Wow. We had a wallop of a storm here a week ago and I tried to pretend I still had a little of the twenty year-old Herculean in me, running through the wind, downpour, and driving hail to save our basement from flooding. Oh, did I mention I was carrying a 27 foot extension ladder by myself? Then I stepped in a dog hole and went down. Hard. On my bad knee. Of course that was shortly after being hit so hard on top of the head by a piece of hail that it almost knocked me out. I think that acted like a mild sedative and I popped right back up, put the ladder against the roof, and proceeded to climb into the hail-belching heavens.
At the top, shoveling ice water full of hail out of the gutters that were overflowing I felt like Gary Sinise in Forest Gump when he’s in the crow’s nest in the raging storm. My wife (God love her) had the genius idea to use heavy-duty forty-gallon garbage bags (of which we had a ton from Costco) to catch most of the water coming in the window well (which was over half-full of water; had the water been clearer and had there been fish, our window from the inside could have served as a fish tank). We loaded twenty half-full and then she used them like sand bags to keep the water that had already gotten to the floor in that one corner of our basement.
FOUR HUNDRED GALLONS of water in those bags we estimated. I jacked my back when, after the rain/hail finally let up, I ran outside with a five-gallon bucket, climbed down into the muddy, ice-cold water in the window well, and started scooping up forty pounds after forty pounds, reaching above my head to throw the water out toward the yard.
I was laid up in bed until yesterday. I’m forty-seven. I usually don’t mind admitting that because most of the time I feel quite a bit younger than that. But these past few days I’ve felt more like a hundred. I was reduced to iPhone typing only. I hate iPhone typing. If God had meant the thumbs to be used for anything but the space bar he’d have made them “opposable fingers”. Thumbs aren’t dextrous. They’re good only for picking up coffee cups, snapping your fingers, and—like many people I seem to work with these days—being put up one’s ass while sitting there being utterly useless. Unless you’re a teenager. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I think teenagers INVENTED sitting there with their thumbs up their asses, but God also gave teenagers thumbs with so much dexterity they’ll soon have a texting event in the Summer Olympics (I decided on summer because even teen thumbs slow down in the cold).
SOOOOO I’ve not been blogging. Or tweeting all that much. A good writer friend who always boosts my confidence said he missed my blogs. Made my day. Made me want to blog. Isn’t it funny—you only have to receive one compliment like that to bring you back. Like that one perfect, heavenly, Tigeresque golf shot (one out of fifty) that brings you back for another ass-handing by the golf course.
As for the writing-related portion, I just have one question: what is it with the refunds on Amazon for digital books? I don’t mean Amazon offering returns; they have to. What is it with the chowderheads that ask for a 99 cent refund (quite obviously after reading the book)? Okay, NOW with my books it’s $3.99, but I used to see them when I was at the dreaded 99 cent price point. What’s the deal? Like a woman with a dress they hide the price tag, read the book, and then return it? Hey, I understand it with a $400 dress. But a few dollars for an eBook? Granted, I don’t see a lot of them, but each one gives me pause. Anyone else notice that phenomenon and wonder about it, too? I remember reading a comment by a writer once, saying something about waiting for the freaking refunds.
Like I said, it’s 200:1 or lower, so it’s not a big financial deal. I am just amazed by it. A person’s time (even a chowderhead’s) has to be worth more than the amount spent going through the refund process. I guess it’s just another way people get by. Or maybe they hated the book so much that the idea of a fraction of those four dollars making its way to my pocket so enraged them that they asked for their money back. That I would understand.
Oh, but on the subject of purchasing my books, I have decided to have a low-key, for my devoted blog-readers only promotion. I am readying my third book, Dark Prairies, for publication either late this month or early next month. If any of you buy either of my current books (Black Beast or LOST) and email me the receipt, I will email you back the first 10 chapters (about half) of Dark Prairies. I just got my editor’s edits back, so am about to finalize the first half of the book. I can send in whatever format you prefer. Just email the receipt (dated today or later) here and I will send you the e-copy of chapters 1-10.
Nothing Earth-shattering, but I thought it might be fun—you’d be on the short list of people who have read my book before it’s available to the masses. Hey, it’s always nice to be first, right? Just like it’s great to be the king! (Apologies to you non-Mel Brooks fans.)
Oh well, my back feels much better—I can now type on my laptop, so look out readers, Rob is ready to BLOG. (Where’s Bill Conti and the crescendo of gooseflesh-raising music when you need it? I feel like Rocky Balboa at the top of the stairs, man!)
Oh wait. That’s what freaking got me in trouble in the first place.
I know, I know: just sit down and type, old man.
Thumbs or no thumbs.
The blank page is dead…long live the blank page.
Author known to use spontaneous satire, sarcasm, and unannounced injections of pith or witticisms which may not be suitable for humorless or otherwise jest-challenged individuals. (Witticisms not guaranteed to be witty, funny, comical, hilarious, clever, scintillating, whimsical, wise, endearing, keen, savvy, sagacious, penetrating, fanciful, or otherwise enjoyable. The Surgeon General has determined through laboratory testing that sarcasm can be dangerous, even in small amounts, and should not be ingested by those who are serious, somber, pensive, weighty, funereal, unsmiling, poker-faced, sober, or pregnant.)