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We're getting closer!


The June 30th release of the final Texas Rodeo book, Relentless in Texas, is approaching at the speed of an above average turtle on steroids, but like most everything else, when it does arrive I probably won't be ready. You, however, have an excellent opportunity to catch up on the series if you haven't already (or force it on one of your friends), beginning with Reckless in Texas which is FREE as part of Apple books First in a Series promotion from now until March 23rd, with steep discounts on books two through four. Even better, the prices are being matched on most digital sites, so you can pick the books up wherever you prefer to shop. You'll find links to several sites on my website at KariLynnDell.com.



And yes, the cover of Reckless in Texas is different on the ebook than in print. My publisher has found that once we get a non-western reader to pick up my books they tend to love them, but a certain percentage instinctively turns away from anything with a cowboy hat as 'not my thing'. The Reckless cover is an experiment to see if we can attract more of those readers and get them hooked on the series. And to be honest, this is actually more in line with how I picture Joe Cassidy than the original cowboy cover. As a bullfighter, he's all athlete. 

Otherwise, there's not much news, except that we started calving on February 16th, and we will continue calving until about the middle of May, so if you like to look at pictures of calves and listen to me whine about how it's interfering with my beauty rest, you can find it all on my Facebook page at:  https://www.facebook.com/karilynndellbooks/

I did have to take a trip last month, which started right out with an hour delay getting off the ground in Great Falls that ate up all but nine minutes of our layover in Denver. Thank God we'd gone the super-cheap economy route that didn't allow carry-ons since we huffed into our connecting gate with about thirty seconds to spare. I'd still like to know why they couldn't drop the oxygen mask above my seat down and let me have a few huffs. I mean, it's intended for moments of oxygen deprivation, right?

Anyway, it reminded me of a newspaper column I wrote a few years back, about my airport anxiety, and the awful day when all my nightmares came true.
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I dread flying. Not the part where I’m actually on the airplane, although fishtailing down the runway in Denver on my last excursion definitely dimmed my enthusiasm. What really makes me crazy is everything that comes before.
I have anxiety dreams, and in them I never manage to get on the plane. I got the tickets for the wrong day. The wrong airport. I got the departure time wrong. I arrive at security and realize I left all forms of photo ID at home, three hours away. I can’t find my wallet. My suitcase. The correct gate. You name it, I’ve dreamed it. So often that I decided to make use of this torture by inflicting it on one of my characters in my upcoming book, Relentless in Texas.

The good thing about paranoia is it makes you check and double-check and give yourself twice as much time as you need for everything from the drive to the airport to the last bathroom stop before boarding. Usually.

The last trip I made to visit my brother was every single one of my nightmares come true, starting with when we landed at Sea-Tac, arrived at the rental counter, and discovered that I had indeed reserved a car for Thursday through Monday—of the following week. But in an act of spectacular customer service, the Avis guy did a complicated manual override of their system that possibly involved eye of newt and mumbled incantations, and got us our car with the hefty discount intact.

We then proceeded to spend every moment outside of my brother’s house stuck in traffic. Going into Tacoma, coming out of Tacoma, attempting to go around Tacoma, it made no difference. Everywhere, there was traffic. Which shouldn’t have been a surprise. When we lived in Oregon, we once traveled through Tacoma at ten o’clock on a Sunday morning and ended up at a dead stop on I-5 for no reason we ever saw.

Given all that, I should have known better when my brother assured me there would be no traffic at five o’clock on a Monday morning, but the only thing I dread more than airports is dragging my carcass out of bed in the middle of the night, so I agreed that two and half hours to drive twenty miles, return the rental and get through security would be plenty.  

Wrong.

The moment we left his house, the nightmare commenced. It was pitch dark, rain pouring down, making visibility iffy. I turned the wrong way at the end of his street, initiating a five-minute detour. Then we hit I-5 and the first traffic slowdown. And the second. And the third. By the fourth time we came to a near stop on the interstate, we knew were in trouble—right about the time I recalled that I hadn’t topped off the car’s gas tank the night before as planned.

Finally, the airport exit loomed. I breathed a prayer of thanks, zipped into the rental garage, and somehow missed the sign telling us Go this way to return your car. Baffled, we parked the car in an empty slot near where we’d picked it up, hiked over five rows and up two escalators to the Avis counter, where they informed us we had to go back down and take the car to the special return lane, which was at the base of those elevators over there.

The return lane was located in Row T. We’d parked the car in Row J. I left my mother and the luggage and scrambled across a five-acre garage containing at least a thousand cars parked so close together I could barely squeeze between them. I found our Jeep, threw myself behind the wheel and tried to drive to the return area.

It could not be done. No matter which way I went, I could not get there from here. Every turn ended up with me going the wrong way up an aisle, drawing the ire of sane people attempting to depart the premises. The only alternative was to go outside and start over. Except I couldn’t exit the garage without my rental car agreement which was, of course, in the luggage at the return kiosk with my mother.

I was on the verge of just leaving the damn thing in the nearest empty slot and making a run for it when I found a hut in the midst of the maze that claimed to be Premier Member Services. A man inside had Avis embroidered on his shirt and an electronic car-checker-inner in his hand. He took one look at my wild, panicked eyes, confiscated the keys and said, “I’ll take care of this.”

We hit the escalators to street level thirty minutes before our plane started boarding. Then we had to catch a shuttle bus from the rental garage to the airport, get through an endless security line that stopped just as we got to the front so they could re-calibrate the full-body scanner, trot halfway across the terminal, take two escalators down to a train which carried us to another terminal where we took two escalators back up then jogged fifty yards to the farthest possible gate, arriving approximately two minutes before they locked the cabin door.

An hour and a half later, my heart rate had pretty much returned to normal when, halfway into our descent into Salt Lake City, our plane abruptly pulled up so hard that the G-force almost face-planted everyone into the seatbacks in front of them. There was screaming, not all of it mine. Turns out a weather front was moving in and it had set off the microburst sensors on the ground, demanding immediate, aggressive action by our pilot. We circled the airport for twenty minutes waiting for the turbulence to pass, which would have been less distressing if not for our extremely tight connection, plus the woman behind me declaring “We’re going to die” and lapsing into a terror-induced asthma attack.

I did learn from this experience, though. First, don’t make rental car reservations using those miniature internet calendars when you’re not wearing your reading glasses. Second, the day aliens invade and vaporize ninety percent of the automobiles in western Washington, there will still be a traffic jam on I-5 in Tacoma. And third…my mother can still outrun me, even when she’s dragging the heavy suitcase.

 
 
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