Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Christmas with the Avey Family


The first day of the year holds mixed emotions for me. It’s the beginning of a new year, but it’s also the day that my family and I traditionally take down the Christmas decorations. That always makes me a little sad.

Doesn’t it seem that all the buildup and hype for Christmas sometimes leaves the actual event a little flat? You work hard to get everyone the right gift and then the presents are ripped open and it’s over.

Well actually it isn’t. And if you celebrate the true meaning, it won’t be flat at all. During the New Year’s Eve service at church -- Asbury United Methodist Church https://asburytulsa.org Pastor Jay Henderson reminded us that December 25th isn’t the end of the Christmas celebration, but the beginning. The Twelve Days of Christmas, also known as Christmastide and Twelvetide, begins on December 25 and ends January 5. This is followed by the festival of Epiphany – also Theophany, or Three Kings’ Day, which celebrates the manifestation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi. The four Sundays before Christmas, the buildup, is called Advent, a season of prayer and fasting to thank God for Christ’s first coming, His presence among us today through the Holy Spirit, and to prepare for His second coming at the end of time.

On the other end of the spectrum, while driving to the bowling alley one night during the buildup, my son, David and I drove past a house that had a reindeer in the front yard. Not an actual reindeer, but one of those wire/plastic, kind that are popular during Christmas. And that was it. No other animals graced the artificial herd, no lights clung to the house, no decorations laced the trees or shrubs, no inflatable Santa climbing into a hot tub with Rudolf or waving to the crowd while piloting a tractor; just a lonely reindeer, its tiny, white lights casting a soft glow across the lawn.

In keeping with the spirit, my sweet wife, Kathi, schemed up an idea to liven up the season by making our own Christmas cards.

“I’m going to buy Christmas shirts,” she explained, “and we’ll stand in front of the tree and take selfies with my I-phone.” 

With good reason, I expressed skepticism for the outcome of such a plan, but finally relented and agreed to go along with it. It won’t be so bad, I thought, imagining Kathi would procure sweaters created in somewhat tacky but tolerable Christmas motifs. However, upon completion of her limited-use clothing expedition, she further dampened my already unenthusiastic expectations by proudly presenting David and me with green, elf t-shirts. All was not lost. The menagerie of photographic selfies that ensued confirmed a suspicion I had been harboring: I-phones, and probably other smart phones as well, collect images and later use them against you. In trying to impose a timer upon the phone, we angered it into producing unimaginable shots in rapid bursts of ten, depicting us in awkward poses that could not have been of our own doing. In one, my head appeared to be spinning like Linda Blair’s exorcism, in another I was hunched over with arms dangling like Cornelius in Planet of the Apes. It was all good. I hadn’t laughed that hard in years.


Please check out my writing at the link below:


Twisted Perception is now out in audiobook. Please click the link below:


I want to thank everyone who signed up for my Reader List. I hope you enjoy the newsletters and special mailings. If you know of anyone who might be interested, please forward this newsletter to them. We give away prizes on occasion, so stay tuned. Signing up is easy – just email your request to:


Or click here: http://www.bobavey.com/

On the right side of any webpage, you will find a notation that reads: Sign Up For Bob’s Newsletter. Put your email address in the box and hit subscribe. Not only will you be directed to a link for a free e-book, but will also be entered into a contest to win a free paperback copy.

The winner of the free autographed book has not responded to my email. I’ll put the names back in the hat and draw for another one.

I also give programs for writing clubs, reading groups, or any group that’s interested. If you belong to a club that needs a program speaker, keep me in mind.

You have permission to reprint, forward, or use the contents of this newsletter in your newsletter, blog, or e-zine. The only requirement is the inclusion of the following footer:

This article was written by Bob Avey, author of Twisted Perception, Beneath a Buried House, and Footprints of a Dancer. http://www.bobavey.com

 

 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Special Christmas Deals
Make a Note of these Dates:

December 15, and 16, e-book versions of Beneath a Buried House will be absolutely free.
December 9 through December 16, e-book copies of Twisted Perception are only 99 cents.
December 15 through December 22, e-book copies of Footprints of a Dancer will also be on sale for 99 cents.

I will be running some great Christmas deals this year, but first a word from our sponsor.

Drinks Anyone?

A few days ago, my wife, Kathi, and I decided to dine at a local barbeque restaurant. Upon being seated, we were asked for our drink order. We ordered colas.
“Would you like a short one or a tall one,” the waitress asked.
Being a bit intrigued by the question, I asked for the difference.
The waitress measured a distance from the table with her hand and said, “About that much.”

 Later that night at a different restaurant, a waitress took our drink order and brought the colas.
Seconds later, another waitress appeared with two more colas. “Oh, did someone bring your drinks?”
She then placed the drinks on the table. “Well,” she said, “I’m your server, so just in case.”
I didn’t ask in what case that might be.

And now for something completely different:

Books make wonderful, thoughtful, educational Christmas gifts. Did you know that you can gift e-books? Amazon has made it easy with instructions on each author’s book page. Anyone with a computer, smart phone, or tablet can download a free Kindle App, and begin reading. Of course paperback copies are still available as well.
And now for the Christmas deals:

On December 15, and 16, e-book versions of Beneath a Buried House will be absolutely free. Here’s the link:


December 9 through December 16, e-book copies of Twisted Perception are only 99 cents. Where else can you get a thoughtful, educational gift for less than a dollar? The link:


December 15 through December 22, e-book copies of Footprints of a Dancer will also be on sale for 99 cents. The link:


If you would like to read a free sample before buying, excerpts are available on my website:


I’d also like to recommend a great book, Crushing the Collective, from my good friend Charles W. Sasser:

I truly pray that everyone has a blessed and merry Christmas.

  

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

A Walk in the Park

Bob Avey’s 4th Quarter 2017
Newsletter

Search for the positive.

It seems a lot of bad things are happening in the world. However, your outlook can easily be improved through shifting your focus.

My wife, Kathi, and I have been brown-bagging our lunch lately in a small park located near our work site. Being keen on observation, I noticed early on the abundance of imaginative fodder available there. We wisely choose to concentrate on simple things like grass, trees, birds, and animals. Occasionally we take the short hike to one of the ponds in the area where we see the handy work of beavers, though we’ve yet to actually see the critters. Every now and then, we glimpse a rabbit. However, we typically watch squirrels – the small, four legged kind. I specify because there are quite a few human species of squirrel out and about. To clarify any confusion that might erupt, I offer the following:

While eating at the park recently, Kathi and I watched as a large, white van pulled into the driveway of one of the houses directly across from us. Three men climbed out of the van, walked to the curbside near the mailbox, and turned in unison to face the house. Like some comedy trio, they studied the house and lawn, each taking a turn at removing their hat and scratching their head, as if whatever they were observing presented a near insurmountable problem. After a few minutes of this – it seemed a lot longer – one of the men went to the van and pulled out an extension cord. After – with some difficulty I might add – finding an outside electrical outlet, he plugged in the cord. Again the three aligned themselves and stared at the house. Finally one of them pulled a hedge trimmer from the van, plugged it to the cord, and began trimming a rather large bush near the garage. The other two did nothing but watch. It took the poor guy about ten minutes to make the bush look worse than it had before the trimming. After that, they all climbed back in the van and drove away, leaving several other bushes and the lawn, which needed attention as well, untouched. Hmm...

It has certainly been a long, circuitous route, but I am finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel with my 4th Elliot novel. I hope to have it completed soon. Now comes the fun part: Editing and rewriting. If anyone would be interested in being a beta reader, please let me know.

Please check out my writing at the link below:


Twisted Perception is now out in audiobook. Please click the link below:


I want to thank everyone who signed up for my Reader List. I hope you enjoy the newsletters and special mailings. If you know of someone who might be interested, please forward this newsletter to them. We give away prizes on occasion, so stay tuned. Signing up is easy – just email your request to:


Or click here: http://www.bobavey.com/

On the right side of any webpage, you will find a notation that reads: Sign Up For Bob’s Newsletter. Put your email address in the box and hit subscribe. You will automatically be entered into a monthly contest to win free books.

Gray from Puerto Rico won the autographed book this quarter. Congratulations Gray.
I also give programs for writing clubs, reading groups, or any group that’s interested. If you belong to a club that needs a program speaker, keep me in mind.

You have permission to reprint, forward, or use the contents of this newsletter in your newsletter, blog, or e-zine. The only requirement is the inclusion of the following footer:
This article was written by Bob Avey, author of Twisted Perception, Beneath a Buried House, and Footprints of a Dancer. http://www.bobavey.com



Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Back in the Game


A large eagle glided silently over my path as I crossed the bridge, spanning the Arkansas River near Jenks, Oklahoma. It was going to be a good day.

On the third day of August 2017, I rolled out of bed with a different agenda in mind. I had unfinished business. The email I’d received the previous day was sent as a reminder, but I had not forgotten. I was, in fact, looking forward to it.

I backed the BMW from the garage and set a course for Woodward, Oklahoma, not the office as usual. The decision was neither spontaneous nor poorly thought out, though somewhere west of Enid I began to question the integrity of the satellite feeding information to my phone. I halfway expected the face of Rod Serling to appear in my rearview mirror. A signpost just ahead came into view.

Thankfully, the signpost made no mention of the Twilight Zone but indicated instead that Woodward was eighteen miles away. A few months earlier, the Woodward Library System had contacted me and asked me to be a part of their Summer Adult reading program. I am happy that I accepted the request, and thankful that I was able to make the trip. I truly hope all of the wonderful people, who attended the event, enjoyed the experience as much as I did.

Okay, let’s try this again:

About a month ago, I was sitting in a hospital lab, waiting to get… well, you know, stabbed or jabbed in one way or the other. I’ve been doing way too much of that lately.  Thankfully it has been on an outpatient basis. Anyway, I’d showed up two days earlier, like the endocrinologist had instructed me to do, only to be sent home, after having fasted – that means skipping midnight snacks, breakfast, and coffee – to return a few days later. It seems the doctor had requested the test, but had not scheduled it.

Am I missing something here? If a doctor requests a test be done on a certain day, isn’t that technically the same as scheduling it? And I used to think the accounting profession was convoluted.

To cut to the chase, while I was sitting in the waiting room, a young lady dressed in hospital attire came into the room, dragged up a chair, and sat beside the other young lady, who was already behind the desk and also dressed for the occasion. The young lady, who had already been behind the desk, acknowledged the presence of the later arrival with a curt nod, but for a few minutes, neither of them spoke, neither to me nor to each other. Yeah I’m liking neither, nor today. To compound the puzzle, the second young lady did absolutely nothing constructive or otherwise that I could ascertain, but simply sat there, perhaps conducting mind over matter exercises. The silence was finally broken when the later arrival began to complain about her hours. 

From the conversation that I could not help but overhear, I determined that the second young lady was there as some sort of disciplinary action. I didn’t pick up on what she might have done to earn the detainment, but what cruel form of punishment would give you a twenty minute break from work while still being paid for it?

It gets worse. Her complaining amounted to protests for having had to take off an extra half hour for lunch due to her working  a half hour overtime. I’m no Einstein but, relatively speaking, a negative half hour coupled with a positive one equals zero. And I’d be willing to bet she was paid for the overtime. No wonder the cost of medical care is soaring at a rate nearing the speed of light.

Please check out my writing at the link below:


Twisted Perception is now out in audiobook. Please click the link below:

 


I want to thank everyone who signed up for my Reader List. I hope you enjoy the newsletters and special mailings. If you know of someone who might be interested, please forward this newsletter to them. We give away prizes on occasion, so stay tuned. Signing up is easy – just email your request to:


Or click here: http://www.bobavey.com/

On the right side of any webpage, you will find a notation that reads: Sign Up For Bob’s Newsletter. Put your email address in the box and hit subscribe. You will automatically be entered into a monthly contest to win free books.

I also give programs for writing clubs, reading groups, or any group that’s interested. If you belong to a club that needs a program speaker, keep me in mind.

You have permission to reprint, forward, or use the contents of this newsletter in your newsletter, blog, or e-zine. The only requirement is the inclusion of the following footer:

This article was written by Bob Avey, author of Twisted Perception, Beneath a Buried House, and Footprints of a Dancer. http://www.bobavey.com

 

 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Just Have a Little Faith


In the past – of which I must admit recalling the defining moments has become more difficult lately – I would always dread the thought of putting together a newsletter. However, without fail, once I started to write, the words would just happen, as if I had some sort of hidden well of thoughts that was only accessible when I wasn’t really aware that I was trying to. The well seems to be hidden. I guess I’m trying too hard.

Anyway, in searching for the light side of things, which used to come quite naturally to me, I now seem to struggle. It’s been a rough couple of years, but I won’t go into that. Instead, if I can’t find lighthearted, I’ll reach for something else.

A few years ago, quite a few actually, I was near a schoolyard during the summer when the school was closed, swinging a metal detector over the ground to see what I could find beneath the soil. I used to do that as much as time would permit. It’s a highly misunderstood hobby.

Curious passersby would often ask me, “Hey does that thing actually work?”

No, I would think but not say. I just enjoy waving a metal rod over the ground. You should try it sometime.

Or, “Hey, have you found enough to pay for that thing yet?”

Oh, I don’t know. Have you won enough tournaments to pay for your golf clubs? Perhaps you’ve caught enough fish to pay for your bass boat?

Just as it is with golf and fishing, the hobby of metal detecting isn’t about the money. It’s about relaxing and having a good time. But I stray from the point. While I was lost in thought, intently listening for the subtly different nuances of sound the detector was putting out, a boy of about twelve years of age walked over and got my attention. I nodded and removed my headphones.

He dug into his pocket, pulled out a handful of coins, and held them out for me.

The more I tried to explain that I didn’t really need the coins, the more insistent he became. I finally told him to scatter the coins across the schoolyard so I could find them with the detector. He was a good kid who thought he was helping me out. I often wonder what happened to the kindhearted lad. Good things I hope.  

On another occasion, I was walking across the parking lot of a local convenience store when a teenager with dirty, scraggly hair approached a lady. “Could you loan me some money for cigarettes?” He asked.

The lady explained that she would not give him any money, but instead would go into the store and purchase the cigarettes for him. To my surprise, the dirty, young man was overcome with thankfulness. He asked her what he could do to repay her. She told him to do something nice for someone else, if he got the chance.

In a world permeated with negativity and violence, random, selfless acts of love and kindness are not overshadowed, but instead shine their light into the darkness. We should all strive not only to become aware of such behavior, but to also act as conduits through which the light of Jesus can shine.
This article was written by Bob Avey
http://www.bobavey.com

You have permission to use or republish all or a part of the article. The only requirements are to include my name as the author, and provide my contact information.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Bob's 1st Quarter Newsletter 2017





Bob’s 1st Quarter Newsletter
2017
First off, I extend a sincere and heartfelt greeting to all my friends and loyal readers. You haven’t heard from me in a while, and I apologize for that. 2016 was not a good year for me. I’ve been ill.

It started almost a year ago when I began to have problems swallowing. That turned out to be caused by acid reflux, which the doctors finally got under control. However, somewhere along the line, I began to feel weak, with flu-like symptoms. I’d lost a lot of weight, and I figured the acid reflux was to blame. That was probably part of it, but I suspected something else might be going on. I asked the doctor about it several times who kept prescribing different medicines, most of it aimed at treating symptoms related to the acid reflux. Nothing seemed to help. I finally asked the Gastroenterologist about it and he said he hadn’t seen anything during his two endoscope exams that would cause flu-like symptoms. I passed this information on to my general practitioner (regular doctor) and suggested maybe something else was going on. Since then I’ve been through various tests. The only thing the tests have revealed is that I might have mononucleosis. I know that sounds funny and not serious, but I assure you I’ve been quite ill. I’m still not convinced that is the only problem. Another recent test indicated possible thyroid problems. 

Anyway, the illness has left me weak and without much drive or ambition. I am trying to overcome that. During all of this many other things have happened. I’m not one to go on about such things so I won’t, except for one: I just learned that my longtime friend and publisher, Dan Case, has decided to close AWOC, his publishing business.  So now I’m scrambling, trying to get help with republishing my books to keep them out there and available. 

All of this, coupled with my preexisting propensity for procrastination, has rendered my already snail-like writing pace to the realm of exceeding the speed of light, which, theoretically, would cause one to go backward. 

Has he gone mad, you might ask?

It’s a debatable question. However, my 4th Elliot novel is caught somewhere in the Space-Time Continuum, and I hope to find the strength and energy to rescue the amalgamation of words, sprinkled with hints of brilliance and hopefully laced with enough cohesiveness to carry a sense of story, from this Twilight Zone that I, and Mr. Elliot, have found ourselves in.
I ask for your prayers and continued support.     

Please check out my writing by clicking the link below:


I want to thank everyone who signed up for my Reader List. We’ve already given away a nice prize. I have a lot more good stuff planned. If you haven’t signed up, I’ve placed the link below.

Twisted Perception is now out in audiobook. Please click the link below:
Please follow the link and check it out. Once you’re at the site, there’s a button you can click to hear a free sample. Charles Bice, the reader we chose, did an excellent job of portraying the characters as he tells the story. I believe you can even get the audiobook of Twisted Perception for free, if you join Audible.com. And who wouldn’t want to do that?

 I want to thank everyone who has signed up for my newsletter. I hope you enjoy reading it. If you know of someone who might enjoy it, too, please email it to them.

I also give programs for writing groups, reading groups, or any group that’s interested. If you belong to a club, which needs program speakers, keep me in mind.

You have permission to reprint, forward, or use the contents of this newsletter in your newsletter or e-zine. The only requirement is the inclusion of the following footer:
This article was written by Bob Avey, author of, Twisted Perception, Beneath a Buried House, and Footprints of a Dancer. http://www.bobavey.com.

Thursday, June 09, 2016



Bob’s 2nd Quarter Newsletter
2016

First a bit of business: Amazon, doing the promotional magic they’re famous for, has a bit of a deal for my books. With Twisted Perception, if you’ve purchased the e-book, you can also get the Audible version for just a $1.99. With Twisted Perception, Beneath a Buried House, and Footprints of a Dancer, if you’ve purchased the paperback, you can get the e-book for 99 cents.    

Reflective moods have come upon me lately, overcoming my thoughts on an increasing basis.
Have you ever considered that we, or at least a majority of us, might be misusing our gifts?
The content of a recent radio program caused me to think about this. The host of the show proposed, and I paraphrase, that the very thing that sets us apart from the crowd, gives us our edge, is also quite often the source of many of our problems.

A few days ago, my wife, Kathi, and I were enjoying lunch in the park as we often do. We’re fortunate enough to work for the same company and the building is close to the park. It should have been a day much like the others, but it was not. 

I pulled into a shady spot, shut off the car and rolled down the windows, but instead of fresh air we received a dose of surrealism. The first thing we noticed was the abundance of birds hopping about in the grassy areas, many more than usual, but no other people were around, no other cars took up parking spaces. A cool breeze blew through the park, causing an empty aluminum can to bump and bounce across the asphalt, the action causing the only discernable sound. For a few moments, the scenario reminded me of a Stephen King movie. 

Suddenly the silence was blasted away when a pickup truck pulled into the parking lot, its radio playing some type of weird music, a type I’d never heard before.

 I glanced at Kathi, communicating without words that perhaps we should go for a walk.
She nodded her approval and we locked up the car then crossed the lot and stepped onto the gravel path, which winds around the park. We followed the path to the large pond that dominates the west end of the park, and once there we slowed our pace to enjoy the scenery.

Canadian geese and a few ducks floated on the water, some of them paddling along, leaving small wakes behind. Turtles sunned themselves on logs that protruded from the pond. Occasionally a fish or two would swim to the surface then again disappear back into the depths. At the edge of the water, a mama and daddy duck swam with babies. 

The geese, the ducks, the turtles, and the fish all seemed to be at peace within their environment. I imagined they had no worries, held no grudges, clung to no political affiliations, or harbored any ambitions. They simply went about the business of being what they were.

That evening, while on our way home from work we saw a dogsled, being mushed alongside the road with a team of Huskies. Instead of runners, the sled had wheels. How weird is that?

Not far from the dogsled incident, an elderly lady slowly made her way along the sidewalk with a cane. She carried a sack of groceries.

The oddness of the day reached its apex when I pulled into a convenience store to get some gasoline for the car. At the pump in front of me, putting gas into a black convertible with loud music spewing from the speakers, a man, who looked as if he’d stepped off a movie set, dominated my attention. He wore black slacks and a starched, white shirt with a black tie. Cocked upon his head was a black, Indiana Jones hat, but the crowning touch was a black, leather shoulder holster complete with sidearm. He looked like a mixture of Dan Aykroyd in The Blues Brothers, Stacy Keach in Mike Hammer, and Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black.

I’m continually reminded that this is not the world I grew up in.

God created us in his image and gave us dominion over the earth and the non-human life upon it. I don’t think we’re doing a very good job of managing either the earth or ourselves.

Perhaps we should give more thought to the animals, not so much in taking better care of them – which we should do when necessary – but in living more peaceful lives by striving to be more like them, letting go of the unnecessary, non-productive thoughts we carry around with us.

 At this point, you might be wondering: What’s happened to Bob and his whimsical newsletters?
We will both be back.

Please check out my writing by clicking the link below:
I want to thank everyone who signed up for my Reader List. We’ve already given away a nice prize. I have a lot more good stuff planned. If you haven’t signed up, I’ve placed the link below.

Twisted Perception is now out in audiobook. Please click the link below:
Please follow the link and check it out. Once you’re at the site, there’s a button you can click to hear a free sample. Charles Bice, the reader we chose, did an excellent job of portraying the characters as he tells the story. I believe you can even get the audiobook of Twisted Perception for free, if you join Audible.com. And who wouldn’t want to do that?

 I want to thank everyone who has signed up for my newsletter. I hope you enjoy reading it. If you know of someone who might enjoy it, too, please email it to them.

I also give programs for writing groups, reading groups, or any group that’s interested. If you belong to a club, which needs program speakers, keep me in mind.

You have permission to reprint, forward, or use the contents of this newsletter in your newsletter or e-zine. The only requirement is the inclusion of the following footer:
This article was written by Bob Avey, author of, Twisted Perception, Beneath a Buried House, and Footprints of a Dancer. http://www.bobavey.com.