book Review – A Sword in Time by Cidney Swanson

Wolfe: What about the suave Hikaru? Where did he come from?

Tereza: Hikaru is somebody I’d love to meet when lost in a foreign country. I would certainly want to be his friend. Life is more fun with this kind of bright and cheerful person. Even though he has his own flaws, he’s a little bit of player for instance, he has a pure heart, and he would sacrifice his own happiness for Alice.

In Asian movies, it’s quite common that the cold and rude main hero wins the girl over, someone who is much kinder and more considerate. I wanted to set this straight in my story. That’s how I came up with both, Hikaru and Katsu.

Wolfe: The cover for Tokyo Story is very eye-catching. Who designed it?

Tereza: I was very lucky to meet a wonderful designer through the website called 99designs. The nickname he uses is Kid Mindfreak. An excellent choice to work with. He’s professional, polite and very responsive. I think we got along really well from the very beginning, even though I initially had quite a vague idea of what I wanted on my cover.

Read the review for Contained.

Book Review: Contained by S. L. Harpel

Wolfe: What do you like most about writing?

Tereza: I love working with my imagination which drives me into completely different worlds. It’s up to me where to go and what it will be like. When starting a new story, it’s like an empty, wide field in front of me. One after another, I can pull out the elements of the story, characters, plots and places, until I create a unique piece of work. Sometimes I get so lost in my own world that I have a problem coming back to cook dinner for my kids.

Wolfe: I think we’ve all been there. What advice would you give to writers that are just starting out?

Tereza: I’m the one who’s just starting out, ain’t I?

Wolfe: (Laughing) Yes, you are.

Tereza: But if somebody asked me, I would say: It will be hard work, probably the hardest work you’ve ever done. But if you are serious and believe it’s your way, don’t let anything discourage you.

Wolfe: What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve been given?

Tereza: I’ve received so much excellent advice along the way. It’s really difficult to pick just one, but the most significant one, I would say, is working with five milestones. It’s a concept I learned from my writing coach, Ramy, from Self-Publishing School. Thanks to this, I’ve learned how to quickly and effectively build a storyline. When I originally started writing, I had no idea what I was doing. It took me three years to put the story together and finish the book, but now, I’m pretty confident I can do it in just a few months.

Get to know your characters better.

How To Get To Know Your Novel Characters

Wolfe: What project are you working on next? Will there be a sequel to Tokyo Story?

Tereza: Honestly, I haven’t decided yet. I have so many stories in my head that I don’t know where to start. A sequel to Tokyo Story is one option, but not the only one. Now, after finally publishing my first book, I have to sit down, close my eyes, and give it some serious thought.

Wolfe: You’ll have to keep us posted. What do you like to do when you aren’t writing or editing?

Tereza: Most of the time, I take care of my kids. They are still small and watching them grow up is the most amazing thing in the whole world. When I’m not with them, I try to master the Japanese language, which seems to be an impossible task. And well, I admit, I also watch Netflix quite a lot.

Wolfe: I think a lot of us are secret binge watchers. If you could go on a six-month writer’s retreat anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

Tereza: If I could spend six months only writing? It sounds like an absolute dream! I would definitely go somewhere alone. Just me, my laptop, beautiful nature, a study with a lake view, peace and quiet… I would probably travel to some Asian countries where I can meet some locals and chat with them to find new story inspiration.

Read the interview with S. L. Harpel.

Author Interview: S. L. Harpel, Author of Contained

Wolfe: Now let’s do some fun, rapid-fire questions. What’s the last movie you watched?

Tereza: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. I’m always behind with movies and watch them many months after their release.

Wolfe: What’s your favorite music to write to?

Tereza: Anything that doesn’t disturb me from my thoughts. I have a ritual, though. I always listen to Miyavi, my favorite Japanese singer and guitarist, before I start writing.

Wolfe: What are three things you can’t live without?

Tereza: Coffee, coffee, coffee

Wolfe: What’s the last book you read and/or what are you reading now?

Mhairi McFarlane’s You Had Me at Hello.

Wolfe: It’s been great talking to you today. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview.

Tereza: Thank you!

Keep up with Tereza by following her office website:

Pick up your copy of Toyko Story:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon CA

Please share this post about Tereza Mackova with your friends.

Read the author interview with Tereza Mackova, author of Tokyo Story

9 Reasons Why You Need to Upgrade Crowdfire

Blogging seems to be a constantly moving target. Every time you feel like you have finally mastered a part of the process, a Google alert or email announces some new change that completely changes at least a portion of the blogging experience. All these constant changes mean you sometimes need relevant help, and that’s why I chose to upgrade Crowdfire.

You do not have to upgrade Crowdfire to get access to their great tool. In fact, most everything is available to you on the free version, though there are some restrictions as to the number of actions per day. The free option is a great way to test out the app and see if it’s best for you.

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I will receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you. These commissions help keep the blog up and running.

Crowdfire Logo



What Is CrowdFire?

The short answer is that Crowdfire is the best way to manage your social media accounts and the content you share. It is constantly improving and will help you manage sharing for platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and more. In addition to content options, with Twitter, you can also monitor and increase your followers through smart suggestions. More on this in the Twitter section.

Most of all, it is a time saver. If you regularly read my blog, you know how much I enjoy being on Twitter. However, that meant I was spending hours each week following or unfollowing users and posting or scheduling quality content. Thanks to this time-saver, I now spend my time on Twitter interacting with other Tweeters posts and don’t worry so much about my followers as Crowdfire has that handled for me.

9 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade CrowdFire

While Crowdfire has an excellent free option with lots of helpful tools, the remainder of this article will concentrate on the reasons why you should consider upgrading.

Twitter Logo

1. How Does It Help With Twitter?

Twitter is the number one reason why I chose to upgrade Crowdfire. With the app, you have the ability to schedule great content, monitor your followers, and see which accounts have stopped following you. Additionally, you can set keywords and specific Twitter users to follow, and the program will give you smart suggestions on which accounts you should follow and which posts you should like.

I will admit, I do not follow their prescription for growth every day, and if I did my results would be even better. However, in just the last 30 days, following their advice many days in the month has resulted in a net growth of over 1000 new followers. These seem to be quality followers as I notice each week that the number of unfollowers seems to be dropping.

Facebook Logo

2. How Does It Help With Facebook?

Due to Facebook rules, Crowdfire cannot post directly to a personal profile at this time. That said, it can and does a wonderful job of posting to Facebook pages. That means, if you have an author page, you can make sure that you are posting quality and relevant content on a regular basis.

Before I chose to upgrade Crowdfire, I have to admit that there were times my author page was being neglected. That is no longer the case, and my page engagements have gone up dramatically as a result. It has become an integral part of my blogging journey.

You can learn more about my blogging journey in the post, This and That.

Pinterest Logo

3. How Does It Help With Pinterest?

Pinterest can be a fickle mistress, so she’s not always easy to work with or understand. However, Pinterest is a powerhouse when it comes to leading traffic to your site, so you want to make sure you are regular posting content links there.

Posting new pins to Pinterest has never been easier than it is with Crowdfire. In addition, if there’s great content you want to share on Twitter, you can also share it on Pinterest with just a click of a button. One post, multiple platforms, and with just one click.

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4. How Does It Help With Instagram?

Instagram is sometimes frustrating to work with because of their requirement that you must post from a mobile device. If you are like me, you do most of your posting from a laptop or desktop computer.

Crowdfire makes this process as easy as possible. Set up the post from the desktop or smart app with all the pertinent images, text, and tags you want. Then, when the time is right, Crowdfire will remind you that it’s time to post, and that picture and text are added in just a couple quick clicks.

Personally, I schedule a week’s worth of Instagram pictures this way. Then, when posting time comes, it takes about five seconds to make the post live.

5. What Other Platforms Work With CrowdFire?

More than just the four platforms listed above, this standout app also works with LinkedIn, WordPress, YouTube, Blogger, Shopify, Etsy, Twitch, Vimeo, and 500PX. Best yet, new improvements are being made all the time. Is there a platform that you don’t see but would like to use? Simply send an email to the developers and they’ll let you know whether it is in the works.

Other logos

6. How Many Accounts Per Platform?

It ultimately depends on the plan you pick when you upgrade Crowdfire. To get a feel for the software, sign up for free and then add one social media account per platform. Later, you can review which plan you want to upgrade to, and each plan determines the number of accounts per platform.

7. What About Sharing Content From Other Sites?

Sharing content should be one of the top reasons why you would want to upgrade Crowdfire. It does everything it can to make that sharing easier. Not only does is suggest relevant and worthwhile content, it also recommends articles that people you follow are sharing in their feeds.

Better yet, the system is smart and learns with you. Is there a site you don’t want to share from? That’s fine. There is a block option and you will never see content from that site again. You can also set keywords and topics that you want to follow so that the suggestions in the app are even more useful.

Book Review: Contained by S. L. Harpel

8. How Much Time Does It Take?

As was stated earlier, Crowdfire is a huge time saver. By using the app from your phone, you can manage your new content and followers in as little as 10 minutes per day. For me, this freed up hours each week that I was spending making sure I was following back relevant new followers and cleaning out accounts that had been suspended or closed by Twitter.

9. How Can It Be Accessed?

Everything on Crowdfire can be accessed through both their website and their stellar smartphone application. In fact, the app is probably faster and easier to use. Many days I handle all of my content requirements before I even get out of bed. That’s how fast you can do things with Crowdfire.

With the app, you also have the ability to update and add content from anywhere. Are you reading a great news article that your followers would enjoy? Great. Click “Share” and then select the Crowdfire app. Choose which platforms you want to share the article on and click “Post.” That’s it. You’re done, and it only took about five seconds to share on all your social media accounts.

Crowdfire Logo

Wrap Up

In conclusion, there are many great reasons to upgrade Crowdfire. If you are looking for an excellent way to continue sharing great content and yet free up a lot of your time, you want to consider this app.

Remember, there is a free version of the product that you can try without obligation. That way you can test out all the great features before making any type of investment. However, with the annual plan, that investment is as little as $4.99/month, and that’s less than some cups of coffee.

Really, upgrading is a no-brainer. Try out Crowdfire today.

Have you looked at the application but just aren't sure if you should upgrade Crowdfire? This article answers nine questions as to why you need to today.


Book Review: Contained by S. L. Harpel

Contained is S. L. Harpel’s debut novel. It is a young adult, science-fiction tale built around a young girl, Ella, who finds herself torn between two worlds. Ella was born in the Outskirts, the barren wasteland that covers most of the planet after man has destroyed it with biological weapons. While still a small child, she is chosen by a wealthy couple and taken into one of the Communities. There are nine Communities and each is dome-protected and full of life and abundance, but very few humans have the chance to live in one.

Ella faces a difficult choice because she wants to be loyal to her sister, Beaunca, who stayed behind in the Outskirts. However, there are many, many good things to life in the Community, from good food to advanced medical care, and Ella starts to be able to see the world from two points of view.

Contained is told from Ella’s first-person point of view. The writing style allows you to feel what Ella feels and do some self-examination as you decide which choices you might make in a similar situation. The book is reminiscent of the time when social standing and civil liberties were determined on where you were born. Had she not been chosen, Ella would not have the options now before her. She must choose to support the Community, find a way to elevate the lower classes, or find a positive middle-ground between the two.

The dystopian nature of the book is a possible future that is all too likely. Seeing a glimpse of how the world could evolve if we continue to destroy the planet was both fascinating and chilling.

What I Liked

Contained has a fast pace with rich characters. Since it is told from the first-person perspective, you feel what Ella feels as she faces each choice and decision. Ella faces a struggle with not only the world she has been forced to live in but a secret that she is forced to keep hidden inside. The story does a good job of not getting bogged down in unnecessary details and tells you what you need to know when you need to know it.

The character development was also well done. Each main character is a solid and fully fleshed out individual. Well not too much time is spent describing each character, you are given enough to see the whole person and their personality.

Book Review: Tokyo Story by Tereza Mackova

Where I Struggled

The only thing I had a hard time with in Contained was the abundance of characters. So many characters were described and named that I had a hard time keeping them all straight. At times, I was a little confused as to whether I really needed to know about a character or not. The plethora of characters introduced is the only reason I did not give this book a five-star review. That said, for the most part, the story sticks to the important characters and you learn who they are and what’s important about them. This minor negative did not detract from the excellent storytelling.

The Review

To me, Contained was a quick read that I had a hard time putting down. I was drawn in from the first few lines and am looking forward to reading Book Two. There were a few minor imperfections in the book, but none so much as to interfere with your reading enjoyment. The only reason I am not giving this book a five-star review is that I got confused more than a few times due to the sheer number of characters that are introduced and developed.

In conclusion, if you like dystopian science fiction and/or young adult literature, you will enjoy Contained. The book builds believable worlds that draw you in, and you find yourself invested as to which world or social group will or should prosper. There is definitely plenty of substance for this series to go on, possible through many more books. I highly recommend this book.

Final rating: 4.9/5.0 Stars

Learn more about S. L. Harpel is her author interview.

Contained by S. L. Harpel Book Review | #BookReview #IndieAuthor #SciFi #sciencefiction

Author Interview: S. L. Harpel, Author of Contained

Recently, I had the chance to spend a few minutes conducting and author interview with S. L. Harpel. S. L. recently released her novel, Contained, which is a dystopian, young adult tale about a girl name Ella that is struggling to find her place between two societies. You can read the review of Contained by clicking this line.

S. L. Harpel, Author

About the Author

Wolfe: Hello, and welcome to 

S. L. Harpel: Thank you for allowing me be a part of your amazing website.

Wolfe: Let’s start by learning a little about you. Please tell us a little about yourself and where you are from.

S. L. Harpel: I was born and raised in Northern California, and I defiantly hold that area near and dear to my heart. I went away to College in Idaho where I met my husband. From there we joined the U.S. Navy, and the world has really been our home for the past ten years.

Wolfe: When did you start writing? How did you decide to become an author?

S. L. Harpel: I have wanted to be an author since I was about seven years old. My best friend and I sat down to write the greatest fiction novel in the world one summer, and I have had a passion for writing ever since.

Wolfe: That’s awesome. How far did you get?

S. L. Harpel: Honestly, I would say we got about halfway through and then I moved.

Wolfe: That’s too bad. Tell us a little about your writing process. Do you write as it comes, or do you prefer to outline the book first?

S. L. Harpel: I do a lot of outlining and reorganizing and character plotting…sometimes I think its a little bit of an avoidance tactic, but for the most part it is all a part of my writing process. Once I have the main outline to my novel, I do like to just write as it comes, and sometimes that means big twists and turns or new characters that I didn’t see coming.

Book Review: Tokyo Story by Tereza Mackova

About the Book

Wolfe: Now let’s switch over to your intriguing book, Contained. How did you come up with the story idea?

S. L. Harpel: I am a big fan of dystopian and apocalyptic type novels to begin with. The idea actually came to me as I was researching and writing Regency Romance. I found all the social rules, classes, etc. kind of comical and just thought, “What would happen if we brought that back and judged everyone based on the society they were born into?”

Wolfe: That’s a scary thought. Your main character, Ella, is a little complicated. Does she mirror anyone in real life?

S. L. Harpel: I feel like for a character to be good, you have to draw from several different inspirations whether they are in real life or inspiration from other books/media. My biggest focus for Ella is that I wanted her to be relatable for my target audience which is Young Adult readers. She struggles with several different forces being thrown into her life all at once and mixing with her own personality. I feel like so often characters will be portrayed on a single line of thought or emotion but that isn’t real life. You have to juggle several different connections and societies all at once and figure out which one fits you best or maybe even none of them.

Wolfe: That is very true. While writing Contained, what were your biggest challenges?

S. L. Harpel: I would have to say my biggest challenge is not allowing myself to write too much! I have these characters in my head as real living people, and I don’t want to leave anything out for any of them. Even the simplest side character seems just as important to me, and I feel like they want their story to be heard too. Remembering to keep my focus on Ella, because she is the one telling us her life story, has been the biggest struggle for me.

Wolfe: What are the plans for Book Two in the series?

S. L. Harpel: Book Two should be ready for Pre-Order Sept 2018. Ella is going to find herself traveling deeper down the rabbit hole that makes up her world and may even finally find the one person she has been looking for all along but in the worst possible place!

How To Get To Know Your Novel Characters

Writer Advice

Wolfe: What do you like most about writing?

S. L. Harpel: Getting down the voices in my head. 😉

Wolfe: (Laughing) That I understand far too well. Tell us, what advice would you give to new writers?

S. L. Harpel: Write all day every day. Don’t be afraid to use someone as your inspiration, hurt someone’s feelings, or write what has already been done. You will do all of that, but in your own way, and that is what will make it amazing!

Wolfe: What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve been given?

S. L. Harpel: I would say the best writing advice was from Anne Lamott: “I don’t think you have time to waste not writing because you are afraid you won’t be good enough at it.”

Wolfe: What are your three favorite books of all time?

S. L. Harpel: Three is a hard number…So I guess I will say the three authors that I have read all their books over and over again! Diana Gabaldon, Margaret Atwood, and for YA Fiction, I have really been falling in love with Bella Forrest lately, though I don’t think I could ever hammer down that genre to one favorite author.

Wolfe: If you could go on a six-month writer’s retreat anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

S. L. Harpel: Honestly, I would say all of the UK! I love, LOVE the classic romances such as Jane Austen, The Bronte sisters, etc. I would want to visit all their landmarks. Then I would go up to Scotland to see all the Outlander spots, because I really am a nerdy Obsess-ssanach. I love mythology and folklore, so I would go all over Scotland and Ireland just soaking up every castle, fairy hill, and standing stone that I could manage

Book Review: Contained by S. L. Harpel

Rapid Fire

Wolfe: You sound just like my wife. Now, let’s do a rapid fire round. Try to answer these questions as fast as you can. What is the last movie you watched?

S. L. Harpel: I never go to the movie theater, but I just went to see The Darkest Mind.

Wolfe: What’s your favorite music when writing?

S. L. Harpel: I love listening to classical stations, or my recent favorite has been shuffling through Piano Guys songs.

Wolfe: What are three things you can’t live without?

S. L. Harpel: My planner notebook, my computer, and the three little rugrats and one large man child that I call my own.

Wolfe: What’s the last book you read and/or what are you reading right now?

S. L. Harpel: I am in the middle of reading the Gender Games series, and before that, I read A Town Called Wonderful by Michael Lacey.

Wolfe: Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview!

Connect with S. L. on social media:




Contained Links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon CA

Author Interview S L Harpel #author #interview

Book Review: Tokyo Story by Tereza Mackova

What would you be willing to do to find the one that got away? Would you travel to another country? Would you comb the streets of a foreign city? Such questions form the basis of Tokyo Story by Tereza Mackova.

Tokyo Story

Tokyo Story, Tereza Mackova’s debut novel, tells the tale of Alice. In her mid-twenties and just out of college, Alice is a quiet and sensible girl. Still, the man she loved, or the man she thought she loved, had gone home to his family two years prior. Her relationship with Katsu had been short but intense, and she wanted him back. The only clue she had about him was that he was in Tokyo, so to Tokyo Alice goes.

Everything about the city is foreign to Alice, except for some of the language that she has learned. A chance meeting brings Hiraku across her path. Hiraku is about the same age and returning home to Japan after studying in the United States. He’s stylish, charming and readily admired by everyone he meets. He decides he will be the guide that Alice needs to find her beloved Katsu.

Review – Mall Hair Maladies by Kristy Jo Volchko

The Good

Tokyo Story is a fun romp through the streets of Tokyo filled with lighthearted and sometimes awkward moments, as Alice seems to be inclined to misadventures. There are several laugh-out-loud moments as the accident-prone girl makes more than one lapse in judgment.

The language throughout the book is clean and appropriate for even a teenage audience. The storytelling is light and makes for a fast read and enjoyable read.

The Not So Good

I can honestly say that there wasn’t anything that I didn’t like about this book. It follows a typical romantic comedy trajectory, which means at times some of the scenes are a little silly. However, that silliness is integral to the genre and well-placed where it shows up in the novel.

Author Interview: Tereza Mackova (Tokyo Story)

The Review

If you are a fan of smart humor and contemporary romance, you will enjoy Tokyo Story. The characters are both likable and relatable, but honest enough that you can see their flaws and imperfections. Alice and Hiraku are individuals you would want to be friends with.

In conclusion, it was also a pleasant experience to learn a little more about Tokyo and to learn a few Japanese words along the way. The author does an excellent job of highlighting the culture and social norms of the area.

Final rating: 5 of 5 Stars

About Tereza Mackova

Since she was a child, Tereza Mackova has loved good stories. Books were a large part of her childhood, and she found herself reading everything she could.
In time, she volunteered for the Center for Integration of Foreigners in Prague, Czech Republic, which is near her home. That unique role helped her to learn more about various countries and cultures. Some of her travels in that position took her to Japan. The beauty of the people and the land inspired her so much that she had to use it for the backdrop for her debut novel.

If you would like to know more about Tereza Mackova, visit her website
Be sure to also read the interview with Tereza.

Please share this post on social media.

Book Review: Tokyo Story by Tereza Mackova. The new adult tale follows Alice as she tries to find the love that got away. Will she find him in Tokyo? | #BookReview #NewAdult #Romance


How To Get To Know Your Novel Characters

Writer’s block. If you’ve been writing fiction for any time at all, it’s an evil you know entirely too well. Even the best ideas will sometimes flow into this invisible wall. Character development is one way to get passed that wall.

One reason why some author’s end up stuck with writer’s block is that they do not know their main and supporting characters as well as they should. Never fear, this post will highlight five things you can do to get to know your character better. There’s even a free printable at the end to help you along. It’s completely fillable, so you don’t even have to print it to fill it out.

Most of this post will refer to main characters (MC), but the thoughts and questions should be applied to all the major characters in your work in progress (WIP).

5 Ways To Get To Know Your fiction Characters

1. Getting to Know You

How well do you know the character you are writing about? There is more to strong characters than names and physical descriptions.

For the sake of simplicity, we will use my main character today from Getting Home, Tom Jacobs. He is weighing heavily on my mind right now as I am in the process of working on a heavy revision of the novel.

The first step in character development is to learn a little about Tom as you would a new friend. Where does he work? What type of work does he do? What are his best and worst qualities? If he could have any job, what would it be?

These are simple questions, but an important foundation to the character you are writing about.

In Getting Home, the book starts with Tom working for a company in their marketing department. He is also a part-time student working toward a degree. It may feel unimportant to know these simple facts, but in Tom’s case, knowing a bit about his workaholic tendencies gives the reader some insight into his personality. Not to mention, his work and school career tell the reader quite a bit about his family dynamic.

Author’s Note: If you are interested in reading Getting Home, please hold off a little while until the revision is complete. I will be running a free book promotion once it’s complete.

How To Get To Know Your Novel Characters

2. We Are Family

Next, you want to figure out the supporting characters in your main character’s life. Rarely can a character exist in a solitary state. Even when they can, backstory is still a vital concept. The character has not always been solitary and at least has parents in his past. Plus, there needs to be dialog. Think Wilson in Castaway. A good story has to have at least some dialog.

Spending time in public, even though many writers prefer a solitary life, is a great way to invigorate your writing. People watching, if you are careful to do it in a non-creepy way, can give you tremendous fodder to help flesh-out your book’s characters.

Pick a location like a local coffee shop or busy restaurant. My go-to is Panera Bread. It’s an easy place to spend a couple hours with your laptop where you won’t garner much attention. There tends to be a lot of foot traffic to keep you full of fresh ideas.

The reason for the public location is that you will want to get to know your character in a real world setting. Putting him in a world different than you are writing about will help speed character development.

Imagine your MC sitting at one of the tables of the restaurant with the real person (people) currently sitting at that table. Does your MC have a significant other? Do they have children? What type of relationship do they have with their parents? Do any of these subjects come up as they sit at that table?

Each question will get you one step closer to defining who your character really is on the inside.

For Tom, he has a strained relationship with his parents, one that only gets more complicated as his story continues. He’s not close to his sister and really not even close to his wife, or at least not at the start.

Anguish – Poem

3. Feeling Good

Next, let’s dive a little deeper into your MC’s mind and heart. How would he/she feel sitting at the table right now? What thoughts would be going through his/her mind? Would they be interested in the conversation taking place at that table?

Consider also other things your MC might be feeling in that moment. What are three things they are grateful for? What last made them sad? When did they last cry? Were they alone or with someone as they cried?

Each question teaches you a little more about your protagonist and further develops your creative writing. Every little step makes your MC a more fleshed out idea that will have depth and will resonate with your readers.

In terms of character development, Tom was frequently depressed. Most of his life, he struggled with addiction and feelings or worthlessness, but just like in real life, feelings can change, and so did his. In fact, he goes through a whole range of emotions in the course of the book.

This and That: Checking in With Wolfe Butler

4. The Future Is Bright

A common problem with creative writing is that writers sometimes get stuck in a moment. After all, that’s the moment you are writing about in your novel, so isn’t that where you should be?

Yes and no.

Of course, you want to be fully present in the moment to write the best fiction scene possible. However, you need to remember that readers are looking at your MC as a total person. Every person has a past and at least some hopes or fears about the future. What is your MC thinking about?

Decide from where you are right now in your work in progress, where does your MC want to be in five years? Ten Years? Twenty years? Giving your MC aspirations makes him more relatable and realistic.

Are you struggling with writer's block? Perhaps you don't know your characters well enough. Read this post for inspiration.

What are three things or so on your MC’s bucket list? Which item is more important? Why?

Sometimes it helps to consider these questions about yourself first, just to get in the future mindset. When you know where you are going, it’s easier to determine where you want your MC to go.

From Getting Home, Tom was looking for his home. His bucket list consisted of one thing: Find home and get there. You’ll have to read the book to see if he gets there.

5. Back To The Real World

Next, let’s go back to where you are sitting right now, hopefully in some public place with lots of people. Imagine your MC walking in and sitting down with someone who is already seated. How do they know this person? Are the friends? Why or why not?

Safety note: Be careful to not look at a person too long. You never want to garner attention from a stranger or appear creepy.

Next, watch for the next person to enter the area. That person is friends with your MC. What does your MC like or not like about that person? How would your MC describe their relationship?

Tom was a great person for me to play this game with. He was very likable and got along with others easily, so he was always running into friends or making new ones.

The Smartest 15 Ways to Deal With Difficult People

Your Turn at Character Development

Now it’s your turn to work on character development. To help you with your task, I have created a free, six-page worksheet with questions you can ask yourself about your main character. The worksheet can be printed or used as is since it’s a fillable PDF document. Be sure to save it if you use the fillable option.

You can get your copy by clicking this line and entering your email address on the next page.

Writer’s block doesn’t have to be a problem. Hopefully this printable worksheet is a tool you can add to your author toolbox to keep it at bay and improve your creative writing and character development.

Please let me know how the worksheet works for you. This is a new adventure for me in developing printables, so I’d like to know what works well and what doesn’t.

Until next time…

Learn new ways to cope with writer's block. Read this post for 5 ways to get to know your characters better.

This and That: Checking in With Wolfe Butler

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 Reedsy if you want to work with a great editor.


Picture of an edited page

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 like Kristy 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.

Why Bloggers Should Include Pinterest Pins in Their Posts

Building a Launch Team

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.


Shuttle launch

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 adding CrowdFire 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.

The Versatile Blogger Award – Wolfe Butler’s Take

The World of Self-Publishing

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.


Ice plant

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 in Why 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 CrowdFire for social media management. The free version will give you a good idea as to whether it is the right tool for you.

Blogs grow through word of mouth. If you enjoyed this post, please share it with others.

Wolfe Butler shares what's new with his personal blogger experience. | #blog #blogging #WolfeButler


5 Important Things June 2018 Taught Me About Blogging

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 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.


What is the first year of blogging really like for a new blogger? Read part seven in this ongoing series chronically Wolfe Butler's path. | #blog #blogging #blogger

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 at Billionaire 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 stepped Tailwind. 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.

June 2018 Pinterest Traffic
June 2018 Pinterest Traffic

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 the 12-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 is Speaking 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.


June 2018 Blog Stats
June 2018 Blog Stats


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.

Twitters state June 2018
Twitters state June 2018


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.


June 2018 Referrers
June 2018 Referrers


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


Am Editing

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 talented Angela 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.


Take Aways

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.

CrowdFire is 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.

Please show my assistant some love, and visit his blog:  Speaking Bipolar

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.

Until next time…


What is the first year of blogging really like for a new blogger? Read part seven in this ongoing series chronically Wolfe Butler's path. | #blog #blogging #blogger


The Versatile Blogger Award – Wolfe Butler’s Take

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.


Author Taylor MacNeill

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.


Beckie’s Mental Mess

Beckie posts creative writing and life experience posts while also working to help promote mental health awareness. Her posts are authentic and entertaining. Be sure to visit her.


Caron Allan Fiction

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

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 Author

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.


The Past Due Review

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.


Waking Up on the Wrong Side of 50

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.



Wrapping Up

I want to be sure to thank Searching For Humor Blog for 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…

If you enjoyed this post, please share it with others. Thank you in advance!

The Versatile Blogger Award recognizes unique and up-and-coming blogs and bloggers. | #blog #blogging #blogger