My Words at 30.

My Words at 30.

 

God I still love this song. Such a classic.

I first listened to this song when I was somewhere around the age of 18. Twelve years later it’s still great.

I thought I’d be scared or freaked out by thirty.

But I’m pretty happy about it. I’ve got a lot of reasons to love where I’m at in my life. Looking back at all the things that I’ve done (get it?) brings me more joy than anything else.

There are many various ways to measure how my life has gone, but…

I have so much love in my life. And I have given so much love and happiness to others over the course of my thirty years. Of all the things that I’ve done, that’s really all that matters.

As a thirty year old man, I feel in many ways like a better, stronger, wiser version of my younger self. I’ve grown up in the ways that are valuable, and I’ve stayed young in the ways that matter.

I can’t ask for much more than that.


I think one of the strongest truths that I know now at my age is this:

Words mean everything. 

The words you tell yourself in your head will define you. Positive or negative you will make them real.

The words you say to others about yourself–sooner or later you will accept them as truth even if you didn’t in the beginning.

The things you say to other people and the things they say to you is the fabric all of humanity is built on. Say good things, meaningful things, useful things, funny things–be careful with the hammer that is your anger and frustration. Saying harsh or critical things is necessary in life. But do not make it something that gives you power or satisfaction.

Many people live in fear of saying positive, kind or flattering things to others. They only do so sparingly as if it somehow is a risk that makes us lesser, weaker or vulnerable. It does not. Do not believe the lie that kindness is weakness. Kindness is true strength.

Thank you to everyone that has made my 30th birthday something special. I love you guys. And to those that have never met me or do not know me, I love you too. I hope all’s well.

-Evan

 

BookBub — Day 1 Results!

BookBub — Day 1 Results!

So the glorious day has come.

Yesterday was my Bookbub, May 11th. A week before my birthday (woo). HOOD is on sale for $0.99.

Granted, I’m not exactly sure how it measures up vs. other people’s Bookbub promos, but…

YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!!

FEELS GOOD MAN.

Behold:BOOKBUB 1

Ranked #56 overall in Kindle at the highest, # 1 in Post-Apoc and #1 in Metaphys/Visionary.

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Damn it feels good to be a gangsta.

So, for sales numbers: 2,438 books.

So what now? Basically, I try to keep promoting and spreading the word about the book for the rest of the week. Then I switch it back to 2.99 and try to make more moneys. Ideally this sort of visibility will catapult the book up to the top of the charts for an extended period of time and sales keep rolling in. At risk of sounding prideful, I think it’s a pretty damn good book (so humble) so hopefully word spreads like it did when I launched last year.

Once the week is over I’m going to post another thread to measure how the tail fares, and see if maybe I hit a USAToday Bestseller list (which would just be pure gravy IMO.)

Hope you enjoyed this clinic on over-sharing. I’m damn proud of this series. Book 2 had a bunch of sales too from this. ❤

-Evan Pickering

The Search for More…

The Search for More…

There’s something inherently human about wanting more, about always looking towards the next goal.

It might just be wired into how we think. It’s the reason why billionaires still want more money, and why many famous people still feel unsatisfied enough to have breakdowns despite what others might see as “achieving success.”

So last week I just got my first Bookbub for HOOD on May 11th. For those of you who don’t know, Bookbub is like the Starship Enterprise of book promotions–and the next closest promotion might be a Hyundai Sonata in comparison.

In short, it’s a very big deal for authors, they’re very hard to get, and it’s been one of the top goals of mine since I launched the book.

When I booked it, I was doing all kinds of shouting and fistpumping and bouncing off the walls of my apartment.

And yet, something funny happens. And it happens to us all.

Mere days later I was looking ahead to what the next steps were. I got the Bookbub I so lustily desired, and now I was booking other promos. I was thinking ahead to when I can have Book 3 done, and maybe having some new covers made, etc.

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The point is, we always chase the next thing ahead of us. Even in the face of great success. Make no mistake, booking this Promo was a huge coup for me. And yet so quickly I push on to the next goal. In many ways, this is a positive thing. Stay Hungry, as they say, and drive yourself to do more and find your own greatness.

But there is a problem with this. We need to enjoy, celebrate and revel in our successes. Our wins in life must feel like wins. Because our losses certainly can feel cruel and horrible, sometimes cripplingly so, can’t they?

If we do not take time to appreciate what we have done, what we have overcome, and bask in the sunlight in the positive things we’ve created in our own lives, whatever they may be, then we are driving our one and only car ragged down the empty road of the wastelands until it breaks down.

It is good and noble to strive for more, to better ourselves, to be in search of our better selves.

But we must not strive aimlessly like an addict in the dark. When we find pieces of our better selves, we must stop to appreciate them.

Maybe–I don’t know–but maybe there’s a point where we need not strive anymore at all?

-Evan Pickering

 

 

SHORT STORY: A Lover and A Fighter

SHORT STORY: A Lover and A Fighter

A lover and a fighter. That’s all a man is.

Our world gets destroyed all the time.

Shattered by our choices, the choices of others, or things completely out of our control.

As I drove my car down the broken, empty road, I realized the truth. As a man, I am fueled and driven by only two impulses. The need to love, to build a family, and the need to fight for something.

That one day a year ago, the love I had for so many years was gone. Shattered by so many choices and things outside our control. I thought I would be with her for the rest of my life. I knew what kind of ring she wanted. But as hard as we fought for each other it wasn’t enough. Our love had died. Like our world is now, I was broken and fighting to mend into something that resembled myself.

All I could do then was fight. Not wanton, hateful conflict, or violence for its own sake. I needed to fight for something, some cause, something meaningful. But I had nothing to fight for. I had no hobbies, no passions, I felt no fire inside me though I knew I wanted one. I had been one half of a whole, but she was gone. Now I was just alive.

Memories are your enemy.

As it would happen, the world was really destroyed not long after. It didn’t take long. I’m not exactly sure how it happened. Supposedly The oceans died and crops everywhere failed and food suddenly became a precious resource. In a few months the whole world tore itself apart in hunger. Civilization in all its majesty undone by the most primal of impulses: feed.

I had my cause to fight. It wasn’t a complicated one, but it made me feel alive. I woke up every day with purpose. I was empty no more. I fought to survive, to protect the people around me. They were good people. I only knew one of them before the end of civilization–My neighbor, Keith. He always wore the same hat both before the world ended and after. Black baseball cap with the Red Sox logo. At least he’s consistent. Pretty funny too. He’s a glue guy. Keeps smiles on the faces of everyone when we’re venturing forth under the hot sun, into unknown territory hoping to find friendly faces instead of hateful ones.

These are the kind of thoughts that make me reach for my AR-15 propped up against the driver’s side door just to feel the smooth metal body, just to know it’s there. I don’t like firing it. I don’t like that it is a part of my life. But knowing its there to keep me alive, so that I can use it to keep the others alive when necessary, that’s a feeling I can’t be without.

I had fired it too many times two days ago. We lost Angela in the fighting. Only ten feet from the truck. God, it’s the kind of thing that will drive you crazy.

I don’t know why they opened fire on us, even. Not like we have any food. Not like we wanted to fight them. Unless they wanted us for food. If so, then Angela… No, I can’t think about that. That way lies madness. Only thing we have is what’s in front of us.

But of all the things I’ve seen, there’s one thing I can’t shake. One memory that will not escape me. If it is even a memory, or some ghost of my mind. At this point, I don’t even know anymore. We were passing through this refugee town. We didn’t even stop. We’ve seen them before. Groups of starving people, no will left to fight and nowhere to go. They roam in packs and scavenge for food like old world hunter-gatherers. We drove through the crowd of people who rose to clamor at our truck, but were smart enough not to step in front. Most survivors didn’t think twice of running over someone in their way.

I looked out the driver’s side window and in the crowd I swear I saw her face. I think it was her. It looked like her. Tired, but steely eyed and surviving. At the time I thought it was just someone that looked like her. I didn’t even stop the truck. How could I? But I think… I think it was her. I think I saw the recognition in her eyes when she saw me. But she made no move. She just stared.

We drove on. We still drive on. Every day I feel the urge to turn around and go back. I want to find her. But there is no going back.

Memories are my enemy.

Lover and a fighter. That’s all I am.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Longview

Longview

Ah, what a classic jam. Sounds like childhood.

If you could picture yourself on the timeline of your life, and you could climb up a great tower and take a longview in all directions, what might you see?

  • Backwards, we can see the path we’ve taken here. Messy, bending, rife with good times and bad. Hopefully more bad than good. This way lies madness. A short look back might bring a smile and some warm thoughts. But the longer you look the more obsessed you become with the choices you made.

 

  • To the left and right, we see what could have been. The places and people we might have gone and met, some catastrophic, some fantastic, some wildly different then what we know now, but probably many that are just different incarnations of our own life. This is a matter of curiosity, of warnings and possibilities, but still it only serves us to consider our choices now.

 

  • Ahead, we strain to see forward, but the fog, the great fog clouds what we can see. We think we see shapes and possibilities, we make guesses as to what is and plan what paths we might take through the fog, but we cannot see clearly no matter how much we try. Still, this is the direction we must face moving forward, pushing blindly into the fog and trusting our reactions and instincts to find one of many right ways on.

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I’ve lived most of my life thinking little of the future, enjoying the present and trusting in myself. I’m blessed to be able to do this, and it is by in large a good thing. But there is a caveat. It is vital, I believe, to be proactive in the present, and to imagine the kind of future-present we hope to have. And to be unrelenting in our pursuit of whatever it is. Our imagination is a weapon used for or against ourselves, and we must use it to envision the truly good and valuable things we want and purse them.

It’s easy to imagine all the things that can go wrong, all the reasons not to do something. But through our imagination of what can be is where we can achieve all great things.

Our lives are some small percent the perception of the present moment around us, and a huge percent all the things we imagine about ourselves; the stories we tell ourselves about our past and our future and what could have been.

Your thoughts can be a weapon used for or against you. Don’t let them cut you so deep you can’t push on. Longviews can be necessary, but don’t linger there too long. There’s plenty more to be enjoyed and done right now.

 

-Evan

 

Passion.

Passion.

What makes a book great?

What makes anything great, really?

There’s a lot of different reasons, with varying degrees of validity. Books, for example, are good when the writing skill comes through in the prose, the storycrafting elements are well executed, and the content of the story is tantalizing, thought provoking, draws you in and makes you actively wonder what will happen next.

But ultimately, what really makes a book, or anything, great, is the passion you can feel in it.

 

Passion is visible, feel-able, through solid wall and open sky from miles away. And I don’t mean specifically romantic passion. Sure, it can be that too, but in this case I mean the internal passion that is not self-serving. It’s not about wanting. It’s about that which means so much that you feel compelled to share it because you don’t know what else to do.

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You can tell the difference between a well-written book and a well-written book that comes from a fire inside the writer. A book that the writer felt in his or her blood, one that screamed in his or her mind to come out, one that grips the heart of the reader in its fist–That book leaves the reader shaken in the best way, thinking about their life and what they love. And hopefully, it ignites passion in those readers.

Passion can be a limited resource. A precious gem, something that can be poured out and take shape, or can wane and be lost, formless and ethereal. It can be given, inspired, which is an act of love and beauty.

Passion is one of the greatest things in life. It’s dangerous, it can be scary, it can consume us in its immolating fire and trigger fear of loss or failure. But still, it is worth it. Passion can take so many forms, and should never be taken for granted, should be hunted and treasured and fought for.

Sometimes I’m writing a story, and I know it’s good, but something feels missing. And I have to step back, and take some time. What was it that burned inside me so much that I took the years to write this series? What was that which boiled my blood and kept me up at night, that surged adrenaline through me just at the thought of the reader taking in the words? That is what I want. That’s what I must continue to write.

That’s the way I want to keep trying to live.

Evan