Unapologetic Late Bloomer

Every now and then I remember I have several books available on Amazon and I do a little happy dance.

Y’all, I’d dreamed of writing a book since I was a gangly little second grader in Mrs. Gregory’s classroom. Mrs. Gregory didn’t much care for me. I talked too much and once punched a fellow student in the nose resulting in copious amounts of blood on the classroom floor (it was an accident, sort of—he and I still laugh about it—sort of). Yet she was the teacher who made me first think of becoming a writer.

She’d given us a writing prompt: Four sequential pictures featuring a little girl standing on her front porch with a saucer of milk, and a growing number of thirsty kittens arriving to partake.

In response to the prompt, I wrote a rather lengthy tome. Not only that, but my tale was gripping. Hard to put down. Real Pulitzer material. Okay, I made that stuff up, but for a seven-year-old, it was darned good. So good, in fact, that Mrs. Gregory called my mom and told her I had real possibilities in the field of writing.

To my mom, who was an avid reader, that call was a big deal. One would’ve thought the teacher believed I might be a young Alberta Einstein or something. That was hardly the case, but my mom was pleased. She told everyone. And then everyone expected me to become a famous author.

Fast forward several decades in which I was NOT a famous author. In my 64th year of life, I finished a hefty manuscript titled Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort. Then wondered, What to do? What to do?

Do I begin searching for an agent? Sending it directly to publishing houses? Do I take the chance that my book might never gain an audience? I couldn’t take that chance. So, for the first time in my life I made a really bold decision. I found a good editor and self-published Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort through Kindle Direct Publishing. Now, nearly two years later, there are three books in the series and a stand alone romance. Not bad for a late bloomer.

My only regrets are that my mom and dad never got to see my book in print and that I once punched a good friend in the nose. Sorry about that J.W.G.

Peace, people!

At Least I Speak the Language

In a very few days, I’m heading off on a grand adventure. Alone. To a foreign country. My emotions right now run the gamut from pure excitement to abject terror.

Mostly excitement, though. You see, I’m going to England to hang out with a couple of dear friends I’ve never actually met. Via FaceTime, the three of us have assured one another that we’re not axe murderers, and honestly, I’m positive they aren’t.

We’re keeping our plans fluid because I know how annoying I can be and they might want me gone after day one. I can also be charming, though, and in that case, they might want me to stay forever. In either event, I’ve booked a few days at a hotel in London and a return trip because at some point Studly Doright is going to miss me.

I leave on Tuesday and would love some good travel vibes—luggage that makes the trip with me, smooth flights, pleasant seat mates, on time arrivals, etc. Oh, just for the record, I’m leaving my axe at home.

Peace, people!

Old Dog; New Knowledge

Have you ever learned something new that rocked your world in the best way possible? That’s what happened to me this morning

It all came about because a couple of months ago I found an amazing water aerobics class populated by the smartest, sweetest, funniest, most beautiful women in Tallahassee. And they’ve let me into their queendom! They just didn’t know what a dolt I can be.

Every class session I work as hard as I can while having as much fun as I can, and I’d begun wishing I could keep track of my water workouts on my Apple Watch. But like a dutiful fool, prior to class I’d remove my watch and store it in my pool bag.

Then today, one of the lovely women in the group asked, “Why are you taking your watch off?”

“Because it’s not waterproof.”

“Is so.”

“Is not!”

It was an intensely mature conversation.

She then proceeded to show me how to activate this little water drop 💧 icon that keeps water from getting into the works and mucking everything up. At least that’s how it was explained to me. Technical AND mature.

Then when the workout’s over, one simply removes the watch and twists the knob on the side until an image of dissipating droplets fills the screen. Bye bye water! It’s just cool beyond belief.

So someone please tell me I’m not the only one who didn’t know about this feature. What’s that? Crickets?


Peace, people!

Four Freaking Million!

How many of you are Kindle Unlimited members? I have to confess until my first book had been out for quite a while I had no idea what KU was, so I didn’t make the book available on the service for a little over six months.

Then, a fantastic author and friend, Lori Roberts Herbst (her Callie Cassidy series is wonderful), encouraged me to check out KU, and, oh, what a difference it’s made!

Readers who subscribe to Kindle Unlimited pay a monthly fee that allows them to read any kindle books that are part of the program for “free”—granted one pays about $9.99 a month, but if you’re like me, I easily spend that on a single paperback or ebook. If you’re a devourer of books, and you do your reading on a kindle, KU is a really good deal.

Several folks have asked me how the author benefits from KU. We make an estimated $4.75 for every 1200 pages read–the amount varies from month to month depending on the number of people who are KU members, and I always estimate on the low side.

Now, that doesn’t sound like much, but since I listed my books on KU a little more than a year ago over four million pages of my books have been read.

That’s pretty darned cool. Thanks for “listening” to my TED talk. 😉😉

Fun With Lightning

As I’m typing this it’s 3:30 p.m. in Tallahassee, FL, on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. I’m trapped in my car by a thunderstorm of incredible intensity. As one lightning strike ends another takes it’s place and the thunder rolls in a continuous symphony of earth shaking booms. The storm’s now been raging for over half an hour. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

I texted Studly Doright and told him what’s going on. He’s still at work, you see, in another part of town. He told me he loved me and that it’s been fun… Gee, that’s reassuring.

Y’all carry on.

Peace, people!

Sidewalk Marketing

Every Wednesday a group of about six male coffee drinkers meets at a table outside the coffee shop I frequent for my writing. I’ve exchanged pleasantries with the men on occasion, but never stopped to talk.

This morning as I was leaving, having reached my daily writing goal, one of the men said, “Leaving early today?”

“Yessir. I reached my word count so now I can go spend my husband’s money on frivolous stuff like food and gasoline.”

They all laughed, so I figured my work on earth was done.

“You’re a writer then?” Another man asked.

Now, the smart a** side of me wanted to say something witty, but the regular side of me couldn’t come up with anything, so I just admitted to being a writer.

And then I went into marketing mode. Sold six books. Yay me.

http://Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort (The Happy Valley Series) https://a.co/d/0U05QVo

Write This Down

Today I was engaged in working on book number four in the Happy Valley series while sipping on a latte at one of my favorite coffee shops, when a sharp rap on the window beside my table took me completely out of the groove.

I rededicated myself to the task of figuring out what the hell my characters were going to do and say next, when a rather nice looking gentleman of about my age brought a coffee around to my table, pulled out a chair, and took a seat.

“How have you been?” He asked.

Now I struggle with recalling names and faces, but I was fairly certain I didn’t know this guy.

“I’m sorry. Do we know each other?”

“Sure. From the neighborhood. You know…”

“Which neighborhood would that be?”

He told me the name of the rather upscale Tallahassee neighborhood, and I said, “Sir, I live in Havana. So I think you’ve mistaken me for someone else.”

His eyes narrowed and for a minute I thought he was going to challenge me—that he thought I might be messing with him.

After a moment he said, “Well, you have a doppelgänger, then.”

I said it wasn’t the first time I’d been mistaken for someone else in the area. Out of curiosity I asked who it was he’d thought I was. “Oh, it’s ________ __________. You look exactly like her.”

When I didn’t recognize the name he explained that the woman’s a lobbyist for some organization and asked if I, too, was a lobbyist. Now, that was the darndest question, wasn’t it?

“No sir,” I said. “I’m a writer.”

“Oh, then I suppose you aren’t who I thought you were.”

He went on his way and I thought, I should write this down. So I did.

I still don’t know what my characters are going to do or say next, though.

Peace, people.

Give Me a Moment

Folks, I’m officially old. I started off the day with a visit to a walk-in orthopedic clinic because one of my knees is acting up. Oh, it doesn’t hurt when I walk or sit. But if I happen to turn onto my right side and curl into my favorite sleeping position, it’s as if someone has pushed a serrated knife into the tissue next to my kneecap.

So I fully expected the doctor at the clinic to say, “If it only hurts when you do that, then for goodness sake, don’t do that.”

Instead, he sent me home with a smile and a prescription for a steroid, but only after doing something to my knee that resulted in me saying a word that, if my mother were still alive, would have had her washing out my mouth with soap and water. And I’d have deserved it.

Afterwards, I limped to my car, because NOW my knee hurts when I walk.

Still, a woman has needs and I needed lunch. So I went to a little sushi place in a strip mall. There were employees sitting outside having a smoke and even though their posted opening time was eleven a.m. and it was now ten after the hour, the OPEN sign hadn’t been turned on.

I asked if they were indeed open, and one of the employees said, “Technically we are.”

Now, this struck me wrong. Maybe I’ve reached the “Get off my lawn” stage of life, or maybe I was wondering why in hell my knee felt worse after I went to the doctor than it did before, and I just wasn’t in the mood for such a lackadaisical response.

The employee started to stand and I said, “Oh, I’m technically not going to eat here.”

I pointed to the cool little Takko Korean taqueria place just a few doors down. “Technically, I’m going to eat at that place, where the doors are open and the little sign says “C’mon in!”

And let me tell you, those damned tacos were amazing.

Ironically enough, peace, people.

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