Never look a gift beer in the mouth

While leaving the library today I heard my name being hollered down the street. I looked to see a friend from the local watering hole waving me down.  

 “Come on, you’re not at work. Have a drink. I’ll pay.”  the guy in particular I have talked to several times.  He have a few things in common. He’s very knowledgeable in world war 2 history and we have some great conversations about world events and conspiracy theories.

 I had just uploaded the next episode of my series onto Amazon, The Writer: Chronicling the End of the World.  The task didn’t take long.  I found a free copy of Q Road by local author Bonnie Jo Campbell.  The visit was less than half an hour and while I was supposed to go home and go for my evening run I was invited to my favorite bar.  While I was at the bar I Googled the first episode of The Writer and found that it was already listed as suggested reading on another website.  That I did not expect to see. I had found my previous books on the Goodreads app and that was shocking enough.  In two days my new series was already recognized as something to look out for.  That was cool.  

 After listening to another episode of the pod cast Write 2 B Read I realized that one of my biggest weaknesses is promotion and advertising.  While I have the KDP select to do a lot of that for me there are other options that I would like to try.  Podcast would be a great option.  Either interviewing on one or doing one myself.  I did learnt that the Hub, a tech center at the local library, offers services to people in the local area.  That includes recording pod cast.  Maybe that will be in my future. At the moment I have no idea.

 So I had one beer at the bar.  I can home and had my run.  Not my best, but not my last.  My next book took a few unexpected turns today.  While I can’t say that I was surprised it was not what I was expecting.  The joys of writing are still with me.  When I can sit back and go, “huh” because I wrote something that wasn’t intended that is a magical moment that I don’t want to go away.  

 I’m sure I will have many more days like today.  I don’t know how I ended up with friends that will chase me down to offer me a beer.  I will never complain about it.  The words of encouragement I have been receiving has been a blessing.  People I thought would be disappointed have instead pushed me further to realize my dreams.  There is a plan and while it changes by the day it is also coming together by the day.  This blog is a small part.  It is still one of the working gears for what I am trying to do.  To remove any of the parts to this plan and it might falter.  There are some pieces still missing and I don’t know what they are yet.  I will get there.  

Matthew Gilman can be contacted on his author Facebook page and found on Twitter.

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The Collapse Experiment

 For those that have been reading this blog you have most likely been wondering why I call this the Collapse Experiment. I had an idea a while ago for doing an experiment to simulate what life would be like if there was a collapse.  Of course that is difficult to do when you have to go to work everyday and you’re driving your car around.  Since I had that idea I have accumulate a few things that would help if it ever happened. I bought a mountain bike.  I have a organic garden that I have always wondered if it could sustain me if needed. I added a rain collection system to the gutters on my house.  I accumulated a large collection of books as one would want to do if the power ever went out.  

 I don’t think this will be an actual experiment.  For one I have to have my laptop to write and keep up with my current projects including this blog.  Some of the things that would help with thinking about how a collapse would be, I rarely watch television, I don’t have cable or internet at home, and I own an old car.  Aside from my mortgage I have no debt.  I grow a majority of my own food during the warmer part of the year.  While I do a lot of this in order to save money and be more productive they are also things that would come in handy during such an event.   

 Currently many of these aspects are already a part of my life.  About one third of my garden is ready for spring.  I started a reading list for the year that I am currently working on.  I have cut back on extra spending.  Finally I put in my notice with work.  As of April 18th I will be working at home.  I have money saved up.  I can continue to pay my mortgage for several months after my last day.  If I need to get around town I can ride my bike instead of using my car.  I’ll have more time for the garden and writing projects such as the new series I started.  What is funny is that trying to become self employed and working at home will also be an experiment in living in a collapse situation.  The things I learn along the way and the mistakes I make will be documented here.  My annual war with the local squirrels will likely show up.  My fishing trips for a decent dinner will be mentioned.  

 Living in a lower class neighborhood will likely help get an idea for this project.  Five days ago a man was arrested on my street at 2:15am.  The police were called for shots fired that I never heard.  When they approached the intersection, less than a block from my house, a man ran from a car. They chased him and he threw a semi automatic pistol into a yard. The cops caught him and found the gun.  They also found crack cocaine, cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana on him.  This is a weekly event where I live and it has already started.  I can’t think of a better place to feel like you are living in a collapse situation.  

 So there you have it. The collapse experiment. One man’s journey into self employment and living off the land.  

Matthew Gilman can be contacted on his author Facebook page and found on Twitter.

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The Writer: Chronicling the End of the World

 Today I completed the first episode of a series I’m starting on Amazon.  The Writer: Chronicling the End of the World is a new adventure I decided to take.  Set in the same world as my first two books this series follows one guy as he sets out on a quest to document the destruction of society.  What maybe difficult is the fact it is a weekly series.  I have never done anything like this before.  So to help learn and prepare myself for the task at had I started reading two books that were written in this format.  The first being the famous Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes.  The second is a series written for a newspaper and later collected under the book title Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa.  While my series is once a week I will be reading a chapter from these books once a day to learn the flow and style of these writers as I go.  

 My only fear with this project is that I will be learning as I go.  I’m sure I’ll make mistakes along the way and there will be ups and downs with the story.  In the meantime I want to give my readers something steady to look forward to while they wait for my next book.  

 I shouldn’t be surprised that I took this route.  Growing up I read comic books and was fascinated with the creative process of those men that created endless stories month after month.  The dedication and mind set to stay on a task like that always puzzled me and now here I am going on the same path.  Years ago I learned about newspaper series that were a common find in all over the world.  Every week a new episode of the story would be revealed and readers would pay for a paper to see what happened next.  Why this ended I don’t know.  Instead the sports section became important and “Ask Betty” became the everyday read.  

 I’m doubtful that this will take away from any other projects and hope that it satisfies my readers in the meantime.  

Matthew Gilman can be contacted on his author Facebook page and found on Twitter.

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Taking the Leap

 After five days of wrestling with the knowledge that my profession is at a standstill my life took a drastic turn when I handed in my notice to leave work.  I had three conversations with my boss after my review and came to the same realization every time, I will not get anymore money.  No I figure once in a while things like that will happen.  In 2009 it was announced that there would be no raises for the employees while corporate received new job titles and went home with a pay increase. Things like that happen.  Why shouldn’t highly paid multimillion dollar douche bags be able to take home more money for poor money management skills after all it works for the rest of us.  

 In the 14 years that I have been at my place of employment I have gone 5 years without receiving a raise.  This week was the last straw.  I have heard several other horror stories about reviews and the made up complaints from supervisors.  At this point I no longer have to care.  As of today I am on a road to freedom.  

 I turned in my notice and left the office with a smile that hurt my face and a tear.  14 years of my life are now gone to a place that used and abused until I couldn’t take anymore.  The upside is that I have learned from my mistake and still have time to turn things around and live a life that I came be proud of.  Some people may take comfort in handing over the responsibilities of their lives to other people. I have never been one of them.  I would ask questions about why I have to work for a company?  Why can’t I work for myself?  The answers varied with “it is easier,” or “it just doesn’t work that way.”  there are plenty of people out there that are self employed.  There are even more that do better than the people who work for corporations.  If has been said to me several times that “you don’t become rich working for somebody else.”

 I have a plan.  Already in motion there are a handful of projects that are underway to help with this change of lifestyle.  I know that I will be working more.  I know it will be a tough road.  In the end it will be worth it and be on my own terms.  

Matthew Gilman can be contacted on his author Facebook page and found on Twitter.

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The Value of a Man

 How does one determine the value of a person?  This is a question that has been bugging me this week.  Many of my coworkers and I have been receiving our annual reviews and discovering that we are not thought of very highly.  The reviews themselves from one manager have been a joke.  A girl was marked down on her review because “she didn’t smile enough.”  This is the first in a long list of made up complaints from management considering my coworkers and I.  While my review didn’t have any of the made up comments like so many others it did have the same sad end result.  I received a $.06 raise.  Last year nobody in the hospital received a raise because the management was switching to a new merit pay format.  The idea told to us was that the harder we worked the better the raise.  What we have seen so far is the harder we work the more we meet expectations and don’t make any more.  

 What hurt me the most is to not receive a raise, again. Then next year receive less than the rate of inflation. I brought that up.  I said technically I’m making less than I was 2 years ago.  I pointed out that I never call in and that I pick up shifts to help out.  The only gain I would have made is a penny, $.01.

 It’s at this time that I have to ask the question of why I stay.  Some will say the benefits.  The money from my check that is taken out to go into my 403b with the possibility it MIGHT be matched if the money is right.  Maybe health insurance, that thing that I have never used and could not afford to use if I had to.  Some people argue the steady paycheck and security.  Currently I bring home about $600 every two weeks. My mortgage is about $500. I have no car payment, no internet, no cable television, or central air.  

My entertainment center boast a Lead screen TV that needs four people to carry it out along with an attached VCR and PlayStation 2.  I don’t have the luxury of ever watching Bluray.  My laptop still has a CD drive.  

 To sum everything up I am not a rich man. I am not a well off man.  Honestly I’m not a comfortable man.  Regardless of my situation I have been able to save up some money.  The up side is that I was able to put a semi popular book on Amazon last year.  Finally I had an out.  I had something to look forward to outside of my current place of employment.  My audience was able to prove to me that writing for a living is a possibility.  While my current employer has been busy making me and the rest of my department feel worthless my readers on Amazon told me otherwise.  

 The logical next step is to find out what my real value is.  First I need to change who exactly is judging that.  Currently the powers that be have their heads up their ass and make up bullshit numbers to justify not paying somebody more than they want to.  The obvious move is to pitch them to the curb.  A year ago I learned that 8000 people were willing to vote on me and hand over their money on something I wrote and asked for more.  That was a big defining moment for me and with what is currently going on I am regretting not doing this earlier. My life will change as it should.  I don’t see it getting any worse than it currently is.  I have more to gain than I have to lose at this point.  Time to jump into the rabbit hole.

Matthew Gilman can be contacted on his author facebook page.

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A Storm is Coming

 There is a storm coming.  Traveling slow and taking small steps across the land it is coming.  I saw this day coming for sure a year ago.  I was discussing with co workers how our place of employment had changed so much over the years.  The attitude of management had changed.  the way the business was becoming less friendly and more into a dog eat dog world.  Signs would appear in the halls and elevators encouraging employees to speak up if they saw something that wasn’t right.  For a while I had hope that things could change for the better.

 This week I had my review and was told what my raise would be.  The review I was told was good.  The raise was almost non existent with $.06.  I told my boss that it didn’t even cover inflation and that we didn’t get a raise last year.  I was told it was tough being at the top.  I told him that technically I was making less than I was two years ago.  He told me I was correct and moved on in the review.  

 This was the day I knew that things had to change.  While people talk about tax breaks for the rich and protecting the job creators I saw first hand that the economy and life in American can not be left in the hands of greedy corporate pigs.  

 The next day I stayed home and seriously thought about what I was going to do.  I had two minor successes on Amazon.com with books that I wrote, After the Day and Red Tide.  I have a few more sitting on the hard rive needing polished before they were put on.  I have money in savings.  Vacation time can be cashed in.  A 403b account sits in somebody else’s wallet.  I have to make a change.  

 I started listening to some of the pod cast I had downloaded weeks ago including “Write 2 b Read” pod cast.  I listened for hours about guys that started blogs.  People were choosing Amazon over traditional publishers.  Much of it sounded like things I was already doing.  The only thing I had missing was the blog to connect with my readers.  That is where this page comes in.  

 The collapse experiment isn’t just about my books.  This blog will go into several things.  How I write.  Where my ideas come from.  What is happening in my garden. Books I’ve read.  How to live on a VERY small budget.  I really want to incorporate how the things I do effect the stories I write.  

 The books I have are post apocalyptic fiction.  It’s a popular genre at the moment and one that I will continue with.  What I tried to do in the past is take out the things I didn’t like about the other books in the market and include the things I wanted to see from it.  I guess several people out there were thinking the same thing.  Several thousand people were thinking the same thing.  I know many people out there are asking when the next book will come out and all I can say is soon.  What that means I technically don’t know.  

 My other hope for this blog is to keep my readers satisfied until the next installment comes out.  So if your are itching to read something else from me this blog is the place to go.  I will try to make this daily if not every other day as to keep it on a schedule.

Matthew Gilman can be contacted on his author facebook page.

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