Please share a bit about your journey to become a published author?
I extended my art form to detailing many of my favorite stories in my first book “FYB – The Quest of the Three Questions.” Written for my four children and future generations, this book shared individual stories taken from my own life experiences. This along with an Art Book called “Tough Guy Artist” were self-published.
Wanting to take my work to the public/corporate speaking stage demanded I create a commercially viable book. I reworked the original manuscript and developed a unique philosophy based on my love of sports and experience as a martial artist. The result was an exciting new concept that needed the touch of an experienced hand.
Enter Julie Salisbury of Influence Publishing! Her expertise refined the new book and its cover to a professional level. Then she helped me develop a successful Amazon Best Seller campaign. The result: “Finding Your Butkus – How to be Unstoppable in Life and Business.”
How does the writing process work for you?
I write like I paint. When I see something of beauty that inspires me, I either paint it of write about it. For example, I heard a story from my mother in law that moved me so much I had to write it down. That story was picked up by the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” group and became a best seller Canada wide. I write simply and always from my heart.
What did you find most difficult about the writing and publishing process? What was the easiest?
Writing is easy according to Ernest Hemmingway “Just stand before your typewriter and bleed!” A good friend, a Scotsman, once said to me “Laddie, don’t tell me what you know – tell me your heart!” That sums it up for me – be real, be yourself. Don’t chase things but don’t ignore them either. Write about what you know because the most incredible thing happens – you learn and develop a deeper understanding about yourself the impact your life makes.
What titles have you released?
My three books are all versions of the same theme. Finding Your Butkus is about finding and understanding your life’s purpose. It’s a metaphor of doing that uses the energy of sports, in particular the idea of “the Hero” and how that can shape incredible accomplishments and personal power for individuals. It’s like “The Law of Attraction” meets the Monster of the Midway: Dick Butkus. The book outlines six specific gridiron plays, turning them into life strategies of how to get what you want. It’s simple, effective and honest.
Do you have any new books in the planning?
Just at the inspiration stage!
What would you want readers to know about you?
The statement “All who wander are not necessarily lost” is a great fit for me. Having left home at the age of 16, I worked my first and only job as a carpenter’s helper. After four years apprenticing, I began my own construction company, but soon circumstances provided opportunities far beyond swinging a hammer.
What followed was a 30-year career as a Karate Teacher and Martial Arts entrepreneur.I opened multiple dojos across the country, inspired dozens more to become professional martial artists and personally trained over 10,000 students. Then I took my knowledge and applied it to hot yoga studios. This all lead to an epiphany moment where I rediscovered a hidden passion for art, specifically “sports art.” So deep was my belief is this ability that I transformed a dormant desire into a story called “Finding Your Butkus”.
My art talent was recognized internationally and my story won an NFL Films 2008 Emmy Award for outstanding feature. While I’ve never truly been lost, I have bumbled my way like a “Forrest Gump” character, rubbing elbows with notable world class characters from one adventure to the next. What a ride!
What would you do, if you knew you could not fail – where would you go, who would you meet?
My basic belief is that you should have joy from every part of your life. This means the good and the bad. How to you make what is bad into good? Simple: by understanding it – in particular understanding its purpose for you. When you understand the purpose of your particular failure you’ll realize it’s the most important tool you have to find out what you want!