Today is going to be a great day. Half a day of school, then off to the dentist. Should be a quick visit, then enjoy the rest of the afternoon. After that, 12 more days of school until summer break. Ahhhhh ...
Gator and I played golf yesterday over on Fort Hood with a couple of young GIs, including one kid who graduated three years ago from West Point. He's a lieutenant now, and a really nice, squared away kid. He was wearing a Texas Rangers cap, Texas Rangers shirt, Texas Rangers shoes, and had a Texas Rangers golf bag and ball marker, for when he needed to mark his ball on the green. I wanted to ask him if he had on Texas Rangers underwear, but I had just met the guy.
I figured right away he was probably an officer, just from his demeanor and how squared away everything about him seemed to be. Pretty good golfer, too. The rest of us played from the gold (blue) tees, and he played from the tips, the championship tees. I have no idea what he shot, and I don't think he was keeping score, but he could definitely hit the ball.
I beat Gator by one shot.
Today is going to be a great day.
Ciao, y'all ...
Early morning, cool breeze rustling the trees, birds singing, , clear blue sky, coffee in hand.
Probably the best part of the day. Late at night's pretty good, too, but here in Texas, it can still be a little warm late at night during the summer. Early morning is probably best.
Well, the first big marketing campaign for the book is over, and it wasn't a rousing success like the publisher was hoping, but it wasn't a disaster, either. I don't have the final download numbers, but the book is out there, people are reading it, and excellent new reviews are being posted on amazon.
If you missed out on the free offer, the e-book is now listed for .99. That's right -- 99 cents to download on your Kindle. If you don't have a Kindle, there's a place to click and download the Kindle app for free, then download the book. You oughta get one! There's also a beautiful paperback.
And plans are underway for promotion no. 2, so stay tuned.
Meanwhile, it's a beautiful Saturday, with nothing much to do in the way of chores, besides laundry (clothes already in the washer), picking up a few groceries, and I think that's about it. The house is quiet. Big Katie is still away on business, and Little Katy is out of town on business, as well. My little baby girl (nearly six-feet tall and 21 years old now) took a road trip down to Houston for a big modeling event. This is the third of these to-dos since January, and the first time, I drove her down there, dropped her off at the hotel, came home, then went back two days later and picked her up.
A few weeks ago, she told me she had a meeting in Houston and she had reserved a hotel room on-line, and adios, I'll see you later, dad. She drove herself down there after work, spent the night, went to her meeting, came back the next day. I was impressed. A friend laughed when I called her Little Katy recently. Hey, she's been Little Katy since she was two years old. It's a dad thing.
So, I'm on my own for the weekend. Well, except for Bug, our neurotic miniature dachshund, who right now is plopped down in in the sunshine in the backyard. I can see her through the screen door. Hopefully, no butterflies attack, or stray leaves sweep in to disturb her peacefulness. Pretty much anything scares her.
Thirteen more days of school on the calendar. I can hardly believe it. This has been a long, difficult year for me and everybody I work with, and we are all ready for summer vacation. Blessed be the day.
Ciao, y'all ...
What a difference a day makes.
A beautiful day in Central Texas. Blue skies, cool morning, temperatures resting in the low 80s by afternoon. Book downloads are approaching 1,000. Thanks, y'all!
Beginning tomorrow, there will be 14 days left in the school year. Maybe 15? Either way, gettin' close. I am so ready.
And tomorrow is the last day of the free book promotion. There's more to come, but for now, click here and get your free copy:
Peace and love, y'all
Sixteen more days of school, and the natives are getting restless.
I'm completing week 3 of the "30 days of positive" project, and things have gone pretty well. Well, until this week. I've been a little stressed this week, and can't put my finger on it, exactly. The nice Mr. Clark was definitely absent today.
In book news, we were up to 500 downloads this morning, and still ranked first in amazon.com's free book Southwest category. Not nearly the numbers my publishers were looking for, but they say this is only the initial marketing effort. They apparently have many more tricks up their respective sleeves, and are telling me to keep the faith.
And I am.
In a way, it's amazing that 500 people are now reading my little book. That's a decent-sized crowd of people, and I have to admit it feels pretty good. I'm not going to give out the number my publisher was hoping to hit, but we came in substantially below that amount, and it was disappointing. He still believes in it, though, and tells me earlier today that they've only scratched the surface, in terms of marketing strategies. These guys are good, and they know what they're doing, so until they tell me otherwise, I'm thinking good things are going to happen.
So, there are two more days left in the free download promotion. Go on and get a copy -- it's free! I'll make it easy. Here's the link to click on, and if you don't have a Kindle reader, you can still get the book. Just look to the right, and download for free the Kindle app. Then you can stick the book on any ol' device you like. Right here:
Thanks, and ciao, y'all ...
After yesterday's slow start to the free book giveaway, things have started to improve significantly.
With expectations calling for hundreds, if not thousands of downloads the first day, which would generate all kinds of nifty rankings, publicity and accolades, early reports yesterday morning showed "Finding God in Texas" with a grand total of 44. Talk about letting the wind out of your sails.
The day ended, however, with 200 downloads, and a no. 1 ranking in the amazon.com free e-book Southwest category. No. 1. This morning, the grand total increased to 361, and I don't have today's final tally yet, but I expect it's approaching 500 downloads. Not what we were expecting but, hey, it continued to rank no. 1 in Southwest!
So, there are three more days to get a free copy. Click here and get one: http://amzn.to/Rlh5V3
After Friday, the price goes up from free to $9-10. Get one now. Even if you don't like it, what's the damage? There also is a beautiful paperback version available.
Immense thanks for everybody who downloaded a book and helped get the word out. It's pretty amazing.
Ciao, y'all ...
... days of school left, that is.
Today was not a great day. It should have been a great day. Release of my book, free giveaway promotion, publishers excited about it. But I was too damn keyed up, nervous about what was going to happen. I really didn't expect a whole lot, but people who know what they're doing were telling me they had high hopes. So, I was thinking, maybe ...
By around 11 or so this morning, there were 44 free downloads reported from amazon.com. Not too good. I don't know what the latest numbers are, six or seven hours later, but it's pretty much been a bust.
Not a complete disaster, though. And it ain't over yet. There are four more days left in the free promotion, and there are other things in the works. These guys don't give up that easily. This was just the first attempt, they tell me, and they've sold a lot of books.
Ciao, y'all ...
"Just be you, John. That's plenty good enough."
Those are the words of my dear friend, Tom Kierulf, who called me last night from Spain. It was nearly one in the morning there when he called, and he was feeling pretty good, after a few glasses of his beloved brandy. Tom is like an older version of me, in many ways. He's a lot wiser than I am, though.
We met in early June 2011, in a small village called Uterga on the Camino de Santiago in Spain. We had stopped at the same albergue in that little village, and happened to sit at the same table for dinner. It was at the end of my first day walking the Camino, and I was dead tired. It had been kind of a rough day. I had to make a pretty significant climb nearly right off the bat, up this stretch called the Alto de Perdon (the Hill of Forgiveness) and I never could get my backpack to fit quite right and feel comfortable. It was really heavy and my right shoulder was not happy.
As we talked over dinner -- me, Tom, and a husband and wife from Germany -- I was describing my backpack troubles, and Tom advised me to cinch up the bottom strap as tight as I could get it, and then a little tighter. That takes the weight off the shoulders and puts it more onto the hips. He also told me, after he and everyone else stopped laughing, to get rid of the two-pound jar of peanut butter that I had packed. Keeping your backpack as light as possible is one of the most important things for long-distance walking, and they could not believe I brought a two-pound jar of peanut butter. Some people actually cut straps and buckles and things off their backpack to trim ounces off the overall weight. I had books in there, a journal that probably weighed a pound or two, a small pharmacy in plastic bags, too much clothing, a compressible camping pillow, assorted other stuff, and two pounds of peanut butter. Hey, I read during my research that peanut butter was hard to find over there, and came in handy for snacking. A small jar probably would have been enough, though.
The next morning, I sat at a picnic table outside the albergue, spread some peanut butter on a piece of leftover bread for breakfast, and ditched the rest. Left it sitting on the table as a donation. Hopefully, somebody put it to good use.
So that's how we met. I ran into him again at the end of the second day's walking, and by the end of the first week, we were becoming friends. Last summer, I spent four days at his home in Coruna, on the northwest coast.
Last night, Tom told me he has been reading my blog and following my efforts at self-improvement. He knows my fears and insecurities, strengths and weaknesses and such. And he tells me to lighten up. Give myself a break.
"Just be you, John. That's plenty good enough."
That's the trick, I think. Figuring out that it's OK just to be me. I am me, after all, and I can't be someone else or something that I'm not. I can try, but it doesn't work.
It's a beautiful Saturday morning, and I've finished about a four-mile walk, down the road and back again. A little lunch is in order, then off to the golf course for a little driving range practice.
Ciao, y'all ...
Ahhhh, the end of a long week. A good week, but a long one.
So, the first day of the NFL draft was all over the news today, of course. And a lot of the talk was about good ol' Johnny Football, college superstar from Texas A&M, who went to the lowly Cleveland Browns. Poor Manziel is likely to get busted up in Cleveland, if he's not careful. Even if he is careful, I don't think I like his chances. But I'll be pulling for him, nonetheless.
And I'll be excited to see what some of these other draftees do in the NFL. It's always exciting to follow the college players into the pros and see how they do.
With the addition of Jadeveon Clowney, the Houston Texans' defense should become a force. I'm not too sure about their offense, but, hey, if your opponent can't score points, they can't beat you. Still, I just don't see myself becoming a fan of the Texans. The Oilers are (were) my team, and always will be. I just can't jump ship. I can't do it.
Now, if the Texans were a team made up entirely of actual Texans -- guys from Texas, all of 'em -- then there wouldn't be any question. If there were a rule in the NFL that said teams must be comprised of players only from their home state, then I'd be in all the way. Can you imagine if the Texans and the Cowboys had rosters comprised entirely of Texas natives? At the very least, only players from Texas colleges? The Giants and the Jets players all had to come from New York? Steelers players all from Pennsylvania? So on and so on?
Imagine the rivalries there. I think it would be great ...
As it stands now, the NFL, and all pro sports for that matter, is a revolving door. In and out, here and there, show me the money. There's no loyalty. Things like Case Keenum playing for the University of Houston and now the Houston Texans is fantastic. I love that. That's where he should be playing.
Now, what about guys who play college ball in states where there's no pro football team? Hmm. Tough question. That's making it too complicated, though. I don't have an answer. Let's keep it simple. Simple minds need to keep things simple. Maybe ... hell, I don't know.
Hometown heroes. That's what I want. Can you honestly say that Jadeveon Clowney gives a rat's patoot about the city of Houston, or where he plays pro ball? Show me the money. Show me more money in three years, and adios. I love it here in wherever.
Anyway, two days 'til golf and all is well.
Ciao, y'all ...
Stormy Monday is a lot better title, but it's already been used.
And, remember, there is a special announcement coming very soon about a fantastic promotional offer that will get you a copy and save you some cash. Stay tuned.
Tonight is the NFL draft, and I think this is the first time that I'll actually be watching it on TV. One mock draft I saw somewhere had Johnny Manziel dropping all the way to the 23rd selection. I don't see that happening. He was still the first quarterback taken at no. 23, but it ain't gonna happen that far down the line.
Despite my friend Tom's friendly guilt-trip about rooting for the hometown team no matter what (he and I are both Houston natives), I would really like to see Manziel wind up with the Cowboys. I just can't root for the dadgum Texans, because they ain't the Oilers. I'm sort of a Cowboys fan, but not really. However, with Manziel on board, the Cowboys would become my team. Shoot, the Texans might even become my team if they take Manziel, but I don't think they will. Clowney, Clowney, Clowney.
I didn't like some of the hot-headed stuff he was doing last year at A&M, but the guy is a talented, charismatic, thrilling player, and a heckuva lot of fun to watch. And he's a Texan.
Anyway, tomorrow's Friday, TGIF. Looking forward to the weekend.
Ciao, y'all ...
Today really was a great day.
Decent day at school. Put the little darlings to work all day. Supervised 'em. Annual review with the boss went well. They're going to let me work another year -- again. And an exciting e-mail today from one of my publishers, Matt Stone.
Matt Stone is an amazing guy. I've never met him in person, but he is excellent at what he does, and he tells me he is excited about my book, and the prospects for its success as the initial launch approaches. There is a great promotion coming up in a few days to kick things off, and I don't want to let the cat out of the bag, so I'll just say be ready for announcements coming up. With a little help from my friends, I can get myself listed among the Top 100 new e-book downloads on amazon.com.
Wouldn't that be something ...
So I know you're all itching to get your hands on a copy, but please wait until next Monday. There's a reason I ask you to wait, and you won't be disappointed.
Nothing major in the news today, at least not that I care to talk about. Monica Lewinsky? Nah. Hillary Clinton? No. Some more stuff about Johnny Manziel, though, and where he'll be taken in the upcoming NFL draft. Something new out on that pretty much every day. This latest report has him dropping out of the top 10 in the draft. I don't believe that for a minute. These jokers are trying to bluff each other, and I'll be surprised if he's not the first quarterback taken.
I'm really not sure if he's big enough and durable enough to survive in the NFL, but I can't wait to see him try. The guy is electric. I used to say that he has some uncanny knack for getting down, escaping and avoiding the big hits, but last year he took some pretty good shots in college. One of those NFL linebackers lays into him at full speed, and he's going to get hurt.
I hope the Cowboys get him. I haven't had a pro team to really root for since the Houston Oilers became the Tennessee Titans. The Oilers were always my team, and so I haven't had one in a long time. I went to Oilers' games when they played at Rice Stadium, for heaven's sakes. I sort of became a Cowboys fan after the Oilers left, since my aunt and uncle were always Cowboys fans and we went over there a lot when I was a kid and watched football on TV. But if they get Manziel, I'll officially become a Cowboys fan. My wife, who is from Erie, Pa., is a lifelong Steelers fan and hates the Cowboys. So that would make for some interesting Sundays.
Anyway, stay tuned for news on the book. Please and thank you.
Ciao, y'all ...