And while we wait…..

Hi, All. Welcome back.

Here’s hoping that everyone is handling this Covid 19 pandemic with optimism. It’s probably the worst nightmare any of us have had to endure, and may it be the last. In the meantime, keep your spirits high, your six foot safe zone and your toilet paper under lock and key. Like every other plague to befall us, we’re a stout and stalwart people. We’ll come out this a little more tolerant, a little more appreciative of the things we once took for granted and, hopefully, more caring of our fellow man.

I, thankfully, am on the mend from yet another in a never ending array of beatings my wife has inflicted upon me. She doesn’t handle quarantines well. I know I’ll never make her coffee too strong again. I tease her unmercifully, but she’s probably the only woman alive who would tolerate me.

In truth, I’d like to offer Kudos of the highest and most respectful nature to my nurse wife and all the other nurses, doctors, hospital staff, EMS and everyone else out there dealing with this nightmare on the front lines. These wonderful people truly are heroes and they deserve our utmost respect and praise.

Well, I’m still waiting, somewhat patiently, for the editing and proof reading to be finished for The Island of His Dreams. I promise it’ll be worth the wait. It’s like being at the eight and a half month mark during pregnancy where your wife is getting really cranky and anxious, her ankles are swollen to the point of bursting and you couldn’t say anything right if you were reading romantic sonnets. I can’t wait for this baby to be born.

I haven’t been completely slacking during our quarantine. I’ve kept the keys on my laptop smoking. I have the sequel to The Island of his Dreams well underway, and I just had a long, short story published on Literotica. You can find it here: https://www.literotica.com/s/a-sea-of-heartache

If you have a chance to read it, please leave any comments, good or bad, either here or on the Literotica page and let me know your thoughts..

Well, back to that strange and twisted world that is my mind. Keep your heads held high, People. The light at the end of the tunnel is finally visible. We may never be the same after this nightmare is over, but the world will turn again and some semblance of normalcy will return.

Until next time, I wish you peace, love and happiness.

Brian

 

Sometimes you just have to say I’m sorry.

Hello, Friends.

As always, I currently have five different books and stories in varying stages of complete; not to mention the future stories constantly sparking around in the lunatic asylum I call my mind.

In between laboring over those, I had a chance to go back and look over a few of my earlier works. Before I continue on with my public apology, let me just say that I have, since The Tenderfoot’s Guide and The Paramedic, learned a great deal about all those important things I appear to have been lacking at the time of the writing of those books: namely punctuation, syntax, spelling and a whole host of the more important ingredients required to create an enjoyable experience for the reader.

To all those who purchased those two well intended, yet poorly edited works, I offer you my most heartfelt and sincere apologies. Ignorance is my only defense.

I’d like to think I’ve come a long way since those two bell ringers. The Tenderfoot’s Guide was written back in nineteen-ninety-nine, and The Paramedic in twenty-oh-four. In that time, I’ve taken my desire and passion to write-and write better-a whole lot more seriously, and have been on a never ending quest to alleviate the error of my ways. That’s not to say that I now consider myself a walking version of the Chicago Manual of Style. Far from it; although I do adhere to it much more closely these days.

I recently had a colleague, far more versed in syntax and punctuation than I, read through a polished copy of one of the books I’m currently working on. I also asked her to read over The Paramedic. She chose to review the Paramedic first. God love her and her newly acquired drinking problem and self induced baldness, but she persevered. Thankfully, she was nearing the end of her edit when she threw noose over her dining room chandelier and stood, inebriated and bald, on the chair below it.

Ok, it wasn’t quite that bad, but suffice it to say that she was, at best, appalled. She suggested I pursue a career in the telemarketing extended auto warranties and be forever banned from ever putting words to paper again. If there were a writer’s prison, with readings from the style and basic English rule manuals spewed forth at an earth shattering volume twenty-four-seven, she would have sentenced me to life there at that very moment.

Then I passed her the latest book I’m currently in the finishing stages of. To say she was both amazed and relieved would be an understatement. According to her, now on a prescription for a mild mood altering drug, my work has gone from unintelligibly psychotic to smooth and somewhat polished. Of course, her bill for services rendered was written in crayon so you decide whether her critique was credible.

The point of this self inflicted diatribe is that, regardless of the fact that I felt, at the time, that I was putting my heart and soul into those books, I didn’t have all the tools I needed to make them worthy of the readers who bought them. I let them down. Again, my deepest apologies.

Oh a high note, I have since gone to great lengths to correct my shortcomings. I’ve attended classes, seminars, read more books than I care to remember and learned to pay much closer attention to detail. I’ve even joined a writers group. Simple things like punctuation, in the wrong places, can change the entire thought you were trying to relay…and leave you wide open for some very insulting and spirit killing comments! Trust me on this.

To atone for past transgressions, I’ve decided to revise The Paramedic to correct the multitude of faux pas and to ensure that my first effort isn’t understood to be a harbinger for the doom of the following two books in the series, Cast Adrift, written in twenty-ten and The Never Ending Nightmare, written in twenty-eighteen. Neither should be immediately looked over just because of the nightmare of editing The Paramedic was. I humbly state here that both were written with a much higher understanding of the craft and far more attention to detail. Both are much more heavily polished and edited with a much improved understanding of the aforementioned elements that I so desperately lacked in nineteen-ninety-nine and twenty-oh-four.

Let ye without sin cast the first stone! Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them. The quotes for forgiveness are legion, which tells me that I’m not the only transgressor. Wait. One more. To err is human….. Ok, I’m done.

My heartfelt gratitude to those of you who suffered through the terrible editing job I allowed into print with The Paramedic. I pray that hasn’t caused you to shy away from the two sequels. I can assure you that the saga continues, and is, without question, much easier on the eyes and the mind, and they’re well worth the read.

So in closing, keep an eye out for the revised Paramedic coming soon, as well as a couple of others, not related to the series, soon to follow. The muse has been upon me of late and I’ve taken full advantage. Given my predisposition to psychoses, I have to get them out of my head before that big iron door slams shut and I end up wearing a helmet and licking bus windows.

As always, I wish you peace, love and happiness all the days of your lives.

Brian

A New Day Dawning

For those of you who’ve stuck by me, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I’ve been doing 120 in the fast lane for the last few years, in a good way, but that has curtailed my writing passion considerably.

For you fans of The Paramedic series, the final book will be coming out within the next couple of weeks. I’m sorry it’s taken so long to bring to press, but, well, see the above. However, I promise it’ll be worth the wait. Follow Doc, Nancy, Butch, Mike and the….well, I’ll let the book fill in the details.

Also on the horizon, two new, totally different books will be rolling off the presses at Danby Mountain Press. Both of which I’m extremely proud of and I believe you will enjoy. More on those soon.

I was asked a funny question the other day that took me aback for a moment. A dear friend asked me, first, why I wrote erotica. With the exception of The Tenderfoot’s Guide and Born Bent Over, The Paramedic series, as well as the new books coming out are erotica.

I first explained the difference between erotica and smut. Not that I begrudge those who write smut. If that’s what you feel inside, have a ball. We do still have a first amendment in this country and there are a whole lot of readers who read and enjoy smut and will admit it. There are scores more who read it and prefer to keep that little tidbit to themselves. Frankly, if it doesn’t involve minors or barnyard animals, write and read away.

All of my erotica revolves around loving relationships, caring people and, at least in my humble opinion, has a plot. I have always been of the opinion that adding explicit love scenes between consenting adults just adds a higher level of intimacy to the story and makes the reader that much more familiar with the character. Again, just my humble opinion. I’ve been called sappy at times. I guess I am. I cry at old movies, certain songs, weddings and whenever the mortgage bill comes in the mail.

I believe I’m a kindred spirit with a lover’s soul. Must be my Italian heritage. Nothing has me grabbing for a tissue faster than a mushy love story.

Please bear with me for just a short time more. I believe you’ll be pleased with the upcoming additions to our book catalog.

And for those of you who read and commented on But for Lisa’s Voice, I want to thank you. While I did respond to your wonderful comments, I’d like to thank you again. That was one of those that has a special place in my heart for numerous reasons.

Until next time, I wish you all much peace and happiness.

God Bless!

Gun Control, Survival Prepping and Other Controversial Subjects.

Hello My Friends,

authorphotoI know.  It’s been a long time since I posted, and for that I do apologize.  Many of you have been very vocal about that and I do appreciate the added incentive.  Keep those comments and emails coming!  In my defense, I’ve been in the process of enjoying life a little with my new bride and spending some time working on our new camper (now winterized for the season) and even doing a little camping.  As I always say, life is grand.

This week’s blog is a far cry from my usual topics; (I’ll get back on topic next week) but as I’ve mentioned before, I’m a current events junkie.  I span the web frequently in search of interesting or poignant news from reliable sources.  Lately the topics of gun control and survival prepping have been foremost on my mind and I feel like babbling about a few of the things I have gnawing at my age addled mind.  Bear with my ramblings if you dare.

For those of you rolling your eyes, apparently you’ve never been the victim of gun violence.

I have.  So I speak from an enlightened pulpit.

For starters, lets face facts: gun control doesn’t work.  The very system itself is flawed from the ground up.  Those incapable of possessing a firearm legally can and will acquire one by any means necessary.  It’s no different than a lock on a door.  It keeps honest people honest.  While  I wouldn’t wish a home invasion on anyone, if Michael Bloomberg’s home were broken into, I believe his current, misguided tirade on gun control would end abruptly.  Of course, he doesn’t have to worry about that.  He has armed security around him wherever he goes.  Most of us “Joe the Plumber’s” don’t have that luxury.  At any rate, the man needs to take off his Ivory Tower, rose colored glasses and take a real look at what he’s proselytizing.

Look at the statistics!  The states/cities with the highest instances of gun related violence are those with the strictest gun control laws.  Washington DC and Chicago are two examples.  Why?  Because the law abiding citizens are ripe for the picking for criminals.  Those citizens can’t legally be armed and the criminals know it.  The criminals don’t seem to have any problem getting their hands on firearms.  Talk about lambs to the slaughter.

The Stand Your Ground laws are being revisited in states like Florida.  Why?  Because of a few unfortunate incidents where the shooter was exonerated by the legal system, through due process. for using necessary force, but the outcry from those uninformed soap boxers with bleeding hearts who took up their banner on a half cocked, loud crusade to right what they believe to be the wrongs done to individuals who were in the wrong place doing something they shouldn’t have been doing.  The loss of a young person is never a good thing, but when you play with fire you’re bound to get burned.

And don’t even get me started on these race baiting, nut job, banner wavers like Sharpton and Jackson whose only purpose in life is to stir the pot for their own nefarious purposes.  If only they’d use their limelight for the benefit of others instead of themselves.  These irreverent Reverends need to take a sabbatical from their rabble rousing and read the Bibles they claim to preach the teachings of.

None of us know all the details of what happened in the Michael Brown shooting, and I’d be an idiot if I were to claim that all law enforcement officers are straight up, capable, compassionate people, but I’d dare say that most of them are-and I sure wouldn’t want to have their thankless jobs for love or money.  My hat is off  to the 99% of them who put their life on the line every day to protect us.  Right or wrong, when a cop tells you to do something, just do it.  If he or she is wrong, deal with that later at the police station through proper channels, or with a lawyer. Getting into an altercation with a law enforcement officer is never a wise idea.  If you do, you’re bound to come out on the losing end.

Those of us who are legally registered to carry firearms are the least of your worries, but our government seems to be petrified of us.  In many cases, as I’m sure you’ve seen in those few unbiased news outlets who don’t hide stories for their political agenda, honest, law abiding, concealed carry gun owners have saved many situations by thwarting bad guys who were attempting to rob, loot and plunder and have aided police in many dire situations.  Click here to read  just a few of them.  We are, for the most part, gun enthusiasts who enjoy gun sports and appreciate and respect the beauty and power that firearms possess.  We also believe in our Second Amendment right to protect ourselves in times in eminent danger.

Those with violent or felony criminal records are forbidden by law to own firearms.  The fact that they’re criminals pretty much tells you that they don’t give a damn about the law.  They carry stolen guns or guns bought illegally (very easy to do) mainly so the gun can’t be traced to them after they’ve committed a crime.  The meth-head who broke into my house had a record as long as your arm and was even on parole at the time.  The .22 caliber pistol he carried was a stolen gun.  Had I not been in possession of my firearm that night, I wouldn’t be writing this blog today.  I have no doubt in my mind that had I not been armed, and had the presence of mind to use it, I’d have been a case for the CSI investigators.  I still have a lead souvenir in my right butt cheek as a memento of that night, and he has three in his hip, a scar across his forehead and the view from his new home includes razor wire and armed guards.  All I lost that night was a little blood, a pair of jeans and the sense of home and serenity I once had in the confines of my hovel.  That night and the subsequent PTSD led to my having to have an alarm system installed, a lot of lost sleep and an increase in my personal arsenal to insure that, heaven forbid, if it ever happens again, the odds of the perpetrator leaving in a zippered bag will be greatly increased.  While I suffered a pretty devastating loss, I’m still breathing, I still have all my possessions and time does heal all wounds.

I could sit here and quote gun statistics but that’s already been beaten to death in the news.  What bothers me most is that with those glaring statistics staring anyone with any common sense right in the face, these grand-standers like Bloomberg keep persisting in trying to make gun ownership more difficult for the average Joe who is only out to insure the safety of himself and his family.

While I don’t own any of what the media calls, “Assault Weapons,” I have fired many and, frankly, they’re a blast to shoot and a beauty to behold.  How many criminals do you think have an assault rifle stuffed down their pant leg?  It would be painfully obvious, wouldn’t it?  How many crimes do you think were committed with assault weapons?  Yes, they have been implicated in cases such as the devastating Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, but they are definitely not a weapon of choice for the common criminal and are very low on the scale when it comes to violent crime.

Clip capacities have come under fire of late.  Let’s be honest here:  anyone with any prowess with a firearm can change clips in the blink of an eye so how is limiting the size of a clip going to deter crime?  Large capacity clips are of more use for rapid fire, timed target shooting, a sport, than they are for the commission of a crime.  I believe all too many of these naysayers were raised on 1950’s Lone Ranger serials where a six shooter was capable of shooting unlimited rounds.

Hi Ho Silver!

And I’m really bothered by the media’s portrayal of so called “Survival Preppers.”  While I will admit that some do seem, at least to the uninformed, to go way overboard, there are all too many practical reasons for being prepared for whatever nature, or the evil powers of the world, decide to  throw our way.  Given the current unrest throughout the world: especially the latest threat-ISIS (or as our illustrious dictator calls them, ISIL) and the headline news today/gone tomorrow Ebola scares, it’s time to give some honest thought to where you want to be when disaster strikes.  Let’s face it, folks, the world has become an ugly place and there is a never ending supply of radical nutcases out there who’d think nothing of opening fire in a crowded shopping mall or blowing up a populated building.

Even with the evil “what if’s” aside, what about the guaranteed occurrences-like being prepared for Mother Nature’s wrath?  I live in South Carolina where the weather is usually bearable, but our infrastructure frankly sucks.  All our power wires are still strung from pole to pole.  Every time we have an ice storm here, (at least once a winter) and the overburdened tree branches begin to fall on those power lines, vast numbers of homes and businesses go days, and in some cases even weeks, without power.  When even a hint of an upcoming storm leaves the lips of the local rumor mill, the grocery stores get cleaned out…especially the milk and bread.   Call me a radical prepper if you will, but we have a generator and a good supply of non-perishables, medical supplies, waterless soap and water so we can at least keep the refrigerator cold, a heater running, the toilets flushing and have the means to prepare nutritional meals in relative comfort…and not suffer the wrath of four or five days without a shower.

I also believe that the evil in the world is going to come to a head one day soon, though I pray for the sake of my children and grandchildren that I’m wrong.  Being prepared for such situations may mean your family’s very survival.  One errant strike from an EMP on our aged power grid and the lights are going to be out for a very long time.  After a few days, things are going to start getting very ugly.  Those unprepared will be out scavenging and those lacking any moral fiber will be out looting.  Desperation and hunger will bring out the worst in even the nicest people.  Will you be prepared to protect your home and family when, not if, disaster strikes?  Do you think FEMA is going to be knocking at your door the next day with a nice steak and a baked potato?  If you do, I want some of what you’re on.  Just ask some of the folks in Louisiana how Johnny-On-The-Spot governmental response to a disaster is.

I’m not saying it’s time to go out and buy a surplus deuce and a half and convert it into a mobile fortress, (although that would be a lot of fun), with a ten year supply of MRE’s stashed in various secret hiding places.  What I am saying is that responsible gun ownership and common sense preparation can and will improve your chances for your longevity and that of your family.  Laugh if you will at the folks on shows like Doomsday Preppers and other like programs.  Don’t fool yourself.  They’re the ones who are going to have the last laugh.  And with all the time, money and effort they’ve put into insuring that they have the means to survive, they’ve also developed the skills to protect it.

Just the opinion of an average, semi-normal, non-radical taxpayer that I thought I’d share.  As for me and mine, we shall err on the side of common sense preparedness.

Man it felt good to get that out.  Every once in a while you just have to vent instead of cursing at the news commentators on the daily news programs.  They can’t hear you anyway and probably wouldn’t care about what you had to say.  If you haven’t realized that Fox News is strictly conservative, CNN is strictly liberal and MSNBC is downright dangerous, and all report their stories with those slants, you haven’t been paying attention.

OK, time for my meds and shock therapy treatment.  It keeps the voices in my head cordial.

Until next time, as always, I wish you peace, happiness and good health.

See you in the funny papers!

Brian

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Cast Adrift,” the sequel to “The Paramedic,” will be available soon!

Hello all!  Welcome back!

Cast Adrift coverI know, I’ve been very naughty regarding blogs lately, but I do have an excuse.  I haven’t been just sitting back on my duff; contrary to popular belief.  I have been banging away at the keyboard, pulling forth the much anticipated sequel to The Paramedic: *trumpets blaring* Cast Adrift!

I’d like to thank all of you who have been sending those emails, asking about the book and encouraging me to get it done and out there for you to read.  It has gone way beyond its initial planned publication date, for which I humbly apologize, but I honestly feel that once you’ve read it, you’ll agree that it was worth the wait.

To be honest, there have been more deletes, rewrites, plot changes and start overs than I care to admit to, but I believe all of that scrutiny has given birth to a real winner.  To date, I’ve read it at least 500 times and I still find myself holding my breath at certain points, waiting for the next giggle, tear or finger nail to bite.

You’ll also find that Cast Adrift bypasses a great many of the steamier love scenes you read in The Paramedic, (although there are quite a few) but I really pressed to keep tight to the plot and worked harder on the twists and turns you’ll find throughout the book…OK, I didn’t take out all the naughty stuff.  Don’t get your panties in a twist.  And for you medical fetishists, here’s your sign!

Due to the fact that Cast Adrift picks up exactly where The Paramedic left the reader, (hanging by two fingers over a cliff was how one of my readers put it) I am working with the publisher to offer a special price coupon for the purchase of The Paramedic so anyone who hasn’t read it (shame on you!) can do so, then go right into Cast Adrift-not only with the satisfaction that reading a good book gives you, but with a full feel for all the characters and the events that lead up to where Cast Adrift starts.

Of all the books I’ve written, I consider this to be my best.  A lot of me, heart and soul, went into writing of this book over the last couple of years and the incentive and opening for the third book in the series has also appeared on my horizon.  I can promise you that it won’t be nearly as long between Cast Adrift and book three as it was between The Paramedic and Cast Adrift.  I’ll have more information within the next couple of weeks as we get nearer to Cast Adrift’s publication date that I’ll share here and on my website, so stay tuned.

I would be remiss if I didn’t give a special thank you to my muse, Brenda.  Her addiction to Sudoku puzzles and Face Book has allowed me untold Sundays, all day, to write in peace with her support and encouragement.  Thank you, Bella Donna.

And I do thank her in the book, but I’d also like to publically thank my sister, Michelle Greenleaf, for the cover photo for Cast Adrift.  I humbly admit to being the most talented among my siblings, but Michelle is a savant’ with a camera and does some beautiful work.  You can see more of her work here: Michelle Greenleaf.  Thanks, Shell!

It’s short and sweet this week because I’ve got to get back on the ball, insuring that our early October publication date comes to fruition.  I will post a few excerpts from the book in the coming weeks to whet your appetite.

In the meantime, check out the short stories and information on all my books on my website: bgreenleaf.com

All of my books are available through Barnes and NobleAmazon and many other fine paperback and ebook retailers.

Until next time, I wish you peace, love and happiness throughout all your days.

Ciao!

Brian

Calling All Big Boy and Girl Scouts. New Camping Group Forming.

Hello, my friends and any perspective campers who will soon be friends.  Welcome!

A little change of pace with this blog.  Now that I’ve “almost” finished the camper (known to most as Nosty’s Nook) and it’s camp-able, and the new standee camper is still on the drawing board, it’s time to get out there with it and start enjoying the fruits of my labor; as well as the stress relief that only a weekend in the woods can afford me.

What better way to enjoy the great outdoors than with friends, old and new?

I’m in the polling stages at present, looking to find out if there’s any interested adults who’d like to be part of an active camping, and, of course, dog friendly, group with one agenda:  Fun.

As for me, for those of you who don’t know me, my name is Brian Greenleaf.  I have been an avid camper since my Cub Scout days back in the sixties.  I have slept under the stars, spent many years tent camping, have owned a pop-up and a full sized camper and now take great pride in the tiny travel trailer I spent a year building. I am a super hero by day and a Failure Analysis Technician by night.  I wrote my first camping book back in 1999 called The Tenderfoot’s Guide to Family Camping.  Over the years, I have been part of many camping groups, mostly family oriented groups, and have decided it would be a whole lot of fun to get together with a zany bunch of like minded middle-agers and make some memories.

Sour pusses and overly anal retentive people need not apply.  Those terminal diseases are contagious and would spread through the group.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a tent camper, pop-up or camper enthusiast, like to sleep under the stars, or whether you own a 30′ motor mansion, we’d love to have you.

As I mentioned, I’ve been part of various other camping groups over the years and, unfortunately, many of them failed miserably due to waning interest directly related to internal strife or disagreements, usually brought about due to the advent of the dreaded “cliques.”  Once a clique gets started, it’s like a festering pustule that almost always signals certain death for the group.  I’m hoping to start a group of like minded (translation: slightly crazy) folks who’d look forward to group trips to various and sundry places within reasonable range of the Upstate of SC/Georgia/NC;  places decided on by democratic vote, of course.

As those of us who live here well know, there are a plethora of beautiful places to camp in our area.  From the mountains to the sea, and everything in between, we have it all right here in our own back yard.  What better way to reduce stress, meet new people and just plain have fun, I ask you?

What I’m hoping to bring together are folks who’d like to get out in the woods once a month, (or twice a month or once a quarter depending on what everyone wants), see new and different places, relax, have fun and meet new people.

As I write this, I have a cast iron griddle, recently obtained in what most would consider pitiful condition from a closing antique mall for a song, seasoning in the oven.  I admit it.  I’m a camping addict. I eat, sleep and drink camping.  I’d rather have the Outdoor Channel than the Playboy Channel…….OK, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the picture.  I enjoy camping; fall, winter and spring, and plan on having my Thanksgiving turkey breast, (actually, probably a steak and baked potato), beside a roaring fire again this year.  While I realize that everyone doesn’t have a taste for winter camping, late winter and spring are the perfect time to get out in the woods for almost anyone so, if we get the ball rolling now, we should be able to plan the inaugural camping trip in early 2013 (if the Mayan calendar prediction doesn’t come true and we’re no longer inhabiting this world after December 21st).

In summation, I am  hoping to bring together an all-for-fun group who enjoy camping and having fun.  People who would get a kick out of participating in things like chili cook-offs, lively and jovial fireside cocktail parties, great conversation, probably some singing and story telling (and, of course, SMORE making) around a roaring camp fire; possibly visiting some of the local attractions wherever we camp………..you get the picture.  And all of this with fun people who appreciate and don’t mind going along with the democratic decision making process.  If all goes well, and we’ll do our best to insure that it does, everyone will get to go to the places they’d like to go and do the things that they’d like to do at some point during the camping season.  All for one and one for all.  No fuss, no muss, no infighting.  Personally, I can have a great weekend anywhere when I’m camping.  Rain or shine, there’s nothing like camping.

What we don’t want is a strictly regimented group where every minute of your weekend is planned out.  Camping as a group is a blast.  Being up everyone’s butt every minute of the day doing planned activities becomes tiresome.  The group, as a whole, will choose what they want to do and everyone will be free to either participate, or take a stroll down to the water with a rod and reel and scare the fish or crawl up in their preferred mode of camping with a good book.

Axe murders need not apply.  It’s nothing personal, but I get the heeby-jeebies being around someone crazier than I am.  Other than that, the only other requirement is that you have to love to camp and have fun.  Married or single, everyone is welcomed.

If you’re like minded, and would be interested in becoming part of the group, you can contact me via email:  doc@bgreenleaf.com , on Facebook,  or comment below.  If the interest is there, I’ll put up a web page dedicated to the group where we can share ideas, chat and keep abreast of what’s going on, all while secretly plotting global domination.

I look forward to hearing from and talking to you and, hopefully, sharing a campfire with you in the near future.

Until next time, I wish you peace, fair winds and happy trails,

Brian

A Born Bent Over-Achiever Goes Camping!

Hello, my friends.  Welcome back!  It’s great to have you here.  “Resistance is futile.  You will be assimilated.”  I’m like a fungus:  after a while, I grow on you.

Yes, I’m slowly getting back to the important things in life; camping and writing so, God willing, the blog will go back to a certain regularity and, hopefully, be more informative and entertaining than ever before.

I don’t know whether it was all the time I spent editing and revising Born Bent Over for ebook publication, or just the typical day late and a dollar short realization continuum that is my trademark, but a funny thing dawned on me the other day that set off bells and whistles all over the atomic wasteland I call a mind.

Before I go any further, let me clarify one thing:  I have been an avid camper from my short-pants days in the Cub Scouts and have probably logged more hours in the woods than a few middle-aged bears I know (most of them are moving into the suburbs now, anyway).  I have camped extensively up and down the east coast and have even hiked a significant portion of the Appalachian Train.  Suffice it to say, with all that experience and the fact that my first book, The Tenderfoot’s Guide to Family Camping is in its’ third printing and still receiving great reviews, I might be considered somewhat of a camping expert:  in my own mind, perhaps, but an expert nonetheless.

That being said, and in keeping with my Born Bent Over birthright, I have had some experiences in the woods that would have most mere mortals running for the comfort of a Holiday Inn.  It’s my lot in life.  I accept it and have learned to deal with it……somewhat.  If something didn’t go wrong in everything I do, I’d get extremely nervous and start chilling the beer and awaiting the arrival of those five, thirsty, dreaded horsemen (whom are rumored to be coming December 21st, bwahahahahaha!!!!).  That drunken sot guardian angel of mine, the infamous Murray, just keeps falling deeper and deeper into the bottle and the Victoria’s Secret catalogs and the proverbial poo just keeps hitting the fan.

Am I bitter?  Nah!  I just pray daily that the curse ends here and my children and grandchildren are spared the wrath.

Anyway, back to my intended point (I tend to drift).  Just a rough pass through the moldy, yellowing, brittle files in my gray matter brought back some graphic horror stories from camping trips past that really got me thinking.  Some of them are so bizarre that, at the time they occurred, the only way I could avoid a stint as a guest at Happy Acres on their Celebrity Haldol and Shock Therapy package was to opt for selective amnesia with the hope that, if the memories ever resurfaced, they would do so well past the statute of insanity limitations and become funny fodder for future campfire stories.   A few of them still send a chill up my spine; but I’m long past PTSD due to the far more frightening events that have made up my everyday life for lo these past fifty-two years.

So, I said to myself, “Self,  why not compile those stories into a new book?  Born Bent Over Two:  Camping Stories No One Would Ever Believe.  I can even hear the banjo music theme song now.  I guess I’d better learn to play one before I finish the book.  Look at the pretty colors!  Squirrel!!!”  The seventy-five voices currently occupying my gray matter all agreed in unison that a compilation of all those horror stories would be a great idea.  That’s the first time that ever happened.  They’re such a diverse group, as those of you who’ve read Born Bent Over well know.

One story comes immediately to mind.  This tale may not be for the faint of heart, so those of you with a weaker constitution might want to skim down to the end.  This ain’t pretty.

Picture this, if you will:  Orlando, FL, the Year of Our Lord 1993.  My son was seven at the time and my daughter was just the cutest little two year old holy terror you’ve ever seen.  Up until that point, we’d been avid tent campers.  I had always been a tent camper and, by golly, I was going to remain one til……..OK, til I started waking up paralyzed from sleeping on the hard, root-riddled, damp ground.  I was thirty-three with the body of an eighty year old and the whole “roughing it” thing was losing its’ appeal rapidly.  To top it off, Florida is Africa hot: always.  No exceptions.  Throw in the constant, 300%, humidity and you’re pretty much living in a twenty-four hour sauna bath.  We needed AC just to breathe!   At the time, we were camping, on average, two weekends a month.  What’s a dad to do?

Swallow your pride and buy a camper, that’s what.  For the kids sake, of course.

Having never before owned a camper, I asked around a bit and did some research on what type of camper would best suit our needs.  I was on an extremely limited budget so whatever I decided on would, without fail, be not-so-gently used and require a great deal of elbow grease and fix-it acumen.  I figured I had those so, on one crisp, clear Florida Saturday morning, my son and I, “Campers For Sale” paper in hand, went cruising.

I don’t know how many counties we covered that morning, but by early evening, almost ready to call it a day, we passed an old farmhouse somewhere in Deland with, as “my” luck would have it, a pop-up camper, fully erected, sitting on the front lawn with a For Sale sign on it.

We stopped to look, but it appeared to be in immaculate shape so I assumed our stopping was for naught.  My son jumped out of the truck and went running up to it as the owners, who resembled the sweetest pair of Norman Rockwell grandparents you ever saw, came to greet us.  Here’s where that old line, “Never judge a book by its’ cover.” comes into play.

After some sugar-coated introductions and their oohs and aahs over how cute my wing man was, I asked right up front how much they were asking before bothering to inspect it.  If it was something astronomical, we’d just thank them for their time and go home and try again another day.

“Eight hundred dollars and not a penny less,” grandpa said.  Danny had absolutely no poker face back then.  “Dad!  That’s what you said we could spend!  We can get it!  Yeah!!!”  I could have strangled him right about then but, as I said, he was such a cute little guy.

I proceeded to look it over closely, pretending to know what the hell I was looking for while Danny was doing his own inspection of the inside and extolling grandma with his camping acumen.

“The tires are new, the wheel bearings were just packed and she don’t leak a drop,” the aged, used car dealer from hell proclaimed.  I still stick pins in the voodoo doll I had made of him in Cassadaga on a later camping trip.

I had to admit:  a visual inspection of the “beast from hell,” as I would later name it, was impressive.  I spent a good thirty minutes checking this and “ah-ha-ing” that, pretending to be somewhat of an expert.

“Sir, as you can see, I’ve got two small children at home.  We love camping and we’d like to get out of our tent and into a camper, but to be honest, the most I could possibly come up with would be six-hundred dollars.  I’m sorry we wasted your time.”

“Aw, give it to um, Henry,” the aged Stepford wife giggled as she was listening to another of Danny’s stories while telling him how cute he was.  He was always such a little ham.

“Well………. Sure; what the hell.  Ma and Me were young once.  Six-hundred and she’s yours!”

I couldn’t believe it!  I’d finally won one (or so I thought).  My dumb ass usually ends up offering more initially than the seller was thinking of asking in the first place.  Danny got his poker face from me.

With Danny’s staunch and boisterous supervision, I paid the man, got the camper hooked up to the hitch, waved our good-bye’s and thank yous and we were off.

The following weekend I spent familiarizing myself with all the gadgets and doo-dads, cleaning this and that, fixing the tail lights that didn’t work and preparing for our first trip in a camper.  We were all as elated as a fat kid locked alone in a candy store over night, all working together, prepping for the following weekend.  After a full weekend of preparations, we went inside and perused the Woodall’s Catalog for a great place to go on our first trip.  After a whole bunch of giggly back and forth (Shelby suggested Hawaii), we decided on Tomoca State Park in Ormond Beach.  It was relatively close to the house, had full hook-ups, fishing and hiking as well as an interactive Native American exhibit; the prospect of seeing that thoroughly fascinated the kids.

I spent the entire week packing this and checking that: trying to insure we had everything we needed so that nothing could possibly go wrong and put a damper on our first camper outing.

Boy, was I a dreamer.

Everything started off well.  We’d gone out for groceries the night before, packed the coolers, sundries and half of Toys R US in the van and made it to the park without incident.  Ah, but the plot thickens.

We no sooner got the camper set up when the sky decided to open up with a deluge of biblical proportions.  No biggie, right?  Wrong!

The rain relegated us to the confines of the camper for the duration (which turned out to be the entire weekend).

Again, no biggie, right?  We weren’t in a tent any longer.  Like the late George and Weezie, We were movin on up!  We had a camper with electricity, running water and a VCR with stacks of movies for the kids just in case such an emergency befell us.  We were no amateurs!

We’d been inside for about all of ten minutes when my wife began a sneezing fit, followed closely by my asthmatic son.  The sneezing we might have passed off, but the advent of the hives and swollen eyes from both of them told me only one thing: those “sweet, kind” former owners had dogs who camped with and slept with them in the camper; contrary to their claims to the negative.  Both my son and my wife were terribly allergic to dog hair and I specifically asked Ma and Pa Kettle if they’d had any dogs in the camper.

I was digging through a cabinet, looking for the first aid kit containing the  Benedryl when I heard a pop and my daughter crying out that the TV went off: and right in the middle of her favorite movie……which she’d watched six-thousand times.  At just about that time, I began to feel as if I was being subjected to the Chinese Water Torture.  Drops of water were coming down on my head at an alarming rate and, as I later learned, on top of the TV, too……which shorted out (eating Shelby’s favorite tape in the process).  Water was pouring down on the beds, the counter top, the floor…..you get the picture.  The canvas on that camper was about as water repellent as cheese cloth.

But, if you spent just a month in my shoes, you’d learn quickly to always look for a silver lining.  You know it’ll never come, but you look for it nonetheless.  It’s what keeps me out of Happy Acres.  Determined to save the day, I went out and pulled the plug to insure the whole thing didn’t short out, dug the umbrellas out of the truck and took my soggy band of stoic campers to see the American Indian exhibit……..which was closed for renovations.

We went back to the camper to regroup and see what we could salvage, hoping that the rain would pass quickly as most Florida showers do, when we realized, rather shockingly, that when I backed the camper into our site, I’d parked directly over a very active, angry, fire ant mound; the inhabitants of which were now occupying the inside of the camper, en mass…….and they were pissed!

A winner never quits and a quitter never wins.  Head hung in defeat, (it should be obvious by now that I’m definitely not a winner: at least not in the literal sense) I loaded the family into the truck while I, now soaked to the bone, collapsed the camper and prepared for our trip home.  I could have used Moses at about that time to part the angry sea because it was high tide inside the camper and, even collapsed, water was pouring out from under the half-doors.

In an attempt to mount the trailer tongue on the hitch ball, I realized that the jaw wasn’t opening and the two refused to mesh.  In the interrum, the deluge had reached a point where I was considering building an ark.  The wind decided to join the parade and, in some places (namely right where I stood) it was actually raining up.  We’re talking serious rain here.

Expletives spewing from me like a man possessed, I opened the back doors of the van to get at my tools and, hopefully, fix the receiver. I’ll never forget Danny’s little face as he looked over the back seat, eyes puffed closed and a huge bugger stuck to his upper lip as he asked, through slightly swollen lips, if I needed any help.   All I wanted was to get everyone home safely, find a huge cliff to push the camper off of and reconsider taking up golf when, in my rage, I accidentally reached under the receiver a little to far just as it decided to relent and come down with a resounding SMACK!, (followed closely by a series of loud, effeminate shrieks) sandwiching my finger between it and the hitch ball.

You’re laughing, right?  Admit it.  But wait:  it gets better.

My van was a three speed with the shifter on the steering column.  My wife couldn’t drive a three speed.  My nearly-severed finger was now resting in a cup of blood-soaked ice that I was holding between my thumb and three remaining fingers.  Daddy needed to get to a hospital to have his finger sewn back on before shock set in and Daddy had to drive there.  I still remember fondly my little ghoul two-year old wanting to see Daddy’s boo-boo finger and just staring at it without the slightest bit of revulsion or disgust, just amazement.  My lil punkin!

Go ahead and laugh.  This was just a day in the life for me.

I made it to the hospital, using language (derived from pain and my inability to drive a manual transmission truck with one hand, I assure you) that probably still haunt the kids dreams, (who am I kidding?   They could probably teach me a few new expletives) only to find that the local hospital didn’t have a hand surgeon and they needed to call one up from Daytona Beach.  Thirteen hours later, with an IV catheter still in my arm due to a disinterested nurse and pain meds sufficiently on board, two bored-to-tears, screaming kids who were acting out the American Indian war dance they never got to see and a tired, hungry, disheveled wife in the waiting room, (not to mention an enormously large bandage on my hand and my arm in a sling) we headed home in torrential rain, pulling a trailer with a three speed that I was steering with my knees and reaching my left hand over the wheel to shift:  the gear shift that was on the right side.  Did I mention that the van didn’t have power steering?  Just wanted to paint as clear a picture as possible.

That’s one of my more mild camping experiences.  We didn’t have to bury any bodies on that trip.

And I still love camping!  The rumors must be true.  My mother did raise an idiot.

You know life has dealt you lemons throughout when you’re working on a sequel to a book on just how screwed up your life is and there will still be tomes more to write.  Ain’t life grand?  Admit it: you wish you had my life.

Right now I’m awaiting a slight reprieve from the Florida-like weather we’re having here in SC so I can drag Nosty’s Nook out of the barn and get her ready for what I hope to be a long and frequent camping season.  I’m hoping that September through May brings about some fantastic camping weather and I can get out and do what I love best……..well, second best, but I’m currently camping alone so that prospect is a moot point.

I may be fifty-two, but I ain’t dead!

In closing (the crowd moans, “Thank God!”), things are hopping at Danby Mountain Press.  Aside from the forthcoming sequel to Born Bent Over, the Paramedic sequel is nearing completion and should be published later this year.  On top of that, Danby Mountain Press has added an audio studio to our glamorous, skid row, publishing facilities so our published works will soon be available as audio books.  Busy, busy, busy.  I don’t date much, can you tell?

Until next time, and as always, my friends, I wish you peace, love and every happiness life has to offer.  Until the next blog, beware the couple from the American Gothic painting trying to sell you a pop-up.  It’s sure to be a lemon!

Adio!

Brian

If you haven’t read my latest ebook, Born Bent Over: Flashing the Vertical Smile at Middle Age, shame on you.  Everybody needs a good belly laugh and Born Bent Over is sure to please.  Download your copy now.  You won’t be sorry.

Again, my many thanks to my wonderful sister, Michelle, for her hard and creative work on our website.  We all know who got the brains in the family.  Stop by and check us out.  We’ll be uploading some new stories very soon.

©Brian Greenleaf 2012.  All rights reserved.