Letters Never Meant to be Read: Volume III Interview with Author BL Teague

 

Letters Never Meant to be Read: Volume III is here!
https://amzn.to/2TpetX6

Marc D. Crepeaux, founder of RWM, interviews Author BL Teague. Bryan contributed four letters to this volume and is sure to write more in our future. Bryan discusses his writing style, upcoming projects, his life struggles, and even reads a letter titled “Dear Mike” from the collection.
Bryan is also working on a few novels, a novella, and a short story for an anthology.

Follow Bryan at:
https://www.bryanteague.com/
On Twitter:

On FB:
https://www.facebook.com/bryan.teague2
On Wattpad:
https://www.wattpad.com/user/BryanLTeague
On AllPoetry
https://allpoetry.com/Bryan%20T

Follow Marc:
https://marcdcrepeaux.com/
On Twitter:

Letters Never Meant to be Read Series:

We’ve also updated the covers and interior for a 2nd edition re-release of Volumes I&II which can be found here:
Volume I: https://amzn.to/2Dz3SV4
Volume II: https://amzn.to/2OGi7s2

If any of the letter writers want to be interviewed by Marc D. Crepeaux and A.M. Hounchell on our LettersandBooks channel,
Leave a Comment Below!

Stay tuned for Letters Volume IV writing contest!

As we post our publishing push for the holiday season, check out our completed and upcoming titles.
New Book by RWM! In the Mist of Fire by Nathalie Grabinski :
https://amzn.to/2FhXX8s
Contractual Obligations also has a new Audible Version:
https://amzn.to/2Fgt1W1
Stop That Wedding by Melissa Klein:
https://amzn.to/2qIM6WV

Join us, submissions are always accepted for publication!
https://lettersandbooks.com/

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Contractual Obligations and Interview with Author A.M. Hounchell

I was taking a nap when he called. There are two things I am very good at: taking micro naps and fielding calls from excited authors with an idea.

He talked as if he wanted me to read the manuscript right then, in that instant, but my couch begged for more time. I read it after we got off the phone. He had warned me. “It’s…different…” My mind whirled with the 2nd person prose, a rare commodity, as I became catapulted into a castle so strange.

I was in uniform, again. A gawky teenage look of exhaustion from boredom and the scanning of laser guns caused me to dive head first. Then, the devil herself, offering a choice. I wanted to take all of them, A-Z…But I could only have one.

That was me, less than a year ago, on my adult couch, but brought back to a time when I wore a name tag and couldn’t figure how to ring up bananas for pretty college girls.

I told him he would need to hire another editor, as I was already booked up, but the idea was strong and I would publish the book once Letters Never Meant to be Read: Volume II was well underway. Hounchell had also contributed heavily to the Letters Project.

At the same time, A.M. and I were working on a novel together, but this defying idea of his would find its place in our Rusty Wheelhouse.

Contractual Obligations was born from a romantic idea that retail therapy for the employee doesn’t mean more shopping, it means choice. This choose your own future style book, where the protagonist is you, provides the reader with an interesting take on the old Deal with the Devil.

I asked A.M. Hounchell ten questions and he responded with pure absurdist and Contractual Obligatory fashion. And choices, plenty of choices:

 

What caused you to write a book about the age-old concept of a deal with the devil?

A.
 I think part of why I wanted the deal with the devil concept is because it accents how I’ve felt in retail. You are sort of damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Need the job for money, but it psychologically kills you. Quit, and you have no money to survive. 
B. 
A deal with the devil is something relatable to most anyone in any culture, so it seemed fitting to mash it with something like retail. 
C. 
Who else would offer a contract to a musical soundtrack in someone’s mind? Kenny G. 
D. 
I think part of the reason is that it takes something that represents true evil, but makes it so the story isn’t about that. I used something large and loud like the Devil to explore many avenues for the story to go. 
2. Did you intend to always have the book structured as choices for the reader to make as they read?
A.
Yes. In fact the book was originally a deal with the Devil with four options. Those four options are still A, B, C, and D. I wanted to see how far I could take the theory of multiple universes and multiple endings, so I just wrote more until it felt natural to write one for each letter of the alphabet. 
B. 
No. To say I have intentions when I write would be to say that I am constantly thinking what to do next. I think it was meant as a split between different outcomes. Almost any of them could mesh with original opening, and I found that very interesting. 
C. 
My initial intent was actually to pass my Creative Writing class at Washburn University. It was the class that indicated that I should write more options. 
D. 
It’s more written this way for the people who like to go backwards in Choose Your Own Adventure Books. It’s more for those people who just want the good ending. I wrote it for those people to go backwards, and find an ending that suits them best. In this way, it’s more of a challenge to find the ending that suits you best rather than multiple choices. 
3. Are these scenarios based on true events while working in retail?
A. 
No. But there is a grain of truth to some of it. It’s true about never knowing who will walk up, and what they’ll be like. To one extreme, they could be anyone, on the other you may have to be anyone to get them to sign up for rewards or credit cards. 
B. 
Of course, I used to make deals with the Devil all the time. We we’re both pretty tight before the lumberjacks came to guard my store.
C. 
The options are built around different takes on things I thought about in the moment. I warped the Devil Went Down to Georgia, the concept of Lumberjacks, and even Hellraiser to fit into the story. I can’t even play the fiddle. 
D. 
Yes and no. I know that book is about temptation and wanting what you want, and fighting against it or for it or being it, but none of the specific things have happened to me. 
4. How did the book change throughout the writing process?
A.
Originally, it was in first person, four pages and included a small paragraph for the stem of the story and only four options, similar to an actual multiple choice question. They were structured based on negative, positive, and whether or not the person at the register was the Devil. 
B. Don’t tell Marc, but part of the way it changed is that I had to come to terms with the issue that I hadn’t written an option W into the book, so I had to Scrabble to put one together. I can’t even remember if it was a statement on the loss of choice or anything. 
C. 
Part of what I found absolutely fascinating about writing this is how much I wanted to make the concepts fluid. Sure, I wanted to joke around and offer problems to my solutions, but I also wanted the story to feel cohesive enough that you may go, “oh yeah, that was mentioned in option G.” 
D. For a little while I thought that I couldn’t write anything after J. It felt like I had explored everything I could say, but then the story shifted when I realized anything could happen. The entire multiverse was at my fingertips. 
5. How is this book different from your other works?
A. 
It’s in second person. 
B. 
Most of my other works don’t have more than ten alternate endings. Some of them have one alternate ending. 
C. 
This book is different in the way that it explores concepts that I never would have otherwise. The options are short enough sometimes that I can explore one idea without it getting stale. Some of my other works lose their sense of adventure in the middle for a moment or two. 
D. 
None of the others have a blue cover. So, there’s that. 
6. What genre do you write in?
A.
I dabble in fantasy, but mostly I stick with comedy.
B. 
Absurdist Time Travel Science Fiction seems to be the go to. 
C. 
Ask anyone, Juvenile Fiction is my A game. 
D. 
Whichever genre the story turns into while I’m writing it. I’m like a well of creativity. I just go get the water. I don’t tell it what to taste like. 
7. 2nd person point of view is rare in literature. Is it difficult for you to write with that voice?
A. 
Not at all. One of my favorite things about storytelling is bards. They sing their story to an audience, so it drags them into the tale. Similar to how an adult might use their kid’s name in place of a main character’s. 
B. 
It’s more like it’s difficult to remember to switch away. There are some parts of other pieces I am writing that are bleeding into second person. 
C. 
No. What I find the most difficult is third person limited. Just write in first person. 
D.
 I did find it hard to retrain myself from saying “you” too much. Sometimes I would have thirteen sentences in a row that started with “You.” 
8. Do you have a favorite choice?
A. 
No, I love all of the choices equally. I wouldn’t have written them all, if I had a favorite. 
B.
The only answer is Special K. Accept no substitute. 
C. 
I’m torn between the ones with a message of any kind and the ones just dialing the weird factor up to 15. Probably Special K. 
D. 
Option W is the one that I find most relatable. 
9. How did the process of writing choices work? Were they in order as you wrote?
A. 
Honestly, the concept of thinking ahead of time makes almost no sense to me. I am a panster through and through. 
B. 
It was more of an ‘oh, there’s been two good options, guess I’ll write a negative one.’ Can’t have too much positivity. 
C. 
They were in order in the sense that it is the alphabet. I know what comes after J. And what comes after J that is my favorite one.
D. 
Order is for penguins and leprechaun ceral. What? 
10. What’s next?
A. 
Well, I’m just going to put one foot in front of the other and take life one step at a time. 
B. 
I’m moving on. Might write more options. Might not. Might pretend to be a walrus. Might become a walrus. Might just say walrus. 
C. 
Going to write my tenth book. I don’t know if it will be about a crazy lady in a warped reality. Or a story that makes no sense about the construct of time. Or even a tale about a half zombie lesbian attempting to come to terms with killing her girlfriend. I don’t know. Most of my books are created by random word generators. 
D. 
Dinner. Dinner is next. I’m hungry. 
Connect with A.M. Hounchell on Twitter: https://twitter.com/inferno4dante
Check out his blog: http://prosefessor.blogspot.com/
Books by A.M. Hounchell:
 *Contains Amazon Affiliate Links

 

Author Transitions From Blog to YouTube Sensation

Don’t worry folks, just a little walk around the yard and me mumbling to myself. Don’t fear, I will still spend some time typing away for your enjoyment. I have several books that I am working on right now for fall release.

Do Send us some letters though, the flexible due date for Letters Never Meant to be Read Volume II is July 15th!

Audible Version Now Available for Where Did You Go?: A 21st Century Guide to Finding Yourself Again by Andrew Brechko

I recently edited, produced, and published Andrew Brechko’s Where Did You Go?: A 21st Century Guide to Finding Yourself Again. What started as an enthusiastic discussion in the middle of a night maneuver, we two soldiers decided to produce a book together. Then, after bouts of sweaty misery in the Louisiana swamps, contacts were exchanged and promises were made.

Hard to believe, but 7 months later, we had a finished product that I believe to be a great starter book for my Army buddy Andrew, which also carries a good message to the reader. Given some coaching and time behind the keys, Andrew can be a prolific non-fiction author with excellent subject matter. On the whole, the book serves as a new path to take and has reportedly caused entire sections of the workforce to call it quits and follow their dreams.

After things settled a bit, I put the book up for audition on ACX. I couldn’t believe my eyes when we received over 40 auditions. I suppose that self- help or time management style books that are short are the bread and butter for some producers.

What an amazing platform and God Bless America because I found Barry Dean Evans.

Barry’s Bio:

Barry entered the voice over world at radio station KANS in Larned, Kansas. After a degree in Radio/TV Journalism from Kansas State University (EMAW!) he continued at NPR affiliate KSAC in Manhattan, then with radio station KFDI in Wichita, KS and KRMG in Tulsa, OK. Barry then became chief recording engineer and voice talent at Irving Productions in Tulsa for more than 30 years before starting Irving Sound, LLC in 2012.

Barry has voiced, appeared on-camera, edited, produced and written radio and television commercials from coast to coast and around the world. His projects include, the BASSMasters, ESPN, the Kentucky Derby/NBC, the University of Tulsa football and basketball, the Outdoor Channel, White Tail Country, Under Wild Skies, 6 Flags over Texas, Sonic, Arby’s, Thrifty Car Sales, Phillips 66, Garmin, Dowell Schulmberger and he was the voice of ESPN Classic for 10 years. His most recent work has been for CitiBank and GTA Telecommunications in Guam.

 

ESPN classic? Really? Such luck that Barry took kindly to our little project and produced an awesome Audiobook. Here was his audition and sample of the work:

 

Editing is hard. Editing a first-time author? Dangerous. I teach English, I should know where commas go, right? Wrong!

Barry did such a great job at reading through minor errors that I did not see with my eyes peeled, and run-on sentence structure. I plan to use his recording when I edit the book (again) and release the 2nd edition.

Turns out, both Andrew and I have an unusual attraction to the same plague: long-winded sentence structure.

I spent many cold mornings between 5am-7am writing and rewriting his work. I even sent it off for proofreading to my “go to guy” just in case. I feared the danger.

The danger that Andrew and I both fear is periods.

All is well that ends well though and I can do better, WILL do better. I have learned a great deal. With solid voice artists like Barry, we can all see our dreams come alive with sound.

I urge anyone with a book out there on Amazon or other platform to consider publishing their title with ACX. With more Audible customers every day and less competition overall, it certainly doesn’t hurt to try.

If you are wondering how to produce your audiobook for free with ACX, check out my previous post on “Why Audible and ACX are a MUST for Indie Authors.”

If you have any questions on producing your own Audible and iTunes versions, feel free to ask.

Now, go click a few dozen times, find your actor, and produce the Audio. I dare you…

Check out Andrew at http://abrechkooutdoors.com/

 

Taking Back Control of My Twitter Account

Two years ago, I was a stupid writer who only wrote stories and refused to recognize the importance of my blog and social media in general. I have no time, or…I should be writing…It’s so impersonal…These are the common excuses.

My friend set up my Twitter Account (for a price). I was blogging on my own but sporadically, which didn’t make much of a difference except for my core supporters and family who would check in every once in a while.

When my good friend set up my Twitter account, he aimed to get me numbers. Not the kind of numbers I needed, but just followers.

Now, I see blogging and tweeting as fun and a value to my writing. I met some Amazing people on Twitter: A.M. Hounchell, who I am now writing a book with, Derek Murphy who I can’t stop watching on YouTube, Dave Chesson at Kindlepreneur, and A.Z. Anthony and Jo van Leerdam whose books I reviewed. Jo is sending me a signed poetry book from Australia! Among Many others…

I can pitch stories, do book reviews, and just talk about my two favorite activities, Reading and Writing.

It is such great practice as well and I can get a word count going and reach people in a meaningful way. Blogging has helped my writing because I am, well, writing more often and on various subjects. I can also talk about my work and pitch.

I can meet other indie authors too, buy their books, call for submissions, and just mingle with people who have the same goals. Some are further along, some are starting out like me.

Tweeting is fun too and has given me many exercises in marketing, micro poetry, books to read, memes to create, etc.

The problem was, I had too many people that I was following for no reason. This has given me less clout with my measly 2700+ followers (I thank you all) and has filled my news feed with so much stuff I don’t care about (politics) that it has been hard to decipher who I really want to interact with and re tweet.

I needed to take the plunge and do what several people have told me to do and use a Twitter Manager.

I first checked out Hootsuite because EVERYBODY says use Hootsuite. Too many features for me right now, and I would end up paying for features I would never use. I also checked out Meet Edgar, Post Planner, and Buffer.

For now, all I really want to do is manage Twitter and maybe Facebook, and be able to connect my blog.

So, I set upon the YouTube journey of discovery… 

 

I watched the following videos in this order:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until I found Jerry Banfield’s video about ManageFlitter

Here Are the Features of ManageFlitter

Here is the Plans and Pricing

 

This video is long and he does repeat himself so I suggest you use the time markers in the description in order to jump to the info you want. 

 

 

You can try ManageFlitter for free without any effort (no forms or whatever) which I was pleasantly surprised about.

I started hacking at inactive followers right away. I then scheduled some Tweets which was a cool feeling since I do it haphazard or on the fly. I also found the best times to tweet out my info. I then connected my blog which would allow me to schedule tweets from my RSS feed, awesome.

A few months ago, I saw this as impersonal. Now, I realize that what I was doing was impersonal. I can engage with the people I actually want to.

I upgraded to a Pro account which is 12.99 for now, the other option is 49.99 with all the bells and whistles. You can also use Facebook and LinkedIn profiles with ManageFlitter.

What I wanted to achieve is three things:

  1. Unfollow in large quantities (ManageFlitter has many options for this, even large accounts).
  2. Find Out When the best time to schedule posts and do just that.
  3. Be able to Follow people I want to interact with and find them in an easy way (ManageFlitter makes it just as easy to follow in large amounts as unfollow).

 

More about this later, but I thought it was at least important to let you know how I spent my Sunday afternoon.

 

I am going to be checking out more of Jerry Banfield, his website and videos. He really has a lot to offer and I appreciate the info. I have queued up his video on SEO that I can’t wait to watch:

 

Stay Classy Authors and Poets.

 

What is your Favorite Social Media Managing App and HOW DO YOU USE IT?

Please share in the comments below.

Book Review: Nine Parts Bluster and Other Stories: A dark fantasy anthology by A.Z. Anthony

 

I first ran across A.Z. Anthony on Twitter and wandered over to his blog where I found him in the midst of releasing a story a month. He did this in four parts, one each week, and I got caught up in his writing style and unique setting. Every week for awhile, I would be in the same place, waiting, and Anthony’s stories would be there to let me escape to a far off land, play games of power, and fight.

Description:

Nine Parts Bluster and Other Stories is a potent mix of madness, myth, and murder, with a sprinkling of black humor.

A monster of legend stalks the shadows, surrounded by rumors as abundant as the slashed and torn corpses it leaves in its wake. It’s wonderful news, assuming you’re Senesio Suleiman Zhao, famed monster hunter, Champion of the People, and murderous egotist.

It’s the place of lesser men to fear the dead as Harper conquers the scared mountains of the ancestors. Honor be damned, there’s glory at stake.

Jao has always tried to do right by others, but the time for that is long past. When his brother and companions are murdered by bandits, there’s only one recourse: a feast.

A classical education at the imperial capital has taught Chen a great many things. What it hasn’t taught him, however, is to lie, cheat, and steal. A shame, then, that he’s working for the biggest liar, cheat, and thief this side of the empire.

 

Where are we Anthony? Singapore? Mongolia? Is the year 2136? Is it 1872? I don’t know and it doesn’t matter. Anthony creates a world that is here on Earth, in the East somewhere, or is it? Yes, his characters reference the West, but again, it is of little importance because he is so convincing that you already know. You already have some idea of your time and place and everything from there will be glorious.

Like Economy of Words? I thought I had a handle on that aspect of my writing until I read this short story collection.While the author doesn’t describe every facet of setting, the vivid direction is there for the taking.

He never says when we are either, not directly. He doesn’t have to. Somewhere off the Silk Road perhaps, an Imperial Land that has either reverted back to crude weapons, or is stuck in time.

I can’t get enough of this brave, disastrous, and comical duo in Nine Parts Bluster. Senesio is the perfect mix of charlatan and hero while Chen is a happenstance boulder.  I want to follow these two on every adventure from now until the end of time. Yes, I could be summoned to quest after quest in my armchair. I would walk along the path of danger, hardship, and riches with this pair any day, all the while laughing with my popcorn, still ready with my sword on standby.

Like Characterization? Anthony spends all his writer money on just that:

“Senesio had a way with words, to be sure. He shaped the hopes and dreams of men like a potter did clay. And like clay after it was fired, what Senesio promised was prone to shatter.”

The author’s action scenes and monster are great in this. I do not want to give anything away here,  but the way men die in this and Sensio’s reaction tells the reader so much.

In Respectable Work, the author jumps back to the duo’s first meeting. The action scenes are quite stellar and the origin story is there for the taking:

“A second knee caught him (in) the chin and he stumbled backward, spitting blood and what might’ve been a tooth.”

My favorite by far is Kiss of the White Mistress which had me entrenched in the protagonist’s inner and external battle. Again, the author’s ability to work magic with less is seen here. It is all characterization:

“He smiled at the pale chunks of white mistress floating in the simmering stew, and for an instant, in that shallow hell of a prison, he could swear the stew smiled back.”

This story was intense and deep. It had me up swilling Merlot last Saturday, turning pages and dreaming of a nightmare.

In the Garden of Giants, he describes a troop in almost another world that could be its own series as well. This story really brought out the author’s sense of narration. It made me feel like he was an authority, an old man of sorts that I could count on for a good tale.

What I didn’t like:

Found some minor editing flaws. No big deal but some people care when they stumble upon Indie material.

I am confused by the cover design. It markets like a horror feature yet the work is much deeper than that. While some aspects of the stories revolve around death and a body count, it makes me wonder if melee is the true purpose, or, an interesting side-effect of the characters and their decisions within this realm.

A.Z. Anthony would do best by writing a full-length novel including Senesio and Chen immediately and selling this book for .99 cents or free. That is likely the tactic here. All of these stories are available for .99 cents on Amazon. I WANT MORE! Now that he has released all of these in one collection, a fan like me only has one thing to buy. But, I was considering doing the same thing with my short story collection for marketing and funnel purposes. He did pretty much post everything on his blog, something I tried with my hopefully soon to be released short story collection as well. I had mixed results from my posts and we shall see when it comes to sales.

 

5 Stars

 

How this book effects my writing:

While I am here toiling away with the mostly real and dark, A.Z. Anthony is creating a convincing, dark world of his own. I twist reality while he creates one.

Really, Anthony reminds me what it is like to read for pleasure again and be entertained. My wife watches these Chinese recent release, action/fantasy shows that I get sucked into from time to time.

A similar hint of lore is there. His writing is so deep but he uses less. How? I appreciate Anthony’s presence, his word choice as a narrator, and his economy of words.

Follow A.Z. Anthony on Twitter

A.Z. Anthony’s Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Repulsive by Brian W. Foster

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Last night, I finished reading Repulsive by Brian W. Foster. I regulated my reading of this book to the evenings before bed and this superhero tale kept me up more than a few nights of eager entertainment. I love the robe, and the fact that you can’t see the hero’s face due to his power, which causes some to be physically ill. I actually fell in line with the troubles and intrapersonal turmoil of the characters. I wanted to help them, I was engaged.

Description:

Zack Zurick loves superheroes. Lives them. Knows everything about them. And hey, he is a classic underdog and has an alliterative name, so maybe he could one day be chosen to join their ranks.

His life drastically changes when he becomes Repulsor. He’d hoped the fame and money would make Hayli see him as more than a friend. Instead, she can’t even look at him without literally getting sick. And the whole saving-the-world thing turns out to be harder than he thought, too. The villains have teamed up, and the heroes have a traitor in their midst. Zack must figure out who’s betraying them, defeat the bad guys, and, oh yeah, not get killed.

Right. Why not just go ahead and win the girl while he’s at it?

Maybe he could. If she weren’t dating the most popular, most famous, and most handsome superhero of them all. And if only he weren’t … Repulsive.  

Ok, so the description is less than stellar but I am not familiar with marketing in this genre so I do not know the expectations of presentation. I peered into this book anyway and was hooked.

The origin story of this character was great, and I was impressed with Foster’s detail when describing the hero’s superpowers. The personality is kind of like Peter Parker in high school but we don’t stay in that environment long. Zach’s powers are unique and Foster offers enough believable explanation for the reader to understand as far as the physics go. For all I know, the writer knows what he is talking about.

The fight scenes in this book were awesome. Not too much, not too little, and the timeframe between action verses drama was balanced. I had a feeling that the author was the dungeon master, and the way he allowed the action scenes to take place was almost turn based.

I did like the ending, but I didn’t like the Epilogue. I could use 3 whole books with Repulsor finding his way instead of introducing the new (and then again, not new) character but I do understand why the author made HIS decision and where he could be going with the opposite archetype.

Digital Layout: Perfect. read it on Samsung phone, Kindle Fire and Desktop.

Cover: Cool

Editing: Great

Writing: Smooth and easy. The author’s go to words bothered me by the end, the ever present “crap” and “freaking” and I could use better character names besides “Bob” and “Amber” but oh well.

This would be good among late-teens and anyone who likes visual, movie like descriptions and action, a staple in the genre. I identified with the main character and his silly jokes.

I do recommend that anyone reading this checks out the short prequel Repulsive Origins – The Captain: A Short Story either before or after. In my case, after. This gave a lot more info on how the superheroes are made.

I would like to see Repulsor and would, more importantly, buy more Repulsor books if I could watch him turn from squeamish boy hero to seasoned pro. We caught a glimpse of this character growth with every battle and I want to see him as a man.

I will also be willing to read more by Brian W. Foster and more from this genre as it is intriguing.

4 Stars

Brian’s contact info:

On the internet at http://www.authorbrianwfoster.com

On Facebook http://www.facebook.com/authorbrianwfoster

 

 

 

 

Interview with Author Andrew Brechko

I have had the unique opportunity to meet amazing people throughout my life and Army career. My good friend Andrew Brechko is no exception. Veteran, former teacher, and owner of ABrechko Outdoors, Andrew strives to get individuals back out into nature and focus their lives to meet success head on.

His first book Where Did You Go?: A 21st Century Guide to Finding Yourself Again is a call and answer for those who feel lost and that there is a level of success that they can achieve despite their current misconceptions about life or limitations.

Book Description:

Are you a cancer in your workplace or your home? Do you bring other people down instead of building them up? Do you have a dream that you want to follow? Your clock is ticking. The Mountain awaits you. Begin your ascent. As you climb, surround yourself with people who want the same thing. Stay away from those who ridicule your dreams and align yourself with those who support them. If they don’t understand, point them in the direction of this book to explain what you are doing. 

Interview with Andrew Brechko:

Where did you get the idea for the book?

I started writing the book about five years ago when I was in Afghanistan. I had a lot of time to think when I was over there and I felt the urge to write. That’s where I started the book. I ended up setting it down for long periods of time and came back to it periodically over the past five years. It wasn’t until I resigned from my 9-5 last year that I actually came back to it with gusto and finished. Reading what I wrote and continuing to write helped be conquer my fears and served as an anchor over the past eight months as I dealt with a lot of failure and frustration in starting my businesses. This allowed me to put into practice what I wrote. I would lay on my girlfriends little red couch and feel beaten down. “Climb the mountain,” I would say to myself.  This would get me out of the valley and back to work.

 How does this unique view on life help you find success?

I think we all have to define our own definition of success and I think it has to change over time. If it doesn’t, it will stifle our growth. All too often we allow our society to define it for us. Turning off the noise and really exploring our passions, desires, and fulfillment principles helps create a good foundation or starting point for defining our success. The only rule that I hold constant in defining my own version of success is that it has to offer good to the world. If it meets that criteria, I can adjust the rest.

Many people look on their past with regrets. How do you use your past experiences to help yourself and others succeed?

I think regret is a mindset.  If you are not making mistakes, you are not growing as a person. We only know what we know. Life is a blank novel, I write about that in the book. We write our own story. Focusing negative energy on mistakes or things that we did in the past is wasting our most valuable resource; time. Examine your regret. Learn from it. Embrace it but don’t repeat it. I always like to tell people that failure and triumph are equally important lessons to learn from. The world is cruel enough, why beat ourselves up.

What does success mean to you?

Success is always changing as I find my way in the world. Currently, as I said above, I want to add positivity into the world. Adding to that, I want to strengthen who I am. One of the things I have embraced recently is to keep my head down and my chin up. To become bulletproof in my resolve to see all aspects of my life move towards the better. I have really been working on applying this to my business, personal relationships, family relationships and myself. I am slowly starting to see the positive results and they’re building on each other. Very interesting to watch.   

What are you working on right now?

I am currently working on two projects. I have been writing for my blog, ABrechko Outdoors, http://abrechkooutdoors.com/ every day exploring my mind and its interrelationship with the outdoors. Some of the posts are serious, some introspective, some are funny and even mundane. I am writing fearless right now, drawing from a past experience. I used to belong to an art group at a local gallery. One day I was drawing one of our models with very bright pastel colors. I asked the owner of the gallery, a very talented artist, to kindly critique my work. He said I should start learning tonal control with black and white before I added color. It just so happened that his friend who owned a very prominent art gallery in NYC started to have a friendly argument with the owner over his critique.  In the midst of the argument, he turned to me and said, “Learn everything from the masters and as soon as you learn it, forget it all!” I have adopted this with my blog. No rules, try everything because I think that is where my true voice will develop. I also take the next step and put everything into the world for critique and as you know, people love to critique. It is hard to release myself into the world, to the sharks if you will, but it is necessary for me to grow. It makes me stronger.  

The other project is a book called Drink Beer: Lose Weight.

On the business horizon I continue to build ABrechko Outdoors and a digital marketing business, both are very fun and rewarding.  

How do you prioritize your time and effort on all of these tasks?

That is a great question. Funny, you asked that because someone just asked me that yesterday. As you know from my book, I spend very little time engaged with technology or anything that robs me of my time. I try to be very purposeful in everything that I do. I have found that this has really brought with it a new found passion for excellence in all aspects of my life. It also allows me to take my lumps better. I think that when you are happy and living life on your own terms, you are fueled by the universe. I smile in all my tasks from washing dishes to writing. This is a Buddhist concept. It works.

A Visit with Poet and Writer Meghan C. Rynn

I thought it would be a good time to showcase one of our letter writers behind the new release Letters Never Meant to be Read. When not trekking miles of tundra to tell someone how it really is or lapping up bowls of milk with her pet panther, Meghan C. Rynn is busy with her budding writing career. Below you will find a bit of magic in a poem or three.

 

Blue Eyes

Blue eyes

Ocean blue eyes

Graze on the world as it passes

The waves crash down

Over these eyes

As they fill with salty tears

I see you close

I see you near

You hold me, the rain stops

As the last drop hits the sea

Look through these eyes

What do you?

The ocean waves crashing

Softly

Where I’m from

A small quiet town

Where cherries fall from the sky

Brothers and sisters move away

Make sure you kiss them goodbye

I’m from a place

Where we juggle clay

And practice singing about a pool all day

I’m from a yard

Where friends come and go

Where the scars on our bodies are memories

Of a time with no sorrow

 

 

 

Mon Amour

We cuddle on our rug

Watching the cozy fire

As the stars above us burn inside the midnight sky

We watch the embers flicker

Hoping time won’t pass by

Bandits whisper in the shadows

But they dare not come near

Their knives held in hand

Yet you still feel no fear

We start out talking

But then we get too shy

We type all our feelings

While the sun begins to rise

We smile at each other

And we kiss our goodbyes

As we leave this place

Our secret place

So snuggly and warm

The place we spent those long summer nights

The place our love was born