5 Star Review

Disclaimer: Wolfe Butler 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, at no extra cost for you. I only promote products that I use and have benefitted from.

Review

Today is going to be a great day. I received this wonderful review this morning in my inbox. This wonderful review was posted on Good Reads and Amazon.

Goodreads

Read the complete review by clicking the picture above or this line.

I want to note that this is an unpaid review. I submitted my book for free to Lexis Infinitum PR. Thank you so much to Lexis Infinitum PR and to Jessica!

Interview

Cathy from What Cathy Read Next published this author interview this week. I am having an excellent week.

Via Q&A: Getting Home by Wolfe Butler

Book cover

Author Notes

I talk a little more about the writing process for Getting Home in this blog post:

Getting Home – a Retrospective

Repost: Q&A: Getting Home by Wolfe Butler

via Q&A: Getting Home by Wolfe Butler

Author Alter Egos and the Future of Scribbles

Today’s Writer Wednesday is highlighting this post by J. A. Allen about some of the struggles we face as writers and bloggers. With humor and feeling, she details some of the obstacles we are confronted with and the negative emotions that go along with them.

via Author Alter Egos and the Future of Scribbles

Why You Should Always Say, “I Love You”

Why You Should Always Say, “I Love You”

For years I have scribbled short notes to myself regarding life lessons learned along the way. I have a box that is full of those notes. They are the reminders that even in the worst times there are important lessons to be learned.

Many people have the luxury of spending their childhoods and young adult years not thinking about losing people. They imagine that the people in their lives will always be there.

Personally, I only remember one funeral before I was thirteen. I’m sure that I lost other people I knew before that time, but death was not a real concept.

At thirteen, I lost my grandmother, my favorite person in the world.

Death became very real and my luxury of ignorance was forever taken away.

It is one of the hardest lessons for you to learn. That’s why it is so important to tell your loved ones every day what they mean to you.

 

Lesson 8

Tragic Tuesday

It was a Tuesday when I lost my beloved wife, Laramie.

She was out running errands and had called to see if I had any special requests for dinner. We had talked for a few minutes, mostly about a friend of ours that was again doing something stupid with his life.

I was busy, so I tried to keep the call brief. We were going to talk more that night. Tuesday night was our date night, and we looked forward to spending that time together.

It was only 45 minutes later when I got the call that forever changed my life.

Actually, it was the second call.

The first one I did not answer because I was busy and felt the friend calling would not have anything important to say.

When the same friend called again less than five minutes later, I knew I had to pick up. My gut told me something was terribly wrong.

The tone in my friend’s voice only reaffirmed my sense of dread.

Dark clouds

Life Forever Changed

My friend didn’t tell me what had happened. She only asked that I come to her house as soon as possible.

I was out the door before we even ended the call.

In my heart I already knew what I was going to hear, but I prayed fervently on the short drive that I would be wrong.

I wasn’t.

An inattentive driver had crossed the center line on the highway, and my dear Laramie was gone in an instant.

I don’t remember much of the next few days. I planned a funeral, picked out a casket and welcomed hundreds of her friends to the funeral.

Once the rush of activity was over, I started reliving the last days of her life. I mediated on the conversations we had, the text messages we sent and the quiet moments we shared. I tried to remember every breath, every word, every expression that had passed between us.

Try as I could, I did not remember the last time I told her I loved her.

Disclaimer: Wolfe Butler 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.


Missing Piece

That missing piece is probably the most painful. Part of me knows that Laramie felt how much I loved her. She knew me better than I know myself.

We often joked that we shared a brain. Most of our conversations only had half sentences because we generally knew what the other was thinking and going to say.

However, another part of my heart scolds me daily for not having told her more often how much I love her. I never imagined that last conversation would be our last.

I do remember clearly that I did not say, “I love you,” before I hung up.

Months of Tragedy

In the next 18 months, I lost fourteen more friends, seven of them dying in horrifying accidents. It got to the point that I was so numb that I could not cry anymore. In an attempt at levity, I commented to a friend at one of the latter funerals that I had worn out my black suit. It was a devastating period, but it reaffirmed this important life lesson.

Man on bench sad

With each new loss, I struggled with remembering the last time I had expressed affection to my friend. When had we last talked? When had we last spent time together? When did I last let them know that I cared about them?

Too many times I have found that I cannot remember. That is a terrible burden that I will carry the rest of my life.

In time, I gained some relief about Laramie. Some closure came from sorting through the items she left behind.

It was quite some time after I lost her before I felt I could invade her privacy in that way.

One of the things she had kept was a card I had given to her years earlier. She had been going through a difficult time emotionally because a dear friend had let her down terribly.

In the card I wrote, “You might be only one person in the world, but to one person, you are the world. I know who that person is.”

I didn’t even sign the card, but it meant enough to her that she had placed it in her special box of keepsake treasures. After crying new tears at this find, I placed it gently back in the box where it remains to this day.

 

Purple white flowers

 

Lesson Learned

Think about the loved ones in your life: husbands, wives, children, parents, grandparents, and close friends.

When is the last time you told them just how much they mean to you?

How long has it been since you last told them how special they are? how much you love them?

When did you last hug them? kiss them? hold their hand?

Can you remember the last time?

If you can’t, today is the day you need to start telling them. And don’t ever stop.

Read Lesson 4: …to be surrounded with the positive

To my blog friends, who is someone that you lost before you could tell them how much you loved them?

Although painful, this is a great writing exercise. That raw emotion can later fuel a character in your writing. If you decide to create a post to answer that question, please come back and let us know.

Until next time…

For more life lessons learned, be sure to Click Here to read the rest of the I’ve Learned series.

By the Quiver by Jeremiah Trent

This is one of my favorite poems from this week.

via By the Quiver

Tale of a New Blogger – Part 2

Tale of a New Blogger – Part 2

In a continuing effort to share my true blogger experience, Part 2 of this series looks at my blog 60 days into the process.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Calendar

It is unbelievable that another whole month has already gone by. I started this blog in November 2017, thinking I had a good grasp on what owning a blog would be like, only to be quickly shaken to the core with the reality that I did not know anything. Not. A. Thing.

Still, I am having a blast and truly enjoying my blogger experience.

More than once in the last few weeks I have been overwhelmed by the ocean of information available about promoting and monetizing a blog. The latter had not been my original intention. I am quickly learning that I will not be able to concentrate on my blog and other writing like I want if I am also having to concern myself with making an income.

Writing will have to become my income source, as it should be, because that has always been my dream.

Disclaimer: Wolfe Butler 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.


Actual Numbers

As I stated last month, I think it is important to post actual numbers. Most bloggers only start sharing their blogger experience and stats when they are making $500 or more per month.

For many of those blogs, they were six months to two years into their journey before they saw that monthly income. What happened during their earlier months? That is what I am most interested in learning right now and what I plan to share.

Maybe I am doing everything wrong, but I am making progress, and that makes me very excited.

500 Page Views!

Let me start with my blog. Total page views for January 2018 were 612, up from 210 in December 2017. That is a 290% increase! That number will not create, and did not create, any substantial income, but it is an excellent step in the right direction. Total visitors grew at almost the same percentage going from 88 to 260.

My very first blog goal was to hit 500 page views in a month. I am ecstatic to have reached that goal in my third month. My next goal is 5000.

01 2018 Blog Stats

About 70% of my blog traffic is coming from social media.

Promoting yourself on social media takes A LOT of time, or at least it has for me. I started this blog with no real social media background.

In fact, I did not even have Twitter or Facebook accounts before November of last year.

Everything is brand new, and while I am happy with my progress, I still have much to learn.

Read Part 1 of Tale of a New Blogger here.

In the beginning weeks I spent most of my time on Twitter. What excites me most about my Twitter followers is that the majority of my followers are writers and bloggers. They have been a tremendous source of inspiration and encouragement.

Pinterest is a bit of a different animal, and I am struggling some figuring it out. I am optimistic, though, because even with only six followers, I had over 1000 views and a 10% engagement ratio. My engagement ratio on Twitter tends to hover about 2%.

01 2018 SM Stats

Invest in Your Blog

Investing in yourself is one of the most important things you need to do as part of you blogger experience.

In the past 90 days, I have visited hundreds of blogs and read dozens of ebooks trying to set up best practices that work for me.

One of the items I enjoyed the most in January was a live cast by Ana Savuica, owner of The She Approach.

Ana was incredibly engaging and motivating in her presentation, so much so that I purchased her bundle at the end of the presentation. I cannot recommend it enough.

Ana’s ebooks are well written and full of important and relevant information for growing and monetizing a blog and improving your blogger experience. She has an abundance of valuable free information in all her blog posts.

If you have not already visited her blog, I encourage you to do so today. I am thrilled with what I am learning from her. Click the picture to learn more.

Bundle OFFICIAL POSTER

For February, I am starting something new. One of my biggest struggles has been with time management and trying to schedule how much time should be spent on which activities. I don’t know how much time I have been spending on each task and that is important to know what needs to change.

To help myself focus, I have downloaded a time tracking app on my phone. When I am writing my March post, I will be able to look back and see how much time I have invested into my blog and growing my social media base.

I am tracking things like writing and formatting posts, time spent learning about blogging, and time spent interacting on social media.

Show Me The Money

I have saved the monetary details for last. If you are thinking you can start a blog and quit your traditional job tomorrow, you need to reconsider. While there are some who had quick and substantial success, for most bloggers it is a process of at least six months before they see any real income from their blogs. As you can see from the graphic below, I am going to fall in that category. Still, my blog produced some earnings for January and that is empowering.

01 2018 Earnings Stats

 

It is encouraging to me that you have chosen to come along with me on my blog journey. If you haven’t already, please take the time to connect with me on social media.

I am posting my links below and will be happy to friend or follow you back. I would also love to hear your feedback. Are there questions you would like me to cover next month? Please leave comments below or send me an email through the contact link.

Be sure to take a minute to go visit Ana Savuica’s site, The She Approach. You will find an abundance of great blogger resources to help you improve your blogger experience.

Also, be sure to check out my newly designed Resource Page with essential tools for blogging, being an indie author, and posting on social media.

Until next time…

Connect with Me on Social Media

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wolfe_butler

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wolfebutlerauthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/butler.wolfe/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/wolfebutler/

Please share this post.

What I Learned From the Cider House Rules

Wolfe Butler 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

Lesson 7

The Cider House Rules

Tobey Maguire as Homer Wells from The Cider House Rules often comes to visit me in my mind. It has been nearly twenty years since the movie was released, and almost that long since I last saw it. Yet, it lives with me every day.

With its unexpected and often dark storyline, it reaffirmed in my mind a life lesson that I guess I had always known but did not fully resonate with me until I saw the movie. Even when every intention plans to go one direction, sometimes the journey itself chooses a different direction.

The movie, based on John Irving’s book of the same name, first published in 1985, tells the story of Dr. Wilbur Larch, obstetrician, founder and director of an orphanage is rural Maine. The story takes place in the first half of the twentieth century.

Homer Wells is Dr. Larch’s favorite orphan and is never adopted. Homer becomes the doctor’s apprentice and has big dreams of leaving the orphanage and having a life of his own.

Life, it seems, has other plans for him.

Repeatedly throughout the story, Homer makes plans to pursue his goals, but each time, through the people in his life, he is taught that he is already on the path that has chosen him.

My Journey

My life has not turned out anything like the life I had planned as a child and teenager. I used to tell everyone that I was going to be a writer, living in a small cabin in the mountains of Colorado.

Now, with 50 knocking loudly at the door, I find myself in rural Tennessee, never having been to Colorado, but finally living in my cabin in the woods. However, I am only just now really starting on my writer journey.

Plans change. A common quote on the internet is from John Lennon’s Beautiful Boy, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

How true that is. My life is nowhere close to the life I imagined I would have, or even set out to have, as a young man. I live more than 1300 miles from where I had intended to live. Instead of doting on grandchildren, or even children of my own, I live alone in the quiet mountains of Tennessee. I have spent the last twenty years working in the financial services industry when I had hoped to be writing full-time the entire time.

Snowy trees

Different Isn’t Always Bad

I grew up in the Great White North, as many of us from there refer to the upper Midwest. One unexpected vacation to Tennessee, with its notably smaller mountains but with warm weather and southern hospitality, and I was sold.

Someday I will make it to Colorado, but it is often too cold there. This winter, I am finding Tennessee too cold, and I am daydreaming of living on the white sand beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. That is my next dream. I have not made it there permanently, but I do make a point of visiting often.

12 Awesome Motivational Quotes You Should Know

Looking back, had I made it to Colorado, and especially in my early twenties as I had intended to, I would have lived a very different life. That life may have been better or worse, I can’t say. What I do know is that I would have missed the journey and all the experiences of the past 20 years. Those experiences turned into precious memories that I would not want to be without.

Had I never come to Tennessee, I never would have met the love of my life. Meeting her and her family brought me so many unexpected and wonderful life experiences. They are the ones that first introduced me to the white sand beaches I so dearly love, and the ocean itself for that matter. Through them, I developed an intense love for the sea that will never end.

Those journeys and experiences shaped the person I am today, and that is a person I am proud to be.

Twitter banner 2

 

Loss is Part of the Journey

I lost my dear Laramie several years ago. It is a raw and aching pain that I know will never fully go away. Losing her, I felt like half of me died as well. I’m reminiscent to a stroke survivor that has to learn to live without the use of half of my body.

Sad as that is, I would not trade one second of this pain, because that would have mean that I never would have met Laramie. To share in her ever optimistic and deeply empathetic view of the world, for even a short time, is a gift that makes every bit of pain now worth it.

She truly made me a better person, and her influence lives on through those of us that loved her.

Regarding my career choices, yes, I am well behind where I wanted to be in my writing career. In November 2017 I self-published my debut novel, Getting Home. It is a book I could not have written without the experiences of the past twenty years.

Working in financial services for so many years introduced me to an abundance of colorful and unique individuals, many of whom I have stolen traits from to create the characters in my writing. Not to mention it allowed me the opportunity to have a little savings so that in this chapter of my life I can concentrate on writing more than working.

Notebook Coffee

What’s Your Journey?

My dear readers, I would love to hear your stories. What dreams did you have? What life chose you? Please leave your comments, or if you are further inclined, use these questions as a writing prompt on your own blog. Send me a link when your post is published, and I will post that link on this page.

To close today, I will refer to my favorite quote from The Bridges of Madison County, by Robert James Waller, “The old dreams were good dreams; they didn’t work out, but glad I had them.”

Until next time…

Book Review – A Sword in Time by Cidney Swanson

 

Book Review – A Sword in Time by Cidney Swanson

This week’s book review takes us into the young adult, science fiction world. Roman Centurions, time travel, romance and art all make their appearance in Cidney Swanson’s A Sword in Time.

SynopsisSynopsis

A Sword in Time is the third book in the Thief in Time Series by Cidney Swanson. The time travel series is geared toward a young adult audience. This installment focuses mostly on DaVinci Shaughnessy-Pavlov. DaVinci is on a mission to save her childhood home from destruction, but her well intentioned actions create unforeseen consequences that she is not sure she can live with.

Quintus Valerius has been unwillingly pulled from ancient Rome. He is now stuck in modern times, but he has two missions to accomplish. One, he must return to Rome to deliver an important message from Caesar. Two, he must find and punish the man who forcibly carried him through time.

The Good

The Good

Let me start with the cover, which I really liked. All three books have professional covers that add to the appeal of the books. A Sword in Time is an easy and relatively quick read with a generally light and positive tone.

Having not read the first two books in the series, I was concerned that I would not be able to follow this book. For the most part this installment stands on its own. There are a few places when I was a little confused as to what was happening or to a reference from one of the characters, but for the most part it is a good read on its own.

Be sure to read my other reviews. Click this line.

The main characters each have their own unique voice and personality. The book does a good job at making you feel appropriate emotions for each character. I found myself torn because there are two possible futures for both DaVinci and Quintus, and I kept vacillating as to which future I wanted for them. These possibilities kept me turning pages.

The Not So Good

The Not so Good

While reading A Sword in Time, I found myself stuck on a few inconsistencies that did hamper some of my enjoyment for this book. For instance, early in the book we learn that time travel trips last about three hours. As the book progresses, the main team that works at progressing time travel are stumped because they are unable to make trips longer than six minutes. It might be that this is resolved in one of the other books in the series.

Each chapter tends to deal with a different character. For the most part, I enjoyed this aspect. However, there are times in the first several chapters where the story bounces quickly through characters and time periods, and I found myself lost more than once. That problem seems to resolve itself after the first dozen chapters.

Rating

Rating

Cidney Swanson does well at conveying emotion and a sense of urgency from the characters that each have their own missions to accomplish. The language throughout is very family friendly, which to me is essential in a young adult novel. The tale is a bit silly at times, but that is appropriate for the intended audience. In the end, I enjoyed the book and found myself caring about the characters, enough so that I am interested in reading the other installments.

I am scoring this a 4.3 of 5.

If you enjoyed this review, please share it with others.

A Sword in Time (Thief in Time Series Book 3)
by Cidney Swanson
Publisher: Kindle Press (January 30, 2018)
290 Pages
ASIN: B077MPX6RR


How To Hunt For Bigfoot And Make A Male Friend — dadding depressed

Today’s Writer Wednesday post is a little different. I am not sharing writing or blogging advice this week. Instead, this humorous, and entirely too accurate, post brought me both fond memories and more than one laugh-out-loud moment. You need more levity in your life. We all do. Read and enjoy! – Wolfe

The male friend is one of the rarest human subspecies in the world. More often than not, he goes unnoticed, only emerging from his man-cave to battle in the savage common ground known as the workplace. His travel is limited. He is often antisocial. Height, weight, and hairiness can vary from beast to beast. He hibernates often.

via How To Hunt For Bigfoot And A Make Male Friend — dadding depressed

Tree – Poem

Tree

Solitude

Tree so tall

Leaves fall

Never touch ground

Hug of fog

Kiss of rain

Chill of wind

Endless ground

Mists of dreams

Dark at night

Roots so deep

Firmly hold

Branches out

Touches none

Birds of flight

Find a home

Some find peace

Shelter more

Stand alone

No reprieve

Silent beauty

Quiet moan

Rustling whispers

Nothing told

Years alone

Touching none

Endless life

Silent pain

March 11, 2005

 

Read more poems: Façade or All Poems

 

Please share this poem with others. Thank you!

 

Fiction, Poetry, and Life Lessons Learned for Bloggers and Writers

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