Month: October 2016

Gab Interview with Author Russell Newquist

Russell Newquist isn’t just a writer, he founded his own publishing house and took matters into his own hands. He is an author, a husband, a father and a Catholic. He practices martial arts and also finds time to write his own stories. He’s got a lot coming out in 2017, so keep an eye out for the Silver Empire. You can also follow him on Gab at gab.ai/rnewquist

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Gab Interview with Stephanie Marie Aughenbaugh

I ran across Stephanie on Gab when I put out a call to the artists to let me see their work. She told me she was a photographer, so I checked our some of her photographs. They are beautiful examples of modern nature photography. They are beautiful, serene, and in some ways a profound meditation on the impermanency of life.  Check our her work here and follow her on Gab at gab.ai/GenX1977

Below are a few of her photos she wanted to share with you. Enjoy!

dragonfly-on-antenna chemtrail-sunset full-moon-fever the-lonely-tree-in-flux wild-grass-macro

  1. Tell me about your background. Where you from and what are was your childhood like? Tell me about your family and how they have influenced your outlook on life.

I was born and raised in Western New York, 50 miles East of Buffalo and 50 miles South of Rochester, next to Letchworth State Park. I am the oldest of 8 children and my parents divorced when I was 5. I’ve moved over 150 times in my life and went to 14 different schools. I was very shy and quiet as a child and am still rather timid upon first meeting; face-to-face, anyway. Being a Keyboard Commando is much easier on the self-esteem. I am mother to a 17-year-old boy and step-mother to a 15-year-old girl. My family is my reason for living and I would take a bullet for each of them many times.

My family is very religious. My husband is the most faith-filled man I’ve ever met. I was raised in both Pentecostal and Presbyterian churches. I see this as a blessing, as it gave me a firm, stable foundation and knowledge of Right from Wrong that is necessary in day-to-day living. I sang in Church Choir for a few years and spent a lot of time in my room; listening to music and writing poetry. I didn’t handle my parents’ divorce well, so creativity was an escape for me; it still is.

  1. Have you always been an artist? What other arts do you do, if any?

I think it’s safe to say that I’ve always been creative. I sing often, I write occasionally, I dabbled in pen and ink drawings at one point after high school, and I adore my cameras. I was given my first camera when I was 12; a pink, plastic Kodak that took 110 film. Growing up near Rochester, Kodak was just the way to go. I began taking a lot of walks at that point; walking by myself and thinking was a way to get time to apart from my siblings and to enjoy nature. I still like to take walks alone, but it’s not as safe to do so now as it was in the ’80s. My first photographic subjects were headstones in a cemetery in Geneseo, NY, where I was living with my mother at that time. Death and the peace of cemeteries have always appealed to me. Over the years, I’ve gone long spaces between cameras. Since 2009 I’ve had at least 2 cameras within reach at all times. Photography has become part of me; like my hairstyle or my leather jacket. I’d be sad without it.

  1. Are you making a living off your photography, or do you have another job to support yourself?

I have sold a few of my photos, but I wouldn’t say that it constitutes a living. I am a stay-at-home caregiver for my father-in-law and my husband. My father-in-law is a Vietnam Veteran who had the misfortune of losing his right leg in an RPG attack. My husband has a myriad of health problems, that I choose not to get into, and he is disabled. I am very happy to care for them, but I am unhappy with the VA and the healthcare system, in general, of this Country. It’s one of the many reasons why I am voting for Trump.

  1. What are your aims with your art? What are you trying to communicate, and what do you hope people take away from viewing your photographs?

With each photo that I take, all I want is to evoke some sort of emotion from the viewer. Each person sees a thing differently; whether through life experiences or general perspectives of things as they are or might appear to be. There is no right or wrong answer with photography, or with art in any form, as the perception is the key. I just hope that my work is found to be beautiful, emotive, and somehow impacts a person in their core.

  1. What are your favorite subjects to photograph? I know you live in PA with your husband; how does living among nature (which seems to be your main subject) affect the way you see your world?

My favorite subjects are flowers and leaves and trees and water. I have a bit of an obsession with water; I thrive best when I live near it in some form. I think I take more photos of the sky than anything else, as the skies here are simply amazing. Living amongst the oldest trees on the Eastern Seaboard helps, too. I also enjoy taking candid photos of people. When a person is not looking at the camera, or has no idea that they are being filmed, they are at their most natural. One can capture a range of emotion in a candid shot that can never be found in a studio encounter. Mind you, I was gifted 3 entire sets of lighting and backdrops for my recent birthday, so I plan to delve into studio work in the near future. There is no reason to become stuck in a creative rut. I also enjoy architecture and cars. I guess you could say that I just like to take photos.

  1. Are there any subjects you would not enjoy photographing? Portraits, nudes, sports etc…?

I don’t do nudes. It’s a personal policy. I’ve done sports work, as my step-daughter is an avid and amazing soccer player, but nudes is where I draw my line.

  1. Which photographers have been most influential to you? I know you mentioned that you and I both have a love for Adams. Who else do you love?

I enjoy the work of Annie Leibovitz, Henri Cartier-Bresson, David LaChapelle, Andreas Gursky, Edward Curtis, David Muench … and I am discovering new talent daily.

  1. What is your setup? What gear do you use? Do you Photoshop your photos?

I use a Canon Powershot SX60 HS, a Canon Powershot SX50 IS, filters (polarizer, neutral density, UV of course, macro filters, and a few others), a magnifier that I made from the viewfinder glass out of a Kodak Duaflex camera that I hot-glued into a spice jar lid and then wrapped black electrical tape around (to block out unnecessary light) – I use it in macro work, a box of multi-colored sunglasses and lenses for color work, a tripod, my studio kits, a remote switch, flash filters, extra SD cards and batteries, and my laptop. I use Photoshop with Nik filters and Topaz filters (and I also use GIMP) to boost contrast and color in my shots and to reduce noise.

  1. What is your process like? A lot of writers and artists have a set process for getting themselves into the right headspace. Do you have one, or do you take your gear and go for it?

There is no process. Either I feel like taking photos or I don’t. Most of the time, the shot presents itself to me; I’m just the messenger. I have created a few shots, but most of my work is as I find it. God is a far more capable Creator and Artist than I’ll ever be.

  1. I know you are on the Trumptrain, and we’ve just had the third debate. Tell me what the mood in PA is like towards Trump. Do you think he has a shot at winning the state?

Trump owns it in Pennsylvania. I have seen exactly 3 signs that are pro-Hillary and 2 of them have been spray-painted with X’s by the home owner to make a point. We like our Rights and we like our Guns here. We have Trump’s back. On a cool note, my husband has been an Independent Democrat since he turned 18 and he changed his Registration to Republican so he could vote for Trump in the Primaries. We have converted all but 2 people that we know to Trump and we are a force to be reckoned with. If Trump does Not win Pennsylvania, it is because of voter fraud.

  1. Tell me how you would describe your political view.

I was raised with God, guns, and righteous indignation. I am Republican and Conservative, through and through. I am pro-life but I maintain that Everyone has Free Will. I do not agree with Gay Marriage, but again, I believe that Everyone has Free Will. I know that All Lives Matter and that the lines that are being drawn between us now are forms of subterfuge created by those who wish to control us. I get my news from InfoWars, Bill Still, Sean Hannity, Project Veritas, Wikileaks, occasionally Anonymous, and my Bible. The Main Stream Propaganda Machine is a waste of my time. I also boycott the NFL, but that’s a byproduct of idiocy and propaganda.

  1. Do you find yourself on the outside politically of most of the other artists and photographers that you know?

I don’t judge people because I do not want to give them license to judge me, so I rarely allow a person’s policies or ethics to determine their worth as an artist. The content speaks to me or it doesn’t. We are not meant to judge; we are to Be judged.

  1. Which issues are most important to you? What do you care deeply about?

The issues that matter most to me are issues of maintaining the Constitution of this Country, to include all of the Amendments; All of them. I want to see Conservative judges on the Supreme Court to replace the Honorable Justice Scalia. I want to see Trump build that Wall! I lived in Southern California for 2 years – I saw the illegal immigrant problems and the effects of it firsthand. I want to know that my children are given a shot at a decent future; perhaps not the opportunities we were given, but something better than chaos and damnation. I want people to stop disrespecting our Flag and begin to show true Patriotism again,

  1. Do you consider yourself a religious person? How does your view on faith and politics influence your photography? Does it influence your subject or perhaps the way you frame a series of photographs?

I am a very faith-filled person, but I do not consider myself to be religious. Religion means to be regulated or restricted and God wants us to be free. I was raised with religion; I respect others’ views and beliefs and I would never tell a person that they were bad or wrong for what they believe in. I very strongly believe that we are nearing the End Times as described in Revelations, but I also know that things need to happen in a certain order, as described by God to John, and that these things are not happening in that order as yet. I watch and wait, as I am urged to do, and when the time comes, I know where my soul is headed and I am content with that. My faith in God affects Everything in my life. God is everywhere and He is in everything. I see God in the light of a smile and in the bud of a flower. So yes, my faith influences my photography very much; Politics, however, might not be as influential on my photography as my faith is. I admit that during this election process I have been more aware of it, but I am not going out of my way to make a political point through my photos.

  1. What inspires you?

Life itself, in all its ways, inspires me. I have been depressed for a large part of my life and I wake up every day and whisper a thank you for the chance to live for another day. A person who is very close to me is an attempted suicide survivor, and it has shown me just how precious life really can be. There is nothing that cannot be shown in a photo. It is up to the viewer to decide whether or not the photo is worth the look. I’m just the messenger, as I said. I see the show that God has given and I try to capture what I see. Sometimes I get lucky. I am blessed to be able to take photos and share them with others, either way.

Gab Interview with Lindsey Schreiner

Lindsey Schreiner is an artist that I met over Gab. She was nice enough to create my banner, and has created the book cover for my upcoming YA novel, Andy the Ninja. She was also kind enough to grant me and interview with her. She can be found online at www.kallindra.com and you can gab with her at gab.ai/Horrorqueen

  1. So tell me about your background. Where did you grow up, what was your family like, and how did that influence you into becoming the person you are today?

I grew up in a Military family, my father was enlisted in the Air Force. I was born in Montana and when I was 2 we lived in Germany until the time I was 6, my little brother was born in that time. In my childhood, I also lived in New Mexico, Montana, North Dakota and back to Montana – there are a lot of details that made me who I am.

My father’s interest in computers meant I never lived in a house without one, I started with a Commodore 64 at the age of 4 navigating DOS to start my own programs and games. My mother worked extremely hard at every turn to make sure my brother and I rarely went wanting despite the fact we were a family of 4 on an enlisted man’s salary in the 80’s and 90’s, so I had a lot of opportunity to develop my creativity and ideals.

My mother is probably the one person in my life that I could always count on. She has taught me to be strong and independent always – to think my own way and ensure the information I’m being given is based on fact, no matter who is presenting it to me, and that if I want something, the only way to get it is to work hard and get it myself.

She also taught me doing the right thing and being an adult are more important than “winning” – which has influenced how I behave online as well. Honesty and maturity are two things I try very hard to hold on to at every turn (though I’m far from perfect at times).

  1. You seem like a really creative person, what other types of creative endeavors are you interested in participating in?

I’m honestly one of those people who has a very divided focus… I love do to my graphic arts, but I also enjoy doing crafts – origami, crochet, cross stitch, sculpting, painting – and I enjoy writing and poetry as well, though I don’t practice those quite as much as I should.

I’m great at the visual side/customer use of Web design, but more people are interested in a quick drag and drop design than something custom so I don’t mention that as often as I do other things.

  1. So when did you first start getting into art? And what were your first subjects/themes you explored?

I’ve been artistically inspired most of my life. As a child I was always drawing, or working on something, trying to paint things. I’ve always been kind of a fantasy inspired person – I started playing Dungeons and Dragons at 8 – and of course I enjoyed unicorns, but I have a very huge love for dragons – all kinds. Of course I’m also inspired by most mythologies – Norse, Egyptian, and Greek most specifically. I spent most of my time in school drawing instead of taking notes.

My first time in college at 18 I would irritate the daylights out of my History professor because I would walk in, sit down, and start drawing. Once I even placed my hand down on the paper, traced it, and proceeded to fill in the details of the hand while he lectured. When it came time for midterms, I passed the test with flying colors and he added a note on my test that said “I guess you were listening”. Of course then I was also a psychology major.

  1. You have a very unique pop-ish style, who or what influenced it?

What influences my art style most is what I’m being asked for. I don’t like to consider myself in one category or another, because I’m often trying to find new methods to produce the picture that I have in my head. In the end, what comes out is usually the result of hours of fussing and fretting over exactly which pixel is where, knowing no one will ever realize that I’m fussing on such a small scale but me.

  1. What is your process like? Do you just sit down and create or do you have a kind of ritual you use to get you into the headspace necessary to create?

If I’m not working on a piece for someone else, I’ve generally started with a blank canvas and randomly doodled and messed with the canvas until an idea comes to me. Or I was running through pictures until an idea comes to me. Or I was off doing something else and something will pop into my head to try to do – there is honestly a lot of art I’ve done that’s hidden on my computer because it’s half finished, or I didn’t feel like it was good enough to be showing to other people.

  1. Are you formally trained? If so where did you learn and who were your greatest teachers? If you had it to do over again, would you make the same choice today?

Formally trained? Not really. I have a Bachelor’s of Science in Information Technology with a Concentration in Web Design. I have an ACE certification in DreamWeaver, and I plan to get the same certification in Photoshop sometime soon. Honestly my greatest teachers have been trial and error, YouTube, and other artists on the internet kind enough to put their methods forth through written tutorials. My BS had a few Photoshop focused classes that helped some of my technique, but nothing overtly inspiring. There are only two choices in my life I would re-do, and none of them really have anything do with my style or education.

  1. You’re very active on Gab, were you always outgoing on social media? Have you always had a large presence or is Gab different for you because of the free speech dedication?

Gab is very different for me for a lot of reasons. The first of which is that before this I never put much of my personality out in my Social profiles – I never got into Twitter, I spent most my time on Facebook posting images and articles from other sources and being more of an observer than anything. Gab is a young program, with a lot of promise, and for the time being without preconceptions from the users. People don’t expect specific things from a user to consider them “worth” following, and I am a very strong free speech proponent – even if I disagree with you and think you’re saying something that actively lowers my IQ as it leaves your mouth, I will always acknowledge your right to say it, and equally my own right to tell you you’re an idiot. To be on a forum where I can TELL people they’re being an idiot without being censored – and if they get tired of me they can sensor me out – is an amazing thing really. I have a very strong desire to see it grow so that all people can come together and discuss. It’s a bit of a naïve hope, but I hope those on the left and those on the right fighting will help them come together more than they manage now.

  1. You also talk a lot about political and social issues on Gab. Describe how you see yourself politically? What are some of the most important issues, in your opinion, facing America and the world?

I’m a libertarian in the most correct sense of the word. To most conservatives I sound liberal, and to most liberals I sound conservative. To me the biggest issues aren’t sex, immigration, or guns, but the whole of liberty and what “We the People” means. A lot of the issues people fight about nationally were never meant to be handled on the national platform – You can’t legislate morality be it what the Left or Right consider to be moral. So much power has been removed from the hands of the people and the states and ceded to the government that it’s honestly no surprise to me that we’re in the state we’re in.

I am absolutely against the interventionalist policy that has put America where it is in the middle of all the world’s conflicts, and I don’t feel it makes us stronger being there. In fact, it makes us weaker as we spend money and send other countries billions of dollars, while at the same time let our own country create regulations and policies that only serve to bleed more money from the people… but the list of my problems with the country/world is huge.

  1. Is it hard being right of center and being an artist? Do you find yourself isolated by the leftist artistic communities in the real world and online?

Honestly, I don’t find myself isolated in any community more than any other because I’m more center than right or left. I’ve been treated equally bad by right-wing radicals as I have been left-wing, because I have a very straight down the middle point of view. I don’t think that the right’s idea of morality is completely right, nor do I believe the left’s idea is completely right – in the end I think the country was specifically built with the idea that we need room to agree to disagree and mingle with those who think similarly to how we do while setting rules for all groups to follow to interact peacefully since no single group will every have all the things they need. The idea of “equality” is supposed to apply to equal opportunity, no matter what race, religion, color, sex, or mind set. What one person believes is a mental illness is what another person needs to be happy – and this can apply to everything from sexual orientation to religion…. But again, I can go on and on with specific details and ideas.

10. What inspires you?

Everything really. Ideas, nature, TV, movies, music sound… I have more ideas trapped in my head than I can hope to ever express, but it’s fun to try.

An interview with W.O. Cassity

Today we talk with WO Cassity about his writing, his life, his faith and his politics. Cassity is the author of numerous horror short stories and a fantasy novel. He has led a fascinating life which included being a US Marine for a time, a self-taught computer expert, a homeschooling dad among many others.

You can find him on the web at http://www.wocassity.com/ on Gab @wocassity and you can find his work Heir of the Blood King here.

  1. Tell me a little about your background. Where are you from? What was your childhood like? What kinds of things were you exposed to as a young man that later influenced your development as a writer?
    My childhood was pretty rough. I’m the youngest of three children. My two sisters are 12 years and 8 years older than I. My parents divorced when I was two and my father remarried.  My father had custody of my sisters and my mother had custody of me, but he took me once when I was with him for a visit and he fled the state with his new family, myself and my siblings.  This created a lot of social anxiety issues for me and I introverted.  It was about 4 months later that I was returned to my mother.  This actually got a lot rougher from there, but these were the events that left me feeling that I didn’t have a voice.  It was later that I used writing to find my own voice and to gain an understanding of who I was and who I wanted to be.
    My first memory is a dream that I had when I was 3 years old about a T-Rex picking up my house and looking inside to see me hiding under my bed.  I could only see the eye looking through the window.  It was exactly like the scene in Jurassic Park.  From that earliest time, I had a fascinated and wanted to explore the meanings of dreams and this became one of the primary influences into writing when I was around 12 years old.
  1. Tell me about your education. Where did you go to college and what did you study? Did you plan on incorporating that knowledge into your writing?
    I never went to college. I really wanted to go, but with little money and little confidence in myself to earn scholarships, I enlisted in the Marine Corps. While I was in, I had an allergic reaction that resulted in a grand mal seizure and I was medically discharged.  This left me lost.
    So I turned my attention to computers as a self-study and passed my Comptia A+ certification and then later became certified for my MSCE.  I invested nearly twelve years in expanding my knowledge starting with computers when I worked at Dell Computer Corporation in early 2000.  From there I went to work at Verizon Wireless and incorporated my IT knowledge and applied it in the field of Telecommunications.  Somewhere in that time, my passion and love for computers went away, so I chose not to include this into my writing for fear of losing interest in it as well.
  1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer? When did you first realize that “ah-ha there is a person who created this book I’m enjoying!”
    I think I’ve always been a writer, but never made the conscience effort to create stories until I was 12. When I was 14 years old, I began playing Dungeons and Dragons with my friends in middle school and this helped me with character development and world building skills. It became a living, breathing character development exercise for me.
    I never intended to published, but dreamed of it often.  You will find a lot of that in my life.  As I mentioned earlier, I am obsessed with dreams and I actively enjoy daydreaming.  As my children grew, my oldest daughter talked to me about becoming a professional writer.  I encouraged her and lifted her up and said she could do anything she put her mind too because she’s incredibly gifted and creative.
    Then she asked me, “Why haven’t you published?”  Reluctantly, I followed my family’s urging and released my first self-published fantasy novel, “Heir of the Blood King:  Adventures of Adam Book One”.
  1. What are your main themes as a writer? What do you find yourself returning to over and over again?
    Fantasy was such a powerful influence on me due to my interest in roleplaying games. Between gaming and writing, I learned a lot about myself and discovered the idea of critical thinking. For so many years, I simply did what I was told to do and never questioned anything.  It was a struggle that I still fight against within myself today.  This is also why I consider myself a Free Speech advocate because not having a voice is the most terrifying thing in the world to me.
    Speaking of terrifying, writing horror is my passion.  I’m constantly searching for new, gripping stories to read and to explore the darkness to face the danger head on.  I guess that since I’ve been through so much in my childhood, this was one of my coping mechanisms.  What didn’t kill me most certainly made me stronger.  I never wanted to be a victim again and to be honest I wouldn’t change any of the experiences that happened to me.  Those experiences molded me and I was able to toss aside my bonds.  I’m not afraid to talk about those things, but the subject matter is too heavy for this interview.
  1. You’re very politically active on Gab, what role does politics or political philosophy play in your writing? Is it something you consciously incorporate, or something you try to stay away from?
    Oh, I would love nothing better than to never discuss politics ever again, but Free Speech is important to me because it did take me so long to find my voice. The idea that someone can suppress what I have to say and shame me into not saying it is terrifying. I will shout my opinions from a rooftop with a hundred guns trained on me.  I’d rather die than to ever be silenced again.
    So when I talk about politics, I’m looking to the future.  Not just my own, but my children as well. I put a lot of work into my kids to help them express themselves and to be open about their ideas, while at the same time arm them with critical thinking skills so they can navigate this life in their own way.
    The current political landscape puts all that I worked for and my children at risk.  I simply cannot be silent about that.
  1. How would you describe yourself politically? What are some of the most important issues facing America or the world, in your mind?
    I’ve always called myself Independant to avoid a political label. Over the last two years, I’ve identified more as an Anarchist Libertarian. I’m socially progressive because I do not believe I have a right to tell others how to live their own lives if they are not hurting anyone, but I’m also fiscally conservative.  If someone chooses to avoid responsibility and live their life and make many mistakes, it shouldn’t be assumed that I’m ok with them expecting to live off my hard earned tax money and my personal sacrifices so they get a free pass to continue to live with no responsibility due to government entitlements.  I’m not certain if I clear by what I mean on that, but well, there it is.  It makes sense to me.
  1. Do you consider yourself a person of faith or unbelief? Can you expand a little on what your beliefs mean to you and how you find them manifest in your writing?
    Without faith, I wouldn’t be here today. As I mentioned before, my parents divorced when I was 2 years old. My father was a member of the Assemblies of God and my mother was a Southern Baptist, two radically different religions at the time, but not as much so today.  So I always had questions about why one church believed one thing and the other something else.  Although I was taught not to question God’s Will, noticing the differences in these two doctrines naturally led to me questioning what I was taught.
    I remember getting baptized when I was 5 years old, but when I turned 9, I became saved and accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my savior and was baptized again.  Looking back, those were the darkest years of my life.  One marked the beginning and the other the end.   Without faith, I honestly would have not made it past that time in my life.
    When I turned 19, I faced a new series of challenges when I left the military, calling everything I knew and believed into question once more.  All my life I was told that God had a plan for me and so I waited, always looking for a sign.  It never came.  There was a point in my life in high school that I believed I had been called into the ministry, but as I “read the signs” around me, it felt like everything worked against me and I started to believe that I was wrong and God was blocking my way.  That’s when I began to drift from being a firm believer into an agnostic.
    I’ve had a few religious awakening experiences since then and for a brief time I considered that perhaps I had become an atheist.  Reason and evidence is important to me today, but there was such a confusing and overwhelming series of events that happened in my childhood that I cannot outright dismiss that a force greater than myself was at play.  Yes, I understand it defies reason.  Yes, I understand that I was probably quite PTSD and my mind may have worked against me.  So this is the reason I do stand to support the freedom of religion.  If I’d had been an atheist as a teen, I would have just killed myself.  The only thing that stopped me was that I didn’t want to disappoint God.  But I digress.
  1. Talk a little about your #GabBookClub project, and what you hope to see it become in the future. Have you had a lot of support from the #GabWriters?
    The outpouring of support from the #GabCommunity has been amazing, especially the #GabWriters.

My idea is to collect a virtual library of stories and novels written by people who choose to stand against the wave of Regressive politics that threatens our freedom.  I still have a good number of posts to make from the information I’ve collected thus far, but what I want to do is help forge this community into supporting one another through what I’ve called the #GabMicroEconomy.  Why do we spend so much of our purchasing power on companies and individuals who want to censor or silence us?  Why would fund our own self-destruction?
For this reason, I see the #GabBookClub as an early organization technique to encourage readers to search Gab for new authors to explore before going to sites like Amazon.  If we can create the early building blocks of success there, perhaps this will motivate other talented members of the #GabFam to offer their products or services there as well.
In the future, I envision a place that is powered by its own trade and consumerism.  That’s my dream.

  1. To you what makes for a “great book” i.e. the kind of book that should be included in every high school English classroom? How do you define the word “classic?”
    I have one simple rule for me to consider a great book: The story has to show the struggle and perseverance of the human spirit to triumph over adversity. Sometimes, this may lead to the death of a beloved character, but if solution is found within that loss, it is a sacrifice worth respecting.  There may also be times where there may be a sense that there is no meaning, but if the character experiences a journey within themselves and grows an understanding about who they are or might be, that’s also enough for me as well.
    What I would consider “classic” is subjective to me.  If I’ve read it at least 3 times, it’s a classic.  I love reading something new so if I’ve gone back to a work that often, then it truly is something special to me.
  1. You seem to be interested in werewolves. Where does this interest come from, and what are some of the best werewolf stories in your opinion?
    I have an interest in all things horror. What makes werewolves interesting to me are three specific things.
    When I was around 3 years old, I remember watching “The Wolf Man” with my two older sisters. My sisters were both out of my life by the time I was seven, so it is one of the few memories I have of all three of us together.
    The second is this idea of transformation.  How someone can be so normal and transform into something powerful that is out of their control.  A hidden strength buried deep beneath the surface waiting for an opportunity to claw its way out.
    Lastly, werewolves are one of the few horror elements that I don’t consider evil because they operate on instinct not motive.  Think about it.  Does anyone think of a wolf as an evil creature?  No.  Most people view wolves as an animal following its instincts to survive.
  1. Who are some of your major influences as a writer? Whose style and themes do you emulate?
    Poe and Lovecraft are my two biggest writing influences because both of them focus on how fragile the human mind can be. The idea of losing myself to trauma or a mental illness is another disturbing thought for me.
    As far as movies go, I think John Carpenter helped me to visualize my own nightmares and this helps me to see through the darkness of my stories more clearly in order to put them down into words.
  1. A lot of horror writers seem to see a connection between horror and comedy. Do you see it? Or do you consider yourself a more pure horror/psychological horror writer?
    There is no question that comedy has a large role in the telling of a horror story. In fact, we fire off the same synapsis with each emotional response in our brains.
    I tend to lend some comedy elements in my storylines just before unveiling darker revelations about the direction I’m going with the story.
  1. What work are you most proud of and why? Can be anything from a high school essay to Heir of the Blood King.
    My poetry and prose from my early 20’s. I haven’t published any of it and perhaps I might never. I battled within myself between reason and faith.  Sometimes my faith won, other times I fell into the apathy of reason that shattered my worldview at the time.  It was therapeutic and yet so powerful in my personal transformation through discovering who I am as a person and how my experiences shaped me into someone stronger.
    Wait, I think I drifted back to the werewolf question again.  I digress.
  2. You’ve also written a number of shorter works, can you tell me what draws you to short fiction, and do you see a future for short fiction at all? Most traditional publishers are not interested in it because they think it doesn’t sell well enough to justify the resource cost. Do you agree?
    Some of my favorite works are by Edgar Allan Poe and were short stories. I do believe that short stories are making a comeback in today’s short attention span markets. My personal thoughts about releasing the short stories was to increase my body of work and something I could give away so readers could take a chance on me as an author without any risks.
  1. Can you tell me a little about your series “A Short Journey into Darkness” and your collaborators on it? Why did you go with collaborators and what was their role in your stories?
    I wanted a way to associate my short works together, so I organized them under that series name. There really isn’t anyone else involved, except for perhaps my editor.
  1. Can you tell me why you chose to go the indie self-published route instead of going for a mainstream publisher?
    I like being independent and with so many other positive things happen in my life, I also like the flexibility to publish at my own pace. Also, in my own personal opinion, traditional big publishing is dying. I see the markets giving away to smaller publishing houses and groups.  At some point I expect one to ask me to join them.  So long as I get to keep my freedom to create, I would consider that as an option.
  1. Do you see a future for self-publishing, or is it just vanity publishing? How is it changing the industry in your opinion?
    Right now everyone believes that they can write a story or book and publish it to become the next overnight sensation. Once people start to realize that the more saturated the market, the harder it will become to get noticed, people will simply stop participating.
    I think the term vanity publishing is out of date. It takes a lot of work to put something together even if it is a steaming pile.  There is a merit to creating something out of nothing and if someone finds that fulfilling, I don’t consider that to be vain by any measure of the word.  I think it was a coined phrase made by big publisher to pressure writers with potential to not stray from the traditional publishing market.
    Personally, I think self-publishing is beautiful because this will give us more works to explore and eventually we will have a system in place to help readers find the quality works that they should consider exploring.
  1. Are ebooks the wave of the future? Will paper books be relegated to expensive collectibles for hobbyists and bibliophiles?
    So long as people enjoy getting back to nature, I feel that people will want to unplug from their technological lives and loose themselves in a good old fashioned book. I don’t think it will ever go out of style.
  1. Describe your process as a writer. How do you get ready to write, what is your method like? And how has it evolved as you evolved as a writer?
    It’s simple now that I have a routine. Usually starts with a good cup of coffee and some music after spending some time with my kids.
    That’s the key. Have a routine and stick with it.
  1. What is next for you?
    Since I’ve had such a pleasant response from my horror short stories, I wanted to continue in that vein for awhile, but then I accidentally stumbled upon a stroke of inspiration. One of my short stories has now outgrown that format and I’m working on shaping it into a novel.
  1. What inspires you?
    That’s easy. My wife and children. They’re my everything and I would be nothing without them.

 

An Interview with Author and Philosopher Brett Stevens

 

So I’m starting a new feature of my site. It’s a series of interviews focusing on interesting and unique writers, artists, thinkers and whatever that I find on Gab.ai. Our first interview comes from a young Alt-Right thinker and philosopher named Brett Stevens. Brett has written a fascinating book on Nihilism called “Nihilism: A Philosophy Based on Nothingness and Eternity.”

He blogs at http://www.amerika.org/ and can be found on Gab at gab.ai/alternative_right

And with that, here we go….

  1. So tell me a little about your background. Where are you from, what is your family like, what was your youth like?

I grew up in Texas to a normal family with a strong work ethic. My youth was spent in the forest. I did not watch television or spend time on sports. I just went out and hung out with the trees, animals and plants. When I was not doing that, I read the classics of Western literature and philosophy from a relatively young age. It was pretty much a top-notch childhood.

In my early teens, I became involved in the bulletin board community, back when people called each other with dial-up modems. I began running bulletin boards myself at about that time, and moved into the hacker community, where I learned quite a bit about how people try to control each other, and how to break that control.

  1. What got you interested in philosophy? Who were some of your earliest influences, and how have they shaped your interest in philosophy today?

Since I spent most of my time outdoors, it took awhile to get into reading, but when I did it all happened very quickly. My family home had an extensive library of literary classics and philosophy, and so I stumbled across Kant and Nietzsche, but really found a voice with Plato, who remains my biggest enduring influence.

Interestingly, however, my introduction to philosophy came from two sources: the forest and a children’s book named The Wump World by Bill Peet. In the forest, all learning is motivated by the self and achieved through experimentation or deep intuitive thought, and I spent many hours just thinking about the nature of reality and being alive, using the mathematical structures I saw in nature as a guide.

Somewhere in my early years, I read the Bill Peet book, which is about a spacefaring race of people-like creatures who arrive on a beautiful green planet. In a zeal for comfort, or maybe a desire to be important, they tear the whole place down and cover it in concrete, building great cities. Then they notice it is polluted, complain a lot, and zip on to the next planet to do the same to it…

On the surface, the book is about the environment; underneath, it is about the void. Without a sense of purpose, humans become consumers who take complex structures and reduce them to one-dimensional ones, which results in “unintended consequences” like pollution and the kind of modern misery I saw when I went into the big city. This, I realized, was the same question Plato asked: how do we live without self-destructing?

This question continues to guide my life. I view it as the biggest challenge for any species: how to have intelligence and sanity as well. Currently civilization in the West is not doing so well on this front, but we are not alone in facing this. It seems to me to be why we see so few advanced civilizations on earth or among the stars.

  1. Where did you attend university and what did you major in? Were you formally trained in philosophy or were you an autodidact?

It is probably unwise of me to reveal where I went to school, but I was fortunate enough to go to a top-tier university. There I studied literature and philosophy, more of the former than the latter. Since that time, I have continued my learning in each with independent study. I was also fortunate to know a number of influential writers and thinkers when growing up, and they have guided my thinking.

  1. I love this quote from your website, “Western Civilization is dying. This death began thousands of years ago when individualism, or the idea that individual choices and desires are more important than reality, became sociallyacceptable. Since that time, individualism has morphed into equality through collectivized individualism.” Can you expand on your views on Individualism for the reader?

Humans have big brains. We use them to parse our world. However, our thoughts are more real than reality to us because thoughts are more accessible. This creates a tendency toward solipsism, where we view the world as we think it, not as it is. That in turn causes us to have a kind of backward thinking, or rationalism, which is a type of tunnel vision: we form thoughts, and then unintentionally direct our thinking to find data that confirms those thoughts.

The person who gives in to solipsism is an individualist, or someone who believes that his desires, feelings, thoughts and judgments are more important than reality. If evil is a variety of error, individualism is a variety of evil. People in the grips of individualism stop caring about what is real, and focus their attention on what “should” be, a type of Utopian thinking related to pacifism. They want an end to risk and struggle, and that requires that rules be made which mandate the inclusion of everyone, no matter how bad their behavior or how inept they are. This is the doctrine of equality.

When individuals gather in groups, they form a crowd. The goal of this crowd is collectivized individualism, or using the greater numbers of the crowd — like a cult, gang or mob — to force other people to accept individualism in the form of equality. Like all crowds, this crowd is comprised of individuals who are acting toward their own selfish ends, and hiding behind the lack of accountability via anonymity that the crowd provides. They take over any group from within, whether large like a civilization or small like a church group, cluster of friends, small business or political movement.

Crowdism — the name for this collectivized individualism — has the advantage always because it is not centralized, nor will it ever admit its actual goals. It inevitably hides its intent behind positive-sounding things like helping the poor or racial minorities, but its actual goal is to seize power so that it can remove all standards. These standards take many types: culture, heritage, values, philosophy, religion and even the family.

The ultimate goal of every individual in the crowd is to abolish any distinction between right and wrong, success and failure, and distinctions between individuals. This egalitarian mindset is designed to ensure that each individual in the crowd is accepted but also allowed to do whatever they want, like “anarchy with grocery stores.” They want the advantages of civilization but not the burden of keeping it healthy.

Every great civilization dies of Crowdism because only great civilizations are wealthy and powerful enough to have this possibility arise. Civilizations die by succeeding, because once they have succeeded, they no longer have the inherent purpose of early civilization, which is to achieve civilization in itself. In the absence of purpose, the lower levels of society by natural ability reproduce quickly because the forces of nature that keep them in check are removed by the efficiency, order and cleanliness of civilization. This creates a runaway reaction like a yeast bloom or “red tide” when algae reproduce too rapidly and suffocation all aquatic life.

Right now, the West has been in the middle of a Crowdism event for at least a thousand years. Our distant ancestors stayed mobile and low-technology perhaps to avoid this fate, but with fixed civilization and agriculture, the disease was allowed to take root. Our job is to find a substitute for Darwinism that keeps the good and ejects the bad, or we will drown in our own excess, as we can see happening around us daily.

  1. In your email to me you said Nihilism is “Conservatism without the humanism” Can you go into depth about what you meant? Can you describe your views of contemporary late 2016 conservatism?

Nihilism is extreme skepticism of human intent and human intermediates for reality. A nihilist does not believe in truth or values because these are proxies for real experience, which can be measured only by its results, not by these intermediate proxies which measure intent or obedience. Proxies rely on the idea of universalism, or all people being the same so the same rules can be used to shape each of them toward the goal of those in power, and nihilism rejects this.

Instead, nihilists affirm that individual humans are widely different, and that we act based on who we are and not what we are induced to think. This can be forced by a strong realism, which is by nature consequentialist or prone to measure its actions by results and not intent. This in turn thrusts upon us the question of what results we desire, and therefore what our purpose is, which in turn pushes us toward transcendentalism, or accepting reality as it is and finding an order within it that reveals its darkness as necessary for the ultimate end result, which is good.

I have been a declared nihilist since age fifteen when I observed that human intentions and social pretense had taken over from realistic thought, making people crazy and pathologically motivated toward things which end badly, just to uphold the image that we are all good and that we are all autonomous, thinking beings who make “rational” choices instead of the reality, which is that we act out our genetic programming and impulses.

  1. I noticed that you, like me, are Alt-Right. Where did you start at politically and how did you come to realize you were part of the altright?

My early life was shaped by people around me who were for the most part, at least in public, very Leftist in a bourgeois sense. They were not agitating in the streets, but they repeated the same theories and talking points to each other, even as those deviated from reality. So for the first half of my life, I was mostly Leftist, although I clashed with it because I observed numerous conflicts with reality as could be plainly seen.

Eventually I dug into philosophy and found myself in the same place I had been in the forest: breaking thought down to its highest abstraction layer, and trying to find an order that included all the known data points. At the same time, as I explored computers and networking more, I saw how very much our world operated logically in the sense of being like a very complex calculating machine. It was immediately clear that very few people got close to understanding the scope of its complexity, much less how it worked.

This drew me to the German idealists, mainly Kant and Schopenhauer, whose ideas in contemplation then fused with earlier radical realism from Nietzsche and the monist metaphysics and naturalism of Plato. This in turn pushed me toward the right, but the touchstone was black metal music and reading the works of Michel Houellebecq, which pointed out to me how Leftism was a system designed to breed mediocrity.

After that, my explorations continued with the system of thought I later developed: parallelism, or a theory of an idealist monism based on pattern similarity, and a knowledge of conservatism as that which conserves the best states of humanity and civilization through consequentialism and a transcendental outlook. These are still in development, but were most clearly expressed through essays from the late 1980s through 2005.

  1. Also on your website you advocate for repatriating the non-indigenous. I’m wondering, because I hear a lot on the alt-right saying this, is it realistic? How would we go about it? Some have cited cost, some have cited “meanness or Hitler” as an objection to repatriation. Is that our only hope to save the West?

If history teaches us anything, it is that time moves in cycles comprised of a period of gradual change followed by sudden directional changes. The switch to multiculturalism was radical, and the reversal of that direction will be as well, but these are hardly the most bizarre or dynamic events in history. Big changes occur all the time on a historical scale, and for that reason, repatriation will not be anomalous.

Diversity does not work. In fact, it cannot work, because each group must act in self-interest, and when those groups coexist in the same area, that self-interest — including the need for self-determination for the group, pride in identity and other intangibles — causes constant conflict. When groups are merged, an averaging of traits occurs, leaving behind people with none of the abilities of the former groups. Diversity is genocide.

For that reason, we must avoid diversity; it is simply a bad policy, like Prohibition or dumping sewage in the streets. The path to this happens through a relatively straightforward shift in policy:

  1. Removal of social welfare programs.
  2. Removal of affirmative action, civil rights and equal opportunity law.
  3. A gentle but mandatory policy of reparations with repatriation.

When sea changes occur, cultural attitudes shift; at that moment, people are unwilling to support the failed policy and agitate for something saner. People of every race, ethnicity and religion want this to happen, with more joining every day.

The part of this that gets the most negative feedback is the idea of reparations. To me, a gentleman acknowledges a mistake by making sure that all parties come out of severance without being materially harmed. With what they have learned among us, these individuals can go back to their native lands with new abilities and we should fork over a moderate amount of wealth to help them jump-start. That way, historical wounds are sealed and everyone feels good about the deal.

Another controversial area is my position on trace admixture. Western Europeans — the founding group of the United States — are genetically unique, and mixing them with Eastern and Southern/Irish Europeans will result in the genocide of the Western Europeans. For this reason, even “white” diversity must end.

This policy shift is coming more rapidly than people realize. Diversity has failed to replicate the successes of homogeneity, and has resulted in so much internal conflict and an abolition of all standards — always a Leftist favorite — that our civilization is non-functional. This is a do or die proposition, and the time is upon us.

  1. In the description of your book you say that Nihilism draws on thinkers as diverse as “William S. Burroughs, Aldous Huxley, Arthur Schopenhauer and Immanuel Kant.” What do they have in common that could unite them through Nihilism?

These thinkers would most likely not identify as nihilists, but their philosophies provided a groundwork. From Schopenhauer and Kant came the notion of idealism, which states that reality operates in a mind-correlative or idea-like manner; the pattern is more important than the material in which it is rendered, in other words. This shows us that the boundaries of our minds are less concrete than we think, and provides a basis for understanding reality through intuition, or exploration of our innermost knowledge. Huxley contributed “the perennial philosophy,” which is the basis of Traditionalism which most know through Julius Evola, which shows how every civilization has discovered eternal truths which do not change with the current year. On top of that, Burroughs revealed the psychology of human individuals in their search for power through domination of others, and how that operates in crowds, in addition to revealing the limits of psychology and rational thought in determining our actions. Together they form a powerful toolbox for understanding nihilism.

  1. What inspired you to write your book and start your site? Are you a budding academic or more of a public thinker?

For as long as I remember, I have read and written in an attempt to find more accurate depictions of this world and connected cosmos. I continue this as a writer, knowing that these topics are unlikely to find public acclaim, but can be injected into the ongoing growth of human thought through underground means. Beyond that, it is hard to tell; I am someone who takes great care to be as accurate as possible in his thought, and to convey it as much as he can to others who can understand it.

  1. Where do you see the future of the West going in the next twenty years? Some say we are destined to demographic replacement, a White Genocide, as it has been called. Is there hope or should we all pack our bags and get ready to be voted into oblivion?

We have two possible futures: Brazil or greatness. If we continue down the path of Leftism, the West will become third-world states in which white minorities retreat to the fringes and try to live independent of government as much as possible. If Leftism is rejected, we can fix our bad leadership, reconstruct our culture, and then create evolutionary pressures which bring out the best in us. The type of futurism that allows that vision recognizes how fragile our civilization is now, and how much we have to gain as individuals and groups by reversing the insanity by finding a purpose and heading in that direction instead, rather than simply rebelling in an inverse linear form against the present regime.

  1. Do you have hope for the future? If so why?

There is always hope. Humans can change themselves, or at least some can, and they tend to influence others by their natural leadership abilities. Right now, every Leftist policy is failing at once, and so history will force us to make a change. In my view, it will shift toward the vision of futurism and not the old, tired, and failed system of liberal democracy.

  1. You were recently shadow banned from Twitter. Can you talk about what led to it? Is that what led you to Gab?

The scary truth is that with a shadowban, you have no idea when it happens. You notice that fewer people are responding to your posts, and that you seem to be cut out of discussions with anyone who is not on your friend list. Then you do a little poking around and find that you have been shadowbanned. I do not know when it happened, or why, but yes, it drove me to gab.ai and other off-mainstream services. If the official services reject me, I can find more people off the beaten path, and they tend to be more aware and receptive to what must be said.

  1. What inspires you?

As Plato said it, “the good, beautiful and true,” mostly in nature and exceptional human beings. The power of choice inspires me, and the ability to do what is sensible instead of receding into our monkey-brains and acting socially or as a solipsist. The possibilities and potential of life, which fills itself up with those on an eternal cycle. The chance to explore the stars. The possibility of gods. All good things.

 

What is a “Real Author” Anyway?

In the previous post, my advice on writing, someone said it was “dishonest” to call myself an author since I self-publish, and then went on to ask if I’ve published anything since 2013. The next day on Gab a woman going by the handle @donna told me something similar. It may be my opinion of myself but that doesn’t make it true, any more than taking online courses from an Ivy makes you an Ivy Leage graduate. So I know there are people asking the question, both writers and readers, what is a real author/writer?

I’m going to try to do this without being flippant or snarky. “A writer is someone who writes… derp” Even emails? “Ok not emails but you know what I mean”

So before we can reason we must define terms. Writer can mean anyone who writes for either a living, as in a journalist on a newspaper’s payroll, or a blogger who writes without pay but who still writes. This question takes me back to the elitism of people in the MSM who dismissed bloggers as “journalists in pajamas” trying to protect their Ivory Tower of lies and narrative control.

Author is a little trickier. An author can be the author of a work of fiction, the author of a website, the author of a poem, a novel a calendar or even in a way the author of an installation of street art. For the most part when people use the word author it is referring to someone who writes books though. And for the purpose of this article I’ll be using the word author that way.

Below are a series of points (qualifications maybe) that define what it means to be an author/writer. I’ll go through and show why self-published authors qualify for them, usually.

  1. authors get paid, and usually well, for their efforts
  2. authors get published
  3. authors go through the gatekeepers of the mainstream publishing houses
  4. authors have books physical on the shelf of a major bookstore
  5. authors have a fan base

First point. I’ve gotten paid for my novels. Not a lot. I still work at my academic career in case I never write a best seller or end up with JK Rowling money. But plenty of authors are in that boat. I’ve met some who need food stamps or public assistance even though they are writing and publishing. If you want to be rich, being a novelist isn’t the best of paths. Go to medical school.

Second point. I’ve also gotten published. Most of my publishing is self-publishing. Does that make my publishing illegitimate? I don’t think so. People start somewhere, and I would very much like a deal like Hugh Howey got for his self-published novella Wool. Would you say Howey isn’t (or wasn’t) a real author until he got picked up? There is still a little stigma in some minds about self-publishing. They say it is vanity publishing. But to me the real vanity publishing today is waiting for years sometimes for an agent or editor to “discover” you.

Third point. This is a question of legitimacy and kind of ties into pint two. @donna said going through the big houses ensures quality of work. I pointed out EL James and she admitted that I was right. For most authors the mainstream publishing houses will not do much for you. They advertise their stars and put little money into someone who has yet to prove he’s a marketable author. Then comes the question of an advance. I’ve known people who get advances. Most of them are very small. Few get the celebrity sized advances you hear about from time to time. But most of all I reject the notion that an author must go through a gatekeeper. I hired a freelance editor to edit my books for me and it wasn’t too expensive. He had two MA degrees one in philosophy and one in English. He did a good job of cleaning up my first novel and then did a good job of helping me become a better writer. Would I get that from an editor at a mainstream publishing house? Doubtful. And I would still have to do my own marketing, for a lot smaller piece of pie than I get self-publishing.

Point four. This one is a bit tricky because there are plenty of great authors, mostly from non-English speaking countries, that don’t have their books on the bookshelves of Barnes and Noble. If one choses it is possible to put books on consignment with a bookstore, but this can be time consuming. A large publisher can, if they are willing, put your book in the store, get it on end caps and even get it into the hands of people who make movies. So it’s difficult for a self-published author on this front. But then again, mainstream bookstores are in financial trouble thanks to ebooks. I wonder if in ten years B&N will go the way of Borders?

Point five. This one is tricky. Some things are popular because they are good, like medicine. Other things are popular because they are trendy, like shitty europop dance music (remember the Macarena?) I don’t think you need a lot of popularity or a huge fan base to be considered an author. There are plenty of more “literary” novels and authors with small fan bases. Are they less legitimate authors because only a few grad students in English read their books? I don’t think so. And fan bases take time to build. Stephen King and JK Rowling have enormous readership, but they’ve been doing it for years. For me, as long as someone reads my books I’m happy. And I’m an author.

So that’s my humble, slightly buzzed, and totally sincere attempt to show the world that self-publishing is not only a way to become a legitimate author, it is the wave of the future. And we’re not going anywhere.

Some Things I Know About Writing

I’m a novelist. And Friday Oct 14th is the three year anniversary of the publication of my first novel, Autumn Leaves: A Novel of Old Japan. To celebrate this I’ll be making the book free from the 14th to the 18th on Amazon and several other places. (I’ll probably do a post on where to find it). So here are some of the things I’ve learned about writing.

  1. Treat it like a career. That means be serious about your writing. Treat it like a hobby and that is all it will ever be.
  2. Do it every day. Okay you can take a break now and then, but the ones who make it have hustle. Do you have any hustle in you? I write every day, 2,000 words per day (at least) and then do my other writerly duties such as updating a website, managing my social media etc…
  3. Do it at the same time…
  4. Do it in the same place… Three and four fit together nicely because when you work 9-6pm in an office you will notice that you work in the same place and at the same time. Even self-employed people do the same place/time routine. It helps you build in someFlow. (Side note, Flow is a great book every creative person should read).
  5. Develop a method, a process. Personally I get up eat some cereal, surf the interwebs until about 10am then sit down and write out some of draft one, of one project, in longhand. Then I pick up whatever project I’m working on for draft two and type out my 2,000 words. It’s routine but it helps build Flow and it helps me stay on track as a writer.
  6. Finish the job. I’ve written probably eight scripts, fifteen short stories, four novels and a couple of academic works in my life. Most of them are not publication worthy. But some are. And only by finishing what you write will you realize what works and what doesn’t. Finish what you start unless you have a damn good reason to quit.
  7. Work at a good pace; make progress. You can start early and procrastinate until 4pm all you want, but it won’t get you any closer to finishing your work. Work at a good pace, and be honest about it when you procrastinate. So what if the muse doesn’t descend immediately. Just force the words out and I promise, in six months when you look back over your work, you won’t remember when you were inspired and when you had to force the words to come.
  8. Take pride in your work. This was hard for me. It involved re-reading my work and that made me nervous. See, I felt the flow when I wrote the initial draft of all my books, and I could not stand to see how imperfect they were. But learn from my experience, look over your work. Take pride in your work. You never know who is reading.
  9. The only way to be a writer is to keep writing. So you want to quit that soul sucking day job? Me too. Actually, I did. But the only way to be a writer is to keep writing. It may take several books for your work to take off. It may take several years. But keep writing and set for yourself a reasonable goal, “I’ll quit my job when I’m making $3,000/month”. That kind of thing. Then aim for the goal and keep at it.
  10. Conversely, to number 9, the only way to fail at this is to quit. Give up if you must. Not everyone is cut out for the life of an artist or writer. It is hard this road we travel, but the journey certainly makes it worth it. For me that is. Maybe it is not for you. Maybe you will be content with a 9-6pm job where you have a steady paycheck and a fixed income and the ability to plan your year accordingly. That’s not for me.
  11. Don’t look at the finish line, look at the next hurdle. This is self-explanatory, but it was something I discovered while working on my novel Autumn Leaves. That novel is actually two novels melded together. They are nearly 200,000 words long together. The first chapter is 45,000 words long. That’s a novella in itself. But I never would have finished had I thought about more than just the scene I was writing and what came immediately next and how it played out in the bigger picture (okay I looked at the finish line from time to time).
  12. Excellence is a habit. So is failure. Everyday you make a choice between the two. Do you want to make your word count today? Do you want to procrastinate watching cat videos on YouTube? The choice is yours. Do it every day. Do it like a career. Do your best work on every line. Do what is in your heart. Excellence is a habit.