Aug 132022
 

Note: This story is from my book Highway History And Back Road Mystery

We’ve all heard the tale of Paul Revere, the brave Boston silversmith whose midnight ride alerted patriots that “the British are coming!” The lesser known part of that story is that Paul Revere was actually captured before he completed his mission and two other riders went on to warn the Minutemen of the Redcoats’ advance. But did you know that Georgia had its very own version of Paul Revere?

It happened on May 2, 1863, during the Civil War, when Union troops under Colonel Abel D. Streight began moving toward the town of Rome, Georgia with the intent of seizing the Confederate arsenal there, then cutting off the South’s supply line between Atlanta and Chattanooga. Mail carrier John Henry Wisdom was at Gadsden, Alabama when he saw Streight’s men moving forward for the impending raid and took off to rally resistance.

Setting off by horse and buggy in mid-afternoon, Wisdom made it to Gnatville, Alabama, a distance of about 22 miles, before his horse gave out. The only mount to be had was a lame pony owned by a local widow woman. Borrowing the pony, the brave rider continued on his mission. But the poor animal could only make it another five miles before Wisdom had to abandon it and ride off on another horse he managed to borrow.

Through the evening and on into nightfall Wisdom continued, riding one horse until it collapsed and then begging another wherever he could. Some farmers refused to loan him their animals and he continued on foot until he could find another farmhouse to stop and ask for help. At one point he stumbled on for miles before finding a mule he could use. Sometime late at night, an exhausted John Wisdom arrived at the tiny settlement of Vanns Valley, Georgia, where he was able to get two fresh horses and race the final seventeen miles into Rome, completing a journey of nearly seventy miles on foot and horseback in just over eight hours.

It was after midnight when Wisdom arrived in Rome, but his night’s work was still not done. Rousing the citizenry, he helped organize a hasty defense. Since Rome was 60 miles south of the Confederate lines, there were no troops on hand to protect the town. Assembling a motley collection of wounded soldiers, old men, and young boys, a battle strategy was formed.

Knowing the Union troops would have to come across a covered wooden bridge over the Coosa River to enter town, the defenders chose the span to make their stand. Filling the bridge waist deep with straw soaked in oil and barricading it with cotton bales, the plan was to hold out as long as possible in the hope that reinforcements would arrive, and as a last resort, to set fire to the bridge to hold the invaders at bay.

Meanwhile the call went out for help, and planters and farmers began pouring into Rome from the surrounding countryside, armed with squirrel guns and muskets, much as the Minutemen had at Lexington and Concord nearly a century before. But unlike events in New England, this time bloodshed was averted.

At about 9 a.m. an advance force of 200 men led by a Captain Russell arrived at a hill overlooking the town and saw the defenses awaiting them. Unwilling to risk his men against such stubborn resistance, Russell withdrew and reported back to Colonel Streight that Rome was not to be taken easily. Streight began to move his force westward and they soon ran into Confederate General Nathanial Bedford Forrest and were captured. John Henry Wisdom’s midnight ride had succeeded in saving Rome!

As a reward for his gallant actions, the citizens of Rome presented John Wisdom with an award of $400 and a beautiful silver service. Though there is no evidence that the silver service was created by that other midnight rider from Boston, it did not matter to John Henry Wisdom, local hero. His long ride was done and Rome was safe. That was reward enough.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Be sure to enter our latest new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an autographed copy of Written in Blood by Nathan Bush. The first book in Nathan’s the Foley Chronicles: Files from the 8th District is the story of rookie detective Ken Collins investigating a serial killer who begins mutilating prostitutes in the 8th District. Working with his partner, Senior Detective John Filcher, the duo is on the hunt for a brutal and efficient killer who leaves no trail to follow.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books and audiobooks to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed

Thought For The Day – My dream job would be driving the karma bus.

That Explains It

 Posted by at 12:26 am  Nick's Blog
Aug 122022
 

Our lawn sprinkler system stopped working a while back, and I couldn’t figure out why. I checked the timer, and it seemed to be rotating okay, but the water would not come on at the set time. I noticed that a lot of bushes were growing up right in front of where the timer box was, so the other day we trimmed them back, and it took sharp-eyed Miss Terry about 30 seconds to realize what the problem was. A broken PVC fitting that screws into the outlet side of the box. When the sprinkler was due to come on, there was not enough pressure to force the water down the line to the sprinkler heads, and the water was just trickling out down the broken fitting, which was causing the bushes to grow up so fast.

I looked around in my stash of plumbing supplies, and though I have several lengths of the PVC pipe, I don’t have a couple of the slip joints and the screw-on fitting that I need to fix the problem. So while we are down in Titusville today for Terry’s pre-op appointment for her upcoming cataract surgery, we will go to Lowe’s and pick up what we need and a couple of other items Terry wants to get. It should be a quick and easy fix, and I know our grass and citrus trees will surely appreciate having the sprinklers working again.

Hopefully, we’ll get back home in time to get some more of the final read-through of my new John Lee Quarrels book done. I am eager to get it out, as well as to get started on my next Big Lake book.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Be sure to enter our latest new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an autographed copy of Written in Blood by Nathan Bush. The first book in Nathan’s the Foley Chronicles: Files from the 8th District is the story of rookie detective Ken Collins investigating a serial killer who begins mutilating prostitutes in the 8th District. Working with his partner, Senior Detective John Filcher, the duo is on the hunt for a brutal and efficient killer who leaves no trail to follow.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books and audiobooks to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed

Thought For The Day – Relationships don’t last because of good times. They last because of hard times that were handled with love and care.

A Winner And A Flop

 Posted by at 12:50 am  Nick's Blog
Aug 112022
 

Terry and I spent most of yesterday doing a final read-through and making corrections on my new John Lee Quarrels book. Another day or two, and we should have it done and I can start the formatting process.

Someone asked me why it takes so long to get a book out once I finish writing it. That’s because every book goes through me and then three editor/proofreaders. Then, when all of their corrections are made, it goes through a final read-through, and we still find errors from time to time. Even with all of that, as careful as everybody is, it’s not uncommon for sharp-eyed readers to catch a mistake or two. That’s why I always release the e-book first, so we can go back and make any changes necessary before we move to the printed format.

We like to sit in our recliners and watch TV in the evening, and the last couple of nights, we’ve been watching movies on Amazon Prime Video. One was a winner, and one was a flop. The winner was The Tender Bar, based on the best-selling memoir of J.R. Moehringer. The movie follows an aspiring writer who spends much of his childhood at his uncle’s neighborhood bar, nurtured by a colorful group of local characters, and goes on to Yale to pursue his romantic and professional dreams. Terry has never been a Ben Affleck fan, but she really admired the way he played the rogue Uncle Charlie, filling in for the boy’s absent father.

The flop was a movie called Colewell, about a woman postmaster in a small Pennsylvania town who receives notice that her post office, which is the gathering place for the community, will be closing in a month. She has the choice of relocating for a new position in another town or retiring. It started off slow and never got any better. It was disjointed and boring, and the only reason we kept watching is that we believed it had to get better. Then it ended with nothing resolved, and we looked at each other and asked, “What was that all about?” That’s an hour and 17 minutes of our lives that we’ll never get back.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an autographed copy of Written in Blood by Nathan Bush. The first book in the Foley Chronicles: Files from the 8th District is the story of rookie detective Ken Collins investigating a serial killer who begins mutilating prostitutes in the 8th District. Working with his partner, Senior Detective John Filcher, the duo is on the hunt for a brutal and efficient killer who leaves no trail to follow.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books and audiobooks to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed

Thought For The Day – Of course women don’t work as hard as men. They do it right the first time.

Going To Be Busy

 Posted by at 1:02 am  Nick's Blog
Aug 102022
 

I remember my sister complaining once when we were kids that she was bored, and our mother handed her a rag and a can of Pledge and told her to go dust the furniture. Mom said she was never bored because she was always too darn busy to have time for it.

If that’s true, and knowing my mom, it probably was because she was right about most things, Terry and I certainly won’t be getting bored anytime this month. Yesterday evening Roberta sent me the last chapters of my new John Lee Quarrels book that she had just finished proofreading, and today I will make her corrections and then print out the entire manuscript for Terry to go over one more time before I start the e-book formatting process. We had planned an outing to the shooting range in Titusville today or tomorrow, but I’m not sure if we can work that into the schedule or not. We have to be down in Titusville Friday afternoon for a preoperative appointment for Terry about her upcoming cataract surgery.

On Tuesday of next week, we have to go to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville for a checkup on the Interstim device that was implanted in Terry a couple of years ago. The next day I have an MRI scheduled for my back to see if the increased pain I’m having is due to worsening damage since it feels like the RF ablations I had done in June have not really helped at all.

We’ll have a couple of days off after that, and then Monday, the 22nd, I meet with one of my doctors to go over the MRI. On Wednesday, the 24th, Terry has cataract surgery on her right eye in Titusville and then goes back the next day for a postop appointment as well as a preop for the left eye, which will be done on September 6th. I sure am glad gas prices have come down because we’re going to be putting some miles on!

Some readers have messaged me asking about the shooting I reported in yesterday’s blog. According to the police, a man went to a Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meeting, looking for his former girlfriend. She was there with another man, and the shooter killed him immediately and then took her hostage. Several other people that were in the meeting escaped and called the police. There was a standoff that lasted several hours before a SWAT team entered the building and found the bodies of the first man, the woman, and the shooter, who had committed suicide. What a terrible tragedy for everyone involved.

I was dismayed by someone on a local Internet forum saying it didn’t really matter if junkies got killed or not. I guess that person is too dense to understand, but someone who goes to an NA meeting is trying to deal with their addiction and get better. And no matter why they were there or where they were in their recovery, they were still someone’s child, someone’s brother or sister, or father or mother or friend, and they didn’t deserve to die like that. They also don’t deserve idiots spouting off online just because they like to show the world how stupid they really are.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Thought For The Day – Never look down on anyone unless you are admiring their shoes.

Aug 092022
 

When we hear about violent crime, we always tend to think it’s something that happens somewhere else, not where we are. It can happen anytime, anywhere. It’s always in some far off place, usually a big city, and the people involved are anonymous. But my long career publishing small town newspapers in the Pacific Northwest and Arizona taught me that this is far from the truth. I have covered horrendous murders and other violent crimes in picturesque little mountain towns, charming fishing villages that look like they came right out of a Norman Rockwell painting, on beaches, in forests, and just about everywhere else you could imagine.

Our little waterfront town here on the Florida Central Coast is pretty mellow for the most part. In the six years we have lived here, I think there have been two murders. One was a domestic dispute, and the other was a drunk outside a bar who shot a young man for leaning against his pickup truck in the parking lot.

But yesterday evening, we had a major incident here, a hostage standoff that resulted in the deaths of three people, including the shooter. The incident happened about seven miles from us right on US Highway 1, a road that we travel several times a week. Always be vigilant, my friends. As I said,  It can happen anytime, anywhere.

Terry finished the first round of editing and proofreading my new John Lee Quarrels book yesterday, and when she was done, she said she liked the story, but the ending seemed a little flat to her. I was glad she said that because I felt the same way and was hoping one of my proofreaders would give me some suggestions, or at least their input about it. So I sat down and wrote another chapter, actually an epilogue, that I think wraps things up pretty well.

Then I sent those last chapters to Judy Rinehimer, my second proofreader, and a few hours later, she had them back to me. I made her changes and then sent them off to Roberta, proofreader three. I hope to have her corrections and suggestions back sometime today.

A long hard job deserves a reward, don’t you think? At least I do, and my reward for wrapping this book was some of Terry’s delicious cheesecake that I showed you a picture of in yesterday’s blog, drizzled with a strawberry topping that she made. Our friends Jesse and Jennifer from across the street came over to share some of it with us, and we all agreed that it was probably the best cheesecake we’ve ever had anywhere in the world. So Terry did a good job, too. I wonder if I can reward her with cheesecake?

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Thought For The Day – Please be patient. I’m screwing things up as fast as I possibly can.

If I Only Had A Friend

 Posted by at 12:46 am  Nick's Blog
Aug 082022
 

I like to think of myself as a charming little cherub with a great sense of humor and lots of fun to hang out with. But let’s be honest, I can be a high-maintenance friend.

I never get to bed before 2 or 3 A.M. and seldom get out of bed until sometime between 11 and noon, so I don’t make much of a fishing buddy or someone to go down to the beach and watch the sunrise over the ocean with. But I will be happy to smile and nod my head while you tell me all about it later in the day and even act like I’m really interested.

I’m so clumsy that my dad always used to tell me I should get a job in a mattress factory when I grew up. But then he amended that by saying I would probably knock a stack of them over on top of me and smother myself. So if we go kayaking, there’s a good chance you’re going to have to drag my portly posterior out of the water at least once. And my good buddy Jesse Bolton could tell you that it’s dangerous to be around me when I’m trying to put a pontoon boat onto a trailer because I almost ran him over doing it the last time we were out together. Ever since then, he always finds a reason to beg off a trip out on the water.

When it comes to fixing things around the house, forget it. I can’t tell a screwdriver from a masonry trowel. But don’t worry, if you’re my friend and you like to do that sort of thing, or even if you don’t like to but know how, you can bet I’m gonna put you to work every now and then.

Nope, I’m hardly worth the trouble of getting to know. And sometimes that comes back and bites me in the butt because there are times when I really need a friend. Like now, for example. Miss Terry made this huge delicious cheesecake yesterday, and I know that if I eat it all by myself, I’ll gain so much weight that I can’t get through the kitchen doorway. Although, when you think about it, if you’re going to be stuck someplace, Terry’s kitchen is a pretty good spot for it. 😊

Gee, if I only had a friend to help me eat it.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us. I have a feeling cell phone coverage may be spotty for a while.

Congratulations Jon Ensminger, winner of our drawing for an audiobook of Crazy Days In Big Lake, the third book in my Big Lake mystery series. Everybody seems to have gone crazy in the little mountain community. Neighbors are threatening violence, eco-protestors are on the march, flower children are camping in the nearby forest, two of Sheriff Jim Weber’s deputies have gotten into a fistfight in the ButterCup Café, the grocery store manager has locked himself in his office and won’t come out, bears are chasing dogs into houses, and somebody has stolen the town’s mascot. As if that isn’t enough to deal with, a mild-mannered retired couple have shot an intruder during a home invasion. By the time this wild tale is finished, more blood will be shed and the good people of Big Lake will be left wondering just how well they really know their neighbors.

We had 25 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books and audiobooks to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.

Thought For The Day – To err is human. To blame it on someone else shows management potential.

It’s Done!

 Posted by at 12:07 am  Nick's Blog
Aug 072022
 

Well, I missed my goal of finishing Pucker Factor, my next John Lee Quarrels book, by the end of July. There was just too much going on. But I’m happy to say that I finished it late yesterday afternoon. Today I will make corrections to the final chapters I wrote yesterday and print them out for the editing and proofreading process to begin.

While that is getting done, I will write the first chapter of the next John Lee book, which will go into the back of this one as a preview of things to come.

Before final editing, the manuscript comes in at 86,713 words. It’s been my experience that the proofing process usually adds anywhere from 500 to 800 words, which puts it at about the same length as most of the other books in the series.

This will be the 11th book in the series, and once it gets through all of the preparation and formatting, the e-book version should be out in a week to ten days. I will make an announcement here when it comes out, and also on Facebook and in the free author’s newsletter that I send to my subscribers.

With that out of the way, I’ll take a deep breath or two and get started on Big Lake Drunk, the 22nd book in that series. I will be incorporating some information and places I picked up during our trip out to Arizona in May to visit the White Mountains, where the real Big Lake is located. It’s always fun for me to write about that quirky little mountain town. I’ve been at it so long that the characters feel like they are members of my family. In a lot of ways, they are.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Today is your last chance to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Crazy Days In Big Lake, the third book in my Big Lake mystery series. Everybody seems to have gone crazy in the little mountain community. Neighbors are threatening violence, eco-protestors are on the march, flower children are camping in the nearby forest, two of Sheriff Jim Weber’s deputies have gotten into a fistfight in the ButterCup Café, the grocery store manager has locked himself in his office and won’t come out, bears are chasing dogs into houses, and somebody has stolen the town’s mascot. As if that isn’t enough to deal with, a mild-mannered retired couple have shot an intruder during a home invasion. By the time this wild tale is finished, more blood will be shed and the good people of Big Lake will be left wondering just how well they really know their neighbors.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn this evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books and audiobooks to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.

Thought For The Day – Which letter is silent in the word “Scent,” the S or the C?

My Eyes Hurt

 Posted by at 12:25 am  Nick's Blog
Aug 062022
 

I spent so many hours making corrections to chapters I narrated in my new John Lee Quarrels book the last two days that my eyes hurt. But I got most of the chapters done and gave them to Terry to edit and proofread. Once she was done with that, I made her corrections and then sent them to Judy to go over. I got them back from her late last night. I will make her corrections this morning and send them on to Roberta, proofreader number three.

Somebody said that I had four new books out by this time last year and this will only be my second for 2022, and wanted to know why I was being so slow. I had to laugh because I know authors who work two or three years to get one book out. And while I put out six books in one year when we were staying home so much due to Covid, and normally do four books a year, I won’t apologize for slowing down a bit.

That takes a lot of work and time. We enjoyed taking an extended trip out west this year to see family and promote my books. We may even make a shorter trip before the year ends. I’ll be 70 in a few weeks, and Terry hit that magic number in June. While I love what I do and still have a lot of books I want to write, I want to get some living in, too, while we are still healthy enough to do so.

But I promise to get the next Big Lake book out this fall and maybe even another Tinder Street book by Christmas. If not, it will be out sometime after the holidays.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Crazy Days In Big Lake, the third book in my Big Lake mystery series. Everybody seems to have gone crazy in the little mountain community. Neighbors are threatening violence, eco-protestors are on the march, flower children are camping in the nearby forest, two of Sheriff Jim Weber’s deputies have gotten into a fistfight in the ButterCup Café, the grocery store manager has locked himself in his office and won’t come out, bears are chasing dogs into houses, and somebody has stolen the town’s mascot. As if that isn’t enough to deal with, a mild-mannered retired couple have shot an intruder during a home invasion. By the time this wild tale is finished, more blood will be shed and the good people of Big Lake will be left wondering just how well they really know their neighbors.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books and audiobooks to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.

Thought For The Day – If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

Blog A Day Late?

 Posted by at 12:46 am  Nick's Blog
Aug 052022
 

Lately, several people have contacted us to say that they are getting the blog a day late. At the same time, many other readers are not having any problems accessing the current blog. When I’ve talked to the technical people about this, they say it’s on the user end and that either their server has not updated or that readers should clear the cache on their computer and then refresh the screen.

I’m not going to tell you how to clear the cache on your computer because I don’t know what system you are using, but if you are one of the people having this problem, here is an easy fix. Go to the title of the blog, which in this case, I have circled in blue below. Then click on the title, and it should open to another page that looks the same. But on the new page, above the blog on the right, there should be a link to the next day’s blog if one has been posted. For example, in this case, it is Good For Old Farts and is circled in red. If you click on that, it should take you to the next day’s blog.

If the blog you have is an older one, you may have to repeat the process a time or two to get to the current blog. I’m sorry people are having this problem, but it seems to happen from time to time, and as with so many things in the world of technology, nobody really knows why.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Crazy Days In Big Lake, the third book in my Big Lake mystery series. Everybody seems to have gone crazy in the little mountain community. Neighbors are threatening violence, eco-protestors are on the march, flower children are camping in the nearby forest, two of Sheriff Jim Weber’s deputies have gotten into a fistfight in the ButterCup Café, the grocery store manager has locked himself in his office and won’t come out, bears are chasing dogs into houses, and somebody has stolen the town’s mascot. As if that isn’t enough to deal with, a mild-mannered retired couple have shot an intruder during a home invasion. By the time this wild tale is finished, more blood will be shed and the good people of Big Lake will be left wondering just how well they really know their neighbors.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books and audiobooks to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.

Thought For The Day – Why is there a ‘D’ in the word fridge, but not in the word refrigerator?

Good For Old Farts

 Posted by at 12:58 am  Nick's Blog
Aug 042022
 

Terry and I had our regular periodic checkups with our primary care doctor yesterday afternoon, and after going over all of our charts and the results of our lab tests that were done last week, he said we are both doing very well. Our blood pressures, A1C, cholesterol, and all those things they look at are within the ranges they should be. We even lost a few pounds each since our last visit. So I guess we’re doing pretty good for a couple of old farts.

When we were done at the doctor’s office, we drove down to the beach, which was packed even though it was midweek. I guess the combination of the intense heat and the fact that school starts in the next week or two was bringing the people out. Volusia County, Florida, is one of the few places where you can drive on the beach, and we drove down a mile or two, enjoying the feel of the ocean air on us and the views. There were probably some views I enjoyed more than Terry did, but it’s okay. I’ve reached the age where it’s expected to be a dirty old man.

After we left the beach, we went to Stavro’s Pizza in New Smyrna Beach. It’s our favorite pizza place around here, and on Mondays and Wednesdays, large pizzas are half price plus $1. They are big and delicious, and you just can’t beat a deal like that.

Taking our time with our meal because we had some prescriptions to pick up on the way home and we wanted to be sure they were ready, we just enjoyed being together, holding hands while we ate like a couple of kids on their first date.

We stopped at Publix to pick up a few things, then went across the street to the Walgreens pharmacy drive-through, which was closed, with a sign saying they were understaffed and to please come inside. I left Terry waiting in the van with the engine running while I went inside to pick up the prescriptions, only to find that one of them had not been filled yet. They were definitely shorthanded because it took a long time to get it. I began to worry that the ice cream we had bought at Publix would be melted by the time I got back to the van and we got home. Fortunately, it wasn’t, which meant we had a nice snack later in the evening as we watched TV. Yeah, I know, pizza and ice cream right after a doctor visit to say we are healthy. Go figure.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Crazy Days In Big Lake, the third book in my Big Lake mystery series. Everybody seems to have gone crazy in the little mountain community. Neighbors are threatening violence, eco-protestors are on the march, flower children are camping in the nearby forest, two of Sheriff Jim Weber’s deputies have gotten into a fistfight in the ButterCup Café, the grocery store manager has locked himself in his office and won’t come out, bears are chasing dogs into houses, and somebody has stolen the town’s mascot. As if that isn’t enough to deal with, a mild-mannered retired couple have shot an intruder during a home invasion. By the time this wild tale is finished, more blood will be shed and the good people of Big Lake will be left wondering just how well they really know their neighbors.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books and audiobooks to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.

Thought For The Day – If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.

Aug 032022
 

As I said in yesterday’s blog, Terry had an appointment for a hearing test to see if anything could be done about her annoying tinnitus, which seemed to start sometime after her intense radiation for stage 4 cervical cancer 22 years ago. We really don’t know if the daily radiation she received for 60 days or the weekly chemo is related to the tinnitus or not. Some doctors say it’s possible and others say they don’t know.

At any rate, we arrived at Elite Hearing Center in New Smyrna Beach a few minutes early, and Terry checked in and did some paperwork. Then Jamie came out and introduced herself and took us back to a testing room. She was very patient, explained everything in detail, then did the test. When it was finished, she told Terry that her actual hearing loss is slight and that hearing aids might not help much at this point with the hearing or the tinnitus. She also offered a free trial if Terry wanted. It would have been easy to say Terry needed something and make a sale, but Jamie obviously has a lot of integrity and doesn’t do business that way. We will definitely refer anyone we know to her.

Terry’s Chrysler Pacifica was in bad need of a bath, so when we were done with the hearing test, we went to Splash-N-Dash Car Wash. They were obviously short-handed, as most places seem to be these days, but they had a nice air-conditioned waiting room where we could sit comfortably until it was done. They did an excellent job both outside and inside, and the van looks all pretty and shiny again.

Somebody asked why we didn’t do the ceramic coating on the van like we did the new Laramie pickup and my Mustang. The ceramic coating is an excellent way to protect a vehicle long-term, but it’s not cheap. As I recall, it ran us about $1,000 per vehicle, with a 7-year warranty. The Pacifica is a 2017, and while it gets great mileage, is comfortable to travel in, and has all the bells and whistles, Terry doesn’t really like it all that much. It sits too low for her, and she feels much more comfortable in the truck, as she did in our old Ford Explorer.

It seems like every two or three years our accountant says we’ve got to spend some money, which is why we bought the truck at the end of last year. I suspect in another couple of years, we may have to do the same thing again to whittle down our taxes, and Terry really likes the Ford Expeditions. While I don’t see us getting rid of the pickup or the Mustang, there’s a good chance the van will get replaced somewhere along the line.

After we were done at the car wash we made a couple of stops, including to the post office to mail off a copy of my mystery novel Stillborn Armadillos to the winner of last week’s blog drawing. Then we went to Beef O’Brady’s for an early dinner and made a couple of other stops, including at Walgreens to pick up some prescriptions before we came home. At one of the places we stopped between New Smyrna Beach and our home, a lot of rain had come down, leaving puddles in the parking lots. But as happens so often, at our house three or four miles away, not a drop had fallen. We live in the Florida desert, a stone’s throw from the Atlantic Ocean. Go figure.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us, courtesy of my pal Judy Rinehimer.

Thought For The Day – Do twins ever realize that one of them is unplanned?

Snap, Crackle, Pop

 Posted by at 12:23 am  Nick's Blog
Aug 022022
 

That’s what it sounded like around our place yesterday, and no, I wasn’t eating Rice Krispies. Our neighbor Jennifer from across the street came over to tell me that a power pole was making a loud buzzing sound, and she kept seeing a blue light on it.

I walked outside, and it took me a minute to figure out what she was talking about. One of the white connectors on the bottom right arm of this power pole was shorting out. We didn’t hear anything for a moment or so, then there was a loud crackling sound and I could see a bright blue spark that looked like it was coming from a welder’s torch. It would stop for a minute or so and start back up, and several times it actually put out a large flame.

Jennifer had tried to call Florida Power and Light (FPL), our local electric company, but she got caught in voicemail hell, saying it would be at least 90 minutes before someone could answer her call. That’s nonsense, so I called 911, and a few minutes later, a fire truck arrived. I showed them where the problem was, and just as I did, there was another big flame that came out of the connection, and then little pieces of burning insulation or something started falling down. The fireman said he would call FPL and tell them to get out here. I told him the recorded message Jennifer had got when she called and he shook his head and said, “No, I’ll make sure they’re here soon!” Apparently, his dispatcher or somebody knew the right number to call that we mere mortals don’t have because less than twenty minutes later, an FPL truck showed up.

The worker looked at the pole and confirmed that it was a short in the wires and said he would call for a bucket truck. I asked if we were going to lose power, and he said there were three lines coming from that pole, and he didn’t know what feeds what, so we had a one in three chance of going dark for an hour or so. Fortunately, even though we didn’t win the MegaMillions jackpot the other night, we lucked out this time around and our power stayed on.

That’s a good thing because I spent the entire day making corrections to chapters in my new John Lee Quarrels book so I can get them printed out and off to the proofreaders. I still had a couple of chapters to go when I knocked off about 7:30 in the evening because my eyes were just too tired to do anymore.

Terry and I spent the evening watching a couple of episodes of Aerial America that I had recorded on the Smithsonian Channel. These are great documentaries with some amazing videography. They have one for each state, as well as special episodes covering things like natural wonders, man-made wonders, and such. Check it out. I think you’ll like it.

I don’t know how much work I will get done today because Terry has an appointment with an audiologist in the early afternoon to see if they can do anything about her annoying tinnitus, and then we have some errands to run. Hopefully, I’ll find time to get at least something done to earn my keep.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Thought For The Day – Give me coffee to change the things I can and wine to accept those I cannot.

I Didn’t Make It

 Posted by at 12:35 am  Nick's Blog
Aug 012022
 

Well, I didn’t make my goal of finishing my new John Lee Quarrels book by the end of July. I’ve got about two chapters to go yet, maybe three at the most. I promise it won’t be long now.

I spent much of yesterday making corrections to the last chapters I wrote. While it’s fairly easy for me to narrate 5,000 or more words in a day when I’m on a roll, transcribing everything through Dragon Naturally Speaking is always problematic. Regardless of what their television commercials might want you to believe, it’s far from perfect, and for every day that I spend narrating, I sometimes need another full day making the corrections that it throws in or the garbled words that come out.

I also had to fix a couple of glaring mistakes that I have no idea how I managed to make. Somewhere along the line, I realized that I had started referring to Maddy, John Lee’s fellow deputy and love interest, as Robyn, who is a deputy in my Big Lake mystery series. Is that what it’s like when you get old and start calling your kids by their siblings’ names? I guess I’m lucky that I only had two kids, aren’t I?

At any rate, that was easy to fix with a quick find and replace. The other mistake was when I was describing one of the main characters, Sheriff Swindle. I had his physical description wrong from what it was in the first ten books in the series. That took a little more effort to correct.

I knocked off about 3:30 because we were going to Dustin’s Barbeque for dinner with our friends Jesse and Jennifer. We try to do that at least once a week, depending on their schedules. It’s always a good time, and the food is always very good. Our waitress was a very nice lady named Cindy with a good sense of humor. It was her first day on the job and she was trying hard, but I think she was a bit overwhelmed. Her coworkers were helping her out when she got a bit behind, and we tried to reassure her that everything was fine.

Back at home, I finished correcting the chapter I had been working on and then answered a few e-mails before Terry and I retired to the living room to watch TV. She likes the Netflix series Virgin River, and we had been binge-watching Season Four the last few nights. Both of us agreed that it was not as good as the first three seasons, and they made some very obvious mistakes. But it’s Hollywood, what do you expect?

I will be back at it today, making more corrections, and if I get enough done, I’ll jump into the last chapters of the book. Wish me luck.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Congratulations Lisa Boozer, winner of our drawing for an autographed copy of Stillborn Armadillos, the first book in my John Lee Quarrels mystery series about a small town deputy in a rural Florida county whose life is already complicated enough, what with his estranged wife dropping in for unannounced sleepovers, her oversexed sister tempting him, his pot smoking pony-tailed grandfather growing his own stash, his Elvis obsessed grandmother, and being caught smack dab in the middle of a power struggle between the Sheriff and Chief Deputy. But when a road construction crew unearths the skeletons of three murder victims, John Lee suddenly finds himself on the trail of a killer who may well have died long before the deputy was even born. And then a mysterious sniper begins shooting at deputies…

We had 63 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon.

Thought For The Day – Every time you clean something, you just make something else dirty.

Close But No Cigar

 Posted by at 12:54 am  Nick's Blog
Jul 312022
 

I said in yesterday’s blog that I had written 9,000 words and if I could do the same thing for the next day or two, I would finish my new John Lee book. Well, I had another good writing day, but not quite that good. By the end of the day, I had knocked out a little over 6,000 words. Still not too shabby for a fat boy.

Especially since I was in pain for about half the day. Miss Terry swears she didn’t beat me up in my sleep, but when I woke up the outside edge of my left eye socket from my eyebrow down to an inch or so below the eye felt like someone slapped me with a sock full of nickels. Even blinking my eye or any movement of the eye increased the discomfort. There was no swelling or bruising and no indication of an insect bite or something like that, so I don’t know what the heck was going on there. At any rate, it eventually went away, although the area is still tender if I touch it.

Someone asked if Terry has put her new Old Town kayak that I wrote about in Friday’s blog in the water yet. Since the temperature has been hovering around 90o for days now, with the humidity not too far behind, that’s not going to happen for a while. So why did we buy it now if it will be so long before we use it? Because Kayaks By Bo had the one in the size and color scheme we wanted in stock, and they have to order their inventory in advance. It’s not like we can call and tell them to have the manufacturer put one on a truck and have it here next week. As the old saying goes, if you snooze, you lose.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Today is your last chance to enter our Free Drawing for an autographed copy of Stillborn Armadillos, the first book in my John Lee Quarrels mystery series about a small town deputy in a rural Florida county whose life is already complicated enough, what with his estranged wife dropping in for unannounced sleepovers, her oversexed sister tempting him, his pot smoking pony-tailed grandfather growing his own stash, his Elvis obsessed grandmother, and being caught smack dab in the middle of a power struggle between the Sheriff and Chief Deputy. But when a road construction crew unearths the skeletons of three murder victims, John Lee suddenly finds himself on the trail of a killer who may well have died long before the deputy was even born. And then a mysterious sniper begins shooting at deputies…

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn this evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books and audiobooks to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.

Thought For The Day – It’s never too late to be happy. But it’s all up to you and no one else.

A 9K Friday

 Posted by at 1:16 am  Nick's Blog
Jul 302022
 

Did you ever have one of those mornings when you get startled awake and your mind is fuzzy and you are fumble-fingered and it takes you a minute to get your wits about you? That was me yesterday morning.

I was in a deep sleep, dreaming about something, I couldn’t tell you what right now, when the phone startled me awake. I groped around over my head, trying to find it on the headboard, and for some reason, I was trying to find the handset to an old-style rotary telephone. Don’t ask me why, maybe that’s part of what I was dreaming. At any rate, I knocked the television remote control down on my head and almost strangled myself on the hose for my CPAP machine. By the time I finally got hold of my phone, the caller had hung up. A moment later I got a ding telling me I had a voicemail. It was the representative from the company that provides my CPAP supplies, checking in to see if I needed anything replaced. I think I was awake enough by then to sound at least halfway coherent when I talked to him.

After a nice light breakfast with Terry, I got online and answered my e-mail, which was rather light for a change. Then I posted a link to yesterday’s blog on Facebook and spend a half hour or so reading the news updates. By then it was time to get to work.

It was one of those days when everything was flowing just right and I made a lot of headway on my new John Lee Quarrels book. By the time I knocked off several hours later, my head was kind of aching and my eyes needed a break from the monitor, but I had written (dictated) 9,000 words. Another day or two like that and I’ll have this book wrapped up.

Then I have to give everything a read-through before I print it out for Terry to do her thing, and then send it on to my other proofreaders. Unfortunately, Roberta has been dealing with some kind of computer malfunction and she’s waiting for the Geek Squad or whoever does her tech work to get her laptop back in order for her, which will hopefully be sometime next week. But the way things are looking now, it won’t be long before I will be uploading the e-book version of Pucker Factor to Amazon.

I’m looking forward to that, and I’m also looking forward to jumping into my next project, Big Lake Drunk, the 22nd book in that series.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an autographed copy of Stillborn Armadillos, the first book in my John Lee Quarrels mystery series about a small town deputy in a rural Florida county whose life is already complicated enough, what with his estranged wife dropping in for unannounced sleepovers, her oversexed sister tempting him, his pot smoking pony-tailed grandfather growing his own stash, his Elvis obsessed grandmother, and being caught smack dab in the middle of a power struggle between the Sheriff and Chief Deputy. But when a road construction crew unearths the skeletons of three murder victims, John Lee suddenly finds himself on the trail of a killer who may well have died long before the deputy was even born. And then a mysterious sniper begins shooting at deputies…

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books and audiobooks to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.

Thought For The Day – Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

Cataracts And Kayaks

 Posted by at 1:11 am  Nick's Blog
Jul 292022
 

A week or so ago, I mentioned that Terry’s eye doctor said it’s about time to consider cataract surgery for her. We knew it was coming, and she’s been wanting to get it over with, but just needed to wait for the doctor to give the okay. She had an appointment at Kutryb Eye Institute in Titusville yesterday afternoon and they told her the magic time had arrived.

We are not sure when it will happen yet. They’re supposed to call her to schedule it for sometime in the next month. They usually don’t do both eyes at the same time, and in her case, they will do the right eye first and then schedule the left eye. That usually happens a week or two later.

Medicare only pays for basic lenses, but I told Terry to go ahead and get the best ones available, and we would pay the difference out of pocket. But as it turns out, her doctor does not recommend the very best ones. She has chronic dry eyes and has to have plugs inserted in her eyes every few months, along with using special eye drops during the day, and the doctor told her that the PanOptix lenses we thought she would be going with are not a good choice for someone with her condition. Instead, she’ll be taking a step down to a mid-level lens called the IQ Vivity. The doctor said that should bring her vision to 20/25 and that she might have to use off-the-shelf 125+ readers for close-up work. That’s about what my vision is after my cataract surgery and I do the same thing for really small type.

If you’ve been reading the blog for very long, you know that Terry and I love kayaking, and living only 800 yards from the Intracoastal Waterway and some excellent fishing, we get out as often as we can. We have two 13-foot Old Town Predator kayaks, as well as an Old Town Predator PDL, which you can either paddle or use your feet and pedal to propel across the water. All three are excellent for kayaking or fishing because they are super stable.

We also have two excellent Sea Eagle inflatable kayaks from our days as fulltime RVers. They are very well made and pretty much bulletproof, but because we have so many oyster beds around here, we are hesitant to use them. I’ve advertised them on a couple of venues for a while, but so far, I have not found a buyer for them.

When our daughter Tiffany and granddaughter Destiny were here in January, they wanted to get out on the water. With only three hard kayaks, Terry and the girls went out for a while, and then they came back in, and I took Terry’s place. We had an amazing experience when we got into the middle of a dolphin feeding frenzy, with more of the beautiful marine mammals than I could count coming up all around us chasing baitfish. They were so close that we even got splashed a few times. Being from Arizona, you can bet Tiffany and Destiny got a thrill out of that!

After they left, Terry and I decided that we might look around for one more hard kayak so the next time the four of us can go out together and for when our son Travis and his wife Geli come to visit. I had noticed that Old Town has a new kayak called the Sportsman out, which comes in both 10 and 12 foot lengths. I did some research on it and decided that it would make the perfect addition to our little fleet.

While we were in Titusville last week, we stopped at Kayaks By Bo, a wonderful little family business where we bought our other three Old Town kayaks and checked out the 12-foot-long Sportsman. As soon as we saw it we knew it would be perfect for our needs. I paid for it then and told them that I would pick it up when we came to town for Terry’s eye appointment. So while she was inside with the doctor yesterday, I drove a few blocks to the kayak shop and loaded up the new one.

Even though my Ram Laramie has a 5½-foot bed, with the tailgate flat and the kayak seat folded down, we were able to slip it in the back, leaving the tonneau cover closed, and tied it down with no problem at all. With a red flag tied to the back end of the kayak, I set off to pick up Terry and come on home. Our buddy Jesse was just getting home from work and he came over and helped me unload the new kayak once I backed into the garage. Now we need it to cool down enough that we can take it out and get it in the water. Terry has already informed me that she loves the look of it, so I have a feeling it’s going to become her favorite new kayak.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us, courtesy of Jim Harper.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an autographed copy of Stillborn Armadillos, the first book in my John Lee Quarrels mystery series about a small town deputy in a rural Florida county whose life is already complicated enough, what with his estranged wife dropping in for unannounced sleepovers, her oversexed sister tempting him, his pot smoking pony-tailed grandfather growing his own stash, his Elvis obsessed grandmother, and being caught smack dab in the middle of a power struggle between the Sheriff and Chief Deputy. But when a road construction crew unearths the skeletons of three murder victims, John Lee suddenly finds himself on the trail of a killer who may well have died long before the deputy was even born. And then a mysterious sniper begins shooting at deputies…

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books and audiobooks to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.

Thought For The Day – When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

Not Going To Do It

 Posted by at 12:43 am  Nick's Blog
Jul 282022
 

I had my RF nerve ablations done on June 13th and 20th. They were outpatient procedures, and a couple of weeks after the second one I had a follow-up appointment with the doctor’s office in Orlando. If traffic isn’t bad we can make the trip in about an hour and 15 minutes, but you never know when there is going to be a traffic jam or an accident, given how crazy traffic can be in the Orlando metro area, and the fact that there is always road construction going on.

When we arrived for that appointment, I had to wait about 45 minutes to get in to see the doctor, and he spent less than 10 minutes with me. Just asked how I was doing, I told him everything was good, and he said to make an appointment at the front desk to come back. That’s what yesterday was all about, the same thing. Drive through a lot of traffic to get there, wait 45 minutes, and this time I didn’t even see the doctor, I saw a nurse practitioner. Then they expected me to come back again in two more weeks, and then a month after that. I decided I’m not going to do that. It’s a lot of driving and a lot of time wasted to do something that could have been done on the telephone in a five-minute call.

After my first RF ablations, a couple of years ago, they wanted me to do the same thing and I said no, with COVID being as bad as it was, I wasn’t going to drive down there and sit in a crowded waiting room. The appointment scheduler and I argued about that for a few moments and she decided they could just call me and do the same thing, which they did. The doctor is very good and he does an excellent job, there’s no question about that, but sometimes I think some medical offices are just milking Medicare for all they can get, and I’m not going to play that game.

And guess what? Tomorrow it’s Terry’s turn to go to the doctor. But this time it’s only down in Titusville, about a half hour away, and well worth it because it’s at Kutryb Eye Institute to determine if it’s time to do cataract surgery on her. For the last couple of years and at her last appointment three months ago they have been telling her that she’s about to that point, and she would like to get it done and over with. I had it done many years ago, and after wearing Coke bottle thick glasses for much of my life, it was such a change not to have to use anything. Many of our friends and our daughter Tiffany have also had the same procedures done, and nobody regrets it. Terry is sure she won’t either.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an autographed copy of Stillborn Armadillos, the first book in my John Lee Quarrels mystery series about a small town deputy in a rural Florida county whose life is already complicated enough, what with his estranged wife dropping in for unannounced sleepovers, her oversexed sister tempting him, his pot smoking pony-tailed grandfather growing his own stash, his Elvis obsessed grandmother, and being caught smack dab in the middle of a power struggle between the Sheriff and Chief Deputy. But when a road construction crew unearths the skeletons of three murder victims, John Lee suddenly finds himself on the trail of a killer who may well have died long before the deputy was even born. And then a mysterious sniper begins shooting at deputies…

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books and audiobooks to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.

Thought For The Day – Over prepare, then go with the flow.

Jul 272022
 

He was considered to be one of the greatest heroes of the Confederacy, and when he was killed in 1863, it was a huge loss to the rebel cause. Even today, the story of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson is revered by history fans across the globe, and has been studied by students of military and Civil War history. But you wouldn’t think a man of Jackson’s legendary status could just die like a regular person, would you? If so, you would be wrong.

Born in what is now West Virginia, in 1824, Jackson graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with the Class of 1846. Serving during the Mexican-American War, he won acclaim for his actions at the Battle of Chapultepec and went on to teach at the Virginia Military Institute from 1851 to 1861, when he resigned to join the Confederate Army.

Distinguishing himself at the First Battle of Bull Run, and continuing on to win accolades and rise through the ranks, he got his famous nickname when another general rallied his troops during battle by shouting, “There is Jackson standing like a stone wall!”

Jackson was indeed fearless in combat and beloved by his men. That’s why it’s ironic that such a man would not die at the hands of the enemy but by friendly fire. It happened at the Battle of Chancellorsville on May 2, 1863, when he was mortally wounded by his own troops, who mistook him for a Union officer.

Jackson was hit by three bullets, one in his right hand, another in his left elbow, and a third three inches below the left shoulder. In those days, battlefield medicine was a far cry from what it is today, and the best treatment for wounds like Jackson’s was swift amputation in a field hospital, which is what happened with the general.

As the story goes, the next day, a visitor named Reverend Lacy came to see Jackson and pray for him before he was moved to Guinea Station, where he died a few days later, on May 10th. As he was leaving the hospital tent, Lacy spotted Jackson’s severed arm lying outside the tent, waiting to be buried along with other limbs of wounded soldiers. Believing that a man of Jackson’s stature deserved more, he took the arm to the nearby Ellwood plantation, owned by his brother James. There the brothers buried the arm in their small family cemetery.

In 1903, a man named James Power Smith, who had served on Jackson’s staff during the war and who later married into the Lacy family, erected a stone marker in the cemetery reading simply reading, “Arm of Stonewall Jackson, May 3, 1863.” There has been a lot of speculation over the years as to the exact location where the arm is buried, or if it was ever really buried there at all. It seems nobody really knows for sure.

But even today, nearly 160 years later, people come to Ellwood Plantation, which is now a part of the Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park in Virginia, to pay their respects to Jackson’s appendage. Fifteen members of the Lacy family are buried in unmarked graves in the little cemetery, but only Jackson’s arm has a marker.

Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park and Ellwood Plantation are located in Fredericksburg, Virginia. For more information, visit the park’s website at https://www.nps.gov/frsp/index.htm

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Thought For The Day – Don’t let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning.

Jul 262022
 

I started the day off yesterday trying to get the audiobook download code for More Than Human that I sent to contest winner Tom Lemcool to work. Tom had written me to say that when he tried to redeem the code, he got a message saying it had already been claimed. This sometimes happens with Audible prizes, and nobody can seem to figure out why. Sometimes if the winner waits an hour or two and tries again, they accept the code, and other times they don’t.

I tried it for Tom and ran into the same thing, so I sent an e-mail to Audible asking what the problem was. I received an automatic response saying they would get back to me sometime in the next 24 hours. No way was I going to make our lucky winner wait that long if I could avoid it, so I contacted the book’s author, Heather Ashbury, asking if she had another code she could supply. Heather was quick to get it to me, and I sent it on to Tom. A short time later I got another e-mail from him saying that the new code worked like a charm.

Tom wasn’t the only one having difficulties with the world of technology. For some reason, a few weeks ago, the Microsoft Outlook e-mail app on Terry’s Samsung phone stopped working. Every time she tries to log in, she gets a message saying she is using the wrong password, though it’s the same password she’s used all along and the same password that she uses to access her e-mail on her laptop computer and tablet. But at the same time, she could get e-mails sent to her secondary Gmail account with no problem.

It seemed like the more she tried to resolve the issue, the more confusing it became. Pretty soon, Samsung was asking for a different password, as was Gmail. She was so darn frustrated by then that I tried to help her out, and I didn’t have any success either. I tried forwarding her Outlook e-mail under her travelinterry@gypsyjournal.net account to her Gmail account and got the same message, wrong password. She tried changing the password a couple of times, but no matter what she did, even though she would get a message confirming the new password, she got the same error message each time she tried it on her phone.

I finally told her we just needed to step away from the issue for a while and rethink what we were doing wrong or whatever the glitch is. I have a feeling we’re going to have to find ourselves a tech guru to figure it out for us.

Besides helping Terry with that, I was at work on my new John Lee Quarrels book, getting another 2,500 words or so in.

And then, just add to the fun, my new Chase Visa card came in the mail because the one I have expires next month. I went online and authenticated the new card and then decided to shred the old one. Dummy me, I forgot that it’s not a traditional plastic credit card. It’s a thin piece of metal sandwiched between two sheets of mylar-type material with the logo and name and such. In doing so, I promptly jammed up my paper shredder. It took Terry and I both, and a couple of pairs of pliers to finally get the thing back out. Then Terry had to use a thin screwdriver to bend the feeder fingers of the shredder back into place so it would work again.

We finished the day by having the rest of the ham and Swiss braid she made a couple of days ago for dinner, which was just as delicious as the first time around, then watched TV until it was time to write the blog and head for bed.

We have lab appointments for blood draws this morning for upcoming primary care doctor appointments next week. Since we have to fast before the blood draws, we will probably get a bite to eat while we’re out and run a couple of errands. Then it’s back to my desk and more writing for me!

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us. The sad thing is, they must have had a reason to put up this sign.

Thought For The Day – If there is a wrong way to do something, I will probably do it.

Still At It

 Posted by at 1:15 am  Nick's Blog
Jul 252022
 

I am still at it, cranking away on my next book, which I had hoped to get out by the end of the month. In the last couple of days, I wrote three more chapters numbering between 2,500 and 3,000 words each, which puts me about at the three-quarter mark for the story. I’m hoping to be able to wrap it up by next weekend, though I’m not sure about that because we have medical appointments on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this coming week.

Tuesday is just lab work in the morning, so that shouldn’t be too bad. But Wednesday, I have an appointment in Orlando with the doctor who did my RF nerve ablations, and Terry has an appointment on Thursday with her eye doctor in Titusville. She’s reached that stage where it may be time to consider cataract surgery. She’ll know more about that after the appointment.

While I’ve been working on the book, Terry has been catching up on all the paperwork that accumulated during our trip out west and keeping track of current things. Our accountant always loves working on our files because Terry is so meticulous about things like that and can account for every penny spent and has the receipts for everything we do.

Of course, no matter what she does, she still finds time to make wonderful meals in the kitchen. Saturday, she made this delicious ham and Swiss braid, which is a kind of folded bread with cheese, ham, salami, and some other meats inside of it. And she made so much that we’ve got leftovers for tonight!

We did take a break yesterday afternoon to go to Crabby’s Seafood in New Smyrna Beach with our friends Jesse and Jennifer. This beachfront restaurant is always popular, and we’ve never had a bad meal there. We were seated at a table right by a wall that is all windows overlooking the beach and all the activity coming and going. Good food with good friends and a good view. What more could you ask for?

I’ll be back at it again today, and I hope to get at least two more chapters done, maybe three. As they say, the end is near!

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Congratulations Tom Lemcool, winner of our drawing for an audiobook of More Than Human by my friend Heather Ashbury. It’s a blend of fantasy and paranormal romance that begins when a young woman returns to an enchanting town in New Mexico following a mysterious death, where she is unexpectedly pulled into the mystical world of gods, demons, werewolves, nymphs, and more.

We had 19 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.

Thought For The Day – Technically, Moses was the first person with a tablet to download data from the cloud.