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

 

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes…

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes…

So, I’ve pulled the trigger.

whiskey-cover-final-green

After a goodly bit of deliberating, talking to my readers, some hand-wringing and objective analysis, I’ve decided to change BOOK 2 of the American Rebirth Series.

The changes are as follows:

  • New Title: LEGENDS
  • New Cover
  • Added Content: Prologue – Survivors

It wasn’t easy deciding to make these changes, but they are decidedly the right ones, in my mind.

Truth is, I’m still learning as an author/publisher. As much as I loved WHISKEY as a title and the cover, I don’t think it was doing my story due service.

Truth #2, it’s not sexy to think about, but things like Cover, Title and Blurb are just marketing tools. They are the 9mm, salted meat and purified water to the wasteland survivor that is my series. The story itself, that’s the heart of the survivor. That’s where the good stuff is.

So, my job is to make those things as effective as I can. Here’s why I made the changes I made:

  1. WHISKEY is a title I love, and a character close to my heart. But the story is about much, much more than just Whiskey. If someone who reads HOOD loves Whiskey, they’ll read book 2. If they are lukewarm or worse about him as a character, they certainly won’t buy a book that seems like it’s all about him.
  2. When thinking about the big picture in terms of the title of Book 3 and beyond, I want to have more inter-connectivity between my titles. Choosing only character names hems me in a goodly bit. It can also confuse the shit out of prospective readers who haven’t read any of them.
  3. BOOK 2 is a story that truly continues the Legends of HOOD. The cover and title then need to convey that this book truly is a spiritual successor to Book 1, and not a giant left turn that follows a different character from now on.
  4. Making thematic-color commonalities between books seems to be a pretty good way of making sure readers recognize your sequels when they see them. Hence the color change on the Cover.

So that’s it.

I really appreciate the feedback from everyone who I talked to. To those who loved WHISKEY as a title and cover, I hope what I’ve said above makes sense as to why I changed it. I really appreciate everyone’s support.

So if you have an old copy of WHISKEY, well, now you have a vintage/collector’s item. 😀 LUCKY YOU!

Happy holidays everyone,

-Evan Pickering

 

 

To The Readers…

To The Readers…

As I am in the process of outlining & writing Book 3, I’ve been reflecting a bit on what I’ve done so far. As I hope to wrap up this three-book arc (more novels in the series sure to come thereafter, but I want Books 1-3 to come to a satisfying completion) I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’ve done well and what I can improve on.

I’ve done plenty of self-reflection on the matter. Some things are clear, others are not. That’s where you all come in.

I’d really love feedback from you–the reader. So I’ve tossed a few questions together. As some of you may know I’ve been mulling over a title/cover change for Book 2… So in the spirit of feedback:

Feel free to answer in the comments, or email me at EvanPickering@EvanPickeringAuthor.com

  1. What do you think of the cover of WHISKEY, Book 2? Does it or doesn’t it make you interested in reading the book?
  2. What do you think of the title of WHISKEY, Book 2? If you had to choose between WHISKEY or LEGENDS as the title, which do you think would be more appealing?
  3. What was your favorite thing about the Book(s)? This could be as simple as a character dynamic, or a scene, or facet of the world, etc. No wrong answer.
  4. What was your least favorite thing about the Book(s)? Again, no wrong answer. Don’t worry about my feelings (lol) I want feedback!
  5. Any comments/questions feel free to speak up. It can be regarding the above or anything else.

This is your chance to pick my brain, help me out and ask me some questions!

I’m hard at work at Book 3. Life has been crazy but I’m making headway. I’m hoping to get it done much faster than the 9 months it took to get Book 2 done. With two books under my belt hopefully I’m getting better (and faster) at this!

Hope you all are enjoying your holidays.

-Evan

Mulling over Title/Cover Change…

Mulling over Title/Cover Change…

So I’m considering changing the title and cover for WHISKEY.

Truth be told, I like the cover and the title as it is… but I’m concerned it isn’t “connected” enough to HOOD so that the casual observer who sees it will recognize that it’s the sequel.

Maybe I’m overthinking things. But I’ve been toying around with covers to satisfy my meandering mind. Arguably, I’m not a digital design artist so my skills are pretty damn limited…

But I need some input from you, the reader/casual observer. Please let me know your thoughts on this matter…

Here’s the original cover:

whiskey-cover-final-42

And here’s the new one I’ve been playing with:

whiskey-cover-final-green

So, what do you think? Do you prefer the old one or the new one? Perhaps a mix of both? What do you think of the potential title change? Or the change of coloration to be more like HOOD?

Truth be told, things like title, cover art… these are just marketing tools. And I want BOOK 2 to feel as much like a spiritual successor to HOOD as possible.

 

Thanks peeps,

Evan Pickering

Why Every Problem You Have Is Bull***t

Why Every Problem You Have Is Bull***t

I’m coming clean. I’m guilty of something.

It’s something every single one of us does, but I’ve been embroiled in it lately.

Misery.

Something ‘bad’ will happen, and a certain kind of rhetoric entrenches in my mind:

  • I don’t know what I’m doing with my life.
  • Everything feels like it’s going backwards.
  • I feel like I’m half the man I was five, ten years ago.
  • I’m making decisions with zero certainty that they’re the right ones.
  • I feel distant from everything and everyone I love as we all get older.

All of this, every single shred of it, is bullshit.

I could sit here and say “I shouldn’t be feeling this way, I’m healthy, living in a (relatively) free country, I’ve had an awesome life, I have people I love who love me back. I could be starving in [insert third world country].”

And yeah, that’s true. But in reality, all suffering is relative. If we lived a life of luxury and riches and ease, the simplest problem would feel life-crushing.


But I digress. The real reason all those aforementioned thoughts I have are bullshit is simple:

They are pure undiluted fear, disguised as the truth.

Some people might only have days to live, or are facing incredible adversity. Even those heavy, truly significant problems, are only events–we decide what they mean. The fear that they can create will only paralyze you. It will keep you from enjoying the moments of your life as they happen. It is bullshit.

We all have problems. We all have doubts, we all live in a world of uncertainty. While I’m carrying this weight around, I’m sleepwalking through precious, beautiful days of my life.

So maybe I have no idea what my future is. Maybe I’m nothing like the me I was when I was younger. Maybe some things in my life are going completely awry. Maybe I’ll never know if the decisions I’m making are the right ones. Maybe what I thought I wanted out of life has changed drastically. So it goes. So it has ever gone, for me and for everyone else.

Just let go. To hell with all the paralyzing fear that makes you want to never get out of bed. Change is inevitable. And not just the change you expect. Change you always secretly feared or never wanted will happen. But change is the nature of being alive.

Every problem can be described as this: You have a plan, an expectation. That expectation is not met or goes sideways. Anger, fear, doubt ensues.

I won’t sit here and tell you to live a life without expectations. But I will say this:

Life will probably go nothing like you thought it would. That’s alright. It is full of incomparably beautiful moments. Enjoy them, and the wildly different experiences that will follow. You cannot stop change. Fear is bullshit. Let it go.

-Evan Pickering