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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Staying Productive During Difficult Times

Today was a challenging day for me to stay productive.  I woke up in the middle of the night feeling horribly sick, then I had to drag myself out of bed this morning feeling like I'd just played a game of professional football- and you guessed it, I was the football.  Lying around all day and watching movies would have felt really nice.

In addition to being sick, my wife had to take the cat to the vet to be spayed, and I needed to direct five of our six kids through their daily chores and activities.  We have two biological kids and four foster kids, all of whom are home schooled.

I know you must be feeling vastly sorry for me by now.  Would I like some cheese to go with my wine?  Actually, I'm not whining, just pointing out that life isn't always easy.  Sometimes we have to deal with the distractions we expect, and sometimes the ones we don't.

I always try to push through life's distractions and redirect my efforts, no matter how numerous those distractions might be, and come back to the things that need to get done, tackling them one at a time until as many items as possible are checked off my to-do list.

Some days are more difficult than others when it comes to being personally productive, but if you think about it, every day is sink or swim time when it comes to succeeding in the things we want most.

Keeping our priorities straight is essential, but we mustn't use the most important things in life, such as our relationships, as excuses for being non-productive.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Don't Follow Your Passions, Take Them With You

Mike Rowe- Take Your Passions With You

I recently watched this Mike Rowe video on Facebook, and it really got me thinking. If you haven't seen it yet, click on Mike's picture to open the link.

This video got comments from people agreeing and disagreeing, but I think those who disagree fail to get Rowe's point.

You don't always want to follow your dreams/passions, what you want to do is take them with you.  See the difference?  It's an important one!

Financial Guru Dave Ramsey often says things like "If you're not careful, your dreams can turn into nightmares."  For example, if you've always wanted to own a bakery, then you might want to learn how to bake.  Get a job in a bakery.  Save money, learn the business, develop a business plan- do it the right way!

Even with our best efforts, we simply might not be blessed with the things we need to fulfill our dreams the way we originally thought we should.  Mike Rowe's example of American Idol Contestants is a perfect example of this.

However, we might not all be able to become rock stars, but anyone can become a better singer.  Keep in mind though, even if you've become a much, much better singer than you were, due to lessons, practice, etc., you still might be terrible.

Does that mean you have to give up on your passions?  No, but you might have to modify them, or make them your hobbies.  Doing so might make you enjoy them even more.

A few years back, I read an article by a friend who was finally able to fulfill his dream of opening up a martial arts school.  He loved the martial arts, and opening his own school was his ultimate dream.  It only took a few years to discover that he absolutely loathed owning his own school.  The business aspects that he had to deal with robbed him of every ounce of joy he'd once had for doing something he loved.

Whatever you do in life, learn to find some sort of joy in doing it, and if you can't then move on, but do so wisely and in the proper time.  Don't turn your passions into burdens, or your dreams into nightmares.

Good advice!  Thanks Mike Rowe.

What do you think about Mike's advice?  Comment below and let me know.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Minstrel's Tale

Book Description
Fourteenth Century, France
Amos Questerly, a wandering minstrel takes on a
mysterious young apprentice. But his new protégé,
Richard, carries a deadly secret. A secret someone
is willing to kill for.
To reach safety they must earn their way to England
by telling exciting stories of magical swords, princesses,
and dragons, while danger follows on their heels.
By the time Amos learns Richard’s secret, it’s clear even
England may not be safe. The two, trapped in an adventure
as thrilling as any of the minstrel’s tales, must follow a
perilous path that leads straight to the royal palace.
My Review of the book
My wife and I like to read books as a family, and The Minstrels Tale is a great example of a book that the whole family will enjoy. Though written for young people, adults will enjoy this tale just as much. Submerging myself into this story was like stepping into the past, and I felt like I was right there alongside Amos and his young companion. I can't wait to find out what happens in books 2 and 3, and will definitely check out anything else this author writes. Great read, highly recommended!
 The Author
Anna Questerly lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with her husband and their two Border Collies, Bridget and Bandit. When she's not writing, you can often find her at her favorite bookstore, Dog-Eared Pages.

Anna considers herself a minstrel. Although she cannot sing, dance, or play an instrument, she does enjoy writing stories. Anna has wanted to be a writer since the sixth grade, when she first read J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. Visit Anna at

Monday, July 28, 2014

Anna Questerly Tagged Me For a Blog Tour!

If you haven't yet been introduced to Anna, here's her bio.

Anna QuesterlyAnna Questerly is a children's author. Her fiction novels are not only historical fiction, they are also packed with fairy tale stories for younger children--like dragon sagas, princess tales, even zombie fables. One of Anna's regrets is that it took her so long to fulfill her dream of becoming a writer. She encourages young writers to keep writing through her blog, school visits, and her young writer's workshop at Dog-Eared Pages bookstore in Phoenix, AZ.

 Anna was tagged and forced to answer four questions, lest she be locked in a tower without any dinner for the next 1000 years.  You can visit her blog here.

Now it's MY turn to answer these questions, lest my liver be gnawed on by 1000 angry pygmy marmosets.  So here goes.

What am I working on now?
I'm currently working on Bleeding Star Chronicles 10. When that's done, I'll be finishing up with Michael Belmont and the Curse of the Thunderbird, which is the 3rd book in that series. After that, I'll be returning to the Blowing Off Steam series. I have a number of other book ideas I'm eager to get started on, but I've found that three ongoing series is more than enough, so I'll be finishing up all of these first.

How does my work differ from others in its genre? 
I write across genres quite a bit, so my young adult fantasy is infused with age appropriate horror, and my Sci-Fi has some elements of fantasy. I write what I want to write and don't worry about the constraints of genre. This doesn't mean I'm not mindful of tone; I am. I work within the confines of the worlds I create, as all authors do, but I don't let those rules be defined by others.

When I write work intended for young adults and children, I try not to write "down" to them. I believe children are a lot smarter than people give them credit for.

Why do I write what I do? 
I write about the things I'm interested in, not only in regards to genre, but also with consideration of life themes or human emotions and struggles. I strongly believe that my work should touch people in some way or make them think about the important things in life. God, religion, human relationships, friendship, loss, etc; these are the mysteries and struggles of life that we're all on a journey to answer. These are the things that connect us all and make us relate to one another as people.

My favorite genres are obviously Sci-Fi and fantasy, though I currently have a great idea for a horror(ish) book that I can't wait to write, as well as a murder mystery dark comedy novel.

How does my writing process work?
I generally try to write 1000 words a day, depending on what's currently going on in my life. Sometimes things get crazy and knock me off schedule, but I get back on track as soon as possible. I usually focus on one book or novella at a time, but might work on something else that day if my heart isn't in what I'm writing. I've found that it's important to write even when I don't feel like it, just like all the books on writing will tell you.

And now it's my turn to tag two more authors whose work I enjoy, so here they are. Look for their blog posts next week!


She's an established author with her debut novel for mature young adults Pulse of Heroes, winning "2010 Best Independent Paranormal Novel" by Paranormal Reads.
While the entire series: The Pulse Myths won "2012 Best Independent Paranormal Series" by Paranormal Book Club-with addition of her main immortal character Elliot De Costa being voted as "2012 Best Fictional boyfriend." Now PULSE GENESIS, the 3rd novel of the series is getting praised as a masterpiece!

She has NOW released a brand new novel! 86 Special in a separate genre of "New Adult" which follows the story of twenty-three-year old Clay Wilder, who falls in love with a mature woman who used to be his childhood babysitter, all the while continuing his sports aspirations to become a professional soccer player, and raising his young sister.
In the paranormal genre, A. Jacob Sweeny is noted for creating an imaginative world beyond the stereotypical paranormal "creatures" (vampires, angels, etc.), and actually spearheading a shift in the entire paranormal genre. Her unique characters are beautiful and fierce, otherworldly and yet absolutely realistic. She uses her background of ancient history, archaeology and mythology as part of her on going research.
-Holds a BA in History with special emphasis on ancient Near East & Religious studies.
-Participation in three late bronze age/early Iron age archaeological digs.
Tel Meggido, Tel Quaifeh,  & Tel Dor
-continuing education at UC Berkeley in Ancient myths & Near East archaeology.

Jeffrey Allen Davis writes Action/Adventure fiction with a Christian twist. A child of the 80s, he was initially inspired by the martial arts movies that were so prevalent during that decade. As early as his preteen years, he would hand draw comics about a group of martial artist heroes. His friends and cousins would read them and pay him polite, insincere compliments.

When he was a Junior in high school, he took a study hall that was before any of the classes that actually gave him homework. So, finally realizing that he couldn’t draw a stick figure properly, he wrote—by hand—three stories about his martial arts team. The compliments were more sincere this time, as the readers didn’t have to sit through his awful artwork.

His Senior year of high school, he finally took a typing class with the Sophomores. During this time, he was a library assistant and, to help him with his typing, the librarian gave him a blank 3.5” floppy disk so that he would write on the library computer (after his work was done, of course) and be able to save it. He took the first handwritten story from the prior year and expanded it, finishing a prologue and two chapters by the end of the school year.

The summer after high school, he received his first computer as a graduation present. It was state of the art, with four Megs of RAM and a 256 Meg hard drive. He finished that first story, printed it off on his awesome dot-matrix printer, and put it in a three-ring binder. Then he got bored and stopped writing.

Two years later, some of his friends were visiting him and one of them, a sweet girl named Anna, saw that manuscript and asked to borrow it. He let her and was shocked when she’d finished half of it by the time he saw her at their church’s youth meeting the next day. Inspired, he wrote two more manuscripts before he left home to go for his Junior year at SMSU in Springfield, MO.

In 2000, he had just moved with his wife into their first apartment when he found the three manuscripts and the corresponding computer disks. The first one was corrupted, so he completely rewrote it (again). It was published through a “traditional” publisher in 2003 and the sequel was published through the same publisher in 2005. Irritated by the way that they treated their authors, he resolved to not publish anything else through them until his contract was up.

In 2010, he founded a new press, GCD Publishing. After publishing a novella about pornography, he re-published his first book, completely rewritten (AGAIN), in 2013. He is continuing that series, while planning at least a trilogy of novels (and short stories) about Seigi, the reformed assassin. Visit him online at