Nick Russell

RVing Authors

 Posted by at 12:14 am  Nick's Blog
Jan 252019

I’ve met a lot of authors in my time, and I’m always interested in how and where they work. Some of them say they must have their own quiet space with no distractions, while others claim they can write anywhere, including coffee shops, sitting at the kitchen table while the kids and dog are running in and out creating a ruckus, or sitting in their favorite easy chair with their laptop while the television is on.

I fall partway into the latter category. Though we don’t have any kids or dogs, after a lifetime publishing small town newspapers in small, busy offices, I don’t notice things like the TV or Miss Terry doing something in the same room. During our fulltime RVing days I had a desk in the front of the motorhome where I worked and often watched TV at the same time while Terry was weaving or cooking a few feet away. Now that we have a house again, I have a small office that is perpetually cluttered and Terry is at the far end of the house in her big loom room/office. But I don’t think my output is any better or more prolific than it was in the motorhome.

And I wasn’t the only author who found their craft works well with the RV lifestyle. Here are some of my RVing author friends.

Donna B. McNicol is a retired IT professional who started writing fiction after retirement. Her preferred genre is small town “whodunit” mysteries with a dash of romance, but she has also tackled children’s stories, fantasy, and small town romance. In addition, her short stories have been included in several anthologies. Donna, her husband Stu and their two black Goldendoodles now live in middle Tennessee, but RV to warmer states in the winter so they can ride motorcycles all year round. Donna’s books include the Klondike mystery series and the C’mon Inn mysteries.  You can follow Donna at

J. A. (Jenise) Harper uses recurring characters as part of her excellent Bird Treks mystery series, working hard to keep them vital and alive for readers. Just as she and her husband Jim are fulltime RVers traveling in a Blue Bird motor coach, so are her lead characters, Maggie and Ben Graham. How much is fact and how much is fiction is something the reader can only surmise, but she says she must admit that it is a lively lifestyle, and they are relishing every moment of it! Always a writer, her past works were either journalistic in nature or liturgical. It wasn’t until being immersed in the redwood forests of California or standing on the cliff overlooking the ocean by the Yaquina Head Lighthouse in Oregon that her books began to create themselves. So, meet Maggie and Ben Graham in Soul of the Forest, Spirit of the Joshua, and Mists of Deception: Yaquina Head, and you will also meet Jenise and Jim Harper.

Judy Howard, described as an inspiration and a firecracker, has earned her titles as Motivational Speaker and Writing Expert. Her writing career expands across many genres – memoir, romance thriller, travel, reality-fiction, and young adult, but the theme is always the same – overcoming life’s difficulties. Following her two passions, traveling and writing, Judy and her cat Sportster travel across country in a Winnebago. When Judy and Sportster are not traveling, they reside in Sun City, California. Some of Judy’s writings include Coast to Coast With A Cat and A Ghost, the blog The Writings Of A Wandering Widow, and The Cat’s Perspective of Reading, Writing and Life.

Karen Musser Nortman is a retired teacher and test specialist who writes cozy campground mysteries and time travel books involving a vintage camper. Several of her books are Chanticleer award winners and IndieBRAG Medallion honorees. She and her husband travel with a thirty-foot trailer, camping in the Midwest in the summer with friends and taking longer trips in the spring and fall. Find Karen on Amazon at 

Margo Armstrong joined the fulltime RV lifestyle in 1995. This bold decision allowed her family to travel with her. While they experienced the beauty this country has to offer, she expanded her technical writing business. After upgrading to a larger motorhome, she created other businesses that cater to the RV lifestyle. In 2010, Margo downsized to a 30-foot motorhome for solo travel. With 24 years on the road, she continues to write and self-publish RV lifestyle books, a blog, an RV lifestyle website, and an eZine where subscribers get the latest news on lifestyle trends. Her Amazon page is

Joan H. Young has been writing stories since the age of 7, when The Adventures of Skippy the Field Mouse made its debut. Joan says the work survives but is best left in the box with drawings of squirrels and pressed leaves. Joan has proven that one can bumble through life without ever deciding what to be when she grows up. However, more of her time since 2005 has been spent writing. If only more money came from that endeavor, it could be called a career! She is the author of cozy mysteries, children’s mysteries, and several works of non-fiction, including Anastasia Raven cozy mysteries, Dubois Files children’s mysteries, books about hiking, and more. Check out her website

Debra S. Sanders has authored seven suspense/mysteries, and three non-fiction books. Her cozy series follows psychic sleuth and caterer, Daisy O’Connor, as she dodges ghosts looking for justice while caring for her adopted Lakota grandfather, Charlie Tall Tree. Her books include Dead Men Don’t Talk and Road Tales: Myth, Lore, & Curiosities From America’s Back Roads. Debra’s current work in progress is a dark thriller set in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Drawing from her experience as a contract FEMA Disaster Inspector, she builds a grim world in which fraudulent claims are met with murder. You can follow Debra online at The Write Roads.

GK Jurrens independently writes and publishes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. He teaches paperless writing on the road. With his wife Kay, he lives and travels fulltime in a bus style RV. They find wandering North America a delightful source of endless inspiration. GK earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and a Master of Science degree in Management of Technology from the University of Minnesota. He is the proud father of two adult children and the equally proud grandfather of three teenage grandchildren. You can follow GK online at

Maureen Kay Lynch finds retirement has created a perfect environment to write. A life-long romantic, she used to create stories describing how the models in Woolworth photo frames met and fell in love! As a Ribbon Romance author, she’s working on the second in a series featuring a breast cancer marathon event. Her stories are light, romantic fiction and, as she likes to say, a 14 -year-old can read them without getting a lesson in anatomy. Her first stand-alone novel, Heartcall, won in National Novel Writing Month, and will be published when the editing process is complete. She also plans to tell the story of how she chose to live in an RV. You can follow her at her Amazon page

So there you have it, nine authors who don’t need an office to work in. Just a nice view out the windows of their RVs as they create their own world of words.

Be sure to sign up for our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audio book of undone, the first book in my buddy Jason Deas’ new Burt Bigsley mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is 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.

Thought For The Day – The difference between ordeal and adventure is attitude!

Jan 242019

First settled in 1788, the rough frontier outpost where the mighty Ohio River and the Licking River come together grew to become a major industrial boomtown and shipping port for riverboats, earning it the nickname the Queen City of the West. Today everybody knows it by its formal name, Cincinnati, Ohio.

For most of the 19th century, Cincinnati was among the top 10 US cities in population, with only a few of the long-established big cities of the East and New Orleans ahead of it. It was the first city founded after the American Revolution, and the first major city inland from the Atlantic Coast.

Concerned about the danger of fire more than criminal activity, when the original settlement incorporated as a village in 1802, one of the first things they did was create a night watch to guard against fire and any misdeeds someone might try to commit under the cover of darkness. That night watch grew to become the modern Cincinnati Police Department, an organization that now fields some 1,000 sworn police officers and over 125 civilian employees working in everything from records to dispatch to administrative duties.

To honor the men and women who have served Cincinnati and the surrounding communities on both sides of the Ohio River, the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum tells the stories of these brave public servants with displays of police uniforms, weapons, police equipment, and a Gallery of Heroes to remember those who sacrificed all for the greater good.

Visitors to the museum are greeted by Handsome, the taxidermized remains of Cincinnati’s first police dog. Youngsters always gather around the glass case to look at the dog as soon as they enter the museum. While Handsome was not an official member, he seemed to teach himself the skills that would make him useful to the Department. He was a first rate ambassador for the police department, was so loved by officers and the community in general that the police chief would let him ride in his car during parades.

From there, you can browse cases filled with police firearms as well as weapons confiscated from criminals. The collection includes everything from homemade knives and clubs to police billy sticks and service revolvers, and even a Depression-era Thompson submachine gun. One case has a gruesome display of weapons used in murders, including everything from handguns to hammers.

Moving on, a display shows uniforms worn by officers of the Cincinnati Police Department from the earliest days to the present.

The museum’s communications display demonstrates how far technology has come in the way that police officers are dispatched to calls, from the days of the earliest street corner call boxes to today’s highly computerized systems that can monitor an officer’s location and progress instantly.

Visitors can also see investigative equipment such as lie detectors and fingerprinting machines.

Be careful not to get in trouble while you are visiting the museum, they have a jail cell you can spend some time in. Fortunately, the iron bars of the door are never locked, so you don’t have to stay long.

There is an impressive displays of police badges and patches, including the largest collection of detective badges anywhere.

Another popular item on display at the museum is a 1965 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Police Special motorcycle that was once used by officers of the Newport, Kentucky Police Department.

Active duty and retired police officers as well as civilians serve as volunteer docents giving tours at the museum. These people are a wealth of knowledge and can share stories that will do everything from make you laugh out loud to bring a sad tear to your eye.

There’s a lot to see and do at the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum, and it is well worth a stop the next time you visit Cincinnati. The museum is located at 308 Reading Road and is open Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 10 A.M. to 4 P.M. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors age 65 and older, and $6 for children ages 7 to 17.

Free parking is available for museum visitors in front of the building. A temporary Police Museum parking permit is required and can be picked up in the Museum’s gift shop. Parking is limited to passenger size vehicles, access for larger RVs would be difficult in the area streets. For more information, call (513) 300-3664 or visit the Museum’s website at

It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audio book of undone, the first book in my buddy Jason Deas’ new Burt Bigsley mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is 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.

Thought For The Day – If you don’t heal what hurt you, you’ll bleed all over people who didn’t cut you.

Jan 232019

On a lonely windswept hilltop a couple of miles east of Superior, Arizona, we came across the grave of one of the Old West’s more tragic figures, a scorned woman named Mattie Blaylock Earp.

Born Celia Ann Blaylock in Wisconsin in 1850, and raised on a farm in Iowa, accounts of the day describe Mattie as having “large bones and a fine face.” Farm life was apparently too boring for her, and some suspect she worked as a prostitute in Scott City, Kansas, and later in Dodge City. Mattie worked as a dance hall girl in Dodge City, among the wildest towns known to man. It was here that she met Wyatt Earp, one of the most romanticized figures in history.

Wyatt Earp was born in Monmouth, Illinois in 1848, and when he was twenty years old he moved to Lamar, Missouri where he met and married Urilla Sutherland, who died of typhoid soon after their marriage. Hollywood and popular fiction have painted Wyatt Earp as a straight shooting lawman who helped tame the Wild West, his heroic deeds culminating in the famous shootout at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. He did indeed serve as an Assistant Marshall in Dodge City, where he earned his reputation as being quick with a six gun, and later was deputized by his brother Virgil, who was the Marshall of Tombstone, to give Wyatt some legitimacy in the upcoming confrontation with the Clantons, a faction the Earp brothers had a longstanding feud with.

What many overlook is the fact that for most of his life, Wyatt Earp supported himself as a petty criminal, bartender, gambler, and pimp. In 1871, the U.S. Court of the Western District of Arkansas at Fort Smith charged Earp with stealing horses on Indian lands. In 1874, court records report that Wyatt and his brother James operated a house of prostitution in Wichita, Kansas. Both were engaged in the same activity later in Dodge City, Tombstone, and Nome, Alaska.

Nobody knows for sure if Mattie was a prostitute when she and Wyatt first met, but given his known involvement in the shady side of commerce, there is no doubt that like most of the women associated with the Earp brothers, she worked off and on as a prostitute during their early years together.

In 1879, Wyatt and Mattie arrived in Tombstone, where Wyatt’s brothers and their wives had settled. Wyatt’s found work as a shotgun guard for Wells Fargo, and supplemented his income by gambling and more than likely, pimping. Mattie and Wyatt are not believed to have ever been officially married, but by 1879 everyone accepted Mattie as Wyatt’s common law wife.

Mattie suffered from severe migraine headaches, and while in Tombstone she became addicted to laudanum, a commonly used pain killer of the day. About the same time, Wyatt began an affair with Josephine Marcus, whom he would later marry. Mattie had at least two heated public altercations with the interloper.

Soon after the gunfight at the OK Corral on October 26, 1881, Wyatt and Josephine left Tombstone, never to return. Demonstrating his ability to be a complete cad, Wyatt never even said goodbye to Mattie, who had shared his bed and life for years.

Deserted by the man she loved, brokenhearted, addicted to laudanum, and penniless, Mattie tried to make it on her own but there was little she knew how to do. Soon she was working as a prostitute again and she began a downhill slide. Mattie was older now and lacked the appeal of the younger girls. She moved to Colton, California for a time, then relocated to Globe, Arizona, where she was charged with prostitution. From Globe, Mattie drifted a few miles west to the small mining town of Pinal, near present day Superior, Arizona. It was here that Mattie would die of an overdose of laudanum, on July 3, 1888. Her death was ruled suicide. At the coroner’s inquest, a witness reported that Mattie had told him that Wyatt Earp had “wrecked” her life by deserting her and she didn’t want to live.

Mattie was buried in the small Pinal Cemetery, and within months the boomtown had gone bust, and soon faded back into the desert. Mattie’s grave was first marked with a headstone, but the stone was stolen by vandals. To protect the grave from further desecration, a railroad tie headstone was placed “near” the original grave honoring Mattie Earp, but the railroad tie does not mark the actual location, which is nearby but lost to time.

Mattie’s grave is located off U.S. Highway 60, west of Superior, Arizona. Turn north on Silver King Mine Road, which is about 1/10 mile west of milepost #225. The road is an unimproved dirt road but is suitable for a passenger car in dry weather. Follow the road past Harborlite Corporation and over a railroad track. At a Y in the road about .6 mile from Highway 60, stay to the left, and about 1.1 miles from Highway 60, watch for a Qwest Fiber Optic Cable metal post on the right side of the road. Continue about 90 feet and turn left. At a Y another 90 to 100 feet, stay to the right, and at yet another Y .5 mile from the Qwest post, at a wash area, stay left. The small cemetery and a scattering of headstones will be on your right. GPS coordinates for Mattie Earp’s grave are N33 17.298, W 111 08.070. The next time you’re in the area, stop and pay your respects to this tragic figure from the Old West.

Thought For The Day – Sometimes not getting what you want can be a blessing.

Jan 222019

Definition of potpourri – 1: a mixture of flowers, herbs, and spices that is usually kept in a jar and used for scent. 2: a miscellaneous collection. The second definition above pretty much describes today’s blog, a collection of miscellaneous thoughts and info that I’m sharing because I really don’t have anything else to talk about today.


Lies RV salesmen tell you – I’ve never been able to figure out why so many RV salesmen (and saleswomen) feel the need to lie to a customer to make a sale. But it’s been my experience that there are a lot more who will say anything to get your money, no matter how wrong, or even dangerous, it is. I heard from two different people who were at the Tampa RV Show and did not believe the whoppers salesmen told them, and wanted my input. In the first case, a salesman assured a couple that their Toyota Tacoma was plenty of truck to pull a 32-foot travel trailer. That kind of BS is not only unethical, it could get somebody killed. The second email was from a couple who have two kids, ages 11 and 13. They want to fulltime with their kids and do a lot of boondocking, and a salesman at the show told them the 25 gallon black and 35 gallon grey tank in the rig he was trying to sell them would be adequate for them to easily go two weeks before they had to dump the tanks. I guess it is if they never shower and go outside to go potty.


Someone who knows I am into genealogy contacted me to ask if I knew of a way she could prove her Native American ancestry. She said she is half Cherokee but has taken three different DNA tests and none of them show her Native bloodline. The tests all show a mix of Great Britain and German ancestry. I asked which of her parents are Native American and she said neither of them is, but she heard that a three or four times great grandmother was a Cherokee princess. I replied that in that case, she is not half Native American at any rate, and if three DNA tests say she has no trace of Native blood, she probably isn’t. She immediately fired back saying there must be a way to prove it. I was tempted to suggest she hang around outside an Indian casino and see if she could buy a pint of blood from a tribal member, kind of like the people who get somebody else’s urine for a drug screen.


Another email was from somebody who wants to change his legal domicile to South Dakota or Florida because they have no state income tax. He asked if that meant he also didn’t have to pay Federal income tax. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. The Feds still want their pound (or pounds) of flesh come April 15th.


A few days ago somebody asked me a question about the instructions I have posted before about how to clean a Splendide washer/dryer combo when it stops drying and all of the lights start flashing. I’m sorry, but somehow I lost your email before I could reply. Please get back to me again, if you will.


My latest book, Big Lake Wedding is selling well and already has a dozen five star reviews. I really appreciate everybody buying the book, telling your friends about it, and leaving reviews.

Someone asked when the print version will be out. It will be a few weeks yet, but not t0o long, I promise. My other two new releases, the box set of the first three Big Lake books and the box set of the first three books in the John Lee Quarrels series are also doing well and I am getting good feedback on them, too.


And finally, several people have asked how Miss Terry’s eye is after I dropped my phone on her and gave her a nasty shiner. I’m happy to say it’s much cleared up, and she hasn’t beaten me with a frying pan to get even. At least not yet, anyway.

Thought For The Day – A great marriage is not when a ‘perfect couple’ comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learn to enjoy their differences.

Is It Monday Yet?

 Posted by at 12:37 am  Nick's Blog
Jan 212019

Most working people dread Monday morning because it is the start of another long work week. Mondays don’t bother me because I work every day of the week. Some days I work more than others, but every day I at least write a blog, and I am usually working on a book, or working on book promotion, or doing research for a book. That’s why I laugh whenever someone says that we retired to Florida. No, we just retired from the RV lifestyle. I plan to keep cranking out books as long as my brain will allow me to string words together.

But I am really looking forward to today being Monday, assuming it is Monday. I have been a day ahead of myself for the last several days. We went to the antique extravaganza on Friday, which I thought was Saturday. When Saturday rolled around, I thought it was Sunday, which meant I actually ended last week’s free drawing on Saturday instead of Sunday, as I was supposed to. I never even realized it until late yesterday evening. I don’t know how I got my days so jumbled up, but I sure did!

We were supposed to get a lot of wind and rain yesterday, but the rain never developed. However, we did get some wind, and the temperature really plummeted. The 11 PM news said the temperature was 23° lower than it was at the same time the night before. It was a good day to stay inside and not do much of anything. And except for some research on my next John Lee Quarrels book and writing the blog, that’s pretty much all I did – nothing.

I did exchange a few emails with a fellow who had some questions about the air brake system on his diesel motorhome. I told him that even though we have owned an MCI bus conversion and a Winnebago diesel pusher with air brakes, I’m not a mechanical person and really didn’t know what to tell him. I suggested he pose his questions on some of the Internet RV forums, but instead he wrote back wanting to know how to purge air from the system and what other maintenance was required. I replied again, telling him again that I wasn’t a mechanic and I didn’t have any answers for him. I said that we always had a reliable shop do a yearly maintenance on our rigs and I left those things up to them. He immediately came back and wanted to know if the brake shoes needed replaced, and if so, how often. By then I feared he wasn’t reading my replies anyhow, so I just ignored him. The last thing I want to do is give anybody advice on the brakes on a vehicle that weighs over 30,000 pounds when I don’t know the first thing about them.

About 11:45 PM and again a little after midnight Terry and I went outside to take a look at the moon, and yes, it was still up there in the sky right where it belongs. We didn’t stay out long because it was too darned cold.

Today, after a trip to the chiropractor and a few errands, I plan to go over all of my notes for my next book and get ready to start cranking out words. (Just about the time I wrote these words I realized that the post office is closed tomorrow for Martin Luther King Day.) Okay then, one less errand to run.

Thought For The Day – Every time I try to eat healthy, along comes Thanksgiving, Christmas, summer, Friday or Tuesday and ruins it for me.

My Body Is Mad At Me

 Posted by at 12:37 am  Nick's Blog
Jan 202019

As most of you know, I’ve been trying to lose weight and have been walking at least a mile a day on my treadmill. And I’m beginning to see some results. I’ve lost about 35 pounds and my doctor took me off my diabetes medicine. But there is a big difference between walking a mile on a treadmill and spending three or four hours wandering around an outdoor antique/flea market, and now my body is mad at me. And boy, is it letting me know it!

We walked about three miles at the Antique and Collector’s Extravaganza in Mount Dora on Friday, and by the time we got back to the van it was all we could do to put one foot in front of the other. Most people think Florida is pretty flat, and for the most part they would be right. But the grounds where the extravaganza is held are somewhat hilly. Not mountains by any means, but enough that you really begin to feel it going up and down, browsing row after row of vendors.

As I wrote a while back, on our first trip to Mount Dora for the event we saw a lot of people pulling collapsible wagons, and that seemed like a good idea instead of having to carry everything we purchased around in our arms. So, we ordered a Timber Ridge folding wagon from Amazon. It has a 150 pound capacity and can be used for anything from gardening to going to the beach, to holding your purchases while you are walking around swap meets or farmers markets. It folds up small enough to fit into a storage bay of an RV or the trunk of a car without taking up a lot of room.

That turned out to be both a blessing and a curse. Yes, you can carry everything you bought in the wagon, along with bottles of water and anything else you might want to have with you. But the problem is, then you have to pull the wagon loaded with everything you bought, along with bottles of water and anything else you might want to have with you. It wasn’t too hard on the flat ground, but after we had the little table Terry bought and some other things in it, I began to feel like my arm was going to come out of its socket. By the end of the day, if we were going uphill Terry was behind the wagon helping me by pushing it. And coming downhill, she was in back holding onto the wagon to keep it from running over me. Even so, it banged me in the back of the legs several times.

Like I said, we were pretty worn out by the time we got back to the van at the end of the day, and walking around Friday evening we were pretty stiff. But that was nothing compared to yesterday. I got out of bed and my lower back, hips, and legs were all letting me know that they didn’t appreciate the workout I had given them, and they were taking turns making their displeasure known. It was a nice day and I would have liked to have gone fishing or something, but it was all I could do to hobble around the house using my cane. Hopefully things will ease up today and I can get back to whatever is normal for me.

In other news, a couple of years ago my friend John Huggins from Living The RV Dream created a Facebook page by the same name that now has over 57,500 members, both RVers and wannabes. John followed that up by creating a second page, Living the RV Dream Sales and Swaps, for people buying and selling RVs and RV related equipment. And now John is at it again, with another new group for people with physical disabilities who are interested in the RV lifestyle. Living the RV Dream With Disabilities was created to educate and help folks with disabilities enjoy the RV lifestyle. It welcomes people with disabilities, as well as those with information to share with those who are disabled. Check it out and submit a request to join.

Congratulations Marquita Graves, winner of our drawing for an audiobook of The Gecko In The Corner, the second book in my John Lee Quarrels mystery series. We had 63 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon.

Thought For The Day – Sometimes you have to stop being scared and stop asking yourself “what if” and just go for it.

Jan 192019

Apparently for my beautiful wife, Aladdin Lincoln Drape oil lamps are like potato chips; you can’t have just one. A while back I told you about how Terry used to collect oil lamps before we got together, and though she had quite a few of them, she had always wanted a Lincoln Drape but had never been able to find one. I made it my business to locate one for her, and we did in Safety Harbor, on the other side of the state, and we made a daytrip over there to buy it.

Though I had been looking for a Lincoln Drape for her for a long time, it was the first one I had been able to find. And then, wouldn’t you know it? A couple of weeks later when we were browsing some antique shops we found not one, but two more, and one came home with us. Kind of like when I was looking for cabinet radios and Speed Graphic cameras. I wanted one of each, and now I have two of each. We have seen this happen several times where we can’t find something we want, and once we do find it and buy it, they seem to be everywhere.

Yesterday we went to the huge Renninger’s Antique and Collector’s Extravaganza in Mount Dora, and yep, Terry found yet another Lincoln Drape. This one didn’t have the chimney and a couple of other items that are easily replaced, but at only $20 it was a heck of a deal, so it came home with us. Terry also found this nice little table to go in our living room and hold one of the lamps.

And here is another lamp, on the dresser in our guest bedroom.

Just like we did the first time we were there back in November, yesterday we walked for miles at the Extravaganza, and we saw a lot of very cool stuff. One thing that really caught my eye was this 1946 Whizzer Model H. Back in the day, this was a heck of a ride. It came with heavy duty front and rear wheels with a Schwinn brake on the front and Bendix brake in the rear, and a sign with it said that the engine gas tank, lever controls, exhaust, and most everything else on it were factory correct. While I thought it was cool, it wasn’t something I wanted for myself. But later in the day I saw someone tying it down in the back of his pickup and I asked if he could give me a ballpark figure of what he paid for it. He told me it was a bit under $1700. I’m not sure if that’s a fair price or not, but it was to him, and that’s all that matters, right?

Terry was not the only one that got some goodies yesterday. I picked up three more badges for my collection.

Another vendor had an Arizona State Liquor Control agent badge that was very nice that I would have liked to have had, but he was a real jerk. I asked for a price and he ignored me while he played Candy Crush on his phone. I asked a second time and he told me I couldn’t afford it. Between us Terry and I had several $100 bills in our pockets, but I didn’t figure I would waste my time telling him I probably could. At the same time, I saw him blow off somebody else who was looking at a fairly high ticket item. It makes me wonder why he bothered to go to the event and pay for a vendor spot if he was going to act that way.

I also saw this nice sign, but Miss Terry told me it was tacky. Well, yeah, of course it’s tacky. I’m a guy, that’s the kind of thing we like. Not the boobs, I mean the sign. Well don’t get me wrong, I like boobs, too, but… never mind, I’m going to shut up now, even if it is too late.

They hold these Extravaganzas several times a year in different locations around the country. The next one in Mount Dora will be February 15th -17th and I guess we will probably be there. Even if we don’t find something we can’t live without, and we always seem to, we get a lot of exercise just walking around the huge outdoor show.

Today is your last chance to enter our Free Drawing for an audiobook of The Gecko In The Corner, the second book in my John Lee Quarrels mystery series. 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.

Thought For The Day – No relationship is all sunshine, but two people can share one umbrella and survive the storm together.

Jan 182019

We are not fans of big cities but some of them that we visited in our travels did impress us. One of them was Boston, Massachusetts. We love the history of the old city and have spent many hours exploring from Bunker Hill to the waterfront, to the different ethnic neighborhoods. We once stumbled into a street fair in one of the Italian neighborhoods, where everyone insisted we join in the revelry and the food.

As history nuts, we know all about Paul Revere and the Battle of Bunker Hill, and all the other important events that happened in Boston leading up to the Revolutionary War. But history continued to be made in Boston long after those first patriots were dead and buried. And not all of that history was pleasant. Take for instance the Great Molasses Flood.

It was 100 years ago this week, January 15, 1919, at just after noon, when people later reported hearing a rumbling sound and then the ground shook as a huge storage tank at the Purity Distilling Company in the city’s North End ruptured, spilling 2.3 million gallons of sticky molasses into the streets.

The thick fluid quickly flooded neighborhoods around the tank in a 40 foot high wave moving at 35 miles per hour, crushing everything in its path. A truck was thrown into the harbor, a railroad car was pushed off its tracks, buildings collapsed, and people ran for their lives to escape the dense onslaught.

But not everyone escaped. Horses, men, women, and children were stuck and unable to fight their way through the molasses, which at one point was over three feet deep in many areas. In total, 21 people lost their lives in the flood. The oldest of them was Michael Sinnott, age 78, while the youngest were Maria Di Stasio and Pasquale Iantosca, both 10-year-old schoolchildren. Estimates at the time said as many as 150 people were injured by the waves of molasses or by being struck with objects thrown by the crushing flood.

Immediately rescuers came to the aid of those in peril. 116 cadets from the training ship USS Nantucket, police officers, firemen, and everyday people waded through the sometimes waist deep molasses searching for survivors and struggling to pull them free. They worked through the night, wrestling those they could from the molasses’ sticky grip and bringing them to a makeshift field hospital set up nearby.

Once all those who could be saved had been saved, the cleanup began. It was an arduous task. Crews of men worked day and night shoveling and washing down the streets and buildings still left standing. Local lore says that on hot summer nights for many years afterwards, the aroma of molasses could still be smelled all through Boston.

In the aftermath of the disaster, the Purity Distilling Company paid out well over half a million dollars in damages. It’s been said that the relatives of those who perished in the flood received approximately $7,000 per victim.

Though the Great Molasses Flood, as the disaster came to be known, happened a long time ago, there are still some old-timers around who remember their parents and grandparents talking about witnessing the tragedy. It had to be the stuff of nightmares.
The next time you are in Boston, pay a visit to the intersection of Commercial Street and Copps Hill Terrace in Boston’s old North End, where a small green and white plaque tells the story of the tragedy.

If you would like to learn more about the event, a good book about the disaster is The Great Molasses Flood: Boston, 1919, written by Deborah Kops.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of The Gecko In The Corner, the second book in my John Lee Quarrels mystery series. 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.

Thought For The Day – My goal this weekend is to move just enough so people don’t think I’m dead.


It Was A Wonderful Day

 Posted by at 12:47 am  Nick's Blog
Jan 172019

Terry and I want to thank everybody for the dozens of blog comments, emails, Facebook comments, and messages congratulating us on our 21st wedding anniversary. We would have loved to have replied to all of you individually, but there were so many that we would have spent the whole day just doing that. Instead, we decided to be selfish and spend it paying attention to each other.

The day started with some cuddling and “I love you’s” in bed, and talking about how lucky we are to have found each other, about some of the wonderful times we have shared over the years, and yes, acknowledging that there were some rough patches early on until we both learned and accepted the fact that we wanted this thing to work and we were going to do whatever it took to make it happen.

We left the house in the early afternoon and drove into Port Orange, where we went to the movies. Of the ones that are playing, the two that interested us the most were The Green Book and The Mule. And since The Mule started at 3:40 and The Green Book would not start until 5:30, that decision was made for us. We wanted to go to dinner afterward, and it would have been too late by the time The Green Book was over. The Mule was okay, but that’s about it, just okay. I didn’t like the ending at all. It left too many questions unanswered and too many loose ends that were not tied up.

After the movie we went to Longhorn Steakhouse for dinner, even though it was about four miles away and there is a Texas Roadhouse right next to the theater. I like the food at Texas Roadhouse, but the music is always so darned loud that you can’t hold a conversation. It’s been like that in every one of their restaurants I’ve ever eaten in, from Florida to Arizona to Indiana. I don’t know about you, but I kind of like being able to have a conversation with my dinner companions without shouting to be heard above the music.

Terry ordered the grilled salmon, while I went for the ribeye. In deference to my diet, I had the standard 12 ounce ribeye instead of the 18 ounce Outlaw, and only one side of French fries instead of the double that I always got before. The food was delicious, and the waitress took a picture of us together to commemorate our anniversary.

After dinner I did what any guy does when he wants to show a woman a good time. I took Terry to Walmart. We hadn’t been to one since before Thanksgiving and there were several things that she wanted to pick up. The store wasn’t very busy and we were in and out in no time at all. We made one last stop on the way home, at Publix to get a key lime pie. Yeah, I know I’m on a diet, but it’s not like I’m a fanatic about it. And we did deserve a nice way to top off our anniversary, right?

It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of The Gecko In The Corner, the second book in my John Lee Quarrels mystery series. 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.

Thought For The Day – Older people shouldn’t eat health food, they need all the preservatives they can get.

Our Love Story

 Posted by at 12:37 am  Nick's Blog
Jan 162019

Today is a very special day for myself and Miss Terry. It’s our 21st wedding anniversary, and we still feel (and often act) like newlyweds. This was not the first marriage for either of us, and believe me, it was not something that either one of us was looking for, or even expected to happen. In fact, when it did happen it took us both by surprise. But isn’t that the way it sometimes goes? We often find the best things in life when we least expect them.

We had known each other for years and I was always impressed with both her beauty and her intelligence, not to mention the fact that she was a very nice person. But the world is full of beautiful, intelligent people that are not very nice once you get to know them. Not with Terry, she truly is beautiful, inside and out.

Terry always wore a ring so I assumed she was married. I was in a bad marriage and when it ended I swore I was never going to make that mistake again. Famous last words. Soon after I became single we both realized that there was a chemistry between us and an attraction that was growing. Terry also told me that she had been single for fourteen years and the reason she wore the ring was to put off anybody who showed any interest, because she had her own marriage horror stories and she wasn’t making that mistake again!

On our first date, we went to the movies and then to a 24-hour restaurant where we sat and talked until daylight. Two weeks later, our second date was at our town’s Fall Festival. At the time, I was on the board of directors of the women’s shelter and the town council was supposed to help our fundraiser by taking turns in a dunking booth. It was about 60 degrees at 7500 feet elevation and they all suddenly decided that falling into the cold water wasn’t dignified and backed out. So I put on a pair of swimming trunks and climbed inside.

Being the publisher of a small town newspaper means you are going to make a lot of friends, and a lot of enemies. One of those friends ran the local radio station and was doing a live remote broadcast from the festival. He invited anybody who wanted to have some fun to come down and try to dunk me. And for the next three hours a long line of people were lined up throwing balls and dunking the fat guy. The price of three balls to throw kept going up and they still kept coming. The dunking booth was a canvas bag inside a wire frame, and me being so short, I had to climb the frame to get back onto the seat. By the time I was done, I was blue from the cold and had bloody toes from crawling up that darned bag frame! But we had earned $3,000 for the shelter, so it was well worth it. Terry said I looked so much like a little Smurf that she felt sorry for me, and took me home and kept me. Except for when she was in the hospital during her cancer treatment, we have never spent a night apart since then.

It wasn’t always easy because we both have strong independent personalities, and when we got together we were both in our mid-40s and pretty set in our ways. We had to learn to compromise, to communicate, and most importantly, to learn to trust again. But it was worth it in so many ways. We’re not only married, we truly are best friends and are never happier than just being together. The first thing we say when we open our eyes in the morning is “I love you,” and it’s the last thing we say to each other before we fall asleep at night. It’s been a wonderful 21 years, and I’m looking forward to many, many more together.

I’m a very fortunate man to be able to live this fantastic life that I have, to make a living doing something most people can only dream of, and to be able to share it with my best friend in the world. Happy anniversary, Terry. I love you and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Thought For The Day – A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, and always with the same person.