The other day someone asked me what new projects I was working on currently. I sort of laughed as my project list is never-ending. I looked at my Pressbook.com dashboard to look at exactly how many “book” projects I have started. WAY too many. Oh if I only had all the time to just sit and write. Any writer out there can tell you that writing, like any other chore, is a time consuming, sometimes tedious task.
I have contemplated which I think is more difficult, writing fiction or non-fiction. Writing fiction was fun. I was creating characters, personalities, and underlying deep-seeded messages. It became work when the subplot became a tangled web of suspense and surprises. Non-fiction is more black and white. They are both difficult and simple in their own ways. If you are writing non-fiction you may have a lot of research to back up your findings. Many people “think” they are writing non-fiction, but they are really writing their life memoir. It’s true. Go look up any self-help author and dig a little. Are they able to write intelligently without including their own personal life experiences, opinions and thoughts, … or are they citing other people’s work?
So to answer the earlier question, what projects am I working on … too many. Am I currently writing? Yes and no. I am not writing any manuscripts and unfortunately Angel Academy has not picked up at book 2 just as of yet. My guardians tell me to be patient and the right moment will hit me and like the first book it will be done in record time. I’m alright with that. If you didn’t know, the first book was channeled to me by angels and was completed in just 25 days. I should have a scheduled “writing” time like I did when I was working on A.A., but I don’t. I think all writers will agree with me when I say you really have to be in the right frame of thought to start creating.
One of the things I encourage other fiction writers to do is keep a 3 ring notebook that has characters divided into sections. If you have just one main character then things are a little easier. In the fiction world this is where you really do get to play “make believe”. You have to be able to intelligently discuss your character and everything about him/her. Imagine you are talking to a director of a movie and you need to help cast the perfect person for your main character. In your mind, he/she should easily appear like magic and talk to you, with you, just like a real person. Ask yourself, what are your character’s major flaws or weakness? What will be the downfall? Will your character be good or bad? What morale challenges are you going to throw at him/her that will enchant your reader to fall in love with or hate the character? I also tell authors that if they are writing fiction, that one day you might actually get to meet someone who is cast as that character in a movie. The more in-depth you can get with your characters the better.
One of my favorite story-telling tricks/tactics to drive readers deeper into the plot is by introducing stories within stories. The deeper you can pull your reader the more likely they are going to stick with the book and finish it, and hopefully recommend it. So what do I feel is one of the best techniques? Why that is super simple. Your character needs to have a deep, dark secret. Voila! Your reader is more likely to want to know what that secret is. So now you as the reader are hooked, and you want to know more. If you watched the last Star Wars movie then you know exactly what I am talking about as far as writing goes. How many questions are left unanswered? If you want to string your readers along even further you don’t answer them and instead introduce more clues to the initial dilemma. The secret. There are other tactics, such as killing the parents at an early age, losing a spouse/child, but not saying the how, when, why and so on.
Most important when writing long fiction, such as a novel, is to remember to keep things entertaining. If there are parts that seem to drag on, then you will lose your readers. I can think of several books that I just couldn’t finish. Most people read for entertainment or for learning purposes. If you can do both at the same time, then hats off to that writer.
So to wrap things up on this article, if you are a writer, published author, aspiring someday writer/author, then this might have helped motivate you to write your best work ever. I personally think that everyone has a story inside of them, … just waiting to explode into an imagination of entertainment. I know I need to sit down one day and write my own auto-biography. It actually is pretty fascinating and many times can lead to all nighters of me just talking. My author website and my Facebook page are the only places where it is partially documented. One day when I am dead, people will say “Aaron M. Stephens? He was the author of Angel Academy, among many other pieces.”
Hello Friends! Once again I apologize in advance for what seems to be a long hiatus from writing on the blog. The truth be told, I have been in this blog almost everyday repairing and fixing it. As much as I hate to say it, the really expensive fancy theme I had been using just wasn’t working for me anymore. Sure it was really cool and could do a lot of really cool stuff, but it got in the way of what a blog is intended, and that is just writing. I also admit I have been revisiting some of the articles/blogs written many years ago. Evidently angels had been visiting me for many years, but chose not to identify themselves. That’s okay, I know now.
For some of my longtime readers, you may notice that some of the blog entries are gone. Yes, I had to restore this site from an older backup. So those thoughts are gone and lost forever. So I have defaulted back to my all time favorite theme, which allows me total freedom, background customization, font freedom, and of course some really cool parallax technology every now and then. I actually love this theme and I have used it on almost all of my websites. The cool thing is even though they are different sites, they all look like different themes. One thing in common is most of them are long scrolling sites. I have deleted and recreated so many WordPress sites now I can do it in my sleep. After awhile things become so automatic I perform tasks so effortlessly that take others hours to complete. I literally can create a new, full functioning website, WITH high security pre-installed, in less than an hour. There actually is a lot to know about website security that I have unfortunately had to discover due to multiple attacks on many of my websites. After I became semi-famous I naturally became a target. It is amazing the number of attacks my site receives daily. I had to hide my login page so only I know the secret backdoor.
When I rebooted this site, I changed the landing/home page to a very short one page. Rather than assigning the pictures that previously were attached to posts I created a very cool graphic slider. It actually is the same slider I use on all my sites, but it just scrolls through pictures. I actually wanted my page to be slightly entertaining when someone landed on it. After the reader goes through some of the blogs, the pictures will begin to decipher themselves.
In addition to fixing/recreating this site, I also creating another site that is strictly lyrics of songs I like to sing. On the menu of this site you can just go to “Songs” and a new window will open. A long time ago I registered the domain “accordingtoaaron.com” not really knowing what I wanted to do with it. Since it was technically a brand-new never used domain it was safe from any hacker attacks and was on the clean website list. This website actually was safe, but rather than risk any hidden backdoors or scripts I deleted everything off my VPS and started clean. Change is a good thing.
So the new site gave me a lot of freedom to just have fun. A lot of people know I am a singer and some people wonder what songs I sing. If you are ever in my company you might actually hear me bust out a song or two. So if you check out the site you’ll start to know some of the songs I have in my musical radio head … playing when I want. When the music sucks, I just sing something I like better. I have the most amazing range for a singer. I can technically sing bass – baritone, and all the way up to tenor 1 & 2, and some alto 2 chords. If you ever take a walk with me, many times in the silence I will start singing. I actually like to sing a lot of country songs. I realized that after I had quite a few songs on the site there wasn’t any navigation for me, or anyone else to go back to a song again. So I created a menu … a very long menu.
I didn’t think anyone would actually visit the site, but shortly after it went online it received hits from around the world. The only place it is listed is on this site. I looked at some of my other sites and thought if I wanted to add it, but ultimately decided against it. I don’t do any active promoting of my personal blog or the new site anywhere. My other sites have all kinds of marketing efforts staged promoting the site and Facebook pages. Many people wonder how I continue to get likes for my two main pages on Facebook without doing active or passive postings. Simple, I have over a dozen sites that are actively promoting both of the pages.
Ultimately my goal is to get new readers to angel.academy, where they will be drawn into a very seductive parallax site. That particular site is unlike any other site I have done as I actually used portions of the book to create the site. A lot of questions that readers had while I was creating the book are actually incorporated into the site. It is a very colorful site with a lot of cool artwork. One piece I actually used from an artist I found on DeviantArt. It is the piece listing the book launch dates and links to buy the book. On that site and my author site I made it very simple for readers to purchase my book.
One of the things that made me so successful was that I used so many platforms. Goodreads still continues to introduce new readers to the book simply due to the number of readers who have added the book to one of their “To Read” shelf. If you check out the other sites that I have in my portfolio you will also see some sponsoring that Angel Academy did to get new readers/fans. Those sites have a different audience that still appeal to angels and the cute cartoon Disney-like characters that point readers back to the site. I would say that most of my social media platforms point people back to AaronMstephens.com, which then points readers to the book. I would say that I do get a lot of hits from the Facebook page for the book. One thing I recommend for authors to do is have a “pinned post” with a short catchy intro and list all the electronic versions and paperback outlets. Trust me when I say this works. There really are a lot of people who watch what I do and imitate it best they can. I used to pay attention to how many people liked me or my book page on Facebook. After awhile it wasn’t so important. It wasn’t the reason I had either page. Both pages were created for angels to use; to attract new readers. I haven’t been too active on social media. The only vehicle I use on a semi-regular basis is Instagram. Probably because it is super simple. Take a picture, give it a catchy hashtag and click the button to post on Facebook.
Since I am a chef, I like to take pictures of food. I also like to use my own Instagram page to remind me of fun things to eat, prepare, go out for dinner, … you get the idea.I really don’t follow very many people as I don’t spend anytime reading other people’s pictures very often. One thing is for certain, and that is people still like to read. This blog is now “fixed” and is much easier to read. I doubt I will have time to add pictures to past entries. New blogs moving forward should have a cool picture as a background. If readers had previously subscribed to this site, unfortunately, they will no longer get updates. I don’t fully trust Jetpack, which was the plugin previously used to notify readers. That also means that new blogs will no longer automatically publish to other social media platforms. Sorry, but after the last few hacker attacks I can’t take the risk.
You might notice that this site and A2A use some of the same graphics. I wanted both sites to have a similar look and feel. You will notice that in both logos I used the same font for my name, giving it and me a cool branding. Of course I created both in PhotoShop. My brother initially taught me how to use PhotoShop, and then I bought the “Down & Dirty” books that taught me all I needed to know to look like an advanced graphic designer. All I had to do was watch my brother work and I absorbed the information to do it again. Unlike other people, when I want, my eyes record what they are seeing for future recall.
So for now that is the latest update. Fans, friends and family are wondering what is going on with me. Book projects are on the back-burner as I finish up websites for clients. And as you can tell, writing on my blog is not top of the list … until now. If you are new to the site, … kick back and enjoy reading some of my thoughts. Some of the blogs are literally directly from angels/God/guides. They are listening. Are you?
Once upon a time I was a very bad eater. I didn’t drink water and I was unhealthy. Back in the 90’s I thought taking an Advil for a headache was normal and did it daily. At that point in my life I didn’t have a lot of positive influences or role models. I did however have one friend who really cared about me and she taught me about muscle testing and alternative methods of healing, through herbs and nutrition. It turned out there were a lot of things my body was missing, so I started taking spirulina and amazingly I started having more energy. My headaches also went away. I didn’t ask what it was, I trusted my friend. She later told me that my body was missing some necessary “greens”.
Years later and I am taking dozens of herbs and pills daily. It was starting to get expensive. I felt like one of those old geriatric patients who have to eat dozens of drugs. Someone actually asked me once if I had a condition. I would laugh and say “Yes, it’s called living.” Then one day I met a guy who took this stuff called Juice Plus. He, too, saw how many pills I took and asked what they were all were used for. I explained them all and then he told me I could take two pills in the morning and night and that was it. The interesting thing is, at that point in my life I was very active in the clubs and drinking and partying. One night I decided to take some Juice Plus before I went to the club. I drank all night long. When I got home I took 2 more Juice Plus and a glass of water. The next morning there was no hangover. I felt great. I took two more Juice Plus. This stuff was like magic. Over the years my partying continued and I kept my secret energy power pills to myself. I know that these were not designed for this purpose. Of course I eat healthy now … but it certainly can’t hurt to have an extra dosage of nutrient dense energy coursing through your veins.
So if you are interested and want to try some, go to: www.17fnv.com. That is my site.
So it has been quite awhile that I have checked my Amazon rankings for Angel Academy. The book continues to do well and I have multiple avenues of marketing promoting the book. Today when I went to Amazon, something new greeted me on my book page. There are new rankings past the top 100. Like most authors and readers out I wonder how a book is doing after it has released. What keeps a book on the top 100 or top 1o?
So it is kind of cool to look at the different categories and know that there are literally thousands of books in one category.
Here is my screenshot proving to the world that I am a one time #3 best-selling author.
Do you listen/watch the Ted Talks? If you didn’t know, Ted Talks are some really cool presentations from some thought-provoking ideas that may rock your world. If you didn’t know Ted x Mile High Denver happened yesterday. The really cool thing about these talks is they are usually normal every day people who have some really decision-making processes that they share with the general public. If you are unfamiliar you can you go their website, just type in Ted X in Google.
They don’t have all the talks on their website but you can see a few of them. I like listening to the Ted talks. I did find out when it is followed by an “x” it means it is an independently hosted event, not officially sponsored by Ted. Anyone can host a Ted talk. Just just have to fork over the fee and then rent the space and of course get a line up of great speakers, topics and speeches. This one was held at the Buell Theater in downtown Denver. Some Ted Talks are very large and then there are some that are pretty small. I would say that the Denver one was of an average to smaller size. The Denver Convention Center would have held a lot more people just due to the sheer nature of the size.
Ted Talks happen all the time. I originally found out about them through Netflix. Oh how I love Netflix. I am one of those guys who does more than one thing at a time. So I can be listening to music, running on a treadmill and watching/listening to an engaging Ted Talk all at the same time. There are a lot of really talented engaging speakers.
I have to say that of all the talks I really like the ones about food. Not that I am a big eater, I am actually a little eater. I am a learner. I like to learn new things and old things. I will admit that after watching the talks I looked at my food differently. I eat more raw food than cooked food. I steam instead of sauteing. There are all kinds of topics so if you haven’t checked it out I suggest you open your mind to some eye-opening suggestions.
Some speeches are only 3 minutes and others can go for a half an hour. Denver really didn’t have any big name presenters. I watched one where Tony Robbins was the presenter, but for the most part, they are all unknown idealists. Ted Talks are the only public venue where people will pay big money to listen to a no name presenter. Tickets were $90 a seat.
Every great empire or corporation started with one person with one idea and passion to fuel it.
We grow up in life admiring or looking up to someone. That person has certain traits and characteristics that you desire. It might be a personality trait, it might be an attitude toward life, but whatever it is, there is something very special about that person. What do you do when that person, such as a parent, is a let down? You look for a new role model.
So I personally looked at all the people who were an influence in my life and who helped shape and mold me into the person I am today. I would like to say that I had very strong role models in my life. Alas, like many starry-eyed kids who are full of hope and wonder, I had to create my own hero. I turned to comic books and fantasy fiction and I would disappear into worlds I can’t begin to describe. When I discovered these imaginary heroes each of them had something that made them unique. Like, Superman always tells the truth. Nice.
So if you are new to my personal blog, you might have noticed that I haven’t updated it in a while. The reason for that is … I have too many blogs and I am always busy writing somewhere. My author website/blog AaronMstephens.com is where you will find the majority of my writing for the past year. That website is more educational and informative, usually with me teaching something to someone. This website/blog is more motivating and inspirational. I can get lost reading the things I wrote. Many times I do not even recall writing it; it is as if I was a scribe for someone/thing else.
At any rate, this is more of a fun blog; at least I think so. I tend to rattle on about all kinds of things. Usually dealing with being a better contributor to society in one fashion or another. Believe it or not, I have a lot of followers who like to read what I write. So I think it is always a good idea to contribute an idea or something that will have positive results; even if it is to just one person.
So what quality in a role model do you feel is important? Is that why you admire that person? I personally am all about the heart and soul. What is your heart and soul doing for the greater good? I look at intention. Words have power. My words have power. It is so easy to share a compliment to a complete stranger and watch as their face lights up with a smile. Super simple and believe me, it has power. Your words have power. Choose them wisely.
Many people are wondering what is up with me? I haven’t been too vocal lately and it is mostly due to work. In addition to being a writer/author, I am also a webmaster. It keeps me really busy. I am working on a new venture in the publishing industry. I can’t say too much about it right now, but it will launch officially on AaronMstephens.com. I also have recently purchased a Fitbit bracelet/watch. It is a super fancy pedometer/watch. Check it out if you are curious.
I will say that due to the Fitbit I now am conscious of how much I exercise, walk and work out. I run/walk at least 7 miles a day. I really love it. Plus, I have a bunch of friends who have one also. I already wrote about it so I won’t go into it. I can say it was the best investment I could have ever made, literally. My life depends on being fit and healthy.
If you have been a long-time reader then you know my puppies were both in critical condition. One being hit by a car and the other attacked by a coyote. It was very traumatic, but thankfully, with the power of the angels they were both healed and now can walk and run just fine. If you are a new reader, they are two little miniature pinchers (min pins).
For many of the younger years of my life, Lucille Gilster, was one of my parents. My mom was a single parent with three little children. No education, no money, but a burning desire to succeed my mom, became the shining role model that one day influenced her to change the world for the better.
Grandma took on the role of raising another family, quickly becoming an authority in my life. I remember living in her basement, sleeping on the floor with my twin brother and sister as my mom slept on the fold out couch. It wasn’t forever, but when you are in the 4th grade it seems like an eternity. It is a memory I will never forget. Grandma continued to make us dinners, take us to school, pick us up, and she would even tuck us in bed at night when mom could only get overnight shifts at the hospital. All through high school and even into college Grandma was always baking rolls, roasting or sauteing something for us. She shared with me her famous chicken and dumpling recipe and her baked bread recipe. Yes her legacy will live on.
As a writer, and a tribute to her, I felt I should honor her by writing about her last experience with myself.
It was a cold bitter December morning as I sat quietly drinking my tea. I waited for the call. I wrapped another blanket around me. I looked over and my phone lit up. It was my mom. “Hello?” I said in my deep morning baritone voice.
“Hi Aaron, I’m with grandma right now holding her hand. I think this is really it.” she said through the sobbing tears. I already knew that today was the day. Angels had visited me during the night and I could sense and feel a change in the vibrational frequencies around me.
I replied back, “I’m sorry mom. I will be holding you in consciousness. I love you.” She said, “Thank you honey, I will let you know as soon as …” she trailed off not really finishing her sad sentence. I heard a click and the phone went silent.
I sat in silence for about an hour. Tears streamed down my face and fell onto my blanket. I didn’t bother to wipe them away, as more would just take their place. My cup of tea was now cold and my computer had shut off due to inactivity. The silence was finally broken as my phone buzzed. It was my sister in law, Cassie. She called to say that Grandma passed away at 11:00 a.m. central time and mom was on the phone talking to one of her sisters. I said thank you and hung up the phone.
Christmas Eve candlelight services were that night and I had five performances that I needed to get through. My heart chakra and my throat chakra hurt, as rapid bursts of emotion interacted with them. I just didn’t know how on earth I could be in front of thousands of people and pretend to be happy. The thought of that was just so overwhelming. So I just sat there and cried. I reached for my glasses as my contact lenses literally fell out of my eyes with my tears.
Eventually I stopped crying and when I did the room was filled with angels. A warm feeling filled my heart and the room and I felt a sense of peace. A messenger came me letting me know that Grandma was happy and I needed to pull myself together, there was a show that I had to be a part of. My light was burning bright.
I reached out to some of my friends and their love, support and prayers lifted me to a higher level. Somehow I made it though two very long days. The drive back to Nebraska was even longer. It was cold and freezing. The day of the funeral it was raining sleet/ice/snow. I wore my ski gear so I wasn’t so cold; I am used to freezing cold weather skiing. My Texas relatives were just a wee bit colder.
The funeral at the church was interesting. For one, the soloist couldn’t make it, so everyone was to sing the songs together. Imagine my surprise when I started belting out “Amazing Grace” and no one else was singing with me but sort of mumbling along with the piano. I didn’t let that affect my singing and actually sang stronger. I sort of chuckled to myself as my baritone tenor voice echoed through the church. I loved it. I didn’t know the second song, and I didn’t have any sheet music so I sat silently as the piano played with no one singing. My twin brother said he liked listening to me sing and forgot I sang in the choir. He was among many who were disappointed I didn’t know the second song.
Grandma had one final request and that was that all of the grandchildren were pall barer. Myself, Nate, Johna, Matt, Rita, Chadd and Ross were all able to fulfill her dying request. Kendall and Kurt were unable to make it to the funeral. Kendall is an Emergency Department physician and couldn’t leave and Kurt lives in California and could not get a flight due to Christmas travelers.
After standing in the freezing snow for about 30 minutes the grave site burial was over. The casket didn’t go into the ground while we were there. There was probably about 50 people that showed up that cold day. The family all made their way into town, Paxton, the closest town to the farm where Grandma and her daughters spent many years of their lives. We convened at a restaurant called Ole’s, which had been there for generations.
Mom or someone had called ahead and informed the restaurant that the funeral was that day and the family would be coming for a last meal together. They had the back banquet room set up for us. Naturally most families sat with each other. For many it was the first time seeing all these people and wondering how are we all related. We had one common thread and that was Grandma. I wondered if this now large group of family members would ever get together again. Perhaps I could put something together in a couple of years. I’m pretty good at arranging events.
It was a very quick trip. Funerals are a sad but memorable event especially for those who live on. Grandma was 91 years of age. She would have been 92 this month. Her last years of life were painful and made a mockery of her very much alive mind. Her body failed like millions of people. Eventually she just closed her eyes and her last breath of air slowly left her dying body. I give thanks that she is finally free from a prison without walls. As the Asian Angel Author I know (not think), KNOW that what she is experiencing now is far better than her best day on earth. She has come home.
January 31, 1923 — December 23, 2014