Coffee

Grind Those Beans, National Coffee Day Has Arrived

The day has come, friends. The day that we’ve all been waiting for. While others may be distracted by the bright colors of other holidays, us true coffee lovers know that today is a day like no other. Get prepared, because today is National Coffee Day!

Nicholas Conley Red Adept coffee

Last year, I somehow missed this most caffeinated of days. Grieving over my terrible error, I ensured that such a mistake would never happen again, by subscribing myself to an annual email reminder every year, upon the day that National Coffee Day returns. That day has come, and to mark the occasion, I’m starting the morning with — what else? — a beautifully dark, aromatic, flavorful cup of Joe.

So grind those beans, boil that water, or get those coffee shop loyalty cards punched, because the day is here.

Check out all of your local coffee shops or franchises to see what sort of coffee deals and specials might be swooping your way today. USA Today offers this list of some of the bigger name specials, which even includes surprising deals by such companies as Lyft.

In the meantime, if you feel like pulling up a chair and enjoying a coffee here on Writings, Readings, and Coffee Addictions, let’s celebrate by going back through some of the more coffee-focused blogs of the past:

 

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Happy National Coffee Day, everyone!

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Southeast Asia Part V: Southern Thailand, the Final Chapter

And at long last, the saga of our 2017 Asian adventure comes to an end.  I was intimidated at the prospect of first writing these entries, but I hope I’ve properly gotten across just how amazing southeast Asia really is. This was easily one of the most unbelievable trips my wife and I have ever been on, and we can’t wait to go back one day.

Before I get started, some catchup:

Southeast Asia Part I: Thailand

Southeast Asia Part II: Thailand

Southeast Asia Part III: Laos

Southeast Asia Part IV: Cambodia

So, after our travels in Cambodia, and with less than a few weeks left in our trip, we boarded a flight right to Phuket, the most famous island in Southern Thailand. Phuket is definitely the Los Angeles of Thailand. It’s huge, constantly moving, with a myriad of events taking place in any direction the eyes can see.

It’s highly commercialized, of course, far more than the rest of Thailand. It’s definitely a carnival, but still worth seeing, if only for the mesmerizing beaches.

From there, we then escaped to the shores of Ko Yao Noi. This remote little island, which has a 90% Muslim population, is one of the most amazing and beautiful places in Thailand. It’s quiet, simple, rural, with very little going on, and that’s the beauty of it. Veronica and I spent our time there riding around the island on a scooter, laying on hammocks at the beach, and loving the peacefulness of it all.

And of course, there’s always excellent coffee if you know where to find it. The scene pictured below, again on Ko Yao Noi, definitely qualifies for an updated list of Top Coffee Moments™. (you veteran readers of this blog will remember these Coffee Moments, as well as your top ones!)

Nicholas Conley coffee Ko Yao Noi Thailand

We felt so at home at Ko Yao Noi that it was heartbreaking to leave, but there were still adventures ahead. Most importantly, scuba diving off the coast of Ko Phi Phi.

This was my first time ever scuba diving, and I absolutely loved it. I have to admit, the first few moments were terrifying, but once I’d adjusted — thanks to the calm, relaxed training of my instructor —  it easily become one of the most fantastic experiences I’ve ever had. While I’d often imagined what scuba diving might be like — who hasn’t dreamed up seeing the mesmerizing coral reefs and sea creatures up close? — I’d never imagined the experience would be so calm and meditative. The focus on breathing, exhaling and inhaling at a slow and steady pace, puts one in a mental state very similar to meditation or yoga. Combine this with the unbelievable thrill of seeing blue starfish, moray eels, mountain ranges of coral, swimming through schools of fish, and even seeing a blacktip shark(!)… and, well, the whole thing was unforgettable.

Luckily, the ship had an underwater camera man on board.

 

After a few more days soaking up the sun, islands, and more, our time in Thailand finally came to an end. We finished the trip by heading back to Bangkok for our last few days, where we ate our final dinner at a restaurant with a fantastic view of the city, reminiscing on everything we’d seen and done.

And now, we come full circle, back to where I began — writing about the time period in which we first came back, which is when I started writing this series, and which now seems so long ago.

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Thank you, all of you, who’ve continued reading this series from the beginning until now. After over a month of southeast Asia posts, next week will begin something new. As for what it is, who knows? We never know what stories the future holds for us.

Special Deal: Get Pale Highway Today for Only $.99 Cents!

From today through Saturday, Red Adept Publishing will be running a special deal on the e-book edition of Pale Highway, and it’s a good one. If you get in fast, you can pick up Pale Highway for as little as $.99 cents.

A killer deal, if I do say so — and as the coffee obsessive that I am, I can’t help but point out that $.99 cents is less than a cup of coffee.

So, if there was ever a time to feed your Kindle with Pale Highway, now is it. Pick it up on Amazon today, get a coffee to go with it, and then enter the Alzheimer’s-afflicted world of Gabriel Schist, Victor, Bright New Day, and all of those weird little talking slugs that everyone keeps mentioning.

Pale Highway - Nicholas Conley

Gabriel Schist is spending his remaining years at Bright New Day, a nursing home. He once won the Nobel Prize for inventing a vaccine for AIDS. But now, he has Alzheimer’s, and his mind is slowly slipping away.

When one of the residents comes down with a horrific virus, Gabriel realizes that he is the only one who can find a cure. Encouraged by Victor, an odd stranger, he convinces the administrator to allow him to study the virus. Soon, reality begins to shift, and Gabriel’s hallucinations interfere with his work.

As the death count mounts, Gabriel is in a race against the clock and his own mind. Can he find a cure before his brain deteriorates past the point of no return?

Coffee Time

It’s been a busy month! Between working on Novel #3 and that upcoming novelette, getting ready for the premiere of my radio play, Something in the Nothing, on August 23rd, the recent publication in the Huffington Post, and the fact that I’m getting married next month, it feels as if the summer is racing by.

But it’s been a fantastic summer so far, and I can’t wait for the months ahead. In the meantime, as I get to work this morning, I’ll start it off with my usual morning joy: a hot cup of black coffee.

So cheers to all of you also enjoying a cup of joe right now — or tea, if that’s your preference — and here’s to more sunny, optimistic, productive days ahead!

Coffee - Nicholas Conley - Red Adept

Coffee Time

 

Coffee

Tuesday Coffee Quotes

“Coffee became tied to what I called “The Art Life.” I loved to go to diners and drink coffee and try to catch ideas for the work. Coffee has always seemed to facilitate thinking and catching ideas. Not only that, but the flavor of coffee is beyond the beyond good. Even bad coffee is better than no coffee at all.” 

– David Lynch

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“I usually write away from home, in coffee shops, on trains, on planes, in friends’ houses. I like places where there’s stuff going on that you can lift your eyes, see something interesting, overhear a conversation.”

– Jonathan Safran Foer

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“I get stopped more in the street, I can tell you this, in New York, for people thanking me for this café and for the coffee, than I do for any of my movies. Actually, particularly people will say, not so much the movies, but ‘Thank you for the coffee!'”

– Hugh Jackman

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“You don’t even really need a place. But you feel like you’re doing something. That is what coffee is. And that is one of the geniuses of the new coffee culture.”

– Jerry Seinfeld

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Post Raleigh Wrap-Up

Now that I’m back home in New Hampshire, I’m thrilled to report that the Red Adept Publishing event down in Raleigh was a great time, and well worth the trip. The panel and book signing featured Jason Parent, Karissa Laurel, J. Leigh,  Jessica Dall, Erica Lucke Dean, and myself, as we discussed such topics as what drew us to our preferred genre, why we write, and where we write. I got the chance to field a few questions about Novel #3, and discuss what inspired Pale Highway. If you haven’t checked out the other authors on the panel, I highly recommend their works: great stuff!

I then spent some time exploring Chapel Hill and Raleigh. From there, everyone congregated for the Red Adept Publishing annual party, featuring bingo games, a raffle, great people, friendly dogs, and amazing food. All of the Red Adepts gathered together for this epic photo:

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All in all, I’m happy I made the trip down, and I hope to make it back next year. The aforementioned raffle also included prizes, and while it took me some time and dedication to win one – or, really, the assistance of a handful of other friendly partygoers who helped me sort through a massive amount of tickets – I was finally able to win this rather handsome coffee mug, which I am now the proud owner of.

I’d imagine that none of you are surprised I went for the coffee mug. Predictable.

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After an exhausting trip back via Atlanta and Boston, I’m now settling back into my office in New Hampshire, drinking coffee from my new Red Adept mug, catching up on my current writing projects, and finishing up an Octavia Butler novel that I read through three quarters of on the flight back. It’s been a great week, and I hope the same is true for all of you.

Before I forget: I’m on Bookbub now! To follow me there, just click on the following link, and you’ll be updated whenever I have a new release.

Follow me on BookBub!

Nicholas Conley - Pale Highway

Favorite 12 Posts of 2015

It’s crazy to realize that I’ve been writing blogs for Writings, Readings, and Coffee Addictions for a few years now, and to look back on how much has changed in that time. Every year is a new adventure, a new saga of highs and lows, and 2015 was the biggest year yet.

Last year saw not only the release of Pale Highway, my proudest achievement to date, but also publications on Vox, Alzheimers.net, SFFWorld, and more. This blog gained more followers in the second half of 2015 than it did in all of the preceding years combined. Of course, I also wrote quite a few blog posts, and in order to look back on the last year, I’d like to look back on the ones that meant the most to me.

I originally meant to make this a top ten list, but why limit oneself to artificial rules? After straining to narrow them down, I decided to settle on twelve instead.

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12. Why Superheroes Matter

To start with, a disclaimer: the only reason that this doesn’t rank higher is that I actually wrote it toward the end of 2014, not 2015 as I originally thought. Still, I wanted to give it an honorable mention.

Why? Because this is one of the most personal blogs I’ve ever written. It’s not just an analysis of why superheroes have become such a huge part of popular culture, but also a personal tale of the impact that characters like Spider-Man had on my childhood, and how they helped me to become who I am today.

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Nicholas Conley – Morocco – Sahara

11. Morocco

Travelogues are challenging to write, because it’s such a struggle to isolate the moments that most define these experiences, to pinpoint what one takes away from a new culture. Going to Morocco last winter, experiencing the Sahara Desert on camelback, was a mind blowing experience that I won’t ever forget.

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10. Echoes of Leaving

The single most defining moment of my post-high school young adulthood was when I first hit the road, exploring the country on my own terms, going from state to state on a daily basis. Echoes of Leaving, a blog post named after one of my first flash fiction publications, is a nostalgic look back at a time that truly defined so much of the rest of my life.

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9. Pharmaceutical Nightmare

Now, onto a blog that tackled a recent news story. The one good thing about recent Turing Pharmaceuticals controversy was that it raised awareness about a very real problem facing the United States, where drug companies can exploit the sick to reap huge profits. It’s something that we need to keep talking about until real change happens.

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8. Five Things More Important than the Color of a Starbucks Coffee Cup

Seriously. Stemming from what was undoubtedly the most ridiculous “controversy” of the last year, the best thing we can learn from the #StarbucksRedCup nonsense is that arguing for the sake of arguing does nothing to improve society, and that we have real concerns that we should work to find common ground on.

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7. Cover Reveal: Pale Highway

After years of hints and suggestions, this was the moment where I finally got to spill the beans and show Pale Highway to the world for the first time. It was all new then, and I remember how my heart was pounding as I finally posted the cover image. It’s insane looking back, realizing how long ago this already feels!

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6. Thank You, Lane

It’s amazing how much the simple kindness of a stranger can impact a person. Though I might never see Lane again, I can’t thank him enough for helping me out of a tough spot.

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5. Hogewey: A Better Kind of Nursing Home

Working in Alzheimer’s care, one of the greatest tragedies that I’ve seen is the system itself, and how it doesn’t give proper attention to the individual. As I mentioned during my radio interview last week, Hogewey is a “dementia village” in the Netherlands, and it represents a potential beacon of hope for the future. Let’s hope that someday, there will be many more Hogeweys all over the world.

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Nicholas Conley – Pale Highway

 

4. The Proof Has Arrived

Wow. Wow. That moment where Pale Highway came in the mailbox for the first time, that first experience holding it… there are few forms of happiness that are as deeply personal as seeing one’s dream realized in physical form, holding it, knowing that all of the work paid off.

Alzheimer's - Vox - Nicholas Conley

Alzheimer’s – Vox – Nicholas Conley

3. I’m on Vox!

Okay, so this is really more of a tribute to the Vox essay than it is to my blog post that links to it. But the reason I’m listing it here is that this was really the first time I ever publicly wrote about my experience with Alzheimer’s patients, and the outpouring of responses I received was truly transformative, as I got my first true look at how so many, many people connect to this issue. This is one of the pieces I’m most proud of in my writing career so far, and I hope that I’ve done my small part to raise awareness about the reality of Alzheimer’s disease.

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2. Top Five Coffee Moments  

Okay, so I have to admit, while this post was fun to write, the real reason that it’s here is because of you. And by that, I mean everyone who replied to the prompt. While it was enjoyable to think back on my top five Coffee Moments , it was an absolute blast reading all of the Coffee Moments that you guys came up with.

Cheers, all!

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Pale Highway – Nicholas Conley

 

1. Release Day: Pale Highway

Of course, you knew this had to be number one. Out of everything that occurred over the course of 2015, this was the achievement I was most proud of. I’ll just finish this off with a quote from the blog itself, as the Nicholas of that day can explain the feeling better than I can:

What I’m feeling right now is so surreal that I can’t quite put my finger on the right word to describe it. I wrote Pale Highway because I believe that people with Alzheimer’s—people who suffer from a neurodegenerative disease that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed down—deserve recognition. It’s crazy to look back on that first day I began typing this story, or the first day that I set foot in a nursing home and met the many residents who lived there, amazing human beings would have such an unexpected impact on my life. Pale Highway is a book inspired by my connection with these courageous people, conceived during my experiences in healthcare, and finally born here, now, today, in the form of this book that I’ve spent the last few years pouring my heart into. And so now, here it is, and I hope you all enjoy the read.
Admittedly, now that we’re in April, 2016 isn’t quite a “new year” anymore. But still, happy new year to all of you, and I hope to continue seeing all of your icons and text for years to come!

 

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