Here we are again. As I begin writing this year’s “summation” blog, there are 15 minutes left in the year. It will be well into the new year by the time I finish. But there’s a Twilight Zone marathon on, so I can go all night.
Damn… how did we get here so fast? I’ve seen a lot of posts this week about “good riddance” and “can’t wait til it’s over.” Certainly there was more than an abundance of political mudslinging this year, and we lost some celebrities like Prince, David Bowie and Carrie Fisher who meant a lot to my life. But honestly, I had some amazing experiences in 2016. And hell, the Cubs won the World Series. I never thought I’d live to see that happen. So I personally was in no big hurry to see this year end. Who’s to say that life won’t all just be downhill from here?
It wasn’t all peaches and cream… but for me, 2016 was filled with a lot of big things. In the first quarter alone, I spent a week in Asia, had my gallbladder surgically removed, and turned 50. All pretty momentous events in my life, and they all happened within 10 weeks. The rest of the year… kept on going kind of like that!
On the fiction front, while this turned out to be the first year in a decade that I didn’t release an original book, I did finish writing a novel (Redemption), got a start on a new one and contributed stories to a handful of really cool anthologies that came out — I had original stories in the Painfreak, Cemetery Riots and Drive-In Creature Feature anthologies, and a reprinted story in the “best of” collection Dread.
I also had two limited edition hardcovers from Sinister Grin Press of my novels Violet Eyes and The Family Tree…(the latter is actually at press, but should be out in a couple weeks.)
And while my current publisher, Samhain, announced that they would be discontinuing their horror line, I still completed my ninth novel, Redemption… and staged a Kickstarter campaign this past month to help launch it. The book will be out in January (just missed a 2016 release!) and I’m hoping, since it completes the trilogy, that it will please fans of Covenant and Sacrifice, its predecessors.
In a way, Redemption completes a career circuit begun a dozen years ago, when my first novel Covenant was published. I went from indie author, to major label, to mid-tier label and now… back to indie. What happens now… we will see!
I don’t watch much television, but every weekend, I go down to my big 65-inch TV in the basement and watch at least one movie. In 2015 I started tracking my viewing, and so I know that I saw more than 90 films this year, from big box office movies like Magical Beasts and Where To Find Them and Rogue One (loved them!) to indie productions like Spring (amazing) and It Follows (nice new twist) to old giallos like Seven Deaths in the Cat’s Eye and Death Walks on High Heels.
I watched art films from Radley Metzger, Alain Robbe-Grillet and Lars Von Trier, grindhouse from Quentin Tarrantino and Pete Walker and cornball horror like Zombeavers and Night of the Killer Dorks. I introduced Shaun to Frankenstein and Young Frankenstein and finally saw For a Few Dollars More with Clint Eastwood. I saw a lot of great film this year, though the majority of it was more than 20 years old.
I bought a ton of new music this year and discovered new female-led pop bands like Kitten, Little Daylight, Dragonette, Night Club and Blondfire along with grabbing new releases from old favorites like Tegan & Sara, Garbage, Lady Gaga, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Kansas and Delerium. It was also a huge year in reliving ’80s/90’s music for me… I saw more of my favorite bands in one year then I think I’ve seen in the last five combined.
In March, I saw one of my favorite bands ever for the first time when New Order played a phenomenal show supporting the new CD Music Complete at the Chicago Theater just a couple days after my birthday. I bought a ticket at the last second and got a great 11th row aisle seat… and recorded a bunch of songs that I dropped on a YouTube Playlist.
In June, I saw The Cure at UIC Pavilion. I’ve seen The Cure a bunch over the years but it’s been awhile, so I was really looking forward to this show. The seats ended up being awful… but it was still a great show. Here’s a clip I recorded of “Just Like Heaven.”
In July, it was Chic and Duran Duran at Ravinia, a show that both Geri and Shaun had been looking forward to along with me. I LOVED their new Paper Gods CD, and the concert did not disappoint… though I was bummed that Nick Rhodes had to leave the tour temporarily just before the Chicago date. My YouTube Playlist from the show includes new and old tracks.
The concert trail continued a few days later with Collective Soul and The Goo Goo Dolls at Northerly Island Pavilion and then in September, I caught Toad the Wet Sprocket and BoDeans (both bands I interviewed back in my music critic days) at Naperville’s Last Fling.
Also in September was the reunion tour of Belly at Cabaret Metro. Tanya Donelly has been one of my favorite artists — regardless of what band she’s singing for — for over 30 years… so I made sure I was in the front row of that one! I sang along to most of the show, but I did record a few videos.
In November, Brian Pinkerton invited me and Chris Larsen down to see Kansas, touring for their first original album in years (with a new singer). It was kind of appropriate for me to see this tour, since my very first concert ever was seeing Kansas with John Elefante — the first time Kansas had a replacement singer (touring for the album that “Play the Game” became a hit from). The new show was great, we were right up in front, and I recorded this version of “Dust in the Wind” there. I’ve been listening to their new CD ever since.
Just a few days later, Geri and I went to see the Goo Goo Dolls again (one of Geri’s favorite acts) when they played a small theater in Waukegan. Thanks to a friend, we got on the VIP list and got to meet and shake hands with the band for a few seconds before the show.
Living in a Hotel… the Year in Travel
I tend to travel a lot for work, and then add on more trips to support my book projects… which means I’m on the road a lot every year. 2016 kicked into high gear for me the first week of January and never really slowed down.
I visited Seoul, Tokyo, Amsterdam, Aachen, Germany, Orlando, Washington, D.C., Santa Fe, Indianapolis, and Los Angeles. And took a couple of jaunts up to Milwaukee for a book signing and Cubs game.
I left the country right after New Year’s Day to fly to Seoul, Korea on a business trip. And after 2.5 days in Seoul, I hopped on a plane and flew to Tokyo for two days of business and then stayed on vacation for an additional three days. I have to be honest… I was really apprehensive about going on that trip. While I’ve enjoyed Asian cuisine, and love the movies of Hayao Miyazaki, I never had a big interest in Asian culture, and was afraid of what the language barrier would bring.
The trip… was a head-changer.
And then when I arrived in Tokyo… At first it seemed like my hotel was a dump and I was stuck on just another run-down street in an anonymous big city.
But that night… I saw Tokyo come alive… and it entranced me in a way no other city ever has. The throngs of people moving from one club/restaurant to another. The crazy catchy pop music blaring from the buildings at busy street corners. The food… the entertainment centers… the electronic district… the temples… the fish market… I saw as much of Tokyo as I could over the course of five days, and I absolutely loved it.
Since I’ve been back, I’ve visited one of Chicagoland’s biggest Japanese markets (which just happens to be a couple blocks from where I work) almost every week. And I have a playlist of J-Pop setup on YouTube.
I heard that David Bowie died when I arrived at the airport on the way home from Tokyo… and so I spent half of that long flight home writing a blog about what he and his music meant to me in my life.
A galling month
I was only back from Japan for a couple weeks when I had a huge painful attack that felt like my guts had been shot by hot lead. I’d had these attacks before and managed to ignore them… but this time I went to the ER, and got diagnosed with gallstones. The only cure? Remove the gallbladder. So that’s what I did in February. I gotta tell you, having one of your organs cut out may be no big deal to some people… but I wasn’t particularly happy about it.
March… brought another questionable milestone — my 50th birthday. I think my 40th birthday was harder… that’s when I had to come face to face with “not being young” anymore. Nevertheless, 50 wasn’t easy. That said, celebrating it at one of my favorite spots — the Hofbrauhaus — with some of my closest family and friends… made it all a lot easier to stomach.
April… brought another trip abroad. This time, a short three-day business trip to Amsterdam and Germany. There wasn’t much time to look around, but I did walk past Anne Frank’s house and spend an hour or two in the Rijksmuseum, home of a famous collection of Rembrandt paintings. My blog and pictures from the trip are here.
May… brought a family vacation to Orlando. In 2015, I got suckered into one of those “three free nights at our Hilton Resort if you’ll listen to a timeshare pitch” offers. It sounded like a great way to have a nice family vacation (and it was a nice vacation) but… the truth is… when you add on the extra two room nights we popped for (we couldn’t stay just 3 days), the plane tickets, the rental car and the theme park tickets… it was a more expensive vacation than we would have taken in 2016, if we hadn’t committed to the “special.”
So much for saving money. But… we did have a great time, had a nice suite, and got to visit Universal Studios for the first time. And re-introduced Shaun to the Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios. After a busy first half of the year, it was a nice break.
My pix and travelogue from that trip are here.
In July, I actually stayed home… but we had a major house renovation project finished at the end of June — we had to redo the roof, and while we were at it, we went ahead and replaced the siding (we had hated the original yellow siding since we bought it 9 years ago… so now it’s a deep blue!)
We did get out of town however to see The Cubs at both Wrigley Field and Milwaukee’s Miller Park (to celebrate our wedding anniversary). Given that this was the best season the Cubs have had in my lifetime (culminating in the World Series victory) I saw more baseball this summer than ever before. It was amazing!
August brought the return of my annual business trip to Santa Fe, NM. Santa Fe has become one of my favorite places on earth over the years, and this may actually be the last time I’m sent there on business, since the meeting I’ve attended all these years has finally moved locations for 2017.
Knowing that… I made the most of it, and spent a couple vacation days after the meeting hanging around the town and working on final edits to my new novel Redemption. I’ve always gotten a lot of writing done while in Santa Fe, so I figured if this was the last time… I would make it count.
I also brought back plenty of Hatch, NM chili peppers to freeze, so I have a taste of the Southwest for some time to come.
August was also the month of Chicago’s Flashback Weekend, an annual horror convention that I always have a book booth at. This year was a great bit of fun, as always. I debuted a new booth setup, and Brian Pinkerton and I went to see director Don Coscarelli introduce a showing of the remastered Phantasm. And Shaun came down on the last day again to help me manage the table. Afterwards, we celebrated with a lunch nearby at Hofbrauhaus.
August was also the month of Wizard World Comic Con, where I served as an author guest and panelist. It’s the first time I’ve ever been to a Comic Con, and I had a blast. And Geri and Shaun got to come down one day, and met Geri’s childhood idol, Ralph Macchio. I published a blog about that weekend with pix here.
Just a couple weeks later in September, the whole Everson family decamped to Indianapolis, to go to HorrorHound Weekend. This was the first year that I went where I was not the “guest” of my publisher (who has done a big author showcase booth the past few years). Instead, since Samhain Publishing wasn’t at the convention, I bought my own booth, just as I do at Flashback. And it was a great success. Not only did I sell enough books to make it worth it, but I got to meet a couple movie stars who I actually wanted to meet (Lynn Lowry from Shivers and Dean Cameron and Gary Riley from Summer School) and got to hang out with some friends who have relocated to Indy. All in all, a great weekend.
A couple weeks later, I was on the road again to Los Angeles, for my dayjob’s big annual convention. Always a lot of work, but I did get the chance to meet Chris Bennett, one of the editors of Cemetery Riots (one of the anthologies I was in this year) as well as hang out with one of my old friends, Paul Gifford. I also learned towards the end of my trip of the death of Robert Weinberg, one of the key figures of the Chicago horror and fantasy scene. I wrote this blog when I found out.
Thankfully, for the past couple months, I haven’t had to go far from the Chicago area. Shaun and I went to a pinball convention in Wheeling, and bought a new machine for the basement (Sorcerer). So now I have my Mata Hari, and he has his Sorcerer.
I did a couple local Halloween events in October, including a trip up to Racine, WI to do an annual Halloween author event at a Barnes & Noble there, which allowed me to get together with my friends Bill Gagliani, Dave Benton and Chris Larsen.
In December, my friend Brad Czernik and I went downtown just before Christmas to see a horror movie marathon, and met Mark Patton, one of the stars of Nightmare on Elm Street II. But otherwise, other than long hours at work, for the past few weeks, I’ve been home. And it’s been great.
I’d be okay if 2017 wasn’t quite as eventful as this year. It’s been a fun year… but I’d like to get some more reading and writing done again!
Now that I’ve spent 3 hours writing about 2016… I guess it’s time to go to bed so I can wake up to face 2017 with more than a yawn.
Last night, I launched a Kickstarter Campaign that will run throughout the month of December to support the launch of Redemption, and, hopefully get signed copies of it into the hands of anyone reading this.
Redemption is my 9th novel, and the long-awaited sequel to my first two novels, Covenant and Sacrifice, so I’m really excited to finally be able to say the book is done and to be able to show off this cover (click the picture to see a larger version). It’s been nine years since the original edition of Sacrifice was published, and I’ve wanted to write this book that whole time!
Redemption picks up immediately after the events of Sacrifice, and features returning characters Joe Kieran, Alex, Ariana and, of course, the demon Malachai. Here’s the back cover description:
Alex hadn’t really considered what would happen after she dragged Ariana through the portal in a desperate bid to close the gate between worlds. She hadn’t given sacrificing herself a thought; she’d just wanted to end the demonic summoning before it was too late.
But when Alex wakes up on the other side, in the world of the Curburide, she has to think fast if she ever wants to see Joe Kieran, or Earth, again. Her only ally is an occult serial killer. Demons are searching for both of them, and there’s nothing demons love more than human fear and pain. They feed on it. In the world of the Curburide, the demons are everywhere.
And they’re hungry.
If you’ve enjoyed my work, I hope you’ll support this Kickstarter. I have opted to release this book outside of my normal publishers, so this is new territory for me! But… 47North, the publisher who publishes Covenant and Sacrifice, is currently not interested in buying more horror.
Rather than shopping this book around to other publishers, I decided that if it is not going to appear on the same publisher as the other two in the series, I will release it on my own Dark Arts Books. It’s a book that I wrote for fans of those first two books as much as for me — to finally finish the story I’ve wanted to tell. So I’m going to manage its release. While I’ve released a bunch of titles on Dark Arts Books over the past decade, this will be the first original title of my own work that I’ve put out. So… fingers crossed!
For the Kickstarter effort I’ve put together a number of good pledge packages. You can support the book and get your name in the acknowledgments, or you can get a signed copy of the trade paperback… or get signed copies of all three books — Covenant, Sacrifice and Redemption.
This is the best way, I think, for me to get signed copies of these novels out to fans of my work.
There’s a video about the Kickstarter effort, and all of the pledge packages listed here:
Thanks for your support… and I hope you’ll enjoy the new novel! I can’t wait to hold a copy in my own hands. I have wanted to write this book since Sacrifice first appeared in 2007. So it’s been far too long in coming. I can’t believe it’s finally here.
This week, Sinister Grin Press began taking pre-orders for the limited, signed hardcover edition of my 8th novel, The Family Tree. I’m really excited about this release for a number or reasons, not the least of which being that I love the new cover — which is a great realization of the image idea I’d suggested to the book’s original publisher a couple years ago before the trade paperback edition was released.
On Monday, Sinister Grin posted a “making of” blog about the new edition of the book, which includes a glimpse into cover artist Zach McCain’s creative process in developing the cover. I love these kinds of “behind the scenes” things, and this one shows his first couple sketches and initial color version of the cover, before it finalized to become the cover below.
If you’ve enjoyed my work in the past, and love hardcover books the way I do, I hope you’ll take a look at this one and consider pre-ordering a copy. Sinister Grin will base the ultimate number of copies produced on the pre-orders, so if you’re going to want one in a few weeks… put your name in the hat now!
I was working in Los Angeles today when my wife Geri texted me from Chicago to let me know that amazing author, editor and all-round good soul Bob Weinberg had died. It has weighed heavy on my mind these past few hours as I finished my day working here.
Bob was one of the first and best writers I met on the “Chicago” scene when I first began publishing my own work in the ’90s. He was an inspiration, and I was privileged to design a book of his short fiction (The Occult Detective) for Twilight Tales and later to publish some of his stories on my own Dark Arts Books press (When The Night Comes Down). Bob was a prolific author, co-founder of Chicago Comic Con, and an editor who compiled dozens of horror anthologies with Stefan R. Dziemianowicz and Martin H. Greenberg in the ’80s and ’90s.
I always wanted to see Bob in person more than I ever got to and some day tour his home “genre museum.” Once when I did a library reading near his house, we had planned to do that… but then health got in the way. He lived just a few miles from where I grew up, and yet, somehow I never saw his fabled collection of books, posters, and horror/sci-fi memorabilia. And now never will.
I was honored to have been able to know him, and sign books near him more than once, including at World Horror Convention 2002 (where the first photo of us hails from – the other is from a panel at World Horror 2001). I will always remember him, and dream of Mars in his honor. When we land a manned mission there, I will speak his name.
What does that last sentence have to do with anything? Read Bob’s essay from just over a year ago called “A Dream of Mars” on his Facebook wall:
Rest in peace, Bob. And thanks for all the amazing stories. I’m glad to have known you, and gotten the chance to work with you, if even just a little bit.
But, this year, since Samhain is closing down their horror line at the end of the year, they didn’t end up sponsoring a table. So, there was not going to be any “author-fest” this time around. Nevertheless, since I’ve enjoyed the convention a lot, despite Samhain’s absence, I opted to pay for my own solo author table and go anyway. For me, the convention is a great opportunity to talk with some fans, and hang out with my friend Jerry Chandler from Synapse Films as well as with my old neighbors, Diane and Troy Horn, who moved out to Indianapolis last year.
I go to a lot of horror conventions… and honestly, I rarely leave my table of books to get autographs. But… when I saw that “Dave and Chainsaw” from Carl Reiner’s SUMMER SCHOOL film were going to be there… I instantly had a mission. I love SUMMER SCHOOL. My wife Geri and I have seen it umpteen times since it was first released in 1987. To meet Chainsaw (Dean Cameron) and Dave (Gary Riley) was a total kick. And they turned out to be super cool dudes. I ended up giving them a couple of my horror books, which I hope they get 1/100 as much enjoyment out of as I got out of their performances in SUMMER SCHOOL.
Another key moment for me at Horrorhound 2016 was meeting Lynn Lowry – she’s been in some of my favorite classic 1970’s movies, from David Cronenberg’s erotic horror classic SHIVERS to George Romero’s THE CRAZIES to Radley Metzger’s arthouse SCORE to Lloyd Kaufman’s SUGAR COOKIES…. not to mention CAT PEOPLE and I DRINK YOUR BLOOD. She was incredibly nice, and also received a Best Actress Award at the HorrorHound Filmfest for a new movie she’s in called TRINITY. Can’t wait to see it!
I also got to enjoy an awesome dinner at one of my favorite places in Indianapolis: Scotty’s Brewhouse with Geri, Shaun and the Horns. (And I also stopped there on my way home on Sunday for a Southwest Burger with some Mofo Hot Sauce and ghost pepper cheese and a Dogfish 60-Minute IPA… gotta take the opportunities when you can!)
Already looking forward to HorrorHound 2017!
Enjoyed a pretty amazing weekend at Wizard World Chicago Comic Con the past few days. It was the first time I’ve ever gone to Comic Con, and I owe a huge thanks to Mort Castle and author track moderator Genese Davis for reeling me in to the programming… which also led to being part of a revolving author table in the Exhibit Hall. Genese set up all of the author panels, and asked Brian Pinkerton and I to manage the shared author table, so I was at the convention from Thursday night through Sunday afternoon.
On Friday evening I spoke on a panel moderated by Genese about “Villains” with old Twilight Tales pal Darren Callahan. One of the largest panel crowds I’ve seen since the last time I was on a panel at Dragon Con a few years ago.
Over the course of the weekend, I saw some old fans and hopefully made some new ones. I was able to spend a bunch of hours hanging out with one of my favorite Chicago author pals, Brian Pinkerton, and also caught up with Mort, Jane Castle, Jay Bonansinga, Raymond Benson, Sam Weller, Jeff Jacobson, Michael A. Black, Darren Callahan and met Rebecca Makkai!
Plus… Geri and Shaun got to come down yesterday to check out all of the costumes and merch and while I was working the table, she met one of her idols, Ralph Macchio. All in all… a pretty good time, as pretty good times go!!
The convention was right across the street from one of my favorite brewpubs, Park Tavern, so I ate there almost ever day, and celebrated the end of Comic Con with some chicken nachos and Wild Onion Misfit IPA at one of my favorite places.
Here are some pix:
THIS WEEK, my short story collection Sacrificing Virgins is on a 99 cent e-book sale on all bookstores. Yep, just a buck a Virgin! What a deal!
Seriously, this book includes the best short fiction I’ve written over the past 10 years, including some tie-in tales to my novels Siren, NightWhere and The Pumpkin Man… so I hope if you haven’t given it a read yet, you’ll grab a copy and check it out.
And if you have any friends on Facebook, Twitter, etc. who enjoy horror… I’d really appreciate any help you can give in sharing a link to the book to spread the word! Samhain Publishing rarely puts my titles on their catalog on sale, so I really want to make sure a bunch of people discover this book while it’s cheap over the next few days! Here are links to Sacrificing Virgins on a few stores where it’s available for a buck:
Sacrificing Virgins has had a bunch of great 5-star reviews over the past few months since its release. Here are a couple from Amazon and Barnes & Noble:
From The Horror Fiction Review
Wow, these are some excellent stories! Beautifully written, dark, evocative, spooky, sensual, each with its own unique blend of mood and emotion … disturbingly erotic, weird, powerful, mingling dread and humor … all with precise, intense effect. There are ghost stories, murders, infestations, a guy in love with his answering machine, revenge, deadly dunk tanks, twists, kinks, and shocks. What would you do if you found a beautiful body buried on the beach? If you thought you had a chance to bring a loved one back from the dead? If you got tired of the deal you made with the devil? This may be one of my toughest challenges yet in terms of trying to select my faves.
Love this book
It’s hard to even know where to begin while talking about Sacrificing Virgins by John Everson. I could easily write 500 words analyzing each of the 25 stories here, but the best way to experience this book is by reading it. One thing that I will say though is that this book is a template for what great horror stories should be. Sacrificing Virgins has moments that are shocking, violent and downright disgusting. These are all things that horror fans want but for me what makes a great horror story is characters that you care about and can relate to. Then you have to put them in a bad situation where it looks like they can’t escape…Every story in this book is a lesson on how great horror literature can be and it’s a can’t miss book for real horror fans.
Gotta love reviews like that!
So… there ya go. If you happen to have already read the book… please consider leaving a reader review on Amazon or one of the other bookseller pages (those reader reviews really do help convince other readers to check it out)… and if you haven’t read it yet… please give it a go this week!
Where else can you get a virgin for a buck?
I visited Washington, D.C. from June 22-25 for business, and finally got to visit one of the arms of one of my favorite breweries — Dogfish Head. The last time I was in D.C. a couple years ago, I wanted to get out to Virginia to check out their Falls Church Ale House… but just didn’t have the time available.
This time around… I had a day where I was done with work before dinner time, so after 9 hours on the clock, I changed into sandals and a t-shirt and headed to the Metro Station. While some people went off to look at war memorials and the Smithsonians, I headed over to Virginia… to check out one of Dogfish Head’s ale houses! It was a long, sweaty walk from the subway station to here… But a Firefly Ale washed the heat away! I really wish they bottled that one, but it is only on tap at their ale houses.
While in D.C., I also enjoyed a big ol greasy burger and a couple Lagunitas Lil Sumpin’ Sumpin’s at RFD, a good bar with lots-o-taps. I also experienced a little of the “crazy” there.
At one point, a thin, well-dressed African American woman came and sat nearby at the bar. I didn’t really notice her, until the bartender was called over to remediate an argument between here and the guy next to her. She claimed he was calling her names, and came and sat next to me, trying to strike up conversation.
I let her know that I was trying to work, but she kept interrupting me… and then insisted on ordering the same beer sample that I did. It was odd, but I kept trying to work… pretty soon she instigated another fight with the other guy, and ultimately, the bar staff called the police on her. She basically got more and more shrill complaining that everyone was against her and picking on her. Definitely some kind of mental problem.
On the next night, I had dinner a block away at Fado’s Irish Pub, one of my favorite chains, which I don’t get to visit enough. After 12 hours in a suit jacket I flipped open the laptop there and enjoyed some spicy chicken boxtys and Lagunitas while getting in a little writing. And there was the bonus of live music!
But guess who showed up? Yep… the crazy woman again! She sat down right next to me and starts trying to talk again. Worried that another police scene might ultimately happen, I politely but firmly let her know that I was busy working on a book project and needed to keep doing so. She made some weird comments about obscene fiction… and thankfully… moved on. Bizarre.
At the end of the trip, I had a couple hours before I had to leave the hotel for my flight, so I walked around the National Mall and saw a sculpture garden and a barbecue street fest (which was funny, because the last time I was in D.C., I went to the exact same BBQ fest!).
After a long sweaty walk, I stopped for a tasty peach sour from Dogfish Head to close out my trip (Dogfish Festina Peche Berliner) at Iron Horse, a cool motorcycle-themed bar.
Here are some other pix from the trip (starting with a crabcake grabbed at the airport on the way home):
A couple weeks ago, on April 13th, I flew to Amsterdam for a quick business trip. It was one of those “fly in, have a dinner, spend an afternoon, then fly home” trips… which are kind of crazy when you spend 18 hours in the air for less than 48 hours on the ground.
But I always try to make the most of these opportunities — you never know if you’ll ever get the chance again! So I didn’t spend much time in the hotel room.
It was an overcast morning when we landed, and the hotel didn’t have a room available yet, so I dropped my luggage with the bellman and went out and took a canal ride to at least get a glimpse of the city.
Saw lots of things I would have liked to have had the time to explore, from the Heineken Brewery to Ann Frank’s house… but I did stopp off for a couple hours at the famous Rijksmuseum, to see some classic Dutch paintings, including some original Rembrandts.
By the time I came back outside to finish the canal tour, the sun had come out, so I got a little glimpse of Amsterdam on a sunny day.
Then it was off to a business dinner (ironically, at an Indonesian place – so I didn’t try any Dutch food!) I stopped off after dinner at “Hoppy Days,” a little craft beer bar near the hotel and tried a local IPA – Hop Machine Extraordinary Ale. You have to keep your priorities in place when you’re on the road – hops before bed!
The next morning we rented a car and drove 2.5 hours to the city of Aachen, on the German border, for the main meeting of the visit. After an afternoon of discussions, we got the chance on the way out of town to stop at a 1,200-year-old cathedral built by Charlemagne (and what became his final resting place.)
It was late when we got back, but not too late to stop and buy a wheel of Dutch cheese before the flight home the next morning – my one souvenir of this trip. And after walking through the Red Light District (where the prostitutes really do stand in windows beneath red lights!) I had a nightcap at London Bridge, a British pub before bed. And that… was that!
It was a quick trip, but I still managed to see some things, try some beer and take lots of photos!
Vive La Covenant!!! Today marks the debut of my first novel, COVENANT, in France! Translated by Thomas Bauduret, Covenant was released today by Riviere Blanche Press, under the title LE PACTE DES SUICIDES.
If you are French, speak French, or know somebody that answers “oui” to the question “parlez-vous français?” please check it out here: