May 20, 2019 marked the 10-year anniversary for my first book, Crematory. Brian Carter (main character) is growing up so fast.
Part 1: Crematory
Part 2: The Darkness
Part 3: Army of the Drake (2019-2020)
About the Book:
Brian Carter is a patient at Hamilton Psychiatric Ward and has experienced things that even your worst nightmares could not compare to. Brian, along with Billy, Vince, and Frank enter the world of the Crematory and discover things that will forever change their lives. Is Brian really telling the truth to Dr. Gordon about these events? Or are they simply a figment of his imagination? What really happened at the Crematory that continued to draw him back to it? Will Brian find the answers he is looking for? Or will he simply open more doors than he can handle? Regardless if he is mentally prepared or not, the Crematory is prepared to answer his questions. Crematory is a novel that promises to keep you guessing about what will happen next.
Part 2 – The Darkness:
About the Book:
How would you react if you found out that you’re never alone because someone is always watching you? Would you still be able to close your eyes at night? It was supposed to be a routine paranormal investigation for the Scientific Paranormal Researchers. That is, until Skyler, Alex, and Rachel unlocked the door to the other side. Now they must decide if Draven is telling them the truth about where he came from or if he is leading them into a trap. Anyone can knock on a door but not everyone can accept what happens after that.
The Darkness will introduce you to a world where science fiction becomes reality. Are angels and demons real and if so, what do they want with humans? Make no mistake, what you’ve seen on television about the paranormal is not accurate. Not even close. Will you join Skyler, Alex, and Rachel?
Part 3 – Army of the Drake:
I am hoping to finish this book in 2019 or 2020. [Obviously, not 2018] I took a break to write, The Best Version of You. Stay tuned for updates.
Here is a DRAFT version of what I’m considering for the cover:
About the author:
Jason Hughes is happily married with children. He is a certified Master Resilience Trainer and enjoys teaching resiliency and life-changing skills. He served in the military for 22 years and retired in 2019. He enjoys reading, fitness, motivating people, the paranormal, and most importantly, writing. He is the author of Crematory (2009), The Darkness (2017), and The Best Version of You (2018).
Having an attitude for gratitude is something very important to me. While other people are grateful about their car, their house, or their fancy clothes, I like to focus on something else. I am incredibly grateful for having three intelligent, beautiful, and compassionate daughters. Make no mistake, personal possessions are something to be very grateful about. However, they should never be more valuable than people.
“Families are the compass that guides us. They are the inspiration to reach great heights, and our comfort when we occasionally falter.”
Katlyin – 18 years old:
She recently graduated from high school and will be attending college to become a Nurse, this fall. Her academic history and desire to learn are what makes her such a great role model for her siblings. She will be the first person to tell you it wasn’t easy. There were several unpredictable obstacles in her path but one-by-one, she continued to navigate her journey.
I will always remember watching SpongeBob SquarePants, Drake & Josh, Hannah Montana, and Monsters, Inc. with her and her sister. In fact, she used to watch the VHS of Monsters, Inc. so much that it actually stopped working.
Merissa – 15 years old:
She just completed her freshman year of high school and is excited about the opportunity to participate in more musicals. She is a gifted writer, a cheerleader, and is never afraid to think outside of the box.
I will always remember watching Fairly Odd Parents, The Suite Life on Deck, Just Friends, and Monsters University with her and her sister. We would also have conversations using quotes from SpongeBob SquarePants.
“Continuous effort—not strength or intelligence—is the key to unlocking our potential.” —Winston Churchill
Norah Hughes – 4 years old:
She might be the youngest but she definitely has the most energy and loudest voice. She enjoys books, gymnastics, playing with Barbies [she calls them: “Barvies.”]
She especially loves watching movies on Netflix and YouTube Kids videos. She calls them, “Babies,” even though she’s not watching babies…
I will always remember watching The Incredibles 2, The Secret Life of Pets, The Princess Bride, Paw Patrol, and The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
She is so excited about starting preschool, this August. We are excited too; however, we’re also sad and nervous about her growing up. It seems like yesterday she was just starting to crawl. Now, she runs through the house like she’s in a race.
Being a parent is so special to me. Although I will admit, I have missed way too many events due to my previous occupation. Although I can never make up for that lost time, I can certainly focus on the present and the future.
Thank you for taking a moment to read about my beautiful children. I look forward to posting future blogs about them.
After 22 years of military service, I officially retired from the U.S. Army on May 1, 2019. This blog is a little late because I originally didn’t want to write about it because I was ready to close that chapter of my life. But now that the dust has settled, I am more comfortable with it.
This story will take you through the five locations I was stationed, starting in 1997, when I was 18 years old.
I entered the Army (Active Duty) in July of 1997. I was fresh out of High School and ready to take on the world. That is, until I arrived at Fort Benning, Georgia for my Infantry Basic Training. I won’t lie, it was a complete culture shock for me. I needed that.
I graduated Basic Training, Advanced Individual Training (AIT), and 11M (Mechanized) school in November of 1997.
First Duty Station:
My first duty station was at Fort Hood, Texas (1997-1999). I was with the 4th Infantry Division (4ID) 1-22 INF (M). During that time period, my duties were:
M249 SAW Gunner
Dismount Team Leader
I met some fantastic leaders and friends, while stationed at Fort Hood. I still communicate with two of my friends so it is pretty safe to say, we are friends for life.
Second Duty Station:
My second duty station was at Camp Casey, South Korea (1999-2000). I was with the 2nd Infantry Division (2ID) 2-9 Infantry (M). During that time period, my duties were:
M249 SAW Gunner
I will always consider my time in South Korea special because it helped me develop a better understanding of the world. Plus, it made me appreciate what I had back in the United States. That was a great teaching tool.
Mandatory requirement: The Manchu mile (road march) – 25 miles.
Third Duty Station:
My third duty station was at Xenia, Ohio (2000-2003). I was with the 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (BCT) 1-148th INF. During that time period, my duties were:
Professional Development courses:
Primary Leadership Development Course (PLDC) at Fort Knox, KY
After the tragedies of September 11, 2001, we deployed to support the Operation Noble Eagle mission. During this mission, I determined it was time to switch my Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), even though I knew I would miss being Infantry (11B).
Fourth Duty Station:
My fourth duty station was at Columbus, Ohio (2003-2007). I was with the 52nd Civil Support Team (CST) Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). This gave me the opportunity to change my MOS from 11B to a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) Specialist.
“Elementis Regamus Proelium“
During that time period, my duties were:
Survey Team Member
Survey Team Chief
Professional Development courses:
Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course (BNCOC) at Fort Leonard Wood, MO
Technical Escort at Redstone Arsenal, AL
Civil Support Skills Course (CSCC) at Fort Leonard Wood, MO
74D Reclass at Fort Leonard Wood, MO
I had the pleasure of working with multiple civilian agencies, to include: fire departments, HazMat teams, and local/state/federal law enforcement.
Fifth | Final Duty Station:
My fifth | final duty station was also at Columbus, Ohio (2007-2019). I was with 73rd Troop Command.
During that (long) time period, my duties were:
Readiness Noncommissioned Officer (NCO)
Brigade Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC)
Advanced Noncommissioned Officer Course (ANCOC) at Fort Leonard Wood, MO
Master Resilience Trainer (MRT) at Fort Custer, MI
Sexual Harassment/Assault Response & Prevention (SHARP) Foundation Course at Columbus, OH
Unit Victim Advocate (UVA) at Columbus, OH
Given that I was with 73rd Troop Command for 12 years, it was without question my favorite unit. The mission was incredibly important and an honor to support.
A few of my great friends set up a phenomenal retirement lunch for me, back in early February. The food was incredibly good but the people are what made it special, for me.
I out-processed at Fort Knox, Kentucky. I was excited, happy, sad, nervous, and optimistic (all at the same time) when I was handed my final paperwork. 22 years had finally come to fruition. 22 years – It is true what they say about time; it goes by so fast.
There are so many stories I could share. But for now, these images and short paragraphs will have to do. I want to thank every service member I had the honor and privilege to serve with, throughout my career.
Are you a top-down thinker? Are you a bottom-up thinker?
In other words, do you think about the target, goal, or objective before you even start? Training yourself to work from the top-down will help you mitigate the pressure of stress and adversity.
Hint: There WILL be stress and adversity, regardless of what you’re doing.
You need them to:
2) Identify what’s working
3) Identify what requires modifications
Would you build your house first and then create the blueprint? Or, would it make sense to create the blueprint (the outcome) and then reverse engineer the steps? If you would use a blueprint to build a house, aka start from the top-down, why not use this method in every aspect of your life?
This is also the most effective way to problem solve. Too many people catastrophize when they face any type of problem. Instead of focusing on solutions, they spend more time focusing on the problem itself and the worst possible outcomes.
“If I don’t fix this mistake, my boss will fire me and I’ll never work in this industry, again.”
Instead of focusing on the problem, spend at least 90% of your time focusing on the solution. The top-down method can help lower your anxiety because your mind will shift toward the solution and the steps required to get it. Forget about why the mistake happened or who caused it; you can do that later.
In the example I demonstrated how you can learn to compartmentalize things so that you operate more efficiently. If you don’t compartmentalize the steps, the odds of you quitting along your journey will steadily increase. Bottom-up thinking doesn’t allow this because you’re working without a plan. Meaning, you don’t know what’s coming or how to prepare for it.
“I’ll figure out how to fix it, once it happens.” (Reactive)
Here are some examples of things you’ll be up against, along your journey:
People will laugh or misunderstand what you’re doing
Spending your hard earned money or not having enough money
Multi-tasking: your personal and professional responsibilities do not slow down just because you’re focused on something
Difficulties in balancing your personal and professional schedules
Losing motivation: it has a short life span
Two steps forward, one step back: obstacles on your path
The fear of being successful: What if I can’t handle it, once I make it?
Remember, your focus is on the outcome, not the steps that scare you or require a ton of work.
Bottom line: Top-down thinking will set you up to win. Does it take practice? Absolutely. But just like everything else, it requires consistency and discipline.
For more tips about how you think, reference my latest book:
When your mind thinks about the past, it will always associate those memories with the emotion(s) associated with the event. So what happens is, you condition yourself to think about memories that do not serve you because they are negative. Negative thoughts (memories) create a negative environment.
Your mind will focus on what’s familiar to it.
Therefore, you are essentially reliving the same negative event over and over.
You think about a difficult event in a previous relationship >> you get upset because the situation made you angry and sad >> you spend the next couple of hours relieving those same emotions, even though it already happened >> the cycle continues
Some people do this for days, weeks, months, years, and even their entire lifetime.
A visual representation of what happens when you allow your mind to take control of you.
You must learn to break the cycle and master yourself. Learnto control what you’re thinking about, aka “observe” what you’re thinking about. If these memories do not serve you, let them go. You can’t change the past but if you’re not careful, you can take your emotional response with you. Is that how you want to move forward? My guess is: no, it does not serve you or anyone within the circle of your influence.
Focus on thoughts (memories) that will set you up to win. If you want to win the day, master yourself. You are worth it.
Have you ever stopped and wondered, “Why do some people go through their entire life, working aimlessly like robots?” Is this their personal choice or are they conditioned to be this way? Well, you could make a pretty good argument that both of these reasons are a contributing factor. Obviously, no one wants to be considered a robot. However, people do not realize that our society is slowly training you to be one, at a very early age.
When you were a child, you were conditioned to wait for a sound or a voice to tell you when to move, start, and finish.
“Don’t touch that.”
“Wait until I tell you to start.”
“Don’t express your opinion, even if you believe you’re right.”
When you were in school, the sound of a bell controlled your actions. The first bell was designed to tell you when to start. As soon as you heard the bell, you were conditioned to get serious and focus on your work. [“Pay attention.”]
The bells after that, indicated it was time to transition to the next class. Once you arrived there, once again–you were required to get serious and focus on the next subject. Your school day would end at the sound of the final bell. [“You can leave, now.”] This was always an indication you could finally relax. That is, until you arrived home or at practice (sport, etc.) We have been using the bell system since the 19th century. For more detailed information about it, visit: http://americanhistory.si.edu/blog/-school-bells
Make no mistake, I’m not saying anything negative about the education system. I am simply pointing out the fact that from a very early age, our lives are structured. We are told when to do things, how to do them, how long we can do them, and when to stop doing them.
Your Adult Life
The same concepts apply in the workplace. You rely on a time clock to dertimine when you get serious and when you’re allowed to relax. Even if you dont use a time clock, things called “deadlines” or “suspenses” have the same impact on you.
Although you can’t necessarily change or influence the way your employer or organization operates, you can change the way you operate. At some point, you must understand that change starts with you. Going through life like a robot does not serve you or anyone in your circle of influence.
My recommendation: make a schedule or write down your daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly goals. By taking the initiative to write these things down, you will place yourself back in the driver seat of your life. You establish what your day will look like so you can have the day you want, instead of settling for what the day gives you. When you operate like a robot, you’re in the passenger seat or sometimes in the back seat. Meaning, you’re not in change of where you’re going in your life.
Making a schedule is not where it stops, though. You must learn to rediscover your voice. Remember, you were conditioned at a very early age not to speak your mind.
“Don’t say that. Just keep quiet.”
Instead of sitting back in the meeting listening to the wrong information being discussed, you have the courage and professionalism to say, “Mike, the packet actually consists of five documents and not three.” The robot mentality would have kept you quiet and allowed the major mistake to occur. “I’m not speaking up.”
This iscalled thinking outside of the box. The box is your comfort zone, aka where you were conditioned to stay so you can function like a robot. Thinking outside of the box is how you grow in both your personal and professional life. Therefore, it is incredibly important for you to take control of your life sooner than later. The older you get, the more habits you build. When you’re functioning like a robot, your habits are based on robot principles.
Thinking outside of the box will make you unique.
Something to consider: once you step out of your comfort zone, several things will change. Some people will misunderstand you, roll their eyes at you (negative body language), some may even avoid you, and overall dislike you. Why? Because you no longer function as a robot. Therefore, you’re a threat or an outsider because you’re not part of the norm.
When this happens, you must stay the course. The obstacle is the path. You’re are not a robot. You are a unique person that has value.
I would like to start off by wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. This holiday is truly unique because it creates a great opportunity for us to reconnect with our family and friends. Even though we associate Thanksgiving with food, this is also a social holiday.
I recently took a break from writing blogs, due to my busy schedule. However, it was a blessing in disguise because it offered an opportunity for me to reflect on what matters. As I’ve said in previous blogs and my latest book The Best Version of You, we are very disconnected due to technology. Sure, technology is supposed to keep us connected, yet–that’s not really happening. We would rather hide behind our phones or computers, instead of making eye contact with the person we’re talking to. Sure, FaceTime and Skype are unique but they are not the same as a face-to-face conversation.
Now that we can text and e-mail, people would rather text, instead have a real conversation. Consider this, if your son had some great news to tell you, which method would you prefer:
Text version: “Hey dad, I have a great news. I got accepted to the Ohio State University.” Your son has to wait for your response because he can’t see you. Therefore, he doesn’t see how excited, proud, and happy you are, for him.
Face-to-face conversation: “Hey dad, I have a great news. I got accepted to the Ohio State University.” You embrace him and tell him how excited, proud, and happy you are, for him. Instead of him reading your response (text message) and guessing how you felt, he can see it. This helps create authenticity. Not only did you convey you’re proud of him, you demonstrated it. We really can’t do that when we send a text or an e-mail. We might think a creative emoji conveys the same message but trust me, to your son, it doesn’t. Have a real conversation.
I am hoping you selected option 2: Face-to-face conversation. It doesn’t matter how busy you are, your loved ones deserve your full attention. By only communicating via texts and e-mail, it might convey the wrong message: You are not a priority to me. This might seem extreme but to a child or loved one that desires your attention, it might be a huge deal. Take a step back and ask yourself, “How would I want to receive this information?”
Here are some benefits of a face-to-face conversation:
It creates authenticity.
It displays your true emotions and reactions. [body language]
It conveys a more powerful message.
It builds relationships.
It helps prevent an argument or disconnect, due to eliminating the risk of typing a convoluted text. [What did you mean?]
It creates additional conversations.
It builds connection.
It builds winning streaks.
It tells people, what you have to say, matters to me.
I challenge you to implement this into your Thanksgiving dinner, regardless if you’re celebrating at your house, a family members house, or a friends house. The world can use more face-to-face conversations and you have the opportunity to help cultivate it.
How many times have you heard someone say, “Man, that team got lucky?” I’m willing to bet, you hear it at least once a weekend. For some reason, people associate things they were not expecting with good or bad luck.
What people don’t realize–luck, just like fear, is not a real. It does not have any physical properties. Luck is usually attached to 2 things:
When people say, “She got that promotion because she’s lucky,” is it actually true? Is there evidence supporting how the stars were aligned and her employer was forced to give her the promotion? Of course not. Could it be, she got the promotion because she deserved it by putting herself in a position to win? It’s not luck, it’s preparation meeting opportunity.
When people fall short of a goal, their mind wants answers because it is their biggest critic. Therefore, to compensate, they’ll say almost anything to make themselves feel like they didn’t win because of external circumstances. “You got lucky.” This excuse and demonstration of bitterness doesn’t require any ownership.
Whenever I discuss this with other people, they always bring up the lottery. “You have to be extremely lucky to win the lottery.”
Well, that’s necessarily true. To win the lottery, you have to play the numbers. Meaning, you have to participate. So when you participate, and pick the right numbers, you get rewarded for doing what is required. That is not luck.
Successful people are not lucky; they just work harder than the average person.
When a Quarter Back (QB) throws a Hail Mary on the final play of the game and the Wide Receiver (WR) comes down with the ball in the endzone, does it get listed in the luck stats? Obviously not. The QB gets a passing TD stat and the WR gets a TD reception stat. Why? Because it is not luck when you perform what is required. They did their job. [One guy throws the ball, the other guy catches it.]
At the end of the day, blaming things on (bad or good) luck does not serve you. It undermines people and circumstances. If someone gets a promotion instead of you, next time–put yourself in position to perform better. Blaming your shortfalls on luck is not competing.
I am very excited about finally having this book in my hands. Hard work is always worth it, regardless of how long it takes.
The Best Version of You is a self-help book designed to introduce new skills and concepts for anyone to use when they’re facing adversity, feeling lost and out of focus, wanting to make changes in their lives, or simply wanting to update themselves.
We update our phones, our computers, and our software, but honestly, when was the last time we updated ourselves?
The book is available on Amazon.com and Amazon Kindle: