My Latest Book: Book Fourteen – New Horizons

I’ve just published my 26th book and latest book in my serialized autobiography called, ‘In Search of the Meaning of Life (An Autobiography): Book Fourteen – New Horizons,’ about fulfilling my longtime dream of flying the F-4 Phantom II and accidentally beginning to write my first novel.  Here’s the book description:

“This is the Second Book of my ‘Air Force Years’ and Fourteenth Book overall in my serialized autobiography entitled ‘In Search of the Meaning of Life (An Autobiography).’  My aim in telling the story of my life in the Air Force is not a typical military memoir, but instead a journal of my personal challenges and accomplishments within the backdrop of my goal of flying jets.  My goal had been to fly the F-4 Phantom from the very beginning and fortunately I’d overcome a number of failures, setbacks and roadblocks to finally get that opportunity at F-4 ‘Replacement Training Unit’ (RTU), at Homestead AFB, Florida, in the fall of 1982.

This chapter of my life specifically shows how I pursued my literary dreams without having any clear understanding of where they would lead me and how I began writing my first novel entitled ‘Jonathan’s Amazing Adventures: Jonathan’s Dream (An Adventure Novel)’ literally by accident.  It was during a ‘freeform writing exercise’ that I’d come up with, when the first two paragraphs of Jonathan’s Dream literally sprang from the page without my realizing I’d just begun writing my first novel.

The goal of this book is to show you my personal challenges of learning to fly the F-4 Phantom and all the associated adventures of my life, up to the point of beginning my first novel and jump starting my literary career.  While I had ambitions to one day become a published author, I had no idea of how or when that would ever be possible, as I thought I’d need to attract the attention of a publisher who could make it happen for me.  Now, some 37 years later, technology has made it possible to self-publish my own books and stories, taking me on a very long and circuitous literary journey to bring these stories to you, the reader – enjoy!

Book Fourteen paints a portrait of my life flying Phantoms in West Germany and beyond, and it’s an honor and privilege for me to tell this story I’ve lived.  Mine was an era that seems far removed from the world we live in today, but not really that far removed.  A time when life existed before cell phones and the Internet, when analog gave way to digital technology and when global navigation first became possible.

So while not a history book per se, it is a record of how things were, and the dreams and adventures of a young boy who grew up in Flint, MI, hoping to one day to fly jets, live a life of adventure and see the world – and did.  If I could make my hopes and dreams come true, then you certainly can, too!  Carpe Diem, seize the day!  Cheers!  Mark”

Here’s the Kindle Link (Free to read with Kindle Unlimited – Open the link to see the preview):

Here’s the Paperback Link (190 Pages):

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/1076259006/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p4_i7

Here’s my Amazon Author Page: Mark D. Jones:

https://smile.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B078RRS631?_encoding=UTF8&node=283155&offset=0&pageSize=12&searchAlias=stripbooks&sort=author-pages-popularity-rank&page=1&langFilter=default#formatSelectorHeader

Cheers!

Mark

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My Latest Book: Book Thirteen – Overcoming Challenges

I’ve just published the latest book in my serialized autobiography called, In Search of the Meaning of Life (An Autobiography): Book Thirteen – Overcoming Challenges about fulfilling a childhood dream of mine to fly jets one day.  Here’s the book description:

“I’d always wanted to fly jets and be a fighter pilot ever since I was a boy, yet at some point along the way I’d given up on my dream once I knew fighter pilots needed 20/20 vision to be accepted into the United States Air Force and I wore glasses.  It turned out that my aircraft of choice, the F-4 Phantom, had a two man crew with a specialized navigator or Weapon Systems Officer (WSO) manning the rear cockpit, and the WSO could wear glasses.  In addition, the WSO could do most everything the pilot could do, to include flying the aircraft – so I was hooked!  I decided right then and there to apply to become a WSO.

While I could dream of flying Phantoms all day and night, the reality was I was as far away from making that dream come true as I could possibly be.  Had I known at the time the immensity of my achieving my goal, I wouldn’t have pursued it, so in that case it was best I remained fat, dumb and happy to the entire process of what I needed to accomplish to earn the privilege of turning my dream into my reality.  What I didn’t and couldn’t have known at the time, was that the process of selection and qualification was more rigorous than I could have ever imagined.  Every step of the process from beginning to end was graded and evaluated, and the standards were set so high that a significant number of applicants were washed out of training at every milestone along the way.  Only the very best made the grade to progress through the training pipeline and of those who did qualify to fly, fighter training slots were reserved for the best of the best.

Had I known how astronomical the odds were of succeeding at my quest, I might have reconsidered, but I pressed on undeterred like Don Quixote tilting at windmills.  The only advantage I really had was the fact I’d come from a background of adversity and hardship forged in ‘The School of Hard Knocks’ for many years, and the one thing I’d learned was to never say never and never give up no matter the odds.  This, in the end, was the best skill I had in my proverbial tool kit at the time, and it was this attribute of mine I had to draw from time, time, time and again.   Never give up on ‘your’ dreams either, for dreams are given to dreamers, and your dreams are worthy for the simple reason they’ve been given to you – not to remain dreams – but to be turned into your reality!  Carpe Diem, seize the day and live your dreams!  Don’t be discouraged, never give up and one day you’ll live your dreams just as I did all those years ago!  Cheers!  Mark”

Here’s the Kindle link:

Here’s the paperback link:

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/1096659875/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

Author Page – Mark D. Jones:

https://smile.amazon.com/Mark-D-Jones/e/B078RRS631?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2&qid=1559073598&sr=1-2

Cheers,

Mark

Thoughtful Words About My Books

My books are all about journeys, dreams and adventures, and of wishing for something more out of life and then living and fulfilling those dreams.  Everything I’ve written stems from my youthful dreams of adventure, and in publishing my books I’m completing those dreams and taking them full circle.  I include everything I’ve learned along the way in my autobiographical books, children’s stories, adventure novels and self-help motivational books, so that you, too, can live your own hopes and dreams one day.  All-in-all, my books amount to the course I was never able to take in school, entitled: Adventure 101

I wanted to share a few thoughtful words written to me about my books by a dear family friend, who has known me since I was a young child.  She’s sent me two different notes about my books and I’ve included a few excerpts below:

“…I have enjoyed them immensely.  I have read books one through five.  I still have the novel and poetry books to read.  Please hurry and print more…!”

“…So many times in reading your books, I felt as though I was right there with you.  What a fantastic experience!  What a life experience!  Thank you for bringing it to the world.”

My hope is in sharing my journeys, dreams and adventures with you through my books, that you will also be able to live your own hopes and dreams one day!

Amazon Author Page: Mark D. Jones:

https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B078RRS631?_encoding=UTF8&node=283155&offset=0&pageSize=12&sort=author-pages-popularity-rank&page=1&langFilter=default#formatSelectorHeader

Cheers!

Mark

Book Five – The Great Adventure (Part Three)

Book Five is the third book of the trilogy about The Great Adventure entitled In Search of the Meaning of Life (An Autobiography): Book Five – The Great Adventure (Part Three).  Here’s the book description:

“Bruce and I traveled 1,931 miles on the first leg of our bicycle adventure from the Flint, MI, area to Tallahassee, FL.  The second leg of our journey covered 2,594 miles and took us from Tallahassee to Key West, FL, and back, before following the Gulf Coast to Houston and down to Rockport, TX, where we were given jobs through the kindness and generosity of others.  The question before us was what would the third leg of our adventure be like?  Part Three of The Great Adventure would essentially be the second half of our journey, both literally and figuratively.

In many ways, the Western portion of our journey would be a completely different experience for us than the first two legs of our trip had been.  The fundamental question before us though, was how would we survive the endeavor?  We’d find out the answer soon enough, as we set out to traverse the vast distances across the West and hopefully make it to Seattle to prepare for what would be the rest of our lives…

I realized that I was compiling a record of what was a unique opportunity to live an adventurous life and take the path less-traveled by, and wanted to make sure I at least kept a record of everything I accomplished for the sake of my own memories.  It wasn’t until I began writing my autobiography in the early days of 1994, that I was able to connect the dots to clearly see the path in life my adventures had led me down.

It was at that point when I understood that telling my story was something that might be able to help others find their way in life, too, because it’s difficult to see the forest for the trees when you’re in the middle of it.  Once you realize that others have struggled along their paths in life as well, you realize it’s all part of the journey, because it’s impossible to have complete clarity when immersed in life’s adventures – but keep moving forward one step at a time – for movement creates opportunity and opportunity opens doors, and just a foot in the door can lead to the rest of your life!  Cheers!  Mark”

Kindle Link – open post to view it (Free on Kindle Unlimited):

Paperback Link (6)” x 9″:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1090342861/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p4_i4

Amazon Author Page: Mark D. Jones:

https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B078RRS631?_encoding=UTF8&node=283155&offset=0&pageSize=12&sort=author-pages-popularity-rank&page=1&langFilter=default#formatSelectorHeader

Cheers!

Mark

Book Four – The Great Adventure (Part Two)

This is the second book of the trilogy about The Great Adventure I call, In Search of the Meaning of Life (An Autobiography): Book Four – The Great Adventure (Part Two).  Here’s the description:

“Bruce and I completed the first leg of The Great Adventure, traveling 1,931 miles from southwest of Flint, MI, to my aunt and uncle’s house in Tallahassee, FL, over the course of 58 days on our bicycle adventure. We departed the Flint area on September 22, 1976 and arrived in Tallahassee on November 18th – low on funds and needing to recuperate at our third oasis on the bicycle trip to date.

The question remained though as to what would happen to us on this second leg of the adventure? We were almost out of money and had no idea what to expect in Florida and along the Gulf Coast, and soon our thoughts would begin focusing on looking for jobs – without having any concept of how that would work out or how we could make it happen. Would our adventure succeed or fail miserably, leaving us stranded on the road out of money and ideas? As they say, no guts no glory, and here begins the story of the second leg of The Great Adventure…

The opportunity to journey and adventure kindles the human spirit like nothing else can. For to immerse oneself in adventure and test your meddle beyond your known capabilities and prevail despite the odds, is to conquer and overcome your fears, and find within yourself the strength, reserves and will to endure and survive in the most difficult of circumstances. I wish you all the very best on your adventures in life, no matter where life’s path takes you on your journey of discovery.

Adventure is a mindset and a perspective, for one can find adventure in whatever endeavor you choose to participate in – it doesn’t have to be a physical challenge taking you to the ends of the Earth. ‘To adventure’ is to take life by the horns and try your very best, to blaze your own trail, and live your hopes, dreams and passions in life. Choose adventure, because life is so much richer and rewarding for having tried to live the life of your dreams no matter the outcome – win, lose or draw!  Cheers!  Mark”

Kindle Link (open post to see the link) – Free on Kindle Unlimited:

Paperback Link:

https://smile.amazon.com/Search-Meaning-Life-Autobiography-Adventure/dp/1798503298/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=Mark+D.+Jones&qid=1552669216&s=books&sr=1-3

Amazon Author Link: Mark D. Jones:

https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B078RRS631?_encoding=UTF8&node=283155&offset=0&pageSize=12&sort=author-pages-popularity-rank&page=1&langFilter=default#formatSelectorHeader

Cheers!

Mark

 

Book Two – The Early Years (My Early Lyrics and Poems)

This is the second book of my serialized autobiography entitled In Search of the Meaning of Life (An Autobiography): Book Two – The Early Years (My Early Lyrics and Poems).  Here’s the book description:

“I’ve been writing ever since my junior year in high school when I typed up the story of my first official bicycle adventure on my Grandmother Armstrong’s manual typewriter in Louisville, Ohio, in 1973. This early process of writing lyrics, poems and my first adventure story documenting my thoughts and life experiences began a very circuitous path for me, one that would become an integral and consistent part of my life.

My early lyrics and poems were generally written during three distinct time periods, and reflect my attempt to document my unformed feelings concerning adventure, travel, rock lyrics, life and love. These were intense periods of imaginative creativity and reflect a time of intense searching that laid the foundation for what was to become a lifetime of writing. Ultimately, my original lyrics and poems included in this volume collectively are best viewed as having laid the literary foundation that would later culminate in the adventures, stories, novels, philosophy, songs and blogs I have written to date and plan to publish sequentially throughout 2018 and beyond.

On Wednesday, September 22, 1976, my friend Bruce and I departed on our 8,111 mile bicycle adventure around the United States on a journey I call The Great Adventure. Our adventure lasted through June 1977 – and was the single greatest decision of my life, as it was the bold decision I initially made to blaze my own trail and chart my own path in life despite all the naysayers – a decision that would ultimately lead to the many future adventures and writings of mine that would follow.

My hope is that my personal stories and adventures will inspire you to live your own adventures in life someday – so that you, too, can one day look back on a life well lived, knowing you did your very best to live your hopes, dreams and passions in life! Cheers! Mark”

Kindle Link – open post to view link (Free with Kindle Unlimited):

Paperback Link (200 Pages, 6″x9″ format):

Amazon Author Page: Mark D. Jones:

https://www.amazon.com/Mark-D.-Jones/e/B078RRS631/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Cheers!

Mark

Book One (Second Edition) – The Early Years (The Start of a Dream)

I’ve just published the Second Edition of the first book of my serialized autobiography entitled ‘In Search of the Meaning of Life (An Autobiography): Book One – The Early Years (The Start of a Dream),’ beginning the story of how I first decided to leave the road well-traveled for the one less-traveled by and never looked back…

Kindle Version (Free with Kindle Unlimited) – open post to see link:

Paperback Version:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/179653840X/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i30

Cheers!

Mark

My Latest Book – Adventures Near and Far

I’ve just published my latest book and 20th book overall – In Search of the Meaning of Life (An Autobiography): Book Twelve – Adventures Near and Far

This is the twelfth book of my serialized autobiography and completes the story of my Early Years.  In it, I return to Michigan State University to complete my degree, learn to study, rediscover the piano and my desire to be a songwriter, take a short bicycle adventure through Ontario, Canada, and participate in a yacht adventure from Everett, WA, to Chatterbox Falls, deep in the fjords of British Columbia, Canada.  Here’s the book description:

I’ve often found my life being guided by moments of great insight or ‘eureka moments,’ as I accidentally discovered the next direction my life should take while stranded at various mileposts and chapters during the course of my life.  It seems these momentary glimpses into the future tended to occur more often than not when I was floundering and failing in life, not knowing what I was to do or where I was to go.  So it was when I knew in my heart it was time to return to Michigan State University while watching the Michigan-Michigan State football game in the fall of 1979 on Bainbridge Island across Puget Sound from downtown Seattle.

I knew in an instant I was to go back to school and arranged the details of my return in minutes, not days or weeks, to redirect the course of my life.  Yet, I had no clue as to what this new journey and adventure I was starting out would mean to me and my future, or even what that future would hold.  All I knew at the time was the timing was right to return to MSU, as my life was stagnating in Washington State with no real end game in sight.  So it was as I boarded that Greyhound Bus – was I making the right decision?  Would college work out for me this time around?  Would I find my way into a career I wanted to have after graduation?  Would I even graduate?  I had no idea at the time, just a gut reaction that this was the right thing to do.  In the end that’s all that mattered, as I knew adventurers needed to know how to make decisions and stick with them.  I’d made mine and now it was time to make the best of it…

My life was filled with the excitement of the open road and traveling to parts unknown, while working various jobs to fund my adventures and experiencing opportunities I’d never dreamed of before, yet I began to wonder if that was all there was to life for me.  At the end of the day I still didn’t have a purpose or a plan, and life couldn’t continue carrying on that way in a never ending series of road trips and hardships.  I needed more out of life than just hitting the highway on yet another adventure.  I still didn’t know the meaning and purpose of my life, but came to understand it couldn’t just be adventure for adventure’s sake.

This is where I found myself leading up to the beginning of Book Twelve of my autobiography, deciding at the time to return to Michigan State University to finish college and get my degree in business.  I still didn’t know what I’d do with my business degree, but felt it would at least funnel me into something where I could start living my life as an adult and not as a perpetual dreamer seeking my next adrenaline rush from adventure.  Little did I know at the time I’d remain a dreamer my entire life, yet I found a way to not only live a life of purpose, meaning and responsibility, but also to continue living an adventurous life on an entirely new level I couldn’t have imagined.”

Kindle Link:

Paperback Link:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1794189769/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i9

Cheers!

Mark

My Latest Book: Book Eleven – A Puerto Rican Adventure

I’ve just published my 19th book overall: In Search of the Meaning of Life (An Autobiography): Book Eleven – A Puerto Rican Adventure.  This is the story of my many almost accidental travels and adventures while not knowing what to do with my life, from driving cross-country, to SCUBA diving in the Atlantic, and to my failures along the way as well.  Here’s the book cover details:

“I had just finished the adventure of a lifetime bicycling through England, Scotland, Wales and France in the summer of 1979, but had no inkling of what my future held.  I returned to Seattle with no job and little money to my name, didn’t own a car and was living with Jim on Queen Anne Hill.  My future was looking bleak.  I’d rolled the dice and gambled everything on completing my long held dream of traveling across the Atlantic to bicycle in the U.K. and France, all the while knowing I’d have nothing waiting for me on my return to the Pacific Northwest – yet I was willing to risk everything for a dream.

I’d once again enrolled in The School of Hard Knocks during a series of mini-adventures that would give me the adrenaline rush of adventure and take me to the top of the world again, yet set me up to fail due to my overconfidence in my own abilities and loyalty to others.  It was the story of my life all over again, from the highest highs to the lowest lows and everything in-between while pursuing adventure at all cost.

Sometimes in life when you’ve lost your way and have no clue about the future, the best thing to do is simply nothing at all.  That’s exactly where I was following my solo-bicycle adventure to England, Scotland, Wales and France in the summer of 1979, with no idea of the direction to my future or any concept of what I should do with my life.  My entire focus at the time was to procrastinate and delay making any decisions about a future I knew nothing about, thinking the longer I put it off the better.  This is the story of how I crisscrossed the U.S. on transcontinental trips, traveled to Puerto Rico to meet a friend I’d only just met to go SCUBA diving in the Atlantic and discovered new ways to fail miserably despite having the best intentions in the world to succeed…  Cheers!  Mark”

Here’s a link to the Kindle version (view this post online to see the link):

Here’s a link to the Paperback version (6″x9″ format, 143 pages):

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1729133444/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i24

Here’s a link to my Amazon Author Page:

https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B078RRS631?_encoding=UTF8&node=283155&offset=0&pageSize=12&sort=author-pages-popularity-rank&page=1#formatSelectorHeader

Cheers!

Mark

My Book: Book Three – The Great Adventure (Part One)

My Book: In Search of the Meaning of Life: Book Three – The Great Adventure (Part One)

Here’s an excerpt from the first part of my U.S. bicycle adventure of 8,111 miles in 1976-1977 with my friend Bruce:

The idea of going on adventures captured my imagination ever since the sixth grade when my friend Dan first introduced me to J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy set in the fictional world of Middle-earth.  I dreamed of going off on an adventure like Bilbo and Frodo Baggins through the Shire and beyond, but how does one take an adventure in the here-and-now of the real world?  I didn’t know how it might be possible, but understood it was up to me to figure out a way to turn my dreams into my reality.  Adventure was never an offered class in my curriculum or coursework in school while growing up, but I was convinced there must be a way to go on great adventures in life…”

A link to both the Kindle Version (free to read with Kindle Unlimited) and Paperback Version (134 pages, 6″x9″ format) – view this post online to see the link:

Here’s a link to my Amazon Author Page – Mark D. Jones:

https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B078RRS631?_encoding=UTF8&node=283155&offset=0&pageSize=12&sort=author-pages-popularity-rank&page=1#formatSelectorHeader

Cheers!

Mark