Books, Life

Holiday Gratitude: There’s Two Os in “Goose”

Did I ever tell you about last Thanksgiving, when I made dinner for my writing group in a 12th-century Austrian castle? Keep scrolling for photos of our spread atop the dining hall’s 17-century furnishings. I’ve also included an incredible recipe I stole from Jamie Oliver’s website fair-and-square. Go ahead and peek, I’ll wait here for you.

This month marks several milestones for me and our little company. The past 18 months have been an incredible ride, and I’m humbled and flattery every time I poke my head up to glance at our sales rankings, reviews, and Goodreads feedback. Just like any brand-new business in a competitive market, we’re working to build our brand, our audience, and our customer fan base. Very few readers have ever heard of Gavin Reese or know who I am, and that makes me even more appreciative of those who do. I’m so very grateful that a growing number of you crime-and-thriller fans have allowed my stories into your lives, and that you’re willing to trade your time and treasure for them. I work to ensure you always feel that you’re getting the better end of the deal there.

One year ago, we released Enemies Foreign on 11.15, which is really the expanded second half of my original Enemies Domestic manuscript. That’s a kinda-long story for later, just know for now that I was very excited that our third book had just launched, our audience and subscriber-list were growing, and we kept getting positive feedback and reviews. Also, just about a year ago, on 11.19, I boarded a flight to a one-week writing retreat…in Austriain a castle. Just writing that sentence again reminds me how blessed and fortunate I am. Did you see the photos, by the way? SO cool! While there, I made some new, lifelong friends and professional conspirators and wrote a book. Yep, the whole thing. I showed up to the castle (saying that never gets old) on Sunday with a plot and an outline. By late Saturday afternoon, I had the first draft of The Debt Collectors. Did you see The Debt Collectors skyrocketed up to #35 in Amazon a few weeks ago?! Incredible exposure and I’m looking forward to hearing from the literal thousands of folks that downloaded it during that two-day giveaway.

Back to Austria. Our little international writing group also conspired to make an American Thanksgiving dinner. I took the bird assignment and bought the biggest one our little local grocer sold. “Frischegans,” I think the label read. I knew it wasn’t big enough to be a turkey, but it also wasn’t clear what I’d bought. (Sidenote: my brand-new smartphone wouldn’t accept Austrian sim cards, so I only had service through Wifi connections; the grocer had no such offering, so no Google Translate cheat for me). The picture on the solid packaging could have been a duck, goose, swan, or chicken. Yeah, it was that vague. But, bigger is always better, so the frozen mystery bird went home with me…to the castle.

Wifi revealed it was a goose. I’d never made goose before, but I liked the idea of a traditional holiday meal with the classic bird. The Google led me to a recipe from Jamie Oliver that proved to be INCREDIBLE! I’d recommend it for any poultry you’re making for the holidays this year. Check it out:

https://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/goose-recipes/spiced-roast-goose/

About 18 months before that, I got to eat in one of Jamie Oliver’s restaurants in London, Jamie’s Italian in Greenwich. Delicious, just fantastic food. If anyone knows Mr. Oliver, please pass along my sincere appreciation and gratitude for his talents. Wow.

So, in the midst of a flurry of keystrokes that week that ranged between 10-40 pages per day, I took most of Thanksgiving day off to cook and enjoy the company of my fellow authors. I had a lot to celebrate last year, and have even more this year.

Mrs. Reese continues to tolerate my shenanigans and reindeer games, which tend to last all year. Just as much fun in July as around Christmas, I think. Our relationship will soon be old enough to drink on its own. Mo Anam Cara.

One of my sisters is finally in addiction recovery. She entered treatment the day I landed in Vienna. Coming up on a year clean-and-sober and I’m grateful for her strength, her new choices, and this first of many anniversaries. Love you, J!

My closest family has helped prop this whole thing up. Their support, encouragement, and faith mean everything to me. We heroes have our own heroes, and they’re mine. They were God’s first blessings in my life.

My readers. Thank you for trading your time and your hard-earned treasure to hear my stories. I never forget that I’m working for you. Even though my books are incredibly personal, not-so-little pieces of my being that I’ve left out in the world for criticism, you’ve been unbelievably kind and receptive to them. I genuinely appreciate your support, your words, and your recommendations. It is only by serving you that authors have a prayer of carving out a living. Thank you for contributing to mine.

I also get to share my newest series with the world on 11.19, exactly one year after I left for Vienna. There’s a lot more to tell you about that city and its impact on my writing, but it’ll need a separate post for the details. Love that town! Until next time…

Be safe out there.

–Gavin

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