Hello! And welcome to my site!
If you’re in a hurry, here’s my short bio from Twitter:
And here’s my longer bio/story:
My name’s Stan Mitchell, though I go by Stan R. Mitchell in the fiction world. (I used to swear I’d never, EVER use my middle initial in my name — because it seems pretentious — but it seems there are about 10,000 Stan Mitchells out there, so here I am using a middle initial and probably being judged for being pretentious…)
I grew up in the South, in East Tennessee. I learned to hunt and shoot at a young age and joined the Marine Corps in the Delayed Entry Program at 17, early in my Senior High School Year. (Why is this legal again?)
In the Corps, I served four hard years in the infantry with 1st Battalion, 8th Marines. I wanted guaranteed infantry in my contract and threatened to join the Army to get it.
It mostly paid off as one of the highlights of my infantry career was when my platoon served as a covering force attachment for Force Recon for almost a year, which was indescribably cool. But carrying a ton of gear and sweating, freezing, and stinking for the better part of four years was not so cool. (Blowing your shoulder out in a fight with a much bigger Marine? Even less cool, especially when the surgery to repair it only sort-of worked.)
Still, I earned a Combat Action Ribbon as part of Operation Silver Wake in 1997 and left the Marines four years after joining. (The details on my military career.)
I spent the next three and a half years going year-round to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. For some stupid reason, I was in a rush, so I took summer classes and never less than fifteen hours a semester. I also worked about thirty hours a week that entire time and looking back, I wish I had SLOWED down and enjoyed it more.
At UT, I planned to be an English Major, but it turned out I mostly hate literature. Like, worse than I thought. I jumped into Political Science, but eventually switched to journalism, grabbing a bachelor’s degree, while also launching a furniture assembly business on the side.
I worked at several newspapers as a reporter before doing something more dangerous than joining the Marines at 17: I launched a weekly print newspaper at the age of 27. With just $20,000. (In the end, I’d need more than a $100,000 — and I wouldn’t try it again with less than $250,000, but I’ll spare you that BRUTAL business lesson.)
Needless to say, I ended up divorced and nearly bankrupt, living rent-free in a friend’s basement. (A quick slideshow of what it’s like to run a newspaper.)
But through all this trauma, I kept doing something I started as a young boy: writing fiction.
This is a habit I started younger than most. I began writing when I was about nine or ten (my Mom and I can’t nail down the precise year), and it started as a form of escape. Big time.
Growing up, I was a small kid and was bullied a fair amount, so I read fiction all the time to help me escape as a young boy.
And I soon transitioned from just reading to escape to actually writing. Partly because I wasn’t happy reading the stories out there — I’m a notoriously picky reader still to this day — and partly because in these stories that I wrote I changed from a little boy who was scared and bullied, to a young man who was tall, strong, and desirable. And brave. Always brave…
Writing is incredibly difficult and challenging, so it goes without saying that I started and stopped probably thirty novels over the past twenty-plus years before I finished my first one, “Little Man, and the Dixon County War.”
But in many ways, “Sold Out” was my first one.
“Sold Out” was inspired by Stephen Hunter’s book “Point of Impact (Bob Lee Swagger)” — still one of my all-time favorite books of all time. “Sold Out” is a Marine Sniper/CIA Thriller that is in some ways similar to Hunter’s book. I loved how fun Stephen Hunter’s book was and I wanted to write something similar: just pure pace and action, with setback-after-setback for a tough hombre who used to be a Marine Sniper, who’s now forced to go up against some bad dudes from the CIA.
But “Sold Out” was super difficult because of all the twists and turns in the plot, and the complicated situations that I thrust the main character into. No joke, it took me twelve years to write, which I’m not proud to say as an author, but it’s the truth. Matter of fact, I probably would have never finished it had I not finally just let it go and put it away. To myself I thought, “I need to just write a simple book and get an ‘easy’ win to build my confidence.”
So, I wrote “Little Man, and the Dixon County War,” which is a thriller set in a Western time period — think “Django Unchained” or “Appaloosa.” Then, once I had finished “Little Man,” I began feeding off its positive reviews and sales. And with that, I picked up once again the book that had taunted me and mocked me for more than a decade. It took nearly another year, but eventually I completed the story I had wrestled with for nearly one-third of my life.
I’ve written quite a few books since then, including a detective series and several follow up books to “Sold Out.”
I also have managed in that time to trick a beautiful woman named Danah into thinking I was marrying material. (Hell, maybe I’m a salesman…)
She helped me run the newspaper until we shut it down in 2014. (More info on what it’s like to own and run a newspaper here.) In all honesty, my run as an entrepreneur for those nine years was brutal, but I learned a ton and exerted myself at levels only possible under absolute desperation.
These days, I’m writing full-time, with my sights set for the very top of the fiction world. (Yes, I’m ambitious, and yes, I have a Napoleon complex. Thanks for asking!)
Let’s see what else I’m supposed to put in here…
Oh, we’ve got two cats and a dog — all rescues — and when I’m not working, which I still do too much of, I’m usually lifting, fishing, or practicing martial arts. My favorite styles are Isshin-Ryu Karate and Shaolin Kung Fu; though on some days, it’s Krav Maga or Jeet Kune Do or Kajukenbo or Muay Thai. (Yes, I’m a martial arts addict. What gave it away?)
BTW, here’s how high my fame has already taken me! I have groupies!!! : )
For those who still haven’t gotten enough (hey, I have a magnetic personality!), you can also find me on facebook and twitter. (Formal bio here.) Additionally, you can contact me by e-mail at the following address.
One hidden gem for this page, for the patient ones who read down this far. This link is about a book I believe to be worth $10,000. So, please accept my recommendation for the greatest gift I can give.
Don’t forget, if you’re interested, please subscribing for email updates of my blog posts. (This site is non-political and I mostly post about things that either motivate you, inspire you, or make you laugh.)
Also, I now have a YouTube channel, so join me there if you’re interested!!
Keep the faith,
Stan R. Mitchell
P.S. Some have asked, “Stan, what in the world gives you such an insane drive? What makes you so ambitious?”
Well, part of it is growing up without much money.
And part of it is a belief that if you’re plowing five acres, but can plow ten, then you ought to get your ass back out there and plow those other five.
To not do so is cheating yourself, your family, your community.
I have been fortunate to have had many good mentors and examples to follow. And I have consistently sought out even greater examples, both in the Marines and in the hundreds of biographies and self-help books that I have read.
So with that, let me pay it forward and see if I can share some wisdom and motivation, in the hopes that it might help you as I’ve been helped.
The following quotes come from Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai:
- “Even if you begin without talent, you can become great if you imitate a good model and put forth enormous effort.”
- “Emulate the best behaviors of those around you.”
- “In military affairs, a man must always strive to outstrip others.” <— I’m applying this to fiction writing, but you should apply it to whatever you are doing.
- “In the stories of the elder warriors, it is said that on the battlefield, if one wills himself to outstrip warriors of accomplishment, and day and night hopes to strike down a powerful enemy, he will grow indefatigable and fierce of heart and manifest courage. One should use this principle in everyday affairs, too.”
- “It is spiritless to think that you cannot attain what you have seen and heard others attain. The masters are men. You are also a man. If you think you will be inferior, then you are well on your way.”
And the following quotes are from The Shaolin Workout: 28 Days to Transforming Your Body and Soul the Warrior’s Way. I highly recommend this book, as it’s without question one of the greatest books I’ve ever received.
- “You create your own life. You make it heaven or hell. Destiny is not something that happens to you. You make your own destiny.”
- “Getting your body and mind right can affect your whole life.”
- “Nothing is difficult or easy in itself. We make it difficult or easy with our attitude. If you don’t want to do it, then nothing is easy.”
- “Strong body, strong mind. Weak body, weak mind.”
- “A foolish person wishes for good things to happen to them, but fortune, success, and happiness rarely just fall in your lap. You must grasp your life and sharpen it.”
- “Confidence is the most important key to success in all areas of your life. Believe in yourself. Trust in yourself. If you lack self-confidence, you can’t get the job done.”
Inspired, I hope? Then read this: Find true happiness: announce your dreams to the world today.