Tag Archives: st. louis

HOW LONG IS YOUR WRITING “TO-DO” LIST?

On Friday, I sat down and started to write down what I needed to do to get caught up with my writing over the weekend. I stopped at line 15 knowing I already had more than I could accomplish.

When you are self-published author trying to build a personal brand, it’s easy to overwhelm yourself. After all, you are doing the jobs a team would be assisting you with had you gone the traditional route.

The good news is, things are starting to pay-off for me. Hard work is getting recognized. My latest project, The Bourbon Show, which is a podcast/collaboration with Evan Haskill and Seth Brown, is really doing well. People seem to really like it both in terms of feedback received and the all-important download stats.Also, the industry is taking note. We are lining up some incredible guests for future shows.

I honestly don’t know what the endgame is with my writing/online magazine publishing/podcasting career, but I do know it’s fun. Yes, I have a list of over 15 things I need to be doing right now… and I will get to them, but I have to say everything that is going remains something I like to do.

As long as it stays that way, and I continue to work hard, I’m convinced everything else will simply fall into place.

__________________

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: More random thoughts on my writing career.

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 SAP News (writing updates) Newsletter: Email Registration

Sign up for Bourbon Zeppelin (bourbon newsletter): Email Registration

Check out the latest issue of Bourbon Zeppelin: See it here!

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The Bourbon Show on iTunes: Download it here!

The Bourbon Show on Google Play: Download it here!

The Bourbon Show on Stitcher: Download it here!

Twitter: @steveakley

Instagram: @steveakley

What’s App: Steve Akley

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IT’S BECAUSE I WRITE 8/10

I have been doing a bit of a retrospective over my three years of writing by listing the top 10 things that have happened to me since I have started writing.

Topics Covered So Far:

#1 of 10 – My O.P.U.S. Blog

#2 of 10 – Bourbon Zeppelin

#3 of 10 – Meeting a Hero of Mine

#4 of 10 – My Love Affair with Hawaii

#5 of 10 – The Time My Books Were Featured on TV

#6 of 10 – The Story I Took 35 Years to Complete

#7 of 10 – Bourbon Mixology

———————————–

Telephone Call with a St. Louis Legend

Almost as long as I can remember, I’ve  been a fan of local businessman Joe Edwards. As a kid, he was the owner of Blueberry Hill, a local restaurant that was really well known in the area. Joe had opened it way back in 1972.

Joe Edwards_009_hi-res

Joe Edwards at Blueberry Hill, picking out items for the opening of his new Peacock Diner

Inside the restaurant was an eclectic gathering of pop culture items. Lunch boxes, Howdy Doody memorabilia, board games, movie and concert posters and much more filled every nook and cranny of the restaurant. I first became a fan of Joe’s when he made the local news when the creator of Archie comics came in to dine during a visit to St. Louis. As he was looking at Joe’s impressive collection of memorabilia, he noticed one piece of Archie memorabilia he didn’t have in his personal collection but had been searching for: an lunchbox from the early years of the comic.

The creator of the comics tried to buy the lunchbox, but Joe Edwards wouldn’t sell it. Instead, Joe offered a trade. If the Archie creator would put Joe in an Archie comic he would give him the lunchbox.

Deal!

That’s right, a few months later, Archie and the gang go out on a road trip and stopped by Blueberry Hill to meet “cartoon Joe Edwards.”

Man, I was hooked. If you could parlay a lunchbox into getting your mug in a comic book… now that’s business I can understand.

I went on a mission to go to Blueberry Hill, but, my Dad, who was a policeman, wouldn’t take me there. “It’s a bar and it’s in too bad of a neighborhood,” he’d tell me.

The next several years, I continued to catch Joe in the paper promoting Blueberry Hill. When he noticed people writing on the bathroom walls… he noted that the stuff they were writing was either funny or oddly insightful. Deep thoughts kind of stuff. So he encouraged it. You could ask for markers at the bar and write on the walls of the bathroom. Then Joe would take the best sayings and sell them on these “graffiti shirts.”

Dad, “Can will you take me to Blueberry Hill to get one of those graffiti shirts?”

I think you can guess his answer.

But…

Fast forward to when I turn 16.

Guess where the first place I went?

Yep, Blueberry Hill.

Burger, malt and one of those graffiti t-shirts!

Joe was even there.

I’ve continued to go to Blueberry Hill and Joe’s often there. I can’t say I’ve ever said anything more than “Hi” but I’ve continued to follow what he’s done for the area, “The U-City Loop” where Blueberry Hill is domiciled.

What used to be vacant buildings, or drug paraphernalia and voodoo shops is now a vibrant area of restaurants and respectable businesses. Much of this is due to Joe’s efforts. He started buying up property and investing in the area. Soon he owned a hotel, more restaurants, a bowling alley and two music venues in the area. He also headed up the St. Louis Walk of Fame which honors individuals who have lived in St. Louis and contributed to society in some way with a star on the sidewalks of the Loop.

The Loop Trolley

His latest project is an impressive one. He’s bringing trolley cars back to St. Louis. He’s navigated the local regulators for approval and even the Federal government for funding to create a line that will take you from Forest Park, which is a large urban park in St. Louis city where you can enjoy the outdoors and museums to the Loop where you can enjoy amenities like restaurants and shopping. It’s such a great idea it’s unbelievable. On a personal basis, I can’t wait for this to get completed. My Dad’s father, my grandfather, was a trolley car driver in St. Louis. It will just be special for me to ride one of these trolley cars my father used to tell me so much about.

All of this gets me to the story. I just wanted to set the stage to tell you how important Joe Edwards is to St. Louis, and specifically the area known as The Loop, as well as how much I’ve followed his career… from a distance. After my father passed away, and I started writing, the first real book I was working on was the book about my father, Life with Akester.

Part of the book was going to occur at Blueberry Hill. I was going to a couple of concerts at the restaurant (they have an unbelievable concert venue called the Duck Room underneath Blueberry Hill that the “retro-fitted” after it opened by digging out underneath the restaurant). I thought I had better check with Blueberry Hil to make sure this was going to be okay since I would be writing about them and taking some photos for the book.

I sent an email and the woman who responded said I really needed to call her.

I thought this wasn’t good. Was she going to tell me I couldn’t write the book? Why did she need to speak to me?

So, I dialed the number she gave me. We spoke briefly. She said they were fine with the concept of the book. They even had some photos I could use. I started asking a little bit about the history of the restaurant when she said, Joe would be better off answering these questions.

“Joe Edwards?,” I asked.

“Yes, Joe,” she responded.

“Do I set up a time?” I inquired.

“No, he’s here right now, hold on.”

In the background, I hear her say, “Joe, this is Steve from the email. He’s asking about the history of Blueberry Hill.”

Next thing you know… I’m talking to Joe Edwards.

The call was great. Do you know how when you look up to someone, you just want them to be human. When I was a kid I used to idolize baseball players. I’d play street ball and you would stand at the plate with the mannerisms of the ballplayers you liked. All of my friends did it. We used to wait for the opposing team’s players by the hotel right by the stadium for autographs. It was amazing. So many of them would yell at us. Here I am, a 10 year old kid who just wants an autograph of the guy I’m acting like at the plate, and here he is screaming at me. “Don’t you kids have anything better to do.” It’s me, my fellow 10 year old neighbor and his 3 year old brother. Not an overwhelming amount of people mind you.

Anyway, you just want these people to be… people. Well, that phone call with Joe couldn’t have gone any better. He answered every question. Took an interest in my project asking me about it. Just a great guy.

I continue to look up to Joe Edwards for everything he’s done for the area. Most of all, I respect those 30 minutes he spent talking to me about my Dad and my book.

This all happened for one reason…

It’s because I write!

_______________________

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: We’ll be continuing on with my “It’s Because I Write” series 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 SAP News (writing updates) Newsletter: Email Registration

Sign up for Bourbon Zeppelin (bourbon newsletter): Email Registration

Check out the latest issue of Bourbon Zeppelin: See it here!

Twitter: @steveakley

Instagram: @steveakley

What’s App: Steve Akley

Untappd: steveakley

IT’S BECAUSE I WRITE 6/10

Topics Covered So Far:

#1 of 10 – My O.P.U.S. Blog

#2 of 10 – Bourbon Zeppelin

#3 of 10 – Meeting a Hero of Mine

#4 of 10 – My Love Affair with Hawaii

#5 of 10 – The Time My Books Were Featured on TV

———————————–

Today, I’m going to tell you about a story that took me 35 years to complete…

The first writing assignment I ever got was a one page assignment to write a short fiction story in third grade. My idea was to write this story about two boys, Frank and Dirk, who had heard about this mysterious island called Bear Island. They decided to go off on their own on an adventure to the island.

Doing so meant a  challenging traverse in a kayak on an island they had heard was quite dangerous. Eventually the boys would stumble across the bear that had been the thing of legend in their town.

So I started writing about Frank and Dirk and their friendship. That led to their plan to go to Bear Island. Then I wrote about the the crossing the ocean to get to Bear Island in a kayak. The boys were quickly in over their head when the seas picked up. They paddled harder-and-harder, but the sea was getting angier. Finally, one wave, the size of which the boys had never seen before, lifted them in their kayak and slammed it down onto land. Both boys rendered uncouncious from the impact. Dirk woke up first and shook his friend awake with the line, “Frank, I think we are on Bear Island.”

Then…

That was it. I was out of space. My page was full. I blew the assignment. I never even got to the adventure. They never even encountered the bear.

F.

I went to my Mom and asked her what to do. She read my one-page story in my kid handwritten script (no computers back then) and she told me it was really good.

Wait, she didn’t even get it. This wasn’t complete.

I protested telling her there was no adventure. And the bear. What about the bear?

She told me I didn’t need any of that. The adventure was getting there. The plan, the execution, the angry sea. That was my adventure. That was the story. You leave it where they crash land on Bear Island and let the reader imagine the adventure. You set it up with your stories about mystery and intrigue and then you put your characters in the spot. You have left the reader to decide in their minds what happened to those boys.

Hmmmm.

I mean I think she made all of that up, but it didn’t sound bad.

Taking my Mom’s advice, I brought my story to class with me. We actually had to read them to the class and I have to say I was in good form that day. I really accentuated the tossing and turing in that kayak and I really hit the mark with the line, “Frank, I think we are on Bear Island.”

Applause. My teacher, Mrs. Varusa, loved it too.

A.

Wow, that really fueled my desire to become a writer. It wouldn’t be anything I ever acted on though until 2012/2013 after my Dad passed away.

That story never left me all of those years. I would often think about Frank and Dirk and their adventure. That line too, “Frank, I think we are on Bear Island” just stuck in my head. Like a real movie line where you apply it to everday life (people who are into movie lines will get that reference). For me, “Frank, I think we are on Bear Island” would pop into my head for more than 30 years everytime I was on some new adventure. For example, like when I was walking in the door on the first day of my new job back in 1998 at the company I still work for, I remember that line popping into my head, “Frank, I think we are on Bear Island.”

Yep, just like Mom said. We don’t know what’s going to happen, but an adventure is coming!

About a year into writing and publishing, I got the idea of publishing short stories. The first one I wrote was the Legend of Bear Island.

Haida Bear

The new, updated Legend of Bear Island has the complete history of the island. It has our boys, Frank and Dirk, go on an adventure and now, finally, we get to see exactly what happened to them after regaining conciousness on the beach.

It’s still one of the favorite things I have ever written. The story is inriguing, funny, adventure-filled and immediately brings me back to the third grade version of myself, crafting that story on lined paper with a pencil, sharing it with my Mom and then reading it to the class.

Finishing this gem, only happened to me because I write!

If you would like to check out the Legned of Bear Island, it is available for your Kindle device 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: We’ll be continuing on with my “It’s Because I Write” series 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 SAP News (writing updates) Newsletter: Email Registration

Sign up for Bourbon Zeppelin (bourbon newsletter): Email Registration

Check out the latest issue of Bourbon Zeppelin: See it here!

Twitter: @steveakley

Instagram: @steveakley

What’s App: Steve Akley

Untappd: steveakley

HUUUUUUUGE BOURBON ZEPPELIN DAY

Recently in this blog we’ve been tracking the 10 greatest things that happened to me since I started writing, we’re taking a one week break to cover some breaking news..

On Friday, July 1, at 6:00 a.m. central time, I launched the second edition of Bourbon Zeppelin.  For anyone not familiar, BZ is my “magazine of newsletters” that is written for bourbon fans by bourbon fans with the following photo announcing it on social media and the tagline, “The second edition of Bourbon Zeppelin is bananas:”

BZ Bananas

Luckily, I had taken the day off of work to extend the holiday weekend. In following a “bananas theme” my world pretty much went ape ______!

Immediately, people started reaching out saying how great the issue was. My buddy Evan Haskill made a comment about Instagram being all about Bourbon Zeppelin at one point. It sure seemed that way. I literally couldn’t keep up with all of the posts that were going on about it.

I had people from various bourbon distilleries/bourbon-related products say they would send items for future consideration. The coolest one was Glencairn Glass (the preferred bourbon tasting glasses). They are actually carrying my Bourbon Zeppelin glass on their site now. Check it out:

Bourbon Zeppelin Glencairn GlassYou can see it on Glencairn’s site by clicking here.

One of the coolest things was a short note from my buddy Jenna Brownson. She’s not a bourbon drinker, but she said she enjoyed the issue, in particular my “special report” on the bourbon secondary market. It was just cool to hear someone from outside of the bourbon crew to like what we are doing.

Speaking of Jenna. She loves numbers. Well, when it comes to BZ, I love them as well. My Associate Editor for BZ is a funny, yet serious when it comes to business, gent named Hasse Berg. Together, we live and die by these numbers.

Here’s some cool stats. Our Facebook likes doubled after BZ was published (It was a small base, but cool nonetheless). Our first issue had been published on June 1. It took from June 1 – June 29 to get the number of readers we had in second issue in just two days. Our database of email addresses has doubled in size from June 1 – July 1 all based on people signing up on their own to received BZ emailed directly to them. We had over 100 people on the day issue 2 was released go back and read issue 1.

How about all of that?

Perhaps best of all, we’re being taken seriously in the distilled spirits world. Some of the largest bourbon distillers in the U.S. have us on their P.R. lists. Our reviews are already appearing on the web. Check out this example from Cadee Distillery:

Cadee

I knew we had a fantastic thing going with Bourbon Zeppelin. I had no idea the rest of the world would find out about it so quickly.

PLEASE CHECK OUT BOURBON ZEPPELIN IF YOU HAVEN’T DONE SO ALREADY. YOU CAN READ THE LATEST ISSUE 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: We’ll be continuing on with my “It’s Because I Write” series 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 SAP News (writing updates) Newsletter: Email Registration

Sign up for Bourbon Zeppelin (bourbon newsletter): Email Registration

Check out the latest issue of Bourbon Zeppelin: See it here!

Twitter: @steveakley

Instagram: @steveakley

What’s App: Steve Akley

Untappd: steveakley

IT’S BECAUSE I WRITE 3/10

This is the third edition of my “It’s Because I Write” series featuring me talking about some of the greatest things that have happened to me since I’ve started writing. So far, I’ve talked about meeting great people via my O.P.U.S. blog and living out a lifelong dream of publishing my own magazine with Bourbon Zeppelin (even if my “magazine” is an online newsletter).

Today I’m going to tell you all about the time I got to meet one of my heroes… thanks to my writing.

I will tell you right away, I am still a “heroes” guy. I know celebrities are people just like us, but, even in adulthood, I’m still the type to get starstruck by someone who has accomplished something of interest to me in the pubic eye. That’s what makes this little tale to much fun. I got to meet someone I’ve always looked up to based largely because I had become a writer.

It all started with a business trip to London for a trade show. This was the winter of 2013, shortly after my father passed away. I was in a small pub enjoying a few beers with a colleague. With our American accents, the waitress asked us where we were from. When we told her St. Louis she had never heard of it. As we were having this discussion, Johnny B. Goode came on the radio. Since we were having the discussion where we were from, and St. Louis meant nothing to her, I thought I would at least make the point it wasn’t in the middle of nowhere by pointing out Chuck Berry was from St. Louis, too, so I said, “Hear this song… the guy playing it is also from St. Louis.”

To my surprise, she responded in her way cool English accent, “You are from where CHUCK BERRY lives? Oh my god!”

What?

A woman who hasn’t heard of St. Louis knows Chuck Berry?

When I asked her about this, she went on-and-on about how everyone knows Chuck Berry and how influential he is.

I thought I would really get her going by saying, “Get this, Chuck is not only still around, he plays once a month at a club called Blueberry Hill. It’s just a small intimate place where you can see him play for about 30 U.S. dollars.”

I thought that would really get a fan going and fill her with envy of how cool my colleague and I were as well as how great of a place St. Louis must be.

Instead, she got me with this line. “That is so great. How many times have you gone and seen Chuck play there?”

Ummmmmmmmmmm……

None.

That’s right, despite being a big fan, I never had gone to see Chuck play. It’s just one of those things where you always plan to do it… but you never actually have the time.

These comments where like a defibrillator zapping my heart. With the sudden death of my father only 2 months before, things had changed in my life. I no longer was going to have eternal “to dos” that never get “to done.” (That makes no sense but sounds kinda snappy, doesn’t it?)

When I spoke to my wife later that night, I told her to buy some tickets to the next Chuck Berry show at Blueberry Hill.

The next night, when I spoke to her, she confirmed she got the tickets for Chuck Berry, but then she said, “You know that one guy you like, Dick Dale, he’s playing there a few weeks later.”

Whooooooaaaaa!

Dick Dale? The King of the Surf Guitar. The guy who was friends with Jimi Hendrix. A guy I would pattern my own writing career off of (stay independent, retain the rights to everything you create, don’t let others make decisions about your work for you). The guy who can play the guitar like no other. The man who created the sound of one of my all-time favorite movies in Pulp Fiction with his song Miserlou.

Yes, that Dick Dale.

So the wife and I agreed to also get tickets to see Dick Dale as well.

At this same time, I had already started to write a book about my father. Ultimately, it would become the book, Life with Akester (my Dad’s nickname) that included a biography and some of the favorite stories I had collected about him (I always wrote these crazy stories about the stuff he would do… and then share them with friends and family, including him. This was the best of those).

Since I was going to be writing the book, I thought I would write Dick Dale to make sure it was okay to write about the experience of the concert in this book about my father. His wife Lana responded and put me in touch with their lawyer. I was pleasantly surprised to have their representative quickly sign off on my idea.

I continued to email back-and-forth with Lana as the show grew near. We would share personal stories about our lives… me talking about my father and her talking about things from the life of her and Dick (I’m not going to share personal correspondence, but it was really cool).

The night of the show was incredible. We got there early and ended up in the front row (there is no assigned seating at Blueberry Hill).

In his late 70s, a multi-time cancer survivor, the guy can still rock. The band has no setlist either. Dick Dale just starts playing and his band follows him with whatever he’s doing.

Dick Dale.JPG

One of the many great shots I got of Dick Dale playing that night

The show ended with Dick playing Miserlou.

I’m not kidding when I had goosebumps watching that guy play that song. It goes fast… and then faster… and then explosively fast. I’ve seen a lot of shows in my life, I don’t think any moment from all of those shows tops watching DD shred that song.

After the show I got to meet Dick and Lana. He’s a cool dude and she’s a sweetheart.

DD Guitar.jpg

I got a bunch of items signed that night, including this mini Dick Dale guitar

My book came out a few months later. I shared the story of grief and how a couple of things, like the Dick Dale and Chuck Berry shows truly helped me at that time. I was so down. The enjoyment of those shows demonstrated you could still have guilt-free happiness even in the face of something as traumatic as losing your father.

I stayed in touch with Lana and Dick for the next year or so after that. We even exchanged Christmas cards later that year, but, over time, the communications became further-and-further apart. I wanted to maintain contact with them, but never wanted to force communication so finally it just kind of faded away.

My enthusiasm for Dick Dale and his work has faded a bit, though. The guy is still a hero of mine and I would love to see him play again one day.

All of this came about because I write!

_______________________

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: We’ll be continuing on with my “It’s Because I Write” series 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

IT’S ALL WORKING

There are times when I have an internal battle about this blog. My default posting is best summed up in three words:

I’m __________ busy!

No, that’s not an open spot for an expletive. It’s a blank for an adjective that could be interchanged based on how busy I am with “super” being the lowest setting. It’s kind of like movies have Medium, Large and Jumbo size sodas now.

“Wait, where’s the small?”

“Sir, that’s the medium.”

“The medium is not the medium?”

I don’t want to do some sort of Abbott and Costello routine… you get the idea.

So, when I sit down for my weekly Sunday blog, my first thought is, “I’m going to write about how busy I am…I’m super busy. I’m mega busy. I’m ultra busy. I’m Tyrannosaurus Rex busy.”

“Time out. Tyrannosaurus Rex doesn’t fit your three word busy format Steve.”

Why do I have to have such a smart readership to this blog?

Okay, so I’m not ever Tyrannosaurus Rex busy, but I am always busy and I typically have to fight off the notion to just write about that. Who cares? I mean this is what I signed up for. Everything I’m doing is because I assigned it to myself.

Okay, so I’m chipmunk busy right now, but we’re not talking about that.

What we’re talking about is how great things are going right in my writing career right now.

It’s more than just the books I am working on too. Those are going great. It’s more than the Bourbon Zeppelin newsletter I’ve been talking about as well. That’s going great, too.

“What else is going great?” you ask.

Things.

That’s right, things are just going great right now. In addition to the projects I’ve been talking about my O.P.U.S. interviews are really getting a lot of attention. People really like what I’m doing. I’m 47 interviews into this social experiment and for some reason it’s just taking off.

I woke up to a direct message today, for instance, on Instagram from a person telling me how special those interviews are and to keep on doing it. Little things like that really make the effort so worthwhile.

Recently, my buddy Hasse Berg, a blogger from Denmark I am friends with from Instagram interviewed me for his website. I really took the time to answer his questions and the response from that interview has been fantastic. Hasse reports a 70% uptick in traffic on his site since it’s been posted. That’s amazing. Check out my Hasse Berg interview on his blog by clicking here.

Besides all of this great stuff going on the friendships I continue to make are awesome. It’s truly been a pleasure getting to know so many new people from Twitter and Instagram.

With all of this great stuff going on, I would say things are going pretty well. It may even be safe to say things are even Tyrannosaurus Rex well right now.

_______________________

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

 

 

 

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!

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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.

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