What is Success in Life?

I have been asked this question many, many times mostly by those far younger then I am or those who perceive that I am successful in life.

Recently on one of the car forums I subscribe to a 26 year old asked the question “What truly is the key to success?’

Something about what he wrote made me realize that for far too many of us success is measured only in terms of material wealth. There was a time in my life that I too felt that way, but I have come to realize that is no longer what I believe success truly is.

Things came to me later in life than most people I know. I did not marry until I was 43 years old. I held my first baby in my arms at 47, my twin boys, and I did not meet the true love of my life until I was 53 years old.

I was also able to make a lifelong dream come true at 54 when my first novel Mr. Breeze was published.

So what do I think success in life means? As I approach my 56th birthday I now realize I want to give something back to society not just waste space in it. I have been donating to various charities for many years and more recently have been helping feed those less fortunate in the Philadelphia area.

My true gift as I am told is the way I can write, the way my books have touched those who have read them. This is my way of trying to help the world we all share to change for the better. I have no delusions of grandeur and I realize I am going to need all of your help to make these changes happen. But if you believe as I do, that it is possible I hope you will join me in trying. You see change can come one heart and one mind at a time.

So for me success in life is being proud of who you are, being the best person you can be and being a great dad to my sons, a good guide for two girls who have become part of my heart and my life, and being the best partner to the woman I love.

Posted in Uncategorized

Pets and happiness

Animals are such agreeable friends. They ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.
George Elliot

Humans have valued animal companionship since the beginning of time. Animals are valued in different cultures. In India, cows are considered sacred. In Ancient Egypt, cats were thought to be the protectors of the underworld. Today, in many American households, it is common to have a cat, dog, or other domestic animal as a family member. I have a dog myself, and I love her dearly!

As I was petting my dog today, I started to wonder if pets contribute to our levels of happiness? If so, how do they contribute to our happiness? I know I always have a sense of contentment and joy when I spend time with my dog (just like Zack and Michael feel happy to have Rover in their lives), but what is it about pets that make us happy?

Pets have many therapeutic benefits. They are brought to visit retirement homes because they bring the seniors joy and relieve their arthritis. Children with Autism enjoy the company of pets because they can interact with them on a social level that they find difficult to do with many humans. Studies show that animals provide social support for everyone, not just people who are dealing with health issues.

According to a study, conducted by McConnell et. al., pet owners exhibit the following qualities:

  • High self esteem
  • High levels of physical fitness
  • Experience less feelings of loneliness than non-pet owners
  • Are conscientious
  • Are socially outgoing
  • Have healthy relationships with family members, friends, and romantic partners
  • Are happier than non-pet owners
  • Feel a sense of belonging in the world

The type of pet that people own had no effect on the owners’ level of happiness. I encourage everyone to spend time with their animals, and if they don’t have one, go to their local shelter and adopt one!

Zack and Michael adopt a German Shepard who has special abilities in my novel, “Mr. Breeze”. You can buy it on www.Amazon.com on Kindle for only $0.99!

McConnell, A. R., Brown, C. M., Shoda, T. M., Stayton, L. E., & Martin, C. E. (in press). Friends with benefits: On the positive consequences of pet ownership. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Posted in Gratitude, Kindness Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Be an extraordinary person!

What does it take to be an extraordinary person? I believe anyone and everyone can be extraordinary in their own special way. It is a power that comes from within yourself that gives you the empowerment to be an extraordinary, amazing person.

 

According to the Complete Wellbeing blog, there are seven traits that all extraordinary people express (read this excellent blog here: http://completewellbeing.com/article/7-secrets-of-extraordinary-people/)

 

  1. People who are extraordinary take action to make the changes in the world they wish to see. Anyone can have ideas and thoughts about making the world a better place, but they will not materialize if they only continue to exist in your head! It takes courage and time to take action and do something good for the world, but this is what one must do if they want to become a spectacular person.
  2. People who are extraordinary have attitudes that are extraordinary. This attitude exists both within and outside of your mind. You have to believe you are an extraordinary person! Once you believe this about yourself, others will sense that you are a great person and they will believe in your vision for the world. Extraordinary attitude is a combination of many qualities: courage, humbleness, bravery, thoughtfulness, advocacy, vision, kindness, gratefulness, and hopefulness, just to name a few. When you balance these traits you will be seen as an extraordinary person and people will be in awe of you!
  3. You have a choice between becoming an extraordinary person and just being an ordinary person. Be proactive! Be the extraordinary person! If it was easy everyone would be ordinary. Yes, it takes more effort and energy to be extraordinary, but you must be extraordinary to make positive changes in the world.
  4. Being an extraordinary person requires effort. Like I said, if it were easy everyone would do it!
  5. Being an extraordinary person requires discipline. I believe everyone has what it takes to be an extraordinary person, but not everyone has the motivation, effort, and discipline it takes to achieve extraordinariness. Be proactive! Practice extraordinariness every day!
  6. Be willing to learn. Nobody knows everything. We are all on this planet to learn and grow. Since extraordinary people are still “people”, they too are constantly learning and evolving into better people.
  7. You must believe you are extraordinary. If you believe in yourself, everyone else will start to believe in you too! If you lose your faith in your own abilities, you will stop trying and just be an ordinary person. Why be ordinary when you can be extraordinary? Keep the faith; you are an amazing person and have what it takes to make a positive impact in the world and in your community.

 

Michael Ryan, the main character in “Mr. Breeze” and “Revelation: The Return of Mr. Breeze” had to believe in himself to become an extraordinary person. These books are available on Kindle for the new, low price of $0.99! Get your copy today!

Posted in Hope, New Beginnings, New Years Resolutions Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Happiness is?

“Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

 

What is happiness? What makes people happy? Is it possible to be happy, even when life is stressing you out? Several organizations have published “happiness reports” that address what makes people the most happy. Here are some of the common findings:

 

·         Self-employed people are happier than corporately-employed people.

·         Feeling equality raises happiness levels.

·         Stable mental health is a large factor in happiness. The more stable you feel mentally, the happier and more optimistic you feel.

·         More trust = more happiness.

·         Good, stable home lives positively contribute to happiness.

·         Married people are happier than single people.

·         All over the world, happiness levels are more associated with social relationships than with wealth.

·         People who love their job are happier than people who are dissatisfied with work, even while they are not at work.

But THE MOST IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTOR TO HAPPINESS is your emotion levels. YOU have control over your life and destiny; YOU control how you respond to situations; YOU control your thoughts; and YOU ultimately control your emotions. Now I’m not saying you should suppress your feelings if they are not good ones. That does no good. What I am saying is if you are unhappy you have the power to change your life for the better. If someone you spend time with is making you unhappy, do what you can to change that relationship, whether it is therapy or removing that person from your life. Create health boundaries for your life and how you spend your time. You will see a positive change in your attitude!

My main character, Michael Ryan, has to go through an attitude change in my novels, “Mr. Breeze” and “Revelation: The Return of Mr. Breeze.” Both books are available for only $0.99 on Amazon Kindle right now! Get your copy today!

http://www.amazon.com/Mr-Breeze-ebook/dp/B00578411E/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1360810892&sr=8-2&keywords=mr.+breeze

http://www.amazon.com/Revelation-return-Mr-Breeze-ebook/dp/B00BD4LH2C/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1360810908&sr=8-6

Posted in Gratitude, Hope, Kindness, New Beginnings Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What is means to be a self-published author

“They have to make a movie out of this!”

“I’ve never read anything like this before!”

“Wow!”

“Amazing!”

“You must have sold a millions copies! This is so damn good!”

“You must be rich after writing this!”

Those were only some of the comments made about my first novel, “Mr. Breeze”. I wish all of them were true, but the unfortunate reality for a self-published writer is that 99% of us never get any recognition, and if we do we must either hire firms to get the word out  or become skilled at self-marketing.

So here I am. My second novel, “Revelation: The Return of Mr. Breeze” has just been released and I am already hearing words like “monumental” to describe it.

As I embark on my second publicity tour, I find that my expectations are muted as I have learned a great many things about the publishing and the movie industry over the last year and a half.

A movie treatment for “Mr. Breeze” is, even as I write this is, in the hands of studios and production companies in Hollywood. Would “Mr. Breeze” make a better film than 90% of what is being brought to the screen this days? Yes it would. Myself and many, many others have no doubt of that.

Will there be a film? That remains to be seen…

Now back to the novels, and the “you must have sold a millions copies” comment. I responded with an analogy by saying that a book is sort of like if a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it. If no one knows about your book, no matter how good it is, you will never sell a single copy.

This is what it’s like being a self-published author.

Posted in Uncategorized, Writer's Corner Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How can you change the world?

In many ways I find myself in the same situation as Michael Ryan. I am trying to change the world, though I do not have our maker or an incredibly powerful dog helping me along the way.

So where do I start? How do I get you and your friends, your neighbors, and your country men to try and see things the way I do? Well let’s start with me. I went through a three-year divorce battle, and like most divorces, many things happened (most of them, unfortunately, to me).

My friends would say, “How can I let her do these things? Why do you let her tell lies about you? She is trying to ruin your business and turn your children against you!” My first book, Mr. Breeze, was born in the worst of all of this and the day finished it I met the most amazing and remarkable woman I have ever come across. We fell in love and she will be a part of the rest of my life.

I am not saying I was not angry at my ex (and I did, on occasion, lose my temper) but I never once did anything to cause her harm and I always did what I had agreed to do. Would it have felt good to take some retribution for all she had done to me? Yes, it certain would, and I truly believe no one but me understood why I did not.

You see, in some ways I am a true believer. Not in organized religions because they are nothing but a way to control and separate people. What I believe is that we can only ask the world to change if we are willing to change ourselves.

Look in the mirror today, tomorrow (hell every day!) and ask yourself “Am I ready to change? Am I ready to forgive and be tolerant?” When you are let’s all start something that can truly change the world.

Posted in Hope, New Beginnings, New Years Resolutions, Uncategorized Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Exclusive excerpt from “Revelation: The Return of Mr. Breeze”

“Can I ask you something, Michael?”

“Sure, Missy, you can ask me anything you want.”

“OK, what was it like to never believe in anything and to never have faith?”

I thought for a moment before I answered her. I had learned that voicing my views on religion tended to rub some people the wrong way, but Missy deserved a straight answer.

“For me, Missy, belief and faith are two very different things. I have faith in myself, but I never believed in things just because I was told I was supposed to. After I met Zack and learned what I did, I realized that I was justified in my non belief.”

“So, you still don’t believe?” Missy asked.

“On no, Missy, on the contrary. I believe in what I saw. I believe Zack is the god we have believed in and worshipped for thousands of years. I honestly believe he will do exactly what he said he would if we do not show him we are capable of change. These things, I believe in.”

I still didn’t truly understand why Zack picked me out of all the people on this planet. Why the fuck was I the one he chose? I was nothing special; I had never done anything spectacular or anything that would benefit my fellow man. Hell, I was a loner and didn’t even like my fellow man all that much.

I found most of them annoying, superficial assholes. I had never been a loving person; in fact, I was generally distant and cold. I had never even truly been in love, and I had never trusted anyone. I remembered Zack had told me he chose me because I never believed in anything and I could write, but somehow, that was never enough of a reason for me.

I knew what I had to do. I just wished I knew what Zack saw in me that I never did.

Revelation: The Return of Mr. Breeze will be available at www.Amazon.com and www.BarnesAndNoble.com. A Kindle edition will also available through Amazon. Get your copy in February 2013!

Posted in Book Excerpts Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Want to join my club?

While I am writing this, I am forgetting the fact that I am a white, middle aged, non-religious American man. I am simply a human being, and I share this planet with countless other human beings.

I may have very little formal education (I never made it past the ninth grade), but it seems to me that there are an awful lot of problems on this planet, and our leaders (who are much better educated than I am) seem to not have a clue as to how to solve these problems. I read the newspaper every day, and I also read the major news magazines, and here are some of the things I have read that make me wonder just how smart the leaders of the world are.

  • When one of you threatens to wipe someone off the map, please know everyone knows that is not going to happen, so it seems kind of foolish and childish to say it. In some countries, if you’re from a different tribe, your supposed to kill each other, I’m sorry that just does not make a single bit of sense to me.
  • It is sometimes hard to follow who is the good country and who is the bad country, since it seems to change every few weeks depending on who needs what from whom.  I would not want friends who are that fickle.
  • In the Middle East, wow, you people are truly out there, I mean give it a rest, find a way to start trusting each other, and we are all getting tired of all the hate.
  • The hate, that brings me to back to the beginning of this, let’s try something. Instead of being willing to die for your cause, let’s try willing to live for it. Instead of spending billions of dollars all over this planet making things that kill, let’s trying making things that make life better for all human beings. Lets face facts my fellow human beings, we are either going to all learn to live together or we will all perish together.

So my club is called the Live For A Cause club. There are no dues, anyone can join, there is no secret handshake, no secret decoder ring (though that would be sort of cool), and not even any shirts (though feel free to make your own). All you need to do to join is open your mind, stop hating, start to realize that we are all human beings, and we all have the right to live on this planet.

I hope that some of you will decide to join; maybe we can start something that will start to change the way all human beings think. I do not think one person can change the world, so give me some help people. I realize this is not going be an easy task; after all, many people make millions and millions of dollars on hate, and I’m sure they are going to want to keep making all that cash.

I wonder how much t-shirts would cost?

Mr. Breeze is available at www.Amazon.com and www.BarnesAndNoble.com. A Kindle edition is also available through Amazon. Get your copy now so you can read it before the sequel is released in February 2013!

Posted in New Beginnings, Uncategorized Tagged , , , , , , , ,

A Change of Heart

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs

Earlier this week I wrote about my goals with Mr. Breeze, one of which is inspiring people to have a change of heart. “What do you mean a change of heart?” you may ask. I have found that many people hold beliefs that they do not believe themselves, but it is what their social groups expect them to believe. To believe anything different is to go against the status quo.

Many social groups instill terrible beliefs in their followers, yet if the followers listened to their hearts they would know what the right thing is to do. This is an extreme example, but look at the KKK. This is a group that has activated a hatred in their followers for their own profit and gain. If these people thought about the issues the KKK promotes, without the KKK’s influence, they would probably disagree with their creed and do the right thing by treating people as equals. The same philosophy can be applied to many other social groups. Truly thinking for yourself often leads people to make the right decisions, which can lead to a change of heart.

Think for yourselves, people.

Mr. Breeze is available at www.Amazon.com and www.BarnesAndNoble.com. A Kindle edition is also available through Amazon. Get your copy now so you can read it before the sequel is released in February 2013!

Posted in Hope, New Beginnings Tagged , , , , , ,

What kind of book is Mr. Breeze?

Last night I had some friends over for dinner. One of them grabbed my ebook reader and went to read the reviews for “Mr. Breeze.” One of my dinner guests read each review which was mostly very complementary and the readers seemed to grasp the messages I was trying to convey.  I was then asked if I intended my book to be an inspirational fantasy and what exactly is an inspirational fantasy? I began to laugh. “Nope,” I said, “the very last thing I thought ‘Mr. Breeze’ was would be an inspirational fantasy.”

The problem is that no one has ever read or seen or heard of anything like “Mr. Breeze” before and it does not fit in any known category and since everything must (do not ask me why that is I cannot tell you) have a category well they put “Mr. Breeze” in the one called “Inspirational Fantasy”.

“Well, what is it really?” someone asked me. I smiled and thought to myself “Should I really tell them? What the hell, why not?”

It is a self-help book, a textbook, it is a reality series on paper. It is what we see when we look in the mirror. It shows us our worst but gives a glimpse of what we can be. Someone was upset at the profanity in an inspirational book…well I’m so sorry but it was never written to inspire. If anything it was meant to scare the crap out of everyone since none of us would look all that good to our maker. It written only to make you think what a mess humans have made of this world. “Mr. Breeze” was written to make us want to find a way to change ourselves, our neighborhood, our state, our country, and our world.

You see, things can get better by changing one heart and one mind at a time.

Mr. Breeze is available at www.Amazon.com and www.BarnesAndNoble.com. A Kindle edition is also available through Amazon. Get your copy now so you can read it before the sequel is released in February 2013!

Posted in New Beginnings, Uncategorized Tagged , , , , , , , , ,