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An Update – Writing, Blogging, Etc.

Greetings! I haven’t had much to put here lately. Other than occasional book updates and minor announcements, it’s pretty much been crickets. I don’t know – maybe I’ve stopped getting worked up about things as much as I used to. Or maybe I just slap the rants and grievances on twitter now, rather than blogging them. Or maybe I just yell them at Kristen. I don’t know.

I’ll probably start blogging a little more. I have some ideas written down that I just need to sit down and work myself into a lather about. But most of my writing time these days is devoted to fiction writing, a thing that’s sort of taken front row for me. In that spirit, here are a few random updates on what’s going on.

On The Call of the Mountain

It’s doing very well. Thanks to all you strapping ladies and gentlemen that bought a copy and helped spread the word. No NYT list yet, but sales are good and I feel like it’s most definitely my best work to date. I’m as happy with it as I can be, considering writing books is basically an enormous voluntary nightmare in which nothing will ever be perfect. It’s a good nightmare (if that’s a thing), an exciting nightmare, but nonetheless…nightmare.

If you haven’t read it, I challenge you to give it ten pages. You can even read the beginning for free via Amazon’s look inside function, you miserable cheap.

On Book Publishing, In General

I’m pumping the brakes a little. Not on writing – doing more of that than ever – but on publishing, at least in the short term. There is a conventional wisdom in the indie (that’s cool/hip internet slang for someone who self publishes) community that the path to success involves writing long series’ (like, 6 to 10 books) and releasing books often (like, 4 books a year…at least). And there’s nothing wrong with do it this way AT ALL – I know a number of talented and prolific authors who follow this formula and build good, loyal followings and make good money writing books. Many of them have taught me a great deal about the industry, and for that I’m indebted. AND conventional wisdom is conventional wisdom for a reason; it does work. If you want to make a living being an indie writer, this is pretty much the way to do it.

So, until very recently, this was my intent. Not because I WANT to write long series’ and pump books out super quickly – I don’t, at all, and never have, and probably never will – but because I wanted to do the author thing full time. But here’s the thing: I’m 28. I have plenty of time to build a career. And there are a lot of ways to make money. Right now, and for the foreseeable future, I’m just going to focus on writing (and rewriting) the best damn book I possibly can, and if it takes a little longer, that’s fine. I’d rather write 1 book that has a real impact on someone than 10 books that don’t.

On the Next Book

Oh hell yeah there is one. The Bracket, a big, ambitious story about a group of coaches who team up to sabotage the NCAA basketball tournament in order to take an obscene amount of prize money. I’m not kidding – this is actually something I’m writing. The idea was borne out of a night of drinking in Boulder, and originally came from the lips of friend of the Lodge Chris Sheckman (unrelated, but check out his strength and conditioning blog, which he forgot to tell me about but I found anyway).

I’m about 1/3 of the way through the first draft. It’s extremely hard to write but I’m hoping that’s good. I have no idea when it will be released other than sometime before I die hopefully.

Otter Picture

Here is an otter picture. We’ll end on that note.

9_s

New Books (and Old Books I Want to Give You for Free)

the-call-cover-3d-web1. The Call of the Mountain, that novel I keep talking about, is available for preorder on Amazon. This means you can just click the button to buy it now and they’ll magically send it to your device when it’s released on July 21. You should do it. Do it. Honestly, it’s $4. Just do it.

Here’s the skinny:

Deep in the mountains of Colorado, Julian Meyer has escaped his life. The car horns are gone, the suffocating city is gone, and the Wall Street high rise and everything that came with it is gone. The wife is gone. The misery is gone.

He went west to escape a life he hated, and Julian Meyer found solace in the tiny mountain town of Otter Ridge. The pace is slower, the skies are blue, and the mornings are quiet. Julian Meyer can finally relax.

But amidst the detached serenity, there’s evil in those hills. A chaotic web of deceit, corruption, and seduction slowly steals him from the beauty of his surroundings and pushes him into a perverse game in which there is no winner.

The Call of the Mountain is a fast-paced thriller that thrusts the reader square in the middle of mountain life, exploring the depths of greed and obsession and telling the story of one little town with a dangerous addiction.

2. You may have noticed/been annoyed by that little bar on the bottom of this site that’s tempting you with free stuff. Well folks, I am here to tell you it is not a drill – I am indeed giving away free copies of Emails from Heaven in exchange for an email address. Irony? Perhaps. Anywho, I’m not up to anything especially sinister, I just want to keep in touch. This does not mean obnoxious garbage will be flooding your inbox all the time…I use this list a few times a year for book-related stuff. If you don’t see the pop-up thing, just click here.

(If you are already a subscriber to this blog, you can still take me up on this genuine offer of goodwill. It’s a different list and I want us to remain in alliance.)

Cover Reveal Time

The-Call-Cover-10-webI’m drinking coffee out of my Bob Ross mug as I type this, so you know it’s an occasion. The reason I gathered you here is to show you the cover of my forthcoming book, The Call of the Mountain, which you probably saw before you even read any of this text. So my work here is done. Thanks for looking.

I don’t have an OFFICIAL release date yet, but as the guy who investigated the Tom Brady deflated footballs scandal would say, it will definitely, probably, more likely than not be sometime in late June, I think. People keep asking me what it’s about, and I’m terrible at summing these things up in little blurbs, BUT it’s getting around the time where I actually have to do that. So: a guy moves to a small mountain town to escape his life, when shit starts to get weird. There are seductive women and weirdo mountain folk involved. Things are not what they seem. Or are they? Let’s read on.

Yeah, I’ll work on it before the release. And I’ll also bug you again when that happens. Thanks for reading/looking.

 

6 Reasons You Don’t Have to Hate the Super Bowl This Year

43153_01_madden-nfl-15-predicts-patriots-top-seahawks-during-super-bowl-xlixAmerica, I’ve heard you. You’re finding it hard to get roused for the big game this year, due to ever-escalating squeeze of commercialism, pointless two-week media suffocation, and generally villainous nature of both teams involved. For a good chunk of the country (i.e. those residing outside of Washington state and those tiny plots of land out east), it’s hard to be a fan these days. But fear not, my friends, for I have found some reasons to actually enjoy this year’s Super Bowl.

“But Sam,” you say, “how am I supposed to get behind either of these teams? The Patriots have been caught cheating more than once, have a pompous and unlikeable head coach, and have the most spoiled and entitled fan base in professional sports. And the Seahawks have Richard Sherman. I really just can’t root for either team this year.”

Putting aside the fact that you don’t have to root for a team to enjoy the game (though I do agree it helps), allow me to briefly address these concerns.

– The Patriots cheated with the ball thing.
Yeah, probably, and the NFL is investigating. If and when they find evidence of wrongdoing, they’ll hand out appropriate punishment. Why can’t we just leave it at that? Do you still hold it against your older brother for shoplifting that pack of Bubble Tape 17 years ago? No. You forgive, accept that he paid his penalty (i.e. was forced to give the gum back and tearfully apologize to the store owner), and move on. Let’s let the NFL worry about retribution.

– The Patriots head coach is an arrogant dick and their fans are sort of obnoxious.
Guess what? This is true of all NFL teams! We’re just force fed the Patriots version because they win a lot and are on SportsCenter all the time. And every single fan base will annoy you if you get close enough to them. I live in Colorado, and Broncos fans annoy the hell out of me, but that’s only because they surround me and their team has given them something to be loud about. If you’re a fan of any team, you’re annoying too. I’m annoying. We all suck. It’s just how it works.

– Richard Sherman.
Sherman has become persona non grata among most NFL fans since his weird tirade after last year’s NFC Championship. He comes off as brash, mean, and exceedingly cocky. He also has a degree from Stanford and is a highly intelligent dude, especially by NFL player standards. Sherman plays the villain role, intentionally, because it’s good for him and good for the game. I’ll explain more below.

 

Even IF you can’t stand either of the Super Bowl participants, I give you the following reasons to be optimistic about the game:

1. It’s the 2 Best Teams

hi-res-f247f75b1680a6f3f13fe823aa90684a_crop_northFinally, the top seeds from each conference meet in the big showdown. It feels like this never happens, so as fans, shouldn’t we applaud that we actually get to see the best two teams square off? Wasn’t that what we were always bitching about with the BCS?
*Nerd voice* Well, who knows if it’s actually the best two teams
This time, we know! It’s football at its highest level, at its highest level.

2. #DeflateGate Has (Sort of) Run Its Course

MzVRrpGVIf you don’t know what this is, I’m not going to explain it to you, because I’m so sick of it I find it hard to even think about. It’s been beaten to death from both sides, from those who think Bill Belichick needs to be executed or something, to the others who just keep blindly using the term “haters” in some attempt to mask wrongdoing. The silver lining here is it seems everyone else is getting sick of it, too. The rhetoric is dying, and we’re getting ready to move on.

The worst part about this scandal was always the idiots whose idea of comedy was to make jokes any time someone mentioned “balls.” Yes, morons, “balls” is a slang term for “testicles.” I’ll work on booking you a Comedy Central special. These people, I’m afraid, have not yet seen the diminishing return of their “jokes,” and thus I’ve been forced to ban them from the Lodge and cut them out of my life. I suggest you do the same.

3. We Need the Bad Guy

04926328788cacff_shery.jpg.xxxlargePeople, have we already forgotten the important lessons taught to us by Vince McMahon and the WWF? (*gets news the wresting conglomerate was forced to change its name due to a legal dispute with the World Wildlife Found over a decade ago*) As I said, the important lessons learned from the WWE? The truth is, we need villians. We need someone to hate in sports, so we know which teams/people to root against. Having no one to hate is no better than having no one to love; both put us in bland, emotionless states that defeat the purpose of sport.

Richard Sherman knows this, and thus has strategically positioned himself to be hated by us. It makes the league more interesting, and it makes him more important. It doesn’t really mean he’s a bad guy, it just means he’s more savvy than the average player. It’s like Kid Rock positioning himself as an ignorant redneck in order to make millions. What? I’m not helping my argument with the Kid Rock comparison? Hmm. Fair enough.

The point is: let us celebrate hate. Let us celebrate feeling! Luckily, we have a few possible targets in this one. Aside from the aforementioned Dick Sherman, there’s Belichick, Pete Carroll, Marshawn Lynch (the interview thing), Russell Wilson (squeaky clean, manufactured image), Doug Baldwin (delusion/inability to comprehend statistics), LeGarrette Blount (weed? I don’t know), Earl Thomas (went to Texas), Tom Brady (Uggs), the ball kid who deflated the footballs in a solitary/rogue act, whoever made up the story about the ball kid deflating the footballs in a solitary/rogue act, Josh McDaniels (stupid face), and Darrelle Revis (being good – people seem to hate that).

And that’s just naming a few off the top of my head. We do not have to worry about the hate machine running out of gas in this one. Speaking of gas…

4. Vince Wilfork

The NFL’s resident teddy bear, Wilfork is impossible not to love. As a Patriots defensive tackle, he specializes in clogging lanes on Sundays, and clogging arteries on Saturdays (and every other day of the week probably). Vince is good fat. Need proof?

That is the work of a great American. And, as Friend of the Lodge Kate Kelley adroitly pointed out, big Vince’s dance looks eerily similar to this otter’s. This confirms my long held suspicion that Wilfork proudly carries the torch of the Otter Life. Go ahead and root for the big fella on Sunday. I will be.

5. The Packers Aren’t In It

I’m from Minnesota. What can I say?

6. Food

resized_chips_and_dipDuh. How did you even forget this? A good chunk of the Super Bowl goodness has nothing to do with the game. Let’s be honest, you’ve been trying to be healthy all January. You’ve consciously redirected your life after that health abomination that lasted most of December. You’ve occasionally made good food decisions, and even made it to the gym a few times. On February 1st, dig into some chips, dip, red meat, and a couple of brewskis. You’ve earned it.

How It All Started: My First Blog

n1175460103_30068718_7035I’ve been polluting the internet and the pages of books with my misguided rants and ruminations for the better part of six years now. The bad news: I don’t plan on stopping. However! There is good news: I think I’ve pinpointed where it all started. A few days ago, I ran an internet search for randomly stumbled upon this gem: The Foul Play Blog.

Foul Play is, from what I can tell, my first attempt at writing in a public forum. It’s the blog I set up before going to Alaska, and, looking back on it, the early groundwork for what would eventually become Memoirs of a Gas Station. The posts are attributed to “Sam and Jim,” because of some Marxist idea I had that we’d both contribute equally and on a regular basis to form a levelheaded blog utopia, but in reality Jim didn’t end up posting more than once, probably due to his swift and legitimate desire to distance himself from me and my idiotic rambles. Understandable. So…it was mostly just me.

Browsing through the limited number of posts, there are many questions. For example: is this what the internet looked like in 2008? Why is the writing so odd and disjointed? What’s the deal with that belt I’m wearing in the picture? Why is this blog, after lying dormant for six years, still even active?

A good lesson on the permanence of the internet, perhaps. Or maybe just what a finger looks like after being smashed in a door.