Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Blue Light Special

An audio version of this post can be found at:

   Cheryl set down her tea. "Ninety-nine cents?"
   I held a fork-full of hash brown potatoes in mid-air. "Yep ... I read in a blog that you re-energize sales of a book by offering it on Kindle for ninety-nine cents."
   "Who said that?"
   I paused to swallow the bite of food. "I can't remember ... but evidently, the current thinking is that if you are an unknown author, people are more likely to take a chance on your book if they can download it for ninety-nine cents."
   "Well, I should think so ... the books in the cut-out bin at Barnes and Noble are more than that." She took a bite of her egg.
   "I know ... it's amazing ... but, there is such an overwhelming number of books available on Kindle, that folks can be choosey and if they have to spend more than a buck, they are only likely to choose well-known authors."
   "I suppose I can understand that ... but, still, it seems like you really devalue Northern Cross by setting the price at less than dollar ... we used to buy forty-five rmp records for a dollar ... and that was in 1960."
   I held up my cup so the waitress patrolling with the coffee pot could fill it. "Amazing, isn't it?" I paused to let her pour. "Thank you," I said and continued with Cheryl. "But, it wasn't selling at two ninety-nine... so I figured that thirty-five percent of dollar is better than one hundred percent of nothing."
   Cheryl took a sip of her tea and ruminated for a few seconds. "Well, I can't argue with that logic ... but, still, it sure seems like they take advantage of indie authors."
   "Maybe ... but that's reality ... if you choose to go down that path, you have to be willing to accept whatever you run into ... and the volume of books available on Kindle is huge ... that's just the way it is."
   "Yes, but I don't like it." She took another bite of egg.
   "Me neither ... but let's see what happens ... maybe sales will pick up and we'll make it up in volume."
   "So, are you going to offer Headwind at that price, too?"
   "I haven't yet ... it is still too new ... I'm going to keep it in the two-ninety-nine bin."
   "Is it selling?"
   "A few here and there ... it's not exactly flying off the shelves, though."
   "Well, wouldn't you apply the same logic?"
   My face reddened. "Hard to deny ... but, I just can't bring myself to do it ... heck, it's a bargain at two-ninety-nine."
   Cheryl rolled her eyes. "That was my point."

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Who's Asking?

 An audio version of this post can be found at:

    As the garage door slowly closed, shutting out the west wind, we paused beside the rusting hulk that sixty years previously had been a sleek sports car.
   "Every time I walk past this thing, my feet start to go numb from the memory of riding in that pile of junk," said Uncle Billy.
   I starred at the mottled body of the once proud beast. "I have to admit, it was a tad uncomfortable."
   "Uncomfortable? I think Cherokees were more comfortable on the Trail of Tears."
   "Oh, come on, Uncle ... you're going to compare your ride across country in the Jag to what the Cherokees experienced?"
   Uncle Billy smiled slightly. "Okay, okay, maybe it is an exaggeration ... but it was damn cold."
   I nodded. "Well, that's one of the things we can correct when we restore it ... speaking of which, when are we going to start on it?"
   Billy took a step back. "You keep saying we ... this is your project."
   "Hey, we drove all the way to Minneapolis because Bernie willed a car to you ... a car you dreamed about since you two were in the army ... and you don't want to expend a little elbow grease to restore it?"
   "I'll admit I was excited to get the thing ... but once I saw it I figured it was a lost cause," said Billy.
   "I've seen cars in a lot worse shape restored to show-quality on TV all the time," I said.
   "So, why don't you send it to one of those guys?"
   "Come on, you know that's not possible ... besides, I thought it'd be a fun project to tackle together."
   "Well, I don't see you jumping on it ... when were you planning to start?"
   My face flushed. "Soon."
   "I hope it's not today ... I'd like to see the game."
   I nodded. "We will ... I just have to finish a couple of things on the computer and we can turn it on."
   "A couple of things?" Uncle Billy frowned. "I know what that can turn into."
   "No, it'll only take me a few minutes ... ten max," I said. "Hey, speaking of the game ... I thought you said you hadn't told Clara about our gathering at Reggie's last week."
   Billy looked puzzled. "Why do you bring that up?"
   "Because I saw Clara over the weekend and she told me she knew about it."
   "She did?"
   "Yeah ... she said you told her but that she had a meeting with Alex Heath and couldn't go."
   Billy rubbed his chin. "Well, I suppose that's possible."
   "But you told us at Reggie's that you didn't tell her about it."
   "I did?"
   "Yes ... as I recall it was something like '... she didn't ask and I didn't tell'."
   Now, Billy's face reddened. "I said that?"
  "Yes, you did."
  "Well, as I recall, she didn't ask."

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Wet Bunny

An audio version of this post can be found at:

   I watched Jason dig into his hamburger. "Looks good," I said.
   He nodded as he chewed, ketchup running down his chin.
  "So, did everyone enjoy the game yesterday?" Clara asked me.
   I watched her wipe Jason's mouth. He frowned. "Grandma ..."
   "You knew about that?" I asked.
   "The game? Of course," she answered.
   "No ... that there was a gathering at Reggie's?" I asked.
   "Yes ... William mentioned it to me."
   "He did?"
   Jason's eyes widened. "Did you see the homer that Prince hit, Mr. Hudson?"
   "I did, Jason ... it was something."
   Now Clara frowned. "Mr. Hudson and I are talking, Jason."
   Jason shrugged and took another bite of his hamburger.
   "Yes ... he called me ... but I had a meeting scheduled with Alex ... I'm going to do another book signing in his store and he wanted to take some pictures of me for a flyer he's distributing."
   "Wow ... that's great," I said.
   "Thanks ... I think you should talk to him about promoting your book in his store," she said.
   "I will ... but you said Uncle Billy told you about watching the game at Reggie's, eh?"
   I took a sip of my coffee.
   "Why? Shouldn't he have?" Clara asked.
   I set the cup down. "Oh no ... I was just curious."
   Clara looked puzzled.
   "I mean, I was just wondering why you didn't come."
   Clara's face relaxed. "Well I wish I could've. By the way, did Eb show you the cover for his new book?"
   "New book?" I asked
   "Yes, it's called Bunky Learns to Swim."
   "No he didn't ... I wonder why?"
   Clara's face reddened slightly. "Perhaps I shouldn't have mentioned it."
   I smiled to relieve her. "Oh no ... I'm sure he would have shown me ... but we were all absorbed in the game. When is it due out?"
   "I'm not sure," she said. "I think sometime this spring."
   Jason took a sip of his coke and poised over his hamburger.
   "Did you enjoy Bunky Takes a Nap?" I asked him.
   Jason looked a Clara to see if he should answer.
   "It's okay, Jason ... Mr. Hudson asked you a question."
   "That's kid's stuff," he said.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Hunger Game

 An audio version of this post can be found at:

 "... and that one is gone!" said the MLB announcer. "Prince Fielder just launched one over the berm behind the right-field fence."
   A cheer broke out in the bar.
   Hank gave Dottie a quick hug. "How about that?"
   Dottie smiled. "That was exciting."
   Uncle Billy was just in the process of taking a drink of his beer when Eb slapped on the back. "Waddya think?"
   Billy wiped foam off his chin. "I think it doesn't mean anything ... it's only an exhibition game."
   "Come on, Bill ... a homer is a homer ... and the one Fielder just hit was majestic."
   "When he does it with a real game on the line, I'll get excited," said Billy.
   "By the way, Eb, where is Becky?" I asked.
   "She's volunteering at the food bank today," answered Eb's mother, Mary.
   "Oh, really?" I said.
   Eb looked a little sheepish. "Yeah ... she volunteered at work ... she wanted me to go, too."
   "How come you didn't?" I asked.
   "I didn't want to miss the Tiger game," said Eb.
   Billy shook his head. "It's only a lousy spring training exhibition game."
   Eb shrugged his shoulders. "Hey, I haven't seen any baseball since ..."
   "Since they got swept in the World Series?" said Billy.
   "Yeah," said Eb.
   "Well, I think it's great that Becky volunteered to help," said Dottie.
   Hank nodded in agreement. "Yeah, we should all do that."
   "Why don't we?" said Mary.
   "What? Volunteer to help at the food bank?" I asked.
   "Yes," said Mary. "All of us as a group."
   Billy set down the beer he was drinking. "Hey, don't include me in this hippy-fest."
   "Come on, Uncle ... it'd be good for you to get out and do something for the community."
   "I'll bet Clara would join in," said Mary. "How come she's not here anyway?"
   Billy folded his arms and shrugged. "How would I know? I'm not her keeper."
   "Didn't you let her know we were going to be here?" asked Dottie.
   "She didn't ask ... and I didn't tell," said Billy.