A taste of Scotch…

@ardbeg_com is known for it’s hearty peat infused flavor. If you are not a fan of this earthy, smokey, character then my entry today might not be up your alley.

The gift of scotch is a beautiful thing. It is through these gifts and generosities over the years that I have been able to sample some truly interesting flavors in the scotch world. Today’s offering comes from one of my favorite supporters and is a truly unexpected delight.52877467072__C24DA98D-F55F-4549-9239-160507AC2DF6.jpeg

From the moment the cork was pulled on this I knew I was in for something special. Not only did the peat aura waft up to greet my nose as I took my first sniff and taste, but there were other flavors and notes that I was not expecting. As I am used to the Ardbeg 10 yr old, I was expecting the almost medicinal smokiness that accompanies this companies palette. With the Kelpie, the aging process takes place in select casks from the Black Sea region, allowing for the seaside notes that generally accent the Islay scotches to come through in a wonderful buttery way.

A few more sips in and I am standing on the rickety boards of a mossy pier with the evening bonfire wafting off the shore behind me and the soft, salty wind tickling my nose. This is not a boisterous scotch. This is a walk along an evening beach with a long time lover, hand in hand with the anticipation of the twilight activities lighting up your senses. The foaming waves of the sea rolling in, playing with your toes in the sand as you stroll along to infinity.

Sure I am a bit verbose. I never claimed not to be. I was just so pleased with the tastes and smells that wrapped around me. The experience of this scotch grew with every sip. I adored how it challenged me to explore its depths in search of every aroma and taste I could disentangle from the myriad of flavors bouncing off my tongue.

If you are offered a chance to sample or hopefully deeply imbibe (responsibly) this offering from Ardbeg, I implore you to give it a try. Even if peaty scotch tends to scare you a bit, give it a shot. you might be surprised at what you find too.


“Danger in Bass Clef” Excerpt 8…

Not sure why I had won the badge of “hero,” but I was not in the mood to argue. I gave her a chuckle and began to lean down for a kiss.

My lips were intercepted by the top of her helmet that she had scooped up and worked into place, encasing her scattered, bright hair. She acted as though her deflection was an accident. We both knew it wasn’t.

“Be sure to keep in touch, Johnny.” Cass said, bounding up onto her scooter and kicking it to life. She shot me a wink and another smile as she zipped off into the early morning fog.

Not sure how I was supposed to keep in touch. We never exchanged numbers. I still believe I was just a way for her to blow off some steam after a tough bout. But hey, I’m not complaining.

I headed in the opposite direction, my GTO guiding me back to my quiet house where I could sleep off the rest of the morning, woken only by the smell of an Ella-brewed espresso, beckoning me to join the rest of the living world.

“Danger in Bass Clef”, Available now in eBook and paperback formats. Johnny Scotch is…justice served neat. http://johnnyscotchjustice

“Danger in Bass Clef” excerpt 7…

“Don’t mind me,” I said. The flushed couple gawked wide-eyed and confused. I was ripped away by the vice-like grip of whatever was taking me apart, one toss at a time. The bar was being turned into a Johnny-colored Pollock painting, throbbing cuts from my hand splattering blood from my pulsing wounds as I was flung to and fro.

The couple I had disturbed made a run for it as I sailed through the air for the third time. My assailant flung me about, smashing me to the ground and dragging me through the wreckage, scattering fresh rubble across the floor. He came to a stop, giving me a chance to get a look at the Gepetto pulling my strings. I stared at the rounded back of the Tolkien-esque reject in all his ogre-ish glory. His neglected hygiene tugged at my nose, and I coughed in disgust. The sharp taste of iron coated my mouth, overshadowing the scotch I had been enjoying earlier.

Desperate to get loose, I kicked at the massive fist leading me around like a puppy. The ogre at the other end grunted but kept hold. Another sharp kick with my heel, and he swung me loose. I tumbled across the hard floor, smashing through the maze of chairs and tables, gathering fresh splinters and bruises as I went. I wrapped my arms around my head, shielding it the best I could from the continued barrage of sharp-cornered obstacles. I skidded to a stop and looked around at my playmate. He was grinning and holding a round table triumphantly over his head, ready to strike once I stopped moving.

“Danger in Bass Clef”, Available now in eBook and paperback formats. Johnny Scotch is…justice served neat. http://johnnyscotchjustice

“Danger in Bass Clef” excerpt…

Scotch is an experience that, if rushed, will reward you with a tightened throat, coughing, and possibly even tears, as your system works to reject the high-octane drink. It is best to take a nice, slow breath as the drink is brought to your mouth, stealing the vapors as they rise from the glass. You should allow a small sip to roll off the lip of the vessel. Warmed by the heat from your lips, it will transform from liquid to vapor. Appreciated correctly, scotch engages all your senses in the process, exposing its rich character and personality. But at the time I didn’t know any of that, so I slammed two fingers worth back in one gulp.

I exploded in a coughing fit. Every head in the room turned to check out the jackass in the corner trying to drink like a man. The five other patrons snickered as I wiped the tears from my eyes and cheeks and coughed out a guffaw. As my disruption calmed, I took notice of the tasteful jazz coming on over the speakers — Miles Davis was finishing up a solo on Sketches of Spain. I could not stop taking it in. How he was able to sing and sob through his instrument, all at the same time. How he told a different story for each listener. How all emotions blended together and were present, venting into the atmosphere when he blew through his horn. I needed that. I had to have a cathartic release of all the crap bottled up inside, fighting for control of my soul. A few short hours before I had hoped the release would come from drinking myself to death. But now that release seemed possible another way.

“Danger in Bass Clef”, Available August 17th on amazon.com and at select stores. Johnny Scotch is…justice served neat. http://johnnyscotchjustice

Thoughts from “Danger in Bass Clef” launch event.

Well “Danger in Bass Clef” is out in the world and last Thursday evening we gathered to celebrate the official launch. What a great evening. We had a great room that carries such a great energy in it (Thanks @stardaytavern). My band was amazing, as always. and everyone that came out was having a good time and buying books.

So now what? Time to continue the promotion efforts and focus on the next project as well. I have a couple of events coming up in the coming weeks as well that include a talk I will be giving on the 11th on how to build a comic book from the ground up. I have a reading at Another Read Through on the 14th. The next week Dan Schaefer and I will be heading to Salt Lake for the Salt Lake City Comic Con to unveil Johnny Scotch #3. The week after that I will be in Medford OR performing at the Southern Oregon Jazz Festival. So all in all, a pretty busy month coming up in September.

If you have not checked it out yet, please pop over to Amazon and pick up your digital or paperback copy of “Danger in Bass Clef”. This scotch-soaked, adrenaline laced ride is a great summer read, so strap in.


“Danger in Bass Clef” Saturday morning reading…

I fought back a smile. “All this for a  messenger boy and a couple goons?” I looked back at the slithery leader. I took a step forward. This was answered by the two behemoths advancing from their leader’s flank. I looked into his eyes as his guards puffed their chests. “You think this morning was embarrassing for your boss?” The corner of my smile glinted in the light of the street lamps. “Just wait.”

Before his front companion could react, I had driven my thumb into his larynx compressing his windpipe, stunning him into a breathless moment of panic. I followed the throat strike with two balled fists to the Gila monster’s ears. He yelped and grabbed his head in pain. The goliath to my left moved on me with a lurch. I crushed my foot into his boss’s chest, crashing him into the henchmen’s clutches, tumbling them into a confused bundle on the ground while I dealt with the gasping giant on the right.

I kicked down, landing my heel on his right kneecap. SNAP! The man’s leg bent backwards, and he yelped in pain as he plummeted to the ground, grasping his damaged limb.

I had hoped the thug on the left would have taken longer to recover from the tumble with his boss. Hope does not carry much weight in reality. As I was following through on his buddy’s kneecap, he was on me, enveloping my shoulders in his ham-like fists. I felt myself go weightless and lift from the ground. He hurtled me through the air across the grass arena. The ground smashed the wind from my lungs as my brief orbit ended. I rolled to a halt nearly ten feet from where I had been standing.

“Smash his chops through his face. I don’t want him to be able to play that damn horn ever again,” the lizard man said over his kneecapped guard’s pained screams.

“Danger in Bass Clef”, Available August 17th on amazon.com and at select stores. Johnny Scotch is…justice served neat. http://johnnyscotchjustice

“Danger in Bass Clef” In the tower excerpt…

“We have a problem here, Jim?” the WWF-reject’s voice boomed. He strolled past the sentry station and came to a halt an arm’s length away from me. The golem had a solid six inches of height and fifty pounds of pumped-up mass beyond me. Pretty sure he keeps the GNC store near his house in business on his own.

“No problem at all,” I said, keeping my voice warm and calm. No need to thump my chest and escalate before it was necessary. “I was just inquiring with your comrade behind the counter if he would mind giving a call upstairs to see if I can get a walk-in appointment.” I pocketed my hands, putting on a relaxed air. I wrapped my right fist around the pair of silver-plated trumpet mouthpieces I kept in my pocket in case of emergencies. I have found that most people mistake the sound of mouthpieces clanking together in a pocket with someone playing with their loose change, not shoring up their fist for action.

Jim’s stance behind the counter became more rigid. Ready for possible action, the beast propped himself up on the counter, leaning with one leg crossed in front of the other. His posturing intended to show me that I posed no threat to him and it would be better for me if I got back in my ride and pushed off. “I am pretty sure my colleague has explained the protocol to you. Why don’t you be nice and go home and make an appointment for a more reasonable business hour and come back then.” The giant being held up by the counter changed his tone from authoritative to placating. I tried to be nice. Oh well.

“Danger in Bass Clef”, Available August 17th on amazon.com and at select stores. Johnny Scotch is…justice served neat. http://johnnyscotchjustice

“Danger in Bass Clef”, Get your copy today!

“Danger in Bass Clef” Excerpt 5…

“I believe you are overestimating your position. Cass is too important to me to just forget about.” My stomach turned as his expression turned more lecherous when I mentioned Cass. Not cool, especially since I did not intend on puking up the nice scotch I had been enjoying. The conversation was also reminding me once again why I hated chess. A good opponent always has one last move that will make or break them. If you don’t anticipate their Hail Mary, it could leave you with a compromised king and no backup.

I said, “What I know is th-” A massive fist enveloped my ankle with a crushing grip. I scrambled for a secure hold as I was torn from the enclosed booth and flung through the air. I careened through the room, seeing the world flash by in slow motion. My abbreviated orbit ended as I collided with an empty table ten feet away from where I started. My flailing limbs sent chairs sliding and the small round table buckled underneath me. My left hand, holding my scotch glass, smashed into the ground, shattering the glass and slicing into my palm with scotch-soaked shards. I rolled and brought myself to my knees, cradling my injured hand.

“Danger in Bass Clef”, Available August 17th on amazon.com and at select stores. Johnny Scotch is…justice served neat. http://johnnyscotchjustice

“Danger in Bass Clef” Excerpt 4…

     I sat back and grinned at the exchange over my own bottle of 16-year-old Oban. The combination of sweet and smoky flavors rolled over my tongue with ease, lubricating our smooth conversation through the night.
     We nursed our drinks with the furtive knowledge that the way you handle your glass and its payload is akin to the way you handle your lover.
     I passed a warm breath over the lip of the glass as if exhaling across her arched throat. I pulled the glass closer between my lips, taking in the first sip. I flick my tongue to push the glass back after the smooth pull. Last, I let the scotch linger in my mouth, exploring the flavor palette before sending it along its final journey, to warm and coat my throat. My eyes rolled back with the liquor’s heat as it ignites my brain’s pleasure centers.
     Each drink heightened the building tension. The air around our table was thick with innuendo and promise. We grinned our wicked thoughts at the other. I wanted to drink her in and feel her heart pound against my chest. I could see that the taboo images dancing across my eyelids when I blinked were reciprocated in the reflection from her bright eyes.

“Danger in Bass Clef”, Available August 17th on amazon.com and at select stores. Johnny Scotch is…justice served neat. http://johnnyscotchjustice