The new website is going to take a while thanks to the appalling state of my finances after not having done any admin while working on new books.
One of my favourite lines in movies is from The Princess Bride, when one of the characters offers our hero the immortal advice, "Never start a land war in Russia, and never play cards with a Sicilian." To that, for any aspiring writers out there, I would add, "Never agree to write two books simultaneously for two different publishers, especially at the same time as you're supposed to be launching and promoting a third."
Anyway, I've finished them now and am re-emerging into the real world. For the first time in two and a half years I'm not on a screamingly urgent deadline, and I have an itch to start blogging again, as well as going out, seeing friends, watching TV, and all the other normal stuff I've pretty much forgotten how to do.
The fruits of my labours mean it's going to be a busy year.
In the UK, May 19th sees the launch of the Welsh Perry and Cider Guide I've co-written with cider photographer and blogger Bill Bradshaw for the Welsh Perry and Cider Society. Wales has come from nowhere in little over a decade to become one of the most important cider making regions in the UK, and now it gets its own guide. I'm married to a Welsh and spend a lot of time there. To see the country again through a cidery lens was truly special. Even if you don't like cider - or Wales - this should give you pause to re-evaluate it.
On 6th June the paperback version of Shakespeare's Local comes out - perfect for those who don't like shelling out on hardbacks or who have weak wrists! I'll be doing a lor of events to support this and will list them here.
And then Mid-October sees the launch of World's Best Cider, again co-authored with Bill. Those big coffee table beer books have slipped into a fixed format since Michael Jackson wrote the first World Guide to Beer on the mid-1970s. There are shelves full of them, but not as many as there are for wine, and there are similar books on whisky, cocktails, tea, coffee - you name it. Except cider.
Everyone who makes and drinks cider thinks it's just them that does so, and there's never been a global look at cider until now. Cider makers in Britain, US, Germany, Spain and France have only just really started talking to each other in the last few years. And because cider is seen as rural and rustic, and so few people have compared the various styles around the world, it remains arguably the most misunderstood drink there is.
We were lucky enough to be commissioned by the company run by the woman who edited Michael Jackson's World Guide to Beer. Our World's Best Cider won't be quite as good - not least because Michael put seven years research into that book and publishing no longer works on such luxurious timescales - but if it does even a tenth of the job for cider that Michael's book did for beer, we'll be very happy indeed.
I also get my first ever official US publications this year. Shakespeare's Local - rebranded 'Shakespeare's Pub' - is launched in the US and Canada next month.
And in October, World's Best Cider gets its own release in a country where cider has the same levels of excitement and wild experimentation that craft beer had twenty years ago.
So there's so much else to blog about. I will be doing my update on the whole Bondi beer thing very soon, as that is well overdue and quite interesting. There's lots of travel to write about. And this blog will increasingly feature content about cider as well as beer. Beer will always be my first love, but there is so much in cider that so few of us know anything about. It's really exciting.
But first - later today if I have time - in true Pete Brown's Beer Blog tradition, I have a cracking story about Stella Artois and a mischievous Swede...