US Has Great Success Building into the World Cup

Feature US World Cup

US Has Great Success Building Into The World Cup Part Of Shane Stay's Four Year Review From The 2016 Copa America  By Shane Stay Paraguay As this Four Year Review rolls on, the US took on Paraguay for the last game in their group. A good result was needed to advance into the playoff round, and that’s where things got interesting. Previously, the US lost to Colombia, 0-2. Then the US defeated Costa Rica, 4-0. On the night of the third game, Colombia, the number three team in the world, lost to Costa Rica, causing them to get second in the group.  Against Paraguay, the US won 1-0 despite playing down a man. Dempsey scored the goal, Yedlin received two yellow cards, Brooks had a great defensive game and the team as a whole came together to hold off the Paraguayan attacks. With the win, the US moved onto play in the quarterfinal against Ecuador, which was held in the loud setting of Seattle. With home field advantage, the US was showing the tournament they were one of the top teams there.  This generation of US players has benefited from the creation of the MLS in 1995. All of the players from the generation before 1995 were good athletes and players, but they lacked the experience provided by an outdoor league. While fielding competitive teams, they couldn’t get beyond a certain level. Practically everyone in the world looked down on the American soccer program, which affected the team’s performance. Furthermore, the players back then were good defenders, as they are today. While defenders like Brooks played well, I still believe the team needed to take a chance with more skillful defenders on the offensive side of the ball. This would push the team forward with long term success, which comes from a sound groundwork of creative possession that has gotten better over the years.  Paraguay had a good team going into the game. Traditionally, they’ve been competitive, but they’ve never stood out as a major threat in a tournament like this, or the World Cup. At this point in the tournament Brazil, who has been a leader in the game since the 1950s and who was expected to win their group, was sent home because of not getting through the playoff round. Though it wasn’t a huge surprise that the US won their group, with Brazil gone, the feeling was that anything could happen. Ecuador The US stood up to the challenge of playing in the quarterfinal against Ecuador, in Seattle. It could be said that home field advantage was playing a significant role in the success of the team during the tournament, considering what a terrible year they had in 2015. However, was the team playing well? Were they getting results? Did they advance in a large tournament? Yes, yes and yes.  The bigger issue here is how to get the team past that certain point. The team can get better with adjustments. Change the culture of play in defense, by developing more offensive-minded defenders who control possession in a skillful way, and you will have a better team which will have consistent success.  To push us over the top, like Sylvester Stallone from his underrated "Citizen Kane of an arm wrestling movie," it’s about creative possession from the defense. The team needs to adjust the defense to get into the deeper rounds of the World Cup. They look good now, but this team can’t win the World Cup. They’ll turn some heads, like in 2010, but they won’t push it to the limit. We need more “skateboarders,” such as Neymar’s debut game for Brazil in 2010 against the US. No one had ever heard of him, in the US anyway. He was about 17 or 18. During the national anthem the camera panned over this kid, with a mohawk, looking like a puny, skinny, scrawny little punk-rock skateboarder. At that moment, in line with Pato (who’s gotten a bad rap), Gonso (who’s been looked over) and Robinho, most people realized he was going to be a good player. And for his debut, Neymar scored a goal and dribbled with confidence as a veteran would. (Gonso, also in his debut game for Brazil, played phenomenally, casually leading the attack with beautiful passes.) That’s what the US needs: more scrawny, skateboard punks who can really dribble. Why did Brazil exit the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Copa America so disgracefully? They didn’t have the classic creative dribblers and playmakers that they’re known for. They need to get back to what they do well, and the US needs to get into what Brazil should return to. After losing the first game to Colombia, the US made great strides getting into the semifinals of the 2016 Copa America. A little surprised, yes and no. It turns out that Paraguay and Costa Rica weren't as good as people thought, and the US got out of the group. Yet, considering home field advantage, particularly in the quarterfinal with Ecuador in Seattle, it made sense. The argument I'm putting together for the future of the team is that making the semifinals for this tournament "isn't there yet," considering the US made the semi's in this tournament in 1995. Also, Brazil didn't advance out of their group, which was really weird. Another surprise was Mexico, who was thought to be one of the best teams in the tournament, losing 7-0 to Chile.    Argentina From the outset, the US and Argentina were looking to be interesting. Yet again, with home field advantage there was a glimmer of hope that the US men could find a victory in Houston and leave Texas for the championship match. But Argentina proved that South American competition is a world away from the leaders of CONCACAF. In the end, the US lost 4-0, playing the number one team in the world. The majority of US analysts constantly serve as a reminder as to how we Americans approach the game: It’s like an executive boardroom, ala Glengarry Glen Ross, with high expectations and unrealistic goals. “Did you score a goal?” “No.” “Well, you didn’t do your job. We have to replace you.”  The key issue is that we are not supplying the players with the right approach to “scoring goals.” There’s no use in expecting them to score if the approach is wrong, particularly against an opponent like Argentina, who was doing everything we needed to be doing (which is not asking too much, which is the paradox). Dribbling must be a priority. The two-man game within crowded areas on the field must be a priority. When Argentina possesses the ball in the middle of the field, with artistic short passing and dribbling, it becomes clear why they have more quality scoring chances. That’s where all the scoring begins.  The question for the future is simple. Can the USMNT figure it out by the next World Cup? It’s possible. There’s still a lot of time to wait and see.   Shane Stay is the author of Why American Soccer Isn't There Yet,  Meyer & Meyer 2014.  Shane Stay is a former professional soccer player, writer, comedian, producer and founder of Leaf Dressing. In 2008, Stay bottled Leaf Dressing, co-authored a print book, published a magazine story, worked clubs as a comedian, played restaurateur and received a Masters of Arts. Stay has a Bachelor of Arts from Sonoma State University and a Master of Arts from Southern Illinois University. This blog post is brought to you by CPG News & Information Services.   

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Summer Party Appetizers – In a Flash!!

Another Delicious Recipe

SUMMER PARTY APPETIZERS - IN A FLASH!! Laura Theodore’s Vegan-Ease: An Easy Guide to Enjoying a Plant-Based Diet, offers more than 130 delicious, vegan recipes that are quick and easy to prepare, each complete with nutritional analysis. Enhanced by over 200, full-color photographs, each recipe is ranked with an Ease-Factor to make it easy to choose recipes that fit into any busy schedule. Summertime presents the perfect time to share outdoor meals and casual get-togethers with loved-ones. An easy-to-prepare appetizer is always at the top of my menu agenda, and this delightful offering is one of my go-to dishes all summer long. Mini-Sweet Peppers with Hummus feature store-bought hummus, enhanced by the welcome crunch of the tiny sweet peppers, making this dish a colorful and ease-y dish to add to your recipe box. Simple to prepare, but a real crowd pleaser, and these colorful and tasty snacks instantly disappear the moment you serve them. Better make a double-batch!   Mini-Sweet Peppers with Hummus Makes 8 to 10 “small bite” servings 8 to 10 mini-sweet peppers, various colors 1 container (7 to 8 ounces) store-bought “red pepper” flavored hummus (see note) 16 to 20 tiny whole basil leaves or parsley sprigs, for garnish   Seed and split the peppers. Fill each mini-pepper half with a generous spoonful of the hummus. Top each pepper with a bit of the red pepper mixture from the top of the store-bought hummus. (see note).   Garnish each pepper with a tiny basil leaf or parsley sprig. Arrange the peppers on a pretty platter and serve!   Chef’s Note: If you are using another flavor of hummus, or your own homemade hummus, mince one of the mini-red peppers to use as a garnish! Photos courtesy of Laura Theodore   Have you tried Laura's Strawberry Pie recipe? You can get it here. Laura Theodore is an award-winning public television personality and host of the Jazzy Vegetarian, presently available in 88% of US households.  She is a vegan chef, radio host, jazz singer, and the author of Jazzy Vegetarian Classics and Jazzy Vegetarian. In 2014, Laura was honored with a “Special Achievement Taste-Award” along with the likes of Martha Stewart and Emeril; she has also been recognized byVegNews magazine with a “Totally Tubular Veggie Award.” Laura hosts the popular podcast radio show, Jazzy Vegetarian Radio, now in its 7th year, and has appeared on every major TV network.  She writes a weekly food column for Mother Earth Living and has been featured in many highly respected news, food and lifestyle-related journals.  A critically acclaimed jazz singer and songwriter her CD, Tonight’s the Night, received a “Musician Magazine Award.” Laura has appeared in many plays and musicals, including the Off Broadway hit show Beehive, earning her a coveted “Backstage Bistro Award” and was honored with the Denver Critics Drama Circle Award as “Best Actress in a Musical” for her starring role as Janis Joplin in the world premiere production of Love, Janis. This blog is brought to you by CPG News & Information Services

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US vs. Costa Rica

Copa US vs Costa Rica

2016 Copa America US vs. Costa Rica By Shane Stay, author of Why American Soccer Isn't There Yet  This was basically a must win game for the US. In all likelihood, a defeat would have sent them out of the tournament. Considering the opening loss to Colombia, if the US tied there might be some hope to move into the next round. Within CONCACAF, the three tops teams were the US, Mexico and Costa Rica. So it was fitting that the US would face an old conference rival. To that point, Costa Rica might have been the best of the group, however, that would be hard to argue with considering how well Mexico was playing in the past year.   Soldier Field in Chicago was the location with 39,642 in attendance. Immediately, a penalty kick was awarded, putting the US up a goal, and from there they never looked back. Costa Rica attempted a comeback, but had no answer. The US put in four by the end of the game. It was a surprise because this Costa Rican team was highly regarded and many people were expecting a more difficult game. When goals are scored, everything seems right. Good combination play and accurate through passes helped the US outplay their opponent. The Costa Ricans were constantly looking for chances to break through the defense, hitting the post at one point, but it just wasn’t their night. The win brought a new energy to the upcoming Paraguay game in which the US could have moved into the next round with a good performance. Regardless of how the Copa America ended up, this win secured Klinsmann his job through the next World Cup. Speculation was that if the US had lost again, Klinsmann might be on his way out. But with a four to nothing victory there’s no disputing that he would continue as the leader into Russia.     Shane Stay is a former professional soccer player, writer, comedian, producer and founder of Leaf Dressing. In 2008, Stay bottled Leaf Dressing, co-authored a print book, published a magazine story, worked clubs as a comedian, played restaurateur and received a Masters of Arts. Stay has a Bachelor of Arts from Sonoma State University and a Master of Arts from Southern Illinois University.   This blog has been brought to you by CPG News & Information Services

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Copa America: US vs Colombia

Copa US vs Colombia

  2016 Copa America: US vs. Colombia By Shane Stay, author of Why American Soccer Isn't There Yet, Meyer & Meyer Sport 2014  In the opening match of the 2016 Copa America, sponsored by Sprint, the US lost to Colombia 2-0. Despite the result, the US played well. It’s not condescending to say they didn’t play as well as Colombia. They didn’t. But they played well. Both sides had good, strong tackles. It was a lively game. The problem was that, as a team, Colombia started to reveal their superior touch, vision, professionalism and experience which came about in high-paced possession, accurate flicks, little chips, good through balls, along with very good, well-trained and very aggressive defense. They were ranked number three in the world, and they played like it. Ranked 31st, the US played well, but they were lacking in the most important part of the game: highly skilled defensive possession. With a subtle change in that regard, the US could have rightfully been ranked in the top fifteen and likely would have gotten a better result in a game like this. The first half was the better showing for the US. Colombia was good as well, benefiting from two goals, one of which was a controversial handball call, leading to an interesting debate. Was it a handball? The US player in question, Yedlin, turned his back to a cross, leaving his arm slightly outstretched, which made contact with the ball. The letter of the law states that because he made himself bigger, by leaving his arm outstretched, it was called a penalty kick. James put it away, and that was the end score. Predictably, the US had a challenge on its hands for the next two games. The issue was the same for the US. The defenders were lacking offensive character. They are usually good defenders, there’s no disputing that, but they’re not the best in possession.   The problem is, surprise, surprise, the defenders have the majority of possession, in every game. The way they distribute the ball to the other so-called “creative players” affects how the flow of the game goes. In effect, with the majority of possession, the defenders are the “creative players.” It never changes. It’s a little like David Brent questioning his employee Keith, who asks, “What are the options?” “They’re always the same.” Everything on offense starts with the defense. Media commentators suggested many ideas for the lineup, including the benching of Bradley. But rather than be benched, Bradley would be better used as a fullback. Despite some players not being on the team, the best four defenders would have been Yedlin, Bradley, Ream (or Cameron) and Brek Shea (or an idea outside the box would be to use a forward like a healthy Edson Buddle). With that backline, there would have been no more wondering why the USMNT can’t win the big tournaments. It starts with the defenders. With all the talk of lineup changes, a center midfielder is needed to lead the defense. The US should have taken a chance – months ago – with Bradley as a center fullback, preferably with Ream (or Bradley with Cameron or Besler or Brooks).  The upside was that, in general, the US team had a good presence and with a better skilled backline they could defeat top teams. There was still hope, and Klinsmann was correct in his assessment after the game, noting that it was a good game, and it would serve well for the future of the team, whether moving on in this tournament or taking that confidence into the next World Cup.   Shane Stay is a writer, former professional soccer player, comedian, producer and founder of Leaf Dressing. In 2008, Stay bottled Leaf Dressing, co-authored a print book, published a magazine story, worked clubs as a comedian, played restaurateur, received a Master of Arts and played professional soccer. In 1999, Stay founded the first online Current Events game, CE Game. Stay has a Bachelor of Arts from Sonoma State University and a Master of Arts from Southern Illinois University. He was born in Carbondale, Illinois, to parents Jim and Carol Hanson, an author and school teacher.       This blog post has been brought to you by CPG News & Information Services

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A Race That Lived Up to Its Billing

Indianpolis 500 Feature

By Lew Freedman It was a race that lived up to its billing, a race that was worthy of the advance hype and its place in history. The 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 29, not only filled the venerable Indianapolis Motor Speedway to bursting with 350,000 people in attendance, it delivered a race to be savored. Due to slick planning by his Andretti Autosport team, rookie Alexander Rossi became the champion in the most prestigious automobile race in the world, one that dates back to 1911, and as always it enthralled an audience bedazzled by speed. Rossi, 24, a Californian who has been living in Europe since he was 16 so he could embark on a Formula 1 career, became the freshest face on the IndyCar scene when he almost miraculously nursed 36 laps at 2.5 miles per circle out of speedy race car without stopping for fuel. Every ticket was sold in advance for the race that pays out $13.4 million in prize money, about $2.5 million to the victor. Every angle was scrutinized, yet practically no one in the world would have predicted Rossi as winner and even fewer would have guessed how he would out-run Carlos Munoz and Josef Newgarden, the second- and third-place finishers. "At least people had an amazing show to watch for the 100th running," said Newgarden, disappointed at not being the winner. It was a fabulous show. Anyone lucky enough to attend experienced a glorious day and that included the weather of 81 degrees and mostly sunny after weather forecasts called for thunderstorms. The start was clean, the lead changes frequent. Thirteen of the 33 racers led at one time or another and there were 54 lead changes, the second most in a single race.  Although there were several crashes, they were minor in nature with all drivers able to climb out of their cars under their own power. Safety focus and protection is better than ever at the Speedway. This latest chapter in "The Greatest Spectacle In Racing" was indeed grand spectacle. In Rossi's case, if he goes on to become a perennial all-star driver everyone will recall that he entered the big-time in Indianapolis on a pleasant day in May. And did so under the mostly highly pressurized of circumstances and was transformed from unknown to household name overnight. About Lew Freedman: Lew Freedman's most recent book is The Indianapolis 500: A Century of High Speed Racing. He is a prize-winning sportswriter and former sports editor of the Anchorage Daily News in Alaska, and The Republic in Columbus, Indiana. He also worked on the staffs of the Chicago Tribune and Philadelphia Inquirer. Freedman is the author of numerous sports books, many on the White Sox, Cubs, and baseball history.     This blog has been brought to you by CPG News & Information Services

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The Beginning

The Indianapolis 500 Feature Image

It's an exciting time in May at the Motor Speedway the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 race quickly approaches. The following is an excerpt from Lew Freedman's book, The Indianapolis 500: A Century of High Speed Racing. Enjoy The Beginning... The first Indianapolis 500 took place in 1911 when the “Average Joe” in the United States did not even own a car for private transportation, or at least one that had an enclosed body and could take him very far. Compared to the cars on the road these days, passenger cars moved at the speed of golf carts, so right from the beginning, just being able to watch a race car speed around an oval at more than ninety mph was breathtaking. Initially construction of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was not aimed at auto racing, but automobile development. Indianapolis was vying to become the nation’s motor vehicle center, competing against Detroit for the soul of the industry. Detroit had Henry Ford. Indianapolis wanted to lure manufacturers with a splendiferous testing facility. The world’s most famous automobile race was begun as a tenant for the Speedway, which opened its doors in 1909 and successfully attracted crowds well into the thousands for motorcycle racing and other events. The Speedway itself was a showplace from the start and it took almost no time before the Indianapolis 500 race added more cache to its fundamental reason for being. From its inception – and its reputation only grown and enhanced – the Indy 500 was the longest, most prestigious, most popular, and most exciting automobile race in the world. This new gravel-and-tar track built for $250,000 on 328 acres of what had been farmland six mile west of the city at the (now-famous address) corner of 16th Street and Georgetown Road lured fans fascinated by speed.   About the Author: Lew Freedman is author of over 75 books including JUMP SHOT: Kenny Sailors, Basketball Innovator and Alaskan Outfitter.

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Seasonal Strawberry Recipe with a Wow Factor!

Another Delicious Recipe

Laura Theodore’s Vegan-Ease: An Easy Guide to Enjoying a Plant-Based Diet, offers more than 130 delicious, vegan recipes that are quick and easy to prepare, each complete with nutritional analysis. Enhanced by over 200, full-color photographs, each recipe is ranked with an Ease-Factor to make it easy to choose recipes that fit into any busy schedule. It’s strawberry picking time! I LOVE fresh berries, and I’m always motivated to make a delightfully delicious berry dessert whenever fresh strawberries are available at the market! This luscious pie provides the perfect showcase for seasonal organic strawberries. The filling is so creamy you will not believe it’s based in raw cashews and tofu. Easy to assemble and super yummy! Here is the seasonal strawberry recipe with a wow factor!  Strawberry Mountain Pie Makes 6 to 8 servings CRUST 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegan cookie crumbs or vegan graham cracker crumbs (see note) 3 to 5 heaping tablespoons sesame tahini 1½ tablespoons nondairy milk FILLING 16 ounces extra-firm regular tofu 8 ounces soft silken tofu 1⁄3 cup raw cashews 1⁄3 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegan white sugar or your preferred dry sweetener TOPPING 16 ounces organic strawberries 2 tablespoons strawberry preserves 2½ teaspoons filtered or spring water Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. To make the crust, put the cookie crumbs, 3 heaping tablespoons tahini and 11⁄2 tablespoons nondairy milk in a medium-sized bowl and combine using a large fork or dough blender. Add more tahini until the crumbs are moistened, but still crumbly in texture (up to 5 heaping tablespoons of tahini in all). Press the crumb mixture evenly into the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 5 minutes. Put the pie plate on a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. While the crust cools, put the extra-firm regular tofu, silken tofu, cashews and sugar in a blender and process until smooth. Pour the tofu mixture over the cooled crust. Spread in an even layer and smooth the top. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the top of the pie is slightly firm to the touch (center of the filling will still be very soft). Put the pan on a wire rack and let cool 5 minutes. While the pie bakes, trim 1⁄8- to 1⁄4-inch off the wide end of each strawberry. Then, when the pie is out of the oven but still warm, arrange the strawberries, flat end down, in a pleasing pattern on top of the pie, gently pressing the end of each strawberry into the filling so it stands upright. Put the preserves and water in a small mixing bowl and whisk together. Spread the preserves evenly over the top of the strawberries using a pastry brush or small spoon. Refrigerate 4 to 8 hours before serving. Carefully cut the pie into slices (the filling will be soft). Stored tightly covered in the refrigerator, leftover pie will keep for about 2 days. Chef’s Note: To make cookie crumbs, put 11⁄2 to 2 cups of broken-up vegan cookies in a blender, and process to coarse crumbs. Add more cookies, as needed, to make the amount of crumbs needed for this recipe. Photo credits: David Kaplan This blog is brought to you by CPG News & Information Services

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Four Distribution Methods for Independent Presses

4 Distribution Methods

There is no one solution for book distribution. Selecting the right form of distribution for your publishing enterprise is determined by considering your own strengths and weakness and finding the right distribution partner or partners to enhance your strengths and cover for your weaknesses. What follows is an overview of several popular ways independent presses get their products to market. Before discussing distribution options let’s look at the entire publishing process broken down into four distinct parts. First the publisher creates or acquires the content from an author. Second the publisher fashions the content into a book. Thirdly the publisher gets the book into the marketplace. In the fourth step the publisher reaches out to the consumer through marketing and publicity. Below I discuss four popular options for independent presses to distribute their books: Full Service Book Distribution: Full service distributors will typically offer many services beyond basic distribution, but the main parts of distribution have remained fairly consistent over the past several decades. The book distribution process involves sales, customer service, warehousing, inventory control, fulfillment, book trade marketing, billing and collections, and metadata service. If any of these basic elements are missing then the service provider should not be considered full service. The advantages of full service distribution include a large reduction in the publisher’s infrastructure costs. In addition, your line has professional sales representatives actively promoting your books, authors, and imprint brand. The full service distributor is already doing business with most, if not all of your important customers. The best full service distributors make their money from client sales so upfront costs should be negligible. Limited Service Book Distribution: The limited service distribution partner might perform many of the same functions as the full service distributor. Most commonly missing though is strong sales representation to retailers and wholesalers. A publisher’s book might be widely available, but the distributor may offer only minimal help getting product sold to retailers and wholesalers. The advantages of a limited service distributor is that like a full service distributor, they may already be set up with many of your potential customers making selling your books easier and like the full service distributor their fees take care of many of the infrastructure costs of publishing. Since these distributors offer less service, the cost of distribution should be less, but be cautious of high up-front costs or charges unrelated to sales. This is a good option if a publisher is confident in their ability to generate strong publicity to pull demand through the system, or larger publishers that have their own sales and marketing team already in place. Vendor of Record: Using a vendor of record strategy is another way that the independent press can structure their distribution. Instead of contracting with a single distributor, you set up directly with one or several wholesalers. Once this network of wholesalers is established you can sell directly to institutions and retailers and direct them to order through one of your wholesalers. You can still sell directly to retailers and institutions, but many of these customers will prefer to order through a wholesaler. The advantage to this strategy is that you have only a limited number of customers to service directly, which can help keep infrastructure costs low. Since you are selling directly to your wholesale customers you keep more of the proceeds. Vendor of record arrangements are also non-exclusive, so you maintain more control. You will need to have a strong sales team since wholesalers will not be selling your book, but if you are comfortable selling and taking on some of the pick, pack, ship, billing, customer service and metadata work this might be the independent presses most profitable option. Print On Demand - The last distribution option I will cover in this blog post is a popular option for publishers because the startup costs are low and the publisher’s infrastructure needs small. Many of the best self-publishing services used frequently for e-book publishing and distribution also offer distribution to traditional trade book markets using the distribution reach of POD (Print On Demand) manufacturers either in-house or thru partners. Although there remains some stigma directed at POD this bias is eroding for several reasons including even the largest publishers are using POD for some even most of their manufacturing. Be careful not to pay much extra for this service up front unless you have a good and sustainable means of marketing books in that format. Whether you are using a full or limited service distributor, a vendor of record distribution partner(s), or offering POD product a publisher should endeavor to understand each method clearly before choosing which best fits the need. This post covers only the most basic elements of only four methods to have your book distributed. There are other models as well including, hybrid models and blended publishing models that also offer distribution of your books. Every method described above will require that you sign an agreement or several agreements. Be sure to read each carefully. These agreements will spell out the contractual obligations of each party and best prepare you for success with a full understanding of your chosen method of distribution. Ideally you will start planning your distribution strategy nine to twelve months prior to release your book(s). If that doesn’t describe your situation then the best time to start is now: To learn more about your distribution options through Cardinal Publishers Group visit You can visit us at BEA 2016 in Chicago at booth #1624. Some good resources for finding distributors: A good resource for finding an e-book publisher for self-publishers: A good resource for finding vendor of record wholesalers: This website offers a list of wholesalers at a reasonable cost. If you’re new to marketing books you should also seriously consider picking up a copy of John Kremer’s 1001 Ways to Market Your Book. If you are serious about publishing for profit, or even profitably publishing for a non-profit I suggest you consider joining an organization like the Independent Book Publishers Association,  . This organization has a great monthly magazine, The Independent, and many other education and marketing benefits. There are other good organizations that help self-publishers and I encourage you to look into several, particularly local or regional ones when available to see which best fits your needs. Tom Doherty is president and founder of Cardinal Publishers Group. Brought to you by CPG News & Information Services  

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How to Make a Bourbon Cocktail

Bourbon Cocktail Feature

What’s a party without cocktails? With the Derby it’s all about bourbon cocktails too. So here are a few suggestions on how to make a bourbon cocktail: Bourbon Sour Get a can of frozen concentrated lemonade, and put that in the container. Then fill that same can with water, and add it to the container. Then fill that same can with pulp free orange juice and add that to the mix. Finally, fill the lemonade can with bourbon. Repeat all the steps as needed to fill up the container (or pitcher), and then all that’s left to do is fill glasses with ice, pour and serve. Bourbon Lettuce and Tomato Cocktail It’s just a Bloody Mary using bourbon instead of vodka. You see vodka only adds alcohol to a Bloody Mary, but bourbon brings alcohol AND flavor to this classic drink. I use Evan Williams Black Label 86 proof bourbon in mine. The five years of aging and 86 proof bring some good barrel notes to complement and enhance the Bloody Mary’s ingredients. If you want to get cute, garnish it with a baked slice of thick bacon! Dawn at The Downs Cocktail This is your elegant morning option. In a champagne flute pour one ounce of bourbon (I like Elijah Craig 12 for a little more spice or Evan Williams Single Barrel for a little more vanilla flavor), and then fill the rest of the glass with Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple Cider. You can garnish with an apple slice to give it a little extra “oomph.” And for the main attraction, The Mint Julep, check out Bourbon Whiskey: Our Native Spirit 3rd edition! Bernie Lubbers travels the U.S. and the world educating people on American Whiskey, and how it weaves through the fabric of Kentucky and America’s history. Bernie especially has a passion for Bottled-In-Bond whiskies and how The Bottled In Bond Act of 1897 and the Taft Decision of 1909 which changed the whiskey landscape here in the U.S. With his friend and bluegrass musician Hickory Vaught, he wrote and co-performs a live music show/whiskey tasting called; “Bourbon Thru Bluegrass” where folks get to sample whiskies from the style of the 1700’s, through the 1800’s, & then the single barrel and small batch bourbons of today. All throughout the tasting folks simultaneously hear the history of bourbon, enjoy live bluegrass music from that time period, or about that time period, and taste whiskey in the styles of those time periods.             Bernie won Whisky Magazine’s Whiskey Ambassador Of The Year in 2009 for the U.S. and then went on to win Whiskey Ambassador Of The Year International. He was again presented the U.S. Whiskey Ambassador Of The Year in 2012 alongside the legendary Elmer T. Lee. He was also named the U.S. Whiskey Ambassador of the Year in 2016. This blog is brought to you by CPG News & Information Services

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Hidden Talent

Feature Hidden Talent

Inside the Steelers’ draft room at Three Rivers Stadium with (from left to right) Bill Nunn Jr., Dick Haley, director of player personnel, V. Tim Rooney, a nephew of Art Rooney Sr., and Art Rooney Jr., vice president. Courtesy of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Author of The Color of Sundays and Breakaway: The Inside Story of the Pittsburgh Penguins' Rebirth, Andrew Conte, brings to light the hidden talent. Championships are made in the late rounds. Everyone knows about the first-round picks, the guys sitting in the green room waiting for their name to be called. The only suspense centers on what team exactly will choose them -- not whether anyone will. Many NFL insiders knew about "Mean" Joe Greene before the 1969 draft. A defensive tackle, he attended the University of North Texas, a small, but racially integrated school. The Steelers chose him with the team's first pick, fourth overall. Then 234 picks later, in the 10th round of the same draft, the Steelers also chose L.C. Greenwood, another defensive line player, who was a student at Arkansas-Pine Bluff, an historically black college. He had been overlooked by every NFL team -- many times. Together, Greene and Greenwood made up half of the Steelers' famous "Steel Curtain" front four. The other half came together two years later. Dwight White, from East Texas State (now Texas A&M University at Commerce), went in the fourth round, 104th overall. The Steelers found the final piece, Ernie Holmes, at Texas Southern University, an HBCU, in the 8th round, 203rd overall. Nunn plaque: Steelers scout Bill Nunn Jr. helped the team find many of its late-round draft picks during the 1970s. A plaque with his name and face now hangs outside the draft room door. Those four men, cobbled together mostly from later rounds, went on to comprise what would become one of the most-famous NFL defensive lines in history. Even the Steelers' famed 1974 draft hinged on the team's later picks. That year, the team found four hall-of-famers with its first five choices: Lynn Swann, in the first round, 21st overall; Jack Lambert, in the second round, 46th; John Stallworth, fourth round, 82nd; and Mike Webster, fifth round, 125th. After the draft ended that year, the Steelers picked up Donnie Shell, an undrafted free agent from South Carolina State, another HBCU. He nearly missed having a shot at the NFL but ended up playing in five Pro Bowls and winning four championships.   This blog has been brought to you by CPG News and Information Services

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