Dec 232022

Battling computer problems all the way, yesterday I managed to finish all of the read-through and corrections to Big Lake Drunk and print the rest of the pages out for Terry to edit and proofread. Then I wrote the teaser chapter for the next book in the series, Big Lake Assault.

Terry is past the 2/3 mark in the manuscript now, and I am making changes as she completes the pages. Once that is all done, I still have to format it and upload it to Amazon’s Kindle bookstore. Then they have to check it for quality before it goes live. Will today be the day? I sure hope so, but if not, it will definitely be available to purchase tomorrow. A big part of it depends on how fast it goes on their end once I upload it. I have had books go live in less than an hour, and other times it has taken over a day.

Even after 50 books, there’s always a sense of accomplishment when I finish a new one. But at the same time, there’s also that nagging bit of self-doubt as I ask myself, “Will my readers like it? Is it as good as the other books in the series?” I guess I’ll know once your feedback and the reviews start coming in. Please let me know what you think, good or bad.

Our son Travis called a little before midnight last night to tell us that the wind was blowing and it was bitterly cold there at their place in Alabama, and the lights were flickering on and off. They may be in for an uncomfortable night, but he and Geli have sleeping bags they can zip together and plenty of blankets to pile on top of themselves to keep warm if the power goes out.

I told him about the time when I was a firearms instructor at West Point, and we were building new rifle ranges. It was in the winter, when outdoor training was over with for the season, and an engineer company attached to us would come out and pour concrete into 4×8 foot forms during the daytime. Then they would erect a huge canvas tent over six of the forms and turn on a large gasoline-powered heater with a hose that fed into one end of the tent to keep the concrete from freezing overnight before it had a chance to set.

The heaters would run about half the night, and then their gas tanks had to be refilled. The job fell to me and whoever they assigned to help me to stay there overnight and make sure they didn’t run out of fuel. The Quonset hut we had at the time was also being rebuilt, so we would sleep inside the tent, where it would stay about 45 degrees or so.

One particularly cold night, the young soldier they assigned to help me was an absolute dud, a goldbrick who was always looking for some way to get out of doing whatever he was supposed to. I was inside the tent wearing a field jacket and with my sleeping bag draped over me, trying to keep warm, when he lit a cigarette. Since we had several cans of gasoline near us, I told him to go outside and away from the tent if he was going to smoke that thing, and he did. Just a few moments later, I heard someone screaming and went out with a flashlight to investigate. The damn fool had tried to walk across a small pond, and the ice broke and he fell in. I can’t swim, but I knew the water was only about waist deep at most, so I waded in to help him get out because he was panicked and flailing around in the dark.

So picture this, we’re both soaking wet, the only vehicle we have is a Jeep with a canvas cover, a heater that barely put out anything, and headlights that were as dim as my assistant. All we have is the tent with its heater for shelter. I was pretty sure we would die of hypothermia by morning, and I really didn’t want that to happen. At least not to me. As for the kid with me, I figured if God wanted him, he could have him because I damn sure didn’t.

Trying to figure out what we should do, I finally decided that the only thing we could do was strip off our clothing, zip our sleeping bags together, and try to let our combined body heat get us through the long, cold winter night. I remember telling him that if we lived through the night, I would probably beat him to death anyhow. But no matter what happened the next day, we needed to wake up before everybody else arrived at the range.

Yeah, you guessed it, that didn’t happen. After shivering for what seemed like hours, we finally fell asleep, and the next thing I knew, Captain Edgerton was gently shaking my shoulder and saying, “Wake up, you two lovebirds, it’s morning.” Try to explain why two guys are naked in a sleeping bag. This was long before Brokeback Mountain ever hit the big screen. Seeing our clothes that were still damp and cold, I think everybody finally accepted our story. But that didn’t mean they didn’t make life miserable for us for a long time after that.

Wherever you are, I hope you stay warm over these next few frigid days.

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 – Surprise sex is great to wake up to, unless you’re in prison.

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

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