Brentwood Restaurant: An Initial Haunting

 

You can listen to the episode here!

https://anchor.fm/storiesinthecemetery/episodes/E4-The-Brentwood-Restaurant-e3g9tu

Show Notes

The Brentwood Restaurant is said to be one of the most haunted places along the Grand Strand. You can imagine my excitement when the owners, Eric and Kimberlee Masson allowed me and my team to do an investigation for my unpublished book.

If you haven’t been following my blog or my podcast “Stories in the Cemetery“, I wanted to publish a book that proved a psychic’s abilities by investigating haunted locations with him. The concept was that I would pick him up, not telling him where we were going and have him use his ability to tell me more about the location. We didn’t use any equipment other than simple cameras, a digital recorder for me to recall events during the investigation and of course, Psychic’s marker and notebook for automatic writing.

According to the Massons, many investigators were trying to book a night’s stay to use various techniques to prove that the Brentwood Restaurant was haunted. I will say, that in my belief, any building or home that has been in existence for any length of time has other-worldly properties attached. The Brentwood Restaurant was no different, and Psychic’s abilities proved my theories and more.

When the Masson’s invited us to tour the property during daylight hours before they opened, I was ecstatic. Below you’ll find the chapter of the book that I wrote based on our experience:

The History

The Brentwood Restaurant, owned by Chef Eric Masson and wife, Kimberlee has exchanged hands several times over the past century. The current use, a French Cuisine Bistro is lovely from both the outside and inside décor. Covered in wine corks and old pictures collected by the Massons along the east coast, the restaurant has claims of paranormal activity that simply couldn’t be ignored when researching for new places to visit with Psychic.

Paranormal investigators have long been trying to get into The Brentwood begging to have a sleepover session filled with moving objects and whispers in their ears. There has been one noted investigator, Stephen Lancaster that started the hype around this location, dubbing The Brentwood as the most haunted location along the Grand Strand.

Though this is quite possibly true, during our investigation, there were no strange voices (heard by Photographer and me anyway) or objects moving, or even doors slamming for that matter. No, what we found was a remarkable way to truly prove Psychic’s psychic abilities and allow him to wander through the house turned restaurant freely.

Equipment Used

For this particular case, we used the Sony Recorder to record all audio of the conversations held, Psychic’s intuitions and any possible background noise.

Both digital cameras, the Samsung digital L120 and the Samsung SLR N300, were used to verify any “orbs” that were caught by other pictures.

Psychic and his sketchpad; as always, Psychic used his sketchpad for any automatic writings. Psychic did hear voices throughout this investigation and wrote down each saying that may have meaning during my validations later. Kim was able to validate quite a bit for us after we toured through the house and this is revealed later in this chapter.

Before Our Trip

Just like all trips, minimal research was done on this house prior to the trip. This keeps me unbiased and other than the claim of being haunted, I did absolutely no research on previous owners, the haunting claims et cetera. Psychic, as always was unable to do any research due to the lack of research materials and technology. He was completely blind coming to this case other than knowing that it has haunting claims.

The Car Ride

On the car ride over to The Brentwood, Psychic chose to sit in the backseat to begin “tapping into” whatever spirit(s) may want to come through during our visit. While meditating in my backseat, he came up with this sketch sheet of automatic writing:auto writing 2auto writing 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, none of us, Psychic, Photographer or myself knew what any of it could possibly mean but the same initials reference, “E.M.” and repetitive numbers would prove truth later. If you notice in the top left corner the letter “S” in between the initials. This was our first clue as to what we would be dealing with. The letters “C” and “P” are also written below the initials. These would also prove Psychic’s abilities through research.

Other clues that came about were “Moved”, “My ending > your start”, “recognition”, “I feel lucky”; all of these would have significance on this case and Kim was able to validate quite a bit for us after the tour.

In addition, take note that “Fish is OK for breakfast” is written on Psychic’s sketchpad. This statement not only brought some light to the previous owner, but also gave us some insight into who was coming through to Psychic.

The Initials

Upon reaching the house, Psychic felt a need to go to a bedroom on one of the upper floors. He was drawn to it as we walked closer to the house. After introductions with Chef Eric and his wife, we made our way to this bedroom. Kim decided to stay with us for the tour, but promised not to reveal anything until after we were finished. Since Psychic was starting to say what he was feeling the moment we entered the house, I got the feeling that Kim was going to have a difficult time not revealing anything until after the tour.

Psychic spoke of the initials piece right from the start, claiming that whoever was coming through to him had the same initials as Chef Eric. Psychic had no idea the last name of the couple who currently own the house and definitely did not know about the previous owners. Chef Eric Masson’s initials, E.M., proved to match that of the previous owner, Essie McCorsley.

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Other initials (or letters) also came about through Psychic’s automatic writing. The letter “C” we found was a reference to Essie’s husband, Clarence. On Psychic’s sketchpad, there’s also a note that reads, “Always watching” with an arrow pointed to the “C”. Psychic believes that though Clarence was silent through our tour, he was and is always watching over the businesses that have taken over the home since his death.

Also written is the letter “P” and Psychic’s instinct tells him that Essie did not get along with this “P” person. Kim was able to validate that a “Mary Platt” took over the home after the McCorsleys and the two did not exactly get along. This information came from a descendent of the McCorsleys.

Repetitive Numbers

Psychic also notated the repetition of numbers from the start. When asked which numbers were repeating, he claimed to hear the numbers 15 and 17. Though I could not find the relevance to the number 17, the number 15 proved to serve several dates in later research. This was one clue to add to another.

Essie McCorsley’s death on October 15th also marks the date of the closing of the sale of The Brentwood Restaurant for the Massons. “My ending > your start” was written in the first sketch of automatic writing done by Psychic. This writing done by Psychic now made sense.

Wait, there’s more to this “15” number. During the investigation, Psychic felt the need to stand by the front door as Kim was just about to show us underneath the stairwell where the Brentwood computer is kept. Psychic felt someone collecting “dollars” at this front door, and then heard the whisper “1954”. Psychic went on to explain that in 1954, the person collecting dollars, did not collect any money. At the time, we had no idea what he meant.

What we did find out is that Hurricane Hazel came through Little River, South Carolina (the location of The Brentwood) on October 15, 1954. This was not only another repetitive 15, but could also mean that Essie was not charging people to come into her home for protection from the storm. Although there is no written evidence that Essie took people in from Hazel, it was too ironic that underneath the stairs was a focus when Psychic heard the whisper. Could the passage underneath the stairs have been a storm barricade that Essie used to protect her neighbors from the hurricane? I have no evidence that says this didn’t happen.

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Lucky Recognition

“Recognition” and “I Feel Lucky” is written on Psychic’s sketchpad and these two phrases had no meaning to us on our way to The Brentwood. We pulled in to The Brentwood’s parking area to find that the actual street name is Luck Street. Although, The Brentwood’s current location is not the original, we still felt there was a connection here.

The “Recognition” written, Psychic felt as though it was a gracious recognition, as if Essie was saying “thank you for the recognition.” Again, we had no clue what Psychic was referring to until we asked Kim about it later. She remembered while pointing out the original location of the house that there are two streets just a bit down the road from the original location named after Essie. Those two streets form a crossroads of each other and are named McCorsley and Bessent. Kim explained that Bessent was Essie’s maiden name.

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This not only proved the “recognition” writing, but also the “moved” that Psychic felt the urge to write twice.

End of Chapter

Afternotes

Something on the Stairs

Granted, although it seems that I never finished this chapter, I recall something on the stairs that wasn’t there the first time we passed through. We usually did several passes, following Psychic around to see what he would come up with next. I’m not sure exactly why I didn’t include this in the first draft of the chapter, but I distinctly remember something on the stairs that wasn’t there originally. It was something hard and tangible, not something that would have been quiet when hitting the hardwood floor of the steps.

Ladybugs

Regardless, my experience at The Brentwood Restaurant is one to remember. Although, we had no paranormal activity happen while we were there, we found one more thing interesting.

At the beginning of our tour, after meeting Chef Eric Masson, the four of us, Psychic, Photographer, Kimberlee and myself all moved to the front room of the house to discuss the process we go through and terms of the tour.

We regrouped in the same room in which we started and happened to notice the ceiling was covered in ladybugs. According to Kimberlee this had never happened before. During my research, I found that ladybugs are a symbol of luck in many cultures. This could be more to the meaning of Psychic’s auto-writing of “I Feel Lucky”.

Fish is OK for Breakfast

I should also note that I never explained the “Fish is okay for breakfast” in Psychic’s auto-writing. As it turns out, the fisherman that stayed at the McCorsley home would bring fish for Essie to cook for them. Therefore, “Fish is okay for breakfast”. Kimberlee explained this to my team and I during our regroup and we all found it hilarious since it made no sense at the beginning.

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I have to say I feel lucky indeed after having the experience I did with Psychic and The Brentwood Restaurant. It was another case where I felt that his abilities were proven yet again.

This week’s sponsored book is Book One: Growing Dim. If you love Greek Mythology tales about the Underworld, you will be enthralled to follow the new Shade (Hades) on his new adventures. This is the first book in the series.

I’m a writer/podcaster and now you know one of the many influences of why I write what I write.

Thanks for reading,

Nick

If you’d like to support this blog/podcast, you can always Buy Me A Coffee to keep me fueled and ready for more investigations. Your contributions to my craft are always appreciated!

Alice Flagg

You can listen to the episode here!

https://anchor.fm/storiesinthecemetery/episodes/E1-Alice-Flagg-e35oh4

Show Notes

The story of Alice Flagg can be found in countless books about ghosts or hauntings in Horry County. If you’re unfamiliar with where this is, just know that on your next vacation to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, you’re right dab in the middle of Horry County. And by the way, don’t pronounce it “Whorey” county either, the “H” is silent. The locals will correct you for sure.

In 2013, I had this idea for a book about ghosts and hauntings along the Grand Strand (ahem, apologies, that’s the beaches along the South Carolina border). I wanted to make the book different than all the other standard “Ghosts of Horry County” books I was reading. As someone who is always interested in a great ghost encounter, I began thinking about what I would want to read, what I would want out of a book about ghostly encounters. The answer came to me like a freight train hit me in the head. I would want PROOF!

So, the idea was born that I would prove the stories around these local tall tales, urban legends and ghost stories around my new home. The idea behind the book was that I would ask a friend of mine, (who will remain unnamed for this blog), who just happened to be psychic. I am a true believer in his abilities and I wanted to use those abilities to prove the stories. We met up, talked about the idea and the premise behind the hook of the book and I began researching.

The agreement/conditions we came to were as follows:

  1. He would not be given the location and/or the backstory of the location once we arrived.
  2. I was allowed to record audio but only for use in research.
  3. His automatic writing could and would be published in the book.

Seems pretty simple terms, right? Even if a reader wouldn’t believe the stories and the proof to follow, I would have the evidence for myself and well, that was enough for this writer to drive it forward.

We investigated several locations before doors were slammed in my face. Not literally, more like blocked emails and disrespectful messages that said location didn’t “want that kind of publicity”. Meh, needless to say, after a few locations and months gone by of no location giving us permission to investigate, the research stayed stagnant on my hard drive.

Until now.

For the story of Alice Flagg, you can find in many books about urban legends, but the gist of the story goes like this:

Alice, daughter of prominent family fell in love with a turpentine salesman. Her family disapproving of the relationship, sent Alice away to college further inland of South Carolina. Before she left, her love gave her an engagement ring which she wore around her neck as a necklace.

While away at college, Alice fell ill and was brought back home. As she fell further ill, her father found the necklace with the ring and flung it into the ocean. Alice died before she could marry her beloved turpentine salesman. It is said that Alice haunts the Grand Strand looking for her necklace.

This is my short synopsis of the story. After talking with several locals and reading the story a hundred different ways, these are the plot points that stuck out for me and well, helped escalate my investigation.

Before I post my notes and the “manuscript” I was to publish based on the findings, I should also note that the burial of Alice Flagg is questionable. The most well-known burial is in All Saint’s Cemetery in Pawley’s Island, SC. The urban legend around this says if you circle the flat gravestone a number of times and leave a ring or coin, then Alice will come over the brick wall that surrounds the cemetery.

Here is the picture I took during that investigation:

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You can see the offerings and the wore down dirt from so many people trying the circle three times bit. I was there, so I also tried it and left a shiny quarter on the “Alice” grave. Nothing happened.

Also notice that the stone simply reads “Alice”. Alice who? As you continue reading my notes below, you’ll notice that this has the possibility of being a different Alice, or no one at all.

Here are my notes after we did our investigation:

Notes

Mansfield

  • GPS initially took us to Mansfield Plantation when typing in “Old Gun”.
  • At Mansfield, psychic wrote “Always on Guard” the minute headlights revealed themselves in the distance.
  • I heard metal on metal sound, a bell, hammer on anvil? While driving on the dirt road leading to the brick gated entrance.
  • Use psychic’s automatic writing to find more clues on what is truly happening at Mansfield.

Alice

  • From psychic’s arrival into the car, he felt obligated to find Alice’s original gravesite. I gave the option of going to the Prince Frederick chapel versus the traditional grave at All Saints. He chose Prince Frederick.
  • At Prince Frederick, Psychic hears a whisper “he watches from the tower”.
  • Stories claim that Prince Frederick holds Civil War graves only. No mentioning of Alice.
  • Could not find Alice’s gravesite, yet most tombstones are turned toward the wooded area.
  • At All Saints: Too many things didn’t make sense:
    • Alice and Anne the only slab stones that reveal only a name. Do more research based on the year that Alice died.
    • The Ward family awfully close to the Flagg family. Why?
    • Allston was a constant name that popped up during our trip.
    • The smell of a flammable liquid from psychic, yet I smelled flowers. No flowers could be found. Website verifies this. We, however, did not know of these facts. Apparently, Alice’s fiancée was a turpentine salesman.
    • Lots of children headstones in All Saints. Relevance?
    • I performed the ritual of walking around Alice’s grave 8x and then dropped a quarter on the slab. Nothing happened, although psychic claimed to hear laughing from more than one person.
    • Still need to find Alice’s house. Pictures needed.
  • We did this trip on October 14, 2013. Alice’s parents died October 13, 1893. 120 year anniversary.
  • Psychic’s thoughts were calm at All Saints. Felt as though Alice wasn’t truly there. “Fun as a Front” was a common phrase used, and in his automatic writing.
  • Psychic feels as though Alice’s body was moved in some way. Used the term “transference”. Websites confirm that Alice’s body was moved after her mother came home to find her dead. Website also mentions that Alice is said to haunt all three places: her original burial, her second and her home. No mention of where her original burial is located. Need more research.

Updated Note: 10.22.13

  • Found and validated a picture of Alice’s slab stone in Old Gunn/Prince Frederick. Reference here is that I found it the day after her birthday. Just the same as psychic and I visiting her gravestones the day after her parent’s death.

Word of note on the last updated note: I was unable to relocate the picture of Alice Flagg’s headstone afterwards. The picture and article about it were taken down.

I’ve always wanted to publish the story I wrote based on the notes above and you are one of the first to read this story. Enjoy.

(Psychic’s name was replaced with the title of “Psychic”, but rest assured he is a real person and I simply did not ask his permission to publish this story in blog format).

Alice Flagg

Although this book is an attempt to find more unpopular or hidden hauntings along the Grand Strand, I, along with Psychic found it fitting to begin our research with the most popular, yet undefined, story. The story of Alice Flagg is popular in this area among all the locals and a great many books can be found about Alice’s spirit.

While discussing my new project with some newfound local friends of mine, there were several mentions of where Alice is allegedly buried.  The mentioning of Old Gunn church was brought up several times in discussions with friends and my research was telling me of All Saints Church in Pawley’s Island. I decided to plug in both locations into my GPS and allow Psychic’s gut instinct to decide.

Not truly researching this story enough before my venture into the field brought about several things on this initial trip with Psychic. It would allow me to test Psychic’s abilities and allow him and me to see what we could discover together, which ideally is the sole purpose of this project: to uncover newfound truths along the Grand Strand. I picked Psychic up at his home, I gave him the scenario trying to persuade him that time was of the essence, and we needed a quick decision. My ploy had worked and he still decided to follow his instinct that lead us to typing in “old gun” into my GPS. Little did I know that “Gunn” was spelled with two “n’s” and also that Old Gunn Church was a nickname given to Prince Frederick’s Chapel.

As it turns out, the GPS did not lead us to Prince Frederick’s Chapel. Instead, it lead us straight to Mansfield Plantation, a bed and breakfast rice plantation. Neither of us knew anything of this plantation and you can find more on this location later in Chapter ? I will simply say that this slow drive up to the brick entrance was slow and Psychic felt the need to do some automatic writing along the slow drive. Again, you can find more on this location later. (We never had the opportunity to investigate this location)

Once we turned around and found some paved roads again, the sense of uneasiness left both of us and I pulled over to a local fast food restaurant to find a wi-fi signal to do some quick research on where it was truly we needed to go. As I waited for my smartphone to pick up the signal, I decided to stop a local coming out of the restaurant. I asked him if he knew anything about Mansfield Plantation and unfortunately, even though he was from the area, he could tell me nothing of importance for he could not recall any stories.

Back on the road again, Psychic and I became acclimated with each other, discussing this book, our previous work and music, something usually of common ground among perfect strangers.

Prince Frederick Chapel was about 30 minutes away and this gave us plenty of time to chat and discuss the automatic writing he did while on the grounds of the Mansfield Plantation. I recognized this as a normal practice of psychics, but had never actually witnessed it firsthand. It was more than interesting as I glanced over to it occasionally as I drove to Prince Frederick.

We found Prince Frederick with ease along a long somewhat paved road and came to the clearing of where the remains of the bell tower stood. It was marvelous! Psychic and I immediately got out of the car snapping pictures and his hand going in movements over his notebook, we separated to opposing ends of the fence.

The rumors I heard from my local friends was that Alice Flagg’s true grave is behind the bell tower. Yet, the stories I found of Old Gunn church were that of a man who hung himself.  Perhaps this story will be investigated by us later, but today we were on a hunt for truth surrounding Alice Flagg.

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Along with Psychic’s gut instinct of Alice’s presence at Prince Frederick, he heard a whisper: “He watches from the tower,” said the whisper and that is when I began snapping pictures of the top of the bell tower in hopes of finding an apparition.  Psychic also had several phrases that he used consistently and came with his automatic writing: Psychic feels that Alice is truly buried there, somewhere around the bell tower. With as many photos I could take, I could barely make out the headstones that were facing us, most of them were not. Most of these headstones were facing the woods beyond the clearing of the bell tower and I long to know what is truly back there. The locals I’ve spoken with claim that they have been behind the barbed wire fence and have seen Alice Flagg’s headstone with her full name engraved. With the photos I took, I could not make out the name Alice on any headstone.

 

“Fun as a front” was used several times and Psychic seemed to focus on it. He felt that there was something more to Alice’s story of losing her engagement ring. He felt as though this prominent family had more secrets and that social activities and the family name were always at risk. The “fun” were those associations the Flaggs made while alive, yet it was all a “front” to save face of the family name.

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Psychic also used the term “transference” several times. As he told me how strong he felt about this word, I recalled reading that Alice’s body was moved after her mother came home to find her dead. Psychic feels that there is more to this rumor and though it feels to be true, there were more family secrets behind this. Something as shameful (during the time the Flaggs lived) as a lesbian love affair or cheating of some sort. Psychic couldn’t place his psychic finger on it, but felt as though Alice was shunned from the family in some way. More on this later as Psychic and I moved on to the ritualistic Alice slab stone in All Saints Cemetery in Pawley’s Island.

Finding All Saints Cemetery was fairly easy and it sits in a small neighborhood just a few blocks from Highway 17. We parked across the street to find the small gate open to the grounds for all to tour. Again, it seemed all too easy gain access to such a famous story around town. Fun as a front.

Even upon entering the grounds, the gravesite was easy to spot with the worn path that wrapped around the famous “Alice” slab stone. Psychic felt peaceful and informed me that he remembered visiting the graveyard years prior but had no idea he couldn’t remember. He claimed that he was there at night and felt plenty of children spirits playing in the yard and upon entering I could see why. There were numerous small headstones, which indicated the death of children scattered throughout the graveyard.

We stood at the foot of the Alice slab stone and Psychic immediately responded with “She’s not here,” meaning not buried here. We separated again exploring the grounds putting clues together on our own to collaborate about 30 minutes later back near the Alice slab. Quite a few things came of this meeting. We both recognized that the graveyard was setup backwards when comparing to other cemeteries. The history or older headstones started at the front and worked their way back towards the brick wall. Something odd indeed.

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The name Allston or Alston came up several times on this trip and we have yet to define its significance.

The Ward family is buried next to the Flagg family, a relevance we did not know at the time, but more research afterwards shows that Alice’s two brothers were set to marry each a Ward sister. Two prominent families joining was acceptable perhaps.

Standing in front of Allard’s (Alice’s brother) headstone, I smelled a light flowery scent and searched for blossoms anywhere, I couldn’t find any. When I mentioned this, Psychic turned his nose at me and said he didn’t smell a fragrance but a putrid smell, of a liquid that can be burned. I later found through research that the nameless lover of Alice was said to be a turpentine salesman. One piece of validation of Psychic’s abilities. I also was unaware of the rumored smell of flowers, but found it later in the same research.

With the countless stories of Alice and her heartbroken death, there is said to be a different number of steps to take around her slab stone for her to appear. Some stories said six, seven, eight, and thirteen while others claimed to do it backwards or counter-clockwise. All legends said to leave a token for Alice whether a coin, a ribbon, or a ring, I decided to leave a coin after walking around the slab 8 times in a counter-clockwise motion. I got dizzy if nothing else. However, Psychic said as I was circling the stone that he could hear laughter as if the ritual was the “fun” of the front story that held the secrets of Alice. I believe him.

 

Other things to note about All Saints Cemetery are the headstones themselves. Only one other slab stone held the single engraving of a first name only: Anne.

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The memorial stone to Alice’s parents claims that they passed away on October 13, 1893. The irony here is that this venture with Psychic was supposed to happen on October 13, 2013 and I moved the date to the 14th of October due to other family plans. The day prior would have been the 120 year anniversary of their death caused by a tidal wave.

The actual headstone of Alice’s brother looks fairly new with grapes engraved into it. More research into headstones later may reveal more about the circa date of this stone. I felt as though the “front” could have been the swapping of stones somehow. But then again, I’ve asked a psychic to have gut instincts on this project.

To end this post, I’d love to hear your thoughts on both the story and whatever encounters you have had with Alice Flagg. Hell, tell me about urban legends in your hometown, I’d love to hear them!

As for Alice, I know for certain that I have seen a headstone online with her full name, Alice Flagg. I can also say for certain that I believe Psychic’s ability and that what we experienced in both locations was noteworthy and I believe every word Psychic had to say about the legend of Alice. I believe she is buried behind Old Gunn Church. I believe that her family wanted to hide something. But knowing that this family had secrets, secrets they will stay, at least from me. I respect the family’s wishes of keeping Alice’s story alive, but also with wanting to keep her grave site a secret as well.

I am Nicholas McGirr, Author of the Afterlife. You can now see where I get ideas for my novels.

If you’d like to support this blog/podcast, you can always Buy Me A Coffee to keep me fueled and ready for more investigations. Your contributions to my craft are always appreciated!

Byron’s First Training Day

Hello Readers!

If you’ve been following me and Byron on social media, you’d already know that Byron’s first official bookstore book signing did not go so well. He ended up barking at every customer that came to my table and we’ll just say that the managers of the bookstore were not very happy with us. You can hear this story on one of my podcast episodes here: Byron’s bad day.

Since then, I’ve cancelled all book signings with Byron until he is fully trained to be around the public. I’m losing sales and more readers/fans, but I know in the long run, this is better for Byron and will also be better for you, dear reader, when you get a chance to meet my favorite dachshund.

It’s Wednesday, January 23rd and today was Byron’s first training with JR with The Charleston Dog Wizard. We pre-screened Byron with JR about a month ago and then finally fit Byron’s schedule into ours. JR was fantastic. He  spoke our language, and taught April and I a few new things that we never thought about when it came to training our little guy.

Byron did amazing and I have no doubts that with JR’s help, Byron and I will be back at conventions and cons signing books in no time.

What I will tell you is that Byron is mentally exhausted. Byron learned to problem solve his way into getting what he wants and what I wanted him to do. JR as a dog trainer taught all of us tips for all of us to be happy, not just April and I.

If you didn’t already know, Byron is also my real Emotional Support Animal. He is also dapple in color which means everyone in the world wants to pet my pup when we are out in public. Granted, when I’m not signing books with him (yes, he does pawtograph with me), Byron serves a purpose for me. Often times, Byron gets defensive whenever people approach me and enter my “bubble”. He doesn’t like that at all. He knows his job and feels he’s doing it well. However, teaching him the manners he needs when out in public is becoming an essential need, especially since he’s so adorable.

By no means am I sponsoring this blog post for JR and the great team at the Charleston Dog Wizard, but I thought I would leave a link to their Facebook Page anyway. They are doing a great service for dogs all over Charleston, and if you’re in the area, you should check them out: Charleston Dog Wizard Facebook Page

I hope JR and the CDW team get a chance to read this and know that April and I are entirely grateful for what we foresee as a great outcome for Byron. Looking forward to seeing what comes next.

Nick

Byron by Nick Knight on Amazon

Fixing Mistakes in 2019

So, January of the new year is almost over and I’ve been doing quite a bit of self-reflecting of what to fix in my writing for the new year.

I’ve started a business plan with a month-to-month printed calendar of goals and sales and tactics on how to accomplish each goal. However, there are still a few things in the way of reaching these goals, so I’ve decided to come up with this blog post to not only have them written down (or typed, read it how you like) but also to do a bit more self-reflecting on how to resolve my mistakes and create a more solidified plan.

Here goes:

1. Stick to my Time-Blocking

This has been a feat of mine for the past year. Each week, I time-block out my life and each week, more life happens. Time-blocking has helped me become a bit more focused and refined on how and when I work on my writing business, but incorporating my family, my 9 to 5, and Byron into that time-blocked schedule is definitely a challenge.

For this year, I’m going to stick to the time-block to time-block. Sounds redundant, but in a busy life, you have to make time to plan. This piece will remain the same for me. I usually have an hour blocked out on Fridays.

Setting up more alerts on my calendar of when to work and on what. I am becoming a bit more active with things like blog post ideas, podcasting and working on my fiction. With each alert, I’ll know what it is I am supposed to be working on. If you’re anything like me, a writer who also has a 9 to 5, you know that when we sit down to work, it often becomes haphazard attempts at writing, social media networking and/or going down a rabbit hole with no productivity.

I use Google Calendar for time-blocking, simply because it’s attached to my email, and well, let’s face it, Google apps own my phone.

2. Follow a more detailed plan of gaining followers

I’ve been listening to other podcasters for a few reasons. One reason is to listen to their overall production for my own podcasting, the other is for the content. Kirsten Oliphant puts out a great tool that I’ve downloaded and spent an entire Saturday filling out my goals for each month of this year, 2019. You can find the planner here: Kirsten Oliphant’s Planner

With my schoolwork (yes, I’m still working on that MFA), I’ve been reading “Build Your Author Platform” by Carole Jelen and Michael McCAllister. A great read, if you haven’t read it. The focuses in this book are for the very beginner in marketing your platform. This blog post is a result of some of the tactics I’ve learned so far.

While reading this book, I’ve realized that I needed to go back to the beginning. I’m still an unknown writer, like some of you, and well, people need to know who I am in order to gain some exposure to my works.

3. Create and personalize my workspace

Well, well, well. This one is huge. I may even post a separate blog on how I transitioned my work space. I get a lot of “squirrels”, and yes, you know what squirrels are! They are the little buggers that get in the way of you being productive.

I recently moved to a bigger apartment (or flat if you’re in the UK), and I literally separated my work space off from the rest of the apartment. Granted, it’s not sound-proof, but my wife and I have come up with some rules for my work space. You’ll have to subscribe to this blog to hear that funny story later. Just know that I’ve taken over the dining room and there is a giant curtain that when closed, is a “no enter” zone.

Here’s a pic of what I’m starting with….

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4. Continue picking the brains of other writers, published and unpublished.

My podcast, “Write Mistakes” is all about the mistakes, screw-ups, and embarrassing tactics I’ve used and failed. Some of those might be writing mistakes, marketing mistakes, or even mindset mistakes. You should give it a listen. Write Mistakes

But as Write Mistakes evolves, I find myself learning about other writer’s mistakes and picking their brains on what to do with my own. It’s truly an inspiring thought process. I talk about mistakes I’m making, and my guests bring about a different mindset of how to attack and cure the mistake in a way I never thought possible.

5. Find more business partners that can aid in a more polished publication.

Another big one. If you didn’t know, my wife, April, does all my head shots and book covers. She’s a student in graphic design and well, I am more than willing to be her guinea pig for her coursework.

So, step one is complete: find a talented book cover designer that will listen to your ideas. Here are some of April’s contributions so far:

Step two: find an editor that will not butcher your work just to get their name on amazon. (almost complete, still interviewing). This process is in exchange for the same services in return. In other words, I need another fantasy writer to edit my books, and in return, I’ll edit his/hers. No money exchanged, simple credit in the book and on amazon.

Step three: Formatting takes a lot of my time for each book. I have tons of files in my computer that are different versions of each book; eBook, paperback in different sizes, hardcover if needed. My files not only need to be a bit more organized, but I would also like to have someone take a look at each of my formatted works and provide feedback of not only how it reads, but aesthetically.

Overall, my business plan needs to be tightened up. Expect more blog posts, podcast episodes on all these topics on what I’m doing to fix my Writing Mistakes. Be sure to follow me on this blog and your social media of choice.

You can find me on your favorite social platform here: Follow Me

thanks for reading,

Nicholas, but you can call me Nick