Saturday, August 21, 2010


The cover is finally done! I can't believe it. The publisher has the manuscript with the final changes, so we are two to three weeks from having a real book in my hands to approve. After that it will be immediately available on the publisher's website and on about two weeks later.

Woo-hoo!!! It's almost done!

I've been working on the second one lately and having a blast. The actual writing is what I really love, especially when I'm in the process of creating characters. I set up a situation and see what they will do and say. It's so much fun!

We are currently in Clarksville, Indiana, attending the Kentucky State Fair World's Championship Horse Show. For non-Kentucky residents, Clarksville is just across the Ohio River from Louisville, about 8 miles from the fairgrounds. We have Mary set up at a KOA and the dogs are settled in for the week. This is our third year staying here in Mary and it is such a great change from staying at a hotel by the fairgrounds, kenneling the dogs, and eating out all week. The dogs are so familiar with many of the places that we go each year that they know what to expect and act accordingly. Breezy, being the Border Collie that she is, goes into funk mode right after she eats her dinner at 4:00 in the afternoon. She knows we are going to clean up and leave for the evening. Ransom, being the eternal optimist, doesn't hit funk mode until we are dressed and put our shoes on. Then he bats his big, sad, hazel eyes at us and it's enough to make you want to cry. Breezy gets as flat on the floor as a 45 pound dog can get. She looks like a Border Collie throw rug. I've always wondered what they do once we leave. My guess is that they jump up and throw each other high fives for successfully making us feel like the worst doggie parents on the planet.

Last evening we stepped outside of the coach into 90 degrees of saturated air. This summer has been the hottest that I've spent since I was trapped in Coalinga, California from May to August back in 1986 (long story). Coalinga is very close to the massive Harris Feedlot along Interstate 5, the one that you can smell for ten miles in any direction before you happen upon a sea of 180,000 poor, sweltering cattle, eating God knows what (you can't believe what they feed them) and awaiting slaughter. Coalinga isn't quite the end of the earth, but you can see it from there.

Okay, back to the fair.

The next challenge is to get into the gate at the fairgrounds. Any of you who have attended this show know what I'm talking about without my describing it. For those of you who don't, it's similar to negotiating an obstacle course, littered with Gestapo, who are there to keep you from where you know you need to go. You have to have all of the proper credentials to get in, or you pay cash. We pay in advance (and through the nose) for the car parking pass, which gets us into the exhibitor parking area by the barn, for the VIP suite and six seats that sit in front of it, for an arm band (its green this year) so that John can get down by the rail of the arena or into the arena to assist someone if they request it, and for a book of gate tickets. You can also use the stubs of the seat tickets as admission to the fair. The tickets come in big sheets, color coded for each day and evening. It never fails that there is mass confusion at the gate, for at least the first three days, due to hiring new (and untrained) gate attendants each year.

On the way to the fairgrounds I tore the little stubs off of two of the Sunday Evening tickets, ready to hand them to the gate attendant. John had AFFIXED the parking pass to the windshield. If you don't AFFIX it to the windshield the Gestapo will get you ... that is, if they recognize the parking pass at all. Last night they didn't. John, who by his calculations has been "putting up with this crap for nearly forty years", was out of patience before we got to the gate.

I think there might be something to the idea that if you expect the worst you are likely to get it.

So after we negotiated the traffic in the entrance (there was some poor soul in a beat up minivan, who apparently made a wrong turn and was parked sideways blocking three lanes so we waited in a snarl of traffic so she could get turned around and out of our path) we pull up to the gate (looks like an expressway toll gate) and this enthusiastic young lady hollers in the window, "HOW CAN I HELP YOU?"

I'm not sure if she was yelling because it was noisy outside or if she thought because we have gray hair we are deaf. I was tempted to holler back, "WE WANT TO GET IN!"

Instead I handed John the admission stubs and he handed them to her. "OH," she says. "JUST A MINUTE," and she disappears into the booth. She comes back and says, "I NEED TO SEE THE REST OF THE TICKET."

I'm thinking, "Since when?" They have never needed to see the REST of the ticket. I looked at John and I can see an explosion brewing so instead of arguing with her I dig in my purse for the top half of the tickets. In the mean time she looks at John and says, "THAT'LL BE EIGHT DOLLARS."

"For WHAT?" he asks with an edge to his voice that tells me that there is going to be a showdown at Gate 1 on the first night of the fair.

"FOR PARKING," she yells into the car. He says, "No, you don't get EIGHT DOLLARS," and points to the yellow parking sticker that is AFFIXED to the window.

"OH. JUST A MINUTE," she says and disappears back into the booth. In the mean time I have the top half of the seat tickets in my hand and I'm waving them at her. I glance over at John and I see him hit the end of his fuse. He yells out the window at another woman who looks like she is supervising the toll booth attendants, "YOU NEED TO GET THESE PEOPLE UP TO SPEED!" He's stabbing at the yellow sticker on the window. "I DON'T PAY FOR PARKING HERE!" He stabs at it again. Heat waves are lofting through the car while we sit there sorting this out. He's grumbling and grousing and I'm thinking that it's going to be a long damn week.

Next comes the flurry of excuses as to why no one recognizes the parking pass. I'm still waving the ticket stubs at the woman and she finally says, "I DON'T NEED TO SEE THOSE." I stuff them back in my purse, she hands us admission tickets (this is a tree-killing nightmare) and we finally move forward. They have this weird and totally inefficient set up, where you do all of the Gestapo crap at the gate, and then you drive ten feet and stop again. There you encounter the fair equivalent of the neighborhood welcome wagon, people suffering borderline heat stroke, who are there to take the admission tickets that you picked up ten feet back, hand you a booklet (more dead trees) that tells you what is going on at the fair (we don't care) and wish you a happy fair experience. It's been going on since my mother and I first came to the fair in 1995, and I'm sure long before that.

The gate that we normally go through requires that we drive almost all the way around a circular one-way road until we get to the barn parking entrance. There is Gestapo stationed at every entrance, and of course, you have to have the proper credentials to get into each entrance. There is parking inside of the circle, and outside of the circle. We park inside. There are crossings for the people who park outside. Some people use the crosswalks, most people don't. At each crossing there are two or three Gestapo crossing guards, big scary looking people who stare you down while they wave STOP signs at you. I sense that you don't want to mess with these people, so at each crossing I get a little edgy about my husband taking one on, because he is so out of patience with this whole process after "putting up with this crap for nearly forty years." You have to drive slowly and watch for people with baby carriages because they can come out of nowhere and end up under your car (a reoccurring nightmare that I have when we are here for the week). The ones without baby carriages and no children are fair game (no pun intended). I figure it they are stupid enough to step out in front of a moving vehicle they they have paid their money and are willing to take their chances with a man who is at the end of his fuse with the Kentucky State Fair.

Once we get to the horse barn entrance there is usually a little flurry of confusion about letting us into the parking lot. We do this seven nights in a row and on Saturday night they always have a huge concert with some big name entertainer so the traffic is murder. I have faith that the gate attendants will sharpen up as the week wears on. I hope so anyway or we will have a Waterloo with John and who ever gets in his way.

After the fair is over we are going to be traveling in Mary again. We have some fun stops planned so I'll take a lot of photos and upload to Facebook and keep up with this blog. I'll also be working on the other blog at It is much more complicated than this one to use, but if I ever figure it out it will probably be a better business tool, and give me more creative flexibility. I'm deep into Wordpress For Dummies at the moment.

Until next time...

Good luck to Phicicle and Tre Lee on Thursday night!

And congratulations to Paranormal and Tre Lee Sunday night!