Happy Birthday Mustang

 Posted by at 12:37 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 242022
 

A week or so back, I mentioned that our family has a lot of birthdays in April, including our daughter Tiffany’s birthday on April 15th. But I failed to mention that this year April 15th was also another important birthday. It was the 58th anniversary of the Ford Mustang.

I love classic cars, especially old Mustangs, and I have had a bunch of them over the years, everything from show cars to daily drivers to hulks that were just bought to cannibalize when restoring something else.

My first Mustang was a 1967 coupe, which I bought right after I got to West Point, and I drove the wheels off of it. Since then, I have had 14 (yes, really) 1967 Mustangs, both coupes and fastbacks. Again, several of those were bought as parts cars for restoration projects. I also had a 1969 Mustang Mach 1 and four or five 1966 model years. Through all of that, I have never owned a Mustang convertible. I don’t know why I never got around to acquiring one over the years.

I don’t have a classic Mustang these days, but my garage queen is this 2018 EcoBoost Premium that I bought new and still has only 1,600 miles on it.

The first Ford Mustang sold, a sky blue convertible, was actually sold two days before the official date they were supposed to go on sale when a 22-year-old Chicago school teacher named Gail Wise saw it in a dealer’s backlot and plunked down the sticker price of $3,447.50 without even asking for a test drive. I’m not sure where that car is now, but as of 2018, Gail and her husband still owned it, and different experts valued it at anywhere from $350,000 to $450,000. That’s a pretty good investment if you ask me!

I have never met Gail, but a few years ago, I met another lady with a Mustang convertible who had an interesting story to tell. This beautiful old 1965 ragtop was parked next to me at a grocery store, and I couldn’t help admiring it. The lady who owned the car came out, and I complimented her on her nice ride. She said it was a gift from her husband, and I said she must have been a very good girl. She smirked at me and said, “No, he was a very bad boy.” Then waved as she drove away.

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 audiobook of Adam Gaffen’s Into the Black: Tales from the Cassidyverse. Science fiction fans are going to love this one, as Kendra Cassidy’s dream to drag humanity to the stars, as well as the dreams of her crew are revealed. It’s an old-fashioned whodunit, with an extra dose of interplanetary politics thrown in for good measure.

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.

Thought For The Day I wonder what the part of my brain that used to store people’s telephone numbers is doing these days.

Forget You, DQ!

 Posted by at 1:18 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 232022
 

Who doesn’t like ice cream! If you don’t, I’m pretty sure you’re not an American. At least not my kind of American. Forget baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie. You will find my people standing in line at the local Dairy Queen. Just because I don’t live in the north country doesn’t mean I don’t love a Blizzard now and then.

But sadly, okay, not so sadly, I can forget all about going to Dairy Queen and standing in line, thanks to Miss Terry. A while back, she ordered a  Cuisinart ICE-100 ice cream and gelato maker from Amazon, and we are both really impressed with what she can turn out with it. It takes less than an hour to make a batch of ice cream that will make several servings.

The other day she made delicious orange sherbet from scratch. And to top it off, she threw in some bittersweet chocolate chunks. Oh man, what a treat!

The machine doesn’t make a real hard ice cream, more of a soft serve, but the taste is fabulous. We each had a bowl, and what was left over went into the freezer, and we finished that off last night. The day in the freezer gave us more traditional hard ice cream. Soft serve or hard, I don’t care, and neither do my taste buds!

Some of you who have been reading the blog for a long time know that I have a lot of pain from back injuries suffered when I was in the Army. In June of 2020, I had nerve ablations done at the L4, L5, and S-1 vertebrates in my lower back. At the time, the doctor told me that based on the MRIs and CAT scans he had of my back, the ablations should help, but there was so much damage back there that it was not an end-all. He warned me that I would still have pain from other areas in my back, although hopefully not as severe as I had been experiencing. He also said that the results could last anywhere from a couple of months to over a year, and sometimes longer.

While he was correct that I still had some pain from other areas, the procedure was life-changing for me. I walked into the place using two canes and never needed one again after I walked out. I was able to do so many things I couldn’t do without wincing in pain, even simple things like getting out of bed or walking up or down the three steps from one level to the next in our house.

However, in the last few weeks, the pain has been coming back again, and the last three or four days have been really rough, so I guess it’s time to contact Doctor Creamer and start the procedure all over again. But I have no complaints. I got almost two years of relief, and now we will do it again. I’m sure I can’t get anything scheduled before we leave on our trip to Alabama and Arizona to see the kids, but I’ll try to get something set up for when we return. Hopefully, the results will be just as good this time around.

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 Adam Gaffen’s Into the Black: Tales from the Cassidyverse. Science fiction fans are going to love this one, as Kendra Cassidy’s dream to drag humanity to the stars, as well as the dreams of her crew are revealed. It’s an old-fashioned whodunit, with an extra dose of interplanetary politics thrown in for good measure.

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.

Thought For The Day Don’t allow your past to make you bitter, use it to make you better.

Apr 222022
 

Should newspapers have trigger warnings? Are we that fragile as a society that we have to be warned that something unpleasant may exist? I can watch hours of violence on prime-time television, but when the nightly news comes on, I have to be warned that the report of an auto accident might be disturbing?

Another author I know used the word Jap in a book about the Philippines in World War II and was chastised. Someone suggested that she should have at least included a trigger warning on the cover about offensive language. A trigger warning? Give me a break. If you are old enough to read a book and need to be warned that something might offend your tiny little senses, stick to Little Dot comic books.

In my next two Tinder Street books, which will include the Philippines in World War II, I will have some characters refer to the Japs. That is history and part of real life. As far as I am concerned, those who are offended can stop reading or don’t buy the book at all. They still make ammunition for Japanese war surplus rifles that says right on the box 6.5 Jap.

In my first week of a decades-long career publishing small town newspapers, I learned that no matter how hard you try to avoid it you are going to make somebody unhappy. So just write what you think is appropriate and let the chips fall where they may because what offends one person may not be the same for the next, and you might be surprised by who is not offended. In Dog’s Run, which is set in a small town in 1951, I use the dreaded N word. A black woman I’ve known for years, who is in her mid-60s said, “I read your book, and there was a word there that I really hate.” I told her I understood, but in that time and place that’s how people of color were referred to by some segments of society. She said, “Oh, do you think I mean Nigger? No, that didn’t bother me at all. I grew up saying that. The word that offended me was twat!”

After reading about the early days of the Dust Bowl in my recent Tinder Street book, The Hard Years, someone messaged me to thank me for not using the term Okies for the farmers who fled the area looking for a better life. Now Okie is offensive? Please don’t tell my mother-in-law, who refers to her family as Dust Bowl Okies because they migrated from Oklahoma to Arizona when she was young. Or Merle Haggard, who made a fortune singing about being an Okie from Muskogee. Or the millions of people from Oklahoma who call themselves Okies.

One of the newspapers I owned was in the White Mountains of Arizona, on the edge of the huge Whiteriver Apache Reservation. I remember an Apache friend of mine laughing about the then PC push to use the term Native American. He said, “You white people worry about the silliest things. I am a proud Indian, and my people were Indians way before the word American was ever on this continent. But it’s okay if it makes white people feel better to use it. You all have enough other things to feel guilty about.”

If anything in this blog was a trigger word that offended you, I won’t apologize, but I might suggest you grow up.

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 Adam Gaffen’s Into the Black: Tales from the Cassidyverse. Science fiction fans are going to love this one, as Kendra Cassidy’s dream to drag humanity to the stars, as well as the dreams of her crew are revealed. It’s an old-fashioned whodunit, with an extra dose of interplanetary politics thrown in for good measure.

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.

Thought For The Day I think for some people the wheels on the bus don’t go round and round.

Five Quick Q&A

 Posted by at 12:58 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 212022
 

I’m back with more questions from blog readers about RVing, what’s happening in our lives since we hung up the keys, and all kinds of other things. While I try to answer all questions individually, I also share some here occasionally.

Q. You mentioned buying smoked fish in yesterday’s blog. I know you had an Orion smoker at one time because we bought ours based on your review, and we love it. Do you still have yours, and if so, have you ever tried smoking fish in it? My brother smoked a bunch of mullet in his last week and it was delicious.

A. Yes, we still have our Orion, though it doesn’t get used as often as we would like. As for smoking fish in it, no, we have not tried that yet. We may have to give it a shot one of these days.

Q. I downloaded your friend TW Robinson’s book about self-publishing that you talked about in yesterday’s blog, and it was an eye-opener. I know you used to do some self-publishing seminars, Nick. Since you are in Florida and he is in Alabama, is there any chance of you and TW getting together and putting one on? I’d drive anywhere in the Southeast to attend.

A. I always loved presenting seminars at RV rallies and Life on Wheels, but these days I don’t know how I could ever find the time. I am sure TW keeps pretty busy, too, so I don’t see that happening.

Q. Okay, you convinced me to buy an Oculus 3D headset and I am amazed by it so far. I downloaded the Wander app you recommended and the free roller coaster one. That one gave me motion sickness, which I remember you talking about. Have you tried it again with the same results? Is there any way to overcome it?

A. I have not tried the rollercoaster app again, but those who are more experienced with virtual reality tell me the secret is to work your way up to it a little bit at a time, stopping the moment you begin to feel any discomfort and trying again later.

Q. I just finished The Hard Years, and I think Tinder Street is your best series yet. When will the next one be out?

A. I am working on the next John Lee Quarrels book now, then a Big Lake and then the fifth Tinder Street book. I hope to have all three out within the year, but we also have some traveling planned, so I can’t promise that for sure.

Q. Have you stayed in touch with many of the people you knew from your fulltiming days? I seldom see any mention of any of them.

A. We are still in touch with some of our friends from those days, but others, not so much. Occasionally someone passing through the area will stop in for a visit, or if we are near any of them in our travels, we try to touch base. E-mail and Facebook make it easy to stay connected.

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 Adam Gaffen’s Into the Black: Tales from the Cassidyverse. Science fiction fans are going to love this one, as Kendra Cassidy’s dream to drag humanity to the stars, as well as the dreams of her crew are revealed. It’s an old-fashioned whodunit, with an extra dose of interplanetary politics thrown in for good measure.

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.

Thought For The Day I’d give up sarcasm, but that would leave eye-rolling and middle finger waving as my only forms of communication.

Apr 202022
 

Neither one of us accomplished much yesterday, so instead, I will tell you about the delicious early dinner we had at Leanh’s Chinese Restaurant in Daytona Beach on Monday.

Located in a strip mall on Nova Road, the family who run Leanh’s has been serving the Daytona Beach area for more than 35 years. It is one of our favorite restaurants in the area because the food is always delicious, the staff goes out of their way to make sure you are taken care of from the moment you walk in the door until the moment you leave, and the prices are very reasonable. They offer authentic Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Korean dishes, and if you are like me and are allergic to something and don’t like veggies, no problem because everything is cooked to order. Terry ordered Binh Canh, also known as tapioca noodles, and the serving was so big that she had more than enough to bring home for another day.

I went with my standard shrimp fried rice, without veggies and onions, of course, and it was so good I didn’t leave a single grain of rice on the plate. We will definitely be going back there again many more times.

After we ate, we went to Port Orange Seafood to get some of their delicious smoked amberjack and some of their fish dip, which Terry likes very much. If you look close, you will see an egret standing on the air conditioning unit to the left of the door. The folks at the shop tell us it stays there all the time, and it seems to ignore customers as they come and go.

Unfortunately, it seemed like a customer who was leaving just as we got there bought everything we wanted, and they did not have any more to replenish it that day. Well, darn, I guess we’ll have to go back again the next time we’re in the area.

I mentioned a few days ago that we are going to be taking a road trip out west, and also stopping to see my son and his wife in Alabama, either going or coming back. While we are there, I’m looking forward to hooking up with TW Robinson, an author friend of mine. TW retired from the Tuscaloosa Police Department after over 23 years of service with three different agencies in Alabama. Then he made the transition from policeman to bestselling self-published author with the release of his excellent book The Retirement. I became a fan of his as soon as I started reading the book, and the end made me sit up in my chair and go, “Whoa, I didn’t see that coming!” Trust me, read this book, and you’ll say the same thing.

Being a decorated police officer, it doesn’t take TW long to spot a fraud and he quickly found out that there are legions of hucksters out there trying to rip off new authors. They will promise you the moon and deliver absolutely nothing except an empty bank account if they can get away with it. I know because I hear from them every week. One of them contacted me a while back and promised that if I would just hire him to market my books, he could guarantee me a $1,000 a week income. It sounded tempting, but I couldn’t take that much of a pay cut, so I decided to pass.

I guess being a cop means that you naturally want to help people, and TW has done that by releasing a new book called How To Self-Publish Your Book For Free And Not Get Conned. The book covers important things every new author needs to know, including how to get started in self-publishing, writing a book, how to edit for free or on a budget, book formatting, how to create free or cheap covers, copyrighting and ISBNs, the business side of being an author, taxes, etc., and most importantly, how to spot the cons out there that all too many new authors fall for. It only takes a couple of hours to read, but I guarantee that it will save any author a lot of time, trouble, and heartache. Not to mention a lot of money, too!

And the best part of TW’s new book is that you can read it for free! As I said, he wants to help people, so he didn’t put this out to make money from it. If you are on Facebook, you can read the entire book free at this link, or you can read it free if you’re an Amazon Kindle Unlimited member. If not, you can buy the e-book for just 99¢.  If you are even thinking about writing and self-publishing or know anyone who is, this is a must-read!

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. Thanks to my friend DC Stultz for this one.

Thought For The Day The inventor of the doorbell did not own a dog.

Apr 192022
 

Lately, it seems like I have been dealing with a lot of people with yeah buts. No, that isn’t something anyone needs to see a doctor about, but that doesn’t mean you have to share them with me. Let me give you a couple of examples.

A few days ago, I posted about boxing with my Oculus Quest VR headset. Somebody asked me what if I was really hitting someone, two of us being in the same room or something. I explained that I was boxing with a virtual character who was hitting back, even though I couldn’t feel it. She replied that she is totally opposed to any kind of physical violence and couldn’t stand the idea of something like that, and that the very thought of hitting someone, even in make-believe, turns her stomach. Fair enough, to each their own.

Then she floored me when she told me how much she enjoys my Big Lake mystery series but added she wished I would kill off Chet Wingate, the obnoxious former mayor. I had to do a double-take on that one. I couldn’t resist replying, asking her why it was okay to kill off a character in a book but not to hit a virtual character in a boxing match. Both are violent, right?

She replied, “Yeah, but Chet doesn’t really exist. You can’t see him like you can see the character you are boxing with the headset on.” Are you kidding me? I assure you that Chet and Sheriff Jimmy and Robyn and all of those folks in Big Lake are very real. They talk to me all the time.

Then there was the author who asked me to help him with a plot issue in the thriller he is writing, where the police department loans a private detective who is working on a kidnapping case with them one of their police cars, a machine gun, and a K-9. I replied that contrary to what you see in the movies and on television, and in a lot of popular fiction, over 99% of the work private detectives do are things like divorce cases, insurance fraud, and fake workers’ compensation claims. Police in the real world don’t work with private detectives, and if one tried to insert themselves into a case, they would be told to back off, and if they didn’t, they would find themselves sitting in the back end of a police car going for a ride they really don’t want to take. I also replied that no police department is going to “loan” a civilian one of their vehicles or a weapon and that K-9 officers and their handlers go through extensive training together and work together as a team. They don’t just allow somebody to take a K-9, not even another officer, let alone a PI. And if they did, the PI would not know how to work with the dog, and the dog would not know how to work with them.

His response was, “Yeah, but that doesn’t work for my story.” I’m sorry, my friend, your story is flawed. But what the heck, it’s probably not any worse than a lot of other stuff floating around out there that has no basis in reality
.
One more example of somebody with yeah, but; a couple contacted me asking about places where they can dry camp in the Florida Keys for a few days without going to a campground. I replied that except for people authorized to use the military famcamp at Key West, there is no place they can do that. Real estate is precious down there, and the economy thrives on tourism. I have known more than one RVer who has broken down alongside the highway or in a business parking lot, and while they were waiting for a tow truck or mobile repair person have had the police stop many times to tell them they needed to move along.

Their reply was, “Yeah, but we’re self-contained, and we don’t want to spend the money on a campground.” I’m sorry, but you don’t have any choice. I don’t want to spend money on groceries, restaurant meals, or gas for my car, but so far, I haven’t found anybody who is willing to give any of that to me for free. If you want to dry camp, go out to Arizona. You will find thousands of places in the desert where you can do that with no problem.

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 bad news is that time flies. The good news is that you are the pilot.

Apr 182022
 

As I said a while back, April has been a busy month of birthdays for us. Our-son-in law Kenny, daughter-in-law Geli, and daughter Tiffany all had birthdays this month, and now today is granddaughter Destiny’s fifteenth birthday. It’s amazing to me how fast this young lady has grown up and how beautiful, sweet, and intelligent she is. Happy birthday, Destiny. We love you very much!

Yesterday was more of the same for Terry, working on her new loom. She got all of the heddles and cords put on, and I think all she has left to do now is to connect them to the treadles. What a project! But I know she is enjoying every bit of it and is looking forward to getting her first project on the loom.

As for me, I spent a good part of the day just loafing. I answered quite a few e-mails that had piled up, wandered into some Facebook authors’ groups to see what was going on there and made a comment or two, pasted a couple of links to my new book, The Hard Years, in those groups, and chatted with my son Travis about the upcoming closing on their house next week.

When I was done with that, I spent some time looking at our schedules and trying to get a rough idea of an itinerary for our trip to Arizona next month. We plan to go to Mesa first to see Terry’s mother and father, then up to our old hometown of Show Low for granddaughter Hailey’s high school graduation. The most direct route between Florida and Arizona is Interstate 10 across Texas, but we have driven that long stretch of highway so many times that we could do it in our sleep. Depending on whether or not we go to see Travis and Geli’s new house in Alabama before we head to Arizona, we may take Interstate 20 across Texas instead. And we may shake things up a bit on the return trip and go across New Mexico, the Texas Panhandle, Oklahoma, and Arkansas before dipping south toward Alabama. I have some author friends along the way I would not mind touching base with.

With that out of the way, I started working on Pucker Factor, my next John Lee Quarrels mystery novel. I hadn’t planned on doing that for another few days, but I was bored. I get restless after a few days of not writing and have to get back at it. I’ve only got a couple of thousand words done, but I like what I see so far.

Today may be more of the same, or we might go to Port Orange and run a few errands instead. Leanh’s Chinese restaurant sounds very good about now.

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 Barry Simonson, 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 20 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 Your secrets are safe with me because there was a good chance I wasn’t listening anyway.

She’s Almost Done

 Posted by at 12:32 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 172022
 

Terry was back at it yesterday, assembling her new Louet Spring II loom, and she got a lot accomplished. At this point, the loom itself is assembled, and all she has left to do is put on the 2,400 heddles for the twelve shafts and the 168 treadling cords. She’s almost done and is looking forward to getting some yarn on it and putting it through its paces.

My contribution to this project was to hold things in place a few times when she needed an extra hand and to stay out of the way the rest of the time. When it comes to mechanical things, I’m all thumbs, and they are fat thumbs and not even opposable most of the time.

I spent part of the day making a few minor corrections to my new book, The Hard Years, and reloading it to Amazon. It always happens. No matter how many sets of eyes proofread a book, something always seems to slip past. None of them were major problems, mostly missing punctuation marks and things like that.

Another author I know, who has done well in the science fiction genre, asked me why I bother with all that once a book is out. He said as far as he was concerned, once it’s out, it’s good enough and he moves on to the next one. Good enough? I asked him if he goes out to dinner and orders a medium-rare steak and it comes well done, does he just eat it because it’s good enough? Or if he orders pancakes for breakfast and they bring him waffles or sausage and eggs, does he just eat it without saying anything because it’s good enough? I darn sure wouldn’t, and I don’t expect my readers to settle for good enough, either.

When I was done with that, I spent some time out in the garage with my Quest 2 headset on, fighting three boxing matches. What a workout! This isn’t sitting on your butt playing a video game, you are moving, punching, and jabbing all the time. If you have never tried 3D boxing, you have no idea how much of a sweat you can work up. I had to be careful at one point because between rounds, I went back to my corner and almost leaned on the ropes to rest, forgetting that even though I was seeing what looked like a real boxing ring, it was not really there. And I didn’t fall for it when my cornerman put a wooden stool in there for me to sit down on either!

From different Oculus groups on Facebook, I’ve read many accounts of people who have smashed televisions and windows, slammed their fists into walls, and one who accidentally punched out his 15-year-old daughter when she walked up to him when he was using it. That’s why I confine that activity to the garage, where there’s plenty of room, and I have a virtual safety area marked off to keep me out of trouble.

While the headset works fine the way it comes, I did order a Bobo VR Pro accessory head strap, which is much more comfortable to wear and also has an extra battery, giving me up to four hours of playing time without having to recharge. Not that I would ever use it that long, a half-hour of boxing wore me out!

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 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.

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.

Thought For The Day If I pat you on the back, there’s a 99% chance that I’m using you as a napkin.

Some Assembly Required

 Posted by at 12:06 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 162022
 

Several months ago Terry ordered a Louet Spring II loom, knowing it would be quite a while before it was delivered. It arrived last week while she was busy proofing my new book, The Hard Days, and yesterday was the first chance she had to start putting it together.

If I didn’t know that it was made in the Netherlands, I would think it came from IKEA instead. The loom came in three large boxes, numbered 1 through 3, and I’m glad Terry was the one in charge of the project because I was lost and confused by the time we got the first box opened.

Terry was like a kid on Christmas morning opening those boxes.

You all know Terry is Mrs. Fixit, and she was having a great time with it.

The detailed instruction manual that came with the loom was very clear and concise, with lots of illustrations to explain the process. Even someone as non-mechanical as I am was impressed by the fact that everything is screwed or bolted together instead of using glue or nails. At one point, Terry had 168 screws to put in the fourteen treadles. No question about it, this is going to be a sturdy loom when it’s fully assembled.

Except for holding a few things in place now and then when she needed an extra hand, I did the best thing I could do to assist her, which was staying out of the way until she called for me.

Is this not the face of a happy lady?

By the end of the day, she was more than halfway through the assembly process. Terry has been looking forward to getting one of these looms for a long time, and I’m thrilled for her.

Now I wish she could find a buyer for one of her big Glimakra looms so she would have a little more working space. She has it advertised on several online sites, but so far, most of the responses she has received are from scammers. The same ones who respond to cars, RVs, or anything else advertised online. They are all out of the country but want to buy it sight unseen and want to send you a check to hold it for them until they can arrange for someone to pick it up, and they all want to include more than your asking price. This is an old scam, and basically, they then want their money back, or at least the extra money, and hope you send it to them before you find out that the check they gave you is bogus and you have been ripped off.

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 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.

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.

Thought For The Day – I have never seen anybody jogging and smiling, so that’s all I need to know about that.

Happy Birthday Tiffany

 Posted by at 12:01 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 152022
 

April is a month full of birthdays in our family. Son-in-law Kenny’s birthday was the 6th, yesterday was daughter-in-law Gila’s birthday, and today we wish a happy birthday to our beautiful, wonderful, and amazing daughter Tiffany.

 

Tiffany is a character, no question about that. I’m proud to say that she gets her sometimes twisted sense of humor from me. We are both clowns who love to laugh and to make people laugh.

As for where she got her sweet personality and good looks from, I can’t tell you that, because those definitely weren’t from me. Tiffany is also a very intelligent, levelheaded woman, a wonderful mother, and an amazing daughter who will do anything for the people she loves.

We almost lost Tiffany a few years ago when her heart suddenly stopped beating, and then she coded a couple of times when they had her in the ER. She wound up in a coma for several days and I can’t tell you how terrifying it was for all of us. But she made a full recovery, and these days, besides the wonderful loving heart she has inside of her chest, she has a little machine that keeps it working all the time.

Happy Birthday, Tiffany. We love you very much and we are so very proud of you!

We’re not done with this month’s birthdays yet! Tiffany’s daughter Destiny also has a birthday in just a couple of days. We should own stock in Hallmark or something like that this time of year.

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 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.

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.

Thought For The Day Don’t believe everything you see in cartoons. No matter how hard you throw a toilet plunger, it won’t actually stick to somebody’s face. Don’t ask me how I know this.

Happy Birthday Geli

 Posted by at 12:57 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 142022
 

Before I do anything else today, I want to wish our beautiful, talented, highly accomplished, and all-around amazing daughter-in-law Geli a happy birthday. This wonderful lady means so much to us and we love her with all of our hearts. I wish we could be there to share the day with you, Geli, but know you are always in our hearts.

I hit the ground running yesterday and got a lot accomplished in a relatively short amount of time. I started by posting yesterday’s blog announcing my new Tinder Street book, The Hard Years, to my regular Facebook page, my Facebook author’s page, and to several book groups on Facebook.

Then I sent out my free author’s newsletter to nearly 2,000 subscribers, and I also added about 25 new subscribers after I posted about it on Facebook. I also added another 20 or so subscribers to my BookBub author’s page. A while later, I got a message from BookBub saying that they would send out an e-mail announcing the new book to all my subscribers on that page today.

When I was done with that, I sent out notices about the new book to a bunch of online book review sites. I always tell new authors who ask me for advice that the hard work begins once the book is written. It doesn’t matter if you wrote the best book in the history of mankind, nobody is going to know about it unless you tell the world. It always surprises me how many authors look down on marketing. This is a business, and you have to approach it that way.

All of that effort, along with the support of so many of you who read my books and tell your friends and family members about them, paid off. By the end of the day yesterday the new book was rated at  #9,921 out of all of the millions of e-books in Amazon’s Kindle Store.

With all the book promotion done that I could for Day One, Terry and I went to our accountant to pick up our tax returns. We talked to her for a bit about the way we are doing things, making sure that we are on track to keep the nice folks at the IRS happy. Then we went to the post office and sent them a check with a couple of numbers and a whole bunch of zeros on it. I hope some senator who will be sitting on a gold-plated toilet seat in the Capitol appreciates my donation toward his or her comfort.

After that, we decided we deserved a nice dinner, so we went to Goodrich Seafood, getting there just before the rush. We started off with their Boom-Boom Shrimp appetizer, then I had a shrimp combo platter, half fried and half blackened, while Terry chose blackened swai fish tacos. As always, it was delicious.

Back at home, I had several new names to add to the mailing list for my author’s newsletter, and then Terry and I spent a couple of hours relaxing in our recliners and watching TV before we called it a night.

Now that the rush of getting the new book out and telling the world about it is over, we’ll have some time to catch our breath before we launch ourselves into our next projects.

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 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.

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.

Thought For The Day I can’t imagine the self-control required to work at a bubble wrap factory.

The Hard Years Is Out!

 Posted by at 12:27 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 132022
 

Thanks to a lot of hard work by my three proofreaders, Terry, Judy, and Roberta, by cover artist Elizabeth Mackey, and by book formatter Scarlett Braden Moss, early yesterday evening I was able to upload the e-book version of The Hard Years, the fourth book in the Tinder Street family saga, to Amazon for purchase or to read through Kindle Unlimited.

Amazon always says it can take up to 72 hours for a book to go live, but it’s been my experience that it usually happens much faster than that. In this case it took exactly one hour. I hit the Publish button at 7:13, and the book was live at 8:13. I think that was the second-fastest time ever, the first being 45 minutes on a previous book.

There is a lot going on with the McNally family as they weather the difficult days of the Great Depression. There are losses, there are tears, and there is despair. But just as in real life, there is also happiness and joy even in the worst of times. A new generation of babies is being born, one character finds a love they never expected, and through it all, the family bonds remain strong.

I love weaving history into this series and I learned some interesting things that I share with readers in the book, including Prohibition-era gangsters, how the Depression changed life for so many people, and violent labor strikes that earned such infamous names as the Ford Massacre and the Toledo War. I hope you enjoy reading The Hard Years as much as I enjoyed writing it, and I would appreciate it if you would tell your friends about the new book.

What could make the day I release a new book even better? How about one of Miss Terry’s delicious homemade treats? Check out the strawberry cream cheese scones she made yesterday. As delicious as they look, they tasted even better!

With the new book out, now I start the promotion work. I will be sending out my free author’s newsletter to my subscribers today, sending links to the new book to several review sites, posting announcements in several readers groups on Facebook, and updating several online lists of my books.

We also have to go to our accountant today to pick up our tax returns and get them mailed off, and while we are out, we might even go to Goodrich Seafood so Terry won’t have to cook.

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.

Thought For The Day Old people at weddings used to always poke me and say, “You’re next,” so I started doing the same thing to them at funerals.

Apr 122022
 

Today is going to be a short blog because I’m exhausted. I started taking the pills for the prep for my colonoscopy on Sunday night, but I had to be up again at 5:00 AM yesterday morning to start the second round of them. Between my stomach gurgling from the first set of pills and the fact that I never sleep well when I know I have to get up early, I didn’t sleep a wink all night long. I tried, but it just wasn’t happening. One of the side effects of the pills is that they made me feel very cold. I had the sheet and a comforter doubled up on top of me and still had goosebumps and couldn’t get comfortable

When I got up at 5:00 AM to do the second set of pills and then drink the 48 ounces of water required over the next two hours, my stomach was rebelling and didn’t like me very much at all. About 7:30, I went back to bed and tried to get some sleep, drifting off for a little bit before the alarm rang at 9.

We had to be at the hospital in Daytona Beach at 11:00 o’clock and actually got there about twenty minutes early and got checked in. They took me right back to start getting me settled into pre-op, telling Terry they would bring her back once I was all hooked up to the monitors and such. The two nurses working on me were very nice, but they had a lot of trouble trying to find a vein to insert an IV. They kept apologizing, and I kept telling them that it was all right. They finally got one in my hand after about four tries. Then they brought Terry in for a quick visit that turned out to be over an hour because the procedure started late.

Once they got me in the room where it was done, I was introduced to the people working there. The anesthesiologist said he was going to insert the sedative into the IV line, and I might feel a burning sensation for a moment, but then I would go to sleep. I never felt the burning, but I darn sure went to sleep! When I woke up, it was all over and I was in the recovery room.

I guess I impressed the ladies working there because apparently, I was telling them over and over how beautiful and wonderful my wife was. I don’t remember that, but I do remember telling the doctor how beautiful she was and how I certainly didn’t deserve a woman like her. Terry was in the room by then, which I didn’t know. Maybe I made some points with her, too.  😊

The doctor said he removed six small polyps, and I get to do this fun stuff all over again in three years. I’ll be counting the days until next time, Doc.

And that’s about it. We stopped to get a bite to eat on the way home since I had not had any solid food since Saturday evening and just some Jello on Sunday. Terry had not slept well either, so we didn’t do much except park ourselves in our recliners and watch television until it was time to get the blog ready to go and then head to bed.

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 sounds like a place I’d like to visit.

Thought For The Day I would like to think I will die a heroic death, but it’s more likely I will trip over my dog and choke on a spoonful of peanut butter.

Proofing And Purging

 Posted by at 12:22 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 112022
 

Yesterday was another very busy day for us. I received the formatted e-book version of my new Tinder Street book, The Hard Years, back from Scarlett and Terry spent the day giving everything one last proofreading, and I was making the corrections she felt were needed. I know you’re probably tired of hearing about all this redundancy, but it’s what it takes to hopefully turn out a book without any errors. However, experience has taught me that even with multiple sets of eyes proofreading it and making corrections over and over, there is still a good chance the gremlins will still slip something in at the last minute.

The good news is that unless something catastrophic happens that we are not expecting, I should be uploading the e-book to Amazon sometime Tuesday. I will let you know as soon as it goes live.

While I was waiting for Terry to complete the final proofreading, I got the next issue of my free author’s newsletter ready to send out as soon as the book is live. If you would like to subscribe, send me an e-mail at editor@gypsyjournal.net  and I’ll put you on the mailing list.

Besides all of that, I spent yesterday evening purging. I have a colonoscopy scheduled today, so I had to do the dreaded prep work. Because there is a history of cancer in my family, and my sister died of colon cancer a few years back, it’s something that must be done every so often. I was pleasantly surprised (if there can be anything pleasant about all of this) that instead of having to drink that nasty concoction I have in the past as part of the prep, my doctor prescribed something called Sutab. It’s a series of 12 pills you take the evening before the procedure, with a lot of water, and 12 more pills you take the next morning. It’s effective and much easier than trying to choke down that nasty chalky stuff I have had to deal with in the past.

Okay, enough of that. Moving on, 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 Jeff Madsen, winner of our drawing for an audiobook of Dog’s Run, my mystery set in a small Ohio town in 1951. Of all the novels and nonfiction books I have out, I have to say that Dog’s Run is probably my favorite. It’s a gritty tale that is loosely based upon an actual crime in that part of the country when my father was a young police officer. We had 42 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 – Some days you move mountains and some days you watch Netflix and eat junk food. It’s called balance.

Apr 102022
 

During my small town newspaper publishing days I covered a lot of crimes and the follow-up when the perpetrators were arrested. Sometimes it was very hard to keep a straight face with the things I heard said in courtrooms. Here are a few examples.

In Show Low, Arizona a young man was brought into court for a DUI and the breathalyzer results said he was nearly 2½ times over the legal limit. His defense was that he was not actually driving the car, his identical twin brother was, and the defendant was in the passenger seat. He said when the lights of the police car came on behind them, his brother jumped out of the car and ran away, so he slid over behind the wheel to stop the vehicle from hitting something. Besides the fact that it was a preposterous story, the police officer testified that no one got out of the car at any point after he turned on his lights and that it was only occupied by the driver. When the judge asked him what his identical twin’s name was, the defendant said he couldn’t reveal that information because he was a secret agent and his identity had to be protected due to national security. He also said that his brother used his secret agent skills to manage to get out of the car without the police officer seeing him. Being a small town where almost everybody knows everybody else, the judge had his clerk call the man’s mother to ask if the defendant had a twin. She said no, he was an only child. I guess if you had a kid like that, you sure wouldn’t want any more like him, would you?

I was in the same courtroom in Show Low, having just covered the trial of someone charged with auto theft, and was getting ready to leave when one of the police officers I knew told me to hang around because he thought I might enjoy the next case. A gentleman was brought in for having 24 marijuana plants growing in his garage. But he had a simple explanation; at one time, he had a roommate living with him and the roommate had planted them before he was evicted for not paying his share of the rent. The defendant said he thought they were marijuana plants but he wasn’t sure, so he watered them and tended them carefully until they grew to full size because then he would call the police and report his former roommate and be able to use them for evidence. In fact, he insisted he was just getting ready to call the police the very morning they showed up and arrested him. When he sentenced him, the judge commented that if he were a teacher and the defendant was a student, he would at least give him an A for effort for coming up with a story like that.

Many years ago, in Astoria, Oregon, a man was arrested for shoplifting at a grocery store. He had concealed a frozen turkey under his sweatshirt and was stopped by store security going out the door and arrested. When the case got to court, he chose to represent himself instead of having an attorney (something you should never do), and he told the judge he wanted the case thrown out on the grounds of illegal search and seizure. When the judge asked him what was illegal about the whole thing, he said that store security had no idea he had a turkey under his shirt. For all they knew, he was just overweight, and it’s not illegal to be overweight, so the security officer had no right to stop him. That didn’t work out so well for him, and he was found guilty.

Another case in the same courtroom reminded me of the old Get Smart television series. A man was charged with having several salmon over the limit, caught in the Columbia River. He, too, decided to represent himself (do you see a pattern here?), and after the wildlife agent testified about the number of fish he had over the limit and provided photographs, the judge asked the accused to tell his side of the story. He responded by asking, “Would you believe I only caught one fish and the others all jumped in the boat?” The judge told him he wasn’t buying that story, so then he asked, “Would you believe it’s not even my boat? I just found it floating in the river and got on it?” Since the boat was registered to him, the judge wasn’t going to take that excuse either. Giving it one last shot, because he was persistent if nothing else, he asked, “Would you believe I have amnesia and I forgot what the limit was?” Everybody in the courtroom laughed when the judge found him guilty and then asked, “Would you believe I’m giving you the maximum fine and ordering that your boat and fishing gear, which were all seized when you were arrested, will be sold and the money from their sale will go to the state?”

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 audiobook of Dog’s Run, my mystery set in a small Ohio town in 1951. Of all the novels and nonfiction books I have out, I have to say that Dog’s Run is probably my favorite. It’s a gritty tale that is loosely based upon an actual crime that took place in that part of the country when my father was a young police officer there, and I warn you in advance that there’s some rough language, but it’s appropriate to the time and place. This is also the last audiobook code I have for this title, and I don’t know that I will be getting any more, so enter now because if you snooze, you lose.

To enter, click this free drawing link 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.

Thought For The Day Never miss a good chance to shut up.

Five Dumb Q&A

 Posted by at 12:09 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 092022
 

I sometimes share questions I get from readers here on the blog and try to give answers that will help the person asking. But occasionally, I receive questions from people I am pretty sure are beyond help. These are all real, and all left me scratching my head.

Q. I bought a new pickup last October and it’s supposed to have a six foot bed. But when I measured the bed yesterday, it’s only 71 inches. I called the dealer and he said that was standard. Do I have any recourse for false advertising? What should I do?

A. The next time you go truck shopping, take a tape measure with you.

Q. Like you, I have been using a CPAP machine for a few months now, but I hate it. My AHI dropped from 27 in my sleep study down to an average of 1.7. I asked my doctor if I could stop using it now and she said if I did, my AHI will go right back up. Do you think she’s right, or should I stop using the CPAP and see what happens?

A. Your doctor and I have an agreement. I don’t give medical advice and she doesn’t write novels.

Q. It aggravates me that authors charge people for books even after they have been out for over a year, and they have new books out since then. You already made your money when a book is new. Why do you guys do this?

A. Because we are greedy SOBs.

Q. I want to take my grandsons with me on a three-week RV trip this summer, but their parents say no because they have other activities planned. I feel like my grandparents rights are being shortchanged and I am thinking about just taking the boys and going. Do you know of any lawyers that will help me get my grandparents rights if I do that?

A. No, but I can recommend a couple of good criminal defense attorneys.

Q. I have a great idea for a book that I know will be a blockbuster. Are you interested in writing it and we’ll share the profits?

A. Wow, you have just one idea? I have hundreds I’ll never live long enough to write.

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 Dog’s Run, my mystery set in a small Ohio town in 1951. Of all the novels and nonfiction books I have out, I have to say that Dog’s Run is probably my favorite. It’s a gritty tale that is loosely based upon an actual crime that took place in that part of the country when my father was a young police officer there, and I warn you in advance that there’s some rough language, but it’s appropriate to the time and place. this is also the last audiobook code I have for this title, and I don’t know that I will be getting any more, so enter now because if you snooze, you lose.

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.

Thought For The Day Technology has reached the point where a computer requires a human to click a box to prove they are not a robot.

Getting A Lot Done

 Posted by at 12:29 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 082022
 

We’ve been busy wrapping up things for the new book and getting a lot done. Yesterday, Terry was doing her final proofreading of the finished manuscript and got quite a few chapters finished.

While she was doing that, I contacted the person who formats the print and e-book versions of my books for me to give her a heads up that I would be sending it off to her very shortly. Then I wrote the teaser chapter for the next book in the series, which will be included in the back of this book, sort of a preview of coming attractions. When I was done, Terry also proofread it.

So now the cover is done, and we are in the final stages before the book gets released. Our daughter Tiffany asked if I would be able to release it on her birthday, the 15th of this month, but it’s not going to take that long.

We knocked off about 4:30 because we had a couple of errands to run and decided to get a bite to eat while we were out. We had planned to go to Stavro’s Pizza in New Smyrna Beach, but when we arrived, we found out that they had started closing on Thursdays to give their staff time off to be with their families.

Just a couple of blocks from there is a place called The Taco Shack that we had never eaten at but had heard good things about, so we decided to try it out. They are open for lunch but then close every afternoon from 4:00 to 5:00 PM, and then they reopen until 9:00 or so. We got there about 4:45, and there were already cars pulling in the parking lot and people starting to line up. Yeah, it’s that popular.

You walk up to a window to order, and then they have a small open-sided on three ends covered dining area. Since it was in the low 70s with a nice breeze blowing, we decided to eat there. Terry ordered a shrimp taco with beans and rice, which she said was okay. Nothing spectacular, about what would she expect from a place like that. I had a Cuban sandwich which was good, but it wasn’t like any Cuban I’ve ever had before. It was very heavy on shredded roasted pork, but there was very little ham or cheese. It wasn’t bad at all, just not what I have come to expect in a Cuban sandwich. I don’t know that we would go out of our way to go back again, but if we were with friends who wanted to eat there, we would have no problem doing so.

Our next stop was at Publix to pick up a couple of things. Since we were not sure how long our government-issued microchips were good for, while we were there we got our second Moderna booster shots. No side effects, and we’d didn’t keep each other awake glowing in the dark when we went to bed. Now we’re comfortable knowing that those NASA satellites that the CIA and Homeland Security use will be able to track us anywhere we go.

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 getting close to being that time of year here on the Florida coast, and predictions are for an active hurricane season.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Dog’s Run, my mystery set in a small Ohio town in 1951. Of all the novels and nonfiction books I have out, I have to say that Dog’s Run is probably my favorite. It’s a gritty tale that is loosely based upon an actual crime that took place in that part of the country when my father was a young police officer there, and I warn you in advance that there’s some rough language, but it’s appropriate to the time and place. This is the last audiobook code I have for this title, and I don’t know that I will be getting any more, so enter now because if you snooze, you lose.

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.

Thought For The Day If you had to choose between eating tacos every day or being skinny for life, would you choose soft tacos or crunchy tacos?

Travel Talk

 Posted by at 12:38 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 072022
 

COVID kept us close to home for the last couple of years, and even though we are not RVers anymore, we definitely have hitch itch. So Terry and I have been talking about making some trips this year. Besides, our accountant says that if we don’t get some more business deductions, we’re going to be paying Uncle Sam a whole bunch of money this time next year. Fortunately, by buying the new truck in December, we were able to save some money on our 2021 income taxes.

We definitely want to run up to Alabama to see my son Travis and his wife Geli, and that may happen pretty soon. They are set to close on a house out in the country with acreage by the end of the month, and when that happens, we want to go and check it out. The pictures we have seen of the place look very good.

Our granddaughter Hailey graduates from high school in May, so we may make a trip to our old hometown of Show Low, Arizona for that and to see Terry’s parents in Mesa.

We have also talked about going up to Savannah, Georgia, for a few days. We love that historic old city, and there are story ideas everywhere you turn.

I also want to go to Ohio to do more research for my Tinder Street books sometime this summer. Whenever we take trips like this out of town, we combine business with pleasure, dropping off sample copies of books at bookstores and libraries, touching base with other authors I know, and gathering ideas for future books and blog posts.

We have to work all of that around a couple of medical appointments we have scheduled, but that hitch itch definitely needs to get scratched.

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 Dog’s Run, my mystery set in a small Ohio town in 1951. Of all the novels and nonfiction books I have out, I have to say that Dog’s Run is probably my favorite. It’s a gritty tale that is loosely based upon an actual crime that took place in that part of the country when my father was a young police officer there, and I warn you in advance that there’s some rough language, but it’s appropriate to the time and place. This is also the last audiobook code I have for this title, and I don’t know if I will be getting any more, so enter now because if you snooze, you lose.

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.

Thought For The Day – I ate 11 times and took 5 naps and it’s still today.

Happy Birthday Kenny

 Posted by at 12:29 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 062022
 

Before I do anything else with the blog today, I want to wish our son-in-law Kenny Conrad a happy birthday. Kenny is a hardworking family man dedicated to his wife and kids, and when he and our daughter Tiffany got married and brought their blended family together, I knew there would be a lot of challenges. But you are always there for them, Kenny, and I appreciate that, and I respect you for it. You are a good man and someone I am very proud of. I hope you have a great day.

Terry spent most of yesterday editing and proofreading the final chapters of The Hard Years, and after I made her corrections, I sent them off to my other two proofreaders. We’re getting close, folks!

Besides doing that, Terry also made a delicious dinner of homemade chicken noodle soup. She doesn’t do store-bought stuff when she can make it herself, and even her noodles are homemade. There is a difference!

I was happy to see Terry finish the first round of editing and proofreading for the book because it brings us one step closer to it getting published. But I think she was happy to get it out of the way because now she can work on assembling and setting up her new Louet Spring II loom, which was just delivered on Monday.

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 – Waking up is never easy, but I just have to remember that the world can’t revolve around me unless I get out of bed.

Apr 052022
 

I spent most of yesterday correcting the last chapters I wrote in my new book, The Hard Years, then printed them out for Terry to edit and proofread. After I did that, I looked through the whole manuscript, correcting a couple of other errors that got missed.

One of the problems with doing a series like this with so many different characters is keeping track of everybody and their birthdays. I had one character doing something because, in my mind, she was still about five years old. But as I was going to bed Sunday night, I realized that she would actually be somewhere around twelve years old in this book, and it wasn’t something a girl her age would do. So I had to go back and make some changes there.

I also have a set of brothers in the series, named Peter and Patrick, as well as a set of twins, Robert and Junior. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten Peter and Patrick confused in the storyline, and the same with the twins. No wonder my parents called all of their kids and grandkids, “Hey you.” It was just easier that way.

When I finished with that, I had some time to kill, so I decided to have some fun with my Oculus Quest virtual reality headset. There are a lot of free games and experiences you can download to the headset, and some of them have basic free experiences you can enjoy, and if you care to, you can upgrade to more intense ones. One of those is something called Epic Roller Coasters. I do not enjoy roller coasters, or at least I didn’t enjoy the only two I was ever on when I was a young person. But I decided what the heck, it’s free, so I’ll take a ride.

It was kind of interesting starting out. There were dinosaurs and pterodactyls and all kinds of prehistoric critters wandering and flying around the track in 3D and some massive boulders falling off the mountains all around you. Alright, not too bad. As the roller coaster picked up speed, you really do get a sense of movement even though you’re just sitting in a chair. The faster it went, the more I was aware of the sense of movement, but it was okay. Well, it was okay until a giant dinosaur started chasing the cars, and the rollercoaster started going in reverse to get away from it. That wasn’t much fun. After about two minutes of that, I actually found myself getting motion sickness to the point where I had to stop, turn off the headset, and go upstairs and sit in my recliner. It lasted for quite a while, and this was one of the “easy” free rides! I definitely won’t be paying for any of the premium ones!

Fortunately, I was feeling a little better by the time dinner was ready, and I was sure glad of that because Terry made a delicious roast chicken, along with mashed potatoes, gravy, peas for me, and broccoli for her. It was very good, and because she had bought a large whole chicken, there was plenty left over to make her fantastic chicken noodle soup with homemade noodles tomorrow. Oh yeah, I’m a happy little fat man!

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 know some first responders who would agree with this advice.

Thought For The Day – I don’t have a train of thought. I have seven trains on four tracks that narrowly miss each other when their paths cross, and all the conductors are screaming.