Another Audiobook

 Posted by at 12:20 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 192024
 

Yesterday I uploaded the audiobook of Boom And Bust, the third book in my Tinder Street family saga, and it is now available on Amazon and audible.com. I hope to get the fourth and fifth books in the series uploaded in the next few days.

I also uploaded the print edition of Big Lake Accident to Amazon, but as of Thursday night as I write this blog, it hasn’t gone live yet. Hopefully by the time you get the blog it will be, but if not, I’m sure sometime by the end of the day it should be available to purchase.

Besides those projects, I also wrote another chapter in The War Years, the next book in the Tinder Street series. At this point in the story, I’m about halfway through the year of 1941 and by then most people knew that war with Germany and Japan was inevitable. In writing about the reactions of the people of that time in our history, including some of the young men who might soon find themselves involved in the conflict, I found my mind going back to my own high school days, knowing that Vietnam was very likely to be in the future for a lot of us. It’s funny how the years go by, but some things never change. My dad used to always say that wars are started by rich old men and fought by poor young men. I don’t think that’s changed either.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Gone The Next, the first book in my friend Ben Rehder’s Roy Ballard mystery series. Roy Ballard is a freelance videographer with a knack for catching insurance cheats. He’s working a routine case, complete with hours of tedious surveillance, when he sees something that shakes him to the core. There, with the subject, is a little blond girl wearing a pink top and denim shorts – the same outfit worn by Tracy Turner, a six-year-old abducted the day before. When the police are skeptical of Ballard’s report – and with his history, who can blame them? – it’s the beginning of the most important case of his life.

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 to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed. After 30 days, unclaimed prizes revert back to the drawing pool for a future contest.

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 – When you die people cry and moan and beg for you to come back. But when you do, there is so much running and screaming!

Books And Bees

 Posted by at 12:44 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 172024
 

For the last three weeks or so, we have been commenting on how high the grass is getting in our front and side yards, and in the pasture. It was definitely time to mow the grass, however there is so much clover out there feeding the bees that we kept putting it off.

We finally decided that something had to be done or the place would turn into a jungle. So, we decided to mow a lot of grass but still save quite a bit of untouched clover for the local bee population. It seemed like the best compromise.

Our Husqvarna riding lawnmower had not been started since last year, and it had to turn over a few times before it caught, but then it ran fine. With Terry on it and me on the Kubota tractor with the belly mower, we set at it. It took most of an afternoon to get it all done, and we left the area where Terry’s fruit trees are untouched because it’s full of clover. I also left a big patch at the back of our main pasture and all of the smaller pasture behind the shooting backstop untouched. That should keep the bees happily buzzing.

Besides mowing, I’ve also been working on several book projects, including writing a new chapter just about every day in The War Years, my fifth Tinder Street book. As I’ve said before, there’s a lot of research that goes into this series to make sure I get the timing of the historical events right. And I learn something new every time.

For example, Colonel Charles Lindbergh, considered a hero by most Americans for making the first solo flight across the Atlantic, was very opposed to the United States getting involved in World War II. He was an isolationist who believed that what happened beyond our borders was none of our business. He was so outspoken about it at a rally in New York City in April of 1941 that President Roosevelt publicly chastised him in one of his radio messages. Lindbergh responded by resigning his commission in the U.S. Army Air Corps Reserve. Yet, though he was opposed to the war, when hostilities broke out he flew combat missions in the Pacific with Marine Ace Joe Foss and Army Ace Thomas McGuire.

Besides working on the new book, I also uploaded the audiobook version of The Good Years, the second book in the Tinder Street series, yesterday. As I write this blog it has not gone live yet, but I will post on Facebook when it does, and also in the blog.

And if that’s not enough to keep readers happy, I have more news. Scarlett finished the formatting for the printed edition of Big Lake Accident. Elizabeth Mackey is working on the cover now, and as soon as that’s done, I will also get it uploaded to Amazon.

I guess you could say I’m not letting any grass grow under my feet, and I’m keeping the grass in my yard under control, too. 😊

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 – I’m taking care of my procrastination issues, just you wait and see.

Apr 162024
 

After reading yesterday’s blog, regarding the day my daughter Tiffany was born, several folks wanted to know what made it so hectic. So here’s the story.

In April of 1982, I was running several small town newspapers on the Pacific Northwest coast, with our headquarters in Aberdeen, Washington. Tiffany’s mother had gone to the hospital the day before with the plan to have a cesarean section at 10 the next morning. But Tiffany was too impatient for all that nonsense, and at 7:30 A.M. her mother called me to say that she was in labor and the baby was coming fast. I told her I would be there as quickly as I could and hung up the phone and started getting dressed.

Five minutes later, the phone rang again, and it was Roy, the young man who was responsible for picking up our paper from the printing company near Seattle. He told me he had gotten into an argument with his girlfriend and she told him not to come home, so this was his official notice of resignation. He was moving to Portland, Oregon to stay with his brother. He told me where the van loaded with newspapers was parked and that the key was in the ashtray and hung up. Perfect timing, right?

I called Laurel, my secretary/office manager, told her the situation and asked her to round up as many employees as she could so they could get the papers distributed to the various stores in the county. She told me she would handle it, just be with my wife and new baby. I knew she was on top of it and I didn’t have anything to worry about. Well, at least that’s what  I thought.

It was a rainy day, as many days are in coastal Washington, and when I got to the hospital, they said the labor had stalled so they were in a holding pattern, trying to decide if they should go ahead with the cesarean section or wait for a natural birth.

Meanwhile, Laurel and several employees had caravanned up to Olympia, where our delivery van was parked, and they were splitting up the delivery route to get everything done in a timely manner.

There’s a rather steep hill on US Highway 12 coming into Aberdeen from the east, and that morning a small slide occurred on that hill, littering the wet pavement with rocks and mud. Laural was driving a company-owned Chevy Impala, and when she hit that patch of road, she spun out and rolled the car.

Meanwhile, I was upstairs in the hospital’s maternity ward and they had just taken Tiffany’s mother in to do the cesarean section. This was before the days of cell phones, so I didn’t know anything about the accident Laurel had been in. When they got her to the emergency room downstairs, she told them to please contact me and let me know what had happened.

I was sitting with a couple of other fathers waiting for their babies to be born when a nurse came up and said, “Mr. Russell, they need you downstairs in the ER.” I asked her why and she said she didn’t know, she was just relaying the message to me.

So I went downstairs and told a nurse in the emergency room who I was, and she said. “There’s nothing to be worried about. It looks like she may have a couple of broken ribs and a broken nose, but she’s going to be fine.”

Totally confused, I asked what she was talking about. My wife had a broken nose? My new baby had a broken nose and broken ribs? How? Why? Did they drop her or something? She told me no, according to the sheriff’s deputy she spoke to, when the car rolled she wasn’t wearing a seat belt, and that’s how she got so banged up. But not to worry, she was going to survive, even if she was going to be uncomfortable for a while.

And just then, someone from the maternity ward called downstairs to tell me I had a brand new baby girl and asking if I wanted to come up and meet her. Wait a minute? The baby’s upstairs and her mother’s in the ER? What the hell is going on?

Eventually it all got sorted out, I got to meet my beautiful little girl, and I was able to see that Laurel was bruised and battered, but she was more concerned about the wrecked car and the newspapers getting to where they were supposed to be.

Yes, it was quite a hectic day in that little town that rainy April morning when Tiffany came into the world.

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 – My dream is to cut all ties with civilization, but still be on the Internet.

Another Birthday Girl

 Posted by at 12:50 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 152024
 

In yesterday’s blog I wished our daughter-in-law Geli a happy birthday, and today we have another birthday girl, our beautiful daughter Tiffany. I know I sound like a proud father bragging, and I am, when I say that you can search the world over and you won’t find a kinder, more loving, sweeter, or more gentle soul in the world than my little girl.

She is a caring and wonderful daughter, a fine wife, and a fantastic mother of four, three of whom are still teenagers. Tiffany is the mother that all of the neighborhood kids call Mom, because no matter what their circumstances or who they are, she provides a safe and welcoming place for them. Most teenagers want to be off someplace hanging out with their friends. Not my grandkids. They all want to hang out at home, and bring their friends with them.

Tiffany told me more than once that all she ever wanted to do in the world was to be a good mother, and she’s been more successful at that than she could have ever imagined. She also works at the local high school that three of her kids attend, which gives her a whole bunch of other young ones to look after and love. But she’s so happy doing so that she never thinks of it as work.

Some people make their mark in the world by achieving a fantastic goal. Tiffany is one of those people who leaves her mark on the world with a million small acts of love and kindness to those around her.

I should have known she wasn’t going to be an everyday person from the day she was born. I don’t have room in this blog to tell you how hectic that was, but believe me, it was a day to remember in more ways than one! How many children’s births include everything from a rollover accident to broken ribs and a busted nose, and a trip from the maternity ward down to the emergency room? Maybe I’ll tell you about that in another blog.

Happy birthday, Tiffany. We love you very, very much, and we are very, very proud of you and the amazing woman you have become.

And believe it or not, we’re not done with birthdays yet. We still have another birthday girl to celebrate within a couple of days. We buy a lot of candles and eat a lot of birthday cake in April. 😊

Congratulations Dave Cross, winner of our drawing for an audio book of Ken Rossignol’s Pirate Trials: Famous Murderous Pirates Book Series: THE LIVES AND ADVENTURES of FAMOUS and SUNDRY PIRATES .

We had fourteen 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. After 30 days, unclaimed prizes revert back to the drawing pool for a future contest.

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 – If vegetables are so good, explain to me why vegans are always trying to make them taste like meat.

Happy Birthday Geli

 Posted by at 12:45 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 142024
 

This is a special day for our family because it’s our daughter-in-law Geli’s birthday. This amazing woman works hard keeping others alive as a nurse, and when she’s not saving lives and comforting those who are ill, you can find her helping our son Travis with their chickens, gardens, beehives, and caning and baking. And she does it all with a smile. We love you very much Geli. Happy birthday on your special day.

It was a lovely, warm day here in west central Alabama yesterday, with the thermometer peaking at 80° and a lot of blue sky and sunshine overhead. Not that I got to enjoy a lot of it because most of the day I was working on my new Tinder Street book. This installment in the family saga picks up just before America’s involvement in World War II and will take the McNally and Wirtz families through the war years, both on the battlefield and at home.

In doing my research for the book, it is amazing how ill prepared we were for the conflict, even though everybody knew it was coming. Before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States Army ranked seventeenth among the armies of the world. It only had 464 underpowered tanks, and soldiers being trained for tank warfare used trucks to simulate armored vehicles.

Of the few coastal artillery guns we had, many had not been fired in two decades. Soldiers in basic training used worn out World War I Springfield bolt-action rifles that were so inaccurate it was impossible to be sure of hitting a target consistently on the firing ranges.

All of that changed, of course, after Pearl Harbor, and we eventually fielded a large and victorious military. In doing so, many innovations were used, including training enlisted men to be combat pilots because there were not enough college educated officer pilot candidates to fill the need. One of the young men from the McNally clan would find himself in a cockpit as one of them. For a history nut like me, this is so interesting that I have to tear myself away from the research to actually do any writing.

While I was immersed in pre-war facts and figures, Terry was busy making sure our home was intact, doing laundry, some paperwork, and making a delicious pot roast for dinner, along with some angel biscuits that tasted absolutely heavenly.

Today is your last chance to enter our Free Drawing for an audiobook of Pirate Trials: Famous Murderous Pirates Book Series: THE LIVES AND ADVENTURES of FAMOUS and SUNDRY PIRATES by my friend Ken Rossignol. This is one of several books Ken has written about the world’s pirates back in the not so good old days.

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 to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed. After 30 days, unclaimed prizes revert back to the drawing pool for a future contest.

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’ve never seen an elevator that goes sideways before. Have you?

Thought For The Day – Don’t save the good stuff for a special occasion. Life is a special occasion.

Critter Care

 Posted by at 1:14 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 132024
 

Having animals is a fulltime job. To be honest, I don’t know if we have pets or if they have people, but I’m beginning to suspect the latter might be the case.

Don’t get me wrong, we love our critters, and they each have their own distinct personalities. Alli loves us and wants to be beside me 24/7. I’ve forgotten what it’s like to go to the bathroom alone. But more than anything, Alli loves her toy. She goes to sleep with it and when we wake up every morning she is beside the bed and will stand there giving us those sad puppy dog eyes until we throw it for her. That goes on all day, nonstop.

Of course, pets take a lot of care. Anybody who’s ever been around a German shepherd knows they shed constantly, summer and winter. Even though Terry and I brush Alli frequently, getting enough hair off every time to make a poodle (not that we would ever want one), but the next day there are clumps of hair all over the place.

Alli does like to be brushed though, as you can see in these pictures. She may be my dog, so to speak, but she loves Terry and Terry loves her, and she’s always happy to get some kind of attention, even if it’s just a good brushing.

Now the cats are a different story. They will let Terry brush them when they feel like it, just like they will let us pet them on their terms. Mae Lin has long, fluffy, soft hair, and when she will hold still long enough for Terry to brush her, she purrs all the while. But when she’s had enough, she’s had enough, and that’s it.

As for BeeBee, the black cat, I think she sees us as no more than staff there to attend to her needs. She is aloof half the time and won’t give us a second glance, or else she wants attention and drives poor Terry nuts demanding it. If she’s not walking across her computer keys while she’s working, she’s knocking something off of her desk, trying to get into her loom, or reaching through her mesh office chair to grab her. Sometimes in the evening when I’m writing the blog, Terry reaches a point where she can’t take anymore and has to put the cats in their room and shut the door just to be able to check her e-mail and things like that.

Oh yes, pets are such a joy. But we tolerate them, and most defininely love them. What does that say about us?

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Pirate Trials: Famous Murderous Pirates Book Series: THE LIVES AND ADVENTURES of FAMOUS and SUNDRY PIRATES by my friend Ken Rossignol. This is one of several books Ken has written about the world’s pirates back in the not so good old days.

Version 1.0.0

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 to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed. After 90 days, unclaimed prizes revert back to the drawing pool for a future contest.

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 – Feel free to take advice from me if you want to. But you should know that I almost choked drinking the Pringles crumbs out of the canister.

Apr 122024
 

In yesterday’s blog I said that I had released the audiobook of Tinder Street, the first book in my family saga series of the same name, using Amazon’s new artificial intelligence narration. Since then, I’ve heard from several readers who either purchased the book or downloaded the sample and the reports have all been good.

One person said they noticed there were some pauses in the narration, and I found this to be true at the start of each chapter, after they announce the chapter name and before the story actually picks up. The pause is short in duration, but noticeable. I think, based on the feedback I’m getting I will go ahead and release the other books in the series the same way. Thank you everybody for your input.

Yesterday was a busy day for us. We met our son Travis and his wife Geli at a nice Mexican restaurant called Los Tarascos in Tuscaloosa for linner to celebrate Geli’s birthday, which is actually on Sunday. But since she works that night, we all agreed to do it early. This was our first visit to this restaurant and we really liked it. We’ll go back again.

After we ate and said our goodbyes, we stopped at Waterworks Pool & Spa, the dealer we bought our hot tub from, to have the water tested. This is a free service they do every month, and even though we use test strips to try to keep the water where it’s supposed to be, their system is more precise. It turns out we need to add some more chlorine and PH hardener.

From there we stopped at a gun shop, but I couldn’t find anything that I needed to take home with me. Then we went to a place called South’s Finest Meats, just a couple of blocks away. One thing Terry has missed from living in Florida was the excellent little meat market we used to go to there. We haven’t found anything here with much of a selection until today. This store had everything she wanted, along with a good selection of frozen vegetables, and their prices were very good. We picked up some steaks and pork chops, and also some sectioned turkey necks and pigs’ feet for Alli. Before I bought any of them, I checked online to make sure they were safe for dogs.

I gave Alli a couple of the turkey neck pieces when we got home and she loved them.

By then it was late in the day, so we watched a little bit of television, I wrote the blog, and we called it a night.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Pirate Trials: Famous Murderous Pirates Book Series: THE LIVES AND ADVENTURES of FAMOUS and SUNDRY PIRATES by my friend Ken Rossignol. This is one of several books Ken has written about the world’s pirates back in the not so good old days.

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 to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed. After 90 days, unclaimed prizes revert back to the drawing pool for a future contest.

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 – Did you ever meet someone and wonder if they ate a bowl of stupid for breakfast?

 

Lots Of Book News

 Posted by at 12:45 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 112024
 

I’ve got a lot of exciting book news to share with you today, and I think it’s going to make some of my readers very happy. At least I hope so.

A week ago I said in the blog that Amazon had asked me to take part in a program to create audiobooks using artificial intelligence narrators. As I said at the time, I have not been thrilled with a lot of AI technology that I have seen, but I decided to experiment with it and see what they have come up with. I have to say that I’m impressed. This could be a game changer.

Yesterday I released my first audiobook using the new technology. I went with Tinder Street, the first book in my family saga by the same name. If readers seem to like it, I will release the other four books in the series to date as audiobooks as well. You can listen to a sample and purchase it at this link. Please let me know what you think.

A lot of readers have asked for audiobooks of all of my different series, but in the past the high cost of narration has not made it worthwhile. As I said, this could be a game changer, making it possible for me to make them all available in audio format.

My friend Ben Rehder is also experimenting with the new technology, and just released The Driving Lesson. I am a big fan of Ben’s excellent Blanco County mystery series, but this one is totally different, a coming-of-age story I think everybody will enjoy. Check it out.

Of course, the writing world isn’t all about audiobooks. Lots of folks prefer the printed word, or the digital word in an e-book reader. Yesterday I began writing The War Years, the next book in the Tinder Street series. I am only a couple of chapters into it, but I’m enjoying the story so far, even with all the research involved.

And I’m happy to say that Big Lake Accident is still doing well. Scarlett is working on formatting the print edition now, which should be available soon.

As I said, there’s a lot going on. 😊

It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Pirate Trials: Famous Murderous Pirates Book Series: THE LIVES AND ADVENTURES of FAMOUS and SUNDRY PIRATES by my friend Ken Rossignol. This is one of several books Ken has written about the world’s pirates back in the not so good old days.

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 to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed. After 90 days, unclaimed prizes revert back to the drawing pool for a future contest.

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 – The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.

 

Apr 102024
 

In last week’s Newspaper Days column I told you the story of a woman who called me because her teenage sons were playing with an unstable World War II-era hand grenade. I said that once I determined it was a live grenade, I called my buddy Rusty, who was a lieutenant with the police department. He, in turn, summoned a police department to deal with the grenade.

Rusty was a great guy with an evil sense of humor, and some of the pranks he pulled were awesome. So awesome that the statute of limitations may not have run out on all of them. And occasionally, when I wasn’t participating in them, I became the target of one of Rusty’s pranks.

For example, always wanting to keep abreast of what was happening in town, like most small-town newspaper people I knew, I had a police scanner in my office, one at home, and one in my car. Now I’ll admit, back in those days I may have occasionally ignored a traffic law or two. I wouldn’t think of speeding through a school zone, but occasionally I might not come to a full stop at a stop sign if there was no other traffic around. But hey, at least I slowed down!

One day I went to the post office and when I left, I made a “California stop” at the stop sign on the corner. I was almost through the intersection when a voice said, “You really need to stop at those signs, Nick.” Okay, we all hear voices in our heads, don’t we? Or is that just me? But usually, those voices don’t speak out loud. This one did!

Since I was the only person in my minivan, I looked at my big German Shepherd, Magic, sitting in the passenger seat, wondering when the heck he learned to talk. Then that same voice said, “Don’t blame it on the dog. You’re the one that ran stop sign.”

By then I thought I really was hearing voices, and I might need to call my shrink. But about that time I heard a siren and looked in my rearview mirror. And there was Rusty in his patrol car with his lights flashing right behind me, holding up his radio’s microphone and grinning. So I did what any law-abiding pillar of the community would do in a situation like that. I gave him the finger and went on about my business.

The story quickly made the rounds around town, and over the next few days several people asked me if I wanted to sell that talking dog of mine. I told them no, while I quietly plotted my revenge.

A few weeks later, a new business was opening in town and they had a ribbon-cutting to celebrate the grand opening. Members of the Chamber of Commerce, other business owners, the mayor, and the Town Council all turned out for the occasion. I was supposed to be there to cover the event for my newspaper, and I was running late. I jumped out of my van with my camera, and Rusty, who was there representing the police department, told me I had not locked my car. I said that was okay, I knew a cop who would keep an eye on it for me. Rusty said no, I had to go back and lock it. So I did, just to humor him.

After the ribbon-cutting and the celebratory round of applause, I went back to my van and realized that Rusty’s car was running. Looking around, I saw him talking to the mayor. So, once again, I did what any law-abiding pillar of the community would do in a situation like that. I reached in and turned on the siren and roof lights, then I locked Rusty’s car and beat a hasty retreat.

A lot of cops I knew kept an extra key to their vehicle in their pockets. Rusty was not one of those cops. So everybody got to stand there and watch his lights flashing and listen to his siren wailing while he went into the new store and used their phone (this was before the days of cell phones) to call the police department and ask them to send an officer to his location with another set of keys. It turns out nobody could locate an extra set of keys, but an officer with a Slim Jim was able to eventually open the car.

I made myself scarce for a week or two, always looking for Rusty anytime I ventured out, until the heat was off. Who says cops and news reporters can’t get along?

Thought For The Day – If you were in the path of the total eclipse and didn’t get raptured, you may be entitled to compensation.

Everybody Still Here?

 Posted by at 12:35 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 092024
 

Well, are you all still here or did you get raptured yesterday during the eclipse? I must live in a town full of sinners because nobody here got raptured. To be honest, I was really looking forward to it. No, not for myself. I knew there was no way I was going to get to join the party. But I figured if all those people were gone the stores and streets might not be so crowded. This is probably the 10th or 15th predicted rapture I’ve lived through. Someone more cynical than me might think that it’s all bovine scatology.

So how did we spend our time during the eclipse? I had a doctor’s appointment in Tuscaloosa yesterday afternoon, and it rained all the way into town. Later when we walked outside Terry said it seemed like it was getting awfully dark and I reminded her that there was an eclipse going on, though with all the clouds you wouldn’t have known it anyway.

Since we had skipped breakfast, we stopped at McAlister’s Deli for a late lunch/early dinner, or as I call it, linner. I ordered a Cuban sandwich and Terry ordered the New Yorker, and then we split them. I’m not sure which of those two I like best because they’re both delicious.

From there we stopped at the UPS Store for Terry to send something back to Amazon, and then at Publix to pick up a few things. While we were there, Terry picked up a box of angel hair pasta to put in our cart and apparently the box was never sealed because when she took it off the shelf one end opened and everything came pouring out. A lady standing next to her said, “They can’t blame that one on you, I saw the whole thing” and they shared a laugh.

Our last stop on the way home was at Tractor Supply to pick up some grass seed and fertilizer. We’re supposed to have a lot of rain in the next couple of days and I want to get the seed out and try to get some grass growing in the areas that were dug up for the septic field lines.

After I mentioned setting up a family tree for my Tinder Street book series in yesterday’s blog, I received messages from several readers saying they hoped I would make it available to either view online or include it in the books so they can keep track of all of the different characters, too. I’m going to try to figure out some way to make that happen.

As I said, we’re supposed to have quite a bit of rain in the next few days, and hopefully I will be able to get started on the next book in the series. I’m really looking forward to it, and I know a lot of readers are, too.

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 – We keep a potato masher in a kitchen drawer because sometimes it’s fun not to be able to open that drawer.

Apr 082024
 

Sometimes you live with something because it works, even if it’s not always convenient. I do that with the characters in my books. For each series, I have a list of the main and recurring characters, their physical traits, and a small bit of their history that I can refer to as I’m writing. That has worked fine for the Big Lake and John Lee Quarrels series.

However, I have found that with the Tinder Street family saga, there are so many characters from so many generations that it has become cumbersome to keep track of them. Each book in the series covers a five-year time span, and sometimes the children don’t play a major role until they are older. Then I have to look back and say, who is Roger? Oh yes, he’s Margaret’s son. When was he born? That’s right, he’s married to JoAnn. How many children do they have and how old are they?

But as I was in the shower Friday night, I had a thought. Don’t ask me why, but I get many book ideas while I am in the shower. I’m sure Sigmund Freud would have something to say about that. Anyway, because I’m about to begin the next book in the Tinder Street series, I was going over the characters in my head and getting confused by who was old enough for military service and such. Then it hit me I have a tool that would make life very easy. All I had to do was go into ancestry.com and create a family tree. So that’s what I did yesterday.

I actually named it the Tinder Street family tree, because the series tells the stories of two intertwined families starting from just before World War I, and will eventually end with the Vietnam War.

So that’s what I did much of yesterday. It wasn’t as easy as it sounds because I had to go back through each book and see when a character first appears and add a birth date for them, as well as the death date for ones who have died as the series has progressed through the first five books. I have to admit that as I was looking through the different books in the series and reliving some of the events in the character’s lives, I became even more excited than usual to get started on The War Years, the next book in the series.

Congratulations Marshall L McLaurin, winner of our drawing for an autographed copy of my book Overlooked Florida, featuring over 30 interesting places from the Panhandle to Key West. Florida is filled with wonderful attractions that most visitors never get to see. Frontier forts, wildlife refuges, historical museums, Cracker homesteads, and quaint fishing towns are all waiting for you away from the glitter and glitz of Orlando and Disney World.

We had 82 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. After 90 days, unclaimed prizes revert back to the drawing pool for a future contest.

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 – I won $10,000 on a scratch off lottery ticket and donated a quarter of it to charity. I now have $9,999.75.

Apr 072024
 

Someone gave me a bunch of cinder blocks a while back, which I didn’t have any immediate need for, but I knew our son Travis could use them at his place. He’s always got some project going on over there.

Travis came over yesterday and we loaded them all up into the back of my Ram pickup. There were close to 30 of them, but it didn’t take us long to get them loaded.

But before we did that, Travis had to take a test ride in the new Real Relax Favor 08 full body massage chair Terry got for me. I think he was a little skeptical of it at first, but within a minute or two he was saying, “Oh, my!” With 18 massage settings, this chair provides you with everything except a happy ending.

Once we had the blocks in the truck, we took them over to his place and dropped them off. I’m sure they’ll be put to good use.

Back at home that massage chair was calling to me, and who am I to say no? I spent about half an hour in it, and by the time I got out I had just enough energy to make it to the few steps to my recliner, where I slept for well over an hour. Definitely a lazy day for me.

I woke up in time to enjoy an amazing dinner of shrimp and grits that Terry had been preparing while I was sleeping. I defy anybody to find a more delicious meal anywhere in the country. Huge pieces of succulent shrimp along with bacon and the best cheese grits you’ll find anywhere. Life is good here at Rancho Russell. 😊

There’s still time to download your free copy of Stillborn Armadillos, the first book in my John Lee Quarrels series about a small town Florida deputy. It is free until midnight, so get it while you can.

Today is your last chance to enter our Free Drawing for an autographed copy of my book Overlooked Florida, featuring over 30 interesting places from the Panhandle to Key West. Florida is filled with wonderful attractions that most visitors never get to see. Frontier forts, wildlife refuges, historical museums, Cracker homesteads, and quaint fishing towns are all waiting for you away from the glitter and glitz of Orlando and Disney World.

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 to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed. After 90 days, unclaimed prizes revert back to the drawing pool for a future contest.

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 – I didn’t do anything yesterday, and today I’m going to pick up right where I left off.

Happy Birthday Kenny

 Posted by at 12:14 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 062024
 

Before I do anything else today, I want to wish our son-in-law, Kenny Conrad, a happy birthday. Kenny is a great guy, a loving husband, and a fantastic father. What more could we want for our daughter? Well, to have them live nearby. But aside from that, no complaints here. I hope you have a wonderful day, Kenny. We’re looking forward to you coming and visiting one of these days. I’ve got a bunch of guns I need you to help me shoot.

Yesterday was spent doing pretty much what I did the day before, research for The War Years, my next Tinder Street book. I have a couple of doctors’ appointments next week, but between them I hope to get started on the sixth book in the series.

I also did some more experimenting with Amazon’s new AI audiobook narration program. I haven’t been impressed with computer generated voices in the past. But I have to say that overall, this concept sounds pretty darn close to a live narrator. I’m going to play around with it a little more. As I’ve said before, I don’t sell enough audiobooks to make it worth the expense of paying a narrator, but this might be a way to make my books available in that format for readers who are interested.

Speaking of books, Stillborn Armadillos, the first book in my John Lee Quarrels series about a small town Florida deputy, is free this weekend on Amazon. If you haven’t tried the John Lee series, now is your chance. It is a bit grittier than the Big Lake series, but it has a very strong readership, and I hope you’ll enjoy it, too.

After talking to our son Travis the other day about different things, he mentioned he uses an extendable magnet for picking up nails and things that get lost on his property, to avoid flat tires. Since I’ve had some flats myself, I thought that might be a good idea, and I ordered this one from Amazon. It arrived yesterday and I’m impressed. It has an extendable handle from 24 to 38 inches, a three inch head, and a 50-pound capacity.

The other day a blog reader asked me how Terry’s cats were doing, because I always talk about Alli but never the cats. They are doing fine, living their best life. They definitely keep Terry busy and love climbing on her computer while she’s working, or getting into her loom. That’s what cats do, right? Here’s a picture of them hanging out in front of the fireplace, with Mae Lin on the left and BeeBee on the right. I tried to get them to look at me instead of looking away when I tried to take their picture but they ignored me. That’s what cats do, right?

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an autographed copy of my book Overlooked Florida, featuring over 30 interesting places from the Panhandle to Key West. Florida is filled with wonderful attractions that most visitors never get to see. Frontier forts, wildlife refuges, historical museums, Cracker homesteads, and quaint fishing towns are all waiting for you away from the glitter and glitz of Orlando and Disney World.

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 to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed. After 90 days, unclaimed prizes revert back to the drawing pool for a future contest.

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 – Whoever said that money can’t buy happiness, simply didn’t know where to go shopping. – Bo Derek

Apr 052024
 

In a blog post a couple of days ago, I told you that I was going to be a guest on Tony and Peggy and Barthel’s Stressless Camping podcast. We met this fun and entertaining RV couple years ago, and I enjoyed visiting with them again for the podcast. We talked about my nonfiction travel books and my mystery novels, as well as some of the favorite two lane roads that Terry and I discovered when we were fulltime RVers. It was a lot of fun reminiscing about our days on the road. You can listen to the podcast at this link.

Even though I’m married to the best cook in the world, I do enjoy going out to dinner once in a while, and Miss Terry certainly deserves a break from the kitchen now and then. The other day we went to Dreamland BBQ in Northport for dinner. This is one of our favorite restaurants. I ordered the ribs, which are a huge serving and there was more than enough left over for dinner the next night.

Terry’s favorite is their loaded baked potato with a side order of fried green tomatoes, which she says are some of the best she’s found anywhere, and they gave her enough for two meals as well.

I had to take a picture of my pretty lady while we were at the restaurant.

Then she tried to break the camera on my phone by taking a picture of me.

I have always loved the dramatic sunsets in Arizona, as well as on the Pacific Northwest coast, but we had a nice sunset driving home from the restaurant, too.

After listening to the podcast yesterday morning, I spent much of the day researching America’s entrance into World War II for my next Tinder Street book, The War Years. I hope to get started on it in the next few days.

And thanks to the support from all of you, my newest book, Big Lake Accident, is doing fantastic. Yesterday it was ranked at #810 in the Amazon Kindle store out of the millions of e-books available.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an autographed copy of my book Overlooked Florida, featuring over 30 interesting places from the Panhandle to the Key West. Florida is filled with wonderful attractions that most visitors never get to see. Frontier forts, wildlife refuges, historical museums, Cracker homesteads, and quaint fishing towns are all waiting for you away from the glitter and glitz of Orlando and Disney World.

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 to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed. After 90 days, unclaimed prizes revert back to the drawing pool for a future contest.

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. What’s that they say about being a day late and a dollar short?

Thought For The Day – I was told I can look at an eclipse with a colander. I tried and it strained my eyes!

Talking Trash

 Posted by at 12:15 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 042024
 

Like a lot of people in this part of rural Alabama, we have a burn barrel to get rid of cardboard and paper and such, but I would much rather do the world a favor and recycle anything I can. However, that’s a concept that seems to be foreign to Pickens County.

Residents are required to have trash picked up by a company called Amwaste, which has been in the local news more than once because of failing to pick up regular trash for customers in communities where they have a contract. We have experienced that lack of service ourselves more than once. And they will not pick up more than six trash bags at a time. Large items or something to be recycled? Nope, they’re not gonna do that.

After a lot of asking around different city halls, I discovered that the landfill south of the county seat of Carrollton has a paper recycling center, and I have taken a lot of boxes there in the past. Yesterday I took a van load of boxes down there to recycle and found the gate locked and other vehicles also waiting to get in. Those included private citizens and a garbage truck. Everybody was frustrated because the gate has been locked a lot during their supposedly open hours, and more than one person said they were just going to dump their load in the road and leave it.

I drove back to the county seat to find out what’s going on and discovered that the county has a contract with Amwaste to run the county-owned landfill and recycling center. Apparently that contract ends the end of this month, and it seems they have just abandoned the place. I hope the new company does a lot better job.

On another note, isn’t this a great sight to see? Terry has been away from weaving for quite a while now, but she’s finally making time to get back to doing the things she loves. Look at that smile on her face. That makes my heart smile, too. 😊

She also knows how to make my tummy smile. She did it last night with this delicious homemade calzone filled with pepperoni, ham, capicola, salami, sopressata, and muenster cheese. I don’t even have to tell you how delicious it was. Just look at it,

It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an autographed copy of my book Overlooked Florida, featuring over 30 interesting places from the Panhandle to the Key West. Florida is filled with wonderful attractions that most visitors never get to see. Frontier forts, wildlife refuges, historical museums, Cracker homesteads, and quaint fishing towns are all waiting for you away from the glitter and glitz of Orlando and Disney World.

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 to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed. After 90 days, unclaimed prizes revert back to the drawing pool for a future contest.

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 – If you can’t look back at your younger self and realize that you were an idiot, you’re probably still an idiot.

25 Years

 Posted by at 12:20 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 032024
 

The other day the mail brought something special to us. Our 25-year member pins from the Escapees RV Club. Wow. 25 years is a long time. And though we are no longer RVing, we are lifetime members of the very best club for those who travel full or part time or are just weekend campers.

If you’re not familiar with them, the Escapees are more than just an RV club. They are a total support system for RVers. Besides having 19 campgrounds and co-op campgrounds around the country, and an excellent discount program to hundreds of commercial campgrounds, they have an excellent mail forwarding system for those living on the road; they have annual rallies offering dozens of seminars on all aspects of the RV lifestyle and vendors selling anything and everything you could ever need for your home on wheels, as well as a multitude of other educational and social events.

They also have CARE at their Livingston, Texas headquarters. CARE is an independent living program where RVers who can no longer travel can live in their RVs and are provided with assistance for everything from dumping their holding tanks to laundry and housecleaning, along with free transport to local medical services, weekly Walmart shopping trips, social activities, and someone to be there when needed.

But more important than all of that is that the Escapees are a large extended family. You’re never a stranger at an Escapees campground or event. We found out what that family part really means 18 months after we started our fulltime RV lifestyle when Terry was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer while we were in northern Michigan late in the year. Members of the club we did not even know circled around us from afar, sending cards and letters, offering any support they could, volunteering to donate blood, and letting us know we were not alone. We were parked in a relative’s driveway, and once a week we had to go to a campground to dump our holding tanks. An anonymous member of Escapees contacted the campground and paid for them to let us in once a week to dump our holding tanks, even though they were going to be closed for the winter season. Another member of the Escapees called us to tell us that his family owned a completely furnished vacation condo there in Traverse City and that if we were not comfortable in the RV, we were welcome to use it as long as we wanted at no charge. All we had to do was bring our toothbrushes.

Years later, when we came back to the RV one night at a shop in Indiana where we were getting some work done to find our window broken out and a burglar inside, two different members of the Escapees club told us they were traveling and had homes locally that we were welcome to stay in until our RV was ready to travel again. Yeah, that’s family. And that is why we will always consider ourselves part of the Escapees family.

On another note, my new book, Big Lake Accident, is climbing up the charts. Yesterday afternoon it was listed at #1,024 out of the estimate 40 to 50 million e-books on Amazon, #20 on the list of the top 100 Hot New Releases in Police Procedurals, #42 in Crime Fiction, and #88 in Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Thank you all for your support.

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. This one is courtesy of my dear friend Judy Rinehimer.

Thought For The Day – A clown’s average salary is $40-50K a year, and here I am, being one for free.

Apr 022024
 

When you publish a small-town newspaper, everybody knows you. It’s kind of like being a celebrity, or at least a big fish in a small pond. Sometimes that was nice. I won’t lie, occasionally we got some special seating in restaurants and free movie or concert tickets, things like that. Other times it was a real pain in the rear end. I can’t tell you how many calls I got at home in the middle of the night because someone got arrested for DUI and wanted me to write a story about how unfair the cops were to them. Or somebody would stop me in a restaurant or in a grocery store to complain about something I had written in that week’s edition that they disagreed with. It all goes with the job. But dealing with hand grenades? No one ever told me about that in a journalism classroom!

When I was running my weekly newspaper in the White Mountains of Arizona, I received a call at my office one day from a woman named Julie, who was, as they say, large and in charge. Julia came from someplace in Georgia or the Carolinas, as I recall, and brought her strong accent with her when she moved west. When I answered the phone, she told me who she was and then asked, “You were in the war, weren’t you? What do you know about hand grenades?” I told her I knew that they went boom and that they were not something to fool around with, and asked her why.

Julie told me that her father had died a year before, and when they went back to the old home place to clean it out, she had brought back a bunch of his stuff. Included in that stuff was a hand grenade that he had used for a paperweight for as long as she could remember. Julie told me that It had been rattling around under the back seat of her car ever since, but her teenage sons found it and had been playing with it. She wasn’t concerned until a neighbor told her he was sure it was live. She wanted me to come and check it out. I asked her why she didn’t call the police department, and she told me that she didn’t like cops because they were always picking on her kids

I’m sure that was true, and I’m sure that attention was necessary, because her two teenage sons acted like they had been raised by wolves. As I recall, one was 13, and one was 15 at the time, and they were always into some mischief. I’m not talking about pranks like stealing cigarettes and smoking out behind the barn. I’m talking about crazy stuff.

For example, they hated their stepfather. Though I didn’t know the man, everyone spoke well of him in town, and I don’t know what their problem with him was. But I recall Julie telling me that he was in the bathtub one day when they came in and tried to throw a radio into the water with him “just to see what would happen.” Fortunately, the extension cord they used wasn’t long enough and came unplugged before the radio hit the water and fried the poor guy.

I told Julie I would come by and take a look at what she had, even though I was sure it was probably an inert dummy grenade. A couple of hours later, when I pulled up in front of her house, the boys were out in the front yard throwing it back and forth at each other, and then one picked up a baseball bat, and the other tried to pitch it to him. He missed, and the grenade landed between the two of us. One look at it and I about wet my pants!

I saw a lot of hand grenades when I was in the military, and I threw my share of them. But this one predated my days. It looked to be an old World War II “pineapple grenade” (see below) as they were called at the time. It was covered in dirt and rust, but what scared the heck out of me was that the spoon was rusted almost completely off of it, as was the safety pin that held the spoon in place.

For those not familiar with hand grenades, the handle is called the spoon, and when you pull the pin and throw the grenade, the handle comes off, which then releases a spring-loaded firing pin, which in turn strikes the primer in the grenade and causes the explosion. This thing was real, and it was dangerous!

It took me a minute or two to get Julie’s fool kids away from it and knowing I would probably have to beat them with the baseball bat if I left it where it was, then I very gently picked the grenade up and took it into the cinderblock garage next to their mobile home,  as far away from everybody as I could get it. I hoped that if the damn thing did go off it would be somewhat contained. Then I called my buddy Rusty, who was a lieutenant with the police department, and told him what was going on. Rusty immediately called the Department of Public Safety bomb disposal unit, asking for their assistance. Then he drove to Julie’s house to meet me.

Rusty and a couple of other officers ordered the neighbors on both sides of Julie’s house and the one across the street to leave and blocked off the street. It was probably an hour or more later when local officers met a DPS helicopter from Flagstaff at our small airport and brought two bomb disposal guys to the scene. They had all the goodies, including protective suits and hoods and gloves, and some type of lead box that was used to transport explosives. But they were sure that all this was just a waste of their time, telling Rusty that it was probably a cigarette lighter made to look like a hand grenade.

Rusty told them that he had not seen it himself, but if I told him it was a live hand grenade, it was live. My little fat self didn’t impress them, and they replied with something like, “Sure it’s real” and went into the garage, telling Rusty that he owed them dinner if they were right and I was wrong.

We were standing quite a distance away, but we still heard one of them say, “Oh shit” as soon as he laid eyes on the grenade. Their attitude changed in a hurry!

Carefully putting the grenade into their lockbox or whatever the thing is that they transported in, it was loaded into the back of a pickup truck and secured in place. Then, with sirens blaring and roof lights flashing, we caravanned to the cinder pit a few miles away that everybody used for target shooting. Making everybody stay far away, the bomb disposal guys gingerly opened the box and placed the grenade at the bottom of the pit. They attached some kind of blasting cap or something to it and ran wires up the hill to where we were standing. They had just started connecting the wires to the detonator when the grenade blew up on its own. Being old and in poor shape, the blast wasn’t as strong as modern hand grenades I have thrown, but if you had been anywhere near it, it would have likely killed you or at least torn you up pretty badly.

Needless to say, those two bomb disposal guys bought dinner for Rusty and myself both, and I think the next time they went out on a call like that, they probably weren’t so cavalier about what they might find.

Thought For The Day – Have you ever met someone so stupid that you feel bad for their dog?

It’s April Already?

 Posted by at 12:30 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 012024
 

Can you believe it’s April already? I can’t. I think it was just a week or so ago that we were buying Halloween candy. Where does the time go? I don’t know, but it goes darn fast when you get to be our age. But that’s all right, because I get to spend it with Terry. What more could a guy ask for?

We started yesterday with strawberry smoothies and half a bagel each for breakfast, and then I spent some time online with Tony and Peggy Barthel recording a podcast about travelling on two-lane roads that should go live later this week. When it does, I’ll post a link. In the meantime, they have a lot of good information on their website, https://www.stresslesscamping.com/.

Alli was feeling neglected, so when I finished with them I went out back and threw a ball for her for a while. The morning had started out overcast and looking like we might get some rain, but the clouds passed overhead and it turned out to be a beautiful day

Back inside, I spent quite a bit of time getting my free authors newsletter ready and sent out to my subscribers, announcing the release of my new book, Big Lake Accident. Besides the first chapter of the new book, I also included a list of questions and answers I get from my readers about writing and publishing.

A little later on I was back out on the deck with Alli, and Terry came out and sat with me for a while, just enjoying the nice afternoon as we watched the bees flying around doing their bee thing and a couple of squirrels scampering up and down the trees. Can you say relaxing?

Later on, Terry made delicious pork tenderloin sandwiches for dinner. She makes them the same way they do in the Midwest, lightly breaded and so big they stick out on all sides of the bun. That’s some good eating there my friends. 😊

Congratulates Barry Simonson, winner of our drawing for an audiobook of Big Lake, the first book in my Big Lake mystery series and the book that launched my career as an author. When an armored car hijacking leaves two men dead, Arizona Sheriff Jim Weber takes the crime personally, because one of the dead men is his brother-in-law. His hunt for the killers leads him into a world of sordid sex, deceit, and violence, with a suspect list that includes jilted women, a family of anti-government survivalists, and the beautiful wife of the richest man in town. With a plot that has more twists and turns than an Arizona mountain road, a cast of characters you won’t soon forget, and a shocking ending that shakes the town of Big Lake to its very foundation.

We had 32 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. After 90 days, unclaimed prizes revert back to the drawing pool for a future contest.

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’m sure glad they posted that sign. I might have thought they were strawberries.

Thought For The Day – It’s April Fool’s Day. Don’t believe anything anyone says on the internet. Basically, just like any day.

Another One Done

 Posted by at 12:30 am  Nick's Blog
Mar 312024
 

Yesterday was another busy day making final corrections to my newest book, Big Lake Accident, and by late in the afternoon I had it formatted and ready to go. I uploaded the e-book version to Amazon at 5:20 PM, and in just over an hour, it was published and available for purchase and for free download for Kindle Unlimited subscribers. That’s pretty darn quick, since they always say to allow them up to 72 hours to review a book before it goes live.

I started the book on January 2nd and finished it on March 23rd. Then it took another week for final edits and proofreading and making corrections. It came out at 82,346 words, not counting the front matter like the table of contents and such, or the sample chapter for the next book in the series, Big Lake Sin at the end. It will be a few months before that one is published.

Here is the cover, created by Elizabeth Mackey, who does all of my covers and the covers for many other successful authors I know. I always tell new authors not to scrimp on a cover. I made that mistake myself the first time around, with the original Big Lake book. It sold a few copies every week, but once I upgraded to a new cover, it took off like hotcakes.

Just because the new book is out doesn’t mean I get to be lazy. There’s a lot of work to be done once a book is published. I need to get my free author’s newsletter ready to mail out to my subscribers. If you would like to receive it, send me your e-mail address at editor@gypsyjournal.net I also have to reach out to different book blogs and other authors who helped me promote my books with a link to the new one. Today being Easter, I don’t know how many of them will be available.

I’m also recording a podcast today on some of our favorite two-lane roads, with Tony and Peggy Barthel from https://www.stresslesscamping.com/.

And at some point, we need to start thinking about tending to the grass that’s growing tall in the pasture and yard. While it needs mowed, I will leave the patches of wildflowers and clover alone for now to make sure the local bees can have access to them. People don’t realize how important bees are to our own existence.

Today is your last chance to enter our Free Drawing for an audiobook of Big Lake, the first book in my Big Lake mystery series and the book that launched my career as an author. When an armored car hijacking leaves two men dead, Arizona Sheriff Jim Weber takes the crime personally, because one of the dead men is his brother-in-law. His hunt for the killers leads him into a world of sordid sex, deceit, and violence, with a suspect list that includes jilted women, a family of anti-government survivalists, and the beautiful wife of the richest man in town. With a plot that has more twists and turns than an Arizona mountain road, a cast of characters you won’t soon forget, and a shocking ending that shakes the town of Big Lake to its very foundation.

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 to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed. After 90 days, unclaimed prizes revert back to the drawing pool for a future contest.

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 think l I was married to the driver of this car at one time.

Thought For The Day – You know that feeling when you meet someone and your heart skips a beat? Yeah, that’s arrhythmia. You should probably see a doctor about it.