Writing a Book: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Writing our first book, The World in a Skillet, was a great experience. We met wonderful people and ate their delicious food. Now with our second book, Farm Fresh Tennessee, we are meeting even more people and our experiences with them are more participatory. All in all, it has been a fantastic experience.

If there is anything bad, it is the tremendous amount of time we have spent on the road away from our family, which of course includes our pets. So far, there hasn’t been anything ugly, but last weekend may have finally given me something.

The Good

Driving down Steep Rock Hill Road, we got to the intersection at Hardscrabble Lane (No, really, those are the real names.) and saw this in the road:


He got out of the way of our car, but after we passed, I looked in the rear view mirror and saw him just lie down on the lines in the middle of the road. Of course we turned around and went back. He had no tag or collar and he hadn’t been neutered, so we didn’t think he had a home. The absence of nearby houses made us pretty sure. No problem, a stop at the pet store for a collar, a leash, food, and bowls, and he had a home. Since Angela used cheese and crackers to lure an initially shy puppy, his name is Nabs. (Please tell me I’m not going to have to put a glossary on the blog.)

The Bad

Okay, this isn’t really bad, but I need something to help complete my triptych. Since I already complained about long drives, I might as well talk about mountain roads. Our best (worst?) experience has been a 1.5 lane gravel road, a hairpin turn, and an oncoming dump truck. Thank goodness the Prius is small.

On this trip, we encountered a sign that read “Switchbacks next 11 miles: Truckers consider turning around for an alternate route.” Three more “All hope abandon” signs later, and we hit the turns. And the fog. 11 miles later, we drove into the lovely, flat town of Shady Valley, Tennessee. A mile later, as we left Shady Valley, “Switchbacks next 11 miles: Truckers consider turning around for an alternate route.” I think the valley is shady because the sun is scared to come over those roads.

So if there was anything even close to bad (And there wasn’t. We laughed the whole way.), it would be this curve:


followed by this curve:


in this weather:


The Ugly

This is the ugly:


Yes, that’s my belly. And no, that’s not the ugly part. That little red bullseye is a characteristic sign of Lyme disease. According to the CDC and my doctor, I’m not going to die. I get a strong round of doxycycline — “Be careful taking this. It can eat a hole in your esophagus.” Oh, joy.

Ironically, Good led to Ugly. Poor Nabs was covered in ticks. We washed him in flea and tick shampoo as soon as we got home, but that still left plenty of time on the way home for me to get a dread disease. Just my luck. Oh well. If I go to my reward, at least Angela got a replacement for me out of the deal. Plus she gets all the royalties. Hey, put down those insurance forms…

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