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Sometimes Heartache Is The Best Medicine 

So this week it was back to reality after seven days in the Caribbean. I could say I am sad and depressed to come back to my normal life but that would be untrue. My life excites me, especially what lies ahead. Originally my plan was to get tons of work done on my novel during this trip to St. Thomas but I didn't. Honestly, I didn't add one word to it. The only writing I got done were a few poems here and there and social media posts. You know what? Typically this would leave me filled with extreme guilt but not this time, relaxation and fun is exactly what I needed.

Burning the candle at both ends for the past few years as an author-prenuer with a day job has caused my writing career to grow significantly but it's also taken a toll. The price I’ve paid willingly and it was very much worth it, I have no regrets. Basking in the warm Caribbean sun and floating in its pristine turquoise waters was a realignment for my soul and I needed it badly. After the trip I feel recharged and ready for what's next. What comes next for me is setting and achieving some pretty awesome goals. One of those goals is beginning to consciously realign my life to make way for even more writing, more growth, and more travel.

What I’ve found is writers are always working, even if it’s subconsciously. When we’re not writing we’re usually taking mental notes about nearly everyone and everything that crosses our path. While I was in St. Thomas I met many interesting and a few wonderful souls. I also had some true growth experiences. The wonderful souls were strangers at first but we parted as friends. When this happens you’re enriched because, in a way, these people's stories and experiences become your own.

We met a young couple from San Diego, she was a competitive swimmer and he was a personal trainer. Then there was a man from Romania and his wife. He had immigrated to the US when he was nineteen and almost died during a failed attempt to escape Communist Romania in the mid-eighties before the Berlin wall fell. He suffered abuse at the hands of nuns who taught at the school he went to as a child, and corrupt Romanian police and military officers later in life. Against those odds he still went on to immigrate to America and build a successful construction business. During a brief chat over a delicious breakfast he told me two or three ways to immobilize an attacker with my bare hands.

The last and most profound of the connections we made was with our AirBNB host, Lecia (https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/3139209?s=p6pABAhB). She taught in in St. Thomas for decades and retired but is still very involved in the community. She cares deeply about the children of the island and their future, she also cares about the environment. Her home is almost completely self-sustaining, she eats a plant-based diet and drives an electric car (which is charged by her solar panels.) Even better, through very smart decisions and hard work she’s built a life that gives her freedom to do what makes her happy. This entrepreneurial path is the one I’m walking on now and I need to surround myself with these kinds of people and soak up their wisdom.

I've always loved travel but didn’t fully understand why. I’ve always been fascinated by new people, places, and experiences. Exploration runs deep in the DNA of humanity. I think our ancestors found out long ago that seeking new places and new experiences make us better and stronger, they deepen our knowledge of both ourselves and of the Universe. Growth doesn't come from doing more of the same things. Yes, ordinary life hands us its share of lessons but when we're traveling those lessons are condensed in significantly higher doses over a shorter period of time.

I came back from this trip feeling inspired and prepared to take more chances. Dreams have their place but I’m tired of dreaming. I want to make more of a conscious effort to build the framework that will bring about the birth of Eric version 2.0. (or is it version 3.0?)

I’ve learned many things through my two plus decades of struggle as a writer. Dreams only provide a temporary respite from a life that is less than ideal. For dreams to work they must be paired with smart decisions, follow through, and lots of hard work. Over the next few months I’m going to be shuffling many of the priorities in my life around to make more room for writing (of course) and travel.

I’ve learned during the St. Thomas trip that travel isn’t as much a luxury as it is a necessary element in my life equation. Now that I'm back into my weekly routine of being rushed and pressed for time my heart literally aches when I look at the pictures from our trip and recall the freedom we felt. I’m going to use that heartache as a motivator. From now on I’m going to be budgeting for travel just as though it was healthcare coverage or groceries, in my opinion it’s just as important.

I’m honored that so many of you wonderful souls are here with me to take part in my journey. I’m excited to see what the coming months will bring for us all. I promise you, the second novel, Truth Is Stranger, will be completed soon come Hades or rising tides.

~Eric Vance Walton~

Fire

May the itch of wanting 

to know what's

around each bend

always nag you

may your bearings

you never fail

to find,

and a pleasant calm

drift over you 

and usher tranquil sleep

each night 'till rise and shine

may your soul

always be 

at peace

when life takes 

you far from home,

may you follow 

in the footsteps 

of your Father

in whichever 

world you choose 

to roam

may you be wise enough

not be saddened

by the embers' fading glow,

but have the wit 

to build your own fire 

whenever cold winds blow. ~Eric Vance Walton~

Showcase Saturday!

Showcase SaturdayWhenever you see this meme on my page it's your cue to share your books, your blog, your art, photography, or anything you would like share with my amazing global audience.  There's one rule and one rule only, if you participate please SHARE the entire post on your own timeline. As an extra added thank you if there are five or more contributors, the contributor who receives the most likes within the first 8 hours of when the post first appears will win a free eBook copy of my novel, Alarm Clock Dawn.  

Happy Saturday, everyone! ~Eric Vance Walton~

  

The Greatest Gift

  When there are no more jobs for these hands, no more ideas  streaming from my mind

I wish to be remembered as a cultural chameleon, a humble drifter, sensitive to the beauty of this world

these days, they are borrowed, but the memories are ours to keep

the greatest gift of the mortal is living a life so brave that you find your tribe, and grow old with those know your soul so well, they can see the world through your eyes.

~Eric Vance Walton~

How To Fail

HOW TO FAIL MISERABLY AS A WRITER (or anything else) It doesn’t matter how good of a writer you think you are, if you can’t figure out how to connect with readers you’re not going to sell anything. Internet marketing for indie authors is especially tough to figure out. Often our budgets are small or even non-existent and the rules are changing often.

This is important stuff. If you don’t figure it out eventually you’ll be discouraged enough to give up on your dream. I admit that marketing has never been one of my strong suits. This is one of the reasons it took my writing career so long to take off.  I was that skinny and awkward kid with thick glasses that few things came naturally to. I would practice things hundreds of times until I perfected them. One of the few things I had on my side was persistence. I’m still that same kid inside, only larger, with a few gray hairs, and the nagging thought that time goes far too fast to waste it.

A month ago I tried to make a poached egg. It ended up looking like egg drop soup. It was terrible. Ten or so attempts and a few YouTube videos later I can make a perfect poached egg. The secret, once I learned it was like magic and made the process easy. What is the secret? Soak the eggs (still in the shell) in white vinegar for five minutes before cracking and boiling them. That was it.

Things are incredibly hard until you figure out the secret and then they’re easy. To find success you must have to have the patience and persistence to get to the EASY.

Most of us have heard the quote by William Faulkner, “In writing, you must kill all your darlings.” If a sentence or passage doesn’t work for the good of the overall project you must get rid of it no matter how brilliant you think it is. This is excellent advice but it isn’t easy to do partially because of ego but to a greater degree because of fear that you can’t write something better.

To become a successful writer you must subdue your ego and have the confidence to believe that great ideas come from an endless source within you. When you believe this amazing things begin to happen.

The opposite is true as well. The surest way to fail at this is to write from a place of fear or hold on to ineffective ideas. They become bars in an invisible prison cell that will keep you stuck right where you are.

I know this “kill your darlings” philosophy works for writing so I applied it to marketing. Sometimes the entire marketing idea stinks and has to go but sometimes part of it can be saved, retooled to try again. I’m not getting any younger and the books aren’t selling themselves so I’ll only try a retooled idea once. If the idea doesn’t get results it must go to the scrap heap.

Some of you might remember last summer I had a marketing idea that I was super excited about. While traveling I decided to hand out a few copies of my novel, Alarm Clock Dawn, to random people for free. There was a note inside the front cover asking the recipient to leave me a message on Facebook letting me know what they thought about the book. After they were finished reading it I asked if they would pass the book onto another friend to read and they could do the same, and so on. The whole idea was based on the Pay It Forward philosophy. It was a hard thing to accept because I was sure it would work but the whole thing fell flat. I waited for months but all I heard were crickets...not a single response from anyone. Ever. I had to accept it and move on to something new and better. All of us are a constant work in progress. 

Failure is not an option. Next week I’ll be traveling to Chicago for a long weekend, partially for business but mostly for fun. I’ll be visiting a few independent bookstores and doing some research for my new novel Truth Is Stranger. Along the way I’m going to try this Pay It Forward marketing idea once more. It’ll be interesting to see how it works after a few tweaks. I’ll be updating you all on my experiences throughout this process.

All it really takes in this world to be successful is working through the hard to get to the EASY. I hope your path to easy is a short one. More importantly, I hope you learn quickly from every misstep along the way.

With Gratitude, ~Eric Vance Walton~

Special Announcement

DEAR READERS: I’m excited to announce the pre-sales for my newest handmade poetry chapbook start now!  

EMANCIPATION is the second volume of my poetry chapbook series.  Artist Kristi Casey has outdone herself this time by creating a beautiful work of art that incorporates a technique called encaustic painting.  The chapbook is handmade, hand-bound, numbered, and autographed. Emancipation contains twenty-three original poems with the general theme of freedom. I’m so proud to share this project with you.

 

This book of original poetry will have a very limited print run of 75 copies for this handmade version. The dimensions of the book are 5” x 6” and the interior is printed on 24lb paper. Since it’s handmade, each copy will be slightly different in appearance.

 

PRICE:

$15.50 per copy (shipping included/U.S. domestic only); and

 

$14.00 per copy for those outside of the U.S. (plus a flat shipping fee of $10 for up to 5 copies shipped to the same address).

 

Reserve your chapbook(s) via PayPal (https://www.paypal.com) in 4 easy steps: 1. log onto your Paypal account;  2. choose, “Pay or Send Money”;  3. click, “Send money to friends or family; and 4. send the proper amount to, “ericvancewalton@gmail.com”.  Please don’t forget to include the shipping address in the notes.

 

If you’d rather pay by check please send me a private message with the number of copies you wish to purchase and your address and I’ll respond with the address to which you can send a personal check.

 

Here’s the book’s foreword:

 

“I went through a few days of deep thought before the title of this chapbook came to me. I was trying too hard and getting nowhere. I was attempting to force the natural creative flow and this never works. Suddenly, while walking our beagle, a common theme for all of the poems in this collection came to light.

 

Emancipation.

 

Take a moment to analyze your dreams and wishes. Isn’t a large component of each of them the desire to be free from something? This was the case with all of my dreams and wishes but I never realized it before. The process of writing teaches me something new almost every day.

 

I hope you enjoy and get lost in this collection. These twenty-three poems represent almost a year of my life. In them I hope you find joy, a seed of thought, or even inspiration for an emancipation of your very own!

 

With Gratitude,

 

~Eric Vance Walton~ “

 

This book of poetry would make a very thoughtful and unique Holiday Day gift. Although we can’t guarantee it, we will do our very best to have these to your doorstep by Christmas Day.

 

Again, the price is $15.50 per copy (shipping included/U.S. domestic only) and $14.00 per copy for those outside of the U.S.(plus a flat shipping fee of $10 for up to 5 copies shipped to the same address).

 

Thank you!

Just Fly

Free me from this gravity, only long enough 

so that my mind may rest, 

my soul may soar, 

and this heart, 

for a moment,

might feel a splendid

absence of yearning

 

there is so much more

to this life than we can see 

and these words are wings

that hold me aloft

long enough to remember worries and wants 

are beggars who keep us 

mired in mortality 

and ever shield us

from our truths  when life 

leaves us lost

we must only 

remember that  

inside each of us is 

all we will ever need call on the magic 

of your muse,

spread your wings,

and just fly. ~Eric Vance Walton~

THEY WALK AMONG US

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I was five years old and panic stricken. I was away from my parents for the first time, laying on a hospital gurney in some cold and sterile holding area waiting for my turn in the operating room. Through my tear filled eyes I noticed I wasn't alone, there was a man lying there on a gurney beside of me. He resembled a young Cat Stevens. This man reached through the bars of his bed to pat my hand as he asked me what my name was.  He told me his name, of which I forget, and shared that he was a poet. He asked if he could recite some of his poems to me. A great sense of peace washed over me the moment he began reciting his poetry. This small act of kindness calmed my racing heart and made everything feel as if it was going to be okay. It was the first time I realized the true power of words.  This kind soul gave me only five minutes of his time but these five minutes were immensely valuable to me. So valuable, that the lesson has survived inside of me for almost forty years. Small deeds can have a huge impact, they can transform lives. and create lasting change. Could this experience be partially responsible for my becoming a writer and poet?  Maybe or maybe not. It's interesting to think about. I have many other examples in my life that I can share. There was Mrs. Bohl, who could have made me repeat kindergarten for being out sick so many days but she didn't. Mr. Morgan, my seventh grade teacher who took an extremely skinny, shy, and awkward pre-teen boy and over the course of the school year transformed him into a much more confident young man. There was also that one boy in the group of twelve who chased me down for blocks in our inner city neighborhood that dark Friday night in the mid-80's with every intention of beating me up and/or robbing me. I had been in enough of these situations to understand what the outcome would be if they caught me and they were gaining on me fast. I ran through all of the options in my head and chose the only one I had left, I stopped under a streetlight, turned to face them, and plunged my hand inside my jacket as if I had a gun. The group stopped instantly. Suddenly this boy said to the others in his group, "Wait, I know him! It's cool, he goes to our school."He didn't have to say anything, but he did.  A few of them paced, high on adrenaline and testosterone, itching to take part in a beat down. More recently, as my writing career has started to go global, I've had the good fortune of having many virtual mentors. The largest, by far, has been James Altucher. I've devoured his podcasts and blog posts and feel as though his guidance alone is responsible for most of the growth in my writing career this past year.  There's also Maja Gray, Joan Holman, and many more people that I've met through the Choose Yourself Facebook group who give so freely of their time and their ideas even though they're busy themselves. Add my loyal readers to this list, my true fans, people like Ulrika and Cecilia Fjellborg, Annie Rider, Bobby Leigh, Anthony Smith, Jeanne White, Charles Bond, Claudia Tucker and the list goes on and on. These folks have been with me from nearly the beginning of my social media presence. They enthusiastically purchase my books, they like and share my social media posts. Some even geek out on the fictional characters in my novel (I LOVE this.)  I feel like they are an army rooting me on, they make me continue to march on when I feel like I'm up to my knees in mud. They make me believe in myself through the countless struggles of this profession. Each of us are presented with opportunities. I call them Angelic moments. These are brief points in time in which we make a difference or not. We can step outside of our comfort zone or not. We can risk being ostracized by the herd by voicing an unpopular opinion that we truly believe in or not. We can have the patience to lend an ear and offer words of support or not. It takes a certain kind of courage and isn't always comfortable. The choice is up to us and the beauty is each moment presents us with new opportunities to test our wings. We simply can't help everyone but if you feel a strong urge to do or say something in a given moment, take heed. If you feel something tugging at your heart, pay very close attention to it. Act, don't over think. Act. It could make all the difference. The truth is Angels are more common than we think. They walk among us. Sometimes they're dressed to the nines and other times they wear filthy clothes. Sometimes they offer sweet words of praise, sometimes they swear at us like sailors. Yes, sometimes the angel is even walking in your shoes. ~Eric Vance Walton~

PERFECTING OUR STORIES

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It’s astonishing is how fast it happened. One day I was young and then I blinked my eyes and somehow landed in the unchartered territory of my middle years.This June I turned the double quatro, forty-four years old, and have started to notice some interesting very things going on.

There are the well known physical changes of middle age, decreased muscle tone, laugh lines starting to form, higher forehead and gray hair. As we approach the autumn of our years, no matter how hard we try to hide it, our faces truly reveal the kind of lives we've lived.

The psychological changes are even more interesting. Before middle age I thought the repetition of stories was just something seniors did along with complaining about whippersnappers and eating dinner at three-thirty in the afternoon. I was wrong. Yes, my friends and I are now beginning to tell the same stories over and over again.

This could easily be attributed to some natural age-related cognitive decline, stress, or maybe the accumulative effects of too many beer bongs in the 80’s and 90’s but I don't think this is totally it. It’s as though we are retelling the stories that comprise the mosaic of who we are because a small part of us are afraid we’ll be forgotten. On some level we want our stories to be forever etched into the collective consciousness of humanity. We want our brief blip of existence on this planet to be remembered.

The middle years usher in wave after wave of profound realizations or “Oh $h!t” moments as I call them. I think Generation X, like every generation who came before us, are experiencing, “Oh $h!t” moments on an epic scale. I see it in mass media, social media and face-to-face, we are waking up to the fact that we’re not going to live forever. When you have an Oh $h!t moment it can’t be denied and isn't easily forgotten. It’s a realization that can be felt on a deep cellular level.

Because of this, Gen Xers are discovering how valuable time is and are figuring out how we can best spend the time we have left more wisely. I’m concerning myself much less about what others think of me or the balance of my investment portfolio. Lately, I’m focusing more on happiness, facing fears, and making awesome new memories. Most importantly, I’m thinking about how I will be remembered by those I leave behind. Lately, I’ve been making a conscious attempt to shed anything or anybody who doesn't bring a spark of joy to my life. Time is just too short to spend what you have left of it mired in drama and negativity.

I’ll admit this year I’ve given a lot of thought about my legacy. To get to the bottom of it I asked, what do I love greater than myself? After a little contemplation I decided that the legacy I wish to leave the world with will be small, often anonymous, acts of kindness and my words. I hope the many words I’ve written and the words I’ve yet to write will spark some joy in others. I hope my words make someone think, or smile, or even know that they’re not alone in this world. If my words accomplish this my life will have been complete.

Thinking about legacy can be uncomfortable. It can even border on morose but it doesn’t have to be that way. Contemplating and then consciously creating a legacy can provide an extra boost of octane to those of us in middle age who are beginning to feel a bit weary and worn around the edges. I tend think it as a little red button on the steering wheel of life that, once pressed, propels me through mires of the middle years, soreness, fatigue, and at times, the worry that my life will never quite measure up to the one I wished for in my dreams.

Time can teach, time can heal, and time eventually always reveals the truth...IF a person is awake enough to notice. Sometimes we simply must take a deep breath, have faith and take comfort that the universe is unfolding exactly as it was meant to. One thing's for certain, there’s no fighting age or time. There’s such a profound beauty in learning from our missteps, gathering wisdom, and surrendering to time gracefully.

I would like to leave you with a three things I’d like you to ask yourself. What do you love greater than yourself? What will be your legacy? How would you like the world remember you? When you answer these questions your life changes in some pretty amazing ways. What once seemed so important starts to seem trivial and some things that seemed trivial all of a sudden pretty damned important.

Shakespeare penned the following lines in his play, As You Like It nearly five hundred years ago,

“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant, Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms. Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel And shining morning face, creeping like snail Unwillingly to school. And then the lover, Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier, Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard, Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel, Seeking the bubble reputation Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice, In fair round belly with good capon lined, With eyes severe and beard of formal cut, Full of wise saws and modern instances; And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts Into the lean and slippered pantaloon, With spectacles on nose and pouch on side; His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice, Turning again toward childish treble, pipes And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all, That ends this strange eventful history, Is second childishness and mere oblivion, Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.”

Here the Bard sums life up with his typical genius. Yes, life can hard and it is short but it is also the most amazing ride. Not a minute of it should be taken for granted. We are put on this Earth to love, to learn, to grow, and perhaps to help make life a little easier for others. Each of us have the chance to leave our own unique stamp on the world. What will yours be?

~Eric Vance Walton~ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Eric Vance Walton is a novelist, poet, aspiring world traveler, and tea junkie. He invites you to follow his unfolding story by "liking" his Facebook author page at https://www.facebook.com/EricVanceWaltonAuthor for updates and promotions on his current and upcoming projects. You can find Eric's new book One Word At A Time: Finding Your Way as an Indie Author, on Amazon in print or as an ebook. Article © 2015 Eric Vance Walton

10 WAYS TO PIMP PROOF YOUR LIFE*

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10 WAYS TO PIMP PROOF YOUR LIFE*Pimped (slang): To be persuaded, smooth talked or tricked by another person into doing something for their benefit. Apparently I'm an extremely slow learner because it's taken me twenty years to just begin to find modest success as a writer. In my defense, writing is one of the most difficult professions in the world. In the last twenty years I've learned some hard won lessons by being pimped (i.e., taken advantage of, swindled, led on a professional equivalent of a snipe hunt) in almost every imaginable way. Below are some of the most effective ways I’ve learned to shield myself from the pimps of the world:   1. Realize your true worth and never tie that self worth to anything outside of yourself. Your self worth should never be measured by anything external like money, possessions, looks, or anything other than the treasures you hold within yourself. Never seek acceptance or validation from others. This alone takes away most of the pimp's power of persuasion. If you are walking around with a general feeling that you don’t measure up this is a good indicator that you have work to do on yourself, spiritual work. I realized this in my early twenties. I began a self improvement regime that prompted me to move eight hundred miles away from home and to master meditation. I became a new person because of it.   

2. Get to know your true self. This isn’t as easy as it seems. Have the courage to learn who you really are beneath the mask that you’ve become accustomed to wearing so you will be accepted and liked by others. This takes courage and honesty, this takes deep reflection, this involves assessing your strengths and weaknesses. Pimps seek out victims who don't know who they are, the confused, and the indecisive. We spend too much of our time and energy trying to figure out other people and events in our lives but not nearly enough attention on introspection and contemplation of ourselves. Once we know ourselves we can learn to love ourselves. If we don’t like what we see, we can also identify what we need to work on.  

3. Be original. Once you have removed the mask and are comfortable with who you are relish it then unapologetically flaunt the h@ll out of it. There's only one you, a single person who sees the world through the exact same lens as you. Don't dare compromise your future fans and/or customers by emulating anyone else. There are many people waiting to connect with your uniqueness. Do you. Learn to be confident and comfortable in your own skin and others will be drawn to you. People can feel genuine confidence and are attracted to it like a magnet. Authenticity sends the pimps running for an easier target.     4. Live, eat, and breathe your business or craft. You must learn your business or craft inside and out. It must be absorbed into your DNA. It’s cliche but knowledge truly is power. Your passion in life should not feel like work. I repeat it should not feel like work. Your business or craft should give you a reason to get out of bed in the morning and provide you with hope that is the guiding light through dark days. If this is the case, it is a very good indication that you should doggedly pursue it. Your passion simply must feel like one of the greatest loves of your entire life.    5. Don't be afraid to fail. Pimps can smell fear from a mile away. Unless you're extremely smart or very lucky you will fail a few times. You may even fail five times like me, or more but that’s okay. I published five books before I sold even two hundred copies of a book title. Sure I was depressed about it but I learned something from each and every failure. If you learn a lesson it’s never a failure.    6. Do the work. Research shows that it takes ten thousand hours to master a new skill. I would argue it takes another five to ten thousand hours to learn the skill well enough to put your own unique stamp on that skill. This will set you apart from everyone else doing the same thing. The most important thing is to start...start today. It’s absolutely not necessary to “pay dues” in anything, never let anyone let you believe this line of thinking. This is a trick the pimps of the world use to exploit you. But you better believe there’s no way around having to do the work. There’s a difference.    7. No excuses. Believe me, I've used them all, "I'm too old, I don't have enough time, I don't have enough money, no one will publish my work, no agent is interested in me, I don’t know the right people, etc." This is pure bull$h!t. Very few people are handed anything in this world. The problem is some people just make it look easy. The clock of your life is ticking, don’t delay. The sooner you begin the sooner you’ll eventually find success.    8. Be patient. The universe unfolds according to its own timeline, not yours. For fifteen years I watched almost every single one of my peers far surpass me in every measurable way. Have faith and trust that everything that mystifies you will eventually make sense in hindsight.Trust me, it will. Most people quit when they’re just inches away from the finish line. Don’t quit.    9. You can’t do it alone. Trying to wear every hat and be an expert in everything will not only lead to exhaustion it will take you years longer to achieve your goals. Outsource what you’re not proficient in to the experts and focus on your strengths this creates a shortcut. Do you remember those first five books I mentioned before that didn’t sell? I failed because I did everything myself from book layout to cover design, to promotion. I spread myself too thin to spend enough time on the things that mattered. Learn from my mistakes, assemble a talented team to help you achieve your goals. If you don’t have money offer to trade skills or offer them a percentage of future sales up to a certain amount. Also, find an altruistic network of people who support you and provide honest feedback. I found a wonderful online forum of like minded individuals on Facebook called, “Choose Yourself” (based on James Altucher’s bestselling book of the same title) that has been a tremendous help to me.   10. Help others whenever you can. This is especially important to do when you’re feeling depressed or like you’re a failure because it boosts you up! This kind of behavior is the ultimate pimp-repellent. It confuses them, they don’t understand it. In truth, there’s so much success to go around that it should never be hoarded, rather it should be shared. There’s plenty available for everyone to have their own piece. No matter where you are in the pursuit of your passion there’s likely someone you can teach or encourage. When you do this the world literally opens up to you. We’re so lucky to live in an age where it’s easy to connect with large groups of people to share our stories and teach. Others can learn from the mistakes you made and you can offer them the invaluable gift of providing a shorter path to success. The really beautiful thing is the universe rewards this kind of behavior and you’ll ultimately find much greater success because of it.    I hope these tips have helped to give you something to think about. In reality, the pimps of the world are cowards and bullies that thrive on intimidation, scare tactics, and empty promises to survive.    These people will never find happiness and true peace until they learn to evolve and become a better version of themselves. Even if a few of the steps above are mastered your life will quickly become more pimp proof.   Each of us have a right and an equal opportunity to experience life as a victor instead of a victim. The only true limits are the ones we perceive in our minds. Life can be much more wondrous than we can even imagine. The choice is yours, which path will you choose?  ~Eric Vance Walton~

Bobos

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  As we’re all finding out in countless ways Facebook is a blessing and a curse. Tonight it was a true blessing for me. Let me share with you why...nestled in the comments of a childhood friend’s Facebook post was a word that I hadn’t heard in about thirty years and it is a gem. In fact the term was completely erased from my memory. What was this gem?  Bobo.

 

It’s funny because back in the seventies bobo (pronounced, boe boe) was a word of shame. Bobo was a derogatory term but it was a shame all of us shouldered. Me, my brother Curt, my friend Sean, and our other friend Shawn all grew up on Elizabeth Avenue in a lower middle class neighborhood on the eastside of Columbus, Ohio. Before any of us had the means to scratch together our own money with paper routes or lawn jobs our parents had to buy our clothes and shoes. None of our parents had a lot of extra money so those shoes were always bobos.

 

Just incase you aren’t familiar with the term bobo or have forgotten, like I did, bobo was a term for generic, no-name shoes. Bobos never cost more than ten dollars, they sported, “made in Taiwan” on the label, smelled like burning rubber, and were almost always from Kmart. I have to hand it to the Taiwanese, they were inventive.

 

I suspect the foundation of the entire modern Chinese economy was built by the bobo tycoons of the 1970’s making knock-offs of popular brand shoes like Nike and Adidas. At first glance bobos looked strikingly similar to the popular name brands but had crazy features that were just a little off like an upside down Nike swoosh or four stripes on the Adidas-style shoes instead of three.

 

When new, bobos were magical. The funny thing about bobos is all of us were convinced that we could run just a little faster and jump higher when our bobos were brand new. This luster wore off in just a few days when they were covered in mud and grass stains. The life span of pair of bobos was way too short, it only took a month before they looked like they had been run over by a herd of buffalo. We would still try to make them last all summer.  Between Curt, Sean, Shawn, and I our parents probably paid for the Taiwanese bobo factory several times over.

 

In retrospect I think bobos were actually a good thing. Those parents of the seventies were wise because bobos built character. In our neighborhood you weren’t measured by the clothes or the shoes you wore. You were measured by how fast you could run, how high you could jump, or how far could sail off of a flimsy plywood ramp on your BMX bike (sans helmet or knee pads.)

 

So many children walk around these days with an air of entitlement. I would bet a majority of kids now would refuse to step out their front doors without their smartphones, let alone wearing non-name brand shoes.  Children of the seventies, this is our chance to make a difference in the world. We need only pool our money together, stoke the flames of that Taiwanese shoe factory, and get it churning out bobos again.

Parents, it will be difficult, but we must work together. For this plan to succeed you must refuse to buy your children a pair of name brand shoes ever again. From here on out it’s nothing but bobos until the kids can pay for their own name brand shoes. I have faith that we can stand united and together we will change the world, one child (and one beautiful pair of bobos) at a time.

 

~Eric Vance Walton~

A Thought Away

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Take me  to the deepest places,

the sacred places, 

not of show but of heart,

warm and filled with light

sing me the songs 

that travel with you 

not just of the stone 

that's in your shoe

When I feel your story 

a piece of you 

will walk with me

until you and I are dust 

and then well beyond 

to that great freedom

that we will learn 

was always just 

a thought away.

~Eric Vance Walton~

Spit Shine

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Old towels torn 

into even strips

and a dented

tin of Kiwi, black



you turn the 

silver key

and wherever you sit

becomes an

esoteric space,

an escape from

irrelevance 

and servitude



keep that towel

a' snappin,

spit shine



long ago a drill sergeant 

taught you the trick,

a sure way to heal 

the sickness you feel

so you may pass 

through the fright 

of any long, dark night 



keep that towel

a' snappin,

spit shine



so polish away 

the grime

into a pride

you can see 

your face in



you've done it 

all your life 

transformed

trash into treasure,

boys into men



hold high your head

defeat has taught 

you to know victory

rejection has taught you love

when the world doesn't 

always fit you like a glove



keep that towel

a' snappin,

spit shine.


~Eric Vance Walton~

Rush Hour Train

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Happiness is an empty rush hour train only the scent of the past remains and stains of a crushed Cheeto on a vacant seat, a crumpled can of pop and graffiti covered shops that rush by, unbroken

Happiness is an empty rush hour train a subtle sway to hush the pain as life's maelstrom briefly slows its swirl the fringes of my soul begin an upward curl, a smile

Muse strikes, a welcome distraction from mortality pulls me back from the edge of never to maybe...just wait and see please save me from obscurity

Happiness is an empty rush hour train the pause I prayed for spared me again from being life's prey sweet Muse diffuses the illusion, and I return to the conclusion that I spell out the meaning of my existence, one word at a time.

~Eric Vance Walton~

A Grand Resurrection

When I wasjust a young man liked things shiny and new,

as the years have gone by I have grown to appreciate a speckle of rust, a layer of dust, a mottled patina

the middle aged me has a certain penchant not for pretty things but rather things that have been cast aside as useless and obsolete, tired things huddled in a corner feeling like they've lived a hundred lives, maybe because I do too?

oftentimes all it takes is a little attention to spark a grand resurrection

You see, I've found these things, they are so eager to tell their stories and continue their breath of life inhale tarnished, exhale cleansed

I seek out and smile at the perfectly imperfect and bask in their greatness of character I don't mind that they've lived a hundred lives, for in my heart they are reborn and in a way, so am I.

~Eric Vance Walton~

Vintage Raleigh Bike

Resolutions, Schmesolutions

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I don't believe in New Year's resolutions, they seem half-hearted. Resolutions can be charming and fun but really amount to only inspirational buckshot launched into the air, willy nilly, when the clock strikes midnight. Goals, on the other hand I totally believe in and are all-powerful. Goals are our antidote to the days of our lives slipping through our fingers. Goals are like a highly trained sniper...calm, focused, and purposeful. Goals allow us to accomplish incredible things, really most anything we wish. I can honestly say that I’ve had few goals that haven’t been achieved if I’ve chased them with real intent. Believe me when I say this...I’m not special, anyone can do this. The true secret to success when pursuing your goals is the quality of your intent. It also helps if you share your goals with as many people as possible. This creates a large body of cheerleaders and mentors that help to hold you accountable and keep you on track.

With that being said, here it goes, following are my goals for 2015:

1. Grow my readership on social media to 10,000 readers (or more) before the end of 2015. I will do this by producing high quality content that entertains as well as adds value to people’s lives. I want to continue to share everything I am learning every step of the way with my readers as I grow my publishing base. Reason being? I receive as much (if not more) in terms of inspiration and knowledge from my readers than I could ever give to them. I want to create a blueprint for others to follow. You can play an integral role in this goal by helping to spread the word about any of my writing you've connected with. The tiny (but mighty) SHARE button on Facebook is like gold to the indie author. Sharing of author pages and posts is one of the only effective ways left to scale your audience on social media;

2. Finish the first draft of my second novel, Truth Is Stranger by the end of May with a targeted release by Fall of 2015. I will use the NaNoWriMo template as a model (scaled to my personal schedule), I go into detail about how to do this in my recent book on writing, One Word At A Time: Finding Your Way as an Indie Author;

3. Monetize my website with Google Adsense to create another revenue stream. I’ve been thinking about this for years but have never gotten around to it. Monetizing is an easy way for creatives to make more money by doing what they love. I don't care about money. To me money is just a means to an end but this will free up more of my time to create and to achieve goal #4;

4. Travel overseas. I’ve been an aspiring world-traveler since my earliest memory. Other places and cultures have always fascinated me. Wanderlust courses, like a drug, through my veins. Nothing to me enhances your life or provides a greater education than experiencing other cultures. I plan to get some of that education in 2015. I don’t care where but my wife and I will get started. Time waits for no one; and

5. Learn a second language. In the past I’ve dabbled in learning both Mandarin Chinese and French but haven’t pursued mastering these languages with any vigor. In 2015 I will learn to speak French and then we’ll see where it goes from there.

This list might seem lofty but my last few years have taught me that absolutely nothing is unattainable. I’ve seen the following quote in no fewer than a million memes over the past few days but it rings true with me, it reads, “Today is the first blank page of a 365 page book.” I am totally committed to making 2015 a breathtaking adventure. I'd be grateful if you stayed along with me for the ride! Much love, as always.

~Eric Vance Walton~

About The Author

Eric Vance Walton is a novelist, poet, aspiring world traveler, and tea junkie. He invites you to follow his unfolding story by "liking" his Facebook Author Page for updates and promotions on his current and upcoming projects. Eric's new book One Word At A Time: Finding Your Way as an Indie Author recently charted at #7 in the Amazon Kindle Store and is available on Amazon in print or as an ebook.

Truly

Of all these things I covet,all I've loved to pieces until they are no more you are my greatest enigma

my touchstone, the thief of my heart your words drip as your soul skips through the next field of daisies

the words you've said will echo through the ages in my head,

they will wrap me in warmth on cold days and one day will remind me what it was like to truly be alive.

~Eric Vance Walton~

Announcing My New Book!

Nothing I've ever experienced quite compares to the excitement of a book launch. I've waited for this day for a very, very long time. I'm incredibly excited to present to you my first traditionally published book! This book contains everything I've learned in my nearly two decades of crafting a career as an indie author. I've done my best to write an honest and helpful book for writers going through the same struggles that I did. It's my wish to help save you time in reaching your goals as an author. I can't thank you enough for your comments and your support. Writing, and my communication with you, add immeasurable substance and happiness to my life.

If you are a writer struggling to achieve your ideal writer's life, please give this book at try. If you know an indie writer, please share the link with them.  One Word At A Time is available today in paperback format on Amazon.com and from Barnes and Noble.com. The eBook version can be found in iTunes and across most other eBook platforms.

Click here to view the announcement from the publisher!

One Word At A Time: Finding Your Way as an Indie Author

The Decade of Distraction

There’s no denying that the combination of social media and mobile devices are transforming us. The next time you’re in a public place, take notice of how many people are staring zombie-like at their mobile devices, totally oblivious to the world that is unfolding around them. Technology is advancing at such a fast pace that we haven’t had the time necessary to adapt to it from an evolutionary perspective. Science is showing that our brains are being rewired by this technology. We’re becoming less able to focus, self-absorbed, and more @ssholish than ever before. It seems like there's a massive emptiness in people’s hearts and they try to fill this void with material things. It seems we’re more connected to the world but less connected to those people in our lives who really matter. So many people are becoming more interested in recording our lives on social media than living it.

People, used to the relative anonymity of the internet are becoming increasingly brash in both their online as well as face-to-face interactions. This behavior is epidemic and stretches across all age and socioeconomic boundaries. There’s nothing more sad to me that watching a table of people in a restaurant staring at their smart phones instead of enjoying one another’s conversation and company. Life moves swiftly and there’s nothing worse than the sting of regret.

It wouldn’t surprise me if this time in history is eventually coined, “the decade of distraction.” I get it, there’s a lot to be fed up with these days and it’s mighty tempting to search for a mindless escape. The problem lies in how bad things will get if people become completely distracted and no longer are willing to actively participate in the real world.

I like the convenience of my iPhone as much as the next person and social media has completely transformed my writing career. Technology can be an amazing gift if used to our advantage and in moderation. We clearly haven’t found this happy medium, we’re drunk with it. It seems each day this world is becoming more like the dystopian society in my novel Alarm Clock Dawn and it scares the hell out of me.

Some days it takes immense strength and patience to be decent to people and engaged in this world but let me tell you why it’s worth it to make every effort. We’d never know it from watching the nightly news but this world is still a beautiful place and it’s full of interesting and incredible people. History shows us repeatedly how disastrous things happen when society becomes distracted. There’s still much this world has to teach us if we only look up from our phones long enough to pay attention.

~Eric Vance Walton~