Book updates

First the good news. I’ve edited and formatted new e-book editions of the first two Westerns in my Ames Archives series, “Brings The Lightning” and “Rocky Mountain Retribution”.  They’re awaiting publication by Amazon, following which I’ll immediately publish the third book in the series, “Gold On The Hoof”, which is ready to go. My fantasy novel, “Taghri’s Prize”, is edited and ready for formatting.  That’ll happen over the weekend, and I hope it’ll be available next week. The holdup at the moment is on Amazon’s side – and I don’t blame them for it in the least;  it’s just the legal facts

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A blast from my motorsport past

I’ve mentioned a few times that I used to do rallying in South Africa when I was (much) younger (and a lot less wise).  I drove a Ford Escort Mk. 2 most of the time, with a two-door body and a 1,600cc engine with a manual transmission (stick shift, for Americans).  It had a few components replaced with upgraded versions for sporting use, but basically it was pretty much the same vehicle you could buy off any Ford dealer’s lot.  It’s probably long since been scrapped, but I remember it with fondness. I was therefore very happy to come across this video

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The mane attraction

Here’s a lovely image (found on Gab yesterday) of a male lion with a truly magnificent (and unusually dark) mane. Lions are usually thought of as the only members of the cat family with a mane, but there must be a recessive gene or two in other cat populations as well.  Our farm cat, Ashbutt, has a lot of Maine Coon in his ancestry, and he unquestionably has a mane.  Being all black, it’s hard to see unless one gets close to him – otherwise, he just looks like a very long-haired cat – but his mane is undoubtedly the same shape as the

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Soldier Of Fortune, unplugged

While David Coverdale was lead vocalist of the rock band Deep Purple, he recorded several songs that have become indelibly associated with his voice.  One of them, perhaps the most iconic of all, is “Soldier Of Fortune” from the 1975 album “Stormbringer“.  You can listen to that original version here. After leaving Deep Purple, Coverdale founded the group Whitesnake, which is still active.  In 2015 the group recorded “The Purple Album“, featuring songs Coverdale had performed while with Deep Purple.  It included a very good rendition of “Soldier Of Fortune”, which has become my favorite version of the song.  (The entire album makes for very

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But . . . WHY???

It seems that a Chinese inventor has come up with a hair washing machine.  Looking at it in action, all I can think is that a conventional shower would be a whole lot less fuss and bother, and much more efficient! Also, the opportunities for mischief by naughty friends or family members are almost endless.  Think of tying the user’s victim’s shoelaces to the retaining device while he’s upside down, or dripping something unpleasant into his breathing tube while he’s inverted.  This has the potential to make washing one’s hair a survival experience! Peter

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Day 10 on the road: Mississippi River to Texas, and home again

Tuesday was the last day of our journey.  According to our vehicle’s odometer, we’ve covered about 3,300 miles in 10 days. We left Vicksburg by 8 a.m., and headed west on Interstate 20 across Louisiana.  The road was in good condition in country areas, but where it passed through Monroe and Shreveport, it was in very poor condition indeed, so much so that it almost made us seasick at one point!  I don’t know how Louisiana does its road maintenance – i.e. whether the cities have to maintain Interstate highways within their limits, or whether the state does it all

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Day 9 on the road: North Carolina to the Mississippi River

Miss D. and I left Brevard, NC on Monday morning, on our way home to Texas.  We made a brief stop at the Bear Tracks Travel Center, which we’d visited on Day 6 of our tour.  The owner (an older lady) had three large amethyst geodes for sale in her shop, which we’d noted on Friday.  They were all tall half-cylinders of various heights.  We were struck by their exceptionally reasonable prices.  We’re used to seeing good-quality, large-size geodes priced at thousands of dollars apiece in retail stores.  These were all listed in the hundreds of dollars, far below what we’d normally have expected (and

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Days 7 and 8 on the road: Brevard, NC and the Pisgah National Forest

Over the weekend, Miss D. and I indulged ourselves in doing touristy things, visiting some very lovely places, and relaxing and unwinding with “us time” – something that’s been hard to schedule at home, with all the demands on our time. On Saturday morning, after a leisurely and very tasty breakfast at our B&B, we walked the streets of Brevard for a few hours.  Our first stop was the local farmers market, which didn’t yield anything we really wanted.  From there we visited several art galleries, looking at what was on display.  I must admit, I was disappointed.  It seemed to me

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Day 6 on the road: bees, honey, good food and good company

Friday was a fun day, albeit a painful one for me.  My spinal injury in 2004 resulted in permanent nerve damage.  One of its effects is that, approximately every ten days to two weeks, on a variable schedule, I have a “bad pain day”, for want of a better term.  My injured nerves just throb and moan at me, and I have to increase my pain medication intake and restrict my physical activity until they decide to quieten down again – until the next time, anyway.  Friday turned out to be one such day, probably sparked by several days on

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Day 5 on the road: to North Carolina

Following a productive visit to Dayton, Miss D. and I hit the road on Thursday morning, and turned south towards North Carolina.  After a period of heavy traffic making our way through the Cincinnati metroplex and across the Kentucky border, we settled down to a steady pace on what was probably the most enjoyable day on the road of this trip so far.  The roads through Kentucky were generally pretty good, the traffic was bearable, and the weather was enjoyable. All went smoothly until we passed through Knoxville, TN.  Google Maps warned us of a couple of slowdowns ahead, one quite small

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