Steve Bivans

Author, Fear-Less Life & Self-Publishing Coach

Author: Steve Bivans (page 1 of 49)

Captain Christmas Sings the Scrooge Outta Ya

No one loves Christmas more than my dad.

I mean it. No one. Ever.

The man loves his holiday. Not even Clark W. Griswald loves it more than he.

To be fair to Clark, my dad has never put up enough lights to be seen from the International Space Station, though he probably would have, if given the resources of Holywood and a huge movie set crew to help out.

I’ve written a bout my dad and Christmas before, when I talked about our Christmas tree back in the 70s. But today I want to talk about his love for his job, or the job he held for over 40 years. It wasn’t really a ‘job’ per se. It was more a vocation. He and my mom were Salvation Army Officers. They still are, mind you, but they’re retired now. Have been for several years, probably like ten or something.

But my dad will never retire from Christmas.

Sometimes, he might be knocked out of commission for a bit.

As I write this, he’s lying in the hospital, in Greenville, NC, 1500 miles away, with a broken hip, and a subdural hematoma. Thankfully, the head injury isn’t all that severe. They’re getting ready to operate on the hip, tomorrow, or at least it’s tomorrow while I’m writing this. It might be yesterday, or last week, by the time I post this to the interweb.

He had a fall, at home, on Monday.dad kettles13494863_10206906424880395_431482406296818750_n

According to my mom, he’d been doing quite well, all day. They’d been out shopping, or at least that’s the excuse he gave her, to check in and stand in at a Salvation Army Christmas Kettle at the Mart of Wal. Mom says that since she went along, and went in to shop, he only got to do it for about an hour, which I’m sure made his entire day. It wasn’t till he was home, later, that he had his fall.

But I’m not here to talk about my dad’s hospital visit. I’m here to tell you about what he loves to do every year in December.

My dad is the world’s greatest Christmas Kettle collector.

Yeah, there are flashier collectors, but working the kettles at Christmas, isn’t about flash; it’s about magic.

I saw a video the other day, on Facebook, of an officer in some city, probably New York or somewhere, dancing at his kettle. He was pretty good, I have to admit. Certainly a better dancer than my dad and myself. But I commented that he wasn’t really collecting a lot of money. I didn’t see a single person in the video—and there were lots of people going by—drop a penny in the kettle during his amazing dance routine.

The guy had forgotten the most important thing when it comes to sales, or raising money: the CTA.

It’s all about the Call to Action, man.

“Son, the most important thing to remember, when you’re out here, is to make eye contact, and speak to people,” my dad told me when I was about nine years old, the first time he ever dropped me off to work a Kettle.

It was in like 1977 or 78, I guess. December. I think it was the Roses store in Elizabeth City, NC. He was dropping me and my brother, Dave, off to work that evening. Yeah, we started young back then. Dave was two years younger than I, so like six or seven. My dad was banking on the ‘cuteness’ factor, I’m sure. And it worked pretty well.

“But dad,” I asked, “What should we say?” I had no clue what to say to strangers as they passed by me in a hurry to buy their kids the newest G.I. Joe with the kung-fu grip, or pink, Barbie corvette.

“Just ask, ‘Would you like to help the Salvation Army?’” he said. “Repeat it to me.”

Both Dave and I looked up at him and said, “Would you like to help the Salvation Army?”

“Very good!” he said with pride, “And don’t forget to say ‘Thank You’ and ‘Merry Christmas’,” he continued.

I was unsure about the protocol on the response, so I asked, “But dad, what if they don’t put anything into the kettle?”

“No matter what they do, or don’t do, or say,” he said, “tell them ‘Thank You’ and “have a Merry Christmas’, anyway.”

This seemed a bit crazy to me, but I agreed that we would.

My brothers and I spent years working on the kettles, every year until we all went off to college, or grew up and moved away. I even came back to do it a few times after that when I was struggling as a young father and was down on my luck.

My brothers and I became master collectors over the years. We even out-collected our illustrious father, on occasion, something for which we bragged endlessly, and which was a point of pride for our dad. But no matter how much money we collected, even if it was more than he, we could never match his fame at the old red kettle.

My dad was Captain Christmas, to us, and to everyone, even long after he’d been promoted to Major. He’s still Captain Christmas to us, and to thousands who know him, or who have had the pleasure of walking past him into a store in December somewhere.

A Tuneful Call to Action

My dad doesn’t rely on the verbal CTA. You see, my dad is known for his singing, and his baritone horn.

It’s not that he never talks to people; he still manages to slip in the ‘Thank You’ and “Merry Christmas” in between the phrases of everyone’s favorite holiday tunes.

He’s been singing and playing that horn since before the Earth cooled, some four billion years ago. He’s been on numerous newspaper pages over the decades, and on TV spots, radio. You name it. But even without the press, he’d still be remembered by the millions of people that have seen and heard him at Christmas time.

I remember standing in front of K-Mart, or Roses, or Nichols, and a hundred other places, sometimes in the cold, sometimes in the heat—we lived in the South, mind ya—asking person after person, “Would you like to help the Salvation Army?” Most would, some wouldn’t. But at least once a day, someone would say, “I just gave over at suchandsuchaplace!” and add, “There’s a guy over there singing and playing a horn! You should do that!”

I’d laugh, and say, “Yeah, that’s my dad!” I didn’t tell them that many times I raised more money not singing and playing, both of which I could have done, if I’d had the stones to do it. They didn’t care whether I brought in more money than he did. And really, neither did my dad.

Captain Christmas knew something that the rest of us didn’t quite get.

He knows that the exchange between the Kettle worker and the person walking in to buy the newest fangled toys or boxes of chocolates, isn’t only about money.

The money matters, of course. The Salvation Army does lots of good stuff with it, every year. They help millions of families all over the world, with food, with heat and shelter, and counseling, and clothing, and yes, toys. They do this, by the way, all year long. Every day. But for my father, and those who really know, it isn’t just about that. It’s also about what you as the collector can give back to the givers.

He’s there to accomplish something much more than raising money to help people. He’s there to help people, RIGHT THEN! He knows that he has the gift and power to make people smile. And there is no greater power than that, my friend, especially in December.

I’ve struggled with this time of the year, since I grew up. Especially since I moved 1500 miles away from my blood family. There are days, sometimes several in a row, during the holidays, every year, where I think it’s all humbug. There’s not enough money to do the things I’d like to do for others, even for myself. I can’t afford to fly home to see everyone, etc, etc, ad nauseam.

It’s all a pity party, and I don’t wish to go there. You’ve probably had moments like that, too. I think there’s a reason why old Ebenezer Scrooge is such a popular character, and why Dickens chose to write about him. Everyone has a bit of Scrooge lurking within. Well, everyone except Captain Christmas, that is.

The Captain knows that other people feel that way, and that sometimes the only thing needed to flip that miserly mindset, is a song or a tune, a happy holidays, Christmas carol, boomed out across a parking lot.

I’ve seen people approaching my father’s kettle, faces pinched in a Burgermeister Meisterburger frown, heads down, hands in pocket clenching their wallets with white knuckles, fully intent on slipping by the red bucket without donating.

Sometimes they might have valid reasons to avoid it. Maybe they’re really next to broke, or they really did give at the last store, or sent a check into the office. Usually, they’re just feeling Grinchy that day, or that week, or maybe they’re just a Grinch all the time.

But more often than not, my dad accomplishes the goal of all three spirits, not in one night, but in about three seconds. The transformation is magical to watch, and has never ceased to amaze me.

The Grinch approaches, usually at a break-neck pace, avoiding eye contact. But then my dad breaks into “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” or “Silent Night” and they stop. Dead in their tracks, dumbfounded.

My dad is an excellent singer, a high tenor, something none of his sons were gifted with. We’re all decent singers, Tim is excellent, but none of us sing as high as he does, or with quite as much joy. Nobody beats Captain Christmas, man.

So when he breaks into song, the Grinches and Scrooges ain’t got a chance. They stop. And once their momentum is broken, they belong to the Captain. It’s a rare miser that can resist donating once they’ve been snared by the Captain’s voice. But my dad’s greatest joy, isn’t the money in the pot; it’s the transformation on their faces.

dad kettles13501705_10206906424160377_2940072931949359819_nWith one song, sometimes just a few notes of a song, he can turn ‘thiefy’ Grinch into ‘let me carve the roast beasty’ Grinch, or ‘If they’d rather die, they’d better do it and decrease the surplus population’ Scrooge, into ‘Let’s send the biggest turkey in the shop to Bob Cratchet’s house’ Scrooge. And there ain’t nothing more powerful than that, I’d wager.

So, this December, you probably won’t see Captain Christmas out there, unless you have already. He’s out of commission for a bit. But I have no doubt, whatsoever, that come next Holiday season, he’ll be singing and blowing that horn in front of some store in Greenville, NC, and transforming the moods and lives of countless people.

But even though he isn’t there, doesn’t mean you get to charge past the collector who is, no matter where you live.

Nope.

Stop. Say “Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays, or Hanukkah, or Ramadan”, or whatever you want, as long as it’s kind. And drop a few pennies in that red bucket. Then say, “Thank you” to them, just for being there, and for putting a smile on your face, and remember that Captain Christmas would approve, and that he’s somewhere, singing Silent Night, warming up for next year…

Steve Bivans is a FearLess Life & Self-Publishing Coach, the author of the Amazon #1 Best Sellers, Vikings, War and the Fall of the Carolingians,The End of Fear Itself, and the epic-length, self-help, sustainability tome, Be a Hobbit, Save the Earth: the Guide to Sustainable Shire Living, If you want to learn how write and self-publish a book to best-seller status, crush your limitations and Fears, and disrupt the status quo, contact Steve for a free consultation to see how he can help you change the world! CONTACT STEVE

Little Northmen: from Anno Draconis, the Viking Saga of Litt Ormr

[The following is an excerpt from my upcoming novel, Anno Draconis: The Viking Saga of Litt Ormr (The Year of the Dragon). If you’re interested in reading the entire novel before it’s released on Amazon, then check out the page for the book, and sign up to be on the Launch Team)

From the chapter, Little Northmen

“I’m a northman warrior!”

Frances rounded the corner of the church. There, standing on an old gravestone in the churchyard, was Wilhelm, brandishing a large stick over his head, yelling at the top of his lungs, “I’m a northman!”

“Northmen are murderous cutthroats and heathens!” yelled Charles.

Oh Lord, thought Frances, What are they up to, now?

“Boys!” she said with firmness, without yelling. “What is this all about?”

“Wilhelm says he’s a northman, but real northmen are bloodthirsty heathens that eat babies, and burn churches, and drag off the women into bondage!”

“Oh my!” said Sister Frances, “Where did you learn such things?”

“My big brother, Roger, told me!” said Charles, with authority. “And he never lies!”

“I’m a northman! I’ll burn your house down and drag your mother into bondage!” yelled Wilhelm from his stone longship.

Frances was beginning to lose her composure.

“Get down, Wilhelm! And drop that stick!”

“And I’ll eat your baby sister!!” he yelled, figuring he had at least one more chance to get a word in before the wrath of Sister Frances came down upon him.

Frances reached up, grabbed his left wrist and yanked him down off the headstone, sending him sprawling on the sandy soil and grass. He quickly bounced back up and raised the stick one more time above his head, preparing to squeeze in one more pagan, northman-esque, exultation.

“WILHELM!” Frances screamed, “Put DOWN THAT STICK, NOW!”

All the wind left the boy’s sails. His chin dropped to his chest and his arms went limp, dropping his deadly northman sword to the ground. He stood there, silent, moping.

“Ha!” Charles spat, “You’re in trouble!”

“Charles!” Frances barked through clenched teeth. Charles went limp, like his friend, chin down, arms slack.

“Come here, both of you!” she barked at them. “The rest of you go play!”

The remaining village children, who had become increasingly interested in the Viking drama, scuttled off to find another amusement. Frances grabbed the two boys by the wrist and lead them to a fallen tree behind the church, and in the shade of another oak. It was getting warm already, that morning, the sun rising over the smaller houses and trees. The sound of bees and other insects buzzed in the air.

“Sit down!” she demanded. Both boys plopped down on the fallen trunk of what was once an ancient oak, the twin of the one shading them, now.

“Wilhelm, why in the name of the Father, would you ever want to be a northman?! They are, indeed, very nasty creatures, and heathens with no culture, or religion. They are untrustworthy, unwashed, and headed for hell and damnation. What on Earth possessed you to make such a claim? ‘I’m a northman,’ I’m sure!”

Charles took a quick intake of breath, and Frances could tell, by the look in his eye that he had something to say, but she was a long way from being interested in his testimony at that moment.

“Charles” she said, through clenched teeth, again, “I did not ask YOU.”

Charles’s lips snapped together with some effort and a grunt, and his chin returned to its resting place on his chest. Frances kept her right eye upon him, because she anticipated, and received, a second glimpse in his eye.

“Ehh!” was the only sound that escaped her mouth, a guttural noise, but Charles knew what it meant. Oh no you don’t! and he reconsidered his second thought, and sat still.

“Well, Wilhelm?” she returned her inquisition to the would-be northman. “Why do you want to be a northman?”

There was a long pause. Wilhelm screwed up his face to aid his thought process, as if the sheer effort would bring a suitable answer for the Sister.

“Well?” she repeated.

“Wellll,” he stalled, “I guess it’s ‘cause northmen get to do what they want?”

It was more of a question than an answer, but at least it gave Frances a line of inquiry.

“Hmmm,” she thought, “So you don’t like rules?”

“NO!” exclaimed Wilhelm, “Rules are stupid!”

He said it with such conviction that it was a monumental effort to withhold her laughter. Frances swallowed hard to keep from showing any sign of humor, shook her head and said, “Wilhelm, rules exist to keep you safe, and everyone else. And some rules are given to us by God and his son, Jesus. Those rules should never be broken.”

“Well, I don’t like rules.” he mumbled.

“Me either!” agreed Charles.

Frances shot a glance back to Charles, who quickly realized he’d just broken some unspoken rule, and that to do it again meant something dastardly, so he clammed up, again. This time for good.

“Sometimes rules are hard to follow, it’s true,” said Frances, “especially for young boys, but without them the world would collapse into chaos, and the Devil would rule. Do you want the Devil to rule the world, Wilhelm?”

The boy, naughty as he was, knew that nothing good came from the Devil, and this struck him deep.

“I didn’t really mean I was a northman, Sister Frances! I don’t want the Devil to rule! I just wanted to have fun instead of studying Latin!”

Frances could no longer hold her emotions. She burst out laughing, tears streaming down her face as she laid he rhands upon the two boys’s shoulders, who were now laughing, too. The three of them laughed for several minutes, before Frances broke the moment with, “Yes, there are times that I do not want to study Latin, either.”

“Really?” Charles asked, in awe.

“Yes, really,” she said, “Some times I wish I could skip lessons, too.”

“Wow!” said Wilhelm, “I thought that Latin was the only thing you ever thought about!”

Frances and the boys laughed, once more.

“Not nearly little one,” said Frances. “I think about lots of things. Some of them are even fun!”

“Can we do THAT instead of Latin, today?” asked Charles.

“You know what?” said Sister Frances, “Why not!”

“Yaaaaay!!!” the boys answered in chorus.

“Come with me,” Frances ordered, with a smile.

The boys jumped up from the trunk of the old oak, and trotted after Sister Frances, who was quickly walking towards the other children on the other side of the lawn.

“Students!” she yelled. Most of them stopped their play and turned to her, still chattering and laughing. “We’re not going to study Latin, today.”

This was followed by cheers and whoops from the group, quickly followed by a barrage of questions, “What ARE we gonna do? Where are we going? Is it gonna be fun?”

“Do we have to scrub the chapel floor?” asked young Louis, who had been assigned the duty several times for pulling his sister, Louisa’s hair. What self-respecting parents would name their two children the same name? thought Frances. She’d thought the question before.

Frances chuckled, “No, nothing so dreadful as that.”

“Everyone line up nicely!” she commanded.

The children began, slowly, to form something that more or less resembled a line. It was pretty sloppy.

“Come on now!” barked Frances, “That’s not a line! Can someone here give me the definition of a line segment?” This was something that every one of them should know from their geometry lessons.

“I know, I know, I know!” yelled Charles.

“Good!” said Frances, “Let’s hear it!”

“It’s a line that’s straight and not curvy?” he answered with a question.

“That’s a horrible answer, Charles” Frances responded, with a scornful face, tempered with a slight smile. She was in a good mood, and was determined not to allow her student’s lack of scholarship, ruin it.

“Anyone else?”

“It’s the shortest distance between two points!” yelled little Julia, Wilhelm’s little sister, who was only five years old, and cuter than kittens in a basket.

“YES!” exclaimed Frances.

“YAAAY!” yelled Wilhelm, who picked up his little sister and spun her around in a victory dance. “My sister is smarter than you, Charles!”

“She is indeed very smart,” said Frances, “But it is not necessary to compare her to anyone else, Wilhelm.” She gave him a sharp look.

“Yes, Sister Frances.” He gave her a look of apology as he put his sister down.

“Alright! Since we have a definition, can we demonstrate it, here and now?” Frances continued.

The students slowly but surely, and with great chatter and commotion, began to organize themselves into a line in front of the Sister.

When they were sufficiently lined up, or at least as close as young children were ever going to be, she gave the command to move.

“Follow me!” she ordered, and marched off to the rear of the church. “We’re going down to the river!”

“YAAAAAY!!” the children screamed, and fell into step behind her, more or less in a line segment.

Frances led them down to the river a few miles and down the left bank to the docks just across from the city. There the children played along the shore, throwing rocks into the water, skipping flat stones.

“I can skip it all the way across!” boasted Charles.

“No you cannot!” yelled Wilhelm in challenge.

To that, Charles picked up a sizable, flat rock, and flipped it as hard as he could toward the city on the other side. It skipped four or five times, but only made it a quarter of the way before disappearing below the surface.

“Ha!” yelled his friend, “Told ya!” And then Wilhelm drew back his right arm, cocked his wrist, ran forward, and released his stone. It sailed a third of the way across the river before even touching the surface, then skipped five or six times before clunking into the side of a passing boat in the middle of the river, and dropped into the water.

“Hey!” the fisherman screamed, “Watch what you’re doing, you little heathens!” and went back to steering his boat down stream.

“Great throw!” Frances congratulated the boy, “But DO pay attention to where you’re throwing, next time.”

“Yes, Sister.” he replied.

Their teacher turned and went off to see what their fellow students were doing, leaving the two of them unattended, again.

“Come on, Charles! Let’s go check out all the boats down there on the bank!” said Wilhelm.

The two boys ran off down the bank of the river, about a hundred paces, till they came upon a row of fishing boats that always lined that section of the bank. There were probably forty or fifty of them, of various sizes, sunbathing by the river. Most of the fisherman had already returned from their early fishing runs that morning, though there were a few gaps in the line, boats that had not returned.

“We should take one out!” said Wilhelm to his compatriot.

“That’s stealing!” Charles pointed out.

“Not really,” said the would-be Northman, “We’re just borrowing it for a while,” he continued, with a grin.

“Yeah, I suppose that’s so. There’s no harm, if we bring it back, right?”

“Yeah!”

The two boys found a bright blue boat, small enough that they could move it, and were in the process of launching it from the sandy shore, when they were caught by the law, the Law of Frances.

“Wilhelm! Charles!” she screamed down the riverbank, “What in the name of Christ do you think you’re doing?!” I’m gonna have to say a few Hail Marys for that breech of the Commandments, she thought to herself as the blood ran to her face. She broke into a run to reach the boys before they could push the boat all the way out.

But the tone of her voice held them firm in their spot. They knew, instantly, that they had been caught doing something against the rules, again.

“What do you think you’re doing?” the Sister asked in between breaths. It had been quite a run to catch up with them, and she was not accustomed to running. It wasn’t something Sisters were expected to do, or indeed, encouraged to do. And it was a challenge in her robe, anyway.

“We were just gonna borrow this boat for a little while, Sister.” said Charles.

“Yeah!” agreed his partner in crime.

“Can one of you tell me the first requirement to ‘borrowing’ something that isn’t yours?” she asked, with a very serious look in her eye. “Well?”

The boys glanced at each other, hung their heads, thought about it for a few seconds, but were unable to conjure up the answer. Simultaneously, they raised their heads and shook them, side to side. It was almost comical.

“Hmmf!” the Sister grunted, “You must ask PERMISSION of the owner!”

“Oh yeah!” said Wilhelm, with a look of realization, as if he’d remembered where some ancient treasure was buried, or something of the sort.

“I told him it was stealing!” said Charles.

“Really?” asked Frances, with a bit of sarcasm in her voice. “And you went along with his scheme, anyway?”

Charles had a moment of realization, too, but not as enjoyable as Wilhelm’s had been. He suddenly realized that he’d condemned himself with his own testimony, and the look on his face was one of oh shite.

“So, you knew it was wrong, from the start, but you chose to ignore your conscience and commit thievery?”

“Uhhhh, yes Sister.” Charles’s chin was back on his chest. It was quickly becoming a favorite resting spot.

“You two are Nordmanni!” proclaimed the Sister. “Only scoundrels and heathens like the northmen, steal boats! Get your butts back with the rest of the group, or you’ll be scrubbing the chapel floor for the next month!”

The boys, with hanging heads, trudged back up the bank to the group, and sat down on a big rock, watching their friends play, laugh, and skip stones on the river.

“Now, sit there for a while, and contemplate your crime, and say some Hail Marys while you’re at it! I think you need to spend some time in confession with the Father when we get back!”

Steve Bivans is a FearLess Life & Self-Publishing Coach, the author of the Amazon #1 Best Sellers, Vikings, War and the Fall of the Carolingians,The End of Fear Itself, and the epic-length, self-help, sustainability tome, Be a Hobbit, Save the Earth: the Guide to Sustainable Shire Living, If you want to learn how write and self-publish a book to best-seller status, crush your limitations and Fears, and disrupt the status quo, contact Steve for a free consultation to see how he can help you change the world! CONTACT STEVE

Viking Axe Throwing: Excerpt from Anno Draconis

[The following, A Lesson in Viking Axe Throwing (not the actual chapter title) is a long-awaited excerpt from my upcoming, first novel: Anno Draconis: The Viking Saga of Litt Ormr. It is basically in ‘first draft’ state. I did go over it, once, to remove/fix most of the typos, but I’ve touched it very little. Hope you enjoy! The novel is coming along nicely. I’m over half way through the first draft. I had hoped to publish it this month, in November, but other obligations have delayed it. I hope to have it ready by the day after Christmas, so you can spend your Amazon gift cards loading up your new Kindles with my books! lol]

A Lesson in Viking Axe Throwing

From Anno Draconis (in the year of the dragon)…

Sigurd peered through the brush and branches of the old oak.
Five men he counted, just as Gisli said.
Good.

Four of them were looking downward into their little campfire, one with his back to Sigurd. Another one had stepped a few paces away, on the other side of the road to drain his bladder on the roots of a willow.
Ten paces, Sigurd calculated the distance between himself and the man with his back turned to him. Should take one step and that will do it.

He slipped his hand-axe from out of his belt, at his back, lightly gripped the handle, pointed it towards the man’s back and drew the weapon in an arc over his right shoulder…viking axe throwing

“It’s all done in one motion, son! Stop jerking it back, pausing, and waiting till Ragnarock to throw the damned thing!”

“One motion. Back, and forward. No hesitation, or your enemy will kill you while you rest it on your shoulder blade.”

Sigurd had waited for this day since he could remember, which was probably about three years old. He was six now. Time to learn how to throw an axe!

But his father was a hard master.
“THROW IT!”

Sigurd jerked the axe backward. It slammed against his right shoulder blade. He jerked it forward, slinging it towards the maple stump four paces in front of him. The axe flew end over end, wobbling and arcing to the left as it went. The back end of the handle hit the stump as it went by, sending the thing careening off past the target and into the dirt.

“Hmmpf.” was all his father had to say, which meant, “YOu’re not listening!”

“Damn!” Sigurd responded in anger. “I’m never gonna learn this!”

“OH YES YOU WILL!” his father answer in a command. “No son of Hrolf is gonna grow up not knowing how to throw a fucking axe!”

“You need to listen, son. What did I just tell you?”

“One motion…”

“Yes! and what did you DO?”

Sigurd paused for a moment, thinking. “I threw it too hard?”

“Certainly, that.” Hrolf answered with some irritation, “What else?”

“It felt kind of jerky,” the boy continued.

“Very good, what else?”

Sigurd looked at his father, puzzled, thinking so hard you could almost smell it. He could think of nothing else to say.

“What direction did the fucking axe go?” his father asked.

“Oh! Left!”

“And what does that tell you?”

“That my hand was pointed that direction at the end of the throw!”

“Ya!” his father said with approval, “Now that you know what you did wrong, tell me how to do it, right!”
Sigurd went to retrieve his axe. He walked back to the target then walked off the paces, four of them to the little mark he’d made in the dirt.

He wiped the dirt from the blade. He could smell the earth and feel it’s cool, dampness on his fingers. Then he wiped his fingers on his trousers, and gripped the axe handle at the end, in his right hand. It was a bit heavy for a six year old, but Sigurd was a strong boy.

“I put my right foot forward…” he stood with his throwing foot forward, left foot back, almost perpendicular to the target, his shoulders in line.

“I point the axe at my enemy’s chest…” he began to recite the mantra his father had taught him.

“How do you throw?” his father prompted.

“I throw with my heart.” Sigurd answered as he pointed the axe at the center of the stump.

“Why do we fight?” Hrolf continued.

“Fighting is our Fate, it is the will of the gods.” was the correct answer.

Sigured imagined a man standing in front of him at four paces. He was a Frank—his father hated the Franks. He aimed the axe at the man’s chest, then without hesitation he brought it back in an arc, straight over his right shoulder. The back of the weapon lightly bounced off of his shoulder blade, and swung forward, freely without effort. The boy released the axe, his right hand pointed at the man’s back…

The axe arced through the air, end over end, twice and buried itself with a crunch in the middle of the guard’s spine, the man’s legs collapsed. He fell to his knees, gasping and grunting, and then fell face forward into the campfire. Then everything went into slow motion. It was always this way, for Sigurd. He could see only red.

Kill them! Kill them all! was the only thought in his mind, if mind is the right word for his condition. It was mostly mindless. To kill required no mind. It was instinct. Kill them! Kill them all!

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Steve Bivans is a FearLess Life & Self-Publishing Coach, the author of the Amazon #1 Best Sellers, Vikings, War and the Fall of the Carolingians,The End of Fear Itself, and the epic-length, self-help, sustainability tome, Be a Hobbit, Save the Earth: the Guide to Sustainable Shire Living, If you want to learn how write and self-publish a book to best-seller status, crush your limitations and Fears, and disrupt the status quo, contact Steve for a free consultation to see how he can help you change the world! CONTACT STEVE

A World Without Capitalism?: Review of Speculations on Post Capitalism

I’ve railed against Capitalism for awhile now.

I’m not a fan.

But whether or not you love it, or hate it, in the end it doesn’t matter. It’s days are numbered. The only real questions are how it will fail, when, and what will come after.postcapitalism signorelli

Capitalism is doomed because of inherent flaws in its internal design. What will come after? That’s what Anthony Signorelli’s latest book, Speculations on Postcapitalism is all about. If you’re at all concerned, or fascinated with economics and politics, then you owe it to yourself to grab this book and read it, today.

Mr. Signorelli covers all of the inherent weaknesses of capitalism, in particular, technological unemployment and the effects of digitalization on the marketplace. He masterfully argues that there’s nothing that can be done to ‘save’ capitalism. But we CAN work to design transitional systems to help us move to a better future.

The book is not all doom n gloom. In fact, it points to a brighter future, if we work together to make it so.

This is an absolutely essential book on the topic.

Steve Bivans is a FearLess Life & Self-Publishing Coach, the author of the Amazon #1 Best Sellers, Vikings, War and the Fall of the Carolingians,The End of Fear Itself, and the epic-length, self-help, sustainability tome, Be a Hobbit, Save the Earth: the Guide to Sustainable Shire Living, If you want to learn how write and self-publish a book to best-seller status, crush your limitations and Fears, and disrupt the status quo, contact Steve for a free consultation to see how he can help you change the world! CONTACT STEVE

Want to Lose Your Worries? Find Success and Happiness?

Hi y’all,

I know it’s been awhile since I posted anything on this blog. I’ve been massively engaged in a lot of different projects, including the new book, Vikings, War and the Fall of the Carolingians, and writing a historical fiction novel, and a whole lot of other things.End of Fear COVER version 7

But wanted to send you a quick notice that my second book, The End of Fear Itself, is on special promo this week, through Saturday, for only $.99 on Amazon Kindle, in both the U.S. and the U.K. Grab a copy if you haven’t already, and tell your friends, if you have!

See y’all soon! Lots of stuff coming up.

In the U.K., here!

Steve Bivans is a FearLess Life & Self-Publishing Coach, the author of the Amazon #1 Best Sellers, Vikings, War and the Fall of the Carolingians,The End of Fear Itself, and the epic-length, self-help, sustainability tome, Be a Hobbit, Save the Earth: the Guide to Sustainable Shire Living, If you want to learn how write and self-publish a book to best-seller status, crush your limitations and Fears, and disrupt the status quo, contact Steve for a free consultation to see how he can help you change the world! CONTACT STEVE

Uhtred Suffers Defeat!: Update on Vikings, War and the Fall of the Carolingians

UPDATE on the new book, Vikings, War and the Fall of the Carolingians

The book has been selling quite well since the launch almost a month ago.

It hit #1 in one category (history/france), on June 24th!

But yesterday, on July 5th, it hit another major milestone. The book topped the category, History/Military/Other, surpassing the first book in Bernard Cornwell’s series, The Last Kingdom!!!

Read’em n Weep, Uhtred, son of Uhtred!

Uhtred son of Uhtred

Thanks to all of you who helped make it possible!

Will it stay there forever? No, of course not. But it’s there right now! Time to celebrate a bit!

Steve Bivans is a FearLess Life & Self-Publishing Coach, the author of the Amazon #1 Best Sellers, Vikings, War and the Fall of the Carolingians,The End of Fear Itself, and the epic-length, self-help, sustainability tome, Be a Hobbit, Save the Earth: the Guide to Sustainable Shire Living, If you want to learn how write and self-publish a book to best-seller status, crush your limitations and Fears, and disrupt the status quo, contact Steve for a free consultation to see how he can help you change the world! CONTACT STEVE

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