I’m pleased to have Greg Middleton as a guest on my blog today. He is the author of “In Search of the Soul, published in 2002 by Dorrance Publishing Company, and “Pearls of Wisdom” published in 2003 by GEM Publications. “Real Men” is his latest release.
Greg, is there anything else about yourself you would like to share?
Greg: The main thing I would like to share currently is about my “Real Man” project. I started an organization dedicated to assisting men to become better at the roles we are expected to fulfill. Much has changed over a relatively short period of time that has thrown the typical roles that men had played for ages into a freefall. The traditional roles that women once played have drastically changed with much more freedoms and opportunities available to and for them. Some of roles that men once dominated are no longer as certain. In addition, men are no longer the kings of the hill or even the kings in their own castle. Most of this change was completely necessary because certainly females were discriminated against for centuries. With these newfound freedoms men need to get their acts together or else we will see a constant trend toward women taking more leadership positions. Perhaps it is time in our history to see what females can do with leadership. We have already seen what males have done creating a warlike mentality when they disagree with others. My passion is bringing this topic to the forefront of the public’s attention.
Katie: You are also a professional musician, realtor and professional seminar speaker. Do you find pursuit of these areas detracts from your ability to write?
Greg: I actually find my pursuit of each of these career tracks to be a compliment to my ability to write. Since I write mainly about social issues, dealing with people in the various capacities gives me a broad prospective of people from different walks of life. Although most of my time is spent between writing and working with my men’s organization, as I meet with different people I gather various opinions from others as to how they are dealing with this thing we call life. In my opinion we could improve greatly in how we deal with life and with each other. I think we make it much more difficult than it needs to be. If we would only learn to become the “good” that we would like to see in others, we would naturally be loved and respected by others because they would see themselves in us. If we would only reach out to each other in a spirit of unity and harmony rather than building all the various walls between the “us and them” mentality, we would gain so much immediately. These are the things I write about. Through my various career tracks I get a chance to speak with so many people about their experiences. That becomes the material that I write about.
Katie: I see that the text of your books has been inspired by a search for God, beginning in the fall of 1999. What prompted that search for you?
Greg: I think when you reach a certain age in life you began to question whether you have done your best or gave it your all. Upon turning fifty I was not sure about a lot of things. I think they call this mid-life crisis. I appeared to have experienced life only on the surface and never dug deep down into the fabric of life itself. This search lead me deeper into what I actually believe about God rather than what I was taught all my life. I was taught about God as a child but I never know Him in a real and meaningful way. I wanted to develop a close personal relationship with God so I reached out to find the real God and actually started communicating with a presence that was much more real than I had previously imagined. The quick answer to this question is—I really needed to make God real in my life.
Katie: As an author of inspirational nonfiction, you reach readers that many others don’t. What do you want your readers to “get” from reading your books?
Greg: I really want others to question the things they were taught and either make them real or modify them so there is reality in their lives rather than just living the façade. Many people haven’t a clue “who” they are or what they stand for. They follow the “Joneses” or the “status quo,” even to their own demise. They live a false life built upon false dichotomies and don’t even realize that they are doing so. When life pulls away your security blanket the fall can be so devastating because there was no real foundation there to start with. As we began to dissect our lives, our beliefs, our values and even our morals we can replace all those falsities with things that are real. We can become our authentic selves and feel comfortable within our own skin. We can learn to become the best versions of ourselves and that would be our greatest accomplishment in life itself. Once we come to terms with our life’s purpose we would have fulfilled the reason we were born here on earth. I personally think everyone should seek to find and fulfill their life’s purpose. That is what I try to inspire in my readers, or want them to “get” from reading my books.
Katie: Your latest book, “Real Men,” is about the plight of males over the last century. You also teach seminars based on this concept. How did you come up with this idea?
Greg: When I was going through my “soul search” I did a lot of reading and spoke to many others about what I was experiencing. I inquired if others might be experiencing things similar to me. In 2004 I asked some of my friends and associates to meet with me so we could discuss the trends that were happening with ordinary males of all ages. Men rarely get together to discuss sensitive things so this was an uplifting and rejuvenating experience for all the men that attended my initial gatherings. I organized a few meetings with anywhere from 15 to 40 men gathering for my discussion groups. What we experienced just by talking and sharing our experiences was magical. It was men coming together in order to assist each other in becoming better and more informed men. I attempted to put an organization together in 2007, but right about that time I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, which put a pause in my business venture. In addition, it also gave me more knowledge and wisdom to share with other men. It was as though a divine power was guiding or inspiring me to develop this seminar concept of getting men together to speak about our common issues. I actually wrote the book, “Real Men” just to go along with the seminar business as a way of bringing many of the issues before men so we could speak about them live in our seminars. My main pursuit today is spreading this seminar business to males all across the nation and even across the world. I think it is God’s work, and somehow I have been selected to do this.
Katie: What kind of marketing/promotional work have you done for “Real Men”?
Greg: I hired a PR Firm to assist me in promoting the book. I have been doing radio talk shows, local television appearances, regular men’s group gatherings, websites and blog sites, and even a month of virtual book tours that I am on as we speak. Just recently I was chosen to sit on the Town Council in my town of
Katie: How did you get into the arena of public speaking? Do all of your books springboard you into public speaking?
Greg: I joined my local Toastmasters organization many years back and loved learning how to properly organize your speeches before any audience for any purpose as needed. I also love to write essays on social issues that I can easily prepare for a speech upon demand. I am getting to the point that I can easily speak about the books that I write because they are about reality and not something that I need to rehearse or commit to memory. When you speak from the heart you don’t need to try to remember a speech. When it comes to issues that I am passionate about I just speak from the heart. My books are written in conversational style, so as you read them we are having a conversation in a way. I really don’t want to get people to always agree with me, but I would like to see them come to their own conclusions about what is true and meaningful, and right, and decent, and profitable. I would like for them to realize the God that lives in them even without conscious awareness. At one point an awakening will happen if they really want to come into the light of truth. Yes, my books can springboard into speaking about the topics that I write about.
Katie: How will women benefit from reading “Real Men”?
Greg: It is extremely helpful for women to understand how men think and operate. Even men who do not know themselves have certain traits and tendencies that would be helpful for females to understand if they are attempting to be in relationships with such people. Men think and operate much differently than women. I think it is important that both sexes learn as much as possible about the opposite sex. I think we should stop being competitive with each other and concentrate instead upon how we may build bridges, add unity, and become a benefit to each other. By bringing something to the table that the other party might not be as good at doing can only be a win/win situation. I personally think we should be a great compliment to each other rather than being threatened by each other. In reading my book, I think women will benefit by seeing into this male psyche just a little better. They also need to understand that things have shifted and we all need to make our adjustments to the natural shifts in the currents of time.
Katie: For those who wish to combine inspirational nonfiction with public speaking, what three pieces of advice would you give them?
Greg: 1.) Write about things you are passionate about; 2.) Know your subject from the heart and not just from a research prospective; and 3.) Join a public speaking group such a Toastmasters and learn the art of preparing your speeches and speaking in public. When you speak from a heart that is filled with passion, you will come off as an authentic person.
Katie: I see that your books are published by different publishers. Are these traditional publishers?
Greg: Actually, over the years I have published in several different ways. I started with essentially no knowledge about publishing and learned as I went along. None of the companies that I have published with so far are what you would consider the traditional publishers. They are basically subsidy publishers, self-publishing, and print-on-demand (POD) publishing companies. My goal is to get my material out to the public in the only ways that have been afforded to me. I would love to have a mainline publisher pick up my work, but that is something that will have to materialize in its own time. As I continue to write, I am slowly figuring how this business works. I also believe that things that are virtually impossible for me to achieve are definitely possible for my heavenly Father to achieve. I am a man of faith. I believe that all things will happen just when they are supposed to happen. I do not believe in sitting back waiting on my break to come to me; I am actively out doing all I know to do in order to prime the pump in order to bring success my way. If a traditional publisher hears about me and wants to make me a deal, I would be absolutely thrilled. Until that day comes I will be publishing my works in any manner I can afford.
Katie: How did it come about that you don’t use the same publisher for each book? Did you do traditional query letters?
Greg: Each of the books that I published through the methods that I used was a learning experience. I also think it was necessary for me to learn my craft or trade before I am exposed to the mass market. I am a self-taught writer dealing with subjects that are personal. Dealing with things that are spiritual challenges one to think about what they believe to be spiritual. Dealing with social issues makes one see where they are in the spectrum of things and then decide if they want to go further or higher into the picture they seek. Once people become aware, they learn that they will need to do the things that are necessary in order to achieve things. My style of writing takes time to develop. In the meanwhile, I published as necessary to keep myself moving toward the grand prize. I have never been very good at sending out a bunch of query letters. I could write them but the process of submitting them is not something that I am good at doing. I think my impatience gets the better of me at times, but as a person of extreme faith, I so believe in what I am doing, and in what I am writing. When the time is exactly right my works will be exposed to those they were written for. All that passed is slowly building the foundations of a great future in this book writing and publishing business. I am paying my dues and my time will come soon. Of that I am extremely confident!
Katie: Thanks, Greg, for being a guest on my blog today. You can find Greg online at www.gregemiddleton.com. For more information about Real Men and Real Men Seminars, please visit http://realmenseminars.com/