It was a dark and stormy day…

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Mornin’ all.

Welp, it finally happened. “Summer” weather found us.

I can’t complain. Last summer, we had to put the a/c in at the beginning of May. We just finally caved yesterday in the middle of our first heat wave and fired the old gal up. She’s cranking fairly well for a 12 year old cheapie from Walmart. We decided to give up the ghost when we stepped outside and it felt like we walked into a warm, moist sponge.

“Bethie, that’s gross.”

Yes. Yes it is.

Had some wicked storms roll through here yesterday. Boy howdy, I don’t remember the last time I saw the air turn green like that. And the rain! I mean, we needed some. Weeks of sitcom-perfect weather were starting to turn our lawn back to brown. I just didn’t expect Mother Nature to take catch up all at once.

We’ve got a little drainage ditch out back that bisects our yard. The kids optimistically refer to it as the “creek”…a fairly apt name in the spring, perhaps, but by this time of year it’s more like the “slightly orange-y cracked mud line through the reeds”. There’s a bridge over the top. I painted it white, but that was years ago, so now it’s got that distressed look. Oooh, tres chic. It runs next to an apple tree, so actually, it’s fairly pretty. Still, it’s no “creek”.

Until today.

By the time I went to bed last night, the water was a’ragin’ right over the top of the bridge. I was worried that it would be whisked away again and we’d have to go hunt it down. It’s happened before. It’s a heavy thing, very bulky. This isn’t one of those dainty little foot bridges. The former tenant, Halfass Don, slapped together a bunch of 4×4 pressure treated wood beams. Water is more powerful than wood, though, and no matter the bulk and girth, we’ve had to hunt that puppy down twice before and drag it back to its proper place.

This time, it stayed. I think the aforementioned apple tree that has now gotten a lot bigger since those young, carefree, bridge-wandering days kept it in place. The water is still flowing fierce, but no longer bubbling over the top. I think the threat of washout has passed.

The skies don’t look very good, though. And the sponge-like quality to the air has not eased. We’re not quite done with the wet and woolly weather. A bummer, too, because my car paint got here and I was going to bang out the rest of that wheel flair I built. Ah well. I suppose that’ll have to wait.

I got a short story collection up yesterday for download on Smashwords. I think I’m nailing down the cover art. It looks fairly professional, if I may toot my own horn for a minute. In fact, to the outside observer, it might look like I know what I’m doing. Boy, have I got THEM fooled!

I’ve got to market myself. Just the word makes me feel nervous. I’ve got to promote. And sell. And I have no clue at all how to do that. I’m the writer. I just write. But when you’re going the indie route, you’re not just the writer. You’re the whole shebang. I’m good at writing. I’m decent at cover art. I SUCK at promotion.

Of course, the other option is to submit to publishers and hope I get picked up, then jump through hoops. I don’t mind a little hoop-jumping, but the idea of touring or book signing or any of the many, many steps to becoming a rich and famous author terrifies me. I’m a hermit at heart. I do not like travel.

No, wait. That’s sugar-coating it. I abhor travel.

This is how life is for Bethie if there’s any kind of a trip coming up:

Starting about a week before the trip, I start to focus on all the details. I plan and replan what we need to take, what I need to pack…and then what I *should* take and pack “in case”…and then what I *may* need if any of the five hundred damn-near-impossible scenarios actually happens. I get a bad stomach and start pounding the bicarb and Tums. I can’t sleep at night because as soon as I close my eyes, I start picturing every step of the way, with every possible failure point.

I go over the directions until I’m certain even Google Maps gets sick of it. “Oh what the hell? You’re clicking on the street view for the whole damn trip AGAIN? You’re wasting hours of your life on this and…you know what? Forget it. What the hell do I know? I’m just an app.” I look at every route, but I also look at every “oh shit I took the wrong turn” route. The stomach rumbles louder, more Tums are munched.

If we’re visiting a person, I email and make sure of the time. Then I have someone else keep reading the email for me to make sure I read it right because I would be mortified if I got there too early or too late. *gurgle* Uh oh. *crunch**crunch*

If it’s a doctor’s appointment, I bring the appointment card or paper with me, which I take out of my pocket and re-check the entire trip. No matter who else knows, and how many times they have told me to take a chill pill already.

*evil noises of Hell emanating from the pit of my bowels* PULL OVER I NEED A BATHROOM NOW!!!

…*sigh*…

I used to travel. I used to get nervous about it, but it wasn’t as big of a deal as it has become. I can’t tell you the exact point where it turned from an aversion to an outright panic situation. It’s mellowed to a tolerable level, as long as I’m not going too far, or as long as I’m just visiting somewhere I’ve already been.

Maybe it’s the unknown that really gets me? I do so like to know everything. One might refer to me as a tad of a control freak.

So anyway, you can see my reluctance to submitting my books for publication. It’s not the idea of being rejected. It’s everything that comes with them saying “yes”.

I know! I’ll be a recluse! Like J.D. Salinger or Harper Lee!

…would that even work in this day and age?

Something tells me no. Almost everyone’s got a cellphone. We live in a digital world of tracking and recording and taping and tagging… What made Salinger and Lee successful in their reclusiveness was that there simply was no other way to track them down than through their editors. The editors played up the recluse aspect, and that drove a deep curiosity that lead to more book sales. I don’t think that can work today.

…and I don’t suppose I’m helping myself out on the road to reclusivity by blogging, am I?

I suppose it’s off to try and figuring out this marketing thing. What’s a good self promotional technique? Let’s see… I could get better at social media. That doesn’t seem natural for me, but I really am doing better than I was. Tweet? Should I Tweet? Yeah, probably. Hm.

Okay, this brainstorming thing is working. What else? I could follow the example set by modern “stars” and do a sex tape, I suppose. But I can assure you, NO ONE WANTS THAT. I’d get famous, all right. For all the wrong reasons. Adam Richman, the host of food eating competition shows, just lost a ton of weight, and got into it with people on Twitter or one of those other social sites because they objected to something he said. So he unleashed holy hell on them and got his new tv show suspended before it even aired. THAT’S the kind of firestorm me releasing a sex tape would bring about. I’d be the reason people got fired, because they just wouldn’t be able to hold in their horrified opinions. Sex tape route no. I just don’t want that on my conscience.

Oh! Maybe I need to have a slogan. “Read my books. They’re better than some of the others out there!”

Weak.

“Pick up my new novel today! It will change your life.”

…um…a little too far the other way.

“Buy this book and a portion of the proceeds will go towards feeding hungry children.”

Guilt! I love it! …’course, those hungry children are just my teenagers. But in all fairness, they are literally hungry all the time.

… …no?

Guess I’ll have to keep working on it. Feel free to offer some suggestions in the comments below!

Thus concludes the Morning Musing for Thursday, July 3, 2014. To all the US readers out there, have a very happy and SAFE Independence Day tomorrow! Seriously, keep it safe. Point fireworks away from your face, have a designated driver if you’re having some booze, and sleep on your buddy’s couch if you can’t find a DD. Don’t be the asshole that dies on a beautiful day from being stupid!

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