Johnny Scotch’s Top Shelf Reviews – Entry One: La Aroma De Havana Cigar Bar & Lounge

Maybe it was because I was in town but the usual bright sunny demeanor of Pismo Beach CA was absent during my short stay. It was replaced with a moist fog that blanketed the rolling terrain and concealed the soft roar of the oceans waves behind a curtain of mystery and awe. I was welcomed by the weather and felt at home in the cool mist of the day.

I was searching for a place to kill some hours while I waited for my next set on the road. I had already had my fill of trick or treaters that pandered to the boardwalk businesses luring them in with the promise of technicolor sugar. Just off the main drag I was coaxed into a corner bar that was close enough to walk to but out of the way of the munchkins making their rounds.

As I pushed into the entry way of La Aroma De Havana, I expected to walk into a dim lit, musty, smoke filled dive. To my delight, I was way off the mark. The high ceilings and industrial ventilation promised that even with the potential smoke of a cigar bar, you would not be choked by the oily vapors emanating from your neighbor. Soft leather chairs filled the room instead of the usual booths and tables of a typical bar. I cozied up to the copper bar and took the rest of the room in. Industrial but not cold. A wall of nice wines and a decent list of microbrews on tap winked at me.

The purveyor of La Aroma greeted me with a warm hand shake and a soft accent. His greeting was not desperate or pandering. It was sincere and welcoming. It made me want to stay for a while and become a part of the scenery. I ordered a pint, being only a little disappointed at the lack of scotch and made my way to the glass cage that held in the wide selection of cigars to round out the full offerings of this establishment.

The rest of the afternoon was filled with light conversation, the consumption of a few lubricating pints and the soft draw of an oily but smooth smoking Maduro. Jazz played over the speakers and sports occupied the other patrons who had also sought refuge in this hideaway away from the beach and the giggling kids outside.

I left with the appreciative knowledge that my next visit to Pismo Beach would have to include another escape from the tourist laden sidewalks to this haven of class, tucked away, but not hidden, from the main drag of this busy tourist town.

I stepped from the musk of fine tobacco, back out into the thick air of the fog that veiled my exit and chauffeured me back to my gig to play the night away with my crew.

This review was provided without solicitation for La Aroma De Havana Cigar Bar & Lounge, Pismo Beach CA. John Dover is the writer of Johnny Scotch and professional musician based out of Portland OR. For more writing from John Dover, visit, and


Johnny Scotch for Santa Rosa

JS Fundraiser

Many times it is not until we are face-to-face with the results of a disaster that we put ourselves into action to help others. I am not from the Santa Rosa area, but have many friends and colleagues who were affected by the recent devastating fires that wiped across the landscape with such blinding speed. Homes, businesses, and families were burnt to the ground and it is heart-wrenching.

With this disaster, as with many that have occurred in such short succession, I have felt helpless in its wake of destruction. I don’t have much, but what I have I want to use to help those in need as much as I can. That is why, until the end of November, I will be hosting a special sale on my site,, which will designate a major portion of proceeds from the sale of every Johnny Scotch comic or book to the North Bay Fire Relief Fund. Here is the breakdown:

Purchases of $5.00 – $15.00 (one to three comics), $2.00 per comic will be donated.
Purchases of $9.00 (a copy of Danger in Bass Clef), $4.00 will be donated.
Purchases of $20.00 (Johnny Scotch package of three comics and Danger in Bass Clef), $10.00 will be donated.

As I mentioned before, I don’t have much, that means that any puchases will have to still include a shipping fee. Sorry.

I realize, this is not the only way for you to donate and I encourage any and all of you to go the the site for the North Bay Fire Relief Fund, or any of the myriad organizations that are working to benefit this and other disasters around the world right now.

Since Facebook will only allow me to host this event for two weeks, I will keep updates flowing through my webpage and also do a big announcement on December 1st as to how much we were able to pull together with this informal drive. Please help by taking part in whatever way you can. Post, share, contribute and share again.


Website updates for Johnny Scotch…

Spent some time today updating my site with some fresh images and with new links. Images to promote Johnny Scotch #3 are there and there will be more to come for sure. I also collected links for some of the reviews and interviews for Johnny Scotch over the past couple of years. Great links from my friends at Hold 322, The Art of Business,, and Written Sins.

I hope you will take some time to take a tour of the site and see what is going on in the Johnny Scotch universe.


New Horror Anthology Now Available…

This has been an exciting year of releases. From Tales From the Braided Pony, to Danger in Bass Clef, to Johnny Scotch #3, I am very lucky to have my voice out in the literary world. This week I get to celebrate yet another one of my short stories getting published.


This is the second anthology released by Mark Green and his company. I am excited to offer my fun short story, “Special Delivery” as part of this collection, just in time to add this to your October reading list.


The evolution of Johnny Scotch…

It has been four years since my hard hitting, hard drinking alter ego was conceived. What a wild ride it has been so far. Since my start I have written and published two comic books, a short story and my first novella in the Johnny Scotch universe. Next week we are launching our third comic book in the series and I am so excited to share this beautiful book with everyone. Dan Schaefer, as always, has truly delivered the noir flavored goods with his artwork.

This morning I would like to share the covers from our previous books to go through the evolution of Johnny Scotch a bit. Let’s start with Dan and my first experiment, Finding Ella.

JOHNNYscotch_montage page

This cover had everything. We get our first look at our hero and the world he runs around in. We also get glimpses of some of the future characters that will soon play a big part in Johnny’s world. This was an exciting time for me because it was my first experience having my words translated into a visual medium. Dan and I just clicked and he really understood the pulpy jazz-noir character I was trying to get out onto the page.

Next up is the first fully illustrated comic we did.


Talk about smooth. This cover, which highlights Lila, tells you right away that this is going to be a thrill ride filled with plenty of dangerous curves. It was during the production of Lila that we decided to expand Lila’s role and push forward with an expanded story arc for her.

That led to Comic number 2, “A Song to Remember Charlie”.

johnny scotch 2 Cover

Things start to heat up for Johnny in this book and it went from being a tough guy story to a full on murder mystery with hints to Johnny’s recent past fumbles. The cover art also took a bit of a different turn with a real retro flavor with Dan’s water colors.

The interior art has always stayed consistent and beautiful. Dan’s blending of my words with his film noir aesthetic have helped make these books so fun to tear into. There is a visceral flow to each page that makes you want to keep turning them even when you have flipped the back cover closed.

johnny scotch 2016 interior pgs-082116_FINAL_FOR_PRINT

Next up was the launch of my first Johnny Scotch novella, “Danger in Bass Clef”.


When Dan and I talked about what I wanted for this, we settled on the dime store pulp novel feel. We get a cross between a spaghetti western and a seventies movie poster. In other words, pitch perfect.

In my next post I will reveal the much anticipated cover for our upcoming comic book. Please check back soon to see where this has brought us to date.

What have I been up to?

What a crazy couple of weeks. The launch of “Danger in Bass Clef” has been going very well. Happy to say that we have pushed out our first 50 physical copies. Not monster numbers but for doing this all on my own I am very happy. Not to mention that we have had great reviews so far. Just waiting for more people to jump on board as the book gains momentum.

So where is Johnny Scotch the comic book? On its way!!! Dan Schaefer and I are gearing up to reveal the book in a couple weeks at Salt Lake Comic Con. I am so proud for how this one has come together. The marriage between my words and Dan’s artwork is amazing. I can’t wait to share this beautiful book with all of you.

Mostly what I have been up to besides clamoring to get the new comic done and printed is a lot of blog writing. Once it is official when my stuff will hit I will make an announcement as to where you can go to see me tackle some entertainment writing. Very fun stuff.

Looking forward to getting back to work on my new book though. I have to admit, as much as I have enjoyed throwing out a ton of content for this new blog I am eager to get some pages flying and back into the swing of things on the new project.

Whats next? Work will start on the fourth Johnny Scotch comic book soon after Salt Lake. I plan to have a new book ready for release in the next four months (knock on wood), and I will continue to promote “Danger in Bass Clef”, “Tales From the Braided Pony”, and the comics ad nausium.


“Danger in Bass Clef”…

It has been months since Johnny last saw Cass, but when she bursts into this bar one night with a tale of kidnapping, extortion, and an illegal downhill death race, Johnny jumps into action. Join Johnny and Cass on an adrenaline and scotch-laced adventure through the pulpy jazz-noir streets of Bridge City as they fight to rescue her love, disrupt a local gangster’s betting ring, and keep Cass from becoming roadkill.

Busy week of writing

Been doing a lot of promo lately for “Danger in Bass Clef”. Time to give an update on the other things that have been going on.

I have been cranking out a series of entertainment blogs for my friends over at Myth Machine. They should be going live in the next couple of weeks. Have not been doing this much binge watching and blogging but it has been great for my daily word count and helping me to hone my brevity. I never thought it would be so hard to punch out a review in a matter of 500 words. I have found it hard to keep it bellow 800 honestly but am starting to get better at finding a solid voice for them. I will keep everyone posted when those launch.

I have also started to shift my promo over to the upcoming release of the third Johnny Scotch comic which will be debuting at Salt Lake Comic Con in a little less than 3 weeks. Very excited for this one. Dan Schaefer’s art has really kicked it up for this issue and we are about to send something very special to the printers.

Of course, I am still putting out little promo shares regarding “Tales From the Braided Pony”. That book is special to me because not only do I have two stories in it, but it is the first thing I put out under someone else’s imprint. Chuck Anderson and Alucard Press have been awesome about this book and they have been pushing the hell out of it. So yay!

That’s it for now. Be sure to check out “Danger in Bass Clef” available through Amazon now!


“Danger in Bass Clef” Excerpt 10…

I leaned out over my balcony railing, minding to stay under my overhang so as not to take on water from the morning shower. The cold iron stung my elbows. I held tight to my mug as it burned into my palms. Since I was not going to get a run in this morning I needed to kickstart my senses a bit. Overloading my senses with the cold and the hot and the wind dancing across my naked back was a welcome remedy to chase away the remnants from last night’s scotch that held on with a lover’s grasp. I clamped my jaw tight before opening up to the silky hot brew that was about to bathe my mouth in caffeinated goodness. I breathed in the hot steam as the espresso danced across my lips towards its destination. The welcome effect was near immediate.

My swollen, morning eyes engaged with the grey horizon spread out in front of me. I took in the blurred landscape of the jagged city skyline surrounded by the sharp green pine thriving on the near-constant, moss-inducing rains of Bridge City’s damp microclimate. I scanned the scene from left to right, contrasting and comparing the sharp buildings with the pine needles, juxtaposed with my neighbor’s smooth naked body partaking in her morning yoga ritual in the well-lit and revealing study just below where I perched on my balcony. Our eyes met for a moment. She smiled a playful invitation. I gave her a cheers with my coffee cup and headed back inside, maintaining our playful cat and mouse routine. The bored housewife and the mysterious neighbor. Innuendo separated by glass and decorum. Nothing would ever happen, which of course, is what made it so sweet. My hot shower might be a little longer after our taboo exchange.

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

“Danger in Bass Clef” excerpt 9…

I pulled my battered beast into his gates and rattled to the shop where a bleary-eyed Samson waited, standing vigil over a cup of two-day-old coffee and a stale bagel. His stained overalls complete the cliché, along with a face camouflaged by grease marks and dirt from days of staring down engine blocks through bloodshot eyes. Some people are addicted to drugs, caffeine, or even sex. Samson is addicted to cars. I try not to imagine the intimate moments he might have caressing a vintage corvette back to life.

My GTO had looked better. Cass dented my trunk to hell and disabled the locking mechanism, Houdini-ing herself out, back at the bar. Samson and I surveyed the damage in silence. I knew he could get it back to 100 percent, but it didn’t change the grief that we both felt at the lost sheen that would never be quite the same.

“You said she was…how big?”

“Not big enough to do this much damage.”

“I need a drink.” Samson, head hung low, slumped off towards his office to gather his strength for the task at hand.

“You and me both, brother. Hey, can you give me ride back to my place?”

His door slammed behind him, and I heard the rattle of a metal bottle cap spinning off the bottle of Wild Turkey rescued from inside his desk.

“Never mind. I can walk.”

As I left him to sulk, I could swear I heard the faint, gentle sound of taps being hummed from behind his office door.

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