Tag Archives: jazz

MINI PROJECTS ABOUND

I’ve had a busy week getting some mini projects checked off the list. This week alone, I have done all of the following:

Started a new blog where I interview interesting people I meet online. My first post involves an interview with Tall Samm Lim. She’s an interesting character and a positive force. Check it out here: Tall Samm Lim Interview.

I also completed my Coffeehouse Jazz series with a third and final booked aimed at building the ultimate holiday playlist of jazz instrumentals. Pick up this eBook for only 99 cents here: Coffeehouse Jazz 3.

Since publishing my book Small Brand America V: Special Bourbon Edition way back in the first quarter of 2015, I’ve planned to turn a couple of the chapters into mini eBooks with some further “behind the scenes” information. Well, I have two done already and will finish the third today which will complete all of the ones I have planned for now. Here’s where you can pick up the first two for 99 cents: Ozark Distillery & Syntax Spirits.

My other big news is the fact my book Bourbon Mixology is selling like crazy. It is apparently a hot Christmas gift this year. If you have a bourbon fan on your list, check it out: Bourbon Mixology.

If every week was as successful as this past week, soon I will be a force to be reckoned with!

 

 

 

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CYBER MONDAY? I GOTCHA COVERED!

Tomorrow rounds out the trifecta of shopping “holidays” we have right after Thanksgiving:

Black Friday – Shopping highlighted by mega deals from the large department stores and retailers.

Small Business Saturday – Shifting the focus to local, and mom and pop retailers, to ensure we support those who live in the community as well as sell to it.

Cyber Monday – Hot deals and free shipping for online retailers.

Well, until I gather some steam for Indie Author Sunday, we need to tack on to the existing shopping holidays already in place. After all, indie authors, as well as all forms of art, are the ultimate small businesses. Our work isn’t a reflection of us… it is us! Plus, not only do we create the content, we are solely responsible for marketing and selling it as well.

Well, I’ve got some great things happening for Cyber Monday. First of all, I’m having my own 12 Days of Christmas for my readers. I’m offering 12 pieces of my work for free!

That’s right, for Cyber Monday only, I have 12 eBooks for free on Amazon. These include mini books from my Small Brand America series, one of my Coffeehouse Jazz books and even Life with the Akester, the book about my father (some of the stories at the end of the book are hilarious… be sure to check out The Bowtie, a classic, as well as The Recorder, the story of my “best” Christmas ever).

To get any, or 12 of these books, just check out my catalog on Amazon any time on Monday and download them for free: http://goo.gl/GCf4Ts

I know many of you are going to be shopping Amazon on Monday. Please consider my books for some of your holiday gifts… even if it’s just to round out the shopping cart to get free shipping. Here’s a half-dozen books, worthy of your gift giving from my catalog:

Pa’u Hana – My first novel is a laugh out loud buddy movie.

Bourbon Mixology (Vol. 2) – This gem features 50 iconic bars sharing their signature bourbon cocktails.

Small Brand America V: Special Bourbon Edition – This book shares the stories of 20 craft distillers making some of the best bourbon in the country!

Small Brand America III: Special Hawai’i Edition – This one explores 25 small food/consumer product manufacturers based in Hawai’i. This one’s still my best selling book of all-time (Bourbon Mixology Vol. 2 is closing in on it quickly, though).

Bourbon Mixology (Vol. 1) – The first edition from my series features bourbon cocktail recipes from the craft distillers featured in Small Brand America V: Special Bourbon Edition.

Leo the Coffee Drinking Cat – A great gift for the 3 -5 year old set, the first of three Leo books, this one introduces the coffee drinking cat and his family.

Have a great Cyber Monday!

 

 

REVIEW – AMY (The Movie)

My wife, daughter and I went to go see the Amy Winehouse biopic Amy, directed by Asif Kapadia last night. The three of us can’t quit talking about it.

It’s a unique experience in that you go into the documentary knowing what is going to happen. Sadly, Amy Winehouse dies at the age of 27 on July 23, 2011. Still, as a fan of Amy’s music and career you go into the film hoping for answers to a single question: why?

Why would Amy Winehouse, a musician just starting her career, full of talent, beloved by so many with all of the money and opportunities in the world throw it away on drugs and alcohol?

Is it the “same old rock ‘n roll” story where you have to live that life? After all, so many have ended up the same way.

Was it a death wish? From an outsiders perspective seemingly, that might have been what was happening. While I’ve always been a fan of her music, I can’t say I followed Amy beyond what the causal fan would know. Unfortunately, near the end of her life she was in the new a lot and it was all negative. It looked like she was on a downward slide with no desire to change her ways until her fate was sealed as we witnessed on that summer day in 2011.

As you watch this film, you quickly realize it was a false hope to get an answer to “why did this happen” with Amy Winehouse. In reality, director Asif Kapadia couldn’t provide this for the audience. After all, this would have only been something Amy herself could have answered.

What I liked about Kapadia’s film is the fact that even though the burning question of “why?” isn’t answered, the question of “how?” is greatly cleared up. You see the influences in Amy’s life and you see how it may have led her down the path she went, even when you don’t fully understand why she would have done it.

What really made it so powerful was the fact she’s never painted as a “victim” in the film. These are choices she made. For those of us who haven’t made them it’s hard to comprehend given the tremendous upside of everything Amy had to live for, but you gain insight into where it went wrong.

All of this is very difficult to watch, mind you. Even though you know what’s going to happen, you want the end to be very different. You do gain insight into the woman herself and you find out it wasn’t the same old rock ‘n roll story. This wasn’t a person on a lifetime downward trajectory with a death wish. The butt of late night TV jokes.

Amy Winehouse was a real person with real problems many inside and outside the entertainment industry experience. She wasn’t always this zombie-like character you saw on newscasts during those last few years of her life. There were times when she was in recovery, coherent, vibrant and even an innocence about her.

Perhaps the greatest part of the whole film was the fact Kapadia gives you insight into the creation of Amy’s music. As a fan you always felt she wasn’t simply an artist writing songs, she was living it. Well, Kapadia takes you through the process as you go through her life and then splices of her singing about those experiences are interwoven throughout the film.

Overall, a fantastic film. Worthy of seeing whether or not you are a fan of Amy Winehouse’s music.

OTHER PROJECTS

As I’ve got a couple of people reviewing my novel (Pa’u Hana) and biography (Architect of Passion), I was in a bit of a holding pattern on those projects this week. With some down time, I went to work on a couple of other projects I had in various stages of completion.

First of all, I completed and published the second book in my Coffeehousehouse Jazz series. From the highest look, these books are simply lists of great jazz songs. The goal is to help build the ultimate jazz playlist. This little gem has something for everyone. For the biggest jazz fans, it’s a chance to compare and contrast the songs on my list versus yours. Perhaps I’ve uncovered something you never heard of before. For the minor fan, you might recognize the song but didn’t know the artist.For those who don’t like jazz, give these songs a chance, you may convert! The books in the Coffeehouse Jazz series are only 99 cents which is less than the price of downloading a single song so check them out today!

My second project I spent some time on this week was a sequel to my book Bourbon Mixology. This time I’m featuring bourbon cocktails from 101 iconic bars. I’m having great luck getting some of the coolest bars in the United States, and around the globe, sharing their signature bourbon cocktails with me. Can’t wait to get this one out there!

Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads out there!

PREPARING TO WRITE THE WORLD’S GREATEST NOVEL… OR NOVELLA?

Currently, I’m wrapped up in writing my latest Small Brand America book. This fifth edition from the series is focusing solely on craft bourbon distilleries. It’s really coming together nicely and I can’t wait for it to be printed. Also, because I can never work without challenging myself, I’ve also taken on  a companion piece. A cocktail book featuring all bourbon cocktails from the companies featured. I just came up with the idea this week, but I think it’s a pretty awesome one. I’m in the process of reaching out to all 20 companies featured in the book to see if they are interested in participating in this second book.

Look for both of these books in March or April depending on how quickly I can get them turned around.

Out in the horizon is really a pet project for me. A personal “bucket list” of writing. Creating my first novel… or perhaps novella. The actual distinction between the two is a little murky. I know that every fiction piece I’ve created thus far has either been a children’s book (pretty clearly defined) or a short story (also pretty easy to figure out based on the length of the pieces).

For sanity purposes I’m going to land on 15,000 – 30,000 words as a novella. Shorter than that is a short story. Longer is a novel.

Having never written anything beyond a short story, I don’t know where the buddy tale I’m working on is going to fall. I haven’t yet written a single word of it. I’ve been researching some of the information I need for the story (it has a backdrop of Kauai so I want actual restaurants/beaches/etc. to be in the book). I’ve even put together a detailed outline (number 11 pages currently) of the story. In my head I would say I’ve got the whole story down and I’m incredibly pleased with like 7/8 of it. That number might not seem bad, but I won’t settle for a story I’m 7/8 pleased with. I need to keep working through it in my mind until I am completely satisfied with my work or I won’t release it.

Once the bourbon books are done, my focus is going to turn to this book and I’m not planning on working on any writing other than a couple of books for my Coffeehouse Jazz series. Those are fun and shouldn’t be a distraction from what I’m trying to accomplish with my novel… or novella. I won’t actually have a clue which it ultimately is until I’m done writing, I guess.

I suppose that’s part of the fun here. Just start writing and see what happens. I’ve got the infrastructure of a story in my outline, but it will all come together when I start putting the words on the page.

I can’t wait!

MY JUGGLING ACT

No, I haven’t joined the circus. I’ve been busy writing. I am juggling three projects right now, though.

Here is an update on each:

My next Small Brand America Book – The next edition of this series focuses on bourbon. I figured I would go back to why I started writing… write about what interests me.

Bourbon certainly fits the bill.

I have seven companies already onboard to participate. My first two interviews are this week so I am rolling with this one. I am enthused about telling the stories of these small brands and the people behind them.

My Buddy Book – My first foray into fiction beyond short stories and children’s books focuses on two friends living on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai. This one is starting to take shape and I really like the idea of transitioning into writing a real book with the character development and storytelling it represents. Right now I’m in the process of taking the outline I developed for the story and expanding upon it. Each chapter is getting a full page outline where I am filling in the details. I believe I should begin writing the actual story some time later this month.

Coffeehouse Jazz 2 – I’ve done just a little bit of work on my follow-up to this first book in this series. I’ve identified a handful of songs which will be included in the second offering. Still, this represents only a small amount of the actual work I will need to do to complete this one. Even though I’m light on content, I have already completed the cover design and I have to say it’s a dandy. My best cover work to date (I design my own covers for my eBooks). I’ve included a preview of the cover here so you can check it out. Look for Coffeehouse Jazz 2, the eBook, to hit the virtual shelves sometime the first half of next year.

So it’s true. I am doing some real juggling right now, but so far I’ve managed to not drop the ball on anything yet!

A WRITING FLURRY OF ACTIVITY

I started this blog to allow individuals to keep up on what’s going on with my writing. Well, right now there is a lot to keep up with. Let me explain…

I have to books getting edited right now. My books Coffeehouse Jazz (a reference list to develop the ultimate playlist of instrumental jazz songs) and Bigfoot vs. Paul Bunyan (a short story). Both of those will be available later in October.

I also did something I had overlooked for quite a while. I published Leo the Coffee Drinking Cat Moves to Hawaii on Kindle. That particular offering hadn’t been available electronically so I’m pleased to have it out there now.

My next project is a third offering in my Leo series. I’ve got a great idea for my buddy Leo. In fact, I had outlined the entire story but have seemingly lost my notes. I guess I’m starting over. That’s kind of a bummer but I guess those things happen. My goal is to have Leo’s next adventure out in late November or early December.

My third Leo book should finish off my published books in 2014. I will be starting on my next Small Brand America book in the fourth quarter for release in the first or second quarter 2015. I’ve been toying with different types of companies to focus on with this latest edition. Ultimately, my decision came from the notion I’m going to focus my writing on simply what I like to write about. With that in mind, I’m pleased to announce, right here and right now, the sixth edition of Small Brand America is going to focus on bourbon! I can’t imagine anything more interesting to write about than small distilleries competing side-by-side on retailers shelves against the large megabrands in the whiskey category of the distilled spirits industry.

I’m planning on releasing my second jazz book in the first quarter of 2015 as well so this hectic pace isn’t slowing down for a while.

To be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way!