Confirmed by Colbert: Amazon does rip off authors!

This blog post is an update to a story on my blog written over two years ago regarding the inaccuracy of Amazon’s reporting of sales to authors.  It seems that even authors published through traditional publishing, not just us Indie folks, have been affected.  Just ask Emmy award winning TV journalist Stephen Colbert!  Watch the video –>  Stephen Colbert Amazon vs Hachette

stephen colbert takes on Amazon

So let’s get this right, Amazon!

I have a list over over 150 authors who have contacted me regarding this subject. Story, after story, after story of Amazon and CreateSpace inaccurately reporting sales. I personally have experienced it with all three of my books loaded onto CreateSpace through our small press, AgeView. I have, as many of you do, copies of receipts from friends who have bought the books; screen shots of their verified purchases, yet the sales never showed up. And let’s not even begin to talk about Amazon’s “expanded distribution.”

What a joke!!! My award winning Flying Solo trilogy is in over twenty countries, but do you think I have ever seen a fraction of the sales through “expanded distribution” reporting? Hell no!  Don’t get me started!  Most recently, I have heard about Amazon’s fake book companies that “resell” your used book!

That is why many Indie writers, including the authors recently signed with AgeView, have decided to circumvent the dragon. We use Amazon only for what we have to. Afterall, over 50% of all book sales are through Amazon, so one really doesn’t have much choice. But any other stuff, like expanded distribution, goes through Lightning Source (which is part of Ingram) for print and BookBaby for ebooks. Forget the KDP rip off. Another Amazon scam.

So, thank you! Thank you! God bless you Stephen Colbert for posting your experiences and multiple disgruntlements with Amazon on TV to a very captive audience. Continue to shout about it from the roof tops. And when you are ready, contact us ! Our small coalition of Indie writers will band together for a class action lawsuit to take on the giant. Or at least tarnish them a little with mass media!

stephen colbert shoots Amazon the bird

Take that Amazon!  (photo courtesy of Comedy Central)

Please reblog this story everywhere. Facebook it. Google plus it!  And “link” it in! Maybe, just maybe the Associated Press or Oprah will pick up it. Add your email and comments to our list if this atrocity has happened to you. Because if you are an author, you know it has!

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Aerial ballet over South Louisiana

Tom Burdick in cockpit of his crop duster

“”We are not the wild, whiskey-drinking daredevils that onlookers might perceive us to be,” says Tom Burdick, a pilot who’’s dodged bullets while flying.”

At the crack of dawn, before most of us are up and going, there is a ballet being performed in the skies. Tom Burdick is a special type of pilot. He dances amidst the clouds flying high, winging over and swooping down from the heavens over southern Louisiana. He and his team crop dust the plantations that are featured in the FLYING SOLO series of books, which I have written for AgeView Press. Not only can he fly, he can write. Burdick has served as my technical consultant for the crop dusting passages in SOLO VIETNAM. In addition, he contributed to the dramatic plane crash sequence in WAITING IN THE WINGS. His heart and soul is flying and that’s what comes through in his desciptions of soaring through the heights.  He once told me that he’s never happier than when flying.  He described it as his lifeblood.  I am elated and honored to call him not only a colleague, but a dear friend. Enjoy this article about Tom published some time ago in the Baton Rouge Business Journal.

Original Article and Photos By: Chuck Hustmyre published Nov 30, 2007 at 6:00 am. (Updated May 4, 2012)

Tom Burdick swoops in fast and low, the wheels of his airplane almost brushing the tops of the trees standing along the edge of the field. He levels the wings and dips the bright yellow nose toward the ground. He’s zooming in at 130 mph, with the afternoon sun behind him. From the ground, Burdick looks like he’s lining up for a strafing run as he aims the sleek, single-engine propeller-driven plane at a field.

In a sense Burdick is making a strafing run, although it’s not a line of enemy planes he’s attacking, but a row of crops. From a height of only eight feet, he triggers the release of the plane’s payload, and a line of nozzles along the trailing edge of the wing spews an aerosol cloud that swirls in the wake of his prop wash. Burdick roars across the field in seconds. He pulls back on the control stick and rockets skyward. At the top of his climb, he kicks the rudder over and banks into a steep turn, setting himself up for another diving pass at the field.

In the business, he’s known as an A.G.—an agriculture pilot. His munitions of choice aren’t bombs or bullets, but pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. Not that he hasn’t seen a few bullets. “I was shot at once,” he says. “I found two holes—one in the tail and one in the wing.”

Tom reading FLYING SOLO

Taking a break with a great book!

Burdick, a 62-year-old, who although is short in stature, stands tall, exudes quiet confidence.. He started flying right out of high school, paying for his pilot training by working the flight line at an airport in his hometown of Madison, Wis. As a newly winged commuter pilot, Burdick flew VIPs around Wisconsin, including the governor on a campaign tour. Later, he spent four years as an air traffic controller at the hyperkinetic Los Angeles Center in Palmdale, Calif., directing commercial jets and other aircraft over central California and northern Mexico. Burdick lost that job when the air traffic controllers’ union staged a walkout in 1981, a move that prompted President Ronald Reagan to fire all the strikers.Fortunately, a crop duster training school in Casa Grande, Ariz., 460 miles away, was accepting new students. “I rode my motorcycle from Palmdale to Casa Grande in the middle of the night,” Burdick recalls. During the ride he hit a patch of black ice with his Kawasaki 550 and went down, knocking off his windshield. He froze for the rest of the trip. “It was so cold my face was stuck.” At crop duster school Burdick met a guy from Louisiana looking to hire an ag pilot, so in February 1982, he packed up what few belongings he had and moved to South Louisiana. He’s been here ever since.

The next Aerial Crop Care pilot.

The next Aerial Crop Care pilot.

For the full text article, you can see it here.

Tom Burdick is pretty basic – and that is how he started his company. Aerial Crop Care, which began with only one pilot, Tom, now boasts an annual revenue upwards of 1.2 million.  His team of five pilots fly Air Tractor AT-502 crop dusters, which are impressive machines that cost upwards of $800,000. The sleek, long-nosed, low-wing planes pack a 750-horsepower propeller-driven turbine engine that runs on jet fuel. They top out at about 150 mph and has a 500-gallon hopper built into the nose to hold chemicals or seeds. In addition, they founded Mosquito Squad, a company which combats mosquito invasion.  Tom was instrumental in the design of the state of the art plane used to combat the pests. But Tom Burdick’s only love isn’t flying.  He is the proud parent of two grown children and grandpa to a precoscious two year old pilot-in-training.  During National Aviation Week, AgeView Press is proud to recognize and salute this outstanding professional in the skies!

Do Amazon and Createspace rip us off? The update.

It’s has been several months since first publishing and republishing the story about Amazon and Createspace failing to report accurate sales.  It’s absolutely evil.   Here is what has been learned.

It's almost evil!

It’s almost evil!

Hundreds of authors contacted me regarding the inability to see their sales, especially from expanded distribution channels.   The story has been blogged and tweeted.  One author, on the grounds she stay anonymous, as her book was just picked up by one of the “Big Six” and she feared be dropped, told me that over 500 of her books sales never showed.AgeView Press was contacted by the Vice-President of Customer Service at Createspace, George  X ecr@createspace.com  who explained that he takes customer concerns very personally.  He pulled up my account for my latest book SOLO VIETNAM.   Now, I know for a fact that since it was published, April 2013 that at least ten friends have ordered it from Barnes and Noble and other retailers, which should have shown up on CreateSpace’s records as expanded distribution orders from Ingram.   Mr. X kindly shared with me that I had shown one sale from Expanded Distribution.  When asked where that was from?  He was not allowed to provide me that information.    Yet, he could see it from Ingram.

It get’s better.  This time, I chose not to go with KDP select.  I never saw the increased sales following the 4,000 free downloads of my award winning novel FLYING SOLO.  Not even after hawking it with KindleMojo, World Literary Cafe and anywhere I could get the info out there.   Never saw them.   I sold very few books with KDP select.  So this time, I decided to expand my ebook availablity by having in in multiple formats, Kindle, Nook, ebook and ibook via BookBaby.

The jury is out.   Scads of folks have downloaded the book in various formats, many writing reviews.    Yet, to date I show zero sales on BookBaby.   Now, to be fair, their policy is that after a sale is made in particular month, it can take up to 60 days after that month closes for them to report the sales from their distribution.   Seriously people?    Sixty freaking days?  Dont’ we live in an electronic world?   Are these retailers like Kobo, Itunes ibook, Barnes and Noble using the Pony Express?

What the heck?   <—-please insert selected four letter vulgarity here!

As an Indie author and owner of a small press, I find this completely outrageous.  How can one possibly track the availability of their marketing?   Last year, I sold more books hawking them myself via book signings and the Texas Author Book program and made more for each copy.  The problem?   And authors, you will just love this one, the numbers of books you order yourself from CreateSpace do not count as sales!    Yet, when big publishers order 10,000 copies of a new release for distribution, that book is automatically put on the New York Times best sellers list!

Again. . . what the heck?  No that one deserves fuckity-fuck, fuck, FUCK!!!

The morale of the story?   Authors you better love what you do.   Have a great time writing your Indie books, going to book signings and enjoying your fifteen minutes of fame.    Because unless you are born under a lucky star, you are barely going to break even.

What’s sad is that because of the desire to become famous, small press and Indie press have seen waves of authors turn to the dark side.   Vampires were hot, so they wrote that.   Bondage was hotter with 50 Shades of Grey, so they wrote that.    There are literally hundreds of thousands of poorly written books which overshadow quality Indie writing that get’s literally lost in the sea of Indie wannabes.    What’s an author to do?

1.  Keep complaining to CreatSpace to show your immediate electronic and expanded distribution sales

2.  Join forces with reputable Independent Press organizations like Independent Author’s Network, Readers Alliance and Book Your Next Read #BYNR.

3.  Follow Jonathan Gunson‘s tips for Indie author success.   Follow book bloggers.   Make thoughtful posts on their blogs.  Gain their trust.   Then ask for a review.

4.  Before you tweet a random book, READ IT!   Dont recommend books that are off your brand, poorly written crap.   Save your tweets for worthy words.

5.  Keep your network of solid, proven Indie Authors tight.   Communicate and unite.   Network and promo them.   Attend worthy writer’s conferences like Lexicon. You’ll be amazed.   By paying it foward, your returns will be rich.

A lawyer, David Berke has contacted AgeView Press about joining forces with other authors to draw publicity to this dilemma.   The Associated Press contacted AgeView Press, but the journalist, Hillel Italie, HillelHItalie@ap.org  never followed up on the story.   It continues to happen.   To me and to many other authors.  Please email this reporter and let them know this is NOT an isolated incident.

We keep the faith.   Continue to try and stay positive in the marketplace.   And most of all. . . write because we love doing it!    Please feel free to SHARE and reblog this post.   Grassroots efforts really do result in action.   Just ask President Obama!

Boomer Lit Blog Hop – a new genre of books

There is a new boom for us baby boomers and that boom is Boomer LIt.   Books that relate to those of us 50 and beyond.   Great stories about our times.  There are blogs about it.  Goodreads sites.  Facebook pages.   Us Babyboomers are a force to be reckoned with. As such, I am delighted to participate in a blog hop to give you such a taste!  Here is an excerpt from my upcoming release Solo Vietnam.   A sequel to Flying Solo which involves a baby being born into this time frame.  Solo Vietnam continues that story into the most controversial war ever.  A French Cajun aviatrix.  An A-4 Skyhawk pilot.  Vietnam. Enjoy Solo Vietnam!

Solo Vietnam Cover

Available April 2013 from AgeView Press

As she walked the few blocks from the olive colored streetcar, which dropped her off at Carrollton and Birch, she thought about everything she had been through. The illicit affair with the love of her life, her pilot instructor, Steve Novak. Their crazy temporary living arrangement, where she served as caregiver to his sickly wife, Marci.    Their star crossed love affair, which had produced her baby daughter, now living in Texas somewhere.  The ill-fated goodbye on the steps of the train station in downtown Dallas. It was a time from which Nora thought she could never recover.  And yet, here she was; a sultry, moderately popular, New Orleans night singer, a pilot, and a woman with her own place, freedom, and independence.

Her children, now ranging in age from eleven to seventeen were all teenagers.  Well, all but one, Iggy.  Her lone son, the youngest, was a precocious, pre-pubescent teen.  For the briefest moment, she reminded herself that he was not the youngest.  That would be the baby she gave away, now age five.  Ugh, too painful.  No.  She would not think about that at all.  Mardi Gras was over.  Time for lent.

Ready to take on the commotion of getting the children off to school, Nora creaked open the black-faced wrought iron gate to her home.  As she climbed the five stairs up to the raised, single floor duplex, she could tell something was amiss.  The normal chaos of the early morning was frenetic.

Cathy, already dressed in her long, navy blue, wool uniform shirt and white blouse slammed open the front filigree screen door.   “Thank goodness you are finally home.  Kayce’s gone!” she exclaimed.

“Kayce’s gone?  Whatever do you mean?”  Nora queried.

“She’s gone.  Kaput.”  Cathy histrionically bellowed.

As Nora entered the parlor, Leisel bounded in.  “Yep. Cathy’s right, Mama.  Kayce is missing.  She musta left before we even got up,” she hurriedly explained.

Nora dropped the two grocery bags she was carrying and clambered back to the girls’ shared bedroom.  Then, she checked the bathroom off the middle bedroom and the kitchen.  Kayce was nowhere to be found.    Opening the back screen porch door, she scanned the red brick patio surrounded by azalea bushes and large backyard with its towering oak trees.  Nothing.  No trace of her.

Iggy, who had followed Nora into the kitchen, noted a hand-written card propped next to Nora’s coffee pot on the stove.  Nora could tell it was Kayce’s handwriting.  It simply read,

Mother.  I’ve tired of the calamity of your life and your choices.  I have

gone to seek my own life and happiness. I am against the war, the

establishment and especially you.  I have left the pain of New

Orleans forever.  You can find me and my people in Haight-Ashbury.

“Oh my God.  Christ almighty.  Kayce has run off to be a flower-child,” Nora rolled her eyes.   “Good Lord.”

This Boomer Lit book is coming out this month, April 2013 from AgeView Press!  The best selling, 5 star rated Flying Solo is already out in print, ebook and Kindle.  Hop on over to some of the other great boomer lit books!

books available from jeanette vaughan flying solo and solo vietnam

Books Available from Jeanette Vaughan

Back by popular demand! The Amazon Rip-off!

So many readers and authors have contacted me regarding Amazon and CreateSpace ripping them off with inaccurate reports of sales, that I was compelled to repost this blog.   The question remains. . . what do we as Indie Authors do about it?   Please, repost this article and tweet it.   Will someone from the press or AP ever pick it up?

I had one AP reporter contact me. . . she did not believe it was happening.  But if you are an author, you know it is.

Guest post by John. R. Clark, Managing Editor at AgeView Press

When AgeView Press Indie pubbed the book FLYING SOLO in May of 2012, the author, Jeanette Vaughan  immediately began tracking sales.   She heard from excited friends and family who immediately emailed when ordering their copies.  The first sales were off of Createspace’s e-store with the title ID number given to the author.   Then, through Amazon, a week later, when the book went live on the site.  Finally on Kindle, when the ebook format was completed.

ostrich head in the sand
“Where, oh where are my royalties?”

Initially, things appeared kosher.    People exclaiming that they had ordered the book, were showing up within a day or two on the electronic royalty reports with a reasaonable accuracy.    But by June and July, sales descrepencies were noted by the author from customers claiming that they had purchased the book directly through Amazon, not an Amazon affiliate.    Many of these sales were simply not listed.The author contacted Createspace customer support, who gave assurance that all sales were being accurately reported.   FLYING SOLO was now also on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Select as well as expanded distribution channels, which included Amazon affiliates in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.    Sales were being reported to the author from readers and bookclubs in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

The first note of apparent discrepancy came when a dear friend of the author ordered three copies of the book from Amazon in June.    These books were ordered all at the same time, from Amazon.com direct.   Yet, that cluster of three sales was never posted as such.      Another instance in early July involved the same issue.    Again, a customer ordered three copies, yet no sales were trackable through Amazons channels for three sale purchased on the same day.

Meantime, the author was making public appearnances, being featured on blogs and radio, and rounding with booksignings.   During the months of June and July, no expanded distribution channel sales were posted on the royalty report, yet customers were emailing the author letting her know how much the book was being enjoyed overseas.   More than 15 five star reviews for the novel were posted on Amazon.

What should have shown as a surge of sales, as the book peaked, never appeared on the royalty reports.   The author was suspect.   She contacted Ingram directly, only to be informed that they were not supposed to reveal information to an author directly.  So, the Indie publisher, AgeView Press made the call.    Ingram showed 16 copies of the book ordered through their system total since May.   Those sales never showed on the June or July royalty report.    The author filed formal complaints with Createspace customer service, but received only canned letters in response explaining  that indeed there was an issue with reports in Expanded Distribution and it was being investigated.   Advice to author?  Please be patient.

By August, it was clear there were gross in accuracies.  The 30 copies ordered from Barnes and Noble never showed up.   Few if any sales were listed for August.    Yet the author had confirmation of over 4,000 copies in distribution worldwide.    The crowning blow came in September.   A plan was devised.    A friend, agreed to help with the investigation.   She ordered a copy of FLYING SOLO on September 7th, taking screen shots of her order and confirmation of payment directly from Amazon.    She printed out here receipt showing date and time of purchase.   The book arrived on September 13, to San Jose, California.   Photos were taken.   The sale was complete.    Copies of all screenshots and receipts were scanned and sent to the author.    By September 20th,  no sales were shown at all on Createspaces report.    Phoning Createspace, the author was informed that no sales were showing for Amazon for the month for that title.    It was time for outrage!     What had been suspected, had now been proven.  Not once, but twice!

Time to climb up the foodchain.  After many phonecalls and emails to Createspace, a Senior customer service “executive” phoned personally and stated he would investigate.    Talk about a wacky result.    Due to the print on demand status of Createspace books, sometimes they are one or two books ahead.   Thus even though your book was printed in one month, but sold in another, a royalty might actually show up in the prior month for that sale.   What???

No one expects to get rich off of writing a book.    Few and far between are the Oprah Bookclub golden orbs of success.    But how are authors to trust a system, happy to take their money for assisting to create and publish a book, which does not thoroughly, detail accurate sales?    Simply outrageous.   What options does that leave the Indie publishers?     How can they possibly track the success of their marketing efforts.   Is the publishing world doomed to be controlled by the big six?     Are small bookstores and Indie presses to be overrun by powershouse chains which offer the Indie published writer no turf?

How can the press or the author be sure those sales are accurate with no detail?   Rise up Indie authors!    Repost this story!    Tweet it, facebook it.    Make it go viral.   Print it and send it to your local newspaper and the Associated Press.   This abject fraud is outrageous and MUST STOP!

John R. Clark, Managing Editor, AgeView Press

Mardi Gras . . . mystery unveiled.

This post is the innaugal expose’ of a feature on this blog called What’s It Really Like?   People, places, and particular experiences will be exposed for real.  De-mystified and debugged.  Putting you there for the reality of it all.   Start a sentence with. . . have you ever wondered what it’s really like?   You get the picture.   Enjoy!

Mardi Gras

Green, purple and gold of Mardi Gras

Green, purple and gold of Mardi Gras

Most people think that Mardi Gras is about Bourbon Street and boobs.    Although in modern times plenty of bourbon and boobs can be experienced on the mad day known as Fat Tuesday, that’s not really what it’s all about.Mardi Gras’ origins can be traced back to the traditions of 17th and 18th century Roman’s in Venice with Carnivale.  Its French origins began with the French Bourbons and the “Boeuf Gras” or fatted calf.  This celebration followed the French to its new colonies.  Point du Mardi Gras was established about sixty miles south of New Orleans on March 2, 1699, when French-Canadian explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville landed there.  It was given that name by his men who realized they had reached land on the eve of the festive holiday.

In 1704 a French settlement near there established a Masque de la Mobile, named after the two forts there Fort Mobile and Fort Louisiane.   The secret society paraded with a large bulls head mounted.  In 1710, the “Boeuf Gras Society” was formed and paraded from 1711 until 1861.   However, in 1718 Bienville established the city of New Orleans.   As was now tradition in the region,  Mardi Gras day was celebrated.

The parades that we know today began with the society balls for the occasions which were established by the govenor of Louisiana at the time to benefit various charitable organizations.   Festive street processions with masked revelers on carriages and horseback dazzled onlookers with their extravagent costumes and gaslight torches called flambeaux.  An exciting air of festive romance and mystique of who was behind the mask was created.   The first official Krewe began in 1856 by six young men from Mobile.  The Mistick Krewe of Comus rode in on dramatic tableux creating more magic and pageantry.  The Krewe still rides today.

Mardi Gras has strong regligious ties.  The season actually begins with epiphany, the church’s feast day noting the arrival of the wise men at the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.   On that week, the first parties begin with the king and queen of each krewe being named.   A king’s cake of sweet brioche with yellow, green, and purple icing is served.   A small replica, traditionally in gold of baby Jesus is baked inside.   Whomeve is lucky enough to be served that piece of the cake holds the next party.   That tradition continues each week until the day of the parade for that Krewe which culminates in an elaborate ball for the king and queen.

The festivities have grown into an entire multimillion dollar industry for the region.   The day before Mardi Gras and the day itself are statewide holidays.    Millions crowd the city of New Orleans to attend its parades.    The best views of the parades are not down in crowded Bourbon St. but out in the neighborhoods where the parades begin.  Street performers, musicians, bands, and elaborate floats can be best enjoyed on St. Charles Avenue, Napoleon, and Carrollton.   Krewes such as EndymionIsis, Zulu and Bacchus maps out their own routes and celebrate their unique theme and philanthropy.  To be selected to ride on one of the floats is considered an honor.   To be selected as king or queen, sublime.   The catch phase by natives is, “Throw me somthing, throw me something Mister.”   Or “Miss” as is the case for female Krewe members.   There are all kinds of beads, but the most valued are those in yellow symbolizing gold, green for good luck and purple for royalty – especially if you are lucky enough to get a medalion of the Krewe or some of their colorful coins, called deblues.

Zulu majesty

The season culminates on Fat Tuesday, thus the name Mardi Gras.  The day before the solemnity of lent begins.  Lent is traditional period of six weeks preparation ending in Holy week which recognizes the events leading to the crucifixtion of Christ, his death and resurrection on Easter.    But the day before it all begins, Cajuns and refined Lousiannes Les bon temp roulles.   Let the good times roll.

So now, you know what it’s really like.   It’s not just about Bourbon and boobs.   To enjoy a great story themed with Mardi Gras of the 1960s check out Flying Solo.

Tantatlizing Tidbits: Glimpse of a page turner – excerpt from FLYING SOLO

Picture of cover for FLYING SOLO

“Sassy, sexy 1960s drama in the skies over New Orleans. A must read.”

Welcome to Tantalizing Tidbits.  

Just to tantalize your tastebuds a bit, I will be featuring excerpts from various Indie published books in a column called Tantalizing Tidbits. Based on your feedback, I will post more excerpts. If you like an excerpt, please click like, Tweet it and facebook a link to it. That is how I will gage which excerpts you like the best.

Here we go. . . the first excerpt if from FLYING SOLO. This is a fast, page turner set in 1960s New Orleans. The gist of the story? A socialite, suburban housewife is filled with the wanderlust. On a whim, she takes flying lessons behind her powerful husband’s back. He’s livid when he finds out. An ogre, he threatens her with divorce. Which, she is glad to get until she looses custody of her children. Newly in love and desperate to get them back, she steals a plane! And that’s just the first half of the story!

Enjoy a read from FLYING SOLO:

     Her exhilaration when flying was not without fear today. But she was thankful for her courage and commitment to her children. She thought about the Navy ideals that Steve had told her about. Honor, courage, and commitment. Well at least she had two out of three. For there was certainly no honor in her first totally independent act as a pilot; which was now stealing a plane.
     Nora started to see dwellings increasing in numbers within proximity. She realized she was on the outskirts of Hattiesburg. Pinebelt Regional was north of the city. She would be flying over Hattiesburg’s western edge. Almost there. Just a few more moments and she would be home free.
     She made contact with Pinebelt tower when she was ten miles out. “Pinebelt tower. Twin Piper, November six, niner, one, five, foxtrot. Three miles south west, requesting permission to land.”
     “Twin piper six, niner, one, five, foxtrot clear to land runway three six.”
Nora recognized from studying her maps that runway three six required her to bank left when in proximity of the airport. She received another radio communication from the tower, “Twin Piper, niner, one. Winds are currently zero four five, at twenty-five knots, gusting to thirty-five. Clear to land runway three six.” Nora knew that meant she would be getting quite a bit of crosswind as she attempted to land the plane.
     It suddenly began to dawn on her how risky this mission was. If she somehow failed her landing, and crashed the plane killing herself; her children would not only be motherless, but stranded in Baton Rouge. Although these thoughts began to cross her mind in flashes, she tried to put them out of her head.
     “Come on Jack. Help me out here,” calling on her father’s spirit in heaven or hell, she really wasn’t sure. She took a deep breath, put her head on straight and mentally focused on the task at hand. When she saw the airport come into view several miles out, she pulled back on the throttles and began a gentle descent. A few minutes later she could visually see the numbers of runway three six.
Nora was also starting to feel the wind. It was difficult to hold her course and her wings were rocking like a boat on rough seas. To maintain her heading required lots of rudder input to compensate. Unfortunately, she was sometimes over compensating causing her to overshoot her course in the other direction. She was struggling to keep the nose up. It was going to be the landing from hell.
     In fact, it was so bad, she radioed the tower. She was dropping too much speed and couldn’t pull the nose of the plane up to stabilize the plane. “Pinebelt tower, Piper one, five, foxtrot, going around.” She had to bail the landing.
     “Piper one, five, foxtrot, clear for the go around. You’re the only one in the area; clear to land at your discretion.”
     She pushed the throttles forward and leveled off flying just above the runway. Once she started gaining airspeed, she pulled back on the yoke and began her climb into the sky.
     Sweat was pouring from her brow. This time it was going to take more skill and concentration. She made a climbing bank to the west, leveling off at one thousand five hundred feet. She was now re-established in the traffic pattern ready to attempt another approach. “Come on Nora, you can do this. You have to do this,” she coached herself.
     Making a sign of the cross, she approached the runway again. This time she was much more aggressive in her rudder control to compensate for the gusting crosswind. She pointed the nose in the direction of the gusts as Steve had taught her. Keeping her hands steady, she kept the nose up and lowered her speed to begin her descent. “Steady, steady,” she said. One hundred fifty, one hundred, fifty, twenty five feet. She was at the end of the runway and boom. Nora was down. Smoothly. A huge sigh of relief came over her as she lowered her speed and applied her brakes. She was here. Thank God she was here.
     Nora taxied the plane towards the hangars for general aviation. She had rented a temporary space from Grayson Aviation. The mechanic planned to meet her. Pulling the plane safely into the hangar, Nora ticked off yet another step of her strategy. Once she parked, she closed up the Piper and applied the pad lock to the outside door of the building.
     “Would you like us to hold the key for you here, Miss Broussard?” the mechanic asked her.
     “No, thank you. I will hold onto them. I appreciate the offer, but I know that the co-owner will be anxious to get them.” Nora then took off her glasses and baseball cap. It felt good to shake out her hair. Despite it being December, it was drenched with sweat. She walked from the FBO over to the general terminal. It would be another hour or so before Charlene arrived, so Nora ordered a Coca-cola and took a seat in the bar to relax.
She couldn’t help but watch the clock, wondering how Charlene was making it up Highway 11. Her friend had quite a lead foot; she hoped she wouldn’t be pulled over by the Mississippi Highway Patrol. Nora had given a detailed map to Charlene on how to find the airport.
     It was almost three o’clock and Charlene’s Caddy was nowhere to be found. Nora got up and walked outside the terminal to look for her. She didn’t want to appear like a loiterer in the terminal and she couldn’t drink too many Coca-colas due to the baby. The caffeine and sugar was already making the baby kick incessantly.
     Nora rubbed her tummy. “I wonder if you will be born with the spirit of Jack Broussard?” she questioned the life inside. Nora felt that although her recent actions were unlawful and bit dodgy, her father would be proud that she was a fighter.
A flash of baby blue rounded the corner, tires screeching. Charlene! The Cadillac pulled up to the curb. “Good golly miss molly! I thought you would never get here,” a relieved Nora exclaimed.
     “Well, heck sister. I had my eyes so glued on that detailed map that I missed a damned turn with all that construction. God, I need a drink.”
     “No time for that, we have to get back on the road and back to Baton Rouge. Especially before we hit rush hour traffic.” At this point, it looked like they might just make it.
     “Nora Jean, I’m at least going through the Dairy Mart drive-thru to get a coke float. This girl’s gotta have some sugar. I’m plum nearly wore out.”
     “Here, move over. I’ll drive then. And yes, I’ll stop at Dairy Mart.”
     “So, how was it?” Charlene had to get all the details.
     “Nerve wracking. But I made it.”
     They hugged and gave a big “yee-haw” out the windows of the Cadillac. Nora could breathe a sigh of relief. Now all that was left was to get back to her kids and call Frank. Devilish delight danced in her eyes as she imagined his face realizing his plane was gone.

So, there you go.  A tantalizing taste of what can be found in the novel FLYING SOLO.   If you liked this excerpt, please let me know by sharing it below with one of the share buttons.  Tweet itFacebook it.   Link others back.   You can purchase this book from AgeView Press if you would like a signed copy.   Or download it on Kindle for free as an Amazon Prime member.    Just $2.99 on Kindle purchase.    Also available in print via Amazon.  

Be looking forward to excerpt #2.   Again, if you like it, please share it!  Let’s get this party started.