17mppqpfijoaxjpg

I haven’t been very good at blogging lately. Pardon me, that’s the biggest understatement I could’ve made since I haven’t blogged in about three years. Probably by now, no one reads this, which is fine for me at this point in time.

Having taken 2014-2015 off from writing, I came back strong in 2016 with renewed vigor and purpose. What was the change? I decided to start investing in my writing career more than I’d ever done before. With that said, here are three areas which I’ve invested in my career to take me to the next level. What is the next level you ask? Well, since doing these things, I’ve been hired to ghostwrite two full length novels, which is an entirely new experience on its own and worthy of a book in and of itself.

 

Investment #1:  Attend Conferences

Conferences are a great place to network and learn. Workshops offer a host of different subjects within the writing community. I’ve been to screenwriting workshops and conferences, huge, annual novel writing pitch-fests, and small, low-key events at libraries where authors are giving a talk about their work. All of these avenues offered me incalculable rewards. Not just in education, as I learn something new about either the business of writing or the craft of writing, but in networking possibilities.

During one conference, I met a consultant, a professional coach, who reviewed my work and provided me a detailed analysis of the positives and shortcomings of my writing. I’d never been so overjoyed at being thoroughly skewered because it gave me perspectives I’d not considered before. Many of these coaches cost money, and, if you have a good rapport with them and like their qualifications, make the investment if its not too burdensome.

Make no mistake, however, this is a significant monetary investment in your career. Workshops and conferences, even for writers, aren’t free. Next month, I’m headed out to New York for the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference and pitch-slam. Factoring in hotel, airfare (I’m using miles so my airfare is free this conference, but that’s usually not the case), food, the cost of the conference, it adds up to a hefty sum. Some can’t afford this more than once or twice a year, however, because the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference has a private Facebook group where we all chat through, there are writers flying in from all over the world to attend.

Investment #2:  Take Classes

JamesPatterson

Classes? I already went to college. Yes, classes and no, they don’t have to be with a college. I went online and found James Patterson’s Writing Masterclass. It was $99 and covered eight weeks or so of material, with homework (including reading one of Patterson’s books, which, of course, you have to buy – good rub there). And, before, I’d laugh some of that stuff off because it may have been, well, too generalized for me and I was a specific writer (or rather, more honestly, I thought I was better than the other attendees taking the class and didn’t need it). However, after much debate and eating a few slices of humble pie, I decided to splurge on Mr. Patterson and threw my credit card down for $99 (plus the book, which I bought used on Amazon for $0.10). This was by far one of the best investments I’d ever made. Why? Because James Patterson took you through his exact step-by-step process of how he writes books, including, how he creates outlines. I’d never been much of an “outline” writer, but had been progressing towards that style because of all the time (and words) wasted in extraneous plot I’d removed during editing that didn’t serve the purpose of the story. After working through his process, I found it very satisfying and ultimately, through about a year of tweaking with it, came up with a process of going from log-line, to summary, to full-fledged outline that rooted out all tangents of the story and covered plot holes before I even wrote one word of manuscript. Well worth the $100 investment.

Investment #3:  Want to be the Best? Study the best!

Stephen King said, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time to write.”

I read a variety of genres so that my writing and style is diverse and well rounded. I love biographies to study the lives of interesting people who’ve shaped the world, particularly those who come from different ethnic and racial backgrounds as myself. I consume thrillers to find out what keeps a reader on the edge of their seat. Stephen King is a master at suspense and world building, providing you with so much information (and so succinctly too) the reader intimately knows his characters. Lee Child is one of my favorite writers because his stories and plots are relatively simple and straight forward and his writing style matches that, yet for all its simplicity, Lee Child is a thoroughly enjoyable writer. His books taught me that even though I write fantasy, I shouldn’t have to rely on magic and mysticism or complex plots with ninety-three characters to write a great story. The story speaks for itself and the writing is an extension of that. But had I never ventured beyond fantasy, because many writers refuse to read outside their genre, I would have missed out on an opportunity to learn how to craft a heart-pounding story that doesn’t need cheap thrills to entertain.

Tim Kasser, a psychologist at Knox College is one of the researchers who conducted a study the correlation between shopping/spending money and happiness.

Although a lot of men and women believe the phrase: “Money Buys Happiness”, the latest research suggests otherwise. Madonna was wrong. Out of four studies, all four found that reducing dependance on material possessions and a focus on the acquisition of money increased their subjects happiness. Here are six suggestions from psychologist Tim Kasser on to limit impulse buys (the following is quoted from Scientific American:

• Try to keep track of every advertisement you are exposed to for four days. Or, alternatively, try to avoid being exposed to any advertisements for four days. Afterward, reflect on the difficulty of the task and think about the purpose of advertisements in our society.

• For one week see if you can go without nonwork screen time: No TV, video games, Facebook, smartphone surfing. At the end of the week, reflect on how you spent your time instead.

• Think about your intrinsic values, which for most people are personal growth, connection to family and friends and contribution to the community or the world at large. Write down how your choices or behaviors uphold each of these values.

• Keep track of every single penny you spend for a month. Then ask yourself how much each purchase fits your values.

• If you are like most people, you will find that your spending does not always fit your values. Ask yourself why you are spending money the way you do. Is it insecurity; to impress people or feel worthwhile; because it is normal in our society to do so?

• Have a conversation with the important people in your life about money. Where does it come from? How much do we give away? How much do we save? What are we saving for? Why do we spend it on the things we do?

These activities are all aimed at shifting our mental focus toward our intrinsic values, which will naturally decrease our materialistic tendencies. Doing so could improve your well-being, according to Kasser’s study and many others.

It is necessary to understand the origin of certain spiritual texts, to the extent possible, so that we can frame ourselves in who is passing down the knowledge we seek.

During the 15th century in Florence, Italy, an ancient manuscript was unearthed called The Hermetica. Jubilation and excitement commenced as all who got their hands on the text thought it was written by the Pharaoh’s of antiquity and predated the Torah. For two hundred years the concepts spread over Europe leading to some great thinkers turning into alchemists. This continued until it all came crashing down in 1614 when a scholar analyzed the text and found that not only was it not written in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics – as one would think a spiritual text of ancient Egypt would be – but in Greek. Further, the Greek itself wasn’t ancient (i.e. B.C.E.). The syntax, vocabulary, and grammar led the scholar to date The Hermetica at around 200 C.E. and was written by various authors. But who?

The opening lines of the Emerald Tablets as translated by Maurice Doreal are: “I, Thoth, the Atlantian…”

In Timothy Freke & Peter Gandy’s translation, the speaker identifies himself as: “I, Thrice-Great Hermes…”

Two translations apparently authored by different people. But were they?

It is widely accepted that Thoth, the patron scribe god of ancient Egypt, was used as an inspiration for the Greek god, Hermes. Maurice Doreal claims that Thoth was a priest-king who fled mythical Atlantis before it was demolished, arriving to bestow his knowledge onto the ancient Egyptians. Doreal goes on to claim that this all happened 36,000 years ago and that Thoth, the Atlantian priest-king, ruled ancient Egypt as a god for 16,000 years. Unfortunately, none of this is backed up by any scientific evidence so we’ll leave that theory alone.

Another explanation for who this Thrice-Great Hermes was or Thoth the Atlantian is posed by Jacob Slavenburg in his book The Hermetic Link: From Secret Tradition to Modern Thought. Slavenburg writes: “In the third century B.C.E., Manetho, an Egyptian high-priest historian, wrote about several Hermes.”

The first “Hermes” was the Egyptian scribe-god, Thoth, who wrote down the secrets to the universe and the power of the Creator god, Atum, on stone tablets.

The second “Hermes” was a flesh and blood man, who took these tablets and translated them into ancient Greek. His name was Trismegistus.

The third “Hermes” was a Greek scholar, Agathodaimon, who compiled the Greek translations into 18 “books” known as the Corpus Hermeticum.

The reality is that we don’t know for sure. A lot of people have a hand in the “Who was Hermes/Thoth?” question including Plato. Several academics, historians, and spiritual seekers have gone over this quagmire and the answers we’ve come up with are: 1) the Corpus Hermeticum was most assuredly written by multiple people; 2) it has gone through countless translations; 3) it is undeniably a philosophy of ancient Egyptian spirituality that was passed down orally before committed to writing.

Okay, now that we have that settled (or not), we can move on again.

Subscribe to my blog for updates on this series and the spiritual journey therein.

2013 in Review

Ah, 2013, what should I say about you? The first thing that comes to mind is good fucking riddance. I don’t say that to be melodramatic, but 2013 was a bum year for me personally. It started with losing my grandfather, followed by the death of two of my family’s dogs, and then my other grandfather’s health began to fail, oh and did I mention 2012 ended with the death of my last grandmother? No? Yeah. That happened too.

Don’t get me wrong there were bright spots. I went to Singapore, England, and China and Seattle, Denver, and Chicago. I had an opportunity to see the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, and the Terra Cotta warriors with my amazing wife. In England, although that was mostly work, I traveled to Stonehenge, saw Big Ben, and crossed the London Bridge (and it didn’t even fall down!).

For those of you who don’t know me that well, I love collecting swords (preferably real functional swords made of high carbon steel graded 1050 or higher); they can be swords from any age or time or even fantasy ones. This year, I picked up the Conan: The Barbarian sword and it is a fucking beast (picture below of it stabbed into my backyard).

923181_10201962690447949_38219176_n

 

67534_10201824549714517_1381701550_n

 

In April my guitar died. Sad face. We’re still mourning its loss.

My car hit 100,000 miles in 4 years (we’re way past that now, buddy). – Sorry for me this was a milestone. I’ve never owned anything that’s lasted so long in my life.

483504_10201711827656536_1034811003_n

I went to a few amazing shows and a few not so amazing shows. Notable mentions include the epicness that is Comikaze Expo in Los Angeles and Denver Comic Con. The others shall remain nameless.

20130531_081214 382287_610116922341074_1556220115_n 601271_610116839007749_85820327_n 20130531_102843

Book 2 of the Legends of Amun Ra series, The Soul of the World, debuted in November and I’ve been really happy with some early reviews. Two comments about The Soul of the World made me literally laugh my ass off. This one:

“As for the detail in the book… all I can say is Wowza! Was this guy a hardcore D&D player? I was having flashbacks from my brief time attempting to play Rifts (it’s an RP game much like D&D) and all I could think was “This guy had to have been a game master!” I don’t think I have ever read a story that was so detailed in all my life.” – Melissa.

And this one:

“Shirin is an absolute psycho…” – Amanda

But all in all, we’ve got 26 reviews in for Soul so far and are hovering at an average rating of 4.30 – a huge step up from Emerald’s average of 3.7. So that’s something to be proud of. Yay me.

On top of that, I’m just a few short days away from completing the manuscript for book 3, The Island of Shadows, and will be sending that off to beta readers shortly. Let me tell you something, this book is a beast, coming in at a hefty 243,000 words (or about 700 pages depending on how we end up formatting it). Island was a grueling ordeal and quite frankly, kicked my ass up and down the field. Hopefully ya’ll like it.

Which now brings us to some more awesomeness: I decided to write two more series. I know, I know. You’re saying, “Josh, you just complained about how exhausting it was for you to write Islands, how in the world are you going to add more to your plate? Truth is, I have no fucking clue. But I want to so deal with it.

The first series is going to be first released (if we can get the funding for it) as a graphic novel and it’s called A Spirit of Hate (Typhon Rising, 1). Here are some awesome test pics to check out.  “Hate,” as I like to refer to it, tells the story of Typhon who is the daughter of the Red Lord of Violence, Set. Born a monster and shunned by her homeland of Heliopolis, Typhon finds refuge on Earth and falls in love. Everything’s going according to plan until Q.T.A.R. (who you’ll recall was Alex’s company in The Emerald Tablet), gets ahold of the Pillar of Thoth. Then things go haywire and a bunch of awesome shit happens that you guys will love.

Aura 1Typhon 1  WIP page 1

The second series is going to be children’s/YA series which focuses on the last oracle, Eos and her experience growing up as an oracle in ancient Potara. That should be a fun series – the first one is entitled A Conspiracy of Queens and has to do with a young Eos getting a vision of her father, King Rohir, murder. Since it’s a children’s book it will obviously be less intense than the Legends of Amun Ra series.

Other than that, I read 72 books this year and by far my favorite was Brandon Sanderson’s Way of Kings. All I can say is fucking awesome. It blew my mind away about what could be achieved with epic fantasy – the flash forwards – the flashbacks – the mystery, intrigue, the new planet – all of it was mind blowing.

Until next time. Keep writing.

ThorinBooks vs. movies, the age old debate (well, not really age old, but old enough for our purposes). In my younger days I considered myself a book/comic book snob. If Peter Parker wasn’t exactly how he was in the comic books when compared to the movies, well, then, I was just plain pissed off. Like when Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man had organic webbing instead of how Stan Lee wrote the character – where Peter Parker had to construct web-slingers (and where Marc Webb’s, The Amazing Spider-Man is more faithful to the comic), I was upset. Or how in the movie, 300, about the Spartans and Thermopylae, where the Spartans did not wear any armor, I went ballistic. Who the fuck really thinks soldiers went into battle with no armor on? Even 2,500 years ago. Anyway, I digress. My point has been proven about what an obnoxious jackass I was.

How did I change my ways, you ask? Simple, I saw the movie, The Hobbit, an Unexpected Journey (part one, at least. Part two hasn’t been released yet at the time of this posting).

In so many many ways, the movie version of The Hobbit outshines the book (and I just re-read the book to make sure I was up to snuff before writing this). There will always be differences when translating stories into different mediums, whether it’s comic books to shows, theater to movies, movies to shows, plays, books, short stories, whatever. That really is just part of the business. Certain things can’t be done with shows/theater/movies because of budget constraints or time that can be done in books. But J.R.R. Tolkien’s book, The Hobbit, is really light on dramatic action, whereas Peter Jackson is a master at holding our attention. By way of example, I offer the following (warning, spoilers below, FYI):

Near the end of the film (and nearly a third into the novel), Gandalf, Bilbo, and the dwarves find themselves trapped at the top of tall trees while wargs (oversized, evil wolves) snap at their feet. To remedy the problem, Gandalf sets pinecones on fire and begins throwing the flaming cones at the wargs until they are lit on fire or run away. Inconveniently, the trees in which the dwarves are perched also catch fire, and Gandalf calls his friends the Eagles to rescue them. Yet in the film, the dwarves, hobbit and wizard all congregate to a single tree that remains untouched by the fire. The weight of the company tips the tree over the edge of the cliff, and leaves the creatures dangling for their lives. At the same time, the “Pale Orc” (Thorin’s archnemesis and leader of the goblins—a character very embellished for the film) shows up to join the party.  Riding a warg, the Pale Orc watches as the company awaits their free-fall into death. He recognizes Thorin as the dwarf who cut off his hand way-back-when, and tries to claim his life. But Bilbo will have none of it, and uses his tiny hobbit sword to fight off the Pale Orc and his gang until the eagles swoop down and carry them to safety.

The movie version of this scene: Fracking awesome.

The book version of this scene: Okay…(it was about 3 pages).

Another change that I loved was the depiction of Thorin, the dwarf. Peter Jackson may have altered the character of Thorin to provide for an appealing hero. He also has a deep, creamy voice and calm demeanor that completes his fallen-hero facade. But in the book, Tolkien paints a much less attractive Thorin. He is greedy, bumbling, an inexperienced leader who wants to kill Smaug not to avenge his forefathers and reclaim his homeland, but to get his hands on the gold Smaug guards. In the film, he is a king in exile, and his intentions are entirely honorable. Not only that, in the book, Thorin doesn’t really do anything. In the movies, he’s much more of a leader.

There are tons of differences that I could spend a long time outlining, for instance, Radagast the Brown (one of the five wizards) is literally mentioned once in the book and never shows up. In the movie, he is painted as a crazed, animal-loving and quirky character who interacts with Gandalf, the dwarves, and Bilbo throughout the film. He even aids the group by distracting a herd of goblins on their tail (a scene dreamed up by Jackson).

But the biggest difference between the book and the movie? Tone. And while I understand Tolkien wrote The Hobbit as a children’s book, the fact is many children watch The Lord of the Rings movies. Jackson’s version is darker and more mysterious, giving allusions to “dark forces” happening and specifically mentioning the Necromancer (and showing scenes and foreshadowing to a dark threat). Setting up the idea of the main trilogy wonderfully.

I know this is a long post, but I wanted to make a point. There are times, mostly limited circumstances, where movies can be more than the original source material ever hoped to be. In my opinion, the movie version of The Hobbit outshines the book by a mile.

7655516Summary:

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny–one she could never have imagined…
Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home. 

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change. 

But she could never have guessed the truth–that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart. 

My review:

Overall, I thought that Meghan Chase was just an okay character. She exhibited some good realisim and taking a long time to believe that faery’s existed and that the Nevernever was real, which I really liked. She also clearly cared for her brother, as that is the premise of the book, her attempt at rescuing Ethan, her kidnapped brother from the Nevernever. The world that the writer builds is beautifully rendered and described. Fairies in urban fantasy books are nothing new, but Kagawa brings her own special touch and puts her own spin on old myths and legends. I found the idea of the iron fey to be very original and fascinating. All in all, it was a good book. However, some things really kept me from giving it four stars.

I’ve been seeing the following being more and more common in young adult (YA) reads, particularly where there is a female lead involved. I’m not exactly sure why (well, that’s not entirely true, I know why I just hope it isn’t the case). Her secondary characters (Puck/Ash) really lacked any sort of depth at all. They were two dimensional sad beings. The are so very cliche it’s sickening. Robbie/puck (the best friend, guardian/knight, and is super powerful) and Ash (beautiful, perfect dark hero with mysterious/dark past, super powerful).  And all the while Ash wants to kill Meghan, she is falling in love with him (really lust – but a sixteen year old Meghan doesn’t know the difference). They had one dance where maybe they got to know each other a little bit, but after they engage on their quest there isn’t really any witty banter or heart-felt moments that led me to believe they were falling in love. There were a few almost-kisses, but attraction is not the same as love, and honestly the almost-kisses seemed really out of place to me. THEN all of a sudden, there is a make-out scene and now Meghan and Ash are in love. I’m talking about the I-would-die-without-you, stand-by-each other-through-everything kind of love. There was no chemistry between Ash and Meaghan. Yeah, I get that she thinks he’s pretty, but there doesn’t seem to be much going on between them besides physical attraction. It actually very much lowers my opinion of the Meghan Chase, that she falls in love with the man who’s sworn to kill her and her best friend. 

I get that part of YA is about young love – I was young once too (I think – at least that’s what my mom tells me). But, on the other hand, I hope that the future YA authors out there would treat our teenagers with some intelligence and actually try to build a relationship. 

 

This past week was the release of Thor 2, The Dark World. Personally, I loved it. I think Kenneth Branagh was uniquely qualified for this task. However, it made me think about something intimately familiar with a lot of fantasy stories – making something small into something magnificent.

The heart of Thor 2, The Dark World, is a story about two brothers competing for the love and affection of their parents (in particular their father). It’s dressed up with men who are more than the average, with powers of flight and magical hammers. But really, when you get right down to the core of the plot, it’s about family.

The Game of Thrones is remarkably similar. Tyrion’s squabbling with his sister Cersei at the same time that Jamie fights with his father, Tywin, and his sister (Cersei), is a driving force of both books three and four. And it makes for such great drama.

Where Thor 2 is set on another world, The Game of Thrones is set in the past. Yet again, we have the same themes and motifs in both stories. Family, love, greed, lust, honor, and loyalty.

This is what people are really interested in, the psychological drama. It’s because we live it in our real lives all the time. For the writers out there, it’s important to remember that. I was asked what my favorite scenes to write are. The interviewer was surprised when I said the scenes that show the most about the characters – as in, not the cool fight scenes. The relationship of your characters drives your story forward. And no matter how you dress it up – whether you’re including werewolves, vampires, demons, or gods, magicians, wizards, or just plain old fashioned superheroes, focus on the person not the powers and you’ll go further than you would otherwise.

This past month we did a pre-launch of The Soul of the World, book 2 in the Legends of Amun Ra series. Stacey Blake of The Winey Reader blog wrote the following about The Soul of the World.

“These characters are real; they have vices and flaws; they need love and acceptance. All this makes the book so much more realistic even though much of it takes place on another planet. Amazing how humanity is the same everywhere.”

 It’s probably the greatest compliment I could receive as an author.

Read the full book review below: http://thewineyreader.com/the-soul-of-the-world-by-joshua-silverman-bookreview-giveaway/

Many people commend me on writing complex, three-dimensional, believable characters. It’s something I do work on, diligently. I think most writers want to place their characters into predetermined categories (i.e. this is the hero/heroine, this is the villain, this is the side-kick, and this is the extra girl/guy for a love triangle to give me some drama). I try my best to avoid all of these stereotypes.

When creating a character, the first thing I ask myself is: “What do they want?” or “What is their purpose?” For the most part, every character has a driving force, something pushing them towards something. Writing about someone who doesn’t know what they want and who constantly flip-flops back and forth on decisions (or the alternative, makes no decisions), really isn’t that interesting to read about.

 Once you have the purpose of the character then you can build around that. I keep this rule in my head: No one is any one thing. Which is why typecasting your characters as the “hero” or “villain” can get you into a lot of trouble. Look at your real life as an example. We all have people we don’t like but who can surprise us with very thoughtful and sentimental gestures. And we all know someone who we thought was the nicest person in the world yet they say something completely rude or insensitive and it makes us pause. I try to write characters as people are. That’s what makes them relatable. So when you’re crafting your characters, whether they’re heroes or villains, side-kicks or lovers, remember that in real life people make mistakes. They regret their actions. They have triumphs and failures. They are hypocritical (do what I say not what I do?). Sometimes they’re fiercely loyal to the relationship. Other times they stab you in the back.

 The old cliché is that art imitates life. So write characters as people are. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, but never all one or the other. 

I fucking love going to conventions. Seriously, I do. It’s the one place that I can meet and greet fans, sign books, take pictures, and just have an all around amazing time. When I’m not at my booth, in all honesty, you’d probably find me geeking out at the merchandise all the other vendors are selling. I might be walking down one of the isles, spot a great cosplay, and run up to them like every other fan begging for a picture. This is me, deal with it.

But, gearing up for a show is the next closest thing to an anxiety attack that I can think of. And I know if I’m freaking out, I can’t imagine what the people running the show must be doing.

Me (about thirty days before a show doing some inventory):

Holy fuck, I don’t have enough books. Frantically, I’ll call my publisher. She will calm me down in her gentle way, telling me not to worry, she’ll get the books to me on time (and she always does). Then I take stock of my flyers and postcards, which I’m always running low on (seriously, they’re like that extra sock you have left over after doing the wash). I’ll freak out that I only have 500 left and that’s not anywhere near enough to hand out at a show that has 40,000 or more attendees. And the dates on the brochure need updating! Sonofabitch. My second call is to my graphic artist, where I’ll ramble for ten minutes about how important these are and I need A.S.A.P. turn around time. She’ll calm me down, tell me not to worry, that she’ll update the postcard and send me the revisions. Whew. Once I get those revisions, I’ll send them off to the printers.

I’ll stand there in front of a massive suitcase spread open on my floor going through all the shit I have. Do I need mugs? No. Well….no. How about my awesome customized iPhone cases? People like those. Should I take them? Gee, I don’t know, I have all these books. But they look so cool, my inner voice says to me. Okay, fine, I consent. We’ll take a few iPhone cases. Pens? Oh, I didn’t order those. Stupid me. How about my giant balls? No, get your mind out of the gutter, I really have orbs that glow to signify the power source of the Amun Priests. Of course I’m taking those! Just gotta check the batteries…and of course they’re dead. Note to self: Pick up a gazillion AA batteries. Then I’ll look at the giant pile of T-Shirts I have sitting in boxes in my bedroom. Do I bring the shirts or not? This is the question. There’s a lot of them and I have a small car which will be packed so full I won’t be able to see my mirrors because of the books. But people love shirts! I’ll shrug, tabling that decision until later. What else? Oh shit, I forgot bags. People like to put books in bags when they’re at a show. I’ll spend the next four hours researching different bags, blue bags, white bags, black bags, red bags, big bags, small bags, medium sized bags, bio-degradable bags or environment killing bags, customized bags with my awesome logo on it, or not customized bags without my awesome logo on it. Insert sad face here. I can’t fucking take all these decisions!

Somewhere along the line it’ll hit me that I still need to book a hotel room and a flight to whatever city I’m going to. I’ll be really pissed I waited so long because now the fares and rates will be higher.

Then, the reality is, my wife will come into the bedroom because I’m curled up on the floor in a ball mumbling incoherently. My laptop will be open on a page with a thousand different bags on it and coffee mugs, iPhone cases, mints, chocolates, shirts, banners, and flyers are strewn about the room as if a giant tornado struck our house. She’ll say: “You totally suck at this. Let me do it. It’ll be better and cheaper.” She’ll give me some scotch, put a book in my hand, and do something that I am too inept to accomplish on my own: organizing this crazy train called being an author.

Then for the next two to three weeks, after all the orders have been placed, I’ll probably check the status of the printing and shipping of every item once per day, because that’s how much of a freak I am.