Tag Archives: indie

PAYDAY = GOLD! (LITERALLY)

April 15 is looming.

There aren’t many dates in American culture as big as this one. Once you get past the big holidays of Christmas, New Year’s, Halloween and the Fourth of July, April 15, tax day, is probably next up on the list. Of course, those other dates are celebrations.

April 15 doesn’t have many of us celebrating.

I’m a little different in that I do relish this time of the year. For me, it’s payday. When I decided to start writing (my first book was published in March of 2013), I decided I couldn’t touch my book money. You do get paid monthly, but if I ended up taking the money out of the bank, I would spend it on frivolous stuff: more lunches out with the work crew, more rounds bought at happy hours, new “iStuff,” etc.

There was some practicality to my approach as well. It wasn’t like I needed book money to live. Leaving it in the bank meant when I had a big expense, say a book getting published and I needed to order 20 copies and mail them out, the money to cover those expenses was there. If I spent my cash, I’d end up spending “house money” on those purchases. That clearly wouldn’t work.

Let’s not forget, I get paid 100% of sales money as well. No taxes are taken out. That doesn’t mean I don’t have to pay taxes, it just means I will be squaring up with the government on what I have determined is the fifth most notable date in the American lexicon.

Starting out in March of 2013, my plan became to leave my money untouched in a separate account unless I had to take money out for expenses. At the end of my fiscal year, April 1, I could then determine what I owe the government and the balance of the cash in the account would be mine (less a base of $100 I would always leave in the account to cover expenses).

Having just completed my third year, I have to say this has worked out great. On April 1, tax money gets transferred over to checking to help square up with the government. I take 1/3 of the balance and transfer it to my kid’s college fund. I like the idea of my books going to help pay for her education.

The next 1/3 goes to charity. I support Love A Cat charity in Hawaii. They help feral cats on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. I really like working with them because the people who run it are incredibly nice, the do great work and they are a really small charity. My book money truly helps them out.

I’ve written in the past about the support of my books in the State of Hawaii and I wanted to give back to the State because they were reading my books back at a time when seemingly no one else was. One of their Board Members had contacted me about my books and we hit it off and I’ve been supporting them with money from my book sales ever since.

The final 1/3 of my money, after taxes, goes to me. I’m big into not just spending it freely, though. I feel like writing is hard work and I want something to show for my effort. I decided to take a portion of my cash I get on April 1, and buy something cool. I do buy some iStuff, a few meals out to celebrate, a bottle or two of bourbon, that type of thing, but I wanted a portion of my cash to go to something special. Something that I could always have. Something that would be treasured even after I’m gone. It had to be something heirloom worthy.

I found it.

GOLD!

That’s right, whenever I write, I’m earning gold. Yep, I take some of my cash and purchase some gold which I keep in a simple jar. I only get to see it this time of the year since I end up putting it in the safety deposit box, but man, it’s cool.

Gold

My gold haul so far after three years of writing

Am I rich?

Nope.

This is just a small portion of my money, and I actually lost money the first year I was writing so this is only two years worth of “book money.” Still, I have 18 grams of gold. A troy ounce is 31.1034768 grams of gold so I’ve got a little more than a 1/2 an ounce of gold.

Why a jar?

I like the way those jars look and even sound on shows like Gold Rush. Gold has a unique clink when it moves around in a glass jar. Man, I love holding that gold in that jar.

I’ve got a long way to go to fill it up, but it’s going to be fun to get it out of the safety deposit box every year and add to my stash.

Shouldn’t it be that way?

Writing… it’s supposed to be fun, right?

Well, when you are filling a jar up with AU with every word you write, it’s pretty darn cool!

_______________________

Write Steve Write! is a weekly blog by author Steve Akley. Typically it is posted on (most) Sundays and features insight about his writing… though there is an occasional movie review or random thought post. It should be noted it’s posted as a live feed… no editing, no planning beforehand, it’s typed out on Sunday morning and the “publish” button is immediately hit. Apologies for any errors but you get this just as Steve thinks it!

Coming Sunday: I don’t know what I’ll be talking about on here next week, but something will come up I am sure.

In the meantime, follow check in on Steve in a variety of ways:

Steve’s Catalog on Amazon: http://goo.gl/kJpKcP

The OPUS Blog: steveakley.tumblr.com

Evan Haskill’s Blog: I am a contributor here: thebourbonguyandrye.com

Sign Up for Steve’s Newsletters: Email Registration

Twitter: @steveakley

Instagram: @steveakley

What’s App: Steve Akley

Untappd: steveakley

Home Phone: I’m not giving you that!

Advertisements

MY OTHER LOVE

You know, you can never quite be sure where life is going to take you. A while back, I made the bold move to write about something that I deeply love: that “something” is bourbon. For those of you who are regular readers here, you have read about my success in self-publishing on Amazon, Bourbon Mixology, and my most recent project, Bourbon Zeppelin.

I’m going to venture a guess that many of you find yourselves here reading these words in the hopes that I will share a new “must-have” offering or point you to a wonderful new way to enjoy this magical elixir.

Not today.

Because I think today it’s important for you to understand that I made a difficult choice some time ago. There are, in fact, two things I truly love, but presuming one would gain more traction than the other, I chose bourbon over my other love.

Had it been a different morning, had I been in a gentler mindset, had I the courage to take the “road less travelled,” I may have put bourbon to the side and chosen differently. Alas, I did not, but I am here today to tell you about that secret love of mine.

I am a noodler.

At first blush, you might be thinking to yourself, “Hey, who doesn’t like a big plate of spaghetti,” or maybe you prefer something a little more exotic, say udon or lo mein. And while I have always been a huge fan of carbs, I’m not talking about pasta.

Noodling is not about something as trivial and mundane as loving a certain sort of food.

Noodling is a lifestyle, a passion, a love.

For those of you not familiar, noodling is basically fishing with your hands. A noodler feels around snake-infested water with his hands and feet searching for a large hole. Then, the noodler goes underwater to ram his fist into the discovered hole. The result is usually the sensation of teeth latching onto the noodler’s hand. You see, the hole is the catfish’s home and it chomps on the intruder to get it to go away. But we noodlers don’t shy away from this attempt to scare us off. The latching on by the catfish is the signal to the noodler to start with the extraction. The noodler then has the task of dragging his catch—still latched onto his arm—out of the water and either onto shore, or into a boat. This must be done quickly, and certainly quickly enough so that the submersed noodler does not run out of breath. If the noodler can retrieve his arm from the grip of the catfish’s many teeth, then he’s having fish for dinner.

I might have chosen to write about the fifty greatest noodling adventures I’ve been on. (I have hundreds to choose from.) I might have even thought to tell about the minor amputation I suffered over a thirty-two pound Massachusetts bottom dweller. Had I gone the noodle route, I could have written volumes of recipes and shared tips for long-term storage of catfish who weigh in over twenty pounds. My largest “pull”—that’s what we call it—was a sixty-four pounder out of the Tennessee River. I’ve got two deep scars to solidify the memory, and the smell of that beast roasting over the July campfire will not soon be forgotten.

April 1

Here I am, pulling a good one!

There is a lot of information out there on noodling. Some good, some bad. I long considered becoming a force of advocacy for the ancient skill.

But instead, I went with my other love. Bourbon.

I’m not sure if it was the better choice. But I had to pick one: there simply isn’t time in one’s short lifespan to do justice to both.

Please know that every time I raise my snifter to sample a new variation on this beverage, I silently toast the catfish—both those I caught and those that didn’t try to scare me away by latching on. It is not lost on me that those who remained quiet kept themselves safe in their silence.

Not ever once did one scream out, and certainly there was never an occasion when I heard anything that sounded even remotely like: “APRIL FOOLS!”

This is not Steve Akley writing this post. This is his friend and fellow writer Jenna Brownson. Steve came up with this idea to guest blog—or maybe guest blog bomb—today. I was happy to play along.

You can find me blogging at www.jennabrownson.com, tweeting under @jennabrownson, and facebooking at jenna.brownson.author.

You get good ol’ Steve back with his next post. Ask him to share the photo of his chomped right pinky finger.

Happy April 1st.

See where Steve took over Jenna’s blog for April Fool’s Day by clicking here!

_______________________

Write Steve Write! is a weekly blog by author Steve Akley. Typically it is posted on (most) Sundays and features insight about his writing… though there is an occasional movie review or random thought post. It should be noted it’s posted as a live feed… no editing, no planning beforehand, it’s typed out on Sunday morning and the “publish” button is immediately hit. Apologies for any errors but you get this just as Steve thinks it!

Coming Sunday: My fiscal year ends April 1st. What am I spending my book money on this year?

In the meantime, follow check in on Steve in a variety of ways:

Steve’s Catalog on Amazon: http://goo.gl/kJpKcP

The OPUS Blog: steveakley.tumblr.com

Evan Haskill’s Blog: I am a contributor here: thebourbonguyandrye.com

Sign Up for Steve’s Newsletters: Email Registration

Twitter: @steveakley

Instagram: @steveakley

What’s App: Steve Akley

Untappd: steveakley

Home Phone: I’m not giving you that!

MY VISIT TO OZARK DISTILLERY

Ozark Distillery Building

Ozark Distillery in Osage Beach, Missouri, about 3 hours from my home in St. Louis

Last week I wrote the fact I was preparing to start work at Ozark Distillery. Well, that happened last Sunday and Monday and I can’t begin to tell you how cool this opportunity was.

Owners Dave & Tiffhany Hoffman simply could not have been nicer. Dave, who handles production, had the perfect scenario aligned for a guy who is interested in bourbon. He had two barrels perfectly aged and ready to go. He had a previously cooked mash perfectly fermented and ready to distill. This meant I could see the entire process. Dave and I milled the corn, barley and grains. We cooked a mash. We distilled a fermented mash. We emptied two barrels. We filled bottles, corked them, sealed and labeled them.

Did I mention we drank some bourbon?

It was, without a doubt, one of the most interesting, fun and exciting activities I have ever done.

So what happens now?

Well, while I had a lot of fun, I was also working. During the down times, I was interviewing Dave in preparation for writing a book about Ozark Distillery. The plan is to make this book available on Amazon and in their gift shop. I’ve already started some preliminary work on the book. I’ve interviewed a bourbon historian and started reading a book on the history of bourbon recommended by the bourbon historian. Dave wants a little history mixed in with his story so this should be very helpful.

I have to tell you, if every book was as fun to write as this one has been, I’d have a 1,000 books in my catalog!

At Ozark Distillery

Here’s me, as happy as can be, checking out some bourbon aging in the barrel house.

_______________________

Write Steve Write! is a weekly blog by author Steve Akley. Typically it is posted on (most) Sundays and features insight about his writing… though there is an occasional movie review or random thought post. It should be noted it’s posted as a live feed… no editing, no planning beforehand, it’s typed out on Sunday morning and the “publish” button is immediately hit. Apologies for any errors but you get this just as Steve thinks it!

Coming Next Week: Nothing planned, we’ll see what comes up next week!

In the meantime, follow check in on Steve in a variety of ways:

Steve’s Catalog on Amazon: http://goo.gl/kJpKcP

The OPUS Blog: steveakley.tumblr.com

Evan Haskill’s Blog: I am a contributor here: thebourbonguyandrye.com

Sign Up for Steve’s Newsletters: Email Registration

Twitter: @steveakley

Instagram: @steveakley

What’s App: Steve Akley

Untappd: steveakley

Home Phone: I’m not giving you that!

WORD FOR 2016: COLLABORATION

This year is shaping up very different than my first three years in writing. Looking back, with the benefits of hindsight, year one was kind of a mess. I spent as much time trying to figure out how to publish and market as I did writing. Being all by myself, I made plenty of mistakes. The word for that year was clearly: LEARNING.

Year two could be best defined by a lack of improvement in finding customers. I felt like I know had the mechanics down. The mistakes in marketing inefficiently were behind me but, still, I wasn’t finding an audience. I continued to work hard to produce quality offerings in my work. I would call the word for year two: GRINDING.

Year three… well that’s when it all came together. Some of the marketing efforts I now was doing were working. Social media became incredibly important for me and I really started selling books, most notably with by best selling book Bourbon Mixology. The word for year three: STRIDE.

Year four looks like another step in a positive direction for me with some truly awesome things in the works, most of which involve my friends I’ve met through social media. That’s why the word for this year is clearly COLLABORATION. It seems almost everything I am working on right now involves a collaboration.

Some of simple bouncing ideas off of someone just to make sure you are on the right track. I’ve found that can be so difficult to do in evaluating yourself. My go-to person for advice is my buddy, and fellow blogger Jenna Brownson. What’s great about Jenna is she’s incredibly smart, very opinionated, very willing to share her opinions but she also listens. If you explain why you are doing something she will factor that into her help. Jenna is simply perfection when it comes to having a friend who can help you behind the scenes… even though I am sure I can drive her crazy much of the time.

Another collaborator is my buddy from Instagram Evan Haskill. Evan started a blog called thebourbonguyandrye.com. It was initially set-up as a way for Evan to just write about bourbon. Then, he started to expand the scope of what he was doing by having some of his friends from Instagram starting to contribute. I joined his crew and have written a few articles for him. I even had another friend of mine from Instagram get involved. She had was talking about my affinity for bourbon and mentioned she had never tried it but was interested in finally jumping in and seeing what all of the craze was about. She was literally a bourbon virgin. That concept immediately got me to thinking… what if we gave her a list of bourbon cocktails, had her mix them up and try them while blogging about the whole thing for Evan’s site. I hooked her up with my buddy Mark Hansen who is my graphic designer. Check out this awesome logo he designed for her (yes, she’s a redhead):

BOURBON_VIRGIN.jpg

The Bourbon Virgin made her debut on on Evan’s site earlier this week and I think it’s awesome. It adds a whole new element to the mix for the site. Now we have bourbon cocktails being shared as well as a fresh take on them from someone who hasn’t tried them before.

What was the response to her debut? Well, we already had another site trying to lure her away to blog for them. Luckily, the Bourbon Virgin is staying put and can only be found on thebourbonguyandrye.com.

Just last week I posted about my collaboration with 10 other authors on my upcoming Brain Tsunami book. I’ve also looped in artists and a photographer into SAP News, the newsletter designed to update my readers on what’s happening with my writing. I’ve also spoken a little bit about Bourbon Zeppelin another collaborative project I’m working on. I am not really sharing the full details on that one just yet, but I can tell you that I have 13 friends working with me on that one.

Yep, for 2016, the word is definitely COLLABORATION.

A DANDY LITTLE PROJECT

I’ve got a dandy little project I am working on… or perhaps better stated collaborating on.

I’ve shared the idea here that I wanted to write a book about my brother-in-law who had a terrible accident last August. He had a wreck on his bike and was left with no memory of what happened.

Fascinated by a now fully healthy brother-in-law with no recollection of the most traumatic incident of his life, I volunteered to fill the gaps with some stories I would publish in a book. I started to sketch out some ideas but felt like the missing component would be a different voice, a different feel for each of these misadventures.

I decided to reach out to some of the authors I have met via social media to see if they would be interested in working with me on this book I’m calling Brain Tsunami. The idea is we each start with the same beginning and ending, but write a story with no interaction or involvement from the others.

I’ve been overwhelmed with the positive responses I’ve gotten from my online friends. I mean this has been so great, I think we need to drop the “online” moniker and everything that goes with that and just say these people are my friends.

The finished project will feature myself and nine other authors writing stories about what might have happened to my brother-in-law that fateful night.

This one’s just getting started, and we’ve got plenty of work ahead but I can’t wait to bring you BRAIN TSUNAMI (the all caps and bolding really increases the impact of that, right?)

_______________________

Write Steve Write! is a weekly blog by author Steve Akley. Typically it is posted on (most) Sundays and features insight about his writing… though there is an occasional movie review or random thought post. It should be noted it’s posted as a live feed… no editing, no planning beforehand, it’s typed out on Sunday morning and the “publish” button is immediately hit. Apologies for any errors but you get this just as Steve thinks it!

Coming Next Week: I have no idea what I’m writing about next week, but it will be something.

In the meantime, follow check in on Steve in a variety of ways:

Steve’s Catalog on Amazon: http://goo.gl/kJpKcP

The OPUS Blog: steveakley.tumblr.com

Evan Haskill’s Blog: I am a contributor here: thebourbonguyandrye.com

Sign Up for Steve’s Newsletters: Email Registration

Twitter: @steveakley

Instagram: @steveakley

What’s App: Steve Akley

Untappd: steveakley

Home Phone: I’m not giving you that!

 

 

 

AM I AT THE DOORSTEP?

When I see the tears of an Olympic athlete in the medal ceremony, I get it.

I don’t think the broadcasters do.

First of all, I love the Olympics. This is an Olympic year and best of all it’s a Summer Olympics year! (I love those even more than the Winter Olympics.) I can’t say I’m a fan of how the TV coverage goes with the Olympics, though. They turn the event into a drama where each person’s grandmother having just died as they were boarding the plane to head out to the Olympic hosting city.

I just like the competition.

The idea that if you can beat your competitors at this event you are the best in the world, at that moment in time, in your chosen activity. It’s powerful to think about it in that way, but it’s true… somewhat true… at least as truthful as we could ever get (Trust me, I know there are other factors here which doesn’t make the statement “best in the world 100% absolute truth” but while you may be able to talk in theory how you could make the Olympics better, in reality this is as good as it gets right now to benchmark competition and that’s what I’m talking about today.)

The idea of being the best in the world, standing on a pedestal with your country’s national anthem playing… you representing your entire nation… “We are the best in the world at the 200m,” that’s powerful stuff.

That’s certainly a component number one to those tears you see. The media gets that.

Yes, grandma’s death as our athlete boarded the plane is the second component (or whatever tragedy has bestowed them). The media devours this aspect. As the music starts playing, the tears flowing, Jim Nance reminding us, “Her grandmother died just as Delta Flight 322 pulled back from the gate. Her final words were, ‘Win the gold Lonnie.'”

I think the biggest reason for the tears is what they don’t talk about. It’s a lifetime of preparation. It’s getting up at 3:30 every morning to start training at 4:00 a.m. It’s skipping holiday treats to stay on the program. It’s prioritizing training over normal socialization for a young person. Not being able to go out with friends and have fun… a sole purpose and focus on being the best in the world at something. That moment has arrived as the anthem is cued.

The dream is here.

The dream is now.

In my own way, I believe I am taking a large step towards realizing my dreams this coming week. On Friday, February 12, my reformatted newsletter comes out. It’s been a large focus of what I’ve been doing over the last four months.

Over these past four months I’ve been working hard behind the scenes to forge a path of “Where do I go from here?” I’ve got a fairly large catalog of work. I’ve got a decent-sized fanbase. I even have a hit on my hands with my book Bourbon Mixology which continues to sell well.

My plan to better engage my readers and social media followers starts with this edition of SAP News, my newsletter. I’m introducing what I’m calling a “magazine style” format… not in look, but content. Each issue will have original content: interviews, product tastings/demos, showcasing the talents of fellow artists, contests, free book giveaways. My old content was simply to provide an update with what was going on with my writing.

I feel like this shift in approach is going to be real big for me. It’s going to generate excitement and enthusiasm for the publication of SAP News, and in-turn, my writing.

Of course, you never know. The 200 meter race for instance, starts out with 50+ racers at the start of the Olympics. Through qualifying rounds they narrow the field to eight before the start of the final heat.

Don’t all eight, or 50+ for that matter, think it’s going to be them?

Don’t all of them presume this Olympic is going to be their moment?

Their culmination of a lifetime in training.

Their time as the best in the world?

Their final tribute to their dead NoNa?

No matter what happens on Friday, I’m good. I’ve got a whole business plan lined out for 2016 that I will adhere to whether Friday’s SAP News draws unprecedented interest in my work or it’s met with a collective yawn.

If it does generate a buzz, who knows, I might even shed a tear.

I miss you NoNa!

_______________________

Next week I’ll reveal the people who have an influence on my interview style.

In the meantime, follow check in on Steve in a variety of ways:

Steve’s Catalog on Amazon: http://goo.gl/kJpKcP

The OPUS Blog: steveakley.tumblr.com

Sign Up for Steve’s Newsletters: Email Registration

Twitter: @steveakley

Instagram: @steveakley

What’s App: Steve Akley

Home Phone: I’m not giving you that!

THE QUESTIONS OF O.P.U.S.

I’ve got a good one for you here today…

First off, I have to say I’m having a helluva good time with my O.P.U.S. blog. Thus far, I’ve managed to stay in contact with everyone featured. I really am getting new friends via this social experiment.

Yes, you do always have to redefine “friend” when you are talking about the relationships developed online. This is challenging for some people, but, I’ve always segmented friendships in my mind. Your true “friends” are people in your everyday lives with whom you interact with because you enjoy them as a person and their company.

Another already existing segment of friendships, at least for me, is work friends. Over time, you develop relationships at work… people you just like to be around. Some of the relationships may carry over into your life outside of work where they become “real friends,” but most stay in the 8:00 – 5:00 realm of when you are working.

The newest friend-type is online frienships. These friendships don’t carry the baggage you may encounter with face-to-face relationships. It’s almost like the joy you hear grandparents discussing. They get the best times with their grandchildren, then when they are fussy, or they just want to do something without children, the kids go back to the parents. Same thing with online. Enter into that world when it suits you, exit when you’ve had enough.

I think one of the key drivers in establishing relationships with the people featured in my new blog is the questions. They are meant to be fun without being offensive and never intended to make fun of the person. I always say it’s like the two of us are having dinner and just talking.

Wait a second, you may be thinking dinner conversation never involves me answering “who the worst celebrity is in the history of celebrity” or asking me to rank my favorite cookies from a list.

Well, clearly you’ve never had dinner with me. For me, that’s exactly what dinner conversation is like. The premise for O.P.U.S. is a genuine one. I am truly fascinated with regular people… especially those who say they aren’t interesting. Clearly, those people are so fascinating they don’t want to share it, right?

I’m a believer that the way you get to the interesting stuff is to simply get people talking. If you say, “what are your hobbies” or “what do you like to do outside of work,” these questions are so commonplace you almost get canned answers from people. In our minds, it’s kind of like we have a rolodex of commonly asked questions and we draw upon that anytime these questions come up.

If you throw people a curve… something they haven’t asked before, then you might just find something out about the person way more interesting than the fact they enjoy reading, knitting and singing show tunes in their spare time.

Everyone seems to be enjoying the interviews at this point…me, the person being interviewed and those who are accessing them from Twitter and Instagram. I think I’m even up to 9 people now following me on Tumblr. These are people who likely found the interviews on their own and like them. While it’s a small number, I do like the fact there are people without a connection to me finding the interviews and liking them enough to follow me so they are sure to see all of them.

I do have some go-to questions I like to ask everyone… what they do for a living, where they are from, who would play them in a movie about their life. I think it’s great to have some consistency, plus it might be fun to look back and see how everybody answered the questions that carry over from interview-to-interview.

The real signature O.P.U.S. questions, though, are the crazy ones. I do have to say, it took a bit for me to hit my stride. Not because I didn’t think of the types of questions I really like, I was terrified of peoples responses to being asked them. It’s really tough, when you have no track record, to ask people funny questions. They just might think you are an internet-nut and move on. I feel like now, with a nice group of regular people answering these questions, and me retaining those relationships, my non “internet-nut” status is confirmed so I can ask away.

I’d like to present you now with my favorite 10 questions so far (presented in random order). For the answers, you need to proceed to steveakley.tumblr.com. Note that not all of these are posted just yet. I’ve got 11 posted so far an another 10, or so, waiting to be posted on my way to 100 when the project ends.

#1 – Tall Samm Lim – Tall Samm started it all for me. I had no idea how she was going to react with a request for an interview, especially because I couldn’t reference her to anything else, it was just an idea. Looking back, this one was pretty vanilla, but my favorite question for Samm was:

What’s your favorite nightmare dating story? – What a great way to just get a person talking about a story you know is going to be funny.

 

#2 Ray Taylor – Ray Taylor is a person I play the game Dice with Buddies with. He was just a random computer generated opponent that I’ve managed to continue to play against for quite a while. My favorite question for Ray was this one, which was the start of a reoccurring theme:

If you had your choice of being banned for life from one of these, which would you choose (remember, your selection means you never get to have this item or person again): A. Pizza  B. Sunglasses  C. Kate Upton – I love this question for a few reasons. First, it makes no sense. I mean how are you getting banned from these things anyway? Secondly, it was the introduction of Kate Upton into the questions. I think Kate Upton is, well she’s all right, let’s just say that. People don’t like her, though. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why. We can’t like someone who is attractive? We are jealous? I don’t know. What fascinates me about Kate is the fact one society is fascinated, yet negative about you, it then people often become anti-you just because that’s what everyone else does so I like asking about Kate to get a feel for how the person really is. My personal stand, I don’t care what society tells me I should think about Kate Upton, I just like her myself, so, for me, I guess I’d be banned from wearing sunglasses the rest of my life if this question was posed to me.

 

#3 Jenna Brownson – For Jenna, her question was more of a situation. Jenna is smart so I wanted to give her something really unique. Not even ask her a question, but pose her a situation and see how she reacted. If it isn’t a traditional Q&A would she quickly follow-up with a “where’s the question?” Check it out:

Waiter: “And for a side?”

Jenna: “Well, what are my choices?”

Waiter: “Homemade chips, curly fries, regular fries, seasoned fries, green beans or a side salad.” 

Jenna’s response was pure gold! She definitely came out on top of this battle of the wits.

 

#4 Mike Swain – The notable question from Mike’s interview was:

If you see someone fall down…nothing heinous like a serious injury, but there may be some significant bruising or ankle twisting, is your first inclination to be concerned with their well being or to laugh? – The ironic twist here being Mike is an x-ray technician. What are the chances I ask a person who helps injured people for a living a question like that?

 

#5 Stephanie Adlington – I feel kind of bad for Stephanie. She caught me on this crazy day and the questions I asked her were way out there. My favorite is:

Worst scenario for you:

  1. You walk into a restaurant called the “Condiment Cafe” and you realize they are out of all condiments except for ketchup… and the real killer is they don’t even have Heinz. They have Brooks…and that’s not even ketchup by the way…it’s catsup.
  2. You are dating a guy and he tells you he has made dinner and you look in the trash can and his “homemade” soup is Campbell’s red-and-white label chicken noodle (he did add parmesan and a bit of cracked black pepper to punch it up slightly).
  3. You get a job at the zoo and on day one they are all like, “Until Lester gets back the use of his left arm from that forearm strike you are going to have to take care of the King Cobra.”

This started a whole new line of questioning where I use the “worst scenario”. Look for this in several of the interviews.

 

#6 Lauren Elizabeth – Lauren is a photographer from Australia. My favorite question of her is a great one:

What does the stereotypical American look like? – I know that’s a loaded question and it was one Lauren really struggled with. She asked friends and family to have some input and she was worried the responses were way to harsh. When you ask for a “stereotype” you get kind of this worst case scenario where no one actually believes it, but it always just hangs out there. It is fun to hear what Aussies think of Americans…at least us at our worst via stereotypes.

 

#7 – Sarah Mitchell-Jackson – Sarah is the nicest person in the world. Despite her title, she’s still cool. You don’t normally see nice and cool staying together. Sarah’s got that going on so when I asked her this, I had no idea what she’d say:

If you joined the circus, what would your job be? – Sarah, as you can imagine, put together a well thought out answer!

 

#8 – Tina Williams – Tina Williams’ upcoming interview was unique in that it was a “friend of a friend.” Tina is the blogging buddy of Jenna Brownson, but we also follow each other on Twitter so I reached out to here. I like this question from that interview:

If the Antiques Roadshow came to town, what would you bring in for them to take a look at? – It’s just a cool question because it helps you find out a little about the person, and what potential undiscovered gem they may have.

 

#9 – Six Feet of Dynamite – Dynamite is an awesome person. She’s a character too. If you read through her entire feed you see a person who is passionate, fun and a good family person. That’s perfection  in my book. My personal favorite:

Six feet of dynamite. That’s name has a significant amount of punch to it. Are you the real deal or are perhaps really something like 5’-10 ½” and realized that didn’t have the right ring when you said it? – I mean she’s either going to like this question and see the humor in it, or she’s going to think I’m a real tool. Luckily, she like it and Dynamite and I are good friends who continue to check-in on each other from time-to-time.

 

#10 – The Dawn Husted – My longest online friendship. A true bud.  I like this long drawn out gem:

You are an outdoor enthusiast. Say your backpack for an overnighter only had room for three of the following, which of the three do you take (no need to overthink it, so if you select the ribeye, for instance, there is some sort of way to prepare it on this trip, an essentials like water and other provisions are already packed…these are your luxury items): 1). A Bottle of Bourbon 2). Your Hairbrush  3). A Ribeye  4). A Eyeliner  5). A Package of Fruit Stripe Gum 6). An Oversized Bottle of a Limited Edition Beer 7). A Book from Your Favorite Author 8). A Journal to Write In/Pen 9). A Bottle of Wine 10). A Bottle of Rum – I loved Dawn’s answer too. She’s no diva. 100% cool cat that one is! (Yes, I know that last sentence isn’t really correct, but it sounds cool, right?)

With 80 more interviews still to go, there are plenty of unique questions still to be asked. I hope you check out O.P.U.S. if you haven’t already!

_______________________

Next week we’ll take a look at where I’m at in my writing career. It’s self-assessment time!

In the meantime, follow check in on Steve in a variety of ways:

Steve’s Catalog on Amazon: http://goo.gl/kJpKcP

The OPUS Blog: steveakley.tumblr.com

Sign Up for Steve’s Newsletters: Email Registration

Twitter: @steveakley

Instagram: @steveakley

What’s App: Steve Akley

Home Phone: I’m not giving you that!