Author Interview: Donnie Masters

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome Donnie Masters, author of Start Winning With Money: Your Guide to Personal Finance, Small Business Growth, and Building Wealth, for an author Interview.

About the author:

Donnie Masters is the current owner and president of Masters Investment Group. He is an accountant for a small private business, as well as an American book author. Donnie was born and raised in Martinsburg, West Virginia.
In 2015, after having spent more than 15 years as a restaurant manager and retail store manager, Donnie began working on his first book. was published in June 2016.
Mattress Buying 101 is a how-to book on properly buying a mattress. The book was written as a guide to help the average consumer purchase the best mattress for their budget. Donnie’s inspiration for writing the book was based on his career at Sleepy’s, where he rose from salesperson to district manager in just 3 years time.
After his first book’s success in the small niche genre of mattresses, Donnie decided to write again on a couple more subjects he knew about, business and money. Start Winning With Money was started in September of 2016.
In early 2017, Donnie founded the Masters Investment Group and began focusing his energy on financial education. He continues to actively work as an accountant and write full time.

Contact Details:

Website: http://www.donniemasters.com/
Twitter: @realdonniem
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/realdonniemasters
Email: mastersinvestmentgroupllc@gmail.com


Hello, Donnie. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers a little bit about yourself?

Sure. I was born and raised in a little city in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia called Martinsburg. The city of Martinsburg is about 2 hours north west of Washington D.C.

I entered into the real, working world when I was 15. I speak about this in the very first chapter of my book, Start Winning With Money. I started earning money while working after school. Once I bought my own car and had to be “responsible” with my money, I began working longer and harder to buy more stuff and do more things in life. The really sad part is, I made every bad decision that a young person with extra cash can make!

I went on to work as a manager for several retail and restaurant chains before I was 25. I then decided to get some college education and was a district manager for Sleepy’s from 2010 – 2015. I left at that time and used my talents to get into an accounting role for a small business as well as started writing part time. I have more than 15 years experience in upper level management for retail and restaurant operations.

Please tell us about your book?

Start Winning With Money was written as a book that I wish I was given when I entered the working world. It contains vitally important information on managing your debt, student loans, building true wealth, and lots more. I believe that people have been misled on several widely believed money myths and need to hear the real and factual evidence speak for itself.

Most importantly, Start Winning With Money was meant to be a starting point on your financial journey. I wanted to provide a “road map” that you could follow on your way to making better financial decisions. It gives the reader a general and broad path to follow based on your life decisions.

How long did it take you to write it?

About 12 months all together. There are some very specific pieces of information that required a good bit of research. I spent 2-3 months outlining and researching, then I started writing the content.

Why did you choose this topic?

I am an accountant by trade. I handle the finances for a small, privately owned business every day as my “normal” job. After I received a lot of really positive feedback from Mattress Buying 101, my first book, I decided to write on another subject I knew about, money.

It was also important to me that I made an impact on someone’s life. I wanted to write a guide that would help the average person get motivated enough to fix the financial mess that they were in. You are talking to the guy that made every mistake imaginable after all, so if I can do this, anyone can!

Which writers in your field inspire you?

I read them all for different reasons, but Dave Ramsey, Clark Howard, Robert Kiyosaki and Brandon Turner from Bigger Pockets. All of them have given me valuable gems that I have used in my personal life. I believe they all have a message to share with people.

What inspired you to write?

Originally I wrote Mattress Buying 101 because I was frustrated with how the industry treated the average mattress customer. Most of the salespeople at all the mattress stores were on commission only, so they didn’t care about anything other than making a sale. We taught people to sell differently and we thrived financially, both as a business and personally, because of it.

Now I still write with the intent to educate and inform people, but my subject matter has changed as my life has changed. I provide clickable links in all my work to the articles and opinions I reference for that very reason. I do not want someone to take my opinion, but rather look at factual information and make an educated decision. I want you to know that you have more options in life and most people were probably never taught anything about money other than go to school, get a job, and be happy in your retirement 40 years later. That just doesn’t cut it anymore.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

Yes, I am working on Keep Winning With Money, which is the detailed sequel to this book. Once you have learned the basic foundation that I teach in Start Winning With Money, I believe people will need a much more detailed and step-by-step guide that will walk you through your life as things happen.

I compare the two books to road maps. Start Winning With Money gives you the general map with big highways and lots of landmarks. Keep Winning With Money will offer a much more focused and specific road to follow in order to get exactly where you want to go in life.

I am also working on my podcast coming out soon and considering exploring a book for children about money issues.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I use a laptop and dictation most of the time. My thoughts can run really quickly sometimes and so my fingers can not keep up! I like to be able to type as if I was speaking to you face to face, or even better in a teaching environment. I hope my style reflects teaching and compassion.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

I don’t have just 5 favorite books, I have read way too many to name just 5.

My 5 favorite authors are David McCullough for history, Stephen King for fiction, and Robert Kiyosaki for money. I love to mix in Brad Meltzer as well as John Grisham from time to time. I read on many different subjects, though not as much as I used to obviously.

Non-Fiction deals with a lot of facts and real-life study. How do you deal with all the research work?

Alcoholic beverages. No, I am kidding. I spend 2-3 months on the average book outline and research to support my position. Most people do not realize that it takes a lot of time to find good, pertinent information that can be used to help support a major point or validate an opinion.

For me, I love it though. I listen to a lot of podcasts and read a lot of money articles and books that offer differing opinions. This allows me to offer up what I have used in real life, as well as what the “smart people” tell you to do with your money. I believe the research makes it possible to explain this to the reader in an informed and logical manner.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors in your genre?

Write a lot and keep focused on good content.

I literally have pages and pages of material that were edited out of 2 small books that I have published so far. I do not like a lot of what comes out on paper at first, and so I go back and work on it trying to make sense of what I am reading. I have been known to re-write paragraphs and even multiple pages that didn’t come across on paper correctly.

Remember that actionable content is king. If you are going to ask people to spend their hard earned money, then the book needs to be worth the money spent on it. Don’t just sell fluff and bluster to create pages, offer real content that people can use in their lives. Non-fiction makes you work at proving your credibility to the reading audience. I love that about it.

Thank you, Donnie, for all your interesting answers! “Alcoholic beverages” had me cracking! And it is very true about what Donnie said about actionable content being the king.


About The Book:

If you are looking to make millions of dollars while sitting in your pajamas, then this book is not for you!

Start Winning With Money is financial book that offers high impact, real world solutions for life’s many money questions.
Want to better your personal finances?
Want to open your own successful business?
Would you like some real clarity on the cost of higher education?
Want to address the issue of debt in your life?
All of that and more is available to you.

Start Winning With Money will teach you:
Why your current income has nothing to do with obtaining wealth
Challenge the popular belief that all debt is bad
Address the issues with public education and why you were taught to fail with money
Define a proper budget
Why good debt can help you grow wealthy
Explain the importance of money in achieving financial freedom
Redefine true wealth.

Book Links:

Amazonhttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B071NMPPYR
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35666557-start-winning-with-money


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: A.P. McGrath

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome A.P. McGrath, author of A Burning In The Darkness, for an author Interview.

About the author:

AP was born and grew up in Ireland.

He now lives in London and works in TV. He is a single father with three beautiful teenage children.

He studied English and Philosophy and then post-graduate Film Studies.

A Burning in the Darkness is his first novel.

Contact Details:

Website: http://www.apmcgrath.com


Hello, AP. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

My primary ambition was to write an intelligent page-turner, character-led novel. I believe I’ve achieved this, to some extent, judging by the feedback. The numbers are not enormous, but I believe them to be genuine and that counts for so much. Do I want to become a full-time writer? I have a creative, fulfilling job as a head of the camera department in TV drama. It’s not a job that I want to give up. But I majored in English Literature and Philosophy and I’ve always been a writer. I feel encouraged to continue writing.

Which writers inspire you?

I’m a big fan of WB Yeats’s poetry, though I am definitely not a poet. I love the richness and rhythm of the words and the tension between the beauty and tragedy of our world and the hope for perfection in the next – even if this is a forlorn hope. I’m also a big fan of George Elliot, the female Victorian novelist. I love the American crime writer James Elroy. He has been a special inspiration for me. I love the comic swagger and pantomime of Raymond Chandler. Like many people recently, I’ve re-read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and I’ve been reminded what a great book it is.

Tell us about your book?

What or who would you sacrifice everything for? This is a question at the heart of A Burning in the Darkness. Michael Kieh is a virtuous man who confronts the painful legacy of his war-torn childhood to make the world a better place. He is a full-time faith representative at one of the world’s busiest airports where he is falsely accused of murder. As a child, Michael was a witness to unspeakable horrors, but was protected from harm by a caring priest, so he knows the importance of the strong protecting the weak. But we all need a little selfishness to survive. And Michael certainly has a smattering of selfishness because he is not afraid to assert his need for love as a strong-willed lover. But the reader roots for Michael because he refuses to betray his higher ideals. I wanted the novel to justify Michael’s faith in putting the needs of others who cannot protect themselves before your own needs. It’s easy to talk the talk on this, but entirely different to walk the walk when you have to make a big sacrifice.

How long did it take you to write it?

Seven long years. Part time, of course. But I worked on it for at least two to three hours most days. I’m a bit flummoxed as to why it took so long.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

I’m sketching out an idea for an historical novel set in 2nd century Greece. This is completely different to the setting of a busy modern airport in A Burning in the Darkness.

Why have you chosen this genre?

I wanted to write a page-turner and the crime thriller genre is ideal for this. I’s perfect for creating tension. The protagonist in A Burning in the Darkness has a real heart-breaking dilemma to solve, especially as he is falsely accused of murder. It’s not like a detective who arrives at a murder scene and must solve the crime because it is his or her job. Michael’s very survival is threatened by his profound dilemma.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I’m sure it was decided for me by forces beyond my control. They struck before I was ten years old. I’ve always wanted to be a writer.

Why do you write?

The need to tell stories goes very deep in all of us. It’s an attempt to put a perspective on our lives and the world we live in.

Where do your ideas come from?

Interestingly, this is a question asked in the novel. In ancient times the answer might have been that ideas for stories and art come from the gods. But it’s a real mystery. In the novel the question is asked of revenge and love. Why does one person choose revenge and another love? How are those seeds planted? We can ask the question, but I’m not sure there’s a satisfactory answer.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I use a laptop computer and a pen and paper. I also use the note apps on my phone for quickly jotting down ideas.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

This is a difficult question. It’s probably the case that my five favourite books re by my favourite authors. So, in no particular order:Middlemarch by George Elliot

  1. Middlemarch by George Elliot
  2. Ulysses by James Joyce
  3. Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Wolf
  4. The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy
  5. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I take a break and hold onto the idea that it will pass.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

Keep on writing. It takes a long time to produce a good novel. It’s a lot of hard work and you must be very self-critical of whilst holding onto the belief that you can produce a work that is worthwhile.

 

Thank you, AP, for all your interesting answers!


About The Book:

A murder at one of the world’s busiest airports opens this simmering crime story where a good man’s loyalty is tested to its limits. Michael Kieh is a full time faith representative serving the needs of some of the 80 million passengers, but circumstance and evidence point to his guilt. His struggle to prove his innocence leads him on a charged journey that pitches love against revenge.

Michael’s loneliness was eased by a series of brief encounters with a soul mate. When she confides a dark secret, he is motivated to redress a heart-breaking injustice. Together they must battle against powerful forces as they edge dangerously close to unmasking a past crime. But Michael faces defeat when he chooses to protect a young witness, leaving him a burning spirit in the darkness.

Michael’s commitment to helping those in need was forged in the brutality of the Liberian civil war. Protected by a kind guardian, he too was a young witness to an atrocity that has left a haunting legacy of stolen justice and a lingering need for revenge. More poignantly there is a first love cruelly left behind in Africa because of the impossible choices of war. When Michael and his former lover find each other once again they become formidable allies in proving his innocence and rediscovering their lost love.


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: K.M. Aul

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today we’re hosting K.M. Aul, author of Synesthesia, for an interview.

About the author:

KM Aul is the Best-Selling author of the Senses Novels series of books.

KM Aul started writing fiction at the age of six and hasn’t put the pen down since. KM’s writing consists of short stories, novellas, and even a published game. His first full-length novel, AURA was put into written form in 1988 and has undergone multiple revisions until finally published in 2015.

KM Aul’s personal life consists of his much younger bride, youngest daughter, a three-legged dog and pursuing his relationship with God. When not writing, his passion is for feeding the hungry by donating to his local food pantry. Mr. Aul spent time in Europe, Mexico, Canada and Asia and through it all, discovered that there is no country on earth more beautiful than the United States of America. Having travelled across our fair country multiple times, and meeting people from every walk of life and every circumstance, KM has found that there are lessons to be learned everywhere. The most important of these are, no matter your race, religion or country of origin, every life matters and everything you do in life has meaning.

KM currently lives on a small private lake in the beautiful state of Georgia.


Hello, K.M. Aul. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers a little bit about yourself?

I was born on the south side of Chicago. My family began a nomadic/American life when I was eight months old as my father was with the aerospace industry. I’ve lived in or visited all 48 contiguous states. At the age of 17, I met the woman who I would one day marry. We have, over the course of our 43-year marriage had three children, adopted three more and fostered another 24; I became a born again Christian in 1988. At this time, I live in the beautiful state of Georgia on a quiet, private lake with my wife and youngest daughter.

Please tell us about your book?

Synesthesia is the fourth book in the Senses Novels series but can be read as a stand-alone novel. It picks up on the life of Lazarus after he has been raised from the dead. Instead of living out a normal lifespan, Lazarus has been given an extended, almost immortal, new life. This installment in the series traces his new life through to the time where he, and others, are preparing to battle mankind’s greatest enemy.3. How long did it take you to write it?

How long did it take you to write it?

Because of the extensive research involved, it took me just over a year to write Synesthesia.

Why did you choose this topic?

There is very little known about Lazarus after his brief mention in scripture. Several locations claim to be his burial place, but there is no definitive proof. Lazarus is the only person raised from the dead by Jesus where there was no physical contact. There is a lot of mystery surrounding the man.

Which writers in your field inspire you?

Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker are two of the authors that inspire me. While he wasn’t at all a Christian author, H.P. Lovecraft has also influenced my writing style.

What inspired you to write?

I think Robert A. Heinlein put it best, “Writing is a disease, you don’t choose it, it chooses you.” My stories, and especially AURA, the first book in the series, percolate out of me and have, ever since I can remember.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

Yes, I am currently working on book five of the series. This is the most challenging book yet as I have already covered the five senses we all know. What does that leave?

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I do all my writing directly on the computer, without an outline.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

  1. The Bible – Multiple authors (inspired by God)
  2. Dune – Frank Herbert
  3. Alas Babylon – Pat Frank
  4. The Ringworld series – Larry Niven
  5. The Art of War – Sun Tzu

Non-Fiction deals with a lot of facts and real-life study. How do you deal with the all research work?

I don’t do a lot of non-fiction writing, but the fiction I write almost always has its basis in fact. I do all my research using both online and physical documentary sources. Most of the research is kept in note format and by date. I have also made numerous contacts over the years and have an extensive network of people from all fields that I can call on for factual data as well as fact-checking of any data I may wish to use.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors in your genre?

Never believe the nay-sayers! You will face hardship and rejection from publishers, readers, and even your own family at times. Do not give up, ever. If the writing is in you, then you need to let it out. The world wants to hear your story; it just doesn’t know it yet.

Thank you, K.M., for all your interesting as well as deeply insightful answers!


About The Book:

The Best Selling Christian Fiction/Fantasy Series Continues!

Time has run out. The world as we know it is coming to an end and a handful of heroes are all that stand in the way of the final darkness.

Born in an age of brutality and miracles, Eli was raised from the dead to start a new life unlike any other. His touch can heal; his pain can destroy. He has not only seen the rise and fall of civilizations, his power has been the cause of them. Prepare yourself for an adventure through time, prepare to face the greatest challenge humankind has ever known.


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Excerpt: Start Winning With Money by Donnie Masters

Today, at TRB Lounge, we are featuring an excerpt from Start Winning With Money: Your Guide to Personal Finance, Small Business Growth, and Building Wealth by Donnie Masters.

If you’re in to learn some really good advice about not only building but also managing finances, then read on…

About the Book:

If you are looking to make millions of dollars while sitting in your pajamas, then this book is not for you!

Start Winning With Money is financial book that offers high impact, real world solutions for life’s many money questions.

Want to better your personal finances?
Want to open your own successful business?
Would you like some real clarity on the cost of higher education?
Want to address the issue of debt in your life?
All of that and more is available to you.

Start Winning With Money will teach you:
Why your current income has nothing to do with obtaining wealth
Challenge the popular belief that all debt is bad
Address the issues with public education and why you were taught to fail with money
Define a proper budget
Why good debt can help you grow wealthy
Explain the importance of money in achieving financial freedom
Redefine true wealth

Book Links:

Amazonhttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B071NMPPYR
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35666557-start-winning-with-money


BOOK EXCERPT

Chapter 3

You have been lied to 

Have I previously mentioned my distaste for the public school system in America yet?. One of my biggest concerns with our nation today is that children are being taught years and years of English, Math, and Science. But in most cases, our kids graduate high school without having had one class in financial management.

Over the course of your working life, you will be expected to pay taxes, fund your retirement, and take care of yourself financially. I am not sure how we can expect our children to do this when they are not being taught how to do so. Additionally, the cards are stacked against most children as no one in the family has enough wealth to manage. This simply means that there is zero education at home as well.

Since at least the 1950’s, and maybe longer, the American consumer has been fed four downright lies that have been ingrained in our culture as truth, even though logic and simple math tells us that it doesn’t make sense. These four “truths” are that you must buy a house, you must get a college education, you must save a lot of money for retirement, and you must avoid all debt.

We are going to tackle all of these “truths” head on in this chapter, but we need to break them down one by one in order to make some sense out of it all. Let’s start off with the grand daddy of them all. You must buy a house!

 

Big Lie #1 – You Must Buy a House

Most people can not just go out and buy a house with cash. They do not have that kind of money in their bank account ready to spend on a residence. In order to purchase a house then, most people must take out a mortgage to pay for their home. Since most people have to utilize a mortgage as part of the payment process, shouldn’t we start by defining what a mortgage is?

Dictionary.com defines a mortgage as:

  1. a conveyance of an interest in property as security for the repayment of money borrowed.
  2. the deed by which such a transaction is effected.
  3. the rights conferred by it, or the state of the property conveyed.

In plain language, a mortgage is a legal agreement that carries the conditional right of ownership of an asset by the owner to a lender as security for taking out a loan. In terms of real estate, the house acts as collateral for the lender. The lender’s interests are then recorded in the register of the title documents to make it public information that they have an interest in a specific property. The mortgage agreement is then voided when the loan is fully repaid by the borrower.

I believe that there are three primary reasons people are told to purchase a home. If you take this advice at face value, it appears to be solid financial advice for a lot of practical reasons. But let’s take a brief moment and really break down these three reasons that people buy a property to live in.

  • A home is an appreciating asset
  • You get to lock in your payments
  • I can sell it later on for a profit, or live in it “free” at retirement

Let’s start by talking about whether your personal home is an appreciating asset. Do you live in a single family home, townhouse, or condo? How much is your house going up in value every year?

USA Today conducted an interview with renown Yale economist and Nobel prize winner Robert Shiller. His direct quote is as follows:

“If you look at the history of the housing market, it hasn’t been a good provider of capital gains. It is a provider of housing services…

Capital gains have not even been positive. From 1890 to 1990, real inflation-corrected home prices were virtually unchanged.”

In other words, yes the house you live in will go up in value over time, but that value is merely keeping up with overall inflation. Your house is therefore NOT an appreciating asset. Furthermore, it does not produce income for you either, so we can’t even classify it as a good debt.

Now someone is thinking okay, but you get to lock in your payments for the life of the loan, right? In theory yes you do. But do you know that your payments are still going to fluctuate every year anyway? Taxes on personal property can be outrageous depending on classification of the property and home values in the area. Every year taxes and insurance cost more than the year before. So yes, your payment on the mortgage and interest will stay the same, assuming that you locked in your mortgage rate, but your escrow will constantly adjust with the changing taxes and insurance rates. This means your payments will fluctuate over time.

All right! I hear someone else saying. Enough of this craziness! At least I get to live in my house “free” at retirement or I can sell it for a big capital gain later on in my life. Sure, if you say so. But before you believe that hype, answer me a question. How do you live in a house for free? Yes, maybe after 30 years you have paid off the mortgage, but taxes, insurance and utilities will be higher than they have ever been. Not only that, but how many upgrades and repairs have you had to do over 30 years? The true cost of home ownership is very high and it is most certainly not free.

Someone else is going, “hold on a minute here.” I sold my house and got a big fat check with capital gains at closing. What can you say about that fella?

I could tell you that you would have done much better investing your money in the stock market over the same 30 years that you paid off your mortgage. Don’t believe me about that one either?

According to the Washington Post:

“The Washington Post analyzed Shiller’s data and reported that, over the past 100 years, home prices have only grown at a compound annual rate of 0.3%, adjusted for inflation. The S&P 500, on the other hand, has had an annual return of 6.5%. That’s an awfully big difference.”

I can certainly understand why many readers may need to re-attach their jaws right now. After all, I currently own a single family home, and I bet a lot of you do to. But what else am I going to do, sell my house and rent forever? No, and neither are you.

As with any legend or myth, there is some truth to this argument. The reality is, that being able to lock in your payment on an appreciating asset is a beautiful thing for your overall wealth accumulation. The problem is, that a single-family house is not an appreciating asset. So what is the best solution?

If you are going to buy a home to live in, I would suggest that you look into a 2-4 unit “multifamily” house. The reason why is incredibly simple to understand. Your private residence will now cost considerably less for you to live there, as other people will rent from you and help pay off the house. With some of these savings you can invest for your retirement sooner in life. Plus, you will build equity over time on a “good debt”. We don’t even need the house to appreciate in value to make this plan work. Let me explain this even farther.

A good debt produces income for you, right?. We have learned that part already in this book. If 3 out of your 4 units are paying rent to you then the property will produce income. This now makes your personal residence a good debt. The rent payments should cover all the mortgage due plus the taxes and insurance on the property. Having 3 paying units will allow you to live in your personal residence for next to nothing. You may even find a deal that allows you to live payment free on your personal residence. No monthly mortgage payments to live in your house, now that’s how to start winning with money!

On top of all that, you are borrowing money in a property that will go up in value over time, even if it only keeps up with inflation. The best part is, the house can actually not appreciate in value and this will still be a winning formula. Maybe your personal residence’s return on investment doesn’t beat the stock market’s return over time, but you have to live somewhere while you are alive. Why not let it be a property that works with you to achieve financial freedom long term.

So if you are going to take on all the risk of a mortgage (and a big one at that), wouldn’t it at least make sense to understand what it all entails?

 

What’s The Deal with Mortgages?

A mortgage is the most readily available home loan opportunity and what most people are familiar with. When it is truly a home mortgage however, only two different parties are involved; the homeowner and the bank. A loan is provided to the individual from the bank, with the home used as collateral for the length of the loan.

If the agreed payments aren’t made on time, the bank can then begin the foreclosure process. They use the mortgage agreement to take over full control of the house. The bank will then sell the house in an attempt to recover the loan that had initially been given to the individual. Foreclosure homes are often sold via auction, as the bank wants to get back their funds as quickly as possible. The auction process will make the house being sold sell at a steep discount to the general market. This is because all auctions are sold “as-is”, “where-is”. In other words, you are buying the property in the shape you see it with all it’s flaws.

The key factor in the foreclosure process is time. The process can be very time consuming for the bank involved. It often takes several months or up even up to a year to clear the legal system and finally gain possession of the house. Many states also have contingency plans where the homeowner can get the home back very late into the foreclosure process if they can catch up with their payments. Because of the time and money involved in the foreclosure process, most lenders prefer issuing a deed of trust instead.

 

Deed of Trust

In a deed of trust situation, a third party is involved. This third party is referred to as the “trustee”, or he who holds ownership of the home until the loan is repaid in full. The homeowner is still responsible for making payments to the bank, and once they have repaid the loan, the trustee holding the deed of trust will release it to the individual.

The bank can reclaim the house if payments are not made, just as with a mortgage. The home is reclaimed directly from the trustee however, and the long, lengthy process of a mortgage is non existent. This is because both the bank and the individual never actually held title to the home. Banks prefer the deed of trust arrangement as they can get title to the property and resell it much faster than if a mortgage is in place. A deed of trust also reduces the administrative costs (read legal fees) and length of time between foreclosure and getting the home resold.

Ultimately, when it comes down to it, lenders will desire a deed of trust arrangement while buyers will want a mortgage. Not all states allow deeds of trust and the terms can differ dramatically from state to state. As such, if a bank is pushing for a deed of trust, you should review the state guidelines with a real estate attorney to ensure you clearly comprehend the risks and whether or not a mortgage is even available in your specific state.

 

Basic Components

As with all other types of installment loans, mortgages have interest and are scheduled to be repaid over a set period of time. Most mortgages are up to 30 years, though repayment plans up to 50 years can be had. All types of real property are secured with the property itself as collateral.

A mortgage is still the primary method used to finance private ownership of residential and commercial property in the United States. Although the methods will differ in various countries, the basic components are similar to ours. These are the common terms used in mortgages and deeds of trust.

Property: The physical residence being paid for. The exact form of ownership is determined by the agreement entered into; either a Deed of Trust or a Mortgage.

Mortgage/Deed of Trust: This is the secured interest of the lender in the property, which may or may not include restrictions on the use or disposal of the property.

Borrower: The person borrowing funds to finance the “asset” and is creating an ownership opportunity in the property.

Lender: The party offering the financing money, but it is usually a bank or financial institution.

Principal: The original total amount of the loan, this may sometimes include other costs. Whenever any principal is repaid, the principal amount will reduce in size.

Interest: The profit or financial reward gained by the lender for the use of their money over time.

Foreclosure or repossession: The process where the lender has to foreclose, repossess, or seize the property under certain situations.

Other terms are more prevalent in different countries, but the above referenced terms are the essential components of a mortgage in the United States. Most governments regulate areas of the banking and lending industries within their respective countries in order to prevent fraud.

Lenders provide loan funds for properties to earn interest income, or make profit. Lenders generally borrow these funds themselves since they do not have enough capital to lend over and over again without replenishing their coffers. The price at which other lenders lend out these monies affects the cost of borrowing as well. Lenders can also sell the mortgage loan to other parties after closing on the deal.

Mortgage lending also has to take into account the risk of default on the loan. In other words, the assumed risk is the likelihood that the funds lent will be repaid as agreed. If they are not repaid as agreed, the lender will foreclose on the real estate assets as we have previously mentioned. This is not the preferable method of most banks. Banks prefer to have the interest funds to re-invest for more interest. They are not interested in a property to maintain and sell.

 

Mortgage Underwriting

Once the mortgage application enters into the final stages of preparation, the loan application is moved to a mortgage underwriter. The underwriter verifies all the financial information that the applicant has provided, and makes sure it is correct and valid. Verification of the applicant’s credit history will occur. The house is then appraised, or given a value relative to similar properties in the area.

The income and employment information of the applicant will also need to be confirmed by the underwriter. The underwriting process may take several days to complete. It is advisable to maintain your current employment and not open any new credit while undergoing the underwriting process. Any changes made to the applicant’s credit score, employment records, and/or financial information can lead to the loan being denied.

In the case of a fixed rate mortgage, the interest rate remains fixed, or locked-in, for the duration of the loan. In the case of a monthly repayment plan, which most mortgages are, the payment will remain the same amount throughout the entire loan. Please note that the amount of escrow and taxes will fluctuate every year as we discussed earlier.

In an adjustable rate mortgage, the interest rate is generally fixed for a set period of time, after which it will periodically adjust up or down based on the market index. The rate may adjust monthly or annually under the terms of your financing agreement.

Adjustable rate mortgages are not to be taken lightly. Adjustable mortgages transfer the risk of rising interest rates from the lender to the borrower, and thus are largely used where fixed rate funding is difficult to obtain or prohibitively expensive. Since the risk is transferred to the borrower, the initial interest rate may be between, 0.5% and 2% lower than the average 30-year fixed rate. We do no recommend an adjustable rate mortgage for a primary residence.

The interest charged to a borrower will depend upon the credit risk and the interest rate risk. The mortgage origination and underwriting process involves checking several factors including, credit scores, debt relative to income, down payment available, and other current assets owned by the borrower. Jumbo mortgages (mortgages over $417,000 in most of the United States) and subprime lending (borrowers with a credit score under 620) are not supported by government guarantees and face much higher interest rates than standard mortgages.

Now that we have covered one of the biggest financial decisions you will make in your life, buying your personal residence, let’s turn our attention to another big “truth” told in America today. You simply MUST get a college education.

 

Big Lie #2 – You Must Get a College Education

Okay, so maybe this was sound advice 50 years ago when a majority of people did not already have a college education, but it simply no longer applies in today’s society. Most people can spend a fraction of college costs on certification and/or job training and find meaningful employment. Let’s talk about student loan debt for a bit and why college is not a “good” debt.

In the United States, student loans were not even an option until the 1960’s. In hindsight, a simple law that should have opened the door of opportunity to many more students, quickly got out of control. It took less than 20 years for reality to set in about student loans.

In 1958, the United States was only 13 years removed from World War II. Within our country, there was a legitimate concern about the spread of communism and how to combat it. Most people from the World War II generation will be able to recall the legitimate fear regarding communism. At one point, the United States even went as far as having public hearings, called the McCarthy hearings. Many high profile celebrities were called to testify before Congress in an attempt to expose communism among movie studios.

In an attempt to make sure that the United States stayed competitive with the Soviet Union, especially in regards to math and science studies, Congress decided to pass the National Defense Education Act in 1958. In 1965, the Johnson administration created the guaranteed student loan, or Stafford loan program. Since 1965, the cost of a college education has outpaced inflation by more than 2 1/2 times.

According to an article entitled, “The History of Student Loans in Bankruptcy“, the cost of a higher education amended for inflation is absolutely startling. According to the author of the referenced article, Steven M Palmer, in 1980, the average cost for tuition and room and board at a public institution was $7,587 adjusted for 2014 dollars. So what’s the problem? By 2014 that same, exact education now cost $18,943; more than 2 ½ times the rate of inflation. Unfortunately, the news only gets worse as we go along.

If we continue down that same train of thought, loans are also becoming more necessary for someone who wishes to attend a college or university. In 1981, for example, someone who worked a minimum wage job could work full time in the summer and earn almost enough to cover their annual college costs. By 2005, that same student would have to work the entire year and use every penny of their earnings in order to attend school.

Between the years of 1958 and 1976, the United States government began to see a problem with their plan. Prior to 1976, student loans could be discharged in bankruptcy proceedings without any constraints whatsoever. As the economy began to sour in the 1970s however, change was enacted. The federal bankruptcy code was enacted in 1978, and the ability to get rid of student loan debt in bankruptcy was drastically changed.

The article goes on in detail, explaining that between 1978 and 1984, only private student loans could not be discharged in bankruptcy. As the situation continued to worsen, and more and more people were getting into debt via student loans, the government continued to restrict bankruptcy discharges.

Changes were made to bankruptcy laws in 1984, 1990, 1991, and 1992. In 1996 the federal government even allowed Social Security benefits to be considered as income towards repaying defaulted student loans. In 1998 more changes were made again. By 2001, changes were made again allowing disability and retirement benefits to be considered as repayment income.

Basically, as the United States government became aware of the problem that they created, Congress continued to modify the bankruptcy laws, to make sure that student loans had to be paid back even when someone declared bankruptcy. They began changing the income requirements for repayment as well. Ask yourself a simple question, why is this?

Now that you have been informed of this new information about student loans, it should be obvious that student loans should always be considered a bad debt. In fact, let’s continue to go into this a little deeper still. What about the fact that a college graduate will earn more money over their lifetime?

Technically, it is a true statement that a college graduate will earn more money over their lifetime of earnings than someone that does not attend college. But once again we are only being sold on part of the story. In reality, the average college graduate will not earn enough money to offset the student loan payments and interest accrued on their debt. In fact, a college degree isn’t even a good indicator of whether or not you will get ahead in life.

 

Are Student Loans a Good Indicator of Success?

There can be no doubt that members of our government were simply trying to encourage its citizens to get a better education. This is most likely the reason that the laws were passed to help ensure every student could go to college if they wished to. So how did a good idea go so bad?

After World War II, the United States government saw the success of the G.I. Bill. The G.I. Bill ensured that military veterans would receive their college expenses paid for by the US government. Based upon the early success of the G.I. Bill, low interest loans were made available to all Americans by 1965.

The college graduation rate in the early 1960s was only 7 to 8% by the time most of these laws went into effect. In other words, a college graduate that was looking for a new job represented only one out of twelve applicants.

By today’s standards, more than 30% of the population has at least a bachelors degree, and more than 60% has some college education, up to and including an Associates degree. At this point, the American workforce has so much education that almost everyone who applies for a job has some college education on their resume.

Based on the college graduation rate of the 1960s, the notion that higher education was better than entering the workforce straight out of high school became a common theme. Multiple generations of Americans have now been sold on this lie. At one point in time, statistics were presented that showed college graduates would earn as much as $3.4 million more in their lifetime than students who didn’t graduate with a college education.

Unfortunately, due to the rising demand that student loans created, the cost of a college education began to rise much faster than the rate of overall inflation. This meant that families began to devote more of their income just to pay for college costs. At this point in time, annual tuition has entered into the tens of thousands of dollars per year. College expenses are so high that they have even outpaced families in the upper middle class. Many more students have had to turn to student loans to pay for their education, even if their family has some money set aside.

Today, more than 71% of students are leaving school with student loans, according to studentloanhero.com. Additionally, even though the average college graduate earns $17,500 more annually than a high school graduate, loans for a basic 4 year degree are now topping $60,000. A repayment on that type of loan equals a small mortgage payment in some parts of the United States. Students are dedicating $400-600 per month on student loan payments. According to the Economist magazine, this means that a lot of students with degrees are actually, “…worse off than if they had started working at 18.”

With more and more students understanding that they are probably going to incur student loans as part of their education expenses, people have begun searching for ways to reduce college costs overall. Let’s continue to go down this path of having a higher education at any cost.

 

The Dangers of Student Loan Debt

For high school students who are searching for ways to reduce the cost of a college education, your local community college has probably been pitched as a way to reduce your overall expenses and avoid larger debts by attending a more expensive four year university.

Many, if not all, financial advisers actually flat out recommend that you complete your first two years at a community college before transferring credits to a four year university. They claim that this is a sure fire way of cutting overall college costs by as much as half, thus minimizing your need for college loans. So far this sounds like really logical financial advice.

Community colleges usually have annual tuition rates that are well below those of a traditional four year college or university, and the two year route may really help in terms of overall cost management and the amount of student loan debt when finished. So where, exactly, is the problem with this plan?

As it turns out, statistically, community college students are more likely to struggle with their student loan debts AND are also more likely to default on payment of their student loans altogether. This doesn’t seem to make any sense now does it?

According to pewtrusts.org, “38% of two-year college students who started to repay their loans in 2009 defaulted within five years…”

So the bigger question is, why do community colleges have this problem that doesn’t seem to effect major universities?

The truth is that more people simply drop out of community college than a four year program. Some statistics report as many as 38% of community college students do not finish their program. Combine dropping out of school with the fact that high school graduates have lower paying jobs in the first place and you can clearly see the problem. A lot of community college students had to borrow money to live on while they went back to school which means they don’t have extra money to repay the loans.

Even though tuition and overall costs are a lot lower at community college, the students are not as committed to finishing their degree there. Some of this can be explained by age and educational levels in the household (community colleges have older students and more immigrants), but much more of it involves lack of education about the cost of higher education.

 

Minimizing, and Managing Student Loan Debt

What do we make of all these default and delinquency rates for students trying to find a way into the working world? What do we say to high school graduates who are looking for ways to minimize the cost of a traditional college education by transferring credits from a community college?

The answer is to avoid student loan debt at all costs. It is a much better option to just work your way into better situations, promotions, and opportunities within the work force. The average person will actually do much better for not having the student loans wrapped around their neck for the rest of their life. Especially since student loans can not be discharged in bankruptcy.

If you aren’t willing to take that as an acceptable answer, please at least heed some sound financial advice on student loan debt. Below is a list of things to do or look for in order to avoid taking on more student loan debt than you will be able to handle later on.

  • Keep ALL other expenses as low as possible

Managing or reducing your overall college expenses may mean living at home with your parents and packing your lunch instead of eating on campus every day. Working part time or full time while you go to school in order to pay for it is an even better idea.

  • Constantly be looking for scholarships and grants

You can cut your college costs by seeking out scholarships and grants. Scholarships and grants provide you with financial aid that, unlike a student loan, does not need to be paid back.

If you’re a working student, make friends with the human resources department at your employer. Some employers offer tuition reimbursement programs or professional development benefits that can help you reduce the cost of your education.

  • Always complete your degree program

For college students who must rely on student loans to get through school, the single best predictor of successful repayment is actually graduation. Students who have completed their degree are the most likely to repay their school loans without defaulting.

“Just 15 percent of community college graduates default on their college loans, compared with 27 percent of community college dropouts,” according to the Institute for Higher Education Policy.

Students who spend one year or less in school are the most likely to run into repayment problems on their student debt. This is often because they can’t find a job or the job they do find doesn’t pay enough to enable them to make their student loan payments on top of life’s normal expenses.

  • Do not borrow more than is required

Borrowing more than they need is very problematic for community college students because the federal education loan programs offer the same maximum loan amount regardless of what type of school you attend.

The maximum federal undergraduate loan available each year will typically cover the cost of all tuition and fees at a community college plus a few thousand dollars available for books, transportation, and living expenses.

That extra money can be very tempting to use. Living expenses pose a major challenge for many college students, regardless of what type of school you attend. How you plan to pay for your living expenses while in college can mean the difference between manageable and unmanageable levels of debt when you finish.

Having a plan to pay for your living expenses without resorting to maxing out your student loans will significantly reduce the amount of money you need in order to complete your degree. The less student loan debt you have when you graduate, the lower, and more manageable, your monthly payments will be. Having lower payments also means you will be able to pay those loans off faster.

Before we conclude this section on student loans, I believe it is important to cover the different types of student loans and how they can impact your financial future.

 

            Not All Student Loans Are Created Equal

Federal education loans are issued directly by the federal government and they carry a fixed (locked in) interest rate, along with very flexible repayment terms. Federal student loans also have multiple options for postponing or reducing monthly payments based on financial circumstances. Federal student loans are generally low cost and lower interest loans.

Private education loans, which are not issued by the government, are issued by banks, credit unions, and other private lenders. These loans often have variable rates. Private loans are credit based loans that typically carry higher fees and interest rates than their federal counterparts. Private student loans offer fewer options for financially distressed borrowers to be able to postpone or reduce their payments as well.

One major difference between typical consumer loans (think auto loan) and a student loan is the deferment period. With a car loan, payments on the principal begin almost immediately, even if they are relatively small at first. In other words, with every payment made you are slowly paying down the total balance of the loan.

In contrast, all federal education loans and a lot of private education loans allow students to defer making any payments while the student is still in school. The repayment of the loan is then delayed for years in most cases while the student finishes their education. This comes with a cost of course, as there is not a delay on interest charges.

Except in the case of subsidized federal student loans (in which the government will cover the interest while a student is in school and are also awarded only to students who demonstrate the most financial need), interest begins to accumulate on college loans as soon as the loans are issued, even if a student is deferring payments.

This accumulation of interest may take place over months or years, quietly running up the balance on a student’s school loan debt to alarmingly high levels.

If we add up all of these small details about student loans, then we begin to understand the much larger picture. Yes, it is true that college graduates will make more money than non-college graduates. The problem with that mathematical equation however, is that we are not calculating the amount of interest and debt repayments that come out of that extra income. When you begin to peel away the layers, we get a much clearer picture.

At this point in time, it just does not make any mathematical sense to enroll in college UNLESS you have a clear path to a high paying career. The amount of debt that one must take on in order to complete a basic four year degree far outweighs the difference in income for an average degree. If you are not looking at a masters or doctorate level career, then I believe the additional income to be truly insignificant for the amount of debt that you will have to incur.

The math no longer makes sense for kids to accumulate debt in order to get a basic degree now does it? That is why America is still being sold on something that no longer applies in today’s new economy. Going to school after high school still helps you earn more money longer term. Unfortunately, the gap is closing quickly for a lot of majors. When you figure in years and years of loan payments that accumulate interest and never go away, the math becomes a lot clearer.

For further reading and research on this topic, I suggest this article. The article, by Nikelle Murphy, specifically points out 10 college degrees that are almost worthless to employers now. Not only is it a great read, but it may help you make a much better decision in life.

I think there is one more point that needs to be made at this time. The new economy that involves the Internet has also broken down the barriers between educated and non-educated citizens. Much like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs did to the computer industry years ago, so has the Internet done to this generation. You literally have college dropouts, high school dropouts, and teenagers, making vast sums of money via the Internet.

While it is important to note that this path is not for everyone, not attending college and pursuing your own business via the Internet is a viable option for some people. If your long term plan does not involve traditional education than you should heavily consider an Internet based business. I specifically like creative and art driven people to consider this road of success as opposed to “graphic design” schools.

Now let’s tackle the next myth head on. That is, you must save a lot of money in order to retire.

 

Big Lie #3 – You Must Save A Lot Of Money For Retirement

How much money do you need to retire? One million? Two million? More or less than that amount?

No one, and I mean absolutely no one, has a realistic number that you can just plug in and use as a goal for your retirement accounts. The reason why is because one thing is constant in the world we live in, inflation.

Inflation is defined as:

“A sustained, rapid increase in prices, as measured by some broad index (such as Consumer Price Index) over months or years, and mirrored in the correspondingly decreasing purchasing power of the currency.” This definition is according to businessdictionary.com.

So what does inflation have to do with America being sold a big lie about saving money for retirement?

The truth is you will never be able to save enough for retirement. Even if you were to put away 20% of your before tax income from the day you turned 21, you will never have enough for retirement without generating additional income. How can I be so sure this is true? Inflation erosion.

I can hear some of you rolling your eyes already. You are probably going back in time and imagining the job you had a 21, and starting to calculate what 20% of your before tax income would have been. I will save you the math.

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that you earned $100,000 per year, every year for 40 years. In this example, you would have earned $4 million in your adult life. You were also one of the lucky ones, and you were able to retire at the age of 61 since you saved so diligently.

Now using these exact numbers, 20% of your pretax income would be $800,000. But let’s also assume that you invested wisely, and that you were able to grow your $800,000 retirement fund by a 250% return over the 40 years. $800,000 times 250% equals $2 million. A lot of you reading this right now are probably going that’s incredible! I agree completely.

So what is inflation erosion and what does it have to do with my retirement account you ask? Inflation erosion is a technical term based on the belief that savings are being erased faster than ever because inflation is rising faster than the average income.

So at this point, you are probably asking how I can be so confident in my mathematical calculations? As it turns out, once again the United States government is supplying all the information we need. Specifically, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics produced the following chart attempting to track inflation for just one 12 month period.

The base line for inflation is 1.8% per year for the 2011-2012 period referenced in the above chart. In reality, medical care is almost doubling the rate of inflation every year. Additionally, housing and transportation services are outpacing inflation as well. If we add in discretionary spending, such as higher education and new cars you can see why your dollar is not going as far as it used to. There is no way to “out save” inflation.

So going back to our example, you retire at the age of 61 with $2 million in your retirement account. The problem is, based upon inflation, that $2 million doesn’t go near as far as it used to. Let’s look at a really specific example.

The exact same Bureau of Labor Statistics, has a really neat online calculator. This online calculator will show you exactly what inflation has done to the US dollar over time.

For our specific example, a person working for 40 years between the ages of 1960 and the year 2000 would retire with a $2 million retirement account. However, in order to have the same spending power in the year 2000 that their money had in the year 1960 when they started saving, you would have needed to accumulate $11,522,184.30.

Yes you just read that correctly, in order to have the same spending power that $2 million had in 1960, by the year 2000 and you would have needed more than $11 million! Unfortunately, I don’t see any scenario in which this gets better going forward.

But there’s another other thing I’d like to point out as well. During the years 1960 and the year 2000, a majority of working Americans received some form of pension and will collect full Social Security payments. I want to stress to you that I’m not making a political point here, but rather I am telling you that my generation and the generations behind me will not receive pensions. They simply do not exist anymore in today’s world. As for Social Security, it’s anybody’s guess how long that’s going to stay around.

To make this new information sound even more dire, this specific data was supplied by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Yes, the United States government acknowledges that this is a real mess and has zero solutions to fix it. Obama care? Trump care? Neither one will fix the mess that insurance providers, politicians, and pharmaceutical companies have created when it comes to healthcare.

Now let’s talk about your income for just a moment. Are you currently making $100,000 per year? Are you even making more money than you did last year? Are you making more money than you ever have in your life? Probably not.

According to USA Today, Americans finally got a raise in income level during the 2015 tax year. The article says that incomes rose for the first time in 8 years, meaning that incomes had not risen at all since 2007. The same article continues on stating that most Americans don’t feel like they got a raise in income because after adjusting for inflation their true level of income has not matched the levels of 1999. Depressing isn’t it?

So for 16 years straight, the average US household has made less money than before. Once again the data was supplied by our own government. The data for this specific USA Today article was supplied by the United States Census Bureau. The same government that is supposed to be guiding it’s citizens and providing a portion of their retirement has acknowledged that it is failing you.

Is Social Security even going to be available for another generation? Are we creating more jobs that pay a real living wage? Are expenses going down every year? Are incomes going up? The answer to all of those questions is “no”, and I don’t see any reason to believe they are going to be fixed any time soon.

So now we come to the fourth and final lie that is being taught to most Americans, you must avoid all debt in order to succeed in life. Debt is evil! All debt is bad! The credit card companies are ruthless with their aggressive advertising!

Do me a small favor and hear me out on this next part. It really might just change the way you look at things going forward in your life.

 

Big Lie #4 – You Must Avoid ALL Debt

Ah, yes. Stand up my Dave Ramsey loyalists and scream at me! ALL DEBT IS BAD!

What if I could prove to you it isn’t? In fact, what if I could show you documented proof that debt can actually make you wealthy beyond your wildest dreams?

You have probably heard some stupid expression over the years about how 90% of all millionaires got to millionaire status by investing in real estate. Think back to where you first heard such a crazy thing. Was it a friend that said it?

At one time in life, I repeated this to people as well. In fact, just last year I wrote a blog post that referenced the fact that 90% of millionaires started in real estate. I am guessing that this expression started somewhere in the real estate circle years ago. Most likely a Realtor or mortgage broker started this silly expression trying to convince someone to buy real estate. Can you become a millionaire by owning real estate? Yes. Did 90% of all millionaires achieve their wealth through real estate? No.

According to an article, on Financial Uproar, most millionaires do in fact OWN real estate, but a good portion of them did not use real estate to become wealthy. According to their own admission:

“…90% of millionaires do not come from real estate. Most millionaires come from a combination of success at work, owning a business, and investments, mostly in equities.”

So why do we assume that people who have loads of debt in real estate holdings are wealthy? Does owning something other than your own house make sense long term? Absolutely, as long as it is purchased, repaired, maintained, and managed correctly.

The case for using real estate as part of your personal wealth building plan is a strong one as long as you follow all the rules outlined below. If you want to make money in real estate you must follow the path that many before you have laid out.

The 4 Rules of Investing in Real Estate

  1. Cash Flow
  2. Buy Below Market
  3. Use Leverage Correctly
  4. Take Every Tax Advantage

 

The cash flow on an investment in real estate must be positive by as much as possible. Simply put, the difference between what you can rent the property for and your mortgage payment must be a positive number. In order to not get into financial trouble down the line, you must be able to put this money away for future repairs and unexpected bills.

I do also want to make one more note here. There are a portion of real estate investors that believe buying the right property at any price is advisable. Based upon their beliefs, they will argue that depreciation, amortization, and the tax benefits of owning real estate as an investment, will make up for any cash flow losses. I strongly urge you not to listen to this advice.

As with any other investment, there are a multitude of general rules that are being taught on the Internet. My biggest suggestion would be to listen to someone that actually owns investment real estate as opposed to someone writing an article on it. If you simply ask for assistance, most people will be willing to share their opinions and advice about their own business.

Buying below market is paramount to making future gains on your property. Paying down the mortgage alone is not great use of your money. We have already looked at why that doesn’t work very well. If you can not add value to a property between the time you buy and the time you sell, then you must get a discount when buying it.

We have already outlined good debt and bad debt. Using debt to make money is a good debt. If you can lock in a payment on the property that offers positive cash flow, then you are making money by using debt. Leverage should never be a long term plan by itself. Use debt along with the other 3 rules to make money.

I would also strongly advise against taking large loans against the property. While in some cases you may be able to get financing up to 95% of the purchase price, I would not advise going this route. The only time that it makes sense not to use a large down payment, is when you are planning to flip a property within a two year time frame. If you are truly buying an investment property, then you probably have no plans of selling it anytime soon, so lock in a great rate with no PMI (private mortgage insurance).

You must also take every single tax advantage available to you as well. Hire a good accountant or pay for professional advice if you are in doubt about anything. The tax advantages of owning rental real estate along with positive cash flow can be simply astounding over the long term.

There are two terms that you also need to become really familiar with. I have already hinted at it, but depreciation and amortization are your friends. I will quickly define both below.

Depreciation is defined as being able to write down the value of an asset over time, based upon common wear and tear.

Amortization on the other hand, is the ability to offset your income by deducting the loan payments as they are incurred. In other words, you will be able to deduct the interest expenses of the mortgage, and a portion of the principal, against the property’s rental income.

I am going to really stress that ALL 4 of these things must be present in order to make it a good investment. If any of the 4 rules are missing in the deal, then you are taking on an extremely risky debt. Don’t do it!

Are their other examples of using debt other than just real estate to help build wealth? Yes.

Many people have borrowed money to start a business, or take their business to the next level. Remember the rule of using debt, if you can make more money by using debt than it is worth considering.

I want to also stress one key point about business loans. Borrowing money to simply increase a business’s revenue without being able to generate additional profits, is just plain stupid. In order to even consider taking on a business loan, you must be able to mathematically prove that the additional profits would be more than enough to repay the loan.

Let me say that one more time to make sure everyone hears this clearly. Before you even consider talking about a business loan, you must be able to mathematically prove that the additional profits generated would be more than enough to repay the loan. I prefer to use a calculation of 2-3 times more profit dollars for the risk of taking on a loan.

We have now clarified what the four “truths” are that Americans have been taught when it comes to personal finances. Additionally, I hope that I have also provided some factual evidence for why I believe that these four truths are not sound financial advice going forward.

So now that we know excelling at work, having a business, and making smart investments in both real estate and stocks are the key to your financial future, let’s get right into starting your own business.


Book links: Goodreads and Amazon

About The Author:

Donnie Masters is the current owner and president of Masters Investment Group. He is an accountant for a small private business, as well as an American book author. Donnie was born and raised in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

In 2015, after having spent more than 15 years as a restaurant manager and retail store manager, Donnie began working on his first book. was published in June 2016.

Mattress Buying 101 is a how-to book on properly buying a mattress. The book was written as a guide to help the average consumer purchase the best mattress for their budget. Donnie’s inspiration for writing the book was based on his career at Sleepy’s, where he rose from salesperson to district manager in just 3 years time.

After his first book’s success in the small niche genre of mattresses, Donnie decided to write again on a couple more subjects he knew about, business and money. Start Winning With Money was started in September of 2016.

In early 2017, Donnie founded the Masters Investment Group and began focusing his energy on financial education. He continues to actively work as an accountant and write full time.

Contact Details:

Website: http://www.donniemasters.com/
Twitter: @realdonniem
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/realdonniemasters
Email: mastersinvestmentgroupllc@gmail.com


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author featured on TRB, then please get in touch through e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Aaron Poochigian

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome Aaron Poocigian, author of Mr. Either Or, for an author Interview.

About the author:

AARON POOCHIGIAN earned a PhD in Classics from the University of Minnesota and an MFA in Poetry from Columbia University. His book of translations from Sappho, Stung With Love, was published by Penguin Classics in 2009, and his translation of Apollonius’ Jason and the Argonautswas released October 2014. For his work in translation he was awarded a 2010-2011 Grant by the National Endowment for the Arts. His first book of original poetry, The Cosmic Purr (Able Muse Press), was published in 2012 and, winner of the 2016 Able Muse Poetry Prize, his second book Manhattanite will be out in the Fall of 2017. His thriller in verse, Mr. Either/Or, will be released by Etruscan Press in Fall of 2017. His work has appeared in such journals as The Guardian, POETRY and The Times Literary Supplement.

Contact Details:

Websitewww.mreitheror.com and www.aaronpoochigian.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aaron.poochigian


Hello, Aaron. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

I want to find a broad audience for poetry, and snappy, un-put-down-able narrative verse is, I think, the best way do to it. Poets often complain that no one reads poetry anymore but, as I see it, the lack of interest is primarily the fault of the poets themselves who tend to alienate readers in various ways, rather than giving them something engaging and exciting. I want to engage and excite people through words—that’s my career ambition. I aspire to write poetry that is as popular in the 21st century as Lord Byron’s “Don Juan” was in the 19th. Can you imagine a literary world in which books of poetry sell as well as books by Danielle Steele and Stephen King? I can.

Which writers inspire you?

Raymond Chandler, one of the fathers of the noir crime genre, has been a great inspiration. Though he wrote in a mode generally regarded as “inferior” to literary fiction, his novels are nonetheless master-crafted—every sentence, every phrase, has been labored over and perfected. He is a consummate artist. He taught me that literature can be both popular and virtuosic.

I also find Thomas Pynchon’s early work inspiring. His “The Crying of Lot 49” was another major model for “Mr. Either/Or.” It taught me that the demands of the plot need not restrict wild creativity. The writer should never be merely telling the story—he/she should do that, of course, and do it well but always at the same time be enjoying him/herself creatively. Pynchon’s novel is a mad whirlwind of a thing, a boundless conspiracy theory. I highly recommend it.

Tell us about your book?

“Mr. Either/Or” revives the genre of the verse adventure-story (à la Homer’s Odyssey and Byron’s Don Juan) by sustaining the charge of lyric poetry through an extended narrative. I regard “Mr. Either/Or” as an “upgrade” to prose fiction in that the poetry provides a sound-track as in a film by alternating between free-rhymed lines for the exposition and the alliterative verse of Beowulf for the action scenes. The setting is not real-world New York City, but a timeless one in which fantastic things can happen (as in an urban fantasy novel). The plot focuses on legends and on what I call “American Mythology:” mole-men living underneath the New York and the Roswell Incident, for example. Best of all, the novel is in the second person: “you” the reader are the hero—you think his thoughts and encounter the world through his eyes as in a “first-person-shooter” video game.

How long did it take you to write it?

It took me eight years to write “Mr. Either/Or”—two years to figure out how to write narrative in verse and about six years to write and polish the thing. I am preparing to write a sequel, and I hope it will go much faster now that I know what I am about.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

Yes, I am working on a new book of poems that aims to invest American places and characters with religious awe. We’ll see if I can do it. I am also preparing for the sequel to “Mr. Either/Or,” though I doubt there will be a sequel proper, rather another book with the same characters and setting.

Why have you chosen this genre?

“Mr. Either/Or” brings together all of my great loves—epic poetry, genre fiction (noir and thriller), action films and Americana. I really don’t know what to call it—sometimes I call it a thriller, sometimes urban fantasy, sometimes an epic poem. The “action” mode was appealing to me for a number of reasons. First, because it is the opposite of most of the poetry that is being written today—it is not static, observational, meditative. Second, the adventures of the hero gave me, I confess, a purely escapist pleasure. We writers are a sedentary bunch: we sit; we write—it’s our job. It has been good for me to get out and have adventures through my hero.

When did you decide to become a writer?

In high-school I was all about music—my band, musical theory, songwriting—but as soon as I took a poetry class in college, the rhythms and sounds of language re-focused my creative impulses. I had a sort of religious experience during my Freshman year. I was reading the opening lines of Vergil’s Aeneid in Latin—Arma virumqute cano. . . Though I didn’t know the language, I was so moved that the sky became brighter and everything became clear: I should learn the Classical Languages and spend the rest of my life writing poetry. That’s what I have done. No regrets. I guess I’m lucky in that I never had a phase when I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life.

Why do you write?

Whoa, tough question. At this point, I write mostly by habit. It’s just what I do every day. I also write by instinct—I feel certain that I was meant to be a writer. I can’t imagine doing anything else. There is also, of course, the fear of death. I want to be able to feel, as I age, that the best of me will live on in literature. Yes, that was a tough question indeed.

Where do your ideas come from?

Where do my ideas come from? Out of my curious mind and out of all that I have read, yes, those and out of daily experiences—the doppler sound of traffic passing in front of my house, the sheen the barista’s mop leaves on the floor at the coffee shop, out of the crazy junk in my backyard and backlot, out of the many, many places I have lived. You’ve got these lines from Yeats’ “The Circus Animals’ Desertion” running through my head:

A mound of refuse or the sweepings of a street,
Old kettles, old bottles, and a broken can,
Old iron, old bones, old rags, that raving slut
Who keeps the till. Now that my ladder’s gone,
I must lie down where all the ladders start
In the foul rag-and-bone shop of the heart.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I’m left-handed and writing by hand was always clumsy for me, so I took to the keyboard early on. I prefer writing on a laptop. I always have one with me. I tend to buy super-cheap crappy laptops ($250) so that I can drag one everywhere with me and not worry about it getting banged up. For “Mr. Either/Or” I created one Word.doc for each plot event and allowed myself to go crazy creatively in each file, so long as I also narrated that one plot event. I then fitted all the files together into the whole narrative and polished the transitions. That way, I found I was able to get the story told while still giving myself freedom for creativity.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

Five Favorite Books:

  1. “Whitsun Weddings” by Philip Larkin
  2. “The Tower” by William Butler Yeats
  3. “Goodbye, My Lovely” by Raymond Chandler
  4. “The Crying of Lot 49” by Thomas Pynchon
  5. “The Inferno” by Dante Alighieri

Five Favorite Authors:

  1. William Butler Yeats
  2. H. Auden
  3. Philip Larkin
  4. Raymond Chandler
  5. Dante Alighieri

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I do my best not to fall into the doldrums of Writer’s Block in the first place. After I finish a poem, I do tend to feel what I call “postpartum depression” tugging at me. I then sit down at my laptop, open a Word.doc and fill a page with lines that I like, phrases, curious words. I play around with them until something happens. A number of years ago I made a promise to myself that I would write full time, 40 hours a week at least, and, since then, I have forced myself to write even when I don’t feel like it. Yes, there are occasional blessed periods of spontaneous creation, but writing is usually hard, certainly harder than just watching tv instead. All the same, we writers must make ourselves focus and do our work.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

I’m afraid that I won’t be able to give anything more than boilerplate advice: craft, craft, craft. Work, work, work. Force yourself to know boring subjects like grammar backwards and forwards, so well, in fact, that you don’t have to think about them any longer. The time you spend early on studying grammar, for example, will pay off down the line, I promise, by making you a clearer and more efficient writer. Preachy, boring advice, I know, but it’s sincere as Hell.

 

Thank you, Aaron, for all your insightful answers! I particularly agree about the need to know grammar through and through.


About The Book:

Aaron Poochigian’s Mr. Either/Or is an ingenious debut, a verse novel melding American mythology, noir thriller, and classical epic into gritty rhythms, foreboding overtones, and groovy jams surrounding the reader in a surreal atmosphere.

Imagine Byron’s Don Juan on a high-stakes romp through a Raymond Chandler novel. Think Hamlet in Manhattan with a license to kill.

 

Book Links:

Amazonhttps://www.amazon.com/Mr-Either-Aaron-Poochigian/dp/0997745525/
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34381389-mr-either-or


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct email: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Her

It was a cold, cold day and Emelia was stuck inside her SUV in a snowstorm. It was freezing outside as well as inside. She had been sitting in the car from last 48 hours.

She turned off the heater a while back because she knew the battery of her car won’t last if she’ll keep the heater running for long. According to the reports she heard before getting stuck in this hell, the storm would last for several of days. So far, it had been only 2 days.

The last two days had been the worst days of Emelia’s life, or so she thought. In the initial hours, Emelia refused to believe that she was stuck in the car in the middle of nowhere in a fucking snowstorm. But after a couple of hours when the wind continued howling like a hungry dog and the snow kept falling like there won’t be an end, she realised that she was stuck. Stuck here for good. Soon after this realisation followed panic.

For the next few hours, she cried for help; screaming her lungs out and almost rupturing her vocal cords. She tried to break the glass of her windows, but her fingers were already starting to get numb. Moreover, the glass of her SUV’s windows was not easy to break. This exhausted and frustrated her to no measure. She kept at it but in vain.

Hours later, exhausted, she closed her eyes giving up and that’s when she saw Will smiling at her. The smile she fell in love with, the smile that takes all her worry away, the smile she wanted to go back to. And then it dawned on her that the only thing that will keep her going was hope.

Yes, she can survive this and yes she will make it back. A lot of people do, and that too in much worse situations. So she forced herself to believe that she can too. In spite of the swelling in both her feet and the lower half of her back, in spite of the numbness spreading throughout her arms, she told herself, that it will be over soon.

She tried to focus on the conversation she had with Will just before she left her home – “I need a break, Will. Just a week off from being a wife. I’m tired and you know it. All I’m asking is for you to let me be alone for a few days.”

After a few hours of argument, she was able to convince Will, like she always does, to let her go alone to the Rhode Island. She made him promise to not call her, and knowing that he will, she left her phone at home in the drawer of her study table. How she missed her phone right now. If only she had her phone with her, everything would be fine. Will would come running to rescue her and this nightmare would be over, forever.

But now, that was not possible. Unless someone was stupid enough to leave their home in such a storm and come driving down this stupid forest, that Emelia wanted to explore before driving to The Resort in Rhode Island, no one would know where she was.

She’d been crying a few hours ago, but now crying felt too laborious in such a cold weather. What really scared her though was not the cold that was shutting down her nervous system, or the storm that covered her car with thick snow, or the fact that it was a forest and some big carnivore animal might be lurking around her car. No, she was a strong woman when it came to these things. But what did bother her was the gloom of the sunless sky and the scary sounds the wind was making every time it went swishing around her glass windows. And also, the feeling, deep in the pit of her stomach, that something was terribly wrong, other than this unfortunate situation in which she had landed up, something was not right.

At one point, she thought she heard something, a sort of wailing. But as brave as she was, she still felt fear grip her insides. The glass of her windows was completely covered in fog and snow and it was difficult to see what was outside. She was just able to tell that it was soon turning into night.

The wind was whipping wildly outside, and there it was again. She heard that wailing cacophony again. She sat straighter, and in order to ignore the blood-curdling sound, she started to hum a lullaby that her mother used to sing when she was a child. She tried to literally force herself to sleep, but the cold made it impossible. But the lullaby which she always found comforting, sounded like a death song which was both disturbing and frightening.

All of a sudden there was a loud thud just outside her door. She felt it as much as she heard it as if something heavy hit the door. She tried to peek outside through the frosted glass, but nothing was visible against the grey backdrop of the gloomy dusk. She thought it was some wild animal. Slowly she rose from her seat, and without making any noise shifted to the seat on the passenger side. She was sure that the darkness would conceal her movement.

She tried to calm down her thudding heart telling it that it was nothing but an animal and there was nothing to fear. But when she heard the sobbing of a woman just loud enough to make the hair on her neck rise, she knew, it was no animal. And just then the sobbing turned into a high pitched laughter, so crass and intense that it made Emelia’s teeth chatter.

She looked intently at the glass window on the driving side and thought that she saw a hint of a shadow – a shadow woman with a scarf draped over her head. But only for a second before the outline turned into black smoke and transformed into a shapeless mass.

Frozen, she knew that it was no woman; it was someone else. Someone who is not a living person because no living person will sit and sob and then laugh in the middle of a snowstorm, outside a car that is stuck in the lonely forest in the middle of the night… It was Her, whom no one was supposed to see…


Genre: Supernatural

Note: All views and opinions shared in this post are my own.

Please feel free to give your feedback in the comments section below.

You can read my other stories here.


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Book Excerpt: A Burning In The Darkness by A.P. McGrath

Today, at TRB Lounge, we are featuring an excerpt from A Burning In The Darkness by A.P. McGrath.

Read on to get a sneak-peek into an exciting mystery read.

About the Book:

A murder at one of the world’s busiest airports opens this simmering crime story where a good man’s loyalty is tested to its limits. Michael Kieh is a full time faith representative serving the needs of some of the 80 million passengers, but circumstance and evidence point to his guilt. His struggle to prove his innocence leads him on a charged journey that pitches love against revenge.

Michael’s loneliness was eased by a series of brief encounters with a soul mate. When she confides a dark secret, he is motivated to redress a heart-breaking injustice. Together they must battle against powerful forces as they edge dangerously close to unmasking a past crime. But Michael faces defeat when he chooses to protect a young witness, leaving him a burning spirit in the darkness.

Michael’s commitment to helping those in need was forged in the brutality of the Liberian civil war. Protected by a kind guardian, he too was a young witness to an atrocity that has left a haunting legacy of stolen justice and a lingering need for revenge. More poignantly there is a first love cruelly left behind in Africa because of the impossible choices of war. When Michael and his former lover find each other once again they become formidable allies in proving his innocence and rediscovering their lost love.

BOOK EXCERPT

London

Young Foday Jenkins spied a curious sign at the far end of the concourse. The seven-year- old weaved his way through the hurrying travellers with their trolley-loads of suitcases. There were airline pilots and cabin crew walking briskly towards their international flights and armed police strolling like fortress watch guards. A rainbow glistened in the eastern sky beyond the floor-to-ceiling glass walls, watched in wonder by the frustrated passengers whose flights had been delayed by the ferocious summer storm. A charcoal wash of lightning-filled rain clouds shrouded the distant city outline.

Foday arrived at the sign. It was a matchstick man or woman kneeling, praying. Beneath it there was an entrance of two heavily frosted glass doors. He pushed them open and stepped inside. When the doors closed behind him there was a nice silence. He was in a room, maybe twice the size of his classroom, but it seemed so much bigger because there were sacred symbols from all over the world and holy words on the walls and little statues, and it wasn’t brightly lit in here like outside, yet it wasn’t so dim that it was scary. The duskiness made you look. There was a lovely smell in the air, the scent of a faraway country.

There was a row of electric burning candles that could be switched on for a handful of coins. There were six happy photographs of teenagers from all over the world tacked to the wall above the electric candles. One of the happy faces looked like his older sister Ameyo. She smiled that way. Uh-me-yo. This is how Mummy said it. There were handwritten notes stuck around the photographs with words like Please remember. Foday wondered if the person who wrote one of them had been crying because the ink was smudged.

On a cloth-covered table there was a visitor’s book. Foday wrote his name and address: Foday, 19 Bletchley Avenue, London NW22, UK, Europe, The World. He added I really like this place.

Over on the other side of the church, tucked around a corner, there was a wooden playhouse. A sign outside the door read: If you want a priest to hear your confession, press the button.

Foday turned nervously when he heard the loud sounds of the bustling concourse as the church doors opened. He could see a silhouetted figure against the gleaming frosted glass. The figure focused into a heavy man walking down between the seats. He stopped, agitated and sweating.

‘Are you lost?’ the man asked.
Foday knew he shouldn’t talk to strangers.
‘Where’s your mummy or daddy? Are they with the priest? Are you alone?’ he asked crossly.
Foday pressed the button requesting a priest to take confession.

***

Book links: Goodreads and Amazon

About The Author:

AP was born and grew up in Ireland.

He now lives in London and works in TV. He is a single father with three beautiful teenage children.

He studied English and Philosophy and then post-graduate Film Studies.

A Burning in the Darkness is his first novel.

Contact Details:

Website: http://www.apmcgrath.com


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author featured on TRB, then please get in touch through e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Guest Post: Why I Wrote Deanna by Kate Trinity

Today, at TRB Lounge, we are hosting author Kate Trinity, author of It’s The Demon In Me.

Presenting Kate Trinity…

Why I wrote Deanna

It is the Demon in Me is the story of Deanna, a girl with supressed abilities that keeps her family on the run from the inevitable. And the inevitable is catching up. Deanna is about to learn the truth of who she really is, whether she likes it or not. She is going to come into her true power, to save her family, but the release of that power brings much bigger problems to their door and she isn’t sure she’s ready to be the one dealing with them.

I’ve always had a very active imagination. And I’ve always made stuff up and written it down. But very few of those imaginative stories every made it to completion. It is the Demon in Me is one of the first to do that – and it only took me three books to find out what happened to Deanna.

It is the Demon in Me is about power – who has it and who doesn’t. And where it can take you when you realise you have more than you thought. It’s about defending those who are weaker than you, standing behind your decisions, and facing your demons. In Deanna’s case this was literal.

And I guess I was battling some of my own at the time. Deanna helped me escape into another world, one that I could control. But she soon took over, the story coming from the decisions her character made as much as from my own ideas. Not every choice she made was the right one.

To begin with I was just writing for my own enjoyment, to see where the story went. It wasn’t until I was shown an article about an author self-publishing that I even knew that was possible. So, I figured I might as well give it a shot.

Whilst the story is technically set in the real world, it’s filled with Demons, Monsters, Angels, and the occasional God. As well as rather a lot of their offspring. And parts of the story take you to other realms and other worlds. My favourite place is the library in the underworld – every book ever written lining shelves in a circular room.

The doorway revealed a huge library with a marble floor and shelves that stood over two floors. She could see a partial gallery type walkway around the top part of the library, and a peppering of gilded ladders that ran on tracks around the large circular room. About every three bookshelves there was a gap with a large window and seat set into it.

There were various people around the room, up the ladders and reading in hidden away seating areas. When Deanna finally brought her attention back to the centre of the room she saw a huge ornate wooden and green leather desk. In the large, high backed green leather chair behind it, a man sat watching her intently.

It is the Demon in Me, Kate Trinity

That man would change everything for her. In ways she never imagined. And plenty ways she never wanted. Deanna must come to terms with who she is and how the people in her life impact her decisions. But all the answers she needs are available to her if she’s willing to ask.

Sometimes I wonder how Deanna is getting on in her world. And it’s tempting to go back and find out -what’s she doing now, did the war happen, who won- but I don’t think it’s a story that will ever be more than those three books. It is the Demon in Me, Sheriff of the Eternal Law, and Becoming the Demon.

But who knows, maybe one day I’ll set another trilogy in the same world but with different characters.


About the author:

 

11 countries, 2 degrees, a love of animals, and all things supernatural. When Kate isn’t writing she’s baking and loves to decorate cakes in unusual ways. Brought up around steam trains, her father was an engine driver and her mother a nurse in St. Luke’s. The eldest of five siblings and with 2 children of her own her family is a large one. After the break up of her marriage and becoming unwell Kate began to write, and never stopped. Her world is filled with gods and demons, monsters and fae.

About the book:

A wickedly good novel about magic, curses, witches, and demons.
Born a witch, Deanna knew she had powers but not the extent of them.
Her parents and their coven bound her to keep her safe from the demons that wanted to find her.
But as her powers grew, the bindings weakened and they were found.
She must be unbound quickly as only she has the power to fight off the demons.
But what she discovers changes everything.
Her place in this world is not as she thought.
The time has come to make a decision and the lives of her family and their coven rest on it.
‘It Is The Demon In Me’ is the first in a three part series about Deanna, her family, and their true bloodline.
When your whole world changes, do you use fight or flight?


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author’s guest post on TRB, then please get in touch through e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Guest Post: Writing is a Lot like Making Music by Jon Budd

Today, at TRB Lounge, we are hosting author Jon Budd, author of The Legend Of The Washo Gold.

Presenting Jon Budd…

Writing is a Lot like Making Music

Writing is a lot like playing music. The goals of both are to create something that you can feel good about. The challenge is how to do it. One of the hardest parts is starting. When you begin something, whether it’s a piece of writing or learning how to play an instrument or a song, you don’t really know how it’s going to turn out. You’re not really sure if you can even create anything worthwhile. Sometimes it can be like stepping out of your front door to go on a long journey without knowing where you are going. Fear of the unknown can be a difficult obstacle to overcome. A good quantity of blind faith is required. Sometimes, the crucial first step of any endeavor is to say, “Damn the torpedoes” and just take that step and start!

Commitment is also an integral part in creating music and literature. This, especially in the face of long dry periods where despite your efforts, there are no, clear, positive results readily apparent. It can be so easy to just give up. But, this is where the rubber meets the road. One has to fight through these dark periods.

There is probably a hatful of tricks to help the artist work through these droughts. The one that I have found useful for both music and literature is to focus my goal not necessarily on the outcome, but on the process. Just how do you do that, you ask? Well, the answer is I reward myself every day that I write or practice music by keeping a very simple, handwritten, data sheet documenting my work. For example, for my music, I take a sheet of lined, notebook, paper. At the top of the page, I write, “Guitar Practice” and the year. Then, I number the lines below from one to twelve. These numbers are for each month. Then, for each day of the month that I practice for at least one hour a day, I list the calendar number for the day (i.e. 10: 1, 2, 3…). Then, I challenge myself to make and break records of consecutive days that I practiced. My current record is 141 consecutive days. Using this technique, you can actually see progress, if not immediately in your performance level, then in your commitment level. You are rewarded for increasing your commitment. When you increase your commitment, you work yourself closer to achieving your goal of actually improving your art and creating something worthwhile. I have these sheets going back years now and it has helped me achieve things musically that I thought I would never come close to. I even track my scales and songs that I work on in this manner.

Like music, an artist can also use this simple technique for creating literature. Instead of practicing guitar for an hour, write as hard as you can for one hour a day. Make your data sheet, shut out the world, and begin by focusing on one chapter per day. Below the list of months on your data sheet, when you begin, list the chapters one to ten. It’s alright, you will eventually end up with many more chapters, but ten is good number to start. Then, put a little hash mark next to each chapter as you work on them each day. For example, the first day, you work on Chapter One as hard as you can for just one hour. Start by just explaining to yourself what this chapter is about. Then, put a hash mark down for Chapter One. On the next day, do the same thing for your Chapter Two. Do this until you have worked through the entire ten chapters. You now at least have a beginning and an end to your novel, with maybe some good stuff in between. This is your first rough draft. You spend the rest of the time improving it.

If you are doing fiction, you can even list your characters and put hash marks by their names on your data sheet. Spend an hour a day, just writing about your characters. Who are they? What are they like? Who do they remind you of? This is one way you can develop deep, rich, fictional characters.

Hopefully, with this first step out of the door and the commitment you document on your data sheet, you will look up from your work somewhere down the road and see some real movement toward the goal of creating something worthwhile that you feel good about.


About the author:

 

Jon Budd is an author, musician, and an archeologist. He is also known by his formal name, Jonathan Budd. He grew up in Northern New Mexico playing music and studying ancient Indian ruins. Jon started playing professionally for school dances when he was fourteen years old. By the time he was sixteen, he was performing in nightclubs. When he came of age, he lived and performed in Albuquerque, Houston, and Denver. It was in Denver where he began his university training in archeology. He moved to Los Angeles and recorded his original music album entitled, “Musical Ontology”. This album consists of ten original songs that Jon composed as well as a drum solo he performs. Jon wrote and produced all of the music. He sang all of the songs, played drums, keyboards, most of the guitars, as well as some of the bass guitar. There are some really talented musicians who also recorded on Jon’s album including Andy West (bass), Cornelius Bumpus (saxophone), and Steve Richards and Mike Richards on Guitars. This album is available as a compact disc album as well as individual song downloads at https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/jonathanbudd3. Jon now performs in and around Austin, Texas – the Live Music Capitol of the World!

You can reach him at:

Website: www.jonbudd.org
Email: jonbudd@yahoo.com

About the book:

To prevent a repeat of the Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, Hank, a modern day Native American Indian, overcomes his doubts about his tribe’s ancient religion and leads a war party to recover a cursed Indian treasure.

Succumbing to the genocide brought down upon them during the infamous 1849 California Gold Rush, the Washo Indians were teetering on the brink of extinction. With the help of a mysterious stranger, they devised an ingenious plan to survive. Many years later, when the secret of their survival is threatened, the tribe appoints a modern day warrior to lead a war party to San Francisco to recover stolen Indian treasure and secure the secret of the Washo Gold.

This novel enables the reader to experience the infamous 1849 California Gold Rush from the perspective of a tribe of Native American Indians who lived through it.


Related Post: Author Interview: Jon Budd


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author’s guest post on TRB, then please get in touch through e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Bridget Nash

Welcome to TRB’s Author Interview Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome, Bridget Nash, author of Players.

About the author:

Bridget Nash was a newspaper journalist who received several Associated Press/Oklahoma Press Association awards for both writing and photography, before starting her own small portrait photography business. She now stays home with her daughter, contributing to the news world on a freelance basis.

Players is Bridget’s first novel but ever since she could hold a pencil, she has enjoyed writing as a recreational activity. As a child and a teen, she could often be found outdoors with a notebook and pen, listening to the birds and the wind while making up her own worlds on paper.

When she isn’t writing or taking photographs, Bridget enjoys reading and watching sitcoms simultaneously. Her favorite books are Frankenstein, Jane Eyre and A Ring of Endless Light. Bridget lives in a very small Oklahoma town, along with her husband; her daughter; two dogs, Trevor and Penny; a border collie named Taban; a cat named Taylor Swift; and a fancy rat named Sheldon.

 


Hello, Bridget. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

There are always stories going on in my head, so, really, it’s just a relief to get them out and have them in book form so I can share them or revisit them myself. I suppose my goal is to just get the stories out but I would be lying if I said I didn’t hope a lot of people would read them. It would be really nice to have a story that a lot of people liked.

Which writers inspire you?

Madeleine L’Engle is a writer whose words always just sort of floated around in my head after I’d finished one of her books. I always thought she had such a magical way with words and that really inspired me. She could always make me look at the world in a different and unexpected way.

Tell us about your book?

Players is a dystopian piece about a young man named Ryan who stumbles upon a mysterious group of traveling stage actors. These actors intrigue Ryan and cause him to question things he’d always taken for granted. He begins to wonder if all the world really is a stage.

How long did it take you to write it?

It took several years to write Players. I started it while I was a newspaper reporter, jotting bits of the story down any time I had to do any waiting (there is actually a lot of waiting around when you’re a reporter!). When I quit my job to stay home with my baby, I continued to jot the story down whenever I could, usually in the middle of the night. I wrote the entire first draft by hand.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

I am currently working on a sequel to Players. It will continue the story, starting a few months after Players ends. The world was just too big to fit into one book!

Why have you chosen this genre?

“What if?” is one of my favorite questions. Tyranny is one of my greatest fears. I think these two things combined are what make me enjoy visiting dystopia. I had only read a couple of dystopian books before I started writing Players but they really stuck with me. After I finished writing it, I found out there is a plethora of dystopian novels out there and I love the genre. So many what-ifs can turn into so many different stories and warnings for society.

When did you decide to become a writer?

Ever since I learned to write, I have written stories to entertain myself. As a kid, I could most often be found somewhere outside with either a book, a notebook, or both. I guess I’ve always been in the clouds.

Why do you write? 

Simply to entertain myself. There are always story ideas dancing around in my head and they won’t leave me alone until I write them down. Sometimes the story dies on the paper and sometimes it comes to full fruition. Either way, the act of writing sets the stories (and me) free.

Where do your ideas come from?

Usually they come from insomnia. I have a hard time turning off my mind at night. Sometimes I’ll imagine I’m not in my bed but, rather, I’m in a bed in a cabin or in a boat on the ocean or in a stairwell, seeking shelter from the rain. Then I imagine someone else in those places. What are they doing there? Are they alone? Where will they go next? These thoughts just turn into stories.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

Writing certainly goes faster on a computer and I like the mobility of laptops. I’m getting better at writing fiction on a computer but I feel more connected to the story if I’m writing by hand.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

  1. A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle
  2. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  4. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  5. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

If you ask me again next month, my answers might change. Too many good books by too many good authors to narrow down a solid top five.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

Ugh. You just have to push through it and write anyway. But I’m not one to be touting the virtues of writing when you don’t feel like it. I’m not very good at making myself pick up the pen when I’m in a dry spell.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

You won’t get it done if you don’t do it. I know this from experience. Just write the story! I know I just said that I’m not very good at making myself write, but I would have never finished writing any books if I hadn’t, at some point, made myself just do it.

Thank you, Bridget, for all your lovely answers!


About The Book:

Ryan Scribe is eighteen and has it made.He lacks nothing and doesn’t even know anyone who lacks anything.

Ryan Scribe is eighteen and has it made.He lacks nothing and doesn’t even know anyone who lacks anything.

He lacks nothing and doesn’t even know anyone who lacks anything.Then he hears a beautiful actress say, “Truth is often stranger than perception,” and he begins to look at his world with new eyes.

Then he hears a beautiful actress say, “Truth is often stranger than perception,” and he begins to look at his world with new eyes.All it takes is one wrong question and he is swiftly banished from the only home he’s ever known. Forced to join a band of traveling players, stage actors who look like they could have stepped straight out of Elizabethan England, Ryan begins to question his life, his country and everyone around him. Can he really trust a group of actors? Will his questions land him in even more danger?

All it takes is one wrong question and he is swiftly banished from the only home he’s ever known. Forced to join a band of traveling players, stage actors who look like they could have stepped straight out of Elizabethan England, Ryan begins to question his life, his country and everyone around him. Can he really trust a group of actors? Will his questions land him in even more danger?

Book Links:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.in/Players-Bridget-Nash-ebook/dp/B016J9X2CS
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27557254-players


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If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com