Friday, October 22

New High Score! Achievement Unlocked!

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This week marked the 25th anniversary of the Nintendo Entertainment System’s release in America. So what better way to honor one of the greatest cultural moments of the 20th Century than to pay homage on the cover of Aerating The Mashed Potatoes, my newest book and the most singularly-awesome thing I’ve ever accomplished in my entire dumbass life.

The cover was created by myself and Aaron Miller over at DifferentDamage.net. Mostly Aaron, as he took my vision (‘Make my book a Nintendo game RIGHT THIS INSTANT’) and helped make it a reality over the course of nearly four months this Summer. There was no template for this; he worked his ass off, and from what I can gather (we corresponded solely through my legal team), did all of this by hand. The back cover (not shown) also follows the retro NES style to perfection, substituting ‘gameplay footage’ stills with childhood photos and other various nostalgic goodness. I damn nearly wept when it showed up in my mailbox, and I still owe him more money than I currently have in my savings account.

I should also mention that Aaron designed the current CDP template and merchandise you see on this very blog, so please consider him for your next web or graphic design project. He’s seriously the best in the business, and his rates are stupid cheap. Thanks buddy; you should know that a copy of this book will probably go in my coffin.

I think the cover represents the inside material quite well. An adequate mix of nostalgia, pop culture, early-mid-life crisis cynicism (25 years ago?!?), and humor. As I edited the finished product, I was surprised at just how many pop culture references show up in some of the newer essays. It’s 250 pages, there are 50 essays, and more than half of it will be brand new to even the most comprehensive CDP fan. The new stuff is among some of the best material I’ve ever written, including some personal essays that should leave you simultaneously laughing and shaking your head in bewilderment. I won’t give anything away, but with titles like ‘The Condom’ and ‘The Time I Got Molested,’ I think you get the picture.

The writing/compiling/binge drinking process started back in January and ran smoothly up until June, where I hit the wall creatively and brought everything to a halt. Having experienced Writer’s Block before, I knew it was akin to surviving a bear attack: you can’t fight back, you can only play dead until it gets bored and shuffles away. So play dead I did. Broadly speaking, the Summer of 2010 was easily the least productive stretch of my entire adulthood. I listened to old records and played a billion games of Tetris for four months straight, and even that seemed like a struggle at times. That all being said, the block passed and I finished the tedious process with plenty of time to spare.

As was the case with 65 Poor Life Decisions, I’ve decided to once again go the self-publishing route. I should mention that I don’t self-publish because I’ve been rejected by bigwig literary agents. In fact, I’ve never submitted a thing to a literary agency. I just like the punk rock aesthetic of a 100% DIY venture. It keeps me busy, motivated and in control, and that’s more important to me than a pile of blow-off letters and rewrite requests. I write a book, you buy it from me, and nothing gets in between us. What’s better than that? Money? I highly doubt it.

Speaking of money and punk rock, I want to also mention that despite the economy taking a massive poopdump in the last three years, I made sure that Aerating The Mashed Potatoes cost just as much as 65 Poor Life Decisions did back in 2007. Even the mail-order is going to cost the same, and I consider this a big moral victory. Self-publishing won’t make anyone rich, so I instead focused on what I could do to keep everything as cheap as possible without going into hock. Whether I succeed or not is yet to be determined (Hint: That’s going to be up to you).

In keeping with the community aspect, if you run a blog and want to spotlight the book, interview me or do anything else that might send some traffic my way, just let me know and I’ll be there. I’ll be mainly promoting the book through the usual channels (CDP, Facebook, Twitter, local publications, crack houses), so any additional press is extremely appreciated. The support I received the last time around was humbling, and sincerely made a difference. I thank you in advance.

The only thing left to talk about is, “When can I buy it, and where?” I will have the answer to that next week. Here's a hint: Soon, and here.

Until then, sound off in the comments section, critique the cover and enjoy your weekend. I’ll also answer any questions you may have about the book (except the ones about getting sued by Nintendo). Thanks much.

Monday, October 18

You Can Do Most Anything.

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Aerating The Mashed Potatoes is done!

This Friday, I will be revealing the cover of my long-awaited second book, along with the official release date and many other answers to burning questions. You're only a few weeks away from getting this book in your hands, and I couldn't be more excited about it. I'm like a puppy that's two seconds from peeing on the rug.

I started this project at the beginning of 2010, with the goal being that I'd publish before the end of the year. However, thanks to a healthy blend of insomnia and megalomania, it looks like we're going to finish almost two months ahead of schedule. I feel that the book is an across-the-board improvement on 65 Poor Life Decisions, and I can't wait to get it out there for you.

That's it for now, but the CDP is going to be bustling from now until probably Christmas, so remember to stop back as soon as you can. Sound off in the comments section; see you Friday!