Let’s talk reading habits…

Hey guys,

Fairly regularly, I have some reader ask about my reading habits. Most assume I’m a voracious reader (and finisher) of hundreds of books — like normal authors, I presume? — but actually, it’s quite the opposite.

I try to be a voracious reader. But frankly, I am a notoriously picky reader.

I don’t finish about eighty percent of the books I start, and I’ve literally gone to the library or bookstore to pick out a book and returned home two hours later without one.

But I do love to read. Don’t get me wrong. I just mostly re-read my favorites. I kid you not, I’ve re-read some of my favorite books more than five or six times.  (I think I’ve read one or two of them probably ten times, but I don’t expect you to believe that.)

And I don’t just read them. That’s not really an honest statement. I sort of chew on them. I move through them pretty slow when I’m re-reading (truthfully, I’m a slow reader even on the first run-through). But when I’m re-readine one of my favorite books, what I’m really trying to do is see (and study) what the author is doing.

I like to dissect what they’ve done — if I can — on each page, and even each paragraph. And I’ve personally found that I get far more out of books (from a learning perspective) when I’m re-reading one, than from reading a new one. For me, I find it’s nearly impossible to learn something when you don’t know what twist or turn is coming up.

But back to the main point, as I said above, with most books, I don’t even finish them; much less re-read them.

Most of the time, I start them and the author goes left when I think he/she should’ve gone right. Or the book gets me thinking about one of my stories, and next thing you know, I’m sitting down writing.

In many respects, I’m more of a writer than a reader. If you turn a movie on, or even start a conversation with me, often you’ll see my eyes drift about halfway through it because you can just about guarantee that my mind has drifted off to some kind of story idea. And by then, I’m almost dying to get to my desk and start writing.

Anyway, would love to hear your all’s reading habits. Feel free to comment below!

Where I’ve been.

It’s been a while since I wrote a post on here. In fact, I looked at the date of my last post this morning and realized — with much chagrin — that it was from October of last year. So, nearly three months ago if you round up a tad.

And that really frustrates me because one of my goals has been to get back to blogging more. But it’s a new year and this year I’m going to be much more active on here.

I think a big part of my problem last year was the nasty divisiveness we’ve all lived through politically speaking. It doesn’t matter which side you’re on, you’re probably madder and angrier than you’ve ever been at the other side. And we’ve all seen and experienced this ugliness.

Facebook was less fun in 2017 than it’s ever been, and we’ve probably all had some serious spats with friends or family members over all the news the past year. In fact, I’d almost argue the anger and division we’re going through in this country has nearly killed facebook.

So, probably like you, I spent much of last year trying to bite my tongue and avoid saying what I was really feeling.

Also last year, shortly after that last post I wrote (Don’t ever lose the magic), I found out some devastating news that kept me from posting on here. During a routine vet appointment, I learned my dog Maggie had lymphoma.

I went into that appointment telling myself that she was seven-ish years old (we didn’t know her age because she was a rescue), and I needed to start preparing myself mentally for the fact that she probably only had three to five years left.  I left it knowing she only had mere months to live when they discovered the lump in her throat.

We fought the nasty prognosis as best we could, extending her life for as long as we could without being selfish or cruel to her (I hope), but in the end the vet’s predictions proved absurdly accurate: a perfectly “healthy” dog was attacked unseen from the inside and went downhill remarkably fast.

As most of you know, Danah and I don’t have any kids, so losing Maggie was extraordinarily painful. She was a member of our family and she was my rock and one of my best friends. She knew me about as well as anybody can know me.

She had watched me fight to keep a company alive, she had watched me write many a book, and she was always there to cheer me up or console me or beg me for one more treat or walk or game of ball.

When we received the diagnosis, and later when she passed, I didn’t tell hardly anyone. I didn’t want to post anything on facebook or tell many friends. It was just too painful, and I didn’t want to spread any more darkness in the world. 2017 was already dark enough.

Now, Danah and I are down to two kitties, Clay and Penny. (We lost our other love — a once-in-a-lifetime cat named Toby, who was more dog than cat — just about a year before Maggie.) Clay and Penny are both rescues, but they were feral before we rescued them, so they’re pretty skittish (even two years later).

They only want a little bit of love on most days, and they’re still trying to figure out why Maggie’s no longer around.

But it’s a new year and this year I’ll be posting a lot more. I’m not going to let my political exhaustion and isolation, which I think we’re all feeling, affect my blogging anymore.

I just finished a new book, I’m excited about a few other ones that I’m about halfway through with, and it’s time to get this train back on the track.

If you’re a long-time follower of the blog (and regular commenter), leave a few words below updating me on your life if you want. I’ve certainly missed the community we built on here and I’m hoping you have, too.

And if you’re new, feel free to introduce yourself below. Maybe just share a bit about yourself, how you came across this blog or my books, and anything else you want to add, such as interests, favorite authors or books, etc. I really enjoy getting to know new people who presumably share some of the same interests as me.

I’ll be posting about once a week from here on out, so hopefully, we can get back to having some great discussions (and sense of community) in the comments below again.

Stan R. Mitchell


Stan R. Mitchell, author and prior Marine, is best known for his Nick Woods Marine Sniper series, which remained in the Top 100 on Amazon for more than three years. The series ​was also picked up by Audible.com for a multi-book audio deal. Additional works include a Western thrillerdetective series, and World War II story. Learn more at http://stanrmitchell.com.

Brief update, with loads of wisdom and motivation

Hey, guys!

I apologize for the EXTREMELY long delay since my last post! Let’s just say I’ve been going through a bit of a valley in my life (<—– massive understatement!) and it’s been so trying that I’ve struggled to stay positive as each setback piled atop the prior.

When I’m in a situation like this (super down and out), I stay silent. Especially on such a wonderful platform as this. I’m so fortunate to have a few fans and followers, and I never want to turn cynical on here. It’s hard enough to stay positive in our personal lives, but in a sacred place such as this? I’ll stick to pushing positivity and motivation, thank you very much. 🙂

As we all know too well… The world has enough negativity in it already. It’s my goal to avoid EVER adding another ounce to the pile. (Lord knows I’ve added enough already!)

I’ve debated during the past couple of months explaining what I’ve been going through, which could mostly be summed up as I’ve been life’s punching bag of late. It’s been like a Rocky fight, but you’re only about 3/4 of the way through the film. So far, all you’ve seen is Rocky getting the living crap beat out of him by a big Russian.

While I was considering this fully honest update, I wrote three different drafts of everything that’s been happening to me, but each post was long, painful, and not worth sharing. As such, I’ve decided to just leave it at this: I’m going through a bit of a valley.

You’ve all been in them. And while our details may vary a bit, we all go through them.

Hey, I’m a dreamer and I’m an artist. If you pick those courses in life, you better damn well be able to take a punch.

So, I’ve taken quite a few of late, and in truth I was due. My past couple of years have been wonderful! Frankly, it was just my time to exit my luxury suite and go work down in the hot, nasty boilers for a while.

Believe me, I’m still down there, but I think I see some light at the end of the tunnel. I’m pretty sure I’m on the way out and back to the luxury suite, where I once again do well at not taking it for granted. At least for a while! lol

The bottom line for you guys is that my super awesome, motivating posts (and possibly videos) will begin reappearing soon!

Until then, keep the faith! And let me leave a few wonderful pieces of wisdom and motivation from Sifu Shi Yan Ming, a Shaolin Monk. 🙂

  • 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.
  • Do the best you can today, and do a little better tomorrow, polishing your body, your mind, and your life every day.
  • Discipline leads to joy, and joy, in turn, leads to more discipline.
  • Don’t be afraid of going slowly. Be afraid of standing still.
  • Tackle your problems. More chi. Train harder.
  • Nothing is difficult or easy in itself. We make it difficult or easy with her attitude. If you don’t want to do it, then nothing is easy.
  • Never say never.
  • When your body is weak and tired, so is your mind.
  • Strong body, strong mind. Weak body, weak mind.
  • If you find yourself getting stressed out, take a moment to relax. When you are tense, you can’t celebrate your beautiful life. Loosen up. Relax your body and your mind. And once relaxed, the task will be easier.
  • Dripping water bores a hole in rock. Little by little, you can improve and make progress. Slowly, gradually, with patience and perseverance. Not one drop. Not 10. Not 100 will bore a hole in the rock. Practice, practice, practice. Your improvement will be so gradual that you don’t even notice, but don’t give up.
  • Life is so beautiful. It may seem like a long time, but it’s very short.
  • When you are a child, you have no serious responsibilities. You are loose and relaxed and you have a lot of fun. As you become an adult, you begin to think too much, worry too much, and forget to enjoy all the beautiful things that have come into your life.
  • Life is short. Once you’re an adult, you may have 40, 50, or 80 years. That seems like a lot, but subtract the time you sleep, work, eat, spend with family, don’t feel like doing anything, etc., and how much time do you really have?
  • Get up! Life is for living. Life is action. Life is exercise. Our bodies are a gift from our parents and from Buddha. Don’t waste the gift! Use it. Free your body and your mind. Enjoy your beautiful life every day, every hour, every second.
  • If you run away from a problem or a challenge, it’s not going to disappear. It will follow you into feet you, so don’t run from your problems. Otherwise, you’ll never make progress and transform your life. Don’t turn away from it. Don’t think about it. Just do it!
  • You create your own life. You make it heaven or hell. Destiny is not something that happens to you. You make your own destiny.
  • 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.
  • When you polish your body and mind, you polish your life. Your goal is to radiate calm, confidence, and peace.
  • 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. You will find it difficult to succeed in any endeavor. Face your day today with the confidence that you can handle any task, solve any problem, overcome any obstacle!
  • Have you ever seen a lazy bird? There’s no such thing. Birds are constantly active, is constantly expressing their beautiful lives in songs and soaring flat. Birds are bursting with Chi and they don’t have time to be lazy.
  • Physical laziness, mental laziness, and spiritual laziness all reinforce each other. When your body has no energy, your mind is dull. You have no Chi. You have no interest in anything. You just lay around.
  • Observe birds. The beautiful, strong ones always land in the top of trees.
  • Be like birds, exploding with Chi, storing, singing, spreading their colorful wings. Express yourself through your body. Live your whole day with the same level of dedication, focused, and energy that you’re putting into your Shaolin workout. Apply the cheer of “More Chi! Train Harder!” to your whole life.
  • We always want things because we think they will make us happier, but they are just distractions in momentary fixes. True happiness comes from polishing your life. A life of action, not distraction.
  • True happiness is savoring this moment, here and now, for the beautiful gift that it is. Happiness is spreading peace and love to the people around you. That’s the Warrior’s way.

All of the quotes above are from a book I’ve been raving about for more than five years now. (See here: The greatest gift I’ve ever received: The $10,000 book that changed my life.) It remains one of the most important books in my life, so if the quotes from it pique your interest, consider checking out my link and buying yourself a copy.

Semper Fidelis,

Stan R. Mitchell

P.S. Enjoy my writing or videos?! You can leave me a tip at this PayPal link. : )


Stan R. Mitchell, author and prior Marine, is best known for his Nick Woods Marine Sniper series, which has remained in the Top 100 on Amazon for more than three years. The series has also been picked up by Audible.com for a multi-book audio deal. Additional works include a Western thriller, detective series, and World War II story. Learn more at http://stanrmitchell.com.