Happy New Year!

May 2017 be return to happier, simpler days, when the only challenges were sheep and the weather.
May 2017 be a return to happier, simpler days when the only challenges were sheep and the weather.

Greetings on New Year’s Eve 2017!

It’s dark now – the sun sets at 5:33 PM – but the days are getting longer. That’s one good sign, and each day is one day closer to spring.

Last night through this morning were both cool (28F and 54F), but presently it’s 61F going up to 77 tomorrow afternoon. I’ll take it.

It’s also very quiet as I look out the window. The restaurant and bar are also quiet (for the moment), but festivities start after 9:00 PM. After that, it remains to be ‘heard.’

I’ll be in bed by the time the New Year rolls in, but it always seems to get here without my help. I’ve only gone out a few times on New Year’s eve, and I generally found these to be expensive and a bit contrived: Everyone hooting on cue, and kissing the opposite sex. That’s when I started to by-pass the event.

So, tonight, I will do what I generally do and let the New Yer catch up to me.

All the best in 2017, and may the dark give way to a bright new morning ever day throughout the year.

God Bless.

 

 

Hooray!

It looks like Coming of Age on the Trail: Part One may finally get published after all.

I finally got through to my publisher, and he assures me that the galley proofs will be ready by January 9, 2017, so it should be on the shelves by the end of January.

It has been a long haul. Six years in the writing, and three months in the publishing process.

A winter scene
A winter scene

Things are back to normal after Christmas. The weather has been pleasant (70s), but tomorrow is forecast cool (54F) with an overnight temp in the 40s. Still, it’s a far cry from conditions at home – 21F tomorrow with a snowfall risk in effect.

I had a pleasant reunion from 2014 this morning. The gal who operates the convenience store at the top of the hill remembered me, and I her. Unfortunately, the gal that used to taxi me to Walmart every Wednesday has left, but she still keeps in touch with the others.

The Canadian dollar is still sinking. The spread this year has gone from 80 cents to 73. It’s like roulette. I’m trying to hold off paying my USD Visa card balance, hoping that it will get back up to 74 cents, at least. However, with my financial luck, the chances are slim.

I also notice that the price of gasoline has gone from $2.09 a gallon to $2.19 a gallon in the past week. It doesn’t take the leeches long to take advantage of a change in the market. What doesn’t go up is salaries and benefits.

So, from one cash cow to others, more next time. 🙂

Happy Boxing Day…

So what is “Boxing Day?”

Boxing Day.
Boxing Day.

In Britain, it was a custom for tradespeople to collect “Christmas boxes” of money or presents on the first weekday after Christmas as thanks for good service throughout the year. This custom is linked to an older British tradition: since they would have to wait on their masters on Christmas Day, the servants of the wealthy were allowed the next day to visit their families. The employers would give each servant a box to take home containing gifts, bonuses and sometimes leftover food.

So, now you know.

It’s a cool, damp day, after the 77 on Christmas Day. The temperature is up and down like a yo-yo. Tomorrow begins a stretch of 70-degree temps until Friday, and then it drops to 52 with an overnight temp of 37. Brrr.

I had a very nice Christmas day, quiet, with no visitors. I ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner, at the Waffle House, which was packed.

I was amazed because I thought most people would be home or with their families, but apparently not so.

Likewise, this morning. If anything it was probably busier than yesterday. One of the waitresses told me that on a busy day like that they can take in $1,500 – $2,000 for breakfast alone!

I don’t see many licence plates from Canada, though, although I did meet a couple from Keswick last week.

more next time.

Brrr…

christmas-garland

We’re having a cold spell … Well, cold for this part of the south. The temperature this morning was 45F with a misty drizzle and N/W wind, so it made for an uncomfortable walk up to the Waffle House. It will manage to get into the 60s for the remainder of the week, but then into the 70s by Saturday.

Just got my hydro bill for November – $208, so winter is beginning to put a chill on my bank account.

I am now at page 78/113 of Coming of Age – Part Two with no word regarding Part One from the publisher.

Only four more days to Christmas Ever. 🙂

Nor All Thy Tears is a heart warming story of love, romance, and adventure.
Nor All Thy Tears is a heart warming story of love, romance, and adventure.
Two Irish Lads has a great Irish Christmas scene in the wildereness.
Two Irish Lads has a great Irish Christmas scene in the wilderness.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

The way winter should be viewed ... in pictures.
The way winter should be viewed … in pictures.

Why is it that winter always arrives early, and spring arrives late?!

Back home in the north country, winter has arrived with a vengeance – snow, freezing cold, and a soupcon of freezing rain thrown in for good measure.

Here in the south, the temp is 64F today, but there is no escaping winter. My snow-removal bill for this month is $275 (including having the roof cleared, which will come this week.)

Then there’s the heating bill to come.

The good news is that I don’t have to slog through snow to get to the Waffle House.

I have coined a new phrase: “Crisis du jour.” It seems every day dawns with a new concern that has to be solved or dealt with.

For example, I have been having difficulty with the main computer that sometimes refuses to turn on. Yesterday was one such time, so I hauled out the backup, only to find that it too was acting up.

Fortunately, the main decided to co-operate by starting, so now I leave it ‘hibernation’ mode (rather than shut down.) The backup finally came around, too.

I could go on like this for paragraphs, but I will spare you the gloomy details.

It’s getting close to that time when I need a haircut. The barbershop I go to in located in the local Walmart store, and Josh (the maintenance guy) has offered me a lift, but there is no damned way I am going near a Walmart store until after the New Year.

I’m not brave enough for that!

Still no word from the publisher, so I will start pushing until I get some answers. Coming of Age represents six years of my writing life, which is bad enough, but all my other books are with this publisher as well. Therefore, if no one is printing my books, no one can buy them.

Moreover, if they do buy them, the royalties go to the publisher before they come to me, so chances are I will never see them.

It is a real mess.

More next time. Stay warm in the north.

Two Irish Lads has a great Irish Christmas scene in the wildereness.
Two Irish Lads has a great Irish Christmas scene in the wildereness.
Nor All Thy Tears is a heart warming story of love, romance, and adventure.
Nor All Thy Tears is a heart warming story of love, romance, and adventure.

The polar vortex has shifted north …

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that I still have to pay for heat in the north – the fall bill was $263 – and snow removal for insurance purposes. So, it’s pay, pay, pay no matter which end I’m on.

With the bad weather to the north, it’s surprising how many people are on the road south. I met a couple from Keswick – part of my old stomping grounds – at the Waffle House, yesterday. Not surprisingly, they were heading south to Florida. Flocks of Canada geese are also stopping by on their way south.

Some disturbing news about the publisher. I decided to Google his other company’s name (which is being closed down) and discovered that there is a complaint regarding the alleged breach of contract and sales figures.

I haven’t heard anything more from him, but I am optimistic. Nonetheless, my concern is that all my books are presently published with him, so if they aren’t being printed, my sales are dead in the water.

Such is life as an author.

Antebellum Christmas

The Christmas season was a special time of year for everyone in the south, and preparations began well before the day itself. Provisions had to be ordered, sometimes from as far away as Savannah or New Orleans, and the manor house decorated for the many guests that were invited.

Here are a couple of examples (albeit modern) to give you an idea of what they may have looked like.

Christmas staircase, Boone Hill Plantation
Christmas staircase, Boone Hill Plantation
Christmas decorations, Midgeville.
Christmas decorations, Midgeville.

________________

And while we’re on the topic of Christmas, don’t forget my books would make a great addition under your tree, or a friend’s.

Two Irish Lads has a great Irish Christmas scene in the wildereness.
Two Irish Lads has a great Irish Christmas scene in the wilderness.
Nor All Thy Tears is a heart warming story of love, romance, and adventure.
Nor All Thy Tears is a heartwarming story of love, romance, and adventure.

 

Who knew?…

Pleasant surprises do happen.

Yesterday, I was preparing to get my day started, and the disabled computer was on the vanity, so, on a whim, I decided to give it one last try.

Lo and behold, it worked, and has been working just fine every since (touch wood!).

A chilly morning

The polar vortex that is giving so much misery to Canada has also reached the deep south. It was 45F when I got up this morning, and with a northerly breeze, it felt damned cold.

Mind you, that’s nothing compared to the sub-freezing 10s and 14s back home, and that is forecast for the entire week ahead.

It’s too early for this type of nonsense!

Still haven’t heard from the publisher

There has been no sign of the galley proofs for Coming of Age, so the Christmas market is completely lost. After six years of writing, this is a bitter pill to swallow. But is proof once again that there is little integrity in business any longer.

One or two examples, but not every single one since September and beforehand, and I am only one person.

The second part of the serial is just about written, but since this present publisher is publishing part one, I am pretty well stuck with him for part two.

However, after that I will be looking for a new publisher.

Ocmulgee Nation Monument, Macon, GA

Not all ‘architecture’ in Georgia is Ante Bellum. Ocmulgee National Monument goes back well before the Civil War.

Ocmulgee National Monument
Ocmulgee National Monument

Ocmulgee National Monument preserves traces of over ten millennia of Southeastern Native America culture, including major eearthwork built before 1000 CE by the South Appalachian Mississippian culture(a regional variation of the Mississippian culture.) These include the Great Temple and other ceremonial mounds, a burial mound, and defensive trenches. They represented highly skilled engineering techniques and soil knowledge, and the organization of many laborers. The site has evidence of “17,000 years of continuous human habitation.” The 702-acre (2.84 km2) park is located on the east bank of the Ocmulgee River. Present-day Macon, Georgiadeveloped around the site after the United States built Fort Benjamin Hawkins nearby in 1806.

Why can’t surprises be pleasant?…

Why can’t surprises be like, “Congratulations, you’ve just won a million bucks’?

I suppose they are for some people, but not for me.

I returned to the room after breakfast yesterday morning, ready to start my day on the computer, but when I tried to turn it on … NOTHING. It had worked perfectly the night before, but now it wouldn’t even turn on let alone boot up.

To add to my woes, this was my main computer with all the updated programs on it – one, I had bought just four days before. I have backups of some of them, but the difficulty is that they are in Canada.

Fortunately, most of my files are in cloud storage, including – thank goodness – my bookkeeping files for 2016 income tax purposes.

Unfortunately, I am going to have to replace some of them – the ones I need now (like my Adobe Photoshop) for Christmas ads. It retails for $119 USD, which is about $140 CAD.

Meanwhile, my Surface Pro (the one that I had given up on a year ago) is filling the gap.

More next time.

December 4th, already!

It is amazing how fast the time is flying by, and soon it will be Christmas.

As cynical as I may be at times, I still have a soft spot in my heart for Christmas. It is that bright spot in an otherwise dark, winter season, that is brightened by candles and touches of colour to gladden the senses.

Mind you, I like the idea of going to Christmas dinner in my shirtsleeves, and white Christmases are best viewed on greeting cards.

After a couple of days of cool (60s) weather, we have bounced back up to 74 in brilliant sunshine. I’m wearing a light jacket, not because it’s cool, but because everyone has the AC cranked to ‘refrigerator’ levels.

The Waffle House has a regular gale blowing most of the time. Of course, for guys and gals working on the grill and serving it’s quite comfortable. For the rest of us, however, we are practically cleaning the frost off our glasses!

So there is always one fly in the ointment no matter where you go. The hotel restaurant is comfortable enough, but the young staff have the music cranked to ear-splitting levels. Fortunately, they all know enough to turn it down when I arrive.

I have assembled a few facts about the Area of Georgia I am in. For example, John F. Kennedy Jr. stayed in the immediate vicinity on his way to marry on Cumberland Island.

Hope you enjoy them.

Georgia Facts and Trivia

  1. Okefenokee Swamp encompasses over 400,000 acres of canals; moss draped cypress trees, and lily pad prairies providing sanctuaries for hundreds of species of birds and wildlife including several endangered species.
  2. Cumberland Island National Seashore contains the ruins of Dungeness, the once magnificent Carnegie estate. In addition, wild horses graze among wind swept dunes.
  3. The late John F. Kennedy, Jr. and his future wife stopped in Kingsland on the way to their marriage on Cumberland Island.
  4. Historic Saint Marys Georgia is the second oldest city in the nation.
  5. The City of Savanna was the first steamship to cross the Atlantic.It sailed from Georgia.
  6. Ways Station was renamed Richmond Hill on May 1, 1941, taking the name of automaker Henry Ford’s winter estate.
  7. The pirate Edward “Blackbeard” Teach made a home on Blackbeard Island. The United States Congress designated the Blackbeard Island Wilderness Area in 1975 and it now has a total of 3,000 acres.
  8. On January 19, 1861, Georgia joined the Confederacy.
  9. The official state fish is the largemouth bass.
  10. In Gainesville, the Chicken Capital of the World it is illegal to eat chicken with a fork.

 

 

My, how time flies…

As of today, I have been in the south four weeks. It doesn’t seem that long, but I’m sure if I had to cope with ice and snow it would seem longer.

It is cooler today (63/43), but beautiful sunshine. Sunshine is definitely the captive of the south, for a day hardly passes without some. I have a sheltered spot on the south side of the hotel where I go to sit. It is warm and peaceful, and very good for working out plot lines.

My room faces more-or-less east, so I only get the the direct rays in the late afternoon.

Not far away is the King’s Bay Naval Submarine Base. It is a strategic base servicing the Atlantic Fleet, so there is quite a bit of activity. I haven’t seen it, personally, but I may find a reason to go in that direction before I leave.

Submarine hangars, for Ohio class submarines.
Submarine hangars, for Ohio class submarines.

 

 Sailors assigned to the guided-missile submarine USS Florida (SSGN 728) practice skills controlling the boat.
Sailors assigned to the guided-missile submarine USS Florida (SSGN 728) practice skills controlling the boat.