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My brother couldn't make it up north for Easter so he came home this weekend. Gave me a good excuse to take a vacation day and make it a long weekend. With the day mostly over I'm glad he did. It's always fun to get out golfing and spend time with family. The day started out on the golf course at our hometown (Hawley, MN). Pat and I have played that course literally thousands of times in our lives and both of us could guide you through the course blindfolded. I didn't score as well as he did, a fact the little shit reminded me throughout the day, but some good did come of it. I lost my power fade over the winter and now am hitting it straight or with a bit of a draw. So that was definitely a plus. But for me it was a consistently inconsistent day. Wrong fairway here, bad chip there, lipped out put there. The last 6 holes I shot in even par so I'm feeling good about my chances tomorrow. And I had a near miss on an eagle put today, which is nice despite it not going in. Enjoyed a D4 (2014 box code, seconds) during a frost delay, that while may not have the prettiest looking wrapper has been a consistently enjoyable cigar. Also had the Magnum 50 from a 2014 box. I didn't want the Magnum 50 to end. Such a luxurious smoke, and doesn't want to pick a fight with me like the Magnum 46 does. After the round of golf Pat went back to our mom's place and I headed back to town. Ran to the liquor store where they were having penny wine sale. Buy 1 bottle at normal price and get a second for a penny. Good way to get through some unwanted stock. Last time I went there during the sale all I got was a 12 pack of beer. An old lady behind me in line was staring daggers at me that some uncouth individual would tarnish the penny wine sale by buying some lowly beer. But I do like beer. So I was there to get a 12 pack of beer. And figured what the hell, when in rome. Wound up with a Cabernet Syrah. $15 for 2 bottles, sure why not. Then I headed home to fix a bite to eat, then grabbed a gun and some ammo and headed to the gun range for some much needed and overdue gun therapy. I love going to the range and hate that I can be such a lazy slob on the weekends to not go into the range and get some trigger time in. Got there a bit after noon and damn near every lane was packed. I was shooting effectively a pea shooter compared to the guys on either stall to the side of me. My 9mm only pokes tiny holes into the targets. Guys around me were shooting 44 magnums and a desert eagle (which I got to shoot, good lord does that kick). After that I got back to my house and then it was about time to get the Kamado Joe (it's effectively a Red BIg Green Egg) setup to smoke a tri-tip steak. About the time i got the fire going my mom and brother show up. The tri-tip is a newish cut of meat that I learned of recently and fast becoming a favorite of mine. I smoke it with red oak wood until the internal temp is 130 degrees. Then I remove the heat deflectors and cook it at high temps, 400+, until the internal temp hits 142 degrees. Pulled the steak and then it was time to wait 30m before I could cut into the meat. Also had to have a Half Corona and another beer while the meat was smoking away. I promptly fell asleep on the couch due to the food coma I put myself in. My brother thought it was funny how I'd snore myself awake. Then it was back to the deck to have a beer and a Punch Punch. Standard brotherly BS was had during the cigar. He also managed to talk me out of the box of Quintero Favoritos and the rest of the HDM Epicure #1s. Apparantly I owed him money or something so he got the Favoritos for nothing. I didn't leave him off the hook for the rest of the Epicure 1s though. I think he's pulling a fast one on me though. So glad spring is here and look forward to more days like this.
So I wrote a book! Those in the ‘Best book I’ve read in the past 30 days’ thread have probably already read my obnoxious post about the book that I just recently released, but I thought I would share my experience with my fellow BOTL—maybe someone on here has published already and wants to chime in or maybe one of you want to do the same one day. Or maybe it’s a cathartic experience, I don’t know. Sharing is caring, as they say. Anyway, I wrote this as a kind of ‘Q & A’, mostly to break it up so that it doesn’t come across as one giant douchy soliloquy. What’s your book about? First of all, the book is called ‘Skin’ and I classify it as a Horror/Thriller novel with a tendency toward the former. However, I don’t think it fits in the traditional horror genre; it’s really story about a family struggling to deal with their issues with a little bit of supernatural thrown into the mix. As a brief synopsis: a family (3 brothers) head to their recently widowed mother’s house for the winter holiday. Blah, blah, blah a storm rolls in and the power cuts out, and eventually they find themselves near freezing. Along the way, something in the blizzard calls to them, drawing them out into the cold. What was your inspiration? Well, I have three brothers and we were at my parent’s house one Christmas… and a blizzard touched down… and the power went out… hmmm. A branch, heavy with snow, fell from a tree like a spear, which surprised me: I didn’t think that a tree branch would fall like that. Anyways, it went right through the porch (part of which is still lodged there today) and I thought, “What if the branch hit something in the ground, something that has been buried there for centuries?” And thus ‘Skin’ was born. How long did it take to write? The whole process—writing, editing, beta reading, designing cover, etc—took me 18 months. The reason it took so long? I just didn’t have that much time to write; I work full time and I have two young daughters. So where did I find the time? I wrote ‘Skin’ entirely on my blackberry on the bus/subway to and from work. Why independent publishing? I’m an impatient man; after finishing the book I couldn’t imagine waiting for responses from agents… and then publishers. I also love the idea of doing it my way—why do the big five publishers get to be the gatekeepers? Why not let the public decide? What tipped the scales was that publishing on Amazon (via CreateSpace for paperback and Kindle Direct Publishing for e-book) is dead easy. Really. It’s laughably easy. What was the hardest part about writing the book? Two answers: 1) staying motivated, and 2) marketing. 1) Although it took me 18 months to complete the book, it wasn’t an everyday thing. Sometimes I just got bored or tired and took a break—listened to music on the bus instead. The thing is, there was no one telling me to hurry or even encouraging me to finish. In fact, the opposite was often true; there were those that were telling me to give it a rest, take breaks, do other things (all during the editing process), etc. I think Hemmingway said, “Write when you’re drunk, edit when you’re sober.” Well, since I couldn’t get drunk on my way to work and write on my blackberry, I often had some scotch while editing. Yeeeeah, this probably didn’t help. 2) Yeah I know, ‘marketing’ is not ‘writing’ the book, but it is a critical part of the process. Someone more experienced than I coined the term ‘author-preneur’ and, although it carries a pretentious air that I don’t particularly care for, it seems pretty accurate. I wrote the book. Great. Now what? There are about 1.5 gajillion books available on Amazon and other platforms. How the F#$k does mine get noticed? How do I make it discoverable? How does mine float to the top of the slush pile? These are things that I am trying (a perpetual endeavour) to figure out. Marketing, branding, pricing, etc, are all part of the ‘entrepreneur’ aspect to writing and selling books. This **** is hard. Well if you managed to make it this far through my post, good on ya. I guess that means you were interested. If you are really interested, and want to help out a fellow BOTL, you can check the book out here: http://amzn.to/1Eo2PwG. If you read the book (err… if you read AND like the book), please leave a review (part of the whole blegh marketing). If you have any questions, ask away. Now I’m off to suck on a Lusitania and drink a fifth of Ardbeg… and edit my next book. Cheers, Pat
Hey folks, I have a conference this summer on the island of Crete and I'm thinking of taking my family. Well, either I take them or they kill me in my sleep, sooooo, family vacation, yay! I'm wondering if there are any experienced travelers who might be able to offer advice on where to stay, especially family-friendly, and things to do, including tours. We're not planning to stay the whole time on Crete but would like to take advantage of the time there to see some interesting stuff. We're very much culture-oriented and would like to focus on authentic experiences. Custom or guided experiences would be wonderful. So if you have any experiences to share, please feel free. I'm just starting to research now and am quite flexible. Aside from the fact that this trip will take place in late-June, early-July. Wilkey