Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Secrets of Self-Publishing A to Z: Conventions


CONVENTIONS!


At some point in your self-publishing career, you may be invited to a convention, or just come up with the idea to go by yourself. Before you book that table in the lonely creator's alley, there are a few things to consider:

1. Conventions are normally on the weekends, and that's when many of us like to write. In other words, sitting at a table, trying to hawk your books means you won't be getting any writing done. 

2. Unless you're an invited guest, conventions cost money to attend. Primarily, table fees. But there's also food, travel, and if you're out of town, lodgings. These costs can quickly mount, surpassing several hundred dollars. That's a lot of books to sell. 

3. Conventions cater to a specific demographic. For instance, comic book fans. Unless your book is about comic books, or comic book characters, you're going to have a hard time competing with cover-to-cover art. 

4. Selling books in person isn't as easy as you might think. Particularly bearing in mind the fact you'r competing against art, props, toys, and a lot of other things that can much more easily be visually appraised for their value.

If you do decide to set up at a convention, bear in mind there's a LOT of sitting involved. Sitting at your table/booth that is. You can bring something to do, or read, but if you do get a visitor, you have to be ready to drop everything and give them all your attention. 

Don't get too excited about visitors though... many are authors themselves, eager to network with other authors, or maybe looking for some tips from someone more experienced. Or they could be an aspiring author who has a lot of questions about self-publishing, but no intention to buy anything. 

And don't go to the convention empty handed. Even if you're only trying to sell ebooks (or rather, direct people to them) you need stuff at your table. Bookmarks, buttons, pencils, flyers, cards... the more stuff the better. 

As you can see, conventions are a lot more complicated to be a vendor at, than they are to visit. You're probably better off visiting, then returning home and doing some writing. 

Monday, April 03, 2017

Secrets of Self-Publishing A to Z: Businessing the Craft out of Writing

BUSINESSING THE CRAFT OUT OF WRITING

As I mentioned in A’s entry forthe month, there are a lot of people out there that want to take your money and “help” you print your books. Book doctors who’ll re-write your work for you, Cover Designers who’ll come up with that perfect cover, and even formatters who’ll ensure your work is ready for upload to whatever online service you choose to self-publish on.

But worse among them all are the business people. These folks claim that writing is a business and that you can’t succeed if you don’t treat it like one. They offer seminars (for a fee) or even consultations (for a fee). They extoll spreadsheets, virtual assistants, and acting professionally. Some of them are even authors.

Again, I have to call bullshit. Writing is a craft. We aren’t stamping out books from a mold, we’re spinning stories for readers. It’s art as much as painting or music. When you think of it as business, you’re taking the art away. The same thing has happened on television, which now features teams of writers on most shows, all methodically and systematically churning out formulaic scripts.


Whether you are saving the cat, or Denting some pulp, please don’t ever lose sight of the most important thing about self-publishing: telling a good story. Study the craft, not the marketing. Once you can master self-publishing, then you can move on to selling more copies, and then once you do that, you can worry about keeping track of expenses, maximizing your profits and all that other non-artistic crap. 

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Secrets of Self Publishing: All By Yourself

ALL BY YOURSELF



A to Z secrets of Self-Publishing:



It's April, and that means another year of the A-to-Z Blog Challenge. For this year's daily, letter-themed entries, I've chosen to go with Self-Publishing, something I've been active in for almost six years now. Unlike a lot of my peers though, I'm not going to charge for my knowledge, I'm going to share it for free. AND I'm going to give you the no-holds-barred, bullshit-free truths of self publishing.

First up, I'll tell you that you don't need anyone else. Self-publishing is just what it says it is: publishing yourself, instead of waiting for someone else to do it.

Before Kindle, self-publishing was limited to vanity publishing, which really was nothing more than self-printing. Having a print copy of your work doesn't really amount to much, because you need to find a way to sell it to customers. Kindle Direct Publishing is completely different thought. Instead of filling boxes in your garage with unsold copies of your work, you actually place your work on a digital marketplace where customers can, in theory, see it without any further work from you. That is, it's available to everyone, rather than just folks that come to your yard sale.

KDP isn't the only marketplace for self-publishers. There's Nook, Kobo, iTunes. Smashwords, and even Google Play (assuming you can figure out their interface). But I'll get into them more later. 

What's really important to remember about self publishing is that it truly is DIY. If you have a computer and can put your words in electronic format for uploading, then you also have the means to make covers, to edit, spellcheck and even proofread your own work. It may indeed be true that you might lack the talent to do these things, and that's okay. But you should at least try.

What irritates me the most about the modern self-publishing landscape is all the deceitful hucksters out there insisting that if you don't have a "professional" cover, or a "professional" editor, etc. etc. you won't sell anything. I say bullshit. You don't need professional services, they are just ways to improve your odds of making sales. 

Think of it in car terms. When you buy a car, it doesn't need air conditioning. Or a sunroof. Or Power seats, power mirrors, GPS, etc. etc. Those are options. A five speed manual transmission with hand crank windows and manual door locks will get you to work. A/C will just get you there more comfortably. 

Self-publishing is the same. If you just can't make a cover to save your life, that doesn't mean you won't make any sales. It's an indicator you won't make very many, but there's still that element of dumb luck involved. 

Here's where I'll digress for a moment. A lot of people confuse luck with karma. You ca't change luck. By definition, it's random. And no matter how much money you throw at book you've self-published, it still just might not sell, and not because it's bad. On the other hand, complete crap (whether it's published by traditional publishers or you) can sell many, many units if you're lucky enough for the right people to see it, share it, talk about it, etc. 

The most important thing about true DIY self-publishing, is that you are willing to work. And no, it's not a "business", as so many other hucksters will proclaim. It's not a business until you actually are selling. Until then, it's a dream, and you have to work hard and cross your fingers that dream comes true. But the good news is that it can

Not everyone wins the lottery who buys a ticket. Self-publishing has better odds than the lottery, in that you can sell some of your books no matter how bad the cover, the editing, or the spelling. If you want to improve your odds by putting a second mortgage on your home to pay experts who themselves aren't writing, go right ahead, but please, please, please remember that all the money in the world may not be enough to sell your work to readers. 

It's a new day in publishing, and you owe it to yourself to give it a shot. It costs nothing but time to publish in our modern, digital world. 






Tuesday, March 21, 2017

On Hiatus...

Just a quick update for those who follow this blog...

The Chowmageddon articles and interviews will be returning, as well as some other stuff I had planned for April's A to Z Challenge, I've just been a little pre-occupied of late...

February ended in a bang, or rather, a snip, when an AT&T contractor cut my line while installing at the neighbor's house. That killed my internet, phone, and TV for a weekend, and involved much yelling at AT&T.

March started with our dog sick... when I came home to check on her on my lunch hour one day, I found a big contractor dumpster in our driveway. It was delivered to the wrong house, but getting that squared away, and getting it moved, took half a day.

Throw in my eldest's theater season, with daily rehearsals after school, and my youngest's tennis season starting up (with practices after school) and it's been hectic.

Then my wife had a car wreck.

Some idiot pulled out in front of her from a stop sign. That disabled our new car we got back in October. Well, I say new. It was a 2011 Subaru Forester with 31,000 miles on it that apparently spent most of it's life in a garage. It looked brand new, with nary a scratch or ding anywhere on it. Fabulous car, that we were lucky to find.

So now, on top of everything else, I have to take the wife to doctor's appointments, make calls to try and get insurance to pay for everything, make arrangements to get another car, etc. etc.

And since not enough of your friends are buying my books, I still plug away at a day job as well.

Time has been a commodity I am in very short supply of.

Hopefully, things are settling down and I can return to my regular weekend and evenings writing schedule, and get this thing going again.

Until then, thanks for checking in every now and then...

Thursday, March 02, 2017

CHOWMAGEDDON: Post-Apocalyptic Author Lawrence Herbert Tide

As part of the ongoing Chowmageddon series, I talked to Post Apocalyptic Author Lawrence Herbert Tide about eating after the End of the World...



1. How long have you been writing post-apocalyptic fiction or non-fiction?

I’ve been writing about nine months, the time I’ve needed to write this ebook which is my very first Novel; until then, I only had written a few short stories and Novella, some of them only in French at first, before writing also in English (using the service of Editors-Proofreaders to improve the quality of the texts).

2. What kind of apocalyptic event do you find most interesting?

In the case of this Novel, I wanted to have fun by writing my first Zombie Horror story, having usually been more attracted by Science Fiction. Of course, I could’ve written a SF Novel concerning the survival in an Alien invaded world, with human beings fighting to survive (what happens to Tom Cruise and his character’s family in the movie War of the Worlds is really interesting, by the way). 

3. What kind of apocalyptic event do you fear the most?

I have difficulties to choose between two events, more realistic than a virus transforming human beings into cannabalistic monsters: 

- The collision of a giant meteor.
- The eruption of a super volcano of the Caldera type.

In both cases, survivors will have to cope with the coming of the equivalent of an Atomic Winter, which would stop the arrival sun’s rays on the surface of the Earth, meaning the disappearance of agriculture, and famine for billions of people.

4. Are you a prepper? At what level do you consider yourself?

I’ll classify myself as a beginner by saying that I’m interested by the survival subject, and if ever world havoc arrives, at least I’ll have had thoughts about it. 

And I can only hope that if ever hell on Earth arrives, these reflexions will enable me to save my family and myself.

5. Where do you think the ideal place to live is prior to an apocalyptic event?

A farm would be the ideal place to live, for me, in the case of an apocalyptic event. But not an ordinary farm : a farm surrounded by walls, a citadel.

Because it would enable one to protect oneself and one’s precious food products from other humans, whether they would be normal human beings or zombies.

6. Shelter-in-place, or bug out?

Shelter-in-place will be the preferred option for me, and that’s why in my story, survivors of the zombie apocalypse take shelter in a huge fortress-like structure called the Community. Because with such harsh conditions for survival, I think that the financial system would disappear, replaced by a more communal way of life.

7. What do plan to eat in the apocalypse?

Mainly products of hydroponics or aquaponics, but also insects, larvae and… maggots.
Yum!

8. What foods do you regularly stock in your home that would be adaptable to a post-apocalyptic situation?

Notably rice, pasta, even if I must admit that, for the moment, I haven’t stockpiled.

9. What is your preferred preservation method for post-apocalyptic foods?

Canned and vacuum-packed food are and would be my favorites.

10. What's the primary factor for you in deciding on a survival food? Taste? Weight? Nutritional Value? Ease of preparation?

Being a French gourmet because of my culture, my natural tendency would be to be attracted by tasty food. Now, I’m a realist person, and I would at least chose nutritional and easy to prepare food.

11. What's the worst "survival food" you've ever tasted?

I’ve never eaten what I would classify as « survival food » : insects, maggots, and… human flesh.

Perhaps, well prepared, are they delicious, LOL ?

Like many men of my generation, I had to serve as a military, in the French Navy. I ate once a food ration, during a long walk.

I found it rather tasty, while others hated it, one of them telling to our superior authority that he wouldn’t ever give such a food to his dog. Perhaps this means that I would be a good prepper, if I’m able to eat many things ?


12. What's the best?

I love potatoes, like the character in the novel The Martian. 

I’ve heard that human flesh has the taste of pork, something that I love to eat.

But I wish that I’ll never be forced to eat such a thing. For me, human beings are too precious to be undermined as food.

13. Any special survival recipes you have up your camouflaged sleeves?

I love to eat great cooking by my wife and restaurants, but I’m a very bad amateur cook myself.

So, I don’t have any survival recipe that I could use…

But I think that, when one’s forced by events, one can find great resources in oneself, so I think that I would be able to adapt. 

14. What's the best survival food tip you've ever heard?

When motivated by hunger, I think that anyone would find solutions enabling to open tin cans or any other food package. Concrete surface, rocks, sticks.

Frankly ? I think that learning how to use firearms or arrows and bows efficiently, for hunting, would be the ultimate solution for survival.


You can learn more abut Herbert and his upcoming Zombie Trilogy at his blog, http://lawrenceherberttid.wixsite.com/tidesworlds

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

CHOWMAGEDDON: Post Apocalyptic Author Cora Buhlert

As part of the ongoing Chowmageddon series, I talked to Post Apocalyptic Author Cora Buhlert about dining after Doomsday...

1. How long have you been writing post-apocalyptic fiction or non-fiction?

My first work of post-apocalyptic fiction, the novelette The Hybrids, was published in 2013. However, the roots of the story are much older, since The Hybrids is a reworking/updating of a short story I wrote during my second semester at university in the 1990s. So I guess you could say that I've been writing post-apocalyptic fiction for twenty years, though I've only been publishing it for four years.


2. What kind of apocalyptic event do you find most interesting?

Whichever scenario I'm writing about at the moment. So far, I've had nuclear war, a killer pandemic, global warming, global cooling, climate change in general, asteroid impact, solar surge/EMP pulse, alien invasions, kaiju attacks, a zombie apocalypse and a robot apocalypse. I write mostly short fiction, which means I can try out a lot of different scenarios.


3. What kind of apocalyptic event do you fear the most?

The ones that have a decent chance of actually happening. Let's face it, the chances of a zombie apocalypse or a kaiju attack happening in the real world are pretty much nil. But climate change, natural disasters or killer pandemics are a lot more likely. However, I think the apocalyptic event I fear most are nuclear war or an INES 6 or 7 level nuclear accident. I grew up in the 1980s, when fears of nuclear war and mutually assured destruction were widespread. I was twelve when the Chernobyl accident happened and since I lived in Germany, we got some of the fallout. At school, we weren't allowed to go outside in the rain, we weren't allowed to drink milk or eat fresh vegetables for a couple of weeks and all because of a danger you could neither see nor feel. And the nearest nuclear reactor, thankfully shut down by now, was only fifty kilometres from where I lived. Experiencing that sort of thing as a kid leaves its mark.


4. Are you a prepper? At what level do you consider yourself?

Preppers are mostly an American phenomenon. We don't really have them here in Germany. That said, I do believe in having sufficient food supplies to hold out for a while in case of natural disasters, etc… We also have a vegetable garden and a greenhouse, so we can grow our own food. 

I'm also lucky enough to live in a house that is largely self-sufficient with regard to power. We have solar panels, a co-generation unit and a battery storage which can still supply power, even if the grid goes down. And should the grid go down for longer than the battery lasts, we also have an emergency diesel generator. We also have a wood-fired stove in the basement, so we can still cook even if the power goes down (plus, it keeps you warm). I picked this idea up from the old farmers in my area, who always kept a wood-fired stove around, even after they got gas or electricity, just in case. 

I think such precautions are sensible, for even though you'll probably never experience the zombie apocalypse, power outages due to natural disasters, etc… happen and can last several days, if you're unlucky.


5. Where do you think the ideal place to live is prior to an apocalyptic event?

I think a semi-rural, semi-suburban area is best, because that way you'll probably have enough space to grow at least some of your own food and/or keep chickens, pigs, etc…, but you're still close enough to major population centres that you're not completely cut off from emergency services. 

Also, try to choose a spot on relatively high ground, so you won't be affected by floods. I live near the North Sea coast, so storm surges and flooding are a genuine risk. We get storm flood warnings a couple of times every year, while the last really big flood, which drowned more than three hundred people in Germany alone, happened in 1962, i.e. only 55 years ago. 


6. Shelter-in-place, or bug out?

It really depends on the nature of the apocalyptic event: In case of a killer pandemic, shelter-in-place is the best strategy. But in case of a massive flood or a nuclear meltdown, you'll want to get the hell out of there. 


7. What do plan to eat in the apocalypse?

Whatever is in the basement. I keep my pantry well stocked, so the food should last a while. We also have a vegetable garden and a greenhouse to grow our own food. I could also can and pickle food, if necessary.


8. What foods do you regularly stock in your home that would be adaptable to a post-apocalyptic situation?

I always buy the big fifteen kilogram bags of dry rice, so that should last for a while. I also always have a decent supply of Ramen noodles, other noodles, canned and pickled foods as well as dried lentils, beans, etc… in the pantry. The freezer is usually full of garden vegetables, so I could have those, too, as long as the power lasts. What is more, I usually have several crates of bottled water in the cellar, so hydration is assured as well. 


9. What is your preferred preservation method for post-apocalyptic foods? 

I don't have any specific preference. It's probably best to have a variety available, so if there's something you cannot use for some reason, you still have an alternative.


10. What's the primary factor for you in deciding on a survival food? Taste? Weight? Nutritional Value? Ease of preparation?

I don't stock any survival foods per se, just regular food supplies that could be adapted, if necessary.

11. What's the worst "survival food" you've ever tasted?

I'm not sure if I ever had anything that was specifically marketed as a survival food, but those powdered protein shakes they sell to bodybuilders taste pretty bad.


12. What's the best?

See above: I don't think I've ever had anything specifically marketed as a survival food.


13. Any special survival recipes you have up your camouflaged sleeves?

Nothing specific, but I think it's helpful if you know how to pickle or can food. Home-canning has fallen somewhat out of fashion in the past forty years or so, but your grandmother might still have a home-canning cookbook (or you can pick one up at the flea market) and maybe even the respective equipment like Mason jars or Weck jars. 


14. What's the best survival food tip you've ever heard? 

Not really a survival food tip, just a neat story: In the early 1970s, a massive storm hit the area where I live and knocked out the power for several days. As a result, frozen food quickly began to spoil. So the people took their frozen food to the local undertaker and put it into the morgue, because it had an emergency diesel generator and therefore still had power. This story illustrates an aspect that is often missing from post-apocalyptic fiction, namely people helping each other and working together to get through the disaster and survive. 

To find out more about Cora, or check out her amazing written work, visit her website: http://corabuhlert.com

Cora is also on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CoraBuhlert

Apocalyptic/Post-apocalyptic works:
The Death of the American Dream: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01F6FB1FQ


Thursday, February 23, 2017

CHOWMAGEDDON: Post Apocalyptic Author Ann Christy

As part of the ongoing Chowmageddon series, I talked to Post Apocalyptic Author Ann Christy about doomsday dining.




1. How long have you been writing post-apocalyptic fiction or non-fiction?

Since July 2013. I happened on writing almost by accident. I spent almost 29 years in the navy. As a naval officer and navy scientist, I never thought about writing, but that but can bite anyone and it got me good. 

2. What kind of apocalyptic event do you find most interesting?


They’re all interesting, aren’t they? I mean, so many ways to die. Which do you pick? Personally, I think technological ones are the most interesting, because we’re adopting new tech so quickly and it’s bound to go wrong at some point. I’ve written a series with a sort-of-zombie apocalypse created by medical nanites. Because I happen to know quite a bit about them, it’s super scary to think about what could happen with them. That said, I like to end the world in many ways. I’ve got a series with tailored bio-weapons (Texas launches them against the US and world, very sneaky like), and my shorts/novellas have some truly dreadful ends in them.


I think it of it as warding. If I write it, then it can’t happen.

3. What kind of apocalyptic event do you fear the most?

Economic. Those are the worst ones because it turns people into something other than what they want to be. It’s almost like they are the zombies. Nothing is out of bounds when the world is starving. 

4. Are you a prepper? At what level do you consider yourself?

Yep, but I’m not as intense about it as before. I actually de-prepped a large amount of stuff (I’m sure the trash pickup folks wondered what was going on.) I’m advanced in my knowledge, but less comprehensive about my actual prepping now. 

Even so, I’m ready for what’s most likely to come my way.

Also, I have learned over a few apocalypses that there is one very common element to most long disasters and that is this...they are dreadfully boring. I’m not kidding. It seems to be a common element to those that survive well that they found ways not to be bored, because boredom makes you think about how horrible things are. 

Think about it. You’re getting your gear up and ready, you’re stashing your ammo within easy reach, and setting up watches. But what then? You’ve got a month, a year...a lifetime...of this. No more Netflix or free Kindle books. 

You might say that you’ll be busy gardening, doing patrols, or fashioning a rudimentary lathe (2 points if you get the reference). But no, that’s actually unlikely to fill all your time. Most apocalypses have ebbs and floods and every hour can seem like a day. It’s not good for morale.

So, I have prepped boredom relievers too. I have enough watercolor paper and tubes of paint to paint for years if I take time with each one. So stash some colored pencils and card stock, grab a few zentangle books and some micron pens. Whatever floats your boat, but avoid boredom at all costs. Attitude is the best prep of all.

5. Where do you think the ideal place to live is prior to an apocalyptic event? 

Well, I was learning a program we use in the military and decided to create something real to get better at it. I created layers with all sorts of factors involved (natural, chemical, geological, historical, meteorological, etc.) and came up with a series of spots along a rough line in the US, plus a blob or two in places way too cold or dry for me. I immediately checked my results, called a land agent, and bought property in one of those spots. While I don’t live there, I like having it in my back pocket.

But the important thing from that overly long story is that there are almost NO good places to be before a catastrophe, because all catastrophes have their own ways and areas. That said, I live on the Chesapeake Bay (Inner) so I can leave by boat if land gets dicey. It also has a chokepoint over land (it’s a tiny peninsula) so that no one can approach without being seen. One or two shooters can cover all approaches. I aint’ dumb. 

My advice is live where you have two ways out, but others have just one way in.

6. Shelter-in-place, or bug out?

SIP if I can, BO if I have to. I want to keep on cooking great food and would much prefer to do that at home. Those Mountain House pouches get old fast. Plus, I want to stay home and paint the apocalypse.

7. What do plan to eat in the apocalypse?

I will not just eat...I will enjoy dining. Seriously. One of the main reasons I de-prepped so much stuff was that I knew I would never eat it and if I did, it would be yucky and no fun. That’s no way to experience TEOTWAWKI! 

When I retired from the military and went to full time writing, I decided that I would make a concerted effort to create food that is prep- and pantry-friendly, while still being amazing to eat. I was surprised to find that this has been a truly enjoyable experience and it is both more economical to eat better, while also keeping preps in rotation. Without prep prices. 

I subscribe to Blue Apron, and one of the things I do is try to adapt favorites to being prep or pantry friendly dishes that will delight the palate and make any mealtime (even without a disaster) a beautiful experience. I share them sometimes on Facebook, but I only recently actually put on up on my blog. I don’t think my readers (who are largely Science Fiction fans) read it much, but I’m going to keep putting them up because it might help someone who also hates pinto beans as much as me.

8. What foods do you regularly stock in your home that would be adaptable to a post-apocalyptic situation?

I’m a fresh and whole food junkie. I love fresh greens and veggies and all that jazz. That said, I also try to be smart. Anything that’s not a fresh veggie is likely okay for prepping in my house. And even the stuff in my freezer and fridge is almost all canning or dehydrator friendly should the need arise.

Some things that are prep friendly and also awesome to have on hand are tomato powder (ditch those metal-tasting cans of paste and sauce and store just one can of that to make your own quick-like), dehydrated onions (these are powerhouses and I can’t say enough great things about adding onion), and dehyrdrated mushrooms (I carry shiitake and white ones). 

Just these three - which I call the holy trinity of flavor preps - will save you money, untie you from last minute grocery trips, and elevate your prep meals. 

I have dozens of these...truly...that I have tested and tried in myriad ways. My pantry is happy and my meals glorious. Someday, I will get fat, I think. 

9. What is your preferred preservation method for post-apocalyptic foods?

To do myself, I like canning and dehydrating. I like dehydrating because of the compression factor and lower weight. I love my Excalibur! Canning in jars means some danger should things get rattled, but I do love to can. Opening up a jar of tomatoes or corn sends out a smell like a hot morning in July. 

I like freeze-dried meats for storage, but I only used them for testing recipes due to cost. I like that they’ll last forever, but they take up so much darned room!

10. What's the primary factor for you in deciding on a survival food? Taste? Weight? Nutritional Value? Ease of preparation?

I balance all of those things, but I include cost and replacement potential as well. Some things can have less nutrition if they have high satisfaction levels. Other things are high on nutrition, but harder to fold into tasty food. It’s all about balance with me.

11. What's the worst "survival food" you've ever tasted?

Any non-breakfast MRE. OMG, those things are from the devil. I actually used to get nauseous when they were passed out. I just can’t do it. So gross, like salty glue.

12. What's the best?

What I call Indian MREs. On one deployment, I figured we might have some issues with resupply, but couldn’t know for sure, so I replaced a lot of my non-essential items on the ship with those Indian pouches. Punjab eggplant over jasmine rice was my favorite. My roommate and I ate well on the ship when things were nasty after so long with no supply. Of course, I also created a fancy coffee station in my crew’s workspace so they could have good coffee and mochas and stuff during deployment, so I’m not a good example. 

But if you’re a prepper, check those out. They last a very long time (I did some testing over a 7 year period, so they *do* last a long time). They are less hassle than almost anything else and extremely tasty. Also economical to prep and keep in rotation.

13. Any special survival recipes you have up your camouflaged sleeves?

Oh sure, about a hundred. Seriously, probably more now. If you want my absolute favorite, here it is:

Thai Inspired Chicken with Soba

Makes enough for four very hungry people (adjust chicken for protein needs, 1 cup minimum)

Ingredients:
½ package of soba noodles (1.5 bundles). 
1 cup reconstituted freeze dried chicken (chopped into chunks). 
Chicken broth crystals to make 6 cups. 
Rehydrate the following: 2 scallions worth, ½ cup shiitake mushroom dice, 2 tbsp ginger mince (or use dried ginger, but it’s not as good), 1 green pepper worth of dice, 2 stalks worth of celery cuts. 
If you have dried garlic mince, use about 3 cloves worth, otherwise garlic powder to taste. 
Dried cilantro flakes. 
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce.
Red curry paste to taste. 
Lime powder. 
(If you don’t have dried scallions, using 2 tsp of dried onions will work fine).

In a big pot, brown the chicken briefly in oil, then set aside. Saute your mushrooms, green pepper, celery until it warms up and looks normal. Add the ginger, garlic, and scallions and saute for just a minute. Add curry paste to taste and let it brown and grow fragrant for about 30 seconds. Then add the Worcestershire sauce, broth, chicken. Bring to boil, then simmer until the liquid reduces and flavors incorporate for about 15 minutes. Add soba noodles and let them cook. Remove from heat and stir in about 1 tbsp of prepared lime juice (or enough sprinkles to make that much, which is a very small amount so be careful). Sprinkle a few cilantro flakes on each bowl. Enjoy!


14. What's the best survival food tip you've ever heard? 

It’s silly, but it’s correct. If you pretend it’s salad, eating weeds isn’t so bad, so carry vinegar and spices, even if you have nothing else, to make dressing.