I’m visiting my BFF’s and critique partner’s blog today. She’s graciously sharing her space to help me promote my newest cozy mystery, THE STEAKS ARE HIGH. Mary Lou and I have been in the same writers’ group for more years than we want to remember. We trade manuscripts. And I love her writing, so I hope you click on her books and see what she’s done. I love them all, but she writes Regency romances that are particular favorites of mine. On her blog, I’m talking about food in culinary mysteries, because Mary Lou and I both love to cook. I hope you check it out:
I’ve resisted writing a newsletter for a long time. I started one once but then didn’t think I had much more to say than I already share on my blog. So I thought of my blog as my newsletter. But writing advice is still advising writers to send out newsletters. AND to write blogs.
Do any of you write newsletters? Or receive them? Do you like them more than blogs? What do you look forward to in them that’s NOT in a blog? What makes them special? And how often do you receive them?
I admit. I’ve never signed up for a newsletter, and I don’t send them, so maybe I’m missing out. Am I?
I loaded THE STEAKS ARE HIGH on Amazon today and expected to wait for 72 hours for it go live. Didn’t have to. It’s live now!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my new Karnie Cleaver book! It has made me happy every day as I wrote it, and that never happens to me. Thank you to my critique partners, M. L. Rigdon/Julia Donner and my daughter Holly Post. I’m so happy with this book!
I’m deep into rewrites for The Steaks Are High. I got lucky and my pages are pretty free of red ink from my critique partners, but I’m taking a little more time than usual going through the manuscript. There are a few issues that I want to finesse. Mary Lou really enjoyed some of the scenes between Karnie and Matt’s kids. My daughter Holly said they slowed down her reading a bit. Opposite reactions, which happens sometimes. But I want to find a happy medium with them if I can. And Holly wanted more scenes with Detective Carmichael, so I need to find the right places to bring him into the story. Holly also thought two of my characters were too similar, so I need to make them distinct from one another.
None of these changes are big. A tweak here and there. But I want to put them in the perfect spots and do it right.
I’m one of those people who do rewrites while I work on a manuscript. I know myself. I take more time if I write on one day and then do rewrites on those pages the next. I smooth out sentences and add more description as I go along. It’s less intimidating for me than slapping words on the page until I finish the entire manuscript and then have to go back to polish EVERYTHING. Rewriting the next day makes me noodle each scene and come up with more ideas before adding new pages to the story. But there’s always something I miss, that slipped past me. That’s why I value my critique partners so much.
As usual, M.L. wrote “Go to search and see how many times you used the words ‘shrug’ and ‘frown.’ And add more smells to your story.” I repeat the same sins over and over again, even when I’m trying not to. I read the Story Empire post about using tags for dialogue, and I make an effort to do that. But, when my brain’s mush and I’m tired, I use the same, old tags over and over again. Shame on me. So, I look for them in rewrites.
I have a character who changes a lot in this book, and I want to pay attention to that, too. Did I make Porter change too much, too fast? Did I give enough of a reason to make the change real? So, I’m checking his scenes more than some others.
Anyway, I’m hoping to have the rewrites finished by the end of this week. If I’m lucky. And then I can publish the book. And no, life got busy, and I still don’t know exactly what I’m going to do to market it. I’m behind. Again. But things are starting to slow down a bit and be more normal. So, for the NEXT book, I’ll have more time to get my ducks in a row. But for now, I just need to finish this manuscript and get something new out for readers to see if they still remember me.
I was hoping to get Muddy River One promoted on BookBub. BookBub has taken my Jazzi and Ansel mysteries with wonderful results, but my then publisher–Kensington–put the books up. Publishers are now buying blocks of promotion on the site, because it reaches so many readers. Because of that, when a self-published author wants to promote there, it’s harder to get accepted. To be honest, though, my mysteries had a lot of reviews, which is a plus when you try to promote with BookBub. BookBub promoted my first urban fantasy novel, FALLEN ANGELS, when I self-published it. And I was thrilled. But I was new to the game, and even though it brought a lot of new readers to my book, I didn’t have any more books in the series, and that was a mistake. I didn’t realize that it was smarter to market a series of books instead of only one. You live and learn.
Muddy River has eight titles in the series. The strategy is to make the first book free to hopefully attract readers to the rest of the novels and novellas. Unfortunately for me, Black Magic Can Backfire had too few reviews and possibly not a strong enough cover, so I got turned down. Competition is FIERCE to win a spot on BookBub. My friend, M.L. Rigdon/Julia Donner (self-published) has won spots over and over again, and she always sells a lot of books when they take her. They seem to like my mysteries, not my fantasy. So I struck out.
I decided to try my luck with the Fussy Librarian and booked a spot on their newsletter for July 19th. I’ve done pretty well with the Fussy Librarian with my mysteries. I’ll see what happens with Muddy River. I’m trying to market it as a paranormal romance instead of a fantasy. Fantasies can range from epic quests to huge trilogies…or more, but when I thought about it, Black Magic Can Backfire is a smaller scope, more about Hester Wand, a witch who leads the area’s strongest coven, teaming up with Raven Black, the area’s supernatural enforcer, and how they become attracted to each other as they try to find who killed all thirteen girls who started a new coven in Muddy River. Their romance is just as much a part of the story as trying to solve the mystery. Raven has worked for Muddy River for a long time but has tried to keep his distance from its residents so that he’s impartial when he has to judge them. Once he meets Hester, who teaches young witches at her school for magic, he realizes there are supernaturals who’d work with him if he let them. Hester helps him open himself up and find true friends, as well as love, in Muddy River.
How you market your story is important. EVERYTHING about marketing is important. You’re trying to find the right niche to attract readers who are looking for what you write. And that’s not as easy as it might sound. Timing is important, too. I’ve waited too long to come out with a new book, and my numbers show it. They’re dropping, dropping, dropping. So next week, I’m polishing my next mystery, The Steaks Are High, to publish it. And then….it’s time to write a new book, faster this time.
Anyway, I’m making Black Magic Can Backfire free from July 18-22, and it will go out with the Fussy Librarian on July 19. We’ll see what happens.
Good luck with your writing! And happy July!
A long, long time ago, before dinosaurs roamed the earth…. Okay, that’s exaggerating, but it feels that way….an editor asked me to write an urban fantasy for her. So I did, and she tried to buy it, but the sales team had just worked hard to push another novel with Tarot cards, so they turned her down. But I fell in love with writing fantasy and wrote quite a few of them for a while. Most of them are under my name Judith Post, but once Kensington took the romances I wrote…for a while…I started using the pen name Judi Lynn. So, I wrote the Muddy River series under Judi Lynn. And I self-published them because editors told me that the urban fantasy market was glutted and I didn’t have a prayer of finding a publisher for them.
I wrote quite a few Muddy Rivers. They were my “fun” writing to balance out the mysteries I sold. And the urban fantasy market IS glutted, so they never made a big splash. But one reader, who bought my mysteries, too, mentioned that she really enjoyed BLACK MAGIC CAN BACKFIRE, and she’d have given it 5 stars except that it had so many typos and mistakes, she could only give it 4. And I know this sounds silly, but I hated the idea of my book having that many errors, so once I finished writing my latest mystery, I went back and went through the entire book to polish it…again. And I did find mistakes, but not as many as I expected. I mean, I find mistakes in almost every book I read these days, from publishers or self-published.
Anyway, I still like that book. So, after working on it again, I’m going to try to market it again, too. I’m putting together a plan to pay for promo for it. So don’t go looking for it now to buy, because eventually, I’m going to make it free. I’m waiting to see what’s available. But I have to say, after abandoning the series and moving to new ones, it was nice to find I still like the story premise and characters. Especially gratifying for me, since I tend to grow more and more critical of my writing when I reread it. Sometimes, no matter how many other people like a book, I can’t even stomach it enough to finish reading it to the end. (I’m not sure what that says about me, and I don’t want to know).
Now that I’ve satisfied myself about Hester and Raven, though, it’s on to working on plot points for the next Jazzi and Ansel. I really hate pounding out plot points, but I think it makes for better books…for me. I need to know where I’m going to bring scenes to life. So, it’s fanny in chair and fingers on the keys. With lots of stalling for snacks and phone calls and whatever else I can think of., because my brain gets tired, and I find excuses to stop working. I won’t get enough plot points finished before Thursday, when I have to abandon writing until after the 4th, but I’ll have a start. And hopefully, that will get my little grey cells perking, and I’ll come up with more ideas…eventually.
For all of you, hope you have a wonderful July and a great holiday. And happy writing!
I’m waiting on feedback from my critique partners, so decided to write a quick short story for you. I have fun with Noira and Speed. I hope you enjoy them, too.
A Debt Paid
(a Noira and Speed mystery)
Noira tried not to wake Speed while taking a shower and brushing her teeth. She tiptoed out of the bathroom and into the closet. Her guy had worked overtime, manning the EMS all weekend, and he was dragging. He was off today, and she was tempted to use vacation time to be with him, but she had to get to the courthouse to work with Judge Herschel. The judge had a big trial coming up, and Noira had to set court dates and organize crime photos.
She went into stealth mode getting dressed and leaving the room, being careful not to clunk her cane on anything. Stupid leg. It didn’t work right since the accident.
Looking in the hallway mirror, she pulled her unruly chestnut hair into a ponytail and slapped on mascara and blush—good enough for a Monday—then headed to the apartment’s tiny kitchen. Not that size mattered, at least, not in this instance. Noira didn’t cook. All she needed was a fridge and a microwave. Empty cartons filled the overflowing wastebasket. She’d picked up all of them, and Speed would take them to the trash.
She was pouring coffee into her to-go cup when she glanced out the kitchen window and saw a guy carrying their neighbor’s TV to his pickup. What the heck? She fought to remember who lived there. Erik…something. That man wasn’t Erik, and Erik didn’t appear to be home. Was he getting robbed?
She thumped out the back door and headed toward him. “Hey! What are you doing?”
He lowered the TV onto the hood of his truck and turned to her. Not much taller than she was with a stringy build, he started to answer, but after one glance at her cane, gave a dismissive shrug. “Butt out, lady. It’s none of your business.”
It had happened to her before. When people pigeon-holed her as an invalid, they didn’t take her as seriously. A foolish mistake. She held up her cellphone. “Put the TV back or I’m calling the cops.”
He made a grab for her phone, but she raised her cane and jabbed him in the stomach. Lips curled down, he started toward her. She gripped her cane, ready to swing it.
“Keep your distance!” Speed ran to stand beside her, jeans yanked on but barefoot and shirtless. An impressive sight with his hard abs and broad shoulders.
The guy spread his arms. “Hey, she’s the one hassling me. I just came to grab a few things, and she’s threatening to call the cops on me.”
“Where’s Erik?” Speed glanced to the apartment’s open door. “One word from him, and we’ll be on our way.”
“That’s the thing,” the guy said. “Erik’s dead. I’m just trying to get what he owed me before the cops lock down his apartment.”
Speed glanced in the truck bed. “How big was his debt?”
“A hundred bucks.”
“You’ve got a lot more than that you’re hauling away.”
The man’s jaw set. “So what? He’s dead. It’s not like he needs any of this anymore.”
“He’s dead?” Noira only knew him in passing but was curious. He wasn’t much older than they were. “I waved to him yesterday. What happened?”
“The dumbass stumbled into a guy at the bar last night. When the guy pushed him away, he fell and hit his head on a table, going down. Didn’t get back up.”
Speed raised dark eyebrows, looking doubtful. “What are the odds of that?”
“Don’t know. Don’t care. All I want is to collect what he owed me.”
“You’ve got more than enough already. Put the TV back, Fingers.”
Noira shook her head. Speed and his fellow EMTs used nicknames for each other. It had become a habit with them.
“Fingers?” When the guy started to argue, Speed reached for his cellphone. “Are you going to try to take mine, too?”
The look on the guy’s face said he was considering it, then he shook his head. “Nah, your girlfriend will call for backup when I take you down.”
Fat chance. Speed lifted patients in and out of vehicles for a living. He didn’t just look strong. He was strong. She and Speed stood and watched while Fingers returned the TV. As he stalked toward his truck, Speed called, “I don’t work today. I’m keeping an eye on Erik’s place till the cops get here.”
Looking none too happy, Erik’s “friend” slid behind the steering wheel and drove away.
Walking back to their apartment, Speed groused at her. “What were you thinking going out there alone? That man would have knocked you on the ground and kicked you while you were down to steal a TV. Why didn’t you wake me up?”
“You needed your sleep.”
“I could have gone back to bed after things got settled. You could have been hurt. Don’t do that again.”
She frowned at him, surprised, then gave a sideways smile. “It’s sweet that you worry about me.”
“I don’t need any more worries,” he grumbled. “You’re not a martial arts expert. Don’t push your luck.”
“I have my trusty cane.”
He grabbed her shoulders and turned her to look at him. “I know you don’t like being told what to do, but if someone kicked your cane out from under you, you’d go down hard. Either that, or you’d have to hop on one foot to get help. That man would have left you in the dirt and driven away with his TV set.”
She sighed. For once, he might be right. “Okay, I get it. I’ll be smarter next time.”
“Good.” He walked her to her car and gave her a quick kiss. “Have a good day at work. I’m going back to bed. Bring home something good for supper.”
“But I thought you were going to watch over Erik’s apartment.”
He shook his head. “So gullible. Let’s hope Fingers is worried I might.”
At work, over lunch break, she told her friends about what had happened.
Kitty’s green eyes grew wide with wonder. “And Speed rushed out to rescue you? With no shirt on?”
“Don’t drool,” Noira warned. Kitty was only twenty-two and had a crush on him. Not that Noira blamed her. Her man was easy on the eyes and fun to hang out with. Kitty didn’t drink enough or cuss enough to interest him, though.
Natalie, older than both of them with dark coloring and a tongue that dripped acid, smirked. “I wish Fingers would have gone at it with Speed, then we could see his picture in the paper from his hospital bed. Great nickname for him, by the way.”
Laughing on their way back to their offices, Noira put the matter behind her. On her way home from work, she stopped to grab barbecue from Shigs and Pits, one of Speed’s favorites. No pizza for a knight in shining armor, wearing low-riding jeans and nothing else.
He was in a good mood when they sat down to eat. “I’ve worked with one of the cops who came to check Erik’s apartment and told him about this morning’s incident. When I described Fingers to him, he said it sounded like the friend Erik went to the bar with last night.”
Noira sniffed. “Some friend.”
“Yeah, I guess he stayed to answer questions about what happened and then split. The man who pushed Erik off him was more upset than he was.”
“What happens now?” Noira took a sip of wine to wash down her pulled pork. “Does Erik have family close by? Will someone empty out his apartment?”
“I guess his family’s scattered all over the place, and no one’s close enough that they want to bother with it. A cousin asked if he left him any money in a will, and when the answer was no, he lost interest.”
“Sad. What about his parents? No brothers or sisters?”
“No one who wants to come. His dad asked if he had enough money to be buried. When they told him he had life insurance to cover it, the dad said ‘good enough, then I don’t have to send anything.’”
Downright cold. But then, it wasn’t fair to judge. Who knew what history the family had? It looked like Erik would be stuck in the ground, and that was that.
She and Speed decided to watch a movie to relax. Noira poured another glass of wine and Speed got another beer. They were watching the old Batman and Robyn when a light flashed around their darkened living room. Speed got up to see what it was.
“You’re not going to believe this, but Fingers is back with a flashlight, trying to break into Erik’s apartment.”
“He’d risk going to jail over a TV?” Noira paused the movie and pushed to her feet to see for herself. Sure enough, Fingers was trying to jimmy Erik’s door open, using a credit card and a pocket knife. “What an idiot.”
When he couldn’t get in, they watched his light bob as he made his way to the back of the apartment, thinking he’d have more luck with the sliding doors. He didn’t, but they heard the tinkle of breaking glass. Then the light moved around inside the building.
“That’s it. I’m calling him in.” Speed punched 911 on his phone.
A short time later, a cruiser turned off its lights and quietly parked a few doors down from Erik’s apartment. They watched the cops cautiously advance to the back, pull their guns, and call, “Freeze.” Within minutes, they watched them lead Fingers to the back of their squad car, then drive away.
Speed shook his head. “If Fingers had a brain, he’d have grabbed the TV and gotten out of there. Instead, his flashlight beam bounced all over in the back of the apartment, the bedrooms and bathroom. He must have been looking for something.”
“I doubt if Erik had anything worth the bother.” She went back to the sofa to finish watching the movie.
Speed came to stretch his legs on his corner of the sectional. “We’re having a good night. Double the entertainment. Wish you didn’t have to work tomorrow. We’d stay up late and party.”
“No such luck.” She raised her legs, too, so that their feet met. She wiggled her toes against his. “A paralegal’s work is never done.”
He turned off the TV. “Then we’d better hit the big finale before you’re too tired. Poison Ivy’s tempting, but I’m not ready to go green. I’d rather enjoy home comforts.”
He pulled her to her feet and they headed to the bedroom.
She was busy at work the next day when Hunter strolled to her desk and dropped a folder on it. The beefy detective nodded at it. “Your dead neighbor didn’t die hitting his head on a table. He was a goner before his face met the floor. Heart attack. The thing is, we talked to his doctor, and his ticker was just fine. Made him suspicious.”
She told him about Fingers breaking into Erik’s apartment last night. “And he wasn’t there just to grab the TV. Speed thinks there’s more to it than that.”
“Interesting. Think I’ll stop by where Erik worked and chat up some of his co-workers. Thanks for the tip, Crip.”
His new nickname for her since she limped. She wasn’t complaining, though. After the car accident, she was glad she still had a leg that sort of worked. That night, when she went home, she found Speed at the grill, babysitting two steaks. The only time she cooked was when Speed worked his grill magic. And then, it was nothing to brag about. She opened a bag of salad and put a container of Ranch dressing on the table. Then she nuked a bag of frozen corn and added butter and salt. When Speed carried his steaks to the table, his eyes lit up.
“We’re feasting tonight.”
She loved the man. It took so little to make him happy. “You know that Kitty worships you, and she’s a great cook.”
He patted his firm abs. “I love food. I’d eat too much and get fat. Better to have a drinking buddy who loves pizza as much as I do.” When she laughed at him, he arched a brow. “Do you realize how pretty you are, and that there are men who wear suits and make lots of money who’d be happy to keep you in style?”
She grimaced. “You ruined it right there. Suits. What would I do with a man in a suit? He’d tell me I drink too much wine instead of kissing me and putting me to bed.”
“I only do that when you drink too much red. You get mouthy when you down wines that are too dry.”
“See? You love me as is. Who can ask for more?”
With a shrug, Speed raised his beer in a toast. “I guess we’re meant for each other, then.”
She cut into her steak—perfectly medium rare. “You have too many talents for me to ever leave you.”
His chocolate-brown eyes sparkled with humor. “And you’re too interesting for me to settle for less.”
They’d finished eating and were sitting on the back patio, enjoying the evening, when Hunter walked around the building to join them.
“Care to search Erik’s apartment with me?”
Speed blinked. “What are we looking for?”
“Seems every time Erik had too much to drink, he bragged about having a key to a lock box with information in it that could make him rich.”
Noira snorted. “Then why did he have to borrow a hundred dollars from Fingers? And why did he live in a two-bedroom apartment across from us?”
“Because one of the guys he worked with said he was too chicken to actually blackmail whoever it was he had the dirt on. Either that, or he wasn’t desperate enough.”
“That’s what Fingers was looking for? The key?” Speed was on his feet, ready to help look for it.
She sighed. It was a beautiful night. She still had a half glass of wine to finish, and her lawn chair was comfortable. She didn’t want to move.
“Come on!” Speed said. “Let’s go. Let’s find the thing!”
Oh, rats! She pushed to her feet, grabbed her cane, and grumbled. She didn’t really know Eric, so this whole thing could be a joke. But Fingers had believed him. And he’d died suddenly from a bad heart he’d never had a problem with. Grumbling more, she followed the two men to Erik’s apartment.
Hunter let them in. “Where would you hide a key?” he asked.
The men opened drawers and began searching. She went to the key ring lying in a bowl by the back door. She held it up and pointed to a smaller key than the rest. “What do you think?”
Hunter snarled an unkind remark. “Who’d just put something like that on his key ring for anyone to see?”
“Hey, I always forget where I hide things,” Noira told him. “I need to keep things simple.”
Speed studied it. “Okay, so we have the key. Maybe. What now? What does it unlock?”
Noira turned to Hunter. “What bank did Erik use?”
Hunter looked in his notebook and made a call. “He has a lock box with them. Want to ride with me?”
Both men were surprised when they unlocked the box and found incriminating photos and papers for a major player in town. It made her like Erik more. He was like her. Forgetful. And he couldn’t make himself blackmail someone when he could have. He must have had too much to drink and shared his secret with someone who didn’t have the qualms he did. Someone like Fingers, who was with him when he died.
“Have you gotten any info from the medical examiner yet?” she asked Hunter.
Her friend pressed his lips in a tight line. “It looks like someone slipped eye drops in his drink. Maybe a whole bottle of them.”
“And his drink didn’t taste funny?”
Hunter grunted. “He probably couldn’t even tell, he was so drunk.”
“And he was at the bar with Fingers?”
“Bright girl!” Hunter gave her a fist bump. “You’re not bad, Crip. You’d make a good detective.”
She wrinkled her nose in disgust. “You enjoy what you do. I enjoy sitting at my desk, scheduling and organizing.”
“What are you going to do with the stuff from the lock box?” Speed asked. “That could put someone behind bars.”
Hunter shrugged. “Not my case. I’ll give it to my superior and he can decide. The guy’s just going to lawyer up anyway, and it will be a miracle if he’s convicted.”
“But the trial would ruin his reputation.” Speed glanced at the top photo and winced. The woman in bed with him wasn’t his wife, a baggie of coke on the nightstand clearly visible.
“I’d say he deserves that.” Hunter collected his evidence and then drove them home.
Back in their apartment, Speed bent to give Noira a kiss. “Good work, Holmes. You helped solved Erik’s murder.”
“Not me. We’re a team. All I was worried about was Erik’s TV.”
He smiled and wrapped her in a hug. “But it’s never that simple with you, is it? There’s always more, and that’s what makes you interesting.”
Whatever made him happy worked for her. She started to the kitchen. She still had half a glass of wine to finish.
For any writers out there, Jan Sikes’ Story Empire posts on marketing have been wonderful. She’s listed links for all of them, so I thought I’d share if you’re ready to think about marketing your work.
Hello, SE’ers. It’s Jan again with another marketing tool to share with you.
I’m sure you’ve all participated in Rafflecopters, but have you ever created one?
First, maybe I should explain what a Rafflecopter is, just in case you don’t know.
It is a contest and a super effective way to gain new followers, gather new email addresses for your newsletter, and increase your readership. All you have to do is be willing to give something away.
When I decided to experiment with a Rafflecopter, my goal was to increase my BookBub and Goodreads following, blog subscribers, ask readers to add Jagged Feathers to their reading list, visit my Facebook Author page, follow me on Twitter, and sign up for my newsletter.
I chose to give away two $10 Amazon gift cards. You can offer free books or a…
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I finally wrote the last chapter of the first draft of my second Karnie Cleaver mystery. Whew! A mouthful. Now, I can send it to my critique partners and wait to see how much work it still needs. But for now, it’s DONE! Happy dance! Sing praises to the heavens. Drink a glass of wine!
Tomorrow, not today, I’ll start trying to think of ways to promote it. I’ve slacked off on that for my last two books. I was buried in family stuff and couldn’t get the motivation. But this time, I’d like to give the poor book a little bit of a push. I hope.
The Story Empire blog did a great series by Jan Sikes on marketing, and it reminded me of some of the things I’ve done in the past. Here’s a link to one of her posts: https://storyempirecom.wordpress.com/2022/05/04/mktg-14-book-blog-tours/.
Anyway, Karnie’s story is finished, and now I can start working on plot points for another Jazzi and Ansel novel. If I can keep to my plan, (which doesn’t always happen), I’d like to write a Jazzi mystery, then a Nick and Laurel, then a Jazzi, then a Karnie, then a Jazzi, and another Nick and Laurel, and on and on. But things don’t always go according to plan.
This Karnie got a little more dramatic than I’d intended, but plot points don’t always clue me into the TONE of a book, just the events. I know WHAT will happen but not always how the characters will react to the events. Sounds odd, doesn’t it? But it’s true. Even though I put my characters through their paces, they do what they want about it. And they often surprise me. That’s part of the fun of writing.
Hopefully, soon, I can polish the book and publish it. And maybe even market it. Wish me luck!
Do you have a preference? Or do they all suck?
Happy summer solstice! And happy writing!
Lately, I was on a roll. I was helping HH work on putting down a new bathroom floor AND getting a couple of hours writing time each day. I was a dynamo of energy. On track. Close to finishing my WIP. And then, at ten-thirty Tuesday night, a Durango wind and rain roared through Waynedale and toppled trees and knocked out electricity. It left a path of destruction in its 45-minute wake, then the temperature soared to 95 degrees.
When the sun came up, almost every road in and out of the area was blocked with trees and limbs. Residents emerged from their houses and did their best to pull limbs to the side, but big trucks and gear were needed for the trees. The city called in crews from out of town, and the poor tree and electric men arrived in a caravan of trucks. They worked for hours on end in the sweltering heat. And I learned that I was never cut out for life without electricity. I love turning on lights with the flick of a switch instead of relying on flashlights and lanterns. And I love my air conditioning. We melted. Our phones eventually died, and we couldn’t recharge them. There was no hot water for showers. Luckily, I have a gas stove, so I could “light” our burners and cook, but I dripped sweat with the added heat when I stirred whatever was on a burner.
And no internet. No writing…when I was SO close to finishing the last chapters. We slept in the basement because it was cooler than the rest of the house, and we sat down there to read with flashlights in the evenings. Our young neighbor teased that it was a lot like camping. I don’t like camping. When the heat got too much for us in late afternoons, we went shopping to enjoy air conditioning for a couple of hours.
Our power finally came back on after supper last night. The first thing we did was take long showers. Then we had to throw away EVERYTHING that was in the refrigerator. It felt like burning money. It hurt. All of the meat in the freezer survived, though. A blessing, because I’d recently stocked it, which helped. All of the frozen solid pork loins and roasts kept it cooler for longer. The tilapia thawed the first hot night, so I cooked it. The chicken breasts thawed the next night, so I cooked those, too, and we shared them with our young neighbor.
Anyway, I hope we never experience no electricity again, but it reminds me how much I admire the many, many people who labor through heat waves and storms and blizzards. They’re heroes.