Entire RWM Catalog Free for Limited Time

That’s right, folks. The ENTIRE Rusty Wheels Media, LLC. catalog will boast FREE Amazon Kindle Versions from Tuesday-Saturday. (4/17-4/21) 

See which FREE KINDLE book suits your fancy from our Amazing Authors by clicking the links below:

 

 

Don’t Forget About Our Letters Contest!

Always accepting submissions.

We Dare You…

Advertisements

Book Review: “Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World” and Why I’ve Been Gone

I kill books on Audible. I listen, I read, I listen, I read. I am always searching for something, whether entertainment or in this case, Raw Power.

Yes indeed, Iggy Pop has his place in between chapters of this book. Better than Adderall. Deep Work: Rules for Success in a Distracted World is a firecracker to jump start your working habits.

There have been so many distractions away from my writing, editing, and publishing. We bought an old farm house, I was in uniform, work, work, and more work. I love teaching but it takes away from what I should be doing. One day soon, I will change that dynamic.

Without Deep Work to help guide my priorities, I would have been lost. There are so many great quotes from this book as these are rules to live by:

“We tend to place a lot of emphasis on our circumstances, assuming that what happens to us (or fails to happen) determines how we feel. From this perspective, the small-scale details of how you spend your day aren’t that important, because what matters are the large-scale outcomes…” ― Cal Newport, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

“…what we choose to focus on and what we choose to ignore—plays in defining the quality of our life.” 
― Cal Newport, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

“If every moment of potential boredom in your life—say, having to wait five minutes in line or sit alone in a restaurant until a friend arrives—is relieved with a quick glance at your smartphone, then your brain has likely been rewired…”

― Cal Newport, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

A bit of the Book Description:

In DEEP WORK, author and professor Cal Newport flips the narrative on impact in a connected age. Instead of arguing distraction is bad, he instead celebrates the power of its opposite. Dividing this book into two parts, he first makes the case that in almost any profession, cultivating a deep work ethic will produce massive benefits. He then presents a rigorous training regimen, presented as a series of four “rules,” for transforming your mind and habits to support this skill.
A mix of cultural criticism and actionable advice, DEEP WORK takes the reader on a journey through memorable stories — from Carl Jung building a stone tower in the woods to focus his mind, to a social media pioneer buying a round-trip business class ticket to Tokyo to write a book free from distraction in the air — and no-nonsense advice, such as the claim that most serious professionals should quit social media and that you should practice being bored. DEEP WORK is an indispensable guide to anyone seeking focused success in a distracted world.
What I Liked About this Book:
 
During a recent project which I will highlight in a later post, I was forced OUT of my comfort zone in order to do what I love: the creation of a book from manuscript to market. I was responsible for the editing, layout, and final version of a great project- The Forge: Certified Six Sigma Green Belt Certification Program Workbook. I say out of my comfort zone because a textbook about Six Sigma wasn’t in my repertoire but when an old friend calls, you jump. I am also committed to publishing anything that is good. Most people who know me can tell that I’m game for anything.

 

At the height of the project, we moved, I was called to uniformed service, taught, and of course…there were challenges with the project. Deep Work gave me the focus that I needed to complete tasks in a meaningful way and avoid distraction.

Without this book and intended focus, I would not have been able to finish this textbook that needed to be in the world.

Of course, this meant shying away from social media, focused writing only on personal time, and a delay in the next Letters Never Meant to be Read book. These are sacrifices that we all make as writers/editors/publishers when there are things called priorities and that evil called time.

When I would have been Tweeting, Blogging, Posting, and making clever memes, I was packing boxes and taking the necessary steps toward the finished product: a book.

Deep Work is a recipe for success but it does not come without sacrifice or consequences. Interestingly, this blog only continued to grow readers in my absence on social media due to my back catalog. My books continued to sell, and the world still turned without checking my phone all the time. That is part of what the book is all about.

I still went on Twitter, I still checked on things from time to time, but I did not focus my attention on these efforts as I had in the past. This desperation and yearning will get you nowhere when there is real work to do. I have to thank the author for the focused attention and emphasis on downtime that the book suggests.

“Your goal is not to stick to a given schedule at all costs; it’s instead to maintain, at all times, a thoughtful say in what you’re doing with your time going forward…” 
― Cal Newport, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World 

“Less mental clutter means more mental resources available for deep thinking.” 
― Cal Newport, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

 

What I didn’t like about this book:

Deep Work is hard (whine) so be careful what you wish for. This is not a ding on the book but more of a concern for what we as a society consider Working. If you hold a mirror in front your day and find half filled with answering email and pointless meetings, watch out.

I could have used a few more tangible activities but I was able to read between the lines and accomplish what needed to be done by the concepts arrayed in the book. We can all say that about this type of book because people looking for something to help typically like to be force-fed.

I would love to have a writer’s version of this book as I think it would be extremely helpful (and it would sell).

 

What this Book Does for My Writing:

I tend to work on too many projects at once. In the past, I have been able to focus on some “low hanging fruit” and accomplish book projects that I knew could be a finished product in the allotted time.

Deep Work made me realize that when I write, I just need to write. Phone off, distractions gone, just me and the page. I knew this before but I have a hard time remembering that this peculiar activity makes me very happy and fulfilled. When I can be in the moment, spinning yarn, I am at my best and happiest. I also get better at my chosen craft. Deep Work is about that concentrated focus that will turn you into a master instead of a forever apprentice.

The book warns against telling people that you are headed for Deep Work. I made the mistake of announcing my awesome plans on Twitter half way through the book, not that anyone was paying attention. The point is that it doesn’t matter.

What does matter is The Forge textbook, Letters Never Meant to be Read II, the book I am writing with A.M. Hounchell, and his other manuscript that RWM will be putting out this fall.

If you are looking for a decent read to adjust your working habits and productivity, I certainly recommend the Audible Version of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

5-Stars

 

Top 10 Tips for Writing Your Own Letters Never Meant to be Read

The deadline for Letters Never Meant to be Read Volume II is upon us and I thought it might be good to open the dialogue for those of you out there who are ready to take the plunge.

Don’t be afraid, if you get in your letters a little past the deadline but before final layout, it may still make it in this edition. If not, I will be publishing many, many more of these books in the future. We are always accepting submissions…

Letters for this series can be to anybody, even yourself if the need be. In that effort, I have created the following Top 10 Tips for Writing Your Own Letters Never Meant to be Read.

 

10. Think of your favorite Government or Private entity

Come on, we’ve all got that favorite line that we have to stand in or please hold music we enjoy. Take a shot across the bow to that DMV office or customer service representative. Tell them you want to speak with their manager. Put them on hold for once and write your letter.

9. We all get Ripped Off

Ok, so it happens. Swindlers and confidence people are out there to get you, and sometimes, you cave and lose. Feel like you’ve been done wrong? Cheated? Get your revenge in words, write them a letter!

8. Think fondly on that Unrequited Love

Wonder what could have been? Wish you found those words years ago? Want to speak the truth? That man you met at that restaurant in Madrid waits for your words. Write a letter to your true, unrequited lover.

7. Go to a Cemetery

A little creepy for some, but I happen to live by one. This often provides countless hours and pages on what could have been. Find your own family plot, or even better, someone else’s family plot. Write letters, don’t take your thoughts to the grave.

6. Think Outside the Box

A letter to the owner of that hotel that gave you bedbugs? How about a letter to a broken, public toilet? Your stubborn uni-brow hair? That fish you caught and let go or ate? The ideas and words are endless.

5. Write a Letter for Someone Else to Someone Else

Seen atrocity in your time? Want to do something about it? Have a friend that is cheating on another friend? You can easily disengage your own feelings and put yourself in another person’s shoes. Go ahead, practice true empathy.

4. For Your Younger Self to Open

Think of a letter that you wished you could send back in time to your younger self. Examine the hard truths and fun lessons you’ve learned along the way. Date it: Open by ______ ____ if that helps.

3. Think about all the Money

Yes, you could make money just by getting things off your chest. This provides a wholesome way to air your grievances anonymously while making a little side cash. Rusty Wheels Media, LLC. pays generous royalties by contract to writers who contribute three or more letters in the collection.

2. Dance More, Worry Less.

Music can really get the juices flowing when it comes to writing letters. Blast your favorite oldies or modern hip-hop right into the next room. Dance to your heart’s desire while dictating letters to your personal assistant.

1. Keep Your Thoughts Organized

Letters should tell a story and be complete, nothing left on the table (or under). Grab those gems from under the rug and hold them in the light. Describe them, feel them, make others understand. To do that, you must be clear and concise. Go crazy if the need be, but make it a planned crazy. One way to plan your letters is to jot down the key points you want to address, leaving room on the page for your interwoven thoughts and transitions. Go on the journey yourself and take others along with the finished product, a letter I’m sure you’ll be proud of.

 

Happy Writing and We Look Forward to Hearing From You!

 

 

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.

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.