Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween: Numbskull

No, I am not calling anyone a name ... 

Last weekend I gathered with 19 of my "sorority" sisters for our annual "tea." However, I would defy anyone to even find a tea bag at our gatherings.  Instead, corks fly like witches on brooms and bubbles dance in our wine glasses. For that true effect of Halloween gore, every good party needs a little red wine, and we usually keep a few bottles around. One of the sister's very generous husband Rand, a wine writer and former wine entrepreneur, sent Lynn to the gathering with a bottle of NumbSkull BDX - 2012 from Mark Ryan Winery in Walla Walla. 

Numbskull is a new label created by Mark Ryan showcasing some of the best of Walla Walla with the first two wines highlighting a GSM (Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre), and a Right Bank Bordeaux-inspired BDX. We were fortunate enough to sit a spell and sip the BDX, a blend of 69% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon,  and 3% Petit Verdot.

The wine actually surprised me - - I am not sure what I was expecting, considering the skull heads on the label, but the red blend itself was just stunning - - elegant.  Dark cherry, cocoa, a hint of vanilla, and a bit of toast. Rather like biting into a chocolate covered cherry. It was a rather big round wine, yet smooth, and definitely one you could lay down for a few more years. It was a treat, and certainly no trick (groan).

Happy Halloween from my "sisters" and me. If you are out and about, please drive safe. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Book

If you have ever written a book, then you will understand. This is one of the reasons why I took time off from the blog so I could put my energy into "The Book." 

It consumes you. Even when you have reached a "writer's block," it still consumes you, as you sit and stare onto the computer screen, and keep telling yourself you are working. You pass up invitations to socialize with friends, because you know all of a sudden you will feel energized to crank out a few paragraphs only to find that you got nothing done, while everyone was eating and drinking well - - as you sit at the computer and stare into the screen. 

Then all of a sudden you wake at 5:30 am and put in a productive day while finally tearing yourself away from the keyboard at 10:00 pm. You take a half-hour break and sit back down and continue to pound the keys until it's 1:00 am. Now you think you are going to do the same the very next day because you feel so energized like the bunny, only to find when you wake up a few hours later, your shoulders, wrists, and ass - - hurts. 

You start sweating all the deadlines: marketing plan deadline, author bio deadline, black and white photo deadline, color photo deadline, photo caption deadline, and finally manuscript deadline. And wouldn't you know, while trying to make the other deadlines, it kept you from taking care of the most important - - the manuscript deadline. Another day will pass and you act rather smitten with yourself thinking you got it, and the next day, sure enough, panic sets in. All of these feelings go up and down. Up and down. Up. Down. 

So you finally reach the day you send in the complete manuscript and you tell yourself you are going to  celebrate and crack open your best bottle, but instead - - you are too pooped and the thought of opening a bottle seems like too much work. Now comes the days when you think you are going to relax, but you don't. You fret about when are you going to see the grueling edited pages and when you finally see the edits,  you rather sigh with relief as they are not as bad as you thought.  

There are two stages of editing, a total of 15 days, before you finally sign off on that "Approved for Print." In other words, signing my life away.  Then more panic sets in as you think, "I should have written this. I forgot to write that. Oh dear, so-and-so is going to be pissed off at me ... " 

Here is what Winston Churchill said about writing a book, Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.

He was right and if I didn't know better I would have thought he was truly writing about me. 

And then the monster showed up via e-book form. It was the final edit before I send the "Approved for Print" form.  There it was in all of its glory with page numbers, International Standard Book Number (ISBN), index, photos, captions, and a color photo insert - - the centerfold, so to speak.  It was overwhelming and more than I could take. I sat my iPad down and didn't look at the book again until the next day. The truth? I didn't want anyone to read it - - ever. It was mine and I didn't want to share it.  

I finally made peace with the book. I "killed the monster." Did the last of the editing and signed the form. Away it went. The book is now out of my hands until November 18, the tentative day of the release. It will be soon be "flung out to the public." In the mean time, I have been deluged with emails from the publisher, from the pre-sales rep, sales rep, commissioning editor, the copy editor, and now the publicist ... What? A publicist? That's the most surprising and am trying to keep track of all of their requests. 

So here is the latest from the History Press:

Wines of Walla Walla Valley: A Deep-Rooted History will be released (If all goes according to schedule), mid-November with a retail price of $19.99.  It is part of the History Press's American Palate series. 

I have been assigned a sales rep who will market and sell to independently-owned retail (independent bookstores, wineries, museum gift shops, boutiques, etc.), national and corporately owned retail (Barnes & Noble, Costco, National Parks Service gift shops , etc.), and online outlets such as, 
as well as Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon.  In addition to traditional print outlets, books will also be available as an ebook for sale via Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), and Apple’s iBookstore (iPad). Of course you can order it direct from History Press

Pre-sales are available on most online book stores, and eventually I will also have the book available here. 

Will I ever write another book? With all of my groaning, you would think that I was working on Volume II of War and Peace. It's too early to tell if I will write another book, but I think I can do it - - I think I can kill the monster.  
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