VACATION!! (And X-Mas announcement!)

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Greetings from The Hellmouth (A.K.A., my home office filled with books, candles, horror collectables, and leftover pumpkins)!!

I’m back from vacation…and about to leave AGAIN! I spent last weekend and a few days this week in Charleston, SC for our annual company retreat. As always, it was super fun and filled with ghost stories, great food, overpriced tourist traps, and all sorts of colorful locals. Charleston’s an absolutely gorgeous city, and I strongly recommend you take a few days to visit if you have the time and money for travel. I stayed right on Market Street, the central tourist area with lots of foot traffic. Although I did far too much there to talk about everything, here are a few noteworthy highlights.

1. The Food: Everything I ate was upscale, meticulously prepared, and overpriced (surprise, surprise). Lots of seafood, but the big ones I enjoyed were swordfish and ceviche. I particularly liked the ceviche; if you make it wrong, you’re sick for days on end, but if you make it correctly, it’s orgasmic. In short, it’s raw fish pieces which are mixed with spices and cooked solely from the citrus of lemons and limes. Definitely for the adventurous palate. I also at about six-dozen raw oysters while I was there (yeah…bad decisions…), and I tried a few variations of after-dinner wines which I never knew existed and will hopefully never try again. I typically eat very clean, since I’m a personal trainer at a local gym and also a hobbyist competitive powerlifter. During vacations, however, I let myself go a bit and try to squeeze in as many irresponsible decisions as possible. One night my roommate and I ate an entire 42″ pizza from Giovanni’s on Market Street. As younger and cooler kids would say, “No Ragrets, bruh!” Speaking of carpe diem…

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2. The Drinks: I love gin, and I tried several new brands while I was there. A noteworthy brand was Aviation Gin, the one Ryan Reynolds recently bought into. It tasted very smooth and is complemented by fruitier mixers (though I prefer plain tonic water). I also tried a szechuan-infused gin, which was…interesting. Not good, just interesting.

3. The Haunted Tours: This was my favorite part of the trip, as it is every year. Charleston, SC is famous for its history, and although I’m not much of a history buff, I’m extremely enthusiastic about visiting aesthetically-pleasing old graveyards and taking late-night tours of The Haunted Jail and The Powder Magazine. I won’t butcher their complex histories by regurgitating only the bits I remember, but if you’re looking for some goosebumps, I urge you to read up on their stories.

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Another big thing this trip was…THE HOT SAUCE!! I’m a lover of spicy foods, even the ones that aren’t very tasty but just downright hard to eat. Maybe I’m a sick bastard (okay, I’m DEFINITELY a sick bastard…read my book for proof), but the more someone tells me “You really don’t want to try this sauce, it can kill you if you try too much,” the more I want to gulp down a bigger spoonful than the previous person. I bought a few good ones, as well as some jerky made with Carolina Reapers (peppers so hot they’ll burn a hole in the back of your throat).

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Now that I’m back home and well-rested, I’m preparing to leave again on Sunday for Northern California. I head West once every two months, and I love it there. Unfortunately, I probably won’t make it out to Pier 37 or to City Lights Bookstore this time around due to time constraints. Ah well, there’s always next trip.

A few good developments on the writing front. Birthday Girl is selling very well on Amazon, and feedback is still pretty positive. I’ve also got an event scheduled at Now That’s Class in Cleveland, OH mid-December, which I anticipate will be fun for everyone. Rather than read from Birthday Girl, which is a pretty short book anyway, I plan to read the free Christmas story tie-in which I’ll be posting on the website soon. The short story is called “A Very Magriol X-Mas,” so that tells you who you’ll be seeing again in all his gory glory. I’ll continue to post about this as it develops.

Where all have you traveled to recently? Comment below–I’m always interested in new recommendations!

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