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Showing posts from September, 2014

Second Summer

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It's that time of year where the days get shorter and the inevitability of what's coming (Winter!) looms large. Thankfully we have been gifted with a couple weeks worth of fantastic weather. Dry air, temps in the low to mid 70's, and high wispy clouds. Just perfect, day after day. It's like a second summer for us.

The weather enabled me to get out a couple of times this weekend and do some fishing, painting, and biking. This time alone always allows me to reflect on where I'm at, where I'm going, and where I've been. It is during these times of assessment and inventory that I realize how lucky I am. Whenever I start to get down or worried about the future, it helps to take stock of what I have and what I've been through. Doing that today absolutely changed my perspective.

Part of what I was mulling over was the rich set of friends I've cultivated in the past few years. Some are brand new, some are old friends that go back decades, some are Facebook f…

Uncovering the Cover

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The old saying goes, you can't judge a book by its cover, and I believe that's true. However a book's cover is the first thing people see when they are looking online, in a bookstore, or in the library. I came across an article on Twitter the other day that talked about the importance of a good cover. The author mentioned that of the many books she had published, she actually hated a couple of her own covers. Because the publisher had ultimate say however, the author was overruled and the crappy cover won. I don't recall how the book sales went for said crappy cover book, but my point is, sometimes you just have to suck it up and take what's given you.

The cover design process for Dirty Shirtwas relatively painless. My publisher, eLectio Publishing, actually worked quite closely with me and, ultimately, we ended up with a great cover. That's not to say there wasn't some severe anguish on my end, because there was. When it is your first book, you want the co…

Success Comes in Threes

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It has been a fun weekend in my world of writing. In the past four days, I've attended two book launches for colleagues of mine from AllWriters' studio. This is a really cool problem to have, actually. When people you've worked hard with for years start having success along with my own, well, it's really fun.

This past Thursday night, one of my writing instructors, Michael Giorgio released his first novel Justice Comes Home at Martha Merrell's Bookstore in downtown Waukesha. His story is a mystery based on an event in downtown Waukesha that was held after the close of WWII. He uses the clever town name of Devlin's Crossing in place of Waukesha and uses the crowd gathered at the town center to set the stage for a murder. I won't give away any more of the story, but suffice it to say it is a really fun read. He mixes mystery, intrigue and humor throughout to keep the readers interest.

Anyhow, it was a great evening. Michael and his wife Kathie were instrumenta…

Animal House

I missed my post last night, so am playing catch up tonight with a brief post. I've been running non-stop for two days.

Anyhow, it's day two of no women in the Landwehr household. Sarah's in Minnesota, of course, and Donna is in Nashville, Tennessee with friends. Furthermore, at the moment, Ben is at the high school football game, so it is just me, the dog, two cats and Bob Marley on the stereo to break the silence.

These are always strange stretches when the wife's away, both good and bad. I think she REALLY needed a trip to herself and I am quite enjoying the freedom of not reporting to anyone except for Ben and said dog and two cats. She left us with plenty of food, as she always does, so we're good with that. It's a bit like a middle aged/prepubescent frat house around here right now.

Some of the differences I've noticed in the short time the house has been male dominated include:

1. The toilet seat stays up without fear of verbal admonishment. No worri…

Arena Rocked

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It has been a couple of decades since I've been to an ice arena rock concert. I think the last time was Eric Clapton at the St, Paul Civic Center ala 1986 or so. Oh, I've been to quite a few shows since then, but none were in the setting normally reserved for hockey and basketball. You know the kinds, where it's more of an echo chamber than anything, and at the end your ears are ringing. The Replacements, a band out of Minneapolis once made a song titled "I bought a headache" which references the very St. Paul Civic Center I mentioned above. One of the lines was "Eight dollars, fifty cents, I bought a headache." More often than not this was true.

Back in my twenties, that was what we did. It was the only way to see many of the bands I liked. They played the large arenas and, acoustics-be-damned, we paid to go see them. Some were better than others, but because I was (and still am) such a music nut, I went many times. Many more than any audiologist would…

Travel Log Part III - The Cabin

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Okay, so when I last left off on my zillion mile journey, I had just sent my daughter off to college. This followed an up-north book tour to Ely, and a trip to a couple of Minnesota state parks and the Minnesota State fair.

After all of that "vacationing", I needed a vacation.

As per the plan, we drove up to Mercer the day after we'd gotten home from Minnesota. We always know when we're getting close to our destination when we see the graffiti on the railroad bridge over highway 51 that reads "T-Bird Country". I've been told that the T-Birds are the mascot of the local high school. In any case, whenever I see that sign, my blood pressure drops another 10 points. It means rest and relaxation.

There were several standout moments at the cabin this year. The first was while Steve and I were fishing on Friday morning. We were on our favorite non-disclosed lake in the early afternoon hours when I got a bite on my spinning rod while throwing a bucktail lure. I…

Travel Log Part II - College Sendoff

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The middle portion of the never-ending trip to Minnesota a couple of weeks ago, involved sending my eldest off to college at the University of Minnesota. The day before we did this though, we took a trip to the Minnesota State Fair. Donna  and I absolutely love Minnesota's version of the fair. Not to dismiss Wisconsin's, which is very good in it's own right, but there's just something about the Minnesota fair.

We talked a bit while we were there and determined that much of its appeal was in the grounds themselves. There were lots of trees and shady areas to sit. The grounds are much larger and more spread out too, which helps. Also, one of the neater things they did was set up a program where if you donated a certain dollar amount, you could have a bench dedicated with a name on it. This made for lots of options to rest your legs.

The grounds are fine, but frankly, we went for the food. We ate our way around and got all the required goods. Tom Thumb donuts, Pronto Pups,…

Electively Paige: Dirty Shirt by Jim Landwehr

Electively Paige: Dirty Shirt by Jim Landwehr: Publisher: eLectio Publishing Buy the Book: Amazon Add to your Goodreads TBR List! Visit the Author:  Website | Blog | Facebook | T...

Travel Log - Shirt's Homecoming

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Yesterday I got back from a four day vacation which wrapped up the book tour/college sendoff/up-north vacation travelling flurry. It brings my total travel mileage to about 1800 miles in 11 days, or roughly 163 miles a day. It was insanity on wheels. Feats of great posture wrecking stamina, and hours of road numbing boredom. If this is what the road life of a rock star is like, well, I'm glad I dropped those guitar lessons when I was nineteen. I like road trips as much as the next guy, but we all have our limits. It really is possible to get too much of a good thing.

Rather than trying to synopsised all 3 trips in a single post, I thought I'd break it up into it's three parts.

Book tourCollege move/sendoffMercer Vacation I call the first part a book tour even though it wasn't really a tour per-se. I think the tour goes on all the time, as I bring up the book to my next door neighbor, friends from high school, people at work, etc. It was as close as I could come up with …