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Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

Dec 14, 2018

Mark interviews author Gary Collins about the simple life, both the name of a series of books as well as the new life he enjoys after some very unique experiences that include military intelligence and Special Agent.

Before the interview, Mark shares a personal update that involves flying to Vancouver for the annual CAPS (Canadian Association of Professional Speakers) Convention and then to Oklahoma City to spend some time with his colleagues at Draft2Digital.

Mark then says a few words about this episode's sponsor, Findaway Voices . . .

In their conversation, Mark and Gary talk about:

  • Gary's long and circuitous approach into publishing, the great lessons learned and passions experienced along the way
  • The concept of not just knowing how the sausage was made but actually being the sausage via his life as a government agent
  • The early 40's burnout Gary experienced, which led to a new beginning and new passions that included health and fitness
  • The valueable mentorship and tough love that Gary experienced from Steven Pressfield
  • Gary's first experience in self-publishing where mistakes were made and more lessons were learned
  • Books that were derived from trying to provide information to clients without having to repeat the same info over and over
  • The purchase of twenty acres of land and building a house off the grid and the resulting influx of questions about it that led to another book
  • The process of saving money for six months, then building for another six months, then working and saving money for the next period, in a repeated cycle
  • How the sales of the book about the simple life and going off the grid attracted a distribution company
  • The mistakes on Gary's path and how he didn't find his purpose, but his purpose found him
  • How Gary doesn't rely on scheduling for his writing, but the disclipline involved when he actually sits down
  • 20Booksto50K being the first writer conference that Gary has ever attended and the fortuitous break of being able to attend after being on the waiting list for the sold-out show
  • Learning the importance of integrating oneself with other writers
  • How Mark and Gary connected via the RUSH shirt that Gary had been wearing one day at 20Booksto50K
  • The fact that Gary will go ahead and reach out to anyone without any fear because "what's the worst that can happen?"
  • Gary's withdrawl from social media in the past year and his belief on how it can suck the life out of a person
  • Advice on how to adapt the simple life methodology into one's life
  • How a person's purpose can change over time, and the reality that the purpose doesn't have to be dramatic or enormous
  • The importance of putting effort into the positive rather than into the negative

After the interview, Mark reflects on the idea of "reaching out to anyone" and explores the possible risk along with the possible opportunity involved in that.

Links of Interest:


Gary Collins has a very interesting and unique background that includes military intelligence, Special Agent for the U.S. State Department Diplomatic Security Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Collins’ background and expert knowledge brings a much-needed perspective to today’s areas of simple living, health, nutrition, entrepreneurship, self-help and being more self-reliant.

His website, and The Simple Life book series (his total lifestyle reboot), blows the lid off of conventional life and wellness expectations, and is considered essential for every person seeking a simpler, and happier life.

Gary now lives off-the-grid part of the year in a remote area of NE Washington State, and the other part of year exploring in his travel trailer with his trusty black lab Barney.

The music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0