Friday, February 26, 2016

Do I Stay or Do I Go?

A big wind blew through North Carolina this week. Weather in North Carolina is taken very seriously. It makes me think the forecasters are all former San Diegans and now that there’s actual weather to report, they pull out all the stops. Starting Tuesday night, the weather reporters began predicting tornadoes for Wednesday. My daughter Cyndi called and suggested I pack an overnight bag and go down to her house Wednesday to ride out the storm so I wouldn’t be home alone when my house was blown off its foundation and sent swirling to Oz.

I thought about it Tuesday night. I thought about it more Wednesday morning. A weather girl on the radio said this was the most severe tornado alert she had heard in her eighteen years of forecasting.  I weighed the benefits of leaving versus the benefits of staying. Tornadoes weren’t the only weather patterns predicted; we were also warned to expect thunderstorms, hail, and rain. I understood Cyndi wanting me safe with her instead of up here by myself where she'd worry about me. Two years ago when we had a tornado warning, Fred was with me and we sat the storm out in the bathroom. Cyndi and I stayed on the phone with each other. Nothing happened then, and I wanted to assume nothing would happen this time.

Cyndi's House
But what if? One minute I decided to stay and watch over my valuables and go to Oz with my house; the next minute I thought it best to drive an hour south and batten down the hatches with Cyndi and her family, hoping like crazy that it’s not HER house that ends up in Oz. If I go, do I take my valuables with me? My car wouldn’t hold all the items I treasure that I don’t want to see blown into the next county.

So do I stay in Garner and worry about Cyndi, or go to Lillington and worry about my house? I opted to go. I packed a bag, left my valuables behind, and drove through the rain and wind to Cyndi’s house. As I pulled into her driveway, the sun came out giving us a balmy seventy degree day.

I got to Cyndi’s at noon and we all sat glued to the television. There was nothing on except the weather. We saw radar map after radar map after radar map showing areas of lightning, areas of hail, areas of tornadoes, areas of wind shear. Weather took over the station until well into the night. Forget Jeopardy, there’s weather outside!

We did get some rain squalls and could hear the wind howling once in a while, but nothing that resembled a tornado. I brought something to read but by late afternoon the lights flickered and the power went out. By the time Cyndi got oil in all her hurricane lamps, the power came back on. We watched the forecasters track the tornado as it headed toward Garner and Raleigh. All I could do was sit there, pray, and wonder what was happening with my home. I emailed my neighbor and, thankfully, she wrote back that my house was still intact.  

Yesterday morning I drove back home to find everything just as I left it. The bird feeder was still hanging and the plastic benches were still sitting on my porches. I, along with my belongings, survived to see another day and to wait for the next weather hiccup. 

Now I have a question for you. We use terms like last week and last year, last month, and even last hour. But then we say “yesterday” instead of last day. What the heck does yester mean?

 Quote of the Day: The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind. Bob Dylan



Friday, February 12, 2016

Do You Hear What I Hear?

It is nearly Valentine’s Day which means Christmas is over. But a Christmas song is still running through my head.

The reason Do You Hear What I Hear? is playing in my mind has to do with my last post to y’all (I’ve been in the South two years, so I've earned the right to talk like that now). In that post I promised to tell you about an exciting new twist in writing and marketing books.
A few weeks ago, I received the first fifteen-minute sample of the audio version of Willard Manor. It is being done professionally by ACX, the audio division of Amazon. I listened to the sample, suggested a few minor changes, and a revised sample was then sent to me. I okayed that sample and now the entire book is being made into an audio book which should be completed by the end of March. Hooray! 

You might be wondering how expensive it is to use this service. I’m happy to tell you that it is costing me nothing. Zero. Zip. Nada. They make their money by taking half of any royalties I earn on the sale of my audio version. Since my sales of print or digital versions haven’t exactly put me in a different tax bracket, I’m afraid they might not make much. And the half of the royalties I get will be like found money. 
I was able to choose if I wanted a male or female to read my book, what age range the voice should be, what accent the reader should use, and what tone of voice the reader should have. The fifteen-minute sample was to see if I chose correctly for the way I wanted the book to sound. Beverly is the woman performing Willard Manor for me. When this book is finished, I will ask Beverly to do the audio version of my book, Leaving Mark.

There is nothing like writing a book and then clutching those first hot-off-the-press copies to your chest, smelling the print and running your hand over the cover. Now, with ACX, you can utilize yet another sense—hearing. It is an absolute thrill to sit back and listen to your words being read by a professional storyteller. You experience your book in an entirely new way and, let me tell you, it is mind blowing!

My audio version should be available through Amazon in March or April; I’ll keep you advised.
In the meantime, Happy Valentine’s Day! 

 Quote of the Day: The hearing ear, and the seeing eye; the Lord hath made even both of them. Proverbs 20:12