2016 Check-In

Angus ZooHappy Beginning of 2016.

A quiet urge nudged me to come back and provide a State of the Phillip address. So here I am. It’s a new year, which of course means it’s time for the requisite resolutions that we rarely keep.

So why do we rarely keep them?

I see two obvious problems:

  1. It’s generally known that people don’t follow through past the first month (if that), so there isn’t much social or personal cost to quitting. It’s expected.
  2. For those folks that do take their resolutions seriously, they make the mistake of committing to something that would be better treated as an experiment and beat themselves up for not making it to the end of the year.

I’ve experienced both of those gotchas before, so as to avoid them again, I instead present to you key ideas that I’ll be experimenting with and adjusting course as needed. These are goals that I’ve formulated organically over the past month or two, all in response to my life in 2015 plus what I’ve found myself reading/thinking about. Without realizing, I noticed they encompass the tripartite of the human — mind, body, and soul.

Read more “2016 Check-In”

Weekly Recap – November 13th, 2015

2015-10-29 13.27.57
Why can’t we do this every day?

Halloween has left us, Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and Christmas is way too close for comfort. Oh, then there’s that whole New Year thing.

It’s going to be a busy couple of months, but I plan on taking time to reflect on what this blog was, and is becoming. I started it just over four years ago as an outlet for writing. The people I’ve met, the things I’ve learned–it almost feels like I attended a four-year writer’s college, and let me tell you, it’s been an amazing and wonderful experience.

But, as many of you know from my recent posts, things have changed. Not just in my drive to write. I mean, heck, I went from over-sized adolescent to father right in the middle of my schooling. I’d say that sort of flipped my world on its head.

But as I look at the tagline that’s been sitting on the top of my blog for quite some time:

A writer seeking employment as a Gentleman of Elegant Leisure.

It just doesn’t speak the truth anymore. Surely the second half sounds right, but the “writer” part? With my dearth of posts and lack of fiction, not so much lately.

I realized the other day that in these four years, I’ve never taken an extended break from this blog. I think the most amount of time I’ve managed to skip out on has been a week or so, but many folks I know have taken a longer hiatus. Sometimes they come back. Sometimes they don’t. I think in either case, the majority of the time, they discover what was right for them at that point in their life.

A well-functioning body and mind require rest. It’s a lesson I’ve needed to relearn time and again. It’s not necessarily an esoteric thought. Days of rest are common in many religions. In any exercise regimen, the muscles need rest in order to repair the damage done to them. That’s not to say going full sloth is the way to live, but the hard-charging “Go! Go! Go!” attitude is just as disastrous.

I guess what I’m trying to say is: balance. I need to spend some time figuring out what gets me excited about writing again.

Expect to see me still popping up here and on your blogs in the next few months, just maybe not as frequently. Just know I still care about what you guys are doing and will support you however I can.

Have a great weekend everyone!


Weekly Recap – November 6th, 2015

The Simpsons have arrived!
The Simpsons have arrived!

My apologies for the blurry photo, but selfies while holding a squirming one-year-old should be an Olympic event.

This past week has been bittersweet.

We had a fun time over Halloween. Angus got to be in costume for the first time — he was a cute little Bart Simpson, though keeping his hair spiked up was a losing battle. All-in-all, I’d mark the evening a success.

Then sadly, we received tragic news yesterday of someone close to the family suddenly passing away. It’s always hard to lose someone, but especially when it’s so unexpected and close to the holidays. 🙁

Hold your loved ones close and don’t let petty arguments cloud your friendship.

I wish you all a happy and safe weekend.



Announcing His Revenge by John W. Howell

Announcing His Revenge by John W. Howell is now available in paper and ebook on Amazon.

His Revenge front final

The sequel to My GRL titled His Revenge is available and a new story continues where My GRL left off.

His Revenge is available in the US in Paper and Kindle editions

In Canada in Paper and Kindle editions

In the UK in Paper and Kindle editions

Here is the blurb:

America loves John Cannon, its newest hero, and the President wants to present him with the highest civilian medal for bravery for saving the Annapolis midshipman from a terrorist plot to destroy them. While in Washington for the award ceremony, John unwillingly becomes an accomplice in another plan by the same group to attack the credibility of the US President and the stability of the worldwide oil market. There is no way out as John either becomes a traitor to America or causes thousands of innocent people to die if he refuses.

The second John J Cannon Thriller moves from a barrier Island off the coast of Texas to Washington DC, then to Northern California, and finally to Ecuador. John is on the receiving end of an offer he cannot, refuse. His avowed enemy Matt Jacobs now wants John to help him shake the reputation of the US in the world political arena and disrupt confidence in the government at home. If John refuses, Matt plans to murder innocent Americans including John’s latest relationship. John’s only way out is to pretend to go along with the plan and hope for a miracle.

Excerpt from Chapter one

The water rushes over my head. I’m sinking and don’t know why. With my breath held, I have trouble stopping the air from escaping since the pressure drives the air up and out. I try to keep my mouth closed, but the water pressure pushes the air out more and more. Will I pass out? In the distance, the light is dim. To rise to the surface in time might not be possible─I need to breathe right now. Toward ending the pain in my chest, my rambling mind rationalizes taking a deep breath—even knowing it will end my life. In conflict with the irrational thought of ending it, my body won’t let me suck in the water, as it fights to retain the little bit of oxygen left to fuel my brain.

The despair is nearly overwhelming, and my mind considers other ways to battle the feeling. What more could I have done with my life? The pressure becomes more intense, and I’m about to lose it all, and I decide I’ve lived the way I wanted and have no regrets. I close my eyes and hear only the roar of the sea.
I’m so tired. Exhausted. Sleep will fix everything, and I want to give in.

Photo by Tim Burdick

About the Author

John’s main interests are reading and writing. He turned to writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive career in business. John writes fictional short stories and novels as well as a blog at http://www.johnwhowell.com. John lives on a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of south Texas with his wife and spoiled rescue pets. He can be reached at his e-mail johnhowell.wave@gmail.com, Facebook https://www.facebook.com/john.howell.98229241 or Twitter at @HowellWave.

My GRL_johnwhowell

His first novel, My GRL is available on Amazon and wherever e-books are sold

Weekly Recap – October 30th, 2015

Can you see me? Is my camouflage working?
Can you see me? Is my camouflage working?

Boy, what happened? It looks like I missed last week’s update, but that seems par for the course lately. All year, I’ve barely missed a day of writing in my personal journal. I inadvertently skipped a whole week on that as well.

The interesting part? It hasn’t bothered me. I suppose it’s just more evidence that I’ve needed a change in routine. I’ve upped my lunch walks to almost two-and-a-half miles while enjoying Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History podcast (specifically the series on the Mongols). A few months ago, my web history was filled with articles on books and writing. If you were to look at it now, I’d seem like a fitness freak. Trade one addiction for another, I suppose…

Oh, and the family has really taken to geocaching! We found our first two treasures last week. Lots of fun. I think Angus will really enjoy the adventures as he gets older.

If you find yourself in a rut like I was, maybe give your current focus a break and try something new? It won’t hurt, I promise.

Have a Happy Halloween everyone!


Weekly Recap – October 16th, 2015

Of all the toys at the indoor playground, this is my favorite.
Of all the toys at the indoor playground, this is my favorite.

It’s been a busy work week. It started at 4am on Sunday morning, continuing with multiple nights of phone calls and troubleshooting, and with likely more excitement heading into this weekend. They say when you play the game of On-Call™, there are no winners. Well, that’s not entirely true since the hope is that people come into the office the next day never knowing that something broke in the night.

In spite of all the fuss, I’m going to toot my own horn: I managed to get in all of my scheduled exercise. Not only that, but I had the kinds of workouts where I was excited upon waking up and then felt entirely focused in the gym. I also got all of my lunchtime walks in while learning some interesting things about whiskey and wine (thanks podcasts!).

I definitely feel like my everyday focus is greater, now that I’m not so worried about writing and reading. I just need to remember that when the next slog comes around, it maybe means I need to change things up again.

I hope you all have a great weekend!