Pig & Whiskey 2014

The last time my wife, Maureen, and I attended Pig & Whiskey in Ferndale was two years ago, so we were a bit overdue for a return. This festival is the highlight of July in Michigan, as far as I’m concerned, and namely because it involves two of my favorite things: whiskey and pork products.

The temp was a fairly comfortable 80 degrees, a nice breeze blowing, and the sun was shining. Certainly a perfect day to partake in some barbecue and booze.

Unfortunately, the ticket prices and our budgeting didn’t line up exactly, but we still got to sample some damn fine stuff. Among the highlights were Woodward Avenue Brewery‘s candied bacon, Vinsetta Garage‘s Macon Bacon slider with a cup of bannoffee pudding (a small meal that I happily recalled from 2012), Ole Smokey Moonshine, and The Smoke Ring BBQ food truck served up a truly marvelous pork belly sandwich – absolute dynamite!

I’d never had moonshine before, but they had multiple flavors on display, in addition to the straight-up ‘shine. The menu listed blackberry, which caught my eye immediately, but they were out, so the wife and I split a strawberry and, later, apple pie moonshine. Unfortunately, Maureen liked them so much that I didn’t get much more than a taste of either. Still, the sample was more than enough to sway me and we’ll be on the lookout for this during our next shopping trip. Dangerous stuff, that moonshine, but so damn delectable!

I was really surprised by the Black Velvet Reserve. This was my first time trying the brand at all, and I found the drink to be incredibly smooth and mellow, with a solid bit of oak, but not overpowering or unpleasant. Jack Daniels, Southern Comfort, and Woodward Reserve were on hand, as was Red Stag, and a few others, but I wanted to focus on some new brands I hadn’t had the pleasure of tasting previously. I did have a SoCo cocktail that was made with a jalapeno syrup that was tasty, but didn’t quite have the heat I was looking for.

The festival had expanded to take over a couple additional blocks then the last time we’d attended. I’d expected more distilleries to be on display given the expanded territory allotted to the festival, but maybe the bigger turnouts were on Friday and Saturday and we just missed them. There was also a large array of music acts scheduled, and I can’t recall what the line-up, if any, was like during our previous attendance. We weren’t too focused on the musicians, though I managed to catch a few snippets of The DeCamp Sisters, and it sounded like they’ve got some nice vocals. I may need to check out their music a bit more later on.

One great thing about the additional space for all the revelry was  that it provided lots of extra room to maneuver, and lots of tables and seating made for easy access comfort, something we struggled with a few years ago. If I had one complaint it would be directed toward the almost incessant badgery of Uber salesfolk; we managed to get stopped three times by three different salesman trying to sell us on the app with reward incentives, but that’s not what we were there for. Even though we promised to find an alternate route through the lot, just to avoid the Uber tent, we somehow always managed to find ourselves passing by it anyway and eventually just kept on walking while they tried to flag us down. I hate to be rude, and I know sales is a tough business, but after a certain point there’s little other recourse. To top it off, we had even less need for Uber than usual thanks to the accompaniment of our sister-in-law, fellow pork enthusiast, and designated driver (thanks again Jenn!!!).

Regardless, it was a lot of fun and I’m already looking forward to next year’s festival. In my opinion, this is, hands down, one of the best events to occur in Michigan (maybe because I’m not much of a car guy and the annual international auto show does little for me? Either way, it seems really hard to go wrong with Pig & Whiskey, far as I’m concerned).

Here’s some pics I took on my iPhone, so excuse the quality and click to embiggen:

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Word of advice upon entry, not that it was needed…

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Aftermath.

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Adding the finishing touch to the paella.

Adding the finishing touch to the paella.

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The Macon Bacon Slider from Vinsetta Garage. So good! Also had a small serving of banoffee pudding – very tasty.
http://vinsettagarage.com/

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Candied Bacon, courtesy of the Woodward Avenue Brewery.
http://www.thewabferndale.com

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The DeCamp Sisters playing on the Jack Daniel’s Main Stage.

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The DeCamp Sisters playing on the Jack Daniel’s Main Stage.

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Ole Smoky moonshine was the surprise hit of the Pig & Whiskey festival for Maureen & I. Dangerously delicious stuff. I recommend drinking it straight from the jar whenever possible.

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Beer Barrel Bourbon – nice and smooth. Didn’t get to sample the Zeppelin Bend, but it comes highly recommended by the wait staff. Supposed to have a very chocolatey taste, so we’ll be on the lookout for this one.

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Last Chance: Convergence Sale

convergence-800-cover-reveal-and-promotionalSo, lots of you may know Convergence has been on sale this week for only 99 cents. But, lots more may not know that at all! And since the sale has proved to be pretty healthy, I’m extending it an extra day to cover the full breadth of the DetCon1 weekend.

Even though DetCon1 is happening nearby, I, unfortunately, will not be able to attend. I’ve already committed myself to some family fun with our town’s Founder’s Festival and the annual Pig & Whiskey.

I’m hoping to attend next year’s DetCon1, though! In the meantime, please enjoy Convergence at the nicely (I think) risk-free price of 99 cents throughout the rest of this weekend (and bonus-points for supporting a local, metro-Detroit author, too!).

| Kindle | Nook | Kobo |

 

The vitals:

An Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist

A Kobo Next Sci-Fi & Fantasy Reads Selection, May 2014

Jonah Everitt is a killer, an addict, and a memory thief.

After being hired to kill a ranking officer of the Pacific Rim Coalition and download his memories, Everitt finds himself caught in the crosshairs of a terror cell, a rogue military squadron, and a Chinese gangster named Alice Xie. Xie is a profiteer of street drugs, primarily DRMR, a powerful narcotic made from the memories of the dead. With his daughter, Mesa, missing in post-war Los Angeles, Everitt is forced into an uneasy alliance with Alice to find her.

Mesa’s abduction is wrapped up in the secrets of a brutal murder during the war’s early days, a murder that Alice Xie wants revenged. In order to find her, Jonah will have to sift through the memories of dead men that could destroy what little he has left.

In a city where peace is tenuous and loyalties are ever shifting, the past and the present are about to converge.

Publisher’s Weekly* called CONVERGENCE a “smart splice of espionage and science fiction. … frighteningly realistic. Well-drawn characters, excellent pacing, and constant surprises make this a great cautionary tale about technology and its abuses.”

“kept me on the edge of my seat the WHOLE friggen time! The writing is tight. The world building is incredible, and the story itself is pretty compelling! A+”
-Melissa “Book Lady” Caldwell, Must Read Faster

“Not only is it original and fresh it makes you think about topics ranging from addiction to loss of personal freedoms and civil liberties. The book is very well written…”
-Amazon Reviewer

“This is a book with well-rounded and evolving characters. It draws you in right from the start and keeps your heart rate up the whole way.”
-Amazon Reviewer

A Top 100 Cyberpunk Bestseller on Amazon

A Top 100 Cyberpunk and Technothrillers Bestseller on Amazon UK

A Top 100 Science Fiction and High Tech Bestseller on Kobo

What Kindle Unlimited Means For Authors

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Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Now that Amazon has uncorked their Kindle Unlimited service I, like many indie authors, was curious. What does this mean for us withered scribes, scribbling away in our garrets and bobbing on the waves of Amazon’s massive literary marketplace? Will I get paid if I join Kindle Unlimited? How do I add my book to the mix? Will I become fabulously rich?

Full disclosure: I’ve been mucking about with indie publishing for a year now with the Mytro Project and, with enough digging, you will find one or more of my books on Amazon.

With that said, let’s address our scrivenarial concerns.

Will I get paid if I join Kindle Unlimited? I have asked Amazon for more specifics on how royalties work in Kindle Unlimited but what appears to be happening is that they are treating Kindle Unlimited books as part of their Kindle Direct Publishing Select Program. KDP Select…

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The FCC Has Received More Than 1,000,000 Comments On Net Neutrality

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Michael Patrick Hicks:

The big question, of course, is whether or not the voice and will of the people will triumph over corporate capital.

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has received more than 1 million comments from the public regarding its proposed net neutrality rules. According to the FCC’s Gigi Sohn, 1,030,000 comments had been submitted by noon today on the East Coast.

Around 21 hours before her note on the new figure, Sohn indicated that the FCC had received more than 900,000 comments. So it appears that there is a late surge in input.

Earlier this week, under crushing traffic, the FCC pushed its deadline back for the first round of public comment to Friday, to allow everyone a chance to submit their views. Companies like Comcast and Netflix have weighed in during the extended period, as well as, it appears, a huge number of private individuals.

The issue of net neutrality, and especially the FCC’s current notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), has caught on in the public domain in impressive fashion. It will be interesting to see…

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80 (Short) Facts About Being an Indie Author (Part 1)

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Michael Patrick Hicks:

Hard truths, but truths nonetheless. If you’re not reading Therin’s books and blog yet, you should be – go check them out!

Originally posted on Knite Writes:

Regarding Sales…

1.) Your first book will sell 5 copies in its first month. If you’re very lucky.

2.) Your first book will sell 50 copies in its first year, if you’re even luckier.

3.) Your second book will cause your first book to sell slightly better. If it’s a sequel.

4.) If your second book isn’t a sequel, both your first and second book will sell…probably nothing.

5.) You might start seeing an uptick in your overall sales numbers…once you hit book 5 or 6.

6.) More likely, you won’t see any sales increase until you get somewhere around book 10. If you ever see a sales increase at all.

7.) You will see sales when you run ads with certain popular ad sites (like Kindle Books & Tips and Ereader News Today).

8.) Unless all of those sites are Bookbub, the sales tail won’t last but a few…

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Leaping Into The Unknown

Originally posted on Ania Ahlborn | The Blog:

When writers who are just starting out ask me when it gets easier, my answer is never. It never gets easier. I don’t want to scare them, so I rarely say more than that, but the truth is that, if anything, it gets harder. The writing life isn’t just filled with predictable uncertainties but with the awareness that we are always starting over again. That everything we ever write will be flawed. We may have written one book, or many, but all we know — if we know anything at all — is how to write the book we’re writing. All novels are failures. Perfection itself would be a failure. All we can hope is that we will fail better. That we won’t succumb to fear of the unknown. That we will not fall prey to the easy enchantments of repeating what may have worked in the past. I try…

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Therin Knite’s OTHELLA Blog Tour

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You may have noticed that today we’re doing something a little bit different in this corner of my site. In May, I participated in a blog hop for speculative fiction authors. Today, I’m giving a bit back in the spirit of that previous blog tour for the indie community and am hosting a segment of a blog tour for fellow author Therin Knite, who will soon be releasing OTHELLA.

Some of you may already be familiar with Therin from ECHOES. I had the opportunity to read OTHELLA in advance of this tour, and I really think you’re going to enjoy this book. It’s a terrific story and Therin knows how to keep the pages turning. I had a blast with it (you can read my review over here), and it’s going to be too long of a wait for book two of the Arcadian Heights series.

Below, you’ll find information on OTHELLA, Therin Knite, and an excerpt of her latest. There is also a purchase link (protip: you’ll want to buy this one, and soon!) and a link to a giveaway of the paperback. The giveaway contest is running until July 25, so try your hand, but don’t delay.


About OTHELLA

Welcome to Arcadian Heights,
where the world’s brightest minds go in…and don’t come out.
___

Georgette

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Georgette McClain can’t resist a juicy tip. So when a rumored crazy ex-CEO gifts her evidence of a vast conspiracy involving the world’s premier scientific community, Arcadian Heights, she sets her sights on the story of a lifetime. And all she has to do to grab it by the reins is sneak into the most secure facility in the world—and expose it for the slaughter house it is.

Marco

Tech company CEO Marco Salt has it all. Fame. Fortune. Family. But not long after Marco’s beloved genius daughter is invited to join Arcadian Heights, a rogue agent reveals to him the horrifying truth about the revered scientific community. Forced to flee for his life, Marco finds himself on the run with a deadly secret in his grasp and a single goal in mind: destroy Arcadian Heights.

Quentin

Quentin Belmont has been the Arcadian Heights spokesman for the better part of two decades, and his singular motivation is to keep the community safe at all costs. So when an internal incursion leaks vital information to an outside party, Quentin preps a “cleanup” without a second thought. But what at first appears to be a simple task turns out to be anything but, and Quentin comes face to face with the unthinkable—a threat that could annihilate the community.

Othella


About Therin Knite

Therin Knite: n. speculative fiction writer, college student, and master of snark.

Or at least that’s what I’d like to believe.

If you’re reading this, then I’m assuming you’re wondering who the hell Therin Knite is, and the answer is nobody. Yet. I like to think I’m an up-and-coming author or sorts, but you know how those things tend to work out. In case you’re still interested, however, let’s put me through my paces.

I’m a Senior in college, majoring in Finance and English (which makes me about 22). I write every length of literary work known to man, from flash fiction to epic-length novels, but my genres are a bit more limited. My short stories and flash pieces tend to be any genre I’m in the mood for that day, while anything longer is pretty much limited to some variant of sci-fi or fantasy. Mostly sci-fi, though.


Where to Find Therin Knite


OTHELLA Excerpt

[From Chapter 1]

6

Quentin

( 5 Years Ago )

I call it the “last supper.” I’m morbid that way. But it’s an accurate enough description.

After greeting the recruits as a group, I lead them to the temporary dormitories where they’ll be spending less than a night, nervous and excited for the orientation program that doesn’t exist. They have most of the day to unpack belongings that will be trashed by the end of the week, get acquainted with fake orientation class schedules, and get a taste of the spa and gym area I had cleaned and prepped two days ago for their arrival.

Droids have no use for facial scrubs and elliptical machines. And God knows I haven’t exercised since my MBA stint at Harvard. So dark it stays for most of the year like most things droids and I don’t need. It’s a hassle to get all that crap up and running again for less than twenty-four hours. I’d do away with the pretense if Howard would let me, but he lectured me again this morning about how the recruits deserve a few moments of rest and relaxation before the transfer.

So I head yet another table of bright young things with glorious visions of the future. Howard was right—this recruitment round has brought in major talents. Sachiko Nakamura, who started inventing clean energy tech when she was twelve. Vincent Star, who revolutionized gene therapy before he finished his undergrad years. Clarissa Salt, who built her first computer in elementary school. Brilliant kids.

It’s a pity they have to die.

I open dinner with a warm welcome and begin carving a freshly cooked turkey, handing slices out one plate at a time.

Star, scratching his stubbly chin, passes a plate to Nakamura and asks, “Mr. Q, when will we get to meet some of the other scientists? I noticed there hasn’t been anyone around since we entered the community.”

I smile and nod. “Yes. It’s just a ritual. When we have your official welcoming ceremony tomorrow, everyone will greet you together as a group before you’re split into your respective departments for orientation.”

“Ah, I see.” He grabs a biscuit from a nearby basket. “I look forward to it. One of my old mentors is here. Green, you know?”

“Of course. Dr. Green is currently heading up one of our major genetics projects. I’m sure you’ll be working with him again soon, Dr. Star.”

The children dig into their meals and chat amongst themselves. One of them throws a question my way every now and then, and I answer with the same dull lies I repeat every dinner. Yes, there is a pool. Yes, we purchase all the latest films for your enjoyment. No, skydiving is not an available leisure activity at the Heights. Try bowling instead.

I’m munching on a slice of pie when I hear the patrolmen coming. Their boots pad against the hallway tiles, and their shadows slink through the gap underneath the dining room doors, lining up in attack formation. I remember the first transfer. A bloody, awful battle. I made the mistake of trying to convince the recruits it was the best choice. I earned a broken collarbone for my efforts.

I wipe my mouth off with a napkin and rise from my seat. “I’ll be back momentarily, everyone. I have an important business call to make.”

Most of them ignore me and continue their discussions about mass bat die outs and gene splicing—God, science is a bore—but one of them stares at me curiously when I make for the door opposite the assault force entrance. Clarissa Salt. Frowning. Her eyes are narrow, rife with suspicion. As I slip through the door to safety, she glances at the same shadows I perceived moments ago.

Observant, that one. But too late.

The instant my escape door clicks shut, the patrolmen burst into the room. Children scream. Glasses shatter on the floor. Chairs overturn. Some try to run but are swiftly captured and sedated by the patrolmen. A few of them attempt to fight, using whatever they can find. I listen to silverware bounce off bulletproof chest armor and plates fragment as they’re swatted to the side by robot men who feel no pain or fear. But then, the kids don’t know that. To them, the community guards are flesh in powered suits.

I begin to march off through the darkened kitchen area, but something thumps against my escape door. I pause and wait. Another thump. Then the knob spins around and Clarissa Salt bolts into the kitchen, slamming the door shut in the helmet-covered face of an oncoming patrolman. Before I can react, she’s got me by the throat, dinner knife flush with my carotid artery.

The patrolman kicks the barrier out of its way, hinges splitting on impact, and the thick metal door crashes into the cooling stove in the corner. Beyond the now door-less threshold, the other patrolmen are carrying the unconscious recruits two at a time into the main hallway. The dining room is a wreck. Typical.

“What the fuck is going on?” Clarissa Salt’s rapid breaths are hot against my ear.

I blink at the patrolman in Morse code. Wait. The machine registers the order and pauses mid-step. I wet my bottom lip and say, “Only what’s necessary, Dr. Salt. I promise you that.”

The serrated edges of the knife nip at my neck. “Don’t give me that non-answer bullshit. What are you doing to the recruits? Where is everyone else? Dead? Are you killing them?”

Yes. “No. I’m changing them. In a way most of them won’t accept, unfortunately, if I give them the option to decline. And I can’t have them all decline, Dr. Salt. We’re on a tight schedule here.”“If you don’t stop speaking in riddles, I will slit your throat.”

I raise my hands in a non-threatening manner, fingers extended and spread. “Don’t be rash. I’m doing what needs to be done.”

“For what?”

“For the world.”

Her hair tickles my cheek as she leans over my shoulder. “Explain.” The knife bites deeper.

“You know why the Heights was created.”

“To speed up scientific advancement and improve the prospects for the future.”

“Yes, except, you see, there is no future. Not for the current human civilization anyway. It’s all going to fall down. Guaranteed. We started this project too late to stop a total collapse. So instead of planning for a better future for our society, we had to plan for a better future society. We had to plan to rebuild. And in order to create a human society not doomed to repeat the same cycle of rise and fall, rise and fall, we need to achieve an optimal level of advancement across eighty-six critical disciplines before we go about rebuilding. And we need to be ready at the moment of the fall, too, or the community will inevitably collapse before we can implement anything. So, you see—”

“You’re rambling. Make it quick. I want the whole story.” She puts her thumb on the knife blade and increases the pressure every three seconds.

“For fuck’s sake! You’re slow, okay? You’re too damn slow. We tried this the real way at first, providing the safety and the funding and the leisure activities and everything else we advertise to ‘boost your productivity.’ But it wasn’t enough. Human beings are too slow. You cannot create at the rate necessary to reach the tech level required at the fall.”

“So?”

“So we came up with an alternative solution. One that cuts out your inefficiencies. One that increases your productivity to the appropriate level.”

“What solu—?“

A second patrolman leaps out of the shadows behind us, grabs both of Salt’s arms, and rips her away from me. She shrieks, kicking and clawing at the iron grip, but the first patrolman is already on her. It roughly yanks her hair to expose her neck and injects the sedative. She struggles for almost a minute more, the energy draining from her limbs as the seconds tick by. The patrolman who jumped us lifts her weakened body into its arms and strides in the direction of the ruined dining room.

Before it crosses the threshold, Salt mumbles, “What are you going to do to me?”

I dab at the blood pooling on my collar. “Remove the inefficient parts. The parts that cause all the problems, all the time. That have always caused our problems. The parts that have built empires and ground them into dust. The parts that make us act when we shouldn’t yet idle when we should. You know, Dr. Salt: the human parts.”


For the duration of Therin’s blog tour, the OTHELLA eBook is on sale for only $0.99, so be sure to buy a copy quickly and before July 18! A paperback addition is also available – you can either buy it through the Amazon link below, or enter the giveaway linked to below.

Buy on Amazon

Or Enter the Rafflecopter Paperback Copy Giveaway

(contest runs from June 25 to July 25)

Dead in the Water

Carol Davis, who got her start in publishing with two Quantum Leap (freaking loved that show!) tie-in novels and has been playing around in Hugh Howey’s Silo Saga, released her latest novel Dead in the Water earlier this week.

[Side note: She's also a pretty damn fine editor in her own right, and recently did some work on my forthcoming short story, Consumption. Many kudos to her for braving that!]

For a limited time, Dead in the Water is on sale for only $2.99! Check it out at Amazon.

I bought it earlier today and have it locked into my reading queue. I’m a bit of a sucker for journalistic heroes and supernatural shenanigans, so putting them together is a sure-fire way to pique my interest. The blurb has a bit of a John Connolly ring to it, and one Amazon reviewer calls it “spine-tingling, creepy…. Her writing is sharp, and in this case, not for the feint [sic] of heart. She isn’t afraid to scare her readers, putting her protagonists in terrifying situations, only to play out their fears for the readers to see.”

Dead in the Water looks to be the first in a great new supernatural mystery series. Here’s the official description:

Nick Moore and Terry Banner investigate sleaze and mayhem for “The Investigators”… a website that’s been at the top of the Internet heap for several years. But reader interest has been sliding, and they’re desperate for a new scoop, something lurid and attention-grabbing. Something that will grab their readers by the throat and refuse to let them go.

Thompson Lake, a tiny town in New York’s Adirondack Mountains, seems to fill the bill. Seventeen people have died there under mysterious circumstances — a situation no one wants to talk about.

For good reason.

Welcome to Thompson Lake, Moore & Banner. It’s a great place to visit… but you might not get out alive.

 

via Dead in the Water.