While I don't miss living in Paraguay, I've actually come to miss some things from that country (as I figured I would). For example, last weekend I ditched my old propane grill and picked up a cheap charcoal burner so that I could do a Paraguayan-style asado at my house...various cuts of red meat, rubbed in coarse salt and slow-roasted over several hours to be consumed in pieces sliced and shared (along with grilled sausages, mandioca, and fantastic sopa paraguayo baked by my lovely wife). Sure we consumed a medley of vegetables, too (we're a little more health conscious, after all!) but it was a nice reminder of flavors we enjoyed...and missed...from our time down there.
Another thing I've come to miss over the last nine months of American life is quality soccer. Sure the Seattle Sounders won the MLS cup this year (my son and I watched the championship game in a local Greenwood brewhouse), but the professional level of play in the U.S. is, unfortunately, not quite to the standard seen in South America (or, indeed, other parts of the world...the Classico this year was one for the ages!). This became readily apparent when my 6-year old (at the time five) joined his first American soccer team and played like a frigging superstar: scoring 8-10 goals a game, going end-to-end with the ball through multiple defenders, scoring goals from mid-field, one-timing passes like Leo Messi. Jaw-dropping for the other parents at his school (who said he needed to play with the 4th graders and bring some much needed power), and immensely entertaining for Yours Truly. However, it's more a mark that the competition in the States...and over-all player skill...just isn't up to the same standards as in South America.
|The trophy is taller than my boy. We've measured.|
I would certainly NOT consider myself any kind of "international superstar," but I know that I have a certain degree of fame (or at least notoriety) for my writing. A month or two back, the kids and I were up at Around The Table in Lynnwood (probably playing a game of Blood Bowl), when Nick (the co-owner) introduced me to some guys who were huge fans of Five Ancient Kingdoms; folks who owned and were playing it and whom I'd never before met. Their enthusiasm and praise was...well, frankly, it was a little over-whelming. I'm just not used to complete strangers gushing over my creative works, at least not face-to-face, and I may have been at a loss for words. I only hope I was nice and humble with them and gave them a good impression (i.e. that I'm a nice guy) and not some sort of aloof asshole.
Yeah, sometimes I worry about this kind of thing. I'm not really anti-social...I'm usually pretty gregarious in social situations. But deep down, there's a part of me that simply has a hard time believing folks really value my creations, despite the monthly evidence of payments being deposited for my PDFs and the emails I receive asking for a re-release of the B/X Companion in print form. And perhaps it is this doubt that has (in some subtle, subconscious way) contributed to me dragging my feet when it comes to actually getting around to re-printing the book, despite the numerous requests.
[which has led to some amusingly ridiculous incidents: like the person selling a copy on eBay for over $1K. I mean, it's not like I'm dead or something!]
And SO...I am doing a new print run of my B/X Companion. Called my printer today, in fact, to get a price quote. This will be a limited run...probably a hundred copies or so...and I'll need to check postage rates before I put the order button on the web site, as shipping prices have gone up the last few years. But the book's price should remain the same: $24.99. Once I have product in hand, I'll let folks know it's cool to order again.
Time to get back into this publishing thing.