Book Shoutout: Entrepurpose, by Rusty Pang and Brian Laprath

Book Shoutout:  Entrepurpose, by Rusty Pang and Brian Laprath

I’ve always said I love it when other authors get published.  These particular authors and this particular book makes me that much happier because Rusty is a friend of mine.

Let’s start with the book blurb for Entrepurpose:

Begin blurb

14680572_349703372032090_6956008003380102308_nYou are here for a reason. So, the question is: Why?

Entrepurpose is a book inspired by 13 intense years of struggle to find the answer to the question,

“Why am I here?”

That journey took me through three depressions, alcoholism, and unhealthy weight gain as I tried to reconcile my life without purpose.

Now that I know my why, I have experienced an infusion of life and focus that I have never felt before.

This work has become my mission, and I can enjoy it more fully each day. But, it came at a price. That price was 13 years.

My story is our gift to you.

Inside these pages are the tools and principles that led me to understand what I was born to do.

If you apply these principles to your life, you will begin to see that every experience, no matter how painful, is part of your strength. If you feel different from others, a misfit perhaps, this book will show you why different is better than better. Maybe, for the first time, you will begin to accept who you are.

Whatever the reason that brought you here, know that you are here for a reason. That reason can be understood, and once you know it, you will have a responsibility to impact the world in the way only you can.

Welcome to your rebirth.

End blurb

This book is already doing well, and I couldn’t be happier for the creators.  It reached number 1 in three categories: Business and Money, Education and Education and Reference.

What’s most important about this book is, it’s designed to help people who truly feel low.  All the feedback I’ve seen and all the messages I’ve read continue to say, “This is what we need.”  Every writer wants his or her book to have an impact, and the early returns on Entrepurposve indicate this book does that.

Now let’s meet the creators.

rusty-profile-webI met Rusty somewhere around two years ago.  We both teach at the same school.  Over the last few months, we’ve been working more closely as he’s teaching the same segment of the course I teach.

There’s a bond between authors.  They don’t have to recognize it or accept it in any way.  It’s a bond of caring for your craft.  You see it when they’re a bit tired the next day because they rushed home to eat up whatever time they can with their family before they toil away at another job that takes not just a great deal of effort, but an insane amount of mental energy.  I’ve watched Rusty as he’s pushed himself to share this with you.  It’s not just his story, which alone is something compelling; it’s his passion.

Every day I see him talking to people about personality types and how they gather information.  Every thing he does as a teacher is driven to understand how the student thinks and learns, so that he can teach more effectively.  I haven’t had a chance to read the book just yet (it’s next on my TBR), but his story and his effort to find ways to reach people are already strong motivators for me.

brian-laprathI haven’t had the pleasure of getting to know Mr. Laprath.  He’s currently a reservist in the Air Force, and any time I can help out a fellow veteran, I’m going to.  You can find out more about him on the Entrepurpose website.  That site also has a blog and a ton of information worthy of checking out.

So I wanted to take a moment today and share this with you.  As most of my followers and those I follow know, I love giving shoutouts when dreams come true.  I relblog posts where authors announce they’ve finished a book.  I like it when people achieve their dreams, and I wanted to share this achievement with you.

Thanks for reading


Caught is FINISHED!

Caught is FINISHED!

Caught CoverAfter more time and revisions that I could ever count, I’m so very proud to say that my second book is ready to send off for review and, more importantly, publishing!  I don’t know that this feeling will ever get old for me, but I plan to enjoy every moment I can every time I reach this stage.  About a year-and-a-half ago, I published The Journals of Bob Drifter. I had no idea what to expect, and I honestly didn’t know what I was doing.  I just wanted to publish my book.

Caught is different. I’ve mentioned a few times. It’s darker, but I feel like it’s a step forward for me as an artist. I learned a lot from Bob, and I’ll always be proud of it, but if I’m not pushing myself to reach new levels of skill, I’m going to be irrelevant before I’m even heard of.

This process is still going to take some time, but it’s a matter of weeks now instead of months.  I want to send it to some reviewers (Kirkus and Red City) for cover blurbs. While they take a swing at it, I’ll probably address some style issues and do another proofread. One thing I regret about Bob was not doing another proofread.  It’s a problem that I’m not sure I’ll let stand for much longer, but I don’t have to make that mistake with Caught.  So there will be a lot going on here in my life. I’ll be setting up my book for publishing, waiting for the reviews to come back, and taking that time to do another read-through just because I care that much about fixing any mechanical issues that may pop up in the book.

new-lion-iconI don’t have a release date yet, but I’ll announce that as soon as I get a few things figured out. What matters to me is first that my dream has come true a second time.  That doesn’t happen without God’s help, and a lot of help from some very important mortals as well.

I’d have to start here with my mom.  The reason for that is she had a nightmare once.  She told me about it.  I filed the thought away and the result is this book.  I love my mom. I think a lot of my creativity and drive comes from her side of the family, and this book is a result of her many conversations with me about stories.

Ben is my alpha reader, editor, best friend, and pretty much whoever else I need in life.  He is and will ever remain the first person I send my books to.  If I never sell another book (I’d rather sell a million), I’ll keep writing them so long as he enjoys them.

Rosa was the first person to read this book (and a very rough draft at that) after Ben.  I’d just gotten to know her and she picked this up to read and wouldn’t put it down. She took it home and read through it.  That was one of the first times anyone just read my work for the sake of reading.  It was a big moment for me.  This was before Bob came out, and I was very nervous about sharing my work.  She’s of the opinion this book was better.  I have a soft spot for Bob, but I’ll admit I feel confident this book is, at the very least, written better, especially after all the editing.

Marco Palmieri of Otherworld Editorial took what I thought was my final draft and showed me how to make these characters even more impactful.  He did this during an incredible transition in his career and some emotional struggles as well.  Even then, he and I sat over a phone call and hashed out the character and plotting of the book to find ways to amp up the development and growth of the characters.

Quintessential Editor did a few passes on my book.  He’s my continuity editor on this project, and I’ll keep working with him as long as he keeps putting up with my random messages and Naruto interruptions.  Corey, thanks for your unwavering support.

kaitlynPeggy has become a huge supporter of mine after Bob.  She’s read a few key scenes here and there, and I can’t wait to see what she thinks of the finished product. She’s a one-person sales and celebration team who I’ve come to admire more and more since meeting her.

There are more, but these are the people who I wanted to give special appreciation to as I head into the publishing process.

So what do you do when you accomplish a life-long dream for a second time?  You start writing another story.  I’ll plow straight into Sojourn in Despair so that project can be finished by deadline.

Thanks for reading,


The Battle With Discouragement

The Battle With Discouragement

social-1206612_960_720As I type this, I’ve sold less than 300 copies of my first book.  I’m ranked 532,049th among Amazon’s authors.  My sales graph looks like a jumbo slide at a theme park.

Writing a book is hard.  It takes time and effort.  Authors shove all of their heart and souls into their work, and they care about what they do.  Here I am looking at all of this data, and it can be discouraging.

This is not a blog about giving up.  If you’re reading this, and you think I’ll ever stop, you must be on my page for the first time.

What I’m trying to share with everyone out there is how discouraging it can be some times.  I talk to my author friends about it all the time.  This, in my opinion, is one of the main reasons people never write a book.  They see the completion of a novel as a step to success (the sale of said novel).

What I want to do now is share with you all how I deal with discouragement.  I’m in NO way an expert.  But of all the things that get me down, writing isn’t on the list.  Sales, marketing, and life, oh my do I have a list!  But discouragement can only win if you give up.  I’ve spoken about this a lot.  So what keeps me going?  What keeps me typing when I’m setting new all-time lows?  What keeps me marketing?

checkmate-1511866_960_720You fail when you quit:  This is something I was taught even as a kid.  To my own detriment, I’m one who refuses to quit.  I’m fiercely loyal.  I’m ABSOLUTELY dedicated.  When I say “I will,” I do.  So when I start to feel like a failure, I try something.  I try ANYTHING I can think of that I think will help me improve.  I try a new marketing scheme.  I try a new sales tactic.

In my life, I’ve learned that if you want to HAVE something, you must, in fact, DO something.  Now…I’m a man who like momentum.  I’ll take the longer, slower way to work if it lets me keep my car in motion.  Try though other friends have, I refuse to believe the answer to getting anywhere is stop.  The downside to this is sometimes that effort is misused.  I try not to waste energy, but in this, my nature trumps my actions.  Whatever happens though, the moment I feel low, I consider what I CAN do, and I do that.

memory-1010902_960_720Remember Where You Started:  Even if I NEVER sell a book again, I’ve still written a book.  It’s not easy.  You see, in reference to my earlier statement, I see sales as sales.  I don’t consider the sale of said book to be the goal of writing.  Finishing a book is the goal of writing.  Selling said book is the goal publishing the next book.  No matter how low I get, I realize nothing stops me from writing another book.

This does a lot for me in other ways.  Bob was my first novel, and if I had it to do again, I’d have waited to publish one book until I had three ready to go.  I had no idea how powerful having multiple products was.  I would categorize the decision as a mistake, but it’s not one from which I can’t recover.   Caught will help.  Maybe 1,200 gets me an agent?  Maybe the next book gets me on the NYT Best Seller List.  Even if they don’t.  The data shows having more books out helps you sell more books.  So even if I’m the worst selling author ever, I’m still an author.  As I type this, my book is on my little trophy case.  I get all sad and whiny, and then I look to my left.  That’s MY book.  I wrote that!

cup-1010916_960_720Finding Wins:  This is a harder concept to grasp.  For me, one of my most powerful wins is that the bulk of my readers like my book.  According to Goodreads, 95% of people who rate or review my book like it.  80% offer four stars or more.  Even the three-star reviews are very kind and usually have something very fulfilling to offer an author who’s having a bad day.  Another win for me is starting or finishing another project.  I can finish edits to Caught and tell myself, “This one will do better!”

comfort-536896_960_720Talking To People:  This is critical.  We writers can be pretty miserable at times.  We’re actually very fun people on the whole (well, maybe I’m not, but I’m not all that normal a guy to begin with).  The thing is we’re artists, and we artists are emotional beings.  I’ve had several conversations with all my writer friends.

Sometimes I’m there telling them how great they are.  Sometimes they’re around to remind me the same.  This isn’t just writing.  When life in general gets me down, I have friends that I can turn to.  Don’t mistake the desire to move on as “happiness.”  This isn’t a post about how to be happy.  I’m a fighter.  I am constantly fighting the me from yesterday, and I hate that dude.  I want the me of today to be better, and that’s a very hard code to live by.  But I find the strength and will to keep going when I talk to those I love.  Sometimes we bounce ideas off of each other.  Sometimes they just sit and listen because they know that’s all I need.  No matter what though, they’re there for me, and that means everything.

horse-746635_960_720So those four things are what keep me going.  I understand that one of them amounts to, “just keep going, cause screw giving up,” but it works for me.  My friends hate this phrase I quote, “I am Orwell’s Boxer, and I will work harder.”  But that’s me in a nutshell.  I’ll never stop.  I’ll never give in.  I may end up old and in a metaphorical glue factory, but I’ll never give in.  When I feel the temptation to get too self pitying, any one or combination of these things helps me get moving again.

What works for you?  Do you have some motivation that keeps you moving when everything and everyone says you should stop?  Share it down below or post it on your blog and throw up the link.

Thanks for reading,


(AFTERWARD:  The day after I typed this, I sold a book.  I also received one three-star review and two, five-star reviews since writing this post.  So you see, just keep going.  No matter how low you are, the only time you fail is when you quit.)



I have a confession:

I’m afraid.  I’m afraid all the time.

I’m afraid I’ll never be a better author, so I’m writing at midnight.

11411687_10152795626552142_8556923609387053801_oI’m afraid my family will never truly understand how much I love them, so I drop  everything I’m doing to pick up the phone when they call or spend time with them when they ask.


150922-N-PJ310-002I’m afraid I’ll never be a good enough teacher, so I spend every day at work looking at
every mistake my students make and consider them my own.  I look at them and try to find a way to be better.

I’m afraid the mentors in my life will never know how much of an impact they’ve had on my life, so I mentor everyone who asks me what I think, and I do everything in my power to help them be better.

13450200_10207558565216811_3399308763271495402_nThat makes me afraid I’ll never be a good enough mentor, so I pick up the phone every time one of “my Sailors” sends a text, sends a message or calls.

I’m even afraid I’ll never find that one person I was meant to spend the rest of my life with, so I have this rule to go out at least once a week because barring God’s extremely kind will, the likelihood of her delivering my next pizza is extremely low.

I’m afraid that the crew members aboard the H.M.S. Slush Brain have welcomed me to their crew and I’m not good enough to be among them.  I’m afraid they’ve asked me to contribute to their anthology and I’m not going to measure up.

12118869_10153070475562385_5683470808026635644_nI’m afraid my friends will never know how important they are to me, so I never let them go.  Even if we don’t speak for days, months or years, I remember them, and I make it a point to be there when they need.  I’m afraid they’ll need me, and I won’t be there, so sometimes I just check in on them.

I’m afraid I’ll never sell a thousand books, so I plan to write 1,000 of them and sell at least one of each.  I’ve only published one book, and I’m already 200 sales ahead of my plan.

I have another confession:

I hope none of these fears go away.  (Well, actually I could do with a few of those being resolved, but I promise I have a point.)

I do hope I never stop being afraid because – fuck fear.

I’m up today writing at 12:30 a.m. because I’m afraid of never taking the chance to be better, and if I ever wake up one day feeling like a great author, where do I go from there?

I’m afraid every day and I use my fear as a target to pursue that which I feel is impossible.

This is for you.  I don’t know who you are, but if you’re reading this, and you think I’m talking to you – I am.  I am, and I love you because you’re afraid, and it’s okay.  I know I love you, because I’ve dropped all the other things I’m afraid of so that I can tell you it’s okay to be afraid.

Use your fear.  Use that fear to chase away everything you’ve ever been afraid of.

I’m afraid there are people out there who I have loved and will love my whole life that perhaps don’t even remember me, so I wrote a book to create a universe that reminds me nothing can break apart that which love has connected.

I’m afraid of being afraid, so I wrote another book about people who find superpowers in facing their fears.

street-sign-141396_960_720I do the things I’m afraid to do because if we never dare to try the impossible, we never achieve the impossible.  I do the things I’m afraid to do because if we never face our fears, fear wins.  I understand the paradox I’ve created.  It’s true.  Ultimately, I do the things I fear most because of my innate fear of failure.  So I’m fighting a battle I’ve already lost.

Fuck fear.

There are battles worth fighting, and I’ve come to believe that some of those battles must be fought even if those fighting already know they’ve lost.  These battles are so critical that the result means less than the need to fight.  I imagine people who fight what they see as loosing battles are terrified, but they fight, and every now and then, they win – even when they shouldn’t.

Use your fear to seek out that which you want most in life.  What is the thing you won’t give up anything else for?  For me, it comes down to three things.  My family, my students and my writing.   I’ve been told I’d be happier if I gave up teaching.  I’ve been told I’d be happier if I gave up writing.  No one’s ever been moronic enough to imply I should give up my family, so that’s something.

I would be more comfortable.  I’d be less afraid if I just let fear keep me from trying to do the things I’ve wanted to do, but I’m afraid of being a hypocrite.

I tell my students a lot of things.  I’m afraid they don’t hear me, so I say it over and over again, and I find different approaches to let them know all of these things I’m afraid they’ll never learn if I don’t make it a point to show them or teach them.

Fuck fear.

There’s one thing I say that’s the most important thing I tell my students, nieces, nephews, and everyone else I can.  I share it with you now.

I don’t care WHAT you want in life.  Just WANT SOMETHING!

Want something more than you’ve ever wanted something before in your life and don’t let anything else get in your way.  I don’t CARE what it is.  I just want you to find it and chase it until it’s yours.  Then I want you to hold tight to it because you’re too afraid to let it go.

accomplish-1136863_960_720One of those other things I say a lot is, “I hear with my eyeballs.”   I invite you to try the same tactic.  Look at your life.  What’s the thing you do no matter how tired you are?  Who are the people you make time for no matter how busy you are?  This doesn’t diminish the existence of other people or other things, it simply shows you what you’re really putting your time into.  If the things you want aren’t the things you’re doing, then aren’t you afraid you’ll never get the time to do the things you’ve always wanted?

Fuck fear.

Do those things.

My family loves me.  My friends love me.  They love me so much they worry over how hard I push myself.  I’m afraid some of them don’t understand what I’m really afraid of.  I’m afraid that God will call me home (or to Judgement) before I’ve had a chance to ask The Junior if she knows how much I love her. (NOTE:  The Junior is one of my nieces.)  Years ago I invented a game with her.  I’d ask her if she knew how much I love her.  She replies, “There’s no limit to how much you love me,” and I tell her, “Don’t you forget it.”

I push myself because I’m afraid my life will end before I write the best book I’ve ever written, and I’m always afraid the next book I write will be better than the next.  I’m afraid my students won’t get the information they need or the feedback they need.

Of all my fears, death isn’t one of them because as scary as death is, I won’t allow myself to die without doing everything I can to be the man I’m afraid I’ll never be.

It’s okay to be afraid.  Just, please, don’t let fear be that which prevents you from trying.  I don’t care if you’re trying to fly , and you were born without legs.  I don’t care.  Build wings, and take flight.  I don’t care if you’ve been told it’s impossible.  For those like me who are people of faith, only God determines what it is we can and can not do.  For those who do not believe in god, explain to me how we continue to do that which the laws of science once said was impossible.

Maybe I’m too hard on myself, but I’m afraid to give up.

Maybe there’s a better balance, and I’m afraid I’ll never find it.

I’m going to keep trying, and I want you to as well.  You’re scared, and I’m afraid you’ll live your whole life afraid without ever once realizing that we’re all afraid.  I’m afraid of living without the courage to do those things I’m afraid of doing.

Fuck fear.

I have one more confession:

cat-1551794_960_720I’m exhausted.  I wake up at 6:30 and work until 6:30.  I go home, and I spend time with my niece (I have quite a few of those) and sister (and even more of those) because I’m afraid they’ll leave, and they won’t know how much I love them.  I spend time with them until they go to bed because I’m afraid to miss one moment with them.  Then I go downstairs and I write because I’m afraid I’ll never finish revisions on Caught, and that makes me afraid I’ll never start working on Sojourn in Despair.  I’m so afraid that I write as I’m writing now at 1:15 a.m.

I’m not afraid of being tired.  I’m afraid of never taking the time to do all the things I’ve always wanted to spend my life doing.  I’m afraid of waking up well rested one day and realizing that thing I wanted was just one hour away.

Sometimes I lose.  Fear wins every now and again, but fear is my rival.  Fear is my nemesis, and I’m afraid if I slow down for one moment, I’ll fail, and I’m afraid to fail.

I’m going home soon, and I’ll spend every moment I can with everyone I can and I’m afraid there aren’t enough hours in the day to account for all the people I want to spend my time with.  How amazingly blessed I am to have that sort of problem.  This makes me afraid that I’ll wake up one day with one less person in my life I want to spend that time with.  I don’t fear exhaustion.

This is for you, my wonderful dreamers, because I’m just a man with a silly little dream.  It’s mine and no one else’s, but no one else needs my dream.  I want you to dream your dream, and of all the things it’s okay to be afraid of, please don’t be afraid to dream.  Please don’t be afraid to try.

Try.  Dream.  Fight.  In those moments of your life when you’re afraid you’ll never win, and no one is on your side, remember me.  Remember me and my silly little dream to do just any random thing that makes others feel it’s okay to dream.  I’m here.

I’m here for my family, and I’ll be here for them as long as God allows.

I’m here for my students, and I’ll be there whenever they need me.

I’m here for my proteges, and I’ll be there as often as they want me.

I’m here for you.  And on the way home from a writers’ group meeting I was nearly overcome by the fear that you didn’t know.

Fuck fear.