People keep asking me how to self-publish, so I've been busy writing up a new section of the web site explaining just that. As I rapidly discovered, I've published all over the place and every site wants something slightly different. It's turning into quite an exercise and will be finished just in time for everyone to have changed the rules.
In the meantime, I've been skiing again, drawing like a fiend for various publications and, yesterday, I went on a bike ride because my sister-in-law is afraid of goats.
I also broke Todd Hoffman out of jail.
Ok, I can sense that you need more on the goat thing. Sally doesn't like goats and, like some WWII bomber, she needs stealthy wing-men to keep random goats from swooping in and attacking her. This has never actually happened, and yet she feels the need for protection. What did happen (some time back) was that a herd of goats swarmed down the hill like the very Mongol Hordes themselves and rendered the poor woman goatophobic. I bet they came out of the sun, like cunning pilots were want to do. It was a nice bike-ride actually, and it was springy enough for a beer by the lake.
We did see goats. They were fenced off and I never realised that very young goats have horns. Little ones. Sally stood quite near them and only screamed once.
In other news, I didn't actually break Todd Hoffman out of jail, but it felt very much like it. If you don't know who Todd Hoffman is, he is a large man with a surprisingly high voice who set off for Alaska a few years ago armed only with a dream and large amounts of money. He complained of poverty, so he spent $100,000 on mining equipment to make ends meet. His dad and some equally poor people went with him to dig nuggets out of the frozen Alaskan ground. There's a new gold rush on, if you hadn't noticed.
Discovery channel liked his can-do spirit and followed him with a camera. Gold Rush became an instant favourite with me in America and all I wanted to do, right from episode one, was go dig holes in far flung places. Everyone I met in and around the Philadelphia suburbs was invited, by me, to come and help. As you know, it never happened. And I didn't have $100,000. I watched Gold Rush over and over.
Now that I have cable TV here in Slovenia, I can follow again the exploits of Todd Hoffman. I've been sitting in the Alps wondering if I should have stayed in the US and gone to Alaska instead. I thought it was an opportunity missed, and looked at Todd and I looked at the Alaskan mountains and wished I was digging there too.
And then I realised that I live in scenery that looks surprisingly similar. Surely gold isn't the preserve of North America! A little research showed that a man in the Swiss Alps is running gold panning holidays. Switzerland, Slovenia, not a million miles apart. More digging showed ancient gold mines discovered south of Klagenfurt in Austria, a mere 100 miles away.
In a moment of gold fever I searched for gold pans on the internet and they all come from America. Gold panning equipment sold in Europe is very expensive because it's imported from California. Amazon Germany offered gold pans at a sensible price, so I ordered some. Three weeks later I got a letter from the Slovenian post office in Ljubljana demanding that I send them the bill for my package so they could invent an import charge. I did that, and they sent it to Bohinjska Bistrica post office with a demand for another 19 euros. In the end, shipping 70lb of American-made goodies from America to Slovenia via Poland was cheaper than a couple of plastic dishes from Germany.
I capitulated, and paid the ransom. I got my parcel. I opened it. And...
...THERE'S A PICTURE OF TODD HOFFMAN ON THE BOX!!!!
It was money well spent. I might cut him out and stick him on the wall of my jail cell when the Slovenians arrest me for digging in their country. It would have been worth it. I'll keep you posted.
Slovenia, writing, other things