Tag Archives: Wolfe Butler

Paradise WIP – Chapter 22

Chapter 22

Chet was not one for conversation. He pointed to a table and then disappeared through another door at the far end of the room. Slowly, conversation started up again, though in hushed tones.

“Who is that?” I finally was able to ask.

“That’s Chet. He leads the rebellion against the Hyatt. He thinks they are more dangerous than the Plax,” Sam told me

“More dangerous? How can he possibly think that a group of humans are more dangerous that aliens that are trying to eradicate the human race?”

“It’s personal,” Sam whispered in a low tone. “You’ve seen him. He augmented more than anyone I’ve ever seen.”

Chet was a large man. I couldn’t remember seeing another man even close to as big, though that wasn’t a big deal with so few memories.

Paradise WIP

“So, what’s next?”

“Chet will let us know,” Sam said.

“Let us know?” I was not happy with that answer. The mission was dangerous enough. I needed to be the one calling the shots.

“Since we went underground, Chet has become the unofficial leader above ground. You’ve been incapacitated for too long. Someone had to fill the void.”

“But I’m back now.” As I said the words, I realized how wrong they were.

“You may be back, but you’re not the general we all were following. You will always be the face of the rebellion, but until you regain your memories, you  won’t be  the general we need to lead us.”

The words stung. Anger toward Sam welled up inside me, but I knew she was write. I couldn’t remember things like tactics or battle plans. The weapon I held felt like a foreign object. There was no way I could lead effectively.

A few minutes later, Chet came back into the main room and walked over to our table.

“We do this today,” he stated. “We leave in an hour.”

Review: Working Stiffs by Scott Bell

* * * * *

Chet gathered us exactly an hour later. A platoon of twenty soldiers joined him and our group of four.

The long walk to the rebels bunker had not been too bad, but the walk back up the base revealed just how steep the incline was. I started to struggle early on. My legs burned and breathing was harder than it should have been. I was determine, though. If Sam was going to die on this mission, I was going to die beside her.

“Mechs have been spotted about five miles south of here,” Chet told us when we were back in the military base. “That will be our best chance.”

“What’s a mech?” I whispered to Sam once we were outside. Chet immediately spun around and glared at me. He put a finger to his lips and it was clear there was to be no conversation on our journey.

It wasn’t long before I would find out. Chet walked with a stride three times the length of an average man. Most of us were jogging to keep pace with him. My legs were on fire, but I refused to stop.

Along the way, we passed crumbled building and abandoned vehicles. Sam explained to me later that the Plax had disabled most vehicle through persistent electronic pulses that fried electronic equipment. It was the same reason we didn’t carry communication devices. Our energy weapons still worked, but their guidance systems did not. Fighting relied entirely on the skill of the soldier rather than on any help from the weapon.

I couldn’t help but not that while much of the military base was standing, most of the other building were either completely destroyed or missing at least one exterior wall making them virtually unusable. I thought back to the time in the bunker when I had seen a wall crumble before my eyes and shuddered.

The mech came into view as we were entering a clear. Later I learned that the clearing used to be a park where people gathered on weekends to play group sports. I couldn’t imagine that world looking at the dead foliage and abandoned vehicles that now filled much of the area.

Book Review – A Sword in Time by Cidney Swanson

Not much farther in front of us, I notice one building still standing. The rest of our group noticed it at the same time. Like bugs scurrying away from light in the middle of the night, everyone quickly found cover. I was slow to move, but Sam grabbed me by my body armor and pulled me down behind an abandoned vehicle.

“What’s going on?” I asked her.

“Mech,” she answered.

I was confused. I hadn’t seen anything. Are they small?  I asked myself.

Learned around the corner of the vehicle, I looked into the clearing to see if I could pick out the object that had brought so much fear to our group.

Just then, the building I noticed turned and began moving in our direction.

“What the…” I couldn’t help myself, but Sam silenced me by slapping her hand over my mouth. I saw fear in her eyes as she shook her head from side to side.

So, this is where I’m going to die, I thought to myself.

The building, it turned out, was actually a mech, a large Plax robotic creature that destroyed buildings and captured humans. Nearly as tall as a two-story building, it moved with surprising speed and agility.

My eyes were glued in fascination. How could I have forgotten such a thing?

From my side view, I noticed Chet’s hands were moving. Soldiers in groups of two started to make their way to nearby vehicles. The plan appeared to be to surround the mech.

It wasn’t clear if the mech had noticed us, but it did continue moving in our direction. I watched as Sam disabled the safety on her weapon and pointed at mine. She pulled three balls from a pocket near her should. I imagine they must be some sort of grenade.

Book Review: Contained by S. L. Harpel

The grenade were blue and perfectly smooth, with the exception of a small round button at the top.

“Press and hold it for three seconds,” she whispered to me. “The button will sink deeper into the grenade once it’s armed. Throw it as far as you can. The explode on impact or in five seconds.”

She handed one to me. I looked over the Chet expecting him to be red with anger, but he only nodded in our direction.

“Come on,” Sam said, “He wants us to head around to the West.”

Quietly we hurried from vehicle to vehicle.

“Why didn’t Chet silence you?” I whispered to her when we reached a point she thought was far enough.

“It knows we’re here,” Sam informed me. “There’s no need to be completely silent now, though loud noises will review our position.

A sizzle pierced the air and the vehicle we had just been near turned to ash. Every hair on my body stood up to take notice.

“If I say run,” she whispered again, “Don’t think about it. Run, and with every ounce of energy you have.”

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

Chet’s team was now firing at the mech. The goal seemed to be to disable it by destroying the legs it was walking on. Every soldier was making short, controlled energy bursts before quickly moving to another barrier. I watched in horror as two of Chet’s soldiers were too late to run and turned to dust in a flash of light.

“Get ready,” Sam told me. We both armed and tossed our grenades and then sprinted to another vehicle.

Grenades exploded as we exchanged weapons fire with the mech. Then, all at once, the firing stopped. Shaking, I cautiously started to look around the vehicle we were currently hiding behind. The mech had stopped firing and was slowly rotating to the right. First one of the four legs broke off, and then another. The rest of the unit dropped hard to the ground. The force of the impact shook the ground so hard that I lost my balance and toppled on to my back. All was then quiet for a second until we heard one of Chet’s soldiers cheering.

“Let’s go look at the spoil,” Sam told me, but I grabbed her arm.

“Sam, no,” I stopped her.

“What’s wrong?”

“This was too easy,” I told her. “Something is wrong. I’m sure of it.”

She squatted back near me. Sam kept her eyes on the fallen mech, but I scanned the area behind us. There was two concrete pillars standing not far from us, the remains of a building. With my hand still around her arm, I started to pull Sam up and started to run toward the pillars.

“Roman, what?” She looked at my face and we ran toward the pillars. Far away from us, I saw Menton and Benjamin running away from the clearing as well. Chet himself was moving away, but five or six of his team had gone close to inspect the mech from a closer vantage point.

“Move!” Chet yelled out. Most of his soldiers responded, but the ones closest to the fallen carcass kept going closer.

Sam and I had no more than reached the pillars when white light filled the air. I squeezed my eyes tightly closed, but the light was still too bright. We were knocked to the ground as the ensuing explosion robbed us of our sense of hearing.

Lights continue to flash around me for several minutes after the blast. Sam was up and saying something, but I couldn’t hear anything. I rolled to my side and looked toward the clearing. Where the mech had been was a large burning crater. Of his group, only Chet and five of his soldiers remained.

Book Review: Tokyo Story by Tereza Mackova

Sam was screaming at me, but I still couldn’t hear anything. I tried to read her lips, but the flashing lights made it difficult. Menton was there and picked me up and threw me over her shoulder again. I could see Chet waving his hands, but my group was unwilling to go to him. Instead, we were running back north toward the military base.

Menton most have run a mile before any hearing started to come back.

“Put me down,” I yelled out to her. “Put me down.”

She set me on the ground and Sam and Benjamin came running up from behind us.

“Why are we running now?” I demanded. “There’s nothing left.”

“We were stupid,” Sam said. “We should have known the mechs would self-destruct. Why didn’t any of us know that?”

It was a reasonable point. I wondered myself. Even without my memories, my instinct was to get away from the fallen enemy.

“But it’s gone now,” I demanded.

“The mech is gone,” Menton corrected me, “but now more will be coming. The blast will register for miles.”

I was mad at myself again for not realizing that.

“The Plax will descend on that area,” Sam agreed. “They will make sure none of their tech is left behind.”

“Nothing could have survived that explosion.”

“We did,” Sam said. “That’s probably why Chet didn’t run. They are probably looking for tech.

“We should move,” Benjamin offered. “There’s no safety in these streets.”

He was right, so we continued on at a rapid pace.

We were within one hundred feet of the door of the base when something dropped from the sky right in front of us. We all froze in place. There was no doubt it was a Plax, and we were possibly the first humans to see one.

The creature was a goldish brown color and looked like a large insect. it’s triangular head had four gold eyes and a jaw that opened from side to side. There were six legs on its lower long body and four arms on its upper body. The back of the upper body had two sets of wings. Another one dropped from the sky as we stood there, blocking our online route to the safety the base would provide.

As we stood our ground, I couldn’t help but think, There’s a reason why no human has ever reported back about seeing on of these things.

 

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

 

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

 

When You Are Stumped By Your About Page

When You Are Stumped By Your About Page

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

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

 

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

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

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

About Wolfe Butler

Welcome

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

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

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

10 Things About Wolfe Butler

  1. I love pasta and cheese

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

  2. As a child I published a weekly newsletter

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

  3. I’m addicted to TV

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

  4. I have reading ADHD

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

  5. I love the outdoors

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

  6. I love gardening and yardwork

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

  7. Volunteering is one of my passions

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

  8. I love thunderstorms

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

  9. I’m a little OCD

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

  10. I am fiercely defensive of my friends

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

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

 

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/

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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!

 

Love for Series Books

One cannot help but reminisce this time of year. The end of the year makes you think of everything that happened and that you did not achieve in the ending year. The new year entices you with endless possibilities. This year I am thinking a lot about books and writing. I made the serious, and somewhat terrifying, step this year of quitting my day job. My goal is for 2018 to be all about growing with my passion and creating new income streams as a result.

Quite unrelated in many respects, I find myself thinking a lot about the books that have shaped me up to this point. I have always been a book lover. The first chapter book I read was Charlotte’s Web. I believe I was in first grade. I cannot remember exactly how old I was. What I do remember vividly is how excited I was to be transformed into a new world and the intoxicating power of words. I sat on my bed missing dinner and whatever my family was watching on television, completely engrossed in the world opening around me.

I was utterly devastated when I finished the book. Everyone knows how it ends, but as a child I was not prepared to deal with such a catastrophe. At the same time, I was overjoyed at the accomplishment of reading such a big book by myself. I ran around the house telling my family what I had done and that I was going to be a writer. I began writing that day and have never stopped.

While Charlotte’s Web was my first, my favorite children’s chapter books were the Chester Cricket and His Friends Series by George Selden and Garth Williams. A profound mentor and teacher read The Cricket in Times Square to my class with the intention of instilling a love for writing and for reading. I do not know if any of the other students were touched, but I was deeply moved. I hated for the story to end. To my great delight, my teacher told us that there were additional books that carried on the story. A sequel book? I had never imagined such a wonderful prospect before.

I read as many of the books as I could find, which was not as easy then in a rural elementary school. My love of reading was cemented. I could not help but envision the wonderful series of books I would ultimately write.

Writing a series has always been my intention. As I grew older, and then older still, I have struggled with focus. Even when I start a story I love, such as when writing Getting Home, I find myself telling only a finite part of the character’s life. I can only tell one story before my mind is off chasing another character. Still, the desire is strong with me to this day. I am rereading the Anne of Green Gables books in an attempt to remind myself why I love series books so much. I also am hoping to teach myself that not every part of a protagonist’s story must have huge, earth altering events. It is good to write about some of the mundane events that provide additional color and substance to the tale.

As you can see from this simple blog post, my mind tends to run in multiple directions at the same time. My intention was to write about The Cricket in Times Square and how that series changed my view of reading and writing. My mind had other ideas and so this wandering post was formed.

All three of the books I have mentioned are excellent. If you have children, I highly recommend all of them. Although I love them all, I must be partial. The Chester Cricket Series is and always will be my favorite.

Did you have a series that you particularly loved or that your children love today? If so, please leave your comments below.

The Cricket in Times Square

Book Review: Getting Home – The 2 Steps Forward, 1 Step Back Programme

Thank you so much to tropicalmary.com for publishing my first official review for Getting Home. Click through the link to read:

via Book Review: Getting Home – The 2 Steps Forward, 1 Step Back Programme

Tale of a New Blogger – Part 1

As a new blogger, it’s sometimes hard to find your way. Many posts will tell you about an exciting and unbelievable blogger experience. The truth is that most of those posts are unbelievable because they are not true.

This blog is taking a different route. I will be sharing my blogger experience as it happens. The good, the bad and the ugly. Hopefully not too much ugly.

Part 1

In October 2017, I decided that it was time to change my life. I had a job that was creating much more stress than it was worth. I was missing leisure time with family and friends due to demands from said job. My overall joy in life was largely lacking.

What was probably an insane decision, I set out to change everything. I dusted off the novel I had been working on periodically over that last fifteen years and set about self-publishing on Amazon. I put a plan in motion to quit my job, to start freelancing and created a blog. This is my blogger experience.

Disclaimer: This site is a participant in the Amazon Services, LLC. Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This post contains affiliate links. Any purchase made through such links will award me a small commission, at no extra cost for you. It’s how I keep the lights on. I only promote products that I use and have benefitted from.

Changing Everything

Let me mention here that I was in the position to quit my job and have no income for a few months. While I hope that this turns into a record-setting journey, I cannot say with certainty that everyone will have the same experience.

I have mentioned before that I thought I was ready to become a blogger and self-published author. As with most things in life, there is a big difference between planning and practicing. Most days I feel like I have done everything wrong. I can see progress, though, and my vision of the future is bright.

Prior to November, I was not a social media person. However, social media is a necessary evil in the world of self-publishing and the lifeblood of promoting a blog.


Diving Into Social Media

Since the beginning of November, I have dove headlong into my blogger experience and social media. I created accounts with Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram. That alone has been a major learning experience but a necessary part of any blogger experience.

Side note: I have a blog post about why every blog post should include a tall-pin for pinning on Pinterest.

I think I am doing something right as I am up to 4600 Twitter followers. I have 180 likes for my Facebook page, 74 followers on Instagram and 41 followers on my blog.

Those numbers may not seem impressive, but since all of those numbers were zero just two months ago, I am pretty happy with the results.

 

Workplace with notebook on black background

Crunching Numbers

I am a numbers guy. Working in financial services for the last twenty years has put my mind in constant numbers mode. I am constantly thinking of rate of return and tracking progress. Numbers will continue to be an important part of my blogger experience.

Every day I am figuring out things to improve my online presence. I decided to write a post about my progress so you can go along with me on my journey. I intend to update my progress at least once a month.

I am doing this for two reasons.

  1. I want to have a written record of my journey. I could put everything in my personal journal, but why not put it out there for the whole world to see? Hopefully my words will help someone else.
  2. Two, I have read dozens of blogs of how individuals are making thousands of dollars a month from their blogs. I want to believe they are all true, but the skeptic inside me is not sure.

4 Ways to Beat Procrastination – With Frogs

What Happened During The First Months?

I am also noticing that most bloggers are not listing their progress until they are 6, 12 or even 24 months in. What happened at the beginning of their journey? I would like to have those numbers so I can see where I compare.

Should I be happy with 4600 Twitter followers or should I have 46,000 at this point? Is 200 page views for the first full month of a blog a good number or sadly lacking? Should I be expecting any income from affiliate marketing?

I did not imagine I would make anything from my blog the first few months. I was not far off. I think I am up to about $5.00 earned from all sources combined for the past 60 days, counting all income sources.

Please note that is earned so I have not even received that amount as of today. If I were to break that down to the hours I have put in, I am making less than $0.01/working hour. At this rate I should be living on the street by summer.

Thank goodness McDonald’s has free wi-fi.

Ultimate Resources for Bloggers and Writers

 

pexels-photo-757457

Building a Foundation

With any building project, a good foundation is the key to success and stability. I would say I am easily putting in 60-80 hours per week. Knowing that things will not stay at this magnitude, I am willing to put in the time and effort now.


About half of my time has been spent on learning, reading advice, watching videos and corresponding with other writers and bloggers. If knowledge is power, I intend to have superhero strength.

Ultimately, my journey is my journey. No two people have the same journey in any endeavor. Even what I will be sharing here will not necessarily be your journey. In any case, let’s take the journey together and see where it takes us.

If you a new to blogging, or maybe not so new, please share one of your blogger experience below.

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Review: Working Stiffs by Scott Bell

Review: Working Stiffs by Scott Bell

What if zombies weren’t bad? How might the world change if they could be trained to work and be useful members of society? What would that world look like? Scott Bell’s Working Stiffs gives you a glimpse into that possible dystopian future.

SynopsisSynopsis

Scott Bell’s Working Stiffs is a new twist on the dystopian zombie genre. Rather than being created from the bite of another zombie, these zombies, called Revivants, are created by injected nanobots as a scientific solution to cheap and endless labor. Bodies of the recently deceased are reanimated to serve an abundance of manual labor tasks. The year 2051 is dark and gritty and not one you will want to live in but will enjoy visiting.

The book revolves around two characters, everyday man Joseph “Joe” Warren and Homeland Security Agent, Angel Ramirez.

Joe’s story is told from the first person. In his mid-twenties, Joe is a bit down on his luck. Due to the abundance of Revivants, he has been unable to find work for more than two years. Living in ratty government housing with his ailing girlfriend is a less than ideal life. In an attempt to better their situation, Joe is inadvertently tossed onto a whole new and often violent path.

Agent Ramirez is a corrupt and sadistic Homeland Agent. His tale unfolds in the third-person. Like most of the government, he is intent on keeping the country’s narrative away from the true happenings of everyday life and instead on what is beneficial to the government. Morally bankrupt, he is not afraid to hurt or kill anyone in the path to his goal.

The Good

The Good

The words flow easily with realistic dialogue and phonetically written accents. Though I did not always understand every word of some of the characters, I was able to hear the individual accents of characters from different ethnicities.

Many of the characters, Millie, John and Alex, to name a few, are lovable and unique. The world of the book is created with enough detail to create a clear image in your mind’s eye without so much as to be exhaustive.

If it were a person, Working Stiffs could be described as a bit of a pop culture junkie, with plenty of references from the likes of Star Wars to The Princess Bride.

The 80’s child in me enjoyed a lot of the one-liners and quips echoing the bygone decade, such as, “Rodents of Unusual Size.” Additional notations to more recent years are equally enjoyable. I guess I am a bit of a pop culture junkie myself.

Joe’s humor, though more than a bit snarky and often crude and juvenile, did lead to some laugh-out-loud moments. In the beginning, one of the zombies, named Larry, was programed with a little of a sense of humor and repeatedly says, “Braaains!” much to Joe’s annoyance. A bit later someone sarcastically refers to hiring a comedian and Joe says, “You should meet Larry.”

The Not So Good

The Not So Good

There was some difficulty on my part in getting through the plethora of expletives, especially in the first third or so of the book. In one section, I noted curse words or vulgar references in almost every line.

Every good book should have color in its dialogue and narrative, but the superabundance in Working Stiffs was a little overwhelming at time for this reader. Had I not agreed to write a review, I may have stopped reading altogether.

I also had a little trouble with many of the pop culture references. While I enjoyed the trip down memory lane, I did find it a bit hard to believe that today’s references would still be as relevant in 2051, especially to someone then in their twenties.

Rating

Rating

I enjoyed the second half of the book much better than the first and am glad I continued reading. The story really seems to find its way and smooth out the rough edges felt in the opening chapters. Joe becomes the friend you love to hate, and Agent Ramirez the malicious villain that grows worse with each chapter.

Even though there were aspects that I did not enjoy, in the end Working Stiffs is well-written and easy to read. Despite myself, I was not ready for it to end. If there is a sequel, and a big part of me sincerely hopes there will be, it will be added to my reading queue.

To rate this title on a five-point scale, I would give it 3.75.

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